celticaryanbelief

 

 

 





Je suis Marxiste - tendance Groucho!

... Slogan - Nanterre Paris ...

I am a Marxist - of the Groucho tendency!






We have not inherited the Earth from our Fore-fathers, we have borrowed it from our Decendants.


... Malaysian Proverb ...

 

 

 


Strong Son of Love,

Whom we, that have not seen thy face, By faith, and faith alone, embrace, Believing where we can not prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade, Thou madest Life in man and brute, Thou madest Death, and low, thy foot, Is on the skull which thou hast made;

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust, Thou madest man he knows not why, He thinks he was not made to die, And thou hast made him, thou art just;

Thou seemest human and divine, The highest, holiest manhood, thou, Our wills are ours, we know not how, Our wills are ours, to make them thine;

Our little systems have their day, They have their day and cease to be, They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they;

We have but faith, we cannot know, For knowledge is of things we see, And yet we trust it comes from thee, A beam in darkness, let it grow;

Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell, That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before;

But vaster. We are fools and slight, We mock thee when we do not fear, But help thy foolish ones to bear, Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light;

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me, What seem'd my worth since I began, For merit lives from man to man, And not from man, O Lord, to thee;

Forgive my grief for one removed, Thy creature, who I found so fair, I trust he lives in thee, and there I find him worthier to be loved;

Forgive these wild and wandering cries, Confusions of a wasted youth, Forgive them where they fail in truth,

And in thy wisdom make me wise.


... Alfred Lord Tennyson ...






Hawaiian Prayer



I am the "I"
I come forth from the void into Light.
I am the breath that nurtures Life.
I am the emptiness, that hollowness.
Beyond all consciousness.
The I, the Id, the All.
I draw my bow of rainbows across the waters,
The continuum of minds with matters.
I am the incoming and outgoing of breath.
The invisible untouchable breeze.
The undefinable atom of creation.


I am the "I".


... Haleakala Hew Len : Shamanic Wisdomkeeper ...

 







On Being a Bush Baptist



Bush Baptistm is not a Religion - it is a way of Living!


It owes its origins to when man totally relied on Nature  for his survival and many of its practices and beliefs are carried out as a necessary means to that survival.


For example: avoiding certain plants ... because they were poisonous! Not eating an animal found dead ... because it may have died from diseases which in turn, might cause our death. Observing Nature patterns and the behaviour of animals ... so that one could be forewarned of potential disasters - floods, fire, bad weather ... and preparing ourselves for them.


Bush Baptists are essentially Nature people and respect the Forces and Energies  of Nature ... much like the Wiccans and other groups.


There are no gods (or goddesses) in Bush Baptism - there is only Creation (Life) and Death; and the stages in between (Growth). All things have a "season" or Cycles  and each season has its purpose.


Every living thing has its energy, its life-force, its Spirit. We all come from the same source - we are all created in the same manner, and we all share the same creative Force - therefore
We are All Related.
This creative Force has no name, but we recognise a person's right to give the Force a name ... many people call it God, to others it might be called Allah, to others it might be called Buddah, and to others it might be called Mazda.


We also recognise the need of people to revere the Force in ways that they find Peaceful  to themselves - therefore we recognise all the different ways, which the people of today call "Religion". For us ... if a person finds Solace  in praying every day in a particular way - then so be it! And the ways in which one person finds solace another may not - we  recognise this too.


We have no "church" for we can "worship" anywhere. We do not need a place made of bricks and mortar to "pray", but we respect that others might need this, and we Respect all Places of Worship and all Forms of Worship ... all our ours.  The Great Men who imparted words of wisdom in the past needed no "church" - they went out amongst the people - they did not stand in pulpits and babble.


Nature is Beauty and Beauty is in Nature. Bush Baptists are humbled by  Nature and in awe, and have reverence for Nature. They are "baptised" by Nature - Nature tests them. Life baptises them - they are Baptised by Life.


Survival depends on one's ability to work with Nature, to Overcome the Odds, and to know and prepare for when times are hard.


Although the basics of "natural living" have been done away with by technological change and progress, we still have reverence and awe of Nature. The "savage" in the forest is not a Savage -  he is a Master in his Environment  - because he can survive without technology!

