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JUNE 21 | THE DAY THE SUN STANDS STILL

Solstice means sun (sol) stands still (sistere).  As the sun reaches its most northerly point in the sky each year between June 20 and 22, its position at noon doesn’t change.  It appears suspended directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude), before it begins shifting southward toward the equator again and its lowest point, in late December when the second solstice occurs. The precise June solstice moment this year was 10:51 a.m. UT (6:51 a.m. EDT) today.

Solstice is different from an equinox, the two times each year when the sun is directly above the Earth’s equator and day and night are of equal length. Equinoxes mark the beginning of spring (March) and fall (September).  In ancient times, solstices and equinoxes were keenly observed and guided predictions about annual seasons and weather. Solstice marks the day when the sun takes its longest path through the sky and we have the most daylight.

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Ancient cultures developed unique communal rituals to pay tribute to cycles of birth, life and nature.

According to Dr Duane Hamacher, professor of cultural astrology at the University of New South Wales:

Examples around the world abound and each culture assigns a distinct meaning to this event. But it is clear that global cultures today and in the distant past were keen observers of the sky and marked the rising and setting positions of the sun during the solstices as very special and sacred events – typically to develop calendars.

In Australia the Watharung Aboriginal people of Victoria built a stone arrangement called Wurdi Youang (meaning big hill) that marked the position of the setting sun at the solstices and equinoxes” 

Kupala Night

Ivan Kupala Day in Belgorod Oblast Russia, in 2011
Wiki Commons/Лобачев Владимир

It is really midsummer and ancient cultures began their summer celebration on May Day or Beltane, but we now view it as the astronomical beginning of summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. Solstice was celebrated by Germanic tribes (Ivan Kupala), Celts (Feill-Sheathain), Gauls (Feast of Epona), Romans (Vestalia) and Ancient Druids (Alben Heruin), who celebrated the day as a wedding between the heavens and the earth.

 Ehrwald Basin Austria Solstice

Ehrwald Basin, Solstice Lights, Austria

In ancient Chinese culture the feminine Yin force is born at the solstice and brings more moonlight, while the Yang is born at the winter solstice and brings more sunlight.  Egyptians marked the day with celebrations to Ra and Horus to ensure fertility and abundance of crops. Ancient Stonehenge  near Salisbury, England has an arrangement of huge megaliths that are aligned according to the sun’s rise on the summer and winter days of solstice and the druids celebrated with bonfires, music and dancing and buried their dead there.

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Rachel Hartigan Shea (National Geographic) (Excerpted)

Druids—and sometimes aliens—have been suspected of planting the 4,500-year-old stones. Is Stonehenge an astronomical calendar or a place of healing or a marker for magical energy lines in the ground?  For a long time, no one really knew, though some theories were more grounded in reality than others.

But now, we may be a little bit closer to understanding the monumental Neolithic site. Archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues at the Stonehenge Riverside Project spent seven years excavating Stonehenge and its surroundings.  He is interviewed re: findings published in his book,  Stonehenge—A New Understanding: Solving the Mysteries of the Greatest Stone Age Monument.

When we came …. to Stonehenge and dug there, we recovered some 60 cremation burials inside Stonehenge. What we now know is that Stonehenge was the largest cemetery of its day.

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(Nearby) At Durrington Walls, we have two of these great timber circles—a bit like Stonehenge in wood—at the center of an enormous village. From where we’ve excavated, you’re looking at a fairly dense settlement of houses.  We discovered that they’d been feasting there on a very large scale. We estimate that about four to five thousand people may have gathered there at the time they were building Stonehenge.

We also know that there were seasonal influxes into the settlement at Durrington Walls.  (The) evidence suggests that people were gathering in large numbers at the winter solstice. We’ve been getting it wrong in modern times about when to gather at Stonehenge.

One of our discoveries in 2008 was on the avenue that leads out of Stonehenge. As you are moving along the avenue away from Stonehenge, you are looking toward where the sun rises on the midsummer solstice. If you turn 180 degrees and look back toward Stonehenge, that’s where the sun sets on the midwinter solstice. Underneath the avenue, we discovered a natural landform, formed in a previous ice age, where there are grooves and ridges that by sheer coincidence are aligned on that solstitial axis.

