Ursi's Eso Garden
Your Competent Esoteric Guide
Saturday, 25. October 2008
The Haunted History of Halloween
The History Channel has always put out some great programs and I think this one is an interesting and informative documentary that gets you in the spirit of Halloween.
On October 31, when pint-sized ghouls and goblins knock on doors, they're actually carrying on a tradition that goes back thousands of years to the Celtic tribes of northern Europe. For centuries this night has celebrated mystery and chaos, a time between summer and winter, a time between life and death.
Host Harry Smith leads this 3,000 year tour through the history of the quintessentially pagan holiday. Discover how trick or treat originated in ancient Ireland's harvest festivals, when food and sweets were offered to entice the dead to stay in the spirit world. See how Christianity tried to co-opt the celebration by turning it into All Saints Day, but how the underlying dark elements have survived, inspiring debate to the present day. From ghoulies and ghosties to the origins of the Jack-O-Lantern, this film is a delicious journey into the enchanting past of the spookiest night of the year.
Duration: 45 minutes
The official website: The Haunted History of Halloween by History Channel
Samhain, Halloween, Diwali, Tihar and Day of the Dead
Saturday, 20. September 2008
Karma - What Is It and What Is Its Influence?
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
Karma is always there and influences our lives - This is the essence of Karma.
To understand Karma fully, we need to understand the concept of reincarnation.
Reincarnation simply means that everything is repeated. Something which exists continuously therefore leads to repetition. Past, present and future are therefore interwoven. Our lives are influenced by this law and every creature on the earth is born and then dies and is reborn.
Read more ...
Wednesday, 16. April 2008
Hell - It’s Representation Through The Ages
A fiery vault beneath the earth or as Sartre put it, other people - it seems our ideas of hell are inevitably shaped by religious and cultural forces. For Homer and Virgil it’s a place you can visit and return from, often a wiser person for it. With Christianity it’s a one way journey and a just punishment for a sinful, unrepentant life.
Sandro Botticelli - Chart of Hell - ca. 1480-95 / Click the picture for a larger view
Writers and painters like Dante and Hieronymus Bosch gave free rein to their imaginations, depicting a complex hierarchical world filled with the writhing bodies of tormented sinners. In the 20th century hell can be found on earth in portrayals of war and the Holocaust but also in the mind, particularly in the works of TS Eliot and Primo Levi.
So what is the purpose of hell and why is it found mainly in religions concerned with salvation? Why has hell proved so inspirational for artists through the ages, perhaps more so than heaven? And why do some ideas of hell require a Satan figure while others don't?
Melvyn Bragg's guests are:
Margaret Kean, Tutor and Fellow in English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum
then listen to this programme in full here (43 minutes):
Broadcast was on December 2006 at BBC 4, 'In Our Time'.
Also available for RealPlayer.
You may also like:
Dante's Inferno by The University of Texas at Austin - a multimedia journey - combining images, textual commentary, and audio - through the various regions of hell described in Dante's Inferno.
Heaven and Hell by The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Tyger of Wrath: William Blake in the National Gallery of Victoria.
Saturday, 12. April 2008
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained
'The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained' consists of fourteen broad-subject chapters covering a wide range of high-interest topics: Afterlife Mysteries; Mediums and Mystics; Religious Phenomena; Mystery Religions and Cults; Secret Societies; Magic and Sorcery; Prophecy and Divination; Objects of Mystery and Power; Places of Mystery and Power; Ghosts and Phantoms; Mysterious Creatures; Mysteries of the Mind; Superstitions, Strange Customs, Taboos, and Urban Legends; and Invaders from Outer Space.
Each chapter begins with an Overview that summarizes the chapter’s concept in a few brief sentences. Then the Chapter Exploration provides a complete outline of the chapter.
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Vol 1
Gale Cengage, 2003 | 377 pages | PDF | 7.1 MB
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Vol 2
Gale Cengage, 2003 | 335 pages | PDF | 9.2 MB
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Vol 3
Gale Cengage, 2003 | 357 pages | PDF | 7.2 MB
by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger.
