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Author Topic: Warlock vs. Male Witch...  (Read 49758 times)
Brann Druce
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« Reply #15: April 27, 2008, 08:55:51 pm »

LOL...now. Who's gonna be Endora?

If I wasn't already Uncle Arthur... I can guarantee you that I'd be one heck of an Endora!

*thinks*

Who is the most ill-tempered member of TC?  Then again, she was the one who had all of the best lines on that show...

Either that or someone who is very flambouyant... *which I'm not that flambouyant...*
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« Reply #16: April 27, 2008, 09:19:02 pm »

Either that or someone who is very flambouyant... *which I'm not that flambouyant...*

Neither am I, but if I was I would jump on that role in a heartbeat Cheesy
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« Reply #17: April 27, 2008, 09:20:01 pm »

Who is the most ill-tempered member of TC?  Then again, she was the one who had all of the best lines on that show...

I suspect that Agnes Moorehead had a lot of fun with that character.
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« Reply #18: April 27, 2008, 10:12:06 pm »

I suspect that Agnes Moorehead had a lot of fun with that character.

You know what? Never in the future will I take a discussion of the term "warlock" seriously. LOL
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« Reply #19: April 27, 2008, 10:19:32 pm »

You know what? Never in the future will I take a discussion of the term "warlock" seriously. LOL

Hey, you're to blame for that one! LOL...

Oh well... at least we get a good laugh out of my own "personal endeavors"... Wink
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« Reply #20: April 28, 2008, 08:08:32 am »

You know what? Never in the future will I take a discussion of the term "warlock" seriously. LOL

Given the reputation of the term "warlock" in Pagan circles, it is hard to get much of a serious discussion going. About the only exception is a discussion that starts out with something like "Even though the term is not well-thought of in the Pagan community, I want to call myself a "warlock" because: reason A, reason B, reason C, etc."
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« Reply #21: April 28, 2008, 09:35:20 am »

Yep, but that doesn't mean I have the Oxford English Dictionary (part of what I want to look at) at home, or know Old English. (I can fumble through stuff, but mostly 'not'. Middle, I'm much better in, but it's less helpful in this case.)

Here! Definitions. The OED says:

1a)An oath-breaker, traitor. Obs. (cited at 1023 CE)
b) A wicked person; a scoundrel, reprobate; a general term of reproach or abuse. Obs. (cited at 1000 CE)
c) A damned soul in hell. Obs. rare. (but cited to 900 CE)

2) The Devil; Satan. Obs. (cited to 1000)
b. A devil, demon, spirit of hell. Obs. rare. (cited to 900)

3) A savage or monstrous creature (hostile to men). The word is applied to giants, cannibals, mythic beasts, etc. (again, to 1000: they're all in a couple of texts)

4) 4. One in league with the Devil and so possessing occult and evil powers; a sorcerer, wizard (sometimes partly imagined as inhuman or demonic, and so approaching sense 2 or 3); the male equivalent of witch. Sc. and north. dial. (earliest citation = 1460)

There are a couple of other somewhat related ones - but through the usage citations, it's pretty clear that there's a thread of "evil/manipulative in bad ways/destructive/unreliable" going through there. That's a hard word to reclaim.

Witch?

The first definition says: "A man who practises witchcraft or magic; a magician, sorcerer, wizard." (note the male reference) with a citation to 890 but with many other citations up through the 1900s, clearly speaking of men.

The first definition for women cites back to about 1020, and the other definitions don't have nearly the same sort of negative definitions - there's stuff about magic, and the supernatural, but not that pervasive thread of "always evil" or "never trustworthy".
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« Reply #22: April 28, 2008, 09:52:00 am »

Given the reputation of the term "warlock" in Pagan circles, it is hard to get much of a serious discussion going. About the only exception is a discussion that starts out with something like "Even though the term is not well-thought of in the Pagan community, I want to call myself a "warlock" because: reason A, reason B, reason C, etc."

