This week's word is radical, and a natural choice for this madcap season when we plant packets of seeds and transplant flats of flowers, herbs and veggies into our gardens - it comes to us through the late Latin rādīcālis meaning having roots, and the Old English wrotan meaning to root, gnaw or dig up, both entities originating in the early Indo-European wrad meaning branch or root.
Synonyms include: fundamental, basic, basal, bottom, cardinal, constitutional, deep-seated, essential, foundational, inherent, innate, intrinsic, meat-and-potatoes, native, natural, organic, original, primal, primary, primitive, profound, thoroughgoing, underlying, vital. They also include pejorative words such as anarchistic, chaotic, excessive, extremist, fanatical, far-out, freethinking, iconoclastic, immoderate, insubordinate, insurgent, insurrectionary, intransigent, lawless, left wing, militant, mutinous, nihilistic, rabid, rebellious, recalcitrant, recusant, refractory, restive, revolutionary, riotous, seditious, severe, sweeping, uncompromising and violent.
We often use the word radical to describe someone who dwells outside the mainstream, who has departed from accepted norms, traditions and social conventions and does their very own thing. The word has been in common use since the sixties, and being called radical may or may not be a compliment. I am always astonished and vastly tickled to think that a word used to connote the rebellious, unconventional,, confrontational and downright peculiar actually means something as lovely and organic and simple as "rooted.
Being radical simply means being connected, and that makes the word one of my favorites. The word signifies (for me anyway) a bone deep connection with everything that matters, the earth under my feet, the sky and the sun and the moon and stars over my head - with timeless notions of rebirth, transformation and non-duality. Roots down, branches up and away we go...