Neil DeGrasse’s “Cosmos” is much more than a mere show about science. It is a show that captures the spirit of discover itself, of asking “The Big Questions,” and pushing the boundaries of the unknown towards further heights. To solve the problems of our time, we need to fall back in love with discovery.
Spirituality itself is a journey to embrace the infinite. Science is not so different a journey. So check out The Cosmos. It is free after all. It is visually spectacular, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson breaks complex theories into very understandable concepts. It is time for us to reinvigorate human love of discovery and to boldly expand the bounds of human imagination. Let Neil DeGrasse Tyson take you on a journey through time and space with this exciting new scientific series.
The Vernal Goddess treads a land of melting snow
in a gown of green, sunlight twined in golden hair
She escorts Old Man Winter beneath the horizon
Laying him down to slumber, until the following year
Birds as troubadours sing in the spring
Burying white treasures in castles of twig and vine
All Hail Lady Spring in her procession
All Hail The Maidan, Radiant and Divine!
Happy Ostara All! Today is officially the first day of Spring. The Spring Equinox is the day when the sun passes over the celestial equator. Today is a day that celebrates the season’s change from the darkness of winter to the light of Spring, as well as the land’s new fertility. After the Snowpocalypse that has pummeled the American East Coast this year, I am certainly grateful for Spring.
Enjoy the following Ostara song below. I know I posted it last year, but hey – it’s good enough to post a second time! Three cheers for spring! Three cheers for new beginnings!
Today, when we think of “The Holy Trinity,” we instantly think of “The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit” as found in Catholicism. Yet it is possible that this trinity influenced by another that came a thousand years before. We’re talking about the Egyptian trinity of The Father Osiris, The Mother Isis and The Son Horus. In this blog, I will not say that the Osiris/Isis cult is the same thing as Christianity, but it is very probable that a lot of the ideas from this early trinity later had an influence on the development of Christian ideas.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE OSIRIS/ISIS/HORUS MYTH
I will give you a very brief summary of the Osiris/Isis/Horus myth so that you will understand what is going on in the rest of this article. Osiris was the first son of the Gods. He married his sister Isis and the two became queen and king over Egypt. This was at a time when mankind was corrupt and was in need of justice. It is said that men even practiced cannibalism and human sacrifice before the advent of Osiris and Isis. Perhaps this is an Egyptian metaphor for the depraved state of mankind before civilization.
Osiris’s brother Set was jealous of his power. As a result, he had Osiris chopped up into several pieces and had these pieces of his body scattered throughout the land. Osiris’s wife Isis went on a quest to find the lost pieces of her husband, used her magic to put him back together and then Osiris got his revenge on Set. In later versions of the story, it was their son Horus who avenged his father by killing Set.
A MERCIFUL GOD OF REPENTANCE AND ETERNAL LIFE
I’m going to tell you about a God who was referred to as the “king of kings” and the “Lord of Lords.” He died, but then was resurrected from the dead. With his resurrection he brought humanity the promise of eternal life. This God was referred to as a “Merciful Judge of the Dead.” Am I talking about Jesus? No, I’m talking about a Deity much older, I’m talking about Osiris.
Here are some quotes about Osiris.
Osiris as Lord of Eternity
Hail to thee, Osiris, lord of eternity, king of the gods (Hymn to Osiris)
Lord of Heaven and Earth
O thou lord to whom commemorations are made, both in heaven and in earth. (Hymn to Osiris)
Similarities Between The Pyramid Text and The New Testament: (The birth of Osiris and Jesus)
PT — This is my son, . . . my beloved, . . . with whom I am pleased.
NT — This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
Osiris takes on a human form.
Here we see that the condition of Osiris has changed; he has taken on the clothes of human form. His spirit was among the gods, but now it has changed to earth. He is exhorted to be careful in his earthly habiliments, that he not exceed the boundary of the earthly form. He could, as God, exceed the limits of the human form he took on voluntarily. Hymn 224:
More on the Merciful Judge of The Dead
Osiris was the God of the Afterlife who humans would confess their sins to in death. When a human died, they would come to the hall of Ma’at (justice) and make the 42 negative confessions, a list of things that they did not do in their mortal life. If the human lived a pure life, they would get to reside in heaven for eternity, and if not, they were eaten by Ammit, a gruesome part lion, part crocodile, part hippo creature. Some legends even say that Ammit would cast the heads of sinners into a Lake of Fire.
Did Egypt Influence Christian Ideas About Heaven and Hell?
If you read The Old Testament, you will find that there is very little mention of Heaven, Hell or The Afterlife. This is a concept that is more elaborated upon in The New Testament. The Christian Lake of Eternal fire certainly relates a lot to the Egyptian Lake of Fire. Heaven, as an eternal paradise for those who are pure of heart is also very similar in both ideologies.
Osiris was referred to as “Chrestos”
Among the days of the early Christian fathers, Jesus was referred to as Jesus the Chrēst. This is an epithet that closely resembles “Chrēstos,” which was also applied to Osiris. It often meant “anointed” or “good.” This was a term that was applied to several deities in Ancient Times.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JESUS AND HORUS?