Yes. But now we have a FUN example to toss back in reply. LOL

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« Reply #23: April 28, 2008, 10:39:21 am »



I just wonder how biased the OED was when the witch scare was going on...

This may just be something I read or heard... but I heard the only reason a "warlock" was termed oath breaker and all that good stuff was due to the fact that the Christian Church felt they needed a title to label someone they knew was not for their god therefore he/she was an oathbreaker.

I dunno...

I guess the definition is going to vary depending on who you ask and as Randall said most of the Neo-Pagan community would retain the negative connotation o fthe word and therefore it would be somewhat of a challenge to be taken seriously.

The reason I asked this was because of "Mastering Witchcraft" by J. Huson. From what I heard he calls himself a warlock.
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« Reply #24: April 28, 2008, 11:03:56 am »

I just wonder how biased the OED was when the witch scare was going on...

Considering the OED was first published in the late 1800's, I don't think there was a witch scare happening that would influence the publication.  Wink
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« Reply #25: April 28, 2008, 12:05:35 pm »

I just wonder how biased the OED was when the witch scare was going on...

This may just be something I read or heard... but I heard the only reason a "warlock" was termed oath breaker and all that good stuff was due to the fact that the Christian Church felt they needed a title to label someone they knew was not for their god therefore he/she was an oathbreaker.

I dunno...

I guess the definition is going to vary depending on who you ask and as Randall said most of the Neo-Pagan community would retain the negative connotation o fthe word and therefore it would be somewhat of a challenge to be taken seriously.

The reason I asked this was because of "Mastering Witchcraft" by J. Huson. From what I heard he calls himself a warlock.
I do recall reading the word "warlock" often reading that book. I do see where on page 50 he says that a witch or warlock being found with a chalice usually resulted in an immediate bout of torture.
In the back in the glossary of Witch Words and Terms it says, Warlock - Originally term of abuse meaning "traitor", now generally within the United States to signify wizard.
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« Reply #26: April 28, 2008, 12:31:48 pm »

I just wonder how biased the OED was when the witch scare was going on...

One of the reasons I cite the OED is that it gives actual usage citations - those were those dates I included. The citations tell you how the word was actually being used (and the OED has specific criteria on what's used for them: they've got to be generally known works in the time period, not flaky-once-off stuff.) I didn't copy in the actual citations because they are mostly Old English, and therefore not easy to read.

[Quick lesson, for anyone else reading who is potentially confused. Old English is a heavily Germanic influenced language, but very hard to read by anyone who hasn't specifically studied it. It's what Beowulf is in.

Middle English is much more clearly a precursor to modern English, but there are still a number of vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and other aspects that make it challenging to read correctly if you're not familiar with it. There are also a number of different dialects - some, like Chaucer's, are very readable if you read modern English. Others, like the poet known as the Pearl Poet, are very hard to read unless you specialise in them.

Modern English includes Shakespeare: it's stuff that is basically readable to people these days (with some vocab differences)]

1000 CE? *way* before any of the modern witch trial stuff (which, depending on how you count, starts in the 13th century, and really builds in the 15th and 16th.)

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This may just be something I read or heard... but I heard the only reason a "warlock" was termed oath breaker and all that good stuff was due to the fact that the Christian Church felt they needed a title to label someone they knew was not for their god therefore he/she was an oathbreaker.

It's like the meaning for heretic, too - and, honestly, if someone *says* outwardly that they're Christian (with the expected oaths - such as at baptism and confirmation that they're supposed to be keeping in that religion) but actually is worshipping other Gods, there's a good argument for saying they're an oathbreaker. That's even more true in the Middle Ages, when it was even more common to have specific oathed relationships (complete with formal oaths) in social circumstances - for guild work, as consequences of various actions, etc.

On the other hand, there's a bunch of those usages that are more complicated than that - and you're not going to figure out the true complexity without a bunch more research and learning. (Especially given how badly most Medieval and Renaissance history and culture is taught in many schools, unless you specialise in it.) And, as noted, several of the definitions are non-religion-specific.

If you really want to go look, your local central library probably either has the OED in electronic form or in print form. 

Quote
The reason I asked this was because of "Mastering Witchcraft" by J. Huson. From what I heard he calls himself a warlock.

Have you read what he says about that? That's where I'd start. As I said all along, there are arguments for reclaiming words - just that this one is (based on historical usage) an even harder one to reclaim than 'witch', because the connotations are even more specifically problematic.
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« Reply #27: April 28, 2008, 01:47:11 pm »



Thanks so much for the language breakdown -- it's clear and perfect.  I feel like I spend half my time explaining to students that no, Shakespeare is NOT Old English!  It's interesting -- I remember reading somewhere that the reason we can read Chaucer as well as we can is because Chaucer, along with Shakespeare, helped *create* modern English -- their works became so well known that they had a major influence on written English at the time, and thus make a line of descent.  (It didn't hurt that both were writing in the dialect of London, the center of power.)

And yeah, about reclaiming words:  most words that get successfully reclaimed have a neutral-to-positive meaning somewhere in there:  you mentioned "witch" (folklore and literature gave us plenty of good witches, prior to the 20th c. reclamation) and "queer," for example.  "Warlock" is not one of those words.  There's also the fact that it -- like "sorcerer," "wizard," "enchantress," etc. -- sounds INCREDIBLY self-dramatizing:  a pimply teenage boy in a cheap black cloak claiming he can summon the Powers of Darkness OMG, and yet all his cosmic powers still can't get him laid.  (Lyric thinks Paul Lynde, I think Snape without the power or skill.  And yet, "warlock" actually *does* fit Snape, since, as a double agent, he's by definition a liar and oathbreaker.  Anyway.)     
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« Reply #28: April 28, 2008, 02:13:08 pm »

And yeah, about reclaiming words:  most words that get successfully reclaimed have a neutral-to-positive meaning somewhere in there:  you mentioned "witch" (folklore and literature gave us plenty of good witches, prior to the 20th c. reclamation) and "queer," for example.

Glinda is the only pre-reclaiming good witch that I think of but in the later Oz novels she was called a sorceress because of the stigma attached to witch.  Maybe Samantha Stevens as well, but that may be pushing it.

Quote
"Warlock" is not one of those words.  There's also the fact that it -- like "sorcerer," "wizard," "enchantress," etc. -- sounds INCREDIBLY self-dramatizing:  a pimply teenage boy in a cheap black cloak claiming he can summon the Powers of Darkness OMG, and yet all his cosmic powers still can't get him laid.  (Lyric thinks Paul Lynde, I think Snape without the power or skill.  And yet, "warlock" actually *does* fit Snape, since, as a double agent, he's by definition a liar and oathbreaker.  Anyway.)     

You have no idea how close my computer screen came to being sprayed with water.  As a side, I don't think the word warlock has negative connotations in the Potterverse.  I'm basing this on the fact that Dumbledore was the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.  But I do agree that Snape fits the definiton Cheesy
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« Reply #29: April 28, 2008, 02:31:54 pm »



There are a number of neutral-to-good witches in fairy tales (though depending on where and when they were recorded, you might see an elision between "fairy" and "witch") -- the one that's springing to mind is the witch figure in all the variants of the "Kind and Unkind Girls," including "Mother Holle," etc.  Also, going back earlier, Arthurian and other medieval romances had good witch figures; many versions of the Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell story, and Morgan le Fay (in *some* narratives).  Also, you mentioned Oz:  by the time the reclamation really became widespread, we were definitely post-Oz, especially the movie version ("Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?") had become very well-known.  So the concept of a "good witch" was, while unusual, not totally out of the realm of conceptual possibility; the very fact that terms like "white witch" were part of the lexicon speaks to that.   And it was reinforced by Murray's thesis. 

And hee, glad I could inspire a water-spewing!  Cheesy 

(Oh, and to answer a question you asked *ages* ago, my avatar is indeed Bluebeard, from the Dore illustration.  Smiley )
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