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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Name of This Blog

So I started this blog on a whim. I had just wanted to find out how difficult it was to set a blog up, so I went to and started an account on a rainy Saturday morning. In the setup mode, the first thing I was asked for was my blog name.

I did not have a blog name. I wasn't even completely committed to starting a blog, but suddenly in need of a name, I cast about for an interesting word, and I landed on 'abraxas.' I had read the word earlier in the week, had looked it up in my The Cassell Concise Dictionary, and had found the following definition:

1. a word used as a charm, denoting a power which presides over 365 others, and used by some Gnostics to denote their supreme god. 2. a gem with this word, or the corresponding mystical image, engraved upon it.

What I took from this definition was that an abraxas was a word used as a charm, and that pleased me. I thought it might even preside over 365 other words, although now I'm not sure what 365 things the definition refers to. But I loved the choice of 365, suggesting as it does the number of days of the year. In my mind, suddenly every day of the year had its own special word, and this was the word that held power over all of them.

I discounted the part about the Gnostic god named Abraxas, since the definition said "some people," as though it were not the consensus and not the main meaning of the word.

I liked the sound of 'abraxas' and what I perceived to be its meaning, so I paired it up with 'axis' because, to me, 'axis' suggests the X-Y axes used in the Cartesian coordinate system (axes being the plural of axis), or the X-Y-Z axes, or even an axes with more dimensions. In short, I wanted to suggest the intersection of language and math, two of my passions.

Meanwhile, it turns out that 'Abraxas' is the name of a god to many many more people than I ever would have supposed. I get emails from followers of the god Abraxas, so pleased to meet a fellow worshipper, and I hear from astrology buffs who do something with Abraxas. And I have to tell these people I have no idea what they are talking about. Or next-to-no idea, since I have looked some of this up in the meantime, to be able to respectfully respond to people kind enough and enthusiastic enough to write me.

I would not have called my blog "Axis of Abraxas" if I had known how much misunderstanding it would later create. Even now, I consider a name change.

But I thought I'd just explain it, write it out somewhere, in case anyone was wondering.


Mari said...

Don't change the name! It's wonderful and unique...

Jessica Goodfellow said...

I'm glad you like it. I've become ambivalent due to the mail I've uwittingly invited...But I guess I said that already.

Leslie Jam said...

Forever and ever my sweet, brilliant friend!

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Right back at ya, Les!