 



Because we recognise the different needs in people we recognise too that we are NOT all the same. Life tests all in different ways, changes us differently. We develop differently. There is Diversity in Nature. There are many species in all of Natures kingdoms. What sustains one species does not sustain another - so it is with Man - and his energy (Spirit).


We observe certain practices despite technology. We do not eat an animal that has died of natural causes, we do not eat an animal that preys on another animal for food. We believe in farming animals and plants because this ensure the Survival of that Species. We do not kill indiscriminately (for food) or for pure "blood sport" because many species have died out in this way. We are thankful to that animal or plant because it has had to "Sacrifice" its Life  so that we might live ... but this is the way of Nature. If trees are to be cut for fuel or shelter, so one must be grown to replace it.


We respect the "Powers" of Nature  - gentle rain refreshes and replenishes the Earth and us, but a violent storm or tempest can destroy both of us. The Sun has the power to warm and make things grow, but it can also parch the Earth. Fire also is both giver and taker. These things we also have reverence for - the Earth, Water, Light/Fire, Air, and Spirit/Life/Energy.


Many of our practices, known in the past as "Magic", have now been explained by Science - the use of plants for medicinal purposes, their healing properties ... is now called Herbalism, Homeopathy, Chinese Medicine, Aromatherapy.




Our "Sacred Knowledge"- for example, the mixing of chemicals and powders to produce "effects" (to amuse, bewilder, or even to put to good use) ... gunpowder, fireworks, litmus paper, magnets etc. ... is known as Alchemy, Metalurgy, Hypnotism, Hallucogens, slight of hand, Electricity ... Look around you! To the untrained eye, the "savage", and the uninitiated ...
All this was Magic!



Mikatuya Oyasim (We are all Related) ... Native American






Blessed Be








The Aryans

 

Who are these people who call themselves the

Superior Race?



As early as 2500bc the Indus Valley (India) was the centre of a flourishing indigenous culture with social and political sophistication and a pantheon of gods.


When the Aryans invaded the subcontinent about 1,000 years later they found little resistance from what was by then a decaying culture. The Aryans overcame northern India not only by their military superiority, but also by their cultural and religious vigour, derived from their original homeland in central Asia around the region of the Caspian and Aral Seas in what is now western Kazakhstan and western Russia (roughly); having also spread towards Iran, Norway and towards Britain, Germany, Greece and Italy.

 



Nordic cultures shares the same Indo-European roots as Vedic culture in India. Sanskrit and German, for example, belong to the same language group. Many of the languages spoken in northern India and Europe today were brought by different waves of Aryan peoples from the middle of the 2nd millenium onward. And theories about an original Aryan homeland are based solely on linguistic evidence. In southern and central India however, languages derive from Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic roots respectively, quite unrelated to the Aryans.


The Aryans were nomads, and their ancestors had probably hunted the Eurasian plains for many thousands of years. They did not possess iron nor did they build in stone, and archaeologists have little more than pottery fragments and the barest indications of occupation with which to assemble a picture of early Aryan life in India.


It can only be speculated upon as to their reasons for leaving their homeland: perhaps their migration from the grasslands was initiated by over-population or their own sudden displacement by other pastoral tribes, anxious to seize adequate grazing for the livestock.

 

 



 

Sacrifice lay at the heart of their ritual and was based on a series of sacred texts called the Vedas.


One of the Aryans' principal deities was Agni, Lord of the Sacrifical Fire and the Hearth. The chief Aryan gods, such as Varuna and Indra, were warrior deities whose splendour transformed what they saw as the chaotic darkness of the pre-Aryan demon realms, illuminating them with the light of Vedic righteousness and truth.


Their principal deities were associated with the sun rather than with the moon, and their mythologies, far from being fatalistic, engendered promises of freedom and of human victory.


The first Aryans to enter the Indus Valley worshipped the deity Varuna, whose name is possibly derived from the Sanskrit very "vri" meaning "to cover" and it was as the encompasser or sovereign of the universe that he was best known.


Varuna was upholder of the cosmic order "rita" a concept that shares many characteristics with that of other religions. Like the Yahweh of the Old Testament or the Sumerian deity Anu, Varuna was a wrathful god who was greatly feared. Varuna surpassed the other gods of the early Aryans as a moral ruler.

