Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Night Miscellany

Ohhhhh, I'm so sick of winter - everybody together now - ohhhhhh, I'm so sick of winter... LOL! Got another 2 inches of snow last night but fortunately most of it melted away today during full sun (although unseasonably cool temperatures, only got up to 39 degrees F, yech). The 16.5" that fell in my neck of the woods last week Friday has mostly melted away too (except for the renewed snow banks that had almost been gone, sigh). Five unrelenting months of cold, hard near record-breaking snowy winter is giving way to rivers cresting at record-breaking levels above flood stage, much filth in the gutters (where DOES all of that garbage come from, and why don't the property owners clean it up? I always sweep out my gutters and pick up any garbage that dares to show its face at Maison Newton!) The new week promises lots of rain - not a good thing. The last time we had this much flooding threat was 1993, when we had the cryptosporidium outbreak in March (accompanied by 70 degree F temperatures - those I remember!), "boil your water" alerts and some 400,000 people allegedly sickened. Yeah, right. It was a way to get off work for a few days, claiming you had "the crypto." Being a perverse femme, I boiled water for my three doggies for the three weeks of the threat (all the doggies have since passed on to that Happy Hunting Ground in the Sky), but I drank my water straight out of the tap, LOL! Never got sick, neither a sniffle nor a cramp in sight! Drat! Anyway, I'm tired, kaput - it's been a long hard week and I'm still recovering from whatever bug it was that took away my voice last week Friday! The voice has returned along with half a ton of phlegm I've been coughing up ever since. Yechy! So, this will be short. First off - an absolutely fascinating story about how a practitioner of "black magic" called a Tantrik (I wonder, is this the same as a Tantric, which I always thought had something to do with S - E - X???) tried and failed before a television audience of hundreds of millions in India to kill a "non-believer!" Stay skinny - or risk dementia!!! This is news? Men can't "read" women - well DUH! What? Vitamin E Creams don't work? Quel horreurs! Good night, darlings.

Some Grail Lore

"Bloodline," a documentary about the Jesus Christ/Mary Magdalene bloodline is due out in theatres in May, 2008. Here's the website (I found out about this at the Daily Grail). The tagline is "What if the Greatest Story Ever Told was a Lie?"

Har! Anything to make a buck, and I expect that lots of people will pay good money for what I understand will be a rehash of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" (by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln) in film form - but with an actual mummified body revealed! I have to say, except for the fact that the main protagonist is overweight and scruffy (definitely not the Indiana Jones type), the film trailer is interesting. Ah well, it is an entertaining theory and I'm always up for tweaking the nose of established religion, in this case, the Christians.

In the spirit of the Grail, here's some information from Barbara G. Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:"

"Mount of salvation," the Temple of the Holy Grail vaguely located in the Pyrenees. This was probably an alternate name for the fortress of the heretical Cathari at Montsegur in the Pyrenees, where members of the sect were trapped and beseiged for years by papal armies, until the fortress was finally captured and destroyed in 1244.(1) The Grail temple was supposed to be the residence of Knights Templar who rode forth to the assistance of ladies in distress.(2) See Grail, Holy.

(1) See Oldenbourg, Massacre at Montsegur.
(2) Guerber, L.M.A., 200.

Grail, Holy
Christian myth said the Holy Grail was the chalice used by Christ at the Last Super when he poured wine for the disciples to drink, saying, "this is my blood" (Matthew 26:28). After the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea took the chalice to England and established it in a shrine at Glastonbury. Later, it disappeared.

This myth wasn't heared in Europe until the 12th century. The real origins of the Holy Grail were not Christian but pagan. The Grail was first Christianized in Spain from a sacred tradition of the Moors.(1) Like the Celts' holy Cauldron of Regeneration, which it resembled, the blood-filled vessel was the womb symbol meaning rebirth in the Oriental or Gnostic sense of reincarnation. Its connotation was feminine, not masculine.

The Grail was kept in a magnificent temple governed by a queen named Repanse de Joie (Dispenser of Joy), an ancient title of a holy harlot. Bards said her husband was a Moor, and her son John founded the easstern order of the Knighs Temlar, a gorup of warriors dedicated to the Grail temple and the defense of women. When a lady needed help, Grail knights like Galahad, Parsifal, or Lohengrin would receive orders in fiery lettters on the rim of the Grail and ride to the rescue. [Shades of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!]

Hispano-Moorish tradition located the Grail temple on Montsalvatch, the "Mount of Salvation" in the Spanish Pyrenees.(2) The temple was a model of the universe, topped by a gigantic ruby representing the maternal heart of the world, the Holy Rose. The pseudo-universe even included a miniature of itself enclosing the sacred vessel:

The temple itself was one hundred fathoms in diameter. Around it wre seventy-two chapels of an octagonal shape. To every pair of chapels there was a tower six stories high, approachable by a winding stair on the outside.... The vaulting was of blue shapphire, and in the cener was a plate of emerald....All the altar stones were of shapphire....Upon the inside of the cupola surmounting the temple, the sun and moon were represented in diamonds and topazes, and shed a light as of day even in the darkness of the night. The windos were of crystal, beryl, and other transparent stones. The floor was of translucent crystal, under which all the fishes of the sea were carved out of onyx, just like life. The towers were ofprecious stones inlaid with gold; their roofs of gold and blue enamel. Upon every tower there was a crystal cross, and upon it a golden eagle with expanded wings, which, at a distance, appeared to be flying. At the summit of the main tower was an immense carbuncle, which served, like a star, to guide the Templars thither at night. In the ecenter of the building, under the dome, was a miniature representation of the whole, and in this the holy vessel was kept.(3)

Like the Arabian brotherhood of hashishim (see Aladdin), the legendary Knights Templar waited for the Desired Knight, or Mahdi, to rescue the world from tyranny and esablish the benevolent rule of the Grail. The alternative was a dire prediction of the Waste Land, modeled on the arid wilderness of Arabia Deserta, which some eastern sages attributed to the departure of the Goddess.

