11 September 2009


no, i haven't gone all woo-woo new age on you. it's just that by coincidence, a couple of facebook friends have adopted user names from their respective cultural legends. a woman of irish ancestry likes the name pookah, a figure in celtic myth who is a shape-shifter, capable of assuming dark and terrifying forms, but who does no real harm to those it encounters. a greek woman uses paramuthenia, a similar mythic faerie. (notice i'm not using the current spelling "fairy", to provide disambiguation from perjorative anti-gay slang, and also to lend an air of antiquity to the discussion.)

i've been fascinated with cultural mythology ever since my two years spent in high school latin class. we studied classical greek, roman and norse myths, relying heavily on edith hamilton's landmark text. it was both fun and informative, since those myths underlie cultural references that survive in modern english. and since the latin language is the basis for all the romance languages (italian, spanish, french) and much of english besides, that linguistic foundation has been most helpful to me over the years.

so thank you, mrs. o'brien, and here's to all you shape-shifters out there........

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