The worthiness / worthlessness of a slave

I’ve lost count on the overwhelming amount of times I have heard a kajira ramble about how miserable she is and stating her ‘shortcomings’ as facts that she is not worthy of serving her Master, so I’ve decided to share some thoughts on this subject!

Today, while discussing about Gorean topics, a friend remembered a quote I love:

Ute had informed me, though I had been aware of such things before, even on Earth, that the most desirable women are not always those of incredible beauty. Desirability is a function of many factors, many of them subtle. Goreans believe, or many of them do, that each woman carries a slave within themselves, but that the slave in some is more desperate for her release than in others. It is said that some slavers, standing before a captured, stripped free woman, can make this determination. They take her by the arms and command her to look into their eyes; then, if she is ready, so soon, in her eyes, frightened and tear-filled, they can see the slave longing for her collar, begging for it. In any event, it is obvious that some of the most desirable of slaves, loving, needful and devoted, helplessly responsive to a master’s least touch, are not those who might be chosen for the purposes of display, perhaps in a pleasure garden or on a silver neckchain bolted to a palanquin. Many an angry young man of modest means returns, disappointed and frustrated, from the market, leading home on his tether the most that he can afford, an item of what he takes to be second-rate merchandise; but he discovers, perhaps after introducing her to the house, and tying her and giving her the customary ceremonial beating that she may know herself slave there, something surprising; released, she crawls to his feet and covers them, and his legs, with kisses, and then, holding his legs timidly, she looks up into his eyes, her own tear-filled; and, startled, he sees suddenly at his feet something priceless, that fortune is his, that in the lotteries of the market he has been unaccountably victorious; at his feet there kneels a slave of slaves, one who may become to him, in time, even a love slave.

Captive of Gor

What are a slave’s characteristics (and sometimes physical limitations) is one thing, but what she does with what she has is something entirely different!!! So stop comparing yourself with all other kajirae trying to find where they are better than yourself, and focus on looking inward, and focusing on how you can improve!!!

Ok, you can’t be on your knees for extended periods of time (keep in mind that in GOR the gravity is much lower and it is physically impossible to fully replicate on Earth the flawless kneeling for hours if necessary), you can’t be the most perfect of all the kajirae on the universe and you’re always going to find something someone else does better than you or something you consider yourself lacking…

SO WHAT? Yes, that’s what I said: SO WHAT?

A kajira will never be perfect! It’s not a matter of reaching the holly grail of servitude, it’s all about living a life of continuous improvement and focusing on the present moment and not on what might, eventually, who knows, possibly be considered a shortcoming!

Girls, let me tell you something, all the seconds you spend dwelling on “perceived problems” it’s a second you waste digging the hole you’re already in, and making it all that harder to get out!!!

You know what is the first rule of action to take when you find yourself on a hole? STOP DIGGING!!!

Yes, it’s good not to get relaxed and to be alert to any shortcomings! But that is to “acquire the target”, to identify something that is not right, in order to engage in actions to overcome it!

First of all, there is a difference between being alert to possible problems and actually going on crusades trying to find things in you that you can somehow criticise!

Second of all, considering that the “raw material” inherently will have flaws, the most important thing for a Master is how a kajira plays the cards that life dealt her! As the quote above, some perfectly “plain looking” girls turn out to be absolutely ravishing in the furs and in life! Not because of their physical attributes, but of their “mindset”, of their absolute surrender and committal to unrestrained devotion to live in that moment and extract all the magnificent sensation from each instant!

Get one thing in your head (or at least try to), a slave is worthless in itself and her only value is how the Master values her!

As a free woman I had been priceless, and thus, in a sense, without value, or worthless. As a slave, on the other hand, I did have a value, a specific value, depending on what men were willing to pay for me.

Dancer of Gor

Don’t dwell on the past and don’t suffer in advance regarding future possible shortcomings! Live in the moment, live in the present! In each moment, try to be the best version of yourself!

If any insecurity or dark thought creeps into your mind, feel the whip of the Master in your skin and exorcise those thoughts from your mind! It’s not up to you to judge how worthy you are, you must live fulfilled in the present moment, being as pleasant as humanly possible.

I know that the female nature is intricate and complex and that the conditioning imposed by the society we live in is overwhelming in many aspects! But if I can give any advice today, this is it: If you are at the feet of a Master is because you were found of some value, so revel in it and try in each moment to be the most pleasant property, perfectly and abjectly devoted to the present moment and finding ways to be the best version of yourself in the little actions that you perform! Leave the rest in the hand of the Master and you will see your servitude and fulfilment blossom each day!

I wish you well!

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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A (sample) Gorean Masters’ Creed


Above all else a Gorean Master values his slave and understands the vulnerability of her position upon his chain. Knowing that she has assumed her correct place in the Gorean social system he is bound to compel her to behave as what she is, and to correct her as she strives to achieve the utmost fulfilment of her natural needs.

– A Gorean Master is demanding and takes full advantage of the power he wields, but accepts the responsibility which comes with his Mastery. He takes pride in the achievements of his slaves, and rewards their devoted service by administering pleasure as he sees fit.

– A Gorean Master is first and foremost Master of himself. Until he can Master himself, how can he Master others?

– A Gorean Master holds the power to compel his slave to weep real tears, but is wise and compassionate enough to do so only in the best interests of his Mastery and to ensure that she grows in her slavery. A Gorean Master will reward his slave generously as he sees fit, also to compel obedience and to promote growth in her slavery. Whether he is punishing or comforting, he never forgets that he is the Master.

– A Gorean Master’s role is never dictated merely by time or location. He will remember that the feelings and emotions of his slave are a vital part of his relationship with her, and will not hesitate to comfort or offer solace to his slave, should it seem good to him.

– To be a Gorean Master a man must be strong enough to command his slave’s respect and her trust, so that she may serve him willingly in the knowledge that he will allow nothing less. A Gorean Master will strive at all times to guide and to teach a slave the truths of her position in Gorean society, and upon his chain.

– A Gorean Master is not afraid to demonstrate his humor, his kindness, and his warmth. A Gorean Master in not an uncaring machine, though often he may behave as one. The slave understands this and appreciates his softer qualities when they manifest.

– A Gorean Master should, through his deeds and actions, demonstrate to his slave that he is worthy of her service to him. He must be strong enough to maintain her under the strictest discipline even in an informal setting. He must prove himself inflexible when the situation requires it, and be wise enough to allow some leeway when it, too, is necessary.

– A Gorean Master will be strong enough to defend what is his, when it becomes necessary. He will protect his slave from the consequences of his own folly, and see to it that she is suitably corrected when she errs. He is a pillar of strength which she may lean on in times of duress, and his slave may take heart in knowing that he is there to Master her and maintain her in her slavery.

– When it comes time to instruct his slave and to compel her obedience, he is a strong and unyielding teacher. A Gorean Master will accept no flaw in his slave’s performance in regards to her actions, and will make certain that those actions please persons who are free. His slave is always under his eye, even when serving another free Gorean.

– A Gorean Master may punish his slave at any time, for any reason. When he does so, however, it is always to serve a purpose, and to maintain his Mastery according to his position in Gorean society.—A Gorean Master will always pay the strictest attention to the feelings and emotional needs of his slave, fulfilling them when he deems it appropriate.

– A Gorean Master will utilize whatever means he feels is necessary to compel his slave to accept and maintain her position in Gorean society.

– A Gorean Master seeks to learn more of himself from his slave, and is wise enough to know that he is not always correct. He expects his slave to allow him to discover these things for himself, as he is free.

– A Gorean Master understands that each partner gains most from fulfilling the other’s needs, be they the need to serve or the need to command.

– And a Gorean Master knows that should he be too weak to Master his slave, she will not be his slave for long.

I wish you well,


Copyright © 2006, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, _Marcus_ of Ar. All rights reserved.

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Being Goreans on Earth


Tal, all!

Not long ago I was asked:

“What does it mean to be Gorean on Earth? How do we reconcile our beliefs with the reality of living in a society where our practice of those beliefs is constricted?”

My beliefs are not constricted at all. I can believe anything I want to.

What I can try to do, also, is adapt the customs of Gorean culture into my personal lifestyle to as great an extent as possible.

As to how far one can take it, it simply never struck me as much of a problem, or even a valid question.


Well… how many Goreans, after the entrance into Ar by the Cosian occupation force, told the Cosians to stick their new rules up their collective asses and went right on doing things as they had before?

Not too many. Most of those who did probably wound up playing the part of the olive, to the big martini-skewer one might call “an impaling spear.”

Goreans are bold, and terrible in their wrath. But they are not inordinately stupid.

So what did they do?

They obeyed the new rules. Oh, they resisted… but when they did so, they did so carefully. They chose when and how they would resist. They kept their revolutionary fires alight within their hearts and behind the walls and doors of their houses. The Cosians ruled the streets, but the heart of Ar lived on, quietly awaiting the day when it could throw off the yoke of Cosian oppression.

What about Gorean agents of the Priest-Kings who live on Earth? Do they obey Earth’s rules and accept Earth’s social mores, in public if not, entirely, in private?

Of course they do. They are on Earth. They take slaves, and keep slaves, but while existing upon Earth they are quite cautious about how they interact in what is (for them) a hostile environment.

Living a Gorean lifestyle is like that, I feel. One must choose cautiously how one will resist the laws and strictures of his society. When in Rome, as was once said here on Earth, one must do as the Romans do, and one must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

We do not do what our society prohibits us from doing. We do not break the law. That would be inviting wrath down upon ourselves from our shared Earth society, as if we needed THAT to contend with. Instead we adapt our lifestyles as we see fit, and take it as far as we can. And occasionally stretch the limits of what “vanilla” society will tolerate, just to see what happens. But when we do so, we do so wisely, and carefully, within the limits of the law.

The only two modes of ACTION which exist upon Gor, which might not be tolerated here on Earth, are murder and rape.

Murder is not tolerated on Gor, typically, either. Self-defense and the right to personal combat are allowed there, however. But even on Gor, like on Earth, one must fight only within the boundaries set by society for such things.

Rape is not tolerated on Gor, either.

And everyone gasps! How can that be?

Here’s why: because one cannot “rape” a legal slave. Not on Gor. They are not technically “people” under the eyes of the law. The only one who can be “raped” is one who is legally entitled to say “no.” In other words, a Free Woman.

What one must do, upon Earth, is simply revise the Gorean view that slaves are not people under the law, and accept that upon Earth, slaves ARE people under the law. Which the obviously are. The law has nothing to do with their bellies or their biological propensities, not here on Earth. Here, they are slaves by choice and circumstance, not under any legality which makes them so.

Therefore, we consider them to be protected under the legal blanket which protects “free women” here on Earth. We use the dictates of common sense and implied or confirmed consent to allow us carte blanche in our treatment of them, and only halt ourselves at the place where the law stops us.

I was also told, recently, the following:

“If rape of a slave on Gor is legal, and of course it is, then so is murder for the same reason. In fact, this is made clear in the books.”

This is a statement which bears further consideration. It is not that I do not agree with it; but there are other valid points to consider.

First of all, the difference between the legal crime of “rape” as we define it here on Earth versus the concept of “slave rape” as it exists upon Gor.

Upon Gor, in a strictly legal sense (as in, how Gorean Law treats such matters) the crime of “rape” (as a crime, and not as the simple usage of an owned property) does exist, and there are laws which address it. We are told by Norman that when a Free Woman is “raped” she has legal recourse (not to mention a bevy of brothers and other male relatives who might enact their own vengeance against the perpetrator of such an act).

Slaves are not protected under this point of Gorean Law, however. The rights to their usage fall under different legal structures, and are more in line with “usage of someone else’s property without due process and the obtainment of permission.” Therefore, the laws which protect slaves (as owned property) are a bit different as they pertain to the usage of a slave, whereas the laws which protect legal citizens from such an action are much more stringent.

Consent seems to be a very important part of this. A Free Woman, by consenting to such an action, opens the door to usage as if she were, indeed, a slave, or an owned property. The Gorean Laws which cover this are quite detailed, and thoroughly explore the concept of “conduct indicating suitability for enslavement.”

Upon Gor, that is.

Here on Earth, the laws which pertain to such activity are different. First of all, the state of “legal slavery” is not recognized under the law. Therefore, one must look to the laws of our shared Earth society to make judgments about what is, and is not, appropriate behavior, and one must adjust his own behavior accordingly. This seems to me to be a simple point of common sense and responsibility to the legalities under which one lives.

The Gorean laws which adjudicate “murder” are similar. They are not the same as the laws which exist upon Earth… then again, they are not that different. Upon Gor, for instance, if one draws a weapon and attacks the other, it is considered prudent for the attacked to defend himself to the fullest extent of his ability to do so. Our Earth laws agree with this. Upon Gor it is called “the right of response to a challenge.” Upon Earth it is called “self-defense.”

Again, the slaying of a legal slave, upon Gor, falls instead under property law. Here on Earth, such a thing is not in existence… people are people, under the law, and are all therefore entitled to identical protection from assault under the law.

When one understands this, and realizes that the existence of such property laws upon Gor are a result of the fact that Gor is a slave-holding culture, whereas most societies on Earth no longer support such a convention, then the actions of Goreans regarding such matters, as described in the books, begin to make sense.

Shall we therefore ignore the laws of our culture and do as the Goreans do in the books, under their own cultural laws and restrictions?

Of course not. We are not in a slave-holding culture. The legal status of slavery is no longer recognized as valid in our current society, which is not necessarily a bad thing, either, when one considers it. Earth culture has, for the most part, outgrown the legal practice of slavery, since it no longer fulfills the economic niche it once did here on Earth. Throughout most of the world it is no longer practical, due to mechanization and plentiful sources of relatively inexpensive labor in our modern milieu.

It has been suggested to me that Gor is entirely fictional, and is therefore an invented society which could never actually exist.

Not entirely true. Yes, Gor is fictional; still, most of what is depicted in the Gor books, involving the treatment and ownership of slaves and the allowance of personal combat in one’s day-to-day existence is NOT fictional. It actually existed in our Earth cultures, in various historical contexts. Nor did it cause those societies to fall apart.

Rather, such ideas and modes of behaviour were abandoned as being no longer practical due to the technological and societal changes which have since occurred here on Earth. Slavery, as a practice, was not widely considered immoral until long after it had become unnecessary. It is true, I add, that the continual cheapening of human life does have rather unpleasant consequences within the structure of any society. The fall of the Roman Empire was an excellent example… the widespread misuse of slaves, the continued reliance on owned human beings, and their mistreatment did much to shake the morality which underscored that society, weakening it.

The same can be said of our modern society (the United States being a prime example). The cheapening of human life has grown to epidemic proportions in our present society (without slavery, even… simply due to our continual media obsession with violence); not only that, but the existence of common-sense morality in our society, no longer shored up by such “outmoded” behavioural qualifiers such as honor, basic honesty, and a shared sense of responsibility, has been consigned to the backburner. Hence the strange societal lassitude in which we find ourselves nowadays.

I was also told the following:

“My point is not only is it not possible to take all aspects of Gorean society into this society, it is morally wrong to attempt to do so.”

That would depend upon one’s particular morality, of course.

Morality, like the structure of laws under which we live, is both relative and situational. Most of us maintain a series of moral dictates within which we live our lives. Some rely upon “common-sense” morality, i.e. behaving in such a way as to defend oneself while taking no unfair advantage of others. Others subscribe to a set of moral beliefs emplaced by devotion to a particular religion. However, our moral good sense is affected by the common morals of the society around us. Our morals are therefore mutable, depending upon what we have been taught by others, and what we have learned through experience.

Morality is at best an ambiguous concept, unless it has real power behind it, in which case a particular set of moral codes can be enforced upon others. This is accomplished through the application of the law.

The way it works is this: the group morality and practicality gives rise to the law; the law then forces those under it to conform to that group morality and practicality to continue to exist within that group.

Gorean morality, while similar to modern Earth morality in many respects, does deviate from current cultural and societal norms at times, particularly in the area of slave-use and slave-treatment. Then again, since upon Earth there are no longer legal slaves (in Western culture, anyway), that makes sense. Modern Earth morality has come into being outside of the loop of slave culture, and makes no provisions for such things.

I see it thusly: in our modern Earth culture, there are no slaves. The closest thing to “legal slaves” in existence in Western culture are prison convicts, those who have been stripped of their legal rights under the law, and in many cases assigned a number in place of a name. They have been so treated because they have violated the law and have therefore surrendered their freedom under that law, and have come under the direct 24/7 control of the state.

This state of being, to the Gorean, is similar in many respects to slavery.

Therefore, would any Gorean Free Man or Free Woman actively behave in such a manner as to invite enslavement? Nope. It is antithetical to their existence. Goreans love their freedom. They love it so much, in fact, that they will even take it away from those whom they do not feel have earned it, or deserve it.

As one who practices the Gorean philosophy in his doings, I would never do anything foolish which might inadvertently result in my reduction to slavery… i.e. my loss of freedom and surrender of my legal rights to the state. Therefore, I would be quite cautious when it comes to doing anything which might result in my enslavement… i.e. my entering the penal system as a legally imbonded prisoner.

Morals, like laws, are made by the culture in which one lives. It is our responsibility to behave in such a way that we do not remove ourselves from that society. If we cannot live within the parameters of the laws of our society, we should leave that society and go elsewhere.

Morals are also rather ambiguous, as I said above, and are subject to change. My morals, were I too live upon Gor, or within ancient Greek or Roman society, might be much different. In any case, even if my personal moral codes did not match those officially recognized by the state, my behavior would be expected to conform to what is required of me by my society. Not my personal morals… but my behavior.

For any interested, my own moral codes insist that the act of enslaving a human being (I mean REALLY enslaving them, as in, capturing them and chaining them to a bench with an oar in their hand) to force them to do or to be something which they are not, is often morally wrong and therefore incorrect. The Goreans feel the same, for the most part; it is simply that they must deal with the fact that, upon Gor, the weak are often subjugated by the strong and forced into such bondage. The immorality of this practice is not an issue with them. We might as well say it is an immoral act to drive a car and pollute the environment; immoral or not, it is not something which can be halted, currently, due to practical considerations.

Now, the act of forcing another human being to be something which they ARE, without a shadow of a doubt, is much more acceptable to me. Kicking a lousy basketball player off the team, for instance. Or arresting a criminal that they might be judged. Or even recognizing that a female who is not willing to actually behave as a slave, to Free Men, is NOT worthy of being called such and kicking her ass back out into the morass of the “almosts” and “half-ways.”

And if someone proves to me, through their actions, that they are willing to walk the difficult path of voluntary slavery, simply because it is what they ARE, then it seems immoral to me to deny them that opportunity.

I feel It is good that we live in a modern society which, though it does not allow legal slavery, DOES allow for the practice of voluntary slavery provided it does not violate the law. This is a good state of affairs for any self-proclaimed slaves out there, allowing all of us to have our cake and to eat it, too.

I am not a self-proclaimed slave. But I do know several such individuals, and they actually do exist. It makes sense that they be allowed to be what they are, and what fulfills them, simply because it makes them more well-adjusted and better able to contribute to their interpersonal relationships in a manner which is more efficient and pleasant for all concerned.

Their “slavery” would be much different upon Gor… or maybe not. Gorean morality accepts the need to assimilate involuntary slaves into the slave system there, as a matter of practicality. Here upon Earth, where our society does not support this, it simply means that there are no “involuntary slaves” here, and therefore all who enter “enslavement” of their own free will do so because they have chosen to do so. And Norman repeatedly tells us that the best, most devoted, and usually the most well-treated slaves are those who find personal fulfillment in their position upon a Master’s chain.

Why anyone would ASK to be enslaved then complain vehemently when they are treated as if they are slaves, remains a mystery to me. Perhaps they are not really slaves at all, and simply crave attention?

In any case… morality varies. Responsibility to one’s society does not. Since none of us can pack our bags and move to Gor, we all must do what we can to live as fulfilled Goreans in our current (and only) society and remain within its strictures in body if not in mind.

Too easy, if you ask me.

I wish you well,


Copyright © 2001, _Marcus_ of Ar. All rights reserved.

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Kaissa and Variants

Information Posted by Lee Johnson on


Kaissa or “the game” is taken from passages of the books of Gor by John Norman. Kaissa is played differently throughout the books. The books provide much information about the game, though they do not provide a complete set of rules for playing the game. It is at this point that PortKar Industries filled in the blanks. The three variations found here are the only official PortKar endorsed versions under US copyright law. Each in there own way partially supported by the books.


Kaissa though similar to chess, is played with more pieces on a larger board. There are ten different playing pieces, with twenty one or twenty two pieces per side depending on the variation played. Pieces represent warriors of cities at war, each attempting to capture the other’s Home stone. There are two sides Yellow and Red, Yellow plays first. The Home stone is the most important piece it represents the heart of your city. It is what you must protect and it is your opponent’s Home stone you must capture.

Merchants Kaissa

A variation chess built upon the information provided about Kaissa “the game” from the books of Gor by John Norman. In this variation the creator found at fills in some piece movements where the story left off to provide a more complete and balanced game.


The Ubar or King is the most powerful piece on the board. He can move, as far as he likes in any direction similar to the Queen in chess, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. The Ubar is a back row piece and he can be taken anytime during play. His loss does not constitute the end of the game. That only occurs when the home stone is captured or an opponent resigns.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Ubara, the Ubar’s mate functions pretty much like the, except that she is restricted to three squares in any one direction, so long as her way is not impeded by another piece . The Ubara is also a back row piece. The Ubara, at the start of the game, rests on a square of her own color, next to the Ubar.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Tarnsman is represented by a man sitting on top of a giant hawk like bird. His moves are three squares up and two over in any direction; the only piece on the board that can go over or around another piece. There are two Tarnsman to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Scribe moves diagonally on his own color, forward or backward, but is limited to five squares in either direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Scribes to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Builder moves on the board, forward, backward and laterally in both directions, with no limit to the number of squares he can advance, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Builders to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Initiate is a high priest, and not to be trusted. He too, like the Scribe, moves on the diagonal; except, unlike the Scribe, the Initiate has no limit to the number of squares he can advance, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. He is also limited to his own color.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Spearman is the first of the front row pieces. He moves forward only and captures only on the diagonal. On his first move, the Spearman has the option of moving one, two, or three squares forward. After that he advances only one square at a time, no matter which option he chose. Unlike a chess pawn a spearman cannot be redeemed for a lost higher piece by advancing him to your opponent’s back row. There are six Spearmen to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Rider of The “High Thalarion”(HT)

Flanking the six Spearmen in the front row, one on each side, is a Rider of the High Tharlarion, or lizard rider. He can move one square in any direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Rider’s of The High Thalarion to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


Flanking the two Riders of the High Tharlarion in the front row, one on each side, is an Assassin. An Assassin can move two squares in any direction forward, backward, laterally or diagonally, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Assassins to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Home stone

The Home stone is what the game of Kaissa is all about. It does not start on the board, but must be placed on the board after the seventh move and on or before, but not later than the tenth move. The placement of the Home stone constitutes a move on it’s own. If the Home stone is not placed on or before the tenth move, the game is over by default. The object is to capture your opponent’s Home stone, without losing your own. When a Home stone is captured, or a Player resigns the game is over. The Home stone can move one square in any one unimpeded direction. It cannot capture other pieces. The placement of the Home stone on the board is yours and your opponent’s choice. The Home stone must be placed on the back row of your playing pieces. It cannot be placed on an already occupied square.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Kaissa Red Piece Placement

Kaissa Layout

Kaissa Yellow Piece Placement

Northern Kaissa

This variation of chess is played by the savage Masters of the North, Northern Kaissa from the books of Gor by John Norman. In this variation the creator assembles piece movements referenced to in the books and compares the similarities to Merchants Kaissa and using this information the two are combined to fill in where the story left off providing a complete and balanced chess game.


The Jarl of the Lodge, is the most powerful piece on the board. He can move, on the board, as far as He likes in any direction, as long as His way is not impeded by another piece. The Jarl is a back row piece His loss does not constitute the end of the game. That only occurs when the Lodge is captured or an opponent resigns.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Jarl’s Woman(JW)

The Jarl’s woman, functions pretty much like her mate, the Jarl, except that she is restricted to five squares in any one direction, as long as her way is not impeded by another piece. The Jarl’s Woman, at the start of the game, rests on a square of her own color, next to the Jarl.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Axe moves three squares up and two over in any direction; it is the only piece on the board that can go over or around another piece. There are two Axes to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Singer moves diagonally on his own color, forward or backward, but is limited to five squares in either direction, as long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Singers to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Rune Priest(RP)

The Rune Priest like the Singer, moves on the diagonal; except, unlike the Singer, the Rune Priests have no limit to the number of squares they can advance, as long as his way is not impeded by another piece. He is also limited to his own color.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Builder moves on the board, forward, backward and laterally in both directions with no limit to the number of squares he can advance, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Builders to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Spearman is the first of the front row pieces. He moves forward only and captures only on the diagonal. On his first move, the Spearman has the option of moving one, two, or three squares forward. After that he advances only one square at a time, no matter which option he chose. A spearman, unlike the pawn of chess cannot be redeemed for a lost higher piece by advancing him down to an opponents back row. There are six Spearmen to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Rider of The “High Thalarion”(HT)

Flanking the six Spearmen in the front row, one on each side, is a Rider of the High Tharlarion, or lizard rider. He can move one square in any direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Rider’s of The High Thalarion to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


Flanking the two Riders of the High Tharlarion in the front row, one on each side, is a Physician. He can move up to two squares in a straight line, forward, backwards or to the side as long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Physicians to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Lodge is what the game is all about. It does not start on the board, but must be placed on the board after the second move and on or before, but not later than the tenth move. The placement of the Lodge constitutes a move on it’s own. If the Lodge is not placed on or before the tenth move, the game is over by default. The object is to capture your opponent’s Lodge, without losing your own. When a Lodge is captured, or a Player resigns the game is over.. The Lodge can move one square in any one unimpeded direction. It cannot capture other pieces. The placement of the Lodge on the board is yours and your opponent’s choice. The Lodge must be placed on the back row of your playing pieces. It cannot be placed on an already occupied square.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Kaissa Red Piece Placement

Computer based Kaissa

GC Kaissa

A new type of chess built upon the information of Kaissa “the game” from the books of Gor by John Norman. In this variation the creator modifies some piece movements to more closely resemble chess and level the playing field of all the pieces involved making some slightly weaker and some slightly stronger but the goal is the same.