 


 

 

Varuna appears to have been superseded by Indra as king of the Vedic gods. Unlike the moody and vengeful Varuna, Indra was constant and strong. His most heralded act was his victory over Vritra, at first seen as a symbol of chaos, ignorance and darkness. Indra was a champion more in the mould of the warrior Aryans, who were alien to what remained of the Indus Valley culture's urban atmosphere.


The Aryans believed that a "right" path must exist in the sphere of  moral action and this notion of "rita" has parallels in Sumerian mathematics and astronomy. Pre-Aryan peoples like the Dravidians may also have influenced Vedic religion in ways which are no longer apparent.


The word Aryan and their Solar symbol of the swastika, which is seen in much of the art of Himalayan Buddhism, have never aroused more fear than in 20th century Europe. But the word swastika comes originally from the Sanskrit and means "good luck" or "well-being". The symbol is also known as the fylfot cross, hammer of Thor or hooked cross (German hakenkreuz). It has been used from pre-historic times in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, often as a symbol of the sun or fire, and so of vigorous life and energy. It was chosen as the official emblem of the Nazi party in 1920 in the belief that it was a purely "Nordic" symbol, with connotations of heroic German paganism, German manliness, and Aryan racial supremacy.

 


Source : India The Cultural Companion by Richard Waterstone ISBN 1-903296-55-2 (Pub. Duncan Baird Publishers)

 






 



The language spoken in northern India is closely akin to the language spoken by the ancient Persians and because of this it is assumed that the people of Persia and India have the Indo-Aranians, or Aryans, as their common ancestors.


Although the subject is still a matter of debate, it seems likely that the Medes and the Persians, two groups of Aryans (from whom the term "Aryana", or "Iran" derives) settled in the territory of modern Iran in subsequent waves between 1400 and 1000 BCE.


Some time around the 8th century BCE the Medes conquered the native peoples (the Urartu in the north, the Hittites in the west, and the Assyrians in the south) and became the greatest power in western Asia. Two centuries later, the Medes were overthrown by the Persians.

 

 




 

 

The Persians traced their history back to a ruler called Achaemenes. But it was Cyrus, a young prince of Fars (from which the terms Parsee and Persian derive), overthrew the Medes in 500 BCE and established the Achaemenid Dynasty (550-330 BCE). In a short time Cyrus invaded and conquered the entire territory from the borders of India to Greece.


The religion of ancient Persia was similar in many respects to the Vedic  religion in India.


Many of the gods worshipped in Persia were similar to the gods of India. Prominent among the deities were nature gods such as the god of the sky, Vivahvant (the Vedic Vavasvant); the wind god, Vayu (the Vedic Vaya); the sun god, Mithra (the Vedic Mitra); the water god, Haurvatat (the Vedic Sarvatat); the fire god, Atar (the Vedic Agni); Yima, the god of death (the Vedic Yama); Asha, the god of truth (the Vedic Rta); Ameretat, the god of immortality (the Vedic Amtra); and other comparable deities.


The central ritual of the Persian religion consisted of at least three forms of sacrifices - the animal sacrifice, the libation (drink) sacrifice, and the Fire Sacrifice.

 




The Fire Sacrifice  of the ancient Persians is of particular interest, not only because of its similarity to the Vedic fire ceremony, but also because of its historical significance in Zoroastrianism.


Zoroastrianism also emerged in ancient Persia from the Indo-Iranian, or Aryan faith. However, whereas the ancient Persian and Vedic religions were polytheistic (belief in many gods), Zoroastrianism is monotheistic (belief in one god) and teaching is of ethical dualism (the struggle between good and evil).


 Zoroastrians trace their origins of their religion back to the coming of the prophet Zardusht, or Zarathustra, who is known in the West (through the Greeks) as Zoroaster.


A minority group of Zoroastrians survives to this day in modern Iran and another small group of Zoroastrians left Iran in the 8th/9th centuries to seek asylum in India, and as descendants and survivors of the ancient Persians, they were (and still are) call Parsees (or Parsis). Most settled in the Bombay region and like their Iranian counterparts, they have managed to survive to this day.


After the conquest of Islam, Zoroastrianism sunk into obscurity until the arrival of the Europeans in India in the 16th century.


The essence of Zoroastrianism can be summed up in the following beliefs and concepts: the worship of one supreme God, Ahura Mazda (Ohrmazd); the veneration of yazata (lesser divine powers); the strong sense of personal choice to struggle against Ahriman, the embodiment of evil; individual resurrection and judgment, following by eternal bliss; and the keeping of the Sacred Fire.

