eye of newt

things loom out of the murk and paddling cautiously towards them, we read well the warps and bends of light in the rippling data-flow, we make conscientious use of the incidental lenses that bubble up past us to read the waters well, and we make our approach unerringly. we can retrieve a sense of the past that is evidence-based and credible from the old texts. but we have to admit that current models of pre-renaissance history just aren’t always evidence-based or credible, and learn which bits to keep and which to discard.


crucethur = torture-box???!!!!! wyverne cracks a wobbly.

it is true o earthlings that wyvern(e)s when their danders are up make loud explosive noises and kick up a hell of a stink. with herman’s kind permission as his guest blogger, i now consent to publish this long withheld letter about the a/s text, the peterborough chronicle.

this was written in answer to a series of emails i got from an oxford scholar who thought my writings ‘very intelligent’ and therefore to be silenced.  he said he felt that unintelligent people who might believe what i said needed to be protected by him, in big-brother fashion, from the ‘danger’ of believing me because i make sense, instead of believing the traditional academic stuff which doesn’t.  here’s my reply (careful, it is still sizzling in places), slightly edited for the sake of appropriateness:

okay, you’re alarmed at the things i’m saying and their implications concerning the ‘official’ teachings of the hegemonies you see yourself as representing (if i’ve understood you correctly), and you want to know what the feic i’m doing, and perhaps why, and while the task is daunting – it’s taken me years of dedicated study to arrive at my starting points, so i don’t see how i can get you there from yours in a page or two of terse text – i can isolate single issues and present them to you in the form of questions; and i’ll ask you to respond to them directly and simply without going off your face or clouding the issue in comicalisations.

after all, you’re getting paid to perform this service for the public – the producing of knowledge – and you owe it to us to deliver it in a true and  intelligible form.  my questions have regularly been answered with rudeness, intentional cruelties and puerile vilifications, as a result of which my originally high esteem for academica has plummeted and i scarcely expect to meet with real intelligence there at all.

you yourself got where you are by agreeing wholeheartedly with everything you were taught, or knowing the exact limits within which you must keep your disagreements.  my own education has been interrupted often by a series of ‘nervous breakdowns’ triggered by shock reactions as i discovered to what extent the academics are wrong, and to what extent they expect me to sacrifice my own intellectual integrity for high marks and the goodwill of my professors.  i’m not delusional. the academics are.

consider the following exerpts from the laud (peterborough) chronicle, taken from the passage beginning “me dide cnotted strenges abuton here haeued…” down to “…y aeure it was uuerse y uuerse.”  i found it in david crystal’s the cambridge encyclopedia of the english language, with his “word for word” translation, which seems to be in line with current opinion.

“me  dide  cnotted strenges abuton here hæued and uurythen it ðat it

“one placed knotted cords      about  their  head   and twisted    it that it

gæde  to þe hærnes. hi diden heom in quarterne þar nadres and

entered to the brains. they put  them  in cell where adders and

snakes and pades wæron inne and drapen heom swa.”

snakes and toads   were    in     and killed   them   so.”

my questions and comments are:

  1. why is ‘me’ not ‘i’?  isn’t it more likely to be ‘i’ than ‘one’. if not why not?
  2. according to the lexicon, ‘their’ is not ‘here’ it is ‘heore’ or ‘hiere’.  here is ‘her’. so ‘her’ could be either ‘here’ or ‘their’ allowing for dialect difference.
  3. why is  ‘hæued’ not ‘haved’, on its way to becoming ‘had’?  i know you’ll refer me to the lexicography which shows only that in some text or texts somewhere ‘heafod’ has been translated as ‘head’, but besides being tautological, this doesn’t in this instance convince.  ‘haved’ is as etymologically likely, even if the instances of ‘heafod’ were correctly translated.  furthermore it makes more sense: ‘i had done/contrived knotted strings about here’.
  4. how the feic do you get that ‘hærnes’ means ‘brains’?  every other word so far has been translated into a current english word which it closely resembles.  why suddenly reach for such a bizarre choice of a word here?  the method would not have the desired effect. wire might, but not string. why not ‘harness’?  ‘uurythen it ðat it gæde to þe hærnes’ can then be ‘twisted it to enable it to go onto the harness’.  nets or snares of knotted string, looped into the horse’s harness ready for use.
  5. crystal’s ‘cell’ is a too specific translation of a fairly general word. ‘quarterne’ is ‘quarters’ or ‘corners’ without any difficulty (and i’d just like to mention here that the ‘–ne’ is a plural ending which occurs also in irish as –anna, and is apparently not understood to be that in translations of a/s texts i’ve studied.)  in view of the context that emerges when you stop twisting it into insanity, ‘quarterne’ can be translated best as ‘corners’.  they put them (the nets) in corners.
  6. the adders and snakes and toads were in these quarters where the nets were set up. pad = paddock = toad.
  7. why such a remove from the verb ‘drapen’ as ‘to kill’, when it makes sound sense to translate it into a much nearer modern english word ‘to trap’?