Egyptian myths changed over time, as any myth would over more than a thousand years. Over time, Horus, the son of Osiris, took on many of the characteristics of his father. Where Osiris was originally the one who defeated the evil Set and restored balance to Egypt, Horus eventually took over this role. Horus is the falcon headed son of Osiris and Isis. He was a God of The Sky, Warfare and Hunting.
There have been attempts to say that Jesus was a direct rip off of Horus. However, it has been later found that many of these claims are exaggerated.
Horus was not the result of a virgin birth, he was not crucified and he did not have 12 disciples. However, one thing to note is that depictions of Isis suckling her son Horus were very popular in Rome at the time that Christianity first came about.
A MURAL IN THE ROMAN ERA OF ISIS AND HORUS
THE “REGINA CAELI LAETARE”
This was the early Roman “Madonna” with her son so to speak.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE CULT OF ISIS AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY?
Isis was originally worshiped in Egypt as Queen alongside her brother Osiris. Her name literally means “Throne.” She was the mother of magic, life giver and the one who used her magic to bring Osiris back from the dead. In other words, she was a Goddess of Resurrection. Through the process of Hellenization her worship eventually spread to the Greco-Roman world where her Cult became tremendously popular, especially among women and members of the lower class. The other appeal of the Isis Cult is that it was a universal religion, meaning anyone could join regardless of class or gender.
The Roman emperors were originally afraid of this “Eastern Cult.” Augustus called it “pornographic” and tried to stop it. This is probably because of his antagonistic relations with Antony in Egypt at the time. However, the later emperor Caligula embraced the religion. Temples to Isis were permitted and Isiac festivals became a part of the public and civil calendar.
The Cult of Isis satisfied many concepts that were missing in the Greek and Roman religion. It brought ideas of freeing oneself from moral pollution, reconciliation, equality of the sexes and equality among the rich and poor.
When Christianity later came to the Roman World, it had a similar appeal among women and members of the lower classes. Many of the statues to The Mother Mary were even built upon places where statues to Isis once were. However, in this new Christian Cult, the role of The Goddess was diminished. In the Roman Cult of Isis, The Goddess was arguably the most powerful member of The Trio, since she is the one who had the power of resurrection. Yet as the Romans constructed their official version of Christianity, they replaced The Cult of Isis with Patriarchal ideas that were more fitting to the Roman Public.
Some say that The Cult of Isis was destroyed by the arrival of Christianity, others say that it was absorbed by the new Religion. However, it can’t be denied that The Cult of Isis was an incredibly popular religion in Rome at the time that Christianity arrived. There is no doubt that Christianity wasn’t at least influenced by this very popular Egyptian Cult.
Love it or hate it, The History Channel’s Vikings is back for season number 2. Some folks have criticized the show for its inaccuracies of portraying a “Biker Bar” image of the 8th century Viking World.
HOW TV THINKS VIKINGS DRESSED:
SOMETHING CLOSER TO HOW THE VIKINGS ACTUALLY DRESSED
Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons and glittering bits of mirrors are not what we typically think of when imagining a Viking in his “digs.” Yet grave excavations reveal that Ancient Scandinavian men may have dressed much more colorfully than originally thought. Swedish Archaeologist Annika Larsson believes that the men could be vain and that the women liked to dress provocatively, with their cleavage exposed and the skirts consisting of a single piece of fabric that was open in the front. But this style of clothing disappeared once the Vikings made contact with the Christians.
Another glaring inaccuracy is the idea that the Vikings did not know where England was. Trading routes along the North Sea date back even before the Roman invasion of Gaul in the first century B.C. This idea is especially absurd considering that The Vikings were expert sea navigators for their time period.
The final inaccuracy I will touch on is the way that the role of Earl was portrayed. He is shown as a sort of local dictator who can make decisions about life and death for his entire tribe. The reality is that The Vikings were a fairly autonomous people who lived rather Democratic lives. Decisions were made through a vote at The Thing. The Earl, also known as the Chieftain, would take a role in helping to make tribal decisions about allocating justice in a legal dispute, choosing areas to explore, tribes to battle and deciding how much food to share in a time of famine. However, as far as we know, the Chieftain did not have the authority to condemn a man to death. The most harsh punishment was being exiled. Exile meant that a man no longer had the protection of his tribe, which means no legal protection if someone else wanted to kill him.
I’m sure there are all kinds of other minute details I could get into, but I’d rather discuss what is GOOD about the show.
Yes, The Vikings is not the world’s most accurate portrayal of the way that the Vikings may have lived, but this show wasn’t just released for History Professors and Heathens. This was a show that was designed to appeal to the general public. In doing so, people who may have known nothing about Vikings may now be intrigued enough to read a book or search the internet for Viking Lore. Sometimes, getting people interested in history is more important than creating something that is 100% accurate.
The Vikings is also a show that captures the emotional themes of the Sagas, if nothing else.