The Ubar or king is the most powerful piece on the board, similar to the Queen in chess. He can up to nine squares in any direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. The Ubar is a back row piece and he can be taken anytime during play. His loss does not constitute the end of the game. That only occurs when the home stone is captured or an opponent resigns.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Ubara, the Ubar’s mate functions pretty much like the Ubar, except that she is restricted to six squares in any one direction, so long as her way is not impeded by another piece . The Ubara is also a back row piece. The Ubara, at the start of the game, rests on a square of her own color, next to the Ubar.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Tarnsman is represented by a man sitting on top of a giant hawk like bird. His moves are three squares up and two over or two squares up and three over in any direction; the only piece on the board that can go over or around another piece. He can also make a positioning move, one square in any direction it can not take a piece during a positioning move. There are two Tarnsman to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Scribe moves diagonally on his own color, forward or backward, but is limited to seven squares in either direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Scribes to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Builder moves on the board, forward, backward and laterally in both directions up to nine squares, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Builders to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Initiate is a high priest, and not to be trusted. He too, like the Scribe, moves on the diagonal; except, unlike the Scribe, He is limited to nine squares in either direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. He is also limited to his own color.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


The Spearman similar to the pawn in chess is the first of the front row pieces. He moves forward only and captures only on the diagonal. On his first move, the Spearman has the option of moving one, two, or three squares forward or one square diagonally if capturing a piece. After that he advances only one square at a time, no matter which option he chose. Upon reaching the opponents back row a Spearman can then be traded for either a Tarnsman or Rider of The High Tharlarion. There are eight Spearmen to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Rider of The “High Thalarion”(HT)

Flanking the six Spearmen in the front row, one on each side, is a Rider of the High Tharlarion, or lizard rider. He can move one square in any direction, so long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Rider’s of The High Thalarion to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*


Flanking the two Riders of the High Tharlarion in the front row, one on each side, is a Physician. He can move up to four squares in a straight line, forward, backwards or to the side as long as his way is not impeded by another piece. There are two Physicians to a side.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Home stone

The Home Stone is what Kaissa the game is all about. It does not start on the board, but must be placed on the board after the second move and on or before, but not later than the tenth move. The placement of the Home Stone constitutes a move on it’s own. If the Home Stone is not placed on or before the tenth move, the game is over by default. The object is to capture your opponent’s Home Stone, without losing your own. When a Home Stone is captured, or a Player resigns the game is over. The Home Stone can move one square in any one unimpeded direction. It cannot capture other pieces. The placement of the Home Stone on the board is yours and your opponent’s choice. The Home Stone must be placed on the back row of your playing pieces. It cannot be placed on an already occupied square.

*See Below For Piece Placement*

Kaissa Red Piece Placement

Kaissa Yellow Piece Placement


Kaissa was the name of the first Soviet chess computer, but it is also the name of the chess-like game played on Earth’s hidden “sister planet” Gor (orbiting opposite Earth on the far side of the sun) in the interplanetary fantasy novels of John Norman. Gorean Kaissa, sometimes simply called “the game,” was clearly inspired by Barsoomian Jetan. Like Jetan, it is played on a 10 x 10 square grid. The movement of individual pieces more closely resembles modern chess than Jetan, but the victory conditions are concerned with a home stone which is unique to this game, and symptomatic of Gorean culture and ethics.

The rules here are an attempt to be faithful to the game presented in the books. But Norman (unlike Burroughs) never gives a complete exposition of the rules of his game, and a certain measure of creative interpolation is necessary.


Play alternates as in modern chess, with characteristic moves for each piece type (see below), and captures made by moving into the space of the captured piece. Multiple pieces may not share a space. Yellow moves first.

Game resolution is as follows:

Victory – A player captures the home stone of the opponent.

Draw – Both Ubars have been captured.

Either player may resign to a loss. Both may agree to a draw.

Pyramid Pieces for Kaissa

Each side in Kaissa has twenty pieces plus a “home stone.” Customarily, one side is yellow and the other is red.

Attractive and effective Jetan pieces may be conveniently constructed from six monochrome 15-piece stashes: the side corresponding to Gorean yellow with yellow, white, and green; and the Gorean red side with red, black, and purple. In the following descriptions of individual pieces, the yellow-side pieces will be described. For the red side, simply substitute red for yellow, black for white, and purple for green.


1 per side

A small yellow pyramid stacked on a medium yellow, on a medium white, on a large green

May move like a Builder or an Initiate (i.e. identical to a queen in modern chess).


1 per side

A small green pyramid stacked on a small white, on a medium yellow, on a large green

May move like a Builder or an Initiate (i.e. identical to a queen in modern chess).


2 per side

A large yellow pyramid on a medium white, on a medium green for each

Move one space on a positioning move. In a capturing (“flight”) move, a Tarnsman moves one space orthogonally plus one space diagonally and can jump over intervening pieces (i.e. the move of a knight in modern chess).


2 per side

A small green pyramid stacked on a medium yellow for each

Move diagonally one or two spaces.


2 per side

A medium white pyramid stacked on a large yellow for each

Move any number of unoccupied spaces orthogonally (identical to a rook in modern chess).


2 per side

A small green pyramid on a white large pyramid for each

Move any number of unoccupied spaces on the diagonal (identical to a bishop in modern chess).


2 per side

A medium green pyramid for each.

Riders (of the High Thalarion)

2 per side

A small yellow pyramid on a large green pyramid for one, a small white pyramid on a large green pyramid for the other

Move one space in any direction.


6 per side

A single small yellow or white pyramid for each (three and three)

An initial move option of one, two or three spaces forward; otherwise only one space at a time either forward, diagonally forward, or sideways. They may only capture diagonally, but (unlike pawns in modern chess) they may also move forward on the diagonal without capturing. A Spearman who reaches the tenth rank can be promoted to a Tarnsman or Rider.

Home Stone

1 per side

A large yellow pyramid

Moves one square in any direction.

The Home Stone is not a “piece,” strictly speaking, since it cannot capture. It is begins off of the board, and it must be placed on one of the squares in the rank nearest the player during the player’s first ten turns (some say seven). Home stone placement constitutes a turn.

Board and Setup

The customary Kaissa board is a 10×10 square grid with red and yellow squares. It is often printed on cloth (like a chessboard bandana).

As in modern chess, the pieces are initially set up in the two ranks closest to the player.

In the center of the nearest rank are the Ubar (right) and Ubara (left). These are flanked by the Tarnsmen, in turn flanked by the Scribes, in turn flanked by the Builders, in turn flanked by the Initiates.

In the center of the second rank are the six Spearmen. They are flanked by the Riders, who are flanked by the Physicians.

Information Posted by Lee Johnson on

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Definitions of Kajira

The idea to write this post started as a quite simple project, but while preparing the information to present, a great complexity started to develop because the topic is indeed more complex that might at first seem!

I’ll start by stating the “obvious”: a kajira is a slave!

But, what is it to be a “slave” in Gor and in the Gorean Lifestyle?

Over the decades many “spin-offs” from the books have been developed, not only with “onlinisms” developed among Role-Players, but also among groups that developed their own rules, classifications, etc.

It is therefore important to talk about 3 main things:

  • What is a kajira?
  • Classifications of a kajira – Who she is
  • Occupations of a kajira – What she does

The word Kajira

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, kajira is one of the Gorean words for slave:

One of the traces of Earth influence on  Gorean, incidentally, in this case, an influence from Latin,  occurs in the singular and plural endings of certain  expressions. For example, ‘kajirus’ is a common expression in  Gorean for a male slave as is ‘kajira’ for a female slave. The  plural for slaves considered together, both male and female,  or for more than one male slave is ‘kajiri’. The plural for female slaves is ‘kajirae’. 

Magicians of Gor, page 761

“Ten kajirae,” he said. This word was the plural of ‘kajira’, which was one of the words, the most common one, for what we were. It means ‘slave girl’, ‘slave woman’, ‘she-slave’, that sort of thing.”

Dancer of Gor, page164

“La Kajira,” said the girl clearly, “La Kajira.” Elizabeth Cardwell had learned her first Gorean. “What does it mean?” she asked. “It means,” I told her, “I am a slave girl.”

Nomads of Gor, page 63

We must be aware nevertheless that although it is the most common name for a Gorean slave, it is not the only one mentioned in the books:

“In brief, the word Sa-Fora means “Chain Daughter” or “Daughter of the Chain”. The word kajira, on the other hand, is by far the most common expression in Gorean for what I am, which is, as you have doubtless surmised, a female slave.”

Witness of Gor, page 154

“Kajira is perhaps the most common expression for a female slave. Another frequently heard expression is Sa-Fora, a compound word, meaning, rather literally, Chain Daughter, or Daughter of the Chain.”

Nomads of Gor, page 50

“Look!” cried Pudding. “A silk girl!” The expression `silk girl!’ is used, often, among bond-maids of the north, to refer to their counterparts in the south. The expression reflects their belief that such girls are spoiled, excessively pampered, indulged and coddled, sleek pets, who have little to do but adorn themselves with cosmetics and await their masters, cuddled cutely, on plush, scarlet coverlets, fringed with gold.”

Marauders of Gor

So, we’ve already found several words (kajira, sa-fora, silk girl, bond-maid) that all identify a female slave in Gor. But what do those words actually refer to?

Deeper meaning of kajira

The literal translation of the meaning to the english word “slave” (or the equivalent in any other language) is at the same time extremely full and absolutely empty! Yes, a kajira is a slave, but “slave” is a very broad word that encompasses everything from “legal” abject slavery that still occurs in some places on Earth, BDSM submissive that sometimes engage in submission in the role of a slave, etc, etc, etc.

I find it is enlightening to view kajira as a very specific type of slave, one that follows the philosophy of Gor and whose nature is in accordance with its principles.

For clarity purposes, we should start by assuming that legal slavery does not exist in our society (although some small exceptions in fact exist on some parts of our planet) and that all “slavery” is in fact a voluntary and consensual decision of the “slave” in committing totally her life to the will of another person. This can be found in the concepts of “Total Power Exchange” or “Internal Enslavement”.

It is relevant to understand that this “Total Power Exchange” when performed by a kajira is not something occasional, but part of who she is, part of her nature and therefore not something that she does only in some moments, but in fact her way of life.

Two important points arise at this moment of our analysis that should be stated regarding how a kajira lives on Earth.

The first point is that although a kajira totally surrenders her life to her Master, that does not necessarily apply to all Masters. She will be expected to treat all Masters with the due respect, but only he to whom she has bonded/committed will in fact have the Mastery over her. It’s perfectly understandable that just because she found one man trustworthy, honourable and manly enough to have total power over her, that does not necessarily apply to all men (many of those have the opposite characteristics).

The second point is that a kajira is defined by who she IS and not only by what she DOES… This means that a female might very well be a kajira without even having a Master, but having the true nature/traits of a kajira. Her desire to submit, to be Mastered does not disappear just because in a certain period in time she does not have her need to submit fulfilled by having a Master!

Would Pavarotti stop being an Opera singer if he had problems with his throat for some months? Would Beethoven stop being an amazing music composer if he became deaf? Oh wait, we know the answer for that, he became deaf at the age of 30 and still wrote some of the most amazing music pieces known to man!

Therefore I strongly defend that just because a kajira is not able at a certain moment to live under the rule of a Master, but still has all the “traits” of a kajira, the soul, the nature, the desire to serve, then she might be considered an “unowned slave” but never a free woman!!!

“Types of Kajirae”

Over the internet and in many groups I’ve known, there is much talk about “hierarchies”, “classifications”, “levels of development”, etc. regarding the “type of kajira” that a girl is, with “silk levels” to be attained and other methods of classification and categorisation… Curious that there is no base in the books for such things.

I knew that slave girls were often left to impose their own order upon themselves, masters usually not interfering in such matters. 

Slave Girl of Gor, page 438

In the books it is clear that Masters do not like to get involved in the matters of slaves. In fact, the only references to “organised hierarchy” (besides the existence of a First Girl that I will address in a moment) are in a fluid/dynamic way and mostly for “display purposes”, like placing girls in a certain order (height, beauty, etc) when on a chain, etc. But when discussing the positioning of girls on a chain, the “first girl” position, “last girl” position and all the others between do not in fact constitute a “hierarchy”, but a method of organisation according to a selected criteria.

Let’s then address some of the “types of kajirae” that are mentioned in the books.

First Girl

The only “hierarchy” position that is a clear standard in the books is that of First Girl, many times (although not necessarily) the Master’s favourite girl, in whom he delegates the management of the administrative issues, and the organisation of the other kajirae. There are a couple of quotes I consider describe clearly this position:

When more than one slave girl stands in a relationship of slave girls, as when they serve in the same shop or house, or adorn the same rich man’s pleasure gardens, it is common for the master, or masters, to appoint a “first girl.” Her authority is then to the other girls as is that of the master. This tends to reduce squabbling. The first girl is usually, though not always, the favorite of the master. There is usually much competition to be first girl. First girls can be cruel and petty but, commonly, they attempt to govern with intelligence and justice. They know that another girl, at the master’s whim, may become first girl, and that they themselves may then be under her almost absolute power. In my own house I often rotated the position of first girl among my slaves who were native Goreans.

Explorer of Gor, page 114

She had tied a narrow folded strip of cloth about her head, to hold back her hair and keep sweat from her eyes. This could be interpreted as a talmit, which is a common sign of a first girl, the girl in charge of other female slaves, who usually reports directly to a master. First girls are common when there are many slaves in a group or household. They keep the other girls in order, assign tasks, settle disputes, and such. Many masters, if several girls are involved, do not care to involve themselves in such matters. It is enough for him to issue instructions to the first girl, usually in the morning, as she kneels before him, and she, according to her lights and biases, her choices and favorites, sees to their implementation. In a house containing a hundred or more slaves, there may be more than one first girl, there being various groups of slaves, and these first girls, in turn, will report to the first girl of first girls, so to speak. She in turn, of course, reports to the master, or the master’s representative. In such a household the lower first girls will wear a talmit of one color, and the high girl, or first girl of first girls, she who reports to the master or his representative, will wear one of a different color. The colors depend on the customs of cities, the whims of particular masters, and such.

Conspirators of Gor

So, it is clear that the only “title” to classify the hierarchy of slaves is “First Girl” and only in a group of many slaves (a hundred or more) there is the need to have several levels of “First Girls”.

White Silk / Red Silk

In “classification” of kajirae the only two “silk colours” used are White and Red. This terms (as others I will indicate) are used to differentiate if the kajira has already “been opened for the uses of men” or not.

The 3 types of classification regarding this topic are:

  • White Silk / Red Silk
  • Glana / Metaglana
  • Profalarina / Falarina

A “white-silk girl” is a virgin; one who is not a virgin is sometimes referred to as a “red-silk girl.” This need not refer, literally, of course, to the color of their garmenture.

Witness of Gor, page 229

Similarly, the expression “red silk,” in Gorean, tends to be used as a category in slaving, and also, outside the slaving context, as an expression in vulgar discourse, indicating that the woman is no longer a virgin, or, as the Goreans say, at least vulgarly of slaves, that her body has been opened by men. Its contrasting term is “white silk,” usually used of slaves who are still virgins, or, equivalently, slaves whose bodies have not yet been opened by men. Needless to say, slaves seldom spend a great deal of time in the “white-silk” category. It is common not to dally in initiating a slave into the realities of her condition.

Blood Brothers of Gor

Among slaves, not free women, these things are sometimes spoken of along the lines as to whether or not a girl has been “opened” for the uses of men. Other common terms, used generally of slaves, are ‘white silk’ and ‘red silk’, for girls who have not yet been opened, or have been opened, for the uses of men, respectively

Dancer of Gor

The buyers were also informed that I was ‘glana’ or a virgin. The correlated term is ‘metaglana,’ used to designate the state to which the glana state looks forward, or that which it is regarded as anticipating. Though the word was not used of me I was also ‘profalarina’, which term designates the state preceding, and anticipating, that of ‘falarina,’ the state Gorean’s seem to think of as that of being a full woman, or, at least, as those of Earth might think of it, one who certainly is no longer a virgin. In both terms, ‘glana’ and ‘profalarina,’ incidentally, it seems that the states they designate are regarded as immature or transitory, state to be succeeded by more fully developed, superior states, those of ‘metaglana’ or ‘falarina.’ Among slaves, not free women, these things are sometimes spoken of along the lines as to whether or not the girl as been ‘opened’ for the uses of men. Other common terms, used generally of slaves, are ‘white silk’ and ‘red silk’, for girls who have not yet been opened, or have been opened, for the uses of men, respectively.

Dancer of Gor

Tela, when captured,” he said, indicating a blonde, “begged to be permitted to be kept in white silk.” He laughed. “After throwing her to a crew, for their pleasure, we put her, as she had asked, in white silk.” “Amusing,” I said. “She now often begs for red silk,” he said. “Perhaps we will one day permit it to her.

Rogue of Gor

I have put you in red silk,” I said. “Is it appropriate?” “It certainly is not!” she said. “Perhaps it soon will be,” I said.

Beasts of Gor


Upon occasion, kajirae are classified according to their origin. The most common classification of this type is, obviously, the origin from Earth.

Kajirae originated from Earth are usually referred as “barbarians”, but there also are other classifications based in origin. For example, slaves in Torvaldsland are called “bond maids” and incidentally, in the north the kajirae from the south are called “silk slaves”.

“Look!” cried Pudding. “A silk girl!” The expression ‘silk girl!’ is used, often, among bond-maids of the north, to refer to their counterparts in the south. The expression reflects their belief that such girls are spoiled, excessively pampered, indulged and coddled, sleek pets, who have little to do but adorn themselves with cosmetics and await their masters, cuddled cutely, on plush, scarlet coverlets, fringed with gold.”

Marauders of Gor

‘High-farm girls!’ she whispered, as she passed the bondmaids of Ivar Forkbeard. In the south the southern slave girl commonly regards her northern counterparts as bumpkins, dolts from the high farms on the slopes of the mountains of Torvaldsland; she thinks of them as doing little but swilling tarsk and dunging fields; she regards them as, essentially, nothing more than a form of bosk cow, used to work, to give simple pleasure to rude men, and to breed thralls.”

Marauders of Gor

Another classification regarding the “origin” (although not geographical) are the “exotics”:

“These are exotics,” said Ho-Tu. 

That expression is used for any unusual variety of slave. Exotics are generally quite rare. 

“In what way?” I asked.

I myself had never cared much for exotics, any more than I cared much for some of the species of dogs and goldfish which some breeders of Earth regarded as such triumphs. Exotics are normally bred for some deformity which is thought to be appealing. On the other hand, sometimes the matter is much more subtle and sinister. For example it is possible to breed a girl whose saliva will be poisonous; such a woman, placed in the Pleasure Gardens of an enemy, can be more dangerous than the knife of an Assassin. 

Assassin of Gor, page 158


The most varied classifications of kajirae come from the activities they perform. This is significantly different from who they are and we must be aware that a “pleasure slave” is inherently a “red silk” girl and can also be “barbarian” in origin.

Some of the most common classification found in the books and that I will dwell on at another time/post are:

  • Tower Slave
  • Pleasure Slave
  • Bath Slave
  • Below Deck Girl
  • (Deck-)Cage Girl
  • Chamber Slave
  • Coin Girl
  • Debt Slut
  • Display Slave
  • Draft Slaves
  • Dancers
  • Field Slave
  • Flute Girl
  • Gambling House Slave
  • Kettle Slave/Pot Slave/Kettle & Mat Girl
  • Lure Girl
  • Paga Slave
  • Private/Personal Serving Slave
  • Message Slave
  • Feast Slave/Table Slave
  • Camp Slave
  • Seduction Slave
  • Mill Slaves
  • Kitchen Slave
  • Rent Slave
  • Stable Slave/Stable Slut
  • State Slave/Public Slave
  • Village Slave
  • Whip Slave
  • Work Slave

This post is already running long, but I hope it has already helped to clarify some of the points! Will dwell into some of the specifics in separate posts according to the feedbacks I receive!

I wish you well!

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Where does the Gorean Theory come from?

Written by well known Gorean philosopher Marcus of AR

Tal, citizens.

We spend a lot of time saying “we hold these Gorean truths to be self-evident,” and if pressed, we fall back on “it’s all in the books.”

We’ve been accused, through the years, of failing to support our conclusions. Hell, I’ve lately even read supposedly “Gorean Essays” that are nothing less than apologetic whinge-screeds in which the author jibber-jabbers around Norman’s writing, desperately trying to explain how those ol’ Goreans really aren’t so bad, and how Norman’s comments on sex and gender issues– especially female slavery– were actually intended as a joke on the feminists of the 1970’s! Oh, John Norman, you wacky humorist, you, with your funny-ass brands and five-stranded kurts!

That’s so much bullshit, folks. Our extrapolated Gorean beliefs are based DIRECTLY AND SPECIFICALLY on John Norman’s Gor books. We added nothing to Norman’s arguments which wasn’t already there. We didn’t soften it, or try to explain away the scary parts, or any such thing. Whenever I wrote on the topic of Gorean thought or the Gorean ethos, I remained 100% pure and true to Norman’s own commentaries in the books.

People who actually refuse to believe Norman’s arguments don’t like to hear that, and would rather Norman’s comments be far more damning (in the case of his critics) or far more politically-correct (in the case of his would-be apologists).

Too, there is a lot of unnecessary smoke generated by misinterpretations, willful or not, of what Norman is saying and what it means. Especially in online circles, or among little lifestyle BDSM spin-off cliques who are desperate to alter John Norman’s message to better fit their own kinky play-parties.

But the truth is:

We never added anything to Norman’s message. We didn’t HAVE to reinterpret it. Because he spells it out absolutely and rather incontrovertibly through his writing.

What follows is an example of pure Norman, taken verbatim from my personal favorite Gor book, “Hunters of Gor”:

The Goreans do not believe, incidentally, that the human being is a simple function of the independent variables of his environment. They have never endorsed the “hollow body” theory of human beings, in which a human being is regarded as being essentially a product of externalities. They recognize the human being has a genetic endowment which may not be, scientifically, canceled out in favor of the predilection of theories developed by men incompetent in physiology. For example, it would not occur to a Gorean to speak of the “role” of a female sparrow feeding her young or the “role” of a lion in providing meat for its cubs. Goreans do not see the world in terms of metaphors taken from the artificiality of the theater. It is certain, of course, that certain genetic endowments have been selected by environmental considerations, and, in this sense, the environment is a significant factor. The teeth of the lion have had much to do with the fleetness of the antelopes.

Hunters of Gor, p.500

In Gorean thinking man and woman are natural animals, with genetic endowments shaped by thousands of generations of natural and sexual selection. Their actions and behavior, thus, though not independent of certain long-range environmental and sexual relationships, cannot be understood in terms of mere responses to the immediately present environment. The immediate environment determines what behavior will be successful, not what behavior is performed. Woman, like man, is the product of evolution, and, like man, is a complex genetic product, a product not only of natural selections but sexual selections.

Natural selections suggest that a woman who wished to belong to a man, who wished to remain with him, who wished to have children, who wished to care for them, who loved them, would have an advantage, in the long run, as far as her genetic type was concerned, of surviving, over a woman who did not care for men, who did not wish children, and so on. Female freedom, of a full sort, would not have been biologically practical.

The loving mother is a type favored by evolution. It is natural then that in modern women certain instincts should be felt. The sparrow does not feed her young because society has fooled her into playing that exploitative role. Similarly, sexual selection, as well as natural selection, is a significant dynamic of evolution, without which it is less comprehensible.

Men, being stronger, have had, generally, the option of deciding on women that please them. If women had been stronger, as in the spiders, for example, we might have a different race.

It is not unlikely that men, over the generations, have selected out for breeding, for marriage, women of certain sorts. Doubtless women are much more beautiful now than a hundred generations ago. Similarly a woman who was particularly ugly, threatening, vicious, stupid, cruel, etc., would not be a desirable mate.

