Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saintly Saturday: Holy Saturday

Today is Holy Saturday according to the Orthodox Calendar. We Orthodox Christians do a funny thing this week. We are so eager to celebrate Pascha (aka Easter) that we turn the clock ahead 12 hours this week. All the morning services happen the night before and all the evening services happen in the morning. Thus, we actually celebrate the Vesperal Liturgy of the Resurrection this morning and will celebrate the morning Divine Liturgy tonight at midnight.

As a result, this hymn was sung this morning:
Today, Hades groans and cries out, "My authority has been destroyed. I took One who died, as though He were mortal, but I am powerless to contain Him. Along with Him I lose all those, over whom I had ruled. I had held the dead from all ages, but behold, He raises them all." Glory to Your Cross and Your Resurrection, O Lord!
I have meditated before on the idea that Christ turns the classic hero story on its head. Normally, the hero descends into the Mythic Underground in order to gain something lost or something that they need in order to defeat whatever nemesis they happen to need to get rid of. As can be seen by this hymn, Christ goes into Hades (aka Sheol aka the Mythic Underground) to conquer it.

Thus, the classic trope of the megadungeon that is always restocking itself, morphing and reacting to the PCs as they delve deeper into its bowels also gets turned on its ear. It occurred to me that a previous post might give an interesting answer as to how to reconcile the Christ-as-hero story with the classic D&D megadungeon.

Awhile ago, I blogged about something I called The Gnomic Highway, which I equated to the idea of a kind of faerie road that could shorten the distance between two given points, but which would also be far more dangerous than a normal road. Subsequently, I came across the idea of the gnomic will which suggests a deliberate choice away from a path that results in the fulfillment of one’s being.

Thus, in a Christian context, it would be possible for PCs to defeat a megadungeon — that once cleared or once a particular goal has been met, that megadungeon ceases to exist in the normal sense; however, one can still find it on the Gnomic Highway — where one can deliberately choose to enter into the Mythic Underground and all its subsequent dangers even though it has ceased to exist as a normal part of the world.