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“Wolf Totem,” by Tengger Calvary – Mongolian Folk Metal

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Country of origin: China

Location: Beijing

Genre: Mongolian, Folk Death Metal

Themes: Tengrism, Shamanism, Mythology

In Mongolian shamanism, Tengger (also spelt Tengeri) is the sky-father, lord of the celestial sphere.

I’ve posted a song from this band before, and now I’m posting another because that’s just how good these guys are. Tengger Calvary’s music evokes the raw power of ancient armies on horseback riding across the vast Manchurian Steppe. The band links their music to a traditional Mongolian sound by their use of throat singing – a unique type of vocals in which two different pitches are produced at the same time. This style of singing was developed by the Mongolian people as part of an animistic belief set. Animism is the belief that objects of nature have their own spiritual power. Throat singing takes this a step further by imitating the sounds of nature itself.

In addition to achieving the ambiance and feeling of Mongolian Shamanism, the band’s musicians also implement their own death metal technicality, in terms of powerful guitar solos and heavy drums. Tengger Calvary successfully combines elements of Folk and Death metal in a way that doesn’t feel forced or synthetic. If Genghis Khan and his armies rose from the dead and started playing metal – this is pretty much what it would sound like.

Of course there is also the obvious fact that there are not that many folk metal bands in the world that write songs about Mongolian Spirituality and Myth, so these guys are truly a gem.

TENGGER CALVARY LINKS

Facebook 

YouTube Video Collection

Metal Archives Listing

Blood Sacrifice Shaman Album

Metal-China-Wiki Article

WANT TO LEARN ABOUT MONGOLIAN SHAMANISM? 

Check out the Circle of Tengerism

Basics of The Yazidi Religion – One of The Oldest and Smallest Monotheistic Religions

peacock Yazidis represent one of the smallest and yet oldest Monotheistic religions on the planet – their religion is believed to be around 6,000 years old in fact. Yet throughout their long history they have faced 72 genocides and soon they may unfortunately be facing genocide number 73 at the hands of the group formerly known as ISIS (Which now calls itself “The Islamic State”). Why all the hate towards this small, but ancient group of people? This is due to one major misconception about their religion – the idea that they worship Satan. Not only do the Yazidis not believe in a devil, but they don’t believe in hell either. In fact, the evil Satan is more of a reality in the Judeo-Christian religions than for the Yazidis.

GOD’S HIGHEST ANGEL IS A SAVIOR RATHER THAN A DEVIL

The reason for this misconception is because they believe that God created the Earth and designated seven angels to preside over his creation. The highest of these angels is Tawsi Melek, who is also known as the “Peacock Angel.” He is the primary figure in the Yazidi religion and is the one who filled the Earth with colorful things, such as flora and fauna. Yet this mighty Melek is similar in some aspects to Christianity’s Lucifer and Islam’s Shaitan. When God created Adam, he asked his angels to bow down to the humans. All angels obeyed except for Tawsi Melek, who replied, “How can I submit to another being! I am from your illumination while Adam is made of dust.”

The key difference however, in the Yazidi religion, is that Tawsi Melek was right not to bow down to the humans, and he was right to stand up to God. He was not thrown into hell. Instead he descended to Earth and wept for all the pain in the world. His tears ended up extinguishing the fires of hell. Thus, the Yazidis do not believe in a hell with a devil, but rather they believe that evil is man-made. They hold that the source of evil is in the heart and spirit of humans themselves, not in God’s highest angel. In the Yazidi religion, Tawsi Melek is a bringer of knowledge and life. It is interesting that Lucifer is also a bringer of knowledge in the Christian religion – yet this aspect of Lucifer is seen in a negative light by the Christians, while Tawsi Melek’s knowledge is mainly a positive force in the world of the Yazidis.

THE YAZIDI HOLY SITE – LALISH

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When Tawsi Melek descended to the Earth to make our world more colorful, it is believed that he descended to a site known as “Lalish,” which is situated in Northern Iraq. After Melek descended to Lalish he met with Adam and turned him towards the sun, telling him that it was a symbol of the creator. He then added that Adam should pray towards the sun daily and taught him a prayer that all humanity should chant for the creator. Much like in Islam, Yazidis believe that they should pray 5 times a day, however most Yazidis realistically only pray 2 times a day. Most Yazidis also make it a goal to go on a pilgrimage to their holy site at least once a lifetime.

