(urth) more symbols

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 28 04:41:10 PDT 2006

regarding teratoid symbols as radiation warnings Jeff Wilson notes:

>I don't recall Domnina entering the chamber; wasn't she just in a mirrored 

As I see it, little Thecla and Domnina were admiring themselves in the 
mirror hallway when Father Inire warns them about the imp of vanity that can 
creep into a girl's eye.  Dominina makes a comment suggesting she has an 
extra perception on imps in mirrors so Father Inire rather forcibly invites 
her to the transport chambers to see the silvery fish in his special 

Anyway, regarding teratoid, monsterish symbols I think the other example we 
are expected to compare them to is Agia's scratched symbol of a Jurupari:

>Jurupari, is a translation of the Tupi (S. American tribe) word for Forest 
>Demon or Devil and comes >from the native name for certain fish - 
>juruparipindi or devil's fishhook (lure)

I wonder what relationship teratoid symbols have to the "gnostic" symbols 
Severian sees in the Witches' Keep.

>Gnosticism: the thought and practice especially of various cults of late 
>pre-Christian and early >Christian centuries distinguished by the 
>conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes >through gnosis. 
>  Gnosis: esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient 
>Gnostics to be essential to >salvation

So, Gnosticism (Christian or not) can be seen as an early competitor to the 
brand of Christianity we have now. For them, salvation was not to be found 
in faith, but rather the acquisition of arcane knowledge.  Aside from 
Witches, I think there are some other seekers of arcane knowledge in BotNS. 
I think this is relevant to the overarching subtextual theme of Christianity 
replacing its competitors.


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