Sunday, 30. April 2006
The Real Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has been a phenomenal success with millions of readers hooked, but what do historians think of the book? Discover the facts about the Holy Grail and cut through the thicket of mystery that surrounds the subject.



This streaming video takes 1 hour 41 minutes.

Produced by Wildfire Television production for Channel 4.
Category: Movies & TV | Myths & Sagas | New Legends & Claims |




Saturday, 29. April 2006
Tarot of Prague

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Magic Prague, city of Art Nouveau and Deco, the Baroque and the Enlightenment. Yet also a place of gothic enchantment, golems, phantoms, alchemists and astrologers - the fantastic and fantastical. There is nowhere quite like the capital of Bohemia, with its rich mix of symbolism and style.

The Tarot of Prague brings the the diverse beauty and symbolism of the "Magic City" to a fully-illustrated 78-card tarot deck. The cards are made up of intricate images collaged from thousands of original photographs of the fabulous art and architecture of Prague.


Tarot of Prague by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov.

The navigation at the website is a little bit buggy.

Category: Tarot & Oracles |




Thursday, 27. April 2006
Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts

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Scorpio

Astrology and theology

The religious feasts are the main contents of the Calendars of Psalters or Books of Hours. Its illustration shows the typical activities of the seasons of the year in the Labours of the Month and the passing of astronomical time in the Signs of the Zodiac.
Ever since man recognized some kind of regularity in the movement of stars and planets, he has believed that the celestial bodies influenced earthly events. Ideas, ultimately dating back to Babylonian times, persisted in the Middle Ages, and even today horoscopes continue to be drawn. In some regions of the world hardly a marriage is concluded without a serious look at the constellations.
Christian theologians were of course most familiar with the astrological ideas of the Graeco-Roman world.


These presented a challenge to their own ideas about the omnipotence of God, and they wrote many pages to reject what was unacceptable in their eyes.

Natural history and bestiaries

Bestiaries and other texts on natural history are populated with animals both actual and fabulous. It is as if they illustrate the story of the fifth and sixth day of the Creation: living creatures each after its kind. The properties ascribed to certain animals made them suitable as metaphors of vices or Christian virtues. As modern books and movies demonstrate, both real and phantasy animals continue to challenge our imagination.

Griffin: Part eagle, part lion, the griffin fuses the two mightiest animals into one. Ruling heaven and earth, immortal and of a double nature, it can symbolize Christ. When a griffin mates with a mare, they produce a Hippogriff: the eagle part of a griffin, hind legs and tail of a horse. The Hippogriff still lives: it is the pet of Hagrid, one of the main characters of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga.

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Griffin


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St. Petronilla holding the devil by a leading-string

Forms of evil

As is shown here, the devil may take on different guises in the illuminations we find in these manuscripts, but there are three basic ingredients: man, animal, and pure phantasy. When he tries to tempt Christ in the desert, or when he fools a nobleman, he looks almost human. But the miniaturist makes sure he does not fool us: his feet are that of an animal, or his eyes are burning coals.
The pictures tell us, that he may turn himself into a cat. He may also be a pale, threatening creature taking souls to hell. The colourful monsters pestering saint Pachomius could have been designed by Bosch. Finally, the devil that seduces Theophilus to sell his soul, looks like one of the more malicious Muppets designed by Jim Henson.


Holy helpers: male saints and female saints

The veneration of saints is as old as the Christian church itself. Christians believed that saints could intercede for them with God. Of couse many still do. Where saints were buried, people gathered to celebrate the anniversary of their death. On this foundation an elaborate system developed during the Middle Ages. For specific complaints or dangers people would ask help from a specific saint.

Apollonia: A deaconess in Alexandria. She refused to renounce Christ and her teeth were broken during torture. They threatened to burn her if she persisted. She didn't wait, but jumped into the fire herself. She protects against toothaches and is patroness of dentists.

