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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Gidden

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why 'Goddess (Adj.)' Still Bothers Me

“Goddess temple.”

“Goddess religion.”

“Goddess people.”

After nearly 50 years in the pagan community, I have to admit: these phrases still set my teeth on edge.

It's not the content of any of them that bothers me: it's the delivery.

Goddess (adj.).

The Goddess is the great unstated fact of Western culture. “God” implies “Goddess,” and always will, so long as (and wherever) English is spoken.

The flexibility of English is one of the language's great advantages: nouns regularly change to verbs, verbs to adjectives, and the reverse.

But to my ear, there's something wooden about goddess (adj.), something inelegant. It has the advantages of being practical and comprehensible, but (let's admit it), it's utterly lacking in beauty.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Gidden and Two Roberts

In 2009, poet and scholar-at-large Grevel Lindop published two previously-unknown letters from Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), father of the modern Old Craft movement, to poet Robert Graves (1895-1985), whose book The White Goddess had been seminal (to say the very least) to Cochrane's thinking.

The first of these letters, unfortunately undated, begins:

I have read and re-read your book, 'The White Goddess,' with admiration, utter amazement and a taint of horror. I can see your point when you write of inspirational work, and realize that it must have resulted from quite an internal 'pressure,' since from my own experience, that is the way she works. However, I am just pointing out some other factors that might interest you in the manifestation of the 'Guiden Corn' (Lindop 6).

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Gidden and Robert Cochrane

While rereading the surviving letters of Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), the father of the contemporary Old Craft movement, I was surprised to observe (not having noticed it in previous readings) that he references the Old English word gyden (“goddess”) in at least two of them.

In his third (unfortunately undated) letter to Norman Gills, Cochrane writes:

I think a certain amount of physical discomfort is essential so that the ‘Muse,’ or to give Her proper Name, the White Goddess, can descend and inspire. Likewise the (Alba) Guiden is a harsh Mistress in return for Her gifts (149).

To avoid repeating "White Goddess" in two consecutive phrases, Cochrane (in characteristically allusive style) translates the phrase into a Latin adjective and an Old English noun.

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