if you can answer each question plainly and calmly, please do, but if you can’t, or choose not to, preferring cutisms and comicalisations instead, don’t expect me to be impressed. (well, now he’d been very rude, explaining by way of apology that he was drunk at the time. he so often was.)

here’s my fairly literal proto-translation:

‘i haved did knotted strings here(abouts) and twisted it that it goed to the harness.  they did them (set them up) in corners where adders and snakes and toads were in, and trapped them so.’

now that’s sound gardening practice, and it clears up a nastily suppurating myth and gives us a glimpse of some real history – history so beautiful it glows.

here’s some more, in fact the very next few lines:

‘sume hi diden in crucethur, ðat is in an ceste þat was scort and nareu and undep, and dide scærpe stanes þerinne and þrengde thær-inne ðat him bræcon alle þe limes.’

the usual translation:

‘some they put into a torture-box, that is, in a chest that was short and narrow and shallow and they put sharp stones therein and pressed the man therein so that they broke all the limbs.’

(now this torture technique is also unlikely:  there are more effective ways of breaking limbs and this method would do all sorts of worse damage to skulls and ribs before it even touched the limbs.  face and belly and other soft body parts would also be much more noticeably damaged too. but close scrutiny shows very obvious ambiguities that are not and should be addressed in this kind of translation.)

my questions and comments:

  1. ‘crucethur’ occurs only this once in the whole of the surviving ‘old english’ literature. it’s only translatable as a torturebox if ‘þe man’ in this sentence is in the accusative case and not nominative. nothing distinguishes the two.  nothing tells us which is denoted by the word order of the sentence.  if it’s nominative, the ‘man’ does the pressing and the ‘crucethur’, which remains an untranslated word denoting an unidentified object or substance,  is pressed.  all other words have been translated by the nearest-sounding english word, so why go wild after this one.  lisping is common, although rarely discussed, but here’s a fine example of it.  –ur is a plural ending.  cruceth is crocus.  they were a major industry worldwide in the past as now, grown for their saffron dyes and as garden ornamentals.  so this important information about how they lived back then is lost to a macabre mistranslation of a key text.
  2. we have no dimensions for the box (ceste)– perhaps it was quite small- smaller than a breadbox. .
  3. limes’ is the object of the verb pressed (þrengde). the meaning of ‘limes’? well, not limbs, limes. that is, loams. loam is tilthy, cloddy garden soil, with good structure. a shallow box, a layer of gravel, crumbled lumps of loam, and crocuses. we’re looking at a propogation ‘flat’, as gardeners would call it, perhaps lined with half an inch of sharp gravel to ensure fast drainage with loam, lumps of (limey) earth, broken up or ‘crumbled’ to a medium tilth and pressed firmly over it to a depth of a couple of inches.  this would be as good a propagator today as it evidently was back then for forcing bulbs in, but still as useless for breaking people’s limbs in as they would have been back then.

so here’s my smoothish translation:

‘some, they put in crocuses, that is, in a box that was short and narrow and not deep, and put sharp stones therein: and pressed therein, (such) that they broke up all the loams/limes/lumps.’

once again, we’re seeing sane, sensible people doing sane, sensible things.

without going into details, here’s the rest of my translation of that excerpt, and when you’ve read it you’ll see why i’m not lusting after qualification in old and/or middle english from any university that flaps in my face the lexicon that lists crucethur as torturebox and hærnes as brains.  and why i haven’t much respect for the qualification when someone else waves it at me as if it means something other than that they’re committed to the back-teeth to entrenched falsehood with an obtuseness whose only virtue is that it keeps them on the right side of the shonky hegemonic pale. thank woden i’m beyond it!

