Well, didn't see that one coming.
According to philologist Calvert Watkins, the word Wicca is actually related to wake.
And Wiccans were originally necromancers, “wakers of the dead.”
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Part of the underlying strategy for the Repaganization of the West is, shall we say...selective replacement.
Consider the so-called “Adam's apple.” A nasty bit of someone else's mythology has, mutatis mutandis, become attached to a perfectly innocuous part of the human body. What to do?
In this particular instance, at least, there's not far to look.
The old Witch word for the (to give it its technical name) laryngeal thyroid cartilege is thrapple: a contraction of “throat apple,” the apple being, of course, the prime sacred fruit of the Tribe of Witches (and, in fact, of Northern Europe generally).
A while back I was dishing with my friend “Granny” Ro NicBourne.
“Do you know such-and-so?” I asked.
“Wouldn't know him from Ash,” she deadpanned.*
Reader Alert: Contains material some may find offensive.
I was reading my favorite "non-pagan-but-regularly-writes-about-pagans" author, S. M. Stirling.
"[T]he Brannigans were a family as prominent as any in Sutterdown," he wrote, "and usually contributed the senior High Priestess and High Priest of the town's clutch of covens" (Stirling 352).
"'Clutch of covens,'" I thought, "that's good." Like “clutch of eggs,” presumably.
They call them "venereal terms" (from the hunting, rather than the amorous, form of venery): poetic miniatures of collective being. An exaltation of larks. A murder of crows. A parliament of owls.
A clutch of covens.
A venery of pagans. (Some might say: "...venality....")
An argument of witches.
I hate acronyms.
There's something inherently ugly, opaque, even anti-poetic about them. If I could, I'd do away with them altogether.
Oh, I'll concede them a certain prosaic utility. The term DNA has saved a lot of time and breath down the years.
Point conceded. I would, nonetheless, contend that their use is best restricted to secular contexts. They have no place in religious vocabulary.
Let me pick on a particular example. The term UPG—that's "unverified personal gnosis" to the uninitiated—has gained a certain currency in pagan circles since it was coined some time in the late “20th" century.
You know the song I mean. The one that begins:
Let the joyous news be spread....
Just to refresh your memory: first, the house begins to pitch. Then the kitchen takes a slitch, and lands on the wicked witch. In the middle of a ditch, no less. How humiliating.
It had been raining off and on for a week before we got to the festival site, and there were mud slicks everywhere. A friend of ours came limping into camp, clearly a little the worse for wear.
"What happened to you?" someone asked.
Every word's a story.
Anyone who has ever tried to plow through Beowulf in the original Old English knows the word béag: “ring, circle.” It seems to occur on practically every page, so important was it to Anglo-Saxon culture.
The béag was the most important form of jewelry: not so much a ring for the finger, as an arm-ring, a neck-ring, a torc, a crown. Conferring wealth and status, it was also a basic form of currency. One's lord was preeminently a béag-gifa, a “ring-giver”: the lord as generous giver of gifts to his dright. Think of the Horned Drighten, his antlers hung with neck-rings.
On the off chance that there's still anyone left out there who would contend that there has been an ongoing tradition of Goddess-worship in the English-speaking world since antiquity, I have some bad news for you: the word “goddess” itself proves that you're wrong.
But this very fact opens the door to an exciting possibility.
Compare the words for “goddess” in Modern English and its sister Germanic languages: