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teknopathetic

Parshmen Burial Practices and Stone Shamanism

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I was rereading The Way of Kings and noticed something odd (spoilers for the whole series though).  

The Parshman slaves had retained their dislike of humans disturbing their dead even with their connection stripped from them. One of the only things Parshmen would ever do undirected is look after their dead, and they could become violent if humans disturbed the deceased. 
 

In terms of ritual, the Parshman will retrieve a corpse, take it to a forest, and lay it on “a slab of stone”. Some Parshmen don’t even seek food when they are starving, so what’s the deal with this being retained?

Why do we think this behaviour was retained and what do we think the purpose is? The behaviour is also mimicked by the Listeners as well. Oddly though, the Fused refer to the practice as modern superstition, but that can’t be if both the Listeners and the Parahmen are drawn to the same behaviour. Are the Fused unaware of their history, or are they actively hiding it? 
 

I think it is likely connected to stone shamanism in some way. We have so many references to stone superstitions that there must be something to that side of the magic system (the Sibling maybe or the gods of the mountains if those are different than the Sibling?) 

Any other thoughts on this? 
 

My tinfoil hat is that death does not work the same in Roshar as in other places. For some reason, being laid to rest in this manner is beneficial when it comes to passing on. There is something happening to the dead on Roshar beyond references to fleeing Ashyn or being sent to Braize as a Fused or Herald. Rock (or maybe crem that looks like rock) does/did something neat and I am excited to see what that is.

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I espouse the theory that Stone Shamanism comes from Ashyn refugees first settling in Roshar, on the soils of Shinovar, with the stone of the rest of the landmass belonging to the Dawnsingers that harboured them in their time of need.

I don't think there's any strong link between Stone Shamanism and Singer / Listener burial practices

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The mentioned at one point that the source of their current distaste of disturbing the dead is because in times past humans would strip their corpses for their unique Gemhearts.  Given the versatility of that Gemheart for Forms, and the fact that it doesnt sound like any of the know Essence gems, makes me think that those gems are more versatile and/or useful in fabrials.  The fact that knowledge of Singer gemhearts was lost is probably one of the few good outcomes of the Hierocracy's scrubbing of spren and fabrial knowledge.  

 

As far as the whole Stone Shamanism thing, their issue extends much further than burial practices, they consider it sacrilegious to work, mine or even walk on Stone.  My personal tinfoil theory on this is that the Continent itself is a giant Spren, specifically a massive Cryptic-like fractal being that is the one they call The Sibling. We know the Continent is a Julian Fractal, and it's maintaining that shape even with the constant storm/crem damage.  And we knwo that the Sibling is supposed to be a contemporary of the Stormfather, who is himself a manifestation of a global-scale phenomenon.   If the Shin were aware the the continent was alive, it would explain their view of Disrespect against it.  To them it would be like the residents of the Reshi Island Greatshells starting to bore holes into their "host"

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36 minutes ago, Quantus said:

The fact that knowledge of Singer gemhearts was lost is probably one of the few good outcomes of the Hierocracy's scrubbing of spren and fabrial knowledge.  

I doubt that was the hierocracy. 

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It was the Heirocracy, or rather the Heirocracy very much did scrub any knowledge they could find regarding Spren, Shadesmar, Fabrials, and the Radiants, which would have included any mention of Singer Gemhearts that had survived to that point in history.  Had they not, the modern humans would have likely been farming Parshmen to slaughter the same way they do with some doesticated chull species. 

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Posted (edited)

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The mentioned at one point that the source of their current distaste of disturbing the dead is because in times past humans would strip their corpses for their unique Gemhearts.  Given the versatility of that Gemheart for Forms, and the fact that it doesnt sound like any of the know Essence gems, makes me think that those gems are more versatile and/or useful in fabrials.  The fact that knowledge of Singer gemhearts was lost is probably one of the few good outcomes of the Hierocracy's scrubbing of spren and fabrial knowledge.

 

This doesn't explain how the Parshmen are retaining the behaviour with their connection severed. Some Parshmen don't even have self-preservation behaviour without being instructed to do so by their masters, so how would this stick?

If Parshmen have a cultural memory of the harvesting, then its the ONLY cultural memory they retained. And avoiding gemheart harvesting doesn't line up with putting the bodies of there dead on stone slabs in the forest. It is assumed harvesting is the issue, but we have that information from the Fused who are not a trustworthy source on the matter. 

Edited by teknopathetic
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3 hours ago, Quantus said:

As far as the whole Stone Shamanism thing, their issue extends much further than burial practices, they consider it sacrilegious to work, mine or even walk on Stone.  My personal tinfoil theory on this is that the Continent itself is a giant Spren, specifically a massive Cryptic-like fractal being that is the one they call The Sibling. We know the Continent is a Julian Fractal, and it's maintaining that shape even with the constant storm/crem damage.  And we knwo that the Sibling is supposed to be a contemporary of the Stormfather, who is himself a manifestation of a global-scale phenomenon.   If the Shin were aware the the continent was alive, it would explain their view of Disrespect against it.  To them it would be like the residents of the Reshi Island Greatshells starting to bore holes into their "host"

I think that it's probably just because Shinovar was the place given to humans to live, not the rest of Roshar, so the Shin, who stayed behind in Shinovar and obeyed whatever contract or deal they had with the Parshmen, view stone as holy because it represents the land that is not theirs.