There is more, but I think what I quoted above is the most pertinent information. Walker does go on to point out that the original form of the Grail was a bowl or cauldron, not a cup.

Do the hashishim still exist today? And, if they do, do they still await the arrival of the Mahdi, who will usher in the Age of the Goddess?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scandinavian Ladies' Open 2008

Final standings after Round 9 (126 players, top 60 reported here): Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 Rp 1 IM Muzychuk Anna SLO 2460 7,0 49,0 54,0 2574 2 IM Khukhashvili Sopiko GEO 2387 7,0 47,5 51,5 2566 3 IM Danielian Elina ARM 2480 7,0 43,5 48,0 2540 4 IM Hunt Harriet ENG 2457 6,5 49,5 54,0 2513 5 IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2422 6,5 48,5 53,0 2491 6 WIM Worek Joanna POL 2244 6,5 46,5 49,0 2371 7 IM Jackova Jana CZE 2375 6,5 45,0 49,5 2482 8 IM Vajda Szidonia HUN 2418 6,5 43,5 47,0 2439 9 WGM Sudakova Irina RUS 2333 6,5 43,5 47,0 2415 10 WIM Batsiashvili Nino GEO 2317 6,5 42,0 46,0 2428 11 WGM Reizniece Dana LAT 2309 6,5 42,0 45,5 2421 12 WGM Benderac Ana SRB 2324 6,5 41,5 45,0 2398 13 IM Lujan Carolina ARG 2365 6,0 45,0 49,0 2402 14 WGM Mamedjarova Zeinab AZE 2332 6,0 42,0 46,0 2416 15 IM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2429 6,0 42,0 45,5 2392 16 WGM Shumiakina Tatiana RUS 2352 6,0 41,0 45,0 2370 WIM Nemcova Katerina CZE 2342 6,0 41,0 45,0 2322 18 IM Purtseladze Maka GEO 2267 6,0 41,0 44,5 2396 19 IM Zatonskih Anna USA 2458 6,0 39,0 42,5 2369 20 WGM Melia Salome GEO 2362 5,5 47,0 51,5 2372 21 WIM Daulyte Deimante LTU 2251 5,5 45,5 49,0 2322 22 WFM Limontaite Simona LTU 2152 5,5 45,0 49,5 2410 23 WGM Muzychuk Mariya UKR 2357 5,5 44,5 49,0 2376 24 WGM Tkeshelashvili Sopio GEO 2250 5,5 44,5 47,0 2316 25 WIM Gavasheli Ana GEO 2235 5,5 43,0 46,0 2333 26 IM Kostiukova Liubov UKR 2290 5,5 43,0 45,5 2277 27 WGM Tsereteli Tamar GEO 2365 5,5 42,5 46,0 2323 28 WIM Molchanova Tatjana RUS 2365 5,5 41,5 45,5 2312 29 WIM Burtasova Anna RUS 2345 5,5 41,0 45,0 2327 30 WGM Mamedjarova Turkan AZE 2313 5,5 41,0 44,5 2320 WIM Szczepkowska-Horowska Karina POL 2293 5,5 41,0 44,5 2289 32 WGM Stepovaia Tatiana RUS 2376 5,5 40,5 44,0 2332 33 WGM Calzetta Monica ESP 2269 5,5 40,0 43,5 2310 34 WGM Khotenashvili Bela GEO 2271 5,5 39,5 43,0 2274 35 IM Fierro Baquero Martha L. ECU 2341 5,5 38,5 42,0 2287 36 WIM Berzina Ilze LAT 2281 5,5 38,0 40,5 2315 37 Agrest Inna SWE 2168 5,5 38,0 38,5 2230 38 WIM Umudova Nargiz AZE 2205 5,0 44,0 48,0 2397 39 WGM Shaidullina Sandugach RUS 2306 5,0 42,5 46,0 2356 40 WGM Karlovich Anastazia UKR 2198 5,0 42,0 46,0 2383 41 IM Ciuksyte Dagne ENG 2377 5,0 42,0 45,5 2261 42 IM Socko Monika POL 2479 5,0 40,5 44,5 2318 43 WIM Blazkova Petra CZE 2233 5,0 40,5 44,0 2247 44 WIM Cherenkova Kristina RUS 2256 5,0 39,5 42,0 2234 45 IM Vasilevich Tatjana UKR 2370 5,0 38,5 42,0 2286 46 WGM Krivec Jana SLO 2345 5,0 38,0 41,5 2269 47 WGM Arutyunova Diana UKR 2285 5,0 38,0 40,0 2205 48 WIM Toma Katarzyna POL 2259 5,0 37,0 40,5 2189 49 WGM Sammalvuo Niina FIN 2253 5,0 37,0 38,0 2217 50 WGM Matseyko Katerina UKR 2301 4,5 48,5 51,5 2268 51 WGM Rogule Laura LAT 2241 4,5 43,0 46,5 2202 WFM Pavlovskaia Evgenia SWE 2188 4,5 43,0 46,5 2307 53 WGM Maksimovic Suzana SRB 2264 4,5 43,0 46,0 2268 54 WIM Rudolf Anna HUN 2242 4,5 42,5 45,5 2179 55 WIM Boric Elena BIH 2274 4,5 42,0 44,5 2253 56 WIM Ionica Iulia ROU 2251 4,5 41,5 43,5 2174 57 WIM Gromova Julia RUS 2219 4,5 40,5 43,0 2229 58 WIM Sandu Mihaela ROU 2313 4,5 40,0 44,0 2231 59 WIM Gutierrez Paloma ESP 2146 4,5 39,5 43,5 2222 60 WGM Meshcheriakova Evgenia RUS 2318 4,5 38,5 42,5 2216 Annotation:Tie Break1: Buchholz Tie-Breaks (variabel with parameter)Tie Break2: Buchholz Tie-Breaks (variabel with parameter)