No man can be blamed for not wishing to make his life miserable. Accordingly, statistically, he tends to select out women who are intelligent, loving and beautiful. Accordingly, men have, in effect, bred a certain kind of woman. Similarly, of course, in so far as choice has been theirs, women have tended to select out men who are, among other things, intelligent, energetic and strong. Few women, in their hearts, despite propaganda, really desire weak, feminine men. Such men, at any rate, are not those who figure in their sexual fantasies.

Norman tells us– “The Goreans do not believe…” and then explains precisely WHAT they do not believe. Then he tells us what they DO believe.

There is no mystery here. It is all spelled out in black and white. Norman does it paragraph after paragraph, for page after page, book after book after book.


And we agree, and we also believe it.

Because WE’RE “the Goreans.”

Similar passages to the one above can be found to back up every single Gorean philosophical point and essay comment I’ve ever written.

How anyone could misinterpret what Norman is saying– even if they were already predisposed to do so– strikes me as being hypocritical to the point of idiocy.

It’s all in there, folks. If someone pronounces themselves Gorean but then professes a diametrically opposed point of view, or if they claim they cannot figure out what Norman is trying to say no matter how hard they try– they are either morons, or they are lying through their non-Gorean teeth.

I wish you well!


Copyright © Marcus of Ar, All rights reserved.

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Kajira Slave Rules – A Guide

Here are some of the principles that should rule a Gorean Kajira inspired in a list published by Sola Vagus on Facebook.

I’ll review and update as more suggestions/comments are received, so send me your feedback!

  1. A kajira will worship her Master.
  2. A kajira’s body, mind and soul is the property of her Master.
  3. A kajira will serve, obey and please her Master, as he desires.
  4. A kajira will always kneel when first greeting her Master.
  5. A kajira will wear her collar with pride for it signifies his ownership and her devotion to her Master.
  6. A kajira will wear the chains her Master gives her, as a symbol of her position in life, that of bondage to her Master. She will wear them either around her neck, her wrist, her ankle or her waist, when required.  
  7. A kajira will satisfy all her Master’s needs and desires to the best of her abilities.
  8. A kajira will worship her Master’s whip.
  9. A kajira will have to earn her pleasure from her Master.
  10. A kajira will trust her Master in his responsibilities, his skills, his hunger and needs and his concerns for her safety, her emotional, psychological, social, sexual and physical health.
  11. A kajira will draw strength from just thinking of her Master and hearing his voice.
  12. A kajira will ask her Master for permission to satisfy her needs before acting upon them.
  13. A kajira will not hesitate when responding to her Master, her focus is important to her growth.
  14. A kajira is always in submission to her Master, whether he is present or not.
  15. A kajira is always ready to please her Master anytime, any place or under any circumstances.
  16. A kajira’s choice will be based upon whether it pleases her Master.
  17. A kajira not in the presence of her Master, if she has a choice to make, will perform to the best of  her abilities and within the boundaries her Master has given her.
  18. A kajira will never look into the eyes of her Master without his permission.
  19. A kajira’s eyes must be cast down unless given permission by her Master.
  20. A kajira’s head must be bowed down unless given permission by her Master.
  21. A kajira must wear revealing and sexy clothing around her Master, unless given permission to do otherwise by her Master.
  22. A kajira must never be concerned how much flesh is showing in private or in public.
  23. A kajira’s basic attire in presence of her Master consists of her collar and to be barefoot.
  24. A kajira must remove her clothing in the way her Master has taught her, regardless who is present.
  25. A kajira must fold  her clothes and place neatly in front of her after removing them.
  26. A kajira’s legs, underarms and pussy must be completely shaved smooth.
  27. A kajira’s hair must be kept in a manner that is ravishing also that her shoulders and the nape of her neck are exposed, especially when naked.
  28. A kajira’s body must be thoroughly cleaned and of good aroma, especially before serving her Master.
  29. A kajira not in use by her Master will go to a place selected by her Master until she is needed again.
  30. A kajira will immediately become silent when her Master speaks, she must ask for permission to speak and only when granted she may speak.
  31. A kajira will learn all the positions that her Master teaches her and will take such positions when required and to display herself in a manner that pleases her Master and others who may be present.
  32. A kajira must confess to her Master when she has been naughty, so that he may decide if such violation requires discipline or punishment.
  33. A kajira has no limits, it’s up to her Master how far she has to go.
  34. A kajira must learn in order to become a well trained and well behaved slave.
  35. A kajira will learn through discipline and punishment on how to behave.
  36. A kajira will not think herself a weak person, as it takes a strong female to commit, to serve, to obey and to please her Master.
  37. A kajira must never show disrespect towards her Master in any way, whether in his presence or not.
  38. A kajira must put her Master’s needs before her own for they present an opportunity to please her Master.
  39. A kajira must be attentive to the needs of her Master and must always be ready to respond in ways she has developed to please her Master.
  40. A kajira must respond fully both emotional, verbal and physically to her Master at all times. The expressions of her emotions and physical responses are important to her Master.

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Letter to slaves

Written by well known Gorean philosopher Marcus of AR in an effort to combat a phenomena known as the princess slavegirl.


Greetings, slaves. It seems wise and pertinent that I address a few minor issues which have repeatedly surfaced, in various forms, throughout every online medium which purports itself to be “Gorean.”

It is time, I suspect, for someone to lift a hefty dollop of “truth” and smack you all upside your pretty little heads with it. Hence, this post.

I think it is safe to say that the majority of Gorean Men who post here, and who practice aspects of the Gorean philosophy both on or offline, will fundamentally agree with what I say here. If they do not, well… you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few vulo eggs, and you can’t enlighten a group of people about anything without breaking a few balls.
Therefore, listen, and learn.


You are “slaves” because you have chosen to be, for whatever reason seemed good to you. No one chained you up and dragged you from your dorm room or kitchen or den, drugged you with capture scent, and shipped you off to another planet. You can leave at any time. If you don’t like being treated like a slave, then you really ought to go find something else to occupy your time, and quit wasting ours.


Consider that word. Weigh its meaning. It indicates that you have entered a state of being where you will behave as commanded, do as you are told, and strive to fulfil that role in our mutual society. Slaves are not princesses, they are not love-toys, they are not beloved and treasured pets.

If your owner chooses to treat you in that manner, then that is his own business; but not ALL of us will do so. By accepting the chain and collar of slavery you have stripped yourself of all value and worth, and it is now up to you to fulfil your new role and to render service to those who have NOT chosen to wear the collar. If you don’t like this, and cannot handle it for whatever reason, go away.


Either accept what you have volunteered to become, or cease claiming to be what you are too weak and wilful to actually be. I didn’t invite you to this party. I didn’t wheedle you and coerce you into calling yourself a “slave.” I didn’t beg and whine for you to fall at my feet. I am Gorean, and Gorean males do not do that, ever.

If we were to do that, we would be insulting what we are, Men, and would be no different than the knock-kneed, cringing, self-absorbed males which you can encounter at every mall, convenience store and nightclub in the world. If that is what you desire, then go seek it! It is right outside your door, and has always been. Go away and practice your wiles against those who are too stupid to recognise such manipulation for what it is. But do not bitch and moan because such tactics do not work with myself or my fellows.


I do not need you. I do not want you. You could all drop off the planet at the stroke of midnight and I would continue to do what I do, and go right on being the Man I am. I do not define myself according to the whims of women. I do not accept any female’s definition of what makes a man a man. If there were no self-proclaimed female slaves in existence upon this planet I would not bat an eyelash. There are more important things in life to consider than what exists between a woman’s legs.

If that is the only way you can be of worth to me, then you cannot ever be of worth to me. And the only way you might ever coerce me to do what you want is by offering yourself to me sexually. That is the only power you actually wield. And if such an offer is brought to my attention, and I suspect that it is an attempt to bend me to your will, I simply will not take you up on it. There are more important things in this world than a few short Ehn of fumbling about in a slippery hole. You cannot control me through the offer of sex; hence, you cannot control me at all, ever. The game is over before it begins, and I have already won it.


When you accept the collar and proclaim yourself slave you surrender yourself, completely, wholly, unreservedly. You become property. You become a thing, worthy of nothing. You give up all pretense of respect, all assumed rights, all dignity. Once this has occurred, you then rebuild yourself according to the desires and wishes of he who owns you, and by so doing you EARN every modicum or respect, love and devotion which comes to you. You do not become worthy of my attention simply by saying the words “Yes, Master.” You earn that attention through deeds, not empty words and silly poses designed to entice me. I am Gorean. I am not enticable. I will take from you what I want, and that only when you have pleased me enough that I choose to do so.


You have voluntarily chosen the most difficult of paths for yourself. There will be no shoulders for you to cry upon, no helping hands to guide you forward, unless extended by men who find it pleasing to do so. You have willfully surrendered all rights to such comforts, and pats on the head, and rewards. You have submitted. And in my presence, you will continue to submit, or else I shall cast you away and engage my time in more profitable pursuits.


Why would anyone want to do what you have done? Why would anyone claim to be what you have claimed to be, who was not? The only valid reason for doing so is that you ARE what you claim to be, in your heart, in the depths of your belly, in every inch of you and every freckle and blemish on your body. For if you are NOT a slave, and you choose to call yourself one, you are committing a grievous error. If so, you have chosen to suffer what you should not have to suffer. If you are not what you claim to be, you have surrendered yourself to a lie.


You will do as instructed. You will behave as commanded. You will be worthy of my time and attention, or else you will be erased from existence. Fail and I will never acknowledge you again. Fail, and suffer forever as an “almost” in a society which doesn’t understand you. Find males who will pretend to be strong enough to control you, then, and hate me for my arrogance and for the fact that I simply do not NEED you, nor will I ever.

When I acknowledge a slave it is because it pleases me to do so. If I find a slave who is honest, and true, and real, then I will acknowledge her NOT because I need her, but because I WANT her. If that happens, then you will have succeeded. You will have come from nothing and proved yourself to be of value, and to have worth.


If slaves you are, then I wish you luck. If slaves you are not, then I hope that you will alter your course and flee, as fast as you can, before you embarrass yourselves and insult those who are wise enough to recognise true submission in a true slave, and before you do injury to the other females who truly are what you can only ever claim to be.


Be slaves, or leave my presence. I am Gorean. I do not make allowances, nor bend, nor bow, nor will I ever. I did not invite you to kneel and wear a collar. Therefore, your complaints and whining mean nothing to me.

There are only two choices: Fight, or yield. And if you yield: submit, totally, or be erased. Compromise is not an option. Ever.

If that’s too rough and tough for your delicate sensibilities, run away as fast as your legs will carry you. And have no fear! I won’t chase you or try to bring you back. I have better things to do with my time.

I wish you well,

_Marcus_ Copyright © Marcus of Ar, All rights reserved.

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Gorean Feminism


Written in 1996, last reviewed in 2006

As far as feminism goes… I have no problem with it.

I have no problem with anything that advocates gain or awards based on meritocracy. So long as it’s both logical, and fair.

The purpose of Gorean Philosophy is to make people free and great. So naturally I support things that do that.

I only have a problem with the way the feminist movement was hijacked by hyper-reactionary second stage gender feminists in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, until the professed public agenda of the feminist movement began to damage both the feminist cause, and to push a severely misandrist point of view.

Apparently I’m not alone. The rabid gender-feminists have lost most of their political influence in the past few decades, due no doubt to their insistence that society be deconstructed and rebuilt minus the existence of males. Or with legal controls over males so draconian that no one in their right mind would accede to them.

If one rejects the definition of “feminist” as being “one who supports militant radical feminist dogma” and instead takes the word to mean “one who is devoted to the best interests of females” then that word can even apply to Gorean females, in the correct context.

There are Gorean feminists– free Gorean women who strive ceaselessly to improve the health and well being of women within their society.

There are even Gorean slave feminists– self-enslaved Gorean women who strive ceaselessly to improve the health and well being of women in their society, whenever and however they can. In a way, having the courage to stand up to Earth-based social codes and insisting upon being allowed the choice of female service is PURELY feminist. It is a conscious attempt by a woman to throw off the yoke of societal oppression in exchange for obligations of her own choosing, in service to what she perceives as her own psychological and biological needs.

I’m a huge fan of women, frankly. I want them to succeed and grow better, stronger, smarter, and happier according to their abilities and desires.

I’m just not a fan of lies, or of lying. I don’t think some facts can be wished or ignored away. And I think any attempt to repress or damage one sex in order to enact artificial counter-measures to serve the other sex is a huge exercise in idiocy.

Marlenus can physically conquer and emotionally enslave Verna. But he loves her too much to take her freedom away.

The Gorean High Cities are full of Gorean men who similarly love their Free Companions and wouldn’t ever subject them to the bonds of slavery.

The Gorean High Cities are also full of women who have chosen, or whom circumstances have compelled, to accept a life of female service to men… and especially to the men they love.

Goreans just don’t understand the concept of a “war between the sexes.” Because they know how incredibly stupid that would be.

I feel the same. Let women be great and magnificent and fantastic. Let them be the best women they can naturally be.

Just so long as I’m not forced to accept a load of pretence about what is automatically owed to anyone.

Nothing is automatically owed to anyone. Everything should be earned, or deserved.

That’s a Gorean truism.

How does this all fit into the Gorean ethos?

Well… most girls can’t beat me at armwrestling.

Trust me: they can’t. I bench press close to three hundred pounds. That’s not a brag; just a fact. And I’m no power lifter.

So, if they were to tell me that I must pretend I am weaker than them… I refuse to buy into it.

If they accuse me of being a male chauvinist pig because I will not allow them to beat me at armwrestling– I still won’t.

If they lobby Congress and pass a law that says I must allow them to beat me at armwrestling or else go to jail– I’m going to jail.

Because for me to do otherwise would be a lie. Period. And such lies are the antithesis of Gorean existence.

We live in a patriarchal society because all recorded societies since the advent of written records have been patriarchal. Because patriarchal societies are those based upon rule and social maintenance by a warrior upper class. There have been societies in which women ran things– but always with the cooperation of, and according to the strict acceptance of, the males. Societies wherein the warrior males were not happy with females in positions of authority did not have females in those positions for long.

But men will do a lot of things for women. Because we like women. We love our mothers, typically, very much. We don’t usually want bad things to happen to our sisters, either.

Gorean men are no different.

They KILL men who come from other cities to injure and abduct their women. Instantly, and without hesitation.

But the direct control that women have over their position in society is directly based upon how much control they are allowed to have, by the men of their society. Laws to protect and defend women are passed by a 90% male Congress only with the support and final vote of the majority males in that body– in ALL such bodies. Those laws are then enforced by a police force that is comprised of 90% men. In a society where the active, on-the-ground fighting military is– you guessed it– overwhelmingly made up of men.

If there were a war between the sexes, women would not win.

In order to coexist effectively with the men in this world, the women in this world must gain the confidence, the support, and the affection of their men. Or to put it in Gorean terminology– they must be pleasing.

Men are quite willing to take part in this process, I add. Because at its heart, human sexual selection is still based upon female choice at the involuntary biological level. Women choose men, and men compete for women.

None of this is a mystery. Nor can it be reasonably denied.

So if someone tells me that I’ve got it all wrong– that there is some invisible power in the sky, or whatever, that wishes for me to pretend that there is actually no difference between men and women, and that I must subscribe to a farcical belief in universal “identicality”– I refuse to do so.

Because Goreans don’t buy into that. All of the TV commercials and Public Service Announcements and oddly-skewed procedural laws and ordinances in the world can’t force me to believe what I know to be false.

Sorry, gender-feminists. I won’t step into that cage. And you can’t make me.

But there’s a lot of misinterpretation of Gorean Philosophy going on out there. Some people just can’t get past the whips and chains, I suppose. I wonder how any of them ever managed to sit through an episode of the HBO series “Rome” without fainting dead away.

The Gorean Ethos is NOT about “abusing” someone, or “misusing” someone.

It’s about people and things being put to their PROPER use. Fulfilling their ultimate potential.

The object of Gorean Philosophy isn’t to enable weak men to step on the necks of their women and crush them into the dirt.

The object of Gorean Philosophy is to allow strong men to be just as powerful and capable as they can be, without artificial limitations, so that their women will willingly and joyfully serve and help them, and exult in being the unrestrained focus of their love.

Don’t our critics pay attention to the endings of the various Gor books at all?

When the self-submitted slave at the end of a Gor book expresses the depths of her love for her paramour, and he threatens to free her– why does she refuse? Well… why would she WANT to be let go, or have his hold on her lessened or diminished?

Other such girls ARE given freedom, and happily accept it, because it is a necessary ingredient for them to be who and what THEY are in relation to their Man.

Others are held in the strictest love bondage, so they might flourish in their own best way.

This is the freedom of the heart– the ultimate expression of ones innermost sexual and biological yearnings. It is love and devotion between the male and the female taken to the point of ownership.

That’s what Gor is all about. Men being allowed to be what they are, and women being given the same opportunity, unfettered by artificial conventions or counter-instinctual dogmas.

I wish you well,


Copyright © 2006, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, _Marcus_ of Ar. All rights reserved.

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What is a “Gorean” slave?

Written by Ubar Luther

In this essay, I am concentrating on real-time consensual slavery so the answer to this question will be based on that context. Such consensual slavery is a common aspect of the Gorean lifestyle, though it is not an absolute necessity to that lifestyle. There has been much discussion and disagreement over the use of the term  slave  for such real-time consensual relationships.

As these relationships are consensual, then the common definition of  slave  is not truly appropriate. It is certainly not a legal slavery where a person is truly and legally owned. It is more akin to an extreme form of submission. The term  slave  is generally considered more appropriate than the term  submissive.  Yet the Gorean lifestyle is not the only one to use the term  slave  to refer to such a relationship. Within BDSM, the term is used as well, and often refers to those who practice Total Power Exchange or Internal Enslavement.

In the Gorean lifestyle, consensual slavery reflects the slavery depicted within the books but there are modifications as well, to conform to the realities of Earth. But there is no single standard of which modifications are necessary and/or permissible.

Each Gorean Master/slave relationship will differ, dependent upon the personal preferences of the individuals involved in that relationship. Though some generalities may be accepted concerning such relationships, they are certainly not absolute standards.

Thus, it can be very difficult to define the parameters of a slave as so many different standards are in effect. But, a definition of  slave  is not the objective of this essay. What is of concern here is the adjective  Gorean  as applied to this phrase. What makes this type of slavery  Gorean?   

Does it simply reflect the customs, rituals and traditions of slavery portrayed within the Gorean books such as the positions, commands, dances and serves? Does it simply reflect the status of a slave s Master, that he is Gorean? Can a slave be Gorean but be owned by a man who is not Gorean? Can a Gorean man own a slave who is not Gorean? Does the adjective  Gorean  reflect the philosophy as well? Can a consensual slave practice the Gorean philosophy? Or is the philosophy only applicable to free people? Do slaves need to concern themselves at all with the Gorean philosophy?  

It is important to gain a sense of the definition of  Gorean  before further exploring the answers to these questions. This first step is fraught with some difficulty, as different people will define  Gorean  in many different ways. But, the context of the inquiry is very significant in determining which definition is most appropriate.

For example, a simple definition of  Gorean  would be  a person born on the planet Gor.  Such a definition would not be helpful in many varied contexts. It certainly would not be appropriate for a context where we are concentrating on the real-time emulation of Gor. Thus, as we are dealing with real-time consensual slavery, we should confine our context to real-time, narrowing the possible definitions we need to address. This will lessen our burden some.

When we are discussing real-time Gor, there are two basic options, the philosophy and the lifestyle. Within each option, there will be various opinions of what makes up that option, but we can use these two choices as a convenient separation. They at least give us a good starting foundation.

So, let us try to better define these two options. The philosophy is the basic, underlying principles of Gor that delineate what people are to believe, how they are to live and what they should seek to attain out of life. The lifestyle includes the philosophy but takes it one step further, embracing some of the societal and cultural institutions of Gor as well.

There will be a dispute over exactly what principles make up the philosophy. There will be a dispute over what societal institutions to emulate in the lifestyle, as well as how to emulate them and what modifications to make. The disputes are basically irrelevant to our current discussion. All we need to be concerned with is that basic options, philosophy and lifestyle.

Now, as both of these options include the philosophy then it would seem very important to defining real-time Gor. If a person emulated the societal institutions of Gor without following the Gorean philosophy, I doubt many would consider that person to be Gorean. Simply claiming to have a Home Stone certainly does not automatically make someone Gorean.

Simply being in a Free Companionship certainly does not automatically make someone Gorean. Unless you also follow the philosophy, you are simply going through the motions of some custom, convention or ritual. In a different context, would simply attending Sunday mass make one a Christian? No. Would simply voting Republican in one election make you a Republican? No. There must be a deeper belief system involved.

In addition, there is no agreement over which societal and cultural institutions must be followed within the lifestyle. Two people, following a different list of societal and cultural institutions could both be considered Gorean. One man may have a Home Stone and the other may not.

The existence or lack of existence of that Home Stone does not mean someone is or is not Gorean. The ownership of a slave, or the lack of such ownership, does not make one Gorean. In addition, if someone emulated the culture of Torvaldsland, the Gorean equivalent of the Vikings, and someone us emulated the society of the cities like Ar and Ko-ro-ba they might both be considered Gorean.

What would bind all of these different people, and their different choices, together would be the Gorean philosophy, the underlying belief structure of Gor.

Slavery is a societal and cultural institution on Gor. Slavery may be based on certain philosophical principles, are as many of the Gorean societal and cultural institutions, but it is not in of itself a tenet of Gorean philosophy. The absence of the institution of slavery would not affect the Gorean philosophy in the slightest. Consider the fact that over 98% of the free population of the world of Gor did not own a slave. It was clearly more a luxury than anything else on Gor. Though work slaves existed on Gor, their existence was not vital to production.

In an agrarian society such as Gor, production essentially refers to agriculture and it is the free Peasants who are the key to agricultural production on Gor. In addition, a person can follow a Gorean philosophy and not own a slave. A person can even follow a Gorean philosophy and not support the institution of slavery. If you practice real-time consensual slavery, you are simply emulating a societal and cultural institution of Gor. Such emulation is modified to conform to the realities of Earth. But such emulation is not essential to being Gorean.

Now, using my prior arguments concerning the emulation of societal institutions, if simply having a Home Stone or a Free Companion does not make one Gorean, then simply practicing the institution of slavery would also not make someone Gorean. A man who simply owned a slave does not automatically become Gorean.

Thus, a real-time slave who is owned by a Gorean man, absent any other conditions, is not Gorean herself. She is simply emulating a Gorean institution, and that alone does not make her Gorean. Even the fact a Gorean man owns her does not automatically provide her with  Gorean  status. She might be referred to as a Gorean s slave, indicating that she is owned by a Gorean, but she would not be a  Gorean  slave.

So, by this logic, what would make such a slave  Gorean? 

She would become  Gorean  if she followed the Gorean philosophy.

If she does not follow the philosophy, then she is not really Gorean. She is simply following Gorean customs and institutions without the acceptance and practice of the underlying belief structure. She would just be a slave owned by a Gorean man.

Would we accept a free person as being Gorean if they did not follow a Gorean philosophy? No, we would not. So why would we accept a slave as Gorean if she did not follow the philosophy? Does her status as a slave absolve her of that requirement? And if so, why would her status so absolve her?

At this point I know that many will raise an immediate objection to my analysis. They will feel that because a slave must be obedient to her Master in all ways then she cannot follow a philosophy. They will feel that she must follow whatever her Master commands her to do. They will feel that a slave has absolutely no control so she would thus be unable to follow any philosophy. Interestingly enough, this objection is not new and it is not specific to Gorean consensual slavery.

In fact, this objection was voiced in ancient times as well, at least during the days of the ancient Stoics and early Christians. And both of these groups concluded that a slave could follow a philosophy. We cannot forget that they were dealing with legal slaves, slaves who could be killed with impunity for their disobedience. Such legal slaves were under far stricter controls than any consensual slave will be. A consensual slavery cannot be legally killed or maimed by their Master.

The reasoning of the Stoics and Christians was that though a Master may own a slave s body and can control many of the slave s actions, the Master does not control the slave s mind, heart and soul. A slave still possesses free will though their body may be in chains. They always possess the ability to disobey. They always possess the ability to think whatever thoughts they wish. They always possess the ability to embrace any philosophical or religious thoughts they wish.

Thus, a slave could often hold true to the principles of a philosophy or religion because of the freedom the slave possessed in their mind, heart and soul. Legal slave owners throughout history have realised this about fact about their slaves.

This is also the reality of consensual slavery, if not more so than for a legal slave. A consensual slave always has the power to end the relationship by walking away. And she has full legal protection to do so. She can willingly disobey her Master s orders. She might be punished for it, but she does have the free will to disobey if she so desires.

A Master does not possess any special power to suddenly change a girl s thoughts. He may try to convince and persuade her to think certain matters, but that can be done to anyone, slave or not. And still, that person must willingly accept the change of thought. A Master can tell a girl to commit certain actions, but that is control of her body not her mind. And I am sure no real time slave would commit any action that she considered a serious violation of her own morality, her own ethical principles.

