Spinfoil Sunday: SIVA and the Worms

Welcome to Spinfoil Sunday, the day to make wildly unfounded speculations about Destiny lore.

This week, let’s talk about the possible link between SIVA and the assorted worm-creatures of Destiny’s story. The Books of Sorrow entrenched the Hive Worms – and by extension, the Ahamkara – as a core element of the game narrative. If nothing else, the two groups of entities appear to be related, and it seems impossible that we would be forced to endure an expansion that makes no mention of either group.

SIVA, the nanotechnology-turned-rampant-virus that the Devil Splicers have used to attempt to become “Machine gods,” is another name for the Hindu god Shiva, the destroyer.

Shiva, in addition to being a deity, also wears a Naga – a snake – or a wyrm – around his neck. Incidentally, this snake has a name, Vasuki, and he is the king of snakes.

siva-infectionIn the S.A.B.E.R. strike, the nanovirus can be seen infecting parts of the mission.

If we look at this image in conjunction with Bungie’s release art, we can see that SIVA appears to manifest as long ropes of infection – in addition to suggesting lots of lovely squick (and being slightly Nihei-esque, for those of you familiar with said manga artist’s Gauna), one could say the infection is almost snake-like in appearance:


Fascinating! Now, a final correlation, this time from the Books of Sorrow. In verse X, the worm known as Yul tells Oryx (then Aurash): “We are the Worm your God, the Flesh of Hope.” This line is repeated in verse XIX. This is of interest precisely because Bungie tells us that whereas once the House of Devils worshipped machine gods, they’re now trying to become gods themselves.

For those of you familiar with the Books of Sorrow, you may remember that this is precisely what Oryx did. Where once he worshipped the worms as gods, by taking from the worm Akka the secrets of the Deep, he becomes a god himself after he learns to “Take” (even if he still appears to consider the worms as gods). As he tells his Hive in verse XLVI, “The Gift Mast”:

“Come,” sayeth Oryx, “eat of the Gift Mast, for I am a generous god. Of its pieces, I claim only two out of every five.”


[toggle title=”Verse 5:4 — The Gift Mast” state=”close” ]

The Gift Mast!

It towers above this star system like a monument to treason. It beams with silver light. It sings a radio lullaby, made of soothing lies.

In its light live the Harmony, and they are now our prey.

Now arrives Xivu Arath, at the head of her armada. She fights the Harmony for fifty years with strategies and discipline. But the Harmony turn to dragon-wishes, and their wishful bishops wrestle Xivu in the ascendant plane.

Xivu falls into deadlock.

Next arrives Savathûn, flanked by her chorus and her celebrants. They trick their way onto Ana-Harmony in disguises, so that they might vivisect these dragons. The Worm our God laughs and laughs.

For a hundred years Savathûn keeps secret covens among the Harmony.

But first of all was Oryx, whose brood grew in secret places in the rubble of the accretion disc. The First Navigator sends rocks and comets to crash into the Harmony worlds, so that the Harmony fleet will be disarrayed. He sends seeders to infiltrate the Harmony worlds with his broods.

Here at the center of the fifth book the Hive has grown so mighty that it has made the annihilation of all false life routine.

Xivu Arath kills the wishful bishops, and Savathûn achieves some secret purpose, and Oryx’s Court tears down the Gift Mast. The Harmony people wail in terror, and they throw themselves into the silver lakes of Ana-Harmony to drown.

“Come,” sayeth Oryx, “eat of the Gift Mast, for I am a generous god. Of its pieces, I claim only two out of every five.”

The Mast is full of the Light of the Traveler, it is full of the marrow taste of Sky. All who eat of it are filled with the ecstatic certainty that they serve a great and necessary purpose.

Then sayeth Savathûn, “Siblings, listen, we must part ways a while, so that we may grow different.” She flies her war-moons into the black hole. Her throne becomes distant.

Sayeth Xivu Arath, “King Oryx, you take up too much space, your power constrains too many choices. I must go away from you.” She flies her war-moons away into the night. Her throne is barred shut.

Then Oryx was alone. He spent a while in thought, and those thoughts are recorded here.


There certainly appear to be parallels between the Devil Splicers and Oryx. Both seek apotheosis, and both are driven by a desire (presumably) to survive and to grow more powerful. If one considers that SIVA manifests as worm-like tendrils, that the Hindu god Siva is also associated with the king of serpents, and that the worms (and the Ahamkara, to which the worms are surely related somehow) are a source of great power – well, it seems impossible that SIVA is not a manifestation of worm-power.

So there you have it: somehow, someway, could SIVA and the plague be related to the worms?

Speculation finished.

I leave you you to consider the manifest possibilities of this relationship, and I hope that we will be offered tantalizing hints of the truth on September 20th, when Rise of Iron releases. If you have your own theories on the truth of SIVA, let us know in the comments below!

Stay vigilant, oh reader mine – there is so much more to learn.