Recommends: Hapax's Triad

So I totally keep meaning to write a deconstruction on pagan archetypes and how they affect people like me who don't/can't/won't have children, but while I am trying to arrange the teaspoons in a pleasing and coherent shape, I am delighted to see that Hapax has suggested an incredible alternative: Warrior, Healer, and Queen.

This came at a time when I really needed it, and have been struggling to try to fit in my own self-identity, so THANK YOU VERY MUCH. *internet crush*

Recommends time! What have you been reading, writing, watching, thinking about lately?


Caravelle said...

I don't know much about Paganism but I'm curious. I hope this isn't a wrong question, but why three, and why those three ? I see that the Warrior and the Healer are opposites/complementary in many ways, and I can see ways that the Queen fits there but I'm not completely sure of it, and I'm not completely sure there couldn't be a fourth as well... But I'd like to have people's perspectives on how that triad works.

Rainicorn said...

It's a month old, but I just read a brilliant article by China Mieville on the latest controversy surrounding racism in Tintin: When Did Bigotry Get So Needy? Favorite line: "Ah, intent. You unfalsifiable talisman of airy exoneration." I love China Mieville so effin' much.

I just finished rereading Anne of Green Gables, and had lots of thoughts, some of which I wrote up in Back To Green Gables.

EdinburghEye said...

I just had one of those bibliophile MOMENTS OF PURE AWESOME.

I was about to post here that I'd been re-reading the K J Parker Engineer trilogy. Because I am feeling uber-lazy, I googled K J Parker to check I had her/his initials right rather than get up and walk a few steps to check the cover of Evil for Evil. And then because it's here and I know you love TVTropes it occurred to me to look up Parker on TVTropes.

At which point I discovered that besides the Fencer and the Engineer trilogies, both of which I love, Parker had written a THIRD trilogy, the Scavenger trilogy, which opens (according to the Tropes page) with one of my favourite plot situations of ALL TIME - the viewpoint character wakes in the middle of their own story with no memory of how they got there.

So I looked this up on Abebooks and found that the Tartan Frog had two volumes of the Scavenger trilogy, first and last, and another bookseller had the middle volume. I cheered and ordered all three. Then I thought I would just check to make sure the Tartan Frog didn't also have the middle volume and I'd order all three from the same bookshop (Abebooks defaults to lowest total price, so sometimes I get recommends for three different sellers). The Frog did not, but they DO have three other Parker books, which I checked and confirmed are not just books I'd already read under different titles, they're totally new books I didn't know about.

Dudes, I have six K J Parker novels coming my way in the next five days. SIx. SIx. SIx.

And I felt so good I decided to find The Zanzibar Cat too - Joanna Russ's first collection of short fiction, hard to find - and discovered that my choices were a cheap mass market paperback plus expensive US-to-UK postage, or an expensive first edition hardback plus cheaper UK-internal postage.

Well, I try not to indulge myself with "cool, a first edition!" because after all the subsequent editions read just as well and cost so much less. But when it's a choice of spending the money on the first edition or on international postage?

Plus I got an abebooks celebrate spring 10% off voucher.


Zanzibar Cat and six K J Parker novels. And I didn't know those six novels existed an hour ago. I am a happy happy booklover.

K J Parker should have a page on TV Tropes.

Silver Adept said...

@Carvelle -

Can't say much as to the importance of the number of three. That said, even Maiden/Mother/Crone aren't really opposites, but progressions, each with their own unique things. With the new triad, it's about active roles - the one who goes out and fights, the one who takes care of the injuries and keeps mind and body whole, and the one who leads, strategizes, and is able to see and think in terms of the big picture. You could argue for a fourth, but there are three books in the trilogy and I think those three roles encompass most of what we do with our lives.

Caravelle said...

I wasn't saying the three should be opposites, in fact that wouldn't work - you can only have two opposites, or an even number if you've got several axes. A triad is a different relationship, and I was trying to figure out what the relationship was between those that made them need to be three and only three.

I think it's interesting that you say these roles encompass most of what we do with our lives; of course most of use aren't warriors, or healers, or queens. Like the maiden/mother/crone triad they're a metaphor, but instead of being centered on age and reproduction they're centered on war. Which makes sense given where they're from, but I'm not sure why that metaphor describes our daily lives better than others.