If a slave was ordered to kill someone, or sever her own arm, I seriously doubt she would do so. And if she did, she would probably need serious psychological help. Even the Gor novels indicate the truth of this matter. How many slaves, who are considered excellent slaves with many years of training, show wilful disobedience at times? They retain their minds no matter how long their bondage. They may accept certain matters about their slavery, but it is their own voluntary acceptance. It is not an idea that their Master has forcefully changed.

Thus, a  Gorean  slave would be in a similar situation to a  Gorean  free man or free woman. To be  Gorean,  they would all have to follow the Gorean philosophy. And I fully believe that a slave can do so, can follow a Gorean philosophy. I do not believe the tenets of Gorean philosophy would conflict with her slavery.

In fact, they are likely to support such a condition. I have never heard anyone argue that any tenet of Gorean philosophy would conflict with someone who is a Gorean slave. Though to be honest, I have heard few people state that slaves also follow a Gorean philosophy. Most people do not seem to believe that it is possible for them to do so. They feel that the Master has the power to prevent them from doing so.

Now, a Gorean slave would tend to be owned by a Gorean Master. They could be owned by a non-Gorean Master but that would be a rarity. Now, if she were owned by a Gorean Master, then by definition her Master would also follow a Gorean philosophy. And if both of them, Master and slave, followed a Gorean philosophy, then there would be far less chance there would be any conflicts.

Logically, why would a Gorean man want his slave to oppose the Gorean philosophy? Why would he ever command her to commit acts against the philosophy? It makes far more sense that a Gorean Master would encourage his slave s acceptance and adherence to the Gorean philosophy.

Now, technically a Gorean Master could order his slave to commit an act against the philosophy. But why would he? And if he did, would that not indicate that his own adherence to the Gorean philosophy was lacking in some respect? I don t think this would be a common occurrence, and if it were, I would seriously question the Master s beliefs in the philosophy.

A man who values the Gorean philosophy certainly would not be encouraging others not to follow it. What should a slave do if confronted with such a dilemma, of being ordered to violate the philosophy? Obviously this would be best answered on a case-by-case basis. A girl could always disobey her Master and accept her punishment rather than violate the philosophy. That might be her best option in some situations. But, such dilemma should be a rarity, if at all. It might occur more if a Gorean slave had a non-Gorean Master.

Now, if one thus accepts that a Gorean slave does follow the Gorean philosophy, then the next important question arises,  What is the Gorean philosophy?  Obviously this is an extremely important question for all, not just slaves. But, the answers are not simple or short. And they should be addressed in their essays.

The scope of this essay was only to define what is meant by a  Gorean  slave. And that answer is simple, though possessing much depth.

Essentially, what defines a  Gorean  slave, as it defines any  Gorean,  is that she follows a Gorean philosophy.

Written by Ubar Luther in

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Gorean Morality & Nietzsche

The Goreans have very different notions of morality from those of Earth.

Marauders of Gor, p.7

     It seems simple enough that to be Gorean is to embrace a different notion of morality, how one determines what is right and wrong, than what most people of Earth embrace.  Morality has long been a significant aspect of philosophy, at least since the time of Socrates, who is largely credited with being the first philosophy concerned with such issues.  To follow a philosophy, but to exclude its morality, would be incomplete, rejecting an essential element.  How can one be Gorean yet reject Gorean morality?  How can one be Gorean and embrace Earth morality, sometime so different from Gorean morality?

      Certainly can easily define what it means to be  Gorean  in any way they desire.  It could even be defined as to exclude the necessity of Gorean morality.  Yet is that not simply defining  Gorean  as to one s own personal preferences?  Is that not creating a biased definition, a more subjective than objective one?  If the books clearly state that Gorean morality is different than Earth morality, then why shouldn’t Gorean morality be essential to being Gorean?  And if Gorean morality can be ignored, then what other aspects of Gorean philosophy can also be ignored? 

      If we accept the significance of Gorean morality to being Gorean then we next need to determine and explain the nature of Gorean morality.  Fortunately the books provide a lengthy passage that largely does that.  In addition, there are a number of other passages in the books that support this view of Gorean morality.  Yet for some strange reason, the following is not one of the passages that often gets discussed.  It is not a passage that is commonly seen on Gorean websites or message boards.  Why is that so?  We can try to address that answer later.  For now, let us present that passage.     

        I wondered how men should live.  In my chair I had thought long on such matters.

      I knew only that I did not know the answer to this question.  Yet it is an important question, is it not?  Many wise men give wise answers to this question, and yet they do not agree among themselves.

     Only the simple, the fools, the unreflective, the ignorant, know the answer to this question.

     Perhaps to a question this profound the answer cannot be known.  Perhaps it is a question too deep to be answered.  Yet we do know there are false answers to such a question.  This suggests that there may be a true answer, for how can there be falsity without truth?

     One thing seems clear to me, that a morality which produces guilt and self-torture, which results in anxiety and agony, which shortens life spans, cannot be the answer.  

     Many of the competitive moralities of Earth are thus mistaken.

     But what is not mistaken? 

     The Goreans have very different notions of morality from those of Earth.

     Yet who is to say who is the more correct?

     I envy sometimes the simplicities of those of Earth, and those of Gor, who, creatures of their conditioning, are untroubled by such matters, but I would not be as either of them.  If either should be correct it is for them no more than a lucky coincidence.  They would have fallen into truth, but to take truth for granted is not to know it.  Truth not won is not possessed.  We are not entitled to truths for which we have not fought.

     Do we not learn to live by doing, as we learn to speak by speaking, to paint by painting, to build by building?

     Those who know best how to live, sometimes it seems to me, are those least likely to be articulate in such skills.  It is not that they have not learned but, having learned, they find they cannot tell what they know, for only words can be told, and what is learned in living is more than words, other than words, beyond words.  We can say,  This building is beautiful,  but we do not learn the beauty of the building from the words; the building it is which teaches us its beauty; and how can one speak the beauty of the building, as it is?  Does one say that it has so many pillars, that it has a roof of a certain type, and such?  Can one simply say,  The building is beautiful?   Yes, one can say that but what one learns when one sees the beauty of the building cannot be spoken; it is not words; it is the building s beauty.

     The morality of Earth, from the Gorean point of view, is a morality which would be viewed as more appropriate to slaves than free men.  It would be seen in terms of the envy and resentment of inferiors for their superiors.  It lays great stress on equalities and being humble and being pleasant and avoiding friction and being ingratiating and small.  It is a morality in the best interest of slaves, who would be only too eager to be regarded as the equals of others.  We are all the same.  That is the hope of slaves; that is what it is in their interest to convince others of.  The Gorean morality on the other hand is more one of inequalities, based on the assumption that individuals are not the same, but quite different in many ways.  It might be said to be, though this is oversimple, a morality of masters.  Guilt is almost unknown in Gorean morality, though shame and anger are not.  Many Earth moralities encourage resignation and accommodation; Gorean morality is bent more toward conquest and defiance; many Earth moralities encourage tenderness, pity and gentleness, sweetness; Gorean morality encourages honor, courage, hardness and strength.  To Gorean morality many Earth moralities might ask,  Why so hard?   To these Earth moralities, the Gorean ethos might ask,  Why so soft?

     I have sometimes thought that the Goreans might do well to learn something of tenderness, and, perhaps, that those of Earth might do well to learn something of hardness.  But I do not know how to live.  I have sought the answers, but I have not found them.  The morality of slaves says,  You are equal to me; we are both the same ; the morality of masters says,  We are not equal; we are not the same; become equal to me; then we will be the same.   The morality of slaves reduces all to bondage; the morality of masters encourages all to attain, if they can, the heights of freedom.  I know of no prouder, more self-reliant, more magnificent creature than the free Gorean, male or female; they are often touchy, and viciously tempered, but they are seldom petty or small; moreover they do not hate and fear their bodies or their instincts;  when they restrain themselves it is a victory over titanic forces; not the consequence of a slow metabolism; but sometimes they do not restrain themselves; they do not assume that their instincts and blood are enemies and spies; saboteurs in the house of themselves; they know them and welcome them as part of their persons; they are as little suspicious of them as the cat of its cruelty, or the lion of its hunger; their desire for vengeance, their will to speak out and defend themselves, their lust, they regard as intrinsically and gloriously a portion of themselves as their hearing and their thinking.  Many Earth moralities make people little; the object of Gorean morality, for all its faults, is to make people free and great.  These objectives are quite different it is clear to see.  Accordingly, one would expect that the implementing moralities would, also, be considerably different.  

(Marauders of Gor, p.7-9)

      What is the context of this passage?  At the start of Marauders of Gor, Tarl Cabot is sitting alone in the great hall within his residence in Port Kar.  The left side of his body is paralyzed, an effect of wounds he suffered at the edge of the northern forests, possibility caused by poison.  He begins thinking about how a person should live, something he has done often while sitting in this chair after his paralyzation.  He then compares the moralities of Gor to those of Earth.  

     If we examine this passage, we see that Norman is stating that  many  Earth moralities, but not all, are  slave moralities.   He does not specifically identify which Earth moralities fall into that category but explains generalities about such moralities.  Thus, one can examine for oneself which Earth moralities meet the conditions that Norman has outlined.  In addition, Norman does not specifically identify the nature of Gorean morality, again providing generalities so that one can identify on their own to what he refers.  Are the answers difficult?  Can one easily identify the missing pieces?  Has Norman provided sufficient clues to this puzzle?

      To some individuals, the concepts within the above passage will seem very familiar.  They will resonate within certain people, those who have a familiarity with the source material.  Thus, the answers will be quite obvious to them.  For others, who lack knowledge of the source material, the answers will be more difficult to discern.  And there is a good chance that one might come to an incorrect conclusion.  Especially as most people on Earth are unfamiliar with certain types of morality, and thus would not readily think of those unknown moralities as possible solutions.    

     This is one possible reason why this passage is rarely discussed online.  For if numerous people are unsure as to the meaning of the passage, they may not wish to show their ignorance and raise the issue.  There often seems to be a reluctance to ask questions, and thus evidence that one may not know something.  Especially if such individuals claim that they are  Gorean.   For if they claim to be  Gorean,  but cannot identify what Gorean morality entails, then asking questions could reflect poorly on their claim to be  Gorean.

      Master morality vs. slave morality.  Hardness vs. softness.  Inequality vs equality.  Resentment.  Cruelty.  These terms and concepts did not originate with Norman.  In fact, Norman essentially paraphrased some key elements from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, a famous and controversial German philosopher of the nineteenth century.  So, to better understand what Norman intended, one needs to examine Nietzsche s view in this area.  Norman did not add to or alter Nietzsche s views in the above passage.  Thus, it appears he is adopting Nietzsche s beliefs concerning morality for Gor.

     If one feels Nietzsche is irrelevant to a discussion of Gorean morality, then one must address the reasons why Norman clearly paraphrased Nietzsche s views.  Why would Norman do so if he did not intend to rely on Nietzsche s views?  Where is the evidence that Norman s views differ from Nietzsche in this regard?  If it does differ, how does it then differ from Nietzsche?  It is only logical that if Norman paraphrased Nietzsche when discussing Gorean morality, then Norman intended to use Nietzsche s view on morality to explain Gorean morality.  And if one delves deeper into the subject, one will find much support for this proposition within the Gor novels.

      Although the beginnings of Nietzsche s views on morality can be found in his earlier works, such as Daybreak and Human, All Too Human, it first was stated in full within Beyond Good and Evil and then later expanded in On the Genealogy of Morals.  It is these two later books that address  master morality  and  slave morality.   Nietzsche praised master morality and saw slave morality as detrimental to mankind.  At its simplest, master morality is based on virtue ethics and is best exemplified by the ancient Athenian Greeks.  Slave morality is based on action-centered/rules based morality and derives from feelings of resentment against superiors, oppressors and masters.  It is best exemplified by Christianity, Judaism and Kant. 

     So, let us now read a sampling of some quotes from Nietzsche concerning such morality.  This will then give us some understanding of Nietzsche s views and how they apply to Gorean morality.

Beyond Good & Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche 

       This inversion of values (which includes using the word  poor  as synonymous with  holy  and  friend ) constitutes the significance of the Jewish people: they mark the beginning of the slave rebellion in morals.  (Part 5, Chapter 195) 

       In the beginning, the noble caste was always the barbarian caste: their predominance did not lie mainly in physical strength but in strength of the soul they were more whole human beings (which also means, at every level,  more whole beasts ). (Part 9, Chapter 257) 

      Their fundamental faith simply has to be that society must not exist for society s sake but only as the foundation and scaffolding on which a choice type of being is able to raise itself to its higher task and to a higher state of being—    (Part 9, Chapter 258) 

      There are master morality and slave morality I add immediately that in all the higher and more mixed cultures there also appear attempts at mediation between these two moralities, and yet more often the interpenetration and mutual misunderstandings of both, and at times they occur directly alongside each other even in the same human being, within a single soul.  The moral discrimination of values has originated either among a ruling group whose consciousness of its difference from the ruled group was accompanied by delight or among the ruled, the slaves and dependents of every degree.

      In the first case, when the ruling group determines what is  good,  these exalted, proud states of the soul are experienced as conferring distinction and determining the order of rank.  The noble human being separates from himself those in whom the opposite of such exalted, proud states finds expression: he despises them.  It should be noted immediately that in this first type of morality the opposition of  good  and  bad  means approximately the same as  noble  and  contemptible.   (The opposition of  good  and  evil  has a different origin.)  One feels contempt for the cowardly, the anxious, the petty, those intent on narrow utility; also for the suspicious with their unfree glances, those who humble themselves, the doglike people who allow themselves to be maltreated, the begging flatterers, above all the liars; it is part of the fundamental faith of all aristocrats that the common people lie.   We truthful ones  thus the nobility of ancient Greece referred to itself.   (Part 9, Chapter 260) 

      It is obvious that moral designations were everywhere first applied to human beings and only later, derivatively, to actions.   (Part 9, Chapter 260) 

       The noble type of man experiences itself as determining values; it does not need approval; it judges,  what is harmful to me is harmful in itself ; it knows itself to be that which first accords honor to things; it is value creating.  Everything it knows as part of itself it honors; such a morality is self-glorification.  In the foreground there is the feeling of fullness, of power that seeks to overflow, the happiness of high tension, the consciousness of wealth that would give and bestow: the noble human being, too, helps the unfortunate, but not, or almost not, from pity, but prompted more by an urge begotten by excess of power.  The noble human being honors himself as one who is powerful, also as one who has power over himself, who knows how to speak and be silent, who delights in being severe and hard with himself and respects all severity and hardness.   (Part 9, Chapter 260) 

       It is the powerful who understand how to honor; this is their art, their realm of invention.  The profound reverence for age and tradition all law rests on this double reverence the faith and prejudice in favor of ancestors and disfavor of those yet to come are typical of the morality of the powerful; and when the men of  modern ideas,  conversely, believe almost instinctively in  progress  and  the future  and more and more lack respect for age, this in itself would sufficiently betray the ignoble origin of these  ideas.    (Part 9, Chapter 260) 

       According to slave morality, those who are  evil  thus inspire fear; according to master morality it is precisely those who are  good  that inspire, and wish to inspire fear, while the  bad  are felt to be contemptible.  (Part 9, Chapter 260) 

       Wherever slave morality becomes preponderant, language tends to bring the words  good  and  stupid  closer together.  (Part 9, Chapter 260)

The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche

      A certain amount of historical and philological training together with a native fastidiousness in matters of psychology, before long transformed this problem into another, to wit,  Under what conditions did man construct the value judgments good and evil?   And what is their intrinsic worth?  Have they thus far benefited or retarded mankind?  Do they betoken misery, curtailment, degeneracy or, on the contrary, power, fullness of being, energy, courage in the face of life, and confidence in the future?  (Preface, Chapter III) 

       , that it was the Jews who started the slave revolt in morals; a revolt with two millenia of history behind it, which we have lost sight of today simply because it has triumphed so completely.  (First Essay, Chapter VII) 

      But what is all this talk about nobler values?  Let us face facts: the people have triumphed or the slaves, the mob, the herd, whatever you wish to call them and if the Jews brought it about, then no nation ever had a more universal mission on this earth.  The lords are a thing of the past, and the ethics of the common man is completely triumphant. (First Essay, Chapter VIII) 

      The slave revolt in morals begins by rancor turning creative and giving birth to values the rancor of beings who, deprived of the direct outlet of action, compensate by an imaginary vengeance.  (First Essay, Chapter VIII) 

      All truly noble morality grows out of triumphant self-affirmation.  (First Essay, Chapter VIII) 

      Slave ethics, on the other hand, begins by saying no to an  outside,  an  other,  a non-self, and that no is its creative act.  This reversal of direction of the evaluating look, this invariable looking outward instead of inward, is a fundamental feature of rancor.  Slave ethics requires for its inception a sphere different from and hostile to its own.  Physiologically speaking, it requires an outside stimulus in order to act at all; all its action is reaction.  The opposite is true of aristocratic valuations; such values grow and act spontaneously, seeking out their contraries only in order to affirm themselves even more gratefully and delightedly.  Here the negative concepts, humble, base, bad, are late, pallid counterparts of the positive, intense and passionate credo,  We noble, good, beautiful, happy ones.   (First Essay, Chapter X) 

      Whereas the noble lives before his own conscience with confidence and frankness (gennaios  nobly bred  emphasizes the nuance  truthful  and perhaps also  ingenuous ), the rancorous person is neither truthful nor ingenuous nor honest and forthright with himself.  His soul squints; his mind loves hide-outs, secret paths, and back doors; everything that is hidden seems to him his own world, his security, his comfort; he is expert in silence, in long memory, in waiting, in provisional self-depreciation, and in self-humiliation. (First Essay, Chapter X) 

      When a noble man feels resentment, it is absorbed in his instantaneous reaction and therefore does not poison him.  Moreover, in countless cases where we might expect it, it never arises, while with weak and impotent people it occurs without fail.  (First Essay, Chapter X) 

      The exact opposite is true of the noble-minded, who spontaneously creates the notion good, and later derives from it the conception of the bad.  How ill-matched these two concepts look, placed side by side: the bad of noble origin, and the evil that has risen out of the cauldron of unquenched hatred!  The first is a by-product, a complementary color, almost an afterthought; the second is the beginning, the original creative act of slave ethics.  (First Essay, Chapter XI) 

      But neither is the conception of good the same in both cases, as we soon find out when we ask ourselves who it is that is really evil according to the code of rancor.  The answer is: precisely the good one of the opposite code, that is reenvisaged by the poisonous eye of resentment.  (First Essay, Chapter XI) 

      The Romans were the strongest and most noble people who ever lived.  Every vestige of them, every least inscription, is a sheer delight, provided we are able to read the spirit behind the writing.  (First Essay, Chapter XVI) 

     Now, some of the above quotes may seem difficult to comprehend.  Nietzsche is not the easiest of philosophers to understand, for several different reasons.  So, it can be beneficial to rely on other philosophers to assist in deciphering the meaning of Nietzsche s words, helping to build our comprehension.  So, let us present another sampling of quotes which can hopefully benefit our understanding. 

What Nietzsche Really Said by Robert C. Solomon & Kathleen M. Higgins (Schocken Books 2000)

      The watchword of Nietzsche s ethics comes, predictably, from the ancients, in this case from the Greek poet, Pindar (522-438 B.C.E.).  Nietzsche writes, over and over again,  Become who you are!   (Page 105) 

       Each of us, Nietzsche says, has a unique set of virtues, but by thinking that what we really are is defined by a set of general rules or principles (categorical imperatives), we deny that uniqueness and sacrifice those virtues to the bland and anonymous category of  being a good person.   (Page 106) 

      It is not that Nietzsche wants to defend immorality but rather that he wants to defend the idea of human excellence that defines his ethics.   (Page 106) 

       To live a good life one must live in a great city  was a platitude among the ancients.   (Page 107) 

      Nietzsche, to put the matter simply, is more like Aristotle than like Kant.  In contemporary terminology, he defends an ethics of virtue rather than an ethics of rational principles or obligations.   (Page 107) 

      What Nietzsche sometimes condemns as  herd morality  he also describes as  slave morality,  a morality fit for slaves and servants.   (Page 108) 

      Morality, in the singular sense presented in the Bible and defended by Kant, is slave morality.  In its most crude forms it consists of general principles imposed from above (by the rulers or by God) that yoke and constrain the individual.  In its subtler and more sophisticated forms, that external authority is relocated internally in the faculty of reason, for example.  But what is most characteristic of Morality in either its crude or its sophisticated forms is that it is mainly prohibitive and constraining rather than inspiring.   (Page 108-9) 

      Master morality, by contrast, is an ethics of virtue, an ethics in which personal excellence is primary.   (Page 109) 

      Achieving excellence is precisely what makes one happy, according to both Nietzsche and Aristotle.   (Page 109) 

       Slaves do not like themselves, so the idea of becoming who you are is not particularly appealing.   (Page 110) 

      Master morality takes as its watchword  Become who you are,  and whether or not one turns out to be like anyone else, or even whether or not one is acceptable to others, are matters of no concern.   (Page 110) 

      Putting it simply, one might summarize master morality as  being myself, and getting what I want,  with the understanding that what one is and what one wants may be quite refined and noble.  (To interpret  getting what I want  as an expression of selfishness reflects an impoverishment of desire, a sure sign of slave morality.)  Not getting what one wants is bad, not necessarily in any larger sense (such as causing disastrous consequences for the community, or violating God s laws and inviting divine retribution) but simply because it falls short of one s own aspirations and ideals.   (Page 110) 

      For the slaves, by contrast, getting what one wants is just too difficult, too unlikely, too implausible.  Slaves do not like themselves, so the idea of becoming who you are is not particularly appealing.   (Page 110)

      But one might say that the perspective of master morality is in fact an aesthetic perspective.  It has to do with what is beautiful and excellent rather than what is right or obligatory.  Slave morality, by contrast, has only to do with good and evil; aesthetic considerations are ruled out, and the ominousness of evil dominates the conversation.   (Page 110-111)   

      In slave morality, the simple distinction between good and bad gets replaced by the metaphysical distinction between good and evil.   (Page 111) 

      The contrast between slave morality and master morality ultimately comes down to this emotional difference: that the slave nurtures resentment until it  poisons  him, while the master, noble and self-secure, expresses his feelings and frustrations.   (Page 114) 

      Nietzsche s emphasis on nobility and resentment in his account of master and slave morality is an attempt to stress character, motivation, and virtue (and with them, tradition and culture) above all else in ethics.  A Master morality of nobility is an expression of good, strong character.   (Page 115) 

      But one might say that the perspective of master morality is in fact an aesthetic perspective.  It has to do with what is beautiful and excellent rather than what is right or obligatory.  Slave morality, by contrast, has only to do with good and evil; aesthetic considerations are ruled out, and the ominousness of evil dominates the conversation.   (Page 210-211)     

Living With Nietzsche: What the Great “Immoralist” Has to Teach Us by Robert C. Solomon (Oxford University Press 2003)

“Slavish values tend to deny joy and celebrate seriousness, decry risk and danger and emphasize security. They encourage cautious reflection and reject or demean passion and ‘instinct.’ In short, they “say ‘no’ to life.” (Page 21)

“Nietzsche’s theory of morality is suggested in his ‘middle works” Daybreak and Gay Science but first fully spelled out in Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and, especially, in his On the Genealogy of Morals (1887).” (Page 25)

“He contends that what we call ‘morality’ originated among the miserable slaves, the Lumpenproletariat of the ancient world (that is, the lowest classes of society, a term introduced by Marx.) Morality continues to be motivated by the servile and resentful emotions of those who are ‘poor in spirit’ and feel themselves to be inferior. ‘Morality,’ however brilliantly rationalized by Immanuel Kant as the dictates of Practical Reason or by the utilitarians as ‘greatest good for the greatest number,’ is essentially the devious strategy of the weak to gain some advantage (or at least not be at a disadvantage) vis- -vis the strong.” (Page 25-26)

“He contrasts slave morality with what he variously calls ‘noble’ and ‘master’ morality, which he presents much more positively.” (Page 44)

“Slave morality, according to Nietzsche, is obsessed with the category of evil, and its virtues are for the most part banal and mere obedience.” (Page 52)

“The core claim of virtue ethics is the importance of moral character and virtues of character in determining moral worth.” (Page 54)

“An action performed out of noble sentiments is a noble action, even if the act itself turns out to be rather insignificant and inconsequential. An action expressing vicious sentiments will be vicious, even if (through error in judgment, by chance or by some sublime act of fate) it turns out to have benign consequences.” (Page 54)

“Resentment, for example, is above all an emotion obsessed with power and status-or rather, with the comparative lack of them. An ethics based on resentment, then, would strive ultimately to satisfy the resentment, even at the expense of pleasure and happiness.” (Page 55-56)

“The emotions, according to Nietzsche, can be divided into two categories. In Twilight, he famously refers to these as the ‘life-enhancing’ and the ‘life-stultifying’ passions.” (Page 81-82)

“Among those passions Nietzsche recognizes as ‘life-stultifying,’ the one which he by far spends most of his energy attacking is the singularly malevolent emotion of resentment, which he calls ressentiment.” (Page 89)

