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WOSSNAME - FEBRUARY 2001 - PART 2 OF 2 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME - FEBRUARY 2001 - PART 2 OF 2 (continued) 9) === ACCUSATIONS of LITERATURE === © Michael Jones 2000 (Discworld and individual characters © 2000
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2001
      WOSSNAME - FEBRUARY 2001 - PART 2 OF 2 (continued)

      9) ====== ACCUSATIONS of LITERATURE =====© Michael Jones 2000 (Discworld and individual characters
      © 2000 Terry and Lyn Pratchett)


      Of all the religions in the world, Witchcraft has
      perhaps been the most malleable. Religions have
      lived and died, but Witchcraft has continually
      metamorphosed from the Pagan ceremonies
      that gave birth to it, to the superstition and
      herbalism that earned it baptism by fire during the
      Inquisition, to the new age mysticism that drives it now.

      In modern times, it has earned itself a new name - Wicca,
      the old English origin of the word Wise, and the word
      that originally gave rise to the name "Witch", and like this
      change, the religion has undergone its latest step
      forward, by looking back to the traditions that originally
      defined it.

      The Discworld witches, on first appearances, owe little
      to the ancient origins of the art. Magrat is typical of the
      new age practitioner, with her jewelry and her
      methodistic approach to the practice of witchcraft. She
      is a "Which", or a Research Witch. Nanny Ogg appears
      to be a witch by name only - it is only later on in the
      series that we see her use any "real" magic. Of the three
      witches, Granny Weatherwax is the closest to the "hag"
      legends of old, with her potions and headology, and her
      skill at the most magical of a Discworld witch's abilities
      - borrowing.

      However, if Pratchett has a skill, it is using his characters
      to get to the truth at the heart of any subject, and his
      witches are indeed, more than they seem.

      Witches in ancient and modern times worshipped two
      goddesses, a Male and Female, although the most well
      known is the Female Goddess and aspect of their religion.
      This Female Goddess is also the Moon Goddess, and thus
      witches are known as worshippers of the moon. Pratchett
      has not forgotten the male-female balanced nature of
      Witchcraft, however; in Lords and Ladies we meet the King
      of the Elves, the giant, horned and unmistakably male
      God-creature living in another dimension beneath the
      Long Man, and our suspicions are confirmed when he asks
      Nanny to bow before him. The Male God of the Witches
      lives on in the Discworld, albeit diminished in his own

      The Female-Moon Goddess in our own world is also
      known as the Threefold Goddess. This threefold nature
      comprises her three faces as the Maiden, the Mother,
      and the Crone. This threefold structure is a key tenet of the
      Discworld coven - it contains a Maiden, a Mother, and a
      Crone - so much so that, in Carpe Jugulum, when the
      structure is disturbed by the addition of Agnes Nitt, we
      see chaos break loose as the Witches struggle to find
      their places within the coven once more.

      This Threefold Construct has descended from the Gods
      of the most ancient civilisations. The Goddess most
      often given the role of the Threefold Goddess is Hecate,
      the ancient God of Crossroads, although Hecate is also
      often used to describe the Crone phase of a Witch's
      powers. The Threefold concept has persisted because it
      is a reflection of the basic progression of life - we pass
      through infancy (Maiden) into the child-bearing years
      (Mother) and then, when our reproductive life ends, we
      live out our old age until death (Crone).

      In the first Witch novels of the Discworld series, we see
      this structure mirrored in the tiny coven that Granny
      leads. Magrat Garlick is the Maiden - she is unmarried,
      and innocent. Nanny Ogg is the Mother - she is
      "much-married", has many children, and even though
      she is in old age and past the child-bearing years, she
      is still very much focused on the world of sex and lust.
      Granny Weatherwax, of course, is the archetypal crone,
      old, withered, and powerful. Remember that the people
      of Lancre traditionally called Nanny Ogg to deliver their
      children, and Granny to lay out the dead.

      These roles mirror the traditional spheres that the three
      phases of the Moon Goddess held sway over, but in
      Pratchett's witches, we see signs of imbalance. Nanny is
      aged; Granny, despite her best efforts, cannot perfect
      the image of a Hag, with her perfect teeth and flawless
      complexion; and in Lords and Ladies, Magrat leaves the
      realm of the Maiden by marrying, and by Carpe Jugulum,
      has become a Mother by birthing her first child.

      These imbalances build to a shattering climax in Carpe
      Jugulum where the coven is torn apart by the entrance
      of a fourth member - Agnes Nitt. All of a sudden we
      see that we have two maidens, Agnes and Magrat;
      but Magrat has become a Mother, along with Nanny;
      and, to Nanny's dismay, with Granny's absence, she
      is called upon to become the Crone. Granny Weatherwax
      herself has taken a sojourn to the Gnarly Lands of Lancre,
      and her fate is undecided.

