Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sacred Vowels

Scholar of magic Caroline Tully explores how the tellers of sacred stories in classical and Hellenistic Greece tapped into the mystical power of vowel sounds. "Vowels spoken in just the right way made magical ritual more precise. Seemingly unintelligible strings of vowel-chants were thought to be effective because of an innate power inherent within them which reflected elements of the cosmos or the gods themselves. Written vowels were even licked or eaten, such was their power. They were also combined with visual imagery by being arranged in patterns such as squares, triangles, wings or diamonds, recitation of which may have added iconographic power to their already potent nature." See Tully's full discussion on the importance of words and writing in ancient magic.

Interestingly, the mystic arrangement of vowels goes on to this day—orthographers arrange vowels geometrically. In the examples shown, note the circle, cube, and triangle motifs. Such diagrams would be right at home in a magical scroll of old.

Vowel Diagrams

For more on seemingly-impossible all-vowel words, see our dictionary of all-vowel words and Magic Words: A Dictionary.

Thanks, Pam, for the heads-up!

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