 





 

Of all the foreign religions adopted by the Romans, the worship of the Iranian  (Persian) god Mithra became the most popular and the most widespread.

 

It was introduced into the Roman Empire in the 1st century BCE and spread so rapidly that in a very short time hundreds of Mithraeums (temples) had been established from India to Scotland through the agency of Mithraic proselytes who communicated their convictions along the ancient trade routes of Africa, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and Britain.

 

Roman emporers, senators, soldiers, and civil servants were among the most ardent supporters of Mithra.


Mithra was a very ancient Indo-Aryan god and was primarily the lord of heavenly light, identified with the sun.

 

He was also the god of cattle, agriculture, war, and truth and was also one of the judges who welcomed the souls of humans after death, and as the god of immortality, conferred everlasting life upon his faithful followers.

By gathering together information from inscriptions, bas-reliefs, and sculptures, the story of Mithra  has been reconstructed.

The god Mithra was born miraculously in a cave on December 25th.

 

This event was witnessed only by some shepherds that came to worship the newborn god with their gifts.

 

From infancy, Mithra's mission was to become master of the earth, and to this end, he made the sun subject to his will and was consequently identified with it.

 

Next he considered it his duty to sacrifice a bull, the pristine creation of the Iranian (Zoroastrian) god Ahura Mazda.

Sunday was holy to the followers of Mithra, as was December 25th.

 

Sunday was hallowed because it glorified the sun, and December the 25th was Mithra's birth day.

 

 

 



 

The parallels between Mithraism and Christianity  today need hardly be stressed.

 

Both taught that their founders were mediator saviour gods, through whom the salvation of mankind was possible and through whom the world would be judged.

 

Both taught the doctrines of heaven and hell, the last judgement, and the immortality of the soul.

 

Both taught that the forces of good and evil were in a state of perpetual conflict.

 

Both taught self-control and abstinence as requisites to acceptance.

 

Both offered the same sacraments, of baptism and communion, and both observed Sundays and December 25th as holy days.


Source : World Faiths by S.A. Nigosian ISBN 0-333-61696-0 (Pub. in USA by St. Martins Press and in UK by Macmillan Press Ltd, Basingstoke)

 








The Sacred Fire


 

Another culture whose distinctive customs is to maintain a Sacred Fire is the Herero peoples of Namibia in south western Africa.

This Fire, placed in the centre of each settlement, is the pivotal point of all important ceremonies and is never allowed to go out. When a family moves to a new home, the Sacred Fire is carefully carried with them.

If it goes out, it has to be immediately rekindled by means of ritual fire sticks, which are regarded as representatives of the ancestors.



Source: Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa ISBN 0 620 03181 6 (Pub. The Readers Digest)


 

 







Christianity


The major faiths 


in percentage order world-wide today are:


Christianity
Islam
Hinduism
Buddism
Taoism

 



But while Christianity might make up a large percentage of  world-wide faith, it is divided in its religious practices:

 

Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Mormon, Lutheran, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and Unitarian.


People have been persecuted for their beliefs and religion for centuries.


It was Christianity that has eradicated many of the indigenous religions world-wide, mainly because the indigenous religions do not have a monothetic religious system - belief in one god, and their practices are in contradiction to the Christian practices.


The troubles in Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants illustrate how religious differences can effectively divide a nation.




Protestantism arose from the Reformation in the 16th century. The word comes from the "Protestatio" of the Lutheran minority at the "Diet", or meeting, of Speyer in 1529. These reformers were protesting against the decision by the Catholic majority to outlaw the reforms of the German priest Martin Luther.


Protestantism emphasises the Bible as the main source of doctrinal authority, rather than the Pope or general councils. In the 16th century, it reacted against the corruption and worldliness of some of the institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. It also condemned certain Catholic practices as "superstitious".

In 1689 the Bill of Rights declared that the Monarch of England must be Protestant.







The Presbyterians are Members of a Protestant Reformed Church which is governed by presbyters (elders) rather than by bishops, and in which Church courts oversee the conduct of the congregation.

 

Catholic persecution of Presbyterians in France was a major factor in the French Wars of Religion between 1562 and 1598.

