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Quotes on Initiates

Tarnsman of Gor

"My father then spoke to me of the world on which I found myself. He said, from what he 
could learn from the Initiates, who claimed to serve as the intermediaries of Priest-Kings 
to men, that the planet Gor had originally been a satellite of a distant sun, in one of the 
fantastically remote Blue Galaxies. It was moved by the science of the Priest-Kings several 
times in its history, seeking again and again a new star. I regarded this story as 
improbable, at least in part, for several reasons, primarily having to do with the sheer 
special improbabilities of such a migration, which, even at a speed approximating light, 
would have taken billions of years. Moreover, in moving through space, without a sun for 
photosynthesis and warmth, all life would surely have been destroyed. If the planet had been 
moved at all, and I knew enough to understand that this was empirically impossible, it must 
have been brought into our system from a closer star. Perhaps it had once been a satellite 
of Alpha Centauri, but, even so, the distances still seemed almost unimaginable. 
Theoretically, I did admit that the planet might have been moved without destroying its 
life, but the engineering magnitude of such a feat staggered the imagination. Perhaps life 
might have been suspended temporarily or hidden beneath the planet's surface with sufficient 
sustenance and oxygen for the incredible journey. In effect, the planet would have 
functioned as a gigantic sealed spacecraft." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, pages 32 - 33 
"Oddly enough, there was little religious instruction, other than to encourage awe of the 
Priest-Kings, and what there was, Torm refused to administer, insisting it was the province 
of the Initiates. Religious matters on this world tend to be rather carefully guarded by the 
Caste of Initiates, who allow members of other castes little participation in their 
sacrifices and ceremonies. I was given some prayers to the Priest-Kings to memorize, but 
they were in Old Gorean, a language cultivated by the Initiates but not spoken generally on 
the planet, and I never bothered to learn them. To my delight, I learned that Torm, whose 
memory was phenomenal, had forgotten them years ago. I sensed that a certain distrust 
existed between the Caste of Scribes and the Caste of Initiates." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 40 
"The ethical teachings of Gor, which are independent of the claims and propositions of the 
Initiates, amount to little more than the Caste Codes - collections of sayings whose origins 
are lost in antiquity. I was specially drilled in the Code of the Warrior Caste." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, pages 40 - 41 
"I was also instructed in the Double Knowledge - that is, I was instructed in what the 
people, on the whole, believed, and then I was instructed in what the intellectuals were 
expected to know. Sometimes there was a surprising discrepancy between the two. For example, 
the population as a whole, the castes below the High Castes, were encouraged to believe that 
their world was a broad flat disc. Perhaps this was to discourage them from exploration or 
to develop in them a habit of relying on common-sense prejudices - something of a social 
control device. 
On the other hand, the High Castes, specifically the Warriors, Builders, Scribes, Initiates 
and Physicians, were told the truth in such matters, perhaps because it was thought they 
would eventually determine it for themselves, from observations such as the shadow of their 
planet on one or another of Gor's three small moons during eclipses, the phenomenon of 
sighting the tops of distant objects first, and the fact that certain stars could not be 
seen from certain geographical positions; if the planet had been flat, precisely the same 
set of stars would have been observable from every position on its surface." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 41 
"The Chamber of the Council is the room in which the elected representatives of the High 
Castes of Ko-ro-ba hold their meetings. Each city has such a chamber. It was in the widest 
of cylinders, and the ceiling was at least six times the height of the normal living level. 
The ceiling was lit as if by stars, and the walls were of five colours, applied laterally, 
beginning from the bottom - white, blue, yellow, green, and red, caste colours. Benches of 
stone, on which the members of the Council sat, rose in five monumental tiers about the 
walls, one tier for each of the High Castes. These tiers shared the colour of that portion 
of the wall behind them, the caste colours. 
The tier nearest the floor, which denoted some preferential status, the white tier, was 
occupied by Initiates, Interpreters of the Will of Priest-Kings. In order, the ascending 
tiers, blue, yellow, green, and red, were occupied by representatives of the Scribes, 
Builders, Physicians, and Warriors." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, pages 61 - 62 
"The Home Stone of a city is the center of various rituals. The next would be the Planting 
Feast of Sa-Tarna, the Life- Daughter, celebrated early in the growing season to ensure a 
good harvest. This is a complex feast, celebrated by most Gorean cities, and the observances 
are numerous and intricate. The details of the rituals are arranged and mostly executed by 
the Initiates of a given city. Certain portions of the ceremonies, however, are often 
allotted to members of the High Castes." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 68 
"The Initiates have pronounced their sentence," said the officer. "They have decreed a 
sacrifice to the Priest-Kings to ask them to have mercy and to restore the Home Stone."
In that moment I detested the Initiates of Ar, who, like other members of their caste 
throughout Gor, were only too eager to seize some particle of the political power they had 
supposedly renounced in choosing to wear thw white robes of their calling. The real purpose 
of the "sacrifice to the Priest-Kings" was probably to remove possible claimants to the 
throne of Ar and thereby strengthen their own political position.
-Tarnsman of Gor, pg. 102-103
"The figure seemed to shrink backward and grow smaller in its yellow rags. Pointing to its 
shadowed, concealed face, it whispered, 'The Holy Disease.' 
That was the literal translation of Dar-Kosis - the Holy Disease - or, equivalently, the 
Sacred Affliction. The disease is named that because it is regarded as being holy to the 
Priest-Kings, and those who suffer from it are regarded as consecrated to the Priest-Kings. 
Accordingly, it is regarded as heresy to shed their blood. On the other hand, the Afflicted, 
as they are called, have little to fear from their fellow men. Their disease is so highly 
contagious, so invariably devastating in its effect, and so feared on the planet that even 
the boldest of outlaws gives them a wide berth. Accordingly, the Afflicted enjoy a large 
amount of freedom of movement on Gor. They are, of course, warned to stay away from the 
habitations of men, and, if they approach too closely, they are sometimes stoned. Oddly 
enough, casuistically, stoning the Afflicted is not regarded as a violation of the 
Priest-Kings's supposed injunction against shedding their blood. 
As an act of charity, Initiates have arranged at various places Dar-Kosis Pits where the 
Afflicted may voluntarily imprison themselves, to be fed with food hurled downwards from the 
backs of passing tarns. Once in a Dar-Kosis Pit, the Afflicted are not allowed to depart. 
Finding this poor fellow in the Voltai, so far from the natural routes and fertile areas of 
Gor, I suspected he might have escaped, if that was possible, from one of the Pits. 
'What is your name?' I asked. 
'I am of the Afflicted,' said the weird, cringing figure. 'The Afflicted are dead. The dead 
are nameless.'" 
 Tarnsman of Gor, pages 150 - 151 