Another Chess Movie!

As I understand it, plans are afoot for a movie about the Fischer-Spassky Rekjavik Match and a few other chess-themed movies too. Good for the sport - the more publicity the better. This movie sounds cool - and it has a female protagonist! Kevin Kline shows lot of Gaul starring in French drama Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:59pm EDT By Gregg Goldstein NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - In his first French-speaking role, Kevin Kline is starring in a drama shooting on location on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. "Joueuse (Queen to Play)" stars Sandrine Bonnaire as a hotel maid captivated by a romantic couple (Jennifer Beals and Francis Renaud) playing chess. The doctor (Kline) whose house she cleans reluctantly becomes her mentor in the game, leading her to a chess tournament and initiating major transformations in her life. First-time feature director Caroline Bottaro adapted the screenplay from Bertina Henrichs' novel "The Chess Player." Kline courted Meg Ryan as a Parisian in "French Kiss," but this is his first role in a French production. "He speaks good French, better than John Malkovich (who lives in France)," said Michel Feller, one of the film's producers. Kline's recent credits include "Definitely, Maybe" and "A Prairie Home Companion." Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Evidence Implies Neanderthals Wore "Make-up" and Talked to Each Other

Neanderthals wore make-up and liked to chat 09:24 27 March 2008 news service Dan Jones Could Neanderthals speak? The answer may depend on whether they used make-up. Francesco d'Errico, an archaeologist from the University of Bordeaux, France, has found crafted lumps of pigment – essentially crayons – left behind by Neanderthals across Europe. He says that Neanderthals, who most likely had pale skin, used these dark pigments to mark their own as well as animal skins. And, since body art is a form of communication, this implies that the Neanderthals could speak, d'Errico says. Working with Marie Soressi of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, d'Errico has recovered hundreds of blocks of black manganese pigment from two neighbouring sites at Pech de l'AzĂ© in France, which were occupied by Neanderthals. These add to evidence of pigment among Neanderthal from some 39 other sites. The pigments were not just smeared onto the body like camouflage, d'Errico says, but fashioned into drawing tools. "The flat, elongated surfaces on the archaeological specimens are consistent, as confirmed experimentally, with producing clearly visible straight black lines, perhaps arranged to produce abstract designs," says d'Errico, who presented his work on 15 March at the Seventh Evolution of Language Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Essential words Body painting, argues d'Errico, is a "material proxy" for symbolic communication. What's more, he says, the techniques for making the symbols, and the meaning they carry, would have to be transmitted through language. And body painting isn't the only proxy associated with Neanderthal remains. Neanderthals adorned their bodies with ornamentation, such as necklaces made from shell beads. The sorts of beads used by modern humans, and the ornaments they fashioned from them, vary geographically. This is often interpreted as a sign of ethnic and cultural diversity among humans, and a means of symbolically binding groups and differentiating them from others. D'Errico suggests that the same holds true for Neanderthals. Other researchers agree, and point to a double standard of some researchers in interpreting the archaeological record, including evidence of burials, care of the infirm and social cooperation. 'Inferior ability' "Some archaeologists are happy to associate these same features with language if they occur with modern humans, but are not willing to associate them with language among the Neanderthals," says anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St Louis, US. "The double standard doesn't work - if they reflect language in one, they must reflect in it both." However, even if Neanderthals had language capabilities, that does not mean they spoke in the same way as humans. "The archaeological record does not show that they ever attained the cultural level of the humans who could talk as we do," says Phillip Lieberman, a linguist at Brown University, Rhode Island, US. "Neanderthals possessed language, but their linguistic and cognitive ability was inferior to the humans who replaced them," he says. ************************************************************************************* Someday the scientists will get this right, but right now, "homo sapiens sapiens" is still arrogantly asserting that Neanderthals were inferior in "their linguistic and cognitive ability." Well, tell me scientists, how do we know that for sure? Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence! DUH!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Goddess Astarte