 

Right next to this landform are pits dug to hold posts that were put up 10,000 years ago, much older than Stonehenge. Another archaeological team has discovered down by the river next to Stonehenge a huge settlement area for hunters and gatherers, which seems to have been occupied on and off for something like 4,000 years before Stonehenge itself was ever built.

We think that long before Stonehenge this location was already a special place. These hunters and gatherers may have been the people who first recognized this special feature in the land where the earth and the heavens were basically in harmony.  (See Stonehenge pictures.This interview has been edited and condensed.

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wreathtrefoil

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Other customs included decking the house (especially over the front door) with birch, fennel, St. John’s wort, orpin, and white lilies. Five plants were thought to have special magical properties on this night: rue, roses, St. John’s wort, vervain, and trefoil. Indeed, Midsummer’s Eve in Spain is called the “Night of the Verbena (Vervain)”. St. John’s wort was especially honored by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.

And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone
Through the night of St. John,
And soon has the young maid her love-knot tied.

The summer solstice season increases conception rates and fertility and has been scientifically linked with increased sexual  hormone levels for both women and men associated with increased ultraviolet light. It is World Peace Day. In the southern hemisphere, the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year.  It is when the sun has reached its furthest point from the equator and marks the first day of winter.

Midsummer_s_Night_Dream

Even Shakespeare added a marvelous literary work to mark summer’s romantic season in his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Pulling together Britannic folklore with aspects of Greek mythology, Shakespeare fashioned a light comedic romance comprised of elements which were to become his basic comedic formula: confusion, mischief and the exasperation that ensues between pairs of couples, consummating in multiplicities of marriages.

The forest becomes the magical portal wherein a dream replaces reality with illusion and the play ends with this reassurance by Puck at the very end of Act V:

“If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear; And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream…” Act V. i. 418-23

Midsummer-Nights-Dream James-Cagney-and-Anita-Louise-in-A--1935

4,000-year-old Dartmoor burial find rewrites British Bronze Age history

Stone box contains earliest examples of wood-turning and metal-working, along with Baltic amber and what may be bear skin
Dartmoor discovery

Parts of a necklace and wooden ear studs found on Dartmoor

Some 4,000 years ago people carried a young woman’s cremated bones – charred scraps of her shroud and the wood from her funeral pyre still clinging to them – carefully wrapped in a fur, along with her most valuable possessions packed into a basket, up to one of the highest and most exposed spots on Dartmoor, and buried them in a small stone box covered by a mound of peat.

The discovery of her remains is rewriting the history of the Bronze Age moor. The bundle contained a treasury of unique objects, including a tin bead and 34 tin studs which are the earliest evidence of metal-working in the south-west, textiles including a unique nettle fibre belt with a leather fringe, jewellery including amber from the Baltic and shale from Whitby, and wooden ear studs which are the earliest examples of wood turning ever found in Britain.

The site chosen for her grave was no accident. At 600 metres above sea level, White Horse hill is still so remote that getting there today is a 45-minute walk across heather and bog, after a half-hour drive up a military track from the nearest road. The closest known prehistoric habitation site is far down in the valley below, near the grave of the former poet laureate Ted Hughes.

Analysing and interpreting one of the most intriguing burials ever found in Britain is now occupying scientists across several continents. A BBC documentary, Mystery of the Moor, was first intended only for local broadcast, but as the scale of the find became clear, it will now be shown nationally on BBC2 on 9 March.

Dartmoor site

The site of the find on White Horse hill

Scientists in Britain, Denmark and the Smithsonian in the US have been working on the fur. It is not dog, wolf, deer, horse or sheep, but may be a bear skin, from a species that became extinct in Britain at least 1,000 years ago.

“I am consumed with excitement about this find. I never expected to see anything like it in my lifetime,” Jane Marchand, chief archaeologist at the Dartmoor National Park Authority said. “The last Dartmoor burial with grave goods was back in the days of the Victorian gentleman antiquarians. This is the first scientifically excavated burial on the moor, and the most significant ever.”

It has not yet been possible definitively to identify the sex of the fragmented charred bones, though they suggest a slight individual aged between 15 and 25 years.

