eastern mystery

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A waterway in eastern China has mysteriously turned a blood red color.

Residents in Zhejiang province said the river looked normal at 5 a.m. Beijing time on Thursday morning. Within an hour, the entire river turned crimson. Residents also said a strange smell wafted through the air.

Inspectors from the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau said they have not found the cause of the incident, although water samples seem to indicate the suspicious color was a result of illegal dumping in the river. (Source)

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Rashaida Tribe Woman Near Massawa, Eritrea by Eric Lafforgue Photography
Via Flickr:
The Rashaida tribe came to Eritrea from Saudi Arabia about 200 years ago, they live in the desert along the coastline of the Red Sea, are muslim, and their homeland extends from Massawa, Eritrea, to Port Sudan, Sudan; they are nomadic, the men are excellent camel traders and some even go to Emirates to take care of the rich people’s animals; Rashaida women always wear veils to cover their nose and their mouth, but not the hair, Rashaida live in isolated communities, preferring not to live with people of other tribes.


@ ethiopia-and-eritrea Agree with your note and made the needed changes from Eric Lafforgue comment. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Two symbols, that of G.I.Gurdjieff (left hand side) and Aleister Crowleys (right hand side).
The 9 pointed star symbol of Gurdjieff is also pictured with the Gods of Ancient Egypt (not comprehensively) at each point, although Gurdjieff himself would not have placed these dieties at the points.

Pictured below Aleister is his seal of the A.’.A.’. - or the Star of Babalon, and has had a plethora of attributions made to it, that warrant a book in itself.

Both men belived in a ‘Work’ (The Great Work/The Method) for raising ones conciousness, the power of Will, and the Eastern Mystery Traditions.

Frater 440.’.
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Poseidon Destroyed the World in 1200 BCE, Wrecked Atlantis, and Killed Mortal Culture For Over A Century, And His Kid Is Just As Dangerous. Or, how I took an archaeology class on Ancient Greece and got blindsided by headcanons and plot. Lots of thought about Poseidon and Percy. (Warning: if you don’t like history/archaeology you will get bored, but if you do, HELL YEAH GET IN ON THIS)

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phoebes  asked:

is this true? i hope so! "Long before the mythical Hades was ever conceived, in more ancient, pre-patriarchal times, Persephone was Queen of the Underworld. The pomegranate was an ancient symbol of female fertility; the souls of the underworld ate pomegranates so that they could be reborn. As the patriarchy gained power, the story was changed. Persephone, instead of going of her own free will into the underworld, was abducted by the (now male) God of Death and became his captive bride."

I really, really wish that this were true, but unfortunately, there’s just not a lot of evidence for this. I searched the quoted section and found this as the source you’re referring to, so I’ll respond to the source more fully than the above quote - if anything I say seems unrelated to your ask, it’s because I’m referring to other parts of the source, if that makes sense!

Firstly, the idea of a pre-patriarchal society is absolutely an established one, and it’s generally agreed that the patriarchy has not always been the prevalent model of society. Excavations in some of the most ancient cities so far discovered, in places such as Çatalhöyük in historic Anatolia, have suggested that neolithic societies were not patriarchal. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that they were matriarchal either. All evidence so far points to them being entirely egalitarian, with no division upon lines of gender, nor indeed upon lines of any hierarchy whatsoever. The belief that these societies were matriarchal stems from the discovery of artifacts such as the Seated Woman, a representation of a female deity dating from around 6,000 BC. The discovery of several similar artifacts, such as the Venus of Willendorff, dating from the paleolithic period, would seem to suggest that female deities were at least as important, if not more so, than male deities. Whereas the majority of female deities worshipped in more recent cultures are generally associated with typically female attributes, such as fertility, motherhood or the domestic space, the discovery of figurines such as this offer proof that women have not always been relegated to these roles. However, we shouldn’t assume that this proves that women used to hold a place in society above men - not being inferior to someone is not the same thing as being superior to them. We have no real idea what these female figurines really represented. The best guess, based on their emphasised features, is that they’re linked to fertility somehow, but this is just a guess. We don’t know enough about their contemporary cultures to speculate beyond that. 

The idea of an ancient (read: neolithic or chalcolithic) matriarchy is really rooted in the modern New Age movement, which focuses on the idea of an all-powerful Mother goddess. As mentioned above, we literally do not know that this is accurate. All we have are some statuettes of buxom women, and from that, we’ve decided that society was inherently matriarchal and worshipped a Mother goddess. This is an extremely tenuous assumption, and the New Age idea of a pre-patriarchal matriarchy defined by the existence and worship of a Great Goddess is rooted more in (entirely understandable) modern desires to challenge the patriarchy, rather than concrete historical evidence. 

