Looking Backwards

Lughnasa                                                                        Full Honey Extraction Moon

Over the last week plus I’ve watched the Starz Network version of the King Arthur legends, Camelot.  I get it streaming from Netflix.  Each time I watch this program I get a shot of creative juices, similar to the ones I got when I first read the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Those didn’t inspire me to write about the King Arthur material, an area that gets reworked a lot, but it did cause me to think about my own heritage, my ethnic heritage and what might be there as a resource for writing.

At the time I chose to emphasize the Celtic aspects of my bloodline, Welsh in the instance of the Ellis line and Irish through the Correll’s, my father’s father’s mother’s family.  The Celts have a rich pool of legends, religious ideas and quasi-historical accounts.  Most have heard at least something about druids and faeries, both part of the Celtic past.  There are, too, holy wells, a Celtic pantheon and the series of holidays known as the Great Wheel which I celebrate.

I’ve not done much with the German side of my heritage though it is, arguably, more substantial since the Zikes and the Spitlers, my mother’s and father’s mother’s families respectively are both German.  The Keatons, my mother’s father’s family, we think have an English connection though it’s proven difficult to track down.

The legendary and religious aspects of the ancient Celts and Germans are what interest me, the more recent history not so much and by recent I mean from the Renaissance forward.

Roman and Greek mythology and legend has also fascinated me since I was young and my Aunt Barbara gave me a copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology.  Through out my life at various points I’ve read such works as the Iliad, the Odyssey, Hesiod’s Theogony, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, amazed at the richness of these stories.

As you know, if you read this blog with any regularity, that lead me to learn Latin, which I am doing, so I could translate Ovid’s great work, the Metamorphoses, for myself.  The distance between a translated text and its English version has interested me especially since seminary.  In seminary I studied both the Old and New Testaments extensively, learning in the process many techniques for analyzing ancient texts.  It was my favorite part of the seminary curriculum.

When I observed yesterday to Greg, my Latin tutor, that the commentaries I’d found for the Metamorphose lacked a lot compared to commentaries for the Biblical material, he challenged me.  “Well,” he said, “You could write a commentary to it.”  I might just be able to do that.

When I mentioned it to Kate, she said, “Oh, and finish your novels, too?”  And she’s right of course.  I have more than one creative iron in the fire, plus other matters related to art and the environment.

Even so, the idea intrigues me.  A lot.  Now all I have to do is get very facile at translating.