The Magical Mediterranean
Volume forty-one of this biannual journal focuses on the Mediterranean, a literal hub of the ancient magical world. It features a collection of recent academic articles on the topic, including Baqi Elazar's anthology of Proto-Canaanite meanings, and an exclusive article by Venita Wessex on the process of discovering Phoenician's heretofore unknown magical uses.
Rediscovery and Renown: The Magic of Phoenician
Rediscovery and Renown: The Magic of Phoenician
Magiarchaeologist for the British Museum of Magic
Anthropological-based Journal of Ancient Discoveries, Volume XLI, December 2016, Pages 119–13
Word has gotten out in magilinguistic circles around the globe: Phoenician is not devoid of magic as once previously thought. Initial studies that first garnered suspicion have been confirmed and the effects described within said studies have been reproduced by many a scholar. With this new discovery, centuries of misinformation must be cast off. It is the author’s hope that this article is a step further towards that goal.
While the academic world now knows that Phoenician is unquestionably magical, the question of how exactly Phoenician works, magically speaking, still remains. Note that many authors point to the idea that Phoenician is likely very similar to Proto-Canaanite and has the same magical meanings. However, this author suspects otherwise. With Phoenician so strongly tied to intent, it is highly possible that these persons’ expectations are causing this apparent correlation. As an example, if one believes Gimmel will have a meaning similar to throwstick, this will bleed into the potion when preparing and therefore the activation of the rune. Thus, the proposition is brought forward that the numerous studies that have indicated similar effects to Proto-Canaanite are null. This is not to say that runes in Phoenician cannot have the same magical meanings as those in Proto-Canaanite, but that they were not necessarily meant to.
As evidenced by the experiments detailed in Manipulations: A Study of Phoenician Meanings (Wessex, 2016), Phoenician glyphs can be manipulated to have very disparate meanings via intent and expectations. In this study, Waw was able to be made to encompass the meaning of division, as well as driving a wedge between two parties, which directly contradicts its usage in magic to form unions and treaties in Proto-Canaanite. A similar feat was reproduced a number of times with Daleth, Heth, and ‘Ayin, though not as intensely.
This article does not propose that these were the original meanings. Instead, these meanings are highlighted to show the degree to which intent and expectations can control the outcome of the meanings. There are certain limitations, however. For example, Daleth cannot be made to mean tiger, as also tested in Manipulations. It appears that there is a fair amount of leeway based on the possible meanings to the Phoenician people. The difficult part will be defining those limits.
The easiest assumption would be that the basic, mundane meanings of the Phoenician are the inspiration for the magical meanings. However, like Proto-Canaanite, the magical meanings will likely have expanded with use to encompass new facets. With time, we will hopefully have as clear an understanding of Phoenician as we do its parent script. For now, we will have to compile what we do know.
Below, there is included the list of tested possible meanings in abbreviated form as was also presented in Manipulations. However, the additional table from that study with impossible meanings has been omitted. As you will notice, this is by no means a complete list and, in fact, some glyphs are not even treated in it owing to time constraints in the original publication. As further study occurs by this author and others, it is hoped that this list can be further developed.
As a note, the “Possible Proven Meanings” does not include the accepted mundane ideographic meanings, nor do they pull from any of the established magical meanings of Proto-Canaanite. These are certainly also possible, but not part of the scope of this article, which is to add to those lists with non-pre-existing meanings. Because of the uncertainty surrounding Phoenician, all potential meanings -- even from Proto-Canaanite -- should be considered possible unless disproven.
The coming years will likely be a flurry of activity -- in many different academic circles -- in an attempt to add to this list and further refine already known meanings. There is enough mystery to go around and those in the fields of history and anthropology will be invaluable assets to any team attempting to uncover these secrets. However, with the proposed method of attempting to prove and disprove meanings rather than rely on pre-existing meanings, the magilinguistic world at large will fortunately save years of time in experimentation. Fortunately, Manipulations provides an excellent base and tried system off of which to build.
The process of creating a meaning for any given glyph is thoroughly described in Manipulations, but will be briefly summarized here. To activate any given Phoenician symbol, a potion must be brewed which is infused with the intention or meaning of the runes in question. Therefore, to make a glyph take one meaning or another, one must only concentrate on a meaning and that meaning must be a possible extension of the chosen glyph(s). In this way small nuances can be tested.