Monday, 24. March 2008
Heaven - A Journey through the Afterlife
How does the Protestant conception of the afterlife differ
from the Catholic conception?
How does one achieve salvation and what do the saved do when they get there?
And, if heaven is so interesting,
why has western culture been so spellbound by hell?
Hieronymous Bosch, Center panel, 'The Garden of Earthly Delights', circa 1504
Click the picture fpr a larger view
The great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote 'that in the end language can only be related to what is experienced here, and given that the hereafter is not here, we can only infer'. Aquinas encapsulated a great human conundrum that has preoccupied writers and thinkers since ancient times: what might heaven be like. And although human language is constrained by experience, this has not stopped an outpouring of artistic, theological and literary representations of heaven.
In the early Middle Ages men ascended up a ladder to heaven. In his Divine Comedy, Dante divided heaven into ten layers encompassing the planets and the stars. And the 17th century writer John Bunyan saw the journey of the soul to heaven as a spiritual struggle in his autobiography, The Pilgrim's Progress.
Melvyn Bragg's guests are:
Martin Palmer, Theologian and Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture
John Carey, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Oxford University
then listen to this programme in full here (43 minutes):
Broadcast was on December 2005 at BBC 4, 'In Our Time'.
Also available for RealPlayer.
Sunday, 17. February 2008
Heaven and Hell
From the beginning of recorded history, people all over the world have believed in an afterlife. In the West, the powerful images of Heaven, with its white light, halos and harps, and Hell, marked by torture and pits of fire and brimstone, have shaped thought and culture for thousands of years. But where do these images come from? What does the Bible itself tell us about eternal punishment and eternal happiness? And what do these dramatic symbols tell us about our own hopes and fears, our views of sin and redemption? Search for answers to eternal questions and plumb the mysteries of Heaven and Hell with the world's leading historians, archaeologists and philosophers.
This documantation examines Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant ideas of hell as well as those of Dante--complete with his diagram of the seven circles. A priest and a minister debate the origin and purpose of the concept of purgatory; Irish, Chinese, and Americans share their views on the afterlife; Jean Simmons reads excerpts from the old and new testaments and The Divine Comedy; and narrator Richard Kiley presides over the proceedings. Kiley traces the sparse mentions of hell in the Hebrew Bible, the fallen angel references in the Apocryphal Book of Enoch and frequent references in the New Testament, particularly the Book of Revelation. He concludes that, while there is no scientific evidence of an afterlife, people want to believe that a good life will be rewarded and an evil one punished.
Duration: 45 minutes.
Friday, 15. February 2008
In Pictures: Maharishi Cremated
Thousands of followers of the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, have attended his cremation in the northern Indian city of Allahabad.
The Maharishi, thought to have been 91 years old, died in his sleep last week in his home in the Netherlands. (see related entry: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Died)
The Maharishi's followers paid tribute to him over the last weekend, filing past his body which was placed in traditional cross-legged meditation posture, draped in white.
The body was cremated on a pyre by the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, a site revered by Hindus.
Correspondents say some 2,000 followers from other parts of the world joined the crowds. Among them was the filmmaker David Lynch.
"In life, he revolutionised the lives of millions of people," Lynch told the Reuters news agency. "In his passing away he is bringing the West and East together as well."
Devotees of the Maharishi, who is credited with bringing meditation techniques to the West, chanted prayers and hymns during the ceremony in Allahabad, northern India.
The Maharishi's body was prepared according to traditional customs and carried through crowds of people from all over the world.
The cremation took place at the Maharishi's retreat overlooking the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, a holy site in the Hindu religion.
Members of the Maharishi's family lit the funeral pyre, which had been decorated with flower petals and flags.
The ceremony was also watched by leaders - known as rajas - from the Maharishi's group who have vowed to continue his work aiming to bring peace and healing through meditation.
