Throw open the windows of your soul

Ancient Word of the Day: An

An: 'To breath' from Proto-Indo-European If you empty your lungs you make an AHHHH sound on the exhale. The Proto-Indo-European word for this onomatopoeic sound is An. The word an remains the same in Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Icelandic, Swedish and Dutch. The ancient sound of an even exists within the word Human and Anmal. After…

Maori nature ancient kea bird

Words and Music: Earth the slumbering pūriri

In the Beginning Earth Breath on me Earth the cool breath of life Earth the slumbering pūriri Earth the misty valley Earth the departed sun Earth the tingling blue sky Earth the dark sheen of a woman river Earth the mottling tides tumbling ashore Earth the sweeping godwits Earth our home Earth the giving land…

Ancient word of the day: Celandine

Ancient word of the day: Celandine

This pretty yellow star-like flower is from the buttercup family. It is common to see it flourishing at the beginning of spring in new grasses, hedges and in at the banks of rivers. It blankets forest floors. Commonly thought of as being a weed, it is still absolutely beautiful to behold.

Ancient Word of the Day: Darth Vader

Ancient Word of the Day: Darth Vader

Fans speculate that the name Darth Vader means ‘Dark Father’ are in for a rude awakening. The real meaning of Darth Vader is actually way cooler than that. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise has (according to online sources) explained that the name Darth Vader comes from ‘Darth’ (Dark Lord of the…

Ancient Word of the Day: Serendipitist

Ancient Word of the Day: Serendipitist

Serendipitist: n. A person who benefits from a chance or serendipitous event Serendipity: happenchance or providence. This beautiful term was originally coined by writer Horace Walpole in 1754. Walpole was inspired by the ancient Persian tale The Three Princes of Serendip, about some titular characters who ran around in ancient Persia having some marvellous luck…

Ancient Word of the Day: Stravaig

Ancient Word of the Day: Stravaig

Stravaig: v. to wander or amble without a purpose or destination in mind. Glad of the opportunity to explore and discover on foot, being unconstrained by time. (from Scots Gaelic) Travel: Hiking in Ireland Copyright Content Catnip 2010 Stravaig derives from eighteenth-century Scots extravage, meaning ‘wander about; digress, ramble in speech’, in turn derived from Medieval Latin extravagari ‘wander,…

Historic Jukebox: Henry David Thoreau & Fleet Foxes http://wp.me/p41CQf-9V

Ancient Word of the Day: Sussurate

Sussurate: n: to whisper or murmur. The noise produced by a hive of bees, a rustling of leaves in the forest or the crackling of a fire It turns out that elemental experiences for ancient humans echo and whisper back over aeons and are universally received and recognised. No matter where we are on this…

Poetry and music from the film 'Wings of Desire' (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

Ancient Word of the Day: Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz: n: (literally) World Pain (from German). The feeling of sadness at the suffering that surrounds you in the world. The pain of being an empath and sensitive to all despair and distress in the world. An ill-defined weariness at the burdens carried universally by all of humankind. The Sensual World of The Unseen By…

Ancient Word of the Day: Deliquium

Ancient Word of the Day: Deliquium

Latin v. delinquere: "to lack, to fail In 1836, Francis Baily travelled to the Scottish Borders to see a solar eclipse. He witnessed a macabre and beautiful phenomenon. A row of lucid points, like a string of bright beads of irregular distance and size from each other. These suddenly appeared around the circumference of the…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako https://wp.me/p41CQf-JXQ

Ancient Word of the Day: Hell Kettle

Hell Kettle: n. A deep abyss or bottomless pool The deep pools in Darlington, Co. Durham in England are a part of fearsome local legend. These mysterious pools are said to have inspired Lewis Carroll's endless rabbithole, where Alice tumbles into another world - in his classic book Alice in Wonderland. They are known as…

Ancient Word of the Day: Cuneiform

Ancient Word of the Day: Cuneiform

Cuneiform: n. The oldest known writing system that originated in Mesopotamia circa 3400BC. It was etched onto wet clay tablets using a wedge-shaped stylus. Cuneiform is the original ancient written language that underpins all modern forms of written communication. Many languages throughout a vast geographical span over thousands of years were written in cuneiform, including…

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Hooly

Hooly or Huly: Adv. 'To proceed gently or softly, with steadiness or caution.' Scottish/Irish The word Hooly first appeared in English in the 14th Century. It was found in the Scottish expression Hooly and Fairly, meaning 'to proceed slowly, carefully and cautiously.' Over time, the word came to have negative connotations and hooliness or hulinesss…

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Ancient Word of the Day: Lacuna

Lacuna \ lə-​ˈkü-​nər a little lake. Or a pause, gap or break in a text, painting or musical work. Latin lacūna: “little lake”. Word of the day: “lacuna”- in a manuscript, an inscription, or the text of an author: a hiatus, blank, missing portion (OED n.1) A word borrowed from Latin in the 17th Century…

