The clearest connection I can see between The Medicine Man chapter of From Ritual to Romance, “Tiresias” and “Tereus, Procne, and Philomela” is that of the act of transformation. In each of these readings, one can identify serious, life-altering transformations that occur to central characters. In early fertility rituals, Weston discusses the role of the doctor or medicine man which was “restoring to life or health the slain, or suffering, representation of the Vegetation Spirit” (99). She draws a clear relationship between the role of this medicine man healing a vegetation spirit with Sir Gawain (or another knight) healing the ailing King and therefore restoring his lands to fruitfulness and/or peace. The transformation in this case is that from illness or death to health or life and the transformation of the specific character results in the renewed health of the land. There is also the transformation Weston argues of a doctor character in early Grail legends into the character of Gawain.
The transformations that mark “Tiresias” are even clearer. Through his own choice in disrupting the mating snakes, he is changed into a woman then later back into a man. This transformation is clearly a serious one as it makes Tiresias an entirely unique character with knowledge of the world not even possessed by gods. His settling of the bet between Jove and Juno also leads to his transformation in the sense that he loses his sight and gains the ability to foretell the future. The transformations in “Tereus, Procne, and Philomela” could be seen as merely the transformation into birds. However, throughout the poem, characters are described as changing metaphorically as a result of the tragic circumstances. For example, when she is trapped and abused by Tereus, Philomela “shivered like a little frightened lamb, / mauled by a grizzled wolf” and when Procne chooses her revenge on Tereus, “she pounced on Itys, like / a tigress pouncing on a suckling fawn” (137; 141). Therefore, all three of these texts are marked by the causes and effects of transformation.
This theme relates to The Waste Land through the transformation of the landscape into brown, occasionally abandoned and occasionally filled with zombie-style commuters, wasted cities. And the transformation of the youth into a generation marked and defined by death.