From Barbara G. Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." Astarte Lady of Byblos, one of the oldest forms of the Great Goddess in the Middle East, identified with Egypt's Hathor, Mycenae's Demeter, Cyprus's Aphrodite. Her shrine at Byblos dated back to the Neolithic and flourished throughout the Bronze Age.(1) She was the same creating-preserving-and-destroying Goddess worshipped by all Indo-European cultures, and still typified by Kali as the symbol of Nature. Astarte was the "true sovereign of the world," tirelessly creating and destroying, eliminating the old and generating the new.(2) Sidonian kings could not rule without her permission. Each king styled himself first and foremost "Priest of Astarte." Sumerian cylinder seals from Lagash, ca. 2300 B.C., showed the Goddess in a pose identical with Kali's love-and-death sacremental posture, squatting on top of her consort's body.(3) To the Arabs the Goddess was Athar, "Venus in the Morning." In Aramaic she was Attar-Samayin, "Morning Star of Heaven," uniting two sexes in herself, like Lucifer the Morning Star and Diana Lucifera. Her Hurrian name ws Attart, or sometimes Ishara, another form of Ishtar, "the Star."(4) To Canaanite, she was Celestial Ruler, Mistress of Kingship, mother of all baalim (gods.)(5). Astarte ruled all the spirits of the dead who lived in heaven wearing bodies of light, visible from earth as stars. Hence, she was known as Astroarche, "Queen of the Stars."(6) She was the mother of all souls in heaven, the Moon surrounded by her star-children, to whom she gave their "astral" (starry) bodies. Occultists still speak of the astral body as an invisible double, having forgotten the word's original connotation of starlight.(7) Astarte-Ashtoreth was transformed into a devil by Christian writers, who automatically assumed that any deity mentioned in the Bible other than Yahweh was one of the denizens of hell. She was also masculinized. One finds in books of the 15th and 16th centuries a demon Ashtoreth or Astaroth, a "duke" or "prince" of hell.(8) Milton knew better; he spoke of "Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns."(9) Scholars who really understood the mystery of Astarte recognized in her one of the ancient protypes of the virgin Mary. In Syria and Egypt her sacred dramas celebrated the rebirth of the solar god from the celestial Virgin each 25th of December. A newborn child was exhibited, while the cry went up that the Virgin had brought forth. Frazer says, "No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess whom the Semites called the Hezvely Virgin or simply the Heavely Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte."(10) Notes: (1) Encyc. Brit., "Byblos." (2) Massa, 101. (3) Campbell, Or. M., 42. (4) Albright, 196, 228. (5) Stone, 164. (6) Lindsay, O.A., 327. (7) Cavendish, P.E., 44. (8) de Givry, 132. (9) Cavendish, P.E., 237. (10) Frazer, G.B., 416.

Kerelas Men Dress Up As Women And Offer Prayers

It's called getting in touch with your "softer side." From Thaindian News March 26, 2008 By K.Ashik Kottankulangara (Kerala), Mar 25 (ANI): Hundreds of men dressed up as women offered prayers at a temple in a unique ritual.Men wearing various costumes, including saree, skirt and the traditional Kerala settu mundu (another form of drape), went to the Kottankulangara temple in Chavara in a procession with lighted lamps in their hands.Fulfilling the festival tradition, they carry a lamp having five lights mounted on a long wooden rod. The lights in the lamp are used to light other lamps. Men come to the revered temple to fulfill their vows and to thank the Goddess for the favours received. “I am taking part in this festival to wash away my sins. This is the first time that I am participating in this festival, said Abhijith, a participant. “This has reinforced my belief that the Goddess is powerful and that she showers her blessings on us. Earlier also, I had come and it proved fruitful. I am sure, it will help me again,” said Reghu, a businessman. There are many stories about the origin of the festival but the most popular version says a group of boys who used to herd cows would playfully dress up as girls and offer flowers and a coconut dish called ‘kottan’ to a stone. The story goes that the goddess appeared before one of the boys. Subsequently, a temple came up and the ritual of men dressing up as women to offer prayers to the goddess got under way. This stone has now come to be regarded as the temple deity, and some say the stone has been growing in size over the years. (ANI) More coverage: Thousands of men, irrespective of their religious faith, dressed up as women during "Chamayavilakku" or, a costume ritual at the Kottankulangara Devi Temple in Chavara near Kollam in Kerala.

Easter Island Vandal Arrested

Easter Island statue damaged Tue Mar 25, 2:42 PM ET SANTIAGO, Chile - A Finnish tourist was detained after allegedly stealing a piece of volcanic rock from one of the massive Moai statues on Easter Island. Marko Kulju, 26, faces prison and a fine of $19,000 if convicted of breaking off part of the ear of a Moai, one of numerous statues carved out of volcanic rock between 400 and 1,000 years ago to represent deceased ancestors. A native Rapanui woman told authorities she witnessed the theft Sunday at Anakena beach and saw Kulju fleeing from the scene with a piece of the broken earlobe in his hand. Police later identified him by the tattoos the woman saw on his body. While some of the Moais are more than 70 feet tall, most average 20 feet in height and weigh about 20 metric tons. The statues gaze out on the south Pacific more than 2,300 miles off Chile, which annexed Easter Island in the 19th century. The Moais were nominated, but not chosen, as one of the new seven wonders of the world, selected by average citizens in a global poll a nonprofit organization conducted last year. About 3,800 people live on the 70 sq.-mile island, most of them ethnic Rapanui.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 Women's World Chess Championship