“I shouldn’t really say her – but given the nature of the objects, and the fact that there is no dagger or other weapon of any kind, such as we know were found in other burials from the period, I personally have no doubt that this was a young woman,” Marchand said. “Any one of the artefacts would make the find remarkable. “

Although Dartmoor is speckled with prehistoric monuments, including standing stones, stone rows, and hundreds of circular hut sites, very few prehistoric burials of any kind have been found. What gives the White Horse hill international importance is the survival of so much organic material, which usually disintegrates without trace in the acid soil. Apart from the basket, this burial had the belt; the ear studs – identical to those on sale in many goth shops – made from spindle wood, a hard fine-grained wood often used for knitting needles, from trees which still grow on the lower slopes of Dartmoor; and the unique arm band, plaited from cowhair and originally studded with 34 tin beads which would have shone like silver. There were even charred scraps of textile which may be the remains of a shroud, and fragments of charcoal from the funeral pyre.

Dartmoor woven bagA woven bag found at the site

Although tin – essential for making bronze – from Cornwall and Devon became famous across the ancient world, there was no previous evidence of smelting from such an early date. The necklace, which included amber from the Baltic, had a large tin bead made from part of an ingot beaten flat and then rolled. Although research continues, the archaeologists are convinced it was made locally.

The cist, a stone box, was first spotted more than a decade ago by a walker on Duchy of Cornwall land, when an end slab collapsed as the peat mound which had sheltered it for 4,000 years was gradually washed away. However, it was only excavated three years ago when archaeologists realised the site was eroding so fast any possible contents would inevitably soon be lost. It was only when they lifted the top slab that the scale of the discovery became apparent. The fur and the basket were a wet blackened sludgy mess, but through it they could see beads and other objects. “As we carefully lifted the bundle a bead fell out – and I knew immediately we had something extraordinary,” Marchand said. “Previously we had eight beads from Dartmoor; now we have 200.”

The contents were taken to the Wiltshire conservation laboratory, where the basket alone took a year’s work to clean, freeze dry, and have its contents removed. The empty cist was reconstructed on the site. However, this winter’s storms have done so much damage the archaeologists are now debating whether they will have to move the stones or leave them to inevitable disintegration.

The jewellery and other conserved artefacts will feature in an exhibition later this year at Plymouth city museum, but although work continues on her bones, it is unlikely to answer the mystery of who she was, how she died, and why at such a young age she merited a burial fit for a queen.

before/after

National park: The burial site excavation took place at Whitehorse Hill on Dartmoor (general photo of the national park), one of the park's tallest peaks

“White Horse Hill is so called, of course, because our long-ago ancestors carved the figure of a galloping white horse into it….Oddly enough, though, when you get to White Horse Hill you can’t actually see the horse itself, only odd, abstract bits of it.  This is part of its head and its eye…”

The work was carried out by experts from Cornwall Council’s historic environment projects team, with assistance from English Heritage and specialists from the University of Plymouth. There were several aims of the excavation; to examine any pollen, insects or peat in order to establish what the surrounding landscape was when the kist was built, to search for artefacts that may give an indication of burial rituals, possible trade items and an indication of status. The kistvaen was located on the highest part of Whitehorse Hill at Ordnance Survey grid reference SX 6172 8547.

The highest point on Whitehorse Hill stands at 602m and for centuries it has been known for peat cutting and being a trans moor trackway via peat passes for livestock and huntsmen. As far as other known prehistoric monuments in the area go there simply are none which again makes this particular kistvaen an exception. The location within the physical landscape places the site on top of the hill at a height of around 200m. There are four watercourses that rise around the hill. to the north west (The Taw), the north east (The Wallabrook), the south east (The Great Varracombe) and to the east (The East Dart). Whether or not this has any significance as to the location of the kist is unknown but either way it makes for a spectacular burial site.

…. Under the guidance of head conservator Helen Williams the woven bag was carefully opened to reveal a number of beads along with wooden ear studs and a single amber bead. Clearly there is a great deal of further work to be done on the artefacts which will reveal more vital evidence for Bronze Age life on Dartmoor. Once the work has been completed it is intended that the finds will be part of an exhibition in Plymouth Museum sometime next year.

bible stanton

Things They Don’t Tell You About Christianity

There would be no need for the women’s movement if the church and Bible hadn’t abused them.
— Father Leo Booth

The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women’s emancipation.
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 19th century U.S. campaigner for women’s rights

In “The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power” by Barbara G. Walker the number of witches slaughtered was estimated by scholars to be 7 to 9 million also. [Historian] Will Durant, in his 12 volume History of Civilization sets the figure also at 7 to 9 million.