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13 minutes ago, Nameless said:

I think that it's probably just because Shinovar was the place given to humans to live, not the rest of Roshar, so the Shin, who stayed behind in Shinovar and obeyed whatever contract or deal they had with the Parshmen, view stone as holy because it represents the land that is not theirs.

Makes you wonder about the whole Shin invasion attempt. Was their religion different before the invasion (more warlike), and the Shin religion changed to pacifism as a result of that failed invasion?

Or did something extreme cause the Shin to find walking on stone justifiable? Did someone piss off the Shin so greatly? Was there strong economic pressure? Was someone getting visions from the Stormfather? Had the Thrill been there for a time? It is all so curious. 

 

Religion is affected by history, and I would love to know how that religion has shifted in the past few thousand years. 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, teknopathetic said:

 

This doesn't explain how the Parshmen are retaining the behaviour with their connection severed. Some Parshmen don't even have self-preservation behaviour without being instructed to do so by their masters, so how would this stick?

If Parshmen have a cultural memory of the harvesting, then its the ONLY cultural memory they retained. And avoiding gemheart harvesting doesn't line up with putting the bodies of there dead on stone slabs in the forest. It is assumed harvesting is the issue, but we have that information from the Fused who are not a trustworthy source on the matter. 

That's a fair point about it being the only cultural memory that survived, I dont have any answer for that, though the only actual example I can think of on stage was Rlain, who was only pretending to be a Slaveform.  If my memory of it is right, then one explanation might be that the true parshmen never actually reacted, but the spies did enough times (and it was odd enough in itself) that the humans took it to be a species'wide reaction.  

As far as the Fused being the only source of the connection between the taboo and gemhearts, I was pretty sure it was mentioned directly by either Eshonai or Venli during one of the POV chapters, not from the Fused.  The Fused I thought just stated that it was a more recent development, something that came after their creation and/or after the desolations. 

19 minutes ago, Nameless said:

I think that it's probably just because Shinovar was the place given to humans to live, not the rest of Roshar, so the Shin, who stayed behind in Shinovar and obeyed whatever contract or deal they had with the Parshmen, view stone as holy because it represents the land that is not theirs.

Entirely possible, but Im not sure if that would explain their need for Soulcrafted metals.  If it ws only a concern with foreign metals being soulcrafted vs mined that would fit, but I thought it was mentioned that they avoided it in their homeland as well.  Though I suppose a simple lack of the right mineral deposits could explain it just as easily

Edited by Quantus
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Posted (edited)

6 minutes ago, Quantus said:

That's a fair point about it being the only cultural memory that survived, I dont have any answer for that, though the only actual example I can think of on stage was Rlain, who was only pretending to be a Slaveform.  If my memory of it is right, then one explanation might be that the true parshmen never actually reacted, but the spies did enough times (and it was odd enough in itself) that the humans took it to be a species'wide reaction.  

In chapter 55 of TWoK (The Emerald Brome) the bridgemen agree that Parshemn all over take care of their dead fairly consistently. As they harvest beard-gems in the caverns, Rlain is actually able to resolve himself to the fact that the team needs the gems to survive  (with a little bit of physical restraint from the other bridgemen).

The Parshmen absolutely flip out if that happens, and it is said that Parshmen were free to take care of their dead since it seemed like the only thing the Parshmen ever requested to do. I doubt spies made it in to the culture that consistently. If we removed connection from humans, I doubt we would see such behaviour?

Edited by teknopathetic
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4 hours ago, Quantus said:

My personal tinfoil theory on this is that the Continent itself is a giant Spren, specifically a massive Cryptic-like fractal being that is the one they call The Sibling. We know the Continent is a Julian Fractal, and it's maintaining that shape even with the constant storm/crem damage.  And we knwo that the Sibling is supposed to be a contemporary of the Stormfather, who is himself a manifestation of a global-scale phenomenon

We know that the spren are a later arrival to Roshar, as in they didn't exist before/while the Rosharan system was created, the continent itself cannot be spren due to that. Most WOB's and the little bit of information we have about The Sibling at the moment is that they are somehow linked to Urithiru.

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No need for the [OB] tag any longer, so I removed that from the topic title :) 

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Posted (edited)

We also have the Makabaki myth about the woman who climbed a mountain after a desolation to retrieve “seed stones”. These were stones “touched by the heralds themselves”. She then brought them to her kind lg, who was in his death bed, and harvested his seed to hatch 10 children. 

This is yet another reference to stones as being magic. 

Edited by teknopathetic
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