"In a surprise move, which perhaps should have been anticipated, the High Initiate of the 
city of Ar appeared on the walls. This man claimed to be the Supreme Initiate of all 
Initiates on Gor and to take his appointment from the Priest-Kings themselves. Needless to 
say, his claim was not acknowledged by the Chief Initiates of Gor's free cities, who 
regarded themselves as sovereign in their own cities. The Supreme Initiate, as he called 
himself, raised a shield and then set it at his feet. He then raised a spear and set it, 
like the shield, at his feet. This gesture is a military convention employed by commanders 
of Gor when calling for a parley or conference. It signifies a truce, literally the 
temporary putting aside of weapons. In surrender, on the other hand, the shield straps and 
the shaft of the spear are broken, indicating that the vanquished has disarmed himself and 
places himself at the mercy of the conqueror.--- In a short time Pa-Kur appeared on the 
first wall, opposite the Supreme Initiate, and performed the same gestures." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 187 
"The bargaining of the Initiates was largely to secure their own safety and, as much as 
possible, to prevent the utter ravaging of the city. The first condition for their surrender 
was that Pa-Kur grant a general amnesty for themselves and their temples. This was typical 
of the Initiates. Although they alone, of all the men on Gor claim to be immortal, in virtue 
of the mysteries, forbidden to the profane, which they practice, they are perhaps the most 
timid of Goreans." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 188 
"Ubars have always employed the Initiates as tools, some of the boldest even contending that 
the social function of the Initiates is to keep the lower castes contented with their 
servile lot." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 188 
" 'Where,' I asked, 'shall Pa-Kur take the daughter of the false Ubar to be executed?' The 
officer pointed to a distant cylinder. 'The Cylinder of Justice,' he said. 'The execution 
will take place as soon as the girl can be presented.' The cylinder was white, a color 
Goreans often associate with impartiality. More significant, it indicated that the justice 
dispensed therein was the justice of Initiates. 
There are two systems of courts on Gor - those of the City, under the jurisdiction of an 
Administrator or Ubar, and those of the Initiates, under the jurisdiction of the High 
Initiate of the given city; the division corresponds roughly to that between civil and what, 
for lack of a better word, might be called ecclesiastical courts. The areas of jurisdiction 
of these two types of courts are not well defined; the Initiates claim ultimate jurisdiction 
in all matters, in virtue of their supposed relation to the Priest-Kings, but this claim is 
challenged by civil jurists. There would, of course, in these days be no challenging the 
justice of the Initiates. I noted with repulsion that on the roof of the Cylinder of Justice 
there shimmered a public impaling spear of polished silver, some fifty feet high, gleaming, 
looking like a needle in the distance." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, pages 193 - 194 
"Lying on the ground, bound had and foot, still clad in the white robe, was Talena. The 
point of the sharpened impaling post lay near her. As the tarn had landed, her executioners, 
two burly, hooded magistrates, had scrambled to their feet and fled to safety. The Initiates 
themselves do not execute their victims, as the shedding of blood is forbidden by those 
beliefs they regard as sacred." 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 204 
"Marlenus, in spite of his heroic role in the victory, submitted himself to the judgment of 
Ar's Council of High Castes. The sentence of death passed over him by the usurping 
government of the Initiates was rescinded, but because his imperialistic ambition was 
feared, he was exiled from his beloved city. Such a man as Marlenus can never be second in a 
city, and the men of Ar were determined that he should never again be first. Accordingly, 
the Ubar, tears in his eyes, was publicly refused bread and salt, and, under penalty of 
death, was ordered to leave Ar by sundown, never again to come within ten pasangs of the 
 Tarnsman of Gor, page 216 

