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Brittany

Celts

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Vocabulary

Back when I worked the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink because my grandmother did, animal group names were an annoyance and a curiosity. I kept track of collective nouns found during my reading but for several years failed to note where I read them. Having not tracked those early inclusions, I list them here with no attribution (a handful of such lists now appear on the Internet). A few years later I discovered James Lipton: An Exaltation of Larks, Or the Veneral Game, Grossman Publishers, New York, 1968. That led to a short-lived passion for bestiaries (a collection of stories about morals, ala Æsop’s Fables) and that lead to the study of venery, which took me to a study of medieval manors, where, it appears, many of these divisions took place to ease the listing and assigning value thereto. Manor lords needed to know how many things he owned, their health, who was responsible for caring for them, how much they (animals and humans) required for maintenance.

 

According to Wikipedia: “It is thought that many of the bizarre words used for collective groupings of animals were first published in 1486 in the Book of St. Albans, in an essay on hunting attributed to Dame Juliana Berners. Many of the words are thought to have been chosen simply for the humorous or poetic images they conjured up in her lively imagination.”

 

James G. Doherty, General Curator, The Wildlife Conservation Society.

* from other sources

+An Exaltation of Larks, James Lipton

 

ants: colony

apes: shrewdness*

asses: pace+

badgers: cete*

bass: shoal

bears: sleuth, sloth

bees: grist, hive, swarm

birds: flight, volery, dissimulation+

boars: singular+

bobolinks: chain+

brats: passel+

buffaloes: obstinacy+

buzzards: wake+

caterpillars: army+

cattle: drove

cats: clutter, clowder, pounce+

chicks: brood, clutch

clams: bed

cockroaches: intrusion+

colts: rag*

coots: cover+

cormorants: gulp+

coyotes: run+

cranes: sedge, siege

crocodiles: float*, bask+

crows: murder

curs: cowardice+

doves: dule

ducks: brace, team, paddling (on water)+

eggs: clutch+

elephants: herd

elk: gang

falcon: cast

ferrets: business+

finches: charm

fish: school, shoal, draught, kettle+

flamingo: stand

foxes: leash, skulk

frogs: army*

geese: flock, gaggle (on water)+, skein (in flight)+

giraffes: tower+

gnats: cloud, horde

gnus: implausibility+

goats: trip

goldfish: glint+

gorillas: band

hares: down, husk, drove (Wiki)

hawks: cast

hens: brood

herons: siege

hogs: drift

horses: pair, team, haras+

hounds: cry, mute, pack

hummingbird: charm

jay: party, scold+

kangaroos: troop

kittens: kindle, litter

lapwings: deceit+

larks: exaltation

leopards: leap*

lions: pride

locusts: plague

magpies: tidings

mallards: sord+

martens: richness+

moles: labor+

monkeys: troop*, tribe*

mules: span, barren*

nightingales: watch

otters: romp+

owls: parliament*

oxen: yoke

oysters: bed

parrots: company

partridges: covey

peacocks: muster, ostentation

pekingese: pomp+

penguins: colony+

pheasants: nest, bouquet, nye*

pigs: litter, herd*, farrow*, drove*, drift*, sounder*

plovers: congregation+

ponies: string

pups: litter+, piddle+

quail: bevy, covey

rabbits: nest, drove*

raccoons: gaze+

ravens: unkindness*; JET’s suggestions: raucous, rambunctious, royalty, rascality, or ravenment.

rhinoceroses: crash*

roebucks: bevy

rooks: building+

seals: pod

sharks: shiver+

sheep: drove, flock

snipe: walk+

sparrows: host

spiders: clutter* (Wikipedia)

squirrels: dray*, scurry+

starlings: chattering*, murmuration*

storks: mustering

swallows: flight+

swans: ballet, bevy, wedge

swine: sounder

teal: spring+

toads: knot

trout: hover+

turkeys: rafter

turtledoves: pitying

turtles: bale

vipers: nest

whales: gam, pod

wolves: pack, route, rout*

woodcocks: fall

woodpeckers: descent*

 

Link to below

Albatross = Rookery

Alligators = Congregation

Apes = Shrewdness

Antelope = Herd

Ants = Colony, Army, Swarm

Asses = Pace

Auks = Colony, Flock, Raft

Baboons = Troop, Flang

Bacteria = Culture

Badgers = Cete, Colony, Set, Company

Barracudas = Battery

Bats = Colony, Cloud

Bass = Shoal

Bears (General) = Sloth, Sleuth

Bears (Cubs) = Litter

Beavers = Colony

Bees = Grist, Hive, Swarm

Birds (Chicks) = Brood, Clutch

Birds (Flight) = Flight

Birds (Game) = Volary, Brace, Plump, Knob

Birds (Ground) = Flock, Dissimulation

Birds (Sea) = Wreck

Bison = Herd

Bitterns = Sedge, Siege

Bloodhounds = Sute

Bobolinks = Chain

Buffalo = Herd

Bullfinches = Bellowing

Bullocks = Drove

Butterflies = Flight, Flutter, (Many more)

Buzzards = Wake

Camels = Caravan, Train, Flock

Capons = Mews

Caribou = Herd

Caterpillars = Army

Cats (General) = Clowder, Clutter, Pounce, Dout, Nuisance, Glorying

Cats (Kittens) = Kindle, Litter, Intrigue

Cats (Wild) = Destruction

Cattle = Drove, Herd, Team

Cheetahs = Coalition

Chickens (General) = Brood, Peep

Chickens (Chicks) = Clutch, Chattering

Chinchilla = Colony

Choughs = Clattering

Clams = Bed

Cobras = Quiver

Cockroaches = Intrusion

Cod = Lap

Coots = Cover, Raft

Cormorants = Gulp

Cows = Kine

Coyotes = Band

Crabs = Cast

Cranes = Sedge, Siege

Crocodiles = Bask, Float

Crows = Murder, Horde, Parcel

Curlews = Herd

Deer (General) = Herd, Leash, Gang

Deer (Buck) = Brace, Clash

Deer (Roe) = Bevy

Dogs (General) = Kennel

Dogs (Curs) = Cowardice

Dogs (Hounds) = Cry, Mute, Pack

Dogs (Puppies) = Litter

Dogs (Wild) = Pack

Dolphins = Pod

Donkeys = Drove, Pace

Dotterel = Trip

Doves (General) = Dule, Bevy, Cote, Dole, Paddling

Doves (Turtle) = Pitying, Piteousness

Ducks (Flight) = Flock

Ducks (Ground) = Brace, Badling

Ducks (Water) = Raft, Team, Paddling

Dunlins = Fling

Eagles = Convocation

Eels = Swarm, Bed, Fry

Elephants = Herd, Memory

Elk = Gang

Emus = Mob

Falcons = Cast

Ferrets = Business, Cast, Fesnying

Finches = Charm

Fish (General) = Draft, Nest, Shoal, School ("school" is possibly a corruption of shoal)

Fish (Caught) = Catch, Drought, Haul

Flamingoes = Stand

Flies = Business, Swarm

Frogs = Army, Colony

Fox = Leash, Skulk, Earth, Lead

Geese (General) = Flock

Geese (Flight) = Skein

Geese (Ground) = Gaggle

Giraffes = Tower

Gnats = Cloud, Horde, Swarm

Gnus = Implausibility

Goats = Tribe, Trip, Drove

Goldfish = Glint, Troubling

Gorillas = Band

Goshawks = Flight

Grasshoppers = Cloud

Greyhounds = Leash

Grouse = Pack

Guillemots = Bazaar

Gulls = Colony, Screech

Guinea Fowl = Confusion

Hawks (General) = Cast

Hawks (Flight) = Kettle

Hawks (Spiraling) = Boil

Hedgehogs = Array

Herons = Sedge, Siege, Hedge

Herring = Army

Hippopotamuses = Bloat

Hornets = Nest, Bike

Horses (General) = Team, Harras, Stable, Troop, Stud (a group belonging to one owner)

Horses (Colts) = Rag, Rake

Horses (Ponies) = String

Horses (Wild) = Herd

Hummingbirds = Charm

Hyenas = Cackle

Impalas = Herd

Insects = Horde, Nest, Swarm, Rabble, Plague

Jays = Party, Scold

Jellyfish = Smack

Kangaroos = Troop, Mob

Lapwings = Deceit

Larks = Exaltation, Ascension

Leopards = Leap

Lice = Flock

Lions = Pride, Sault, Troop

Lizards = Lounge

Locusts = Plague

Magpies = Tiding, Gulp, Murder, Charm

Mallards (General) = Brace

Mallards (Flight) = Sord

Martens = Richness

Mice = Mischief

Midges = Bite

Minnows = Shoal, Steam, Swarm

Moles = Labor, Company, Movement

Monkeys = Troop, Barrel, Carload, Tribe

Moose = Herd

Mosquitoes = Scourge

Mudhens = Fleet

Mules = Pack, Span, Barren, Rake

Nightingales = Watch

Otters = Romp, Bevy, Family, Raft

Owls = Parliament, Stare

Oxen = Team, Yoke, Drove

Oysters = Bed

Parrots = Company, Pandemonium

Partridge = Covey, Bew

Peacocks = Muster, Ostentation

Pekingese = Pomp

Pelicans = Pod

Penguins = Colony, Rookery

Pheasants (General) = Nest, Nye

Pheasants (Brood) = Nide

Pheasants (Take-Off) = Bouquet

Pigeons = Flight, Flock, Kit

Pigs (General) = Drift, Drove

Pigs (Boars) = Singular, Sounder

Pigs (Hogs) = Team, Passel, Drift, Parcel

Pigs (Piglets) = Litter, Farrow

Pigs (Swine) = Sounder

Pilchards = Shoal

Plovers (General) = Congregation

Plovers (Flight) = Wing

Polecats = Chine

Porcupines = Prickle

Porpoises = Herd, Pod

Prairie Dogs = Coterie

Ptarmigans = Covey

Quail = Bevy, Covey

Rabbits (General) = Colony, Warren, Bury, Trace, Trip

Rabbits (Domestic) = Herd

Rabbits (Hares) = Down, Husk

Rabbits (Young) = Litter, Nest

Raccoons = Gaze

Rats = Colony, Pack, Plague, Swarm

Rattlesnakes = Rhumba

Ravens = Unkindness

Reindeer = Herd

Rhinoceroses = Crash, Stubbornness

Roebucks = Bevy

Rooks = Building, Clamor

Ruffs = Hill

Salmon = Run

Sandpipers = Fling

Sardines = Family

Scorpions = Bed, Nest

Seals = Pod, Bob, Harem

Sharks = Shiver

Sheep = Drove, Flock, Down, Hurtle, Fold

Sheldrakes = Doading

Skylarks = Exultation

Squirrels = Dray, Scurry

Snails = Escargatoire, Rout, Walk

Snakes = Den, Nest, Pit

Snipe = Walk, Wisp

Sparrows = Host

Spiders = Cluster, Clutter

Springbok = Herd

Squirrels = Dray, Scurry

Starlings = Murmuration

Stingrays = Fever

Stoats = Pack, Trip

Storks = Mustering

Swallows = Flight, Gulp

Swans (General) = Bevy

Swans (Flight) = Wedge

Swifts = Flock

Teal = Spring

Termites = Colony, Nest, Swarm, Brood

Thrush = Mutation

Tigers = Streak, Ambush

Toads = Knot, Knab

Trout = Hover

Turkeys = Rafter, Gang, Posse

Turtles = Bale, Nest, Turn, Dole

Turtle Doves = Pitying

Vipers = Generation, Nest

Vultures = Venue

Vultures (Circling) = Kettle

Walruses = Herd, Pod

Wasps = Nest, Swarm

Waterfowl = Knob, Plump

Weasles = Gang

Whales = Pod, Gam

Widgeons = Company

Wolves (General) = Pack

Wolves (Moving) = Route, Rout

Wombats = Wisdom

Woodcocks = Fall

Woodpeckers = Descent

Worms = Bed, Clew, Bunch, Clat

Wrens = Herd

Zebras = Crossing, Zeal, Cohorts

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An Introduction: In each book review, I use bullet points to identify page numbers. I’ve paraphrased, interspersed with so-noted quotations. I am not the sort of a book critic you might rely on and I do not necessarily rate a book for its eloquence, order, development, officialness, main-streamedness.

Alic, Margaret, Hypatia’s Heritage: A History Of Women In Science From Antiquity Through The Nineteenth Century

 

Baring-Gould, S., A Book Of Brittany

 

Burkert, Walter, Ancient Mystery Cults

 

de France, Marie, The Lais Of Marie De France

 

de la Cruz, Sor Juana, Poems, Protest, and a Dream

 

English Fairy Tales

 

Feher-Elston, Catherine, Ravensong: A Natural and Fabulous History of Ravens and Crows

 

Feldman, Christina, The Quest Of The Warrior Woman: Women as Mystics, Healers and Guides

 

Grossinger, Richard, Planet Medicine: From Stone Age Shamanism to Post-Industrial Healing

 

Hawkins, Gerald S., in collaboration with John B. White, Stonehenge Decoded

 

le Braz, Anatole, The Land of Pardons

 

Mannix, Daniel P., The History Of Torture

 

Michelet, Jules, Satanism And Witchcraft: A Study In Medieval Superstition

 

Mosher, Ange E., The Spell of Brittany

 

Paz, Octavio, Sor Juana Or, The Traps Of Faith,

 

The Shadow of Arvor: Legendary Romances And Folk-Tales Of Brittany

 

Shlain, Leonard, The Alphabet Versus The Goddess: The Conflict Between Word And Image

 

Tristan In Brittany, Being The Fragments Of The Romance Of TRISTAN Written In The XII Century

 

Walkley, Victor, Celtic Daily Life, including herb lore, metalwork, wine and brewing, feasts, recipes, clothing, perfumes, marriage rites, legends and beliefs

 

Watson, Lyall, Gifts of Unknown Things: A True Story of Nature, Healing, Initiation From Indonesia’s Dancing Island

 

Williams, Niall and Christine Breen, O Come Ye Back to Ireland: Our First Year in County Clare

 

 

 

Alic, Margaret, Hypatia’s Heritage: A History Of Women In Science From Antiquity Through The Nineteenth Century, Beacon Press, Boston, 1986.

 

 

Hypatia’s Heritage added a number of heroines to my cosmology of the feminine world. Previous to my reading Hypatia, I understood female contributions in the arts better than those of science. This book highlights new research avenues, is interesting, and very informative. There is, of course, some disagreement with her conclusion; I’ve read a couple but have not changed my view that this an important book.

•10: For nearly a thousand years, Italy drew women of scientific genius for it did not exclude them from education nor practice of their scholarly skills.

•18: Homer identified Helen of Troy as an excellent physician, with training in Egypt with Polydama, a female doctor whose name means ‘subduer of many diseases’. ¶ Assyrian priestesses were also physicians.

•20-21: Women studied and practiced medicine as early as 3000 BC in Egypt. There was a woman’s school at Sais. Female physicians surgically removed children from wombs and cancerous breasts. Women added rich knowledge to medicine and perfumery with distillation techniques and apparatus design.

•22: “According to the Greek philosopher Aristoxenus, he obtained most of his moral doctrines from Themistoclea, a Delphic priestess.” ... Pythagorus earned a reputation as a “Feminist Philosopher” and at least 28 women either taught at or attended his school.

•23: In his old age, Pythagorus married Theano, a famed woman cosmologist. She and her daughters shared an excellent reputation for doctoring.

•25: Hetairai, a Greek word meaning companions to men, usually denoted foreign-born women, who barred from marrying citizens of Athens, graced sophisticated Athens with their education, erudition, and intellect. Though this proscription resulted in classifying these women as courtesans, it also allowed them greater freedom and access to worldly affairs unavailable to Athenian wives. Aspasia became a most famous hetairai. She lived with Pericles and is considered to have written his funeral oration. She is believed to have been a teacher of Socrates and is identified in Plato’s Dialogues.

•25-27: Theano, famous cosmologist; Aglaonice of Thessaly; Perictione, Plato’s mother; Aspasia; Lasthenia and Axiothea studied at Plato’s academy; Arete succeeded her father as head of a philosophy school; Themista was known as a “female Solon”; Leontium, a accomplished scholar of the Epicurean school—female philosophers and teachers of philosophers.

