Troll rituals and ceremonies

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Troll birthdays

Post  Zanick on Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:44 am

I agree with Lyranne about the Forsaken and about the long-lived races, such as Sin'dorei. For trolls, who very rarely reach eighty winters, old age would probably be a sign of great skill or wisdom. For such a relatively short-lived race, how old you are is almost certainly more important, to mark when you are old enough to make your own decisions, choose a mate, go hunting with the tribe etc. So I suspect that, although they may not mark an exact day, trolls would almost certainly mark each passing year in some way.

Ryleen's point is a good one, though. Presumably, Darkspears, and certainly the Zandalari, who are guardians of troll history, must have some way of recording the passing of time. But here we need to make some assumptions, I think. I'm not sure if an Azeroth year is the same length as ours. There are no phases of the moon (the more visible one, the White Lady, that is), as far as I know, so can we be sure that 'months' are even measured in any way? And the idea of a seven-day week is, I believe, arbitrary.

Does anyone have any knowledge of game lore about measuring the passage of time?

If no established lore exists, then the way is clear for us to invent a system of our own (Hurray!). If so, we should keep it simple and easy to remember (sun-day, moon-day, two-day, etc.) Any thoughts anyone?
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Ryleen on Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:49 am

Since they celebrate new year's eve, we can be sure their years are as long as irl. There are also the rest of the festivals, which always happen during the same time of the year. I don't know the lore around all of them, I think they originate from different cultures but nowadays most of them are universally celebrated (like the lunar festival being something the druids of moonglade originally celebrated. and greatfather winter being a dwarf?). They are easy to use as the only real fixed dates in our calendar, and then letting the rest be a bit more vague such as "two weeks after the midsummer fire festival".
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:58 am

Well, Blizz, in my opinion, made a silly mistake in having almost every real world holiday marked on the WoW calender. This gives the impression that the years are the same, and because there are 'humans' one could assume, I suppose, that Azeroth is itself an alternative Earth where Pangaea didn't become the many continents we know and love, but instead remained two. This is mostly because, as everyone knows, a year is the time it takes for Earth to complete its rotation around the sun ( and as the time ingame is realtime, this stands true for the planet matching ours for day length, though mayhaps Blizz should have been clever and had time zones... So for the planet to have the same day duration, and year rotation, it pretty much has to be the same planet ( just from a logical point of vew, that is ). A minor annoyance is that Blizz don't seem to bother with eclipses, which seems utterly foolish to me.

If this is indeed the case, then the years would be measured as ours are.

However, as the Norse pantheon of Deities does not exist within Azeroth ( save for some subtle name lifting, such as the wolf on SFK being called Fenrus ) Then certain days of the week will not be named as such. Again, the lack of Norse referencing in game is daft when you consider the game uses North, South, East and West ( named after four Dwarves in said mythology, who stood at each corner of Midgard, I believe ). Certainly, Wednesday ( Woden/Odin's day ), Tuesday ( always forget the spelling of the Norse deity it's named after ), Thursday ( Thor's day ), and Friday ( Friiya/Freya's day ). That leaves Sunday, Monday ( Moonday, as Zanick pointed out ), and Saturday ( Saturn - named from the first visible planet/Roman God ).

With that in mind, the days of the week should most likely be named from the Cenarian pantheon. There's little you can do about the compass directions, sadly - unless you lift from an Eastern religion, and their names for such.

As for how many days in the week, one can assume that there'd not be seven, as the biblical association is irrelevent, and without that, the seven-day week is rather redundant. I'd summise that measuring in small chunks, such as 'weeks' and 'months' would again be of little concern to those races with the most longevity, though I do believe some quests reference such passages of time.