So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go on to the part about Persephone! 

From the source your quote is from (your quote is bolded for context): 

Demeter is the Goddess of the harvest, the fertile ploughed earth, the Corn Mother; Persephone, the Corn Maiden, is the seed planted underground. Around the 15th century BCE, the Mycenaens brought Demeter from Crete to Eleusis, the place where she found her daughter and where the initiation of women into the Great Mysteries was performed. Classical Greek myth tells of Persephone having been abducted by Hades to become Queen of the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, implored the deities to let her daughter return to earth. They consented but, in the meantime, Persephone had eaten a seed from a pomegranate, forcing her to remain in the underworld. As a compromise, it was agreed that she would inhabit the earth for part of the year and the underworld during the other part, a metaphor for the growing season and non-growing season. However, long before the mythical Hades was ever conceived, in more ancient, pre-patriarchal times, Persephone was Queen of the Underworld and was another form of Hecate. Originally, the Triple Goddess was represented by Kore, the virgin; Demeter, the mother preserver; and Hecate or Persephone, the destroyer. In later years, Kore and Persephone became the same Goddess. The pomegranate was an ancient symbol of female fertility; the souls of the underworld ate pomegranates so that they could be reborn.

There are a couple of issues with this, too. Firstly, the Eleusinian Mysteries, as mentioned above, were Mycenean. That much is right. They also revolved around Persephone and Demeter. That’s also correct. However, the source then goes on to claim that the rape of Persephone by Hades is a Classical invention, and that her original role in the Eleusinian Mysteries was entirely discrete and separate from Hades, who didn’t exist yet. That’s just incorrect. The Eleusinian Mysteries include a series of rituals based around the myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades - the abduction of Persephone is central to the Mysteries. The origin of these mysteries, and the oldest literary version we have of this myth, is recounted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter - and yes, Hades is a main character. Therefore, I’m a bit confused as to why this source seems to be so convinced that Hades was conceived later than Persephone and Demeter in relation to their particular myth, unless it’s referring to their potential Near Eastern origins (eg the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris), in which case Demeter and Persephone are still just as recent as Hades. Demeter herself is probably a much older deity (edit: as loomlings added, she wasn’t Cretan) but her links with the Underworld through Persephone are not explicit without the presence of Hades.

Secondly, the claim that Hecate and Persephone were once interchangeable is again tenuous. The idea of Demeter and Persephone as forming part of the Triple Goddess is actually one of Robert Graves’, and is part of his own personal mythology - despite being a highly reputable mythographer, much of his established lore is actually his own invention and embellishment (which is part of the process of mythography, and is not a negative reflection of his work!). The idea of Kore, Persephone and Hecate combining to form Demeter as a Triple Goddess is theorised in his work ‘The White Queen’ and has since become popular in Wiccan and New Age theories, but is not prevalent throughout antiquity and is the result of a modern narrative tripling (maiden / mother / crone), not a Classical or ancient tradition, although the idea of a triple deity is sometimes considered an archetype of historical religion (see the works of Carl Jung for more on that). Also, Hecate and Persephone do have quite distinct roles from one another, often appearing in the same myth (including the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, in which Hecate is Persephone’s companion) so to claim that they were once the same deity doesn’t seem wholly accurate. Hecate was often represented as a triple goddess, but her representation was not linked to Kore / Persephone or Demeter. Instead, she was often affiliated with Artemis, and her triple form, pictured below the cut, was a later attribute.

I can also find literally 0 evidence to suggest that the pomegranate has ever represented female fertility in a pre-patriarchal society. Wikipedia says that it was a symbol of prosperity in Ancient Egypt, and that it represents fertility in certain modern societies, but that’s about it. (edit: loomlings also added that pomegranates used to represent the control of fertility rather than fertility itself)

To summarise, sadly there doesn’t appear to be an original basis for that version of the myth, but that doesn’t mean that this version of the myth is inaccurate. The very purpose of myth itself means that each subsequent generation tends to read it and apply their own cultural context. Whereas the myth of Persephone and Hades was historically relevant to a culture where female consent and sexual agency was not a prevalent idea, thus meaning that her abduction was not as abhorrent as we now perceive it, we now read the myth as a rape. It’s entirely possible to write a whole essay on this subject, but essentially, a myth has the meaning given to it by the culture which receives it, and now that we live in a society which values - at least comparatively - the idea of consent, it’s completely understandable that we seek to reject the idea that it might have been intended to support anything but female empowerment. 