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Apollonia


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Creation of Sun, Moon and Stars

The Creation of the World

The beginning of Genesis, the first book of the bible, has always given rise to reflection and debate. In the Middle Ages this debate remained of course within the boundaries of the Christian faith. The created universe was an accepted fact, not an opinion to be discussed. Since Darwin and the rise of evolutionary theory, the debate has received an added dimension, and it certainly has not lost its topicality. One only has to search the internet with the combined keywords 'evolution' and 'creation' to get an impression of the occasional intensity of the discussion. This gallery, obviously, is not a contribution to the debate. It merely serves to show how the creation was visualized in the Middle Ages.


The examples above and much, MUCH more you'll find at
Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Lirary of the Netherlands) and the Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum.
Superb!
Unfortunitly it only works in IE.
Category: Astrology & Astronomy | Books & Magazines | Demons & Devils | Religion & Early Cultures |


Legend of the Pharaoh’s Curse

Use the arrow keys to move through the Pharaoh's catacombs.

Collect the floating ankhs and figs in each level to light the Beacon of the Gods. Make your way to the glowing beacon to advance to the next level.

For that you need skillfulness.

Legend of the Pharaoh’s Curse

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Category: Games & Humor |


Wednesday, 26. April 2006
Skyscript

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Taurus by Sir George Trevelyan

Taurus is one of the most ancient signs of the zodiac and celebrates the domestication of the ox, which provided a cultural turning point for mankind. During the Taurean Age (4000 - 2000 BC), ancient civilisations flourished upon the labour of the bull and the agricultural benefits that arose from the associated invention of the plough. During this period the bull became one of the most important religious symbols, honoured as a powerful symbol of productivity and creativity.

Today the sun passes through Taurus during the blossoming period of spring when new growth begins to colour and flower. This is a time of pleasant, relaxing warmth, lush greenery and gentle colours; the season of fertility where nature abounds with the rearing of the young and tender.


The Sun is in Taurus


Taurus is well documented in Babylonian astrology, the Mesopotamians being the first to call this part of the sky Gud.Anna., 'Bull of Heaven'. According to their myth, the creature was created on the orders of Ishtar (Venus) to destroy the legendary hero Gilgamesh who had insultingly spurned her advances and remarked that she all too quickly tired of her objects of desire. Gilgaimesh triumphed over the Bull, which was then placed in the heavens, but for his sacrilege the gods declared that the life of his best friend, Enkidu, should be taken as a forfeit.

Star lore of Taurus and other constellations.

Nick Kollerstrom explores the remarkable astrological connections in the events of Diana's life: "Eclipses glittered around the Jupiter-cycles that structured her life, somehow precisely located, in time and space. Her biographer Andrew Morton alluded to Diana’s sense that her life was deeply fated. The drama of Diana’s life is worth re-telling, but that does require an apprehension of its astrological structure".

The Jupiter Cycles of Lady Diana

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Diana's birth chart (Placidus cusps)



"The soul of the newly born baby is marked for life by the pattern of the stars at the moment it comes into the world, unconsciously remembers it, and remains sensitive to the return of configurations of a similar kind."
Kepler, Harmonics Mundi, chapter 7

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Kepler's Model of the Universe

Very few of Kepler's astrological works have been translated into English down the centuries, which has permitted a radically one-sided interpretation of his work to flourish. In recent years, however, modern translations of one of Kepler's seminal works on the theory of how astrology works have appeared, which have been made available for the first time to English readers a perspective on what he really believed.

Kepler's Belief In Astrology


Skyscript: Deborah Houlding's Astrology Pages. (English)
A great website! Astrology material for Beginners to Advanced.
Category: Astrology & Astronomy |


Ashoka - the eDharma university

Incorporating the teachings of the Buddha into our lives nourishes what the Dalai Lama calls "our inner dimension" and encourages the practice of peace and generosity.

Ashoka - the eDharma university (English)

Ashoka courses blend reading, listening, inquiry, meditation, contemplation and interaction — encouraging both study and practice. Course activities and exercises—designed to encourage and guide students to contemplate, reflect on, and practice the teachings, thus helping them make the direct connection to their lives and experiences—give proper attention to the paths of meditation and application.