Last edited by Lyranne on Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Snicka on Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:40 am

Well, this is an interesting topic.
Concerning that there are no seasons (the vegetation doesn't differ in winter and summer), no moon phases, and no timezones, we can assume that Azeroth is not spherical like our planet, but as flat as Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Although the lack of seasons implies the question: how can the people of Azeroth measure a year? Maybe the vegetation actually should change, only the game mechanics make the early summer in Elwynn, the late summer in Westfall, the autumn in Azshara and the winter in Dun Morogh permanent.
The seven-day week is often used - the guild meetings are held weekly, etc. - so despite the lack of the Bible, number seven is probably considered magical. I never knew that the English names of the days come from the name of Norse deities, thank you, Lyranne, for sharing that piece of information. The Hungarian names are the following (from Monday to Sunday): Hétfő (literally translated Week's Head), Kedd (perhaps coming from the word "kettő", meaning "two), Szerda, Csütörtök, Péntek (meaning third, fourth and fifth in Slavic languages, but mean only these days in Hungarian), Szombat (from the Hebrew Sabbath), and Vasárnap ("vásár-nap" means "market-day", because usually people went to the market after the Holy Mass on Sunday). So referring to the days as third-day, fourth-day etc. is quite reasonable. But let's not forget that the weeks begin with Monday in most European countries, but Sunday in Britain, which might lead to confusions.

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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:08 pm

I think most use the seven-day week simply as a matter of convenience. It is, after all, the standard across much of the globe. But from a lore point of view, I don't see any correlation. Mind you, this is the same game that hints at various religions without actually flat-out stating such. The ToL form could so easily have been call yggdrassil ( or however it's spelt ), as that's the inspiration. I believe there is also an item named after Loki, and may other such hints ( not including easter, Christmas and suchlike ), so its possibly safer to assume that Blizz did/do intend the weeks to be seven days long. I still question the relevence of a seemingly short passage of time to a sin'dorei, night elf, tauren, or dwarf though. The forsaken are in that unsual situation of having been human, so they would have marked such a short duration, but as they are now undead, I doubt they much care.

Though it's true that the week begins on a Sunday, as it's also 'the day of rest' it's rarely considered the real beginning of the week ( it is, after all, 'weeks end' ). As the working week starts on the Monday, as with most Countries, I don't think any of us Brits are going to be overly confused ( forgive us our backward ways - we only learnt what fire was last week ^^ ).

I think, in most British peoples minds, the weekend is a self-contained passage of time. People look at the Monday-to-Friday as being the week, and Saturday and Sunday as being essentially a free-for-all. Or not...

As you say, there is no indication that Azeroth is a sphere, so it's entirely possible it's flat ( though one assumes from the way Outland is, that this is not quite how Blizz envisioned the planet, seeing as the map could have easily been designed to show water falling from the planet - as is shown in certain places in Outland ). Maybe Azeroth is on the back of four giant elephants, astride a giant turtle, maybe not. maybe it's held up by Atlas, or maybe Blizz just didn't think about anything beyond aesthetics when planning the regions. As I say, a lack of time zones is... dumb.
I'm thinking maybe it's like a discus the rotating on a plinth at a 45 degree angle. Although that doesn't exclude the lack of time variation, it does at least make it clear why it's night across both Continents at the same time ( though it really, really shouldn't ).

As for the rediculous season limitations... I hate it, personally. I think it utterly stupid that you can walk from the barrens, ( a very hot area, but not so much that there's no vegetation ), North, then east, and it's clearly Autumn... Or even walking from 1,000 needles into Feralas... I know they did it to add variety, but I'm sure they could have managed this in a less jarring way, most likely with better varieties of flora and fauna ( and fungi ).
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Ryleen on Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:50 pm

((another bit of unneccesary information: Since most of the english names of the days originate from vikings and the norse language, they sound almost the same in swedish as they do in english. Mĺndag/monday tisdag/tuesday onsdag/wednesday torsdag/thursday fredag/friday (lördag/saturday) söndag/sunday. ))

Anyway, I don't really have a problem with it being night all over the world at the same time. Since you can get from one end of the world to the other in a matter of minutes, it would be really strange if the timezones differed. Perhaps the Azeroth isn't as big as we thought, but merely two small continents on a mostly unexplored planet? I don't know, but I think it's convenient the the time is the same all over the world. Also, having a sevenday week might not be utterly logical, lorewise, but you can't deny how practical it is. I'm sure some good reason for it to be that way can be made up. Smile
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Barzovia on Sat Jul 26, 2008 3:39 pm

They days might seem to relate, but the "English" days are anglosaxian and the Swedish ones Germanian (but with the Norse mythology gods). But after the christian takeover they were remade to more 'latin' looking words.

