Garden of Life in Lydian Cursive, Big

Phonetic Usage
(and what it means to us)

As stated elsewhere, one of our long running projects has been to develop a Phonetic Symbol system that provides accurate pronunciation information, and yet still looks like writing. The problem seems to be caused by the fact that there are ~75 sounds that are used in human speech in most languages, but most alphabetical systems try to get by with 26 or so characters, the more serious systems adopt various diacritical marks. Even if this issue is successfully addressed, one still has to consider tonal drift, or the change in the sounds within a Language over time, especially long periods of time.

We are going to post information here about the system as it evolves.

Garden of Life Phonetic Characters and Conventions

Below this introduction is a chart representing the current chart of characters used in phonetic construction of words. But before presenting this it is thought to be advisable to submit a brief explanation of the reasons and methods of this project by Garden of Life members.

Primarily, the original motivation was twofold. The belief that the physical sound vibrations of words and groups of words, have an extremely important role in the effectuation of the function of these words, whether in reference to clarity of communication of ideas or Spiritual/Magickal Werkings. An attraction to all that is known of Ancient Egypt coloured this somewhat, but not excessively. The original idea was a reconstitution of the Temple language of Archaic Egypt, as we conceptualized it. With the primary, although not sole, goal of having a way to construct Chants and Ritual Sayings, that were beautiful and evocative in their written form, and precise and moving in their spoken form.

Very early in the process, which we've been at since the late 60s(ev), we realized that we had to find or build a tool to construct these words, so that once constructed it would be patently obvious to anyone reading them how they were to be pronounced (thus setting up the intended, attendant vibration) and what was meant by the words and word combination. We wanted an alphabet and/or syllabary which would satisfy this desire for a one symbol for one sound tool, and in which the various component words would look like, well, words.

One should point out, early in this treatise that the requirements of strict interpretive scholarship are not met, or even really considered in our endeavors. So, if you are interested only that which is documentable by current mainstream academic standards, you should stop reading now. We read, somewhere that during one of the tumultuous presentations of some aspect of the Copenhagen Interpretation in Quantum Mechanics and/or Physics, that one of the speakers cracked wise and responded to a question about the theory with: "We don't got to show you no steeeeenkin' reality!" [Perhaps a restatement of the famous Einstein/Bohr disagreement where, Einstein argued that the aim of science was to provide a causal description of nature while Bohr maintained that the only aim was to describe the experimental data. (One wishes one could find the context again, but perhaps someone will email us the reference, or perhaps it was read in fiction, or was a Dream, or the product of some other altered state)]. In the Spirit of that glorious satirical comment: we are compiling this tool for our use in the Temple. While anyone else who cares to use it, certainly may, we are not attempting to develop a new phonetic alphabet and/or syllabary that the "World Academic Community" is going to accept. For instance our sources include, without prejudice, intuition and half-remembered impressions of past lives, as well as painstaking research into what has been rediscovered of the wonder that was Egypt in what we choose to call the Archaic period.

Some have been disappointed that we have not just adopted the International Phonetic Alphabet for our purposes. While there is some attraction to that august body of research which has been codified within their IPA standards, the fact is that words written in that alphabet, don't really look like words to us. For instance, some of the supplementary functions of language, such as meaningful capitalization, or non-capitalization is not available. A secondary consideration is that we speak American English, and the IPA's sounds tend to lean toward European pronunciations.

One of the prime characteristics of English, particularly American English, which we were attracted to, is the tendency to incorporate words into itself from many languages, with the additional effect (intentional or not) of adding the inferences attached to the original word, so that many nuances of meaning may be expressed, by choosing a French rooted word, or a Greek rooted word, and so forth, and thus incorporating the connotations of those roots.

The Details

We are using a plethora of diacritical marks to make the exact desired pronunciation abundantly evident, simply from the characters assembled to spell the word. For instance, when a macron (short straight line) is over or under a vowel it is pronounced in the American English, long vowel mode. If the macron is over or under a consonant, it means it is pronounced hard and generally long. When a breve (small bottom half of a circle) is over a vowel it is pronounced in the American English, short vowel mode. At this time we are not using the breve over consonants. Circumflex, caron, umlaut or diaeresis, acute, grave, slash, cedilla, ogonek, dot overs, ring overs, tildes and other diacritical marks all have their own effects on the pronunciation of each given character.

We have added characters to the character list we are going to use in an effort to totally fulfill the "one sound for one symbol goal".

And then the Reconstituted (like in orange juice, only different)Ægyptian Hieroglyphics add a whole other layer but that work has it's own area.




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