Debabelization – Our Webs of Words

Is writing about writing, writing?

Strange question perhaps, but I think I’ve mentioned somewhere before in a post that writing about the techniques of writing is not the same as “storytelling.”  And I really do love storytelling.

I’ve posed other, what some might think of as, strange, controversial, or humorous questions in earlier posts like, “What is Art?” Or, “What’s in a Name?

Sometimes questions like these don’t really lead to concrete answers, but they can lead to more writing.  You can take a look at my last post “Trajectory” for such an example.  Lots of questions in that one to spawn future posts. 😊

When I sit down in front of the keyboard, I think back over a whole range of experiences I’ve had and before the words begin to flow I try to keep in mind the audience I’m trying to reach and try to weed out some of the things that might seem significant to me, but would not have even one tiny speck of meaning to anyone else.  Those thoughts, images, and memories, if you’d not been there sharing that same moment in time, can be lost in translation.  Perhaps “lost” isn’t even the right word, because if no connection at all can be made in the first place, then there was nothing to lose.

Can’t lose what you never had.

In those instances, I picture words as solid objects just bouncing off another person’s brain and falling to the floor.  A scattering of meaningless symbols.  A board of Scrabble where all of the letters are Os or Ks and nothing coherent can be spelled out.  Sort of like splashing green paint on a canvas and telling everyone it’s supposed to be a forest.

Other times, I consider only myself as being the audience.  I’m spinning that yarn for the sake of verbalizing something that could really only be significant to me.  Like I’m recording an event the same way a photographer captures an image on film.  I just want to see how it “looks.”  Memorialize it.  And I mean that literally.  Then I ask the big questions.

Can I paint that image with words?  Bring it to life on paper?  Can someone else relate?

While that might sound like a selfish beginning, if I feel like I succeed, then maybe I’ll share it with a wider audience and see how they feel about it.  Do they “get it?” Can they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste the experience?  If they can, then writing has become Magic.

A lot of times when I write, it seems like there is a confluence of ideas circulating out there in the cosmos leading me to a theme.  And that’s exactly what has been leading up to this post.

This week, by chance or by some unseen design, I’ve been coming in contact with a variety of references to the origins of language and, thus, the beginnings of writing and communication.

The theme presented itself, and it’s writing about writing 🙂

It started when I came upon a blog about Tarot cards – the Major Arcana cards.*  And it began with, not so surprisingly, the number 1.  The first card.  The Magus or the Magician.

I’m pretty new at using Tarot cards, so, I snatched up my deck, pulled the card, and studied its symbolism.  I love symbolism perhaps more than the isolated written word that spawns it because that’s where all of those images come bubbling up to the surface.

It seems the Magician has been associated with the Messenger of the Gods, Hermes.  Hermes is the Olympian God of herds and flocks, travelers, hospitality, roads and trade, persuasive deception, trickery, thievery, diplomacy, astronomy, astrology, wisdom, art, speech, eloquence, and yes, writing.

It’s funny, but logical I suppose, that the God of cattle and speech would also be the patron God for cattle thieves and used car salespersons.

And I suppose Hermes could be said to be our God of Blogging here in modernity.

Because he was the Messenger or Herald of the Gods, he was given winged sandals to travel as fast as a bird on the wing.  And as one can analogize, nothing is swifter in action than that of a word.

Hermes is said to have taught mankind many tongues and is, therefore, also the God of “Babelization” – creating confusion by the mingling of different languages.  Indeed, once language and symbols and dialects were developed, humankind has spent generations trying to debabelize or remove the obstacles to verbal communication.

Miscommunication, can, after all, result in nothing short of a world war.  Or two . . .

But learning of Hermes and discovering the word “Babelize” and its origins were not my only synchronicities with the origins of writing I stumbled upon this week.**  I awoke this morning to find a Brown Recluse Spider crawling about the coffee in my cupboard.

Humm, not even a poisonous spider was going to keep me from my morning coffee.  And then a second appeared.  Now I haven’t seen a spider in my home for quite some time and having seen two at once I figured I better check on their symbolism.

I know, my brain works in strange ways.  Put the coffee cup down and grab the book on symbols.

Spiders have a lot of rich representations including – you guessed it – they are the guardians of ancient language and alphabets.  They also symbolize creativity, magic and the energy of creation.  Its weaving of webs is said to be a linkage of past and future, physical and astral, male and female.  To some, the geometric patterns of their webs forms a primordial alphabet, the first true alphabet, making the spider the teacher of all languages.  That sort of dethrones old Hermes a bit.

Spiders are said to be the spinners of fate. The weavers of time and of illusion.

Indeed, as writers don’t we weave our tales?  Traverse time?  Create illusion?  Paint those thought-portraits.  Take silken threads and link them in patterns that all lead to our central themes.

Don’t we wish to trap our readers?  Ensnare them in our intricate web of words?  Lead them down pathways they’ve never trekked before?  Isn’t the weaving of this spell, this mesmerization of the mind, this experiential travel through geometric figures, magic in its truest form?

In fact, through language, don’t we create the everyday observable world?

Well, we no longer need winged sandals to be the heralds of our messages.  We have the lightning fast speed of the Internet and can reach any place in the world in just a heartbeat.  We even call it the World-Wide Web 😊

Happy web-weaving.


Photo:  A Tarantula marches along the high desert floor unconcerned with me snapping a quick pic – to use later symbolically in a blog post.

*See Tarot and Archetypes at my friend’s blog La Audacia DE Aquiles, “The Visible World is Just a Pretext.”

**Stumbling on the word “Babelization” also made me think of the old google language translator called Babel Fish.  And looking up its origins I discovered that name came from a fictional species in the book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” that was a universal translator.  That, in turn, referenced the confusion of languages arising in the Biblical town of Babel.  This was where God, apparently upset that people built a tall tower to try to escape the second flood, divided people into linguistic groups unable to communicate and understand each other.

It seems like, according to legend and scripture, the Gods all had a bit of fun with the creation of languages, and the creation of misunderstandings.  Uncertainty in language has certainly fed the legal profession, where single words in contracts are statutes are zealously battled over, sometimes past the point of absurdity 🙂

20 thoughts on “Debabelization – Our Webs of Words”

  1. Okay. If the photo didn’t get my attention, the title definitely did! I think we’re on the same word wave at the moment. I’ve been writing in my personal journal the past two days about my obsession with etymology ever since I was little. The Bible story of the tower of Babel still intrigues me. My favorite childhood books were the Dictionary and books with detailed maps. Although I have always respected wildlife and animal symbolism, I can’t say I ever viewed spiders as word weavers. Very interesting. Again, you give us Gallaxy goers another something to think about. Now, can you tell us how to get the visual of spiders in our cupboards out of our heads so we all can sleep tonight? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much! It does sound like we’re on the same page. I love the derivation of words. LOL ! I quickly dispatched the spiders. I usually don’t bother any animal or life form, but if they are poisonous, that’s different.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post. I love reading your thoughts about the writing process …. and what you say about Hermes. I thought of a movie called Babel as I read along. I will have to say the title makes more sense now!. Thank you for mentioning my post! . Sending love and best wishes 😘👍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG. I have never seen a Tarantula in my life! Were you scared? Also, I thought they were brown and stripey but must be different types. Like you I am an animal lover and always let them be. But I think I would jump and tremble if I saw a gigantic spider! Imagine camping and that crawling in. I have never seen a brown recluse either. But met a man on a bus in America once that got bit by one. The insects we have here are small and harmless and scarce and don’t bother me. They probably avoid this part of the world cause it rains so much. LOL. Maybe when you live in other places you get used to bigger insects.

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    1. Not scared of these guys at all. They don’t bother you. I’ve seen them more goldish in color and redish too – but that was when I was out in Az. I really only worry about the real poisonous guys. Brown recuses are all over where I live in the Midwest. Any home over 10 years old and you will find them. I routinely have to dispose of them when I see them. Glad you don’t have to deal with many bugs, but they do play an important role in our ecosystem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I agree and I never kill anything. I just look at them in curiousity. But wow that’s a big spider! So great to be educated about tarantulas as you always see them in horror movies etc! Spiders here have never bothered me. But they are pretty small. I think most creatures avoid humans anyway and I don’t blame them! I also agree insects are essential to eco systems definitely. I most like butterflies, dragonflies and ladybirds.

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  4. I’ve often wondered where people’s fear of spiders comes from. None of the spiders here harm you in anyway. I think there are some that do in other places. I also think wherever you live you get used to the species living around you. It’s interesting to see your photos anyway. Symbolically spiders have often had positive connotations. I am not afraid of spiders here at all and see them as a good luck symbol. But they are nowhere as big as that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, symbolically spiders are very good omens. I’m not sure where these fears started either but I did see how my first wife communicated her fears to our daughter. My daughter wasn’t really affected by that, but the fears do seem to transfer culturally – sad to think we teach our children to be fearful

      Liked by 1 person

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