Outlaw of Gor

"The Goreans generally, though there are exceptions, particularly the Caste of Initiates, do 
not believe in immortality. Accordingly, to be of a city is, in a sense, to have been a part 
of something less perishable than oneself, something divine in the sense of undying, Of 
course, as every Gorean knows, cities too are mortal, for cities can be destroyed as well as 
men. And this perhaps makes them love their cities the more, for they know that their city, 
like themselves, is subject to mortal termination." 
Outlaw of Gor, page 22 
In the next flash of lightning I saw the white robes of an Initiate, the shaven head and the 
sad eyes of one of the Blessed Caste, servants it is said of the Priest-Kings themselves. He 
stood with his arms in his robe, tall on the road, watching me.
Somehow this man seemed different to me than the other Initiates I had met on Gor. I could 
not place the difference, yet it seemed there was something in him, or about him, that set 
him apart from the other members of his caste. He might have been any other Initiate, yet he 
was not. There was nothing extraordinary about him, unless perhaps it was a brow somewhat 
more lofty than is common, eyes that might have looked on sights few men had seen.
-Outlaw of Gor, pg. 40-41
"It was common, of course, for Initiates to claim to speak for the Priest-Kings; indeed, it 
was presumably the calling of their caste to interpret the will of the Priest-Kings to men." 
Outlaw of Gor, page 41 
"He seemed to be struggling with himself, as though he wanted to speak his own words and not 
those of the Priest-Kings. He seemed to shake with pain, his hands pressed against his head, 
trying to speak to me, trying to tell me something. One hand stretched out to me, and the 
words, his own, far from the ringing authority of his former tones, were hoarse and almost 
inaudible. 'Tarl of Ko-ro-ba,' he said, 'throw yourself upon your sword.' 
He seemed ready to fall, and I held him. 
He looked into my eyes. 'Throw yourself upon your sword,' he begged. 

