The Claw

The Claw of the Conciliator is the relic which Severian believes causes the miracles around him.

Possibility: The Claw is powered by one of the earlier iterations of Severian.

Possibility: The Claw does nothing itself and is just a symbol (or conduit) of Severian's power.

Possibility: The Claw is powered by the White Fountain.

It was created in his own past as it needed the intervening time to traverse the distance to the Old Sun and incidentally power the Claw so Severian could work his miracles and bring the White Fountain in the first (last?) place.
This is commonly how time travel paradoxes work in SF. A more interesting overlay is that this has the property of adding the ideas of predestination (which mantis mentions) and free will to the mixture. That is, in some sense Severian is predestined to bring the New Sun because (a) he prophesied it in his incarnation as the Conciliator, (b) he already succeeded in bringing it as it's there powering the Claw. But, in another view, free will enters in because he might still perform actions that would make the New Sun not come, which is why we can see time travellers from the two alternate futures meet him. (Again, this is another common way of looking at time travel paradoxes. I think Ash comes from a future in which only the first Severian, who I argue didn't bring the New Sun, existed. That future, in the tangled web of Severian's worldlines, is still possible when Severian meets him at the Last House, but becomes impossible in the meeting's denouement, and Ash fades away.
There are several instances in the five books where future actions create effects in the past which then go on to create the actions which created them in the present. (The whole story of Gunny / Burgundofara is one of these.)

Possibility: The Claw was powered, not by the White Fountain, but by the will of the Pancreator, as hinted in Severian's absolutely elucidation in the Sand Garden.

It is not ascertainable whether or not the Urth and Sol banks are giving Severian loans based upon great expectations of a white hole. It seems clear that Severian's healing comes at great cost to himself; he cured Miles's fatal disease by catching it and conquering it, for example, and the other healings leave him cold and drained. The more sinister dealings, like swearing to the sun, are more murky--well, in that case he promptly resurrected the uhlan, whereas possible energy flow at the executions is disturbingly like that scene in the Soldier book where the old Earth Mother Goddess becomes visible while licking up the human blood on the altar.
These speculations move us beyond "Claw as dumb object"--the Claw would appear to be a yes/no switch or a loan broker. Then there are the "banks" themselves, with loans approved by, I guess, angelic/demonic spirits (futher down the chain-of-command from the hypothetical Yesodic governors of the solar system--Och, Phaleg, etc.).

Then again, it is perfectly in keeping with Severian's musings at the end of The Book of the New Sun where he wonders if he has been a puppet of the baddies or a puppet of the goodies and resolves to resist puppeteering with every fiber of his being, more or less. So it remains unresolved in the end.

If the Claw is in fact a rose thorn (as opposed to a thorn from any other type of plant), then could this be an explanation for the rose motif on Severian1's gravestone - i.e. the rose represents the Claw. It would be more subtle than having a picture of a thorn/the Claw. Also, while the coin appears to symbolize Vodalus's coin, which occurs at the start of Shadow, Severian doesn't find the rose bushes until much later, so perhaps Wolfe's intention was to keep the reader wondering about the significance of the rose and the ship for as long as possible. If the symbol on the grave had been the Claw/thorn, then the reader could have realised its significance as soon as Severian finds the Claw.

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