the rest – proto:

‘in many of the castles were loaf and grain, which were rations that (for) two or three men . had to bring enough one.

that (item shown to interviewer and described here, but not named)  was so made, that is fastened to a beam and fixed a sharp iron, about the man’s trod (see oed : a trodden area surrounding a house) and halls (house), that they might not no-way-wards neither sit, nor lie nor sleep, but all that iron barred.  (in other words an iron-spike-tipped picket fence to keep out vagrants).

many dozen, they (the dusen) trapped with hunger. (being hungry, resorted to trapping small game?)

i neither know nor i cannot tell all the wonders nor all the pains (care, painstaking work) that they the workmen did on this land, and that lasted the 19 winters while stephne was king, and after, it was worse and worse. ‘

the whole excerpt in tidy fluent english:

‘i used to do knotted stringwork hereabouts, and twisted it in such a way that it could be attached to the harness. they set them up in corners where there were adders and snakes and toads and so trapped them.

some put in crocuses: that is, in a short, narrow box, not deep; and put sharp stones in them and packed (clods of) loam in such that they broke them (up).

in many of the castles there was bread and grain that were rations: each one was to bring enough for two or three men.

that (un-named thing) was made like that to be fastened to a pole, and set the sharp iron about a man’s house and yard, so that nowhere could anyone get through, not to sit or lie or sleep, but all that iron was withstanding.[i]

many people went trapping if hungry.

i don’t know and can’t tell all the wonder nor all the pains that the workmen took on this land, and that lasted the 19 winters while stephen was king. And after it was worse and worse.’

[i] This item suggests that this is a transcript from an interview, with the interrogator asking about objects that were actually there.

etty moloji on the etymology of ‘etymology’

hallo, thirsters after knowledge! i’m etty Moloji and today’s lecture is about the etymology of the word ‘etymology’. by now most of you have googled it and perhaps you’ve found something like this, which i found here http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=etymology :

etymology (n.) Look up etymology at Dictionary.comlate 14c., ethimolegia “facts of the origin and development of a word,” from Old French et(h)imologie (14c., Modern French étymologie), from Latin etymologia, from Greek etymologia, properly “study of the true sense (of a word),” from etymon “true sense” (neuter of etymos “true, real, actual,” related to eteos “true”) + -logia “study of, a speaking of” (see -logy).

In classical times, of meanings; later, of histories. Latinized by Cicero as veriloquium. As a branch of linguistic science, from 1640s. Related: Etymologicaletymologically.
it’s in basic agreement with most of the others, so we might think of it as pretty well factual, n’est-ce pas?
No, people. it is not even trying. i give it no marks. failed. undo the lot, unpick it, and do it again, this time with a scrupulous regard for academic HONESTY.they’re fibbing. telling whoppers. taking advantage of the carefully maintained ignorance and superstitious awe of the plebs.
let’s carefully deconstruct it, stitch by fibby, pretentious stitch.

  • etymology (n.) Look up etymology at Dictionary.comlate 14c., ethimolegia “facts of the origin and development of a word,”
late 14c here is a subtle one, that’s true, but there are no documents in existence that have the date thirteen somethingty something in the top left-hand corner. the earliest firm dates anyone has are known only from the institution of the gregorian calendar in 1582. some julian dates are prolly accuratish but who knows which ones? certainly not 19th, 20th and 21st century scholars and their consensus is not to be confused with fact.
  • from Old French et(h)imologie (14c., Modern French étymologie,


all they can honestly say is ‘also occurs in/as’ and the same cautions, chickings, re the date.

  • from Latin etymologia


all they can honestly say is ‘similar to Latin…’ no proof exists that any latin text is older than  medieval – only those extant during the renaissance have been preserved and dated by unsubstantiated guesswork to accord with biblical fibbery.(see https://hermannewthermeneutics.com/2010/09/27/on-the-non-antiquity-of-the-inflected-languages/). therefore the idea that any one form in any language comes ‘from’ another is GOING HORRRRRRIBLY BEEEYYYYYOOOOOONNNNNDDDDDDDD THE EVIDENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • from Greek etymologia

again, FROM????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

all they can honestly say is ‘similar to Ancient Greek…’ since no proof exists that any latin text is older than  medieval – only those extant during the renaissance have been preserved and dated by unsubstantiated guesswork to accord with biblical fibbery.(see https://hermannewthermeneutics.com/2010/09/27/on-the-non-antiquity-of-the-inflected-languages/). therefore the idea that any one form in any language comes ‘from’ another is GOING HORRRRRRIBLY BEEEYYYYYOOOOOONNNNNDDDDDDDD THE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and it’s a bit of a fib to call it a fact.)


