Noun a word (other than a pronoun) or group of words used to name or identify any of a class of persons, places or things (common noun) or a particular one of these (proper noun)
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary
I recently finished reading a somewhat cerebral tome by Jenny Blain called ‘The Nine Worlds of Seid Magic’. Whilst I am not and do not even pretend to be an academic, there was something about this book that eventually reached me, a lowly dirt dweller.
In fact the book has taken me over a year to read, other books have come and gone, taking priority and for some reason this got put on the back burner, dipping into it occasionally during lunch breaks at work, or on long road trips. This isn’t a book review; although I recommend the book highly, I mention it only because it brought me somewhere I never ever thought I would find myself until I came across a word which the author discusses at some length in her chapter called ‘Ergi Seidhmen, Queer Transformations’ (or something like that!) That word… ‘Ergi’… Ergi…?? Ergi…!!
The more I read the word and its proposed meanings the more I felt it burn into my psyche, or perhaps being forced out from deep within it. In the book Jenny dissects the term ‘Ergi’ as being given to men who perform “Women’s Magic”…Seidr. It is as I understand it equal to what we might today call “Queer” or “Bent” and Jenny suggests the word was once used as an insult to denote a man of cowardice or effeminate nature, much as my two contemporary equivalents may be used today to suggest someone may be of bi or homo sexuality. Yet the more I read the word and as it rolled round and round in my mind the more it struck me that actually, regardless of how a word was or may be used, it can actually be quite empowering, it’s all about personal perception after all… Loki called Odin The All Father ‘Ergi’ because Odin also practised “women’s magic” which He learnt from the Freya.
Yes, I am Gay, but never truly felt I fit into stereotypical ‘Gay-dom’ often finding many gay folks to be quite irritating and I sometimes feel more at home among heterosexual people although never really fitting in there either. But Ergi seems more than just sexuality…more than gender roles. Example…I am neither Pagan, nor Catholic nor Jew yet steal beliefs, ideas and practises from all the above (and more) like a crafty magpie…I fit nowhere, I belong nowhere! Ergi is to be set apart…to be different…queer…outcast, active and passive, masculine and feminine, working in an office 9-5 yet neither in one world or another quite fully, not Pagan, nor heathen, nor Christian…the wanderer along the crooked path, the loner, you might even say…the Witch.
A few weeks have since passed and in my head I can still hear it…Ergi…Ergi…Ergi…round and round and over and over it seems to go, calling me, teasing me…the word seems to have claimed me, branded and scarred me since I first learned of its existence (or remembered it!?)
The English language has this uncanny ability to be able to reduce the profound to a minor profanity, I often catch myself saying “if only there were the words…” it seems there are actually plenty of words, when you look outside of our native tongue. And to those who think words are just labels, I ask you to reconsider, names are also words, names are things we own or things which own us, names are nouns, either proper or common…the power comes when we make the common, become the proper. Are you Witch…? Or a witch…? Do you own the name or does the name own you?