Source: BBC News
Saturday, 22. December 2007
Life on the Other Side: A Psychic’s Tour of the Afterlife
Perhaps the greatest question ever asked is "What happens after we die?" Every human being eventually deals with this question and ponders the mysterious answer. But, until it's our turn to travel to the Other Side, we can't know what we will find. Or can we?
Whether or not you end up believing what she writes, you can't help but come away with food for thought. Most interesting! It left me with a peaceful feeling about the hereafter.
Take a comprehensive "tour" of the afterlife, includes:
the truth about ghosts and hauntings
solving "unsolvable" missing persons cases
how psychic energy can keep people healthy and improve relationships
why we shouldn't fear aging and death
must-read predictions for the new millennium
Life on the Other Side: A Psychic's Tour of the Afterlife by Sylvia Browne & Lindsay Harrison
Publisher: Signet, 2001 | 270 Pages | PDF | 1,1 MB
Sylvia Browne official website
The Society Of Novus Spiritus - Browne's church
Sylvia Brown's Online Talk Show at HayHouseradio. Next show 'Mystical Travelers' on Sunday, December 23, 2007. Free registration required.
Stop Sylvia Browne - a site critical of Sylvia Browne
King of the Paranormal by Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Sylvia Browne Clock by James Randi from James Randi Educational Foundation.
Her biggest opponent.
Official transcript: Are Psychics Real?, Larry King Live, September 3, 2001.
(Browne and James Randi)
Official transcript: Are Psychics for Real?, Larry King Live, March 6, 2001.
(Browne and John Edward)
Official transcript: Psychic Powers Debunked in Shawn Hornbeck Case, Anderson Cooper, January 19, 2007. (Browne's manager and Randi)
Official transcript: Psychic Psychic Reality Check, Anderson Cooper,
January 30, 2007. (Browne's manager and Randi)
Friday, 24. August 2007
Theban Mapping Project
Wednesday, 08. August 2007
The Boy Who Lived Before
First of all the 40 minutes documentary, following the story of Camereon, a 4 year old boy that seems to have memories from a previous life.
Second a TV review, found @ The Dominion Post, 6 August 2007
Refreshing take on Reincarnation by Linda Burgess.
It was refreshing to see a documentary actually doing what documentaries by definition are supposed to do.
If last night's documentary on Prime, The Boy Who Lived Before, had an attitude, it was one of respect. Its subject matter – reincarnation, in this case a small child who had memories of a previous life and of a place which he had never visited – was one guaranteed to get a cynic sneering. But all this documentary set out to do was to allow the audience to observe Cameron's story being checked out. It made for riveting – and touching – viewing.
Cameron was only two when he started talking in detail about another place and another family that he had previously belonged to. That other place was the island of Barra, off the west coast of Scotland, a place neither he nor his family had ever visited. He also spoke of a white house on the sand, watching planes land on the beach, a black and white dog, siblings, a mother who'd had her long hair cut short, and a father who had died because he didn't look both ways. Most two-year-olds don't suffer from nostalgia, but Cameron missed his "other mother" so much that sometimes he cried when his real mother picked him up from kindergarten. His memories, which he continued to have till he was five, when we met him, were completely consistent. He even knew his "other" father's name – Shane Robertson. He was a happy and loving little boy, but he yearned for his other life.
Cameron was fortunate to have a marvellously understanding and compassionate mother. She did that very difficult thing – she kept an open mind. She also managed another even more difficult thing – she at least appeared unthreatened by his longing for his other family. She took a risk when she allowed a camera crew to accompany her on the search for Cameron's other family, but it was one that paid off.
Even the people Cameron's mother approached in her attempt to make sense out of the rationally impossible allowed her her dignity.
The first person she spoke to (on camera, anyway) was potentially the hardest – psychologist Chris French, also the editor of The Skeptic Magazine. Though he was careful not to mock, in lots of ways he stated the bleeding obvious: somehow – through TV perhaps? or a family friend? – Cameron had learnt about Barra and invented a world that he had inhabited.
