Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's Pagan, It's Real, It's History

I've no doubt whatever that most people know the factual origins, or at least some, of this time of year and it's culmination in the ritual we call Hallowe'en, originally called Samhain (pron. Sa'wein) about 2,000 years ago by the Celts who originated the festival and its meaning.  Here are some bona fide facts:

In the area now Ireland, the UK and northern France or Brittany, lived the Celtic peoples whose new year began on November 1st.  It marked the end of warm summers and harvesting, and the beginning of cold dark nights - often associated with human death.  They believed that the night before the end of the new year, being October 31st, the boundary between living and dead became very blurred.  This was the night of Samhain or Sa'wein, known for the sightings of the risen dead who roamed the land causing havoc with the living, despoiling crops, and generally playing tricks on the living by frightening them.  The Celtic priests, called Druids, used this time to make predictions and sacrafices and for a people totally dependent on the seasons for their life, this was a very important time indeed.

To commemorate the events, the Druid priests built huge bonfires which the Celts set alight to burn crops and animals as sacrafices to the Celtic deities.

During these bonfires, they wore costumes using animal heads and skins, attempting to tell each others' fortunes.  As the revels wore on, eventually they each took a bark and lit it from the fire of the celebration, bringing it home to re-light in their hearth and home.  This, believed the Celts, would protect their homes from the cold, hungry winter ahead.  If anyone were to name this "pagan" they wouldn't have been understood.  It was never a religious ceremony, it was a festival of protection.  The definition of "pagan" today is far removed from it's origins in the description of the habits of peoples such as the Druids, and other civilizations who practiced their customs and flourished until conquered or vanquished.  To be pagan in these times was to be among the norm.  It's nothing to do with religion, but rather culture.   

By A.D. 43, the Romans had conquered much of this land, and in the course of 400 years occupation, combined the Celtic festival of Sa'wein with those of Roman origin.  With this joining it took on more of a basic commemoration of the dead. 

Not until the intervention of Christianity and Papal proclamations in the 800's did the festival of protection take on more religious meaning.  In the 7th century, Pope Boniface 1V designated November 1st as All Saints Day in an attempt to replace the Celtic festival of the dead (originally one of protection) with a more church-related feast day.  Let there be no doubt, however, as every historian knows, All Hallows Eve is a wonderful true pagan festival worthy of our respect and study.  It was founded in myth and fear of the unknown, but a comfort to those living in a time when so many died for what seemed like magical reasons.   

One of the Roman influences was the gathering of fruit, and the prized fruit was the apple.  This is the origin of our "bobbing for apples".

The celebration was also called All-Hallows or Allhallowmass, from middle-English, meaning All Saints Day, gaining more and more of a religious slant, never intended in its origins.  Eventually, it became All Hallows Eve, which we now call Hallowe'en, it's correct spelling.  

Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2nd All Souls Day, again to commemorate and honor the dead.  It was celebrated in much the same way, with huge bonfires and sacrafices of crops and animals.  However, the church had now managed to garner two religious feast days from one festival of protection, having no organized religious connection.   

By imitating what one most fears, it is believed that the evil is conquered, loses its power, but the reason the Celts performed this ritual only once, at the November 1st beginning of their year, was because it was the time they knew the dead could walk the earth, despoiling andcausing havoc and fear.  Also, they did not want to mock these deities by flouting their image in costumes.  All their ancient ceremonies in pre-Roman influence, were to honor the dead, to make sacrafice to them, to ask for their protection against the cold and starvation to come.  It was not a pagan holiday as many think today, if by that one means anti-god or presence of dignity and loving power.  To the contrary, Samhain was a most honored time with great participation and fervor by all Celtic peoples as they made pleas to their gods of nature, of crops and seasons and good harvests, while honoring the dead with sacrafice and fire.  It was never a religion, but a celebration by a religious people, the Celts and their Druidic priests.  They honored all of nature, saw god in a trickle of water or fallen leaf.  Though not quite this simple, gods to them were in every living thing. 

So the three festivals were the Eve of all Saints, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, together as one called Hallowmas.  Today, it's easier to say

                            HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!

And why do we wish happiness on people at what the old church once believed to be a day of devil worship?  Mostly because it never was.  This was a myth spread by the Romans as they tried to eradicate the old ways and incorporate the new.  The Celts were asked to give up their gods and honor the Roman gods and goddesses, another story altogether.  Still, this celebration has been passed to us in a convoluted form of its original intent.  Some things, however, remain:

The custom is for the innocent among the people to visit each home as protection from whatever deity or demon they represented.  To have a child visit your hearth with guarantees that, if a sacrafice was made (now we offer candy) then the cold winter would not kill anyone of that house.  We do the exact same thing now, but don't know why. 