      By the close of Carpe Jugulum, we see a balance has been
      struck. Granny, after journeying through fire and water, after
      facing death, and life after death - an even more terrifying
      prospect - has returned to the coven. But how have the
      imbalances been reconciled?

      In solving this puzzle, I look to modern Wiccan beliefs,
      and their ancient basis. Modern witches view the
      maiden/mother/crone as sources of power rather
      than times of life. They believe that, at different times
      of life, witches can draw upon different powers. Young
      witches might have as their primary source of power
      the Maiden phase of the Moon Goddess, but at the
      same time also draw upon the Mother aspect of their
      nature. And so, with this in mind, it is possible for
      Magrat to be both Maiden and Mother, and it is
      possible for Nanny to be Mother, but draw upon
      the powers of the Crone.

      But this still leaves the question of Granny's place
      in the coven. By the end of Carpe Jugulum she has
      been changed. She has faced death, after her
      attack by the Vampyres, and has walked from the
      forests of Lancre transformed, and more powerful
      than ever. Can she be Crone any more? Is
      she, as the Vampyres suggest, part creature of
      darkness herself?

      I think the answer lies, once more, partly in modern
      Wiccan beliefs.

      Consider the phases of the moon. The new moon
      (a crescent), the waxing or gibbous moon, the full
      moon, the waning moon, and second crescent
      moon. The Threefold Moon Goddess has traditionally
      been associated with these phases - the New moon
      being the Maiden, the Waxing moon (as it moves
      towards fullness) as the Mother (just as the mother
      moves toward the fullness of life). The full and waning
      moon is associate with the crone - a woman who
      has lived her life fully and now has access to the most
      powerful aspects of her nature. But what of the phase
      as the moon moves once more towards a crescent,
      before disappearing completely and being born anew?
      Where does it lie within the equation? Modern witches
      are, perhaps, not content simply to believe (much like
      Pratchett's witches) and so have looked back to the
      roots of their religion to bring to life a fourth aspect of
      the moon Goddess - the Warrior.

      The Warrior aspect of the Goddess is said to be found
      as a part of each phase of life. The Warrior aspect of
      the Maiden is known as the Dark Maiden, and perhaps
      it is this Dark Maiden that Magrat tapped when she
      faced the Queen of the Elves to fight for the life of her
      husband to be. The Warrior aspect of the Mother is
      also known as the Bleeding Goddess and it is wise
      to remember that the mothers of all species will fight with
      ferocity when their children are threatened - remember
      Nanny's words when she tells the King of the Elves, "But
      I've got kiddies, y'see, and they don't hide under the
      stairs because they're frit of the thunder, and they
      don't put milk out for the elves, and they don't hurry
      home because of the night, and before we go back to
      them dark old ways I'LL SEE YOU NAILED.".

      And the Warrior aspect of the Crone is the darkest of all,
      and of many names I have seen given to this aspect, the
      most powerful is Nemesis.

      The name "Dark Maiden" pertains to the fact that the
      waning moon is once more moving towards a crescent,
      the crescent moon that marks the Maiden phase of life.
      At this time of the lunar cycle, however, it is on the
      other side of the circle of life that the moon phases
      represent. Perhaps this Dark Maiden, this Nemesis,
      is indicative of what Granny has become - in Lords
      and Ladies we discover that, as well as being a
      Crone, she is also still a Maiden, having never married.
      This peculiar combination of powers - the experience
      and self-assurance of the Crone melded with the
      innocent and pure power of the Maiden - is what
      gives her power over the unicorn in Lords and Ladies
      (only a virgin can control a unicorn) and perhaps it is
      what allows her to overcome the Vampyres' influence
      in Carpe Jugulum.

      Thus we see the resolution to the imbalance that
      has haunted the Discworld witches from their
      beginning. Agnes Nitt lives now as the Maiden, in
      Magrat Garlick's old cottage, but shares the role with
      Magrat, who is now just beginning to realise the
      power inherent in motherhood; Magrat and Nanny
      share the role of Mother, Magrat just beginning and
      Nanny towards the end of her span; but this
      imbalance is in turn countered by the fact that
      Granny, as well as being the Crone, is also
      tapping that part of her nature that is represented
      by the Dark Maiden - Nemesis. She is more than just
      crone - she is also warrior.

      Perhaps the most important thing that modern
      Wicca teaches us is that belief is personal. Wicca
      teaches us that rules, to be effective, must be
      simple and few. Every witch in our own world
      casts their spells in their own way - there is no
      formula that cannot be changed. Some Wiccans
      do not even think in terms of spells. Their single
      unifying belief is the Threefold Law - that all that
      you do returns to you thrice. Remember when
      Granny caught the blade of a sword in her bare
      hand - she could magic the blade at the time,
      but on her return to Lancre, faced the
      consequences of taking a sword blow to the naked
      hand. The single unifying rule of Wicca is to respect
      nature, and the only real sin is to act in defiance
      of nature.