'Would that not frustrate the will of the Priest-Kings?' I asked. 
'Yes,' he said. 
'Why do you tell me this?' I demanded. 
'I followed you at the siege of Ar,' he said. 'On the Cylinder of Justice I fought with you 
against Pa-Kur and his assassins.' 
'An Initiate?' I asked. 
He shook his head. 'No,' he said, 'I was one of the guards of Ar, and I fought to save my 
'Ar the Glorious,' I said, speaking gently. 
He was dying. 
'Ar the Glorious,' he said, weak, but with pride. He looked at me again. 'Die now, Tarl of 
Ko-ro-ba,' he said, 'Hero of Ar.' His eyes seemed to begin to burn in his head. 'Do not 
shame yourself.' 
Suddenly he howled like a tortured dog, and what happened then I cannot bring myself to 
describe in detail. It seemed as though the entire inside of his head began to burst and 
burn, to bubble like some horrid vicious lava inside the crater of his skull. 
It was an ugly death - his for having tried to speak to me, for having tried to tell me what 
was in his heart…… I removed the hated robes of the Initiates from the body of the man and 
carried the naked body far from the road. As I began to cover it with rocks, I noted the 
remains of the skull, now little more than a handful of shards. The brain had been literally 
boiled away. The morning light flashed briefly on something golden among the white shards. I 
lifted it. It was a webbing of fine golden wire. I could make nothing of it, and threw it 
 Outlaw of Gor, pages 43 - 44 
"Four times a year, correlated with the solstices and equinoxes, there are fairs held in the 
plains below the mountains, presided over by committees of Initiates, fairs in which men of 
many cities mingle without bloodshed, times of truce, times of contests and games, of 
bargaining and marketing. 
Torm, my friend of the Caste of Scribes, had been to such fairs to trade scrolls with 
scholars from other cities, men he would never have seen were it not for the fairs, me of 
hostile cities who yet loved ideas more than they hated their enemies, men like Torm who so 
loved learning that they would risk the perilous journey to the Sardar Mountains for the 
chance to dispute a text or haggle over a coveted scroll. Similarly men of such castes as 
the Physicians and Builders make use of the fairs to disseminate and exchange information 
pertaining to their respective crafts. The fairs do much to unite intellectually the 
otherwise so isolated cities of Gor. And I speculate that the fairs likewise do their bit 
toward stabilizing the dialects of Gor, which might otherwise in a few generations have 
diverged to the point of being mutually unintelligible - for the Goreans do have this in 
common, their mother tongue in all its hundred permutations, which they simply refer to as 
the Language, and all who fail to speak it, regardless of their pedigree or background, of 
their standards or level of civilization, are regarded as almost beyond the pale of 
 Outlaw of Gor, pages 47 - 48 
"Chronology, incidentally, is the despair of scholars on Gor, for each city keeps track of 
time by virtue of its own Administrator Lists; for example, a year is referred to as the 
Second Year when so-and-so was Administrator of the City. One might think that some 
stability would be provided by the Initiates who must keep a calendar of their feasts and 
observances, but the Initiates of one city do not always celebrate the same feast on the 
same day as do those of another city. If the High Initiate of Ar should ever succeed in 
extending his hegemony over the High Initiates of rival cities, a hegemony which he claims 
he possesses already incidentally, a unified calendar might be introduced. But so far there 
has been no military victory of Ar over other cities and, accordingly, free of the sword, 
the Initiates of each city regard themselves as supreme within their own walls." 
 Outlaw of Gor, pages 178 - 179 