“Slave morality, he tells us, is a defensive reaction against the values of the more powerful, a reaction that is born of resentment.” (Page 89)

“Resentment is most obviously directed against others (as opposed to love and pity, for instance), but unlike hatred and contempt, for instance, it does so from a marked perspective of inferiority. Rather than taking responsibility for one’s own inferior position, resentment always projects the responsibility onto other people (or groups or institutions). Simply stated, resentment is a vitriolic emotion that is always aimed outward and whose presupposition is one’s own sense of oppression or inferiority.” (Page 90)

“The ancient Hebrews and then the early Christians, Nietzsche argues, simmered with resentment against their ancient masters and concocted a fabulous philosophical strategy. Instead of seeing themselves as failures in the competition for wealth and power, they turned the tables (‘revalued’) their values and turned their resentment into self-righteousness. Morality is the product of this self-righteous resentment, which is not nearly so concerned with living the good life as it is with chastising those who do live it.” (Page 90)

“Resentment undermines claims to authority, according to Nietzsche, because it is essentially pathetic. It is an expression of weakness and impotence. Nietzsche is against resentment because it is an emotion of the weak that the strong and powerful do not and cannot feel.” (Page 92)

“Resentment is an emotion that does not promote personal excellent but rather dwells on competitive strategy and thwarting others. It does not do what a virtue or a proper motive ought to do-fore Nietzsche as for Aristotle-and that is to inspire excellence and self-confidence in both oneself and others.” (Page 92)

“What is wrong with resentment is that it interferes with the good life as Nietzsche conceives of it, a life of rich ‘inner’ experience as opposed to a life of reaction against external threats and slights. It is thus a life-demeaning and life-stultifying emotion.” (Page 101)

“I said that resentment is an emotion that is distinguished, first of all, by its concern and involvement with power. It is the self-recognition of one’s own inferiority, and a desperate attempt nevertheless to salvage or create what power one can. Resentment is life-stultifying because it focuses all of one’s energy on this salvage attempt.” (Page 102)

“But physical and military prowess is not the ‘power” that Nietzsche is endorsing, “ (Page 105)

“Buts as so often in Nietzsche, morality, strength, and weakness get viewed in aesthetic terms.” (Page 106)

In Birth of Tragedy, he says that the Greeks were ‘beautiful’ because they had the strength to endure their suffering and render it creative.” (Page 106)

“What was ‘beautiful’ and ‘noble’ in the Greeks was their ‘self-overcoming,’ not their blithe self-confidence.” (Page 106)

“Slaves, by contrast, are ‘ugly’ because they are banal and boring. Their demeanor is servile and timid. They protect themselves with humorless, submissive smiles, withour character.” (Page 106)

“Nietzsche insisted instead that life is not meaningless. Life is good, even if it is filled with suffering. The Greeks knew this. That is why, in Nietzsche’s words, ‘they were so beautiful.’ (Page 117)

“But what is critical to an ethics of practice is not the absence of rules; it is rather the overriding importance of the concept of excellence or virtue (ar te).” (Page 122)

“Nietzsche’s ethics, like Aristotle’s, can best be classified in introductory ethics readers as an ethics of ‘self-realization.’ ‘Become who you are’ is the slogan in the middle writings: the telos of the Ubermensch serves as an ideal from Thus Spake Zarathustra on. Indeed, who is the Ubermensch if not Aristotle’s megalopsychos, ‘the great-souled man’ from whom Nietzsche even borrows much of his master-type’ terminology. He is the ideal who ‘deserves and claims great things.'” (Page 129-30)

“The rejection of bourgeois morality does not dictate cruelty but rather places an emphasis on excellence. The will to power is not Reich but Macht and not supremacy but superiority.” (Page 130)

“Though Nietzsche may shock us with his elitist and warrior language, the Ubermenschen near to his heart are his aesthetic comrades, ‘philosophers, saints and artists.’ The unspoken but always present thesis is this: It is in the romantic practice of artistic creativity that modern excellence can be achieved and in an exquisite sense of personal taste and experience that it is realized.” (Page 130-31)

“Elitism is not itself an ethics. Indeed, I think both Aristotle and Nietzsche might well object to it as such. It is rather the presupposition that people’s talents and abilities differ. It is beginning with what is the case.” (Page 131)

“The purpose of an ethics is to maximize people’s potential, to encourage the most and best from all of them, but more by far from the best of them.” (Page 131)

“It is the simple recognition that true talents (and the cultures that encourage their development) are very rare. It is also the recognition that any universal rule-however ingeniously formulated and equally applied-will be disadvantageous to someone, especially if it is the development of artistic talent and not politics that we have in mind. It is also an enormous waste as well as unfair (both authors worry more about the former than the latter) for the strong to be limited by the weak, the productive limited by the unproductive, the creative limited by the uncreative.” (Page 131)

“It will not do to mask the point by saying that elitism does not treat people unequally, only differently. It presumes inequality from the outset and defends it by appeal to the larger picture. Aristotle does this by appeal to the well-being of the city-state and the natural order of things, Nietzsche by a more abstract but very modern romantic appeal to human creativity.” (Page 131)

“What is essential to this view of ethics-let us not call it elitist ethics but rather an ethics of virtue, areteic ethics-is that the emphasis is wholly on excellence, a teleological conception. The virtues are both conducive to and constitutive of rich, aesthetic experience, and it is such experience that justifies both the virtues and the life that embraces them.” (Page 131)

“What counts for much less is obedience of rules, laws, and principles, for one can be wholly obedient and also dull, unproductive, unimaginative, and a philistine.” (Page 131)

“He advocated a very different way of thinking about ethics, one that encouraged living life to the fullest and cultivating a rich inner life.” (Page 137)

“What is ultimately good, according to this viewpoint, is virtuous character, a person with the right virtues, a person with integrity or what Nietzsche calls ‘nobility.'” (Page 137)

“There is much they share in common, beginning with the warrior culture that Aristotle lived in and Nietzsche fantasized through his reading of the Greeks. Thus courage, for both of them, is the chief virtue, the one that provides something for all of the others.” (Page 139)

“Another critical shared feature, natural to the Greek ar te but lost in the translation to German Tugend or English virtue, is the linkage between virtue and excellence, that is, extraordinary achievement rather than merely appropriate behavior. Nietzsche, like Aristotle, is interested in the ‘great-souled man,’ the hero-aristocrat, not just ‘being a good person.'”(Page 139)

“Philosophically, what is of particular interest is that neither of their accounts of the virtues makes very much use of the supposedly basic distinction between ‘moral’ and non-moral’ virtues.” (Page 139)

“.., I would suggest we follow Swanton, who defines a virtue as “a trait-specifically a human excellence whose possession tends to enable, facilitate, make natural the possessor’s promoting, expressing, honoring, and appreciating value; or enhancing, expressing, honoring or appreciating valuable objects or states of affairs which are valuable.” The emphasis on excellent is important because I would read Nietzsche as insisting that no virtue is good ‘in itself,’ but only as it contributes to something else of value, such as personal style and character, the production of beauty, an ecstatic personal experience, or the cultural enrichment of society.” (Page 140)

“It is unfortunate, perhaps, that although Nietzsche clearly wants to defend aesthetic and artistic values and virtues, he so enjoys warrior-like metaphors that his perspective is easily lost or misread as something brutal and cruel.” (Page 140)

“But more generally, Nietzsche defends a conception of ethics that has not (and had not) been adequately appreciated, either in contemporary ethics or in nineteenth-century German philosophy. And that is an ethics that focuses on the virtues and excellence, and the aesthetic virtues and excellences in particular.” (Page 142)

“I have already suggested that courage, for Nietzsche as for Aristotle, serves as a key virtue and something of a prototype for all of the virtues. But for Nietzsche as for Aristotle, courage is not limited to or for that matter mainly concerned with battlefield bravery that both of them take as their apparent paradigm (or, in Nietzsche’s case, as his most prevalent source of metaphors). There is, as I mentioned, the courage of one’s convictions, which in the case of iconoclast Nietzsche was certainly more of a challenge than for good-old-boy Aristotle. There is the courage of facing up to life,  “ (Page 148)

“Indeed, one tempting way to summarize Nietzsche’s entire ethics is to say, like Confucius, that all moral values become aesthetic values, and one should look at one’s life, as at the world, through aesthetic lenses, as ‘a work of art.'” (Page 163)

“To see the world as beautiful, despite suffering, even because of suffering, remains one of his most explicit aspirations throughout his philosophy and one that he would certainly urge upon us.” (Page 163)

“Nietzsche’s insistence on ‘hardness,’ too, is misunderstood, typically as part of his dubious campaign against compassion and pity. But, Nietzsche put a strong emphasis on self-discipline.” (Page 170)

     The above is a lot of material to digest.  But, after a careful examination and analysis of this information, comparing it to Gorean philosophy and morality, one will see the obvious applicability.  And one will better comprehend what it means to be Gorean.  Simply, Gorean morality is a type of virtue ethics, a master morality. 

Written by Ubar Luther in

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What is the Philosophy of GOR?

Written by Marcus of Ar in 1996

by _Marcus_ of Ar


That is a difficult question to answer; there are as many philosophies upon Gor as there are people to embrace them. Rather than ask what is the philosophy of Gor, perhaps it is better to examine ALL of the philosophies of Gor, and try to discover the unifying factors which they have in common. These, then, are the basic tenets upon which Gorean philosophy is based.

Throughout the 25 books which make up the chronicles of the Counter-Earth, certain principles and beliefs are often repeated, which the narrator proclaims are widely held by Goreans in general.

I have selected several of these, the principles which in my opinion seem to be the foundation for the basic Gorean system of ethics:

1) Be WHAT you are: Similar in many respects to a tenet set forth by the Earth philosopher Marcus Aurelius; namely that each thing which exists possesses its own unique singularity. When a thing attempts to be something it is not, problems arise. A man is a man; a woman is a woman; a tree is a tree; a flower is a flower. To the Gorean mind, it is foolish for anything to assume the properties of another thing.Therefore, each person is required to understand his or her basic nature, and to abide by it. According to such a tenet, therefore, it is assumed that there are needs, desires and activities which are specifically masculine, and those which are specifically feminine. Though the lines may blur at times, when all things are reduced to their basic forms, each thing is appreciated and celebrated for its own uniqueness, and is not forced to assume properties of another, different, thing.

2) Be WHO you are: This tenet applies in regard to a person’s existence in society and the caste structure. It takes into account the fact that everyone possesses certain talents and abilities from birth, regardless of their familial caste. Therefore, upon Gor a person is free to alter or raise his or her caste on the basis of ability, though it is rarely done, since most Goreans value their familial caste as a badge of their clan identity. But the above principle also applies in regard to freedom and slavery. To the Gorean mindset, each person is born with a desire for freedom, and an innate slave nature. A person’s proper place in society is dependant upon how these two factors are balanced within the personality of that particular Gorean. Most Goreans believe that anyone who has within them a burning desire to exist free of strictures will not suffer slavery, dying rather than submitting to bonditude. A person who has within them a strong slave nature, the desire to be controlled and commanded, will eventually succumb to their inner need to serve others, free of all responsibility to things other than themselves and their service.

3) Obey the Natural Order of things: This tenet applies to the way Goreans view the world around them. They feel it is futile to attempt to disregard the effect of hundreds of generations of evolution. If a creature is naturally genetically equipped to fulfill a specific function in relation to another, then it is considered fitting and proper that such a creature be allowed to do so, even when such natural predisposition might result in stratification. In regards to human beings, it is understood that stronger, more intelligent, and more ambitious human beings will naturally assume a higher social strata in regards to their interaction with the less strong, less intelligent, and less ambitious. In regard to male/female sexual relations, it is therefore the right of the male, who is genetically predisposed for physical dominance, to control the physical aspects of his relationship to the female. In return, he is expected to behave as the hunter/provider, seeing to the protection of the female to insure the propagation of the race. Females, meanwhile, who tend to be smaller and less physically powerful, are expected to respect the biological truths of their lesser physical stature, while making the most of their genetic predisposition to serve and aid the male, and utilizing their superior emotional empathy and long-term endurance to do so while surviving and advancing the species. Not all women, therefore, are slaves, though the female sex is often referred to by males as “the slave sex.” Gorean females are simply expected to respect and understand that they are less able in areas requiring raw physical strength than their male counterparts, and adjust their behavior accordingly. When one considers the fact that personal combat to the death is a daily occurrence throughout Gor, such behavior among Gorean women is a wise practice to say the least.

4) Advancement of the Strong: This tenet is similar to that described above; it simply refers to the common Gorean belief that strength, whether it is physical strength, mental strength, or strength of will, should be celebrated and set forth as an example. In this way the Gorean feels he advances the human race, adding to its chances for survival and continued existence.

5) Diminishment of the Causes of Weakness: This principle acts as the inverse to the tenet described above. In order that the human species may grow stronger, it is necessary that the weaker and lesser adaptive elements of Gorean society be carefully controlled and encouraged to grow in strength and adaptability. Anti-social elements are to be excised from society through restriction of citizenship, or confined and rehabilitated. Warfare and enforced captivity are two methods by which this last end is accomplished upon the surface of the planet Gor.

6) Do what you will: This is one of the key principles to Gorean philosophy; basically, it means that every Gorean is expected to strive within the limits of his or her existence to achieve self-fulfillment and lasting happiness. A Warrior may draw his sword and lead an army to conquer a city, if he is strong enough and fit enough to do so. A free woman may attempt to contract a profitable companionship or to build a financial empire, if she is strong enough and clever enough. Even a slave is expected to seek her deepest self-fulfillment within the bonds of her Master’s chains. In such a manner, each Gorean is expected to strive and achieve something for the collective Gorean society, and struggle to attain perfection within the structure of that society. To the Gorean mind, there are always possibilities for advancement no matter what the situation.

7) Responsibility for One’s Actions: This tenet is based upon the Gorean concept of basic “cause and effect.” It is through the practice of this principle that the rest of the tenets listed above make sense, and function. This is the belief that everyone, no matter how great or humble, chooses the course of his or her destiny. When a warrior draws his sword, he can expect to suffer the consequences. When a Gorean submits to the bonds of slavery, he or she is expected to acknowledge and accept what occurs afterward. In such a way every choice made by every single Gorean is inextricably bound together with the choices of his or her fellow Goreans in a great interlinking web of cause and effect, a massive net of fate which moves the race forward into the future like an unstoppable juggernaut. Do whatever you want to, but expect it to effect you, either for good or ill. You are responsible for yourself.

Excuses are futile and no one wants to hear them anyway. If you screw up, take your medicine, deal with the situation and move on to the next thing. The basic rules and maxims of the various caste codes and the fundamental principles of Gorean interaction seem to be based mostly upon this concept; this, in effect, is the explanation for Gorean “cruelty.” Goreans are not cruel, they are practical. “That which does not kill them makes them stronger,” to paraphrase from Nietzsche.

If you wear the collar of a slave, look like a slave, act like a slave, and do not either fight your way to freedom or die in the attempt, then you must really be one. In any case, you most probably were free at one point… so what happened? You either needed to be a slave, were too weak to stay free, or screwed up really badly somewhere along the way. Whatever the case, deal with it. Life is not fair, and most Goreans are far to practical to try to make it so. Life sucks. If you get hit on the head, don’t waste time crying about it… accept it and next time wear a helmet.

8) Stratification by Natural Process: Superior strength– be it strength of will, strength of body, or strength of mind– will tend naturally to manifest itself among ordered human groupings. Even particulars such as sexual gender do not universally define how matters of strength are involved in the stratification process. Anyone who is stronger will naturally assume a position of dominance, be it mental or physical, over those weaker or less willing to match themselves in human dominance struggles. Therefore, it is categorically incorrect to assign presumed dominance or blanket superiority over anyone, or any one grouping, within the human condition, since these matters tend to be somewhat situational. While human beings are defined to a great extent by their sex, there is no “dominance gene” nor is there any “submission gene.” There are only combinations of heritable genes, each of which will render the individual more prone to certain behaviors than others. These genetic leanings can be circumvented, though typically the act of doing so is costly, both to the individual involved and to the system in which he or she functions.

The final tenet, listed above, has only one interpretation: if anyone, be they male or female, possesses the ability to dominate others, he or she will naturally tend to do so when the opportunity presents itself, even against his or her preexistent genetic propensities. It is when the dominance factor clashes with the biologically engrained sexual selection pressures, and circumvents preprogrammed sexual-based survival behaviors, that the human being becomes, to paraphrase Norman, “a mass of conflicting drives and emotions, more prone to heightened mental stress, physical illness, psychological disease and a substantially shortened lifespan.”

Gorean philosophy is, in many cases, a zero-sum equation. A Gorean must look within himself for the strength to contain his emotions, so that he may see with objectivity what is needed and required to bolster the Gorean philosophies and maintain his honor through positive action.

This, then, is my perception of basic Gorean philosophy. It may not seem fair to you, or perhaps even make much sense from your particular point of view, but I doubt most Goreans care. They have little time for debate, as they are too busy living.

To paraphrase the words of a well known Gorean author: An Earthling might very well examine the principles of Gorean philosophy and ask the question: “Why so hard?”

A Gorean would probably shrug, examine the principles of modern Earth philosophy, and answer with the question: “Why so soft?”

Of course, that’s just an opinion. I could be wrong.


Original copyright © 1996, Marcus of Ar. All Rights Reserved.

Revised, copyright © 2002, Marcus of Ar. All Rights Reserved.

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Warrior Caste – Sayings of the Warriors

Since the saga of the Books of GOR have started back in 1966 many texts have already been written and many persons have spent countless hours studying and sharing information to help others understand better what is GOR.

One of these persons is known as “Ubar Luther” who wrote a series of papers (most seem to be over 15 to 20 years old, but still very up-to-date in many topics) called the “Luther’s Gorean Educational Scrolls” that are still available in I have tried to reach Luther for some time and the contact links seem not to be working, but will keep a look and hope he one day resumes his magnificent writing!

I’m going to share the information of his scroll regarding the Warrior Caste, dividing it into three Posts:

Warrior Sayings

There are also sayings of the warriors which may or may not be actual parts of the codes but which are commonly followed. 

“The bite of the ost to be one of the cruelest ways to die.”  

Outlaw of Gor, p.118

“Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits.”  

Marauders of Gor, p.10

“A warrior takes what he wishes.”  

Outlaw of Gor, p.28

“I am of the Warriors. I will take by the sword what women please me.”  

Beasts of Gor, p.348

“Steel is the coinage of the warrior. With it he purchases what pleases him.”

Marauders of Gor, p.10

“Within the circle of each man’s sword, therein is each man a Ubar.”  

Marauders of Gor, p.10

“Until you find (someone or something), your companion is peril and steel.” 

Priest Kings of Gor, p.307 and Nomads of Gor, p.287

“A sword must drink until its thirst is satisfied.”  

Guardsman of Gor, p.17

“Where weapons may not be carried, it is well to carry weapons.”  

Marauders of Gor, p.41

“Did he think that the color of a fellow’s garments was what made him a warrior? Surely he must realize that one not of the warriors might affect the scarlet, and that one who wore the grimed gray of a peasant, one barefoot, and armed only with the great staff, might be of the scarlet caste. It is not the uniform which makes the warrior, the soldier.”  

Magicians of Gor, p.129

“There are no mere points of honor.”  

Vagabonds of Gor, p.63

“Tears are not unbecoming to the soldier The soldier is a man of deep passions, and emotion. Many men cannot even understand his depths. Do not fear your currents and your powers. In the soldier are flowers and storms. Each is a part of him, and each is real. Accept both. Deny neither.”  

Guardsman of Gor, p.238

“No one can take the scarlet from you, once it is granted, unless it be by the sword.”  

Tribesman of Gor, p.218

“There is no incompatibility between letters and arms. The greatest soldiers are often gifted men.”  

Mercenaries of Gor, p.48

“Many are the causes of Gor and so too, many are the captains. Many captains choose their causes on the scales of merchants, weighing their iron against gold.” 

Mercenaries of Gor, p.48

“Steel can always command a price.”  

Explorers of Gor, p.86

“Causes exist that men may fight.”  

Guardsman of Gor, p.16

“War is a perilous and exhilarating sport, a game of warriors and Ubars.”  

Vagabonds of Gor, p.18

“It is no dishonor to surrender.”  

Beasts of Gor, p.421

“There is a time and place for speaking, as there is a time and place for steel.”  

Slave Girl of Gor, p.269

“Not everyone who is of the Warriors knows that he is of the Warriors.”  

Rogue of Gor, p.317

“Is it not a paradox? Men need us in order to bring about a world in which we may be scorned and disregarded ..Men seldom recall whom it was who brought them the fruits of victory.”  

Beasts of Gor, p.31

“I had heard warriors say that they would rather be poisoned by a woman than slain by an arrow.”  

Raiders of Gor, p.4

“The steel, as is often the case, had seemed to think for itself.”  

Savages of Gor, p.92

“The cynical, mercantile mind will never understand the mind of the soldier.”  

Explorers of Gor, p.229

Written by “Ubar Luther” in

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Warrior Caste – Codes of the Warriors

Since the saga of the Books of GOR have started back in 1966 many texts have already been written and many persons have spent countless hours studying and sharing information to help others understand better what is GOR.

One of these persons is known as “Ubar Luther” who wrote a series of papers (most seem to be over 15 to 20 years old, but still very up-to-date in many topics) called the “Luther’s Gorean Educational Scrolls” that are still available in I have tried to reach Luther for some time and the contact links seem not to be working, but will keep a look and hope he one day resumes his magnificent writing!

I’m going to share the information of his scroll regarding the Warrior Caste, dividing it into three Posts:

Warrior Code

The conduct of the Red Caste is governed primarily by the Warrior Code. The Warrior Code is a rudimentary form of chivalry, emphasizing loyalty to the Pride Chiefs and the Home Stone. It is harsh but with a certain gallantry and sense of honor. All Warriors are supposed to obey this code. The code is never fully laid out in the novels but many important details were given. More information about the Warrior Caste Codes was given in the novels than for any other Caste. Certain quotes help to delineate the importance of the Codes to Warriors. 

“What are the codes? They are nothing, and everything. They are a bit of noise, and the steel of the heart. They are meaningless and all significant. They are the difference. Without the codes men would be Kurii.”

Beasts of Gor, p.340

“What is it to be a warrior? It is to keep the codes. Nothing else matters.”

Beasts of Gor, p.340

“One does not speak to a slave of the codes.” 

Beasts of Gor, p.340

Yet, a number of Goreans acknowledge that the Codes may not be absolute. There may arise situations not covered by the Codes. Or there may arise times when a Warrior feels he must violate his Codes for some reason or another. A couple quotes illustrate this viewpoint. 

” all wisdom and truth does not lie in my own codes.”  

Priest-Kings of Gor, p.14

” all truth and reality is not written in one’s own codes.”  

Raiders of Gor, p.310

Warrior Code Specifics

Here are some of the items that are specifically included in the Warrior Codes in the novels. This is not an exhaustive list though of everything in their Caste Codes. 

Code: The only honorable reply to a challenge is to accept it promptly. (Warriors do not back down from challenges. They face such matters with bravery.) 

Code: One who has shed your blood, or whose blood you have shed, becomes your sword brother, unless you formally repudiate the blood on your weapons. This is part of a bond shared by Warriors that overcomes city barriers. It is a matter of Caste that supersedes allegiances. It is a showing of respect for those who this Caste. 

Code: Warriors do not break their sworn word. 

Code: The only death fit for a warrior is in battle. 

Code: If you want another’s slave, you must challenge for her and meet your opponent with the weapon of his choice. This is also known as the claim of sword-right. 

Code: He who cannot think is not a man and neither is he who can only think. 

Code: Warriors do not kill themselves or aid others in doing so. (Suicide is not an option for a warrior.) 

Code: “I had been so much a fool as to be sad. That is not the mood in which to enter battle, even the battle which one knows one cannot win, even the ultimate battle in which one knows is doomed to defeat. Do not be sad. Better to take the field with laughter, with a joke, with a light thought, with a buoyant thought, or to go forward with sternness, or in fury, or with hatred, or defiance, or calculation, but never with self pity, never with sadness. Never such things, never them!” (Vagabonds of Gor, p.446

Code: When a women kneels, lifts her hands up with wrists crossed, and submits to a warrior, custom demands that he either accepts the submission or slays the captive. 

Code: If a warrior accepts a woman as a slave, it is prescribed that, at least for a time at his discretion, she be spared. But if she is in the least bit displeasing, she may be immediately killed. 

Code: In times of crisis, a war chief, or Ubar, is named whom rules without check and by decree until he decides the crisis has passed. Sword loyalty is the bond of fidelity to a Ubar. It is not sworn lightly. When an Ubar is thought unfit, the sword loyalty is dishonored and the Ubar may be deposed by his own warriors. Those who don’t surrender are usually deserted by their men. When the men don’t desert, the Ubar then rules as a tyrant. 

Code: Warriors have a common Home Stone. Its name is battle. 

Code: The slave is a joy and a convenience to the warrior. Taking slaves is not only permitted, it is encouraged. 

Code: If you lift a weapon against a warrior, he is permitted by his codes to kill you. (Do not draw a weapon against a warrior unless you are prepared for battle.) 

