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Discovered Words: Deorfrith

Deorfrith [translation unknown, Dee-OR-free-/th/zh/G??]: Deer Sanctuary.

A really pleasing find today, an Anglo-Saxon word discovered through Imaginal Futures, used in documents to refer to the deer parks created by the Normans when they conquered Britain. However, writer Tim Russell does some excellent work reclaiming and decolonizing this word in the above article, and I’ve endeavored to add a wee bit here.

Deor: (1) Deer (2) Any wild animal that lives on the land.

Interesting threads link to the Scottish name Deoridh, Anglicised as Dorcas, and deriving from Greek derkomai ‘to see clearly’ like a gazelle (or deer, presumably). Other translations of derkomai places it as the root of pilgrim (‘to see the way ahead clearly’), and dragon (‘who glances sharply’).

Frith: (1). Peace (2) Sanctuary (3) Friend.

From the article:

“The word frith is often translated as peace, but again more accurately refers to the conditions of kinship that give rise to a state of peace.  The term frith, also related to the words ‘friend’ and ‘free’, is ‘the state of things which exists between friends. And it means, first and foremost, reciprocal inviolability.'”

Putting that together, and Deorfrith becomes a word symbolizing interconnectedness, kinship even, with the more-than-human precinct. I like to think that when we add that ‘seeing’ ‘pilgrim’ and ‘peace’ it also alludes to that feeling of connection, nourishing joy and rest we get when we step away from purely human society and surroundings, as when we tarry a while in a park, or any wilder place.

“To be claimed by deorfrith, or to claim it is to subvert the colonised mind of our history and dare to imagine that we share in the life and fate of all things of the world as our true family.”


Happy Winter Solstice, comrades!

Today marks the furthest tilt that our little planet takes from the sun, and as such, the longest night and shortest day. In this year of all years, a time to hold close, to tend fires.

This morning, a friend shared a John O’Donohue poem;


On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.


In other news, my little storygame Tree Seasons is live! If you like building and sharing resilient visions of the future, then you’re welcome to download, workshop, and share.


Happy Solstice friends, family, & comrades both near and afar.


The Role of Myth in the Anthropocene, Pt II

In rather alarming news, the answer to this question is starting to look, hop, and scamper like a research project. Dear Gods! When the Work calls you, when you call the Work… I guess the question could be otherwise asked as;

How does fantasy survive the Anthropocene?

But worries for my sanity, TBR list, and general caffeine intake aside – I found this article discussion by Mary Woodbury from pretty interesting. [Which reminds me to post those links to all the eco artist/culture groups. Dragonfly is one of them, an excellent site that reviews and interviews eco-fiction]

It was this quote that was most striking for me;

“[…] when writing about nature there is a deeper realism among weird fiction authors as they go beyond what we think we know.”

Read More →


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