•27: Aristotle’s philosophy would prevail for nearly 2000 years; one disservice is his detailed description of the inferior nature of women in his Generatione Animalium, an influential book on embryology.

•28: Gradually women physicians were being limited to midwifery and herbal folk medicine. Artemisia, Queen of Caria, was widely praised for her complete knowledge of herbs; Pliny and Strabo praised her.

•29-30: Agnodice hid her gender in order to study medicine and midwifery; she studied with Herophilus who was the “first to perform anatomical dissections in public... .” Her patients intervened when she was condemned to death and the Athenian laws were modified to allow women to study medicine so long as they only treated female patients.

•30: Romans brought Greek females, including physicians, to Rome as slaves. Within a few centuries educated Roman woman attended medical schools and managed hospitals.

•31: Though most of their work has been lost, Roman women wrote signifcant treasties and books about gynæcology and obstetrics. Soranus, Galen, and Pliny each referenced work of specific women, though Pliny sanctimoniusly belittled their contributions. I have fifty other citations which is too many for this sort of book note. I urge you to read this.

 

 

Baring-Gould, S., A Book Of Brittany, Methuen & Co., London, 1901.

 

An excellent book for a sense of an older Brittany. Often assumes specific historical knowledge resides in the reader. Quaint and interesting.

•vi: Breton people extend along the Brittany seaboard of S Nazare and do not extend far inland. Bretons occupy “great turf moor la Beuyere.”

•9: Disparagingly described early (first) people settling in and still occupying Cornouaille and refers to the people as “pure representatives of the Iberian stock that raised the dolmens.”

•10: Suggests the Bretons are the oldest race, excepting a few Basque, in Western Europe.

•11-12: Details the types of human shapes and colors found in Brittany.

•14: First mention of a deity is of a Goddess of Death. Also begins a discussion of dolmens and menhirs.

•18: Speaks specifically of the continued veneration of wells and springs by Bretons long after the Church came and was accepted.

•22: A couple of stories about chapels being used first by pagans, then christians, and then a cross of the two. Begins discussing the cult of the dead.

•25: Continued discussion of the rituals around dying and death. Even the baozalan (a marriage broker) will seek approval of the marriage from the bones of the dead.

•26-27: “In the Isle of Sein the evening salutation is not Bon soir, but ‘Joy to the Souls!’” Also a folk story about a Venus statue in Quinipili.

•28: As late as 1773 this Qunipili Venus continued to receive oblations of money. In secrecy she still does (1901 publication). “remained pagan to the marrow of their bones.” Yippee!!

•31: “troublous times.” Interesting history of a monk/saint coming to rouse rebellion in Brittany.

•34: 300 years in which England burnt and ravaged Brittany [good ole England.]

•41: Du Guesclin fought under the lilies of France and the ermine of Brittany (second ermine reference). December 6, 1491, Brittany became a province of France.

•71: Breton dioceses abandoned their Gallicaian Breviary in 1848.

•74-75: Good description of a pagan ritual.

•77-78: Pardon fought with cudgels—santo pulverized.

•91: “Among the primitive inhabitants of the land, in Britain, Ireland, and Armorica alike, no man could assure to himself undisputed and inalienable landed property till he was dead. Only when a tomb contained him did he become a landed proprietor who could not be dispossessed.”

•94: Sisters [nuns] of Sagesse educate poor girls and infants.

•99: The Catholic church did not overcome the independent See of Dol until 1199. (There’s an undercurrent of Rome church domination; same domination as seen around Europe.)

•100: The Cult of Mithras was active in Dol. Julian the Apostate underwent the ritual of having ox blood fall upon him to rid himself of Christianity.

•105: “We flatter ourselves that England always had the command of the seas; that is because our histories slur over the facts of the naval contests at the close of the seventeenth century. The plain truth is that it was French in the reign of Louis XIV. who held the supremacy, and that did so was mainly due to the boldness of the Breton sailors. ¶ Dinan was home to Botrel, a peasant poet [Wikipedia has article.] •111: Wild horses abundant in Armorican woods.

•112-113: A story about a vitrified fortress [a glass castle]!

•120 Tomb effigies are placed with feet in the west, head in the east, reverse of most of Christendom.

•124: “It was one of legal privileges or obligations of the Druid to curse; and it was held that a curse once launched could not be recalled.”

•125: The Druids were advocate for poor. The Christian saints took on this “office of cursing and avenging wrongs when the Druids ‘fell’ from favor. “La Roche was the scene of one of the most terrible battles fought in the War of the Two Jeannes.”

•131: “The little (Loquivy) churchyard contains a lovely fountain of the best Renaissance work. Why it was set up, save in the very wantonness of love for what is beautiful, is hard to say; there was no need for it,...”

•137: “Ploumanach, or the Clan of the Monks....” Kirec is the Welsh Curig. He possesses the peculiarity of being the only British saint not of royal blood. In the Celtic church sainthood was an honour reserved for those of the bluest blood.”

•138: Blunt explanation of why saints were blue-bloods. ¶ “He had to leave Wales when the great upheaval took place among the British against their Irish oppressors.

•144: “Now the Celtic usage was this. When a prince or any great noble was to be denounced to death, seven bards ascended a height where great a thorn tree, each plucked off a thorn from the tree, and then, all standing back to back about the trunk, stabbed in the air with the thorn, and united in uttering a curse which condemned him against whom the sentence was launched to utter destruction.”

•151: “The great Islands of the Dead were doubtless Ouessant, and Sein, off the Bay de Trépassés in Cornouaille. This latter island in pagan times was occupied by nine virgins who were consulted as oracles, and who were credited with the power of raising or laying of storms. None might consult them who were not sailors. Probably with them, as with another college of priestesses in an island in the Loire, it was an obligation on a certain day to pull down and reconstruct the roof of their temple. If by chance one of them let fall any sacred object, any portion of the thatch, her companions rushed on her with hideous cries, tore her limb to limb, and then scattered her blood-stained flesh about the island. ¶ Ouessant was almost certainly also haunted by prophetesses who were consulted; there are remains there of an enclosure that is called the Temple of the Pagans.

•152: “If bitten, bite again” is the motto of the town (Léon), and it has often had teeth fastened in it and has returned the bite.”

•179: A tale of torture and sacrifice annually required to assure crops. Early settler from Wales rescues a suicide and as “head of the dominant race of colonists” abolished the custom immediately. Rescuer then tried to convert Elorn (the suicide) who demurs, eventually placing his son in the monastery.

•181: “According to Celtic ecclesiastical order, the bishops had no jurisdiction unless they were heads of ecclesiastical tribes, but were under subjection to the tribal chief, who may have been a woman. So odd did it seem to mediæval biographers that Bridget should have had a bishop at there beck and call, that they feigned that when she was veiled as a nun by mistake the bishop then read over her the consecration of a bishop.”

•184 “Ronan spent some time in Cornwall, and then came on to Cornouaille in Brittany, and settled at this place, where he began mission work among the natives, and not among the British settlers.

•192: Taliesan story, “Salmon of Science,” claimed to be an adaptation of a pagan myth, lived in the “Fountain of Coppla.” “As late as 1400 an Irish poet, Aengus Finn, says of the Virgin Mary, ‘She is the Salmon of Science.’” Story nicely told.

•198-199: Some interesting solar tales.

•203-204: “The Bay of the Dead is the place of which the story is told by an old Byzantine writer that at night the boatmen are summoned by a mysterious voice to ship over the souls to the Ile-de-Sein.... And that isle is the holy place where lived a college of weird women, who were able by their incantations to raise and lay storms.

•209: It is suggested that polyandry was anciently practiced on the headland of Cornouaille, a place that allows us to realize the “profound melancholy that stamps Brittany.”

•229: “This Anna was the Mother of the Gods among the Celts, but probably adopted by them from the dolmen-builders they had subjugated.”

•239-240: “...for the same race which had raised these monumental tombs (Carnac) continued under the domination of their Gaulish conquerors, and impressed on them much of religion and traditionary usage; and that same race remains, but little modified, on the soil to the present day, still dominated by the same ideas.”

•265: “To the east of Ploernmel stretched at one time the mighty forest of Brociliande, so famous in the poems and romances of chivalry. Of it now the sole remains the wood of Paimpont, near Plélan. ¶ At the beginning of the Christian era and throughout the Roman occupation the centre of Armorica was covered by one vast forest, which sent its streamers of wood down the rivers to the coast.”

•266: ...the forest of Brecilien, or Brociliande, remained throughout the Middle Ages...retaining much of mystery and impressing the imagination with the awe that the mighty primeval forest had inspired. ¶ Thus it is spoken of in the Welsh tales of the twelfth century. Hither it was that Merlin, the magician and prophet, retired, and where he remained spellbound by the wood fairy Vivienne. ¶ (Gawain) ... found Merlin chanting his lays by the side of a fountain in the depths of the forest, under a flowering thorn. ... ¶ The fountain is that of Baranton.”

 

 

 

 

Burkert, Walter, Ancient Mystery Cults, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987.

 

Ancient Mystery Cults is most interesting and provides some images of pre-Christian religion worth noting.

 

•4: Reminds the reader that the mystery cults were not exclusive and that there were several.

•6: Mother Goddess, She of Many Names (my words), cult traced to long before writing.

•7: Early mystery cults were usually secret and initiatory.

•11: “...aimed at a change of mind through experience of the sacred.”

•13: “The practice of vows can be seen as a major human strategy for coping with the future.”

•20-21: Burkert believes and illustrates a connection of the Eleusinian mystery cult with the healing cult of Isis and maintains the Greek cult comes from the Egyptian. Further, the Eleusinian is not about “rescue” or “salvation” but it is about “blessedness.”

•23: Argues that pagan rituals were not about life after death, but rather they served as a change of status ritual.

•24: continues the thought to explain magic’s use and importance in the mystery cults and suggests that mystery cults come from initiation rituals.

•28: “In the eyes of a pagan, Christianity was a religion of tombs, excessively concerned about death and decay. ¶ Seen in contrast to Christianity, mysteries appear both more fragile and more human.”

•29: Mystery religions had no “dogmatic faith” which reduces the value of life nor did they “immunize believers against the disasters of life.”

•31: Three types of organizations existed within the mystery cults: wandering practitioners, charismatics; religious persons attending sanctuaries; and a club of like-minded.

•33: Miletus tells of women performing initiations early in the third century, BC, and states that one of them came from a lineage of seers.

•35: Roman Bacchic mysteries continued into the fourth century AD.

•39: Isis followers identified themselves was by wearing linen instead of cotton and shaved heads.

•40-41: Mithras religion appears to have been misogynist; strict with levels and initiation grades; and, there seems to have been no wandering charismatics or public displays. It was solely a secret club, supported by wealthy men and recruiting primarily soldiers and merchants in Rome’s provinces: “Corax, Nymphus, Miles, Leo, Persa, Heliodromus, and Pater.”

•42-43: Most mystery groups had no formal organization other than the temple religious, only periodic festivals/sacred experiences, no necessarily permanent group, and no credo or written dogma.

•47: “The true Isiakos, Plutarch writes, is made not by his linen clothes and a shaved head but by he pious and philosophical orientation. This is a rare instance of spiritual self-definition versus ritual identity....”

•48: “The absence of religious demarcation and conscious group identity means the absence of any rigid frontiers against competing cults as well as the absence of any concept of heresy.... The pagan god, even the gods of mysteries, are not jealous of one another; they form, as it were, an open society.”

•49: The theoretical justification for all this was not only that the god are free of envy...but in particular that the main gods most likely are identical.”

•53: “With the imperial decrees of 391/92 A.D. prohibiting all pagan cults and with the forceful destruction of the sanctuaries, the mysteries simply and suddenly disappeared. ... Mysteries could not go underground because they lacked any lasting organization.”

•66: “Cumont called the loss of the liturgical books of paganism the most regrettable one in the great shipwreck of ancient literature.”

•67: Discusses the probability that any of the references in the Nag Hammadi texts referencing pagan religion are most likely filtered through at least the jewish translators and philosophy.

•68-69: Discussion re: magic and religion, what differentiates them and how the two are opposite methods of attaining knowledge. Essentially, mysteries/religions initiates one into a “blessed chorus,” which is perhaps the reason no true, written record of the mysteries has been discovered. The magician attains knowledge primarily alone.

•73: “Myth, a form of traditional tale structured by a sequence of actions performed by anthropomorphic ‘actants,’ is the oldest and most widespread form of ‘speaking about gods” in the ancient world, rooted in oral tradition.”

•75: “There is a dimension of death in all the mystery initiations, but the concept of rebirth or resurrection of either gods or mystai is anything but explicit.

•77: “...numerous are the testimonies for a loose and playful use of myth in mysteries. Without a need for consistency, but rather with an affection for details, myth communicates living experience.”

•80: ...mysteries easily offered themselves to allegorizing in terms of nature, an it was not only officious outsiders who indulged in the method but often insiders themselves, ‘priests and priestesses,’ as it seems, who wanted ‘to give an account of what they were doing.’”

•87: “Ancient mysteries were a personal, but not necessarily a spiritual, form of religion.” ¶ “Transmigration of souls is a doctrine that suddenly appeared in the Greek world toward the end of the sixth century B.C. We find the name of either Pythagoras or Orpheus attached to it.”

•92: “By far the most influential text about the experience of mysteries is in Plato’s Phaedrus... . The Phaedrus adds the unforgettable image of the soul’s chariot ascending to the sky in the wake of the gods, up to the highest summit where a glance beyond heaven is possible.”

•101: “...there is a dynamic paradox of death and life in all the mysteries associated the the opposites of night and day, darkness and light, below and above, but there is nothing as explicit and resounding as the passages in the New Testament, especially in Saint Paul and in the Gospel of John, concerning dying with Christ and spiritual rebirth. There is as yet no philosophical-historical proof that such passages are directly derived from pagan mysteries; nor should they be used as the exclusive key to the procedures and ideology of mysteries.”

•108-114: Using drugs to attain the summit of ecstasy may be part of the Eleusinian and other mystery celebrations. Ergot and poppy have been described as the ecstatic drug. The number of celebrants involved was large and there remain questions as to inebriating thousands with either drug. A celebratory feast with food and wine could have generated the ecstasy of thousands. None of these suggestions appear to account for the ecstasy achieved. Proclus, writing of the mysteries in the fifth century A.D.: “They cause sympathy of souls with the ritual [dromena] in a way that is unintelligible to us, and divine, so that some of the initiands are stricken with panic..; others ... become at home with the gods.” ¶ “Mysteries were too fragile to survive as ‘religions’ on their own. They were options within the multiplicity of pagan polytheism, and they disappeared with it. ... It was enough to know there were doors to a secret that might open up for those who earnestly sought it.”

 

 

 

de France, Marie, The Lais Of Marie De France, Translated With An Introduction by Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby, Penguin Books, London, 1986.

 

 Required reading for all interested in Celtic folklore or culture. These lais clearly enrich a potent swell of literature and literary styles blooming in France during the last half of the Twelfth century. They are valuable because of their concise construction, the richness of language, and the details of Breton culture exposed.

 

•8, Introduction: Discusses lais, their composition, and the culture within which they were created. Identifies lais as essentially short stories about real events.

•12, Introduction: Analyzes Marie’s Prologue which is autobiographical in that it details why she selected the stories, what motivated her to do so, and where she found them.

•14-18, Introduction: Marie’s identity continues to elude researchers. These pages list some of the suggestions of who she might have been and why her name remains unknown.

•20, Introduction: Discussion centers on the languages in which Marie proved fluent: French, Breton, English, Anglo-Norman, Latin, and probably Greek. Her extensive education and knowledge (she was well versed in Classical literature) do not appear to be an anomaly as convents continued as centers of learning and teaching throughout this period. There is also an enormous amount of creativity pouring from France, not only in poetry and literature but also in philosophy and theology, as well as the construction of cathedrals and establishment of universities.

•26, Introduction: Places Marie’s lais within the rich outpouring of French literature, explaining how her work straddles lyric poetry and romance, and probably serves as transition between the two. Her focus on the ‘crisis’ scene of romance particularly interests because she does not rely on standard scenes nor outcomes for her lover characters.

•31-32, Introduction: Discusses Marie’s meanings of love and outlines the strength of short or long lais to capture a specific emotion and demonstrates the impact of love on the life of her characters.

