Senakulo: Traditional Dramatization of the Passion of Jesus Christ

SENAKULO: TRADITIONAL DRAMATIZATION OF THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST The senakulo is a traditional Filipino dramatization of the life and times of Jesus Christ. Done in singing (pasyon) and recitation, it is presented in the public squares in many towns, in houses and streets during the season of Lent. The Senakulo (from the Spanish cenaculo) is a Lenten play that depicts events from the Old and New Testaments related to the life, sufferings, and death of Christ. Image Credit Pasyon The senakulo is traditionally performed on a proscenium-type stage with painted cloth or paper backdrops that are called telon. It takes at least eight nights - from Palm Sunday to Eastern Sunday - to present the play. Christ is presented traditionally as meek and humble, submitting lamb-like to his fate in obedience to authority. In urban areas, there are developed versions of the senakulo that run for only one or two hours. They may be presented in different types of locale: on the traditional stage...

Facts About the Igorots of the Philippines

The terms Igorots and Cordilleras are used to collectively refer to a number of tribal groups including the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Apayao/Isneg, Kalinga, and Kankana-eys. The Igorots reside in the mountainous north and central Luzon areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). The CAR covers 18,294 sq. km and includes the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Apayao. The Igorot form two subgroups: the largest group lives in the south, central, and western areas, and is very adept at rice-terrace farming; the other group lives in the east and north. The Igorots formerly practiced headhunting. The Igorots are an ethnic people of the Philippines, clustered in the Cordillera region of Luzon. It is true that they are famous for rice-terrace farming but saying that some of them have been known to be cannibals in the past is an exaggeration which only downgrades them. "Igorot" is the modern term to describe the indigenous people of the Cordillera Mo...

The Philippines - Superstitions and Beliefs

SUPERSTITIONS AND BELIEFS OF THE PHILIPPINES As I read the early tabloid this morning, the front page read, “This is the punishment of God to us.” According to a survey, many believe that disasters are the wrath of God and a form of punishment to man. Many Filipinos believed about the wrath of God as punishment for the sins of man in the form of natural disasters (typhoons, floods, landslides, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions). According to the survey of Pulse Asia; • 21% of people at the right age believed about natural disasters are ways of God’s punishment • 14% states that these are part of a natural process while, • 2% do not know the reasons of these calamities But a deceased of 23% of people are blaming God on these mayhems during the past two years. One “sizeable majority” (63% as of last month, increased from 54% of July, 2008) who believed that the reasons of these disasters are due to man’s abuse and exploitative a...

The Top 10 Countries With the Largest Christian Population

Here are the top 10 countries in the world where the population of Christians are the largest. 1. USA – 245+ million USA, the so-called “defender of democracy”, has the largest population of Christians of all the countries in the world. In the late 1400s and 1500s, Europeans who immigrated to the “New World” brought with them their religion and spread it all over the United States. Colonizers, such as Spain, Portugal, Great Britain and France, converted majority, if not all, the native inhabitants of both North and South America. 2. Brazil -170+ million Brazil is the largest country in South America. It is the 2nd country in the world with the largest Christian population. Native inhabitants of Brazil were converted into Christianity by the Portuguese when they colonized it in the 1500s. Majority of the Brazilian Christians are Catholic and the others are Protestants. Brazil / Pixabay 3. Russia – 114+ million Russia, the world’s large...

Christmas Parol: A Colorful And Traditional Christmas Symbol In The Philippines

The Christmas parol is considered the greatest expression of the Christmas spirit in the Philippines. It signals the beginning of the Christmas season for the country. What is a Christmas parol? In the Filipino language, the word parol means lantern. The traditional parol is a five point star-shaped Christmas lantern which has been a time-honoured Christmas symbol in the Philippines. You see parols hanging in every street and road of towns and cities, outside almost every Filipino home, in schools and office buildings, shopping malls, and even churches during the entire Christmas season which usually starts as early as November. As a traditional Christmas symbol for every Filipino, the Christmas parol is a reminder of the star of Bethlehem. It symbolizes the guiding light of the Three Wise Men to the manger of the Child Jesus. There is no other Christmas symbol in the Philippines that exudes more warmth than these Christmas lanterns called parol. These Christmas lanterns are very uni...

The Most Popular and Largest Shrines to the Virgin Mary

Are you a Marian devotee? These sites are absolutely a must-see for you! A Shrine to the Virgin Mary is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It could also be a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion. Shrine to the Virgin Mary is also called Marian Shrine. Here are the most famous and the biggest Shrines of the Virgin Mary from the different parts of the world. Our Lady of Lourdes Image Source The “Our Lady of Lourdes” in France is perhaps the most popular Shrine of the Virgin Mary. With a population of about 15,000 people, it receives about 5,000,000 pilgrims annually and within France only Paris has more hotel rooms than Lourdes. Image Source  Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France. The apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes started on February 1858 when a 14-year-...

The Pentagram: A Symbol for Good or Evil?

The Pentagram is the symbol of a five pointed star and has had a few different names over the centuries. It has been known as a pentalpha, a star pentagon, pentancle, petagle and also as a pentangle. The word itself comes from the Greek ‘pentagrammon’ meaning ‘five lines’. What is the Pentagram? Today it is a symbol of the Wiccan faith and rightly so, as it has associations with magic. The Wiccans weren’t the first to honour their faith with this symbol, however, and its roots can be found as far back as the times of Babylonia, Mesapotamia, Sumeria and ancient Greece and China. Nowadays many neopagan faiths have adopted this symbol for their cult, Christians have used it to represent the five wounds of Jesus Christ and it appears on the Masonic regalia of the Freemasons. Note that the simple five pointed star is not a pentagram. The pentagram is drawn with a continuous line and has strokes through the centre of the star. Wiccans will define the penta...

Fascinating Facts About Whistling

Lying in bed listening to a the tuneful whistle of a man walking to work early this morning started me thinking about the art of whistling. My husband commented that you no longer hear people whistling as much as you used to and we began discussing why this should be. An obvious answer is that technology has taken over music and people have become more passive, preferring to listen to music than produce music themselves. Many walkers have instant music plugged into their ears and car drivers turn up the sound so their music is relayed free to everyone around. But whistling goes further back than technology and I decided to find out more about this disappearing habit. Here are a few fascinating whistling facts I discovered. Whistling a Male Dominated Activity Whistling is considered to be a male dominated activity. Women attempting to whistle were labelled as unfeminine. I guess that’s why , as a young girl, I was scolded for trying to whistle and constantly reminded, girls do...

Witches and Witchcraft: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Archetypes Whenever the word “witch” is used in everyday conversation, any number of images may come to mind. Some may relate the word to the “Wicked Witch of the West,” while others to the modern Wiccan image associated with the likes of Sybil Leek.  Some may harken the image long held of the Salem witches, while still others may imagine a curandera, the wise woman found in Hispanic communities throughout North, Central, and South America (and Europe as well).  In fact, depending on one’s place of origin, age, sex, spiritual persuasion, life experience, education, and worldview, any number of archetypes are possible. Historically, the study of witches and their “craft” has fascinated humankind for thousands of years--and probably much longer.  References can be found in all major sacred texts around the world including the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Judaic Bible, the Islamic Qur’an, as well as in the ancient writings o...

Ritual Cannibalism: Past and Present

Most anthropologists today believe the practice of cannibalism has been part of human behavior since long before recorded history.  Oral traditions and world literature are brimming with fascinating accounts of headhunting cannibals of the African jungles, heart-devouring tribes of the Amazonian rainforest, highly elaborate ceremonies surrounding the consumption of human flesh among Papua New Guinea aborigine, and dining on the dead among the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon in the Four Corners region of the U. S. Southwest.  Cannibalism is, in fact, deeply embedded in the romantic lore of mankind’s evolution--tied to mythology, religion, witchcraft, vampirism, and strangely perhaps, to heroism. Still, the very thought of one human eating another--regardless of the circumstances--sends cold chills up and down the spines of most “civilized” people today. Even so, it compels us to ponder why the flesh of the dead can provoke such overpowering cannibalistic urges; w...

Allahu Akbar and Other Things Muslims Say

The words Allahu akbar have come to strike hatred and fear in the hearts and minds of many non-Muslims around the world. Media stories and movies about Islamic extremism play a clip of someone saying the words on camera, or it is reported that it was said before a mass shooting or suicide bombing. Allahu akbar means "God is the greatest", and Muslims say it countless times a day. The first words during the adhan (call to prayer) are Allahu akbar, and it’s repeated several times during prayer. Muslims may utter the words when they feel something bad is about to happen, as well as when something good happens. The words are simply meant to glorify the greatness of Allah. Hearing a Muslim say these words does not make them an extremist or mean they are about to commit any crime. These words should not make anyone fearful of Muslims.  In the religion of Islam, there are several other words and phrases that are ingrained in a Muslim’s vocabulary from b...

Common Superstitious Beliefs In Nigerian Traditional Society

Nigeria is a country rich in cultural heritage; and like most other cultures it does harbor its own superstitious belief. The issue of superstitious beliefs is not a trifling matter in the Nigerian traditional society and every Nigerian man holds such beliefs tenacious and looks out with forebodings on some omens; whether bad or good that comes with such superstitious beliefs. In this article, I will examine some of the more common superstitious beliefs that reside in the heart of the average traditional Nigeria man. Common Superstitious Beliefs In Nigerian Traditional Society Hitting your left leg on a stone The hitting of your left leg on a stone or stump in the traditional Nigeria society is seen as an evil omen or warning to turn back from where ever the person might be going. This omen is taken seriously and the journey is usually forfeited for the future. Failure to heed the warning could lead to possibly loss of life. Eating in the dark Eating in the dark is forbid...

Gods and Goddesses of the Aztecs, the Incas and the Mayans

The Aztecs, Incas and Mayans were among the first inhabitants of Americas. Like many ancient civilizations that existed in the world like the Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, Romans and others have their own list of deities that they worshipped. Like the Romans and the Greeks, the Aztecs worshipped so many gods and goddesses. Here’s a list of the most notable gods and goddesses that the Mayan, Aztec and Inca people in ancient America worshipped. Aztec gods and goddesses… Image Source Ometecuhtli Ometecuhtli, which means “dual lord”, is the god creator of the Aztecs. Xipe Totec Image Source Xipe Totec, “flayed lord”, is the god of vegetation, torture and sacrifice. Tlaloc Tlaloc, which means “growth-maker”, is the Aztecs’ god of rain and fertility. Tezcatlipoca Tezcatlipoca, “lord of the smoking mirror”, is the god of night sky. Quetzalcoatl Qpetzalcoatl, which means “feathered serpent”...