Thank you once again, Susan Polgar, for bringing women's chess news to the fore. I read at her website today about a report from Chessbase indicating that the no-news 2008 Women's World Chess Championship which had ostensibly been scheduled to be held in ARGENTINA, starting June 18th and ending July 11th, 2008, has perhaps been taken over by a last minutes offer from Turkey after the successful Ataturk International Women Masters Tournament. Note that according to the official FIDE website as of March 25, 2008 at 10:47 p.m. CST (hint: that's the date and time I'm making this post at present), there has been nothing released from Argentina - not even a proto-website, for what is supposed to be one of the premiere chess events in the world! Well, I confess, darlings, I was not holding my breath that this event would EVAH take place. Kirsan doesn't care about women's chess. And so it is good news indeed from Chessbase, who broke the story, of a potential offer to host the Women's World Chess Championship in Turkey under the auspices of the Turkish Sports Ministry. I do hope there is something to this. Women's chess deserves much better treatment than it has received at the hands of FIDE. Will it ever receive it? Only you, the readers, can make a difference. Visit websites and blogs that talk about and feature articles about women's chess and put up "hits" - hey, darlings, it's a numbers game! Shove the stats down the throats of the male chauvenist oinkers who - well, never mind - I'm all hormonal tonight, hot flashes and all that jazz...

2008 U.S. Women's Chess Championship

The USCF website has published a new article about the soon to be held "qualifier" event for the 2008 U.S. Chess Championships. The pertinent part as far as Goddesschess is concerned (one of our goals is to promote women's chess) is about the women's event. In short - to quote directly from USCF's press release: the top female finisher will receive a nod to the Women's Championship. Math tiebreaks will be used to determine those slots, if necessary. According to this current information, it appears that only four women in the entire USA have decided to enter the qualifier, hoping for a shot at one of the 10 spots in the U.S Women's Chess Campionship: WFM Iryna Zenyuk, WFM Chouchan Airapetian, Mila Mokriak and Alexey Root. Good luck to all of these chess femmes! In 2007, Goddesschess awarded a $300 brilliancy prize at the 2007 U.S. Women's Chess Championship, which was won by Liz Vicary. This year Goddesschess is sponsoring a $350 "Fighting Chess" award/prize for the best game among the women at the 2008 U.S. Women's Chess Championship. GM Susan Polgar has graciously agreed to be the judge of the game best fitting the "Fighting Chess" title in the style epitomized by the Polgar sisters. It is the intent of Goddesschess that this will be a long-term sponsorship for the benefit of the women competing in the U.S. Women's Chess Championship each year.

2008 Kolkata (Calcutta) Open

One of my favorite chess femmes, GM Koneru Humpy (IND ) is playing in the Kolkata Open on the top boards, against an overwhelming force of GMs and IMs! Here's a list of the chess femmes playing (out of 114 players): SNo. First Name Last Name Title Rating FED 3 Humpy Koneru GM 2612 IND 29 Nisha Mohota WGM 2409 IND 75 Manisha Mohanty Kiran WIM 2270 IND 78 Mary Ann Gomes WIM 2255 IND 88 Rout Padmini WIM 2210 IND 89 Kruttika Nadig WIM 2208 IND I'm sure there are several other chess femmes playing, but I did not recognize the names right off and I'm too tired to run a FIDE name search on each and every name down to player 114 tonight. Sorry!

Evidence of Lost Tribe Discovered in China's Shaanxi Province?

From in English Video link at website Source: 03-25-2008 10:46 There is something amazing, standing at a museum observing exhibits hundreds and even thousands of years old. But how does one top the mystery of a lost civilization? Archaeologists believe they may have discovered evidence of a lost tribe, never before known in Chinese history. The findings come from an excavation in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The site of what's believed to have been a major settlement is in Qishan county, Baoji city. There is a graveyard containing more than 900 tombs. Workers have excavated 15 of them so far and in the process uncovered more than 3,000 items. There are articles of jade, pottery, bronze utensils, and tools made of bone. Judging from the shapes of the relics, experts believe the settlement was occupied some 3-thousand years ago, by a tribe that was not part of the Zhou. It's the first discovery pointing to the existence of such a tribe. ************************************************************************************ Ohmygoddess! Could this be further evidence of the mysterious "European" looking settlers? And if it is - will the Chinese authorities ever let us know? They are extremely sensitive about the subject of non-Han peoples living anywhere in China (except, of course, in a subservient role).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Living Chess Pieces Needed

This sounds like so much fun! From Volunteers needed for Living Chess Match Submitted by Jessica Volsic Posted: March 24, 2008 The 2008 Fishers Renaissance Faire is seeking volunteers to perform in living chess matches at the Fishers Renaissance Faire on Oct. 4 and 5. Auditions will be April 6 at the Fishers Public Library from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Andrea Fivush, cast irector for the 2008 Fishers Renaissance Faire says the idea is "akin to "Wizard's Chess" from the popular Harry Potter movies. Players will command human pieces across the board. When a piece is taken, they will fight to the death, with the loosing piece ultimately leaving the board -- to the cheers, or jeers, of the crowd." No experience is required to volunteer, however, people interested in participating should be comfortable performing in front of large groups of people. Experience in dance, improvisation, martial arts, or stage combat is a plus. Weapons provided for the audition, but volunteers will need to provide their own costumes and weapons for the actual event. They will also need to attend weekly practice sessions that will start in May. The Fishers Renaissance Faire is a dynamic, cultural and experiential event in an enchanting village-like setting that celebrates the relationship between Fishers, IN and her Sister City of Billericay, England. The 2007 Faire had over 12,000 patrons, over 300 volunteers and 70 artisans. The 2008 Fishers Renaissance Faire is Oct. 4-5 at Conner Prairie (13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, IN) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, rain or shine. Contact Jessica Volsic at (317) 652-8651.