Yes, if the body is the spirit's link to the mortal world, then it's more than logical that Barzovia's body was burned, because Ryleen wanted to destroy his soul. Let's not forget that when troll witchdoctors communicate with the dead, they'll usually talk to their head - like in that Stranglethorn quest when you talk to Gan'zulah and Nezzliok. (Although, if you remember, when we summoned Snicka's grandfather, Umagaur's body was possessed by his spirit instead.)

I agree that the body is the spirit's link, but in the same time it's a prison - a body is more of a hull which you fit the spirit in so that they may stay in "the mortal world", so "in theory" you could place any spirit in any body and they would be alive as the person they once had been.
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:13 am

In regards to the seven days, as it's an odd number, and not even an obvious fraction of a nice round number ( save 35, 70, 105, 140, et cetera - I'm not including 14 and multiplications thereof because it's still the same situation ), I see no relevence to the numbers usage within Azeroth. But yeah, it's easier for us to use, if not least because, as I said earlier, most people are used to it.

It could well be that the two Continents are simply part of a larger planet, and seeing how small they are in scale, it's entirely possible they're swamped by lands far away. Being as they are, more the size of very small Countries than actual Continents. But this itself frustrates even more. We can, in looking at them this way, accept that the time zone wouldn't vary ( or not enough to worry about ) but then you are left with the simple fact the climate on such a small Country should be less localised, and more an overall coverage. Blizz, I guess, feel that because pretty much every region is closed off from the next, save the convenient footpath/cave/tunnel, by giant mountain ranges, and shear drops, that the weather would be isolated. It's yet another mechanic of a fictitious world that annoys slightly though.

I don't pretend to understand the first thing about spirits/souls, which is why I tend to avoid mentioning it/them. They're ever so convenient though, as words, to describe a great many thiings. For my part, I simply use them, when neccessary, to refer to the inherent good within an individual - Their love, their compassion, their desire to protect those they care about, their warmth, openness, and so forth. Whether it's a tangible part of a living entitiy, I don't know, nor woud I consider this a perfect theory.
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Barzovia on Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:11 pm

Lyranne wrote:Their love, their compassion, their desire to protect those they care about, their warmth, openness, and so forth.

Exactly how Barz was.

Shocked

*cough*
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:30 am

Well, Lyranne was left with the choice of Barz or else never be left alone. She did, if you recall, hesitate quite a lot, and was very reluctant. It's times like that I wish I could enter a narrative mode, just so people knew what my character was thinking. Sure, I could just write about immediately after, but I won't neccessarily be in the right frame of mind for that.

As I say, I don't pretend to understand matters such as 'what is the soul' simply because it's not overly relevent to me. It's somewhat odd that each of my characters seems to follow a different set of philosophies.

Lyranne is deeply religious. She believes in the soul/spirit, redemption, forgiveness and so forth, but keeps her faith mostly to herself ( she actually prayed at the altar on The Island of Zandalar every time she was there - which I found out after wouldn't have been tolerated by many trolls ). Most closely based on Judeo-Christian belief system, though having little experience of this myself, I can't comment how accurate my portayal is ( and as said, she doesn't go about telling people ).

My Warrior, Jenthir, is closer to an idealistic, pragmatic, fatalist. She wasn't taught all that much in her village, and although she believes in the Earthmother, it's only a part of it. Again, she believes in forgiveness, but I'm not so sure she believes that there is good in everyone like Lyranne does. She does easily forgive people, which I think shocks some. Yeah, I'm aware that it doesn't fit any obvious template. she sees everything, and everyone as having an equal right to life.

