(urth) mystery of the guild

O'Donnell, Tim (BOSI) Tim.O'Donnell at bankofscotland.ie
Tue Feb 10 08:57:04 PST 2009

>I've always assumed he was hearkening back to the Greek word 'mysterion,' which generally refers to knowlege that is unknowable, but also means knowlege that is secret, for initiates only (the mystery religions would be one example of this usage). The mystery would therefore be the knowledge of how to torture a person ... probably in such a way that you didn't actually kill them, but sort of dangled them over the precipice of death, so to speak, until you got what you required. Matt Teel 

Severian certainly uses the word "mystery" in that sense.  Two examples:

"I'm beginning to think that by
practicing the mystery of our guild while you and I are travelling, I'll be able
to support us."

Let it be sufficient to say that I performed the
prescribed operations on the cattle thief, which terminated in his execution; in
the future, when I describe my travels, you are to understand that I practiced
the mystery of our guild where it was profitable to do so, though I do not
mention the specific occasions.

However, I seem to recall that Severian mentions that his Guild had two secrets and that he would betray both over his narrative.  One is certainly "We obey" but I don't think the other one is mentioned directly.
Having said that I can't find the citation here.  I thought it was at the very start of Shadow...

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