Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Votive Offerings

כ' תמוז התשס"ח
Faunus 22

In follow-up to my previous entry (Excalibur), I note that in Celtic legend, Excalibur comes from and returns to the mystically liminal Lady of the Lake.

Patrick Hunt of Archeography Photoblog writes of the Lady's Lake within the context of the legendary Arthurian Excalibur:

In the Celtic world, springs, lakes and marshes are liminal sacred places that are intermediary loci between, among others, the living and the dead. When Arthur’s legendary and to some extent magical sword Excalibur is returned to the Lady of the Lake, this is most likely an excerpted old echo of a longstanding Celtic votive ritual.

Examples abound in Europe and the British Isles of just such votive offerings.

Votive offerings exist in Torah as well as in Celtic legend. A votive offering is a neder.

Rabbi Stacy K. Offner of writes of a neder, a Jewish votive offering:

The most powerful kind of word that a person can utter: a neder, “vow.” A neder is an extraordinarily powerful kind of word, because it is not a word of description. It is a word of action.

Uttered words roll out into the world of action, for bad or for good. A neder (votive offering) is an extraordinarily powerful 'word' of action, able to overcome bad words of description.

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