Friday, September 25, 2009


Mini post to say that I'm stuck on that word today. The phrase 'vault of the sky' popped into my head this morning as I was looking up at the cloud pattern against blue. Vault is a deep protected place for precious things, vault is a leap, vault is a high ceiling. The OED tells me that it means a curved ceiling supported by pillars. Or the space it covers. Or an underground space with a curved ceiling. Which all seem very different to me.

Tangentially, Wikipedia tells me that the word 'firmament' in the King James Bible was translated from the Hebrew word raqiya. And that word comes from a word that means “beaten out” in metalworking. The explanation says that the ancient Hebrews were extolling the handiwork of God who had somehow created the huge dome of the sky, as a humongous bowl of worked metal, infinitely beyond the capabilities of humans.

And then onto the Egyptian sky goddess Nut who is pictured as arched over the earth with the stars, moon and sun in her body. I can't find an image of her to link to that matches the one in my mind. And anyway she's not very vault like.



The Subtle Rudder said...

Perhaps Nut was doing a backbend across the firmament?

I like to think of the sun, moon, and stars as her organs (both internal and sensory) or her sexy bits. Many cases could be made for which is what and what is which.

Thanks for the word-nerdery,'s viral, apparently. Okay, tomorrow's word to ponder is "cleave."

Nimble said...

Oooh, cleave and then cleft. And it's the whole backwards forwards meaning thing too: joined together but also split.

I am sure I've seen an ancient Egyptian painting or carving of Nut stretched high above the earth with the stars everywhere across her ventral side. The images I found when I looked online mostly had her breasts hanging down and apparently nourishing those below...which squicked me. ack.

Bee said...

I like the idea of the sky as "a humongous bowl of worked metal."

I am remembering a line from a movie where one character said to the other: "This is in the vault, right?" They were talking about a secret.