There were some interesting opinions and questions raised in the Socrates thread. I thought they deserve a new thread. I'm sure it has been dealt with a million times but I missed it. So deal with me bringing it up again.
I'd like to hear your opinions about religion in Equestria/mlp. As the show doesn't address it directly all of this will be head canon and speculation, but I'm still interested in reading it. the main questions are:
-Alicorns: Are the normal ponies with great powers or are they higher beings aka half-gods or gods?
-Do the ponies treat Celestia and Luna more like royals or more like religious figures?
-What do you think about Celestias parents?
-How do Discord and Tirek fit in?
-Is there a creator god?
Well the ponies praise the princesses, "In the name of Celestia", "By Celestia...!" and what not, so there's that.
As for their power, they're just what has been shown in the show, merciful wise leaders with a lot of power, not invincible and probably not immortal, but awesome enough to be revered.
>-Alicorns: Are the normal ponies with great powers or are they higher beings aka half-gods or gods?
Higher being in the sense that they have reached a level of higher magic, but not inherently divine.
>-Do the ponies treat Celestia and Luna more like royals or more like religious figures?
They're probably living mythical figures rather than directly religious, but the overlap between mythology and religion makes them considered by some to be religious figures.
>-What do you think about Celestias parents?
Likely not alicorns.
>-How do Discord and Tirek fit in?
Discord is a mangled avatar of the universe's inherent force of cyclic change. Tirek is just magical.
A place, considered to be of divine origin, but not exactly a equivalent of Hell.
The great equalizer.
>-Is there a creator god?
There is no creator God. The Tree of Harmony is the closest they got to a mystical god. And its not a sentient being. Unless you count Magic, Trees and Cosmic Space as their own nature gods that are not aware of smaller creatures
So, my ideas:
The central question is about the alicorns. Everything centers around that. They seem to be a superior race that decided to take care of the lower beings that seem so much like themself.
Celestia and Luna are ancient, we know that. Theire birth predates known history. So they live a really long time. Now look at them and think about the relative age they show. Luna seems a little younger, and that fits the lore that shes the younger sister. She seems to be somewhere around early adulthood, early twenties in human terms, possibly. Celestia seems older, but she's still far away from being old. She behaves like a mother, not like a grandmother. Maybe early thirties? I ask that because I want to point out that they don't have children yet but they are still young enough.
Now when would Celestias parents be born, if we speculate they have the same lifespan? Numbers don't matter, it's the relative time that's interesting. It's a completely different age of the world. One might even argue that the world changes with the ruling alicorn. When the sisters appeared, the world changed to have the three pony castes as the dominant species. But wait, why wasn't it the same before? Shouldn't the last generation of alicorns have protected and taken care of the ponies as well?
I think Celestia and Luna were never born from parents and I don't think there is a line of alicorns before them. That's why they don't have children and that's why Twilight was transformed. They were created to rule the world by some unknown power and they themself formed the ponies.
There was a time when the world was the home of very powerful and unique beings. Unique as in 'each one is a prototype'. Some of them left, maybe some died and some created beings to live in the world after them. The alicorns would be part of that 2nd generation, and they have formed the ponies to become the 3rd generation.
>There is no creator God.
Anon, this is all cranial artillery. None of us may know that for sure.
I'm willing to bet on there being a creator god because that's a easy reason to explain existence. If you have a better option, I'm eager to hear it.
>The Tree of Harmony is the closest they got to a mystical god.
Except, you know, the tree's existence wasn't common knowledge.
>They seem to be a superior race
Every known case of attained alicornhood seems to imply that you become an alicorn, not that you're born as one.
>Theire birth predates known history
What about the Heart's Warming Eve story?
>Alicorns: Are the normal ponies with great powers or are they higher beings aka half-gods or gods?
More along the lines of the Doctor, I should think. Certainly powerful, but more useful for their knowledge and wisdom.
>Do the ponies treat Celestia and Luna more like royals or more like religious figures?
Oddly enough, Celestia is treated as a royal, and Luna as a religious figure. Blame dreamwalking.
>What do you think about Celestia's parents?
I would really like Celestia and Luna to be Sun and Moon elementals, but I'm betting on Celestia having been a pegasus and Luna a unicorn before their ascensions. Normal parents, then.
>How do Discord and Tirek fit in?
Discord actual fits well in that elemental conception, though it would also be fitting if he was an earth pony who went through some qliphothic ascension to become the deranged reality warper we all know and suspect is Q
As for tirek... meh, maybe a minotaur equivalent of an alicorn.
A necessary prison for immortal beings
Empathic psionic focus crystals
Too fiddly to be a danger to the common pony, and too powerful to not build breeding programs around
> Is there a creator god?
No, more of a Shinto belief in localized spirits and things.
There might be some mythology of the First Horse dying and its body becoming the world.
>What about the Heart's Warming Eve story?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know there are two seemingly conflicting stories about equestrias creation: The one says the three tribes found it and defeated the ice-ghosts (name?) here, the other one says Discored ruled the land and the sisters defeated him to form equestria.
