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)