HOLY DAYS

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(The Yazidi Holy Site “Lalish” on New Years)

The Yazidi religious year includes four holy festivals:

  • The New Year (The first Wednesday of April)
    • Apparently the Yazidis also like coloring eggs in April. They do this to celebrate the colors that Tawsi Melek brought to the world.
  • The Feast of Sacrifice
  • The Feast of Seven Days, Sept 23-30
  • The first Friday of December feast following three days of fasting.

Wednesday is also a holy day of the week for the Yazidis and Saturday is a day of rest.

A BELIEF IN REINCARNATION

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So if evil people don’t go to hell, where do they go? Much like in Hinduism, Yazidis believe in the purification of the soul through a series of lifetimes. If a soul is pure, it will ascend into heaven. However, if someone lived a truly evil life, they will be reincarnated as a member of a different religion. The Yazidis are very proud of their own traditions and ethic group, which means that being cast out of the Yazidi ethnic and spiritual lineage is one of the harshest punishments imaginable for their people. In fact, Yazidis believe in only marrying within their ethnic pool, and narrow that requirement down even further to only marrying within their caste.

THE YAZIDI CASTE SYSTEM

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(A Yazidi man healing a woman)

  • THE SHEIKH CASTE
    • The Sheikh caste is the highest of the three mentioned castes here. Sheikh is an Arabic word which denotes a ruler or an elder of a tribe. It is believed that the members of this caste descended from 6 of the 7 great angels (excluding Tawsi Melek). Members of the Sheikh caste are believed to have special healing powers.
  • THE PIR CASTE
    • The Pir Caste is also a significant spiritual caste, and much like the Shiekh, they are required to be at major life events such as marriages, circumcisions and funerals.
  • THE MURID CASTE
    • The Murids are a majority of the Yazidi people, who are basically “commoners” and do not function as priests.

THE YAZIDI’S SYNCRETIC ORIGINS

Having a caste system and believing in reincarnation sounds very Hindu inspired. This is no accident. It is believed that the Yazidis migrated to India after a major flood that happened 6,000 years ago. Then about 4,000 years ago they migrated back to their homeland in Northern Iraq. In fact, the Yazidi religion has similarities to Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Mithraism. It is probably because the Yazidis have encountered and lived among these people over the last 6,000 years of their existence, but due to their tight ethnic bonds – formed a unique religion to fit their people.

WHEN WAS THE YAZIDI RELIGION TECHNICALLY FOUNDED? 

This is an update I decided to add after publishing the article. It’s a bit confusing because I state that the Yazidi religion is 6,000 years old. Some have argued with me that the Yazidi religion can’t be that old, considering that it has Islamic customs. However, one must realize that the practice of praying 5 times a day was not unique to Muslims. In pre-islamic times, it was a normal practice for many Middle Eastern cultures who bowed and prayed to the various phases of the sun throughout the day – including the ancient Egyptians.

Also, one must understand that the Yazidi religion is a fluid religion that has evolved and grown over time as a result of their contacts with other people. Much of what they believe today was codified in its current form in the 12th century A.D. by the reformer known as Sheikh Adi. Many Yazidis consider him to be an Avatar of the angel Tawsi Melek and his tomb is at the holy site of Lalish. However, even though its most recent reforms were established in the 12th century, many of the basic ideas are thousands of years old.

THE YAZIDIS TODAY

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As mentioned in the introduction, Yazdis are a very small ethnic and religious minority. There are only 700,000 Yazidis in the world, and 600,000 of these Yazidis live in Iraq. Today the terrorist group that calls itself “The Islamic State” is terrorizing and killing these ancient people, along with driving them off of lands they have occupied for thousands of years. The “Islamic State” has only two options for the Yazidis, “convert or die.” They have also taken to selling Yazidi girls into sexual slavery.

It is very important for the world to know about the Yazidi people, what they are going through, and the beauty that their religion truly represents. The fact that they celebrate a colorful, peacock of an angel as a bringer of knowledge and life speaks volumes about their core beliefs – even if most of their religion is transmitted by word of mouth, rather than the written word. These are a people who have a rich and colorful tradition that masked men in black are attempting to destroy. Let us do well to understand, support and pray for these people in their hour of need.

