Friday, December 26, 2014

Halloween Protestants - Le Roi Huguet

On both this blog and my red hair blog I've been discussing the relationship between Halloween and Protestantism. I've basically been making the claim that many of the traditions we associate with Halloween have their roots (either wholly or in-part) in the Protestant movement. For example, I've mentioned the possibility that the Halloween pumpkin may be a totemic symbol of both red hair and Martin Luther.

Anyway, yesterday I came across another little piece of evidence that these two historic strands are entwined. The following passage comes from a book titled Nostradamus: A Life and Myth by a writer named John Hogue;
Now they called a Calvinist a Huguenot. The label came from le roi Huguet,  a character taken from a popular folk tale from Tours. He was the ghost of a wicked king who chose not to pass his nocturnal penance in Purgatory, but instead haunted the night, waylaying lonely travelers on country roads and rattling the shutters and doors of decent people's homes, disturbing their sleep. It so happened that the Calvinists of Tours gathered at night to pray at a city gate known as Roi-Hugon. Priests and parishioners across France reveled in the pun that identified Protestants shuffling off after dark to pray and hobnob with the unrepentant shade of King Huguet. The Huguenots (freely translated as the "followers of Huguet") were soon compared to the mythological ghouls and ghosts who once a year, on All Soul's Day, ventured out from their tombs for a night of unholy Halloween mischief before settling back into their graves.
This is a fascinating little bit of evidence. It stands to reason that what would be used as an insult by Catholic enemies would be worn as a badge of honour by the Protestants it was aimed at (at least secretly, if not openly).

It's interesting to note that the Calvinists were praying at "a city gate known as Roi-Hugon". According to Wiktionary (French Wiktionary :p) Hugon means "man of spirit" and derives from the Old High German word hugu meaning intelligence.

It also makes sense that Protestants would look to a king that "chose not to pass his nocturnal penance in Purgatory", as Protestants rejected the notion of Purgatory.

Were these Protestants worshipping intelligence and human reason?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Meaning of Yule

Merry Vex-mas. Today, quite fittingly, I've been checking out the word Yule. I was thinking that maybe the Y might substitute for J making it another ju-word - as in Jew/Dieu as I've mentioned in posts before, or as in July/Julius as I've likewise mentioned.

Anyway, in literally the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page for Yule we get this line;
The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule).
Almost instantly we come across this strange fact that Germanic folk used to have a mid-winter month named Jéola or Jiuli, as opposed to our mid-summer month July. And we get the J-spelling as well to boot.

Incidentally, in Denmark, Norway and Sweden Yule is also rendered Jul.

Further down on the Wikipedia page we then get this;
Among many others, the long-bearded god Odin bears the names jólfaðr (Old Norse 'Yule father') and jólnir (Old Norse 'the Yule one').
'Yule father' reminds me a little bit of Ju-pater (pater meaning father) - Jupiter. The long-beard reminds me of Father Christmas (: - maybe there was an overlap between all these gods?

If you can call Father Christmas a god that is.

Also, I've mentioned before that Lammas Day, August 1st was known as Gule of August in medieval England and Scotland. Maybe at some point in history Yule was a biannual thing, occurring in both summer and winter, hence the July months in both summer and Germanic winter.

Julius Season.

Incidentally, I was also reading about Mōdraniht - "Mothers'-Night", an event held by pagan Anglo-Saxons on what is now Christmas Eve. Very little is known about it and the main source for it is the historian Bede (who I'm generally sceptical of). Anyway, I was thinking of bringing it back for all the stressed-out-by-Christmas women I know - Vex-mas :p

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Konstellation Konsonants: Part 9 - D

[This will make more sense if you start here; Constellation Consonants Part 1 - hopefully anyway :) ]

Eferythin's startin to sound Dyerman now. I feel like I'm readin and writin Anklo-Sakson. I'm now onto my final konsonant. After this there's dyust twelfe left.

The one I'm remofin this time is kwite klose to my heart - D. D and T sound similar to me, so one is koin to hafe to ko. The reason I feel a personal affinity with this one is that people are forefer tdyastisin me for miksin these two letters up. I'll often say "I'm going t' d' shops" and that sort of think. This'll often result in someone tellin me "...it's the shops", emphasisin the th sound. I think it's maype a konsekwense of my Teesside aksent ...or maype dyust a konsekwense of my dyeneral disrekard for sosial konfention.

