Blythe Dolls are highly distinct and unique, but there is also some mystery around the name. What does ‘Blythe’ really mean?
Typically, the word Blythe characterizes a look and feeling of pleasing innocence with the sense of gentle and indifferent easiness.
River names give us some old words in the language and we can see in eastern England there are two rivers called Blyth with corresponding towns near their mouths. The Anglo-Saxon settlers to the area after 500 CE, called these rivers Blyth to denote their calm, tranquil nature and pleasant course.
Blythe and variant spellings are not uncommon English surnames too. Surnames originated in Medieval times, often as adjectives, sometimes given ironically. So someone named ‘Richard Blythe’ might have had that title because of his happy easy-going countenance.
We can see that although Blythe is a somewhat unusual word these days (the adverb form ‘blithely’ meaning happy, oblivious and carefree, is heard more often), in the past and even the recent past, blythe or blithe was a much more common description of the feeling.
The ancestors of the peoples of northern Europe would have frequently described pleasurable things and individuals using blythe. It’s found in Old English, Old Dutch, Old German and Old Norse. The closest word we have to blythe is ‘bliss’ and these also distantly linked to the Slavic, ‘belo’, meaning white, and thus blythe also has at its root in the meaning bright (light). To go back even further, the earliest prehistoric origins of the word come from the Proto-Indo-European word for fire (bela), and in the ancient Sanskrit language, we also see this with the word ‘bhala’ meaning splendour.
It is blythe’s closest cousin, bliss, that gives us the best insight into the otherworldly essence of Blythe Dolls.
The American folklorist and student of the human spirit, Joseph Campbell, wrote a landmark study, The Hero with a Thousand Faces in 1949, in which he analyzed and unified human mythology worldwide. This masterpiece has been the inspiration for many great works of film and literature. Campbell really understood what makes humans tick and he often stressed the need for people to “follow your bliss” in order to fulfil your destiny.
“I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”Joseph Campbell
Following your bliss, according to Campbell, is what brings us happiness, joy, peace and immense fulfilment. These are the values the time-worn label of blythe encapsulates and there’s no better way to follow your bliss than by engaging in a hobby that you love.
That is what blythe is: a feeling — an elusive sense of serene pleasure free of worldly worries. You can see that Blythe Dolls very much capture this spirit.
Blythe Dolls are just this. Collecting, customizing and being part of the community of Blythe Dolls is a hobby that is satisfying and rewarding. Not only do Blythe Dolls live up to their name, but they are also one pursuit that truly brings delight.
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