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.