Anyway D and T are so kommon in the Enklish lankwadye I kan see remofin one of them pein a real proplem. Drain will pekome train - that's not koin to work. Dear will pekome tear. Efen if they are put into the kontekst of a sentense it's still koin to pe somewhat konfusin. This is where I should propaply throw in the towel and aksept that I'm not koin to ket it lower than thirteen.

It's also koin to play hafok with my CH sound. Much pekame mutj, then mutdy, now it's koin to pe mutty or muddy. As is eferythin else. So I kuess it's kameofer.

It's peen an interestin eksperiment thow. Maype one I'll hafe another krak at later. It's also kot me thinkin that maype I koult kreate a sekret kote or lankwatye paset on this strippet town fersion of Enklish. Maype usin thirteen or so konsonants plus one or more fowels.

Anyway, this is what I entet up with.

1. F
2. H
3. K
4. L
5. M
6. N
7. P
8. R
9. S
10. T
11. W
12. Y

Ant this is what the poem Remember py Christina Rossetti looks like renteret this way;

Rememper me when I am kone away,
kone far away into the silent lant;
When you kan no more holt me py the hant,
Nor I half turn to ko yet turnin stay.
Rememper me when no more tay py tay
You tell me of our future that you plann't:
Only rememper me; you unterstant
It will pe late to kounsel then or pray.
Yet if you shoult forket me for a while
Ant afterwarts rememper, to not kriefe:
For if the tarkness ant korruption leafe
A festitye of the thowts that onse I hat,
petter py far you shoult forket ant smile
Than that you shoult rememper ant pe sat

Konstellation Konsonants: Part 8 - G

I'm now going to attempt to remofe G from the alphapet - sorry Freemasons. This will pe the eighth konsonant I'fe remofed and will leafe me with dyust thirteen.

G to my ears is fery similar to K, only more guttural. In many ways it's a K from the throat. Again, like my last post apout P and B, the similarity only goes so far and the differense is kwite notiseaple, making it something of a klumsy supstitute.

H is also from the throat, so I was wondering if I kould maype use HK as a proksy for G. Howefer, I'm hafing diffikulty sounding those two sounds out with my mouth to make them form a G, so maype that would pe tdyeating a little. It's an option at least though.

Trying out the G = K supstitution we get stuff like; goal pekoming koal, gate pekoming kate, guard pekoming kuard. It doesn't really work too well, put I guess I'm going to hafe to make do.

Open the karden kate.

Kreet the kracious kentlewoman.

In fakt, gentlewoman is usually spoken to sound more like jentlewoman, We write gentle, put we say jentle. We write giant, put we pronounse it jiant. We write genius, put say jenius. And, of kourse, garden in Frentdy is jardin, so there's klearly some krossofer petween G and J there as well.

I'll now hafe to say that G = K or J. Howefer, sinse we skrapped the letter J two posts ago and put in its plase the letters DY we'll hafe to say that G = K or DY.

Gentlewoman now pekomes Dyentlewoman. Giant pekomes Dyiant. Genius pekomes Dyenius.

Kreet the kracious Dyentlewoman.

That at least sounds a little petter.

One final think apout G I should mention is that a lot of the words we use end in ing. Howefer, I think in a lot of kases the G kan dyust pe iknored. We already iknore it kwite a lot anyway - I'm feelin' fine, and so on and so forth. [Eksept the third word in this parakraph, of kourse, whitdy was supposed to pe thing :p maype that's a kase for HK pein used?]

Dyust one more konsonant to ket rid of now.

Konstellation Konsonants Part 9 - D

Konstellation Konsonants: Part 7 - B

I really think I'm starting to hit the wall now. I'fe been rakking my brains thinking of where to go nekst. So mutdy so that I was efen thinking about it when I woke up in the early hours of last light after a nightmare.

I'm kwikly running out of rope and don't hafe many options left so I think I'm going to hafe to get rid of B. This is where we get into the realms of the ridikulous though. B to me sounds fery similar to P. Howefer, they're not similar enough to be anywhere near identikal. Nowhere near as similar as F and V or S and Z.