Priest Kings of Gor

"Contests of arms, fought to the death, whereas they may not take place at the fairs are not 
unknown on Gor, and are popular in some cities. Contests of this sort, most often involving 
criminals and impoverished soldiers of fortune, offer prizes of amnesty or gold and are 
customarily sponsored by rich men to win the approval of the populace of their cities. 
Sometimes these men are merchants who wish thereby to secure goodwill for their products; 
sometimes they are practitioners of law, who hope to sway the votes of jury men; sometimes 
they are Ubars or High Initiates who find it in their interests to keep the crowds amused. 
Such contests, in which life is lost, used to be popular at Ar, for example, being sponsored 
in that city by the Caste of Initiates, who regard themselves as being the intermediaries 
between Priest-Kings and men, though I suspect that, at least on the whole, they know as 
little about the Priest-Kings as do other men. These contests, it might be mentioned, were 
banned in Ar when Kazrak of Port Kar became administrator of that city. It was not an action 
which was popular with the powerful Caste of Initiates." 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 11 
"Although no one may be enslaved at the fair, slaves may be bought and sold within its 
precincts, and slavers do a thriving business, exceeded perhaps only by that of Ar's Street 
of Brands. The reason for this is not simply that here is a fine market for such wares, 
since men from various cities pass freely to and from at the fair, but that each Gorean, 
whether male or female, is expected to see the Sardar Mountains, in honor of the 
Priest-Kings, at least once in his life, prior to his twenty-fifth year. Accordingly the 
pirates and outlaws who beset the trade routes to ambush and attack the caravans on the way 
to the fair, if successful, often have more than inanimate metals and cloths to reward their 
vicious labors. 
This pilgrimage to the Sardar, enjoyed by the Priest-Kings according to the Caste of the 
Initiates, undoubtedly plays its role in the distribution of beauty among the hostile cities 
of Gor. Whereas the males who accompany a caravan are often killed in its defense or driven 
off, this fate, fortunate or not, is seldom that of the caravan's women. It will be their 
sad lot to be stripped and fitted with the collars and chains of slave girls and forced to 
follow the wagons on foot to the fair, or if the caravan's tharlarions have been killed or 
driven off, they will carry its goods on their backs. Thus one practical effect of the edict 
of the Priest-Kings is that each Gorean girl must, at least once in her life, leave her 
walls and take the very serious risk of becoming a slave girl, perhaps the prize of a pirate 
or outlaw." 
Priest-Kings of Gor, pages 12 - 13
"At last I stood before the towering gate of black logs, bound with its wide bands of brass. 
The fair lay behind me and the Sardar before. My garments and my shield bore no insignia, 
for my city had been destroyed. I wore my helmet. None would know who entered the Sardar. 
At the gate I was met by one of the Caste of Initiates, a dour, thin-lipped, drawn man with 
deep sunken eyes, clad in the pure white robes of his caste. 
'Do you wish to speak to Priest-Kings?' he asked. 
'Yes,' I said. 
'Do you know what you do?' 
'Yes,' I said. 
The Initiate and I gazed evenly at one another, and then he stepped aside, as he must have 
done many times. I would not be the first, of course, to enter the Sardar. Many men and 
sometimes women had entered these mountains but it is not known what they found. Sometimes 
these individuals are young idealists, rebels and champions of lost causes, who wish to 
protest to Priest-Kings; sometimes they are individuals who are old or diseased and are 
tired of life and wish to die; sometimes they are piteous or cunning or frightened wretches 
who think to find the secret of immortality in those barren crags; and sometimes they are 
outlaws fleeing from Gor's harsh justice, hoping to find at least brief sanctuary in the 
cruel, mysterious domain of Priest-Kings, a country into which they may be assured no mortal 
magistrate or vengeful band of human warriors will penetrate. I suppose the Initiate might 
account me none of the latter, for my habiliments bore no insignia. 
He turned away from me and went to a small pedestal at one side. On the pedestal there was a 
silver bowl, filled with water, a vial of oil and a towel. He dipped his fingers in the 
bowl, poured a bit of oil on his hands, dipped his fingers again and then wiped his hands 
On each side of the huge gate there stood a great windlass and chain, and to each windlass a 
gang of blinded slaves were manacled. 
The Initiate folded the towel carefully and replaced it on the pedestal. 
'Let the gate be opened,' he said. 
The slaves obediently pressed their weight against the timber spokes of the two windlasses 
and they creaked and the chains tightened. Their naked feet slipped in the dirt and they 
pressed ever more tightly against the heavy, obdurate bars. Now their bodies humped with 
pain, clenching themselves against the spokes. Their blind eyes were fixed on nothing. The 
blood vessels in their necks and legs and arms began to distend until I feared they might 
burst open through the tortured flesh; the agonized muscles of their straining knotted 
bodies, like swollen leather, seemed to fill with pain as if pain were a fluid; their flesh 
seemed to fuse with the wood of the bars; the backs of their garments discolored with a 
scarlet sweat. Men had broken their own bones on the timber spokes of the Sardar 
Priest-Kings of Gor, pages 15 - 16 
"More fully than ever I now understood how much the forces of superstition have depressed 
and injured men. No wonder the Priest-Kings hid behind their palisade in the Sardar and let 
the myths of the Initiates build a wall of human terror about them, no wonder they let their 
nature and ends be secret, no wonder they took such pains to conceal and obscure their plans 
and purposes, their devices, their instrumentation, their limitations! I laughed aloud." 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 58
" 'Occasionally on Gor we destroy a city, selecting it by means of a random selection 
device. This teaches the lower orders the might of Priest-Kings and encourages them to keep 
our laws.'" 