•34, Introduction: Discusses the reality Marie intended in her lais: Fairy-tale, folklore, Medieval literary flexibility, or her personal life and why these could each be designated as her intent and that adds to the richness of her work.

•44: Fostering (no new information).

•81: Avalon, as home for Lanval who did not betray his queen of the fairies.

•104: Identifies a specific home (Nantes) for her heroine and has four suitors arriving from across Brittany to woo her.

•107: Describes grief display of knights witnessing the death of treasured comrades (raising their visors and pulling at their hair and beards).

•109: Describes how Tristram cuts a hazel twig and carves it to serve as a message to his lover, the queen (presumably Iseult).

•110: Marie de France describes the two lovers as like honeysuckle clinging to the hazel branch. Later, same page, Tristram is said to be a master harpist.

•124: Marvelous tale of a weasel rescuing a mate by bringing it a special red flower and laying the flower on the mouth of the dead mate. This remedy is in turn used to awaken (by Eliduc’s wife) a lovely maiden (Eliduc’s mistress) who, learning of Eliduc’s marriage) swooned and could not be awakened.

•126: A rote: “A harp of five strings, rather like a zither.”

 

de la Cruz, Sor Juana, Poems, Protest, and a Dream, Translated With Notes by Margaret Sayers Peden, Introduction by Ilan Stavans, Penguin Books, New York, 1997.

 

Fantastic collection of writing by a brilliant woman who belonged in the world but was stuck in a convent. It adds dimension to my understanding the roles allowed women across time and culture.

 

•xi, Introduction: “‘What ... is the devil in my being a woman?’ Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz asked in her memoir, Response to the Most Illustrious Poetess Sor Filotea de la Cruz. And then she wondered: Am I, by virtue of my gender, condemned to eternal silence, as “is intended not only for women, but for all incompetents”? She contemplates the puzzle that silence may indicate her acceptance. Sor Juana ponders these questions and their possible answers throughout her poetry and essays.”

•xiv-xv: Soon (≈ 1690), her vivid and questioning writing forces the Bishop of Puebla to rebuke her, demanding that she abandon her scientific studies and her use of reason, devoting herself to contemplation of her marriage to Christ.

•xv: Bishop Fernández de Santa Cruz’s upbraiding is cordial but utterly clear: So Juana has placed herself in the public world, opening herself to charges questioning her Catholicism and the public taint of sexuality and heresy. Because this letter discussed beliefs, sexuality, heresy, and morals, topics rarely broached between women and me, he chose a woman’s name under which to publish the demanding letter: Sor Filotea de la Cruz. “The irony could not be more obvious: he attacks Sor Juana at her most vulnerable point, her womanhood, but from woman’s perspective; that is, he suggests she has trespassed into the male order and he in turn must stop her by entering the female realm.”

•xl-xli: “...for Sor Juana only one aspect of human endeavor emerges triumphant in its quest: poetry. No concrete reference to it appears, but its power palpitates in each of the poem’s words: both credo and episteme, belief and knowledge, are destined to fail, and divine light cannot cure a broken soul, but the act of writing can bring happiness: poetry is survival, poetry is the only true redemption, poetry is the door to individualism and self-affirmation.”

 

 

 

English Fairy Tales, Retold by Flora Annie Steel, Illustrated by Arthur Rackman,

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1950.

 

This book has several feminine and witch aspects I’ve not seen before.

 

•1: St. George of Merrie England: “In the darksome depths of a thick forest lived Kalyb, the fell enchantress. Terrible were her deeds, and few there were who had the hardihood to sound the brazen trumpet which hung over the iron gate that barred the way to the Abode of Witchcraft.”

•2: “But the babe was marked from the first for doughty deeds; for on his breast was pictured the living image of a dragon, on his right hand was a blood-red cross, and on his left leg showed the golden garter. But, he (the babe), seeking glory, utterly disdained so wicked a creature; thus she sought to bribe him. And one day, taking him by the hand, she led him to a brazen castle and showed him six brave knight, prisoners therein. Then said she: “Lo! These be the six champion of Christendom. Thou shalt be the seventh and thy name shall be St. George of Merrie England if thou wilt stay with me.”

•7: “Now the beautiful Sâbia herself washed and dressed the weary Knight’s (St. George) wounds, and gave him in sign of betrothal a diamond ring of purest water.”

•11: Hugeous crowbar.

•15-16: “And to it (a grand tournament) had come all the other Six Champions of Christendom; so St. George arriving made the Seventh. And many of the champions had with them the fair lady they had rescued. St. Denys of France brought beautiful Eglantine, St. James of Spain sweet Celestine, while noble Rosalind accompanied St. Anthony of Italy. St. David of Wales, after his seven years’ sleep, came full of eager desire for adventure. St. Patrick of Ireland, ever courteous, brought all the six Swan - princesses who, in gratitude, had been seeking their deliverer St. Andrews of Scotland; since he, leaving all worldly things, had chosen to fight for the faith.”

•17: “Thence the Christian host journeyed to Persia, where a fearsome battle raged for seven days, during which two hundred thousand pagans were slain, beside many who were drowned in attempting to escape.”

•79: Jack the Giant-Killer: “... raised the horn to his lips, and with a full blast sounded: ‘Tantivy! Tantivy! Tantivy!’ just as he would have done had he been hunting a fox.”

•100: “... but most of all do I grieve for a duke’s daughter whom they (a giant named Galligantua and a wicked old magician) kidnapped in her father’s garden, bringing her hither in a burning chariot drawn by fiery dragons. Her form is that of a white hind; ....”

•127: The Laidly Worm: “...the new Queen...was a witch...and cast Princess May Margret under a spell with charms three times three, and passes nine times nine. And this was her spell:

 

 

I weird ye to a Laidly Worm,

And such sall [sic] ye ever be

Until Childe Wynde, the King’s dear son,

Comes home from across the sea.

Until the world comes to an end

Unspelled you’ll never be,

Unless Childe Wynde of his own free will

Sall give you kisses three!”

 

 

•128: “At last a wise warlock told the people that if they wished to be quit of these horrors (the hunger of the Laidly Worm, a dragon), they must take every drop of the milk of seven white milch kine every morn and every eve to the trough of stone at the foot of the Heugh, for the Laidly Worm to eat.”

•129: “...and she (the Witch Queen) sent out all her witch-wives and her impets to raise a storm, and sink the (rescue) ship; but they came back unable to hurt it, for you see, it was built of rowan wood, over which witches have no power.”

•166: Catskin: a Cinderella story, with the misused girl-child needing a golden, silver, and feather dress, plus she wears a dress of cat skin. ...they put out a pile of peas and ask all birds to take a pea and leave a feather.)

•204: The True History of Sir Thomas Thumb: “Merlin gets the Fairy Queen to create Tom Thumb, whom she clothes and names.”

•206: Tom tricks older boys and steals some of the cherrystones used as marbles he had lost in the game.

•209: Tom enrages Arthur by spilling furmenty (frumenty is preferred).

•210: King Arthur beknights Tom and gives him a fine grey mouse for horse.

•222: The Three Heads of the Well: The princess begs her father to give her a dowry so she can go seek her fortune.

•224: Three disembodied golden heads weird three gifts for her.

•277: Childe Rowland: Burd Helen runs widershins, her shadow became out of sight and could not be properly cared for. Her shadow carried her off to the fairies, specifically the Dark Tower of the King of Elfland. Her brothers seek her and solicit help from Merlin.

General usage of cow-herd, horse-herd, swine-herd, hen-wife.

356: The Rose Tree: “Once upon a time, long long years ago in the days when one had to be careful about witches....”

 

Feher-Elston, Catherine, Ravensong: A Natural and Fabulous History of Ravens and Crows, Illustrated by Lawrence Ormsby, Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, Arizona, 1991.

 

Great book about my favorite birds but useful in this project only by adding color to writing.

 

•81-82: Some of the Arapaho stories resonate with those of the Sena. The Arapaho Crow delivered souls to a mountain island surrounded by water west of civilization.

•106-107: Sometimes you can hear raven wings against the air as the birds fly over you. It is possible that the birds choose to make the sound.

•109: Crows and ravens learn and repeat songs and sounds.

•112: “I remember the time when I saw a couple of crows find a diamondback rattler. The other crows saw there was something over there and they all flew over and followed the rattlesnake, walking along behind him. But then, after a while it didn’t interest them. They couldn’t kill it, and they didn’t regard it as dangerous and so they all flew away.”

•138: “Nothing is more haunting, spiritual, and primitive than the calls of ravens and wolves coming at the same time from the same location,” Lawrence wrote.

•145: Raven gluttony can be truly spectacular.

•148: A long, lovely quote from Konrad Lorenz includes: “I am quite ready to believe that [King] Solomon really could do so [talk with animals], even without the help of the magic ring which is attributed to him by the legend in question, and I have a very good reason for crediting it; I can do it myself, and without the aid of magic, black or otherwise. I do not think it is very sporting to use magic rings in dealing with animals. Without supernatural assistance, our fellow creatures can tell us the most beautiful stories, and that means true stories, because the truth about nature is always far more beautiful evan than what our great poets sing of it, and they are the only real magicians that exist....” (Lorenz, 1952)

•157: Raven and Crow, as entities, are held holy throughout the world, with shamans and bards acknowledging and praising the wondrous powers of these magnificent corvids.

•158-159: Among the bird tribe, Ravens are most adept at communing with both worlds, the living and the dead. Shamans are graced with power should a raven or crow choose to ally themselves.

•163: “The raven is the only bird that has enough power to go over into the land of the deceased and bring a person’s soul back.”

•186: “Raven is often interpreted as a manifestation of the Divine Earth Mother, and Crow is often depicted as a healer and messenger of many great gods, including Apollo.”

 

 

 

Feldman, Christina, The Quest Of The Warrior Woman: Women as Mystics, Healers and Guides, Aquarian, San Francisco, 1994.

 

An interesting book though I get cranky about making everything in our lives sacred. We’re not all priestesses or shamans nor should we be.

 

•10: Awakening to your personal whine.

•12: Hinting of becoming warrior woman without going to battle. “To bring about changes and transformations within our lives and ourselves without in our wake losers or victims requires immense courage and compassion.”

•15: Acknowledges difficulty of living in integrity.

•38: “Your name as sorceress will be Joachime—‘the leopard’s roar.’”

•45: Profundity of compassion, releasing bitterness and hatred.

•57: Domination, subjugation are not features of courage.

•85: Allegory of holding on and finding the courage to let go.

•115: “Understanding what it means to be ‘no-one’ is not a sentence of invisibility but an encouragement to see beneath the layers of identities which may well only camouflage our uniqueness, creativity, and authenticity.”

•119: “Letting go of the limiting nurturing, the qualities that enhance freedom, without ever being preoccupied with superficial goals of improvement or modification—this is effort that is sacred.”

•121: “The warrior woman cannot be confined by definition.”

•126: By learning to balance action with inaction we give ourselves compassion.

•160: Discusses the ability to be creatively active without having to prove ourselves.

•169: Is it possible to understand and seek greatness without seeking perfection?

•182: Chapter title is excellent: Alone and Intimate; The Tigress Who Forgot Herself.

•195: “Aloneness is the home of the courageous spirit and the great heart—it is where we discover the end of fear,”

 

 

 

Grossinger, Richard, Planet Medicine: From Stone Age Shamanism to Post-Industrial Healing, Revised Edition, Shambhala, Boulder, Colorado, 1982.

 

This quote is personally significant.

 

385: The hope of all therapies of image, prayer, and reflection is that the healer or sick person can break into the original dialogue of psyche and soma. In the cases of immune system diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, and nervous ailments such as strokes and epilepsies, there is a clue that the biological language has gone awry; perhaps an unconscious replica of embryological code, a primitive and shamanic speaking in tongues can restore the psychochemistry of the failed connection.

 

 

 

Hawkins, Gerald S., in collaboration with John B. White, Stonehenge Decoded, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, 1965.

 

Oddly useful book. Direct citations primarily add subtle views of Brittany.

 

•5: “Two stones were crucial in the legend of Arthur: the unknown lad became king by literally one twist of the wrist—he grasped that mysterious sword and “lightly and fiercely pulled it out of the stone”—and then the only man, or being, who could have saved him became “assotted and doated on one of the ladies of the lake...that hight Nimue...and always Merlin lay about the lady to have her maidenhead, and she was ever passing weary of him because he was a devil’s son...and so on a time it happed that Merlin showed to her in a rock whereas was a great wonder...so by her subtle working she made Merlin to go under that stone to let her wit of the marvels there, but she wrought so there for him that he came never out for all the craft he could do,” and—Merlin thus entombed beneath that stone—the fate of king and kingdom sealed. (Geoffrey of Monmouth, Histories of the Kings of Britain)”

•31: “Many stories of the Milesians are no more than bedtime stories, but as usual in the old accounts there are to be found in the mists of legend those little definite details which indicate plausibility: the Milesians...In bardic arts they were supreme; their bards could remember twelve books, along with 350 kinds of poetic meter.”

•37: re: Beaker tombs after 1500 B.C.: “They buried their great ones fully clothed, with their valuables around them —gold and amber and jet ornaments. ...Those rulers (Wessex people) were great lords, and international financiers. Among their mementos are blue faience beads of Egypt, axes from Ireland, a Baltic amber disc bound with gold in the Cretan fashion, Scottish jet necklaces and ingenious arrow-shaft straighteners, delicate “incense cups” and tiny bowls decorated in the style of Normandy, bronze and gold and amber amulets patterned after spear-ax weapons of the North German forests, little pins from Central Europe, gold inlaid boxes, scabbard mounts, buttons....”

•38: “At least one archaeologist and Stonehenge authority points out many similarities which exist between the Wessex culture and the cultures of Brittany, and suggests an origin in France.”

•51:“Who, pray, of himself ever seeks out and bids a stranger from abroad, unless it be one of those that are masters of some public craft, a prophet, or a healer of ills, or a builder, aye, or a divine minstrel...for these men are bidden all over the boundless earth...” Homer, Odyssey, XVII, lines 282-86.

•57: “The altar stone (at Stonehenge) is of fine-grained pale green sandstone, containing so many flakes of mica that its surface, wherever freshly exposed, show the typical mica glitter.”

•60: “Stonehenge, complete, had taken about as long to build as the Gothic cathedrals which more than 2500 years later absorbed the skills and labors and love of generations of medieval men. The cathedrals were temples of worship, schoolhouses (their symbolism made clear all the great lessons of history and morality), meeting places, memorials to faith and hope and pride. ¶ Stonehenge may have been all of those things, and more.”

 

 

 

le Braz, Anatole, The Land of Pardons, translated by Frances M. Gostling, Robert M. McBride & Company, New York, 1927.

 

According to ‘Contents’, there were Pardons of the Poor, the Singers, Fire, the Mountain, the Sea. The Land of Pardons illustrates the deeply religious nature of the Bretons, as well as their poetry of humbleness and their intermeshing with Nature and the Earth.

 

•xvi, Author’s Introduction: “They [Pardons] are the last vestiges of the ancient Feasts of the Dead....” [Worshippers also attend the sacred wells and boats or troughs of the saint and dance in circles.]

•xx: [Many chapels are in ruins.]

•xxi: [A child is taken to] bathe his face in the fountain.

•xxiv: “The festivals of Brittany may be divided under four heads, which in my opinion form so many distinct episodes, and which, taken together, make up the religious life of the Armorican Bretons.”

•50: “It is a Celtic belief that a fairy lives in the sea, a fairy as beautiful as an angel, but as cruel as death itself. ¶ They called her Mary Margan, Born of the Sea. She is one, yet many. Numberless have been her incarnations, yet the same sinful soul always reappears.”

•51: “She took him for some beggar going his rounds, the great chief of Vornouailles, this man who had built Ker-Is, uniting on his brow all the crowns of Armorica.”

•53: “Be not harsh with the old man yonder. He has lived three ages, and has known all the depths of suffering. The ills that I have endured are as nothing to the agonies through which he has passed. I have had to mourn for my ruined city, for the awful fate of my only child; but he—ah, he has lost his gods! What sorrow can compare with this sorrow? Once he was a Druid; now he mourns a dead religion.” [later, same page, the Druid is identified as the last worshipper of Teutatès.]