I perfectly understand casting different characters of a work of fiction as archetypes and seeing oneself in those terms - probably every work of fiction has a "Which character are you ?" quiz. But this is an attempt to make a more general statement with those archetypes, given they're seen in the context of pagan archetypes and the maiden/mother/crone triad. I think it's great to look at women as autonomous agents instead of their social role, it's just that I think putting all of human agency along three axes is ambitious so I want to understand how this triad works.

(if you want an idea of my thought process on this, as I said the Warrior and the Healer struck me as being opposites - the former is about thinking of themselves, possibly at the expense of others, while the Healer was about thinking of others, possibly at the expense of themselves. However both have a narrow view, while the Queen looks at the big picture and coordinates both impulses. This makes sense to me, but it's an imbalanced triad - you have two opposites, and then a third one managing the first two. It also suggests a fourth space - neither the Warrior and the Healer look at the big picture and the difference is in who they care about, while the Queen looks at the big picture and cares about the people as a whole - so you can have someone who looks at the big picture and cares about something other than the people, i.e. your Hermit, or your Activist*, or your Scientist or Mage or Mystic whose primary focus is on something other than the people immediately around them - the natural world, a cause*, learning, religion... (of course this isn't saying they don't care about people too, they're just not focused on them the way the other archetypes are)

That's just to illustrate how I was thinking of the question, so that people who actually know something about Paganism can tell me where I'm going wrong)

*Of course most Causes are about people so Activists care about people, it's just at a remove - when you fight for equal rights you're fighting for actual people, often people around you or even yourself - but "equal rights" is still an abstract concept.

Lonespark said...

Interesting stuff. I may end up writing a post on something similar. I am pretty attached to Warrior, lately, so that will be there in some form. I go back and forth and round and round on the rest, because Queen is important, but I feel it goes with other things, too. You can have your Warrior Queens, and your Witch Queens, and your queens who are mothers and that's an important part of their role. I hate the idea of Mother as a primary archetype, because I feel like if you're a mother that doesn't say much about who you are and you relate to the world, but other people may feel very differently.

Lonespark said...

And I very much like Caravelle's thoughts on the matter. Some kind of Mage/Scholar role seems important, but I'm not sure of a good term to use.

Ana Mardoll said...

Caravelle, I'm not sure I know where to start on the "why three" and "why those three". :)

"Why three" is a looooong Paganism 101 (it'd be like going up to a Christian and saying "Why a Father a Son and a Holy Ghost? Why not more?") but a good starting resource on the Triple Goddess is Wikipedia.

As for why I like Hapax's Warrior/Healer/Queen against the traditional Maiden/Mother/Crone:

M/M/C is problematic because in addition to the intended concepts of Youthful Energy, Knowledgeable Nurturer, and Experienced Leader it carries along a lot of sexual and reproductive baggage. In some places, "Maiden" implies virgin, and many women pagans are childless (some by choice, others less so). W/H/Q maintains the base concepts of energy, nurturing, and leading without carrying along that baggage.

I have a longer post on this planned, but I think Hapax's tried fits my particular life much better without my having to shed something very important to me (i.e., the concept of the Triple Goddess).

Caravelle said...

Thank you Ana, I think I understand better now. I'd been seeing hapax's triad as an attempt to characterize women in a different way from Maiden/Mother/Crone, but if I understand what you are saying correctly that isn't what she's doing; she's taking the same concepts attached to M/M/C and finding different archetypes to embody them.

In that case I agree they are effective. In fact I can see that my previous problem with them being war/medieval fantasy metaphors is actually a feature; by having them be clear metaphors you're less likely to have the conflict you have when you identify with the Maiden, Mother or Crone while being none of those. And war and medieval fantasy metaphors are fairly universal in our culture so people can grasp them well.

I suppose women in the military, a medical profession or a position of leadership might have a different take, but you choose your job in a way you don't choose your age, so...

(I toyed with applying those concepts to a more day-to-day situation, came up with the Engineer, the HR person and the Project Manager and then went LOL IF ONLY)

Ana Mardoll said...

Exactly! :)

hapax said...

Goodness, I've been away Doing Things for a few days, and I come here to find this nice signal boost!

Thanks, Ana, and thank you everyone for the interesting comments.

I love triads -- not just because of the Christian association, but also because I find great aesthetic satisfaction in the Rule of Three. But the MMC triad has always bothered me a LOT -- none of them ever felt right to me, even when biologically "correct" -- and I was really pleased to find a workable model *for me* in Cashore's books.

I would love love love to read further posts on archetypes, though.

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