I think it was Albus Dumbledore who said that words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. And as a writer, there are few things I love more than beautiful words.
But this post is about one word in particular; my favourite word of all. And although it comes with a warning that some people may be offended by this, I certainly don’t apologise for that… and you’ll see why in a moment.
So here it is, my favourite word of all:
Yup. Cuntipotent. Go on, roll that around your tongue for a moment and see how it feels. Cunc-ti-po-tent. Pretty awesome isn’t it?
But what does it mean, I hear you ask! Well, very simply it means all powerful; similar to the world of “omnipotent”. But as you can see there’s one obvious difference between the two.
And the thing that differentiates my particular favourite world is those first five letters: “cunct”
Yup, it sounds a lot like a certain word that undoubtedly makes so many people shudder doesn’t it? A word that so many of my friends refer to as the C bomb rather than ever saying out loud.
But it’s true, my favourite word starts with another version of the word “cunt”, and if I’m honest that’s part of the reason this is my favourite word.
Because “cunctipotent” is defined by Barbara Walker (The Woman’s Encyclopaedia of Myths and Secrets) as “all powerful… having cunt magic”.
You see cunctipotent isn’t just my favourite ever word because of the way it sounds or feels to speak; it’s my favourite word because it speaks to me of something that’s inside each of us women which may have been forgotten and/or listed as something offensive over the years, but is seriously bloody important.
It may derive from a word that, nowadays, is generally considered the most offensive you can actually speak. Seriously, how many times have you heard people – especially women – gasp when the word “cunt” is used?
But it’s just the word for a part of their body, and a pretty damned powerful one with a rich history too. The Goddesses Kunda, Cunti and Cunina were all powerful Divine feminine figures, and the very root of the word – “cun” – is one of the oldest and most sacred ways of defining the feminine that there are. Good gods the River Kennet in Wiltshire was once the river Cunnit, named to reflect the shape of a land that seemed to see water flowing from between a woman’s legs.
The history of the word alone is something you could write entire books on, and no doubt people will. But I’m no etymologist, so for now I’d direct you either here or here to read more about it if you’d like to, and I’ll get back to my cunctipotence. To mine and to yours.
Because what’s that all about? What is this all powerful magic that relates to the cunt, so only we women possess? Let’s start with the obvious. We are the very centre of creation; inside our bodies life can be created and grown and birthed. Of course we can’t do it alone, but that doesn’t get away from the fact that our bodies are the place where life begins.
And by creation I’m not just talking about children; whether we choose to use power to bring forth human light, art, adventures or a revolution, we women have a space within us that is set aside specifically for creation and that in itself is pretty damned powerful.
But that’s not all. Nature – the most powerful thing we experience in our life on this planet – is a cyclical force, moving from winter to spring to summer and autumn and back again; within each of those seasons is the moon – moving from dark to full and then waning back again every month.
Another cyclical force? Woman. Every month we bleed, we become fertile, and bleed again in a regular cycle of preparing to create. In days gone by those cycles were directly linked to the moon – women would bleed when the moon went dark and ovulate two weeks later when it became full. And although modern life might have lessened our obvious connection between the two, the monthly cycles in each of us mean we’re still pretty damned linked – even when we grow older and stop bleeding we can still follow the phases of the moon within us. Again, I’m no expert on this, but I’d encourage you to read Lisa Lister’s amazing book Code Red if it’s something you’d like to know more about (seriously, this book changed my life. And I don't just say that because I love the lady who wrote it).
And of course this doesn’t even start to tell the whole story of how powerful we women can be if we bring together that creativity and that connection with everything else we have to bring to the world.
Cunctipotent may have literally become a dirty word in recent centuries, undoubtedly because of the power it represents. But it’s that power which is the exact reason we need to diffuse the C bomb and remember instead everything it stands for in the world and within us.