•54: [The Druid states that he:] “is forbidden by his religion to cross the enchanted boundary of the forest.” [Also, next paragraph states that a block of red granite stood (at the edge?).] “Its touch gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, hope to hearts in distress.” [He hopes the church being built on the site will often the same solace.]

•57: “... Breton peasant women retain a child-like charm to extreme age.”

•64: “They love as they pray, these Bretons—thoughtfully, and in silence.”

•66-67: [Stories of Mother/Mary, including traditions and beliefs.]

•73: “Heaven preserve me from introducing Yann Ar Minouz to you as the equal of the Liwarc’h-hens, or the Taliésinns of our land!”* (*Celebrated Celtic bards.) [Yann Ar Minouz was the last native bard.]

•78: Tells of Yann Ar Minouz meeting Blind Yann Ar Guenn. Mentions sacred fountains and a Boat of Souls.

•84: “...Virgin of All-Heal” [blesses Breton singers, songs, and canticles]

•85: [a few description of regional women’s caps.]

•86: “Truly she is a Mother of Seven Sorrows, a pathetic, living image of La Pietá. ¶ Outside, a song arises, a slow minor ode, one of those penetrating Breton songs in which the same phrase keeps repeating again and again, now dull as a sigh, now sharp and strident as the howl of a wounded dog. It is the beginning of another vigil, the Vigil of Song in the churchyard.”

•87: “Truly it is the delirium of sacred fury. She seems a priestess of an earlier religion, possessed by the ancient gods, the subtle essence of whose spirits naturally lingers round such places as Rumengol.”

•88-9: [Fine description of Breton women. Including:] “There is not one among these Ouessantines who from birth to death has not been destined to eternal weeping.”

•109: [Discussion of Breton loathing for monks, some Bretons believing that] “the monks rank with the most terrible of scourges, along with leprosy, famine, and plague.”

•114: “...seated on the hill-side, above Traoun-Mériadek, on the spot where, from time immemorial, the Tantad, or Sacred Fire has been lighted. ... The flaming August sun was just rising from among the last mists of the dawn....” [Lammas?]

•124: “...’idiots’ are sacred in Brittany” [as are the penniless and assorted beggars.]

•134: [Discusses sacred fountains, including an arch from some ancient civilization. Mentions Naiads and shrines for them.] “There is a local saying that declares there are more fountains at Saint Jean-du-Doigt than souls in paradise!”

•138: “They made me think of a certain fairy ship, about which I have heard some old sea-song, whose rigging was composed of silver cords, and the crew of young girls.”

•142: “Three tracks meet at the summit, forming one of those triangular spots, which, like the pagan Trivia, pass for holy ground in Brittany! ... Christianity has only multiplied the symbols, she has never been able to destroy the worship. [Discusses the lighting of the pyramid of Tantad and a rope used to unite the Tantad with the church steeple. The rope is the Way the Dragon Comes.” [Another Lammas? Also talks about a black flowering corn used in decoration.]

•146: [A feast day:] “... a choir of young girls appear preceded by a white ram, led by a child dressed in goat-skins. The girls hold the creature by many-coloured strands fastened to its neck: its coat has been carefully washed and combed, and from its horns hang tufts of ribbon.”

•153: “... that amusing saint, Ronan, forerunner in Armorican Brittany of the clan of Renan!... He was an earth spirit rather than a saint!”

•155: [Description of Ireland as the home of all saints, including Bretons. Also has the myth of these saints arriving in the stone boat which leaves no wake and has no sails. The coast] “was inhabited by wreckers and pirates. They worshipped rude gods, whom they identified with the oak of the forest and the reef of the ocean.”

•156: [Women are furious with Ronan for sounding his bell to warn ships the Bretons were luring to wreck] “Up to this hour, they cried, the sea has been our nurse, with a breast that never failed us.” [Bretons called the stone/boat Ronan came/leaves on the Stone Mare!! Discusses trees talking with each other, reminding themselves they were once gods.]

•159: “Secret councils were held in the forest clearings by the pale light of the moon, that goddess of nocturnal plots, still adored by these pagans.”

•160: Ronan’s Stone Mare awakes him.

•162: “Tradition...tells us that the wife was called Kébèn. M. de la Villemarqué wishes us to see in her a kind of fierce Druidess, Queen of the Sacred Wood.”

 

Need to resume reading on Page 176.

 

 

 

Mannix, Daniel P., The History Of Torture, Dell Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1966.

 

Because all histories of women discuss torture it seemed necessary to read a history of the behavior. It was difficult. I don’t think this is the best history on the subject but one is enough, though eventually I’ll renew my effort to read Frank Graziano’s Divine Violence about the Argentine ‘Dirty Wars’.

 

•14-15: Basis of the Law of Hammurabi, one of the oldest and best known codes, was ‘lex talionis,’ the law of retribution. “An ordinary woman could go to a wineshop, but a priestess who did was burned.” The oldest written death sentence may be from Egypt: “The criminal was condemned to death for magical practices and was ordered to commit suicide.” Stoning to death was ceremonial, with a specific place often designated by piles of stone.

•16-17: The christian bible meted burning alive to prostitutes... . (Gen: 38:24) ¶ Tortures described in the Mosaic bible, including those which David adjudged on the people of Rabbah and that of suffocation in ashes decreed by Menelaus.

•22: Often conquerors, American and Israel for example, segregate their war victims, who then often breed a peon class outnumbering the conquerors, on which in turn the ‘winners’ wage a fierce repression, frequently calling that repression beneficent.

•25-26: The original of the Iron Maiden may have been the brass bull invented during the Age of the Tyrants by the Athenian Perillus and presented to Phalaris who insisted Perillus demonstrate his invention. Or perhaps the model for the famous iron lady was the marvelous statue of Apega whose clothes hid spikes and whose arms could be sprung open to embrace the victim.

•31: As methods of torture became mundane, additional hideousnesses were devised.

•40: The author states, when speaking of Rome’s infamous circus: “True, a virile people generally enjoy virile sports that often include cruelty. When the Romans were a nation of fighting men, they took a professional interest in the gladiatorial combats.”

•41: “Although the games were supposedly a means of punishing condemned criminals, they were in reality nothing but sadistic spectacles designed to gratify the Roman mob. A thousand years later, the mass hangings on Tyburn Hill or the Spanish autos-de-fé came to fulfill a similar purpose. A far more lasting influence on our whole conception of jurisprudence was the fact that the Romans instituted the use of torture as an intrinsic part of the legal procedure for questioning suspects. Since Roman law was to form the bases for all European legal codes, this had far-reaching results.

•44: “It is one of the bitter ironies of history that the Church, which had abolished torture as a legal device, was the institution to revive it.”

•45: In 1233, the Roman Catholic Church created a perpetual board of of inquiry into allegations of heresy which became the Inquisition and supervised by the Dominicans, called “the Hounds of God.” This board and its representatives were allowed to use torture as a matter of course and were encouraged to develop “psychological approaches” before actual torture.

•47: “The water torture was considered the most terrible and used only when other means had failed.” Specific details follow.

•55: Pope Innocent VIII issued a Catholic bull against witchcraft in 1488. [Wikipedia states the year as 1484.] Appoints Dominican James Sprenger as Inquisitor General.

•59: Mannix designates Frey Tomás de Torquemada the greatest of all inquisitors, claiming that Torquemada burned more than 10,000 and tortured more than 97,000 during eighteen years as Inquisitor. [Unlikely]

•72: Discusses Franz Schmidt, an hereditary torturer who left a diary and served as executioner at Nuremberg from 1578 to 1617.

•116: “For really serious offenses, the accused was burned alive. This punishment continued until 1790. Blackstone particularly recommended it for women, pointing out, ‘For as the decency due to the sex forbids the exposing and publicly mangling of their bodies, their sentence is to be drawn to the gallows and there burnt.’ Being drawn usually meant that the condemned was tied to a horse and dragged to the gallows.”

•119: Reginald Scot in England wrote The Discoverie of Witchcraft which approached the topic in opposition to the Malleus Maleficarum, Sprenger’s Witches Hammer.

•126: Flogging was considered mild punishment; in 1630 London boasted of sixty whipping posts. It was public and aroused much prurient interest.

•127: A paragraph from a lady’s letter casually details her flogging her maid and requiring the maid to bring the rod from the lady’s mother-in-law’s “rod-closet.”

•131: “Mutilations were common.”

•136: Cesare Beccaria, a Milanese lawyer, is credited with turning the moral tide against the legal use of torture.

•148: Many are unaware of Irish slavery. “Henry Laurens, a Charleston slave dealer, claimed, ‘I never saw an instance of cruelty to the Negro slaves in ten or twelve years’s experience equal to the cruelty exerted upon those poor Irish.’”

•176-179: Discussion of the American slave trade, including statements such as “Branding was common.” Or: “The slaves seemed to spend most of their time trying to commit suicide [on deck of slaving ships].”

 

Sutton Publishing Company reissued this book in 2003 without additional research or updating, I believe. Current historical research alters some dates and body counts cited in this volume. Mannix’s History serves as an overview with horrid detail; check any specific interest in other accounts.

 

 

 

Michelet, Jules, Satanism And Witchcraft: A Study In Medieval Superstition, A.R. Allinson, Translator, The Citadel Press, New York, 1939.

 

An impassioned book, written with determination and belief, and a bit of stridency. Contains much information on demonology. Champions Sorceresses, denigrates Witches (see below, Page 326, Note 6). All information direct citations.

 

•viii, Introduction: Sprenger said, before 1500: “We should speak of the Heresy of the Sorceresses, not of the Sorcerers; the latter are small account.” So another writer under Louis XIII.: “For one Sorcerer, ten thousand Sorceresses.”

 

“Nature makes them Sorceresses,” the genius peculiar to woman and her temperament. She is born a creature of Enchantment. In virtue of regularly recurring periods exaltation, she is Sibyl; in virtue of love, a Magician. By the fineness of her intuitions, the cunning of her wiles—often fantastic, often beneficent—she is a Witch, and casts spells, at least and lowest lulls pain to sleep and softens the blows of calamity.

 

... Man hunts and fights. Woman contrives and dreams; she is the mother of fancy, of the gods....

•x: For a thousand years the people had one healer and one only, —the Sorceress. Emperors and kings and popes, and the richest barons, had sundry Doctors of Salerno, or Moorish and Jewish physicians; but the main body of every state, the whole world we may say, consulted no one but the Saga, the Wise Woman. If her cure failed, they abused her and called her a Witch. But, more generally, through a combination of respect and terror, she was spoken of as the Good Lady, or Beautiful Lady (Bella Donna), the same name as that given to fairies.

 

Her fate resembled that which still often befalls her favourite herb, the belladonna, and other beneficent poisons she made use of, and were antidotes of the great scourges of the Middle Ages. Children and ignorant passers-by cursed these sombre flowers, without understanding their virtues, scared by their suspicious colour. They shudder and fly the spot; yet these are the Comforting plants (Solanaceæ), which, wisely administered, have worked so many cures and soothed so much human agony.

•xi: Mark this, at certain epochs the mere work of Sorceress or Witch is an arm wherewith Hate can kill at discretion. Female jealousy, masculine avarice, are only too ready to grasp so convenient a weapon.

•xii: One is filled with amazement to see all these widely different epochs, all these men of varying cultivation, unable to make one step in advance. But the explanation is simple; they were one and all arrested, let us rather say, blinded, hopelessly intoxicated and made cruel savages of, by the poison of their first principle, the doctrine of Original Sin. This is the fundamental doctrine of universal injustice: “All lost for one alone, not only punished but deserving punishment, undone even before they were born and desperately wicked, dead to God from the beginning. The babe at its mother’s breast is damned soul already.”

•xiii: From this monstrous theory two consequences follow, in justice and in logic. The judge is always sure of doing justice. ... The logician likewise and the schoolman may spare themselves the trouble of analysing the soul of man, of examining the phases through which it passes, of considering it complexity, its internal disparities and self-contradictions.

 

... But our theologian can ignore all such consideration! For him Soul and Devil were created for each other; so that at first temptation, for a caprice, a sudden longing, a passing fancy, the soul flies headlong to this dreadful extremity (a Compact with the Devil).

•xiv: From when does the Sorceress date? I answer unhesitatingly, “From the ages of despair.”

 

From the profound despair the World owed to the Church. I say again unhesitatingly, “the Sorceress is the Church’s crime.”

•xv: The salf-sane [sic], half-insane madness, illuminism, of the seer, which according to its degree is poetry, second sight, preternatural vision, a faculty of speech at once simple and astute, above all else the power of believing in her own falsehoods. This gift is unknown to the male Sorcerer; the Wizard fails to comprehend its very elements.

 

From it flows a second, the sublime faculty of solitary conception, that parthenogenesis our physiologist of to-day recognise as existing among the females of numerous species. The same fecundity of body is no less procreative where conceptions of the spirit are involved.

•xvi: Child of hate, conceived of love; for without love nothing can be created.

•xvii: The Church, which sees in our life below only a test and trial for one to come, takes care not to prolong it needlessly. Her medicine is resignation, a waiting and hoping for death.

•4-5, Death of the Gods: The Gospel says: “The day is at hand.” The Fathers say: “Soon, very soon.” The disintegration of the Roman Empire and the inroads of the barbarian invaders raise hopes in St. Augustine’s breast, that soon there will be no city left but the City of God.

 

Yet how long a-dying the world is, how obstinately determined to live on! Like Hezekiab, it craves a respite, a going backward of the dial. So be it then, till the year One Thousand,—but not a day longer.

 

... These great centralised Divinities had become, in their official life, mere dismal functionaries of the Roman Empire. But, though fallen from its high estate, this Aristocracy of Olympus had in nowise involved in its own decay the host of indigenous gods, the crowd of deities still holding possession of the boundless plains, of woods and hills and springs, inextricably blended with the life of the countryside. These divinities, enshrined in the heart of oaks, luring in rushing streams and deep pools, could not be driven out.

 

... Where are they to be found? In the desert, on lonely heaths, in wild forests? Certainly, but above all in the house. They cling to the most domestic of domestic habits; women guard and hide them at board and even bed. They still possess the best stronghold in the world—better than the temple, to with the hearth.

•6: Quite conceivably the new legend might have proved favorable to family life, if only the father had not been humiliated and annulled in St. Joseph, if the mother had been given prominence as the trainer, the moral parent of the child Jesus. But this path, so full of rich promised, was from the first abandoned for the barren ambition of a high, immaculate purity.

•7: I am not surprised at such a society turning mad and savage. Furious to feel itself so weak against the demons, it pursues them everywhere, in the temples and altars of the old faith to being with, later in the heathen martyrs. Festivals are abolished; for may they not be assemblages for idolatrous worship? even the family is suspect; for might no the force of habit draw the household together round the old classic Lares? And why a family at all? The empire is an empire of monks.

•13, What Drove the Middle Ages to Despair: These people had taken literally the Church’s touching appeal: “Be ye as little children.” But they applied it to the very thing least dreamed in the original conception. The more Christianity had feared and abhorred Nature, the more these folk loved her and held her good and harmless,—even sanctified her, giving her a part to play in the legend.

•14: Hence those grand festivals, the most beautiful of the Middle Ages, of the Innocents, of Fools, of the Ass. It is the very people of that day in which the ass presents its own likeness in person before the altar, ugly, ludicrous, and down-trodden! Led by Balaam, he enters solemnly between the Sibyl and Virgil, enters to bear witness.

•15: Ah! how unwise it was to let you invent your saints, and raise your altar, then bedeck and load and bury it in flowers, till its original form is all but indistinguishable. What can be discerned is the old heresy, long ago condemned by the Church, the innocence of Nature. An old heresy do I say? Nay! rather a new heresy that will live many a long day yet,—the emancipation of mankind.

 

...It is expressly forbidden to invent, to create. No more originally; no more legends; no more new saints. There are enough already. Forbidden to innovate in the forms of worship with new melodies; inspiration is prohibited. Any martyrs that should come to light are to keep quiet in their graves, and wait with becoming humility till the Church recognises them. ... Such the narrow, timid spirit of the Carlovingian Church, which deliberately contradicts herself, gives herself the life, now says to little children, “Be ye old men!”

