When a Typo Becomes a Word

Several people I know like to play with words. Mostly, I prefer to play Hunt The Word, looking for exactly the right word with all the right nuances. But sometimes it seems like there isn’t one in English — or at least it isn’t readily to be found in dictionaries or in the thesaurus. And sometimes there are typos that look like a word, but aren’t in the dictionary. In the space between these two frustrations, new words may be born.

I’m writing a book. Some of the people in the book are part human, part faery. After months of trying to think of a name for this sort-of-species, a typo burst on the scene and it was sounded right. In an instant message, someone typoed “humna” instead of “human”. It was just right — almost human, but not quite. So I began using the word in my story.

Then I had a thought. What if “humna” already was a word, perhaps commonly used in another language? And what if it meant something entirely inappropriate? Scary idea! So, of course, I googled “humna”. At first, I didn’t find much useful, but then in the Urban Dictionary I came across this:   (n.) A person who is extremely annoying but lovable as well. Usually Humnas are very unique and odd. They tend to have large eyes and crazy laughs. Humna’s are far from normal and aren’t always well liked. It takes a special type of person to understand a Humna, but in the end they make for good company. A Humna is very entertaining and once you get to know a Humna you can’t help but to fall in love.

Unfortunately, they didn’t give the source of the word, but it will do just fine.

I blame the characterization of “extremely annoying” on the general human tendency to be irritated by anything they don’t understand. And “wild laughter” would have been more appropriate than “crazy laugh” — but it’s all a matter of personal perception of and reaction to the fae.

Wouldn’t it be funny if my book became popular and “humna” eventually crept into the language as a half human/half faery? Or at least, half-faerylike?

Here is a photo of one of our humnas — Marzipan’s Herself, Ceilear. I am undecided about the ears. Should they be human ears or… ? I have sort of caracal ears in mind for everyone, both humna and the chat sith dos, with tufts like caracal ears do have. (You can google many excellent photos of caracal and their marvelous ears.) The ears in the photo still need a lot of work. The chat sith dos will have the best caracal ears I can manage, but what do you think about the humna? Yea or nay?

 Ceilear

Winter Solstice

This is an excerpt from Marzipan’s Adventures, a series of books currently being written about some chat sith dos (tufted faery cats) who live on a world halfway between the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and Tir n’an Og of Faery. This is close to the end of the second book. (No, the first one isn’t finished yet, but these things do happen when you’re doing things with either cats or faeries, and this is about both.) You may wish to know that A’ Ghrian is The Sun in English, and here it means more than just a ball of fire in the sky — it is also the spirit of the sun, a divine being. I plan to add at least one photo to this after the initial posting so check back later for the picture. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the story, written during the most recent solstice, step by step.

by Jessica & Marzipan Macbeth

Solstice Eve

Solstice evening came early, the longest night of the year. It was cold — colder than Marzipan could ever remember. All of the villagers, all of the people from Hill House, all of the wild chattan sith dos, the cattle, the goats, even the chickens, the wild creatures, and birds — all of them stood silently on the western shore and watched A’ Ghrian falling toward the sea.

As the sun just touched the sea, Riona’s rich voice lifted in slow song — a threnody of sorrow, of deep sadness, of grief and desolation. The light, the warmth of the world was dying. Dairri’s tenor voice joined Riona’s, and soon the silver bell of Aislynn’s voice soared above them both, ringing with Ceilear’s clear soprano. Bram’s bass tones were so deep that Marzipan felt as if it vibrated in her bones. One by one, all of the others joined in, even the animals and the birds, and their voices echoed off the hills. Only Mama Isa and Gran’ma Cait were silent — but their tears were their own songs.

Marzipan felt as if something within her was breaking. She held out her arms to A’ Ghrian as she had done every morning of the year past, but this time was not to help him up, but to gently ease his going. She too sang softly, her small voice breaking, almost unheard in the many-voiced threnody, the song of farewell, of morning.  She sang of all their mornings together, of how his warmth touched her and helped her grow strong, of how generous he was with all his blessings and warmth and light through the year, of how he illumined mind and spirit as well as the world. She sang about the plants in her little garden, who loved him as she did. She sang gratitude and love that pulled at her heart as A’ Ghrian disappeared into the sea for the last time.