Interesting Facts About the First Man Created by God - Adam

Adam, according to the Bible, is the first ever man created by God. He was father to Abel and Cain. His wife is Eve. According to married men, Adam is the luckiest man in the world - he had no in-laws! Here are some important facts about Adam. 1.) Adam is the first man created by God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 2.) His wife, Eve, is known as Hawa in the Koran, Islam’s Holy Scripture. 3.) In the Hebrew calendar or Jewish calendar, Adam was created at the Garden of Eden in 3760 BCE. 4.) Adam died in 2830 BCE based on the Hebrew calendar at the aged of 930 years. 5.) Only three of his many children were mentioned in the Bible – Abel, Cain and Seth. Image Source Adam as depicted on Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man. It can be seen on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. 6.) Seth, according to the Book of Genesis in the Bible, is the 3rd son of Adam and Eve. He was born after Cain killed Abel as a replacement for Abel. 7.) Accordin...

Interesting Facts About the Most Sacred Place for Muslims on Earth - Kaaba

This post is about interesting facts about Kaaba, the most sacred, and may be the most visited place on earth. Mecca is probably the most visited city in the world where the Kaaba is situated. At present only during the hajj Mecca is visited by 2 million people. Therefore, virtually all life in Mecca associated with servicing the pilgrims visiting the city. According to many researches, the Kaaba (called House of ALLAH) is the most peaceful place on earth. it holds an enormous amount of people throughout the year which makes this place on the top of the most visited places on earth. For followers of Islam, the Kaaba is the most sacred place on Earth. Kaaba is the center of the circumambulations performed during the pilgrimage (hajj), and it is toward the Kaaba that Muslims face in their prayers (salat). Kaaba is located in the city of Mecca (Makkah) in the Arabian Desert in the Arabian peninsula of what is known as Saudi Arabia. It is also called the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, Al Masji...

Facts, History and Significance of Zam Zam Water

Zamzam water, also called 'Aab-e-zamzam is special. To Muslims this blessed water is special in significance and history. This article helps you learn some facts, history and significance of zamzam water. It is a miraculously-generated source of water from Allah (God), which began thousands of years ago when Ibrahim (as) infant son Ismael (as) was thirsty and kept crying for water and was kicking at the ground when water gushed out. Millions of pilgrims visit the well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages, in order to drink its water. Facts: This small 5 ft. deep well is far away from any other source or body of water. It is self-replenishing. It is constantly replenishing itself in order to produce gallons upon gallons of water for consumption of thirsty pilgrims plus the additional amount that is bottled and also the amount that is taken as gifts distributed worldwide to millions Zamzam water has scientifically been proven to contain healing qualities due to...

TEOTIHUACAN: History, Legend and Religion

TEOTIHUACAN: HISTORY, LEGEND AND RELIGION Teotihuacán ruins are among the most remarkable in Mexico and some of the most important ruins in the world. Teotihuacán ("teh-oh-tee-wa-KHAN") means "city where gods were born," reflecting the Aztec belief that the gods created the universe at this place. The holy city was constructed around 300 AD and characterized by the vast size of its monuments, carefully laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. Its most monumental structures are the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Sun (the third-largest pyramid in the world) and the Pyramid of the Moon. Image Credit      ANCIENT CITY OF TEOTIHUACAN The earliest history of Teotihuacán is shrouded in mystery. Little is known about its ancient builders, their names, religious beliefs, or language. The city became the epicenter of culture and commerce for ancient Mesoamerica, yet its inhabitants suddenly abandoned it for...

Filipino Superstitions on Bad Luck and Misfortune

Being a multi-racial nation, the Filipinos believe tons of superstitions and hearsays. I have already featured Filipino superstitions on luck and death. On misfortunes, Filipinos also have a lot to say. Here are some Filipino superstitions on bad luck. The bride should not try on her wedding dress before the wedding ceremony; otherwise, the wedding will not take place. A couple will not be happy in their marriage if loud thunder occurs during their wedding. If a pregnant woman cuts her hair, she will give birth to a hairless child. A pregnant woman should not eat twin bananas for it causes twin births. If a pregnant woman eats a red star apple, she will give birth to a child who will look like a star apple. Pregnant women should not sit on the stairs because that might make their deliveries difficult. A pregnant woman who goes to the river will give birth to a dead baby. A girl who sings before a stove while she cooks will be married to an old widower. image source On...

Bizarre and Weirdest Tribes in the World and Their Peculiar Culture

Some tribes from around the world are simply amazing and extremely unique. Despite the modernity of the large portion of the world, there are still some groups of people who embrace and practice their centuries old culture. Let’s find some of the most peculiar and unusual tribes in the world. 1.) WaYao Image Source Just simply taking a look at the kind of clothing these people wear, one can easily conclude that these people are indeed unusual. The Yao people or waYao are a major ethnic and linguistic group based at the southern end of Lake Malawi in Africa. These people played an important part in the history of East Africa during the 19th century. The waYao are a predominantly Muslim people group of about 2 million spread over Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. 2.) Surma People Image Source Surma women have the weirdest mouths in the world. Surma is the collective name for the Suri, the Mursi and the Me'en with a total population of more than 186,000. Suri or Shuri...

Thoughts on Gender Equality

Even up to this day, women are considered the weaker sex by most. Oftentimes women are discriminated from work, sports, politics, religion and other aspects in society. When man was created, it was man who was first given life and from man, a part was taken to create the woman. This is probably the reason why men are always considered more powerful than men. In the olden times, women were left at home to fend for the family and do the housework because she is the weaker sex, while man is out working in order to earn a living for the family. Man decides what has to be done in the family; what the children would do and how things must be done. It was always father who had the right to speak for all in the olden times and mother cannot decide things unless the father approves. Today, in this computer age and high-tech ways of living, gender roles finally shifted to a modern phase. What men could do, women could too. Men and women are given equal rights and women are now sitting in their...

What Were the Major Indian Tribes of the Old West?

Cheyenne, Apache, Navajo, Comanche, Sioux and Blackfeet were some of the major Indian nations in the United States in Old West in the 19th century. All lived in the area known as the Great Plains of North America, a vast area that stretches from the Mississippi River to the west of the continent. "The people of the plains are designated according to the languages they spoke. A sign language provided practical ways, but limited, communication between tribes of different languages," says anthropologist Regina Flannery-Herzfeld, Catholic University of America, in Washington. With the arrival of white men, the Plains Indians began to purchase items such as firearms and tissues, which led to the decline of traditions and native cultures. When they lived isolated from civilization, the tribes had the sole domestic animal the dog, which served mainly as pack animals, pulling a kind of wooden sled. The horses only spread among American Indians after contact with the first Spanish colonizers i...

Fall of the Great Inca and Aztec Empires

The fall of the Aztec Empire occurred because of the Aztec belief that Cortes was a god and because of an alliance between Cortes and other Native Americans. The Inca Empire fell to Pizarro after it had been weakened by a previous war. A Legend Comes True According to an Aztec legend, the god Quetzalcoatl would return someday to claim his kingdom. The god, who was light-skinned, would come across the sea in the east. The prophecy told that he would return in a 1 Reed year of the Aztec calendar. The Aztec emperor Moctezuma became nervous as the 1 Reed year approached. It was 1519 in the European calendar. That was the year that Hernan Cortes and his Spanish conquistadors arrived on the east coast of Mexico. Moctezuma heard that light-skinned people who rode strange beasts had arrived in great ships. Assuming this must be Quetzalcoat, Moctezuma became fearful. Two Emperors are Defeated Shortly after arriving, Cortes met Malinche, a native American woman. Her people had been conquere...

Islam and Hinduism, Two Methods of Slaughtering Animals for Meat, Halal and Jhatka

Islam and Hinduism are two great religions that have existed side by side for close to 1500 years in the sub-continent. The religions have beliefs and rituals that are diametrically opposed to each. Over the years this has generated into a conflict, with the Moslems being invariably the winners. The religious beliefs are so iconoclast that there is no meeting ground as the Moslems believe in one God and Allah is his prophet, while the Hindus believe in a pantheon of gods. Apart from praying the differences also come down to the method of slaughtering animals for meat and what animals to eat. This aspect brings out the irreconcilable differences between the Hindus and the Moslems. The methods of slaughtering meat are Halal and Jhatka and each is distinct from the other. The method of slaughtering an animal for consumption of meat in Islam is called Halal, while the Hindu method of slaughtering meat is called Jhatka. What is the difference between the two? Halal involves making a slit w...

Top 10 Most Important Historical Facts About Cairo, Egypt

Cairo was founded in 969 A.D. by the Fatimid dynasty, which is renowned for its Islamic architecture in the world.  The literal meaning for Cairo in Arabic is “the conqueror”.  Cairo, the city of a Thousand Minarets is the capital of Egypt. Being the largest city in Africa and the Arab world, Cairo is popular for its culture and ancient world wonders. Here are the most important historical facts about Cairo, Egypt. Image Babylon Fortress which was an antique castle located in the Coptic Cairo, was a part of old Cairo. It was the oldest ancient monument that separates Lower Egypt from middle Egypt. Though the fort was first built in the sixth century BC by the Persians near the Nile River, it was relocated to its present location by the Roman Emperor Trajan (98 to 117 A.D). Al-Azhar Mosque, the first mosque in Cairo, was built in 972 A.D., which was the origin for the city to be nicknamed as the city of thousand minarets. Al-Azhar Mosque was slowly develop...

The Many and Different Goddess of Love, Beauty and Sex From Around the World

Here are the most popular and well-known love, sex and beauty deities or goddesses from around the world. Aphrodite – Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty Image Source Aphrodite, one of the most beautiful and famous goddess, is the Greek goddess of beauty, love and lust. In addition she is also the goddess of pleasure and procreation. He married Hephaestus and the lover of Ares, Anchises, Adonis and others. Venus – Roman Goddess of Love, Sex and Beauty Image Source Venus, the equivalent of Greek’s Aphrodite, is the Roman goddess of beauty, love and sex. In addition, she is also the goddess of fertility, prosperity and victory. He is the mother of Aeneas and thus regarded as the mother of the Roman people. She also embodies enticement, seduction and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods. Ishtar – Goddess of Love and Beauty in Mesopotamian Mythology Image Source Ishtar, the equivalent of the Roman goddess Venus, is the Assyrian go...