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The Ashoka courses are free - for login use "ursi-blog@hotmail.com" and the password "1234567".
Category: Meditation & Mind | Religion & Early Cultures |


Hot News or Hoax?

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As film arrives, ‘Da Vinci Code’ debate renews by MSNBC. English)
A line from Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" tells you why it's easily the most disputed religious novel of all time: "Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false." With 46 million copies in print, "Da Vinci" has long been a headache for Christian scholars and historians, who are worried about the influence on the faith from a single source they regard as wrong-headed.

Second Sight by The Guardian. (English)
It may sound like something out of Harry Potter, but this week the University of Kent is hosting a conference on cosmology and divination. From Friday, anthropologists, theologists, astrologers and psychologists, among others, will descend on the university's Canterbury campus to investigate the nature of second sight.

Pub spirits cause a stir by icSurreyOnline. (English)
Sharon Ballard has been the live-in manager at the pub for two-and-a-half years, and recalls one occasion when her door, propped open by a bottle, was found closed with the bottle standing up on the opposite side of the room. "I was the only one in this side of the house - there was no one else who could have moved it," she said. "It must have been Harry the ghost."

Scientists Debunk Astrology by Discovery Channel News. (English)
One of the largest studies of the possible link between human traits and astrology found little, if any, connection between the traditional sun signs of the zodiac and characteristics of individuals. The researchers, however, leave open the question as to whether other, more detailed and personal forms of astrology hold any validity.

DEUTSCH: Horoskope lügen doch und Der Glaube an Horoskope und seine Kritiker vom Stern. (German)

Zimbabwe Outlaws Practise of Witchcraft by New Zimbabwe. (English)
"Witchcraft is not an area that lends itself to police scrutiny," said Wayne Budzijena, the Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesman. "How do you verify an evil spell? This is a matter of spiritual faith, not a matter of empirical evidence."


Some news-links do not last long. In this case please send me a note.
Category: News & Stories |


Tuesday, 25. April 2006
John Pitre’s Art

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Click the picture for a larger view

Look beyond the surface, and into the depths of paintings by John Pitre, and you will look into the mind and soul of a great thinker. Through his social commentary art and visionary paintings he shares with you his vision of our purpose in the universe, and reminds us of the responsibilities we have as moral beings and as stewards of our planet. He tells us about life as a human citizen here on Earth, warning you about its difficulties and pitfalls, but also portrays the beauty and magic that each one of us possesses within. He encourages you to follow your longings and aspirations to achieve your dreams, but to hold dear the relationships we have with all other men.


"An artist is one who has the gift to reach deep into the core of his being, and with divine inspiration , allows his soul to pour forth as art. For the most part, it is not a conscious thing that they do, nor can they define it, for it transcends explanation; they are merely antennae tuned to the magic of the universe."

John Pitre: Fantasy Art, Visionary Art, Spiritual Art and Surrealism.

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Category: Art & Visions |


Interlude: A place to renew the spirit

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"The Garden" by Marlene Coble

We don’t need acres of land to bring gardening into our spiritual practice. We can tend a single plant in a pot with mindfulness and compassion. But if we have a piece of land, why not use it to create something beautiful, to bring another dimension to our mindfulness practice. Working with plants and digging in the dirt can be stress relieving. It brings us back into contact with the natural world. We become aware of being part of the whole process of growth, death, decay and rebirth. Gardening is a lesson in the truth of impermanence.


Take time to see. Look at the garden as a whole. Observe the land and the plants. Observe the sky and how your garden interacts with it. Feel the garden. Get a sense of it as a unique place. Feel the energy. If it flowed like water, how would it flow? Where would it go? Look at your individual plants and how they fit into the whole. Look at the space where there are no plants. How can emptiness create form?

The current Meditation of the Week: The Zen of Gardening

Check out the Meditation Archive for older ones.
There are hundreds of them and all are wonderful.