If you mouth out the letters P and B you'll notise that P is pretty mutdy a B but with a 'push' - the air is pushed out the mouth a bit more. Howefer, a P-word kan sound like a B-word and fise fersa. Plackperry Bie. Burple Bigs. Plue Pirds. I think people would notise the differense though. Plus it looks kwite silly :p

I suppose I kould get rid of either B or P on this logik, but I'll lose B and keep P simply bekause I think P okkurs more frekwently in the English language.

This gets me down to fourteen konsonants now, put it's getting to the point where efen I'm struggling to understand what I'fe written. And I still need two more to reatdy my aim of twelfe. The only two I kan think of at the moment though take us efen further into the madness :(

It should pe fun though :)

Konstellation Konsonants Part 8 - G

Friday, December 5, 2014

Konstellation Konsonants: Part 6 - J

This time I'm going to attempt to remofe J from the alphabet. J is pretty mutj the last konsonant in the English language that doesn't okkur frekwently that I'fe yet to remofe. After that things are going to get really trikky and I'm going to struggle massifely.

In my last post I used J, along with T, as a substitute for the CH sound in the word much - mutj. So remofing it will kause problems here as well. Hopefully things will substitute seamlessly as I re-render eferything.

J is pretty similar to Y. The J in John sounds similar to Y, the J in Johann sounds identikal.

The J in John to my ears sounds a little like D then Y - Dyohn. So I think I'll replase J with DY or simply Y where appropriate.

June kan bekome Dyune, July kan bekome Dyuly, January kan be Dyanuary. Julius Caesar kan bekome Dyulius Saesar and our little lord Jesus kan bekome Dyesus.

How's it going to work for much though. My mutj rendering now bekomes mutdy. Hmm, not kwite right. This is getting hard. I'll hafe to leafe it like that for now though I guess. Maybe I'll get used to it. God knows whitdy letter I'm going to remofe nekst though.

We now stand at:

1. B
2. C = K or S
3. D
4. F
5. G
6. H
7. J = Y or DY
8. K
9. L
10. M
11. N
12. P
13. Q = K
14. R
15. S
16. T
17. V = F
18. W
19. X = S or KS
20. Y
21. Z = S

Or;

1. B
2. D
3. F
4. G
5. H
6. K
7. L
8. M
9. N
10. P
11. R
12. S
13. T
14. W
15. Y

Konstellation Konsonants: Part 5 - Q

I'm going to make things a little easier for myself this time and remofe Q. Q is one of the less frequently used letters in the English language, so hopefully getting rid of it won't be too notiseable.

Q, of kourse, is normally always followed by a U and again, like C, it tends to hafe a K sound. Queue sounds identikal to cue - now both bekome kueue and kue with my stripped down English alphabet.

Queen bekomes Kueen, or maybe Kween. In fakt, that probably makes more sense phonetikally, I'll go with that. Quick bekomes kwik, quiet bekomes kwiet, quack bekomes kwak.

The kwik kween kwietly kwaked.

I'fe now remofed fife. We're down to just siksteen konsonants now. It's going to be fery trikky getting mush lower though.

In fakt, I'fe hit a snag in that last sentense with my attempts to render the word much. In part 3 I stated that C kould be substituted for either a K or an S. Howefer, when it komes to the Ch sound in the word much neither letter seems to kwite (:p) work.

To my ears Ch has more of a T sound. Maybe T + J in fakt. Tj, mutj - does that work? For the time being I'll go with that.

It's going to be fery trikky getting mutj lower though.

Konstellation Konsonants Part 6 - J

Constellation Consonants: Part 4 - C

The nekst consonant I think I'll remofe is C. It makes sense to remofe C as normally a hard C sounds identical to a K and a soft C sounds much like an S. The problem is C is a bit more common than the other letters I'fe gotten rid of so far (X, V, and Z), so things are going to start to look a little crasy :p I'll efen hafe to start spelling consonant differently.

So cat becomes kat, much like kitten. Cradle becomes kradle - the kats in the kradle and the silfer spoon.

Cease and Cede bekome Sease and Sede respektifely. Things are starting to look quite weird now, but the sounds of the spoken English language still seem to be adequately represented by the remaining konsonants. We're now down to sefenteen.

