Friday, November 7, 2008


Friday, of course, means Frig's day.

The following exerpt is from the wondrously informative and charming little book, "Looking for the Lost Gods of England" by Kathleen Herbert:

" The Germans called her Frija. This is a very ancient name from an Indo-European root, cognate with 'priya', beloved one, in Sanskrit. It is also cognate with the Old English 'frig' or 'frigu', sexual intercourse. In English the idea that there was something essentially vicious about sex, or that it entailed the debasement of women, was not native and was very slow to develop. There is a delightful seventeenth century quotation in the Oxford English Dictionary under the heading 'prick':

"One word alone hath troubled some, because the immodest maid soothing the young man, calls him her Prick... He who cannot away with this, instead of 'my Prick', let him write 'my Sweetheart'." (1671)

The tone of this comment implies that in 1671, folk who objected to using the word prick in translations, as an endearment, were being needlessly squeamish. Possibly that the word for sex had also been the name of a goddess had a longer psychological influence than we realize.
However, in Old English, as well as in Old Saxon, the name of the goddess was also cognate with the word for a high-born lady: 'freo'. This, in turn, is linked with the words freond, friend and 'freondscip', friendship. These were not the rather cool terms that they have become in Modern English. They were used in contexts where we would say 'passion', 'romantic love' or 'devotion'.
So the name of the goddess contained a range of different feelings and behavior in a spectrum from rank lust, through yearning, tenderness, fidelity, to queenly dignity."

And this, that Tacitus says of the early Germans:

"They judge that gods cannot be contained inside walls nor can the greatness of the heavenly ones be represented in the likeness of any human face: they consecrate groves and woodland glades and call by the names of 'gods' that mystery which they only perceive by their sense of reverence."

With all this in mind, I present to you, the east grove of dandyland, as it appeared at sunset on this friday.


Mary Beth said...

My husband, Rico, took me out to dinner tonight. After 20 years, he can just tell when it's time to go out!

Over the second gin and tonic, when we both bagan to feel human again, I told him of the shard with the half face you'd found at Pete's old home place and how you'd created the image that looks so much like the face of a turtle.

We fell into an exchange of myth and poems until we both semi recalled a poem by Lesile Marmon Silko. Leslie is of mixed heritage and grew up in the Laguna Pueblo.

Here is the lovely poem she crafted, deftly weaving all parts of her heritage into one glorious tapestry:

Prayer to the Pacific by Leslie Marmon Silko

I traveled to the ocean


from my southwest land of sandrock
to the moving blue water

Big as the myth of origin.

pale water in the yellow-white light of

sun floating west

to China

where ocean herself was born.

Clouds that blow across the sand are wet.

Squat in the wet sand and speak to the Ocean:

I return to you turquoise the red coral you sent us,

sister spirit of Earth.

Four round stones in my pocket I carry back the ocean

to suck and to taste.

Thirty thousand years ago

Indians came riding across the ocean
carried by giant sea turtles.

Waves were high that day

great sea turtles waded slowly out

from the gray sundown sea.

Grandfather Turtle rolled in the sand four times

and disappeared

swimming into the sun.

And so from that time


as the old people say,

rain clouds drift from the west

gift from the ocean.

Green leaves in the wind
Wet earth on my feet

swallowing raindrops

clear from China.

You are doing much the same work Dan. Please don't stop!

Mary Beth said...

Another one of Leslie Marmon Silko's poems I just have to share with you.

The earth is your mother,
she holds you.
The sky is your father,
he protects you.
Rainbow is your sister,
she loves you.
The winds are your brothers,

they sing to you.
We are together always
We are together always
There never was a time
when this
was not so.

Dan Dutton said...

These are beautiful Mary Beth. I think that I remember reading the 2nd one in an anthology years ago, but maybe, like some wonderful poems, it just gives the immediate impression of being something you already knew.

I visited Laguna once. For a time I went to either Zia or Taos every year for a Corn Dance in August, or one of the Animal Dances in Winter. Taos has a Turtle Dance on New Years morning at dawn. It is one of the most amazing and beautiful rituals imaginable. The dancers emerge from the Kivas, into the icy pre-dawn air, painted with clay like primordial turtles. Somehow the cold helps the dance reenact a feeling that what you're witnessing takes place eternally in a time before, between, and after now, as well as being right before your eyes and ears.

Ah gin ~ MFK Fisher said it was "cold, delicious and utterly poisonous." ~ cheers to you & Rico!