Monday, May 25, 2015

Ancient Cities Provide A Warning for the Modern World

from In this age of urban-living, how cities grow is vitally important. The way cities expand in relation to their geographical surroundings has been an important consideration for eons. One of the ways of making a city sustainable is to make it ‘smarter.’ Making a city ‘smarter’ means improving the management of its infrastructure and the resources available to meet current and future needs.

New research has shown that ancient cities can provide a fantastic example for how modern cities should develop. Geologist Donatella de Rita and archaeologist Chrystina Häuber have been examining classical Rome and Naples, and how they could offer clues for today’s future.

In their study, published in the most recent edition of GSA Today, the authors argue that pre-Republican Rome was a smart city. During this period, Rome’s expansion did not substantially alter the geological features of the area. Natural resources around Rome were managed in order to minimise the environmental damage from over-exploitation.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The “Karmic Visions” of H.P. Blavatsky

from It is quite well known that the highly renowned Carl Jung had a powerful premonition of the First World War about a year or so before it began. What is unfortunately not so well known is that H.P. Blavatsky had what “The New Yorker” magazine of May 1964 called a “much earlier and even more realistic vision” of things to come.

HPB clearly foresaw – and described in soberingly accurate detail – not only the First World War but also the Second World War. She did so in 1888, 26 years before the first conflict and 51 years prior to the outbreak of the second.

She describes past, present, and future events in compelling story form in her article titled “Karmic Visions” which was published in the British Theosophical magazine “Lucifer” in June 1888. It is not actually known for definite how she came to be in possession of such profoundly prophetic insight into the coming Wars. She may indeed have literally had a vision but may also have simply been able to access the information as easily as you or I can access information on the internet, by means of her undeniably highly developed spiritual powers. Alternatively, it may be that her Indian Masters – the Mahatmas of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood – worked together with her on the article.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A spirited story of the psychic and the Colonel

from On a warm autumn afternoon in 1874, Henry Steel Olcott, an attorney and popular New York journalist, found himself in Vermont looking for ghosts. On assignment for his newspaper, he planned to investigate one of the séances, or "spook shops," that were then enjoying a surge of popularity across America.

Olcott's credentials as a sleuth were impeccable. After rising to the rank of colonel during the Civil War, he had attracted national attention as the head of a commission that investigated the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. Now 42, with his fashionable mutton-chop whiskers and pince-nez spectacles he was an imposing media figure, and his readers expected a brilliant expose. They were to be very surprised.

For Colonel Olcott was about to have one of the most dramatic midlife crises in history. Changing from skeptic to true believer, he would become a leading exponent of occult wisdom in countries around the world, and the first American to popularize Eastern religions in the West.
What brought on the dramatic turnabout in his life? Her name was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a down-on-her-luck Russian aristocrat and mystic who had also made her way to Chittenden, Vermont, that afternoon. Middle-aged and fat, fond of dressing in frumpish Gypsy-like costumes, she was no siren. Nonetheless, her round face, wiry hair and huge eyes gave her a hypnotic attractiveness. She could converse brilliantly on any subject, and when Olcott met her, he was fascinated.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How the Council of Nicea Changed the World

from When Constantine became the first Christian leader of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, his vast territory was populated by a hodgepodge of beliefs and religions. Within his own young religion, there was also dissent, with one major question threatening to cleave the popular cult — as it was at the time — into warring factions: Was Jesus divine, and how? 

That summer, 318 bishops from across the empire were invited to the Turkish town of Nicea, where Constantine had a vacation house, in an attempt to find common ground on what historians now refer to as the Arian Controversy. It was the first ever worldwide gathering of the Church. The Christianity we know today is a result of what those men agreed upon over that sticky month, including the timing of the religion's most important holiday, Easter, which celebrates Jesus rising from the dead.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

“Masonic Police Force” Uncovered in Los Angeles

from Claiming to be descendants of the Knights Templar, the Masonic Fraternal Police Department vowed to “protect Masonic Grandmasters” across 33 states.

Three California residents were arrested on April 30th on suspicion of impersonating a police officer and were released later that day. Claiming to be the “oldest police force in the world”, the Masonic Fraternal Police Department claimed jurisdiction across 33 states (coincidentally, 33 is the holiest number in Masonic symbolism).

Read the full article here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ancient Deity Drawing May Shed Light on Rise of Andean Religion

from A painted gourd fragment recovered from Peru has added an interesting piece to the archaeological puzzle of where and how religion evolved in pre-Columbian Andean society. Estimated to be more than 4,000 years old, the artifact may be the earliest representation of one of the principal gods in primitive South American religion.

The people who would have made this object are thought to have lived between 2600 B.C. and 2000 B.C., more than 3,000 years before the Inca and well before ceramic pottery was invented in the Andes.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

from In February, 1891, the first few advertisements started appearing in papers: “Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board,” boomed a Pittsburgh toy and novelty shop, describing a magical device that answered questions “about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy” and promised “never-failing amusement and recreation for all the classes,” a link “between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial.” Another advertisement in a New York newspaper declared it “interesting and mysterious” and testified, “as sProven at Patent Office before it was allowed. Price, $1.50.
This mysterious talking board was basically what’s sold in board game aisles today: A flat board with the letters of the alphabet arrayed in two semi-circles above the numbers 0 through 9; the words “yes” and “no” in the uppermost corners, “goodbye” at the bottom; accompanied by a “planchette,” a teardrop-shaped device, usually with a small window in the body, used to maneuver about the board. The idea was that two or more people would sit around the board, place their finger tips on the planchette, pose a question, and watch, dumbfounded, as the planchette moved from letter to letter, spelling out the answers seemingly of its own accord. The biggest difference is in the materials; the board is now usually cardboard, rather than wood, and the planchette is plastic.

Though truth in advertising is hard to come by, especially in products from the 19th century, the Ouija board was “interesting and mysterious”; it actually had been “proven” to work at the Patent Office before its patent was allowed to proceed; and today, even psychologists believe that it may offer a link between the known and the unknown.