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2012 Reads > TIG: Religion in the Palm

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thecmancan | 9 comments So, I keep getting confused. I'm near 45% of the book. I keep trying to sort out the Triad of religious figures in the book.

Adaon is the father?
Eanna is the mother?
Morian of the Portals is the child and lover? Oedipus?

I find that the two moons and other religious musing tend to affect the story. Devin has a dream about the Triad and Alessan was in it. Yet I can't seem to sort it out enough to figure out its significance.

Anyone else can read religion clearer than I have in Tigana?


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Adaon is basically an earth/fertility god. Every winter he is ritually sacrificed by Eanna and Morian so he can be reborn again in the spring.

Eanna is the goddess of the sky and everything in it--stars, moons, sun. She is the sister-wife of Adaon and the mother-figure of the pantheon.

Morian is the Goddess of Portals and especially Death, the final portal. She was born of the incestuous union of Adaon and Eanna, and this is why incest is regarded as a sin--it brought death into the world.

Each of the Triad have a priesthood, and the priests are of the opposite sex of the god. Thus Adaon has female priestesses, while Eanna and Morian have male priests.

I don't have the book handy so I can't look up the dream you're talking about, but hopefully this helps a bit.

Michael (michaelbetts) It certainly helped me, thank you!

message 4: by Renee (new)

Renee | 9 comments I thought the whole male/female thing with the Triad and the priests was interesting. It reminded me of some Hindu stories that I have heard in which gods/goddesses play multiple roles in the pantheon. (I'm not Hindu, so sorry if I interpreted that wrong.) I also thought it was interesting that it is always women who kill Adaon in the fall. I sort of read that as a religion tending toward establishing balance between opposites. The Triad I see as being a balancing point between humanity and nature as well as male/female.

message 5: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jun 13, 2012 05:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I think it's a reshaping of the myth of the Egyptian god, Osiris.

Quote: "Osiris is not only a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife, but also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. He is described as the "Lord of love",[7] "He Who is Permanently Benign and Youthful"[8] and the "Lord of Silence".[9] The Kings of Egypt were associated with Osiris in death — as Osiris rose from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic. By the New Kingdom all people, not just pharaohs, were believed to be associated with Osiris at death if they incurred the costs of the assimilation rituals."

Quote:"The cult of Osiris (who is a god chiefly of regeneration and re-birth) had a particularly strong interest toward the concept of immortality. Plutarch recounts one version of the myth in which Set (Osiris' brother), along with the Queen of Ethiopia, conspired with 72 accomplices to plot the assassination of Osiris. Set fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which Set then shut, sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile (sarcophagi were based on[citation needed] the box in this myth). Osiris' wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead.

In one version of the myth, she used a spell learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. Afterwards he died again and she hid his body in the desert. Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she raised Horus, Set was hunting one night and came across the body of Osiris.

Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, less the phallus (which was eaten by a catfish) and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld. Because of his death and resurrection, Osiris is associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the crops along the Nile valley."

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Erick Taggart | 71 comments It's interesting that Adaon is the earth/fertility figure, since this is often a female role, particularly in Greek and Roman mythology. I thought the same as April, that he was a reflection of the Osiris myth. It was also interesting that the pantheon was a direct reflection of the heavenly bodies and that moons often take on a female aspect, so if there were two moons, they would be women. And I don't think that the incestuous nature of the gods was a large concern to the people worshipping them; in comparison to other pantheons, it's not at all uncommon, and I only think it was highlighted for one part of the book in light of a particular incestuous relationship. Eanna and Morian didn't sacrifice Adaon because of the incest, and stories from other mythologies go much further (see April's post!).

One thing I wondered in reading the book was what Kay's take was on the actual power and existence of the gods in this world. It seemed like most people in the book were at least passively religious, so a lot of the events had some religious corollary or prayer or song. But on the other hand, Kay seemed to have a pretty low view of the established religious groups in the book, with only one or two exceptions. So I guess, were the gods real in the book and did they take part in any of the events? Did they help or guide the characters, like with Devin's dream or the riselka? Or was religion just a part of the sociopolitical background for the story?

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I think, for the purposes of this fantasy world, the gods were real. The Night Walkers convinced me Kay wanted real working magical realms and beings. Depending on your personal mental ruminations, It is either a good thing or a bad thing Kay chose to keep religion involved as a world of magic tool to fulfill his bigger picture story, and not the other way around. 1500+ pages!!?!??!!

message 8: by Ulmer Ian (last edited Jun 22, 2012 09:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ulmer Ian (eean) | 341 comments April the Cheshire Meow wrote: "I think, for the purposes of this fantasy world, the gods were real. The Night Walkers convinced me Kay wanted real working magical realms and beings. Depending on your personal mental ruminations,..."
The Night Walkers were prosecuted by the religions of the Palm though as heresy.

The reader is left to wonder if the Triad gods are real, since obviously having real non-metaphorical gods is a strong possibility in a fantasy universe.

...but outside of some events easily disregarded as hallucination, the gods don't seem to concern themselves with the Palm. There's no reason to think the Triad is real. I guess the best clue of their nonexistence is that only the Palm worships the Triad, but as Joe described, they are hardly regional in their focus!

thecmancan | 9 comments This is another layer of ambiguity in this book. It seemed to me the events of the novel were inseparable from religion. The characters were always praying to the triad. Also, descriptions of setting were almost always tied with the triad, the two moons, and Eanna's lights etc.

However, as religion is a part of everyone's life in the Palm; it is not always "good". In that, characters use religion to manipulate (ring dive by Dianora), and these figures are not trustworthy (betrayed in the temple where Alessan's mother was in).

It leaves a lot of room for pondering about the role of religion in our own lives. Do we just follow it whenever we want to? Religion is everywhere in our lives, but is that a good thing? Religion had become a tool to manipulate people in certain places, how does Kay reflect that fact in Tigana?

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Chao wrote: "This is another layer of ambiguity in this book. It seemed to me the events of the novel were inseparable from religion. The characters were always praying to the triad. Also, descriptions of se..."

Chao, you should use chaos as an avatar . If people do this discussion, who the hell knows where it will end? FYI, there are a lot of religious threads on GR where scientist atheists are squaring off against homeschooled bible "educated" believers. Check out the reviews of the various bibles and Dan Brown's books, where the conversation is now up to 4,000 comments...

For the record, I don't think Kay is a believer or religion hater by the tone of this book. I am a religion hater, but I strive for tolerance. Hard to do when people tell me I should cover up so that only my eyes show, or stay hidden in the house keeping myself barefoot and pregnant. Except when I'm menstruating, when I should go to a cave and avoid polluting mankind.

That said, Religion has been a powerful influence on the history of mankind, for both good and bad, but in my opinion mostly bad. The book reflects that viewpoint, I think. The god themselves, not so much as a peep. But people sure like to interpret what they think the gods would want done. None of the book's gods do anything beyond creating the world. In the book, it's all down to sorcery, wizards and magic.

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