Whraenyyr is pretty much a Druid ( which makes sense ). He probably forgives people without too much trouble, but at the same time, he's feels he has blood on his hands ( which he does, technically, but he still doesn't recall what he did ), so for the most part sees himself as unable to easily pass judgement on others.

Marran is in a very strange situation. He's in a relationship, and couldn't be happier than with her, but because of his transvestism, his love of her, and his faith, it all seems to clash. He is, after all, a Priest. He's had a crisis of faith at least once before, after he saw what was happening with regards to Lyranne ( Marran's parents were pushing for the two to wed - this was before he was a priest, but still had faith ). They happen to have been very good friends, but didn't feel that way about each other.

Ras'teth is a typical troll - regards to to her faith, though is consumed almost utterly by a hatred for other races, and borderline insane. I base her on the forum troll. She still holds a flame for Jinto'nick, though.
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:57 pm

getting back to the birthdays thing...there may not be a visible change in the seasons in the game world (lazy blizz Razz ) but the festivals are a clear indication of them. Would it be likely that trolls would have a celebration for those born in each season? so for Chabat, i would say that so far she has seen 14 winters and would maybe have her 'birthday' at winter veil when she would be 15?
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:02 am

That certainly sounds logical.

Are there any holidays they're pilfered from the real world accredited to trolls?
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:20 pm

While i can't find anything directly, i think (if we accept Azeroth and Draenor as 'roughly' earth-type worlds) then the trolls would have conducted rituals at the longest and shortest days of the year. Its also likely that they would have had some kind of ancestor worshipping celebration.

As they've become part of the Horde, some of these festivals/ rituals would have been merged within those of the orcs and tauren and, to a lesser degree, the forsaken.

I still don't think that most people know a great deal about Voodoo, and the rituals involved, in western society for much of it to have come over into the game. I certainly don't know enough about Voodoo to say how accurate a portrayal is given in WoW.
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:30 pm

In that case, maybe the trolls appreciative of the Horde would celebrate the day the races united? If we can come to an agreement as to what day in the calender that was, then we can try ourselves to make it an annual event. It would certainly be nice to do something to mark such. Or maybe even a day in the year to celebrate the Horde in general - encompassing the joining of the Sin'dorei, trolls, tauren and forsaken as allies to the orcs?
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:09 pm

I have a quick question about this 'hostage exchange' tradition we came up with. I supported it as Vyp last night as i'm sure there are historical times where peoples actually did this but i can't remember them of the top of my head...or hoe they would translate into wow-troll traditions. Any ideas anybody?
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Lyranne on Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:09 pm

I'm not sure hostage exchanges ever truly go smoothly, to be honest. I'd imagtine that the older tribal troll mentality would be that keeping a hostage would be something only worth considering if there were no other options available. The more Horde friendly approach would be to refrain from the capture of anyone, I'd think. But again, if the situation demands it, then there's little choice. For the most part though, it's very dependant on how those who the captive is allied to feel about it. In my opinion, the House would have more realistically bluffed you into handing the captive over. What they did actually showed a modicum of compassion, which from their RP and those I know within the Guild, is somewhat contradictory. It'd have been more realistic, therefore, that Arch would have either killed the hostage, and laughed, or else encouraged the Heritage to do so. When we failed to be so ruthless, he'd have held sway over us far better.
The House would have proof we don't have what it takes to kill in cold blood, and if anyone in the Heritage had comitted such a crime, Arch could then get them in serious trouble. Furthermore, If say, Rezip had killed the captive, it may well have created a rift within our own ranks, which again would have been most beneficial to the House. I think we got lucky, in a way, that that was not the case.
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:18 pm

Its kinda come back to me now. Not the actual historical situation, but in Kate Elliot's 'Crown of Stars' series, it is common practice to take a hostage from the among the rulers of a defeated enemy to ensure good behaviour after the battle.
These hostages would of course be prisoners but to all outside observers they would appear to be honoured guests with nicely decorated quarters and even servants of their own.