•16: What a change is here! But can it be meant seriously? Did they not tell us to be young? Nay! the priest is no longer indentical [sic] with the people. A mighty divorce is beginning, an infinite gulf of separation. Henceforth the priest, a great lord now or a prince, will sing the Office in a golden cope, using the sovereign tongue of the great empire that is no more. We, poor cattle of the field, having lost the language of mankind, the only one God will deign to hear, what can we do now but low and bleat, in the company with the innocent companion that never scorns ... We will live with the dumb beasts, and be dumb ourselves.

 

... The indefatigable church bell rings out the accustomed hours, —and folks yawn; a nasal chant drones on in antiquated Latin, —and folks yawn. Everything is foreseen; no room is left for hope in all the world. ... A veritable disease, which pious Bretons openly avow, imputing it, it is true, to the Devil’s machinations. He lies crouching in the woods, say the Breton peasants; to the herdsman as he passes with his beasts, he sings Vespers and all the other Offices, and sets him yawning, yawning till he is like to dies.

•17: Footnote 5: A very famous Breton (Renan), last man of the Middle Ages, but who was nevertheless a friend of my own, on the occasion of the quite ineffectual journey he made for the conversion of Rome, received brilliant offers when in the Eternal CIty. “What would you have?” the Pope asked him. “One thing and one thing only: a dispensation from the Breviary ... I am sick to death of it.”

•20: This instability of condition and tenure, this horrid, shelving declivity, down which a man slips from free man to vassal,—from vassal to servant,—from servant to serf, is the great terror of the Middle Ages, the basis of its despair. There is no way of escape; on step, and the man is lost. He is an alien, a waif and stray, a head of wild game; serfdom or death, these are the only alternatives.

•24, The Little Demon of the Hearth and Home: What were the Fairies? What we are told is that in old days, queens of the Gauls, proud and fantastic princesses, at the coming of Christ and His apostles, were wickedly impertinent and turned their backs. In Brittany they were dancing at the time and never stopped. Hence their cruel sentence: they are doomed to live on till the Day of Judgement. Many of them are reduced to the tiny dimensions of a rabbit or a mouse; for instance, the kowrig-gwans (fairy dwarfs), who at night-time, at the foot of old Druidical stones, ring you round with their elvish dances; or to take another example, the lovely Queen Mab, who makes her royal coach out of a walnut-shell.

•32, Temptations: The feudal régime involved precisely the two thing of all others that go farthest to make a hell on earth; on the one hand, the extreme of immobility,—the man was nailed to the soil, and emigration utterly impossible; on the other, a high degree of uncertainty as to the continuance of existing conditions.

•36: In a parish in the neighborhood of Bourges, the curé, being a seigneur, laid express claim to the first fruits of every bride, though in practice he was quite willing to sell his wife’s virginity to the husband for money down.

 

...Moreover, the Fors du Béarn state in so many words that the right was literally exacted. “The peasant’s eldest son is always reckoned the Seigneur’s child, for he may be of his engendering.”

•45, Diabolical Possession: The Demon, for all his furious manifestations in the case of demoniacs, nevertheless remains a Spirit down to the very end of the Roman Empire, and up to the time of St. Martin, in the fifth century. On the invasion of the barbarians, he grows barbarian too, and more and more carnal and corporeal—so much so that he takes to stone-throwing, and amuses himself with pelting to pieces the bell of St. Benedict’s cloister.

•45-46: The Church, to frighten off the savage encroachers on ecclesiastical property, makes the Devil more and more frankly incarnate, teaching men to believe he will torment sinners, not merely as soul acting upon soul, but materially in their flesh, that they will suffer actual bodily tortures,—not the flames on an ideal hell, but every exquisite pang of physical pain that blazing brands, the gridiron, and the red-hot spit can inflict.

•51, Footnote 3: Toledo would seem to have been the Holy City of the Sorcerers and Sorceresses, a countless host in Spain. Their relations with the Moors, highly civilised as was this people, and with the Jews, a wise folk and in those days masters of all Spain (as agents of the Royal Exchequer), had given the Sorcerers a high culture, and they formed at Toledo a sort of university of their own.

•59: She found herself at the entrance of one of those caves of the troglodytes that occur in such numbers in certain hills of the centre and west of France. It was the border marches, then a wild stretch between the land of Merlin and the land of the Faery Queen.

•63: Another truly cruel innovation was to have displaced the Feast of the Dead from Spring-time, to which Antiquity assigned it, to fix it in November. In May, where it stood originally, the dead were buried in flowers. In March, where it was put later, it marked the commencement of ploughing, the first awaking of the lark; the dead man and the living seed were put in the earth simultaneously, with the same hope of revivification. But, alas! in November, when all the field work is ended for the year, the weather overclouded and gloomy for months to come, when mourners returned to the house, and a man sat down by his fire-side and saw the place opposite for ever empty...what an aggravation of sadness was here!

•72, Prince of Nature: When Satan offers the brimming cup of life and happiness, in all this world of fasting mankind, is there one being of sanity strong enough, where sanity is so rare, to receive all this without giddiness, without intoxication, without a risk of losing self-control?

 

Is there a brain, that not being petrified, crystallised in the barren dogmas of Aquinas, is still free to receive life and and the vigorous sap of life?

•73: When the genial warmth of springtide, from the air, from the depths of the earth, from flowers and their voiceless tongues, the new revelation rises round her on every side, she is at first seized with giddiness. Her bosom swells nigh to bursting; the Sibyl of knowledge has her ordeal, as her sisters had, the Cumæan, the Delphic Sibyl. Pedants may declare, “It is the Aura, the air merely that fills her to bursting, and that is all. Her lover, the Prince of the Air, puffs her out with fancies and lies, wind, smoke, and infinite emptiness,” but they were wrong and their simile absurdly mistaken. The truth is just the opposite; the cause of her intoxication is that no emptiness at all, but reality, actuality, definite form and substance have taken shape over-suddenly in her bosom.

•76: So she slept and dreamed ... a beautiful, a wonderful dream. She dreamed—‘tis a thing hard to set down in words—how a wondrous monster, the genius incarnate of life universal, was absorbed in her; she dreamed that henceforth Life and Death and all Nature were shut within her body, that at the cost of, oh! what infinite travail, she had conceived in her womb great Nature’s self.

•84, Satan the Healer: Another of these poisons, the belladonna,doubtless so named out of gratitude, was sovran for calming the convulsions that sometimes occur in childbirth....

•87: By a monstrous perversion of ideas, the Middle Ages regarded the flesh, in its representative, woman (accursed since Eve), as radically impure. ¶ A submissive martyr to false modesty, she was for ever torturing herself, actually endeavoring to conceal, abolish, and annul the adorable sign of her womanhood, that thrice holy thing, the belly of her pregnancy, whence man is born in the image of God everlastingly from generation to generation.

•88: The Devil only, woman’s ally of old and her confidant in the Garden, and the Witch, the perverse creature who does everything backwards and upside down, in direct contradiction to the world of religion, ever thought of unhappy womanhood, ever dared to tread custom underfoot and care for her health in spite of her own prejudices. The poor creature held herself in such lowly estimation! She could only draw back blushing shyly, and refuse to speak. But the Sorceress, adroit and cunning, guessed her secrets and penetrated her inmost being. She found means to maker her speak out at last, drew her little secret from her and overcame all her refusals and timid, shamefaced hesitations. Submit to treatment! She would sooner die, she said. But the barbarous Witch knew better, and saved her life.

•102, Communion of Revolt: The Black Mass, in its primary aspect, would seem to be this redemption of Eve from the curse Christianity had laid upon her. At the Witches’ Sabbath women fulfills every office. She is priest, and altar, and consecrated host, whereof all the people communicate. In the last resort, is she not the very God of the Sacrifice as well?

•103: Fraternity of man with man, defiance of the Christians’ heaven, worship of Nature’s God under unnatural and perverted forms,—such the inner significance of the Black Mass. ¶ Charity, as a satanic virtue, being at once crime and conspiracy, and assuming the aspect of revolt, exercised a might influence.

Chapters 11 & 12: Communion of Revolt, beginning page 98, and Black Mass Continued, starting page 109, are rich with details of Witches’ Sabbaths and Masse, though whence the information included be curious.

•113: Strong was the common determination, trusty the mutual agreement that limited love to the family and excluded the stranger from all participation. No reliance was felt but in kinsfolk united in the same serfdom, who, sharing the same burdens, were duly careful not to increase these.

•127: The Sorceress in Her Decadence: Some interesting views of the effect of Datura.

•128, Footnote: This is humiliating enough for poor humanity, but what are we to say to the astounding fact that the Sorceress, without being either well-born or pretty or young, a pauper rather, and very likely a serf, dressed in mere filthy rags, by sheer downright cunning and some inexplicable charm of abandoned wantonness and unholy fascination debauched and degraded so low the gravest personages of the time? ... The worst of it all for Sprenger (Malleus Maleficarum) and what most made him despair, is the fact of her being so well protected, no doubt by these infatuated devotees, that he could not burn her.

•132, Persecutions: A worthy son of the schools was indispensable, a good Schoolman, a master of the Summa Theologiæ, soundly trained in his Aquinas, never at a loss for a text to clinch the argument. Sprenger was all this,—and more than this, to wit a pedantic fool.

•133:What is the derivation of maléfice (sorcery)? “It comes from maleficiendo (ill-doing), which signifies malè de fide sentiendo (ill-thinking on matters of faith).” A remarkable piece of etymology, but one of far-reaching consequences. If sorcery is the same thing as heresy, why! every sorcerer is a heretic, and every free-thinker a sorcerer; and the Church is justified in burning as sorcerers any and every body who should dare to hold unorthodox opinions.

•134: Sprenger in the first line of this Manual (Malleus Maleficarum) for the use of Judges, formally declaring the smallest doubt as an act of heresy, the judge’s hands are tied. He feels there must be no trifling; that supposing he were so unfortunate as to experience some temptation in the way of compunction or tenderheartedness, it would be his bounden duty to begin condemning himself to a death at the stake.

•225, Satan Triumphant in the Seventeenth Century: Already the physicians of the sixteenth century derided the Spirit, which in all ages, from Sibyls to Witches, tormented women and harassed them with windy troubles. They maintained this is neither Devil nor Go, but even as the Middle Ages said, “the Prince of the Air.” Satan, it would seem from them, is simply a form of disease!

•320, Notes and Elucidations, Note 4: When mankind has completely awakened from its prodigious dream of two thousand years,and can coolly and quietly take stock of Christian society in the Middle Ages, two astounding facts will become apparent, facts unique in the history of the world, viz. 1: Adultery was one of its recognized institutions, normal, established, esteemed, sung and celebrated in all the monuments of literature, noble and bourgeois alike, in every poem and every fabliau, and 2: Incest is the ordinary condition of serfs, a condition of things clearly manifested at the Witches’ Sabbath, which is their one and only opportunity of freedom, the expression of their true life, where they show themselves for what they are.

•326, Note 6: The object of my book was purely to give, not a history of Sorcery, but a simple and impressive formula of the Sorceress’s way of life, which my learned predecessors darken by the very elaboration of their scientific methods and the excess of detail. My strong point is to start, not from the devil, from an empty conception, but from a living reality, the Sorceress, a warm, breathing reality, rich in results and possibilities. The Church had only the demons. She did not rise to Satan; this was the witch’s dream.

 

 

 

Mosher, Ange E., The Spell of Brittany, Duffield and Company, New York, 1923.

 

Although many citations below are notations, there is much that is direct quotation. I simply found no way to paraphrase because Madame Mosher writes so personally.

 

•iii: Broceliade, Vivian, and Gwenc’hlan, an ancient bard and prophet buried thirteen centuries, awaiting to return until Brittany needs him.

•vii: le Braz’s introduction: Armorican Brittany: peculiar accents of Celtic melody...lent a primitive, almost wild character.... .

•ix: Mrs. Mosher “...true unhoped-for happiness in discovering Brittany.”

•xii: Mrs. Mosher “the most aristocratic of all races [Celts].

•xiii: Gwerziou and Soniou, two types of poetry, the most common and popular among Breton folk.

•xiv-xix: “indomitable creator of idealism.”

•xxi: ...salvation of the civilization of the soul, for which the Celts have ever been the true champions.” [Oh, I just love this writing and this book. JET/4-17]

•5: The mystic vervaine of that early inhabitant—the Druid—has not lost its secret.

•11: “Druidism was the serious obstacle which Christianity encountered. It resisted long in Armorica. But it finally merged into the New Faith and by degrees as an ancient historian has so well expressed it: ‘The clan and confederation of Druidism became Feudality; the pact of friendship of the Druid became chivalry; the assemblies of the leaders became the parliaments of the nobles; the ovates of the Druids became the sorcerers of the Middle Ages; the bards were changed into popular singers; the elves and fairies took the place of Druids and Druidesses; the Druidic fétes of the lakes were supplanted by the fétes of the fountain; the duels of the Druidic feasts became the tournaments of the knights.”

•83: Tréguier was an old town before Armorica took the name Brittany.

•92: Adjuration of Saint Yves is a magic spell used at least until 1920; it’s a hex demanding retribution.

•109: Mosher calls heather a pan-Keltic flower.

•112: Walking with interlocked little fingers announces a betrothal. !au petit doight!

•114: Plougastel’s weddings take place only two days a year. Couples line up at the altar with a candle before each couple.

•124: Mosher travels from Landerneu to visit the Garde Joyeuse of Arthur.

•129: Island of Quessant, Mosher calls another island of druidesses with a holy well and a circle of upright stones called The Temple of the Pagans.

•131: Druidesses on Sena were entrusted with the holy sacred vase of the druids and they brew the potion three drops of which allow the druids to behold the future Also, two freshwater wells still exist on the Île de Sein.

•142: There is a possible statue of Isis, of unknown age or country of origin. The Bretons call it Groach er Gourad, the Sorceress of the Guard.

•151: Jeanne de Montfort led Brittany troops against the French 85 years before Jeanne d’Arc.

•158-159: “...Carnac—the cradle of Gallic Druidism.” Wonderfully romantic dreaming of druidesses celebrating ritual at Carnac. Interesting chapter.

•160-161: Brief discussion of a nocturnal cult centered around cattle.

•161: “On the Island of Sein persons with fever send to have placed at the foot of the menhir nine pebbles which must be brought in the pocket handkerchief of the sick person. Whoever takes away these pebbles takes the fever....”

•162-163: Curious mention of rocking stones. “Of the eighty Rocking Stones found in France, fifteen are in the Côtes-du-Nord, and there are a number in Morbihan and Finistêre.

•163: Some of the stones sing.

•165: Lists many saints and the diseases they cure. “Besides the Saints and their fountains the Breton has three curative resources—the Midwife, the Bonesetter and the Sorcerer.”

•169-170: “Another legend having one point in common with that of St. Tu-pe-du, very Keltic and very lugubrious, is that of the Maël benniguet of Mann-Guen. “The Sacred Club of the White Mountain.” ... People say that formerly, old men tired of living went to the top of the mountain, and one of the druids who lived there disembarrassed him by striking his head with the maël benniguet. [Interesting discussion of this instrument being accepted and used by parish priests.]

•171: Discussion of Fairies, a statement that the dolmen was known as the “Church of the Fairies, and that Norman historians stated that Brittany was the home of the fairies.

•178: A legend of bees and beehives.

•180: A sow playing bagpipes is part of the carvings at St. Armel’s church in Ploërmel.

•183-184: States the the Forest of Paimpont is the Brocéliande of Arthur’s story.

 

Rene Descartes was native of Rennes.

 

 

 

Paz, Octavio, Sor Juana Or, The Traps Of Faith, Belknap Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1988.

 

Wonderfully written, deeply interesting and absorbing. Mostly direct citations below.

•1, Prologue: History, Life, Work: ...Juana Ramírez (her original name) lived in the twilight era of the Hispanic seventeenth century, the period of the Spanish empire’s decline, and in a faraway place, the city of Mexico. ...she was a nun, and she was an illegitimate child. ¶ There was nothing ordinary about her person or her life. ... Abruptly she gives up worldly life and enters a convent—yet, far from renouncing the world entirely, she converts her cell into a study filled with books, works of art, and scientific instruments and transforms the convent locutory into a literary and intellectual salon.

