Cognition: Words & Magick: Words Truly Have Meaning… And Power

Introduction: On words and their overt/covert meanings:

The line between aspects of what some call magick and what some call psychology (especially as it relates to the use of words to influence, inculcate, manipulate, or “manifest” (as with Neuro-linguistic Programming, Neuro-association, etc.) can be rather thin. Simply put, words have far more power than we realise, given the intense impact they can have on the unconscious/subconscious mind especially, but also the conscious/rational mind. Whether the words are written, spoken, whispered, yelled, sung, chanted, etc., their ability to affect us, and to move us, and even to control us at times, can be quite uncanny (I would even say… weird). Many people have no idea just how something as simple as a word can lift up the most cast-down soul or, conversely, tear down, even destroy, someone who was at the heights of elevation. Words can make you feel alive, and words can kill. It can be bad enough when the average person uses them; it can be downright evil when those skilled in wordplay wield them.

Spelling: Spell, Incant, Incantation, Chant, Enchant, Enchantment

Think about it from an etymological, a word history sense. The ‘magician’ casts a spell and yet we spell the very words used in the ‘casting,’ and in general conversation (amongst other things; wait until we get to the word grammar). Consider:

Spell (n.): Old English spell “story, saying, tale, history, narrative, fable; discourse, command,” from Proto-Germanic *spellam (see spell (v.1)). Compare Old Saxon spel, Old Norse spjall, Old High German spel, Gothic spill “report, discourse, tale, fable, myth;” German Beispiel “example.” From c. 1200 as “an utterance, something said, a statement, remark;” meaning “set of words with supposed magical or occult powers, incantation, charm” first recorded 1570s; hence any means or cause of enchantment

The term ‘spell’ is generally used for magical procedures which cause harm, or force people to do something against their will — unlike charms for healing, protection, etc. [“Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore”]

In general terms, the belief underlying the use of spells is that the wish that they embody will be fulfilled, regardless of its goodness or badness, so long as the formula has been correctly pronounced. Broadly speaking, then, spell and prayer, like magic and religion to which they severally belong, can be distinguished by the nature of the intended purpose. [Enyclopaedia Britannica, 1941]…

The ‘magician’ also makes use of “incantations,” which means “a series of words said as a magic spell or charm,” with incantation deriving from “the Old French incantacion which meant “spell, exorcism.” This Old French word derived from the Late Latin incantationem (nominative incantatio) which meant the  “art of enchanting,” and was a noun of action from past participle stem of incantare “to bewitch, charm, cast a spell upon, chant magic over, sing spells.” In fact, the words incantation and chant, enchant, and enchantment are very similar, with all of them stemming from the Latin cantare (to sing) and/or cantussong…” Now… what are they using when they chant, or sing, or incant? They are using words, the very words that we learn from a very early age how to spell.

Weird… Words and Charm

What do we say of those who speak well, influence well, captivate well, in their use of words? Do we not speak of them as having charm?  And what is is charm? Is it not a word meaning “incantation, magic charm” and also “a word or combination of words sung or spoken in the practice of magic; a magical combination of words, characters, etc.; an incantation.” Note that charm is derived from the Old French charme (12c.) which means “magic charm, magic spell incantation; song, lamentation.” Does it not derive, like chant/incant, ultimately from the same Latin canere (which means “to sing”)?

Also, did you know that the word “weird” means, amongst other things, “1. fate; destiny; one of the Fates, or Norns; also, a prediction. 2. A spell or charm. 3. Of or pertaining to witchcraft; caused by, or suggesting, magical influence; supernatural; unearthly; wild; as, a weird appearance, look, sound, etc.” Though the etymology roots of  word and weird look similar, it is unclear whether there is any deeper connection between them (though it would be interesting to find out).

From Grammar to Gramary to Grimoire

We should consider whether there are there other words that we use that have a similar etymological history of dual meaning/use? Consider the meaning of grammar:

  1. The science which treats of the principles of language; the study of forms of speech, and their relations to one another; the art concerned with the right use and application of the rules of a language, in speaking or writing.

  2. The art of speaking or writing with correctness or according to established usage; speech considered with regard to the rules of a grammar.The original bad grammar and bad spelling.- Macaulay.

  3. A treatise on the principles of language; a book containing the principles and rules for correctness in speaking or writing.