      This is the Wiccan rede - "An' it harm none, do
      what thou wilt".  These same rules are the ones
      we see echoed so often in the Discworld witches,
      who will gleefully disobey laws, but will always
      respect their universal "right" and "wrong". This
      law of nature is the law broken by Lady Felmet in
      Wyrd Sisters; by Lilith Weatherwax in Witches
      Abroad; by the Queen of the Elves in Lords and
      Ladies; and by the Vampyres in Carpe Jugulum.

      It appears that Pratchett's witches are ahead of
      their time; in many ways, they know their Wicca
      better than they know their Witchcraft.

      -- Michael Jones


      Dear Editor,

      Thank you! Sometimes Yahoo also reminds
      me that the term yahoo can also be derogatory!
      But we must come to expect such glitches and
      other such FUBAR. When tech types talk of
      artificial intelligence I prepare for an onslaught
      of outright dimwittedness. Oh well...

      I want to take this chance to thank you for the
      group and 'zine. they helped me through a rough
      time. My only way online was through my local
      library till about 1/2 year back. And until 2 months
      back I had been homeless for over a year. When
      not out looking for work or a place to live I used a
      text only system at my library to go online. I found
      help and encouragement from an online group of
      exhomeless & homeless people. But I looked
      forward to reading (and saving in email folders) every
      issue of WOSSNAME. I can really relate to the
      group under the bridge. I think I may even know
      foul ole Ron! Spent a lot of time under highway
      overpasses. Links to the Discworld and Piers
      Anthony's XANTH (and the books) were my only

      -- Name withheld

      (An appeal on behalf of Dave Hodges -- also known
      as "the real Hodgesaargh", as the Discworld
      character of that name was based on Terry
      Pratchett's encounters with him and his ancient
      and sometimes temperaMENTAL bird of prey
      Lady Jane ran in the January issue. Dave was
      looking for volunteers to translate his book into
      various languages, to raise a couple of bucks
      for the Orangutan Foundation, Terry's favorite

      Dear Editor,

      Thank you. I have already had one offer due
      to Wossname (Italian).

      -- Dave Hodges

      Dear Editor,

      I was watching "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" on
      Saturday evening and the UKP 32,000 (USD 48,181.23)
      question was.... (conversion at 1.44318 USD to UKP)

      "The Discworld novels were the invention of which
      Science Fiction Writer?"

      (forgive me if the wording is not entirely correct)
      Then shock, horror, the guy walked away with
      UKP 16,000 because he didn't know the answer!!!

      -- Anne Stone
      PKO and vampire
      Founder member of BURA

      Dear Editor,

      Don't forget in The Light Fantastic
      (page 104 in my book) Rincewind was
      talking about Cohen the Barbarian
      when he said "I remember my grandad
      telling me he saw him... my grandad
      telling me he... my grandad..."

      So Rincewind at least knew his
      grandad even if his parents ran away.

      -- Hayley Francis)

      Dear Editor,

      I think I may have found a fault. In THE TRUTH,
      it lists AM as the largest dwarf city, with 50,000
      (High Priest of Blind Io Hughnon Ridcully talking
      to Vetinari early in the book) but somewhere in
      T5E it says it is second largest, with 5,000
      (this I think is Carrot talking to Vimes, but I
      can't find it, and it's not in the Patrician's
      conversations with Vimes, so it may well be Inigo.)

      -- Kieran Beattie

      (As you may know, in addition to our other activities,
      we also collect and send to the UK the dues money
      for anyone who wants to join GOFAD. About a year
      ago, GOFAD raised its dues from USD 20.00 to
      USD 26.00. However, since our webmaster was
      abducted by aliens or whatever, we were never able
      to fix our websites to reflect this, and people have
      continued to send in the old amount. Up until now.
      GOFAD has been willing to accept this, but they
      won't any more:)

      Dear Editor,

      Okay Joe, got that new member but as to increasing
      the rates in the US, I have the same problem here
      when people try to use old application forms. I don't
      do them until they pay the correct amount.

      I usually write and say terribly sorry but you appear
      to have used the old form and we've had to increase
      the price because prices have risen and it now costs
      us more to both produce materials and to post them
      to you.

      I also mention to overseas members that the
      unfortunate strength of sterling compared to many
      other currencies makes the situation so bad.

      Then I come in with how the club doesn't make any
      profits and all the work is done by volunteers and we
      receive no funds from either Terry or his publishers.

      I can begin to feel very unappreciated by then, all the
      work I have to do for nothing and is anybody grateful?
      I don't think so, all they do is complain....

      However, the bottom line is that if the increase puts
      them off joining, so be it. We are not a charity!


      -- Elizabeth Alway, GOFAD


      Copyright (c) 2001 by Klatchian Foreign Legion

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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