However, the fact that it used to be a myth used to support and implement patriarchal ideas of consent and marriage does not mean that we can’t now use it to underpin ideas of female sexuality and empowerment. Let’s just do it by reinterpretation, rather than misinterpretation, which I think are two very different things here - ie we shouldn’t need to argue that society used to be matriarchal, despite the lack of evidence for this claim, in order to react to the myth of Persephone from a modern perspective. Our own society and culture is relevant enough to our reading, without having to falsify the original context in order to justify our interpretation. It’s already valid.

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Advan the Eastern Dragon:

Age: 24 (In human years, 240 in dragon years)
Blood type: A
Occupation: Scientist/doctor; researcher of plants, liquids and stones
Favorite shows/games: Document/Rhytm : Mythbusters/DDR
Favorite food: Strawberry Pocky
Instrument: None
Favorite animal: Lizards

So, finally one of my MSA OCs recieved an artwork in the original style ^^, always so much fun to draw in this one <3

brujasescarlata  asked:

you how el zorro and the shadow influenced the creation of batman, well what are the black widow's influences? what were people think about when they created the character?

Unlike Batman or Namor, Black Widow wasn’t the first of a kind. She was introduced to comics at a time when Soviet-spy themed villains were common, both at Marvel and in the wider pop-culture world, and the Cold War had inspired an espionage craze. For example, the earliest Hank Pym stories featured Comrade X, the USSR’s best espionage agent, soon revealed to be a woman in disguise.

Comrade, you are our best espionage agent! Thus I have selected you to capture the Ant-Man and learn how he is able to change his size!

Comrade X was introduced much the same way as Black Widow would be a few years later: a fearless leader called her into his unnamed office, and told her she needed to stop an American scientist-superhero. In Tales of Suspense, the old world CCCP headquarters became a villain-of-the-week factory, a constant stream of functionally faceless Soviet mooks. I don’t mean to suggest that Black Widow was “influenced” by the Larry Lieber/Jack Kirby Comrade X, but that they were both part of a wave of early sixties Cold War villans. Even Marvel poked fun at the ubiquity of commie spies in their comics: in Natasha’s first appearance she had a partner named Boris, after the archetypical Boris and Natasha of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Of course, unlike Comrade X, Natasha was presented as a woman from the start. Russian beauty is famous in Western pop culture, but it only applies to women. Silver Age Marvel is full of Eastern European with mysterious, sultry eyes, with heavy lashes and arched eyebrows: more dangerous than Gwen Stacy’s wide eyes or Pepper Potts’ freckles. The Russian men, on the other hand, are uniformly squat and large-nosed brutes. Almost inevitably, Soviet women were seduced by handsome, Western heroes. The captialist west offered freedom, redemption, and a superior standard of masculinity.

Hank Pym’s first wife, Maria, seen mostly in dreamy flashbacks, was a Hungarian woman convinced of the evils of communism. And then there are the Bond girls, notorious for their ambiguous motivations and unambiguous names. Natasha’s story most resembles Tatiana Romanova, the From Russia With Love honeytrap. Like the very early Natasha, Tatiana’s beauty is presented as dangerous, and like the very early Natasha she’s debatably a victim of Soviet espionage as much as its agent. Both Tatiana and Vesper Lynd are said to be based on stories of Krystyna Sarbek, a real Special Operations agent and war hero who did not disappear after one movie. Likewise, the archetype is informed not a little by the legend of Mata Hari, which married female sexuality with exoticism and patriotic danger.

As her comic book appearances went on, though, Natasha and her plotlines were written more and more in the visual and symbolic language of superheroes. She became a reluctant villain and later a hero in her own right. The introduction of Hawkeye into her story set up a mutual redemption arc, and she began teaming up with the Avengers, whose stories went places besides Communist Russia. The Cold War elements in Natasha’s story didn’t go away, but they were woven into a more traditional redeemed-villain storyline. Natasha’s motivations became less ambiguous: she wanted to prove herself and moral worth and win her own freedom. The romance with Hawkeye became complicated not by divided loyalties but by Natasha’s determination to act for herself.

This was the era of the fishnet costume, which bore not a little resemblance to what Black Canary was wearing over at DC. In Black Canary’s original appearances she was a criminal who enraptured the hero— it was later revealed she’d been working for the good guys all along. Borrowing the Black Canary colorscheme and fishnet details turned Natasha into a costumed fighter ready for four-color action. The romance with the archer-hero Hawkeye is also an obvious parallel, but the Black Widow/Hawkeye pairing actually predates Black Canary/Green Arrow. This is a case, I think, of both companies riffing off of what the other was doing.