  • properly “study of the true sense (of a word),”

darlingses, they mean prolly, not properly. use your head. (still it’s what it means now, so they can prolly get away with a few prollies and not look half as shonky as they really are)

  • from etymon “true sense” (neuter of etymos “true, real, actual,” related to eteos “true”) + -logia “study of, a speaking of” (see -logy). 

In classical times, of meanings; later, of histories. Latinized by Cicero as veriloquium. As a branch of linguistic science, from 1640s. Related: Etymologicaletymologically.

Teamhair, Tower, Tara: Towers in the Ancient World.

This article first appeared here: http://www.whiteoakdruids.org/EolasSamhain08.pdf

The word Teamhair occurs in Irish as Tara’s other name, and also in English where it is spelt Tower.

In English the pronunciation of the English form of this word, ‘tower’ varies a lot from person to person. Some pronounce both syllables clearly, others pronounce it as one, not always even prolonged, monosyllable, Tar, or even Tær, Tor or Ter with many not pronouncing the r, so that it becomes simply ‘taa’, ‘te’ or even ‘tae’. There are other pronunciations too, giving it either one or both syllables.

The name of the rune Tiwas or Tiwaz is within the range of possible spellings for some pronunciations of the word now spelt towers. Tiw then is back-formed from it and means the awesome person who wields high authority from a lofty tower. This opens the possibility that Tell, Tall, and the whole array of related syllables may be cognate with the Tiw, Tow-, Teamh- array array. Many English speakers pronounce a final l as a w.

This diversity is not reflected in English spelling. In Irish, the Tar- of Tara is equal to English’s mono-syllabic spoken form, while the Teamhair represents the di- syllabic form. The word seems to have been the same in English and Ireland, with the Irish sense of it focusing not on just any building, but on the Hill of Tara specifically, while in English it can refer to any high building, or even earthwork, but especially specific politically significant towers such as the Tower of London.

This same word occurs world-wide with many different spellings – mostly based upon the monosyllabic form – in compound words and in combination with a range of affixes. It sometimes means ‘tower’ or ‘towers’ and sometimes not, but many occurrences are clearly related.

We see it as anything from place-names (Tours, Tehran, Taranto, Tarq, Tarsus) to the names of gods, (Taranos, Thor, Ishtar, Terpsichore); in fast food (tarts, torte), dog-breeds (terrier ) mineral resources (tar) and sailors incidentally, (Jack Tars), tiaras, turnips, tyrants, the tarot and perhaps also the Chinese Tao, since Taoism was a culture that built towers.

Variants such as Tur-, Tyr-, Ter-, Tor-, Tour-, Teir- are to be found all over the map, in place-names of great antiquity. Check the indexes of atlases, mythologies and histories and search the listings under T in foreign language dictionaries: not all occurrences will refer directly or obliquely to towers, but enough of them will for you to see the emerging vista. There are Thera, Tia-maat, and Ish-Tar, and in Sanskrit, Yudhishthira.

Analysis of place names confirm that the ancient Tower culture, richly described and lovingly preserved in fairy tales, legends and folk-memories of many countries today, really existed and was world-wide. Ancient eastern European Rapunzels probably were reared in towers by formidable witches with magical (medical) gardens in exchange for medicine.

The likes of England’s Alison Gross who lived “…in yon tower, the ugliest witch in the North Country…” probably really did tryst their reluctant lovers into their veritable dark towers, and during that same aevum, a few outlandish countries distant, the old spinster cast her spools, and spell-bound her castle from its highest tower, where the beauteous Aurora lay wrapped up in thorny briar roses for a century, fast asleep.