 



Methodism was started mainly by the English preacher John Wesley in the 18th century. Wesley's views on predestination led to friction with followers of John Calvin, while his evangelical meetings and the difficulty of keeping his societies under ecclesiastical control caused conflict with the Church of England. In the United States, the Methodist church split into several groups divided over attitudes towards slavery.




Lutheranism began when in 1571 the German friar Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church.

 

These points of debate about the Roman Catholic Church led to the upheaval of the Reformation.

 

 

 

Four years beforehand, Martin Luther had been struck by a passage in Paul's Epistle to the Romans (The Bible):

 

"the just shall live by faith alone".

 

The more he considered this, the more determined he became to restore purity of faith to religious life. Luther meant only to start a debate but, borne on a tide of nationalistic fervour and piety, he found himself leading a fundamental challenge to Rome which ultimately divided the Church between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

 

He was branded a heretic by Pope Leo X and in 1521 he was excommunicated.

 


The Orthodox Church is a group of churches also known as the Eastern Orthodox Church.

 

It includes the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, as well as Churches in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, all of whom are self-governing, although they recognise the honorary primacy of the patriarch of Constantinople.

 

The division of the Christian Church began when the Roman Empire was split into Eastern and Western empires in AD276. The fall of the Roman Empire in 476AD further increased the division.

 

 

 

The Russian Orthodox Church originated in 988AD in Kiev and contains the majority of the estimated 150 million members world wide.

 

From the 9th century onwards conflict between the two Churches increased and the final rift known as the East-West Schism occurred in 1054. The immediate reason for the rift was a change by the Western Church to the statement of faith known as the Nicene Creed which added the word "filinque" meaning "And to the Son" to read "the Holy Ghost".

 

The Eastern Church refused to accept that the Pope had the power to make unilateral decisions about the doctrine and government of the Church.

 

The rift increased during the Crusades and attempts at forging a union in 1274 and 1439 failed. Orthodox rituals known as the Greek Rite differ from rituals in other branches of the Christian Church.





The Mormons, members of the 5 million -strong Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints was founded in 1830 by American visionary Joseph Smith.

 

Hostility among other Christians drove Smith from Ohio to Illinois and by 1844 opposition to Smith had grown among the Mormons themselves, and in that year, Smith used the Mormon militia to quell a dissident uprising.

 

Smith was arrested by the authorities but was murdered by the angry mob three days later. Brightam Young led the Mormons to Salt Lake City in Utah.

 

Their practice of polygamy (more than one wife) continued to provoke hostility among Americans until the Church had to abolish the custom in 1890.

 




Unitarianism rejects the doctrine of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and preaches the humanity rather than the divinity of Jesus Christ.

 

Modern Unitarianism derives from 16th century Protestant Christian thinkers. The first Unitarian chapel in London was founded in 1774. In the United States of America its influence was great and in 1961 a national body, the Unitarian Universalist Association was founded there.
 


 


The Celts are a mixture of European peoples united by common cultural and linguistic features, are are thought to have originated in the Upper Danube region in the 13th century BC.

 

From 800BC they branched into Galatia in Asia Minor, Gaul (modern France), northern Italy, northern Spain, and the British Isles.

 

They sacked Rome and Greece (Delphi) in circa 390AD. However, they lacked the necessary political cohesion to resist Rome and migratory Germanic tribes and by the first millenium they had been driven into remote areas of Brittany, Wales and Ireland.




The lowland Celts started from the Danube and entered Gaul in about 1200-1300 BC.

 

They were the founders of the lake-dwellings in Switzerland, in the Danube valley, and in Ireland. They probably contributed to the development of the Druidical system of religion.

 

However, they burned their dead. At a great settlement of theirs in Cisalpine, Gaul 6,000 interments were found and in each case the body had been burned before interment.


The home of the mountain Celts was the Balkans and the Carpathians.

 

They were the warlike Celts of ancient history with noble qualities. They were brave, chivalrous, sensitive to poetry, music and speculative thought.

 

In about 100 BC Posidonius found bardic institutions flourishing among them and they were noted for the elaborate musical services held in honour of the god Lugh.

 

The culture of the mountain Celts differed from that of the lowlanders - their age was the age of iron, not bronze; and their dead were buried, not burned.


The Celts have polythetic beliefs and practices (belief in gods and goddesses), many associated with important aspects of their lives, such as warfare, hunting, fertility, healing, good harvests etc.