Still not sure how that would translate to WoW... *shrugs*
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Snicka on Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:32 pm

It was actually quite common in history to take hostages; several examples are given here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostage#Historical_hostage_practices
I imagine that when troll tribes are at war (and most troll tribes are almost always at war), it's a common practice to capture members of the rival tribe. What they do with the prisoner, it depends on the troll tribe. The followers of Hakkar would most likely simply sacrifice their captives to the Blood God; others would probably torture and kill them for the joy of it; yet others would use them as a chip of negotiation, much like we did with Malicestrom. Yet, it's usually the more powerful tribe who captures a hostage and lets him free if the other tribe follows their demands; so we acted if we were more powerful than HoS (which is, in fact, not the case).

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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:44 pm

Snicka wrote:It was actually quite common in history to take hostages; several examples are given here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostage#Historical_hostage_practices
I imagine that when troll tribes are at war (and most troll tribes are almost always at war), it's a common practice to capture members of the rival tribe. What they do with the prisoner, it depends on the troll tribe. The followers of Hakkar would most likely simply sacrifice their captives to the Blood God; others would probably torture and kill them for the joy of it; yet others would use them as a chip of negotiation, much like we did with Malicestrom.


Ah...yes, i knew that really... *mutters about the appaling state of her memory* Embarassed

Yet, it's usually the more powerful tribe who captures a hostage and lets him free if the other tribe follows their demands; so we acted if we were more powerful than HoS (which is, in fact, not the case).


try telling Rezip they are the more powerful ones... Laughing
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:08 pm

Having reminded myself that part of the original question posted by Ryleen was to do with marriage, i found this on the, ever inspirational, 'cult of the raptor' forum: http://thecultoftheraptor.forumcircle.com/viewtopic.php?t=67

a rather quick (and slightly violent) little ceremony.

Laughing
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:13 pm

While we're currently looking at an initiation ritual for Lyranne, i found this essay on rites of passage:
http://www.manuampim.com/AfricanInitiationRites.htm


"There are five major African initiation rites which are fundamental to human growth and development. These rites were originally established by African ancestors while they were living in order to link the individual to the community and the community to the broader and more potent spiritual world."

"The five rites are birth, adulthood, marriage, eldership, and ancestorship."

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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:36 pm

I've found a couple of sites regarding Aztec family life and culture that can offer some ideas of how trolls might view the traditions of family life

this one details marriage (including polygamy) and family life and military training.

while this one talks about laws, marriage, the traditional household and pregnancy.

Also, after we were talking about what age the Orcs can be considered adults, i noticed this thread which seems to suggest that age 12 is the first solo hunt and 15 maybe the age where they take part in their first battle.

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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Hadunka on Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:25 pm

If any one have a good link to some valid hunting rituals for a Forest troll I would be happy.
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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Thu May 06, 2010 1:05 am

I realise its been a while since you asked about this had, but i finally found an article about it:

The Ritual of the Hunt

The life-sustaining activities associated with the hunt were naturally the source of considerable ceremony and ritual in hunting societies. Medicine People with the capacity to "see" and locate game were revered by community members. Understandably, expert hunters gained considerable social respect for their abilities to provide for all communal members. Meditation, prayer and preparation of the hunter’s apparel initiated the meticulous hunting ritual. Even today, archaeologists marvel at the craftsmanship and loving artistry of these hunter’s arrowheads and wonderfully constructed spear points. The tracking of animals took place in solemn grace and in a heightened state of hunting alertness. Silence, itself a spirit of the forest, became part of the hunter’s enhanced state of awareness of nature’s wonderment. Whether in the ritual of the hunt or quiet of the warrior’s spirit, the power of Inkonze is demonstrated by the following Zen-like teaching from a Dene Apache Elder:

It is not only a matter of sitting still, but of thinking still, of emptying the mind. If you do not wish your adversary to know your plan, you must not even think it when he is near, until the instant of the coup. This is a far deeper fold of the game than a mere motionless huddling against a rock. It has to do with the science of invisibility mentioned in high medicine lore ("Indian Wisdom," 1932: 103)
In this state, the slightest movement - broken twigs or distant rustling of leaves - betrayed the presence of game. The hunter’s keen senses and calm mind became his allies while his impatience or carelessness invited failure. The hunter and prey became interlocked in an exquisite chess game across a checked landscape of lakes and darkened forests. The prey’s ingenuity was revealed to the hunter, which solidified a lasting bond of respect.