Code: There is nothing in the codes that explicitly demands resistance to brigands. 

Code: Poisoned steel is against the codes. 

Code: The oath of disownment is an irreversible ceremony. You essentially disown a family member so that they lose their family and caste. Basically you make the pronouncement with your hand on the hilt of your sword. 

Code: 97th Aphorism of the Warrior Codes: “What is invisible but more beautiful than diamonds?” The answer is “Honor.” Other answers could include “that which is silent but deafens thunder” and “that which depresses no scale but is weightier than gold.” 

Code: Even warriors long sometimes for the sight of their own flags, atop friendly walls, for the courtyards of their keeps, for the hearths of their halls. 

Written by “Ubar Luther” in

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Warriors Caste – Introduction

Since the saga of the Books of GOR have started back in 1966 many texts have already been written and many persons have spent countless hours studying and sharing information to help others understand better what is GOR.

One of these persons is known as “Ubar Luther” who wrote a series of papers (most seem to be over 15 to 20 years old, but still very up-to-date in many topics) called the “Luther’s Gorean Educational Scrolls” that are still available in I have tried to reach Luther for some time and the contact links seem not to be working, but will keep a look and hope he one day resumes his magnificent writing!

I’m going to share the information of his scroll regarding the Warrior Caste, dividing it into three Posts:


The Warrior Caste is one of the five High Castes on Gor, though it is the least of the High Castes. Red , or scarlet, is the color of the Warrior Caste and Warriors often wear red tunics to denote their status. The usual garb of a Warrior is a scarlet tunic, sandals and cloak. The books do not explicitly state that there are any subcastes to the Warrior Caste but it seems reasonable that some do exist such as Tarnsmen and Tharlarion Cavalrymen. It can be difficult at times to differentiate between what would be considered an actual subcaste and what would simply be considered a different position. A City Guardsman may simply be a possible position and not an actual subcaste. It generally seems that subcastes possess certain skills that others may not. Being a City Guardsman does not really take special skills but obviously a Tarnsman would. 

The Gorean term for a Warrior is “rarius” and the plural form is “rarii.” A rarius denotes any type of Warrior and not just a member of the Warrior Caste. The warriors of the Wagon Peoples, Torvaldsland and other such cultures are rarii. This term was never used to refer to a woman in any of the novels. A pride consists of a hundred Warriors. It appears to be an older term that has fell out of use by the timeframe of the novels. In Gor’s past, there were once Pride Chiefs who ruled rather than the Ubars and Administrators of today. It is unknown if Pride Chiefs still exist. 

Warrior Training

During the extensive training of Warriors, they learn many matters. It does appear though that this training can be accelerated if necessary. Tarl Cabot apparently completed his training in a matter of months, if not weeks. This may simply have been a plot device though and not indicative of the normal training process. The training is of a Warrior is both physical and mental. The training is similar to the training of an Assassin in many respects, mostly in the area of combat skills. Warriors learn much from teaching scrolls at special war schools. These scrolls are very similar in the different cities by virtue of the Sardar fairs where Castes meet to share ideas. 

As a number of Warriors are illiterate, then it can be assumed that Warrior training does not require reading. It would though require excellent memorization skills, something most Goreans are quite adept at. Teachers may tell the students what they must know, probably repeating themselves often to instill the necessary knowledge. Much of this learning will entail the aspects of the Warrior Code. As the Code appears to be rather comprehensive, its memorization is a daunting task. 

Warriors learn how to wield the weapons of a warrior: the gladius, spear, dagger, and crossbow. They are taught to use both arms to fight, in case their primary arm is disabled. They are trained in unarmed combat, similar to some of the martial arts of Earth. They learn the Warrior’s Pace, a slow jog that can be kept up for hours. A Warrior can usually make ninety pasangs a day alternating a Warrior’s Pace with a Warrior’s stride. Some Warriors can do even better. This Pace was created to be used even under the heavy weight of one’s weapons and equipment. 

They are trained in acute observation and retention. They almost unconsciously size up every situation, analyzing where an attack might come from. This enables them to avoid surprise in many circumstances. Warriors also learn the virtues of concealment and subterfuge. A Warrior is not always direct in his approach to a problem as many might think. Circumstances dictate the actions of the prudent Warrior. They learn that if they move slowly, they will commonly convey the impression that they do not intend any harm. Quick movements often lead to defensive reactions from others. It is better to lull your foe into a false sense of security. 

They learn the tactics of night fighting. Most of the time, in dark conditions, luck is the deciding factor in combat. But, there are certain tactics that can enhance your chances. Misdirection can be effective. You can throw pebbles or other small objects away from you making noise. This might make your foe move in that direction. The use of back kicks gives an extension to your striking ability but also provides minimum exposure of your vital areas. You might stab into the dark with a full arm extension, trying to get your foe to lunge after you, overextending himself. Most of the time, you will not be in complete darkness. There will be maybe starlight or faint illumination. In true darkness though, there would be little you could do except to rely on chance. 

Warriors prefer to have the sun and wind behind their backs when they are fighting. The glare of the sun can distract a foe and also will wear on him after a time. The wind will help propel ones arrows or spear, adding momentum. Dust, sand and other debris are also more likely to adversely effect your enemy. 

Warriors also learn much about the hunting and capture of women. They are encouraged to capture slaves from other cities. They are taught the capture knot, a special knot often used to bind a captive. Most Warriors can make this knot in less than three Ihn. The knot is done by flipping a thong or cord about a captive’s wrists twice and then turning a double opposite overhand with a twist following the first overhand. It is basically two simple loops and a double knot. 

Warriors learn the virtues of patience. 

“When men stalk one another with weapons it is well to have patience, great patience.” 

Priest-Kings of Gor, p.54

They also learn certain universal conventions concerning combat. To signify a truce or call for a parley, you place your shield on the ground and then place your spear atop the shield. If you wish to surrender, the shield straps would be broken and spear shaft also broken. During battle, you grant quarter by gesturing to the ground with your sword. 

Sword Fighting

The most common weapon of the Warrior is the gladius, a type of short sword. The gladius is derived from the Earth sword of the same name. The gladius is of Spanish origin and was widely used by the ancient Romans. It is about twenty to twenty-two inches long, double-edged, and well balanced. It is heavy enough to have a considerable striking force in saberlike trajectories but light enough to have some of the swiftness and play of a foil. 

The gladius is maneuverable enough to work its way behind the guard of a longer, heavier weapon. There are other benefits of a short sword over a longer blade as well. A gladius can clear the scabbard a fraction earlier and that can be vitally important. The short blade can also be moved with greater swiftness than a long blade. It allows you to work close to your opponent. If a swordsman with a longer weapon can not finish a battle in the first thrust or two, he will generally lose the battle. 

In sword fighting, both strength and skill are significant. Strength is most important if a battle is prolonged. You can turn aside a sword with either skill or strength. If you use your strength, your foe must exert more effort to return his sword to a ready position. It is very difficult to strike a foe who is both competent and careful. It can be dangerous though over a long time to rely solely on defense. 

“One who limits oneself solely to defense, and is unwilling to attack, obviously can never win. Too, sooner or later, it seems, he must be doomed to lose. There is no wall so strong that it will not one day crumble.”

Rogue of Gor, p.190

Becoming highly skilled with the sword comes only with long practice and study. The best swordsmen are differentiated by: 

“subtle differences, and dimensions and increments, which tend to divide masters.” 

Rogue of Gor, p.190

The speed with which one can draw a sword is especially crucial in many battles. In many combats, the first warrior to draw is often the winner. Warriors learn the habit of drawing their sword each day, ensuring that it comes out smoothly and without incident. This helps work on your speed. It is also done to test the scabbard to ensure that it has not swelled or such. An enemy might also have tightened or fastened your blade in the scabbard by a tiny wooden plug, shim or bit of wire. A quarter of an inch, where hundredths of an Ihn are involved, can be a considerable advantage. Some Warriors may partially draw their blade if they feel combat is imminent. Usually the scabbard strap is hung over the left shoulder so it may be easily discarded in battle. The scabbard is at the left hip to ease the swift across the body draw. In some situations, the scabbard is discarded to prevent it being a hindrance. Warriors also take care of their own swords, not relying on others to do so. They will be the only ones to hone and oil their blades. 


A special type of Warrior, possibly even a subcaste, is the Tarnsman. Tarnsmen ride the mighty tarns, giant birds, also called the Brothers of the Wind. A tarn resembles a hawk but possesses a crest like a jay. It is surprisingly light for its size due to the hollowness of its bones. Despite its lightness, it is still an extremely powerful bird that can fly from the ground with a spring and sudden wing flurry.

It is a diurnal creature and a carnivore. They usually only eat what they catch themselves, commonly tabuks and wild bull. If enough food is available, they will eat half their own weight. But, near the end of the Gorean series, by the time of Renegades of Gor, some tarns have been trained to eat prepared meat. Tarns are trained by the Caste of Tarn Keepers, a low Caste. 

A tarn is seldom more than half-tamed, and it is not unknown for a tarn to even attack its own rider. Tarns do not thrive well in captivity. It is said that:

To live a tarn must fly, far and often.” and “Like its brother the wind when the tarn is not free it has no choice but to die.” 

Priest Kings of Gor, p.191-2

Tarns are basically fearless, fearing only the tarn goad. And only trained tarns will fear that. It is also extremely difficult to fly a tarn from the sight of land. If they were hooded and brought by ship to the open sea, they would be fine but they won’t willingly leave the sight of land. 

The plumage of tarns varies and many are bred for their color. The most common color is a greenish-brown. Black tarns are used for night raids and white ones for winter raids. Multi-colored tarns are used by proud warriors who do not care for camouflage. There is even a jungle tarn, a rare creature, that is gloriously plumaged and comes from the tropical reaches of the Cartius. War tarns have their talons shod in steel. There are also draft tarns, used for transporting cargo, and saddle tarns, used as transport. 

The capacity to master a tarn is thought to be innate. It cannot be learned. Warriors who wish to become Tarnsmen are taken to meet a tarn. The Warrior must be accepted by the tarn or he will be eaten by the mighty bird. It is unknown how many Warriors meet their death in this manner. A war tarn must be controlled by a strong master, and if that master ever gets weak or helpless, the tarn may kill him. Tarnsmen wear leathers though this is not really a form of armor but more a protection against the elements and against the bird. Tarnsmen have a few tools they use to aid in their control of their tarns. 

The tarn goad is a metal rod, about two feet long, with a leather loop attached. It has a switch on the handle for on and off, and emits an electric shock in a sparkled of yellow sparks. It will hurt your flesh but won’t mark it if you are hit by one. It is used primarily to control the tarn and the goad is the only thing a tarn fears. A tarn goad may also be used to direct the tarn. One hits the bird in the direction opposite to the one you wish to go. But this is imprecise and there is a danger in using the goad too much as it will become less effective. A tarn whistle, also called a tarn call, is used to call specific tarns. It has a single, shrill note and summons only one tarn. If you lose your whistle, you have basically lost your mount so they are guarded well. 

Tarns are commonly guided by a throat strap, to which are attached six leather streamers, or reins. They are fixed in a metal ring on the forward portion of the saddle. The reins are of different colors but you learn them by ring position and not color. Each rein attaches to a small ring on the throat strap and the rings are evenly spaced. One draws on the rein which is attached to the ring which most closely resembles the direction you wish to go. To land or lose attitude, use the four strap which exerts pressure on a ring beneath the tarn’s throat. To rise in flight or gain altitude, use the one strap which is on the back of the tarn’s neck. The six strap makes the tarn veer to the left and climb slightly. The two strap makes it veers to the right and climb slightly. The throat strap rings are numbered clockwise. Letting the reins hang on the saddle ring, with no pressure on the throat strap, is the signal for a constant and straight flight. 

Tarn saddles have a five-rung leather mounting ladder, on the left side, which folds up at the side of the saddle. You strap yourself into the saddle with a strap, a saddle belt. Tarn saddles are wide enough to accommodate a bound female slave across it. There are other ways to carry a captive girl as well such as saddle cages and nets. Tarn saddles are rather large with saddle packs, weapon sheaths and paired slave rings. Tarn baskets may have guidance attachments to control the tarn from the basket, similar to the normal guidance from a saddle. There are many sizes and varieties of baskets. The most common basket is flat-bottomed, square-sided, and about four feet deep. 

One of a young Tarnsman’s first mission is commonly to capture a slave from another city for his personal quarters. When he returns home with his new captive, he gives her over to his sisters. They will bathe, perfume and cloth her in slave livery. There will then be a feast where the slave will be presented to his parents, friends and Warrior comrades. As the music plays, the girl will be collared and later will be made to dance. She will then eventually offer her new master wine. Once he drinks, then everyone can commence eating and from then on, his sisters will no longer serve him. Thus, it seems likely that most Tarnsmen will own at least one slave girl. 

There are several ways to capture a girl from your tarn. A tarn may grab the girl in its talons and then land. At that point, you can dismount, remove the girl from its talons, bind her and then fasten her to your saddle. A Tarnsman could also fly low and hit a girl with a wing so that she is sent sprawling. The warrior could then quickly dismount and capture her. A Tarnsman might also hit a girl with the butt of a spear instead of the tarn wing. Still other Tarnsmen will fly low and rope a girl using the braided leather ropes familiar to all tarnsmen. 

Tarns can make a rapid diving descent. The tarn does not breathe during the entire descent until the point of impact or vicinity of the area if no impact occurs. Tarnsmen are trained to take a deep breath before such a descent and are recommended not to breathe during the dive. The descent velocity of a tarn has been estimated at about four hundred pasangs an Ahn, a little over 200 miles per hour. 

A raiding tarnsman usually carry his weapons, rations, a compass, maps, binding fiber and extra bowstrings. They commonly use spears and crossbows from tarnback. A tarn can even carry a knotted rope of seven to ten men without difficulty. This is helpful in attacks on a city. 

There are some excellent quotes about tarnsmen as well. 

“The spirit of the tarn must not be broken, not that of the war tarn. He is trained to the point where it is necessary for a strong master to decide whether he shall serve him or slay him. You will come to know your tarn, and he will come to know you. You will be as one in the sky, the tarn the body, you the mind and will. You will live in an armed truce with the tarn. If you become weak or helpless, he will kill you. As long as you remain strong, his master, he will serve you, respect you, obey you.”  

Tarnsman of Gor, p.58

“Once one has been a tarnsman, one must return again and again to the birds.”  

Outlaw of Gor, p.130

“The element of the tarnsman is the clouds, the saddle and the sky; his steed is the tarn, his field of battle, strewn with light and wind, higher than mountains, deeper than the sea, is the very sky itself.”  

Captive of Gor, p.190

Tharlarion Cavalry

Tharlarion are a species of Gorean lizards, ranging from tiny hand-sized creatures to massive beasts. Certain types of tharlarion are used as mounts, especially by those peoples who have not mastered the tarn. Tharlarions have been used as mounts by Goreans far longer than tarns. Tharlarions have been specially bred for a thousand generations before the first tarn was ever tamed.

Tharlarions generally need far less water than tarns and their metabolism is slower. They seem almost impervious to pain, having a sluggish nervous system. Most of the larger varieties, such as war tharlarion, have not only a brain but also a smaller brainlike organ that is located near the base of their spine. They basically respond to voice signals but sometimes a strike with the butt of a lance is needed to move them. They must be hit around the eye or ear openings as they are a couple of the only sensitive areas on its massive body. 

Tharlarion cavalrymen ride war tharlarions, a variety of high tharlarion. These cavalrymen may be a subcaste of the Warrior Caste. Unfortunately, the books only contain brief references to these Warriors. War tharlarion are huge creatures, several tons in weight, and they move on two legs. Their saddles are meant to absorb shock but Warriors still wear a leather belt around their waists to help keep them in place. Tharlarions move almost in a leaping fashion so a ride can be unsteady.

The cavalrymen also wear high, soft leather boots to protect their legs against the abrasive hide of the creatures. Nothing on Gor can face the mighty impact of a tharlarion charge. The best defenses are a series of ditches or pointed stakes/spears. The mobility of infantry units can also be important defensively as fast units can separate to allow the charging beasts between their lines, thus isolating and surrounding them. 

The Alars are quite skilled tharlarion riders and some cities use them in their cavalries. The Alars commonly use the medium-weight, saddle tharlarion. Their saddles have stirrups so they can use a couched stock lance. 


A mercenary is essentially a warrior who fights for money. They generally do not fight for a Home Stone or even honor. Most mercenaries on Gor are little more than armed thugs or cutthroats. It is often tough or even dangerous to try to control such men. They must be assured of receiving ample loot and promises of booty are a major inducement for recruitment.

A silver tarsk a month for a hired sword is a high price for such a man. Many would not receive such a wage. Their strategy and tactics are more indicative of organized brigandage than sound military theory. They do not wear uniforms though they might wear armbands, scarves, ribbons or plumes of certain colors to identify their employer. These though can be easily discarded or changed during a battle. Some have been known to turn on their employer. 

Mercenaries generally form into mercenary companies, also known as Free Companies. There are dozens of such companies and they vary widely in size, skill level and trustworthiness. These companies obtain war contracts, sometimes by competitive bidding. They recruit men, usually willingly, though some have been known to impress men to meet their quotas of forces.

Impressment is the recruiting of men, against their will, through deception or force. Lure girls might be used for this impressment. Famous mercenary captains can easily fill their companies with men. Some companies will supply weapons for their men. If you own your own weapons, you may get a preference as it is assumed you know how to use them. Companies often number no more than one or two hundred men. A force of a thousand would be an unusually large force. 

Many companies are disbanded during the winter. The Captain will retain only a cadre of officers and professionals. In the spring, the company will start over with training and recruiting, almost from the beginning again. They frequently move their camps to avoid being located easily by their enemies. Mercenaries in a battle may also be paid by both sides. Their contract may specify certain actions that must be taken but omit others.

The sides in a battle may begin a bidding war over the mercenaries. Another potential problem is that it is not difficult to infiltrate spies into mercenary troops. Mercenaries are men from different backgrounds, castes and cities. Little is asked of them other than their ability to handle weapons and obey orders. Few get questioned much about themselves. 

So, why would you want to hire mercenaries?

First, there are some well respected mercenary companies that can be trusted. They are usually the more expensive groups.

Second, you might need a certain type of force you lack such as tarnsmen. Not all cities have armies of tarnsmen and such a force can aid a war effort thus a city may seek out to hire such a force.

Third, your own army might be significantly weaker than your opposition so you need an additional force to create more parity in your forces. Despite such needs though, it is always better to rely on men who fight for a Home Stone over those who fight only for money. 

Some of the most well known mercenary captains include Raymond of Rive-de-Bois, Conrad of Hochburg, Pietro Vacchi, Terence of Treve, Oleg of Skjern, Leander of Farnacium, William of Thentis, Artemidorous of Cos, Ha-Keel and Dietrich of Tarnburg. 

Terence of Treve helped Port Kar in their epic naval battle against the combined forces of Cos and Tyros. Terence agreed to store tarns on Port Kar ships and then release them in the middle of the sea battle. The tarns fought well, ignoring the fact they were far from land, and helped Port Kar prevail. 

Ha-Keel of Port Kar was originally banished from Ar. His true origins are misted in legend. He wears a gold tarn disk of Ar around his neck. Some say he cut a man’s throat for the disk to buy silks and perfumes for a woman he loved. Allegedly, the woman ran off with another man. Ha-Keel pursued them and might have killed the other man. He then either sold the woman into slavery or never found her. Ha-Keel is a true mercenary and works for the highest bidder. He commands a force of one thousand tarnsmen. He has even worked on the side of the Kurii. 

Dietrich of the city of Tarnburg is a legendary mercenary captain, probably the most famous captain on Gor. He is one of the most feared and skilled commanders on Gor, mercenary or otherwise. His victories are very well known. He has won battles on the fields of Piedmont and Cardonicus. He led the Forty Days’ March relieving the siege of Talmont. He crossed the Issus River in 10122 C.A. in the night evacuation of Keibel Hill.

He has been the victor in the battles of Rovere, Kargash, Edgington, Teveh Pass, Gordon Heights, and the Plains of Sanchez. His standard is a silver tarn and his force numbers about five thousand men, far larger than most such armies. His contracts are very expensive and his is choosy in which battles he will fight. His campaigns are studied in war schools throughout Gor. He is an innovative military leader and has created many new tactics and strategies for war on Gor. 

Gorean Warfare

There are numerous war scrolls concerning the practice, strategy and techniques of war. War is studied intently by many Goreans.

Two famous war scrolls are the commentaries of Minicius and the anonymous analyses of “The Diaries,” sometimes attributed to the military historian, Carl Commenius of Argentum.

Carl was rumored to have once been a mercenary. There are war schools that teach these subjects and to which Warriors can go for further education. These schools have libraries filled with scrolls of many diverse topics on warfare. 

Most Gorean wars are small-scale events, confined to a limited area. Most wars occur between only a few cities rather than large alliances of dozens of cities. It would be rare for a battle to include more than five thousand men. Goreans would find Earth wars, involving millions of lives, to be nearly unthinkable. Most Gorean wars are more similar to a large raid rather than an open, pitched conflict. Mobility and surprise are common elements of such warfare, contributing to the small sizes of their forces.

War is generally performed by members of the Warrior Caste, professionals who are well trained and know what war entails. Only in large scale conflicts, especially when a city is endangered, do others besides the Warrior Caste join into the conflict. If a city is in dire need, they may arm any able-bodied man, of whatever Caste. Peasant levies, armed with long bows, are common. A city may even free and arm its male slaves in especially dire circumstances. 

One of the most common reasons why wars begin are when one city raids the merchant caravans of another city. Sometimes these Warriors will don the uniforms and colors of another city to disguise their true identity. This will put suspicion on another city, commonly the enemy of the disguising city. Another reason a war might begin is over trade rights to a certain area. The ownership of natural resources such as silver mines may also precipitate war. Cities may also battle over their territorial limits, such boundaries being very fluid matters. 

Warfare involves more than simply military considerations. There is a significant political aspect as well. Conquering a city or piece of land is but the beginning. 

“Territory must be held as well as won.” 

Mercenaries of Gor, p.142

What good is winning if you cannot keep what you have fought and gained? Warfare may also be preceded by diplomatic efforts to prevent a war. Ambassadors, who possess immunity, will often try to resolve a dispute amicably before committing their resources to warfare. This alternative dispute resolution will continue throughout the length of the war, trying to stem the actual bloodshed. 

Gorean Infantry

Gorean infantry usually marches light, a factor of the nature of Gorean warfare. They commonly march at a measured pace, the counting of the cadence often kept by a drum. Forty pasangs, about twenty-eight miles, is an average da’s march. Thus, military supply posts have been placed at intervals on major roads, usually about forty pasangs apart. Such major roads are kept in excellent condition in case there is ever the need for an army to travel them.

The officers will march in the front of the infantry. A standard barrier will then march behind the officers but a step or two in front of the front rank of Warriors. Many Gorean standards are over a century old. To supply the army, the army may bring its own supplies, carried in bosk or tharlarion wagons. Tarns may also be used to supply the troops. Due to the abundant availability of game, many armies do not need to bring many supplies. They can often live off the land. In addition, they can levy the local villages for provisions if needed. 

The phalanx used to be the most common infantry formation. A phalanx consists of several rows of men, each row holding a spear. The rearward rows held longer spears than the front rows. When a phalanx would charge, it would be quite the force to be reckoned with. No other military formation was able to meet it head-on. You either had to meet a phalanx with another phalanx or try to outmaneuver it. But, such a close-formed military formation is hard to maintain over rough terrain.

Thus, the Torian Squares eventually made the phalanx much less common. The Torian Squares possess superior mobility and regrouping capacities, even over rough terrain. The actual make-up though of the Torian Squares is not discussed in detail in the novels. The use of cavalry though drastically changed warfare. The Torian square is still used but the phalanx is almost obsolete. One defensive relic of the phalanx is still used, the Wall. The Wall is a group of massed infantry who remain stationary against a tharlarion charge. It is not a recommended tactic. 

Dietrich of Tarnburg has been a major innovator in Gorean warfare. He was the first to introduce the “harrow” to positional warfare. The harrow is named for a large rakelike farming tool. In this formation, spikes of archers, protected by iron-shod stakes and sleen pits, are placed in front of the normal infantry Warriors. This formation is meant primarily against cavalry forces. It creates a deadly gauntlet that must be passed through to reach the main forces. But, once the cavalry is heavily wounded, the infantry can then surge forward and decimate the remaining cavalry. 

Dietrich also introduced the “oblique advance” where large numbers of men are concentrated at crucial points while the balance of the opposing army is unengaged. This allows a smaller force to engage an army up to three times its size. It may be able to turn the flank of the larger force, causing chaos and rout. If the advance fails, you can retreat your men knowing that much of your force probably did not engage in the battle.

Tarnsmen Attacks

There are numerous defenses to tarnsmen attacks, depending upon the location of the attack. Within a city, tarn wire is often used, though generally only when danger is imminent. This is thin, almost invisible, wire that is stretched over the city like a net. It will slice a tarn that tries to pass through them.

