Feb 12, 2016

Posted by in Occult Studies, Paganism, Paranormal, Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Witchcraft | 0 Comments

Terry Pratchett’s Witches Get It Right – Part II

Nanny Ogg as she appears in Nanny Ogg's Cookbo...

Nanny Ogg as she appears in Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook, illustrated by Paul Kidby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Granny and Nanny are right, of course. Such frippery isn’t strictly necessary, though the demon they summon seems a little put out at the lack of traditional ceremony. However, Granny remains firm and the demon gives them the information they need, though he does request to be banished properly, finding “off you go,” lacking in style.

What these witches may lack in style they make up for in real power and effectiveness. A lot of that boils down to what Granny Weatherwax calls “headology”. Headology combines the understanding of what makes people (or demons) tick with an absolute conviction that what one is doing is what has to be done. For example, a witch’s cold remedy always works, no matter what is in it, because her patients believe it will work and because the witch knows it must. Such a “placebo effect” tactic isn’t really magic, except that it is if you view the ability of the mind to change reality as a form of magic. The power of belief is an important element in the Discworld books.

For the witches, this power of belief isn’t about deities, but about what is Right. These women have raised practicality to an art form. They understand that working magic is more than simply draining, so they don’t do it until they have exhausted all other possibilities. Thus, when they perform magic, they have left no room for doubt.

Over and over again, Granny Weatherwax refers to “getting your mind right”, and that really is the key to any effective working. Rituals are as much about affecting the minds of those conducting them as they are about affecting change. When Granny Weatherwax performs the working to save her kingdom, she knows she must reach the bridge before the roosters start crowing. Unbeknownst to her, Nanny Ogg has stationed all of her many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in all the barnyards within earshot, in order to muffle any insolent roosters. Nanny knows that the spell will work as long as Granny’s conviction remains unshakable.

It is that unshakeable conviction that enables the witches in these books to work real magic, and it is that sense of purpose and power of thought that witches in our world could use to work real magic here. Do every practical thing you can think of to combat the problem. Work hard at the non-magical solution. If none of it works, then turn to magic, but you’ll need to “get your mind right!”

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