•24-25, The Dias and the Pulpit: A theater of social and cultural activities no less than of intrigues and political decision, the viceregal court was a radial center of morality, literature, and aesthetics; it profoundly influenced both social life and individual destinies. The court set an example for courtesy, mores, and styles; it governed the manner of loving and eating, of burying the dead and courting the living, of celebrating birthdays and mourning the departed. ... The viceregal court performed a dual civilizing role: it transmitted the models of aristocratic European culture, and it offered for emulation a way of life different from those of the Church and the university, the two other great institutions of the the time. Compared to them, the court represented a more aesthetic and vital mode of life The court was the secular world—a ballet, not always vain and often dramatic, in which the true characters were human passions, ranging from sensuality to ambition, moving within a strict and elegant geometry.

•98, The Trials of Juana Inés: At that moment, just when her learning and her wit had captured the admiration of the learned and of court society, adulated for her beauty and cleverness, at nineteen years of age, she entered the convent of San José de las Carmelitas Descalzas (the Discalced Carmelites) as a novice. The order was severe, and after a brief time a frightened Juana Inés returned to the world. ... A year and a half later, not without considerable doubt and thought, she took her vows—but this time in an ordered known for the mildness of its discipline. On the twenty-fourth of February of 1669 she took the veil in the convent of San Jerónimo. She was not yet twenty-one.

•109, Taking the Vows: The theme of Sor Juana’s unhappy relations with the Church’s hierarchy is not an invention of modern anticlericalism, as some have said; it comes to us from Sor Juana’s own time. The break between the nun and her spiritual advisor was cruel, and even more cruel the reconciliation, which she achieved only with submission. But in the period before she became a nun, while Juana Inés vacillated, asking herself whether her intellectual passions were compatible with religious obligations, Núñez laid her scruples to rest and comforted her; he was not harsh but fatherly, obliging, not inflexible. Fishers of souls are awesome because they are also seducers.

•144, Political Rites: The historian Pierre Chaunu points out that the Spanish concept of urban space corresponds to the symbolism of the fiesta. Every one of our towns, from hamlet to city, has a point of convergence, a gathering place—the plaza. The fiesta takes place in the plaza, and in its course it fulfills the dual function...:the fusion of the different elements composing society, and the affirmation of the bonds between the lord and his vassals.

•146: Our history has followed no single unbroken pattern—the straight line of the evolutionists, the zigzag of the dialecticians, or the circle of the neoplatonists. Our history has been a discontinuous process of fits and starts: at times a dance, at others a lethargy interrupted by a sudden violent awakening. Again and again we Spanish and Spanish Americans rub our eyes and ask: what time is it in world history? Our time never coincides with other times. We are always ahead or behind.

•246-247, The Reflection, the Echo: Sor Juana’s collection and her library confirm what we know about the sound state of her finances. Her collection was a mixture of objects of differing provenance, value, and merit; that is, it was an assemblage, born of accident and fancy more than of a plan. This kind of collection is more related to the magician’s cave than to the museum gallery. ... The collection and the library were her family.... They were also her realm.

•273, Different from Herself: Both portraits are theatrical. ... Both paintings, like her poems, give an ambiguous image of seduction and disillusion. In the melancholic, not the dramatic, this is the baroque contrast between being and appearance that results in disappearance. The posture and the gaze evoke the indefinable expression of Narcissus as he watches the waters change, and finally obliterate, his face—the passion for life and the immediate disenchantment that follows. Sensuality becomes melancholy, and melancholy resolves into solitude.

•446, The Siege: When she lost her protectors she had no choice but to find a new source of support. Her only salvation, however, was the very thing she had fought against for two years: submission. The destruction of the fragile space of calm and independence she had managed to create and preserve through so many years of patient effort meant the destruction of her life plan. That plan...postulated the coexistence of her religious life and her literary vocation.

•448: Something gnawed at her thoughts and consumed her hours, an invisible visitor that appeared at night to prevent her from sleeping or thinking. These attacks of melancholy were channeled into poems. This is the difference, still unexplained, between the creative artist and the simple neurotic.

 

 

 

The Shadow of Arvor: Legendary Romances And Folk-Tales Of Brittany, Edith Wingate Rinder, Translated and Retold, Patrick Geddes & Colleagues, The Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, 1896 or 1897.

 

Marvelous find, rich in detail, curious in words, old and regal.

 

•5: Brittany and the arrival of Sant-Ronan. “They worshipped strange gods, whom they identified with the oaks of the forest, with the ocean reefs.” This whole story is valuable for the glimpses both of pagan lore and the beginning of Christianity in Brittany.

•13: “even his passion for the soil yielded.”

•14: Hydromel is a liquor composed of honey and water; after fermentation is mead.

•27: Laurel Sunday is the Breton name for Easter.

•28: “lasting as long as an Englishman’s sojourn in Hell.”

•41: A marvelous description of a beloved woman.

•53: Speaks of a camp of Arthur’s on the ancient land of Arvor

•54-55: Tells of an annual tribute paid by Armorica to the Franks.

•61: Relates the custom of blowing a horn to call people to wash before dinner.

•69: Describes rag-pickers in Brittany as swarthy and later as having brown hands. To which tribe do these people belong?

•70: Children/people of Arvor are inured to suffering.

•71: (A Breton) sustains himself by a great Messianic illusion. Interesting paragraph about the determination of Bretons to keep their way of living.

•79: Old/possibly pagan demand and ritual.

•89: Belief that every nine days the sea gives up (returns) the bodies She has claimed.

•89: Peat fires. Where do they get peat in Brittany?

•92: “a true son of the broomstick”

•93: Description of saint painter’s work seems quite similar to New Mexico santos, bultos, retablos, reredos tradition.

•99: Delightful paragraph about church bells.

•123: Muse of nomadic poetry (Muse not named, referred to Yann ar Monouz, a wandering minstrel.)

•124: Gwerz = a recitation of crimes of the lords and virtues of saints.

•126: Mari Franseza (the Frenchwoman?)

•129. Sacred fountains and healing waters of Armorica (general, not specific)

•131: “She did not keep her tongue in the pocket of her apron.”

•134: Legend re: Ker Ys needing only someone brave enough to ring the centuries-silent bell.

•137: Sant-Hoerve, patron saint of poets and musicians; Rumengol is the traditional home of wandering minstrels (See also page 142.)

•141: Gradlon, King of Ys, speaks to the Virgin in heaven re: his daughter Ahez.

•144: Rumengol Pardon, lovely description. Also speaks of salt sea-meadows.

•151-52: Great description of Eussa, the Isle of Terror, women.

•165: Third trial of Iannick is against a raging, bloody ocean. Old reference to menstruation? I think this tale of Iannick is laid over a much older tale. Has many trials and acquisitions of knowledge as a heroic/initiation tale. More than three with sacred numbers and questionings.

•173: Priest explains bloody ocean as ill-matched (assorted) marriages—one of the couple back-biting the other endlessly.

•183: Marvailler brezounek—vivacious stories of Brittany.

•194: Ankou (masculine) is Death personified. Bones and sickle images. Ann Ankou.

•207: Those destined to be man and wife shared a cradle and their childhood.

•230: Black corn of Leon. Is this black wheat or our beloved dark blue corn?

•232: A woman gives Tonyk a reward for his generosity: A nut which houses a wasp with a diamond sting. Fabulous!

•233: Nadoz-Aer = Needles of the Air, dragonflies!

•234: The wallet of a bread-seeker (klasher-bara) slung across his back. Same page: A spider in an acorn which can weave webs of steel.

•235: “There must be two calves’ feet in this man’s shoes.” Means he’s a fool. Genowek! = a Breton curse. Tonyk and Mylie ends with angels explaining who Tonyk helped—Mary, Jesus, and Joseph. This seems to be an old, old story predating Christianity.

•245: City Gwened was ruled by a king whom no one remembers long before the revolution (French 1789-1799, Napoleon (1804-1819).

•248: Komoree was the country where black corn grew; Gwened was the land of yellow corn.

•249: Sant-Veltas appears before Princess Triphyna and asks here to save lives of the men of Armorica.

•250: Biniou, Armorica’s clarinet.

•251: Count Komorre is the basis for Bluebeard. He is also called count of Kerne on this page.

•254: Komorre went to his central tower and looked towards the four winds of Heaven—he saw a cawing raven, towards the twilight, a swallow towards the rising sun, a hovering sea gull towards the zenith, and towards the setting sun a dove in flight. He chases his wife towards the West. ¶ She is betrayed by a mimicking magpie.

•258: Sant-Veltes raises Triphyna from the dead and bids her to carry her severed head in one hand and her infant child in the other.

•264: Fellow traveler was one of those wild creatures of the Breton sea-border who look upon every townsman, even through he speak their tongue, with suspicion–an intruder in fact.

•265: Sant-Gildas, the Jeremiah of Armorica, the prophet of vehemence! [same page] boscage of oaks.

•267: A child’s face is lighted by a “phosphorescent green gleam in” her big eyes, “fierce as those of a wild cat.”

•268: All along the coastline from Douarnenez to Penmarc’h—coastline of my story/Santez Anna story is important to as well.

•269: She was of a type which had almost disappeared, one of the little old creatures who are to be found today only by the old-world sanctuaries.

•270: Santez Anna was a Breton and mother to Mary.

•271: “a bitter night with snow on the ground, when as the saying is, the Virgin had thridded her distaff.”

•273: The light from her eyes lay on the water a a moon-track (Santez Anna). She safeguards fishermen. Jesus came to Armorica before he was with Sant-Per and Sant-Iann.

•274: Jesus planted his staff and pure water poured forth.

•277: A pinch of dust from the sweepings of her Shrine scattered over fields makes the seed fruitful, saves the corn from blight and the grass from drought.

•278: The Pardon of the Sea. (Check le Braz/Pardons.)

•282: “Great jest of the jests of centuries, that discloses the shroud as the first and las expression of a dreamed-of equality!”

•283: “How long the sea took to conquer this land none can tell. The strife began before the Christian era. It is known that druidical woods stretched for eight or ten miles beyond the present coast line. Later, the forest of Scissy planted its vanguard oaks on the rocks of Chausey.”

•299: Primel the Anchorite—”His eyes were aflame with the undying hope which dwells in each one of his race.”

•300: “My son, when thy heart is heavy with secret sorrow, take refuge in the eternal solitudes. The forests are tender to suffering man. God has made those sacred aisles the sanctuaries of peace: Therein the harmony of the world is revealed.”

•303: Gradlon thinks he doomed Ahez to the life of a sea-witch, Mari-Morgan

•306: Gradlon finds peace in the forest. Gwennole seeks him and when he finds Gradlon, Gradlon asks: “have mercy on this poor old man beside me: The length of three men’s lives has been his, and he has known the deeps of sorrow. The sorrows which have come upon me are as nothing to his. I have wept over the fate of my royal city; for Ahez my heart was broken, but this man has lost his gods. There is no sorrow that is so great a sorrow. He is a Druid lamenting a dead faith. Show him tenderness.” This Druid is the last surviving servant of Tentates.

 

 

 

Shlain, Leonard, The Alphabet Versus The Goddess: The Conflict Between Word And Image, Arkana (Penguin Books), New York, 1998.

 

VIDEO

 

This book stands in the top five favorites of mine for this Woman/Celt research I’ve been doing for years. I want to write down pages of quotations but that stands not in integrity. The following quotations are sparse but indicate epiphanal moments. Though significant controversy dogs his work, I relished reading this book.

 

•1: “For now, I propose that a holistic, simultaneous, synthetic, and concrete view of the world are the essential characteristics of a feminine outlook; linear, sequential, reductionist, and abstract thinking defines the masculine. Although these represent opposite perceptual modes, every individual is generously endowed with all the features of both. They coexist as two closely overlapping bell-shaped curves with no feature superior to its reciprocal.”

•3: “Literacy has promoted the subjugation of women by men throughout all but the very recent history of the West. Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word.”

•5: “The life of the mind can be divided into three realms: inner, outer, and supernatural. ...third realm: some call it spiritual, some call it sacred, and some call it supernatural. Humans have acknowledged and incorporated this third realm into every culture ever created.”

•6: “Around 1500 B.C., there were hundreds of goddess-based sects enveloping the Mediterranean basin. By the fifth century A.D. they had been almost completely eradicated, by which time women were also prohibited from conducting a single major Western sacrament.”

•9: “Ethologists hypothesize that hominids began to scavenge the carcasses of dead animals killed by the big cats.”

•20: “When people find it necessary to express in words an inner experience such as a dream, or a complex feeling-state, they resort to a special form of speech called metaphor that is the right brain’s unique contribution to the left brain’s language capability.”

•22: “To be able to leap from the particular and concrete to the general and abstract has allowed us to create art, logic, science, and philosophy. But this skill tore us out of the rich matrix of nature.” ¶ “An appreciation of linear time was the crucial precondition for linear speech.”

 

 

 

Tristan In Brittany, Being The Fragments Of The Romance Of TRISTAN Written In The XII Century by Thomas The Anglo-Norman, Drawn out of the French into the English by Dorothy Leigh Sayers, M.A., sometime scholar of Somerville College, Oxford, with an Introduction by George Saintsbury, Payson & Clarke LTD, New York, circa 1930.

 

An excellent source for Iseult/Tristan. Some of the background scenes provide good insights to Early Medieval landscapes and then-current stories.

 

•xv: Celtic blood “which of itself pays not much more respect to the sixth than to the seventh commandments...”

•61: Queen Iseult of Ireland, mother to Iseult the Fair, was the greatest healer known”no physician on earth so cunning as she.”

•77: Iseult the Fair speaks to Tristan in the Breton language. Later on the same page, it appears that l’amer may mean either bitterness or love (and la mer means the sea).

•84: Tristan says to King Mark: “By my faith, sire, a woman is hard put to it to love a man who can give her away for a tune.”

•97: Duke Gilan of Wales gives Tristan a magic dog from Avalon so beautiful no language could describe him.

•139: Tristan and Moldagog (a giant) create a wondrous cave and a beautiful statue of Iseult.

 

 

 

Walkley, Victor, Celtic Daily Life, including herb lore, metalwork, wine and brewing, feasts, recipes, clothing, perfumes, marriage rites, legends and beliefs, Robinson Publishing, London, 1997.

 

Celtic Daily Life contains many brief gems and serves as source for methods of obtaining lanolin, some herbs, some food. There is only one reference to the Bretons, though several citations appear for Gauls. Walkley presumes a bit, especially that the Celts on the continent no longer exist.

 

•32: Journeymen traveled under protection of high kings and because of their skill and knowledge villages welcomed them everywhere.

•34: If there were indeed druids through the entire Celt history, then a precursor religion or way of knowledge must have existed before the Celts.

•37: Celts are known for eloquence, creativity, and resourcefulness. Their poetry and artwork readily demonstrate this.

•45: Their metallurgists were envied by those in Rome and Greece.

•48: “The Gauls [Celts] are all exceedingly careful of cleanliness and neatness; not in all the country...could any man or woman, however poor, be seen either dirty or ragged.” A Marcellinus

•51: Celts brought lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) to Britain.

•53: Celtic art and ornamentation, with its curves and intertwining complexity, became highly desired and copied.

•59: As early as 250 BC, silk, spices, and jewels were exported and traded from the Far East to Celtic noblemen and -women. Body-painting was highly developed.

•83: A prized herb, Rock samphire (Crithmum maritimum), grows on cliffs and along the base of beach rocks.

•101: Celtic wise women/herbalists used wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) when wounds were life-threatening. The plant exudes an opium-like alkaloid.

•105: Epona, the horse-goddess, is the only Celtic Goddess to be honoured in Rome. (Her feast day is December 18.)

•108: Druid (the word) stems from the Gaelic for “knowing the oak tree”.

•109-110: Early European historians mention frequently that Celt viewed forests and water as sacred; wells and grottoes were particularly holy. Nemeton, frequently found in place names, identifies holy spots.

•112, 114, and 118: These pages contain important ideas about the process Christianity used to defeat the Druids and transform Celtic holy women into witches and demons.

•120: Handclasping and a method of inserting hands into the hole in a dolmen as part of ritual are described.

 

 

 

Watson, Lyall, Gifts of Unknown Things: A True Story of Nature, Healing, Initiation From Indonesia’s Dancing Island, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, 1991.

 

In Gifts of Unknown Things Lyall Watson states that poets and children clearly see and sense things that are important but which are not particularly studied and passed along. Tia, a young islander, says of a small heron: “He sings a green song.” She also hears colors! A marvelous book, though tangentially relating to my research.