I'd explain it this way: Discored ruled/terrorized 'the known world' and was defeated. Later the ponies did the winter voyage thing, but they only moved from one place in equestria to another. If I'm correct then the princesses defeating discord was before the heartwarming eve story.
I'd like to compare the religious views of Equestria to be similar to buddhism.
There is no higher omnipotent being (god), but there are those who have reached a higher level of understanding (alicorns) of the universe.
The plane where Celestia and Twallot met when Twallot became alicorn is a spiritual plane that unlocks when reaching this higher level of understanding. Celestia didn't give Twilight her alicorn powers, but simply met up with Twilight on that plane when she sensed that Twilight reached alicorn level.
Instead of something directly sentient acting as the creator of all, there are just magical forces floating around and acting according to their own nature. As different forces crosses paths, they fuse or collide in different ways.
The elements of harmony are one/a few of these.
Discord is the avatar of anti-harmony. aka chaos. A sort of Yang to the Yin. Anti-matter to matter, if you will.
>If I'm correct then the princesses defeating discord was before the heartwarming eve story.
I'd actually suspect it to be the other way around. I feel like that makes more sense.
The ponies are tribal, living in the north, until they have to migrate. This is known as the pre-classical era. They form Equestria in the place it is today. However Discord appears, and subjugates Equestria. Then the Princesses appear and defeat him, becoming the new leaders of Equestria, beginning the classical era.
Or something like that.
Another thought about Discord and the EoH (and it's really far fetched):
The 'discord' would fit fine into the EoH collection. Would it fit into the lore that all the other elements have had spirits like him before? That all of them were being like him and that he's just the last one who's still 'active'?
Wait I thought it was the other way around? I mean if you had two godlike powers working for one side or the other wouldn't you be wanting them to partake in the war or wouldnt they try to stop said war from occuring?
I personally thought that the hearth warming eve story happened first then Discord came along maybe a few centuries later when the ponies were all working together then we get the sisters who appear to stop Discord. Sorta like the old creation myths, in the beginning there is chaos and crazy shit then later order comes along and structures it out.
The appearance of one prompted the other to reveal itself, so it goes to show that if the disappearance of one will prompt the other to go the same route.
Might be why Celestia had Discord in the garden so that she could stick around with her ponies as sending him off to another realm might have dragged her along for the ride to a different realm instead of staying to help fix the mess Discord made.
>Every known case of attained alicornhood seems to imply that you become an alicorn, not that you're born as one.
All the 1.5 cases, yeah.
I think the show now has ventured too far from Fausts original ideas to really make sense of the whole alicorn deal. When it was just two who ruled over the world it had some mythical godlike qualities to it. But now that alicorns grow on trees and every rural town gets their own princess, along with the now frequently displayed notion that equestria is really only one country as opposed to the entire world, with different places having different leaders (think guests at the equestrian games, visitors from saddle arabia and that kind of stuff) Alicorns really have lost a lot of their original fluff
>All the 1.5 cases, yeah.
It's all we've got.
>I think the show now has ventured too far from Fausts original ideas to really make sense of the whole alicorn deal.
Agreed, The show has no consistent lore. All we can do is make headcanon and speculations.
>But now that alicorns grow on trees and every rural town gets their own princess
I'm not the hugest fan of Twilicorn, but at least she makes some amount of sense. Candyass is the one that offers the most problems.
>Alicorns really have lost a lot of their original fluff
It's not what they've lost, it's what has been added. This is what you get with many writers who apparently do not have a common plan for the lore.
No, that's not what I wanted to say. The EoH all represent a concept, just like he represents chaos. Just that all the other concepts are inactive tools while he is an active being. And the question is if that's the permanent state of if it has changed or is still changing.
You are correct, I was wrong. I just checked and in HWE its said that the unicorns were raising the sun and the moon. So Celestia and Luna didn't take theire roles yet. Would be intresting to know when they did.
While I can't argue that the show has diverged from Faust's vision, and that Twilight's ascension was rushed and poorly written, that doesn't mean that alicorn by feat of magic is a bad thing.
Alicorns may be less special, but they are still pretty rare and very powerful.
A side note: Apparently Cadence became an alicorn by overcoming a love-stealing pony.
>I'm not the hugest fan of Twilicorn, but at least she makes some amount of sense. Candyass is the one that offers the most problems.
That's a good point, because she seems like a born alicorn, or she'd have to be some sort of wunderkind.
>Just that all the other concepts are inactive tools while he is an active being.
Chaos is singular but harmony is dependent on duality or plurality?
>That's a good point, because she seems like a born alicorn, or she'd have to be some sort of wunderkind.
According to Crystal Heart Spell, she was born a pegasus. We had some discussion about that once:
Personally though, Discord is about cyclic change, but alicorns are all about harmony and advancement/transcendence.
I believe that you're never born to be a alicorn. You advance to alicornhood.
Candyass has to defeat a major foe every time she wants something big to happen in her life.
She has to defeat anti-love pony.
She has to blast away best bug.
