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Creating the Old and Borrowing the New

By James Hoscyns

Language is undeniably an important facet of spiritual practice. As an aspect of simple communication, it lets us convey our beliefs to others. We raise words up to the divine through the shaping of intent and the molding of prayer. We lurk on web forums and set fire to the comment sections in defense and make war with trolls. No matter what, we are surrounded by and immersed in language at every point. Despite this envelopment, or perhaps because of it, I’ve noticed two particular questions on the importance of language in spiritual practice tend to be met by universal pauses. The first is “why is it important?” and the second is “how is it important?”


Language is complicated. Language is big. And it connects us to something larger than ourselves, and even larger then. Languages old and new alike serve to connect us to the spiritual genetics of the gods we worship, connecting us with the people and places that have come before and to those who will yet, and in that way, we identify ourselves as being part of this same spiritual current. Our ethnic and national identity is inconsequential; our biological genetics erode away when we enter into this space where we belong, because we are made to belong there.

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