Misogyny is fundamental to the basic writings of Christianity. In passage after passage, women are encouraged—no, commanded—to accept an inferior role, and to be ashamed of themselves for the simple fact that they are women.  Misogynistic biblical passages are so common that it’s difficult to know which to cite.

  • From the New Testament we find “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…” (Ephesians 5:22–23) and “These [redeemed] are they which were not defiled with women; …” (Revelation 14:4);
  • and from the Old Testament we find “How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4)
  • Other relevant New Testament passages include Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 11:9, and 14:34; and 1 Timothy 2:11–12 and 5:5–6.
  • Other Old Testament passages include Numbers 5:20–22 and Leviticus 12:2–5 and 15:17–33.

The Church and women: from early Church fathers, Saints, Popes and Reformers to today

  • What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.-– Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius, 354 – 430
  • As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.— Thomas Aquinas, Saint, Doctor of the Church, 13th century
  • Although far more women are witches than men… yet men are more often bewitched than women. And the reason for this lies in the fact that God allows the devil more power over the venereal act, by which the original sin is handed down, than over the other human actions.— Henry Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, Inquisitors, 1486
  • Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.— St. Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian and Doctor of the Church, 13th century
  • In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell.  –Tertullian, 2nd-3rd Century church father
  • To embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure…— Saint Odo of Cluny, 10th Century,  from The Dark Side of Christianity, by Helen Ellerbe
  • Saint John Chrysostom commanded every Christian father to instill into his son “a resolute spirit against womankind … Let him have no converse with any woman save only his mother. Let him see no woman.” — Christianity and Pagan Culture In the Later Roman Empire, by M.L.W. Laistner
  • [Churchfather, venerated as a Saint up to the 17th century] Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman.”
  • [Churchfather] Tertullian (160?-220?): “Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags.”
  • [Saint] Ambrose (339-97): “Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam… it is right that he whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest he fall again through feminine instability.”
  • [Saint] Augustine (354-430): “Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.”
  • Pope Gregory I (540-604): “Woman is slow in understanding and her unstable and naive mind renders her by way of natural weakness to the necessity of a strong hand in her husband. Her ‘use’ is two fold; [carnal] sex and motherhood.”
  • [Saint] Thomas Aquinas (1225-74): “[Woman] was made only to assist with procreation.”
  • [Reformer, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism] John Knox (1513-72): “Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man.”
  • [Reformer, founder of the Methodist movement] John Wesley (1703-91): “Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born.”
  • Southern Baptist Convention (2000): “A wife should submit herself to the leadership of her husband. Leadership in the church should always be male.”
  • Local church in Holland (2004): “More and more we see women being placed in the position of Elder or Pastor in churches. Is this a good thing? Well, if your goal is to undermine the authority of the Word of God, it’s a good thing.”
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546), leading Reformer, founder of Lutheran Protestantism: “If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there.”-– Martin Luther– The Dark Side of Christianity by Helen Ellerbe
  • Orthodox Christians held women responsible for all sin. As the Bible’s Apocrypha states, ‘Of woman came the beginning of sin. And thanks to her, we all must die.’
    — The Dark Side of Christianity, by Helen Ellerbe

See more: Martin Luther’s statements on women. For more anti-women sentiments to be found among Churches and Christians today, including the evangelicals:

It is this long tradition of bias against half of the human population that has made the Catholic Encyclopaedia declare:

The female sex is in some respects inferior to the male sex, both as regards body and soul.
… If the two sexes are designed by nature for a homogeneous organic co-operation, then the leading position or a social pre-eminence must necessarily fall to one of them. Man is called by the Creator to this position of leader, as is shown by his entire bodily and intellectual make-up.
— The Catholic Encyclopedia

Of course, the CE is generally good at obfuscating. Without retracting its statements on how woman is ‘inferior in certain respects … both as regards body and soul’ and how man is called by God to the ‘position of leader’, the CE continues that “To deduce from this the inferiority of woman or her degredation to a “second-rate human being” contradicts logic”. They are the ones who are illogical by contradicting themselves; as are those who affirm faith in such nonsense as are to be found in this ‘Encyclopaedia’.

