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From: douge@nti.com (Doug Eigsti)
Subject: Re: (whorl) Void Cross
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 06:14:28 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

> [Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]
> At 01:20 PM 12/16/96 -0700, Doug E. wrote:
> >
> >	What is the Void Cross that Silk wears? Silk refers to it as a
> >gammadion. Some have said that it is a swastika but this does not quite
> >fit the descriptions: NIGHTSIDE pages (hardback);  43, 112, 170, 217, 239,
> >291. It clearly must have an "X" shaped cross or plus sign void in the
> >center of the four gammas. A swastika does not fit the bill.
> 	Not sure. My dictionary gives "swastika" as equivalent of "gammadion."
> Silk's cross has corners that he can us to carve with.
> >	One configuration that does fit follows: Imagine a 5 x 5 square
> >with a cross, or plus sign, occupying the five center squares. Now arrange
> >four "gammas" around the edges consisting of four squares in line and then
> >one square next to the last one but to the right. This is like an
> >elongated Knight's move. Each gamma on Silk's necklace can be separated
> >and used as a screwdriver for checking the electrical connections on the
> >Sacred windows. When connected in this manner the four gammas do form a
> >void cross in the center. It does not have the mistique of a swastika but
> >is more appropriate for the cross symbolism of Wolfe's story. 
> 	If I read you correctly, this is not one of the traditional meanings of
> "gammadion." The other is "voided Greek cross." The Greek cross has the
> crossbar in the center of the vertical bar, and of equal length, looking
> exactly like a plus sign +. A voided Greek cross evidently has two lines in
> each directly, closed at the ends. Thus, one line is straight, while the
> other is a gamma -- in each of the four directions. 
> 	Only Gene could answer which is in view, but Meyers is certainly right
> that a cross emptied of Christ is partly in view -- since Pas has tried to
> pervert the traditional religion of the people. But since this is Pas's
> cross (as we are told), it may be a swastika.
> 	And don't put it past Gene to be doing something sophisticated. Remember
> that before Hitler the swastika was a perfectly good Christian symbol. This
> story is set in the equivalent of the far future but in a universe
> preceding ours -- so the Hitler-association would be long gone, if ever it
> existed. 
> 	I suspect Gene intends a variety of associations, corresponding the
> ambiguity of the religious Silk serves. 
> Jim Jordan

Jim J,

	I can see how your Voided Greek Cross, which does indeed look like
a plus-sign, can be made out of four gammas and four straight lines but to
my knowledge Wolfe never mentions the Voided Cross of Pas as consisting of
anything more than four gamma shaped pieces that Silk uses to tighten the
connections of the Sacred Windows. Somehow these four gammas must fit
together leaving a plus-sign shaped void in the center. 
	If the Outsider is the God of the Christian Bible and Pas and his 
cohorts are considered to be mere pretenders to the throne of men's souls 
then the Void Cross would be a negation symbol indicating Pas' antagonizm 
to everything the Christian Cross stands for: i.e. he is the equivalent 
of the Devil. Early in the text of NIGHTSIDE Wolfe indicates that the 
Outsider was worshiped in The Short Sun Whorl before the Nine. The Nine 
are limited to inside the Whorl. The Outsider is everywhere on the 
outside, just as the Christian God is omnipresent.


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