Some tarnsmen may carry bladed hooks on long lines to sever these wires. In cities, towns and small villages an overhead network of ropes, cloths and tarnwire present a good defense. The network will present certain small holes that ground based archers can use to fire at the tarns. But the tarnsmen, due to the swift speed of their mounts, will find they have insufficient time to acquire a proper target for their own missile fire through the cover. Iron stakes on the ground will also help prevent talon attacks from tarns. 

Out in the open, the most common defense to an aerial attack is the “shield roof” or “shield shed” which is similar to the old Earth formation called the “tetsudo” or “tortoise.” Shields are held to constitute a wall for the outer ranks and a roof for the inner ranks.

Dietrich was the first man to properly coordinate air and ground forces. He coordinated these forces so as to force his enemies into sturdy but relatively inflexible defensive squares. He would then advance his archers in long enveloping lines so they would present a much broader front for low-level point-blank firepower. The archery of tarnsmen is most effective against massed infantry or cavalry. It is much more difficult to strike a man or mount when he is wary of you and ready to evade your missile fire. Tarn drums are used to control the complex war formations of tarsnmen. 

Siege Warfare

Gorean siege warfare, as it was in Earth history, is commonly unsuccessful. Starvation of a city is usually ineffective as they will generally have sufficient supplies to last a year or so. The city will also have siege cisterns for water. Statistically, the besiegers would run out of supplies first.

Most sieges will not last much longer than a few weeks before the besiegers will break it off. To directly attack a city requires often three times the force of the defenders. Siege weapons are also a necessity, requiring siege engineers to construct and maintain such equipment. 

Some cities are surrounded by a moat that must be over come. The moat might be drained, bridges or small dugout pontoons used to cross it. Catapults and ballistae of various types are used, including chain-sling onagers and springals. They can fire spears, rocks, flaming naptha and more at the city walls. A giant chain grapnel may be thrown by such an item. The chain will then be drawn back with great force, attempting to rip parts of the walls down. This grapnel though must be used close to its target, thus being more vulnerable to attack by the besieged.

Archer blinds, movable wooden screens to shield archers and light missile equipment, are used as protection. Siege towers with battering rams may be used against city gates. Tunnels may be dug underground, trying to pass the city walls though the besieged city will dig their own tunnels to engage the attackers underground.

The besieged city may also use a grapnel derrick to topple siege engines close to the city walls. Dietrich was the first one to utilize mobile siege equipment in open warfare. By placing catapults and ballistae on wheeled platforms, they became field artillery. They could launch tubs of burning pitch, flaming naphtha, siege javelins, boulders, and more. 

Most cities though fall due to trickery, bribery or betrayal. Dietrich has likely taken more towns with gold than steel. The Tuchuks conquered Turia through trickery. Cos conquered Ar through the betrayal of several key figures in Ar. Torcadino was taken by Dietrich through trickery. Several quotes support this proposition. 

“He has sowed silver and harvested cities.”  

Magicians of Gor, p.188

“More gates are opened with gold than iron.”  

Magicians of Gor, p.188

“Any city can fall behind the walls of which can be placed a tharlarion laden with gold.”  

Mercenaries of Gor, p.101

“I can take any city behind whose walls I can get a tarn of gold.”  

Hunters of Gor, p.140

Spoils of War

The spoils of war are the usual fees demanded by a conquering city. These fees are meant to remove any potential future threat the conquered city will ever be.

The following is a typical set of such fees though it will vary depending on the desires of the conqueror.:

  • The population is disarmed and possession of a weapon is made a capital offense.
  • All of the officers in the Warrior Caste, and their families, are impaled.
  • A thousand of the most beautiful free women are given to the conqueror’s highest officers as slaves.
  • Thirty percent of the remaining free women will become slaves for the troops.
  • Seven thousand free men will become siege slaves.
  • All of the children under twelve years old will be randomly distributed to the other free cities. This seems to support that adoption does exist on Gor.
  • Any slaves in the city will belong to the first man to recollar them.

As can be seen, such fees devastate a conquered city.

Written by “Ubar Luther” in

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Bara Position

In response to the command “Bara!”, the kajira falls to her stomach, with her head down to the floor and turned to the left, crosses her wrists behind her back, and similarly crosses her ankles, her legs straight, in preparation for binding. (This is the “standard binding position” for a kajira lying prone.)

Some have speculated that the word Bara is the Gorean-language word for “belly”; but when Belly is used as a noun in commands in the Gor books, this indicates that the kajira should lie prone (on her belly) without signifying any one exact position across all its uses; and when Belly is used as a verb in commands in the Gor books, it usually means that the kajira should prepare to crawl forward without lifting her belly from the ground (see 2nd Obeisance Position)

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

Relevant Quotes:

“Bara, Kajira!” he said.
She rolled quickly to her stomach, placing her wrists behind her, crossed, and crossing her ankles, ready to be bound.

Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 77

“Bara,” said Mincon to Tula. “Bara,” said I to Feiqa. Both slaves went immediately to their bellies, their heads to the left, their wrists crossed behind their backs, their ankles also crossed. It is a common binding position.

Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 145

“Bara!” he snapped.
I flung myself to my belly in the grass, putting my hands behind me, wrists crossed, and crossing my ankles, too.

Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 415

“Bara!” he said.
She instantly responded to his command, as she had been trained to do. She was now on her belly, her wrists crossed behind her, her ankles, too, crossed.

Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 196

“Bara,” he said.
She went to her stomach and crossed her wrists behind her back, and crossed her ankles.

Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 317

Hitherto she had been lying on her belly in the straw, her head turned to the side, in bara, her wrists crossed behind her, with her ankles crossed, as well. It is a common holding, and helplessness, position for a slave. In it, of course, she is positioned perfectly for a swift and secure binding.

Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 370

When the merchandise had been secured, each item had been placed in the bara position, though they did not know the name for the position as yet, each on her stomach, head facing to the left, her wrists crossed behind her and her ankles crossed, as well.

Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 3

“Bara!” she snapped.
Instantly we turned about in the neck rope, with its three knotted double loops, and went to our stomachs, our heads to the left, our wrists crossed behind us, and our ankles, as well. It is not advisable to hesitate in responding to a command. The bara position was, I suppose the first slave position in which I had been placed. Of course I did not at that time understand it, or know its name.
One is quite helpless in the bara position. One is on one’s stomach and one’s hands are behind one, so one cannot use them to rise, and one’s body is extended, with one’s ankles crossed. One cannot easily rise from that position. Too, psychologically, one feels oneself submitted, and at the mercy of others.

Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 296

“Lie here, to my side,” he said, “the bara position will do.”
I lay then beside him, prone, my hip to his left knee, my head forward, away from him as he sat, cross-legged, perusing a scroll. My ankles were crossed, and my wrists, too, were crossed, and held behind my back. In such a position one may be conveniently bound. My head was turned to the side, that my right cheek might be on the carpet.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 3

“Bara,” said Tullius Quintus.
I went to bara.
I was then bound, hand and foot, my wrists crossed and bound behind me, and my ankles crossed and bound, as well.
This may be conveniently done, as earlier noted, when one is in bara.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 166

“Bara!” he said, sharply.
Instantly, not even thinking, reflexively, I went to bara. I felt my ankles crossed and tied together. I could not then rise. I was in consternation. My wrists were crossed, and bound together, behind my back.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 487

The examination position, like bara, nadu, sula, and such, tends to arouse a slave. In a sense, the slave is helpless in such positions. Significance is woven into the fiber of such things. Meaning and symbolism reign.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 594

There are several Gorean slave positions, of which bara was one. I had, of course, been trained in these positions, which must be assumed instantly and unquestioningly upon the command of any free person. They are designed with various purposes in mind; instantly placing oneself in positions in which one is helpless and vulnerable; positions of abject submission in which one’s bondage is made clear to all; positions of display; positions facilitating appraisal, and such. In bara, one goes to one’s belly, one’s head facing to the left, one’s wrists crossed behind one, and one’s ankles crossed, as well. In such a position a slave may be quickly and conveniently bound, helplessly bound, hand and foot. All of these positions, both symbolic and practical, have certain things in common; for example, in all of them, the slave is presented as, and is understood as, both by herself and by others, a slave, and only a slave.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 110 – 111

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Second Obeisance Position

The Second Obeisance Position is directly referred for the first time only in book 27 and appeared frequently in other books since then. This position is also sometimes referred as “belly” because in fact the slave lies on her belly.

In the books the commands used are “Second Obeisance” and “on your belly”.

It can be considered as a continuation of the 1st Obeisance Position, from which the girl extends herself lying in the floor with the legs spread and the hands at the sides of her head.

After reaching this position, the slave may (if her Master wishes/allows) “crawl on her belly” to the feet of the Master in order to kiss and lick them.

One alternative belly position (but not to be confused with 2nd Obeisance Position) is for the kajira to lie on her stomach with her hands at her sides and the palms of her hands facing upwards; her head is often turned to the left and/or legs spread.

The command “bara” is similar but only in the fact that the slave lies on the floor, because it differs totally in the positioning of her hands and legs.

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

Relevant Quotes:

“On your belly,” he said.
I then went to my belly, and crawled to him. When I
reached him I kissed his feet.

Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 224

“On your belly,” said the merchant.
She did so. At his feet, unbidden, she pressed her lips to
his slippers. “Keep me, Hassan,” she begged.

Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 258

“On your belly,” I told her.
Swiftly she fell to her belly on the tiles before me, her
hands at the sides of her head.

Guardsmen of Gor Book 16 Page 347

“Second obeisance position,” he said.
Ellen went prone, before him, her hands at the sides of her head.

Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 191

“Return me to my master!” she cried, putting herself to her belly, pleading, in second obeisance position, before Targo.

Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 226

The usual second obeisance position has the slave go to her belly, her hands on either side of her head.

Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 195

“Now,” I said, “to second obeisance position.”
“Please,” she protested, her head to the deck.
“Must a command be repeated?” I inquired.
“No!” she said.
The repetition of a command is often a cause for discipline, and she was well aware of what that might involve.
She was now on her belly before me, her hands at the sides of her head.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 153

It was also noted that now, before Pani warriors, they did not kneel, but prostrated themselves, putting themselves instantly, trembling, to second obeisance position, prone, hands to the sides of their head, eyes to the ground.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 421

“Second obeisance position,” he said.
Instantly I went to the second obeisance position. I did not wish to be again physically chastised for hesitation in responding to a free man’s command. I now lay on my belly, prostrate before him. My hands were at the sides of my head, palms down.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 223 – 224

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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First Obeisance Position

Obeisance” is a command, commonly given as “perform obeisance.” Obeisance essentially is a gesture or body movement that shows respect. There are many ways in which a kajira can respond to this command, but the books specify 2 “standard” positions that are assumed when the kajira is ordered “First Obeisance” and “Second Obeisance

This post describes the 1st Obeisance Position command.

In this position, the girl begins in the kneeling position (Nadu or Tower). She then lowers her head to the floor and place the palms of the hands on the floor at the sides of her head. She can then, if permitted, raise her head slightly and move a bit forward, maintaining the position in order to lick and kiss the feet of her master, doing it softly, lingeringly and lovingly.

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

Relevant Quotes:

“First obeisance position,” snapped Barzak. “Beg his forgiveness!”
Instantly Ellen went to the first obeisance position, head down, palms of her hands on the cement. “Please forgive me, Master,” she begged, frightened.
“Kneel up, first position,” said Barzak.
Ellen went to first position, with all its revelatory delights.

Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 255

In first obeisance position, often assumed by a slave in the presence of a free man, she kneels with her head to the ground, and the palms of her hands down on the ground on either side of her head.

Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 195

“First obeisance position,” I said.
She put the black wine to the side on the deck, and put her head to the boards, before me, her hands beside the sides of her head.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 141

“First obeisance position!” I snapped.
Moaning, frightened, the six girls went instantly to first obeisance position, kneeling, their heads to the deck, the palms of their hands beside their head.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 245

“First obeisance position,” I informed the slaves.
Both then went to first obeisance position, kneeling, head to the floor, palms of the hands down on the floor, at the sides of their head.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 428 – 429

I went to the first obeisance position, kneeling, my head down to the furs, my hands, palms down, at the sides of my head.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 166

After a time there was a tapping on the kennel gate, and I rose to my knees, and put my head down, to the floor of the kennel, the palms of my hands beside my head, in first obeisance position.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 224

“Heads to the floor,” said Kurik.
We both went to first obeisance position, kneeling, the palms of our hands down on the floor, beside our head, our heads to the floor.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 594

The blanket partly about me, I went to the first obeisance position, kneeling, head to the ground, the palms of my hands at the sides of my head.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 636

As soon as I had heard the curtains parted I had gone to first obeisance position, kneeling, head to the floor, the palms of my hands on the floor, on either side of my head.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 168

I assumed first obeisance position, kneeling, head to the floor, the palms of my hands on the floor, on either side of my head.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 223

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Introduction to Nadu position

One of the most ubiquitous Slave Positions throughout all the Gorean Books (and in my personal view one of the most beautiful ones) is Nadu, usually called the position of the Pleasure Slave.

In this position, the slave kneels back on her heels maintaining an excellent posture with her back straight, shoulders thrown back, her head up, her breasts thrust forward, her belly in and with the legs wide open.

Whenever a kajira first encounters a free man in various contexts (such as when her owner re-enters the house, or she is addressed by a man in the street, etc.) she is generally required to assume the Nadu position (or in some cases the common obeisance position, depending on circumstances). Kajirae tend to develop a quasi-reflex reaction of semi-automatically kneeling whenever they hear themselves being addressed by the voice of a man whom they have not been previously recently interacting with, so that kajirae sometimes have to be specifically instructed not to kneel, if the free man does not desire this.

The pleasure-slave position is referred to as “that most elegant and helpless position in which men may place a woman”, and as a “beautiful and significant position” which “well betokens the submission of the female to the free man, her master”.

“In nadu, as the back is straight, the shoulders are back, and this accentuates the delights of the bosom. The widening of the knees suggests the vulnerability of the slave and displays the softness of the open, exposed thighs. The placement of the palms down on the thighs, apart and down, to the sides, suggests that they will be held as they are, and thus are not permitted to fend or thwart a caress. The kneeling position itself is symbolic of submission. The head’s being up displays the beauty of the master’s property, the beauty of the features, the slenderness of the neck, and such, and, too, of course, in this attitude, the badge of his ownership, her collar, is well exhibited. To be sure, this can differ from master to master. Some prefer the slave’s head to be submissively lowered. The slave’s eyes may or may not be permitted to meet the master’s eyes without permission.”

Book 29, Swordsmen of Gor

Considering that as a general rule (with very few exceptions like the Turian Camisk) slaves do not use nether closure, this position has a very strong effect on the psyche of the kajira.

In Nadu, she is helplessly exposed with all her intimacy revealed and she becomes wholly aware of her exposure, resulting in a subconscious arousal of her sexual needs, with the “slave fires” starting to burn in her belly and raging through her body!

“Default position”

In the “default” Nadu position, the palms of the hands are faced down

Palms Up

When the kajira places her palms up, it is a signal that she is begging usage, similar to tying the loose bondage knot on her hair in order to signal her slave needs and begging to be taken and ravished as the kajira she is.

Hands behind back

This position is the least common, being used only in some cases like the city of Thentis or when a slave is ordered to Nadu while having her hands tied behind her back.

The hands of a Pleasure Slave normally rest on her thighs but, in some cities, for example, thentis, I believe, they are crossed behind her. More significantly, for the free woman’s hands may also rest on her thighs, there is a difference in the placement of the knees. In all these kneeling positions, incidentally, even that of the Pleasure Slave, the Gorean woman carries herself well; her back is straight and her chin is high. She tends to be vital and beautiful to look upon.

Book 3, Priest-Kings of Gor, p. 63

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

Relevant Quotes:

“Nadu!” he snapped. 
She swiftly turned, facing him, and dropped to her knees. She knelt back on her heels, her back straight, her hands on her thighs, her head up, her knees wide. 
It was the position of the pleasure slave.

Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 77

“Nadu!” he cried, loosening the whip coils on her throat. She swiftly knelt, back on her heels, back straight, head high, hands on her thighs, knees wide.

Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 80

“Nadu!” said Tajima, sharply.
The girl struggled to nadu, kneeling back on her heels, her head up, her back straight, the palms of her hands down on her thighs. She did not make eye contact with any of the free men, but kept her gaze forward.
It is a beautiful position.
“Split your knees,” said Tajima.
“No!” said Pertinax.
“Now!” said Tajima.
The girl spread her knees.
“Wider!” said Tajima. She was, after all, a collar-girl.
The former Miss Wentworth complied, quickly, docilely, with Tajima’s command. She had learned obedience to men, slave obedience, in the stable, at the hands of the grooms.
“Please!” protested Pertinax.
“Stay as you are,” cautioned Tajima.
The slave remained in the adjusted nadu, as directed. It was a common form of nadu, one almost invariably expected of a particular sort of slave, the pleasure slave.

Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 382 – 383

“Nadu,” whispered the taverner, and the girl went to position, back on heels, knees wide, back straight, the palms of her hands down on her thighs. She kept her head down. Commonly, in nadu, the head is up, the gaze straight ahead, that the beauty of her features be displayed, and that she be in a position to better detect the slightest nuances of her master, either in tone or expression, but neither the taverner nor the stranger exacted this small adjustment.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 10

“Nadu,” he snapped, and I assumed position, as well as I could, being back braceleted. I knelt back on my heels, my body tall, my back straight, my head up, my knees spread. I could not place the palms of my hands down on my thighs, for the restraints.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 258

“Nadu!” snapped Kurik.
Immediately we went to nadu, kneeling, back on our heels, our knees well spread, our backs straight, our heads up, the palms of our hands down, on our thighs.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 594

The examination position, like bara, nadu, sula, and such, tends to arouse a slave. In a sense, the slave is helpless in such positions. Significance is woven into the fiber of such things. Meaning and symbolism reign.

Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 594

In the usual position of nadu the palms of the slave’s hands are placed down on the thighs. Slaves can be beaten for boldly daring to beg for use in such a way, exposing the delicacy of their palms to the master.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 338

“Note the small, soft palms of her hands,” said the officer to his subordinate, regarding them as they were held.
“Such palms look well in nadu,” said the subordinate, “when a naked slave dares to put the back of her hands on her widened thighs, mutely begging a master to be put to his use pleasure.”
In the usual position of nadu the palms of the slave’s hands are placed down on the thighs. Slaves can be beaten for boldly daring to beg for use in such a way, exposing the delicacy of their palms to the master. Similarly tying the loose bondage knot in her hair may bring discipline. Many masters do not care for such blatant, piteous behaviors, such insolent boldness, resenting the slave’s attempt to appeal to them, to plead for the satisfaction of her needs.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 338

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Introduction to Slave Positions

Before getting into the detail of listing and describing all the possible combinations of Slave Positions that can be found all over the internet, it is important to define what are Slave Positions and to clarify the positions that will be listed here.

One reason for rituals such as kajira positions is that they express and reinforce social values and relationships. For example, as recently as the early 1960’s, men in the U.S. tipped their hats to a woman they knew as she passed by on the street, and if a man stopped to talk with a woman, he would usually take his hat off (these customs reflected “chivalrous” values commonly held in the U.S. at the time). Also, from a psychological point of view, doing such activities can often help you feel the suitable emotions. So on the most basic level, people who smile can often feel a little happier just from smiling. Similarly, if one gets into the spirit of the thing at all (rather than participating with feelings of pure bitter ironic mockery), then performing rituals of respect can help one feel respectful. As John Norman says in another context, “She may begin by acting, but after some days or weeks, she will presumably shift into feeling.” Thus doing kajira positions could help women feel sexually desirable as well as vulnerable, while reinforcing Gorean social status distinctions between kajirae and free men. 

For the master, such positions allow him to feel pride of mastery (by exacting kajira obedience), to place a kajira in various appealing or provocative poses, and to position her suitably for what he wants to do with her next (whether applying restraints, lovemaking, etc.).

I will only include in this listing the Slave Positions that are referred to as such in the Books (1st Obeisance, 2nd Obeisance, Bara, Nadu, etc.).

Obviously I can command a kajira to assume a certain position, and then I can give that position a certain name and use it often with my Kajirae, but at no moment can I include it as a Slave Position from the Books.

Additionally, a difference between a Master putting a slave in a particular position and a command for a slave to adopt a particular position. If I grab a slave by the ankles and held her upside-down with her hands behind her back, I can call it the “Upside-Down Position”, but in no moment I can command a slave to adopt that position by herself.

Therefore, a Slave Position must respect 2 principles to be accepted:

  • Have Book references to support the Commanded Slave Position
  • Be a position that a slave can assume by her own when commanded

From the study of the Books, the main positions that I’ll start by describing are the following (feel free to refer me additional positions with the according quotes to support them):

There are some very commonly known slave positions that do not fit in these rules, and therefore will not be included here because they cannot be classified as Commanded Slave Positions described in the Books:

  • Gorean Bow
  • Karta
  • Suga

©2020 – Written By Azrael Phoenix

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Is Gor but an aspect of BDSM? 

What are the similarities and differences between Gor and BDSM? 

This is a topic that has been addressed numerous times on message boards and in discussions. Yet, there is still confusion on this issue so there is reason to try once again to compare and contrast these two matters. The general public sees Gor as but a subset of BDSM. This is evident from when the media mentions Gor and how they almost inevitably lump it in with BDSM. In addition, there are people involved in BDSM who see Gor as an aspect of it, as well as Goreans who also see Gor as part of BDSM. 

Please note that I will deal primarily with generalizations for ease of understanding. There may be exceptions to these generalizations but that alone does not invalidate the generalizations themselves.

Let’s start with some basic information about Gor. 

John Norman, a university philosophy professor, has written 26 novels (Editors note: 26 at the time this post was originally written. Current number of novels is 35) depicting the fictional world of Gor and more will be published in the future. Norman has also written 5 other novels and 2 non-fiction books. 

One of those non-fiction works is Imaginative Sex which was published in 1974 and is commonly thought to be one of the first D/S (Dominance/Submission) related books ever published in modern times. In 1974, there were few non-fiction books portraying D/S. 

The Leatherman’s Bible was one of the only other such books in print at that time. As Imaginative Sex has some strong connections to Gor as well, then initially we can note that there is likely at least some connection between Gor and D/S. But we must be careful not to end our consideration there. 

We should also begin by considering some definitions to help us in our discussion, not just of BDSM and D/S but also what we mean when we refer to Gor. 

For each of these terms, precise definitions are not easy as each term encompasses a wide variety of aspects. Just think of some of the myriad aspects that often fall under the label of BDSM and D/S, such as bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism, dominance, submission, slaves, switches, blood play, and role-playing. This is by no means an exhaustive list. And each person involved in BDSM and D/S has their own personal preferences of which areas they may practice. In addition, for some this is all just kinky sex. But for others, it is a deeper lifestyle that affects many aspects of their lives, and not just the sexual aspect. Diversity is a key word in defining BDSM and D/S. 

Within the Gorean community, diversity is also the key in defining Gor. For simplicity’s sake, we can separate those actively involved in the Gorean community into three main groups. We are thus excluding those who are more passively involved, those who just enjoy reading the novels and take it no further than that. 

Our three groups thus include role-players, philosophers and lifestylers. Please understand as well that there is much diversity within each of these three groups. These are broad categories that encompass many differences too. They are useful for a general discussion though please be aware the lines are not always clear. People can belong to more than one of these groups without any conflict.     

Gorean Role-Playing

At its most basic, Gorean Role-Playing is a game where people pretend to be on Gor, acting out certain roles. It is a form of entertainment though it can have its educational aspects as well. Role-playing may involve captures where people try to enslave others and combat where people may duel each other, sometimes to a virtual death. 

Some who role-play try to remain true to the novels, only permitting types of actions that would be plausible based on the novels. Others prefer a looser form, altering aspects of the books to suit their own preferences. Sometimes these two schools of thought can get combative over their respective preferences. 

Role-played slavery, that follows the Gorean books closely, can resemble historical slavery, especially the type practiced in ancient Rome. Slaves in the Gorean books were mere property with absolutely no rights. Their owner could kill them with impunity. By Earth standards, such slavery could be considered harsh and brutal. Not all choose to adhere this closely to the books though when they role-play slavery. 

Others take a more gentle approach to it. Yet we must remember that this is only a game. It could easily be compared to any BDSM or D/S role-playing scenario. In Norman’s Imaginative Sex he actually presents over 50 sexual role-play scenarios, often involving domination, bondage and slavery. A number of those scenarios are similar to matters that could occur on Gor.

But it is important to remember that Gorean role-playing does not have to involve only master/slave interactions. Role-playing can cover many different scenarios from mysteries to war stories, from romance to action-adventure. Role-playing is like living a novel and the potential adventures are limited only by your imagination. There are some Gorean role-players who prefer to mainly engage in master/slave interaction but that is simply their choice. It is not indicative of the entire possible scope of role-play. 

Gorean Philosophy

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Gorean philosophy. This constitutes the underlying principles of the world of Gor that have been explicated in the novels. There is much evidence to indicate that this philosophy does exist and is based in large part on ancient Greek philosophy and the works of Nietzsche. 