Our Goal: We hope to bring to your Internet experience a few moments of peace, composure, and mental expansion. We believe each of us owes it to ourselves to regularly take time out to shake off the cares of the moment, to look inside, and get back in touch with a deeper place. We seek ideas and wisdom from many spiritual traditions and paths to share with you. We believe that the world has given us many ways of living in the spirit and that all of the great religions and wisdom traditions arise from the same source.

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Interlude: A place to renew the spirit by Tom Barrett. (English)
Don't miss the Thought of the Day.
Today: If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.
Arabian Proverb
Category: Meditation & Mind |


Monday, 24. April 2006
MotherGoddess

This site is dedicated to the female aspect of Creator and Creation - She whose back we walk on and whose food we eat. Mother Earth. MotherGoddess (English)

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Kuan Yin - Eponymous Great Mother of China

She has been prominent in cultures throughout history and back to Neolithic times. But during the past few thousand years, women have experienced alienation from their power source. The female aspect of the Creator has been excluded and denied by a culture that has focused exclusively on the male dominated religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The last remnants of Goddess worship were all but wiped out by the massacre of millions of women as witches, during the Middle Ages. And it was all done in the name of a loving God.

But the Goddess is reasserting Herself. She is telling us it is time to clean up our acts. The survival of life as we know it, depends upon our willingness to listen to Her and honor Her. To worship the Goddess is to honor the Earth and all the creatures with whom we share this divine place.

Category: Gods & Goddesses |


Hot News or Hoax?

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Odyssey's End?: The Search for Ancient Ithaca by Smithsonian Magazine.
WITH PICS. (English)
Bittlestone, a management consultant by profession, believes he has solved a mystery that has bedeviled scholars for more than 2,000 years. In Odysseus Unbound, published this past October by Cambridge University Press, he argues that a peninsula on the island of Cephalonia was once a separate island—Ithaca, the kingdom of Homer’s Odysseus some 3,000 years ago.

Book lifts veil on state's witch trial past by The Albuquerque Tribune. (English)
New Mexicans didn't burn witches at the stake or hang them, that just wasn't their style. In New Mexico's largely unknown witch trials - from 1756 to 1766 - the accused were mostly thrown in jail, although some punishments were a bit harsher, said Rick Hendricks, co-author of a new book "The Witches of Abiquiu" from University of New Mexico Press.

Phenomena Produce Theories, But No Answers by San Diego Union-Tribune. (English)
Scientists insist it wasn't an earthquake. The Federal Aviation Administration has no record of any planes producing a sonic boom by breaking the sound barrier. Camp Pendleton officials say no activities on the Marine base could have created such a disturbance. There were no large explosions in San Diego County that day, and no meteor fireballs were reported in the sky that morning. What was it, then?

Seeing is Believing by Mid-Day. (English)
Is the existence of the ‘third eye’ only a big fat body of myth or what? Well the straight dope is, most of it besides bizarre entries in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, is. On the other hand, if by eye we mean something which is capable of processing information related to light then a wholly different argument can ensue. Take the tuatara.

The Staunch Disbelievers by Malaysian Star. (English)
Irshad, nature guide: "The mind is a powerful playground. ... If these bomohs really have the power, why don’t they send some spirits to deal with (President) Bush? Oh . . . they say that Bush has a bigger jinn with him."
And:
The Healthy Sceptics; Why Ghosts are Ghosts; Glossary of Malaysian Ghosts


Some news-links do not last long. In this case please send me a note.
Category: News & Stories |


Sunday, 23. April 2006
Tai Chi: Yang Long Form

Take your 49 minutes Tai Chi lesson today:



This is the style of Tai Chi Chuan practiced by more people than any other. Most of the popular forms today evolved from the Yang. Tai Chi started out with 13 basic movements and kept expanding until it reached 108 movements. All these movements are actually only variations on the basic 13. This video is a step-by-step instruction.
Category: Martial Arts & Combat | Meditation & Mind | Movies & TV | Yoga & Fitness |


Saturday, 22. April 2006
The Role of the Devotional Image in Hinduism

Hindu religious images or icons (murti) are found in a variety of settings: indoors, in a temple or in a personal or family shrine; or outdoors, in a road or riverside shrine.

