Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Ēostre

As the pope pontificates (as he often does) there are many children around the world who will be gorging themselves on chocolate. Chocolate eggs, rabbits and lambs. Recently, this celebration has been embraced by christians the world over. A celebration of the resurrection of christ. Maybe we should inspect this a little further.

Ēostre is most likely an old Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn or springtime, subsumed by the christians, overlaying the christ myth upon older myths (this falls under the category of "what have the Romans ever done for us"). It seems that the pagans were grateful for the beginning of summertime, warm weather, longer days and fecundity. It was a celebration of life in all its glory, the explosion and profusion of life and light.

As symbols of this pagan festival we have the egg and the rabbit (more specifically, and correctly, the hare) both of which represent the bounty of life and reproduction. What could be more natural than to celebrate life?

Oh yes, celebrating death. That's a winner. Or to be more precise, death followed by resurrection.

Rule No.1; Everything living will die. This is an incontrovertible truth. From the smallest virus or prion to the largest whale, there is no escape from death. Or is there? The pagans and their prehistoric contemporaries witnessed re-birth every year with the return of the summer sun, those who had learnt to cultivate saw their crops begin to spring from the ground. Every day they witnessed the 're-birth' of the sun. And so, many resurrection myths were born.

Let's have a quick peek at the pre-christian deities whose myths include resurrection:
Asclepius, Orpheus, Mithras, Krishna, Osiris, Tammuz, Zalmoxis, Dionysus, Odin, Inanna, Baldr and Persephone spring to mind, but there are at least 36, may of them overlapping as one civilisation imposed the names of it deities upon those of the races they conquered.

To sum up, christianity hijacked the cultures of the day, changed the names and the stories a bit but left the major themes of pagan mythologies intact. What was formerly a celebration of life and reproduction has now become an amalgamation of rituals, bound in doctrine and divorced from the experience of the general population. Fitting that the christian symbol most easily recognised at this time of year is the easter egg, it reflects the religion so well; all sweetness on the outside-hollow and empty on the inside.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Encouraged to continue. So I shall.

As I've been encouraged to continue, by a very good friend, I shall attempt to do so. My main problem is where to start.

My interests are varied, so sometimes it really is difficult to pick a single subject.

At the moment I'm a bit preoccupied by events in Libya, mostly because I think they'll have a lasting effect upon everyone; a model to other would-be dictators on what not to do, and an example to any oppressed nation.

At the same time, in Madison Wisconsin, there are people who actually want to preserve the democracy they have and are having a difficult time of it: I'd recommend you all put boingboing on your reader feed, and if you don't have a reader feed, click on 'reader' on your gmail page.

So. The pope is being prosecuted in the same week as Gadaffi Duck:

Just remember who sold Gadaffi his planes, and Mubarak his tanks...... Here's some background so you know what Barclays, Standard Life (irony warning) and BT are up to when you give them money.

Oh, just in case you missed it, the ALL POWERFUL god of islam was righteously defended this week when another unarmed man was gunned down in the street in Pakistan: Good to know that an all-powerful, universe-creating deity has a few cowardly, illiterate morons to protect him and his bronze-age, mentally-ill, paedophile prophet. Such outstanding bravery by the 'soldiers' of Allah.

On a different note (sic) Beer and Bach by Cactus Music was lovely last week, encouraging me to go see more opera, so anyone fancy Tosca in London this summer?

Listening: Zero 7, Wasted Youth (UK), Sibelius 5th
Reading: Red Mars;Kim Stanley Robinson, The Bridge; Ian Banks, The Summer of Katya; Trevanian.

Interesting people this week: Charlie Sheen (not for anything good), the 2 Alices, Sarah and Mina (as always x)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tomorrow (Weds 29th, 2010) is another evening of music at The Castle. Hopefully Ville and Laura will be there, not to mention the musicians from last week. I like the fact that it's very relaxed, nobody really has to try to be the next big thing, most of the folks there play because they love the music (special mention to Des).

And of course, I'll be playing with the most talented singer in London JC Ryan, always a pleasure.

Come along on Weds, Fri or Sat and enjoy the ambience that is The Castle and its musical friends.

Nice food too ;)

Friday, 13 March 2009

I had a bit of a rant

I'd seen this story, but was waiting for corroborative evidence from other sources because it just seemed, well, sick.

And sure enough, it is very sick.

Can the vatican (you'll forgive me for not using capitals, ever, when I talk about religion, they don't deserve them) not see how stupid they sound/seem?

So, let's go through that whole religion thing again, just for the n00bs: You do what I (a man) says, or you will die, or burn in hell, or be outcast, or generally treated like shit. Sounds like a guy to me! I just can't imagine why women want to be a part of the priesthood. Are you mental? (Quote from 'Ultraviolet', great film)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Deborah 13: Servant of God

One of the saddest things I've seen on British TV, recorded in the UK, a 13 year old girl, raised by her parents, home-schooled, isolated from people her own age. 4th of 11 children, with no contact with people her own age. Sent out (or maybe volunteers, who knows?) to proselytise on a friday night, complete with bible tracts and an attitude for God.

Everything seems to be a sin in her little world, and it's a very little world indeed.

The family are easily described as young earth creationists, they actually think the planet is 6,000 years old. The bible is taken as literal.

Interviewer: 'What are you training them for?'
Father: 'Eternity'

Of course, everything the family watch on the internet (no TV) is from creationist broadcasts which basically repudiate anything not agreeing with the literal interpretation of the bible.

My main problem with the whole family isn't with the parents, but with the oldest sibling, currently at university, who seems to protest a little too much. He's probably the biggest influence on the youngsters, yet still, after going out into the big wide world, continues to contribute to the continuation of the usual fallacies.

He's the role model.

The whole programme reeks of guilt as I'm watching it.

Oh, no, the Big Bang is a can it be proved by science?
He takes her to meet his house-mates at his Uni digs.
On the way:
Brother looking at the landscape... 'look at it! Created, I think!'

So she meets his house-mates. Very embarrassing for the housemates.
Then shopping. 'Oh, what a shallow life, compared to when the "elements are all melting up"'. Rapture anyone?

Oh, it's too much. I'm not sure I can watch it to the end. The poor girl has no real social skills, no sense of perspective. Everything is about her and god, but no question of what other people do with their lives.

Interesting error: the bible, apparently says 'no drinking'. I seem to remember something about weddings and water into wine. No?

According to this girl, people who tell 'little white lies' and 'paedophiles and murderers' are all going to hell.

It's all guilt, guilt, guilt.

The last 60 seconds of the program shows a 13 year old girl struggling to make sense of cognitive dissonance, she has seen real life, people who don't think as she does. And she struggles to reconcile what she's seen with what she believes, and in my book fails. And she looks wretched going through that. Not her fault. The fault of the people who indoctrinated her. Very sad to watch.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the father of this family (his father was a churchman of some kind) fell in with the Jehovah's Witnesses, then went off to start his own cult, beginning with his wife. Lots of witnessing going on, and strict adherence to biblical truth.

apologies if that seemed a bit stream-of-consciousness, I began blogging after watching the first 60 seconds, I wanted to get down what I was seeing, I couldn't really believe it.


(thanks to GemmaK for the head up)

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Freedom of Speech vs Religion Update

Here's the petition for those who live in the UK, or are ex-pats and allowed to vote in the UK