I suppose on October 31st it would be more accurate to say:

                             SAFE WINTER !! 







Spooky Leonardo

Greetings!  Look at the picture of Leonardo's actual fingerprint, found 3 years ago.  That's the fourth picture.  After a computer manipulation, scientists were able to superimpose a reverse image of "The Last Supper" over the original, which is the first picture.  Look what they found in the second picture directly to the right of Jesus, and you'll see clearly an infant being cradled.  After that, in the 3rd image far to the right you'll see what appears to be a knight, who also appears at the other end of the table, seen again in the first.

There is so much more to this discovery, and I'm posting it twice like this in case anyone missed it last time.  It's not the images we can clearly see, it's why, how, when...that's spooky enough for me!

NOTE:  If you want examine these close up and in a larger size, click on this from my original entry, for the slide show Welcome, Luddie343 it's wondrous. 


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Krissy's Photo Scavenger Hunt: "Halloween or Orange"

At Val's Photo Hunt #121 subject! I found Krissy's game, this time the subject is "Halloween" or "orange", so I found this old picture taken in 2000 of my grandson.  I think it should fit the bill.  He's almost 7 now, geeps where'd I put the time??!!

Anybody got candy.....?    

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Thanks to Sheria On My Mind I'm reminded how many women can't get mammograms for lack of money. 

PLEASE CLICK THIS LINKClick to Give @ The Breast Cancer Site, then click the little pink box which says "CLICK HERE TO GIVE-IT'S FREE" and you've just given a woman a free mammogram.  IT'S FREE.  Try doing it every day.  Think not only of the women you love - men's breast cancer is rising too.  CLICK IT EVERY TIME YOU SIGN ON, JUST BOOKMARK THE PAGE.  Not hard.  Put the link in your Journal, click it every time you're about to make an entry, just take any kind of action.  100% of the fees collected from all those sponsors you see pay for these needed tests.  Just look at the free e-cards, they're beautiful.  Select An E-card @ The Breast Cancer Site  Let's take a dare to care for ourselves and others, it costs nothing and can take away everything if we ignore it.     

                        Way to go, Sheria.


Right Or Wrong, Still Fascinating

I found something interesting - remember this post I made on 3/7/07?  Could This Be Why? Just a simple explanation to my mind of why La Gioconda, a/k/a Mona Lisa, seems to possess such an enigmatic, all-knowing yet "stare-into-nothingness" expression, not quite a smile.  I decided it was her lack of eyebrows, leaving only brow muscle, and made my theory plain in that post.  Go ahead, read it, don't be shy.  Wait, you probably did already.  Anyway, it's similar to the reaction we get while looking at a dog stare at us - we can superimpose any emotion on them, being very anthropomorphic, because they have no eyebrows, just brow muscles.

So my ego is out of control, seems I have a point according to scientists.  Allow me to indulge.  Here's the Welcome page you all get when you sign on, Welcome, Luddie343 take a read of the article about Mona Lisa, then just for kicks, flip through the assorted other Da Vinci mysteries, like The Last Supper (of "Da Vinci Code" popularity) and how superimposition and high-speed camera research found other details in that painting.  Oh you all probably did this already!  Just flouting my insight, hope I'm not hoist on my own petard by this blatant prostitution of my ego.  Who doesn't like being at least a little right a little of the time?  Nice mystery, nicely quasi-solved.  Nice weather!     


Friday, October 12, 2007

Big Brother Won't Give Up

I'm extremely happy today as you may've gathered from that last post.  Now I'm frustrated about something, STILL HAPPY because I'm alive to be able to speak on it, but it's such an unfair law I thought I'd throw it out there.  Get your catcher's mitt on: 

In Belmont, California it is now illegal to smoke in your own home.  Remember the 60's, "Big Brother Is Watching You"?  Little did we realize how much, eh?  Now, exactly how is this law to be enforced?  I know, the politicos will say "We're confident the average citizen is law-abiding" or some such crapola.  Come on, this is another one of our civil rights being stolen.  Yes, we have a right to be unhealthy if we chose to.  Silly, yes, but you just can't legislate common sense. 

Any thoughts?  Oh yes, and I'm STILL HAPPY!!!  Come on, life, give me your best shot!   

Loodee Loves Life!!

Original post from a very exhilarating Oct day in 2007

Oh it's almost uncontainable, the joy, the gift; just knowing I have the ability to feel gratitude for being alive! Who cares about pain, illness, all the physical handcuffs and seeming "barriers", NOTHING can keep you from seeing life is happening all around you. And it's good!