Images may portray one of the great Gods of Hinduism -- the most popular are Shiva, Vishnu, and the Goddess -- or one of the many local and regional deities that comprise the Hindu pantheon. Such images allow devotees direct access to God, who is thought to be fully present in the icon. Visual exchange with the sacred image (darshan) is a primary mode of religious practice for many Hindus: devotees both see the image and are seen by it.

Visual representations of God are important to many but not all forms of Hindu religious practice. Two general modes of understanding divinity can be distinguished in Hindu thought: a divinity could be "without qualities" (nirguna) or "with qualities" (saguna).

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The images in this resource represent the saguna or "with qualities" understanding of God. Most of the images are human-made, but stones, fossils, trees, and other naturally occurring substances are also forms of icons, as representations or embodiments of God. Natural features of the environment, such as rivers, may also be seen as images or embodiments of divinity. The Ganga (known outside India as the Ganges) is both a physical river and a Goddess, commonly portrayed as a beautiful woman.

Unlike naturally occurring images, human-made images are usually anthropomorphic. An important exception is the shiva linga, the non-anthropomorphic (aniconic) form of the great God Shiva that usually occupies the central place in temples dedicated to that God (Figure 3). The shiva linga is considered more important than images of the God in human form, and can be human-made or naturally occurring.


The Role of the Devotional Image in Hinduism (English)
This in-depth article by Anne Murphy decodes the complexities of Hindu iconography, explains the structure of a Hindu temple, and details the creation and consecration of sacred images. This essay is a must-read for fans of Indian art.
Category: Religion & Early Cultures |


Do-In | Selbstmassage - self massage

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Das Do-in (Dao-Yin), oder auch Selbstmassage, ist ein Element aus der traditionellen chinesischen Medizin und wird auch heute noch von buddhistischen Mönchen angewendet. In China ist es eine fabelhafte Art und Weise dem Körper, den Händen oder Füßen für ihre schwere Arbeit zu "danken" - zu oft schenken wir ihnen zu wenig Aufmerksamkeit.

Das Do-in beruht auf dem Befreien von Spannungen mittels einfachem Druck der Finger auf Akupunktur-Punkten entlang der Meridianen. 12 wesentliche Linien (die Meridianen) verlaufen längs unseres Körpers und sind Träger der vitalen Energie. Die Selbstmassage dieser Linien verleiht oder entzieht dem zugeordneten Organ Energie (Herz, Leber…) und stellt somit die verloren gegangene Harmonie wieder her. Mit dem Do-in kann man die gute Zirkulation des QI, der Lebensenergie, aufrecht erhalten.


Do in: Wohlbefinden aus den Fingerspitzen von Go Feminin. (German)

Mit illustriertem Do-in Entspannungskurs in 7 Teilen


Weitere Do-In Übungen vom Akupunturzentrum München: "Energetische Dusche" - Do-In. (German)

Click here for a Shiatsu Self Massage Info Chart.

Do-in is a combination of meridian stretching exercises, breathing exercises, chi exercises and self massage. If you the meridian stretching exercises on this page you will get an idea of the condition of your own energy, and you will become a better health.

Do-in by Rian Visser. (English)
Some stretching exercises

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Category: Body & Health |


Friday, 21. April 2006
Church Sign Generator

Ever seen those signs in front of churches with the moveable letters? Ever wanted to rearrange the letters to make your own church sign? Well, now you can.

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Church Sign Generator

You've seen them - the signs in front of churches, with a witticism or a pun that made you groan. I think they're hilarious, often unintentionally so. I've decided to start collecting the ones I see around Austin and on the web.

Real Church Signs

Category: Games & Humor |


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