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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in language

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Witches Do Not Bend*

Allow me a moment's irritation that this persistent misinformation continues to get shared. The 'witch' of witch hazel or witch elm is *not* that witch. This is the Proto-IndoEuropean root *weik

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Flowers in Amber

The ancestors are still speaking.

One of our very greatest inheritances from the forefathers and mothers is language. If we listen closely, we can hear their voices today.

2500 years ago, the ancestors bound their thought together with alliteration, what we may think of as initial rhyme. Many of these phrases—hundreds, if not thousands, of years old—are with us still.

 

Might and main. “Might” is physical strength; “main” (OE megn) is non-physical (psychic, spiritual) strength—“soul-strength,” one might say. To do something with all one's might and main means to use all one's available resources. Those seeking a word for “energy” that doesn't reek of patchouli may wish to consider “main.”

Kith and kin. It's interesting how frequently these inherited alliterative phrases refer to a totality. “Kith and kin” means “everyone”: both those that you're related to (kin), and those that you know (kith). Preserved like a flower in amber, the ancient word for “know personally” also survives in “uncouth,” originally meaning “unknown.”

Bed and board. Tables take up a lot of room. In the houses and halls of the ancients, where interior space was at a premium, at mealtimes it was customary to set up trestles and boards to eat from. Hence, board, pars pro toto, came to be short for “table.” (“Table” is a French word. The Normans, of course, were the aristos; they could afford to have tables sitting around, uselessly taking up room. Every word's a story.)

Bed and board,” then, means home: where you sleep and eat.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the House and Home paragraph. I have a house but it is not yet home. I have often caught myself saying "I want to
Asatru FAQ: Shouldn't We Have a Sacred Language?

Every so often, people come up with ideas we've already tried. That's one reason long time heathens are a great resource for newer heathens. We remember. One idea that keeps recurring is the idea of having a liturgical language, like Latin for the Catholics, or an official common language for our religion that is also used as a common secular language, such as the modern revival of Hebrew among Jews as the national language of Israel.

Asatruars actually tried that before. In the 90s, Asatruars in the USA were calling themselves Ulfgar Tyrsson and Freya Freyasdottir and calling quarters with Thorsson's Hammer Rite in Old Norse. And saying "hailsa."

Hailsa

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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
Gods That Save

Who's your Savior?

Let me rephrase the question. If the plane were going down, Who would you call to?

The original (i.e. pagan) meaning of salvation had nothing to do with “sin.” As pagan things tend to be, it was actually quite pragmatic; concrete, even.

You're stuck in a bad situation. You need rescuing. What god (or goddess) do you call on?

In most pantheons, there's a specific god, or sometimes several, who gain a reputation as being good at getting people out of jams. These are the Savior gods.

Just Who that might be for you, of course, you would know better than I. For witches, it's Him o' the Horns. It makes sense that the animal god would be most concerned with the doings of animals like us. He's strong, he's quick, and (like all horn-bearers) he fights for his own. That's why he's known to witches as “Red Champion.”

Savior, of course, is a foreign word that came in with a foreign religion.

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A Living World: Language, Memes, and Thought Forms : Moving Beyond 'Cultural Appropriation' Part IV

 

Many memes are communicated through language, and, like any tool, language shapes how we look at the world when using it.  Language facilitates some memes’ replication and makes the survival of others more difficult by shaping what relations are easy to notice and what relations require more effort. Different languages have different biases in this regard. One linguistic feature is particularly relevant here: do we experience our world primarily as objects, or primarily as processes and relations?  Clearly there is value in both perspectives, but which gets emphasis is in no small part shaped by language.

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Moving Beyond 'Cultural Appropriation,' a Pagan Perspective. Part I.

Some people within the Pagan community object to instances of what they consider “cultural appropriation.”  Smudging with sage, seeking a power animal, celebrating Day of the Dead, is somehow stealing. To my mind they are confused about culture, confused about appropriation, and even confused about what it is to be a human being. In their confusion they attack other Pagans, creating a problem for all of us.

No NeoPagans practice traditions with an unbroken connection to pre-Christian times. Almost all old Pagan traditions have been mostly oral, and the core of those teachings have been lost. When once Pagan practices have survived, their interpretation will have changed, as Sabina Magliocco has described in rural Italy.         

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Aryós Jezebel quotes cultural appropriation as "'Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or ar
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    I too, have found the phrase to be mostly a stumbling block. It seems as if it may have been mostly used for more extreme example
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you for continuing the discussion! Though some of what you raise eill be in later installments, here is some stuff I hope y
  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis says #
    "You say for you it was limited to the sacred. Maybe for you. For example, thoughtlessly eating a burrito was given as an example
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Aryós I am not very concerned with where the term first appeared, but if you can provide a link I will be happy to make that disti

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