Oh, that word. Hapax. How I love it.
It was the name of my spiritual direction practice when I first began in 2012. Hapax Spiritual Direction. I learned of this word and concept in a doctoral course on the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. Hapax Legomina means Once Spoken.
When biblical scholars are doing translation from the original languages, part of the process is taking a word in a particular context of scripture, and seeing all of the places in the scriptural narrative where it shows up. All of the places where a word is used helps to form an understanding of meaning and definition. It gives clues as to what is really going on. For example, if a word is used in the book of Ruth for a situation that Ruth is in, and the only other places that same word is used in the Old Testament is to describe action by YHWH, then we see that the story of Ruth is a story of God. Like that. Cool.
So along comes the Hapax Legomina. Once Spoken. It is a word that shows up once. Maybe twice. There are no other scriptural contexts in which to understand the word. Which means that it can mean anything. interpreters then assign a meaning and definition. But in actuality it is the poetics of reader and text that bring sacred possibility to understanding. I love this.
So, I named my first journey as a spiritual director Hapax. Because I fundamentally believe that we are each Once Spoken. I know with my deepest knowing that there are no two people alike. You are unique in this world. You are a unique creation. I honor this so highly that my mission and vocation in life is to create space so that YOU can discover you. Discover that uniqueness. From that self discovery, we create our lives through choice.
What is the opposite of our ability to create our lives through choice? Consumerism. Trends. Pinterest self development. Like looking at a bulletin board of other people’s ideas of who you should be, based on what everyone else is doing, and the outliers that then become the new trend. It is ok to go with a trend. It can be fun and refreshing to reframe our self knowing to bring about new self discovery. But we get to be the one who chooses this path. We choose from a place of alignment with our own spaces of soul, core, essence, truth.
You are Once Spoken. You are known by the cosmos as an important and vital part of an extravagant picture that isn’t complete until you are you. Until I am me. Until each one of us are who we were created to be from the timeless Holy of Holies.
You are everything, part of everything, and this is truth.