Introduction to Home Stone

Greater than caste, however, is Home Stone. The books make the point repeatedly that one cannot understand the significance of a Home Stone without having a Home Stone. For our purposes, however, it suffices to demonstrate the value of communal bonds.

A Home Stone is a rock. It is often simple, and minimally decorated if at all. It has no intrinsic value, except that is taken as symbolic of the heart and soul of the community that pledges itself to it and is thus invaluable. As a literary tool, it serves to exemplify the dual importance of personal sovereignty and community loyalty.

An individual or house may have a personal Home Stone, but a city will also have a Home Stone. A man in the presence of his Home Stone is absolute ruler and sovereign. “A man’s home is his castle” is a concept that Goreans take very seriously, and to challenge another’s rule of his house is a serious affront.

At the same time, the shared Home Stone of a city unites its members. Without a Home Stone, they are simply a group of people in the same place. With a Home Stone, they are a community.

“Commonality of Home Stone extends beyond concepts with which you are familiar, such as shared citizenship, for example. It is more like brotherhood, but not so much in the attenuated, cheap, abstract sense in which those of Earth commonly speak glibly, so loosely, of brotherhood. It is more analogous to brotherhood in the sense of jealously guarded membership in a proud, ancient family, one that has endured through centuries, a family bound together by fidelity, honor, history and tradition.”

Prize of Gor, Pages 117 – 118

The sharing of a Home Stone is a serious matter, and one owes a great deal to those with whom one shares one. Protection, aid, fidelity, and so forth are expected from a community to its members and vice versa.

In Ar, as in many Gorean cities, citizenship is confirmed in a ceremony of this sort. Nonperformance of this ceremony, upon reaching intellectual majority, can be a cause for expulsion from the city. The rationale seems to be that the community has a right to expect allegiance from its members.

Vagabonds of Gor, Page 303

So while Gorean philosophy may strongly value the individual and personal achievement, it values equally, if not more so, the shared community and its achievement as well.

Less often referenced, but also relevant to this discussion, is that the word “Gor” literally translates as “Home Stone”. That is, the name of the planet in the books is literally “Home Stone”. Our world is our Home Stone, to which we owe ultimate allegiance, and to those with whom we share that ultimate Home Stone.

Are we not all of the same world?


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Introduction to Community

While Gor is generally a strong supporter of the individual, and Norman himself decidedly libertarian in his views, Gor nonetheless places great significance on community, and on community responsibility.

In the books, this is shown in two ways.

Caste solidarity

Most of the regions of Gor we see in the books have a caste-based culture. These castes are not akin to the Indian caste system (which most Americans first think of when they hear “caste”) but more like the professional guilds of Medieval and Early Modern Europe. One is generally born into a caste, learns the skills of the caste from its senior members, teaches those skills to its younger members, and owes a debt of responsibility to all of its members.

“Goreans do not generally favor begging, and some regard it as an insult that there should be such, an insult to them and their city. When charity is in order, as when a man cannot work or a woman is alone, usually such is arranged through the caste organization.”

Assassins of Gor, page 12

The welfare of the caste, typically, takes priority in the Gorean mind over the ambitions of specific individuals.”

Fighting Slave of Gor, page 210

Similarly, sharing knowledge with fellow caste members is, naturally, a duty. How can the caste be strong if many of its members are kept ignorant for the aggrandizement of a single member?

Although not all practicing Goreans claim a caste, and there is of course no “caste organization” to speak of, the concept of responsibility and duty to those with whom shares a professional bond is poignant and consistent.


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Introduction to Honor

There is, in the world, that which is Right and that which is Wrong. Most interactions and situations do not rise to the level of Right and Wrong, and it would be incorrect to say that they do. But to be honorable, or to have honor, is to work for and do what is Right and fight against and do not do that which is Wrong, even at cost to yourself, because that is the Right thing to do, and to be internally consistent (that is, have integrity) in those endeavors. Period.