At this point in our house we became a little restless and uneasy, recalling how our daughter, when aged two, had had the habit of waking three or so hours after having been put to bed. At playcentre one day this guileless toddler had displayed such a parentally-humiliating knowledge of the Ewing family and Southfork that I kick myself now for not having known about children who'd lived another life – I could have just explained away her knowledge by telling everyone that Sue- Ellen was her other mother.
Norma, however, could not think of an opportunity Cameron might have had to pick up such detailed information. Also it would have been easy enough to check whether any TV drama or documentary had been made which contained the details which were so entrenched in this small child's imagination.
So she took Cameron to see a child psychologist who confirmed that, like many children, Cameron had an imaginary world. There were significant differences though – most children who create a friend or a world know that it's their own creation. Cameron insisted his existed.
The third expert that Norma consulted was Dr Jim Tucker, an academic from the University of Virginia who – in a this could only happen in America sort of way – headed a department dedicated to scientifically investigating paranormal phenomena such as near-death experiences, ghosts and reincarnation. Tucker accompanied Norma and her two little boys to Barra.
If this had been fiction (a very similar idea was dealt with a couple of years back in Sea of Souls) it would have had to have had a resolution, and this documentary offered no amazing ending. What it did show – in an impressively unspooky sort of way – was that much of what Cameron remembered did exist. After a false start – there were very few people called Robertson on Barra – we were taken with Cameron to see the house he remembered, where several decades ago a family called Robertson had spent a couple of summers. Then we were taken to meet a woman who was a member of the family. She looked kindly, yet nervously, at Cameron. There'd been no Shane Robertson. There had, though, been several Jameses. There'd been a black and white dog. There'd been a big black car.
And there they left us. Like all other children who have had this experience – and there are thousands documented – as Cameron grew older the memories faded. Having seen the house that he had so vividly described, he became a happier, more settled child. It was terrifically interesting, and I anticipate many happy hours a-Googling. It was evidence of what a really good documentary should do – not tell you how to think, but encourage you to get your own brain ticking over.
Even though it goes against all my naturally pragmatic instincts, on the issue of reincarnation this documentary leaves my mind refreshingly open.
Friday, 11. May 2007
Who are the Indigo children? Have they come to save the world? Or are they the product of wishful imaginations?
Did you ever heard of Akiane Kramarik, a so-called Indigo child? Akiane is a young prodigy from Sandpoint, Idaho, who has been drawing and painting lifelike artwork since she was 4. Akiane says she first met God when she was 3. And now she's hoping to use her amazing gift to help feed needy children around the world.
CNN's Glenn Beck profiles the art prodigy who paints spiritual artwork well beyond her years:
Akiane was one of the children interviewed in the documentary, Indigo Evolution by James Twyman.
Indigo Kinder - Indigo Children
Category: Incarnation & Death |
Monday, 09. April 2007
The Dance of Death
The theme of the "Danse macabre" dates back to medieval morality tales of a dialogue between Death and representatives from all classes of society, as well as paintings on the walls of churches and charnel houses. Death comes to the mighty and the lowly alike, leading them off in a long procession [see P265]. Hans Holbein (1497-1543) interpreted the theme in a series of drawings done at Basel about 1525, where forty of them were printed as woodcuts executed by the master engraver Hans Lützelburger the following year. They were printed again as woodcuts in 1538 at Lyons, under a different title, and with additional images being added. The work was immediately popular, and many other editions followed, with woodcuts by a number of different engravers. Hollar evidently worked from a Cologne edition as well as one of the earlier Lyon editions, reinterpreting the Holbein images as a series of thirty etchings rather than woodcuts.
Dance of Death (1680)
Hollar's prints first appeared in 1651, while he was working in Antwerp, under the title Mortalium nobilitas iconibus ab Holbeino delineatis et a W. Hollar exsculptis expressa. They depict Dance as a prancing skeleton, and have a macabre energy about them. Each of the thirty prints was enclosed in one of three symbolic decorative borders designed by Abraham Diepenbeeck. The three borders depict Democritus and Heraclitus, Minerva and Hercules, and Time and Eternity.