He would not return.

The song changed, became A’ Ghrian’s coronach, proclaiming his death, and gradually his requiem — remembering him, remembering the glory he brought in the spring, remembering the richness and abundance of summer, remembering the melancholy beauty of autumn, and the dying of the year… and now his death in the cold sea.

As the shadows deepened into night, all of the folk turned and walked with darkened eyes as the cold stars came out above them, hard and bright. They walked south, then up and across Two Bridges Road, and up the snow-covered Green Road, still singing the slow, heavy song of grief and memory. It was a long, sad walk and some of the smaller creatures needed to be carried part of the way. Sometimes one voice would ring plangently over the rest, poignant and filled with pain, and other times all would harmonize together, swelling and soaring and fading… but never quite silent.

When they reached the top of the tor, still softly singing, the Lady Riona and Lord Dairri paused at the entrance to the old stone circle, more ancient than the world itself. They stood to each side and waited until Gran’ma stepped through and went to the altar stone. She turned and lifted her hands in welcome to everyone. Next Riona and Dairri entered and they also bade welcome to the rest. In ones or twos the others followed and then they all sat on the frosty grass, except for Gran’ma who turned back to the altar fire. There wasn’t quite room for everyone in the small stone circle and some of the wilder creatures were shy about being so close to others. They huddled together just outside and looked in. Marzipan could see the light of the altar fire flickering in their eyes between the stones, and she could see the same light on Gran’ma’s face and in that glow saw how Gran’ma sometimes looked incredibly old and other times very young — and all of the ages in between.

The song continued, sometimes in one voice, sometimes in several, almost like a conversation, the stories and the memories of the year. Marzipan knew the song in her own heart and how it blended with the rest. She wanted to sit in Herself’s lap, cuddled close, but at the same time she knew this was a time for being alone and lonely in the darkest, coldest night, so she pulled her shawl around her and fluffed her fur underneath it. She was still cold — there was an inner coldness as well as an outer one that she felt as she murmured her song of farewell to her beloved friend, A’ Ghrian, who had warmly blessed her every morning, every day for most of her life.

Just before midnight, the song slowly died. The fire on the altar, which had been flickering lower and lower, went out in a puff of smoke. The wind’s whisper among the trees hushed. For a timeless moment Marzipan felt as if her heart had stopped. Stonemother’s little world was wrapped in deep silence. It seemed like a long forever time in the nadir of the night.

It might have been silent forever had there been no one there to open their hearts, but out of the darkness, Riona’s voice rose again — softly, gently, and this time in a hesitant hymn of hope. Dairri’s voice joined hers, interwoven in counterpoint, voices entwined, rising up to the scintillating stars. Other voices rang in, and it was as if the voices were dancing. The swirl and whirl of the interwoven songs, all coming out of the deep darkness, enchanted Marzipan, both made her breathless and brought her more deeply into the song. Every one sang their own hopes and dreams and wishes, no two the same, and yet they were heart and soul in harmony.

Marzipan hummed in her own purr, thinking of her own dreams. Obviously, she wished all of them joy and her own self as well. Good health to the people and the land, gladness and prosperity to all… but anyone would wish that. What did she wish? What path did she want to walk? What did she want to become?

She didn’t know. Marzipan had reached that strange age where no one quite knows what you’re going to do next, least of all yourself, and at that moment she didn’t know what she wanted, didn’t know what to do. She finally realized that going in circles in her mind wouldn’t get her anywhere, and remembering her lessons, she let her mind grow still and sink deeper and deeper into the song.

Solstice Morn

For just that deeply still moment she could hear the Oran Mor, the Great Song of Stonemother, of the stars, of everything that is — and she remembered. She remembered promising Stonemother that she would try to be the very best she could be — she might not yet know just how or what particular thing that might be, but she knew that was it  — to find the path to her very best. And for that, she would need help — the blessing of A’ Ghrian, of Stonemother, of all of the beings around her — the songs of all of them were a part of her song — and her song a part of theirs. She could feel that wish, that profound desire within her, trying to burst out in a joyous carol, to soar up to the stars and delve deep into the heart of the world. She felt as if something were swelling within her, as if she were a small balloon about to explode.