One who “is honorable” is one who has a clear definition of Right and Wrong, an understanding of why those beliefs are held, and holds to them with a high degree of consistency. One who has demonstrated such over a period of time is said to “be honorable”.

Closely related to honor is the concept of integrity. Integrity is an internal and external consistency in belief, behavior, and action with regard to one’s Honor and ethical code, especially in the face of adversity. While one’s beliefs may change over time, and it is in fact worrisome if they do not evolve as one gains experience, they should not do so on a whim.

As humans are by nature fallible creatures, perfect integrity is impossible. All people will at some point in their lives, probably at many, fail to provide consistent adherence to their honor and ethical code at the time, either in their beliefs, behavior, or action. At that time, a reasonable judge of integrity is the frequency with which such inconsistencies occur, the severity of them, and the steps (or lack thereof) the person in question takes to amend said breach and to avoid a repeated breach. In fact, one’s actions in response to a breach of integrity are a better judge of one’s integrity than behavior in more normal times.

“The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be.”


There are, of course, many possible definitions of “Right” and “Wrong”, which often conflict. Gorean honor specifically is that which is derived from the books, but again that is not prescriptive and can only be derived implicitly.

Core to the Gorean sense of honor is accountability. That is, accepting responsibility for one’s actions (or lack thereof), whether the result is good or bad. That could be as mundane as apologizing for stepping on someone’s foot to accepting genuine blame for a large failure at work. It also means, however, not assisting others in avoiding accountability. It means being true to one’s word (even if doing so is otherwise detrimental). A Gorean is accountable to himself, and to those around him.

“Flee,” she said. “I am of the Warriors,” I said. “But you may die,” she said. “That is acknowledged in the codes,” I said. “What are the codes?” she asked. “They are nothing, and everything,” I said. “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.” “Kurii?” she asked. “Beasts, such as ice beasts, and worse,” I said. “Beasts such as the face you saw in the sky.” “You need not keep the codes,” she said. “I once betrayed my codes,” I said. “It is not my intention to do so again.” I looked at her.
“One does not know, truly, what it is to stand, until one has fallen. Once one has fallen, then one knows, you see, what it is to stand.” “None would know if you betrayed the codes,” she said. “I would know,” I said, “and I am of the Warriors.”

Beasts of Gor, Page 340

Another key aspect of Gorean honor is strength, and striving to increase it. Not strength in the physical sense, but strength of character and will. In this regard it draws heavily from Nietzsche’s concept of Master-slave morality, which embraces the inherent inequality of the world.

Gorean philosophy does not claim that all are equal. Quite the opposite. Gorean philosophy asserts that inequality is the natural state of humanity, as not all are equal in skill, in intellect, in will, or capacity in a myriad of ways.

However, contrary to the inequality espoused by racists and bigots, that inequality is not static. That inequality is taken not as a way to hold another down, but as a challenge to lift yourself, and your fellows, higher. There is always higher to climb, another challenge to meet, another lesson to learn. Gorean honor calls on Goreans to always seek to climb and better themselves.

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.”

Marauders of Gor, Page 9

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

Friedrich Nietzsche

We also hold that, if one shares a kinship with another (through family, caste, or Home Stone) then one is obligated to, as appropriate, help that other person to climb. “Here is my hand, now come up to my level.”

Curiously, while the above “Right and Wrong” definition of honor is common amongst lay-people in the US today, that is not how sociologists and anthropologists use the term. In sociological terms, an honor-based culture is one that uses an implicit set of rules of behavior (an honor code) rather than an explicit one (a legal code), and places the responsibility of enforcement on all individuals personally.