Dance of Death (Bewick, 1887, coloured plates)
Also included in the collection are examples of the Holbein/Hollar Dance of Death plates by two other artists. David Deucher was an etcher who copied Hollar's plates and the Diepenbeeck borders, and issued them in Edinburgh in 1788, with a portrait of himself and an etched title page dated 1786. The plates are mostly printed in reverse, the sequence is not the same as the Hollar editions, and there are some additional plates depicting new subjects. The Fisher collection includes Deucher's plates in a London edition of 1811, and also in a lithographed edition of 1887, by which time the images have become so degraded that very little fine detail remains. Finally the Hollar prints without the borders were re-interpreted as wood engravings by John Bewick, a master of the revived art of wood engraving, with text by T. Tindall Wildridge. This was issued in London in 1887 in a limited edition of 400 copies, of which 60 were hand-coloured.
The Dance of Death by Wenceslaus Hollar, one of the most famous of 17th century printmakers (1607-1677), David Deucher (1743-1808) and John Bewick (1760-1795) at The Fisher Library, University of Toronto.
Each of the eight books is shown in its entirety, and the text is fully searchable.
See also: The Dance of Death in Book Illustration by Marcia Collins.
Wednesday, 07. March 2007
Mystery Tour - Investigating the Unknown
Lisa and Tom Butler on EVP: Voices Beyond the Grave? (03/01/2007)
Total time of this podcast 56 minutes.
The authors of the book There Is No Death and There Are No Dead (Link to Amazon), Lisa F. and Tom W. Butler are the directors of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP), which was founded to provide objective evidence that we survive death in an individual conscious state. Over the years, the Butlers have discussed the unusual phenomenon of Electronic Voice Phenomena on both television and radio, and acted as consultants for the marketing of the 2005 hit movie "White Noise". The Butlers talk with Tim Swartz about the history of EVP, provide information on the latest research into EVP, and and will also play some audio of their most compelling spirit voices from beyond the grave.
Total time of this podcast 55 minutes.
What awaits us on the other side? One of the preeminent paranormal researchers in the world, Chris Fleming is the co-host of the popular Biography channel TV show "Dead Famous". In it, he investigates ghostly phenomena and paranormal occurrences that surround famous celebrities and historical places. Chris will talk about his most interesting paranormal experiences both while filming his TV program and during his lifetime, and will talk about what it is like to be able to see ghosts. He will also describe what he believes awaits us all on the other side.
Total time of this podcast 55 minutes.
Sean Casteel is an UFO journalist and author of a number of books, including his most recent The Excluded Books of the Bible (Link to Amazon), in which he describes why he believes that aliens are angelic creatures, not demons or mad extraterrestrials from outer space. Listen Sean about his theories on UFOs and why he believes that aliens are angelic creatures who are not to be feared.
More at Mystery Tour - Investigating the Unknown with hosts Kim Guarnaccia and Tim Swartz explores the strange world of the paranormal, ghosts, UFOs, conspiracies, monsters and everything else weird and unknown.
Sunday, 25. February 2007
Near Death Experience: The Day I Died
"The Day I Died: The Mind, the Brain, and Near-Death Experiences," produced by the BBC in 2002, is a powerful documentary providing evidence towards the existance of NDE.
The video features in-depth case studies of NDEs interviewed the most outstanding NDE researchers worldwide; including a dramatic veridical (verifiably accurate) out-of-body experience, the most recent research studies, and balanced interpretations of NDE experiences from both skeptical and "believer" perspectives.
IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc.) website with a Viewing Guide (PDF) for "The Day I Died" designed for professionals and others interested in exploring and understanding NDEs.
Category Incarnation & Death.
Friday, 12. January 2007
S P I R I C O M - Communication With The Dead
See also The research of George W. Meek.
Really fascinating stuff, isn't it? Genuine or hoax? Impressive or otherwise?
Oh! And don't miss to explore the World ITC - Instrumental Transcommunication. The use of TVs, radios, telephones, computers, and other technical equipment to get information from the other side.