News on the "Altai Princess"

From Russia News & Information Agency New tomb for 'Altai Princess' to be built in Siberia NOVOSIBIRSK, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - A tomb to house the remains of a woman found after being preserved in ice for 2,500 years will be built in Siberia's Altai Republic, the director of a local museum said on Thursday. The well-preserved remains of the woman dubbed the Altai Princess were discovered in the region by a team led by a Novosibirsk archeologist in 1993 near the Mongolian border, and have been studied at the Archaeology and Ethnography Institute in Novosibirsk. Residents of Altai, where shamanism is still widespread, had repeatedly called for the body's return to its homeland, and blamed the removal for earth tremors and other natural disasters. However, Novosibirsk scientists had been reluctant to return the body, saying local museums did not have the necessary facilities to preserve it. "A decision has been taken to build a sloping building for the mummy, resembling a burial mound. This will be an extension to the main building of the national museum" in Gorno-Altaysk, the museum director said. The body will now be housed in a state-of-the-art glass temperature-controlled case. Construction work should be finished by the end of this year. Russian state natural gas giant Gazprom has contributed about $11 million to the reconstruction of the museum, and the building of the tomb and sarcophagus, the head of the republic, Alexander Berdnikov, said earlier. Scientists have no information on the actual history of the Altai Princess, but DNA tests and facial reconstruction have suggested she was ethnically European. ************************************************************************************ For more information about the "Altai Princess": Nova transcript, November 24, 1998 - really fascinating information! Curse of the Ice Princess, April 2, 2004 BBC News

Kill the Men!

You've got to love it: From BBC News Study unlocks Latin American past Friday, March 21, 2008 European colonisation of South America resulted in a dramatic shift from a native American population to a largely mixed one, a genetic study has shown. It suggests male European settlers mated with native and African women, and slaughtered the men. *********************************************************************************** Okay, can we say DUH all together now? Since when in history HAVEN'T conquerors killed the men and raped and enslaved the surviving women? You can find the rest of the article here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Women in Archaeolgy: Jennifer Lockett

Her nickname is "Indiana Jen." Love it!

Who am I?
I am a Classical Archaeologist currently teaching at Texas Christian University and Tarrant County College NW Campus.

Recently (March 18) Professor Lockett gave a talk at TCU:

Cult and religion are synonymous for some religious sects within Roman culture, an adjunct anthropology professor told students and faculty Monday.

Over a catered lunch, students and faculty listened to a lecture by Jennifer Lockett, adjunct anthropology professor and classical archaeologist, titled "Ancient Roman Cults and Mystery Religions," organized by Chi Delta Mu , an academic religious student organization. Chi Delta Mu is open to all students and organizes weekly lectures in different disciplines every Monday.

Lockett said the definition of a cult is veneration, adoration and worship.

The Roman mystery cults, a religious sect of Roman culture with selective membership and without public rituals, were just as important as traditional Roman religions and practices in Roman culture, Lockett said.

Romans were tolerant of other religious traditions when they conquered the East Mediterranean and Asia Minor, Lockett said, allowing cults to coexist without conflict.

She said not only did the unknown allure members, but the offer of a better afterlife attracted many worshipers.

The mystery cults promised a better afterlife, but they were also an easy scapegoat during times of social and political upheaval, Lockett said.

The cults suffered waves of violent suppression throughout history, she said.

Prominent cults, like the Cult of Bacchus, triggered many conspiracy theories to hatch and cause witch hunts. In 186 B.C., 7,000 suspected members of the Cult of Bacchus were hunted and killed because they were deemed dangerous to the state, she said.

Mystery cults still exist, such as the Freemasons, revived and made popular by author Dan Brown, author of "Da Vinci Code," Lockett said.

Jeremy Arnold , president of Chi Delta Mu , [said] Lockett's lecture appealed to him because it gave him insight to some history of Rome, where he plans to study for the entire next semester.
Sure, and it wouldn't have a thing to do with her long hair and sexy good looks, would it now? Har!

Now I'm wondering, though, if those crafty Masons plotted for Dan Brown to write and publish his latest novel(not yet out)that, after The DaVinci Code, is bound to be an instant megahit, as they were looking for new recruits to refresh their frankly heretofore declining ranks. What better way to generate fresh interest and potentially thousands of new recruits than to engineer a new Dan Brown Novel that features the Masons...

By the way, if you ever have a chance, please take a tour of the main Masonic Temple in Montreal, Quebec. It is absolutely magnificent. I saw it together with dondelion (who arranged for a guided tour), Isis and Michelle in late November, 2001. We laid over for a day in Montreal en route to Amsterdam when we attended the 2001 IGK Symposium at the Max Euwe Centrum. Image of the Masonic Memorial Temple from website Grand Lodge of Quebec A.F. & A.M.
It's a beautiful place. You can find lots more images and photo albums of it online.

