Immolate

immolateThat moment when I explore the origins of a pretty word and find it has a strong connection another of my favorite words of all time.

So,

Immolate (v.) “to sacrifice” with the alternate meaning “to sprinkle with sacrificial meal”.

From in- “into, in, on, upon” + mola “sacrificial meal” which originates from one of my all-time word-loves mele- to crush or grind, the basis of maelstrom “grinding stream” or whirlpool. Maelstrom has always had my heart. Anyone living with mental health problems, or suffering under huge burdens of stress might agree at its many apt applications.

That said, there is an undeniable metaphorical link for me between the etymological origins of “self-immolation” (more commonly recognized as the process of setting oneself on fire) and the process of grinding oneself down in a sacrificial manner, often to no definable end. Self-harm for survival is not often a quick process, and sacrificing oneself on the altar of continual existence is easier said than done. Picking at the mortar with your fingernails to escape a building, only to find the structure now undermined and collapsing.


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