Saturday, April 23, 2005

Etymology (I can’t help it!) and waxing rhapsodic about “the most heart-stoppingly climactic piece of music I’ve ever heard”

Yesterday I was reading about Judaism in my religion textbook and I came to this passage about sacred festivals:
“On the full moon of the month before spring comes Purim…[which] commemorates the legend of Esther…It has been linked to Mesopotamian mythology about the goddess Ishtar, whose spring return brings joy and fertility.”
Now, this in itself does not seem too strange except, I thought to myself, spring, Esther, Ishtar…sorta sounds like Easter, doesn’t it? Now, I almost discounted this thought as ridiculous, because after all Easter is a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus—certainly nothing relating to fertility or Judaism, or Mesopotamian mythology for that matter.

But wait. Because I am T.C. and I try to relate everything to Neil Gaiman (…half-joking), I recalled that part in American Gods when Shadow and Wednesday encounter the very sexy goddess Easter (that’s a link to the page she’s introduced, via’s Search Inside the Book, I hope the link works).

Anyway, there was a part that puzzled me when I first read the book a while ago, and unlike many of the allusions, it was completely new to me:
“Easter put her slim hand on the back of Wednesday’s square gray hand. ‘I’m telling you,’ she said, ‘I’m doing fine. On my festival days they still feast on eggs and rabbits, on candy and flesh, to represent rebirth and copulation…they give each other flowers. They do it in my name…In my name, old wolf.’

…“‘Serious question, m’dear. Certainly…they still practive all the rites of your festival, even down to hunting for hidden eggs. But how many of them know who you are? Eh?…How many passersby know that their Easter festival takes its name from Eostre of the Dawn?’”
Just speculating. I have a thing for etymology. But damn: Esther, Ishtar, Easter, Eostre—coincidence? Even if, after some digging, I still couldn’t find any written connection between the Esther/Ishtar and Easter/Eostre, I don’t think I’m being totally foolish here. Who knows.

Whew, sorry if I bored you with that there, but I thought it was pretty neat when I was mulling over it yesterday. Now that I type it out, I’m not so sure. Oh well.

I finally obtained a copy of Bjork’s Medulla, and I’m listening to it presently. It is bizarre and beautiful; I haven’t yet listened to it enough to give a real opinion. Ethereal, though, and simultaneously unsettling and…well, settling. Bjork sounds to me like the lovechild of Sigur Ros and Regina Spektor.

Speaking of which, where did my Sigur Ros CD’s disappear to? I think my brother may have taken them off to college with him, hm… Track 8, man! When listened to on headphones in the dark and quiet, that 11-minute symphony is the most heart-stoppingly climactic piece of music I’ve ever heard. (And it’s even better when you listen to the whole CD in the dark and quiet, because the songs build off one another to finally create this amalgam of sound that descends upon you in Track 8. I’m sorry, I’m rhapsodizing. But man oh man, it has to be heard to be believed.)

Update: Hah! Check out this baby:

It’s a rainy day, I think I’ll create something.


Anonymous Jay said...

Hi T.C.,
no real comment today, just a little wish: could you please change your site setting so that you publish full posts to your atom feed (link) ?

I love reading you and I would even more if I wouldnt need to open a browser window every time :)

1:11 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Consider it done. I'm so flattered that someone's reading me in atom!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

I am sure a lot more people than just me read your feed. Not many people are hardcore-commenters :)

9:07 PM  
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