Granny Weatherwax and Headology

When it comes to irreverent, clever, craft Crones, my favorite is Granny Weatherwax, a major character in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Despite her power, Granny Weatherwax rarely uses magic in any immediately recognizable form. Instead, she prefers to use headology, a sort of folk-psychology which can be summed up as “if people think you’re a witch, you might as well be one”. For instance, Granny could, if she wished, curse people. However it is simpler for her to say she has cursed them, and let them assume that she is responsible for the next bit of bad luck that happens to befall them; given her reputation this tends to cause such people to flee the country entirely.

Headology bears some similarities to psychology in that it requires the user to hold a deep seated understanding of the workings of the human mind in order to be used successfully. However, headology tends to differ from psychology in that it usually involves approaching a problem from an entirely different angle.

It has been said that the difference between headology and psychiatry is that, were you to approach either with a belief that you were being chased by a monster, a psychiatrist will convince you that there are no monsters coming after you, whereas a headologist will hand you a bat and a chair to stand on.

If you want an actual example of how headology works, check out one of my old posts.