Many a veritable Childe Harold really did approach that daunting Dark Tower quailing, where ruled Tyrants cruel and benign, or Tartars, or the Tarquins. Glammed-up and perhaps flirtatious ‘tarts’ made cake ‘torte’ and pastries ‘tarts’ in Germany and England), and they wore tiaras, and understood the Tarot, and attended tournaments, and went on tours (travelling from tower to tower), introducing to the locals turquoise, tourmalines, tar, terrines, tureens and turnips – and significantly for reconstructionists, tartan.

As an Irish word Teamhair looks like a plural form of a (hypothetical) singular noun Teamhar. Teamhair would then mean The Towers. And if Tara means Teamhair, it too is a plural form, perhaps of (a hypothetical) Tar. That’s one of the ways English people pronounce ‘tower’ and, so it seems, some of the olden day Irish.

Were all the Tower builders Celtic? It’s difficult to say. It’s not easy to define Celtic in today’s world, and it’s a much more elusive concept in the past. Throughout the world and within its range the word Celtic itself has many forms, both labial (P- Celtic) and non- labial (Q-Celtic), each with many variants.

Then, the meaning has diversified as rapidly and continuously as the form, not stablising until the much more circumscribed array of more or less sharply different languages that we now take for granted started to emerge out of the linguistic melange of indigenous and imported ancient and mediaeval western, middle, northern and eastern Europe and the southern coasts of the Mediterranean.

In the past, that ever-evolving melange of languages reflected a similar cultural melange, with mass marriages of fifty or more couples between cities or even up to five hundred couples between countries helping to stir the mix.

As the data accumulates and the picture emerges, it becomes clear that the Towers were world-wide; and so were the Cells, Kils, or Kells, the polises and churches of the Keltoi, the Celts. Variously known as Sel- Pel- Bel- Hel, Tel- with the vowel very various, plus a full array of suffixes, prefixes etc, variants can be found all over the map.

One of the most interesting is Gel, Gael, or Gaul, which seem to come from Goidh-el, which is variously spelt and related to Cath-al, which has P-forms related to the first two syllables of Parth-olan. These are traces of a truly international culture, incorporating Achilles, Apollo, Pwyll, Pali, Bali and more, extending perhaps into Australia, where names like Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Balladonia, and multitudes of other indigenous place-names occur alongside clear archeological evidence of an ancient Celtic presence.

International also were the Bans, the Danes/Danaans, Mona/Iona/Iuno, Mer, Cathars and Moors, to name but a few. Hybrid names such as tur-ban, Dardanian, Minataur , Kaftan, and similar reveal the cultural interweaving that produced the cultural melange we’re discerning there.

I’m seeing a system of paths, well-travelled mostly but with lonely stretches though green-woods and mirk-woods and over high mountains and across vast plains, penetrating to most parts of the world which was peopled with heroes, tyrants, the all-too-human gods, kings and queens, wizards and dwarfs, archetypes and stereotypes, and the plain men and women of folk-tales. Yes, and elves and fairies too, ancestral to today’s él­eves (French school children), fair ladies, and the Irish fear, a man.

Here and there are mighty towers where political power is held over surrounding lands, to protect or exploit according to the morality of the Tarts or Tyrants up in the Towers. It is possible that words for thunder, such as the Cornish taran and the Irish toirneach are also related to Teamhair, as there is evidence that they used explosives.

In Ireland long ago, no one knows when, in those places where the word had come to be pronounced tír, it underwent a semantic change, such that all the land surrounding the tower and under its control was called a tír. Now the sense of a central tower has been lost and the word tír denotes simply, territory, land or a country.

This is also true in Cornish, where ‘dor’ means ‘ground’, and in Latin, where ‘terra’ means land, earth or ground. But in Cornwall we also find that ternas is still a kingdom, or realm. The -nas is a double plural; the old Goidelic –ne or –na, which is –anna in modern Irish, shorn of its final vowel as in Germanic, and provided with a redundant English pluralising final s.

A similar semantic shift occurs in both Irish and Cornish and also Spanish and many other European words for a bull. In Irish it’s tarbh . The -bh is the remains of an old dative plural ending meaning ‘of’ or ‘with’. In Cornish it’s tarow, with –ow a plural ending. In Latin it’s tauros, torro in Spanish.

It’s easy to imagine why the word for bull would be synonymous for the word for a tower. Under best conditions, the tower is fortified, built very strongly and guarded well, and there are people there to work and maintain order. The surrounding people have a refuge there in war-times, and so their homes are not so strongly fortified.

