Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thirteenth Sunday Salon: Navajo

Today I have been reading another friend's manuscript - an erudite and funny piece of work which I much enjoyed. I whizzed through, and as usual found myself learning and relearning words that I cam across:

gallimaufry - a confused jumble of things;
fecundity - capable of producing offspring;
condolent - sympathetic grieving;
insouciance - casual lack of concern;
hermetic - complete or airtight or relating to an ancient occult tradition.

I knew some of these already but was interested in what they accurately meant.

I also found out that the expression 'finding a mote in someone's eye' is when a person finds a fault in someone when their own fault is greater. I didn't know that and had no idea why that expression came to me today, but it did.

I have also dipped into this: THE BOOK OF THE NAVAJO by Raymond Friday Locke and intend to learn a lot of more about the Navajos in the next few weeks. This book looks a good place to start because in 450 densely written pages seems to cover the folklore, customs and history. I particularly love to read about creation myths and find it quite thrilling when I see common elements e.g. a great flood or the tree of life and keep wondering if these are collective memories of the end of the ice age or just something that naturally forms itself in the minds of man. Just as all children go through a stage of drawing a round face with legs attached to represent themselves, so maybe the minds of men go though a stage of imagining a flood or that somewhere there is a tree of life that connects all worlds: the one below and the one above, to our own one in the middle.

On Friday I am going to the British Library to find out more.


Blogger Emerging Writer said...

Have you read Tony Hillman's crime books set in modern day Navajo territory?

Mon Jan 21, 07:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Hi, Emerging Writer (good alias)!
No, but I came across them when I was doing a little research. They sound good - I especially like the idea of a skin walker.

Tue Jan 22, 02:21:00 pm  
Blogger Dougald Hine said...

Hi Clare,

Good to meet you last night - very interesting conversations!

I find the "collective memories of the end of the ice age" hypothesis tantalising. Have you read Steven Mithen's 'After The Ice'? It doesn't go into that question, but it's an absolutely fascinating, continent by continent survey of what we know about life between 20,000 and 5,000 BC, full of incredible details. (For example, about the populations of tiny hippos and elephants that once lived on Cyprus...)

Anyway, hooray for meeting interesting people at book launches - and hooray for blogs that mean you can track them down afterwards!


Fri Jan 25, 02:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Hi Dougal - lovely to meet you. It was a great evening. Thanks for dropping by and telling me about that book. I am going over to Amazon now...

Sat Jan 26, 10:19:00 pm  

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