Words. The building blocks of reality. How writers paint and how speakers cast spells. Capable of creating entire worlds, of climbing across millennia to fall into our minds, of making us laugh so hard that tears run down our faces, and, of course, waxing poetic with enough power that we shed tears for an altogether different reason. Without them, we could accomplish nothing. We live in a world made of words.
We didn’t always. Far back in prehistory there was no language, only guttural sounds that eventually formed themselves into such. And if you think on it deeply enough, we will most likely pass into a future that transcends language altogether– if we survive.
While we’re here, however, the sounds we weave together remain one of the most capable vehicles for the creation of artistic beauty. And, as with so many things both artistic and beautiful, many of those sounds are of Greek provenance.
Here are 17 words you may be unfamiliar with that are capable of capturing some of the most vivid, intriguing and undeniable human experiences we are able to share. Enjoy.
Japanese. An Awareness of the universe that triggers an emotional response too deep and powerful for words.
Welsh. A homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that never was. (Merriam Webster)
Greek. A detailed imaginary world created inside one’s mind. This fantasy world may involve humans, animals, and things that exist in reality; or it may also contain entities that are entirely imaginary, alien, and otherworldly. (wikipedia)
Greek. The smell of the earth after it rains.
Sanskrit. A stylized representation of the female genitalia that in Hinduism is a sign of generative power and that symbolizes the goddess Shakti. (Merriam Webster)
Greek. The only true happiness possible for a person. It signifies the state of robust tranquility that derives from eschewing faith in an afterlife, not fearing the gods because they are distant and unconcerned with us, avoiding politics and vexatious people, surrounding oneself with trustworthy and affectionate friends and, most importantly, being an affectionate, virtuous person, worthy of trust. (wikipedia)
Buddhist term. A being made entirely of light. A ‘body of pure luminosity’. (2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck)
Greek. Pronounced “THON-ik”. khthon is one of several words for “earth”; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land (as Gaia or Ge does) or the land as territory (as khora (χώρα) does. It evokes at once abundance and the grave. (wikipedia)
Greek. A manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been either scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused, for another document. (wikipedia)
Greek. The transitional state from wakefulness to sleep: the hypnagogic state of consciousness, during the onset of sleep. In opposition, hypnopompia denotes the onset of wakefulness. (wikipedia)
Related: Hypnagogic hallucinations– the tetris effect, visual and auditory hallucinations, sleep paralysis, hypnic jerks, etc. Also related to creative insight, many famous people including August Kekule, Beethoven, Tesla, Newton, Dali, Blake, Jung, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and more claiming benefits.
Greek. Pronounced oh-NIGH-ruh-mancy. Divination through dreams, The practice of predicting the future through interpretation of dreams.
Hopi term meaning “a small tunnel or inter dimensional passage”. (2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck)
Hierosgamos (Heiros Gamos)
Greek.”Holy Marriage”. Refers to marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities. It is the harmonization of opposites.
The notion of hieros gamos does not presuppose actual performance in ritual, but is also used in purely symbolic or mythological context, notably in alchemy and hence in Jungian psychology. (Wikipedia)
Greek. Pronounced ‘mith-UH-peeik’. Of, or pertaining to, the making of myths; causing, producing, or giving rise to myths. ALSO, ‘mythopoetic’ (Dictionary.com)
Greek. From psuchopompos, literally meaning the “guide of souls”. (wikipedia) A person who conducts spirits or souls to the other world, as Hermes or Charon.
In many cultures, the shaman also fulfills the role of the psychopomp. This may include not only accompanying the soul of the dead, but also vice versa: to help at birth, to introduce the newborn child’s soul to the world. This also accounts for the contemporary title of “midwife to the dying,” …which is another form of psychopomp work. (wikipedia)