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#119434 - 01/10/04 10:02 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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You're right about German wieder and Old English wiðer 'against', but the shins is cognate with OHG sint 'way, side', sinnan 'to go, to strive', sindon 'to travel' (from a PIE *sent- 'to go, set out; perceive'. The one citation I could find for withershins in OE is wiðersinnis, which is why -- I guess -- most dictionaries say the word is borrowed from MLG. I misread the entry in the OED to say the shins part was related to English sun, but it's not.

There is a Widerschein in German that means reverberation. There's a good online German-English-German dictionary here: http://dict.leo.org/.


#119435 - 01/10/04 10:12 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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Clockwise seems to be it.

I just remembered sungates. A quick check in the brick and mortar OED connects that to sunways.

Regarding deiseal and tuathal, knowing how unreliable Gaelic spelling is for the uninitiated, how would they be pronounced?


#119436 - 01/10/04 10:39 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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Regarding deiseal and tuathal, knowing how unreliable Gaelic spelling is for the uninitiated, how would they be pronounced?

In SAMPA, something like: /'deSl/ and /'twA:l/; and in English orthography, something like: deshl and twahl. This would be for Irish as Micheal O Siadhail, the author of Learning Irish, describes it.



#119437 - 01/10/04 10:44 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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Dear Faldage, as a folk etymologist, the "gate" in sungates
reminds me of German verb "gehen" to go.


#119438 - 01/10/04 11:06 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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sungates

I see in the OED, that sungates is a Scots term for sunways. This entry pointed me at the OE sunn-ganges 'in the directionof the sun's movement, in the direction of the sun'. This gang is, as you suggest Bill, related to English go, German gehen.

Also, in Boswerth's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary under sunn-ganges I found: "To move with the sun was considered lucky, to move in the reverse direction unlucky; the latter method is consequently taken by witches in their ceremonies. So Spenser, 'She turned her contrary to the sun ... for she the right did shunne.' Cf. Icel. sólar-sinnis 'with the sun'."


#119439 - 01/10/04 11:11 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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to move in the reverse direction unlucky; the latter method is consequently taken by witches in their ceremonies.
yeah, those witches wouldn't want to be lucky...



formerly known as etaoin...
#119440 - 01/11/04 05:01 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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to move in the reverse (counter-clockwise)direction unlucky; the latter method is consequently taken by witches in their ceremonies.
<
Partly right etaoin, the widdershins direction is used by witches who practice so-called "black" magic.
Here's a site that defines some terms.
http://www.olywa.net/cagle/webchild/occult.html
Not endorsing in any way, just supplied for informational purposes. OK?


#119441 - 01/12/04 01:13 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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those have to be characters in a book, somewhere, sometime.

Well, they aren't characters, but "widdershins" makes an appearance in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of (excellent) novels, where the planet the characters inhabit is, in fact, flat (and carried on the backs of four elephants who in turn march around the back of a giant turtle). Instead of north, south, east, and west, the pricipal directions on the Discworld are rimwards, hubwards, turnwise and widdershins.

But along your line of thought, there is an exit on Rt. 89 in New Hampshire (up towards the Vermont border) that lists the towns Enfield and Canaan. For quite some time I tried to convince my wife that our daughter should be named Enfield if a boy and Canaan if a girl (that was after my initial suggestion of Fenway for either gender was rejected).


#119442 - 01/12/04 02:54 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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to move in the reverse (counter-clockwise)direction unlucky; the latter method is consequently taken by witches in their ceremonies

my parents were generally not superstition.. but bouncing between here and a knitting BB, i was reminded.. my mother used to get very annoyed when i wound wool counter clockwise.
she would knock the ball out of my hands,(with out touching it) and tell me to 'Do it right! (i am double dexterious, and when i got tired of holding the ball in my left hand and guiding the thread/yarn round the ball clockwise, i would switch hands, and hold the ball in my right hand, and wrap counterclockwise with my left..)

she offered no explaination on why i was doing it wrong...but it was very clear she considered it taboo behaviour.

reading this has me thinking, she might have been more superstitious than i thought.

knitting today is much freer and free form than it was when i was a child, then, many old knitters often articulated firm rules about what could or couldn't (or should and shouldn't) be done. these rigid rules(rulers) today are are generaly refered to as the the knitting police my mother could have/would have been a captain in the knitting police--and my knitting was unacceptable to my mother, even though it looks like anyone elses, since i knit left handed. and while that is perfectly normal on most of the european continent, in ireland and UK, knitters tend to knit right handed..(that is, they hold the working yarn in their right hand)--



#119443 - 01/12/04 03:02 PM Re: withershins and deasil  
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my mother used to get very annoyed when i wound wool counter clockwise.

Interesting. My grandmother would become quite agitated if I replaced the bread (Italian loaf, i.e., a round loaf flat on the bottom and convex on the top) on the cutting board upsidedown. Her only explanation was that it was "bad luck".



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