Today is Day 6 of my Mind Your Ps and Qs series – my contribution to the Write 31 Days blogging challenge – wherein I’m writing about pronoia, peace, and quiety. Pronoia is the philosophy that the world is conspiring to shower us all with blessings; quiety is calmness and serenity; and peace of course needs no definition.
October 6 is celebrated as Mad Hatter Day in honor of the Alice in Wonderland character who wears a top hat with a price tag on it marked 10/6. It’s meant to be celebrated as a day of silliness, and of course I think that’s fabulous – our world could always use a dose of laughter. But I also like the holiday because it makes me think of hats which are dear to my heart (and head)! In fact you may even say it’s one of my vanities. But I’m going to guess you probably think I mean something other than I do. Vanities is actually a 15th century term for hats. I suspect the Mad Hatter would approve of my word play.
Recently as I was taking photos of various altars around my house for use in a project I’m working on, my attention was really drawn to this pointy-headed woman I created a million years ago when I was obsessed with paper mache.
People often think she’s a witch with her pointed hat, but that isn’t really what I had in mind when I created her.
I was thinking about how things get negative associations and how we have to really work hard at reclaiming more positive images, and how much simpler life would be if we didn’t have so many things that needed reclaiming.
When I made this pointy-head I was thinking about the term pointy-head as the idiomatic disparaging definition of stupid, or alternately “intellectual, especially in a self-important or impractical way.”
It made me want to reclaim pointy-head as wise – as in reaching an upward pinnacle.
There are a couple interesting stories about pointy hats worth reviewing. In the Middle Ages, philosopher theologian John Duns Scotus recommended the wearing of conical hats to stimulate the brain. Alas, as other of his theories were rejected in later times, Duns (dunce) became a pejorative which meant someone “who foolishly held on to outdated doctrine.” And from there it deteriorated into anyone who was considered stupid. Then of course the wearing of the conical dunce hat made its way into the educational system as a shaming tool. Of course, I like to think that those poor recipients of the dunce hat actually got a dose of brain stimulation and reminder that they too might actually be a wizard.
There’s a long history of wizards wearing pointed hats, although the first known ones were actually rigid and carved with astronomical symbols. Research also suggests that cloth conical hats were actually popular in cities at one point and eventually made their way into the countryside at the point they became out-of-fashion. And so the country women most likely to practice the herbal and magical arts, and most likely to be ostracized as not-mainstream were wearing these hats and identified as witches. I’m not sure about the accuracy of that, but again I like to think there was some delightful brain stimulation going on no matter what.
So in my way of thinking these conical hats are actually the thinking caps they originated as. And that leads me back down the circuitous path that once had me pondering that wisdom was really something that could be contained in a wise dome (one’s head) and that every wise dome required a decorative hat. That’s how it works in my world.
Keeping in mind my intention to offer something to inspire or delight you, here are a couple links you may want to check out. Perhaps you’d like to join the pronoia parade and create blessings for others by knitting or crocheting a hat (or something else) for someone. Here’s a list of all kinds of projects you may wish to participate in. Or maybe you want to add some joy to the world by folding a paper hat for yourself or someone – here’s a link for that.
Wishing you a happy Mad Hatter’s Day. Stay clear of the mercury which is what actually caused madness in the hat-makers. But do opt for some silliness, and most definitely be an ambassador of pronoia.
What’s your definition today for wisdom – knowing that it’s perfectly acceptable, even desirable, for it to be fluid? Every day a new idea! Do you have a symbol you associate with wisdom? Is there something widely perceived as negative that you’d like to reclaim into positivity? Do tell, you know I love to hear. And hats off always to you when you leave a comment – thank you!