A Different Take on the Lupercal

I recently watched one of my favorite movies, the 1969 version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips with Petula Clark and Peter O'Toole. For the life of me, this "letter to the editor" sounds like it's coming from the mouth of Professor Chipping! From The Times March 18, 2008 Historical digging The truth behind the Roman cave Sir, It seems that any archaeological claim can make headlines these days, no matter how implausible. I refer, of course, to last year’s published discovery of the Lupercal on the Palatine in Rome. My incredulity came not at the existence of such a place — the fabled nursery of Romulus and Remus, suckled by a wolf — but at the evidence presented by Carandini’s team in support of the publication. I was not the only one to doubt. Last month a topography expert, Professor Coarelli, dismissed the archaeologists’ findings in an article printed in La Repubblica, offering instead the mundane opinion that the cave is a fountain or nymphaeum. While this satisfied my frustration at Carandini’s loopy call, it did not, to my mind, provide an adequate enough alternative. In order to settle this matter once and for all, then, might I propose my own opinion, at once less mundane than Coarelli’s and more enlightening than Carandini’s? On discussing the stranger habits of the late Emperor Augustus in his Twelve Caesars, Suetonius, a Roman historian, exposes a chink in the aegis of this otherwise great ruler. He tells us that the Emperor was so terrified by thunder and lightning that he had a storm bunker built beneath his palace, to protect him from the gods. This fear, extreme as it sounds, is understandable when we hear (ibid 29) that, during a campaign abroad earlier on in his career, he very narrowly escaped a direct hit from Jupiter, witnessing the torch-bearer right in front of him incinerated on the spot. The fact, then, not only that the grotto was discovered during excavations of Augustus’s palace but was then found to be decorated with a material (shells) pertaining to Neptune (the god of sea storms), and iconography (an eagle) pertaining to Jupiter (the god of sky storms), indicates that Carandini’s team has indeed found something special. William Ford Teacher of classics, Godolphin and Latymer School London W6

Giant Statue of Queen Tiye Discovered at Memnon

Statue of pharonic queen discovered in south Egypt
(Image: Statue of a queen, probably Tiy, execavated at the Temple of Mut at Luxor, January, 2006. I wonder if this is the same statue?)

Sat Mar 22, 4:25 PM ET

LUXOR, Egypt (AFP) - Egyptian and European archeologists on Saturday announced they had discovered a giant statue of an ancient pharaonic queen on the spectacular south Egypt site of the Colossi of Memnon.

The statue represents Queen Tiy, the wife of 18th dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III, and stands 3.62 metres high (almost 12 feet).

It was discovered around the site of the massive Colossi of Memnon twin statues that command the road to Luxor's famed Valley of the Kings.

Two sphinx representing Tiy and Amenhotep III as well as 10 statues in black granite of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet, who protected the pharaohs, we also found by the archeologists and presented to reporters and senior officials.

Culture Minister Faruq Hosni hailed the discovery as a "formidable" entreprise and told reporters he expected the statues to be erected for public view next year.

They will be joined by two 15-metre-high (50 feet) statues, excavated in recent years, which will be placed 100 metre (yards) behind the Colossi of Memnon as part of an "open air museum."

"Once these new colossi and the other new discoveries are put in place... this site will become one of the most important open air museums of the pharaonic period," the head of the archeological team Hourig Sourouzian said.

The Colossi of Memnom are massive quartzite sandstone statues, some 20 metres high, which used to guard a temple dedicated to Amenhotep III that was destroyed in a devastating earthquake in the 1st century AD.

Over the centuries the rising waters of the Nile River inundated the rest of the site.

Archeologists hope to rehabilitate the site within five years.

