Before Freud there were folklorists, those who mined our subconscious for the hidden hopes, fears and biases that we’d all rather keep under wraps. As the power and influence of psychiatry and psychology took hold through the 20th century, that of folklore waned. Yet in Ireland its influence has remained remarkably strong, though it is rarely recorded now beyond the limits of the Gaeltacht, and almost never features in the public media except for Raidió na Gaeltachta and occasionally on TG4. The late Diarmuid Ó Muirithe’s long-running column in The Irish Times was an honourable exception.
Fortune has now single-handedly amassed hundreds of hours of video of people recounting the stories, songs, superstitions and beliefs of their communities. One example of his work, My Grandfather Was Taken by the Fairies, is a series of video recordings featuring his mother and other family members relating their interactions with nonhuman entities. It is the matter-of-fact way they describe the impact fairies have had on their lives that is most arresting. There appears to be nothing unusual about the night their grandfather spent hours chasing a fairy in the guise of a rabbit around a field, or how the same fairies took the local shopkeeper hostage and traumatised him to such an extent that he kept the shop door locked from then on, and would only allow customers enter once he was certain they were human.
But as you can see the word was effulgent meaning what? Yes, shining brilliantly. Two words of similar make-up meaning the same thing.
Would refulgent not better embody its original meaning of re- (back) fulgere (to shine), rather than be wasted with meaning effulgent? Refulgent is more of a reflection of brilliance than an actual brilliance of its own. Ef- a variant of ex- (from, out of) fulgere (to shine). Both ending in -ent a variant of -ant (characterized by).
As far as I am concerned, refulgent is henceforth the reflection of brilliance (or a brilliant light) and effulgent is that which shines brilliantly. Note how in the poem by William the Bloody, above, how Drusilla’s beauty shines brilliantly in its own right, it does not act as the mirror to reflect another’s beauty.
The opening verse to the poem by Allen Tate, “An Elegy for Jefferson Davis”, illustrates the proper use of refulgent, I think:
“NO more the white refulgent streets,
Never the dry hollows of the mind
Shall he in fine courtesy walk
Again, for death is not unkind.”
The streets did not shine brightly on their own, they reflected the light of the sun.
I am effulgent as a star among stars, within the company of heaven; I shall strive to be refulgent in my daily life, as it is my most worthwhile duty and joy.
‘This morning we are going to do spelling’ says the school mistress to her kindergarten class, ‘Write down the date at the top of your page, please’.
It is March now. The month when the hares go mad.
Spelling ? It’s an excellent and interesting word. Spell out the words with the correct letters. Properly.
But, surely, you cast a spell, don’t you ? If you are a sorcerer or magician.
Perhaps, once, long ago, the only people who really knew about spells and spelling were the sorcerers, bards and magicians. Everybody else just spoke to one another and never gave it any thought. But to spell out a word, to write it down, that’s a kind of magic, a conjuration. Changing sounds into marks. This mark means this sound.
These marks mean this word. It meant that words could travel further than hearing distance. That was a revolution. Meanings had transcended time and space, they could last for thousands of years and move far from their origin.
That’s what the schoolmistress has to teach to the little children. The art of spelling.
And then they have the power to cast spells on one another, and upon everyone they meet, for the rest of their lives.
You think this is a small and obvious matter. Trivial. But pedantic grammar nazis can wreak havoc with your self-esteem, casting spells that enter into your inner being and modify how you feel. Casting the runes used to be taken very seriously, by all accounts. Now you can simply use your spell check to see if you have mastered the correct order of marks that compile to say, say, ‘extemporaneously’.
Of course, the days have long gone since the time when to be accomplished at casting spells required a long and dedicated apprenticeship in Ogham and Druidry to learn the secrets as to how powerful spells are to be conjured. Long years in the wilderness of mountains and forests, absorbing ethereal enchantments and the language of birds.
Nowadays any reckless twit can go on the internet and learn how to control the very weather itself.
Controlling the weather takes a lot of magic power. Controlling the wind is no exception.
There are usually no negative concequences from casting a spell incorrectly, but you may need to cast the spell several times before any effect can be seen. It is not uncommon for even experienced magic casters to fail at these spells.
More Free Wind Spells
‘concequences’ ?? Get it right, ffs. No wonder your attempts to control the wind fail.
It is ‘conSequences’ ! Wretched foolish amateurs messing with stuff that they don’t understand. No wonder we are all in such an effing mess and the wind blows backwards when you are least expecting it.
early 14c., “read letter by letter, write or say the letters of;” c. 1400, “form words by means of letters,” apparently a French word that merged with or displaced a native Old English one; both are from the same Germanic root, but the French word had evolved a different sense. The native word is Old English spellian “to tell, speak, discourse, talk,” from Proto-Germanic *spellam (source also of Old High German spellon “to tell,” Old Norse spjalla, Gothic spillon “to talk, tell”), from PIE *spel- (2) “to say aloud, recite.”
But the current senses seem to come from Anglo-French espeller, Old French espelir “mean, signify, explain, interpret,” also “spell out letters, pronounce, recite,” from Frankish *spellon “to tell” or some other Germanic source, ultimately identical with the native word.