 

 




 

 

 

Principle god is Cernunnos, meaning "Horned One", Lord of Nature. He is portrayed with a man's body and the antlers of a stag. He holds a sacred torc in one hand and a ram-headed serpent in the other. He is the model in later Christian iconography for the "Devil".


A few gods were worshipped by the Celts across Europe, such as Lugh, the Sun-God.

 

Epona was an important goddess of the continental Celts, and is commemorated in more surviving sculpture and inscriptions that any other goddess. Her name means "Great Mare" and she is usually portrayed on horseback, sitting side-saddle, and accompanied by a bird, a dog, and a foal. Epona was imported into Britain by the Romans and she was the only Celtic deity to be cited in the Roman pantheon.


Celtic mythology is full of stories in which giants and enemies are beheaded, or heroes are challenged to decapitation contests. It has been ascertained that the Celts were head-hunters and they kept the heads as trophies or sacrificial offerings, believing them to contain the essence of the person to whom they belonged, and to be a source of wisdom.


Until the 8th century, the Celts had no written language, and traditions and beliefs were passed on through oral stories. The Mabinogian is a collection of "stories" handed down by the decendents of the Celtic Welsh. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of the gospels writen by monks after the conversion of the Celts to Christianity.

 




 

 

 

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was a Britton who was captured by Celtic pirates when he was 16 and taken as a slave and herdsman.

 

He managed to escape 6 years later and went to Gaul where he became a monk. He then returned to Ireland to challenge the influence of the Druids.

 

The Druid system was the bane of the Celts, and their submission to it was their fatal weakness.

 




The Druids  were members of the ruling caste of the Gallic Celts who exercised legal and priestly functions.

 

They worshipped in clearings in the forest called "sacred groves" and fundamental to their religion is the Oak Tree.


The religion of the Druids was stamped out by the Romans who feared they would resist Roman rule. Suetonis Paulinus destroyed the Druid centre at Mona in Angelsey, North Wales in 61 AD.

 

After the conversion to Christianity, many of the Druid practices were adopted in the Culdees Rites.

 

Interest in Druidry was rekindled in the mid 18th century when William Stukeley (1687-1765) asserted that the Druids were similar to Christians, but that they practiced human sacrifice.


The Celt and Druids gave way to legends involving Merlin, King Arthur, and the sword Excalibre; and they are associated with the stone megaliths, such as Stonehenge in England.

 




Existing at the same time as the Celts were the Megalithic people.

 

When Caesar entered Gaul, he noted the different groups, all of whom were different to each other in language, customs, and laws.

 

The three peoples he called the Belgae, who lived in the north and east; the Celtae, who lived in the central plains; and the Aquitaini, who lived the in the west and the south.

 

The Aquitaini were the Megalithic people

 




 

 

 

Megaliths, dolmens, cromlechs, and/or chambered tumuli occur in present day France, from Scandinavia southwards, all down the western lands of Europe to the Straits of Gilbratar, and round by the Mediterranean coast of Spain. They cross the Straits of Gibraltar and are found all along the North African littoral, and then eastwards through Arabia, India, and as far as Japan. They also occur in some of the western islands of the Mediterranean, and Greece.


From the mouth of the Rhone River northward to the Varanger Fiord all the dolmens in Europe lie to the west. the map distribution of their monuments suggests that their builders were of North African origin who migrated westwards along the coast and into Europe; and eastwards into Asia via Arabia.


A dolmen was used to represent a house or dwelling place of the dead. And the cromlech is a circular arrangement of standing stones, often with a dolmen in their midst.


The Megalithic people did not burn their dead, they buried them whole.

 






 


Celtic Myths

A common belief in many cultures is the "Mother Goddess" or "Earth Mother".


Although recognised by different names, her aspects are of the Cycle of Life - starting off as a young "green" shoot (the maiden), becoming fertile and bearing fruit (the mother), giving "birth" (the harvest), ageing and becoming dormant again in winter (the crone).


In Aboriginal mythology she is Kunapipi, in Wiccan she is the Triple Goddess, in Navajo she is Corn Mother, in ancient Greece she is Gaia, and in Christianity she is the Virgin Mary.


In Celtic mythology she is represented as a virgin goddess, becoming pregnant at the Spring Equinox (March), and giving birth to the new sun/sun-god at the Midwinter Solstice (December).