'But what if the city has done no wrong?' I asked. 
'So much the better,' said Misk, 'for the Men below the Mountains are then confused and fear 
us even more - but the members of the Caste of Initiates, we have found, will produce an 
explanation of why the city was destroyed. They invent one and if it seems plausible they 
soon believe it. 
For example, we allowed them to suppose that it was through some fault of yours - disrespect 
for Priest-Kings as I recall - that your city was destroyed.' " 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 123 
"The words were in archaic Gorean which I find very difficult to understand. On the surface 
it is spoken by none but the members of the Caste of Initiates who use it primarily in their 
numerous and complex rituals. As nearly as I could make it out the song, though sad, was a 
paean of some sort to Priest-Kings, and mentioned the Feast of Tola and Gur. The refrain, 
almost constantly repeated, was something to the effect that We Have Come for Gur, On the 
Feast of Tola We Have Come for Gur, We Rejoice For on the Feast of Tola We Have Come for 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 165 
"The Initiates, hundreds of them, knelt in long lines to the crags of the Sardar, to the 
Priest-Kings. I saw their shaven heads, their faces distraught in the bleak white of their 
robes, their eyes wide and filled with fear, their bodies trembling in the robes of their 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 294 
"I was pleased to see that the men of other castes, unlike the Initiates, did not grovel. 
There were men in that crowd from Ar, from Thentis, from Tharna, recognized by the two 
yellow cords in their belt; from Port Kar; from Tor, Cos, Tyros; perhaps from Treve, Vika's 
home city; perhaps even from fallen, vanished Ko-ro-ba; and the men in that crowd were of 
all castes, and even of castes as low as Peasants, the Saddle Makers, the Weavers, the Goat 
Keepers, the Poets and Merchants, but none of them groveled as did the Initiates; how 
strange, I thought-the Initiates claimed to be most like Priest-Kings, even to be formed in 
their image, and yet I knew that a Priest-King would never grovel; it seemed the Initiates, 
in their efforts to be like gods, behaved like slaves." 
Priest-Kings of Gor, pages 294 - 295 
"The man gestured with his fat hand and a white bosk, beautiful with its long, shaggy coat 
and its carved, polished horns, was led forward. Its shaggy coat had been oiled and groomed 
and colored beads were hung about it horns. 
Drawing a small knife from his pouch the Initiate cut a strand of hair from the animal and 
threw it into a nearby fire. Then he gestured to a subordinate, and the man, with a sword, 
opened the throat of the animal and it sank to its knees, the blood from its throat being 
caught in a golden laver held by a third man. 
While I waited impatiently two more men cut a thigh from the slain beast and this, dripping 
with grease and blood, was ordered cast upon the fire. 
'All else has failed!' cried the Initiate, weaving back and forth, his hands in the air. 
Then he began to mumble prayers very quickly in archaic Gorean, a language in which the 
Initiates converse among themselves and conduct their various ceremonies. At the end of this 
long but speedily delivered prayer, refrains to which were rapidly furnished by the 
Initiates massed about him, he cried, 'Oh Priest-Kings, let this our last sacrifice turn 
aside your wrath. Let this sacrifice please your nostrils and now consent to hear our pleas! 
It is offered by Om, Chief among all the High initiates of Gor!' 
'No!' cried a number of other Initiates, the High Initiates of various other cities. I knew 
that the High Initiate of Ar, following the policies of the High Initiate before him, wished 
to claim hegemony over all other Initiates, and claimed to possess this already, but his 
claim, of course, was denied by the other High Initiates who regarded themselves as supreme 
in their own cities. I surmised that, pending some form of military victory of Ar over the 
other cities or some form of large-scale political victory of Ar over the other cities or 
some form of large-scale political reordering of the planet, the Initiate of Ar's claims 
would remain a matter of dispute. 'It is the sacrifice of all of us!' Cried one of the other 
High Initiates. 
'Yes!' cried several of the others. 
'Look!' cried the High Initiate of Ar. He pointed to the smoke which was now rising in an 
almost natural pattern. He jumped up once and came down, as though to illustrate a point. 
'My sacrifice has been pleasing to the nostrils of the Priest-Kings!' he cried. 
'Our sacrifice!' cried the other Initiates, joyfully. 
A wild, glad shout broke from the throats of the assembled multitude as the men suddenly 
began to understand that their world was returning to its normal order. There were thousands 
of cheers and cries of gratitude to the Priest-Kings. 
'See!' cried the High Initiate of Ar. He pointed to the smoke which, as the wind had changed 
somewhat, was now drifting toward the Sardar. 'The Priest-Kings inhale the smoke of my 
'Our sacrifice!' insisted the other High Initiates. 
I smiled to myself. I could well imagine the antennae of the Priest-Kings shuddering with 
horror at the very thought of that greasy smoke. 
Then somewhat to his momentary embarrassment the wind shifted again and the smoke began to 
blow away from the Sardar and out toward the crowd. 
Perhaps the Priest-Kings are exhaling now, I thought to myself, but the High Initiate had 
more practice in the interpretation of signs than myself. 
'See!' he cried. 'Now the Priest-Kings blow the breath of my sacrifice as a blessing upon 
you, letting it travel to the ends of Gor to speak of their wisdom and mercy!' 
There was a great cry of joy from the crowed and shouts of gratitude to the Priest-Kings." 
Priest-Kings of Gor, pages 295 - 297 
"At that moment I suddenly realized I was ringed by Initiates. 
Their codes forbade them to kill but I knew that they hired men of other castes for this 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 297 
"The Initiates had their way of life, their ancient traditions, their given livelihood, the 
prestige of their caste, which they claimed to be the highest on the planet, their 
teachings, their holy books, their services, their role to play in the culture." 
Priest-Kings of Gor, page 298 