That is, in a law-based society if someone wrongs you, it is the responsibility of an established and accepted structure to penalize the offender (government, legal system, police, judges, etc.), and the consistency of punishment acts as a deterrent of such behavior. In an honor-based society, in contrast, it would be your personal duty to seek vengeance upon the offender (possibly with help, possibly not, depending on the circumstances) as a way to dissuade others from wronging you in the future. Such honor-based systems are far more common where a law-based system is impossible, due to limited resources, high temptation to wrong someone else (the reward often outweighs the risk), and institutions to enforce an explicit code are ineffective or non-existent.

While such a “do it yourself” approach to law and order is romantic and appealing, historically it frequently lead to a lot of dead people and repeated cycles of violence through escalation, revenge killings, blood feuds, gang wars, and such. That is why most cultures have switched from implicit to explicit systems as soon as the resources and institutions for a law-based system were available.

We do see, however, that “vengeance” approach to honor in the Gor books as well. Even in cases where it is arguably to his detriment, Tarl will attack or dress-down another person for a social slight.

“It was so tiny a thing,” she asked, “a point of propriety, of precedence?” she asked. “Yes,” I said. “You risked so much for a mere point of honor?” she asked. “There are no mere points of honor,” I told her.

Vagabonds of Gor, Page 63

As virtually all industrialized nations today are, primarily, law-based societies and discourage personal vengeance as a social enforcement mechanism, what then of honor? Can this form of honor be compatible in a modern society?

We hold that yes, it can, as it does not require vengeance and violence to exist but simply correction. If wronged, a Gorean has a responsibility not of revenge, but of correction. Severe matters are indeed better left to law enforcement, but honor in this sense is the flip-side of accountability: Holding others accountable for their behavior, especially if one is the aggrieved party. That does not require personally punishing someone, simply seeing to it that they are held accountable.

That is, not only is it dishonorable to cheat, lie, or steal it is dishonorable to knowingly allow another to cheat, lie, or steal, and especially so if the cheating, lying, or stealing is committed against you.


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Introduction to Gorean Philosophy

Over the years, as the Gorean community has grown, many have struggled to define more succinctly what Gorean philosophy and world view actually is. “Gorean philosophy is the philosophy shown in the Gorean books” is the only universally accepted statement, as it is a tautology. The books are, in this regard, more parables than prescriptions, which requires one to self-reflect, analyze (both oneself as well as the books), and read deeper in order to find the patterns and meaning.

Which, in a sense, is the first principle of Gor: It cannot simply be taught, it must be learned and experienced.

Do not ask the stones or the trees how to live, they can not tell you;… do not ask how to live, but, instead, proceed to do so.

Marauders of Gor, Page 9

That, however, should not be taken as a condemnation of teaching; no society that refuses to teach its newcomers will survive past a single generation. Nor should it be taken as a message that Gor is “simply be yourself, whatever that is”. Such an anarchic approach would be completely incompatible with the books, as they show over and over again social structures and pressures and conventions that are not evil or repressive at all; rather, they are presented as superior to the (often-strawman) presentation of conventional western culture.

“Truth not won is not possessed. We are not entitled to truths for which we have not fought.”

Marauders of Gor, p.7

But what, then, constitutes Gorean philosophy? It is, simply, the philosophy agreed to and adopted by Goreans. But which Goreans?

In this case, the Scribe of this site. We do not claim the following to be the ultimate word on Gorean philosophy and belief. It is however, one which we accept and follow, and which has stood the test of countless debates and discussions over the past 20 years, a battle of wits in which many an innocent electron was spilt.


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Caste Colors

From all the many castes (professions) mentioned in the books, only some have specific colours assigned to them.