Are women human? – voting and debating needed for Christians to decide the matter

In 584 CE, the Council Of Macon was held at Lyons. 43 Catholic bishops attended as well as 23 male representatives of other bishops. On the question of “Are women human?”, 32 voted Yes, and 31 No (that would make the remaining 5 still undecided).  Apparently, their decision was not final, as the question would be picked up again as late as the Reformation

The Original Sin and clergy against reducing pain during childbirth

In 1591 in Scotland, Euphanie Macalyane used a remedy to reduce delivery pains. For bypassing the Biblical curse of Genesis 3:16 – where God cursed Eve (and thus, women) with pain during childbirth – the devout King James VI had her burnt at the stake. Pious King James is better known for authorising the Bible’s translation into English: the KJV (King James Version).

In 1847, A British [in particular, Scottish] obstetrician, Dr. Simpson, used chloroform as an anesthetic in delivering a baby. A scandal followed, and the holy men of the Church of England prohibited the use of anesthetic in childbirth, citing Genesis 3:16: ‘God said to woman Eve, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy pain in childbearing. In pain thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.'”
— Women Without Superstition, by Annie Laurie Gaylor

Scotland’s Presbyterian Church ensured that their female flock refused the treatment, frustrating Simpson’s work. In an attempt to change the Church’s adamant stance, Simpson offered Genesis 2:21 as supposedly supportive of anaesthetics: “God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam … he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh”. However, the Church, being more knowledgeable in theological matters, showed that 2:21 had happened before the Fall and thus before the Curse of Eve was pronounced, meaning the curse was still in effect. See the book: Triumph Over Pain by R. Fulop-Miller.

To relieve labor pains, as Scottish clergymen put it, would be ‘vitiating the primal curse of woman…’ The introduction of chloroform to help a woman through the pain of labor brought forth the same opposition. According to a New England minister:

‘Chloroform is a decoy of Satan, apparently offering itself to bless women; but in the end it will harden society and rob God of the deep earnest cries which arise in time of trouble, for help.’

— The Dark Side of Christian History, by Helen Ellerbe

It was only with Queen Victoria’s use of anaesthesia during her delivery that matters changed.

Books

  • Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So by Annie Laurie Gaylor
  • The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible by Ruth Hurmence Green

Children

Mental abuse as a form of “spiritual instruction”

…an example of Christianity’s cruel brainwashing of the innocent, consider this quotation from an officially approved, 19th-century Catholic children’s book (Tracts for Spiritual Reading, by Rev. J. Furniss, C.S.S.R.):

Look into this little prison. In the middle of it there is a boy, a young man. He is silent; despair is on him … His eyes are burning like two burning coals. Two long flames come out of his ears. His breathing is difficult. Sometimes he opens his mouth and breath of blazing fire rolls out of it. But listen! There is a sound just like that of a kettle boiling. Is it really a kettle which is boiling? No; then what is it? Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in the scalding veins of that boy. The brain is boiling and bubbling in his head. The marrow is boiling in his bones. Ask him why he is thus tormented. His answer is that when he was alive, his blood boiled to do very wicked things.

There are many similar passages in this book. Commenting on it, William Meagher, Vicar-General of Dublin, states in his Approbation:

“I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found nothing whatever in it contrary to the doctrines of the Holy Faith; but on the contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify the youthful classes for whose benefit it has been written.”

More from Father Furniss’ writings for children:

A little child is in this red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out! See how it twists and turns itself about in the fire. It beats it head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor. You can see on the face of this little child what you see on the faces of all in hell – despair, desperate and horrible.
— Books for Children, by Father Furniss quoted in Atheism The Case Against God, by George Smith

If the book came back in print, many Christian parents will doubtless continue to find it very useful (“charming, instructive and edifying”) and a means to instill the fear of Hell in their children. If this book seems distinctly unpleasant, it is yet better than being forced to read the Bible at a young age, which many parents still inflict on their children.

There’s also Bible-sanctioned abuse, where parents are allowed to chastise their children with a “rod”.  From the Bible (KJV):

  • Proverbs 13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
  • Proverbs 19:18: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”
  • Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
  • Proverbs 23:13: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”
  • Proverbs 23:14: “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
  • Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
  • Hebrews 12:6-7: “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
Today: pious Christians still beat their kids with the rod

Samuel Butler’s line “spare the rod, and spoil the child” from the 17th century had been taken up with enthusiasm by Christians. Beating children is illegal today in many European countries, yet the chastising of children by beating them still occurs in Christian families in America. This is especially the case with the fundamentalist Christian denominations, who know that the Bible is very clear on how they should correct the ways of their children.