Nomads of Gor

"The Wagon Peoples, of all those on Gor that I know, are the only ones that have a clan of 
torturers, trained as carefully as scribes or physicians, in the arts of detaining life. 
Some of these men have achieved fortune and fame in various Gorean cities, for their 
services to Initiates and Ubars, and others with an interest in the arts of detection and 
persuasion. For some reason they have all worn hoods. It is said they remove the hood only 
when the sentence is death, so that it is only condemned men who have seen whatever it is 
that lies beneath the hood." 
 Nomads of Gor, pages 9 - 10
"The Tuchuks and the other Wagon Peoples reverence Priest-Kings, but unlike the Goreans of 
the cities, with their castes of Initiates, they do not extend to them the dignities of 
worship. I suppose the Tuchuks worship nothing, in the common sense of that word, but it is 
true they hold many things holy, among them the bosk and the skills of arms, but chief of 
the things before which the proud Tuchuk stands ready to remove his helmet is the sky, the 
simple, vast beautiful sky, from which fans the rain that, in his myths, formed the earth, 
and the bosks, and the Tuchuks. It is to the sky that the Tuchuks pray when they pray, 
demanding victory and luck for themselves, defeat and misery for their enemies. The Tuchuk, 
incidentally, like others of the Wagon Peoples, prays only when mounted, only when in the 
saddle and with weapons at hand; he prays to the sky not as a slave to a master, nor a 
servant-to a god, but as warrior to a Ubar; the women of the Wagon Peoples, it might be 
mentioned, are not permitted to pray; many of them, however, do patronize the haruspexes, 
who, besides foretelling the future with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy for 
generally reasonable fees, provide an incredible assemblage of amulets, talismans, trinkets, 
philters, potions, spell papers, wonder-working sleen teeth, marvelous powdered kailiauk 
horns, and colored, magic strings that, depending on the purpose, may be knotted in various 
ways and worn about the neck." 
 Nomads of Gor, page 28 
"It might be mentioned, for those unaware of the fact, that the Caste of Merchants is not 
considered one of the traditional five High Castes of Gor -- the Initiates, Scribes, 
Physicians, Builders and Warriors. Most commonly, and doubtless unfortunately, it is only 
members of the five high castes who occupy positions on the High Councils of the cities." 
 Nomads of Gor, page 84 

Assassins of Gor

"The men who attacked the Cylinder," I said, "who were they?"
"Doubtless henchmen of Initiates," said Flaminius. Initiates, incidentally, are not 
permitted by their caste codes to bear arms; nor are they permitted to injure or kill; 
accordingly, they hire men for these purposes.
-Assassin of Gor, pg. 267