These are the main ones:

The five high castes

  • Initiates – White
  • Scribes – Blue
  • Builders – Yellow
  • Physicians – Green
  • Warriors – Red or Scarlet

And then we have the other castes:

  • Assassins – Black
  • Bakers – Yellow and Brown or Brown and Black
  • Foresters – Mottled Green and Brown
  • Metal Workers – Black and Gray
  • Merchant Magistrates – White, Trimmed with Gold and Purple
  • Merchants – Yellow and White or Gold and White
  • Peasants – Grey, White or Brown
  • Perfumers – White and Yellow
  • Players – Red and Yellow Checkered
  • Sawyers – Brown and Yellow
  • Slavers – Blue and Yellow
  • Sleen Trainers – Brown and Black
  • Tarn Keepers – Brown with Green streaks
  • Vintners – White with Green cloth leaves

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix



I could see the white robes of Initiates and the variegated colors of soldiers, both of Ar and of Pa-Kur’s horde.

Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 204

I saw two Initiates in their snowy white, with their golden pans held out, to receive offerings.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 504


another wore the blue of the Caste of Scribes,

Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 3

“Where will he go? What will he do?” asked a fellow, a Scribe from his robes, of shoddy, faded blue.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 4


“That war can be ended here,” smiled a man in yellow robes, those of the Builders.

Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 69

I saw two in the yellow of the Builders,

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 504


who wore the green robes of the Caste of Physicians,

Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 44

On continental Gor, green is the caste color of the Physicians.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 320


I was no longer worthy of the red of the warrior,

Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 76

I now dressed myself in the scarlet garb of a warrior of Gor.

Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 24


It was as a warrior of Gor that I arose and donned the black helmet and the garments of the Caste of Assassins. I loosened my sword in its sheath, set my shield on my arm, and grasped my spear.

Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 190

“Who are you,” asked a man, “that those of the black caste would come secretly, silently, upon you?”

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 5


I stayed four days in the rooms above the shop of Dina of Turia. There I dyed my hair black and exchanged the robes of the merchant for the yellow and brown tunic of the Bakers, to which caste her father and two brothers had belonged.

Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 237

I did note, however, the brown and black of the Bakers, the black and gray of the Metal Worker, the brown of the Peasants, and several others.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 504


Looking ahead, I saw a figure emerging from the forest, in the green which I would come later to recognize as that of the foresters.

Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 91

As we entered the trees, I saw two fellows. They wore tunics of a mottled green and brown. As they stood very still, I did not even notice them until we were almost at their side. Each held a strung, but not drawn, bow, a large bow, with an arrow a long arrow light at the string, as though it might be ready for flight.

Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 103

Metal Workers

In a few minutes a fellow in the black and gray of the metal workers appeared and removed her collar, with the attached tag.

Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 375

I did note, however, the brown and black of the Bakers, the black and gray of the Metal Worker, the brown of the Peasants, and several others.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 504

Merchant Magistrates

Behind the wagon, in the white robes, trimmed with gold and purple, of merchant magistrates, came five men. I recognized them as judges.

Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 49


White and yellow, or white and gold, are the colors of the merchants.

Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 269

There were many caste colors in the crowd, but clearly predominating were the yellow and white, or white and gold, familiar to the Merchants.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 503


one who wore the grimed grey of a peasant,

Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 129

I wore a peasant’s tunic. It was white and sleeveless, of the wool of the Hurt.

Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 191

I did note, however, the brown and black of the Bakers, the black and grey of the Metal Worker, the brown of the Peasants, and several others.

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 504


“A friend of your father,” said he. He tore away from his body, swiftly, the gown of the perfumers, that of white and yellow silk. I, too, cast aside the perfumer’s gown.

Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 116


he wore the garb of the Player, but his garb was rich and the squares of the finest red and yellow silk;

Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 322

Members of the Caste of Players are recognized by their red-and-yellow-checked robes,

Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 2


At that point a burly fellow, presumably of the Arsenal, for he wore a sawyer’s brown and yellow smock, made his way to the paga vat.

Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 426


He had known, of course, from the gown of blue and yellow silk that the man was a slaver.

Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 18

a slaver will usually wear blue and yellow robes, or robes in which these colours are prominent.

Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 335

Sleen Trainers

He no longer now wore the brown and black common to professional sleen trainers.

Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 78

Tarn Keepers

The Tarn Keeper, who was called by those in the tavern Mip, . . . wore a Tarn Keeper’s cap with a greenish tassel;

Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 168


“Game!” I heard, an answering cry, and a fat fellow, of the Caste of Vintners, puffing and bright eyed, wearing a white tunic with a representation in green cloth of leaves about the collar and down the sleeves of the garment, stepped forth from a doorway.

Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 29


In the center of the amphitheater was a throne of office, and on this throne, in his robe of state – a plain brown garment, the humblest cloth in the hall – sat my father, Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, once Ubar, War Chieftain of the city.

Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 62

He was not wearing the purple of the Ubar, but his shoulders were covered with a brown cloak, rather of the sort worn by Administrators in certain cities, civilian statesmen, servants of the people, so to speak.

Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 288

He wore an informal, brown robe, which betokened no caste in particular.

Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 193


“Why do the slaves wear purple?” I asked Misk. “That is the color of the robes of a Ubar.”

Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 91

Kamchak stood before the throne of Phanius Turmus, the purple robe of the Ubar over one shoulder,

Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 255

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Who is John Norman?

John Lange was born in Chicago, Illinois, to John Frederick Lange and Almyra D. Lange (née Taylor).

He began his academic career in the early 1950s, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska in 1953, and his Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 1957. While at USC he married Bernice L. Green on January 14, 1956. The couple have three children: John, David, and Jennifer.

Norman’s fiction attained popularity in the 1970s and early 1980s with an estimated 6 to 12 million copies sold.

John Norman’s Gorean Saga is a long-running series of adventure science fantasy novels, starting in December 1966 with Tarnsman of Gor. The series was put on hold after its twenty-fifth installment, Magicians of Gor, in 1988, when DAW refused to publish its successor, Witness of Gor. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a trade publishing outlet, the series was brought back into print in 2001 with the publication of Witness of Gor. Norman has also produced a separate science fiction series, the Telnarian Histories, plus three other fiction works, five non-fiction works, and a collection of thirty short stories.

Norman has said that the three major influences on his work are Homer, Freud, and Nietzsche.

According to Norman, his Gor books are science fiction or adventure fantasy works which are also “intellectual, philosophical, and psychological novels”. 

His fiction depicts fantastic worlds where male-dominated bondage relationships are natural and widely practiced and respected culturally, whereas characteristics of modern society are criticized and philosophical themes are explored, specially from a Nietzschean view.

Although the bondage in his Imaginative Sex guide is directed to sexual practices, the bondage and slavery presented on “Gor” follows along the lines of societal or legal slavery; a common way of life as reflected in ancient Rome and other societies. While the philosophy presented is unquestionably that of male dominance, male characters are themselves often enslaved by powerful females.

In an interview with Polygraff magazine, Norman stated that he believes that it is obvious that all societies are based on dominance and hierarchy.

His non-fiction works cover philosophy, ethics and historiography.

Source: Wikipedia

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Before Dwelling into GOR

I believe that before entering into much detail about the concepts and organization of the Gorean Philosophy, Novels and Lifestyle, it is important to understand some basics.

Most important of all, get to know some information about the author of the Novels, the inspiration for the philosopy and how it is being applied by many people around the world as a way of life!

©2020 – Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Gorean Lifestyle – The Journey Begins

I discovered the concepts of Gorean Philosophy some years ago and since then, started a path of discovery and self-awareness, learning about the Natural Order while deepening the study of philosophy and the mechanics of the human brain.

This site is another step in that path, searching for knowledge, organizing ideas and information and finding a way to share it with others!

I will start by making a small presentation of what “Gorean Philosophy” is, how it appeared, where does it draw “inspiration” from and how it is applied in a Lifestyle perspective.

Please keep in mind that all the information shared here is presented through my personal view of the philosophy and in a Lifestyler perspective (considerably different from Role-Players, etc).

Welcome and hope you enjoy!

©2020 -Written by Azrael Phoenix

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Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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