YAZIDI LINKS

Yazidi Religious Traditions

Yazidis in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures

Yazidis on Wikipedia

Stop the Yazidi Genocide – Facebook

Black Metal Quotes and Prophecies of Horror

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READ BLACK METAL QUOTES HERE

“The world around us has failed to sustain our humanity, our spirituality. The deep woe inside black metal is about fear that we can never return to the mythic, pastoral world that we crave on a deep subconscious level. […] We are weak and pitiful in our strength over the earth in conquering, we have destroyed ourselves. Black Metal expresses disgust with humanity and revels in the misery that one finds when the falseness of our lives is revealed. (Wolves in the Throne Room 2006 – Source: Nocturnal Cult)”

I’m certainly not going to undertake the task of “defining” what Black Metal is and what it is not. It is something that exists beyond such simple definitions. However, one aspect I understand about some forms of Black Metal is that it evokes a feeling of despair and darkness – a feeling of living in dark times. There is an idea that humanity has failed, and we are disconnected from the primal vitality of our own nature.

The great heroes of our mythology mark a golden era where man was molded out of harsh winters, deep forests and nature’s lessons into the stuff of legend. Yet we today are shallow beings, with shallow roots, living in environments constructed from plastic and chemicals. We ourselves are just brief shadows of the blazing torch of our ancestor’s glory.

Ragnarok and Kali Yuga predict a great reckoning where a tidal wave of death and destruction will erase the errors of this time, and carve a new, verdant green world out of the flesh and blood of the old. The last living Gods will die fighting the Titans of chaos, but in the end a few Gods will survive to usher in a new and better world. At least this is my personal reflection. Black Metal is a reflection of today’s Dark Times – and almost a yearning for a coming destruction to wash it all away.

This is something that can’t be explained in mere words, but is understood in the subconscious by listening to the music itself.

Mother north – how can they sleep while their beds are burning ?
Mother north – your fields are bleeding
Memories…The Invisible Wounds
pictures that enshrine your throne (gone?)
A Future benighted still they are blind
Pigeonhearted beings of flesh and blood
keeps closing their eyes for the dangers that threat…ourselves and our
nature
And that is why
they all enrage me
Sometimes in the dead of the night I mesmerize my soul
Sights and visions prophecies and horror
they all come in one
Mother north – united we stand (together we walk)
Phantom north – I’ll be there when you hunt them down
(Lyrics Page)

A 1,300 Year Old, Egyptian Book of Spells Has Been Deciphered

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Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered (Live Science)

Order the Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power

How did the Egyptians in the 8th century A.D. cast a love spell, exorcise a demon or subjugate their enemies? A recently translated codex reveals 27 different spells that were combined for form a “single instrument of religious power.” The book was written in the Coptic language, an adaptation of Greek script, at a time when many Egyptians were Christians. In fact, the book contains many invocations that refer to Jesus Christ.

What is interesting is that several of the invocations seem to originate from a group who called themselves “Sethians.” This was a group that flourished in Egypt during the early centuries of Christianity. They held Seth, who they believed to be the third son of Adam and Eve, in high regard. One invocation refers to Seth as the living Christ.

What is interesting is that before Christianity came to Egypt, Seth was one of the chief Gods of Upper Egypt. He was a desert God of war and strength. (He was also demonized in other parts of Egypt).

This Sethian Cult eventually died out, but it is interesting to see how Pagan ideas and Christianity were blended together in the early days of Christianity.

I think some of the articles about this topic are misleading however, because they call the book an “Ancient Egyptian” book of spells. Since this codex was written in the Christian and Islamic Era, I would hardly say that it was “Ancient History.” I’d be more likely to call it Medieval History.

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RELATED READING

The Original Trinity, Brought to You By Egypt

The Power of The Gods

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Guy Sings 10 Different Styles of Metal

Major props to this guy. His throat sounds like it’s gonna need a bucket of Vaseline and lemon juice after such an ambitious vocal exercise. He even adds his own campy lyrics to represent each genre of metal. This video makes me realize there are too many “cores” in terms of types of metal. I’d also like to hear his take on Heavy, Power, and Doom Metal.

Time to put the “Grim” back into the Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Once upon a time a boy and his little brother were pretending to be a butcher and a pig. The older brother slices the younger’s throat, only to be stabbed in the heart by his enraged mother. Unfortunately, while she was stabbing her son, another one of her children drowns in a bath tub. So then she hangs herself. When dad gets home, he’s so depressed that he soon dies afterwords.

Now this might sound like the content of a death metal video, but this is actually one of the original tales from The Grimm’s Brother Fairy Tales. Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together specialized in collecting and publishing folklore during the 19th century. They are particularly famous for tales such as “Cinderella,” “The Frog Prince,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rapunzel” and “Snow White.”

