AN ASTROLOGICAL WORD NERD

May 23, 20165 Comments

“Connecting the seen with the unseen,” by Deborah Smith Parker

Pluto's rootsAstrology is deeply rooted in the history of all human cultures. These roots are often hidden in everyday language. To recognize them you must be prepared for the hunt. Most Americans are not.

Our schools do not require proficiency in one or two additional languages as European schools do and only give a token nod to learning Latin or Greek, the languages which spawned a great deal of the English language. The xenophobia (Greek roots: “xeno” = foreigners or strangers and “phobia” = fear or hatred) currently gaining momentum does not indicate a reversal of this trend any time soon.

I’m a word nerd from a family of word nerds; both parents were lovers of the classics and languages that predate ours. I was born to the challenge, trained for the hunt.

I don’t think there were many other 8-year-olds who could define etymology which, for the record, is the study of tracing word origins back through their trails from various cultures and languages, recording ways in which their meanings are expressed throughout history.

Following is a small sampling of words we use in ordinary conversational English (Mongrel language that it is) that have their origins in astrology to which many of you might say on reading them, “Oh, right! I see that.” Others not so much.

I’m going to conclude this post with a word—a seemingly simple word—the definition for which I found to be a mind blower, so stay tuned. Here goes:

Chronological: It’s a time line, stemming from the Greek god Cronus, god of time. We know him better as Saturn, his Latin name. He is still evident, prominent in fact, every New Year as the bearded old man carrying a scythe, often holding an hour glass with sands running out. As the New Year begins he is magically transformed into a baby as the annual cycle of death and rebirth starts all over.
“Many Happy Returns” for birthday greetings. The “return” in this case is what astrologers call the Solar Return which we all experience on our birthdays when the Sun again returns to the position it was in when we were born.
Consider: (Origin Latin) con- = with, -sider, from sidereal (pronounced si-der-e-al, not side-real) literal meaning: to be with the stars.
Disaster: (Origin Greek) dis- = against; -aster = star. (Obviously not planned under “consideration.”)
Venereal: (Origin Latin—Venus) Refers to feminine sexual organs, sexual desire and pleasure, with more modern sexist taint in its associations with venereal disease, now more commonly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STD). There is no “Martian” STD equivalent in spite of the fact that that both Venus and Mars were randy lovers who bedded who pleased them and whose love affair with each other, and anyone else, was outside the bonds of marriage—anyone’s marriage.

Like many of us who are Baby Boomers and grew up east of the Mississippi River, I took Latin in high school. That really gives you a “leg up” (horsey reference) on language. I loved being able to dissect a word’s meaning using what I’d learned in Latin or what I’d absorbed by osmosis from Greek. My parents were great at helping with this.

However, decoding the hidden astrological and even spiritual references in the English language can sometimes require more digging than just having knowledge of Greek or Latin. I found that out when my study of the mystical Qabalah required me to identify more arcane sources to discover what the word “influence” really means.

Probably most of us could do a surface etymological analysis of “influence” and come up, as I did initially, with “flowing in.” That wasn’t enough. My Dictionary Merriam Websterstudies required something more, specifically what was flowing from where to what?

This hunt went on for some time. I searched arcane texts and Strong’s Concordance. Then my husband gave me as fine a dictionary as I could use and still lift. It was Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition. And there I struck gold, frankly, without expecting to.

I looked up “influence.” I read it. I read it again. Then I stared into space and simply said, “Wow.” I kept repeating it. My husband and I shared a home office and he was seated in there with me at the time.

“What?” he asked. I read the definitions to him. “Wow!” he said.

Here’s what we were wowing about–the first three definitions of “influence:”
• 1a: an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
• 1b: an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
• 2: an emanation of spiritual or moral force.

In my next post I’m going to follow this thread into my long-time research on dogs and astrology and begin my challenge, as I have been suspecting for some time, to the first definition’s inference that influence is restricted to humans. Comments?

Look for my next post, “Stargazing with your dogs.”

Deborah Smith Parker is the author of “Humanus Astrologicus” (2010) and “The Horse that Haunts My Heart” (2014) both available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. To sign up to receive her blog or follow her on Twitter (@astro_logicus) and Facebook click to the right of this post.

About author:

Deborah Smith Parker is re-writing the often impenetrable language of astrology into a much friendlier form. She has spent her 30 plus years as an astrological consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer freeing the rich astrological images and their descriptions increasingly buried under modern clinical and technological descriptions. Her additional work in public policy has provided many outlets for demonstrating her ability to break down highly complex systems into information that’s easily understood.

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5 Responses to “AN ASTROLOGICAL WORD NERD”

  1. Inez says:

    Influence – wow! Gives new understanding to “The Intelligence of the House of Influence. – Key 7, Cancer. Wow!

  2. Beth says:

    Etymology is one of my great loves. Thanks for tying it together with one of my other great loves — astrology. Great post. And yes, the influence deal is a WOW.

  3. Della says:

    Most interesting! No surprises though since the stars were a guiding force to ancient civilizations. Thank you for the information.

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