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Subject: Re: burning question
From: Michele Cheung <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 31 Aug 2009 17:04:12 -0400

text/plain (56 lines)

A Sioux friend told me this. I was sitting watching him dig a water 
run-off trench around a tepee (on emergent wetland), anti-clockwise or 
anti-sunwise. I picked up on it and asked him why not sunwise. He said 
because his intent was to push or repel the rainwater from running 
inside the tepee, not pull something in. So you can add repulsion to 
insult as a possible meaning of this gesture. I don't remember his exact 
words, only the concept. Orientation is clearly important here too. What 
are you making the gesture toward? I thought he was bringing bad luck to 
the tepee, but he was pushing it away toward the sources of sky and 


Sean O'Connor wrote:
> Let us not forget, either, the modern words 'deiseal' and 'tuathal'
> (clockwise and anticlockwise).  I had a grandmother who had a story about
> cursing a dead person, and by extension the descendents, by walking what she
> termed as 'deshel' three times around the grave.  
> Seán
> Not direct evidence of a negative CCW, but when I accompanied some 
> students and their Navajo language prof on a field trip to the res he 
> was very careful to plan the trip in a N-E-S-W loop on the map, thinking 
> it important.  He had lived with a family with no English for many years 
> and his wife is Navajo.
> Gary
> Huntsman, Jeffrey F. wrote:
>> Again, I have a reaction from the Am Indian side:  For many Indian
>> people, as widely different in material and intellectual culture as
>> the Navajo and the Lakota, the sun is very central.  Domicile doors
>> open towards the rising sun and the four directions are referenced
>> constantly in even casual matters.  But I know of not a single
>> instance of a horizontal circle made anti-clockwise signifies
>> something bad.  (A backwards motion of the sun's passage overhead,
>> yes, but nor around in a circle.)  This is not much evidence, of
>> course, but the similar lack of evidence in Irish fits the bigger
>> pattern.  Perhaps if we knew of some culture very far north, where
>> the sun really did seem as if it were gong more in a circle than an
>> overhead loop, we might get  comparative clue.  But I'm ignorant of
>> any such culture.
>> Jeffrey F. Huntsman
>> 6980 East Bender Road
>> Bloomington, IN 47401-9279
>> 812-339-4855 / cell 812-272-6470

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