In the world of Inkonze, the greatest peril of life was the recognition that the hunt, in its essence, was a hunt for souls. Therefore, great respect was accorded to the animal spirits who offered themselves in sacrifice to the hunter. A hunter’s skills were exemplified by his quiet determination and ability to bring about a quick and painless death. The moment of the kill was marked by the experience of unity between the hunter, his prey, and the surrounding natural universe. A respectful offering and prayer of thanks followed a successful hunt, and great care was taken not to offend the animal’s spirit. The respect for animals who gave themselves to the people continued through the food preparation process. Today, Aboriginal Elders lament the approach of civilization which threatens their people’s ancient connection to their hunting traditions:

Long ago, moose were smart. To hunt a moose you had to be alert. A person could not even have a cigarette because they could smell it. You had to "watch" the wind. Today, moose stand on the road and stare at the cars and trucks passing by. It is boring hunting for moose. They are not scared anymore; they are used to people now. They are used to noise; they do not care. In the past, when you went moose hunting, you had to go when there was no wind. You could not even chop wood or allow the dogs to bark because the moose would take off. Indians are not as tough as they were long ago: the definition of cold was 60 below. The People were outside all the time hunting and preparing food to feed the family and the dogs (Raymond Boucher [1933-1998]).

Inkonze in the Northern Forest
All animals that lived with the Dene in their Northern climates had specific symbolic significance which was communicated within The People’s Traditions:
Wolves and the Supernatural
The limitations of the English language, which creates arbitrary distinctions between the natural and the supernatural, prevent the writers from adequately conveying the spiritual connection which existed between the Chipewyan and the wolves. Indeed, Mary-Olive Adam describes the wolf as a grandfather of the Dene people’s. The Dene, like the northern wolves, lived in clans, and together they followed the caribou herds. In times of need, the wolves often guided The People to their prey. As such, they were not ordinary animals but possessed supernatural gifts. Powerful medicine people, who often had been reincarnated from the wolf, were able to transform back into this ancient northern spirit. In doing so, they could travel great distances and assist their peoples in immeasurable ways. The traditional knowledge of the prophet Erelkale best illlustrates this Chipewyan folklore.

Caribou and the Gift of Life
The plentiful caribou gave themselves to the hunter in great numbers and were considered sacred in Chipewayan tradition. However, the spirit of the caribou demanded respect, and to hit the caribou with sticks, chase them, or otherwise mistreat them would bring to an end the great autumn and summer migrations which appeared on the horizon like a magical gift from the Creator. ...
(Coutu, Phillip R. and Lorraine Hoffman-Mercredi, 1999, Reprinted with permission from Thunderwoman Ethnographics.)

In other words:
Hunting Ceremonies involve the ritual treatment of a bear or other animal after its killing during a successful hunt. The goal is to appease its spirit and convince other animals to be willing to be killed in the future.

Edit: and Here's a pdf detailing Navajo Deer Hunting rituals - http://www.sanjuan.k12.ut.us/bms/Issue3/NAVAJODeerHuntin.PDF

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Re: Troll rituals and ceremonies

Post  Vypra on Thu May 06, 2010 7:59 pm

As we need to conduct some funerals I've been reading up on the funerary rites of Haitian Vodoun which seems to most closely reflect the trolls religious beliefs.

The following is mostly a direct copy from: here


A person exists in 4 parts: the physical body, the spirit of the body (both of these return to the earth after death), the life force (this is part of the energy of the whole cosmos and returns there after death) and the soul (the immortal spirit that endures after death).

The 1st ritual is to separate both the soul and the guardian spirit from the body. If this ritual is not carried out the soul of the deceased will wander the world forever, haunting the living.

