Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions by Philippa Waring

By Philippa Waring

Initially released in 1978, this dictionary lines the possible origins of superstitions from around the world, discussing the symbolic context within which they nonetheless live on and suggesting how they could support take advantage of sturdy good fortune and keep away from the undesirable.

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What we know about weaving during this time derives from literature, archaeological remains, as well as from friezes, wall paintings, and the iconography of vase painting, which record the style of looms and the way wool was carded and spun. ”4 The female body is often sexualized in these work scenes. In turn, literature from this culture often illustrates how a woven object embodies the psychology of its weaver, and how weaving itself becomes a metaphor for a woman’s thought process. Scenes abound wherein women, like Klytemnestra and Penelope, are depicted weav53 54 weaving the word ing plots as well as garments.

49 The tower of Shalott, the “magic mirror,” the window, the tapestry itself all constitute a “permeable barrier” that separates (or excludes) the Lady from Camelot, at the same time that it allows her to establish a place for herself (as an artist). Since both the semiotic and Symbolic realms are codependent, the weaving the Lady performs is analogous to the thetic function, which constitutes both realms while it holds them at bay. By weaving representations of Camelot, the Lady sustains herself in terms of, as well as against, the Symbolic.

In my present analysis, I am mainly concerned with the relationship between the textile, the weaver, and the mirror which casts forth “magic sights” from the world of Camelot. The setting is an island called Shalott past which runs a road to Camelot. 28) have heard her singing. 38). 48). She will be cursed should she stop gazing through the mirror of representation and choose, instead, to cross her room to an actual window and look out toward Camelot. 65). But one day she hears someone singing outside her castle, and as she looks into the mirror the form of Sir Lancelot appears.

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