She stood up, quivering, and far too full to speak. Suddenly she leapt upon the altar where she danced the song she felt. There were no words — just her dance, and as she danced, the fire on the altar re-kindled in a burst of light. She danced in the light, like a living flame. She danced to the song the others sang, and the dance itself was her own heartsong. It felt like she danced forever.

The sky began to faintly lighten in the east, over the sea. She could feel the small presence of the new A’ Ghrian becoming stronger, becoming closer, becoming Himself, the blessing of light and warmth and growth.

Father Eagle soared over them, shouting, “He is coming! Now! He comes!

Somehow, instinctively and without thinking about how she was doing it, Marzipan wove all of the heartsongs together in her dance and entwined them with the light of the altar fire, which was the heartsong of Stonemother, and with the gentle glow in the east. Placing her feet firmly on the altar and stretching out her arms, she lifted A’ Ghrian above the horizon. It was the èirigh na grèine, the rising on the sun. He was born. He lived. He illumined Stonemother’s small world.

And Marzipan held him in her paws as she would hold a babe, a kitten, cherishing him, his tiny and fragile and newborn self.

She could feel her friends beside and behind her. She felt their eyes glowing with the new light within them, and all of them had reached as she did, lifting, holding, loving the baby A’ Ghrian — and all of them were filled with his joyous light. The song rose to a crescendo and ended on a single heartbeat — and yet it went on echoing in the hills, between the trees. Marzipan knew that it would echo there all year, shaping the dance of life in the isles.

Gran’ma stretched out her arms and Marzipan jumped into them, and threw her arms around Gran’ma’s neck and hugged her as close as she could. Riona touched her gently, and Marzipan turned and hugged her. Mama Isa watched, smiling through her drying tears, and Marzipan went into her arms and was gently hugged, then handed on to Ceilear, her very own Herself, and she nestled into her arms — safely home, secure, and almost thinking about breakfast.

Solstice Day

Slowly, smiling, each one left the circle, Dairri and Riona first through the gate, where they stopped on each side, blessing each of their folk as they came out. New sun, new day, new year, new life. Gram’ma Cait was the last out, Mama Isa holding her arm, lending strength. It was a long walk home, north on the white snow of the Green Road, westerly down to the bridge and across to the village. Marzipan got to walk part of the way with Aislynn, who was back from visiting Old Earth, and her chat sith dos, Megan, who was new to the isles. She had heard that they would be home and this would be Megan’s first Solstice on the isles.

Megan seemed a little bewildered — she had never seen so many of her people before. Most of the chattan had gone home from the tor to their own places, but Marzipan introduced her to Jake and Granny Catriona who both welcomed her, but Megan seemed very shy and hid her face in Aislynn’s skirts as she mumbled “hello”. Marzipan tried to be friendly, and was sorry when Dairri and Riona turned off for the Hill House and took Aislynn and Megan with them. She had a lot of questions about Old Earth that she would like to ask Megan. But that was all right — she’d see her later at the feast. Aislynn and Megan had come home and would be here all winter.

As they went through the village, all of the purrsons stopped at their own places except Mama Isa and Papa Davie, who had their vardo just beyond Ceilear and Marzipan’s house. They were going to have breakfast together. While Ceilear and Isa lit a new fire in the old kitchen hearth to begin breakfast and Papa Davie lit the fire in the sitting room, Marzipan went outside to visit her garden. Most of the plants were bedded down for the winter in straw, but she lifted up their straw caps so they could see the new sunlight and she told them about the death of the sun and the long night and then the birth of the new sun and the spring and summer that was coming. They seemed excited about the springtime. Then she carefully tucked them back in, and went in to have breakfast and a good nap.

Marzipan knew that later in the afternoon all of the villagers and the wild chattan sith dos and some of the others would gather in the village hall. The chickens and squirrels certainly would come too — they always came to parties for the crumbs and the singing. So did the wild birds — even the owls. The goats liked to come as well, though there were extra-delicious things in the barn for them and the cows and sheep. Goats liked to be in the middle of things.