 

•26: Watson states the Medb is the Celtic Goddess of Sovereignty.

 

 

 

Williams, Niall and Christine Breen, O Come Ye Back to Ireland: Our First Year in County Clare, Soho Press, New York, 1987.

 

Interesting book, with many lovely scenes. Insightful for Ireland today; not particularly insightful for Celtic folkways or Île de Sein.

 

Cuaird [visiting] 33-35,

Set Dancing—50-52,

Storytellers—60-62,

Fairies—74-76, 117,

Priests—123-124,

Samhain—134-137,

Medicine—198, and

Epilogue—230-233.

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The Enchanted World: Fabled Lands,

    Giants and Ogres

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aadisokan = Ojibway Sacred story which has an existence beyond the storyteller.

 

abusion = Perversion of the truth.

 

accidie = Spiritual torpor, ennui.

 

aestival = Of, pertaining to, or appearing in summer.

 

alembicate = To distill. May connote overly refined, especially of a literary style.

 

all-overish = Having a general and indefinite sense of illness pervading the body; generally seized or indisposed.

 

anaphora = The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs.

 

animable = [Latin: vivifying] That which may be put into life or receive animation.

 

anomie = 1. A collapse of the social structures governing a given society. 2. The state of alienation experienced by an individual or class in such a situation. 3. Personal disorganization resulting in unsocial behavior.

 

antinomian = A member of a Christian sect holding that faith alone is necessary to salvation.

 

apotropaic = A type of magic intended to turn away harm or evil.

 

apotropaism = The science/art of preventing or overcoming evils, usually by incantation. [Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, V. 1, p. 67.]

 

ashlar = A squared block of building stone. 2. Masonry of such stones. 3. A thin, dressed rectangle of stone for facing walls. In this sense also called “ashlar veneer.”

 

assonance = 1. Resemblance in sound, especially in the vowel sounds of words. 2. Prosody. 3. Rough similarity, approximate agreement (pen/pin?).

 

assot = Intransitive verb. To become or act like a fool; to become infatuated, foolishly fond, madly in love. Transitive verb. To make a fool of, infatuate, befool.

 

auto de fé = Spanish: Act of faith, usually public, at which those tried by the Inquisition had their sentences pronounced. [Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition, p. vii.]

 

autodidact = One who is self-taught.

 

baff = A blow with anything flat or soft, e.g. the palm of the hand, a softball, etc. To bark or yelp as a dog.

 

balneary = Baths, bathing house/room.

 

beldam = An old woman or creature, particularly an ugly one, believed to be evil and who enjoys abusing children [Wikipedia].

 

bantling = A young child, usually illegitimate, a bastard (as they say).

 

benison = A blessing or benediction.

 

besot = Transitive verb. 1. To affect with a foolish, blinding affection; to cause to dote on; to infatuate with. 2. To make mentally or morally stupid or blind; to stupefy in mind.

 

bestiary = 1. A beast-fighter in the Roman amphitheater. 2. A treatise on beasts: applied to the moralizing treatises written during the Middle Ages.

 

blague = Pretentious falsehood.

 

bolus = 1. A small round mass. 2. Pharmacology. A pill or tablet.

 

borborygmus (plural borborygmi) = The rumbling sound made by gas and fluids moving through the intestines. [Greek onomatopoeia.]

 

bosky = Covered with bushes, shrubs, or trees; a thicket; shaded by trees. Middle English is bosk–wooded–from bosk–bush–from Old Norse, buskr. Shadow of Arvor, page 265: boscage of oaks. [Is there a connection with the Spanish bosque?]

 

bricoleur = Something put together using whatever materials are at hand.

 

brooklime = Either of two closely related trailing plants. Veronica americana, of North America, and V. becca-bunga, native to Eurasia, growing in moist places and having small blue flowers. [Suibhne Geilt fed on brooklime while he was wild.]

 

brume = Heavy fog or mist; dense vapor.

 

brune = Burning; a burn. [The OED considers this a substantive obsolete word.] Used by Kate Chopin as a description of a woman’s hair. [“The Kiss”, A Vocation and Other Stories, p. 105.]

 

bubble and squeak = Chiefly British, cabbage and potatoes fried together.

 

bubby = Slang. The breast of a woman.

 

cacique = 1. An Indian chief, especially in the Spanish West Indies. 2. A local political boss in Spain or Latin America. 3. Any of various tropical orioles.

 

cacography = 1. Bad handwriting, as opposed to calligraphy. 2. Incorrect spelling, as opposed to orthography.

 

canopas = Quechua for amulet.

 

captious = Marked by the propensity to find fault.

 

caracole = A half turn to either side performed by a horseman.

 

casuist = One who determines what is right and wrong in matters of conscience or conduct. Often used disparagingly.

 

chaffer = 1. To bargain or haggle. 2. To bandy words.

 

cheatery = The practice of cheating; swindling; trickery.

 

chiliasm = The doctrine stating that Christ will reign on Earth for 1000 years.

 

chiromancy = The art or practice of foretelling a person’s future by studying the palm of her hand; palmistry.

 

churriguere = A style of building facade used in New Spain [Kraig, Cuisines of Hidden Mexico, p. 130.]

 

cicisbeo = 1. The name formerly given in Italy to the recognized gallant or cavalier servente of a married woman, 2. A knot of ribbon (such as might be worn by the cavalier servente) fastened to a sword-hilt, walking-stick, etc. (So in Italian.)

 

clave = Usage refers to a method of stacking peat to dry. [Walkley, Celtic Daily Life, p. 42. The OED: clave = A knotty branch, scion, graft. Naut: A stool. 1847 78 Halliwell: The handle, or the part of a pair of small balances by which they are lifted up in weighing anything.]

 

coffle = A file of animals, prisoners, or slaves chained together in transit (often chained around the neck or waist).

 

collation = 1. The act or process of collating. 2. A description of the material aspects of a book. 3. The appointment of a clergyman to a benefice. 4. A light meal permitted on holy days. 5. Any light meal.

 

collop = A small portion or slice, especially of meat. 2. A roll of flesh on the body.

 

condign = Fitting or appropriate and deserved; used especially of punishment.

 

congener = 1. A member of the same kind or class with another, or nearly allied to another in character. (Said of animals and plants which are related according to scientific classification.)

 

congeries = Plural in form, usually used with a singular verb: A collection of things heaped together; an aggregation; a heap.

 

cor magus tibi Sena pandit = Breton: Sena opens its heart to you.

 

corn = 1. a. Any of several varieties of a tall, widely cultivated cereal plant, Zea mays, bearing seeds or kernels on large ears. b. The seeds or kernels of this plant, used for food or fodder, and yielding an edible oil. c. The ears of this plant. Also called “Indian corn,” “maize.” 2. British. a. Any of several cereal plants producing edible seed, such as wheat, rye, oats, or barley. b. The seeds of such a plant or crop; grain. 3. a. A single seed of a cereal plant; a grain. b. A seed or fruit of various other plants. 4. Informal. Corn whiskey. 5.Slang. Anything considered trite, dated, melodramatic, or unduly sentimental.

 

Corn Laws = A series of British laws in force before 1846 regulating the grain trade and restricting imports of grain.

 

corn lily = Any of several bulbous plants of the genus Ixia, native to southern Africa, having variously colored lily-like flowers.

 

corn marigold = A Eurasian plant, Chrysanthemum segetum, cultivated for its yellow or white flowers.

 

cornmeal = Also corn meal. 1. Meal made from corn. Also called “Indian meal.” 2. Scottish. Oatmeal.

 

contumancy = Rebellious stubbornness.

 

contumely = Rudeness or contempt in behavior or speech; insolence.

 

convenable = 1. Agreeing with circumstances or requirements, suitable, appropriate. 2. Agreeing with each other. 3. Suitable to the purpose or requirements of anyone; convenient.

 

conventicle = 1. A meeting secular or religious; a religious meeting, especially a secret or illegal one. 2. A little meeting of private character. 3. A meeting or assembly of a clandestine, irregular, or illegal character, or believed to have sinister purpose or tendency.

 

cor magus tibi Sena pandit = Sena opens its heart to you.

 

courtesan = Literally, woman of the court. [May have denoted a female intellectual, with or without paid sexual favors.]

 

couvade = A practice among certain peoples in which the husband of a woman in labor takes to his bed as if he were bearing the child.

 

craton = The part of a continent that is stable and forms the central mass of the continent, typically Precambrian.

 

cruciverablist = A person who creates crossword puzzles.

 

cynefin = Welsh: The sense of belonging to a place that is passed down from mother to daughter.

 

cynophobic = An abnormal fear of dogs.

 

deisidaimonia = The excessive fear of spirits. [Jones, A History of Pagan Europe, p. 49.]

 

delator = An informer, a secret or professional accuser.

 

demiurge = 1. A name for the Maker or Creator of the world in Platonic philosophy; in certain later system, as the Gnostic, conceived as a being subordinate to the Supreme Being and sometimes as the author of evil.

 

demiurgic = Creative.

 

Deposition = With capital D, the taking down of Christ from the cross or a work of art depicting this scene.

 

depurate = To cleanse or purify.

 

deracinate = Dislocate, pull up by the roots.

 

descry = To discern something that is difficult to catch sight of. To discover by careful observation. [Wonder if I can follow scry to descry?]

 

diachronic = Adjective. 1. Considering phenomena as they occur or develop through time. 2. Linguistics. Pertaining to the study of language and linguistic phenomena as they change with time.

 

dicast = In ancient Athens, one of the 6,000 citizens chosen each year to sit in the law courts, with functions resembling those of judge and juror.

 

digamy = Remarriage after the death or divorce of one’s first wife or husband.

 

dijes = Charm.

 

dispulverate = To become dust.

 

drumlin = A streamlined hill or ridge composed of glacial drift.

 

eagre = A bore which is a type of tidal wave, a single wave that flows up a river estuary as a result of an especially high tide. It’s an example of what scientists call a soliton, a solitary wave that travels with little loss of energy, retaining its shape and speed but increasing in height as the river narrows and shallows. elision (elide) = To omit or slur over (a vowel or syllable) in pronunciation.

 

emolument = Profit derived from one’s office or employment; payment for services rendered.

 

empyreal = 1. Empyrean. 2. Of or pertaining to the sky. 3. Formed of pure fire or light; fiery.

 

endogamic = The custom of marrying within certain tribes, families, clans or other social unit. See also exogamic.

 

ensorcell = To enchant, bewitch, fascinate.

 

ensorcerized/ensorcerizing = Enchanting or bewitching in a hypnotic or otherwise captivating manner. [Annie Dillard is credited with creating this word. I found it on page 76 of The Writing Life; the OED does not have a definition] Neologisms.

 

entelechy = 1. In the philosophy of Aristotle, the condition of a thing whose presence is fully realized; actuality as distinguished from potentiality. 2. In various philosophical systems, a vital force urging an organism toward self-fulfillment: Courage is the affirmation of one’s essential nature, one’s inner aim or entelechy.” Paul Tillich.

 

ephebe = In ancient Greece, a youth between eighteen and twenty years of age. [Used in Herrera, Frida, p. 198 in describing Frida’s sexuality.]

 

epigraph = 1. An inscription , as on a statue or building. 2. A motto or quotation at the beginning of a book or chapter.

 

epiphany = 1. A revelatory manifestation of a divine being. 2. A spiritual event in which the essence of a given object of manifestation appears to the subject, as in a sudden flash of recognition. Thought to become part of Christian teachings in the early 1400s. etymonline

 

epitome = 1. A summary of a book, article, event, or the like; an abridgment; abstract. 2. One that is consummately representative or expressive of an entire class or type; embodiment.

 

épopée = Epic poetry, especially as a literary genre.

 

epitome = 1. A summary of a book, article, event, or the like; an abridgment; abstract. 2. One that is consummately representative or expressive of an entire class or type; embodiment.

 

eric = OED Historical Forms: 6 (no clear definition; citations only). A recompense owed from a murderer to the slain’s friends, wife, or children. [Found in Suibhne Geilt; used when he was slain by Moling’s swineherd, near the end of the tale.]

 

esplumoir = Moulting (Apple dictionary says molting) cage. Merlin ends his life waiting for the return of God (Christian innovation?) in an esplumoir. Merlin = hawk = moulting cage = otherworldly (Avalon, Rock of the Women, etc.) place where a moulting bird, uncertain in temper and unable to be flown, is kept in tranquility until it is is full feather again. [Matthews, Ladies of the Lake, pp. 117-119 and Larrington, King Arthur’s Enchantresses, p. 98].

 

euhemerism = 1. A theory attributing the origin of the gods to the deification of historical heroes. 2. Any similar theory linking mythology or folklore with real persons or events.

 

euphony = Agreeable sound, especially in the phonetic quality of words.

 

eurythmics = Plural in form, used with a singular verb. The choreographic art of interpreting musical composition by a rhythmical, free-style graceful movement of the body in response to the rhythm of the music.

 

evitable = Rare. Avoidable.

 

excreable = Capable of being eliminated by spitting; that which can be spit out.

 

exegesis = Critical explanation or analysis; especially interpretation of a text, especially scriptures.

 

exegete = A person skilled in exegesis.

 

exogamic = The custom of marrying outside the tribe, family, clan or other social unit. See also endogamic.

 

ex voto = Object used to fulfill a promise.

 

facund = Eloquence or eloquent.

 

fallen angels = Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, p. 367.

 

fein eolas = Irish: Literal translation of self (fein) knowledge (eolas).

 

felion = Cat. [Mine]

 

feliviary = An airy outside enclosure for beloved felions. [Mine]

 

fell = Adjective. 1. Of an inhumanly cruel nature; fierce; unsparing. 2. Able to destroy; lethal. 3. Dire; sinister. Noun: The hide of an animal; skin; pelt. (Several definitions regarding land.)

 

flabellum = Second meaning, a fan used in certain religious ceremonies and displayed on certain state occasions.

 

flaught = 1. A spreading out, as of wings for flight; a fluttering or agitated movement; a commotion; [with outspread wings; with great eagerness]. 2. A flock of birds flying together; a flight. May also refer to instruments used in preparing wool [to card wool into flakes].

 

flaunt = intr 1. Of plumes, banners, etc. : To wave gaily or proudly. Of plants: To wave so as to display their beauty. 2. a. Of persons: To walk or move about so as to display one’s finery; to display oneself in unbecomingly splendid or gaudy attire; to obtrude oneself boastfully, impudently, or defiantly on the public view. b. Of things: To be extravagantly gaudy or glaringly conspicuous in appearance.

 

fleam = A lancet. [Used to poke open blisters in Frazier, Cold Mountain.]

 

flout = 1. A mocking speech or action; a piece of mockery, jeer, scoff. 2. An object of flouting or mockery. [A truss of straw. A watercourse.]

 

forwrecche = Transitive verb. To arouse to wrath.

 

franticize = To make yourself frantic with your fantasies. [Mine]

 

fuckedupedness = The intensity of an all-round bad situation. [Jack Root claims origination and I as well; coined by one of us in 1980.]

 

Gallicenae = In Gallic mythology, the Gallicenae were nine virgin priestesses who, by their charms, could raise the wind and waves, turn themselves into any animal they wished, cure wounds and disease, and predict the future.

 

gamahuche = To perform cunnilingus.

 

geilt = Half-mad, half-sorcerer. [Much richer definition: The insanity that comes to a man who has witnessed too much war (Merlin). A state of mind which forces the man to go completely back to Nature, often for a period of two years. This is my definition, gleaned from several writings.]

 

girn = The act of showing the teeth, a snarl.

 

girning = A light-hearted competition in which people girn (make elaborate faces) through a horse collar; most popular in rural parts of England.

 

gleed or gleyd = 1. Having a cast in one or both eyes; squint-eyed. 2. Not straight; crooked, twisted.

 

glen = A mountain valley, usually narrow and forming the course of a stream.

 

glossal = Of or pertaining to the tongue.

 

groac’h or grac’h = A name given the sacred women who dwelt in the Isle of Sein, Spence L., Druids, page 63; groa’ch= A witch figure in a Breton traditional tale; Groach er Gourd = Sorceress of the Guard, page 142, Mosher, Spell of Brittany; Er Groach Houard = the Old Woman of Gourade. Baring-Gould, A Book of Brittany, page 27.