The Secrets of the Ass

See my comments about the bison in this prior post. Here's a quote from Barbara Walker's "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:" "After castrating Set, Horus spread his blood on the fields to render them fertile - the usual fructification-by-male-blood found in the oldst sacrificial Mysteries." Eek! The imagery is ghastly, of course, but the concept is there, that of a male blood sacrifice used to sanctify and reinvigorate the land at the start of the growing season. Interestingly, I found this quote under the Encyclopedia's entry on "Ass!" This entry is loaded with information. Ass The ass-god Pales had an extensive cult throughout the ancient world. Palestine, Philistia, and the Palatine Hil in Rome were named for Pales, who was both male and female.(1) [I expect today's "Palestinians" would be rather upset with this bit of etymological history.] The Old Norse word Ass meant both "Asian" and "deity," possibly indicating that the divine ass originated in Asia.(2) The pre-Vedic sacred king Ravbana sported ten crowned human heads surmounted by one ass head, symbolizing the spirit of the ass god incarnate in ten kings.(3) The long ears of the ass seem to have had the same significance of virility in ancient India as the horns of the sacred bull or stag.(4) Tacitus said the Jews worshipped the ass because wild asses were responsible for their survival in the desert.(5) According to Genesis 36:24, it was the tribal matriarch Anah, or Hannah, who first found asses in the wilderness. Balaam's oracular she-ass may have been a manifestation of the spirit of Anah, as Balaam himself was another name for Baal. Samson slew the Philistines with an ass's jawbone, the same bone still regarded as a seat of the soul by some African tribes.(6) Jesus entered Jerusalem on an ass's colt, symbol of the New Year. The lilim or Children of Lilith were ass-haunched, for they were spirits left over from the real source of the Jewish ass-cult: Egypt, home of the ass-headed god Set, or Seth. Set once ruled the dynastic gods, and in token of his sovereignty displayed a pair of ass's ears at the tip of a reed scepter. The Hyksos kings of Egypt revived Set's cult in the 2nd millenium B.C., perhaps because their own ass-eared Midas was a similar god-king. The annual alternation of Set and his brother Osiris (or Horus), who murdered each other in perpetual rivalry for the favors of Isis, refleced constant replacement of sacred kings in pre-dynastic times.(7) Ass-eared Midas, a son of Cybele, died of drinking bull's blood. In other words, he was connected with the Taurobolium or bull-sacrifice made in honor of both Cybele and Isis. Midas has been identified with Mita ("Seed"), a king of the Moschians or "calf-men," who invaded the country of the Hittites from Thrace during the second millenium B.C. Midas's Golden Touch and ass's ears link him with the cult of Set and the Golden Calf (Horus), whose image was worshipped by the Israelites (Exodus 32:2-4). Under Eygpt's Hyksos kings, Set was a god of the hot desert wind, known as the Breath of the Ass. He was "Lord of the Chambers of the South," whence storm winds came.(8) His wind from the desert was supposed to bring pestilence, i.e., typhus, derived from Set's Greek name, Typhon. This name was interlingual and world-wide. It means both the ass god and the wind called tufan in Arabic and Hindustani; t'ai fung in chinese; and tuffoon or Typhoon in the South Pacific.(9) Ass-headed Set was a sacrificial deity in the cult of Horus and Osiris. He was crucified on a furka and wounded in the side.(10) He and Horus were represented as alternating year-gods who fought and castrated one another, each being baptized in the blood the other's "pahllic eye," as the Pyramid Text said" "Horus is purified with the Eye of his brither Set; Set is pruified with the Eye of his brother Horus."(11) (Pyramid Texts: Collections of prayers, hymns, and magic spells inscribed on the inner walls of the pyramids at Saqqarah, dating from the 5th through 7th dynasties.) The Eye or phallus passed from one to the other. A statute of Horus at Coptos carried Set's severed phallus in his hand.(12) After castrating Set, Horus spread his blood on the fields to render them fertile - the usual fructification-by-male-blood found in the oldest sacrificial Mysteries.(13) Thus, Set and Horus were remnants of a primitive sacred-king cult, which the Jews adopted. The story of the rival gods appeared in the Bible as Seth's supplanting of the sacrificed shepherd Abel, evidently the same "Good Shephered" as Osiris-Horus (Genesis 4:25). Their rivalry resolved in Egypt by having the pharaoh unite both gods in himself. Tomb paintings of Ramses IV shoed him as both Set and Horus, two heads set upon one neck.(14) Similarly, the Jewish God uniting both Father and Son was sometimes an ass-headed man crucified on a tree. This was one of the earliest representations of the Messiah's crucifixion. some said Christ was the same as the Jewish ass-god Iao, identified with set.(15) Jews in Rome were said to worship an ass's head as their deity.(16) the Roman cult of the ass apparently originaed in Libya, home of the bisexual Pales, whose temple stood on the Palatine Hill and gave rise to the word "palace."(17) Servius said Pales was a Goddess, the Diva Palatua, a disguise of Vesta. Others said Pales was either a female protectress of hered animals, or Vesta's male consort. In the first two centuries A.D., Pales was worshipped as a priapic god at the festival of the Palilia, traditional date of the founding of Rome, when the Palladium was brought to Vesta's temple.(18) Priests of Pales wore ass-head masks as they danced in honor of the long-eared deity. The Palilia was taken into the Christian calendar as the Feast of St. George. One of its old customs may have given rise to the Halloween game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," which recalls Rome's sacrifices of equine tails triumphantly carried to the temple of Vesta.(19) Notes: (1) Larousse, 209. (1) Turville-Petre, 23. (3) Norman, 123. (4) Rawson, E.A., 25. (5) Tacitus, 658. (6) Book of the Dead, 270-71. (7) Graves, G.M. 1, 283-84. (8) Graves, W.G., 301. (9) Encyc. Brit., "Typhoon." (10) Campbell, M.I., 29. (11) Norman, 42. (12) Knight, S.L., 124. (13) Budge, G.E. 2, 59. (14) Norman, 38, 48. (15) M. Smith, 62. (16) Guignebert, 53. (17) Briffault 3, 18. (18) Larousse, 209. (19) Dumezil, 221. *************************************************************************************** Is Walker's interpretation of Genesis 36:24 correct? I checked the three bible translations I have here at home, and a couple more online and found only the King James Version (and New King James Version) agreed with her:
  • The Book (The Living Bible): "The children of Zibeon: Aiah, Anah. (This is the boy who discovered a hot springs in the wasteland while he was grazing his father's donkeys.")
  • The New World Translation put out by the Jehovah's Witnesses: "And these are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness while he was tending the asses for Zibeon his father."
  • The King James version: "And these are the children of Zibeon: both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father."
  • The New International Version (online): "The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon."
  • English Standard version (online): "These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah; he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness, as he pastured the donkeys of Zibeon his father."
  • The New King James Version: "These were the sons of Zibeon: both Ajah and Anah. This was the Anah who found the water[a] in the wilderness as he pastured the donkeys of his father Zibeon." Footnotes: [a] Following Masoretic Text and Vulgate (hot springs); Septuagint reads Jamin; Targum reads mighty men; Talmud interprets as mules.

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