The word inspiration has an inspirational history!
Its figurative sense appears to predate its literal one. It comes from the Latin word inspiratus which is the past participle of inspirare. It simply means “to breathe into or inspire”. And in English it meant “the drawing of air into the lungs” since the middle of the 16th century. The breathing sense is still in common use among doctors, when they say expiration which is “the act or process of releasing air from the lungs”.
Before inspiration was used to refer to breath, it had a distinctly theological meaning in English. It refered to a divine influence upon a person, from a divine entity. And this sense dates back to the early 14th century. (No wonder we need to breathe in and breathe out to focus our thoughts and thereby be inspired isn’t it..)
The sense of inspiration often found today is to have “someone or something that inspires”. It is considerably newer than either of these two senses, dating from the 19th century.
There is this hope deep inside my heart, that you remember the black and white cabinets I painted a few weeks ago. Drawing inspiration from that I present to you this kolam painted on a canvas board with a floor tile as the background.
What’s inspired you through this week? I’d love to know…