Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Forgotten Pyramids of Sudan

from aljazeera.com: More than 200km from the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the remains of an ancient city rise from the arid and inhospitable terrain like a science-fiction film set. Nestled between sand dunes, the secluded pyramids seem to have been forgotten by the modern world, with no nearby restaurants or hotels to cater to tourists.

The Nubian Meroe pyramids, much smaller but just as impressive as the more famous Egyptian ones, are found on the east bank of the Nile river, near a group of villages called Bagrawiyah. The pyramids get their name from the ancient city of Meroe, the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, an ancient African kingdom situated in what is now the Republic of Sudan.

Around 1000 BCE, after the fall of the 24th Egyptian dynasty, the Nubian Kingdom of Kush arose as the leading power in the middle Nile region. The Kushite kings took over and ruled much of Egypt from 712 to 657 BCE. In 300 BCE, when the capital and royal burial ground of the kingdom moved to the Meroe region, the pharaonic tradition of building pyramids to encapsulate the tombs of rulers continued here.

Full article here.

The Lore and Lure of Ley Lines

from livescience.com: Many people believe that a grid of earth energies circles the globe, connecting important and sacred sites such as Stonehenge, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China. If you plot these and other sites on a map, a curious thing becomes apparent: Many of them can be connected by straight lines. Were these monuments and sacred sites specifically built at those locations by ancient people with lost knowledge of unknown earth energies especially strong along these "ley lines"?

People have often found special significance in the unusual landmarks and geological features surrounding them. High mountain peaks and majestic valleys may be viewed as sacred, for example, while deep, dark caves have often been considered the domain of the underworld. The same is true for roads; in 1800s on the British Isles many people believed in mysterious "fairy paths," trails connecting certain hilltops in the countryside. It was considered dangerous (or, at the very least, unwise) to walk on those paths during certain days because the wayward traveler might come upon a parade of fairies who would not take kindly to the human interruption.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mithraic Mysteries and the Cult of Empire

from thenewamerican.com: The proud Roman general stood with his commanders and retinue as the wild hillsmen, dressed in the ragged but still-flamboyant clothes of corsairs, fell before him in turn, begging for clemency. It was about 75 B.C. in the rugged hills near Coracesium in Cilicia, an untamed region along the coast of southwestern Asia Minor, and the Cilician pirates, possibly the most successful race of brigands the world has ever seen, were surrendering to the Roman general Pompey.
  
Pompeius Magnus, as he was afterwards styled, would go on to conquer the Levant and to challenge Julius Caesar for supremacy over the fledgling Roman Empire, but his lightning-swift campaign against the Cilician pirates was perhaps his finest moment. The pirates, taking advantage of Roman naval weakness during a span of decades that saw Rome wracked by civil war, had controlled much of the Mediterranean, as far west as the Balearic Islands.* Now, thanks to Pompey’s masterful combination of resolute military action and unconditional clemency for all pirates who surrendered to him in person, the once-feared Cilicians were admitted to the Roman Empire and given the opportunity to live respectable lives. Most, according to Plutarch’s account of events, accepted Pompey’s offer. They were resettled in various parts of the Roman dominion, bringing their families and possessions with them. They also, according to Plutarch, brought with them a peculiar system of religious beliefs and practices, one of the so-called “mystery cults” typical of the pre-Christian Mediterranean.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Secrets of Zoroastrianism

from iranchamber.com: About 1400 BCE a forty year-old hermit from northeast Iran, named Zoroaster, came down from his mountain to preach a new religion. Zoroaster had been visited by the god Ahura-Mazda who proclaimed that he was the only god in the universe. Unlike most gods, Ahura Mazda was all good, all knowing and all powerful as well as being invisible. In fact, he was so perfect that he needed mediators like angels between himself and the world. Ahura-Mazda struggled against "The Lie" which was not just words but actions represented by Ahriman and his devils. Zoroaster taught that when people died they crossed the Shivat bridge, a sifting bridge in which the bad people fell off into hell and where the good people crossed to find a golden maiden who lead them into the light of heaven where their primary purpose was singing. In contrast the Jews believed in Sheol, a pit beneath the earth where people went when they died. The major myth of the Zoroastrians was that a virgin would bear the Saoshant, a man who would save the world. 

 A book of judgment recorded the acts of people on earth, who after a millennium would face judgment day and be resurrected to an earthly paradise. In contrast, the Jewish idea of savior was that he was a future king, a political messiah rather than a transcendent messiah. "The whole eschatological scheme, however, of the Last Judgment, rewards and punishments, etc., within which immortality is achieved, is manifestly Zoroastrian in origin and inspiration." After Zoroaster died, his religion became corrupted by the Magi, or celibate priesthood who took over his religion and mediated between man and Ahura-Mazda.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Dual Search for the Philosophers’ Stone

from newdawnmagazine.comTo say what the Philosophers’ Stone – the great goal of alchemy – is, one has to know. And to know, one must have attained it. I cannot claim to have done this, so what follows must be speculation.

