Words of the Day: America, Angel, Apollo

My old blog, the Word of the Day, is defunct, and I’m getting ready to take it down. Before I do, though, I’m going to repost some of the best words here over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

America

dreammasterIn the English-speaking world, America almost always refers only to the United States, even though technically it could refer to North and South America together. The usual etymological story is that America comes from Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian navigator who voyaged to the Americas shortly after Columbus and claimed to have discovered them. His name appeared Latinized as America in a geographical treatise published around that time, and the name stuck. To be fair, Vespucci was the first to claim that the Americas were separate continents, and he was the first to refer to them as Mundus Novus, the New World. Why the cartographer rejected the name Vespucia is unknown, but personally I think we can all be grateful to him for choosing America.

The name Amerigo, by the way, is Italian, but ultimately derived from Gothic Almarich, “work-ruler” (compare German reich, “kingdom”), and is cognate with the English names Emmerich and Emery. Thus America is not originally Latin or Italian, but Germanic.

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The Bear: Downloadable Guided Meditation for Security, Abundance, and Rebirth

While vacationing in Acadia, Maine, I recently found myself strongly drawn to carvings and pictures of bears in the shops and on signs and so forth. And once, while hiking, I thought I heard a bear (they have a distinctive shuffle). I meditated on this, and began to remember the many times in my life when I had dreamed of bears, or encountered them while hiking. And when I did a visualization meditation in which I invited the bear to meet with me, it helped tremendously to resolve some issues with protection and financial security.

ire28The Bear is known the world over as a symbol of protection, self-sufficiency, rebirth, the sun, and the abundance of the earth. During the winter, the mother bear retreats into hibernation, and at that time she gives birth to her cubs; little wonder that she is associated with the sun. She makes her dwelling in the Earth, and therefore has a special knowledge and intimacy with it. Tales the world over speak of bears turning into humans and vice versa: the whole Korean nation, for example, is supposed to have descended from a she-bear who made herself human by eating 21 cloves of garlic and retreating into a cave for a month. The bear is associated with protection not just because of her size and power, but because of her well-known fierceness when guarding her children — a necessary fierceness, because a father bear will sometimes kill his own cubs if their mother does not protect them.

I created this meditation based on my own recent experiences. In it, I guide you through a visualization of a landscape of forested mountains, rushing streams, and brilliant starry nights: the natural home of the bear.

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Sarah Palin: A Reading

Today I found myself inspired to do a name analysis reading, and since Sarah Palin and her political influence have been on my mind recently, I decided to inflict her with one.

druidzodiacSarah, the name which represents her spiritual guidance in the social world, is a Biblical name, and one of the oldest: the name of Abraham’s wife. Actually Sarah’s original name, according to Genesis, was Sarai, which probably meant “contentious”. Some theologians think it unlikely that Sarai was a native Hebrew name — after all, who would deliberately name their daughter “contentious”? They think it more likely that Sarai was not a Hebrew woman, and the name Sarai wasn’t Hebrew, and meant something else; it just sounded like a Hebrew word meaning “contentious”. However, given the misogynistic nature of many ancient societies, I personally wouldn’t be surprised if it really were her name.

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