Marauders of Gor

Initiates do not eat meat, or beans. They are trained in the mysteries of mathematics. They 
converse among themselves in archaic Gorean, which is no longer spoken among the people. 
Their services, too, are conducted in this language. Portions of the services, however, are 
translated into contempory Gorean. When I had first come to Gor I had been forced to learn 
certain long prayers to the Priest-Kings, but I had never fully mastered them, and had, by 
now, long forgotten them.
-Marauders of Gor, pg. 26
The initiates are an almost universal, well-organized, industrious caste. They have many 
monasteries, holy places and temples. An initiate may often travel for hundreds of pasangs, 
and, each night, find himself in a house of initiates. They regard themselves as the highest 
caste, and in many cities, are so regarded generally. There is often a tension between them 
and the civil authorities, for each regards himself as supreme in matters of policy and law 
for their district. The initiates have their own laws, and courts, and certain of them are 
well versed in the laws of the initiates. 
-Marauders of Gor, pg. 28 
"Kassau is the seat of the High Initiate of the north, who claims spiritual sovereignty over 
Torvaldsland, which is commonly taken to commence with the thinning of the trees northward. 
This claim, like many of those of initiates, is disputed by few, and ignored by most. The 
men of Torvaldsland, on the whole, I knew, while tending to respect Priest-Kings, did not 
accord them special reverence. They held to old gods, and old ways. The religion of the 
Priest -Kings, institutionalized and ritualized by the castle of Initiates, had made little 
headway among the primitive men to the north. It had, however, taken hold in many towns, 
such as Kassau. Initiates often used their influence and their gold, and pressures on trade 
and goods, to spread their beliefs and rituals. Sometimes a chieftain, converged to their 
ways, would enforce his own commitments on his subordinates. Indeed, this was not unusual." 
Marauders of Gor, page 34 
"I looked at the cold, haughty, pale face of the High Initiate on his throne. 
He was flanked by minor initiates, in their white robes, with shaven heads. 
Initiates do not eat meat, or beans. They are trained in the mysteries of mathematics. They 
converse among themselves in archaic Gorean, which is no longer spoken among the people. 
Their services, too, are conducted in this language. Portions of the services, however, are 
translated into contemporary Gorean. When I had first come to Gor I had been forced to learn 
certain long prayers to the Priest-Kings, but I had never fully mastered them, and had, by 
now, long forgotten them. 
Still I recognized them when heard. Even now, on a high platform, behind the white rail, an 
Initiate was reading one aloud to the congregation." 
Book 9, Marauders of Gor, pages 34 - 35 
"The initiates are an almost universal, well-organized, industrious caste. They have many 
monasteries, holy places and temples. An initiate may often travel for hundreds of pasangs 
and, each night, find himself in a house of initiates. They regard themselves as the highest 
caste, and, in many cities, are so regarded generally. There is often a tension between them 
and the civil authorities, for each regards himself as supreme in matters of policy and law 
for their districts. The initiates have their own laws, and courts, and certain of them are 
particularly versed in the laws of initiates. Their education, generally, is of little 
obvious practical value, with its attention to authorized exegeses of dubious, difficult 
text, purporting to be revelations of Priest-Kings, the details and observances of their own 
calendars, their interminable, involved rituals, and so on, but, paradoxically, this sot of 
learning, impractical though it appears, has a subtle practical aspect. It tends to bind 
initiates together, making them interdependent, and muchly different from common men. It 
sets them apart, and makes them feel important and wise, and specially privileged. There are 
many texts, of course which are secret to the caste, and not even available to scholars 
generally. In these it is rumored there are marvelous spells and mighty magic, particularly 
if read backward on certain feast days. Whereas initiates tend not to be taken with great 
seriousness by the high castes, or the more intelligent members of the population, except in 
matters of political alliance, their teachings and purported ability to intercede with 
Priest-Kings, and further the welfare of their adherents, is taken with great seriousness by 
many of the lower castes. Any many men, who suspect that the initiates, in their claims and 
pretensions, are frauds, will nonetheless avoid coming into conflict with the caste. This is 
particularly true of civic leaders who do not wish the power of the initiates to turn the 
lower castes against them. And, after all, who knows much of Priest-Kings, other than the 
obvious fact that they exist. The invisible barrier about the Sardar is evidence of that, 
and the policing, by flame death, of illegal weapons and inventions. The Gorean knows that 
there are Priest-Kings. He does not, of course, know their nature. That is where the role of 
the initiates becomes most powerful. The Gorean knows there are Priest-Kings, whoever or 
whatever they might be. He is also confronted with a socially and economically powerful 
caste that pretends to be able to intermediate between Priest-Kings and common folk. What if 
some of the claims of Initiates should be correct? What if they do have influence with 
The common Gorean tends to play it safe and honor the Initiates. 
He will, however, commonly, have as little to do with them as possible. 
This does not mean he will not contribute to their temples and fees for placating 
The attitude of Priest-Kings toward Initiates, as I recalled, having once been in the 
Sardar, is generally one of disinterest. They are regarded as being harmless. They are 
taken by many Priest-Kings as an evidence of the aberrations of the human kind. 
Incidentally, it is a teaching of the initiates that only initiates can obtain eternal life. 
The regimen for doing this has something to do with learning mathematics, and with avoiding 
the impurities of meat and beans. This particular teaching of the initiates, it is 
interesting to note, is that taken least seriously by the general population. No one, except 
possibly, initiates, takes it with much seriousness. The Gorean feeling generally is that 
there is no reason why initiates, or only initiates, should live forever. Initiates, though 
often feared by the lower castes, are also regarded as being a bit odd, and often figure in 
common, derisive jokes. No female, incidentally, may become an Initiate. It is a consequence, 
thusly, that no female can obtain eternal life. I have often thought that the Initiates, if 
somewhat more clever, could have a much greater power than they possess on Gor. For example, 
if they could fuse their superstitions and lore, and myths, with a genuine moral message, of 
one sort or another, they might appeal more seriously to the general population; if they 
spoke more sense people would be less sensitive to, or disturbed by, the nonsense; further, 
they should teach that all Goreans might, by following their rituals, obtain eternal life; 
that would broaden the appeal of their message, and subtly utilize the fear of death to 
further their projects; lastly, they should make greater appeal to women than they do, for, 
in most Gorean cities, women, of one sort or another, care for and entrust the children in 
the crucial first years. That would be the time to imprint them, while innocent and 
trusting, at the mother's or nurse's knee, with superstitions which might, in simpler 
brains, subtly control them the length of their lives. So simple an adjustment as the 
promise of eternal life to women who behaved in accordance with their teachings, instructing 
the young, and so on, might have much effect. But the initiates, like many Gorean castes, 
were tradition bound. Besides, they were quite powerful as it was. Most Goreans took with 
some seriousness their claim to be able to placate and influence Priest-Kings. That was more 
than they needed for considerable power." 
Marauders of Gor, pages 37 - 39 

Magicians of Gor

"It is forbidden for Initiates to touch women, and, of course, for women to touch them. 
Initiates also avoid meat and beans. A good deal of their time, I gather, is devoted to 
sacrifices, chants, prayers, and the perusal of mystical lore. By means of the study of 
mathematics they attempt to purify themselves." 
 Magicians of Gor, page 17