The Luna Caleeng are daughters of Moon Water, we pray to Athenesic who is the goddess of the moon and Amadahy a Forest Water diety. It is the duty of our Priestess(es) to guide the tribe on a spiritual path , often in close partnership with the tribes shaman(s).
There is so much to say about women’s spiritual leadership.
Priestesses are lesser known, integral parts of Gorean society. Their roles varied in their communities, they included but were not limited to: sage, healer, ritual and ceremony leader, oracle, prophet, poetess, shaman and wise woman. In Panther camps small shrines were built to Goddess and the Priestess lived her life dedicated to the Mother.
One of the many atrocities that occurred to women in Gorean society was the removal and destruction of the Priestess temples, Priestessing and a lot of written accounts about the Priestessing practices that existed for such a long time. Barring women from ritual leadership and religious authority has been a key focus in the drive to undermine female power by Gorean men.
There is one other tribe that I know of in SL Gor that has a priestess , and that is Bridgette Wade of the Sa Di Sani tribe. She has chosen Greek deities for her religion.
We however, have chosen for our tribe two deities from Native American culture. A personal choice, as I see more similarities in culture between Native American women and the Panther Women of Gor. Rather than basing the religion on Amazon Women from Greek mythology.
Athenesic (Native North American) – A moon Goddess of several north central Native American tribes
The Moon Goddesses are important in many cultures around the world where they form a central role in mythology. The moon is associated with the divine feminine as in many tribal societies the feminine cycles were linked to the phases of the moon. The Moon was important in ancient calendars, helping people to measure time and to determine when the best time was for planting and harvesting crops.
Amadahy (Cherokee) – Forest water deity
Water is a feminine element, it also the element of emotion and subconscious, of purification, intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. It is psychic ability, water can be used as a means of scrying or as an object for meditation. Water is important in spells and rituals of friendship, happiness, fertility, healing, pleasure, psychic abilities and spells involving mirrors.
Please note that the Luna Caleeng is a GE tribe , we therefore base ourselves loosely on the books. In our interpretation it was possible for panther women to worship a Goddess and build a matriach society.
Glana Veck Ceremony
The “Glana Ceremony” (the virgin, preparing her, or getting her ready) is an ancient Ceremonial, unique to Panther girls in the Northern Forests which surrounds the myth of the Changing from a young girl into a Woman. The power of Changing Woman is transferred to the pubescent girl through songs sung by the Shaman (one who has power). A shaman is joined by other tribal members in singing a series of songs. These songs are collectively known as “Glana Veck” or songs of beauty and awakening.
The Glana Ceremonial marks the transition of a girl into a woman, and takes place during the summer after a girl’s first menstrual period. The Ceremonial lasts four hands during which, traditionally, the girl takes on the role of Changing Woman, the first woman on Gor and the mother of all Panther women.
Men who were referred to as “seeders” in the Luna tribe , were used only to mate, after which they were killed or sold at the trading posts.
The following passages describe the Glana ceremony for Linna. Please note that Luna is a GE tribe , this is all purely fictional and was never mentioned in the novels of John Norman…
Before sundown, Linna must be dressed, her sisters come dancing into our camp. It is time for her godmother to dress her. The shaman will start with a speech. She will dwell on the gifts of the Glana Ceremony and how important it is to be prayerful for the next four hands. She reminds us of the need to be charitable. She tells us that we are sisters in the Goddess image, and that we must live by those standards as passed to us from our ancestors. Because she is here to pray for Linna she will also pray for all of us, as there is a need for healing in our community.
She tells Linna and her sisters of their responsibilities, and Linna learns that she will also have special healing powers during the next four hands. She must be prayerful, and she must fast and drink only spring water. She must learn to be patient because her Ceremony will be a test of endurance and a time for her to get in touch with her spirituality.
Linna is told to stand in the middle of the ground covering. The feathers, her drums ,larl skins, scarves, scratching sticks, her water straw made of bamboo, her beads, shells and sacred yellow pollen are all laid out. This is the Dressing Ceremony–with the shaman directing the placement of each item. Usually the feather for her hair is put in last–it is always a long special plume.
After she is dressed, four songs are sung that officially begin the Ceremony.
Early morning, Linna was told that one of the shaman’s helpers would be in the camp to awaken and direct her to the dance grounds. It is important to be early and even better to start before sunrise. From our camp, Linna and her sister are escorted to the dance ground where she must prepare the blankets she will dance and be massaged upon. The larl skin is also placed there. The pollen is placed in an shell, and lots of candy, fruit and bosk milk to be given away are nearby. Linna also has her own personal burden basket with her own candy and tarsks to give away.