The mystery grows deeper the closer one attempts to look. Even to say what alchemy itself is proves difficult. Of course, everyone knows what alchemy is – or thinks he knows: it is an outmoded form of science in which men in conical hats cooked and mixed various strange substances trying to make gold out of base elements. Or they sought to make the Philosophers’ Stone, a substance that was supposed also to produce gold – and to confer physical immortality besides. This project was totally deluded, but somehow gave rise to modern chemistry with all its wonders and curses.

However cartoonish it may be, this picture has some truth to it. Or so the stories suggest. According to one, the seventeenth-century Flemish scientist Jean-Baptiste van Helmont once received a curious visitor to his laboratory. The stranger did not identify himself, but offered to give his host a piece of the Philosophers’ Stone. Van Helmont accepted on the condition that he be allowed to conduct his own experiments on it in the stranger’s absence. His guest readily agreed, asking nothing in return for the substance; the scientist’s conversion, he said, would be reward enough. The stranger left, never to be seen again.

The Machine Cities Of The Future May Resemble The Matrix

from omnireboot.com: "The Matrix" films will forever define perceptions of cities built by machines. Though the third film in the Matrix trilogy, "Revolutions", was the weakest of the three, it's most redeeming quality was an inside look into a world built by artificial intelligence. While Omni Reboot envisions the eventual existence of machine cities, we hope they will not be populated by robots and A.I. bent on the destruction of the human race. We'd rather them co-exist with human cities in a pragmatic and distinctive symbiotic manner.
 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Insult to Insight: Rudolf Steiner's Meditative Technique

from theosophical.org: In the mid-1890's Rudolf Steiner (1861--1925) was repeatedly hurt by personal remarks made by his close friend Moritz Zitter (d. 1921). Even when recounting the incident a quarter century later, Steiner would still not admit his friend's observations contained some truth. Yet Zitter's stinging criticism forms a plausible trigger for the revolutionary psychological and spiritual changes Steiner underwent during 1896 to 1897--the period he himself described as that of his "profound transformation."

Steiner was thirty-five years old and a respected scholar with a Ph.D. in epistemology. He had edited the scientific writings of Goethe (1749-1832) for both the Kuerschner and the Weimar editions. He enjoyed discussing esoteric subjects with his more thoughtful friends and considered himself an expert on these topics who was already in possession of cutting-edge knowledge denied to lesser beings.

And then came the insults. Zitter wrote Steiner several times to the effect that he was merely intellectualizing his feelings. In fact, Zitter said to Steiner, you are so absorbed in your thoughts that you often appear to be scarcely human.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Intuition: Delusion or Perception? Toward a Scientific Explanation of the Akashic Experience

from newdawnmagazine.comThe intuitions reported by mystics, poets, artists, ordinary people, even scientists, often go beyond the range of sensory perception. In the reductionist culture inspired by classical science, they are dismissed as mere delusion – classical empiricism claims that there is nothing in the mind that was not first in the eye. However, the classical tenet is not universally upheld. It is exceptional in the annals of history, and even in the context of contemporary cultures.In history intuitions were embedded in the conceptual framework through which a given culture interpreted the nature of reality. In indigenous societies shamans and medicine-men (and women) tuned themselves to spontaneous apprehension through rigorous initiation and training; they derived their mystical vision from them. In mythically oriented societies the world was seen as a cosmic realm of spirits, and in classical cultures it was believed to be governed by a panoply of unseen gods. The Abrahamic monotheistic religions recognised the intuitions of their prophets as conveying fundamental truths about God and the nature of His creation. Eastern cultures have always held that reality extends far beyond the domain of the senses.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Circular thinking: Stonehenge's origin is subject of new theory

from theguardian.com: Whether it was a Druid temple, an astronomical calendar or a centre for healing, the mystery of Stonehenge has long been a source of speculation and debate. Now a dramatic new theory suggests that the prehistoric monument was in fact “an ancient Mecca on stilts”.

The megaliths would not have been used for ceremonies at ground level, but would instead have supported a circular wooden platform on which ceremonies were performed to the rotating heavens, the theory suggests.
Julian Spalding, an art critic and former director of some of the UK’s leading museums, argues that the stones were foundations for a vast platform, long since lost – “a great altar” raised up high towards the heavens and able to support the weight of hundreds of worshippers.

“It’s a totally different theory which has never been put forward before,” Spalding told the Guardian. “All the interpretations to date could be mistaken. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge the wrong way: from the earth, which is very much a 20th-century viewpoint. We haven’t been thinking about what they were thinking about.”