Four years ago, on this very day, I tried to express my grief at the passing of Greg Stafford (1948-2018). For a man I had only ever spent a weekend with at a convention, and spoken with only over a few drinks, the sense of loss I felt was striking. It shook me to my core. And it turned out to be life altering.
As a kid I was obsessed with mythology; the D'Aulaires books of Greek and Norse mythology in the second and third grades, Edith Hamilton around grade four, dozens of others. I must have checked them all out of the library so often no one else in the school ever had the chance to read them. It was this intense interest, in fifth grade, that introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. A teacher had a set of the Holmes Basic Set and convinced me to GM it. "You'll love it, it has monsters and gods and heroes." She was right. I did.
I was excited to go to junior high school because they had a D&D club. I would get the chance to play, rather than run. To my surprise, when I arrived the older boys were not playing D&D, however. They were playing something called RuneQuest. That was how I met Glorantha. How I "met" Greg.
It was an earth-shaking moment because I realized for the first time that mythology could be created. While AD&D scavenged--it had pegasi and minotaurs and gods like Zeus and Thor--Greg was conjuring Orlanth's rivalry with Yelm, the Seven Mothers and their Red Goddess, Storm Bull dispatching the Devil with the Spike. Mythologies could be created...new mythologies! Soon after I would discover Lovecraft and Moorcock and Tolkien, but Greg showed me the possibility first.
I didn't really get to "know" Greg until I went to university, however. The plan was to be a history major, but in a comparative religion course I discovered Mircea Eliade's The Sacred and Profane.
...religious man lives in two kinds of time, of which the more important, sacred time, appears under the paradoxical aspect of a circular time, reversible and recoverable, a sort of eternal mythical present that is periodically reintegrated by means of rites...