Claiming her empire?
She has kill Sombra.
> Be Mia Smore Costanza
> Go outside to get the mail
> Wierd little gremlin on your mailbox
> "Look upon me and weep, pinkling! I, Mail Privilege, levy a toll on your postage!"
> You sigh and disintegrate him in a magic blast
> Next time, Shining gets the mail
You know, this has the potential to be a fun thread, so I won't let it die just yet. So I'm going to repost some stuff for the sake of discussion.
>Are we to imply, then, that alicornhood is a state of being that any pony can achieve through some criteria of something or other?
Yes. Going by the show and the other source, you become an alicorn. If we break apart the two known cases of this happening, we see some similarities:
Twilight finished a spell.
Candace reversed a spell.
Likely nothing though, just a typical thing in stories like these.
Twilight fixed a great spell, an act that fully realised her special talent.
Candace gave love to, Prisima, a pony devoid of love, an act that fully realised her special talent.
I'm going expand on this in a follow-up post, but it seems like "reaching" or realising the extent of your talent can trigger your ascent into alicornhood.
Twilight was taken into another plane by Celestia.
Cadance was taken into another plane by Celestia.
Pretty striking similarity, right? And it was only after this meeting that they became alicorns, not after the act that realised their talent.
Now, I'm going to disregard that both Twilight and and Cadance were subject to the changing of a spell (one being finished and the other being reversed), as it likely means nothing.
We see that in some way, both Twilight and Cadance perform an extraordinary feat using their special talent. If we dip into the philosophical side of things, one can say that reaching alicornhood is having fully realised your talent as a pony, and you enter a higher state of being.
In layman's terms, alicorns are are ponies that maxed their special stat and started New Game+.
But yet, the change isn't instant.
The other important thing is that both Twi and Cad are taken to an otherworldly place by another alicorn (I do not think it matters that it's Celestia). Only after this does the physical change occur.
Now, we have four possible theories to draw from these:
Either none of these (the fulfilment of their talent and the meeting with another alicorn) matter, and we're more or less back to square one.
The second option is that it's the realisation, the fulfilling act, that matters, and that this changes one into a alicorn. In this way, an alicorn is a pony who has fulfilled or realised him or herself and become something more in the process.
The third option is that it is the meeting with another alicorn that matters, and that alicorns are created by other alicorns by those deemed worthy. Alicorns do not make themselves, they are made.
The fourth option is that both of the events matter, and that alicorns are created when a fully realised pony is deemed worthy by an alicorn.
This is really, really not in depth, but it gives us a fair view of the possible theories.
Personally, I like the idea of alicornhood being achieved, as per option two. The physical change might not happen right away, but maybe it would have happened without Celestia? Maybe the reason they met in another plane was so Celestia could have a talk with the alicorn-to-be before the transformation was complete?
And it paints a lovely image of how cutiemarks work, not being a limiting thing, telling you what you're good at, but the closes thing we have to a road to near-divinity.
Apologies if nothing made sense, but it's late and I'm rushing this a bit. I can explain in more detail if you ask.
So are just supposed to assume that every other pony except those 4 alicorns is a failure in life?
That despite Star Swirl creating over 200 spells with his magic talent he wasn't fully realized just because of one?
>So are just supposed to assume that every other pony except those 4 alicorns is a failure in life?
I wouldn't say that. There is a difference between living a normal life, maybe even an extraordinary life, and fully realising yourself.
>That despite Star Swirl creating over 200 spells with his magic talent he wasn't fully realized just because of one?
Maybe it wasn't about that one. Maybe there's more to it, like a requirement to live a life in tone with harmony. Maybe Star Swirl's talent was never truly realised? Yes, I am grasping for something.
But yes, I do realise that my theories are filled with gaping holes, and thanks for pointing them out. I'm just throwing shit out to see if anything good comes up. I expect most of the stuff I've come up with to be wrong.
>From an answer post:
This got me thinking just now...what if Star Swirl had no friends? In a world where friendship is magic surely someone alone will be lacking. What if?
>Answer to that:
Doesn't Celestia flat out say that he didn't understand friendship? I'll check it up.
Found it, it's MMC:
Couldn't find the full episode, but if you ignore the "commenter" (who do people even do that?), you can hear Celestia say that Star Swirl does not understand friendship, like Twilight does.
Do we really know what happened to Starswirl? I don't know anything about him dying or something. All Celestia said was he couldn't finish the spell because he didn't understand friendship. Maybe he did ascent and leave Equestria right afterwards? Maybe he's where Celestias parents are (if they ever existed). We are yet to see any alicorns grave, so it might be reasonable to think they don't die but 'leave' to some other plane or something once they feel they did all they had to do.
I think they have to prove themself, and of those worthy, some are chosen. But the question remains who starts the transformation. I just had an idea and checked the part of MMC again: When Twi is changed neither her nor Celestias horn is glowing, nor is the part that's ripped from within her body to form the wings. If it was normal magic at work, we should see the casters horn glow and we should see the same glow surround the object the spell effects. We don't.