In this rite, the Priest sprays the body with a cleansing potion and lights a candle for the deceased. (S)He then shakes his sacred rattle over the body to persuade the Soul and the guardian spirit to leave the body.

The guardian often posses the priest who will go to the family and make predictions about their future. The spirit can then pass to another member of the family.

The 2nd ritual is the wake. This is almost like a party as the mourners gather to eat, drink, sing songs and share stories about the deceased. However, every now and then, one who was very close to the deceased will burst out wailing and crying to let the spirit know that they will be missed.

The 3rd ritual is the burial and this is very involved. The body must be properly prepared to make sure the it remains dead and does not physically leave the grave.

1st the priest draws a holy symbol on the head and stuff the mouth and nose with cotton.. Next the priest shuts the mouth by tying a strip of cloth underneath the chin and round the top of the head.
Finally, he ties the knees and big toes pf the body together to prevent the body from walking again.

The deceased pockets are emptied and left hanging open to make sure there are no items that would give the dead power over the living and the shoes are removed so the sound of their footsteps won't bother the living if the deceased should decide to return to the earth. Some of the deceased's personal items are placed in the coffin so they won't come back to look for them.

To protect against black magic being used, some toenail clipping and hairs are taken by the priest and placed in a special jar along with some white chicken feathers that have been passed of the deceased's head 3 times. This is then sealed until they can be burned in a special ritual fire to destroy their link with the deceased.

Once this is done, the body is then bathed by a trained bather who speaks to the corpse as if it were alive to explain that it will made beautiful for the burial and buried with dignity. The bather also passes massages from members of the community to pass on to other spirits in the underworld.

The body must them be taken to the church before dawn or it is believed another family member will die.

the 4th ritual is the funeral rite and procession.
The rite should involve sprinkling the body with sacred water, passing over it with incense, a request that the Loa lead the spirit safely to the after life and note is made of great and good deeds, with forgiveness asked for wrongdoing. The coffin is then carried to the burial place by a non-direct route and even rotated before being put in the ground to prevent the dead from finding their way back home.

The mourners remain until the the coffin is completely covered and then anyone that has touched the coffin must cleanse their hands with the leaves of a special tree to purify themselves of any contamination by the dead.

If all of the above have been carried out correctly, the soul of the deceased then descends to a watery underworld where it remains for a year and a day. During this time it is transformed into an immortal ancestral spirit and gains sacred knowledge that it can use to guide its descendants.


Raising the soul
After the year and a day is passed, the ancestor spirit must be reclaimed. The ceremony is very complex with several spirits often being raised during the same ceremony and is presided over by Baron Samedi. A spectator is possessed by Baron Samedi indicating the Loa have given their permission for the Spirit to return.

A large tub of water covered with a white cloth is placed in the centre of the temple symbolising the watery underworld. A plank rests across the rim of the tub from which a perpetually burning oil lamp is suspended.

Drumming begins and initiates carrying empty jars on their heads walk on mats to prevent their feet touching the floor and stopping unwanted spirits from entering the jars.

They lie on the mats, their heads towards the tub of water while the priest shakes his rattle over the tub and recites the names of the spirits who are to return and take up residence in the pots.

The spirits can possess the initiates as the make their way into the pots and speak of their love for their family. Sometimes, if the ritual has been delayed for longer than a year and a day, the spirits can be angry and reveal secrets about the family or be verbally abusive.

Once the ritual is over, a celebration is held with feasting and dancing. The pots containing the ancestor spirits are taken home by the family to rest on the family altar where, in return for the guidance and protection (often given in dreams), offerings of food will be given.

The ancestor spirit will them be treated like a family heirloom and passed down through generations. During this time the spirit is something akin to a very minor Loa, and may eventually be raised to Loa status should the greater Loa decide they are worthy.

Note: the male and female priest have equal status in Vodoun and I've always felt that priestess was most likely the highest position of authority a female could attain in the more patriarchal troll tribes.

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