1. B
2. C = K or S
3. D
4. F
5. G
6. H
7. J
8. K
9. L
10. M
11. N
12. P
13. Q
14. R
15. S
16. T
17. V = F
18. W
19. X = S or KS
20. Y
21. Z = S

Konstellation Konsonants Part 5 - Q

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Constellation Consonants: Part 3 - V

In my last post I aksed X from the English alphabet. I've had a think about what to akse nekst and have decided to remove V.

V to my ears sounds almost identical to F. Take leaf and leaves for eksample. Or life and lives. So I think it can go. Plus V looks a bit too similar to U for my liking. Get it out of here.

Now I'fe remofed three consonants - X, Z and V. We're down from twenty-one to eighteen and I seem to be managing okay. The spell checker's getting a bit stressed out though. My aim was to get down to twelfe. Just siks more needed.

Constellation Consonants Part 4 - C

Constellation Consonants: Part 2 - X

In my last post I got rid of Z from the English alphabet in my quest to create an alphabet than can adequately notate the spoken English language with as few consonants as possible. Ideally only twelve.

This post I'm removing X, another letter that hopefully we wont miss too much. X normally stands for an S/Z sound as in xylophone, or a K type sound as in extra. In fact, the K sound is probably more a KS sound. Eks marks the spot. So extra could be rendered ekstra, which sounds eksactly the same.

Xylophone could become sylophone. Zylophone would maybe work slightly better, but since we've decided that S and Z are essentially the same sound we'll have to make do.

We've now stripped the English alphabet from twenty-one to nineteen consonants and things seem okay. It might be a little tougher to decide what's nekst though.

1. B
2. C
3. D
4. F
5. G
6. H
7. J
8. K
9. L
10. M
11. N
12. P
13. Q
14. R
15. S
16. T
17. V
18. W
19. X = S or KS
20. 19. Y
21. Z = S

Minus the five vowels of course; A, E, I, O, U.

Constellation Consonants Part 3 - V

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Constellation Consonants: Part 1 - Z

Not too long ago I read Joscelyn Godwin's The Mystery of the Seven Vowels. A fascinating book, highly recommended for anyone interested in language and/or music. The theme harks back to the seven sacred vowels in the ancient Greek language, these vowels corresponded to the seven planets/gods of their ancient cosmo-theology.

Anyway, at the time I was thinking a lot about the relationship between the numbers seven and twelve in all things ancient. Seven days of the week, twelve months of the year. Seven travelling planets in the sky, twelve constellations. Of course, these correlate - the days of the week named for their respective gods, the months in loose correlation with the signs of the zodiac.

There's also seven notes in a musical key, and these in turn are plucked from the twelve notes of the western musical scale. Again this correlates with the Music of the Spheres and the planetary movements.

[As a side note, I also wondered if maybe the birth chart in astrology was essentially the location of the seven planets in relation to the twelve constellations; i.e. that the twelve constellations were the twelve notes and that the planets' positions would essentially pick seven notes by their location. If Mars was in Libra at your birth and Libra represented, say an 'A', then an 'A' would be one of your notes. If you have seven notes that fit harmoniously in a key then that bodes well. If your seven notes are discordant and all over the place then bad luck.]

Anyway, on reading about the seven sacred vowels I started wondering if there were twelve corresponding sacred consonants. I looked and couldn't find anything on-line suggesting this, but I thought I'd try it out. In English we have twenty-one consonants. Can they be stripped back to an essential twelve? How many consonants are needed for a functioning English language?

I've been wondering about this. So for an experiment I'm going to try removing some to see what happens. Maybe I'll remove one a post? Let's see how many posts I can get through.

I'll start with an easy one: Z

I think we can get by without Z - it's just a fancy S really, Fizz can become Fiss. Zebra can be Sebra.

I should point out at this point that it helps to actually mouth the words out as well. Zebra and Sebra might not look the same on paper, but they certainly sound more or less the same, and that's what counts :) We won't miss Z once we get used to not having it.

..so go out, cross the sebra crossing, and buy a fissy drink ...but wrap up warm 'cos it's freesing out there.

Constellation Consonants Part 2 - X