Related: Spelled; spelling. In early Middle English still “to speak, preach, talk, tell,” hence such expressions as hear spell “hear (something) told or talked about,” spell the wind “talk in vain” (both 15c.). Meaning “form words with proper letters” is from 1580s. Spell out “explain step-by-step” is first recorded 1940, American English. Shakespeare has spell (someone) backwards “reverse the character of, explain in a contrary sense, portray with determined negativity.”
Old English spell “story, saying, tale, history, narrative, fable; discourse, command,” from Proto-Germanic *spellam (see spell (v.1)). Compare Old Saxon spel, Old Norse spjall, Old High German spel, Gothic spill “report, discourse, tale, fable, myth;” German Beispiel “example.” From c. 1200 as “an utterance, something said, a statement, remark;” meaning “set of words with supposed magical or occult powers, incantation, charm” first recorded 1570s; hence any means or cause of enchantment.
The term ‘spell’ is generally used for magical procedures which cause harm, or force people to do something against their will — unlike charms for healing, protection, etc. [“Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore”]
Also in Old English, “doctrine; a sermon; religious instruction or teaching; the gospel; a book of the Bible;” compare gospel.
“work in place of (another),” 1590s, earlier spele, from Old English spelian “to take the place of, be substitute for, represent,” related to gespelia “substitute,” of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to spilian “to play” (see spiel). Related: Spelled; spelling.
1620s, “a turn of work in place of another,” from spell (v.2); compare Old English gespelia “a substitute.” Meaning shifted toward “continuous course of work” (1706), probably via notion of shift work (as at sea) where one man or crew regularly “spelled” another. Hence “continuous stretch” of something (weather, etc.), recorded by 1728. Hence also, via the notion in give a spell (1750) “relieve another by taking a turn of work” came the sense “interval of rest or relaxation” (1845), which took the word to a sense opposite what it had at the start.
‘Which took the word to a sense opposite to what it had at the start’. Isn’t that delightful ? Sums up the whole English language. None of the words really mean what you think they mean, they all have a life of their own, and black becomes white, out of sheer perversity and obfuscation.
In fact, all words are a kind of riddle. Which is another excellent and interesting word. We all know people who speak in riddles. I’m one of them. Simply cannot help it. This crap comes out of my head. What am I supposed to do with it ? Well, I have to tell someone, so I’m telling you. I put a spell on you, and you become obliged to try and make some sense of it. It’s a riddle, see ?
“A word game or joke, comprising a question or statement couched in deliberately puzzling terms, propounded for solving by the hearer/reader using clues embedded within that wording” [Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore], early 13c., from Old English rædels “riddle; counsel; conjecture; imagination; discussion,” common Germanic (Old Frisian riedsal “riddle,” Old Saxon radisli, Middle Dutch raetsel, Dutch raadsel, Old High German radisle, German Rätsel “riddle”).
The first element is from Proto-Germanic *redaz-, from PIE *re-dh-, from PIE *re(1)- “to reason, count” (source also of Old English rædan “to advise, counsel, read, guess;” see read (v.)). The ending is Old English noun suffix -els, the -s of which later was mistaken for a plural affix and stripped off. Meaning “anything which puzzles or perplexes” is from late 14c.
“perforate with many holes,” 1817 (implied in riddled), earlier “sift” (early 13c.), from Middle English ridelle “coarse sieve,” from late Old English hriddel “sieve,” altered by dissimilation from Old English hridder “sieve” (see riddle (n.2)).
“to pose as a riddle,” 1570s, from riddle (n.1). Related: Riddled; riddler; riddling.
“coarse sieve,” mid-14c., alteration of late Old English hriddel, dissimilated from hridder, from Proto-Germanic *hrida- (source also of German Reiter), from PIE root *krei- “to sieve,” and thus related to Latin cribrum “sieve, riddle,” Greek krinein “to separate, distinguish, decide” (see crisis).
All these words are ancient. They have been worn by centuries of usage. Every time that you use one of them, you are scraping away another fraction of its meaning and coating it with a little more grime. Do you realise this ?
There is a colloquialism, that some people have brains like sieves. Meaning that you can tell them anything, with any amount of care, and it just falls straight through the holes. Are you one of those people ?
I mean, if you wish to survive, you need to pay attention to incoming spells. You don’t want to be at the mercy of any old bundle of verbiage that hits your senses, do you. Some spells can be very powerful and change you in all manner of different ways. They may come in disguise. Like, they may appear to be logical, reasonable, even harmless, but once they’ve penetrated into your mind, they might infect your whole life and have unforeseen consequences.
So be on your guard. Your head is a temple, that’s why the sides situated behind each eye are called your temples. People used to know this and take it seriously. Only admit the ideas that are beneficial and benign, don’t get seduced by stuff that’s corrupt and unworthy.
Is this the sort of thing that schoolmistresses tell their children when they teach spelling, these days, in the mornings ? No, sadly, I doubt it.
You are what you eat. And you are also what you read, hear, think, and say. The notion of junk food is easy to understand, it’s harder to sieve out the malign junk from what we are told, and what we think. Good spells and bad spells. Riddles.