Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Ramble - Edge

This week's word has been around since the eleventh century at least, making its way to us through the Middle English egge, the Old English ecg, the Old French aiglent and the Old Germanic ecke, all meaning "corner". It is also related to the Latin acer meaning "sharp", and the Greek akmē meaning "point", and at the root of all these forms is the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) ak- meaning "sharp". Kindred words in the English language include acerbic, acid, acrid, acumen, acupuncture, acute, eager, ester, exacerbate, hammer and selvedge as well as eglantine (or sweetbriar), an old world rose known for its thorns.

A liminal and edgy time is this, for the old Celtic year is passing away, and we stand on the threshold of a brand new year, in the north a chilling contraption of fallen leaves and frozen earth, short days, darkness, frost and and wind.

The eastern Ontario highlands always seem empty at this time of the year and rather lonesom too.  Except for Canada geese, migratory birds have (for the most part) departed for warmer climes. and most of our wild and furry "year round" residents are either hibernating or thinking about hibernating.

On trips into the woods, the long shadows falling across our trail have edges as sharp as the finest examples of the blade smith's craft. The earth under our boots is firm, leaves are crunchy, and puddles along our way are rimed with ice. For all the emptiness, frost and morning sunlight change the Two Hundred Acre Wood into something rich and elegant and inviting: glittering weed fronds artfully curved and waving in the fields, milkweed sculpted into pleasing shapes, bare trees twinkling like stars, the margins of blackberry leaves rosy and sparkling with frost crystals. The air is fragrant with cedar, spruce and pine.

These last weeks of October always seem chthonic to me. That engaging word with its bewildering arrangement of vowels and consonants springs from the Greek khthonios, meaning "of the earth", and it is usually employed in describing subterranean matters and deities of the underworld.  When we use the adjective to describe something, we are focusing on what is deeper or within, rather than that which is apparent at first glance or resting on the surface. Implicit in the adjective are notions of rest, sleep, fertility and rebirth - mortality and abundance coexisting and enfolding each other in a deep embrace.

4 comments:

Barbara Rogers said...

We're sharing a ritual (some women friends) on Sun afternoon, including honoring our ancestors with their pictures, and Hecate on the altar. We will also make shadow lamps inside jars...I don't know the details yet. I'm also combining a bit of Mexican lore and bringing late marigolds for the altar. Who me, subsume another culture? Yep. (That probably isn't the right verb, but it's all that comes to mind.)

Mystic Meandering said...

Interestingly what came to mind in your description of the word was that one of my late grandmother's names was Esther (Ester ?). She was definitely ascerbic and acid; a "rose known for its thorns." :) LOL

May you feel a deep embrace of all that is kind and loving in this world and the underworld...

The Furry Gnome said...

Such beautiful pictures you come up with.

roth phallyka said...

I don't know the details yet. I'm also combining a bit of Mexican lore and bringing late marigolds for the altar.


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