(urth) The face of Pas

Gerry Quinn gerryq at indigo.ie
Wed Sep 15 03:20:23 PDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <danldo at gmail.com>
> I agree about Greek, and don't know much about Etruscan stuff, but
> take it from a Catholic: the rituals and forms of the Chapter are dead
> on parodies of Catholic forms and rituals.

There are certainly some rituals and forms analogous to those of 
Catholicism, although I think it should not be exaggerated - Catholicism is 
not the only religion with hierarchies of male priests, for example.  The 
'Peace of Pas' does of course correspond closely to Last Rites, or Extreme 
Unction as it was once called, and is IMO the closest to a specifically 
Catholic ritual.  But some Protestant denominations have Last Rites too, and 
the corresponding Jewish ritual does not seem so different.

I think Wolfe would not think it strange to have a convergence of rituals - 
quite the opposite in fact.  Indeed, I think he would say that rituals tend 
to be conserved across religions and cultures.  For some hints as to this, 
consider Severian's discussion of the coin he was given by Vodalus, or the 
way hillmen children are washed in rivers after birth (Fifth Head of 
Cerberus, 2nd novella).  The meanings of rituals and forms may be multiple 
and debatable, but the ritual is conserved.  Could we even say: the 
Outsider's two or many voices, Pas's two heads, the Holy Trinity, even the 
pantheons of polytheism in general?  Silk finds a connection between the 
Outsider and Pas's two heads, but to find a connection is not to prove a 
parody or a derivation of any sort.

In short, I don't think we know enough about the state riligion of Urth in 
Typhon's time to identify it as Catholicism, though the sign of addition 
does indicate some Christian roots.  (Elsewhere Quetzal mentions 'Ah Lah' as 
a forgotten god, and refers to a somewhat modified version of the story of 
Adam and Eve.  And the Chrasmological Writings seem to take a pinch of 
everything in the line of religion and related philosophy.)

- Gerry Quinn


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