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Articles in Category: All About Words

Depression: the Antidote is in the Name

5 ways to press back

Depression: the Antidote is in the Name

It used to be called melancholy, which means having black bile. If a body fluid is black, that means to say it is stagnant--in the parlance of the previous post, the habit has become a straitjacket.  Melancholy isn't  bittersweet, slightly poetic, verklempt self-indulgence. If your liver's squirting out black bile, or your gallbladder's storing black bile, things are in bad shape.

Depression, though. The solution's suggested in the name. In fact, the name suggests that you're already solving it.


shuffling the prefixes, translating below the surface

  • Anabolic = shooting upward -- and so "building up (muscle, etc.)"
  • Catabolic = shooting downward -- and so "breaking down (food,  muscle, etc.)"
  • Hyperbolic = shooting beyond -- and so "exaggerating."
  • Diabolic = shooting  across -- and so...?

Chiasmus--named after a letter

bolstering the cliche

Chiasmus--named after a letter

We love our cliches and jingles, but there's something really satisfying about words and phrases that step out and step back, are mirror images of themselves--"level"--"radar"--"madam I'm Adam." These are palindromes, which means (in Greek) that they "run backward." In Latin the word would be "retrocourse."

But "it is what it is" isn't quite a palindrome, and so "palindrome" is not the word for this spell.
The word is "chiasmus"--a word named after a letter.

Moment is Movement

moment and my newt

Moment is Movement

Equinox is like twilight: midway point on the way to solstice, or to midday/midnight, point at which momentum has built so the energy is solidly toward more light, more heat, more day (or, in September, more dark, more cold, more night).

If you're paying attention, you can feel the energy change over. But, as I said in the equinox post, it doesn't all happen right in the key moment. Momentum builds to that point and continues for some time afterward.

And so this spell's "word" post is dedicated to moment/momentum.

Word of the Spell: Apprentice

catching hold, holding on

Word of the Spell: Apprentice

It seems appropriate that this spell's word should be


since we're talking about undertaking an herbal apprenticeship, and about apprenticing to the plants. There's a nice parallelism, word-wise, event-wise, life-wise, with my recent initiation into the Sufi order--both are part of my "spell" nexus, and both involve setting aside my own judgments, preconceptions, and stories, and opening my ears and heart to guidance.

The "surrender" piece is so important, but let's take a look at the etymology of "apprentice" and see how there's another side to the story.

Word: Remember, Two Ways

Spell: Part 2

Word: Remember, Two Ways

Since the first part of this spell was about remembrance as a tool for creating boundaries, the spell's word is


*The picture is of Mnemosyne, the ancient world's personification of memory, as portrayed by Rosetti.
This looks like an easy one, doesn't it?

  • Re = "back"/"again"
  • Member = "a part of an organized whole; literally a limb"

And with dis = "apart" and dismember as an apparent opposite, meaning "to break down into constituent parts," we can tell a fine story of how "remember" is a process of putting things back together, taking the separated parts and putting them back together, how all parts of a memory are essential constituents.

It's a great story, and I think it can be a valid story, but it's not the actual etymology of "remember."

Starting to Spell: Forget in order to Remember

and, of course, synchronicity

Starting to Spell: Forget in order to Remember

So! Here goes with the new blog format--three posts per nine-day period:  a mindfulness post, an herb post, and a word post, adding up to a spell. And what's another way to say "nine-day period"?  "Nine-day spell"! Ah, synchronicity.

Synchronicity also underlies today's post. This time, I'm starting off with a mindfulness post, but the order will vary.

I've been having issues around boundaries lately, specifically around persistently acting out a behavior pattern that belongs to someone else, a pattern that crossed my boundaries and I was having trouble expelling. My problem went back to "don't think about monkeys."

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