Saturday, April 23, 2011


Most dictionaries of name origin agree that mine derives from the Greek katharos, meaning pure. They go on to note, however, that there is some doubt as to whether the source instead may have been aikia meaning torture. Finally, there is a possible relation to Hecate, the Greek goddess of magic. Saint Aikaterina of fourth-century Alexandria was one of the earliest recorded with this name; she was born a "pagan" but died a Christian martyr. Depending on my mood, I could certainly think of my life as magical and of myself as a goddess, but there are definitely times when it is, well, pure torture! Right now, it's the purity angle that I'm working the hardest.

Whenever I go through periods of celibacy induced by the extreme despair brought on by the behavior of These Men (plus spending so much of the winter in gloomy Berlin, which nicely lowers my sex drive), it works well to visit pristine mountain towns on the Camino de Santiago where I can easily picture ascetics engaging in extended bouts of self-flagellation. I devoutly cross myself with holy water while lighting candles to my dear departed, picturing them looking down on me from heaven, content with this new leaf that I've turned over. [I do, naturally, instead of the recommended euro coin, put in 10 cents because I'm damned if the Catholic Church will profit from this pilgrim! A 10-cent coin launched into the collection box with conviction and a good flick of the wrist will resonate just as well as one euro.]

I'll conclude this post by regaling my readers with a list of some of my favorite synonyms: austere, celibate, clean, continent, controlled, decent, decorous, immaculate, innocent, inviolate, modest, proper, prudish, quiet, refined, restrained, simple, spotless, stainless, subdued, unaffected, unblemished, uncontaminated, undefiled, unstained, unsullied, unwed, vestal, virginal, virtuous, wholesome. Santa Katchita is back to wish you all an Easter full of appropriately heavenly thoughts.

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