  • About.Com – illustrates how there are advertisements to sell rods to Christian parents and there are devout people buying them. The market’s there.
  • A modern-day Christian site advocating the rod. They cite articles that support their Biblical views, although even if there were no such articles, one can be sure that the Biblical sanction is more than enough for them.
  • Spare the Child by Philip Greven.
    Greven cites many excerpts from present-day American Protestant writers to demonstrate that violence against children is still being promoted by Christian clerics.
  • For Your Own Good by Alice Miller
    In which the author traces the roots of physical violence towards children in the western world to the influence of Christianity.

See also:

The Evolving Destruction of the Female

When the Christian church really went full steam ahead in their destruction of women, the female and the Goddess within women, was during the Great Inquisition:I am quoting now from a classic academic work on the Goddesses by Marija Gimbutas, “The Language of the Goddess“…The author is a Professor of European archaeology at UCLA and the curator of the Old World archaeology at UCLA’s Cultural History Museum: On page 319: quote: “Women were called Disciples of Satan and this period was one of the bloodiest in history. The witch hunt of the 15th to 18th centuries was the most satanic event of European history. The murder of women accused as witches escalated to MORE THAN EIGHT MILLION. The burned or hanged women were mostly country women who learned the lore of the Goddess from their grandmothers.”

Listen to Episcopal Bishop C.L. Meyers: “A priest is a God symbol. God is masculine in both the Old and New Testaments. Christ was a man, masculine. That was a divine choice.” He said this at Grace Cathedral before 700 delegates fighting the ordination of women.Listen to the former Senior Minister of the one of the largest Presbyterian churches in Houston, Texas. the Rev. Dr. Charlie Shedd. He wrote this in a book called “How To Treat A Woman.” “Women are simple souls who like simple things. Our family airedale will come clear across the yard just for one pat on the head. Wives are like that. They will come across the house, across the room, across anything if you will just keep patting them on the head.”

misogyny

reclining buddha credit: zee pack

The Reclining Buddha, or the Buddha image performing dying gesture, lies on his right hand with both eyes closed. The right palm holds his head while the right shoulder rests on a pillow. The left hand is set on his left hip. Both feet stretched; the left foot rests on the right one and both soles are aligned. The image is influenced by Indian art, conceivably disseminated with Buddhism beliefs which were initiated and had prospered in India many centuries ago. Buddhism beliefs were adopted by many neighboring countries from then on. The unique characteristics of the Buddha image were created based upon the 38 Maha Burut Laksana (38 ideal body parts of the Lord Buddha) which are described in detail in an ancient Thai scripture. (from ancientcity.com)

The core of the Buddhist teaching is the Four Noble Truths: There is suffering. There is a cause to suffering. There is an end to suffering. The is a path out of suffering (the Noble 8-fold path).

from Wanderings

I. The Reality of Suffering–dukkha
II. The Cause of Suffering–samudaya
III. The Cessation of Suffering–nirodha
IV. The Path to the Cessation of Suffering–magga

1 – The Reality of Suffering–dukkha

The Pali word dukkha, in ordinary usage means ‘suffering’, ‘pain’, ‘sorrow’ or ‘misery’. But in the context of the First Noble Truth, dukkha also means ‘imperfection’, ‘impermanence’, ’emptiness’, ‘insubstantiality’. There are three kinds of suffering:

•Ordinary Suffering–dukkha-dukkha
•Suffering produced by Change–virapinama-dukkha
•Suffering as Conditioned States–samkara-dukkha

Ordinary Suffering–dukkha-dukkha

There are all kinds of suffering in life: birth, old age, sickness, death, association with unpleasant persons and conditions, separation from beloved ones and pleasant conditions, not getting what one desires, grief, lamentation, distress–all forms of physical and mental suffering.

Suffering produced by Change–virapinama-dukkha

Pleasant and happy feelings or conditions in life are not permanent. Sooner or later they change. When they change they may produce pain, suffering, unhappiness or dissappointment. This vicissitude is considered viparimana-dukkha.

