Daily Archives: March 17th, 2010

The Natural Alphabet / “St. Paddy’s Day” is Ancient Egyptian

A bit of a history lesson here; how did our modern alphabet evolve?

Well, according to this article, “it’s all in nature”:

The precursor to many of the characters in our modern script are found in the pictogram hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. The symbol for the letter ‘A’, in its earliest representation, depicted the image of the deified ox–which came to represent ‘the great one’ or ‘the creator’ in subsequent cultures. So it remained, as the symbol became adopted by the Greeks and Romans in a more rudimentary form, called ‘Alpha’–still signifying a supreme position today.

Not all the letters that make up our current alphabet are thought to trace back to forms from nature, however. The letter ‘B’, for example, is traced back to a pictogram of a house–its dimpled center once representing a doorway. Likewise, the early symbol for ‘C’ resembles a sling, though some speculate it might depict the hump of a camel.

the letter d imageThe letter ‘D’ in its Proto-Semitic was often represented by the pictogram of a fish, though as the symbol was adopted by the Phoenician, it seems that only the triangle-shaped tail was preserved. That triangle would become more precise as the Greek letter ‘Delta’, until the Romans rotated the shape slightly and rounded one of the pointed sides.

Very interesting. Although I don’t think the original Lascaux Cave artists intended nothing more than preserving the power of their animal spirits.

Then again, isn’t that what written words do?

How Nature Inspired the Alphabet

hat tip


Sometimes I haunt Chris Knowles’ The Secret Sun for a dose of Jungian Symbolism and today Saint Patrick’s Day gets the treatment:

Well, it’s that time again- the Liberalia. Some of you may know it as St. Patrick’s Day, but it was originally sacred to Dionysus (or Liber Pater as he came to be known after the clampdown on the Bacchanalia), as those who’ve read The Secret History of St. Patrick’s Day know. And this brings us back to Osiris, the father (or Pater) of the Egyptian Mystery Trinity. Here’s a sneak preview for those who haven’t read the article:

In Egyptian mythology, Osiris was killed on the 17th day of Athyr, the third month of the ancient calendar.

3/17 is also the date of a Masonically-created holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. The story has it that the holiday was established by high level Freemason, George Washington, allegedly to reward Irish soldiers in the Continental Army. But “St. Paddy’s” has traditionally been a very minor Saint’s day in Ireland. Considering that the day has become America’s defacto Bacchanal (which takes us back to Osiris) it’s worth noting some of the parallels of this day with Solar mythology.

• Osiris was believed to be the source of barley, which was used for brewing beer in Egypt.

• It’s customary to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day and Osiris was known as the “Green Man”

• The root word of Patrick is pater, the Latin word meaning father. Osiris is the father in the Egyptian Trinity.

I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to get the fixings for boiled dinner– I suppose we can postpone the festivities until the weekend when I can make some fresh soda bread (the stuff at the store is always stale) and get a better deal on the corned beef.

Mmmm..soda bread. I forgot about that.

I wonder if the store will have anymore left when I go home from work today?

It’s funny how the ancient gods and their holidays got integrated into “Christian” culture over the centuries.

Of course the people in charge of buying school textbooks in Texas would deny that to the end…

It’s Saint Osiris Day Again!