Their cows, two or three at the most per household, and most often just one, need the services of a bull but once a year. A good virile bull depending on its breed needs to service a good few more cows than one household can keep, and indeed the tamest bull becomes very difficult to manage during rut, even if not frustrated. Keeping one healthy, impassioned bull per family is impossible.

The best solution is for many families to retain just one, and keep him within the thick stone walls of the tower. Each family leads their gentle house cow to him each year in her oestrous. That way he gets his fill of cows, and no one has to take their cow further than the centre of their community for a service.

To maintain best breeding standards and avoid in-breeding, the bull would have been replaced frequently. Every year or so you would have to kill the existing bull while he’s still young enough to be tender and not yet mature enough to be indomitable, and replace him with a carefully selected unrelated young bull from another tower. Imagine the pride of having your own family cow’s bull calf selected for the honour!

All other young bulls, perhaps yearlings, would be slaughtered for meat, while milk cows too would be carefully selected for each new generation. It would make sense to do this killing while the clans are gathered for formal business and in need of feasting and inclined to festivity. This would have been the origin of the idea of a ‘bull feast’, but no idea of divinatory rites is to be found there.

Tara changes to Tarbh by the addition of a suffix. Tur becomes Turk in the same way, with the –k being a form of the Irish –(e)ach, the English –ic, the Cornish –ek, etc. Related words are the old Irish Torc, meaning both a wild boar and a noble, a tower-ic person. They were clearly hunters of wild boar, because the Irish for ‘hunt’ is toireach. How did ancient Turks come to be so far from modern Turkey? Or should I ask, how did modern Turkey come to recede to so far-flung a corner of the range of the ancient Torcs?

Consider the widespread dominion of the Tower culture from antiquity until the Roman take-over. You might see it as a cultural pool which now dries up as its well-springs are destroyed. Isolated remnants still recall their ancient past, and are still named for it. But the original Turks were not middle eastern only, they came from all cultures, all over the world, and were loved and hated and feared according to their deeds. Gallant young Austrians to this day are called ‘young Turks’. Turkish magic is deep and profound.

The x in Latin words sometimes denotes the Greek guttural chi, which is like the Celtic ch. So the -torix in Vercin-ge-TOR-ix is more likely to mean Torc, the Vercin Tower people than any of the current guesses.

Some of these towers must have had all the grimness of the fairytale accounts of them. Words for darkness including English dark, Irish dorcha, Cornish tewl, and taw which means silence. But others cultivated a different image. In Cornwall, tewedh a lisped form of towers is synonymous with stormy weather, indicating that that’s where people went during very bad storms for friendly protection, and may be another reason for the folkloric association with thunder and lightning.

It’s possible to see similarities to the old Taran system of rule and regulation in our modern civil services and systems of government. It’s also possible to see developments in multiculturalism that might allow reconstructionists to experiment intelligently with networks of local administrative centres based on the old tower system.

But even if all we do is gently sift through the right words and the right evidence from other sources, we can help our real past to re-emerge in our history books. Linking in our own thoughts, through our own understanding, to Tara’s name all that rightfully should be logically linked to it can help to restore a vital circulation which once sustained not just the sacred Hill of Tara, but the whole worldwide network of dark, solemn, mysterious, friendly, terrible, enlightened and magical towers that were a part of our ancestors’ lives and our own past lives more than a thousand years ago.

Vyvyan Ogma Wyverne

god and the devil

now what i’m trying to say is that it is very hard when perusing the languages in old texts from the renaissance and earlier, along with later literature and more recently recorded speech such as we find in dictionaries old and current, and place names and personal names and piecing together the whole picture from the scraps historians have inherited from those turbulent times, to not notice or even care when an infinitive has been split, and more relevantly to not notice that when you use your common sense instead of the text book methods, dieu (french for god) is totally and irrevocably a variant of di’el (english for devil). you’d think that would interest the scholars? they don’t burn heretics anymore do they? look also at dyw (cornish for god), deus (latin for god) and a great many other words that don’t have to be listed here in the languages of far western europe. now despite the textbook adherence to arguably fictitious chronology derived from or mocked up to accommodate the bible (whose antiquity is not proved – no evidence sustains claims to its being older than the renaissance) nobody seems to have noticed this. i know funding is short, but…

god = goth

god = godd- = goth. it meant an officialdom – all humans, also known as the cathars. it depended on which dialect you spoke. other variants include caesar, cephas, cad, cassius, caes, gas, geas, caf, guv, sephas, gad, gard, cuss, cuth- and many many more.