Some say it's God joke, and that's fine too. I like to laugh. Just like you, I've never met God but whatever It is, what's the harm in having faith that we CAN believe in something we can't see or hear. We've experienced things that seem like the inconsequential vagaries and foibles of what man sees as the "burden" of everyday life: driving to work, sitting in traffic, arguments with the boss, worse - BEING the boss - doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning - but hey, aren't these mundane things the very heart of what's so miraculous about life? I think "everyday life" is our gift to ourselves, it's all we HAVE now, it's wonderful, let's USE it, SWIM in it JUMP IN!!! Any day spent on this side of the ground is a good one! Cause I don't know what happens next. I only have a belief system, and the blind but comforting faith that it's right.

Some of us are in great pain. Some in mental distress and depression. Others overwhelmed at home. I can speak to those subjects. But why bother? I WOKE UP TODAY!! YOU DID TOO, DOESN'T THAT EXCITE YOU?!? It might cause someone to write a poem or story when they thought they couldn't, maybe allow someone else to finally make peace with that friend who lies about them, maybe go visit an elder relative and hug them, maybe just find a tree and stare at it, maybe find one's soul.

That's why there's no point in worrying about tomorrow.

Because none of us was sure we'd wake up today.

BUT I DID and if you're reading this, you did too. If all we have is NOW, then whatever we "need" to do can wait, we should be about the business of what we DELIGHT in doing - NOW.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mars, Stars and Buggieboo :-)

                               JUST FOR YOU, BUGGIEBOO !

= = = = = = = O O O O O O O O O O O O = = = = = =

I dedicate this early post on Mars to my friend Sharon, with the impossible screen name of Buggieboo1, because I feel like it, and I like her.  

MARS has decided to enjoin the Hallowe'en spirit by dressing in his bright pumpkin-colored garb at the end of the month.  But first:

All through this month, Mars is making fast recovery from the summer dust storms which gave him a bright, hazy atmosphere.  Facing an east, notheast direction, you can watch him rise earlier and higher each night, each week, in those latitudes (ENE) and by the 30th you'll see him clearly by 9:30 p.m. EDST.  Sharon, just hop up between commercials and have a look!  :-) :-)) 

Our "warring' planet has long left Taurus and entered Gemini near its feet at Castor, the "superior" twin.   He intends to visit some impressive starry friends, the magnitude 4th star 1 Geminorum, then moving south makes a sly glance at a large star cluster called M35 (Messier) where he will spend alot of quality time.  By month's end he will slow his direct (eastward) motion relative to the stars. 

How bright will Mars appear?  This guy will outshine every winter star except the giant dog-star Sirius.  How large will he appear?  Expanding from 10" to 12" to an unbelieveable 16" width! big enough to clearly make out surface features with any modest telescope, even binocs on a night of good atmospheric stability.  Mars is very high in the south just before the start of morning twilight.  Later in the month, this is the best time to look

Basically Sharon, Mars in lower Gemini will rise around 10 P.M. EDST shining very high toward the south at dawn.  You may also detect Beteleguese off to its right as they rise together.  By early dawn, Beteleguese will be directly below Mars.

It's early in the month and the real happenings are all at the end of the month, especially the previously described triangulation of two planets, a star, and the moon in the middle!  But here it is, the pumpkin-colored Mars of October.  Bytheby, NASA's hardy rover Opportunity continues to explore the topography of the planet, gathering priceless information.  Great, huh! 

(All this and I can't even get my fonts to behave.  What a world ....)     


Basics courtesy Sky & Tel, R&L, Graphon, Skywatcher, star charts , S&T's Sean Walker, Dr. Peter Knaff,   





Friday, October 5, 2007

Heavenly Triangulation

A bit of heaven you may want to be up before sunrise for, from the 7th to the 9th.  Looking in constellation Leo, the brightest star is the "tail", Regulus, as you can see.  But first, right now I'm waiting to get a better predawn look at Saturn and Venus, with Regulus only 4 degrees from both planets, which will be a waking dream to see.  This grouping is still "contracting" together.  Can you see it, on the map in the upper right?  On the 6th, the waning Moon will hang close to these 3 lights, then, several hours before sunrise on the 7th, in the Americas, Venus, Saturn and Regulus will all rise in a triangle that's only 6 degress long and very thin - with the crescent Moon hanging inside it!! 

This celetial trio will last from the 9th to the 13th, being very compact on the 10th.  It'll be startling.  One thing happening for the first time in 10 years is that Saturn will be very much dimmer, because its rings have closed from edgewise, an unheard of 10 degrees, as I say for the first time in a decade.  I wonder why ...  

But all that matters is ths bright triangulation, showing off in perfect accord with the forceful lion - Leo. 


Basics courtesy of Sky & Tel, Skywatcher, R&L, star charts