In 1970, though, Natasha left Clint to persue solo adventures, and got the black jumpsuit red hair look that’s she’s most known for. The obvious visual comparison is to Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel, an early icon of style and competence. But even though elements of the sixties Avengers TV show have worked their way into the Marvel universe (especially when Chris Claremont is writing), Natasha’s black jumpsuit look isn’t one of them.

John Romita was instead influenced by the Golden Age character Miss Fury:

Miss Fury by Jack Kirby in the style of Tarpé Mills.

Miss Fury was a glamorous and determined adventuress who, like Natasha in the 1970s, had a wealthy socialite alter-ego. She was one of the first female heroes of the pulp era and her creator signed herself Tarpé Mills to disguse the fact that she was a woman. Dynamite Comics has recently revived the character in period stories.

Finally, in those early seventies stories, Natasha became marked by what I think is her most profound and specific influence, the British newspaper heroine Modesty Blaise. When Natasha went solo, remember, Marvel didn’t have much real precedent for solo female heroes, so Gerry Conway especially used Modesty Blaise as a template. Like that Natasha, Modesty was a bored socialite with a criminal past and action-hero impulses. Readers learned about Natasha’s background as a orphan refugee, something I always felt was a tribute to Modesty. Ivan became her Willie Garvin, a quasi-platonic older male sidekick who called her princess. The recent Warren Ellis/Alex Maleev Secret Avengers even features a black and white time travel interlude in the style of Modesty Blaise:

The Black Widow by Warren Ellis and Alex Maleev in the style of Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway.

Modesty Blaise was stylish and competent and complex, everything Conway wanted Natasha to be. But she never became Modesty, because there was too much Natasha already established. The thing about Natasha’s character history is not that she’s became important by avoiding cliches. Instead, her character straddles and combines tropes of different genres, creating something new and different in the pop alchemy. Like the universe she inhabits, Natasha is a bit of a mess, but like the universe she inhabits, that’s what makes her unique and enduring.


Images from Tales to Astonish #36, Miss Fury #2, and Secret Avengers #20.

Snakes on a Train

Inaccuracies

While the box promises “100 Trapped Passengers - 3,000 Venomous Vipers”, in reality there are only about a dozen passengers and a small handful of snakes shown in the film, while the official trailer of the film misspells the word “venomous” and stating 1,000 snakes. There is also a wholly unconnected, unexplained, and unresolved subplot regarding two female passengers smuggling drugs, an ex-Texas Narcotics Division officer on their tail, and a mysterious “middle eastern” man stalking all three.

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nblomblr-deactivated20170112  asked:

Is God sovereign over our mistakes?

Hey dear friend, I believe He is. However, I see what you mean by the question.  There’s a double-edge to it, because if “God is in control,” that means we’re not responsible for our actions and we could do what we want. But if God is not in control, then He wouldn’t be God either.

I can’t hope to fully explain the whole thing about sovereignty and our responsibility, because this is a paradox and my 3 lb. brain is allergic to paradoxes.  But I do believe that God is somehow both in control while we’re each responsible for our choices. I don’t know how it reconciles. C.S. Lewis offers a little help when he says,

“Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed him.”

I leave a few things to mystery. I hope that’s okay. I know our Enlightenment-conditioned minds are afraid to do this: we all have this wild urge to make narrative sense of our lives because we’re so trained towards Westernized formulas. Growing up as an Easterner, the “mystery” part was never a problem for me. I left some things to the unknowable void of human limitations and bowed down to a universe I could not always understand. This isn’t satisfying, but neither is trying to understand dang near everything. As the priest said in Angels and Demons,

“My mind cannot comprehend … my heart is not worthy.”

But to answer closer to home, I do believe God works with our mistakes. I mean if God can work with a dead person like Lazarus or a cheating playboy like Matthew or a murderous terrorist like Paul, then He can certainly work with you and me. While we could definitely miss a second chance with people or earthly opportunities or the job interview or the college of choice, I believe God always gives second chances with Him, no matter what. I’m learning this is the most important thing.  It’s the fact that He gives us endless grace which allows us to be okay with failure at all. 

At the same time, I see grace as both God’s embrace and God’s empowerment, so that my “mistakes” could be learned from as a platform for better.  I can have the honesty to see my wreckage and own my part without being crushed by condemnation, because God always meets us there with healing.  The honesty needs to be there though, because most times, our mistakes are actually just rebellion.  Yet still, God extends His hand, as always.

— J.S.