So enjoy Season 2, since it is on the internet for free after all.
One last exciting thing I’ll mention is that Wardruna, the Norse Folk Group containing former members of Gorgoroth, has written more music for the score of the second season. Here is a song that was included in the score of the first season:
“Return to a simpler life, and you will see that behind the expensive cars, the fashionable clothes, the empty celebrities, the fancy houses and the thick layers of make-up life has real meaning. Behind all the lies there is a deep well of wisdom that we can all drink from, and grow wiser, healthier and happier.”
— Varg Vikernes
Megan Löwe plans to write a book on Sacred Pagan Sites and places of power in Northern Europe. An obvious example is Stone Henge. Yet Megan is also interesting in compiling information on lesser known places in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Austria. Of course, in order to gather information, she needs to actually go to these places and talk to to people – which involves that thing we’d like to call money.
If anyone here is interested in Megan’s project, you can check out more details HERE at GoFundMe
Megan describes her project more on her blog page.
Also check out Kraftorte to read more about recognizing natural landscapes of power.
A majority of Neo-pagans are Wiccans – at least a little over half. Now the term “pagan” itself is highly debatable. So in this article, when I use the term “pagan,” know that I’m discussing people who are reviving pre-christian spirituality after a period of decay. In this article, I’m not going to lump Hindus or Shintos into that category because they have an unbroken connection to their ancient, indigenous and ethnic spiritualities.
So when we are talking about practitioners of neo-pagan religion (mostly based on Celtic and Norse spiritual traditions), know that more than half are Wiccan. If you are interested in the numbers, check out the most recent religious survey from the census bureau. In fact, there are so many Wiccans in the Pagan community, that many non-Wiccans get called Wiccan by default. In past posts I’ve talked about the differences between a tradition like Wicca and Celtic Paganism. In this article, I don’t mean to insult Wiccans in any way. If anything, I’m applauding their success. I’m just trying to take a look at the question of why most Pagans are Wiccan.
Here are my theories as to why there are so many Pagan Wiccans.
- Wicca was one of the first major, public Neo-Pagan religious organizations.
Wicca was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner. Before Wicca came out of the broom closet as a public ideology, many “occult” practices were very secretive. You had to know the right people to get into a coven. If your mom’s, friend’s uncle wasn’t in a coven, you were out of luck. Magic and the occult were shrouded in mystery, and those involved could face immense backlash for being public about their beliefs in what was a mainly Christian society. While some would like to make fun of the “fluffiness” of the “do no harm” Wiccans, it certainly took a lot of cojones for Gardner to go public with the idea of worshiping a Goddess and a horned God in the middle of the “Leave it To Beaver” 1950’s.
Other major Neo-Pagan ideologies such as OBOD, ADF and Asatru for example came later. As a result, Wicca has had more time to develop and disseminate its ideology.
- Wicca has the most literature for new comers
For anyone first getting into Neo-Paganism or the occult, Wicca is the area that has far more literature, websites, books and materials available to newcomers these days. When I first dabbled in Paganism at the age of 13, Wicca is what I got into. Why? Because it was there. There were plenty of books on Wicca at the local bookstore, and there were even a few at garage sales. There were far less books on subjects such as Asatru, Celtic Reconstructionism, Druidry, Modern Day Kemetic Paganism and so on.
- The Wiccan Cosmology is simple and universal
Many of the core beliefs of Wicca are pretty simple. There is a God and Goddess. There are four elements. Do as you will as long as it harms none. I certainly don’t mean to belittle some of the more complicated traditional Wiccan groups and covens. There are certainly complicated Wiccan Rituals out there. I’m basically just highlighting the fact that the core beliefs of Wicca are ideas that are pretty accessible to people from all walks of life. A person living in Brooklyn New York can just as easily become a Wiccan as someone living on a fjord in Norway.
Once you get deeper into the religion, there might be more complicated ideas to deal with. But as far as the initial stages of Wicca are concerned, the information is fairy wide spread, accessible and understandable.
- Wicca appeals to those seeking to escape Patriarchal Religions
Many of the people who flock to Neo-Paganism have done so because of a distate with Judeo-Christianity’s exclusively Male Deity. As a counter-reaction to what may have been a fairly oppressive religious experience, many people crave a more intimate experience with a nurturing, maternal figure. While Wiccans worship both a God and a Goddess, I’ve noticed that the Wiccan community and culture tends to emphasize the Feminine Divine just a tad more. The Male God is even frequently referred to as The Goddess’s “consort.”
Whereas traditions like Heathenry are a bit more masculine , with their focus on warrior Gods like Odin and Thor; and Druidry is more gender neutral, focusing more on Nature and Celtic Myth than a particular gender or god.
I hope this article has clarified some of the things that Wiccans have done over the years to be successful. This certainly does not mean to dismiss the success of non-wiccan pagans, but to address questions about the popularity of Wicca. Whether you are Wiccan or not, I encourage the success of your belief system and your ability to reach out to those who share these beliefs.