I just used the word “ill” to describe a student who is sick.  Next thing you know, I’ll refer to someone who’s late as “tardy.”  There are just some bits of vocabulary that you use as a teacher, even though no one uses them outside that context.

I suspect there are also some bits of vocabulary that are used only by magicians.  I know the words “tool,” “offering,” and “ritual” take on extra resonance for me.  And I know that “energy” does so for other people, despite my bs filter going off.  And in Hoodoo, “trick” takes on new meaning as well.  And I sometimes forget that for most people “demon” means “evil.”

Jargon is weird.


8 Responses to “Vocabulary”

  1. It’s always amusing when I hear the word “energy” being discuss on the radio. If I’m not paying attention closely enough, my first thought is that they are discussing something magickal, rather than mundane.

  2. I have the double whammy that I’ve lived in a foreign country for eighteen years and speak English with non-natives all day, PLUS I’m a corporate editor and spend lots of time re-writing documents full of jargon, buzz words and legal terms. Add to this that I spend far too much time reading magic blogs and ancient books in several languages and I have NO sense of context anymore regarding what natural English is.

    Ever read that famous quote by Raymond Chandler in which he gives an editor shit for unsplitting one of his infinitives? He explains why his international upbringing makes his English quirky. I can identify.

  3. Jargon isn’t always jargon. Sometimes it’s simply another way of looking at the thing described.

  4. @Scribbler I hear you.

    And in the online magical world, you also have to contend with the fact that there are an enormous amount of phrases that work in some English-speaking countries and not in others.

    Whenever I’m writing a blog post, I have to make doubly certain that I’m not writing in a way that is “too British” for American readers… But then if I try to sound too American then it feels hokey and false.

    I’ve completely abandoned all my Australianisms… They weren’t helping anyone. 🙂

  5. Fr. S. L. Says:

    I don’t have anything to say; I just wanted to subscribe… 😉

  6. It tickles the hell out of me that the word “energy” offends you when used in a metaphysical sense. I don’t know why. You have always been so amazingly well-timed with your articles for Rending the Veil — they started off all describing things I was working on at that precise moment. And now, not so much. 🙂 You are irritated by the use of the word “energy,” which I use constantly (but thanks to you I’m much more conscious of it now). I just can’t come up with a decent substitute. 20 years ago, it was “vibrations,” which bothered me enormously.

    Emotional response doesn’t cut it; it’s not even close. “Energy” is something else. I wish I would have an epiphany for an appropriate term or set of terms. Let me know if you come up with any.

    • pomomagic Says:

      Well, why replace it with something? Instead, think of magic as an act of communication rather than an act of physics. Doing so opens up lots of new possibilities, which i’ve talked about elsewhere.

      • Well, when I counsel people regarding working with spirits, I use terms to describe “energy signature” and the act of recognizing a spirit by the way it feels (and I don’t mean touch). I need a term of reference.

        Where did you talk about this elsewhere?

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