There would be music and dancing and feasting. There would be presents, handmade gifts to each other. There would be laughter. And over all of it, there would be the warm blessing of the newborn A’ Ghrian. Marzipan thought, “He’s a little baby — he’ll go to sleep early tonight. I must be there to help tuck him in. We’ll all want to go to sleep early tonight!”

The Faery Ninefold Path

You may have heard of the Buddhist Eight-Fold Path, one of the core sets of principles in Buddhism. I first learned of the Eightfold Path many years ago, and more recently I told you about it in my post here, Buddhism on Wings. Today I was sorting through old papers and files looking for things I want to include in the book I’m currently working on (title unknown, but it’s a handbook for Faery Whisperers, an oracle, a path, a guidebook—something like that). I found my copy of the Faeries Ninefold Path, as they gave it to me.

I have to admit that I’ve no recollection of when and where they delivered it. The usual thing is that I sit up in bed during the night or early morning, bleary-eyed and tousle-headed, grab the laptop, and start typing frantically. And when I’m done, I go back to sleep. This is apparently one of those things—undated, titled Jesa’s List, and just bare bones. I’m putting it here because I’m unsure if I want to put it in the book project, but thought I’d wave it around and see if anyone was interested. So here is the Faeries’ Ninefold Path. It doesn’t contradict the Eightfold Path, but it’s not the same either—a different set of guidelines for a life that works from two quite different sources.

  • Maintain expectant gratitude—something good is always about to happen. Something bad may happen as well. Expectant gratitude helps us to notice and see the value in both, and it maintains a harmonious internal environment.
  • Pay attention; be aware—a great deal is always happening. It’s easy to miss the important things (sometimes quite small) if we don’t pay close attention.
  • Note the miracles—they happen often; don’t miss them.
  • Act with integrity—it is essential to inner peace.
  • See what is—observe with clarity and without judgement. Judging clouds the mind.
  • Be kind—compassion is important, of course, but simple kindness and courtesy goes a very long way in creating a world worth living in.
  • Compare carefully—only measure yourself against yourself. What have you learned? How have you grown? How much have you loved? Are you growing?
  • Love generously—risk the heart daily. It gives meaning, purpose, and joy to life. Love flows naturally through an open heart.
  • Be open to adventure—it adds to the texture of life and stretches our definitions of ourselves.

I’ll add a photo to this later if I can find the one I want. 😉

 

Truthiness, Energy, & Faery Economics 103

I just awakened (it’s 4:45 AM, but who cares about that?) with faery economics in my head again. I don’t, as you must realize by now, fully understand them, so the fae keep trying to explain them to me. This is very basic stuff to them, but full of shifting energies and mystery to me.

This morning’s lesson: It’s all about change and the exchange.

I woke up wondering why the fae want me to write the books I’m working on, because it is my perception that they do want that very much. (I won’t argue with anyone about whether that is objectively “true” or not—my perceptions may or may not be thy perceptions, but—like all of us—mine influence what I do. So I’m working hard on the books and they are coming along well—again, my perception 😉 ). As I think/intuit my way through Marzipan’s story, it is changing my energy/thoughts/behavior in a way that the world could change—if enough of us want it to make it so. And the oracle book is the same, but different.

The thing I’m learning right this moment is that the reason the fae have so much difficulty with the “money thing” (see http://www.jesalog.com/?s=economic for my first two posts on this) is because their perception and methods are so different from humans. Instead of messing around with earning money with which to attempt to buy things that may not even be for sale, they look for a connection of desire-energy with matching desire-energy. For instance, if I want to see the world change in a certain way and if they want to see the same changes, it obviously (to them) behooves us to work together. Their idea of “working together” seems to be about facilitating things in a naturally magical way that will help both of us to do what we can toward that change, resulting in a synergistic effect that neither of us may be able to create by ourselves.