Ancient Word of the Day: Anglii

Ancient Words of the Day: Anglii/Angle/Ankle

One of the oldest English words recorded is Anglii used first in the year 98 AD by Roman historian Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56-120 AD) Anglii i.e "the Angles," literally "people of Angul" (Old Norse Öngull). Tacitus wrote in 98AD in his book 'Germania' about the various Teutonic tribes he came into contact with including…

Ancient Word of the Day: Love-Drury

Comforting Thought: We see into the life of things

“Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.” ― William Wordsworth, The Excursion 1814 “Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.”― William Wordsworth “With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.”― William…

Every Picture Tells A Story: The Horoscope of Prince Iskandar (1411)

Ancient Word of the Day: Nadir

Nadir ˈnā-ˌdir (from Arabic) The lowest or worst point. The sunken place of great depression or degradation. Astronomically, it is the point to opposite to the zenith. Merlin by Ralph Waldo Emerson He shall not seek to weave,In weak unhappy times,Efficacious rhymes;Wait his returning strength,Bird, that from the nadir's floor,To the zenith's top could soar,The…

Ancient Word of the Day: Vellichor

Ancient Word of the Day: Vellichor

Noun: Vellichor from the Latin Vell (paper) and ichor (essence). An ethereal perfume that is extruded from the earth and infuses old book stores with mystery, wistfulness and nostalgia. Books are worlds unto themselves that reveal tiny and huge universes all co-existing side-by-side. The aroma of books is the smell of the passage of time.…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lake Menteith in the fading light of a winters night

I Saw Your Name on a Wall [Short story]

Soundtrack for story - Hear playlist I saw your name on a wall. I paused and couldn't look away. It was a busy day in our cathedral to capitalism, our hive of activity where there was a lot of people milling around but mostly they were seated, with headsets on like train drivers of the…

Weirdly…I am getting almost no likes on my posts nowadays?!

I've been doing it regularly as usual and making each post high quality. I've been getting the same amount of traffic but hardly no likes or comments. I know you all aren't ignoring me, because on Twitter I seem to get a lot of feedback from people saying that they like these posts. Anyway if…

Ancient word of the day: Twankle

Ancient word of the day: Twankle

Twankle https://twitter.com/SlenderSherbet/status/1278930494827237376?s=20 To twang your fingers on a musical instrument or absent-mindedly strum or play an instrument without thought. Other concatenations include: Twiddling, twandling, tootling, plunking, noodling, thrummling or tudeling. Tudeling (origin) German dudeln - to perform badly. The crappiest song that almost everyone can play on the piano Chopsticks was invented in 1877 by…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Lost Wisdom and its two other companion books Lost Crafts and Lost Lore are beautifully typeset and laid out. Their contents are a cabinet of curiosities - a wunderkammer of the same sort as the Book of Barely Imagined Beings, which I have mentioned in the past. Although in this case Lost Wisdom runs the…

Ancient Word of the Day: Hibernal

Ancient word of the day: Flukra

As the southern hemisphere turns now towards the colder months we are all finding comfort into our nests and getting cosy for the winter. In New Zealand and the southern parts of Australia we are experiencing snow in the alpine regions. So it seems appropriate now to talk about the many ancient words for snow.…

Book Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Book Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Tulip Fever is one of the most captivating historical fiction reads I have had the pleasure of enjoying in recent years. Tulip Fever takes place in Amsterdam in the 1630's during a time of immense wealth that is brought into the country by merchants and tulip sellers. If you enjoyed that other iconic historical novel…

Ginkaku-Ji temple gardens, Kyoto © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.co

Ancient word of the day: Apricity

Apricity was a term originally coined by English lexicographer Henry Cockeram to denote the "the warmeness of the Sunne in Winter". This photo I took during a particularly chilling end of autumn day in Japan in Ginkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto. Note how the sun falls in cascades of enveloping warmth onto the golden tinged leaves. Apricity…

Book Review: Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson achieved great fame for her book Life After Life. This is one of her earlier and lesser known collections of short stories. I have to admit I never got into Life After Life, so I was a bit dubious about whether or not I would like this one. However, I was absolutely transfixed…

Book Review: Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell

Book Review: Medieval Bodies Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jake Hartnell

Art Historian Jake Hartnell takes us on a macabre and enthralling journey from head to toe in the medieval human body. This is fascinating because, even though we share the same bodies as our medieval ancestors, we had wildly diverging beliefs about the inherent symbolic power of parts of our bodies and what could heal,…

Book Review: SPQR by Mary Beard

Book Review: SPQR by Mary Beard

I really wanted to love this book because I am a huge Mary Beard fan and I love her enthusiastic, passionate and fascinating documentaries about the Romans. As a novice to this topic, I was really craving a book that would educate me and also sustain my interest. About a decade ago, I waded through…

Ancient word of the day: Algorithm

Ancient word of the day: Algorithm

The ancient Muslim empire in the city of Baghdad was the birthplace of the word (and the concept of the) algorithm. In the year 820 AD, a Persian genius named Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi created the concept of the algorithm and algebra in an ancient book called Kitab al-Jebr. The book Kitab al-Jebr (later latinised…