Facts About the Hebrews

The belief in one God, which is basic to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, was born in the Fertile Crescent. You won’t ever meet a Phoenician or a Sumerian or an Akkadian. The ancient nations where those people lived have disappeared. Of all the ancient people who lived in the Fertile Crescent, only the Hebrews have kept their identity as a people. Today they are known as Jews, after the Kingdom of Judah, where they lived long ago. We know about the customs and beliefs of the Hebrews from what is written in the Bible. The Bible also contains great poetry and stories as well as religious teachings that have influenced the other religions of the world. Before the Hebrews, the people of the Fertile Crescent worshiped many gods. The Hebrews accepted the idea of a belief in one God. This is called monotheism.  According to the Bible, the story of the Hebrews begins with a man named Abraham. He lived in Ur, part of Mesopotamia, and was a nomad who moved his flocks from p...

Original Bible Diet, An Overview: There Were More Than One

What does the Bible, what several faiths believe to be the Word of God, say about nutrition and healthy eating? Apparently, it says much. Was there an "original Bible diet"? Evidently, yes. Was there only just one? Apparently not. In actuality, there were more than one original Bible diet.  Indeed, there were two distinct diets during two different stages of early recorded history. Perhaps, three can even be considered.  And all three were implemented for different reasons and at different times in antiquity. In a study of the Bible, one finds at least two different "original Bible diets" recorded in the Bible which transpired during two distinct periods of history. There is also a third Bible diet which may or may not have been actually included with the very first recorded Bible diet. The three were Biblical accounts written by Moses the ex-Egyptian noble, ex-fugitive, shepherd and whom many in at least three major religions in the world, conside...

A Brief Look at New Year's Traditions Around the World

JAPAN Japanese tradition calls for a full week of preparation in advance of New Year's Day, or Oshogatsu. All debts must be paid, all disagreements must be resolved and forgiven, and the house must be thoroughly cleaned.  Just before midnight, one hundred and eight bells ring to symbolize the elimination of one hundred and eight troubles. Thus, the Japanese start the year with no troubles, debts or disagreements, and clean house.  The day after New Year’s is known as "First Writing Day," when the Japanese write out their hopes and dreams for the new year. The kadomatsu is a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits or kami of the harvest. SCOTLAND The Scottish New Year celebration, known as Hogmanay, typically involves midnight parades, games, food, and exceedingly goodwill spread to one and all.  Another Scottish New Year's traditions is "first-footing," where neighbors visit each othe...

The ABCs of Magic: Keys to the Practice of This Ancient Occult Art

    Most cultural anthropologists believe the practice of magic has been an integral part of humankind’s development for tens of thousands of years and undoubtedly predates any surviving physical evidence.  Communing with nature, petitioning the gods, conferring with the dead--a belief in magic is thought to have played an essential role in our individual psychological development, our social organization, and certainly, the advent of religion (both personal as well as organized).       Numerous references to the practice of magic can be found in the world‘s oldest written texts including The Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt, the Sanskrit Atharvaveda of Hinduism, and of course the Hebrew Bible, and tens of thousands of cave paintings, petroglyphs, and pictographs found throughout Asia, Australia, and the U. S. Southwest speak loudly of our ancestors’ relationship with the supernatural.  But perhaps most poignantly, ar...

The Minor Arcana: Interpretting the Reversed Two of Cups

When in is reversed placement, the first thing that sticks out to me on the two of cups are the upside down cups in the hands of the couple on the card.  Now because I have a lot of experience with this particular card, I know that my insight and higher self are telling me to be mindful of my emotional vessel.  That is what all cuts represent, the vessel that Carries are emotions are human life force, or what you might consider to be our soul.  In simple terms, the cup represents your physical body, and the water represents your energy, life force and emotions. The second most obvious part of this card is the layout of blue all over the landscape.  Both the boy and the girl in the card are wearing varying shades of blue and in the background is a small town built up around a winding river.  Even the gray of the archway on the floor beneath their feet gives off a very light blue gray appearance.  Because this partisan reverse, that suggests there is an imb...

Mt. Banahaw: The Mystic Mountain and Pilgrim Site Every Holy Week

MT. BANAHAW: THE MYSTIC MOUNTAIN AND PILGRIM SITE EVERY HOLY WEEK Profile of Mount Banahaw Elevation: Approximately 2,158 m (7,080 ft)  Location: Mount Banahaw is located in Lucban, Quezon and Majayjay, Laguna, Luzon, Philippines Mt. Banahaw is an active complex volcano and a part of the Cristobal National Park. The three-peak is believed to be a depot of psychic energy and considered by the locals as a sacred and mystic mountain. It pours legendary folklores and superstitions that house countless members of cults, faith healers and soul seekers who climb its slopes to meditate and link to the mountain spirits. Its geographical location sits to a center point where the key lines of the earth meet. Wherever such latitudes intersect, they create paranormal energy field that manifest higher frequencies of perception, physiological or metaphysical. History of Mt. Banahaw The origin of the word “banahaw” is attributed to a description of a holy being – the mo...

The Mahabharata As a Moral Story

There was a common theme and a common moral in The Mahabharata; the Pandavas were consistently seen as the “good guys,” and usually succeeded in making the right decisions, while the Kauravas were shown as the “bad guys,” and usually made bad moral decisions that hurt the Pandavas in one way or another. Throughout most of the story, the Kauravas were not punished for making these harmful decisions, but in the end, the Pandavas defeated them and they were successful in regaining their kingdom. The main moral in the story was that evil may gain short-term victory, but in the end, good will always win; this moral was apparent throughout the story, and definitely taught Hindu readers how to conduct themselves and the importance of dharma. The Mahabharata was a moral story with an adventure story as a window-dressing; it taught the reader important lessons and about right and wrong while telling the story of the Pandavas’ struggle and adventure. The conflict ...

On This Day in History: January 1, New Year's Day

For many of us, New Year’s Day is a day of basking in the afterglow of the previous night’s revelry (or simply recovering), looking hopefully ahead to the days and months to come, and reflecting on another year past.  It’s sometimes easy to forget that many significant events have taken on the first day of the year that bear reminding. Here are some of the many recorded in history’s annals. · 45 BCE: The Julian calendar takes effect for the first (but not the last) time. · 404 CE: The last known gladiatorial competition in Rome takes place. · 630: The Prophet Muhammad sets out for Mecca with the army that will capture it without blood shed. · 1449: Lorenzo de’ Medici, Italian statesman is born. · 1515: Death of King Louis XII of France. · 1600: Scotland moves its numbered year to January 1 from March 25. · 1673: Regular mail service in the US begins between New York and ...

San Agustin Church: A Unique Architectural Style As Earthquake Baroque

SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH: A UNIQUE ARCHITECTURAL STYLE AS EARTHQUAKE BAROQUE Last Sunday, which is a Palm Sunday moved me to visit the San Agustin Church located at Gen. Luna St. in Intramuros, Manila, at the back side of the Manila Cathedral Minor Basilica which is close for renovation due to earthquakes. There were four churches declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1993 as the outstanding Baroque Churches in the Philippines and the San Agustin Church is one of them. Their unique architectural design is a blend and adoption of European/Spanish baroque by Filipino craftsmen including fusion with Chinese motifs. These Baroque churches established a style of edifice and style to adapt the environmental condition of the country and rendered important influences on later church architecture which form a new church building tradition in the country. History of San Agustin Church After the Spanish conquest of Manila in 1571, the Augustinian Order – the first to evangelize the ...

The Mbuti of Central Africa: The Only Known Egalitarian Society (with Rare Video)

By the time the Mbuti culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in centeral Africa, was first encountered sometime in the mid 15th century, the concept of a true egalitarian society had virtually reached mythological proportions.  Social scientists, theologians, historians, and philosophers had long hypothesized that such a society could exist in "theory," but scholars by and large maintained the perspective that circumstances supporting a society that had no formalized social stratification would be extremely rare, and temporary at best. At that time, prevailing Eurocentric ideals supported the premise that individual survival depends on societal organization, societal survival depends on institutional progress, and progress depends on the intentional delineation of social responsibilities according to one's abilities.  This perspective concluded that a society could not survive if it did not exploit its resources--through forced labor, slavery,...

A Partial SWOT Analysis of Public and Private Education - Opportunities and Threats for the Private School System

A SWOT and Comparative Analysis of Private vs Public Education – Part 4 - (Opportunities and Threats of the Private School Systems OPPORTUNITIES AT PRIVATE SCHOOLS A. There is far more room per student in a private school. Room to move, room to learn and room to mature. Space has been proven by sociologists to be an important factor in the development of young students. B. Private schools are becoming more and more affordable to the average parent. Despite costing more than public schools, some private schools are providing excellent services for the money invested in them by parents and each year sees an increase in state funding for private schools to reduce costs for parents. C. Private schools are fairly exempt from state and federal budget cuts. If you have the money, you go, if you don’t, you don’t go. D. There are few, if any bilingual services offered at private schools. All the classes are homogenous in the respect that everyone speaks English and speaks...

Fafafini: Gender-Crossing in Samoan Society

The Fafafini (correctly, Fa'afafine) is a third gender specific to Samoan and the surrounding Polynesian island culture. Biologically, Fafafini are men who have been raised since early childhood to assume female gender and sexual roles within Samoan society. In Samoan society, gender roles are shaped by society itself.  With an emphasis on the group and family rather than the individual, Samoan families have for centuries raised males displaying particular effeminate traits as females.  Said to have originated in a time when there was a lack of women to perform domestic tasks, this third gender evolved. Unlike many societies around the world where women are treated as subservient or insignificant, Samoan culture values their role rather uniquely. As Fafafini, they are considered a gender altogether separate from male and female, with distinct gender roles specific to them; different from those of either men or women. image credit Once chosen for this path, a Fafafini ...

A Look at the History and Lifestyle of the Mennonites of Belize

As well as the traditionalist Mennonites who speak a guttural form of German within their community there are around 2,000 Belizeans of Mestizo and Creole origins that have converted to this faith. The Belizean Mennonites are the most conservative and traditional of all the Mennonites to be found across Central America. The religious values and traditions of this dedicated group of people have had to avoid several forms of persecution throughout history as they sought peaceful methods to continue with the beliefs and values they have maintained throughout their existence. The Mennonites began in 16th century in what is now the Netherlands, they moved on to Prussia to avoid having to pay taxes they deemed unnecessary as they worked hard to maintain a religious and self supporting lifestyle while taking nothing from which the taxes would provide them with. They remained in Eastern Europe until the 1870’s when the ruling government at that time insisted on the Mennonites being con...

The History of the Witch's Hat

There is a stereotypical image of a Witch. She is an ugly old hag, sporting a large wart on her elongated crooked nose, dressed in long black flowing clothes and always topped with a broad brimmed tall pointed black hat. Where did the image of the Witch’s hat come from? The trade mark Witch’s hat does not come from the Medieval times as art from that time period shows Witch’s wearing a variety of hats and head scarves appropriate to the time period. None of the art shows a Witch wearing the stereotypical hat we see today. It probably comes from the 15th Century when tall pointed hats were used as dunce caps and similar hats were popular fashion in London. As happens today, new fashion trends start in the big cities and slowly make their way to the smaller towns and county sides. By the time that the farmers and country dwellers started wearing the tall pointed hats, they were far out of fashion in the big metropolitan cities. During the 15th Century, the City folk r...

Different Perspectives on Death

Throughout time and history many people have viewed the event of death and what supposedly happens after death differently. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject, although of course it's never been proven what happens after death. The living have only their thoughts and beliefs to comfort them when thinking about death and dying. Here are some different perspectives on death that people have thought throughout the ages and currently in our world culture: Reincarnation: Some believe that the soul is reincarnated several times over and over again and that you are to learn from each experience on Earth to gain a higher understanding before you can stop being reincarnated and achieve a higher state of being. Some people have claimed to remember things from past lives or claimed to have been someone else before in a past life. Becoming a spirit/ghost: Some people say that ghost's and spirits exist and that many times it is people who are dead that are sticking around ...

Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams

Morpheus is a seldom heard of God, who was not mentioned often in Greek Mythology. Morpheus is a God of Dreams and Sleep. His name means “He who shapes”. The words “metamorphosis” and “morphine” come from his name. Morpheus is the leader of the Oneiroi, the spirits of Dreams. The Oneiroi work for Hypnos, the God of sleep. They are a set of triplets and are all Gods of dreams. The Oneiroi spend their days sleeping within dark caves in Erebos, the Land of Eternal Darkness, which is located in the underworld. Morpheus sleeps upon a bed of ebony, surrounded by poppies. When evening comes, the brothers soar from their caves and leave Erebos like great bats in the night, flying on their black wings into the mortal realm where they visit people’s dreams. There are two gateways from Erebos. One is a gate made of horn and when the Oneiroi fly through it, they bring prophetic dreams. The other is a gate made of ivory and when they fly through it, they c...

Shintoism: Japan's Nature-Based Religion (with video)

Some world religions, like Confucianism, are distinguishable by their institutions.  Some world religions, like Christianity, are distinguishable by their historical founders.  And still other world religions, like Taoism, are distinguishable by their fundamental beliefs.  Shinto, however, does not fit easily into any these categories.  In fact, because of the general nature of this ancient religion, its tricky to even attach the “ism” designation to this belief system at all. The term Shinto is derived from two Japanese terms, shin (divine being) and do (way).  Thus, Shin do, is the name used to distinguish the indigenous Japanese way of addressing and interacting with divine beings.  The oldest known belief system in Japan, this “tradition” is so innately engrained in  the Japanese worldview that until Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the sixth century CE, it needed no name.  Now one of several religions practiced in...

Who Were the Shakers and What Did They Believe?

The real name of the sect known as the Shakers is The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. Shaker History and Faith The Shakers were a religious sect that began in Manchester, England by Ann Lee and brought to America in 1774. They were called Shakers or Shaking Quakers because of their propensity to dance and shake during worship. Ann Lee came to be known as Mother Ann and was believed, by her followers, to be the female counterpart of Christ. She preached that one could achieve perfection and be free of sin. She also referred to herself as “Ann the Word” The tenets of the faith include passivism, celibacy, communal property, confession of sin and equality between men and women in all things. In order to prevent any impure thoughts toward the opposite sex the communities were segregated. There were separate homes for men and women. Because of their strict adherence to celibacy, the Shakers adopted children and took in orphans on a regular bas...

First Protestant Church in the Philippines

FIRST PROTESTANT CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES Every time I go the Rizal Park to practice Tai Chi, I used to take the Light Train Transit and use to pass this simple but beautiful church. The structure was built at a corner street and from the view up the train one can see the north-side view including its tranquil garden.     Central United Methodist Church is the first Protestant church in the Philippines, located at T.M. KalawSt. Ermita, Manila. It was founded on March 5, 1899 during the American occupation of the country. It was named Central Methodist Episcopal Church, but was presently called Central United Methodist Church (CUMC). Central United Methodist Church, the first Protestant Church in the Philippines was referred to as an American Church of the first "English Speaking" church in the Philippines. The history of Central United Methodist Church is closely related with that of the Knox United Methodist Church because these two chirches were built of Filipino...

Nephilim - Myths and Facts

NEPHILIM – MYTHS AND FACTS Nephilim is the word used to describe the giants spoken of in biblical times by Enoch as well as the giant David fought against (Goliath). It is generally believed that most of these Giants came about when the fallen angels had union with earthly woman. Image Credit (Note the incredible size of the skull.) Image Credit Image Credit Gen 6:4 There were giants on earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bear children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Num 13:33 and there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. Image Credit The Giant King                                   &n...

Celebrating the Lenten Season the Filipino Way

Palm Sunday is the start of the Holy week and to the Filipino Catholics this is a very special day to celebrate.  Walking along the roads near a church means heavy traffic in Metro Manila since the sidewalks become vending places for different types of palms.  Imagine how many coconut trees are felled down to supply the palms needed by the Roman Catholics during Palm Sunday.  Thousands of devotees buy palms during Palm Sunday that they bring with them during the mass to be blessed by the priest.  In the city where I live, majority of the population are Roman Catholic The Philippines is one of the country’s which is dominated by the Roman Catholics.  Religious celebrations are a high profile in the Philippines being that it is a very religious country.  Although not all Roman Catholics abide strictly to the fasting and abstinence during the Holy Week, more are strictly following the teachings they read in the Bible. On Thursday which is Holy Thursda...

Sacred Mountains of China: Five Great Mountains of Taoism

SACRED MOUNTAINS OF CHINA: FIVE GREAT MOUNTAINS OF TAOISM Majestic mountains with tranquil ambiance are all over China. These mountains mystify everyone who sees it and everyone who desires to live in these mountains develops the natural instinct for the love of nature and life itself. Monks, sages and holy men were mesmerized by the very conducive atmosphere for spiritual pursuits. There are nine sacred mountains in China, including five Taoist sacred mountains and four Buddhist sacred mountains, all of which are located in eastern China. Each mountain is spectacularly beautiful and contains at least one temple that is an important place of pilgrimage. So important are these mountains in Chinese religion that the very word for pilgrimage comes from the expression "paying respect to a holy mountain." The Five Great Mountains are arranged in the five cardinal directions (counting center as a direction) and appear roughly in a plus-sign formation on the map. According to Chi...

Unique, Traditional and Weird Dolls From Around the World

Dolls have been known to exist since Ancient period. A doll is an object that bears a close resemblance to a human being. Dolls have been around since the dawn of human civilization, and have been fashioned from different materials such as stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, porcelain, china, rubber and plastic. Here are some of the most awesome and oddest-looking dolls from around the world. 1.) Hopi Kachina Doll Image Source Hopi Kachina Dolls are dolls of the Hopi Indian Tribe. These dolls are made of cottonwood. These dolls are objects meant to be treasured and studied, and are not to be considered idols of worship or children’s toys. They are also sold to tourists for profit. There are four generally accepted forms of the Kachina Doll; Putsqatihu for infants, Putstihu taywa’yla for toddlers, Muringputihu specifically for infant girls and Tithu for Hopi girls aged two and up. 2.) Kokeshi Image Source Kokeshi are unique dolls from Japan. These Japane...

Social Eating Etiquette and Faux Pas in Sweden

Here is guide to simple do's and dont's when eating out in Sweden. Much of what is found in this article is common to most westernised European Countries and can be applied accordingly. Eating Do not begin eating until everyone has taken their place at the table and your host has invited you to eat. Utensils Like most other continental Europeans, Swedes do not switch knives or forks. The knife is held in the right hand, the fork in the left. On finishing your meal you should lay the knife and fork parallel across the right side of the plate and the tips should point to the 10 o clock position. Usually the fork and spoon above your place setting is for dessert. As to the other cutlery surrounding your dinner plate, the general rule is to s tart from the outside and work your way in with each course. A small side plate often accompanied by a knife across it is generally used for your bread serving. Glasses The largest glass will normally be your water glass and the smaller ones...

Tenochtitlan: Great Capital City of the Aztecs

The Aztecs’ original homeland was in Aztlan, an island somewhere in the north. According to legend one of the Aztecs’ gods told them to travel to a new land where the god would make them “lords of all that is in the world.” After two centuries of wandering, the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico. This valley was surrounded by volcanoes and had an elevation of more than 7,000 feet. A lake, Lake Texcoco, covered much of the valley floor. All the best land in the valley was already occupied by other settlers who fought to keep the Aztecs from settling there. Now the Aztec god told them to look for a large cactus with an eagle perched on it. The eagle would be holding a snake in its beak. That was where they should settle. The next day the Aztecs found the cactus on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Here the Aztecs founded their new home. They called it Tenochtitlan which means “the place of the cactus.” Photo Credit The Floating ...

The Most Horrifying Deaths Ever

Death is inevitable and nobody is exempted from it. We will all die whether we like it or not. But as much as possible, when the time comes, we want it to be a glorious death, or at least an honorable one, or as much as possible, a painless death. Some people are meant to die gloriously and some are meant to die the most horrifying way. Image Source Here’s a list of the most horrifying deaths ever. 1.) Killed and Eaten on His Own Wish This is completely absurd. Have you ever heard of a person who wants to be killed and eaten? In 2001, Bernd-Jurgen Brandes of Germany advertised on the internet that he was in search for someone to do this to him. Armin Meiwes of Rothenburg answered the advertisement and voluntarily stabbed Brandes repeatedly and then he partly eaten him. Meiwes was later on called the Cannibal of Rothenburg. 2.) Falling Down 24 Meters High Unlike Roman gladiators who perform and entertain to kill or to die, professional wrestlers are modern-day gladiator...

Postmodern Architecture: Parody and Pastiche

Postmodernism has had implications for all forms of culture.   An important theorist was Jean-François Lyotard.  In his book The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979), Lyotard argues that society has lost faith ‘meta-narratives’, grand belief systems like religion, political ideology, and even cultural forms like architectural style or cinematic genre. This means that postmodern culture often parodies the conventions of earlier forms. The Marxist academic Fredric Jameson has examined the functions of postmodern pastiche. He describes pastiche as ‘the random cannibalisation of all the styles of the past, the play of stylistic allusion.’ This is partly the result of over-exposure. In the age of mass media there is a sense that we have seen too many films, watched too much TV, too much advertising. We are over-familiar with the forms of mass culture, which means it’s impossible to be original. We can only recycle the conven...

Kaal Bhairava, the Hindu God with a Difference

Hinduism has a pantheon of Gods. One of the more important Gods is Lord Shiva. This God is also referred to as the creator as well as the destroyer. No Hindu ritual is complete without reference to this God. Shiva has a number of forms attributed to him. One of them is Kaal Bhairava. He is the Lord Shiva in a fierce manifestation. Lord Shiva as Kaal Bhairava represents the seamier side of life. As I have already pointed out, Shiva is the creator as well as the destroyer and in the latter form he is Kaal Bhairava. Not many people know that Shiva as Kaal Bhairava is a part of Buddhist religion as well and occupies a place of importance there. Thus a visit to Sri Lanka and Thailand will reveal that the Buddhist temples there have statues of Shiva as Kaal Bhairava ensconed.In Sri Lanka he is referred to as Bahirwaa. The appeal of Shiva as Kaal Bhairava transcends boundaries of nations and he is the national deity of Nepal. Appearance of Kaal Bhairava As per Hindu mythology Kaal Bhairava ...

What is the Origin of the Semitic People

Who are the Semitic People The Semitic people are the descendents of Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. Typically thought of as the Jewish people, the Semites actually encompass people groups from the populations of the entire middle east. The accounts of the movements and history of the sons of Shem are told throughout the book of Genesis from the Great Flood to the enslavement of the Hebrew people in Egypt. The Jewish People Shem had five sons; Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. The focus of the Genesis account is primarily on the descendents of Arphaxad. Eber is in the linage of Arphaxad and it is from Eber that we get the name Hebrew. The linage of Arphaxad leads to the birth of Abraham who, according to Genesis 12:1-3, God called out of Haran and promised to make of him a great nation. Abraham and Sarah have a son, Isaac, and Isaac is the father of Jacob who’s name is later changed to Israel. This is the lineage of the Semitic Jews. The Arabic People Some Arab...

Irish-American Superstitions

There are more people of Irish descent in America than in Ireland, and Irish-Americans have brought their superstitions with them, to be adapted to life here, of course. The reason I know these are Irish-American is because I heard all of them growing up in Ohio, which is definitely in America. If you're going on a picnic tomorrow and you're worried about rain, hang a rosary in a tree overnight. You're guaranteed to have a sunny day tomorrow. If you're trying to sell your house, bury a statue of St. Joseph in the yard. This is especially helpful in the soft housing market. To show how widespread this belief is, I have a 2011 Walter Drake catalog offering a St. Joseph statue for this purpose. The ad says to bury him facing the house, but the proper way is really to bury him upside down, preferably in the back yard. In case this sounds irreverent, Irish-Americans who regularly attend church feel comfortable with heaven's denizens, and trust they'll understand. If your ears are b...

Bugs Bunny: Cartoon Icons of American TV

The brainchild of cartoon director Tex Avery, Bugs Bunny is a world-famous cartoon character who starred in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated films produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, which later became Warner Bros.  Recognized by his trademark carrot, quick and often ironic whit, and his love for costumes, Bugs Bunny has been part of American pop culture for over 70 years, voted the "greatest cartoon character of all time" by TV Guide. Starring in 167 film shorts during the Golden Age of American animation (as well as appearing in several non-animated films including Space Jam and Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Bugs evolved from a less developed character who first appeared in the 1938 Warner Brothers cartoon Porky’s Hare Hunt.  Two years later, on July 27, 1940, Bugs made his first official appearance--sharing top billing with co-star Elmer Fudd--in A Wild hare, the film short where the famous “hunter vs. tormentor” parad...

Unforgettable Heroic Deeds of Modern Day Heroes

Are you a hero? Can you be a hero? What does it takes to be a hero? Very simple question but it seems so hard to answer. The heroes we knew are dead people. People who died fighting for freedom such as Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Diego Silang, Gregorio del Pilar and many others are our heroes. For non-Filipinos, these heroes are unfamiliar to you. In India, Mahatma Gandhi is highly regarded as their national hero. In the United States, George Washington is a popular hero while in many Latin American countries, Simon Bolivar is famous. William Wallace is well remembered by the Scots. So, who should be considered as modern hero? Because of the economic hardship the country had been experiencing for several decades now, millions of Overseas Filipino workers or OFW are tagged generally as modern day heroes for the dollar remittances they contribute every month. These much needed remittances are vital in preventing the Philippine economy from sinking.   Image Source Teachers...

The Egyptian Book of the Dead (with video)

According to ancient Egyptian beliefs, following death, every Egyptian faced the ultimate judgment during which his or her heart was put on one side of a scale while a feather symbolizing the principle of Ma’at (truth, balance, and order) was placed on the other.  One’s heart had to be as light as a feather in relation to sin to be allowed to pass through to the afterlife.  Once having passed this trial, however, one was deemed “true-of-voice" and worthy of eternal existence.  Even so, it was thought that the soul would face many dangers on its journey to the afterlife.  Upon entering the world in the West or traveling with Ra below the horizon into the netherworld, one encountered the forces of primordial chaos where "irrationality" prevailed.  To guide the deceased through this chaos, the Book of the Dead provided secret navigational  rituals for many of the eventualities they‘d face.  But, the Book was...

Location of Garden of Eden

In the Book of Genesis, the Bible describes how God created Adam and Eve and then placed them in the Garden of Eden as their living space on Earth. Genesis 2:8 suggests that God physically planted a garden inside of a place called Eden: 8-9 Then God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it. God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. The Tree-of-Life was in the middle of the garden, also the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. The Book of Genesis continues to describe in further detail the geographical location of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:10-14: 10-14 A river flows out of Eden to water the garden and from there divides into four rivers. The first is named Pishon; it flows through Havilah where there is gold. The gold of this land is good. The land is also known for a sweet-scented resin and the onyx stone. The second river is named Gihon; it flows through the land of Cush. The third river i...

Notre Dame Cathedral: "Our Lady of Paris"

NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL: “OUR LADY OF PARIS” Notre Dame Cathedral - Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, "Our Lady of Paris" is a beautiful cathedral on the Île de la Cité in Paris. Its construction begun in about 1163 and mostly completed about 1250; Notre Dame is an important instance of French Gothic architecture, sculpture and stained glass. Image Source The Notre Dame cathedral is the most popular monument in Paris and in all of France, overreaching even the Eiffel Tower with 10s of million visitors each year. But the famous cathedral is also an active Catholic church, a place of pilgrimage, and the central point for Catholicism in France - religious events and festivals still take place here. Image Source  The Notre Dame de Paris stands on the location of Paris' first Christian church, Saint Etienne basilica, which was built on the site of a Roman temple to Jupiter. Notre-Dame's first version was a "magnificent church" bui...

Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology: St. Augustine of Hippo

Aurelius Augustinus, better known as St. Augustine of Hippo, was an important figure through which the Greek philosophical tradition and the Judeo-Christian religious traditions became a unified pillar of thought in the early church. He is one of the most important authority figures of medieval philosophy, who continues to have a lasting influence today. His works are rich in philosophical, as well as psychological insights, of which much of modern day thought is based upon. He is especially influential to those who are sympathetic to the religious traditions, which his writings and work helped to form, while much Augustinian thought is worthy of philosophical and psychological focus, even for those who are not in agreement with his theological views. Several significant contributions come out of the metamorphosis of his Greco-Roman inheritance, including his explanations of belief and authority, of knowledge and illumination, the importance and centrality of the will, along with his c...

"Sex Pots" and the Moche Civilization

The Moche civilization, believed to have flourished in northern Peru from about 100 CE to 800 CE, is an ancient culture best known for the tens of thousands of ceramic “sex pots” they fashioned to convey what anthropologists believe was their societal view of various forms of sexual activity.  Considered by historians to be among the finest pottery of the ancient Americas, it is quite striking in its naturalistic style and refined craftsmanship. Considered an elite culture sharing a group of autonomous polities rather than an hierarchical empire, the Moche was an agriculturally-based society that invested a significant amount of resources in the construction of irrigation canals to divert river water to supply their crops. Quite culturally sophisticated, Moche artifacts express their lives and worldview: people, animals, hunting, fishing, fighting, sacrifice, visits to their rulers, burying the dead; but also, scenes of the gods hunting and going to w...

"Magic Mushroom" (Psilocybe) for Ritual and Healing (with Video)

Background In 1970, a book called The Scared Mushroom and the Cross, written by renown scholar and self-proclaimed “free thinker” John Marco Allegro, hit the book shelves and quickly became a hip-pocket feature of Hippies all across America.  In it, Allegro argued that when spirituality first began to arise in human culture, it was enamored with what is essentially the creativityof nature, with “god” the force that allowed the seasons to change, crops to grow and die, and the cycle of life to continue.  According to Allegro, fertility was central to this concept and commonly represented in phallic symbology, with psychedelic mushrooms the prime focus of humankind’s ancient rites.  Thus, the ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms became a sacrament attuned with their cosmological view, related to survival, health, and spiritual communion. For many “truth seekers” of the 60s counterculture searching for new ways to expand th...

Gurudwara Chola Sahib and the Sacred Robe of Nanak at Dera Baba Nanak

Guru Nanak is regarded as the founder of the Sikh religion. He lived a chequered life and travelled the length and breadth of the known world at that time. He also visited Mecca. Nanak in his last years spent time at 2 places that are adjacent to each other at Kartarpur (now in Pakistan) and Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district in Punjab, India. Dera Baba is a small town on the banks of the Jhelum and standing there one can see the gurudwara at Nankana sahib in Pakistan. Guru Nanak spent 12 years at Dera Baba Nanak and the place is hallowed by 2 gurudwara there.  One gurudwara has special significance as it houses the Chola (cloak) worn by Guru Nanak. This place is known as gurudwara Chola Sahib and is looked after by the Bedi family who claim direct descent from the guru Himself.  The Gurudwara probably came after the udasyin (travel) of Guru Nanak and is one of the oldest Sikh gurudwara. It is located at the exact site where the great guru mediated and prayed.  The ...

Gems in Religion

In ancient times gems were often included in religious texts, symbolically or to reveal hidden meanings. Many modern attributions and customs associated with gems come from old religious associations. For example, the diamond engagement ring is believed to symbolise enduring love in more modern times, but it was also considered to protect the bride-to-be from evil in times past. Christian Gems Rings worn by church leaders include; emerald in the Pope’s ring, sapphire in cardinals rings, and amethyst in bishops rings. Gems used in religious undertakings include; chrysoprase to bless the work of martyrs, emerald to bring strength of faith in adversity, peridot to bring miracles, and garnet to represent the blood of Christ. The great significance of gems in early Christian texts may stem from the religious importance placed on them by the 12 Hebrew tribes; each assigned a symbolic gem. The High Priest’s Breastplate The High Priest’s breastplate, described in Exodu...

The Wodaabe: the Beautiful People of Northwest Africa

The Wodaabe, a subculture of the larger Fulbe-speaking Fulani, are a group of nomadic cattle-herders and traders who historically have been highly influential in politics and economics throughout western Africa. Known to have existed for over a thousand years, the Wodaabe continue to play a significant role in furthering Fulani domination in the West African region. (The Wodaabe culture is one of the 186 cultures of the standard cross-cultural sample used by anthropologists to compare cultural traits.) Referring to themselves as Bororo, the Wodaabe migration area currently stretches from southern Niger to northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon to the western region of the Central African Republic. In 1983, the number of Wodaabe was estimated at 45,000; a more current assessment virtually impossible due to geographic dispersal and cultural restrictions. Perhaps the most visually striking culture compared to other indigenous groups of this region, the Wodaabe are...

Proper Ways to Say Good Bye in Different Cultures Around the World

Originally I was write a good bye to all the factoidz people out there till October.  That article has been in review for over a day so I wanted to write something a little different.  The proper ways of saying good bye in many cultures. I will start with the great USA: When telling someone good bye that's about all you have to say.  Bye, see you later, talk to you later, see you tomorrow, and the list goes on.  Although there is a proper way of saying good bye to a person you just meet like it was nice meeting you, good seeing you hope to talk to you again soon, or my favorite its been real meeting you I'll catch you later.  As Americans we are just not to formal with hellos and good byes yet they are the key point of communication in our society. I will only hit five other countries Great Britan, Russia, China, Japan, and Mexico Great Britain: Things like god be with ye and cheerio are said with a good firm hand shake.  Looking you right in the eye...

Facts About the Kwakiutl Tribe

Franz Boas's conducted fieldwork among the Kwakiutl during the19th century, observing the Winter Ceremonial in 1895 and subsequently publishing on it and other topics in 1897. Boas' work gives us a glimpse into Kwakiutl culture in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Boas believed “the whole problem of cultural history appears to us as an historical problem. In order to understand history, it is necessary to know not only how things are, but how they have come to be”. However, by the time of Boas's first visit to the Kwakiutl, they had experienced almost a century of contact with Europeans. Therefore his descriptions were not in line with the evolutionary social changes that occurred since his last visit. The Kwakiutl live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada and the neighboring mainland of British Columbia. The name Kwakiutl is native and variously interpreted as "smoke of the world," "smoke from their fires," and "beach at no...

Placage in Colonial New Orleans

Arranged interracial "common law" marriages were an acceptable practice in Colonial New Orleans where white French & Creole men arranged common-law marriages with women of African descent who had "white" blood and light skin. However, they were not entirely acceptable, and not even legal.  The women were not legally recognized as wives, but were recognized as "common law" wives among free people of color, known as the Gen de colour. This usually did not occur between white men and women who were mulattoe or blacks.  It was generally between a white man and a woman who was one quarter or less of African descent.  She was either 3/4 European (white) or more.  These women didn't even look African for the most part.  Placage, as it is called, meaning placement in French, or to "fix up", "put with", become popular due to the lack of availability of women of European heritage in Colonial New Orleans.  It was...

Two Weird Hindu Beliefs of Evil Spirits and the Supernatural from Himachal Pradesh

Hinduism is a very old religion that has elements of animism and pagan worship. Throughout the centuries the religion has fostered beliefs of the supernatural and evil spirits hat are peculiar to India. Many of these beliefs can be traced to a common root with other religions. Thus similar concepts abound in Christianity as well. Here we shall have a look at some of the Hindu beliefs of the evil spirits and supernatural. Some of these beliefs could be folk lore, but there are many people in the countryside and villages who will vouch safe for the truth of these spirits. The Chaleda.  This is an evil spirit is peculiar to the Northern and colder regions of India. The belief in the Chaleda is particularly strong in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. The Chaleda is an evil spirit who has denied entry into the world of spirits for some heinous crime like child murder and rape. Such a spirit is doomed to roam the earth till he expiates his sins. This may take decades and duri...

Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory

Nike is the Greek Goddess of Victory. During Ancient Greek times, she was much revered by soldiers and warriors. However, her sphere of worshippers spread far beyond the military. She was called on to help people be victorious in everything from athletic contests to business and politics. Nike was much loved amongst the Roman people. Although, to them she was called Victoria. The Romans spent much of their time expanding their empire and prayed for victory often. They opened many temples to their Goddess of Victory in Rome and other countries they conquered. Nike is the daughter of a Titan and an Oceanid, Pallas and Styx. She has three powerful siblings Bia, Zelos and Kratos. They are Deities of force, rivalry and strength. Despite her parentage, Nike fought on the side of Zeus and the Olympians during their battle against the Titans. It was her essence of victory that helped the Olympians win the war and gain control of Olympus and Earth. Nike is seen as a beautiful athletic winged...

A Typical Day In South India, Kerala

India is an agglomeration of more than 1000 different cultures, and a typical day in any part of India can be an interesting read for non Indians. Kerala: Kerala is a small state at the south-western tip of India. Very little written material has survived about the ancient history, mainly because the climate simply makes it impossible for writing-material to survive beyond a few years. However, there is evidence from outside India (such as in the book of Esther, and in the books of the Kings in the Bible) that shows that Kerala has been a great international trading center at least from 1000 BC or earlier. The typical daily life in Kerala begins with an early morning bath. Almost seventy percent of the population depends upon wells, and water is either hand-drawn or pumped up with modern electrical pumps. Both men as well as women consider the daily morning bath a must. The majority also take an evening whole-body bath because the prevailing humidity (60% on normal days, 99% on rainy...

How to Write Your Own Prayer

Prayer is your own personal dialogue with the God of your being, therefore you do not need to recite someone else’s words. Although most of us grew up learning and repeating The Lords Prayer, or the Kaddish or some other beautiful verse, it is the meaning of the words to you that are the most important. If the learned childhood prayers hold a special place in your life and in your belief system, utilize them; if not, consider “writing” your own. When we think of prayer we often think of asking our God for something that we believe we want or need. In other words, beseeching the Almighty to bestow some blessing or item upon us. Consider, if you will, that in the act of “begging” God for help we are in fact suggesting that God is not already of our needs. Our elder brother way-shower, Jesus taught us that God knows our needs and desires before we ask. Prayer then might be better served as a way of both being in gratitude for what we have and what is coming ...

17 Lesser Known Goddesses of Fertility, Sex, Love and Others From Around the World

Different cultures from around the world have their respective goddess of love, beauty and sex. To the ancient Greeks, they worshipped Aphrodite. The ancient Romans regarded Venus as their goddess of love and beauty. The Mesopotamians have had Isthar or Inana as goddess of beauty, love and sex. Here are more goddesses of love, fertility, sex, beauty and others from around the world. 1. Xochiquetzal – Goddess of Beauty and Sex in Aztec Mythology Image Source The Aztecs of Mexico also had their version of Venus – Xochiquetzal, the goddess of beauty and female sexual power as well as fertility. She is also called Ichpuchtli. In addition, she also served as a protector of young mothers and a patroness of pregnancy and childbirth. 2. Astarte – Semitic Goddess of Love and Sex Image Source For the Semitic people, their goddess of sexual love is Astarte. She is also the goddess of fertility and warfare. For the Phoenicians, she was known as Ugaritic and has been kno...

Fortuna, the Roman Goddess of Luck and Good Fortune

Fortuna, the Roman Goddess of luck and fortune has been at one time or another praised or cursed by almost everyone. So quick man is to reproach her when things do not go their way, to place the blame on her shoulders, using her as a scapegoat for what is often their own failings. How quickly they forget the many times she has blessed them with luck when one small thing goes wrong. Yet despite their curses and angry words, they can not turn away from her, chance and luck are so much a part of their lives that it keeps them enthralled. All of man looks to the Lady of Luck, hanging on her every spin, praying the wheel of luck comes up for them. Like most Gods of Ancient Greece and Rome, people worshipped her in both countries, but by two different names. To the Romans, she was Fortuna and to the Greeks she was Tyche. Originally, she was an Italian Goddess of fertility, abundance and blessings, but as time passed, she became more associated with the ups and downs of the cycle of life a...

The History of Stained Glass Windows

THE HISTORY OF STAINED GLASS WINDOWS The origins of the first stained glass windows are blot out in history. No one really knows exactly when and where stained glass originated. This art began primarily as a Christian art form. The history of stained probably began when Roman historian Pliny the Elder (23 AD-79 AD) was suggested as an accident by Phoenician sailors discovering the glass element. It is possible that it was a result of shipwrecked sailors building fires for their cooking pots on blocks of soda (natron, part of their cargo) on top of beach sand. With the heat of cooking, soda mixed with the sand. The next day, the melted sand and soda mixture would have produced hardened glass. Image Source Almudena Cathedral The craft carried on to the first century AD, when Roman craftsmen were creating glass windows, though the product was irregular and not as transparent as we commonly see today. The ascending and importance of churches accelerated the craft into the glorious f...

The Facts About "Dead on Display" - Incorruptible Bodies of Saints and Non-saints (Part Two of Two)

THE FACTS ABOUT “DEAD ON DISPLAY” – INCORRUPTIBLE BODIES OF SAINTS AND NON-SAINTS (PART TWO OF TWO) A continuation from: THE FACTS ABOUT “DEAD ON DISPLAY” – INCORRUPTIBLE BODIES OF SAINTS AND NON-SAINTS (PART ONE OF TWO) Here is the continuation of incorruptible bodies of saints and the non-saints. Image Credit   St. Agnes was born in 1268; and at the age of nine, she entered the monastery of Montepulciano. Four years later, the pope requested that she assist in establishing a new convent in Procena; and at the age of fifteen, she became the superior of the convent. St. Agnes, blessed with many visions, received the Holy Eucharist from an angel and held the Infant Jesus in her arms. She died in the year 1317, and her body was incorrupt for nearly 300 years. Parts of the remains of her body are now enclosed in a figure, but her visible hands and feet are still incorrupt and can be viewed at the Church of St. Agnes in Montepulciano, Ita...

Aztecs: The Greatest Mesoamerican Empire

The history of Aztecs always captivate someone's full attention.  Theirs is a story so gruesome but at the same time awesome because they have shown us how brilliant and skillful they were in building up one of the greatest empires in the world. Originally the Aztecs were a wandering group of hunters and farmers who called themselves the Mexica. Following the instructions of one of their gods, the Aztecs left their home in the north in search of a new land. After years of wandering, they arrived in the Valley of Mexico. Several other groups had settled the choicest areas of the valley, and they fought to keep the Aztecs from settling there. Photo Credit Eventually the Aztecs settled on a swampy island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. They met with little resistance because the island had poor soil and no other groups wanted to settle there. Protected by the waters of the lake, the Aztecs proceeded to construct Tenochtitlan, one of the greatest cities in the world during that ...

Conflict Theory in Society

Conflict exists between competitive sides but there is also the existence of a conflict theory in sociology, which is opposed to notion that there has to be a common consensus among norms. When the notion of conflict theory came about it was not  to say that various social groups came to an agreement that all forms of crime are deleterious for society; those accepting a conflict paradigm did so because they knew that there were social subgroups that were at each other’s necks vying for superiority or power. This was at odds to the functionalist theory supporting cooperation between subgroups. It may have been that ruthlessness was justifiable if competition was tough; society is hardly a harmonious place there is always discord, grievance and conflict to separate competing groups. It is believed that Mills was the founder of the conflict theory, as we know it, which stemmed from the fusion of the upper ranks of business with the industrial complex and isolated a relatively ...

St. Mary's Cathedral: The Cathedral of Augsburg and Oldest Stained Glass

ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL: THE CATHEDRAL OF AUGSBURG AND OLDEST STAINED GLASS The cathedral of Augsburg is an 11th-century Romanesque cathedral with 14th-century Gothic additions in Bavaria, Germany. It contains many notable artworks, bronze doors and including the oldest stained glass windows in the country. Image Source  Excavations beneath the cathedral site reveals that earlier structures were built since the early 14th century but it is not clear if the building was a church. The first recorded information was mention in around 822 where the first known cathedral on this site was built in the 8th century. Image Source During the Hungarian invasion, the cathedral was damaged and the restoration was supervised by Bishop Ulrich in 923. Empress Adelaide, a visionary who claimed to have foreseen the destruction help to rebuilt the collapsed west end in about 994. Bishop Henry II consecrated the construction on the present Romanesque cathedral which began in about 1043 an...

Original Sin of Adam & Eve in The Garden of Eden As Cause of Random Disorder & Law of Entropy

The Fall of Adam & Eve & Consequences, Or: “Murphy’s Law” & Charmin in The Garden But first, a Bible Quiz: Q: What did Adam and Eve use for toilet paper? (A) Palm Fronds (B) Grass (C) Stones (D) Sand (scooting rear down, nomad-style) (E) None of the above The correct answer is “E” In the beginning they didn’t need toilet paper! Amen, flock. God created them perfect in every way because it was His plan that they live FOREVER as 'perfect' beings. As such, their bodies were capable of converting matter into energy with 100% efficiency. They didn’t even have to break wind! The “theologians” seem to have have missed this. Q: Then WHY did God create them with all the “plumbing” and appendages necessary for procreation and elimination when they didn’t have to do either? Because God in His omniscience, KNEW they would commit sin - of their own FREE WILLS just as Lucifer and the fall...

The Facts About "Dead on Display" - Incorruptible Bodies of Saints and Non-saints (Part One of Two)

THE FACTS ABOUT “DEAD ON DISPLAY” – INCORRUPTIBLE BODIES OF SAINTS AND NON-SAINTS (PART ONE OF TWO) The Series of Collection of Bodies and Bones are places where enormous collection of remains put together in a place. Here is collection of incorrupt bodies of saintly persons and non-saint as well, but let me give you some facts. Specimens of preserved human bodies or "mummies" have been discovered throughout the centuries, some even from before the Egyptian Pharaoh times when the art of embalming originated. Many of these preserved bodies have survived decomposition for as many as 3000 years. Of all preserved bodies that have been discovered over the centuries, each fall into one of three categories: 1. Accidentally preserved - These types of preserved bodies were determined to be naturally preserved due to accidental means such as having been buried in dry, hot sand, or lava, or having been placed in an area with high radioactivity. As long as air or...

The Tibetan Book of the Dead (with video)

“When the breathing is about to cease, it is best if the Transference hath been applied efficiently; if it hath been inefficient, then address the deceased thus: ‘Oh, nobly-born [name], the time hath now come for thee to seek the Path in reality. Thy breathing is about to cease. Thy guru hath set thee face to face before with the Clear Light; and now thou art about to experience in its Reality in the Bardo state, wherein all things are like the void and cloudless sky, and the naked, spotless intellect is like unto a transparent vacuum without circumference or centre. At this moment, know thou thyself and abide in that state. I, too, at this time, am setting thee face to face.’ Having read this, repeat it many times in the ear of the person dying, even before the expiration hath ceased, so as to impress it on the mind of the dying one. If the expiration is about to cease, turn the dying one over on the right side, which posture is called the ‘Lying Posture of a L...

Facts About Thieves, Robbers and Gangsters

Thieves are sometimes glamorous figures, defying the law and refusing to live conventional lives. Outside the Law The legend of outlaw Robin Hood tells how he lived in Sherwood Forest, England, in the 1300s, and robbed from the rich to give to the poor. Most scholars think Robin Hood never existed but recent archaeological discoveries suggest he might actually have been real. Ned Kelly was the most famous of the bushrangers, outlaws who roamed the Australian bush in the 1800s, defying the law and looking for adventure. Highway Robbery Highwaymen attacked stagecoaches in England in the 1700s and 1800s, crying, so legend has it, “Stand and deliver.” “Swift Nick” Nevison earned his name by riding 200 miles from Kent to York in just 14 hours to provide himself with an alibi for a robbery. In Harrison Ainsworth’s novel Rookwood, Swift Nick’s ride was attributed to another highwayman, Dick Turpin, on his horse Black Bess. In reality, Turpin was an...

The Haida Tribe: Haida Gwaii - Queen Charlotte Islands

THE HAIDA TRIBE: HAIDA GWAII – QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS Haida Gwaii ("Islands of the People"), or more commonly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, and oldest in Haida, Xhaaidlagha Gwaayaai ("islands at the Boundary of the World"), are an archipelago in northern British Columbia, Canada. They consist of two main islands: Graham Island in the north and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands with a total landmass of 10,180 km2 (3,931 sq mi). Other major islands include Langara, Louise, Lyell, Burnaby, and Kunghit Islands. Image Credit  Haida Gwaii is a dagger shaped archipelago of some one hundred and fifty islands that lie about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Canada’s British Columbia Coast. The islands benefit from warm ocean currents from Japan which give the islands a moderate climate. Image Credit   Image Credit The islands are inhabited by the Haida people. They were first discovered by E...

Strange Cultural Practices of the Nigerian South-Eastern Igbos

The Igbo people are one of the three major tribes in the Nigerian state. The south eastern Igbos are rich in cultural heritage and are worth considering when it comes to Nigerian culture. Some of these cultural practices are strange and archaic; while others are just plain amusing. We will consider some of these cultural practices. Strange Cultural Practices of the Igbos Just like any other tribe in Nigeria, the Igbos boast of a number of cultural practices and norms. Some of these practices have been a part of the people from time immemorial; dating back as far as biblical times. Below are some of these cultural practices and how they affect the average Igbo man. • The Osu Caste System This is one of the most noticeable and strange cultural practices of the Igbo people of the south eastern Nigeria. An Osu is someone who has been dedicated to an idol, along with his generation. It is an accursed system that discriminates against the so-labeled Osu. An Osu and his family is ...

Abandoned Towns and Cities of the United States

If you stray from the beaten path while traversing America, you’ll undoubtedly come across one of the country’s thousands of abandoned towns and cities, what many call “ghost towns,” hidden within the forgotten fabric of the land. An especially prominent feature of the American West, abandoned towns constitute forsaken ideas and ideals, misguided ventures and adventures, natural disasters, and the end result of changing times and shifting timelines. Indeed, these ghostly remains of what once was serve as stark reminders of the physical realities of our not-to-distant past, while directing us to consider the future. Here are just ten of the many abandoned towns and cities of the United States, along with a little insight as to why they now stand silent. > Bodie, California: Abandoned early 1960s Image credit Bodie, California, now a State Historic Park, was one of the many gold-mining  towns of the American West. Once a &l...

Primary Ways God Speaks: Through Signs and Wonders

Ever since mankind began somewhere back in pre-ancient times, there is no doubt in this writer's mind that God has spoken to humanity through wonders, signs, dreams and visions.  Essentially, wonders are some event that leaves people perplexed and saying, "I wonder what that was?"  Today, many are fully persuaded or stunned to find that one of the primary ways God still speaks, even in modern times, is through signs and wonders. Using the Judeo-Christian Bible as a primary source in this article, let us back track to one of the first most recorded signs in recorded Biblical history - the Biblical account of the Birth of the Christ as given to one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, Isaiah. (1)  Bear in mind, however, that signs and wonders go even further back into antiquity when God called people's attention to something or an event about to happen. In Isaiah Chapter 7:10-14, readers find that King Ahaz of the kingdom of Judah inquires of God for a sign that J...

The Celtic Irish God Dagda

The Dagda is a lusty passionate God, who is both a master of magic and a formidable warrior. He is seen as a large giant size man full of vigour, determination and great strength. The Dagda wears his red hair long and has a large bristling beard of red to match. He is often dressed in traditional attire, a kilt with a multi coloured tunic, topped with a red cloak, and gold bands on his legs and arms. He also wear a golden tribal torc around his neck. Despite his intimidating appearance, the Dagda is often seen smiling and is said, to put all good people he encounters at ease. Like many Celtic Deities, the Dagda has amazing magical items that he uses to both kill and give life with, a harp, cauldron, club, pigs and fruit trees. The cauldron of Dagda is never emptying and can feed whole armies; however, only those who are true of heart and deed can find fulfillment and nourishment in the cauldron’s bounty, those who break trust and are cowards can eat their fill, but will not find...

The Mysterious "Red Paint People" of Ancient Labrador

The so-called “Red Paint People” of New England and the Atlantic Canadian coastal regions of North America were a pre-Columbian indigenous culture named for the large quantities of red ochre they typically used in their mortuary practices. Sometimes referred to as the Moorehead Burial Tradition after archaeologist Warren K. Moorehead who was instrumental in bringing this mysterious culture to the attention of the scientific community, archaeological evidence shows that the Red Paint People hit their peak of cultural development between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE--but have a history spanning thousands of years prior to this time. An otherwise unknown seafaring group that began fishing and hunting along the coasts and rivers of North America at least 7,000 to 9,000 years ago, these ancient Americans came to rival their European counterparts in sophisticated stone and bone tool-making and navigational skills, several millennia before the Vikings.  With some of thei...

Dining and Social Etiquettes of the Igbo Society In South-Eastern Nigeria

In most cultures of the world, whether in business or social affairs, there are certain eating and social etiquette that have to be observed for normal interpersonal relationships. The Igbo traditional society in Nigeria is not left out in the observance of such cultures. Infact, you stand to offend some core traditionalists; those who hold a strict adherence to the traditions of the land; if you falter or fail to adhere to set down rules. In addition, failure to stick to certain eating or social etiquette in the Igbo traditional society could result to a fine or even excommunication in certain cases. In this article, I would bring to limelight some certain dining and social etiquette spread across the Igbo community of Nigerian. Dining / Eating and Social Etiquette In The Igbo Society The traditional Igbo society is usually made up of several large homesteads where the families reside. The homestead is usually comprised of the main house where the Nna Anyi (father of the house) r...

A Christian Perspective on Co-Sleeping with Your Child

God designed the physiology of human babies so that breast-milk continues to be a healthy part of their diet for at least 2-3 years. Mothers who co-sleep with their infants breastfeed about twice as long as mothers who don’t co-sleep. Breast-feeding mothers who continue to maintain separate sleeping quarters usually find it difficult to keep their energy levels up or to continue nursing their babies for more than a few weeks or months. Should they fall back to sleep while nursing in an upright position in an inappropriate furnishing, they may also risk dropping their babies. Co-sleeping induces important behavioral and physiological adaptations in mothers and infants, including increased breast-feeding, increased use of the safe back sleeping position, reduced deep-sleep, which may prevent SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), longer stretches of infant sleep, more affectionate and protective maternal instincts, less infant crying, and more positive night time experiences by bed-s...

World's Most Colorful Indigenous Tribes Still in Existence and Their Unique Culture

Some indigenous peoples wear colorful traditional clothes, paint their faces and body or put some colorful gadgets and accessories that make them brilliantly colorful. Here are some ethnic groups from around the world still in existence that can be considered colorful in many ways. 1.) Kayapo Tribe - Brazil Image Source The Kayapo people are the indigenous people that inhabit the plains of the Mato Grosso and Parain Brazil. The population of these Ge-speaking native people is around 7,000. These people wear colorful gadgets and accessories. They also wear colorful headdresses and tattoos all over their body. 2.) Huli Tribe - Papua New Guinea Image Source The Huli are the colorful indigenous people that have inhabited Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea for about 1000 years now. Their population is estimated at about 150,000. Image Source The Huli are farmers, hunters and gatherers. Men decorate their bodies with colored clay and wear elaborate headdresses for ceremonie...

Alternative Masculinities

Gender is a social construction. Society presents us with acceptable models of masculinity and femininity and these teach us how to be ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. in a sense, gender is a role we play and we learn how to play it by a process of social conditioning. This process starts at birth. The idea of blue-for-boys, pink-for-girls is a familiar social convention. It’s so widespread that it seems natural, but it is still just a convention. Films, TV and advertising represent men and women in certain ways and this builds up a shared understanding what the appropriate models of masculinity and femininity are.  Tradionally, men were expected to be rational, assertive and active; women were expected to be emotional, caring and nurturing.  Not everyone conforms to these stereotypical roles. Since the rise of feminism in the 1970s, it has been recognised that gender is a social construction. From this period we start to see alternative modes ...

Theories of the End: Six Degrees Could Change the World

Several theories have been crafted about the possible end of the world. One of these scientifically based theories is Six Degrees Could Change the World, a documentary produced by the National Geographic Channel. The documentary is based on the 2007 book “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet” published by Mark Lynas, a British author, journalist and environmental activist, which is a meta-analysis detailing the science of climate change. The documentary, as well as the book, details the expected effects of each rise of average global temperature (OC). It explains how the release of methane hydrate and the release of methane from melting permafrost (soil below the freezing point of water for two or more years) could unleash a major extinction event. The effects are compared to paleoclimatic studies, with six degrees of warming compared back to the Cretaceous period. Moreover, as the volume of greenhouse gases increases yearly, scientists are warning that the global a...

Sexual Ritualism in Hinduism and Buddhism As a Path to Moksha or Nirvana

The eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism are a unique blend of the esoteric and animist practices. From the times of the Vedas, Hinduism has accepted through Tantra practice that moksha or salvation can be attained through the channelizing of sexual energy. Tantra is apart of advanced Hindu practices and has a deep philosophy. Buddhism is a part of Hindu thought and the Buddha is recognized as the 9th avatar of the supreme Hindu deity, Vishnu. The concept of Tantra in Buddhism is heavily borrowed from Hinduism. the sect of Buddhism that specifically accepts Tantra is Vajrayana Buddhism. This form of Buddhism  is part of the religious practices in China, Tibet and the Far East. In both Hinduism and Buddhism this philosophy  involves rituals and education that can only be under the guidance of a guru. The origin of Tantra cannot be pinpointed as it is obscured and no written accounts are available. The first mention is during the Vedic period, but in all probability thi...

Snake Handling: Seeking God Amongst the Serpents

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. —Mark 16:17-18 For snake-handling churches across the US and Canada, these verses are not purely symbolic, but are considered the actual words of God. Like other Christian fundamentalist groups whose beliefs are rooted in a literal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, these passages have inspired believers for over a century to handle poisonous snakes in the name of God. Snake handling (or serpent handling), is a religious ritual practiced today in a small number of Pentecostal churches of the US (predominantly but not limited to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Ohio) and a few areas of Canada, that first became popularized in the early 20th century in remote areas of the Appalachian M...

History of The Kasubi Hill Tombs of the Buganda Kings

Kasubi Tombs The Bantu speaking Baganda people created the state of Uganda from a small territory during the late 19th century, under their kabakas, or Buganda kings. The territory had little or no contact with the outside world until the middle of the 19th century, when Arab slavers penetrated the interior. The first of the Buganda Kings was Kabaka Muteesa I, born in 1837 at the Batandabezaala Palace. He ascended the throne upon the death of his father in October 1856. He built himself a palace on the Kasubi Hill in 1881, and was buried there in a tomb when he died in 1884. Interestingly enough, he was the first of his line to be buried with his jawbone. Traditionally, the jawbone was placed in a shrine because it was believed to contain the spirit of the deceased. Three other kings were buried in the Kasubi Hill tombs. All three men were Kabaka Muteesa’s successors and all were unique in their own remarkable ways. Muzibu Azaala Mpanga Building Source  The Entrance t...

7 Myths and Legends About Leprechauns

Most people want to believe in Leprechauns, but are very skeptical that the little people really exist. For many years myth seekers and treasure hunters have been looking for the little people and their pots of gold at the end of bright beautiful rainbows. Urban legends and Internet half-truths are abundant about the creatures that elude human grasp, but stay embedded in our psyche of hope. Hope that one day we will encounter a leprechaun and claim the treasure of gold they protect at the end of the rainbow. Here are 10 Myths about Leprechauns: 1. They are wee little people, who are the offspring of fairies and evil sprites and live in the glens, woods and hinterlands of Celtic countries, especially Ireland. Most legends say they are old men that look like well dressed cobblers. Some stories depict them as green elves, which is a western world picture of the legendary creatures. Thet are usually said to be only 2 feet tall. 2. The best way to catch a leprechaun is to sneak up on hi...

The Largest / Tallest Buddha Statues

THE LARGEST / TALLEST BUDDHA STATUES   The Giant Buddha of Leshan (aka Dafo) is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, carved out of a cliff face by an 8th-century monk in southern Szechuan province. The Giant Buddha overlooks the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers and faces the sacred Mount Emei. At 71 meters (233 feet) tall, the statue depicts a seated Maitreya Buddha with his hands resting on his knees. His shoulders are 28 metres wide and his smallest toenail is large enough to easily accommodate a seated person. There is a local saying: "The Mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain". This is partially because the mountain range in which the Leshan Giant Buddha is located is thought to be shaped like a slumbering Buddha when seen from the river, with the Leshan Giant Buddha as its heart. Image Credit Construction on the Giant Buddha began in 713 AD. It was the idea of a Chinese monk named Haitong, who hoped that the Buddha woul...