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The Origins of Halloween

September 25, 2011, 3:14 PM

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By: Nikki Savage

Autumn finds its stride in October. The light of day begins to wane and a slight chill begins to settle in the air. In tune with the cues of the season, the plants begin to direct their energies to their roots ensuring their survival through the winter. Like the plants, the farmer reaps his final harvest of both crop and livestock for storage ensuring the community’s survival through the winter.

In times when people lived in sync with the Earth’s seasons, the final harvest would traditionally culminate into a celebration of all that had come to fruition before preparing to draw their energies within for the leaner times ahead. In the pre-Christian Celtic regions, this celebration was called Samhain [sow en], loosely translated from Gaelic meaning “summer’s end”. Celebrated on November 1st, midway between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice, Samhain was considered the Celtic New Year.

People would gather in their villages, setting fire to the bones of the slaughtered livestock. It is said, each family would then light a torch from these bonfires to bring to their own hearths to warm their homes. It was believed that on this eve of the descent into the darkest part of the year, the veil between the worlds of the living and the departed was at its thinnest. Thus it naturally became a time of honoring ancestors and seeking guidance through divination. To protect themselves from unwanted visits, some would light hollowed turnips carved with faces and place them around their homes, and some donned guises of otherworldly beings to fool the harmful spirits.

As was common when regions became Christianized, traditional pagan celebrations and Christian holidays that held similar sentiment became entwined. The traditions of Samhain blended well with those of All Souls Day and Hallowmas. Eventually this space of time came to be known as Halloween.

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Jupiter the Gas Giant.

September 18, 2011, 10:56 AM

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By Lulu Gleason

So in honor of our biggest gas giant in the sky I’ve decided to do a couple of blogs on planets. I’m starting with Jupiter simply because right now (well at night or in the early hours) we can see Jupiter. I wanted to look at both scientific and mythological sides to this.

To get a feel as to what Jupiter is all about. I remember as a kid watching 2010 which was a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey which was a kooky story about how Jupiter turns into a star and the events that led up to this point told via Arthur C. Clarke (author of all space odyssey science fiction novels). It’s fueled this need to get to know my universe just a bit more than what I learned in grade school.

In science, Jupiter is mostly composed of hydrogen and helium (88-92% hydrogen and 8-12% helium). It roughly orbits the sun every 12 years and it’s one the largest planets in our solar system that is classified as a gas giant. There are 64 moons around Jupiter.

The most famous ones were named by Simon Marius back in 1610 and they are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. You can even see those moons with binoculars or a small telescope in clear evenings if Jupiter is in the right spot. Being such a big planet that can be seen from earth there have been so many different stories told about its existence.

Since you can see Jupiter with the naked eye it’s not surprising that many cultures have different adaptations of this planet that co-inside with their religion or even their astrology. Jupiter can be so bright that it’s commonly mistaken as a star. In culture Jupiter played may rolls through human history. In Babylonian times Jupiter was represented by their god Marduk.

Babylonians used the orbit of this planet as a way to help define the constellation of their zodiac. It’s not unknown for civilizations to use planets or stars to help understand the universe. In Classic Roman Mythology Jupiter was the king of all gods and the equivalent to Zeus in Greek mythology. In Mediterranean mythology (Roman and Greek) Jupiter is a very strong figure amongst other deities.

I guess when you have the title ‘king of the gods’ you need to have a strong presents in religion. In Asiatic communities the planet Jupiter was also called the wood star based on the Chinese 5 elements. As a fun fact, Thursday drives from ‘Thor’s Day’, the god Thor, in Germanic mythology, being associated with the planet Jupiter.

So many interesting facts on both ends, such a HUGE planet to get to them all! Jupiter is an interesting study in not only science but in mythology as well. Jupiter has helped shaped religions, zodiacs, and other sources. But even with all the information out there about Jupiter we are still learning so many things about its existence. I can hardly wait for the next discovery!

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Learning about Tarot: The Tower

September 11, 2011, 9:23 AM

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By: Elly

Card Description:
The Tower, number 16 in the Major Arcana, is depicted as a fiery tower, lightening is striking while one or more figures fall to the rocky shore as the sea rages below. Sometimes there is also a crown on the card, alluding to false superiority.

Card Mythos:
The Fool, in his efforts to escape the devil comes upon the tower, the fortress of ego, along his path. He knows is well as he helped to build it. Inhabited still by men who are overcome by their arrogance, the fool is reminded of his own false bravado. He realizes that he has not seen himself clearly, or the world around him.

Lightening strikes the tower, sending the men still living in it leaping for the sea below. Moments later the tower has been reduced to nothing but a pile of rocks and as the tower has fallen, so have the falsehoods in the fools life. He see’s clearly for the first time. He can now begin to rebuild on bedrock of truth.

Card Meaning:
If the Tower comes up in a spread for Querent, it’s time to for them to reevaluate thier priorities, and the way they see them selves and actions. The Querent is about to have a rude awakening, or change but if they are open to this they will find it far easier a challenge to take on. This will be a time for revelations, and hidden truths coming to light.

Sometimes we can be blinded by the falsehoods we’ve wrapped our core up in to protect it. This can happen out of no where and throw the Querent for a loop. This fall will be a move toward better times and a better life. It won’t be easy to have a sudden tearing down of assumptions, but in the long term, it is for the best and knowing that will soften the blow.

The querent may need to take a leap of faith, it will show what is true and sturdy in their life and beliefs. The querents perceptions may be shattered but they must work through this potential painful situation, because on the other side lies truth and fulfillment. So make sure the querent is ready to accept this radical change and go with it.

Card Associations:
Change, epiphany, disruption, surprises, chaos, crisis, anger, letting go, bottoming out, falling from a great height, illusions being shattered, finding answers, upheaval, sudden insight or revelations, being taken down a peg, dramatic reversal of fortune, a necessary difference, false or misplaced beliefs will come crashing down.

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The Autumnal Equinox

September 4, 2011, 11:33 PM

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By: Elly

This month we will see the Autumnal Equinox. Many holidays and celebrations are centered around this yearly event. In the northern hemisphere, the Autumnal equinox not only marks the beginning of fall, but also the time of year when our days begin to grow shorter, and our nights longer.

This year the autumnal equinox will take place on September 22nd, at roughly 1:04 PM (EST)

This event is the lead into cooler months and the promise of family gatherings and warmth of the heart. Equinox is Latin for “equal night” and this day of nearly equal day light and night time is also roughly, the beginning of the harvest season for items such as pumpkins.

Several faiths celebrate different holidays at this time of year, in the Jewish faith it is the beginning of Tekufot, in Greek mythology this is the time of year Persephone returns to the underworld to live with Hades. In Japan Buddhists celebrate Higan, in Pagan cultures is is Mabon, and in China the moon festival is celebrated. What holidays will you be observing this equinox?


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