Like writing books. Well, I can write them by myself, but that doesn’t get them out to other people. For publication and distribution I need both help and “luck”—cooperation, synchronicity, things coming together in surprising but wonderful ways. Meeting the right people “by accident”, receiving the right help at the right time “by coincidence”. Of course, my part in this is to exercise serendipity—the ability to recognize good things when they happen and to take advantage of them. And to, ahem, actually write down the inspirations in a coherent and (hopefully) engaging form.

In practical terms, from my own side of the experience, this seems to result in many things, both large and small, “working” for me in a fashion that is convenient and verging on the miraculous. “Coincidence” and synchronicity abound.

Even if it turns out that we humans can’t or don’t do our part “successfully” there is still value in what we do—in the energy/action. It adds to the total of that energy/action in our Universe, in non-local consciousness, in the Void-which-is-fullness. If we make the effort, it adds to the force of change—and the fae understand that even when we don’t. It’s the effort that counts more than any illusory “results”. You change the world, even if the human part of the world doesn’t notice.

It’s kind of like the hundredth monkey thing. You know that story, right? The one where there are two islands, both inhabited by monkeys but the monkeys of one island are not in physical contact with each other. On one island, the monkeys figure something out and develop a new behavior. They wash their some of their food before eating it. The new behavior spreads throughout the island, and when the last ( or the hundredth monkey, depending on the version) has learned to wash the food before eating it, there is a sudden jump (I suppose this is where nonlocal consciousness comes in). Suddenly, monkeys on the neighboring island, without physical contact with the first group, begin washing their food before eating.

This story has its problems—like whether or not it is “true” in an objective view of truth as factual information. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundredth_monkey_effect ) However, it has a certain value of “truthiness” for many people. It’s based on something that many feel intuitively is true—that the world can be changed by intangible means—even that behavior can be changed in a widespread group when enough beings adopt the new behavior. It may be objectively true, it may not—we haven’t proved it scientifically either way and we’ve only our internal, intuitive, gut-feeling to go on. It’s about the reality or unreality of nonlocal consciousness, which we’ve talked about before here.

I guess what I’m saying is that it works for me. Does it work for you? (The comments link is at the bottom of the page below the sharing buttons—and your comments would be most welcome!)

Tiaras & Simple Things


The pristine writer’s desk

“When I Was a Queen in My Own Country…”

I woke up with those words in my head a couple of days ago. No dream memories, no context — just those words. And I’ve been puzzling about them ever since.

Quite awhile back, I bought a tiara, a simple, cheap one (but it does sparkle brightly). In fact, I bought three — the first one wasn’t the one I liked best after all, and the third one was for my granddaughter. The idea, which I got from writerly friends that I admire, is to wear it when doing creative writing. Donning the tiara marks off the time and space and acknowledges it (and oneself) as creative, special, magical. This is an excellent idea!

I wore it once.

Then I wove ribbons into it, but it still wasn’t right.

I’m certain that pretty, clean, precise, sparkling tiaras are right for other more princessly and queenly women, but that just isn’t me. I’m realizing that being ill for so long has made me sort of “civilized” — tame or timid or with too much inertia. But I was never meant to be tame; it isn’t in my genes. Sure, “civilized” is okay for a masquerade — can you imagine me nicely dressed, make-up and stylish hair, disguised as a citified business person? I’ve done that, and done it well enough to pass, but it was never me . Such women probably don’t have flyaway hair like dandelion clocks. Or “gardening fingernails”. Or bare feet. Or cat hair all over their velvet skirts. Velvet skirts? Well, yes — silk and velvet are for me. Especially once they get a little worn and have picked up some stains from the flowers and berries and leaves. And glitter is sticking to them in surprising places. You see what I mean?

A tiara is for writing. O yes, definitely for writing, but not just sitting at my desk with the computer. I’ve put a half a picnic table on the back porch with the intention of sometimes writing or doing art work there. Scribbling in a notebook. Messing about with paints. So far, the table is pristine. Unused. No ink spills or paint spatters! Perhaps I should just go out and dribble paint on it and break it in that way? The inertia of illness is a terrible thing.