Gorean philosophy may be best summarized by the principle Live in Accordance with Nature. Essentially, all other Gorean philosophical principles derive from this primary tenet. A complete understanding of Gorean philosophy requires a person not only to read all of the Gor novels but also to engage in outside reading as well to better comprehend some complex philosophical concepts. 

Interestingly enough, slavery is not an aspect of the Gorean philosophy. In fact, it is absolutely unnecessary to the philosophy. Slavery is a societal and cultural institution on Gor and not a philosophical principle. Now, one of the derivative principles of Gorean philosophy is that in general, men are dominant and women are submissive. It is simply considered a biological truth, based on genetics and our evolutionary history. And remember that we are not discussing an absolute here, only a generalization. But this principle does not entail that women should or must be slaves. There is a significant difference between being submissive and being a slave.

We should note that this group is the smallest of all the three Gorean groups we have mentioned. We can only speculate as to the reasons for this. Part of the reason is that when most people think of the term “philosophy” they think of a more cerebral activity, and not a way of life. They think of musty old academics arguing over esoteric points about the nature of the universe. Yet, if we delve back to ancient Greece and Rome, we can see that philosophy to them was integrally tied to a way of life. A philosopher lived his philosophy and did not just talk about it. And as Gor is largely based on such ancient sources, it seems especially appropriate to handle its philosophy as such. 

Gorean Lifestylers

Now we come to the final group, the Gorean lifestylers. This is the area that most often is compared to the world of BDSM and D/S. In general, a lifestyler is someone who follows the Gorean philosophy BUT who also emulates some of the societal institutions of Gor. That emulation is an important aspect of their lifestyle. A lifestyler essentially takes certain matters that some role-play and tries to make them real in their lives. 

It should be mentioned briefly here that there are a number of lifestylers who take great offense at role-players. They feel that it hurts their credibility and also that it is offensive to make a game out of what they live. But, by emulating some of the fictional aspects of the fictional world of Gor, it can be argued that lifestylers are actually engaged in a form of role-play. 

Some of the most common societal institutions that are emulated by lifestylers include the Home Stone, the Caste system and slavery. Now, there is no standard for which institutions must be emulated to be a lifestyler. You might choose to have a Home Stone but no Caste. You might choose to have a slave but no Home Stone. It is all a matter of personal preference though slavery is probably the most commonly emulated institution. Out of all aspects of Gor, slavery still attracts the most people. Yet this popularity is misrepresentative of the entirety of Gor. One can still be a Gorean lifestyler and not own a slave or even support slavery. 

When these Gorean institutions are emulated, lifestylers modify them for the realities of Earth and their own personal preferences. Slavery, though legal on Gor, is not legal on Earth so there must necessarily be some differences. Overall, lifestyler slavery becomes much less harsh than it would be on Gor. There are no forced enslavements for lifestylers. 

It is often called consensual slavery as the slave consents to her condition. She also has the power to end the slavery at any point. Such real-time (RT) slavery most closely resembles what would be known in BDSM and D/S as TPE, Total Power Exchange, though I prefer the less commonly used term Internal Enslavement as I feel it is a more accurate description of the nature of the relationship. At its most basic, RT slavery is a more extreme form of submission. And thus, there will be many similarities between BDSM and D/S and this RT slavery though there will be some significant differences as well.

Let us examine some of these similarities and differences. Gorean slavery, as can BDSM, may involve bondage, including collars, chains, manacles, rope, ties, and more. Gorean slavery and BDSM may involve the infliction of pain upon a submissive or slave. In general though, Goreans only do so as punishment and their slaves do not enjoy the pain. 

There are exceptions though. In BDSM, it is far more common for the submissive or slave to enjoy receiving the pain. Both Gor and BDSM obviously involve dominance and submission, though in Gor, it is usually the men who are dominant. In BDSM, many women are dominant, far more than would be in Gor. We could also discuss the differences between submissives and slaves but that is not too relevant to this current discussion. 

What is most important to note is that such RT Gorean slavery is but a single aspect of a much larger realm. If you feel that Gor is only about slavery, then you are missing out on a vast world of other Gorean ideas and concepts. Gorean philosophy touches on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy and so much more. 

It draws its inspiration from such sources as Plato’s The Republic, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil

It deals with more than just personal relationships, encompassing also how man interacts with government, society and nature. In these respects, it is vastly more encompassing than BDSM or D/S. BDSM and D/S are most often a matter of personal relationships, the interaction of two people. 

Who then is responsible for setting forth the mistaken belief that Gor is primarily about slavery? Ultimately, much of that responsibility does fall upon the Gorean community. It falls upon those individuals who come to Gor just because of the slavery aspect. It falls upon those individuals who create websites that deal primarily with aspects of slavery. It falls upon those individuals who endlessly discuss slavery issues on the message boards, ignoring other topics. And as these individuals are the majority online, the message gets skewed. So people who know little of Gor receive a distorted picture that Gor is primarily about slavery when it is so much more diverse. 

Luckily, there are some who try to combat this distorted image. They help teach the realities of Gor. They post message and articles discussing many other aspects of Gor. They create websites that touch upon these myriad matters, relegating slavery to a far lesser role. It is not an easy task, but some are ready to face that challenge. 

The ultimate objective is to show that Gor is about far more than just slavery. Gor is not simply a subset of BDSM or D/S. 

Though there are some similarities between BDSM, D/S and Gorean RT consensual slavery, the differences far outweigh. Gor encompasses a vast array of additional matters that have nothing to do with BDSM or D/S. 

Written by Ubar Luther in

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Current List of Books in the Gorean Saga

This is the updated list of the Gorean Saga Books, with link for their purchase:

Book Covers:

Tarnsman of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 1) by [John Norman]
Outlaw of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 2) by [John Norman]
Priest-Kings of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 3) by [John Norman]
Nomads of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 4) by [John Norman]
Assassin of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 5) by [John Norman]
Raiders of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 6) by [John Norman]
Captive of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 7) by [John Norman]
Hunters of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 8) by [John Norman]
Marauders of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 9) by [John Norman]
Tribesmen of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 10) by [John Norman]
Slave Girl of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 11) by [John Norman]
Beasts of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 12) by [John Norman]
Explorers of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 13) by [John Norman]
Fighting Slave of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 14) by [John Norman]
Rogue of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 15) by [John Norman]
Guardsman of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 16) by [John Norman, Ken W. Kelly]
Savages of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 17) by [John Norman]
Blood Brothers of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 18) by [John Norman]
Kajira of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 19) by [John Norman]
Players of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 20) by [John Norman]
Mercenaries of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 21) by [John Norman]
Dancer of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 22) by [John Norman]
Renegades of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 23) by [John Norman]
Vagabonds of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 24) by [John Norman]
Magicians of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 25) by [John Norman]
Witness of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 26) by [John Norman]
Prize of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 27) by [John Norman]
Kur of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 28) by [John Norman]
Swordsmen of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 29) by [John Norman]
Mariners of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 30) by [John Norman]
Conspirators of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 31) by [John Norman]
Smugglers of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 32) by [John Norman]
Rebels of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 33) by [John Norman]
Plunder of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 34) by [John Norman]
Quarry of Gor (Gorean Saga Book 35) by [John Norman]

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Gorean Philosophy

“I do not insist that my argument is right in all other respects, but I would contend at all costs both in word and deed as far as I could that we will be better men, braver and less idle, if we believe that one must search for the things one does not know, rather than if we believe that it is not possible to find out what we do not know and that we must not look for it.”


Let me begin with a caveat, that the opinions expressed in this series of essays are mine alone and as such are susceptible to all the normal vagaries of opinions. But, I do feel that my opinions are firmly grounded and well researched. They are based upon multiple readings and studies of all of the Gor novels, all of Norman’s other written works, and additional extensive readings and studies into philosophy, science, psychology and history. In addition, one of my majors in college was philosophy. Personally, I choose to live by a Gorean philosophy in my life though I do not consider myself a Gorean lifestyler, by its most common definition. I simply see no reason in my own life for the necessity of trying to emulate the societal and cultural institutions of Gor. Others have different desires and that is fully their prerogative.

Some initial clarification is necessary to delineate the scope and direction of this series. The philosophy of Gor and the Gorean lifestyle, though related, are still separate entities. The most common definition of a lifestyler is one who follows a Gorean philosophy AND also emulates some of the societal and cultural institutions of Gor such as slavery, the Caste system or the Home Stone. The Gorean philosophy consists of the underlying principles of the Gorean world, separate from their manifestation into man-made institutions. One could create a more expansive definition of a lifestyler to include those who just follow a Gorean philosophy, but that would not be its most common usage. The key here is that one does not need to be a called a lifestyler (as it is commonly defined) to follow a Gorean philosophy in their life. I am not denigrating the lifestyle here, only trying to properly define the terms, by their most common usage, that will be used in these articles.

Even though the societal and cultural institutions of Gor most often derive from the philosophy, that derivation is not a logical necessity. Other institutions, some drastically different, could be derived from that same philosophy. For example, the barbarian cultures of Gor possess some drastically different societal and cultural institutions than the civilized cities of Gor, yet they all follow the same basic philosophy. These institutions may even vary from city to city. Thus, those institutions are generally unimportant to a comprehension of the philosophy except as examples of one possible method of the enactment of the philosophy. They are also unnecessary to actually living according to the philosophy. You do not need to own a slave or possess a Home Stone to live according to a Gorean philosophy. 

If we examine the books, trying to separate the philosophy from the societal and cultural institutions, we can see that those matters that may seem most abhorrent to our own moral sense, such as human sacrifice or legal slavery, belong to the category of societal and cultural institutions. Fortunately, such matters are unnecessary if we are only concerned with the philosophy. Any philosophy, in its application into a societal or cultural institution, can be abused or twisted but that does not invalidate the underlying philosophy. Consider how Christianity has been twisted over the centuries into such matters as the Inquisition and Crusades. Consider how Nietzsche’s philosophy, though he despised anti-Semitism, was twisted by the Nazis for their own sinister purposes. Do not equate what you might see as “brutality” within the Gor books as indicative of what the philosophy actually entails. Look below the surface to find its roots. A mere surface reading of the books is insufficient to properly understand its depths. 

Not everyone believes that the Gorean philosophy is valid or worthy. But, if we analyze the efforts of these critics of Gor, we can see that their primary criticisms concern the societal and cultural institutions of Gor rather than the actual philosophy. The existence of forced slavery in the books is an often touted “evil” of Gor despite it not being an aspect of the philosophy. Thus, those criticisms have no correlation to the philosophy. If anything, the critics often deny even the existence of any Gorean philosophy. On those rare occasions when they do contest particular aspects of the philosophy, they more often that not misunderstand and misrepresent what are the actual philosophical principles of Gor. For example, some critics claim that the Gorean philosophy stands for the proposition that women are inferior to men. This is completely wrong and is not a Gorean proposition. Gor depicts men and women as simply different, not that women are inherently inferior to men. The critics need to better understand what they wish to oppose. And if they truly understood the Gorean philosophy, most of them might not be so critical.

So what is the reason to present this series of articles? I think that discussions of the actual philosophy underlying Gor are far too uncommon online. When philosophical topics are raised on message boards, they often garner few replies. There are many more discussions on the practicalities of living a Gorean lifestyle today, on the emulation of the societal and cultural institutions of Gor. Just look at how prevalent are the discussions of slavery on websites and message boards. There is no other topic that garners half as much attention as slavery. But, I believe that the Gorean philosophy is of significant importance and that it warrants much more discussion than it currently receives. This series will be an effort to raise the awareness level of the philosophy and hopefully institute some meaningful dialogue on the subject matter. 

There would be no lifestyle without the Gorean philosophy. The philosophy is the required foundation for the lifestyle. And if one wishes to follow a Gorean philosophy in their lives, it is essential that they understand fully what they are trying to follow. Otherwise, they do a disservice to themselves. One could convert to Catholicism, and then go to Mass, receive the Eucharist and go to confession. But, unless they understood the basics of the faith, the essential fundamentals of that faith, they would only be going through the motions. And no one should just “go through the motions” in their chosen lifestyle. Comprehension is essential and highly beneficial.

Introduction to Gorean Philosophy

“Philosophy begins when one learns to doubt–particularly to doubt one’s cherished beliefs, one’s dogmas and one’s axioms. Who knows how these cherished beliefs become certainties with us, and whether some secret wish did not furtively beget them, clothing desire in the dress of thought? There is no real philosophy until the mind turns round and examines itself.” 

The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant 

What is the Gorean philosophy? 

Let us break that question down. What is Gorean? What is philosophy?

Before we can begin to discuss this fascinating subject, we must first try to define our terms. Without a common definitional basis, there might be confusion and misinterpretation. It is far better to try to circumvent those potential problems at the start. Socrates was an ardent advocate of the great importance of defining terms when discussing philosophical issues. Please also understand that these definitions are geared specifically to pertain to the subject matter at hand. As such, these definitions may not be appropriate in a different context. 

We shall begin our discussion by first trying to define “philosophy.” The term “philosophy” is derived from two Greek words that literally translates as “lover of wisdom.” The proper definition of philosophy though remains a bone of contention even to modern day philosophers. Thus, many different definitions exist, varying from the simple to the complex. So, what are we to do? Which definition would be best for our purposes? Well, if we are to discuss a Gorean philosophy, then maybe we should consult Norman, a philosophy professor, for his own definition of philosophy. But, that is not to be found within the Gorean series. Fortunately, Norman’s book “The Cognitivity Paradox” (published under his real name John Lange) provides us with just such a definition. This book also points out the weaknesses of numerous other definitions of philosophy and is highly recommended for anyone interested in Gorean philosophy or philosophy in general. 

Norman defines philosophy simple as “a proposal,” something essentially offered for consideration, a matter to be discussed and examined. In general, a proposal would not be considered to have a truth-value in the ordinary sense. It is not something we would commonly assess as either just true or false. But, nearly all philosophers would contend that philosophy can be cognitive, that it can have a truth-value, so they might contest Norman’s definition. They would see philosophy as having far greater worth than merely being a proposal. But, Norman avoids this criticism by choosing to extend the meaning of truth-value to create a derivative cognitivity that is applicable to such proposals. Obviously some proposals are better than others and it is possible that some proposal can even be considered the best. Thus, if a set of conditions are devised to judge a proposal, based on some ideal, then those conditions could be used to assess its truth-value. We shall return to Norman’s definition later in this series to assess the cognitivity of the Gorean philosophy.

Academically, philosophy has four primary components: logic, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Logic is essentially concerned with correct methods of reasoning, how we prove certain statements, including such matters as deductive and inductive reasoning. We shall mostly ignore this aspect of philosophy when we are exploring Gor except in as so much that we shall rely on logic when making our points. Metaphysics concerns explanations about the general aspects of reality such as the nature of our minds, bodies, God, space, time, the world and universe. We shall explore this topic as it applies to Gor, especially concerning the fabricated metaphysics imposed upon the Low Castes, also known as the Double Knowledge. We will also explore how different Gorean cultures, the barbarian peoples, have their own metaphysical beliefs. Epistemology concerns the nature and extent of human knowledge, asking why we believe what we believe and whether true knowledge is possible. We shall explore this aspect as well as it applies to Gorean philosophy. Though some cultures may differ in this respect as well, there is more commonality here than in the area of metaphysics. Ethics concerns the proper way to conduct one’s life and issues of morality. We shall spend the most time discussing this subject as it applies to Gorean philosophy. When people generally refer to the Gorean philosophy, this is the topic they mean. They are most concerned about how to properly live according to this philosophy. 

There are also derivative forms of philosophy, subjects that are more specific in nature such as political philosophy and aesthetics. It has even spread in modern times to cover such areas as the philosophy of sports, sex, health, business and many more. We may touch on a few of these derivative forms where they are applicable to Gor. For example, we shall examine some aspects of political philosophy such as the relation of Plato’s “The Republic” to the structure of the Gorean city. We may even touch upon some aspects of aesthetics as beauty is very important on Gor. 

Let’s now define “Gorean,” an often controversial term online. There is often debate and disagreement on defining this term and many people have their own definitions of such. My definition is intended to be limited to the context of “Gorean philosophy.” I intend “Gorean” to be an expansive term, encompassing nearly all of the societies and cultures of Gor, from the cities such as Ar and Ko-ro-ba, to the barbarian lands of Torvaldsland and the Barrens. What unites these disparate peoples is an underlying set of philosophical principles. This is what makes those people Gorean “by nature” as opposed to Gorean simply by their place of birth. Though their societal and cultural institutions vary, often quite significantly, these peoples are still united philosophically in many ways. Their metaphysics may vary, as well as their epistemology, but the foundation of their ethics is the same. And it is the ethical aspects that are of the greatest importance to those who wish to live by a Gorean philosophy. A few Gorean societies and cultures may try to repudiate these principles but they are not the norm. They are rare exceptions, such as the Panther Girls, who are unwilling to accept all of the principles, though very often they succumb to them in the end.

So, essentially this series will cover the commonalities and differences in three philosophic aspects among the disparate peoples of Gor. Metaphysics and epistemology will be dealt with briefly as they are of lesser importance to our interests and objectives. The area of ethics though will be central to our discussions. We shall also cover a number of other philosophically related matters. The primary objective of this series will be to help people understand the underlying principles of the Gorean philosophy, that apply to nearly all the peoples of Gor, and how they can impact upon societal and cultural institutions. We shall also better comprehend how a Gorean philosophy can be adopted and followed in our own lives. 

Though understanding the Gorean philosophy, once it is presented, should not prove too difficult, enacting its principles in one’s life can be more problematic. This is because many of the philosophical principles of Gor are antithetical to the standards we are used to on Earth. We have been socially and culturally conditioned against these natural principles. And such conditioning can be very difficult to overcome. It is not an easy matter to cast it off and to embrace a philosophy so counter to it. It takes a massive effort of will, a true test of self-discipline and self-examination. Not everyone can or is willing to do this. But it can be done. Living according to a Gorean philosophy is a definite possibility. 

There is a popular quote from the books that is often quoted as a proposition of how to live one’s life in a Gorean manner. 

“Do not ask the stones or the trees how to live; they cannot tell you; they do not have tongues; do not ask the wise man how to live, for, if he knows, he will know he cannot tell you; if you would learn how to live do not ask the question, its answer is not in the question but in the answer, which is not in words, do not ask how to live, but instead proceed to do so.” (Marauders of Gor, p.9) 

Though this is a fine quote, its applicability to those on Earth is very limited. Its primary applicability is to the Goreans of the books who have been raised since birth to believe and understand the basic philosophy of Gor. It thus comes naturally to them and they do not need to engage in lengthy meditations over their philosophic choices. We on Earth, due to the strong societal and cultural conditioning we receive since birth, cannot simply “just live” as Goreans do. We have forgotten how to do so. We must awaken to the realities of nature and that requires intensive self-examination to overcome our life-long conditioning. We must ask the stones and trees how to live. Thus, we must make take an active role to study and understand the Gorean philosophy. We would be much better off following the advice of Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  

If the Gorean philosophy is a positive philosophy, which I believe it to be, then it seems obvious that it should be promoted and encouraged. What reason is there not to promote a positive philosophy? In the Gorean books, Norman holds out a slim chance that those of Earth will one day “awaken” to the natural truths of the Gorean philosophy. He does not indicate that only a select few should follow the philosophy. It seems evident that he feels the entire planet could benefit from such a philosophy. He hopes for a future that has regained a connection to the natural world. Thus, it makes sense to promote such a philosophy, to encourage people to learn and understand it. Turning people away from such a philosophy does a disservice to our society. Maybe the information presented here might help even a few comprehend the philosophy and choose to follow it in their lives.

Finally, I cannot stress enough that all education about Gor, including the philosophy, begins with the Gor books. If you wish to properly understand Gor, you must read the Gor books. There is no real substitute. Reading websites and message boards is insufficient for a proper understanding of Gor. They may help you better understand what you have read, but you should have the foundation of having read the books first. Otherwise, you will be unable to discern the errors from the truth. And numerous websites do contain inaccuracies concerning the books. Without the books, you might be able to acquire a passing knowledge of Gor, but true comprehension will likely elude you. And if one truly cares about Gor, enough to want to live according to its philosophy, then reading the books should be a given. 

“…love of learning, which can be one of the deepest and most honest of loves.”

(Tarnsman of Gor, p.38


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Natural Order

The most externally obvious, and thus controversial, aspect of Gorean philosophy is the concept of Natural Order. It is, for better or worse, what Goreans are known for, if they are known. It is also perhaps the most misunderstood, even by those professing to be Gorean.

Natural Order has two aspects. The first is a somewhat incindiary term for the application of Evolutionary Psychology to gender and sexual relationships. In short, Evolutionary Psychology is the application of the principles of natural selection to human psychology, that is, looking at the evolutionary pressures on humans over their history and how they would have impacted our psychological as well as physiological development.

The general consensus in the scientific community on the “nature vs. nurture” question is “both, and it’s complicated.” Many aspects of our behavior are biological in origin, with a thick layer of social and cultural conditioning on top of them (which have their own highly complicated evolutionary pressures). Those biological behaviors have been shaped by millions of years of evolution, and have shaped (both psychologically and physically) males and females in different ways because a division of labor aided in the survival of the species.

These differences are by no means absolute, but show a clear gender-biased trend. Specifically, they show a bias toward dominant, protective, tenacious males and submissive, nurturing, multi-tasking females. Displays of those behaviors by one gender tend to trigger a sympathetic mirror response in the other. That such trends sound eerily like the “traditional gender roles” oft derided in Western culture today is a sign not that they are antiquated but that there is some validity to them; if such gender differentiation was so common throughout most of human history, perhaps there is something more to it than an oppressive conspiracy.

The scientific basis for that claim is present, but not conclusive. For instance, one study conducted in Canada on D/s and S/M interests showed a surprisingly high degree of interest across genders in activities that suggest an unequal power dynamic. While both genders reported interest in all activities in large numbers, there was a very clear bias toward men expressing dominant/aggressive interests and women expressing submissive interests.

Similarly, many studies have shown that what is most attractive to men, on the whole, is signs of fertility and high estrogen, which generally express themselves in what are usually considered “feminine” attributes. Conversely, women are attracted to signs of successful provision; the cues for that may vary between cultures but the theme is the same. The exception is while they are ovulating, when their attraction shifts to signs of fertility in the form of high testosterone, which also generally express themselves in traditionally “masculine” appearance and behavior.

Historically, societies in which life was more fraught and death closer to hand tended to be more strongly male-dominant, while those that had more abundant and secure resources tend to have a more equal status for men and women. The same pattern can be seen today amongst many primates. Humans evolved, of course, in very unstable conditions in which our wits were our only meaningful defense mechanism (as we lacked claws, saberteeth, thick hides, or other natural weapons). That undoubtedly impacted the evolution of the human psyche.

To be sure, a handful of studies do not a scientific consensus make and any generalization of human behavior is fraught with risk. The science at this point can best be summed up as “inconclusive, but there’s definitely something to it.”

The other, related aspect of natural order, as Goreans understand it, is that of hierarchy. Dominance and leadership hierarchies are natural and normal among most mammals, especially primates. Most groups, left to their own devices, inevitably develop hierarchies, even if informal ones. Those hierarchies are not always formed along the most practical lines, but they will form. (The essay “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” explains this dynamic in more detail.)

Goreans embrace and accept the nature of hierarchy, and that some will lead and others follow. Following is not disgraceful if it is natural and appropriate in context; not everyone can, or should, lead. Without both followers and leaders the chances of anything getting done is close to none.

Combining these two concepts, Gorean culture is, openly and unabashedly, male-dominant. Male-dominant, however, does not imply misogynistic. There are many women involved in the Gorean community who are well-respected, but understand that Gor is patriarchal without shame.

In the books, this clear dominant/submissive dichotomy is taken to a hyperbolic extreme, up to and including legalized, chattel slavery. In the books, perhaps 2% of the female population is said to be slaves, most of them happily so, and an even smaller percentage of the male population are slaves, mostly POWs and criminals who resent their status. Despite that, the overwhelming majority of the female characters seen in the books are slaves, and happily so (at least by the end of the book). They are simply more fun to read about.

The extremes, of course, are of more interest to those unsatisfied with the state of their environment. As a result, it is estimated that somewhere around 2/3rd of women involved in the Gorean community consider themselves slaves. Unlike the books, of course, this is consensual slavery with their full and enthusiastic consent.


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Love of Nature

While it is perhaps a stretch to say that one must be an environmentalist in order to be Gorean, it would not be a great stretch. As noted, the name of the Gorean homeworld is “Home Stone”, a reference to that which is the beating heart of a Gorean’s life.

The books also state, repeatedly, that Goreans love their world. Its “clean and untainted” air is oft contrasted with the “polluted” air of Earth. There is perhaps little to add to this particular line:

“Goreans care for their world. They love the sky, the plains, the sea, the rain in the summer, the snow in the winter. They will sometimes stand and watch clouds. The movement of grass in the wind is very beautiful to them. More than one Gorean poet has sung of the leaf of a Tur tree. I have known warriors who cared for the beauty of small flowers.”

Hunters of Gor, Page 119

A healthy respect for nature and its beauty, and an inclination to protect and preserve it, is a very Gorean trait.


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