 

grimalkin = A cat, especially an old female cat; a shrewish old woman.

 

hagborn = Born of a witch or a hag. Hag = 1. An ugly, frightful old woman; a termagant; crone. 2. A witch; sorceress. 3. Obsolete: A female demon.

 

hagiographa = Sacred writing (literal Greek).

 

hapax legomenon = Latin noun. A term of which only one instance of use is recorded.

 

haruspex = A class of Roman soothsayer of Etruscan origin who performed divination by the inspection of the entrails of sacrifice victims, and in other ways.

 

heresiarch = A founder or leader of a heretical doctrine or movement, as considered by those who claim to maintain an orthodox religious tradition or doctrine.

 

Hibernia = The Latin and poetic name for the island of Ireland.

 

hough = (OED has much longer and more varied definitions.) 1. The hock of an animal. 2. The hollow part behind the knee joint in men; the adjacent part of the thigh.

 

hugeous = Huge.

 

hure = A cap.

 

hurer = A maker of caps.

 

hypocoristic = A nickname indicating intimacy with the person.

 

hustings = Generally plural: any platform on which politicians stand to give speeches or greet crowds.

 

hydromel = A liquor composed of honey and water that, after fermentation, is called mead.

 

Iberia = An ancient geographical region to the south of the Caucasus Mountains that corresponded approximately to the present-day Georgia (nation).

 

Iberian Peninsula = A peninsula in southwestern Europe on which the countries of Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Gibraltar, and a very small part of France are located. [According to Wikipedia, "Iberia" refers as well to this peninsula.]

 

incunabulum = 1. A book printed from movable type before 1501. 2. An artifact of an early period. [From Latin incunabula (plural), swaddling clothes, cradle, infancy, bands holding a baby in its cradle... .]

 

indaba = A conference of indigenous tribes in southern Africa.

 

infelix = Unfruitful, barren, unproductive, infertile.

 

irrefragable (i ref re ge bel) = Incapable of being refuted or controverted; indisputable.

 

irrefrangible = Incapable of being broken; indestructible.

 

jeremiad = An elaborate and prolonged lamentation or a tale of woe.

 

jongleur = A wandering minstrel and storyteller in Medieval England and France.

 

keraunophobic = An abnormal fear of thunder and lightning.

 

kiste = (Does not have an e in the OED.) 1. A chest, box, coffer. [Applied to the ‘ark’ of bulrushes in which Moses was placed.] 2. A basket.

 

lachrymatory = Victorian: A tiny jar holding (love, grief) tears.

 

leal = 1. Loyal, faithful, honest, true. 2. True, genuine, real, actual, exact. accurate.

 

lecanomancy = Divination by the inspection of water in a basin.

 

lemures = In ancient Rome, the spirits of the dead considered as frightening specters. Compare manes. [Any connection to Lemuria? In The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco uses the term to designate a damned soul, perhaps a suicide.]

 

lickerish = Archaic. 1. Lascivious, lecherous. 2. Relishing pleasurable sensations. 3. Greedy. 4. Arousing hunger, appetizing.

 

liminal = Of or pertaining to the threshold or initial stage of a process.

 

limpid = 1. Characterized by transparent clearness; pellucid. 2. Easily intelligible; clear. 3. Calm and untroubled; serene.

 

lithopedion = A stone baby, a rare phenomenon which occurs most commonly when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy, is too large to be reabsorbed by the body, calcifies on the outside, thus shielding the mother's body from the dead tissue of the baby and preventing infection.

 

lityserses = Corn god king, harvester of food and men; capitalized Lityerses = son of Midas, who challenged men to harvesting contests.

 

louche = French: Ambiguity; obscurity; suspicious appearance.

 

lucubration = 1. Laborious study or writing. 2. Pedantry in speech or writing.

 

macaronic = Of or pertaining to a literary composition containing a mixture of vernacular words with Latin words or with non-Latin words that are humorously given Latin terminations.

 

malversation = Misconduct in public office.

 

mala suegra = Northern New Mexican for tumbleweed.

 

mala yerba = Northern New Mexican for bad seed, person marked for tragedy or bad deeds from birth onward.

 

mantic = Of, pertaining to, or having the power of divination; prophetic.

 

margaric = Resembling pearls; pearly.

 

marplot = An officious meddler whose interference compromises the success of an undertaking. [After Marplot, a character in The Busybody, a play by Susannah Centlivre.]

 

matria chica = The love of the particular geography, manner of speaking, and folkways of the place one was born. [I adapted this from patria chica, Ebright, Witches of Abiquiu, p. 70.]

 

matrix = A situation or surrounding substance within which something originates, develops, or is contained. The womb.

 

maugre = Ill-will, displeasure, or spite, borne by a person towards another; the state of being regarded with ill-will. Also a verb = to show ill-will to.

 

mediatrix = Female mediator (often applied to the Virgin Mary).

 

megalopsia = A pathological condition of the eyes in which objects appear enlarged.

 

mensuration = 1. The process, act, or art of measuring. 2. The measurement of geometric quantities.

 

metempsychosis = The transmigration of the soul.

 

micturition = The act of urinating. [Ellis, Druids, p. 117...sea, river or springs arose from the micturition of a giant, fairy, saint.]

 

milagros = Spanish: Miracles.

 

mirabile dictu = Latin: Wonderful to relate.

 

mirabiliary = sb. One who deals in the marvellous; a collector of marvels.

 

mirabilist = One who works wonders.

 

mountebank = 1. A hawker of quack medicines and nostrums who attracts customers with stories, jokes, or tricks. 2. Any charlatan or trickster. [From the Italian montambanco, one who stands on a bench.]

 

nappe = 1. A sheet of water flowing over a dam or similar structure.

 

nekyia (nekuia) = A rite in ancient Greek cult-practice and literature to call up ghosts to be questioned about the future, i.e., necromancy.

 

niphablepsia = Snow blindness.

 

novena = Roman Catholic: a recitation of prayers and devotions for nine consecutive days. Comes from the Latin noveni/ae/a meaning nine each; nine: virgins ter novenae, novendialis/e; adjective, of nine days (that lasts nine days) (of a festival for the dead, held on the ninth day after a funeral).

 

nugatory = Of no value; worthless.

 

numen = Presiding spirit.

 

omphalos = 1. Anatomy: The navel. 2. A center.

 

oneiric = Of or belonging to dreams.

 

oneiromancy = Divination by dreams.

 

opsimathy = Learning or study late in life; learning acquired late.

 

orison = A prayer.

 

ormolu = 1. Any of several copper and tin or zinc alloys resembling gold in appearance and used to decorate furniture, moldings, architectural ornamentations, and jewelry. Also called mosaic gold. 2. An imitation of gold.

 

paleography = 1. The study of and scholarly interpretation of ancient written documents. 2. The documents so studied.

 

palladium = A sacred object having the power to preserve a city or state by possessing it. [From the fabled Greek statue of Pallas Athena.]

 

peccant = 1. Sinful; guilty. 2. Violating a rule or accepted practice; erring; faulty.

 

pemphigus = Any of several acute or chronic skin diseases characterized by groups of itching blisters.

 

perquisite = 1. A payment or profit received in addition to a regular wage or salary; especially, a benefit expected as one’s due. 2. A tip or gratuity. 3. Something claimed as an exclusive right.

 

perseverated = Continuously repeated.

 

persiflage = 1. A light bantering talk. 2. A frivolous style of treating a subject.

 

picaro = An adventurer; a social parasite; rouge.

 

pifflesnort = A derisive response to the frequent use of piffle. [Mine]

 

philologist =A humanist specializing in classical scholarship.

 

philology = Etymologically, the love of words. It is most accurately defined as an affinity toward the learning of the backgrounds as well as the current usages of spoken or written methods of human communication.

 

philomath =A lover of learning; a scholar.

 

plangent = 1. Striking with a deep, reverberating sound, as waves against the shore. 2. Loud and resounding, as the sound of bells. 3. Expressing sadness; plaintive.

 

plash = A light splash. [Read in an Emily Dickinson poem.]

 

la promesa = Spanish: A vow, a covenant.

 

pleached = Bordered or shaded with interlaced branches or vines.

 

polysemous = Having many meanings.

 

praxis = Practical application or exercise of a branch of learning.

 

prestige = Originally came from the French and meant illusion brought on by magic.

 

proem = An introductory discourse at the beginning of a book or other writing; a preface; a preamble .

 

la promesa = A vow, a covenant.

 

prosody = 1. The study of the metrical structures of verse. 2. A particular system of versification.

 

protean = Readily taking on different shapes. [From Proteus, a Greek sea god.]

 

pule (pyool) = To whine or whimper.

 

puissant = Mighty, powerful, potent. [“... puis ... is the root of the French term puissance, the feminine term for power.” Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 177.]

 

pullulate (p[soft u]) = To put forth sprouts, to germinate, to breed rapidly.

 

pusillanimous (pyool) = Lacking manly courage.

 

quay = A wharf or reinforced bank where ships are loaded or unloaded. [Earlier key, Middle English key, kay, from Old French, chai, cay, from Gaulish caio, rampart, retaining wall.

 

quiddity = 1. The real nature of a thing; essence. 2. A hairsplitting distinction, a quibble.

 

reave = 1.To carry off forcibly. 2. To deprive of.

 

recrudesce = To break out anew after a dormant or inactive period.

 

rhapsode = 1. In ancient Greece, an epic singer. 2. A person who uses extravagantly enthusiastic or impassioned speech.

 

rhetor = Obsolete: Teacher of rhetoric. rhetoric = The study of the elements used in literature and public speaking, such as content, structure, cadence, and style.

 

rime riche = (Long e in both words) Rhyme using words or parts of words that are pronounced identically but have different meanings, for example write-right. Also called identical rhyme.

 

rogation = Usually plural. Solemn prayer or supplication during the rites of Rogation Days–the three days preceding Ascension Day, designated as days of special prayers.

 

ruddle = To paint the belly of a ram with oily red pigment so that ewes who have been mounted can be easily identified.

 

rupestrian = Growing on rocks. [Kelekna, Horse in Human History, p. 16, referring to cliff drawings and cave frescoes.]

 

ruth = 1. Compassion or pity. 2. Sorrow, misery, grief. Middle English ruthe from Old English hreowan.

 

sallow = Any of several European willows, especially salix caprea, the wood of which is a source of charcoal.

 

saluki = A tall, slender dog of an ancient breed developed in Arabia and Egypt, having a smooth, silky, variously colored coat.

 

sanbenito = A garment of sackcloth worn at an auto de fé of the Spanish Inquisition by condemned heretics, being yellow with red crosses for the penitent and black with painted flames and devils for the impenitent.

 

sapient = Having wisdom, wise.

 

scrump = 1. Anything withered or dried up. 2. To steal fruit, usually apples.

 

scrumple = A wrinkle or crease. To fold or wrinkle.

 

scrumptious = 1. Fastidious, difficult to please. 2. American Slang: Handsome.

 

scumble = To produce something foul (figurative).

 

scutch = To separate the valuable fibers (of flax or other textile materials) from the woody parts by beating.

 

sederunt = [Latin: there were sitting] In minutes of deliberative bodies, used (in its Latin sense) to introduce the list of persons present at a meeting. 2. A sitting of a deliberative or judicial body; now chiefly of an ecclesiastical assembly.

 

seel = To stitch closed the eyes (of a falcon).

 

seity = That which constitutes the self; selfhood.

 

self-sold bondsman = Man who indentured himself (usually for seven years).

 

semilla besada = The seed that got kissed. [Kingsolver, Animal Dreams, p. 49.]

 

semiology = The science dealing with signs or sign language.

 

sempstress = A seamstress.

 

seriocomic = Both serious and comic.

 

serpent = Music. A deep-voiced wind instrument of serpentine shape, used principally in the 18th century, approximately eight feet in length and made of brass and wood.

 

shrew = 1. Any of various small, chiefly insectivorous mammals of the family Soricidae, having a long, pointed nose and small, often poorly developed eyes. Sometimes called “shrewmouse.” 2. A woman with a violent, scolding or nagging temperment; a scold.

 

simony = Buying and selling a clerical office.

 

solipsism = The view or theory that self is the only subject of real knowledge or the only real thing existent.

 

somatotonic = Designating a personality type characterized as aggressive and extroverted.

 

sortilege = The act or practice of foretelling the future by drawing lots; sorcery; witchcraft.

 

soteriology = The theological doctrine of salvation as effected by Christ.

 

spalt = A silly or foolish person.

 

stinkhorn = Any of several foul-smelling fungi of the order of Phalles, such as Phallus impudicus or P. ravenelli, having a thick, cylindrical stalk and narrow cap.

 

stirk = 1. A yearling heifer or, sometimes, a bullock. 2. Used as a term of abuse: a foolish person.

 

stob = Stump or stumpy.

 

stomacher = A decorative, heavily embroidered or jeweled garment worn over the chest and stomach, especially by women.

 

stupe = A hot, medicated compress.

 

stupefacient = Adjective: Inducing stupor; stupefying. Noun: A drug that induce stupor, as a narcotic.

 

sublimate = Verb: To raise to high place, dignity, or honor.

 

suborn = To cause another to commit a crime or to perjure herself.

 

supernumerary = A person serving no apparent function.

 

superstitio = Religious practice which was outside state rituals (Rome). Modern meaning: the excessive fear of spirits, was deisidaimonia. [Jones, A History of Pagan Europe, p. 49] sursum corda = Often capitalized as Sursum Corda. 1. An ecclesiastical versicle offering praise and thanksgiving to God. 2. An incitement to fervor, spirit, or courage. Literally: Lift up your hearts.

 

syrinx = A panpipe.

 

tamata = Modern Greek for milagro-like offering and other votive offerings.

 

tantivy = 1. A full gallop. 2. The sound from a horn blown during a hunt announcing the sighting and pursuit of a fox.

 

tergiversate = 1. To use evasions or ambiguities; equivocate. 2. To change sides; to defect; apostatize.

 

termagant = A quarrlesome or scolding woman; a shrew.

 

thalossocracy = Supremacy on the seas.<

 

theodicy = A vindication of divine justice in the face of the existence of evil.

 

thew = A well-developed sinew or muscle, i.e., dancer’s calf muscle.

 

thimblerig = Confidence game; con game.

 

theriomorphic = Having the form of a beast.

 

thyrsus = 1. A staff tipped with a pine cone and twined with ivy, represented as carried by Dionysius, Dionysian revelers, or satyr. 2. Botany: A thyrse. [A branched flower cluster, as of the lilac, of which the main axis does not terminate in a flower.]

 

tittup = To move in an affected, lively manner; to prance or caper.

 

tikkun = Hebrew: the repair of the world.

 

tohu bohu = Chaos, jumble, derived from Hebrew (my French dictionary).

 

tourière = The nun who attends to the turning-box of a convent, by means of which communication is kept up with the outside world. Michelet, Satanism and Witchcraft, p. 210.

 

trenchant = Keen, incisive.

 

trepan = A trickster or a trick to ensnare (trepan into slavery).

 

turves = Plural of turf.

 

ugsome = Archaic. Disgusting, loathsome.

 

uproared = Newly minted, meaning noisily excited, tumultuous, in a tizzy, in a dither.

 

uraeus = The figure of the sacred serpent depicted on the headdress of ancient Egyptian rulers and as an emblem of sovereignty.

 

usquebaugh = Literally, the water of life: whiskey.

 

venery = The act, art, or sport of hunting; the chase.

 

veridical = Expressing the truth; accurate.

 

vertiginously = 1. Characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness. 2. Inclined to frequent and often pointless change; inconstant. Synonym = giddy.

 

verve = 1. Special bent, vein, or talent in writing. Now Rare or Obsolete. 2.Intellectual vigor, energy, or ‘go’, especially as manifested in literary productions; great vivacity of ideas and expression. 3. In general use: Energy, vigor, spirit.

 

vinaigrette = 1. A small decorative bottle or container with a perforated top, used for holding an aromatic restorative, such as smelling salts. 2. Vinaigrette sauce.

 

vraisemblance = An appearance of truth; verisimilitude.

 

vulnerary = Adjective. (Rare) Used in the healing or treating of wounds. Noun, a remedy so used.

 

whittawer = One who taws skins into whitleather; in modern dialect, a saddler, harness-maker.

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