Now I understand that a different kind of tiara is needed. Most likely it would be made of things that grow in the woods and bits of ribbon and perhaps fragments of faery lace — and, yes, things that sparkle. It wants to have faery faces peering out of it. If I put red sparkly things on it, do you suppose it would attract hummingbirds? Or only mosquitos? I now understand that it must be for much more than writing. Certainly for art. Definitely for gardening as well — grubby hands and radiant crown and dirty knees. Perhaps a tiara could also be for meditating outside where I can smell the flowers and the trees and hear the birds. Or just for sitting there, sipping a tisane. Magic… my magic is in the humble, simple, beautiful things. It’s natural magic — my favorite form of enchantment where the world of the fae intersects with ours.

To be a Queen In My Own Country… This is about being totally oneself, no? And wearing a crown to celebrate this, a crown born from My Own Country? I’d better start gathering the pieces. And I wonder, I just wonder — what kind of a crown or tiara or circlet would you wear to be a King or a Queen in your Own Country?

Foundations of the Universe, Part I: The Faery Version


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about nonlocal consciousness and how it ties in with the Faery version of the creation of the Universe, with what mystics and various magical people (like healers and psychics and all those) experience, and some considerations about consciousness as propounded by neurologists and psychologists. But, as I wrote, it got too long for a blog, so I’m going to give it to you in three parts over the next few days.

This is what the faeries say (not me, this is all their knackerty knotion):

In the beginning there were uncountable bits of faery consciousness floating, undifferentiated, through Space/Time. In fact, that consciousness is what Space/Time is. Just that. Nothing else.

When Time began gathering momentum in it’s spin (because it was conscious and consciousness moves) the bits of faery consciousness began swirling around faster. Bits and bytes bumped into each other. They bounced off each other. Sometimes they came together so gently that they rested against each other and stayed together. O Universe became like a 33+ dimension billiard table with infinitesimal balls of faery consciousness bouncing, rolling, hurtling through Space and Time. Knowing the fae, I’d guess they were all making a sound like, “WHEEEEE!” Lumps of consciousness formed, and the bigger the lumps became, the more consciousness they had.

One of the things that consciousness does is to spontaneously generate concepts and ideas — this is its natural function. Its other natural functions are to store and to play with those concepts. At first, they were fairly simple: bits of consciousness gathered into elementary particles. Humans have named some of them things like quarks (up, down, bottom, top, strange, and charm), leptons (electron, electron neutrino, muon, muon neutrino, tau, tau neutrino), bosons (the photon of electromagnetism, the three W and Z bosons of the weak force, and the eight gluons of the strong force) and others. Many more are hypothesized by humans, including the fabled graviton and, of course, all the realm of antiparticles and dark matter. The ones that human have named correctly so far are Strange, Charm, and Tau, who are all kindly folk.

(It is a natural principle that knowing the proper names of things gives one a certain power over them — not much, but some — so it behooves humans to get better at discovering the real and proper names as quickly as they can.)

From the elementary particles came the ideas of composite particles, and suitable weddings were arranged, forming the composite particles and the elegant atoms, and then — the great triumph of the scintillating dance of molecules! Fast and faster, more conscious concepts were generated — and in a stroke of genius, the transcendent idea of Fire — of expansion, of radiation, of light. Then the newly conceived particles, atoms, and molecules discovered how to dawdle slowly enough to be gases, to become slower still and be liquids, and even to become so ponderous as to be solids. And all of this happened in the sea of faery consciousness for far longer than consciousness had expected.

Balls of fiery faery consciousness grew into stars, which lived and died, leaving behind the idea of ash — dust. The dust gathered to become stone, and stone gathered to become large masses, which gathered the lighter dust like hydrogen and oxygen, nitrogen and other things, from heavy to light, from least radiant to most luminous. There seems to be no end to the possibilities — and all of it is one consciousness, dancing at many levels of awareness — loving, holy, erotic, passionate, and reverential. That is what the fae tell me, and they seem quite pleased about it all — mostly.

(Next in this series is The Foundations of the Universe, II: The Mystic, the Medium, and Weird Things that Happen)

Photo © Copyright 2005 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
Text © Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.