i can find no evidence of pre-gregorian belief in god or gods as a supernatural, superhuman being or beings. or devils or dei for that matter. they are all just people.

the greek texts are medieval – greek was a medieval school language, not older. the currently accepted chronologies are fictitious, supporting the bible chronologies which are pure fantasy. the gregorians were superstitious fanatics. history since then has been dominated by pickwickian dotards. naked emperors. billstumpsxhismark has nothing on what they make of the ‘antiquities’ they find.

dieu is jew is diw (cornish, equated with god). tewdar is judah. dieu is diel is devil. diel is dell, dail, deal is a parliament, legal deal or tower. diw is tiw is tiwas is towers. all depends on your dialect.

the devil is not always reviled. some sources portray him as easily duped, swindled and cheated. poor devil. as a culture the dev-dav-duff-dubh people were widespread. they include people from devon, descendents of david, welsh families called davies and the town of deva. not a supernatural baddy, but naive farmers.

dieu is related to theos, meaning thells (a-thel-flaed) or cells, or sels etc, ie, celtic polises. so is zeus. ll is often u in dialects of many languages.

so joe = jew, and what of josephus? dia- diw- jew- + sephas/cephas?

no wonder no one’s ever been game to focus on this bizzare piece of medieval lingustics.

i’m focusing in england, cornwall and ireland and other western european lands, and more and more i think that i’m right to do that. josephus of arimathea is where i’m focussing more and more…

herman newt and the puddle metaphor

we newts understand nothing half so well as puddles. puddles are what remain when ponds evaporate. they are the result of the uneven distribution of mud, which results in little hills and valleys forming. water seeks its own level and fills valleys while leaving hills high and dry. first you have a pond. then as that evaporates you have small islands appearing above the water level. as the water level drops further the islands get bigger, and then several may become connected by an increasingly continuous stretch of highish ground between them. eventually the proportion of water to land does a reverse – first there’s more water than land, then more land than water. soon only very low areas still contain water.

any hermeneut must be exquisitely aware that metaphors are always a calculated shift away from reality and conclusions drawn from studies made through them must be drawn very carefully with this in mind. any lens distorts. a metaphor’s distortions must be carefully observed and accounted for. then and only then, metaphors are very useful lenses. this puddle metaphor can be profitably brought to bear on the geographical distribution of any old or ancient culture. high ground surrounding a puddle and islands within it represent locations that are less easily retained by the culture concerned than that represented by low soggy ground, pools and puddles. pools and puddles represent homelands, colonies and such.

it also applies to our beliefs, derived from texts, archaeological traces and legends and folk traditions, about the geographical distribution of cultures. concerning the ancient past, we have plenty of belief, precious little hard factual data. so we’re necessarily constrained to work with belief. when a belief contributes to the basis of a major conjectural construct, it gets called ‘a hypothesis’. ‘an hypothesis’ if you are american, or if your speech is influenced by american speech.

now i’m thinking of fionn mac cumhaill, the irish legendary hero. it’s usually pronounced mc cool these days. famed for his thumb-sucking to procure hallucinatory experiences upon the basis of which he prophecied, fionn was a warrior. what else he was is immaterial. the fact is he is known in ireland from some rather old texts which are only of real interest to historians, linguists and celtic revivalists, and to hermeneuts and faerie folk too ethereal to see.

not many would dispute though that, once upon a time, at least someone thought it was pronounced mac cumhaill. that’s using irish spelling conventions, but using current english ones, it would have been spelt mc cuwal, and only the irish would have worried about the slenderisation of the final ll. slender or broad, ll is ll to a pom. or an ozzie, and i daresay a yank. (i use these national nick-names with affection in every instance and am amazed to be told that anyone ever used any of them any other way. i’ve only ever heard them used with neutrality or affection, so that’s how i’m continuing to use them.)

but that hasn’t really satisfied, has it? you’d want to know how the u is pronounced, u for uh huh or oo for oops, or both. both are possible in irish as well as english, depending in both languages on which word this particular specimen of an u occurs in and where you live. but does it matter? cah-well or coo-well. or in irish also caw-well.