In 320AD the Christian church placed the date of the birth of Christ as the 25th December to override the pagan births of the earlier "sun gods" at the mid-winter solstice; and the Christian "Annunication of the Blessed Virgin Mary" when Mary becomes pregnant is March 25th.


The word "Easter" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Eostar" or "Eostre" which in turn comes from the Viking goddess Ostara.


The Summer Solstice "Litha" (21st June) was linked with the Christian "Feast of St. John the Baptist".


The Christian tradition of Lammas or "Loafmass", a harvest festival on August 1st, ties in with the Celtic/Wiccan festival of Lughnassadh, when the sun-god Lugh represented by a sheaf of corn, re-affirms his vows to serve the Earth Mother.


The harvest feast Mabon, at the time of the Autum Equinox, when the mother earth shares out her bounty has been adopted by the Christian faith in the form of the "Harvest Festival".


October 31st is the Celtic New Year, Samhain, when the family dead and departed are welcomed back, remembered and honoured. This is All Hallows Eve (Halloween) the day before the Christianised "All Souls Day" in which, again, the dead are remembered.


The Midwinter Solstice, the time when the Earth Mother gives birth to the sun-god has been celebrated by many cultures. The Anglo-Saxons named the 25th December the "Day of the Infant", and Christ's birth-day was moved to this day in celebration of the "Divine Child".



In many mythologies, the mother goddess is represented by a Queen Bee, and worker bees as priestesses, or priests. The male bee is called a "drone" and thus priests were called "Essenes". Honey is what bees make to feed their lavae, and is thus thought of as "divine inspiration".


The symbol of the bee is linked with the Virgin Mary and the "Immaculate Conception", and throughout eastern Europe, consecrated honey is offered on alters at the "Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary".

 




 

 

 

The Christian version of "Hell" comes from the Viking goddess Hel, who was Queen of the Dead. However, the goddess Hel was not "fire and brimstone" as the monks and subsequent Christian patriarchs portrayed her to be.


She received and restored all deities and humans except those slain in battle, who, in the Viking world, were accorded special status. Hel was honoured in caves, symbolising the "womb of the earth", and shrines were often sited in areas of subterranean volcanic activity.


The Christian period of "Advent" (December 1st) to "Epiphany" (January 6th), marks the season of the solar goddess Saule, who is Queen of Heaven and Earth, when ceremonies were held and offerings were made for the return of the sun. Saule comes from the region of the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.




The Sun, the Moon, and the Earth have always been honoured in mythology and perhaps we should remember, before we condemn, pagan or pre-Christian believes, that the Sun gives light and warmth for nature to grow, the Moon controls the tides, and the Earth sustains and is home to us all.



Fire has been venerated in all cultures as a symbolic representation of the Sun and solar-deities. The Christian "Festival of Lights" or "Candlemas" on February 1st coincides with the Celtic "fire and light" festival of Imbolg dedicated to the sun goddess Brighid. Brighid was Christianised into St. Bridget who was supposed to have accompanied the Virgin Mary into the Temple of Purification carrying a candle after the birth of Christ.


Water is venerated in all cultures. From the goddess Danu, came the River Danube; from the goddess Sequana, came the Seine; from the goddess Boanne, came the Boyne in Ireland; from the goddess Ganga Ma, comes the Ganges in India. Sacred Wells appear in Christian, Celtic, Druidic mythology, while the Roman Catholics bless water making it "holy" and there is the belief that the "holy water" will stave off evil forces.

 








Mythology of Gods and Men


Every culture in the world, past and present, has a mythology of some kind. It has stories about the things it and its people believe in, that contain a supernatural element. This is its ethos, or religion.

Mythologies perform a function and some myths perform several functions at once. There are 8 key reasons why any particular mythology or ethos may have developed.




- To explain natural phenomena (eg. creation).

- To attempt to control natural forces, or influence them in some way to satisify one's own needs.

- To bind a clan, tribe, or nation together.

- To record historial events.

- To provide a kind of verbal geography lesson.

- To set examples for people's behaviour and social structure/hierarchy.

- To justify a social structure (as on earth as it is in heaven).

- To control people (fear of authority).



Stages of Development :


The first stage is animism - the belief that everything has a spirit or soul.

The second stage is fetishism - in which an object (fetish) is considered to be inhabited by a spirit who may be good or evil, or neutral.