Seems straightforward and innocent enough right? However, from an etymological point of view, grammar is defined as follows:

Grammar (n.) late 14c., “Latin grammar, rules of Latin,” from Old French gramaire “grammar; learning,” especially Latin and philology, also “(magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo” (12c., Modern French grammaire), an “irregular semi-popular adoption” [OED] of Latin grammatica “grammar, philology,” perhaps via an unrecorded Medieval Latin form *grammaria. The classical Latin word is from Greek grammatike (tekhnē) “(art) of letters,” referring both to philology and to literature in the broadest sense, fem. of grammatikos (adj.) “pertaining to or versed in letters or learning,” from gramma “letter” (see -gram). An Old English gloss of it was stæfcræft (see staff (n.)).

A much broader word in Latin and Greek; restriction of the meaning to “systematic account of the rules and usages of language” is a post-classical development. Until 16c. limited to Latin; in reference to English usage by late 16c., thence “rules of a language to which speakers and writers must conform” (1580s). Meaning “a treatise on grammar” is from 1520s. For the “magic” sense, compare gramary. The sense evolution is characteristic of the Dark Ages: “learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes,” which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of “occult knowledge” (late 15c. in English), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.).

So here we see the clear occult context regarding this word grammar. We see the connection even more clearly when we consider its root and related words: gramary, gramarye, and grimoire.

Gramary: early 14c., gramarye, “grammar,” also “learning, erudition,” hence “magic, enchantment” (late 15c.), a variant of grammar; perhaps from Old French gramare, gramaire “grammar,” also “book of conjuring or magic” (hence Modern French grimaire “gibberish, incomprehensible nonsense”). Gramarye was revived by Scott (“Lay of the Last Minstrel,” 1805) in the “dark magic” sense.

Gramarye: Necromancy, magic

Grimoire (n.): Magician’s manual for invoking demons, 1849, from French grimoire, altered from grammaire “incantation; grammar” (see grammar). Also compare gramary, glamour.

We see in these closely-related words, an undeniable undercurrent of occultism… and yet, we haven’t even gotten to…

Grammar = Glamour?

Did you know that glamour [Glamor, Glamourie] is defined as the following in one of the best English dictionaries of all time (the 1913 Webster):

“1. A charmaffecting the eye, making objects appear different from what they really are. 2. Witchcraft; magic; a spell. 3. A kind of haze in the air, causing things to appear different from what they really are. The air filled with a strange, pale glamour that seemed to lie over the broad valley. – W. Black. 4. Any artificial interest in, or association with, an object, through which it appears delusively magnified or glorified.”

Grammar, etymologically, is defined as:

glamour (n.): 1720, Scottish, “magic, enchantment” (especially in phrase to cast the glamor), a variant of Scottish gramarye “magic, enchantment, spell,” said to be an alteration of English grammar (q.v.) in a specialized use of that word’s medieval sense of “any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning,” the latter sense attested from c. 1500 in English but said to have been more common in Medieval Latin. Popularized in English by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of “magical beauty, alluring charm” first recorded 1840. As that quality of attractiveness especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

Jamieson’s 1825 supplement to his “Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language” has glamour-gift “the power of enchantment; metaph. applied to female fascination.” Jamieson’s original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga’s Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni “illusion,” probably from the same root as gleam.

Glamour (v.): 1814, “to enchant, charm, bewitch,” from glamour (n.). Related: Glamoured; glamouring.

The occult aspect of glamour continues into our day, especially as you consider that it specifically relates to (deceptive, artificially produced/embellished)alluring beauty or charm (often with sex-appeal).” So to tie it all in again, glamour (1) dates back to 1720 as a Scottish word for “magic, necromancy, enchantment;” (2) it is a “variant of [the] Scottish [word] gramarye [which means] “magic, necromancy, enchantment, spell,” (3) it is believed “to be an alteration of [the] English [word] grammar; (4) gramarye (and thus grammar and glamour) derives directly from the French word GRIMOIRE, which was a “manual of black magic (for invoking spirits and demons);” (5) grimoire is an altered form of the French “grammaire” which means incantation and/or grammar; (6) which ties back to the early 1300’s with gramarye (“grammar”) meaning “learning, erudition,” hence “magic, enchantment.”

Glamour, Makeup, and Mask Revisited

The adjective form of glamour, glamourous, means “having an air of allure, romance and excitement; as, glamorous movie stars.” The form glamourization came to mean “the act of glamorizing; making something or someone more beautiful (often in a deceptive, embellished, exaggerated, and/or superficial way).” To glamourize something is to ‘make it more glamorous, exciting, appealing, attractive, or alluring, than it really, or naturally, is.” This ties directly into deception.

