> First off, my name is Francine Nicholson, I'm from the States, and
> Dennis King suggested I join this list because of my interest in early
> Irish culture and language.
> Dennis wrote:
> filid - accusative sing. of 'fili' (= poet), which McCone derives
> from the Insular Celtic verbal root *wel- (to see)
> > I will quote Fergus Kelly's translations of these three rather
> > terms:
> > imbas forosna - "encompassing knowledge which illuminates"
> > teinm la/eda - "breaking of marrow (?)"
> > dichetal di chennaib - "chanting from heads (?)"
> > I invite the listmembers to flesh out these definitions, if they
> > to do so.
> As a supplementary base for discussion, I offer J.F. Nagy's
> translations, as given in _Wisdom of the Outlaw):
> imbas forosna - "great knowledge that enlightens"
> teinm la/eda - "chewing of the pith"
> dichetal di chennaib - "incantation from tips"
> I've got to say that the last one--whether one uses "from head"
> or "tips" as one's translation--puzzles me. I think one should assume
> that the process involved going into a state and making oracular
> statements that perhaps consisted of symbolic rather than everyday
> language (as I believe Enright suggests in _Lady with a Mead Cup_.)
> I don't see what that has to do with "heads" or "tips."
> In regard to teinm la/eda, T.F. O'Rahilly and Calvert Watkins
> both associate this with the modern folktale version of Fionn mac
> Cumhaill obtaining wisdom/insight/iomas by chewing on his thumb "from
> skin to flesh, from flesh to bone, from bone to marrow, from marrow to
> (the inmost core)" or as the version in Duanaire Finn has it, "eating
> the marrow of my hands." I rather doubt that poets actually chewed
> to the marrow, and suspect it to be symbolic language for some sort of
> meditative process in which the poet entered a state that touched the
> most inner sense of being. Do we have any evidence of actual chewing
> taking place in Irish sources or those of other I-E cultures, aside
> the Fionn stories?
> Imbas forsna reminds me of the correspondences between parts of
> the universe and the parts of the body that are found in medieval
> manuscripts from various I-E countries, specifically the eyes with the
> sun which is all the more explicit in Irish (not every language uses
> same word for both!). Thus I see an association between the sun that
> illuminates the earth and the imbas that enables the seer to see, with
> the eyes being the conductor of imbas just as the sun conducts light
> heat. This makes explicit the role of the fili as the seer and
> reinforces McCone's etymology of fili. Do others *see* that?
> Francine Nicholson