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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Bard

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Not to Rename a Lake

“Then turn right when you get to....”

The clerk pauses in her direction-giving. A year ago, she would have said “...when you get to Lake Calhoun.” But last summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decided to change the official name of Minneapolis' largest lake back to its original name.

“...Bde Maka Ska,” I say. She nods, gratefully, and continues with her directions.

Really, you can't blame her not being able to remember the “new” name. She doesn't speak Dakota. Most people don't.

I applaud the DNR's decision to shed the imposed triumphalist name, and to call the Lake formerly known as Calhoun what those who originally dwelt on its shores called it.

But I think that they've gone about it wrong.

It's a little much to expect most English speakers to wrap their tongues around a word that begins with bd-. (When's the last time that you used the word bdellium in a sentence?) To most non-Dakota speakers, Bde Maká Ska reads as gibberish: hard to pronounce, hard to remember.

So they end up calling the lake “Calhoun” anyway, which rather defeats the purpose of the change.

Here's what I think that the DNR should have done. The Dakota-speakers who lived on the southern shores of the lake named it Bde Maká Ska, “White Earth Lake,” for the deposits of white clay found on its banks.

White Earth Lake”: that's the new/old name that the DNR should have chosen.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Greetings fellow Twin Citizen, and thanks: blessed are they that do their research. Luck to the work of language preservation: the
  • Mary Lanham
    Mary Lanham says #
    Fellow Twin Cities pagan here! My initial reaction to the name change was also that the English translation would have been more e

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Whaddya Want?

Och, where's a bard when you need one?

Come on, folks, we need some hot, sexy new chants.

The old ones have gotten pretty stale.

What do you want?

New chants!

When do you want 'em?


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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Words Words Words We are chant-ing Words Words Words We are chant-ing...
In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Makes a Friendly Rhetorical Suggestion

Gentle reader, kindly entertain a well-intentioned suggestion.

The next time that you're thinking about beginning a sentence with one of the following phrases:

Well, in my tradition, we... or

In [name of tradition], we... or 

As a [title] of X tradition, I...

...remember the word of a bard, and Don't do it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A-dept or a-DEPT?

 In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Indulges in a Shameless Display of Word-Geekery


Reveals Hidden Bardic Secrets


Handy User's Guide to Getting It Right

at least

Much of the Time


There's an anomalous class of words in English that mean one thing when stressed on the first syllable, and another when stressed on the second.

Words like adept, consort, present.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
If Paganism Had a Motto...

In the Old Language of the Witches, a verbal artist (i.e. a bard) was called a sceop: literally, a “shaper.”

Likewise, “creation” was sceopung, shaping; “creator” scieppand, a shaper. (In Modern Witch, we would say sheppend.)

For the ancestors, to make was to shape: to mold what already is. This view of art—and of creation generally—stands at variance with the more recent notion of creation ex nihilo: from nothing.

As myself a shaper, and long-time observer of the creative process, I find it axiomatic that, in fact, nothing comes from nothing. Even the most original art always derives from what went before, if only by reaction.

As the ancestors saw it, the artist's work is to shape the old to the new, and the new to the old.

In this way, the present becomes a conversation of past with future.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    No indeed. As the Egyptian tells Big Anna in Edgar Jepson's Horned Shepherd, "All the world is the country of the Wise": there are
  • Andrew
    Andrew says #
    "In the Old Language of the Witches" Witches weren't confined to speakers of Old English.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Loving Work Day

Just came across this June 2013 piece I’d never shared. Now seems the time to share it, though I don't know why.

Amidst distractions—fears making my thoughts scurry in multiple directions, people attacking in hopes of distracting themselves with turmoil, forms promising to be essence, delusions masquerading as passions—I light a single candle. Simple altar. The Friend adds a stone.

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