As a tangent/reminder, remember that in 1814, glamour also took on the verbal meaning “to enchant, charm, bewitch.” I recently wrote:

I. Makeup / Make-up: refers to the “cosmetics applied to the face, such as lipstick, facial power, or eye shadow.” It is the aggregate of cosmetics and costume worn by an actor, someone playing a role. It also relates to the effect or appearance of the wearing of makeup; often, the way in which an actor is dressed, painted, made-up, etc., inpersonating a character; as in, her makeup was very realistic.” The origin of the term, as it relates to cosmetics, pertains to an actor or actresses “preparation for impersonating a role.” Makeup is essentially a type of….

II. Mask or “a COVER for the FACE (with openings for the eyes and mouth), a false face;” is used by the wearer to create an appearance differing from their natural facial features. The word mask derives from the Middle French MASQUE which is a “covering to hide or guard the face.” Masque derived from the Italian word MASCHERA, which derived from the Medieval Latin word MASCA which meant “MASK, SPECTER, GHOST, NIGHTMARE.”

The origin of masca is less clear but many attribute it to one, or more, of the following:

(1) MASKHARAH, which is Arabic for “buffoon, mockery.”
(2) MASCARAR, which is Provençal/Catalan for the Old French word, mascurer, which means “to black (the face).”
(3) MASCARA, which is Occitan for “to blacken, darken,” derived from mask- “black,” which is held to be from a pre-Indo-European language. Occitan mascara derives from MASCO, and Old Occitan word meaning “WITCH.”

By the late 1500’s, mask came to mean (figuratively) “anything used or practiced for disguise or concealment.” The true face, one’s true physiognomic appearance, is disguised or concealed via the mask known as makeup/make-up.

Remember also that masco meant “witch” in Old Occitan, and was the root word for mascarar, which likely led (directly or indirectly) to (1) mascara (to blacken, darken); (2) masca (the noun meaning mask, spectre, ghost, and nightmare); (3) masque “a covering to hide or guard the face,” and thus, (4) mask (a covering for the face; a false face; hence women using the language “I have to go put my face on.”

When many refer to glamour, especially a glamorous woman, they are speaking of one that is alluring, captivating, enamouring, enchanting, seductive/seducing, enticing, bewitching, dazzling, breathtaking, astonishing, tempting, appealing, ravishing, fetching, beguiling, enthralling, tantalizing; gorgeous, magical, prepossessing, hypnotizing, fascinating, charming, spellbinding, and/or mesmerizing… Studying the etymology, and the various definiens of the lemma/lexeme for these words, would no doubt be quite eye-opening.

As another side note, by 1936, glam became a popular shortened, slang adjective form of glamorous. By 1974, “glam rock” became associated with “male performers dressed in glamorous clothes, with the suggestion of androgyny or sexual ambiguity.” By 1985, a glamazon was defined as a “glamourous, dominant woman.” So we see tied in with this word glam, or glamorous, much that is related to this current Baphometic Age. We see it tied to the occult, androgyny (think the transgender movement), the cosmetics industry, pop culture (which is heavily secularized and hedonized now), and to dominant (think overly-masculinized) women. This dark undercurrent of glamour, and its associated and synonymous words, is but one example of the hidden meaning, and thus hidden power of words. Just people the masses are ignorant of these things doesn’t mean that everyone is; many in power are well aware of the history, impact, and power of these (and many, many other) terms.

Final Points

I could continue at length but I do not have the time. I provided a word list for terms similar to glamorous; if you study the etymology of each, you may find some interesting commonalities. Be sure to consider the history of other terms in common use, as well. Ever hear anyone speak of conjuring up something (e.g. an idea)? Conjure is an interesting word. Mantra is another fairly common term with an interesting occult meaning (again, related to charm and spell). Other obvious and not so obvious words with dual aspects/meanings would be entertain, amuse, nice, curse, gay (more to it than what you might think), fetish, magic (think in terms of uses like Hollywood magic, which is a whole ‘nother article), trick, media (the plural of medium), etc.

As always, I post this as a warning, a very strong warning, and not as an encouragement to get mixed up in the occult. It’s dangerous, no good will come of it, you risk opening yourself up to a ton of negativity — just avoid it. The goal is to help you see that words have deeper meanings and not everyone uses them the way the masses use them. There are some, even some who are well-positioned, who know what they are doing when they use certain words. The battle is for your mind.

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