Naming Tradition: The Word and World of Pagandom

Naming Tradition: The Word and World of Pagandom

By Evgeny Nechkasov (Askr Svarte) and Jafe Arnold

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“Language is the house of Being” – these words of the great German philosopher Martin Heidegger not only indicate how in everyday speech as well as in philosophy Being pronounces itself, its moods and attunements (Stimmungen) and care (Sorge), but also refer to an important notion in the thinking of this “Black Forest shaman”: dwelling in the world. Dasein is thrown into the world in which it dwells (Wohnen), like in a raised wooden house. To dwell means to experience, to come to know and to make known a surrounding place, to make it one’s own, to become local to and with it, to become “native” and “original.” Dwelling in the world therefore means, among other things, “selecting”[1] the right words for naming things. Words themselves grow forth to meet the meanings and things which are called by them. Authentic existence in the world, according to Heidegger, can thus be found named in a fragment of Hölderlin’s verse: “poetically man dwells.” 

In the world of Tradition, to which much in Heidegger’s thought leads us back in new light, and in which such dwelling was the archetypal norm, naming is always and everywhere a sacred matter. Like the magical word, a name encompasses and touches the essence of an entity, manifests and affects it, and connects it amidst the so many dimensions of correspondences, manifestations, and phenomena that make up the beingful world of the cosmos. Cosmos itself is a name – κόσμος – which the ancient Greeks called the world ordered out of the Gods’ victory over the Titans in the beginnings of time. 

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