it could be any of these and because it is in the nature of speech to vary with location, and references to fionn mac cumhaill must have been made by all sorts of people in all sorts of places, all three were probably in use at some time or another in the pre-renaissance and renaissance periods, and a whole lot of other spellings and pronunciations not recorded in writing as well.

one good bet, because it happens so often in so many other words, is that, like the ll, the mh was sometimes slender and sometimes broad; i.e., sometimes a v and sometimes a w. but poms, yanks, ozzies, kiwis and other users of english would notice the v/w difference, while the –ill/ -all difference, which the irish make much of, would elude them.

so someone at least somewhere would have pronounced that surname ‘mc or mac caval or cuval’.

now wise and wonder-working witches have always been at play with the eyes of newts, always including a good handful in their alarmingest cauldrons, and muttering such spells as would mutate a whole oceanful of newts (if newts could live in oceans) with particular reference to their eyes, with the result that newts’ eyes have some seriously admirable abilities not found in the eyes of lesser beings. they can see round corners, through drifts of densely matted twigs, up twisty apertures in banks and through quite meaningful depths of gravelly murk and slimy silt. nobody knows better than an amphibian how to identify and compensate for incidental or regular distortions.

now this here newt espies not just one ‘caval’ here but a whole ‘cavalry’ and dares to set this against several decades of etymological research and rashly opine that caval means horse and that this is so even when you spell it cumhaill, and find it along with sheep, cows and linen sheets in a list of old irish units of currency, and even when you put a mac in front of it and find it storied and gloried as an irish legenedary hero. IT DOESN’T MEAN ‘A FEMALE SLAVE’. it is grossly insulting and culturally and psychologically damaging to the irish and all who associate with them to continue to produce academic text-books and books for the intelligent lay reader in which any such bizarre, horribly unacadademic assertion is made.

and merely noting here (and then dodging to evade hurled rotten fruit, addled eggs and other unspeakabilia from the academics whose dog-gone, ox-dreaming reasoning has brought them to other conclusions) that mac didn’t originally mean son of but something forgotten from which words meaning son (of), worker (with), student (of), soldier (for) etc, are derived. but i believe it orignated as something close to ‘work’ via mutation of the initial sound of a word ancestral to both work and make. both share a common ancestor with fac- the latin stem of words to do with making and doing. add in the vik or viking there, but don’t pick at it now, sandra, or it’ll go off in your face! believe me, it will! just keep it in your heart.

and no, simon, we’re not dealing with PIE yet. we’re not that far back in time by a long shot, and neither is almost anyone, as you soon shall see. it is high time enlightened historical linguists found the medieval patois (pathways) which, in diversifying during medieval times, not later, gave us most of the preserved written (i.e., school) languages, as distinct from the unpreserved, unrecorded local languages of the illiterate and native languages, often despised and forgotten, of medieval school children.  PIE simply cannot be revealed through the analysis of the surviving derivatives of this patois.

i just want to share with you my newt’s-eye view of fionn mac cumhaill’s surname, because i’ve got one or two shocks for you faoi. well, i mean i’ve had one or two shocks faoi. faoi is one of my favourite irish words. it means all sorts of things, but here it means ‘concerning it’.

for now, note the horse theme. caval belongs to that whole array that opens out nicely and means horse or other large herbivorous mammal. i’ll just list them; you’ll know how to imagine their distributions through time and space on a map of the world, stopping when knowledge becomes hypothesis, because the PIE hypotheses can’t be trusted and we have to revise our sense of how language correlated to location in the olden days of elves and withces and cavaliers called fionn mac cumhaill.

here’s a partial list to get you started: caval, cheval, capall, cob, camel, gimel, gavar, chevr(on), capri, gabhair…

for homework, class, i want you to add at least a dozen more to the list, and write, say or just think750-850 words on the implications of this list with reference to the main means of conveyance of the scandinavian god thor, bearing in mind that he was a biggish chap and goats are tough but not that tough, and there were lots of little closely related but divergent cultures merging in marriage and working together exchanging words and modifying ways of using them.

that might get a lot of otherwise useful souls out of their goat carts and into some more appropriate conveyance!!!!!

blessed be, humans!

herman newt.