Tag Archive | cerridwen

Rant on the letter “K” A Pagan Blog Post

Okay, just in time for the letter “K” comes a bit of a rant started by the email Rowan sends out with ideas. And here it comes: If you worship Kerridwen you are a colossal Grade “A” idiot and you are guilty of the worst kind of cultural appropriation. Why? Because there is no “K” in either Welsh or Scots or Irish Gaelic, it will always be CERRIDWEN. So if you are worshipping Kerridwen you are not worshipping her in her correct cultural context. It’s one thing to honor Kwan Yin, Quan Yin or other spellings of her name because there is no direct and absolute translation of the ideographs of her primary languages but Welsh and Gaelic use the Roman alphabet and there is no “K” in their alphabets. That sound is always taken by the letter “C” and the letter “C” is always hard even if followed by the letter “H”. (The idiots who named the basketball team not withstanding.)

And that comes to my second point, bad Gaelic pronunciation. There is no excuse for it. There are tons of tapes and videos, some of them very good where you can hear the correct pronunciation of words. And yes, there are some regional differences between Gaelic of the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton to the Irish of Ireland but what I’ve heard in circle bears no resemblance to anything I’ve ever heard spoken in Irish or Scots Gaelic, and Welsh is still spoken by a whole country so there is no excuse at all.

The worst I’ve heard was a bunch of Druids at Pagan Pride and when I said something about it I was told they learned it from someone who had an Irish grandfather. Well, all I can say is she wasn’t listening very well or had a hearing problem. And by the way, I’m speaking to the Americans. Just because you think it’s an ancient or dead language doesn’t mean it is and that nobody speaks it.

I saw this at the Ren Faire one year. Some person of the male persuasion thought he could make a comment about my breasts in Gaelic and that I wouldn’t understand and was quite surprised when I told him to “Pog mo thoin!” and took off running when I rounded on him. (For those who don’t know it means, “Kiss my ass”. That was the best cuss I could think of quickly because Gaelic cussing depends on descriptive phrases more than Anglo-Saxon speech. There is no satisfying version of F*** off!)

Something that is puzzling me is Pixar/Disney’s choice of music on the “Brave trailer, “Tha mo ghaol air arid a ‘chuan”. Merida certainly does not look like she’s mooning about for her love who is lost on the high seas? Anything but! She doesn’t want to get married. Again why is Pixar/Disney assuming no one understands Gaelic or in this day of instant translation, that they wouldn’t be curious enough to look it up?

There are only 18 letters in the Scots Gaelic alphabet, none of them are a “K”.

The Consonants:

B, C, D, F, G, H, L, M, N, P, R, S, & T (See no “K, J, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z,”)

The vowels:

A, E, I, O, & U

All the sounds come from these letters and the letter “H” can make a few of them silent just for fun or change the sound entirely. It also has something called broad and slender vowels which does not refer to the shape of the written letter but what it does to the shape of your mouth when you say it. Broad and slender vowels change the consonants they are next to so SI has a SH sound but SA sounds the same as in English.

Languages evolve from the culture and not the other way around. They come from the way people think. For instance Irish Gaelic has a present tense but Scottish Gaelic does not. Scots Gaelic uses participles and future tense to indicate the present. Future tense is used for things that are continuing. Participles for things that you are actively doing. Example: I am running (or more literally, I be running) or I am reading but never I read or I run. The mindset is the present is an active thing or that if you are doing it now you are continuing it into the future. You cannot be passive in the present. You are ‘being’ in the now.

So, I beg of you, have some respect for all the cultures you pull into circle. Just because you call yourself eclectic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a little research. I’m not asking you to be a reconstructionist just respectful and accurate in something that is easily researched. I know how I get when people don’t call me my name correctly. Imagine if you are a deity and lots of people are massacring your name? Smiting comes to mind…

Madainn mhath, beannachd leibh!