Recently, Jack Zipes, a professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, began to explore why the first edition of the tales had never been translated into English, and decided, eventually, to do it himself. “Though the Grimms kept about 100 of the tales from the first edition, they changed them a good deal. So, the versions with which most English-speaking (and German-speaking) readers are familiar are quite different from the tales in the first edition,” he told the Guardian.

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His newly published version of the original 156 stories is just out from Princeton University Press, illustrated by Andrea Dezsö, and shows a much darker side to well-known fairy tales. Several more gruesome stories, like the Butcher and Pig tale, are added back into the edition. Zipes also adds the original versions of our well known fairy tales. The evil queen who wants Snow White killed is actually her mother, Rapunzel gets impregnated by the prince after having a “merry time” with him in the tower, Hansel and Gretel were abandoned by their own mothers, and Cinderella’s step sisters cut off their toes in order to make the slipper fit onto their feet.

So why was the English version of these tales made into a PC production, when the original tales were more R rated? One theory is that the tales were rewritten to appeal to more Middle Class, Christian Families. We can’t forget that the more PC version of the tale was also published in 1857, a time when Europeans were beginning to embrace more “Victorian Values,” which meant taking sex and violence out of the discussion, while adding Christian Values.

I remember back when I was taking a Medieval Literature class, I was surprised by how blunt most Medieval literature was about matters of sex and violence – even during an era when the Christian Church was the predominant authority. In the Canterbury Tales, The Wife of Bath remarries 5 times and brags about how she sexually dominates her much younger husbands in the bedroom. In another tale, a priest comes to a woman’s window at night and asks for a kiss, she instead sticks her ass out of the window and he gives her an accidental rim job.Once he realizes what he had done, he proclaims “I did not know my lady had a beard!” If this isn’t scandalous enough, the young lady in this tale was also cheating on her husband with a younger lover. The next night the priest comes back to get revenge on the young lady, but unexpectedly, her young lover who was with her at the time sticks his rear end out of the window and the priest shoves a burning hot poker where the sun don’t shine.

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This is not to mention that many Anglo Saxon inspired Medieval Tales had enough violence to make a Quentin Tarantino movie look G-Rated. Such as one tale I read about a Prince who rescues his princess from being married off to another, he interrupts the wedding, massacres all the guests along with the groom, and then rides away with his beloved.

So you have to understand that before The Victorian Era, much of the Folk Tales of the common people were rife with blunt sexuality and violence. It is also believed that the common child was less sheltered from such brutal realities. In terms of sex, before the Industrial Era, a majority of people lived on farms in close living quarters. It is here that children witnessed the realities of reproduction among their domesticated animals. The children who had to sleep in the same room as their parents were probably also more aware of natural human processes.

In terms of other realities, death was much more common in every day life before the Industrial Revolution. Because of the Industrial Revolution, the population more than doubled in London between 1750 and 1850. Before this period, population growth was relatively stable. The Industrial Revolution helped to provide more food and shelter for the masses, while also cutting down on disease, which is part of why the population exploded. Yet before this period of time, people died all the time from things like the common cold, and surviving childhood was a major accomplishment. For example, in London, between between the 16th and 18th centuries, 30% of children died before they reached the age 15. Many women also died in childbirth because midwives did not know to wash their hands, so the poor mother often got infected.

In short, it is not surprising that folk tales were rife with more carnal and morbid details. Death and reproduction were realities that the common adult and child witnessed day to day.

The common practice of shielding our children from violence and sexuality today is quite new – a Victorian innovation. Today we see this in the hysteria of parents trying to shield their children from violent video games or provocative music. Even seeing a woman’s breasts or a man’s genitals in a movie is met with outrage.

Should parents be more open with their kids about how the world really works? Perhaps such children would be less likely to get pregnant on accident, and be more prepared to face the cruel realities of the real world. Many middle class people today are sheltered, raised in a bubble where everyone gets a trophy or a fuzzy banana sticker for merely showing up, and raised to believe that the world is a nice neat place, while being totally clueless about realities such as the plight of poverty in the third world, the destruction of the environment, and the rapes and murders taking place daily in less stable countries.

Children are much wiser and made of stronger stuff than we give them credit. Perhaps it’s time we stop shielding them from the horrors of reality, and start raising them to be people who will approach and deal such adversity with courage, rather than raising cowards who won’t step an inch away from their comfort zone.

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