The next stage is a further extension of animism which develops to the point where each individual family group, clan, tribe or nation "adopts" a particular fetish with which it becomes identified - the totem.

At this stage there is no ethical or moral dimension to the beliefs, no gods to judge, punish or reward different types of behaviour.

Generally, the totem or fetish, performs sufficiently well that they become objects of awe and worship (rather than mere servants) and therefore become gods (graven images).

 

 




Polytheism (belief in many gods/goddesses) develops when :


- A tribe or clan that has several fetishes may elevate most, or all of them to become gods.

- Some gods acquire "families" in order to reflect the culture they come from.

- Some gods have different forms which come to be worshipped as different personalities.

- Tribes and cities come to form larger groups, and their gods merge to form a larger pantheon of gods. In wars, the gods of the winning side tend to be higher up the hierarchy than the loser's gods.

- Each god/goddess has a particular area of responsibility - god of the sea, fertility god, etc.

 



Gods require their people to behave well and to pay homage, and are concerned how they act beyond that eg. wrath of gods (moral or ethical dimension) Myths of good versus evil.

Gods are also anthropomophised into human form.

Hunting tribes have male figureheads, and agricultural tribes have feminine figureheads.



Monotheism (belief in one god) eg. Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc. usually develops when one tribe conquers other neighbouring tribes and its god becomes top-god. Gods have the power to forgive sins, and religions have the most stringent moral codes.


Myths vary regionally and change over time. They also change as people's understanding increases.


Sources :

Mythology - An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Principle of Myths and Religions of the World by Richard Cavendish ISBN 0-318-84763-1 (Pub. Little Brown & Co.)

The Sacred World of the Celts by Nigel Pennick ISBN 0-7225-3512-0 (Pub. Thorsons)

(Druid) Ritual - A Guide to Life, Love and Inspiration by Emma Restall Orr ISBN 0-7225-3970-3 (Pub. Thorsons)

Understanding the Bible by John Stott ISBN 0-86201-251-1 (Pub. Hodder & Stoughton)

Wizards & Sorcerers (from Abracadabra to Zoroaster) by Tim Ogden ISBN 0-8160-3152-5 (Pub. Checkmark Books)

The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft by Rosemary Guiley ISBN 0-8160-3849

A History of Magic in the Modern Age (A Quest for Personal Transformation) by Nevill Drury ISBN 0-09-478740-9 (Pub. Constable & Robinson)

The Magical Universe - Everyday Ritual & Magic in Pre-Modern Europe by Stephen Wilson ISBN 1-85285-251-8 (Pub. Hambledon & London)






 


Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


Sunday
Sun-Day ...The day of the Sun God.


Monday
Moon-Day ... The day of the Moon Goddess.


Tuesday
Tiw's-Day ... The day of the Sky Father, Tiwaz, Tyr, or Tiw.


Wednesday
Woden's-Day ... The day of Mercury, Woden or Wotan, the War God.


Thursday
Thor's-Day ... The day of the God of Thunder and Lightning - Thor, Donar or Thunor.


Friday
Frija's-Day ... The day of the Earth Mother, Frija.


Saturday
Saturn-Day ... The day of Saturn.


 


In "pagan" times, religion involved making human sacrifices to the God of the Sky, Tiwaz and the God of War, Wotan. Victims were hanged on trees, are sometimes were thrown into swamps and bogs. An early Iron Age mummy of a blindfolded girl was recovered from Windeby Bog in Germany.

 



The Celts also practiced human sacrifice as well as head-hunting and this was an integral part of their religion. They would consecrate a human being as a sacrificial victim, then stab him or her in the back with a sword. The manner of the victim's death throes were interpreted as an oracle. Other Celtic human sacrifice involved shooting them to death with arrows, or impaling them.

The most famous Druidical sacrifice was to burn victims in a wickerwork cage in the shape of a human figure. And this is where the word "Wicca" originates.

In Gaul, men were hanged on trees sacred to Esus, and stabbed. In Ireland, Cromm Cruach, whose name means "blood crescent", had a golden image at Mag Slecht, where people were sacrificed to him at the autumnal festival of Samhain.


 


Death on the battlefield was treated as a sacrifice. A person going into battle was dedicated to the gods, so that if he died, the gods would receive him. Boudicca of the British Iceni tribe offered up sacrifices to the Goddess of Victory, Andraste in a holy grove before fighting the Romans.






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