Suffering as Conditioned States–samkara-dukkha

An ‘individual’, an ‘I’ or a ‘self’ is a combination of ever-changing mental and physical forces which can be divided into five groups or ‘aggregates’ pancakkhandha. Suffering as conditioned states is produced by attachment to these five aggregates:

•Matter–rupakkhandha
•Sensations–vedanakkhandha
•Perceptions–sannakkhandha
•Mental Formations–sankharakkhandha
•Consciousness–vinnanakkhandha

2 – The Cause of Suffering–samudaya

The principle cause of suffering is the attachment to “desire” or “craving”, tanha. Both desire to have (wanting) and desire not to have (aversion).

1.desire for sense-pleasures–kama-tanha,
2.desire to become–bhava-tanha,
3.desire to get rid of–vibhava-tanha.

The desire for sense pleasures manifests itself as wanting to have pleasant experiences: the taste of good food, pleasant sexual experiences, delightful music.

The desire to become is the ambition that comes with wanting attaiments or recognition or fame. It is the craving to “be a somebody”.

The desire to get rid of the unpleasant experiences in life: unpleasant sensations, anger, fear, jealousy.

The clinging to desire comes from our experience that short-term satisfaction comes from following desire. We ignore the fact that satisfying our desires doesn’t bring an end to them.

3 – The Cessation of Suffering–nirodha

The end of suffering is non-attachment, or letting go of desire or craving. This is the state of Nibbana, where greed, hatred and delusion are extinct.

Freedom from attachments to the five aggregates of attachment is the end of suffering. This freedom is not conditioned by causes, as are the conditioned states: Nibbana is the non-attachment to conditioned experience.

To understand the unconditioned, we need to see for ourselves that everything that has a nature to be born has a nature to die: that every phenomenon that has a cause is impermanent. By letting go of attachment to desire for conditioned phenomena, desire can come to an end and we can be liberated from suffering.

4 – The Noble Eightfold Path–magga

The end to suffering (see the Third Noble Truth) will result by following the Noble Eightfold Path–Ariya-Atthangika-Magga. There are three qualities that must be developed to attain Nirvana: Morality–Sila, Concentration–Samadhi, and Wisdom–Panna.

1.Widsom–Panna ◦Right Understanding–samma ditthi
◦Right Thought–samma sankappa

2.Morality–Sila ◦Right Speech–samma vaca
◦Right Action–samma kammanta
◦Right Livelihood–samma ajiva

3.Concentration–Samadhi ◦Right Effort–samma vayama
◦Right Mindfulness–samma sati
◦Right Concentration–samma samadhi

Widsom–Panna

Wisdom comes from understanding the three characteristics of existence

•all conditioned phenomena are impermanent
•all conditioned phenomena are not personal, not self
•attachment to desire for impermanent phenomena leads to suffering

“Right Understanding” of the impermanent, non-self nature of phenonmena and that attachment to them leads to suffering brings about “Right Thought”, i.e. the aspiration or intention to be liberated from suffering and to understand the truth.

The deepening of wisdom is enhanced when the lifestyle and mind are calmed through the practices of Morality–Sila and Concentration–Samadhi.

Morality–Sila

Adherence to moral guidelines–precepts–is an essential protection from causing suffering to oneself and to others. While these guidelines define a code of discipline, the virtues that bring about moral behaviour can also be cultivated with the practice of a culture of the heart.

There are 5 basic precepts that Buddhist practitioners undertake (Monks and Nuns undertake many more). A modern analysis of these precepts is offered by the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. They are:

1.Reverence for Life (refrain from killing)
2.Generosity (refrain from stealing)
3.Sexual Responsibility (refrain from sexual misconduct)
4.Deep Listening and Loving Speech (refrain from lying)
5.Mindful Consumption (refrain from ingesting intoxicants)

In the context of the Eightfold path, these 5 precepts imply:

Right Speech

Right Speach means to tell the truth and speak appropriately in accordance with the 4th precept. Specificially, it implies abstaining from

•lying
•divisive gossip
•rude and abusive language
•idle and useless chatter

Right Action

Right actions are the the actions that are consistent with precepts 1,2,3 and 5. They include actions that show reverence for life, generosity and restraint in sexual conduct.

Right Livelihood

Right livelihood means that one should earn a living that allows the 5 precepts to flourish. Dealing in arms, drugs or violence; exploitation of others and profiteering cannot be conducive to the moral life.

Concentration–Samadhi

The development of Widsom and Morality demand a certain training of the mind.

•Right Effort–samma vayama
•Right Mindfulness–samma sati
•Right Concentration–samma samadhi

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I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory