Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ancient Esotericism was a Remarkably Pragmatic Undertaking

Sure, your Richard Dawkinses may scoff at it all but people who'll still be remembered long after he's rotted away took it all very, very seriously.
—Christopher Knowles, in this terrific article on esoteric words that have lost their meaning

Monday, September 26, 2011

Words Take on Meanings that Transcend Them

Christopher Knowles puts it quite nicely: "Words are triggers. No matter what their technical definition may be, words take on meanings that transcend them. In order to put new ideas across, we need to learn to use language more skillfully."

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Quest to Find a Magic Word?

“So we're going on a quest to find a magic word?”
—Brandon Mull, A World Without Heroes (2011)

(Photo by mygothlaundry)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A line taken out of context, from our dictionary of magic words:

“The very word rune conjures up magical associations in the word hoard of Old English and Germanic languages.”

Saturday, September 17, 2011


A line taken out of context, from our dictionary of magic words:

In Vodou, green bananas and bones are offerings to Legba, the supernatural Master of Passageways and opener of doors.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This magic word from African folklore is understandable by goats alone:

"As Anansi was about to get home, he addressed the animal in the sack by saying the magic word, dabrekotwasuhoro."
—Kwame A. Insaidoo, Moral Lessons in African Folktales

Monday, September 12, 2011


A line taken out of context, from our dictionary of magic words:

Of Caribbean origin, Rata-pata-scata-fata is “an old-time Virgin Islands way of talking nonsense—Caribbean gobbledygook.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bring Back What Once was Mine

Flower gleam and glow; let your power shine
Make the clock reverse; bring back what once was mine
Heal what has been hurt; change the fate's design
Save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine
What once was mine.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The One Minute Mystic

Instantly understand and even see a mystical image when you gaze upon a heavenly body. We discuss a technique for staring at the sun and other sources of bright light in this field report from USA's oldest city: Saint Augustine, Florida. (See our companion booklet The One Minute Mystic.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Reverse the Spell

A line taken out of context, from our dictionary of magic words:

“'And to reverse this amazing effect,’ I boomed in my biggest stage voice, ‘you simply reverse the spell.’"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kazazum and Kazuzam

The anagrammatic magic words Kazazum and Kazuzam are used for opening and closing a tent in "Skeezicks, Sknks and Co" by George Randolph Chester (McClure's magazine, Feb. 1907).