(urth) Pas's gammadion and the voided cross

Matthew Groves matthewalangroves at gmail.com
Sun Jan 21 16:09:22 PST 2007

This is my first post to the list. Having discovered The Book of the New Sun
and developed an almost fanatical devotion to Wolfe, I quickly gobbled up
The Urth of the New Sun and then The book of the Long Sun. I read too
quickly, paying too little attention to detail, and so I am left with many
questions about all these books, with which I won't inundate the list all at
once. But until Powell's ships me my Short Sun trilogy, I hope to be able to
pick the list's brain on a couple points.  First:

The pateras carry the "voided cross" and make the "sign of addition."  They
also carry a "gammadion" (whose gammas detach to become tools for the sacred
windows).  Each of these symbols is highly suggestive for the Whorl and its
culture in ways that I'm sure have occurred to you.  Are "cross" and the
"gammadion" supposed to be the same thing, or are they separate symbols?

In my too-fast reading of the series, the impression I got is that the
"voided cross" and the "gammadion" were one and the same. But this simply
can't be right -- a cross is not a gammadion. (I can make a rather clumsy
voided cross out of *two* voided gammas by rotating one 180 degrees and then
aligning their stems vertically, but this would not be truly "voided," and
it is certainly not what anyone would really call a "gammadion.") If someone
can reassure me that there are two separate symbols carried by the pateras,
then I'll be most grateful.
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