Whitsunday––Pentecost––comes today, marking the descent of the Holy Spirit (known in times past as the Holy Ghost), closing the Easter season. Pentecost slipped my mind (even with the Convivio Book of Days Calendar!) until a friend in Barbados wrote to say Happy Whitsuntide and to tell me he’ll be off on Monday for the Whitsun Bank Holiday. But here in the States, we don’t get Monday off and “Happy Whitsuntide” is a not a greeting we hear much. So, thanks to David in Barbados for stirring my memory, here’s a quick little something for Pentecost: a small suggestion of something to ponder today, a consideration of the mystical connexions this day suggests. The connexions come to me via two friends in two very different places: Father Bob Limpert (speaking at the 1794 Meetinghouse at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community back in 1996) and Professor Myriam Swennan Ruthenberg (speaking in a classroom at Florida Atlantic University a year or two prior). They both had things to say about inspiration, things that have stuck with me all these years. If it’s a windy day today, all the better for making those connexions apparent. It certainly was a gusty morning, I recall, as Father Bob was speaking. Maybe it was when Myriam was speaking, too. Anyway, here is my linear amalgamation articulating the thoughts of these two thinkers, which I hope they’d both appreciate:

gust–> ghost–> spirit–> breath–> respiration–> inspiration

I’ve talked about these two people (and these connexions they bring to my mind) in further depth in years past for Pentecost, and if you’d like to read more, just click the word PENTECOST in the sidebar and you can choose from many previous posts. To me, this is a day for creativity and inspiration, pure and simple, all coming out of (take your choice of one or both) the Holy Spirit and the Italian root word for both respiration and inspiration: spirare.

It’s maybe also a good day to explain to you why I love the connexions variant of the word connections so much: No, it’s not a misspelling, but it is a rarely used variant. I choose it because I view that X in the middle of the word as having connecting lines, of sorts, much like the ones we use in algebraic equations. The “x” shows (to me, anyway) more relativity than the “ct” does… even if the “ct” does make for a lovely ligature in some fonts.

Take all this as you wish. Maybe it just demonstrates that I put way too much thought into things. Be that as it may… as David in Barbados reminds us: Happy Whitsuntide. May you find some inspiration in this.


Image: The letter X drawn by Luca Pacioli in De Divina Proportione, Italy, 1509. Online Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons].


2 thoughts on “X

  1. Cari Ferraro says:

    Thank you, John! You always shine a light. I remember this from my childhood st the Episcopal church, but never got the connexions. Just lovely. I’ll think on this all day.

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