This morning, Linna will dance approximately six ehn–a real test of physical and spiritual endurance. It must be difficult, because it was her wish to dance in her whole larl skin outfit, and the weather is humid. This will surely test her endurance. I was proud of her, and I prayed she would persevere. She will be massaged by her godmother who prays, too, that this young girl shall become a strong person, and will grow up to be a fine young huntress.
Linna also has special healing powers. She is to be blessed with the sacred yellow pollen. Some come to bless her, and others come to be blessed and healed by her. She will lay her hands on the sick, pray along with the shaman and blow away to the four directions whatever is ailing the sick.
After the Glana Dance, Linna’s mother has assigned two male slaves to cut two trees to use for Linna’s Glana hut. Usually these are cut before noon and one would be a cottonwood pole. This was a special prayer request for rain because we have suffered a drought for three years and our creeks and ranges are dry in Lake Ias.
It is now time to feed our sisters again. it is also decided that a food and gift exchange must be done today in order to continue with the Ceremony without interruption. Having just danced six ehn, Linna is tired and not exactly happy about the prospect of more dancing. She must be reminded that all this is part of her becoming a stronger person
Dinner is served and everyone is fed. Then the food and gift exchange begins. We count all the food in stock, and we decide how much we should give to our sisters. The gifts also include blankets, yards of material, enamel pots, baskets and other items brought for gifts.
After dinner, we are relieved by rain, and the air has cooled considerably.
Now the time has come for the evening of the Larl Dancers. On this evening, the Larl Dancers will dance to their own special songs, and they will be blessed by four chosen elders . It is an honor to do this because the Larl Dancers will have special protective powers and blessings this night.
It is next morning, and the glana hut is waiting for her . Linna is directed to fix the blankets, and she must grind some corn and other natural ingredients for the sacred clay that she will be painted with.
Linna’s mother helps in this ceremony. The songs will be sung, and the feathers have been put in place on the glana hut. The hut has become our altar, and special prayers have been said, and it is under this that Linna will dance with her mother. Linna has now danced close to four ehn. Her endurance is amazing, but she is showing signs of fatigue.
After the painting ceremony, the young who had been the spirit dancers must now dance one more time, and special prayers are said for them. The tribal chieftess will speak to the tribe and thank all those who came and helped.
On the last day of ceremony, Linna was finally set free to rest.
The Tasta ceremomy
Because they lived so close to nature, all Panther Girls knew that death from hunger, disease, or enemies was never far away. Individual tribes maintained their own death customs and adapted them to their regional environments into which they migrated. The Sa di Sani panthers believed in resurrection of the dead, for the Luna, the veil between physical and spiritual is considered to be very thin. The “Tasta” , the giving, generosity, taking care of the elderly or sick, and purification of the body through fasting or ritual bathing were how one prepared for the afterlife, and resurrection in the flesh. The resurrection from the dead is considered to be very real among the Luna, and within the realm of the shaman or healer or person of power. It results in a state called “Tor”, which means, “light,” or, “heaven.” It is an exalted state of great joy that one could enter when the two powers in the self are brought together in ceremony, and ritual, and with spiritual cleansing.
Most Panther tribes believed that the souls of the dead passed into a spirit world and became part of the spiritual forces that influenced every aspect of their lives. Many tribes believed in two souls: one that died when the body died and one that might wander on and eventually die. The Sa di Sani Panthers believed that the soul could be brought back into this World.
Burial customs varied widely from tribe to tribe. Panthers disposed of their dead in a variety of ways. Some tribes cleansed the bones, and then reburied them in a mound that included furs and ornaments for the dead spirits’ use in the afterlife. But during outbreaks of deadly diseases like Dar Kosis leading to the deaths of many tribe members, survivors hurriedly cast the corpses into a mass grave or threw them into a river.
“Suddenly to my horror, I saw the quarry of the larl, It was a human being, moving with surprising alacrity over the rough ground. To my astonishment, I saw it wore the yellow cerements of the sufferer of Dar Kosis, that virulent, incurable, wasting disease of Gor.” (Tarnsman of Gor pg. 149)
Rites among Panther tribes tended to focus on aiding the deceased in their afterlife. Some tribes left food and possessions of the dead person in or near the mound. Other tribes, such as the Sa Nahele of Sardar, sacrificed slaves. Among some tribes, mourners, cut their hair. Some Panthers discarded personal ornaments or blacked their faces to honor the dead. Others gashed their arms and legs to express their grief.