Magic

by Marilyn Martin

Etymology of Glamour:

From Scots glamer, from earlier Scots gramarye (“magic, enchantment, spell”).

The Scottish term may either be from Ancient Greek γραμμάριον (grammárion, “gram”), the weight unit of ingredients used to make magic potions, or an alteration of the English word grammar (“any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning”).

Etymology of Grammar:

From Old French gramaire “grammar; learning,” especially Latin and philology, also “(magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo” (12c., Modern French grammaire)

“Learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes,” which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of “occult knowledge” (late 15c. in English), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.).]

A glimmer of glamour—
This grammar:
The weighing of words for
A potion particular,
Testing the spell by the sway;
This juxtaposition of diction and daring
Adance in pellucid, precarious pairing
And paring, for only the
Magic may stay.


Marilyn Martin says, “Walking in wonder and worship includes loving words and loving God with my mind.”


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

3 thoughts on “Marilyn Martin: Magic”

  1. One of my favorite themes to mull over, Marilyn! Well done.

    This is the ‘daily miracle’ of our language and literacy, the magical way that words can summon up images, images that bring with them whole worlds, all the hidden correspondences between Word and World, a magic witnessed by the way a word like spell means both to spell a word and to make magic, the way chant is embedded in enchantment, the way even the dry word Grammar turns out to be cognate with Glamour in its oldest magical sense.
    But if all language is a kind of spell, it is a Good Spell (or Gospel as we later shortened that term). For Christian Faith points to a single source, in the Word, the Logos of God, for both the mystery of language and the mystery of being. Christ is the Word within all words, the Word behind all worlds.
    Certainly many Christian writers have reflected on the parallels between the Genesis narrative in which God says “Let there be..” and each thing He summons springs into being; and the way the uttering of words, the combination and recombination of a finite set of letters, can call into being the imaginary worlds, the sub-creations, as Tolkien calls them, that God in his Love has empowered us to create. It seems that being made as ‘Makers’ (the old word for poets) is one of the ways in which we are all made in God’s image…” Malcolm Guite

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