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Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 09:25:14 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) DOORS: men and goddess

Roy Lackey wrote:
>You would think so, but if you look back at the total of Otherworld
>individuals noted by Green you'll find that the majority are males.
>(Red-faced man on street, clerk in doll hospital, mounted policeman, men in
>mental ward, Sheng, Pille, conspirators, W.F., boxers, cop and firemen after
>explosion, hotel clerk and bellboy, Mama's sons, Klamm's bodyguards, prop
>man at theater, both taxi drivers, etc. And most of the females Green noted
>were in traditional female jobs--nurses, waitresses, clerks, hairdresser. I
>don't know what this means for Otherworld society, but there it is.

Yep.  If this is "The Planet of the Apes," then where are all the "apes"?!
Could it be that the capital city of the nation has a high concentration of
a numerical minority?

Roy quoted me and wrote:
>>I dunno.  Fanny's excitement is very odd to me . . . it marks her, somehow,
>>but as what?  A visitor, maybe.  Or an Aphrodite devotee in a world of
>>Cybele worshipers.  (Ooops, these two options aren't that different.)
>Right; the two are one.

Oops, I was trying to avoid that misreading!  I meant that "a Visitor" and
"an Aphrodite worshipper" would be virtually identical in the hypothetical

That Cybele and Aphrodite are the same is a different statement which I'll
address next.

>If we *must* peg TAD to THE WHITE GODDESS (a point
>I'm not willing to concede; Wolfe has admitted to not even finishing reading
>stories/books he was passing judgement on for some contest; I find the
>prospect of him plodding through such a tiresome tome of tortured
>scholarship for so little reward to be incredible), then we must look at the
>larger picture of the Goddess as Graves (and his ilk, such as dear old Joe
>Campbell ) saw her. From virginal nymph to hideous crone and every stage
>in between, she is *the* goddess. There's only one. If Wolfe didn't write
>TAD with that in mind, then he wasn't taking his cues from Graves.

Graves often shows three, and they usually come in this order:
1) white goddess (crecent moon waxing) the love goddess
2) red goddess (full moon) the mother goddess
3) black goddess (new moon) the death and prophesy goddess

Green himself intuits three in chapter 7, titled "Lara, Tina, and Marcella":
1) dark scent amber, sultry, spice: Marcella (light red hair)
2) daring, seductive, ravishing: Lara (dark red hair)
3) light scent ripe pears and apples, a pink flower: Tina (dark red hair)

It might just be my own idiosyncracy, but I do not see the Graves list and
the Green list lining up: in the Green list I do not see a mother or a
crone, I only see the white goddess in three aspects (from oldest to
youngest).  If you want to say that Tina is virginal nymph and Marcella is
black goddess of deathland, I guess you can do that, but then you'd be
going along with my Overwood = Deathland thing.   (And I find it hard to
consider Lara as a red goddess, despite her hair color. )

Lara has all sorts of pseudonyms, and she doesn't flinch when Green says
she is Marcella and she is Tina (but Tina flinches).  Yet Lara claims to be
not Cybele as we know Cybele.

Maybe it is just me, but I see a rather large difference between a Love
Goddess (Aphrodite) and a Fertility Goddess (Cybele), even as I recognize
that both lend themselves to orgiastic celebrations.  If the focus is on
Babies, then imho she is a Mother Goddess (a red goddess), and what we see
of Otherworld is built upon babies and Mother Goddess and not Love.

Since Wolfe seems to have an interest in battles between different
goddesses, it is perhaps too easy for me to think along these lines.

>Chapter XXXIV of Frazer's THE GOLDEN BOUGH (abridged, one-volume edition) is
>instructive. There may be found, in the Attis rituals, music such as that
>noted by Green at the parade, as well as mention of the everGreen pine-tree,
>and even priests of Cybele with "little images suspended on their breasts",
>mindful of Sheng's root. Green was at the tail-end of the parade; who knows
>what had gone before?

Hmmmm.  To anticipate: you mean that the parade started off with the black
goddess, then had the red goddess, and finally the snow-white goddess?

>Green knew only the Aphrodite persona of Lara. She showed signs of the
>bitch-goddess, and she hinted at her darker side at lunch, but Green was
>either oblivious or hadn't thought it through. Lora *Master*man, indeed. She
>seems to have cared even more for Captain Billy than Green, yet . . .
>    "How long did you stay with him?"
>    "Until he sailed. By that time I had fallen ill and had to be left
>behind." (279)
>Wolfe says it only that one time. Goddesses don't get sick, unless it's
>'morning sickness'.

A few points.  Even while I argue above there is a difference between such
similar goddesses as Cybele and Aphrodite, still I want no one to
mistakenly think that I'm claiming Aphrodite is infertile or a pre-mother
-- she has had children (Eros/Cupid and Hermaphrodite being only two), but
that detail did not/does not change her sphere from Love to Motherhood or
Fertility.  So Lara could have been pregnant by Captain Billy and in my
book she would still be Aphrodite, not Cybele, as I'm making the
distinction between them.

FWIW I don't think that Lara was really sick.  The text is pretty clear
about how Lara works -- she finds the guy, she shows him a wild time, she
leaves him "sad and alone on the cold hill side" (to paraphrase "La Belle
Dame sans Merci").  What happens next is up to the man: he can "pine" away
and die of anguish (like Attis, like the nameless knight of "La Belle
Dame," and I presume like Captain Billy), or he can follow Lara into the
deadly hedge maze, a labyrinth in which she always dances a few steps ahead.

When Lara says she didn't want Attis to die, I take it as (possibly)
meaning not that she wanted him to be immortal (i.e., he would never die),
but rather she did not want him to follow her into the deadly maze (where
he would die sooner in life than if he stayed on Earth), so she
purposefully did not give him the hints on how to find the doors.  Then he
cut himself and she was upset.


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