european religion

Describing the Signs in AP European References

Aries: You’re as fierce than the Byzantine Empire as it swept it’s way through the Mediterranean and conquered land

Taurus: You’re as stubborn than the first estate in France in the 1800′s refusing that they were in debt from all the wars they fought and lost

Gemini: You’re as happy as Great Britain was during the Victorian Era, where science and industrial breakthrough’s took place

Cancer: You’re as caring as the servants were to the Renaissance children, and tried to keep them alive past the age of 20

Leo: You’re as bold as the Rebellions of 1848, where several European countries rebelled against their monarchial government in favor of more liberal ideals. 

Virgo: You’re as rebellious as Galileo was, promoting the sciences against Church wishes

Libra: You’re like Queen Isabella of Castlie and King Ferdinand of Aragon, trying to promote peace by uniting their Spanish nation under one Catholic religion, but ending up really problematic because they put in place the Spanish Inquisition converting or killing anyone who wasn’t Catholic

Scorpio: You’re as underrated as the Golden of Age of the Dutch, as their citizens lived in peace, established the first national bank, and unanimously promoted Protestantism

Sagittarius: You’re as go getter as the European States were during the Age of Imperialism, conquering land but refusing to deal with the consequences

Capricorn: You were broken, but now fixed like the Italian States in 1830 when Garibaldi unified North and South Italy 

Aquarius: You’re as innovative as Otto Von Bismark of Prussia as he ruled with an Iron First and helped gain territory and unite with Germany

Pisces: You’re as sensitive as the Catholics and Protestants were to each other, igniting the thirty years war

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:Yore: : The Abyss of Darkness: 

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall’s sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

3. Of old was the age | when Ymir lived;
Sea nor cool waves | nor sand there were;
Earth had not been, | nor heaven above,
But a yawning gap, | and grass nowhere.

4. Then Bur’s sons lifted | the level land,
Mithgarth the mighty | there they made;
The sun from the south | warmed the stones of earth,
And green was the ground | with growing leeks.

5. The sun, the sister | of the moon, from the south
Her right hand cast | over heaven’s rim;
No knowledge she had | where her home should be,
The moon knew not | what might was his,
The stars knew not | where their stations were


-Ulvrh

Das Christkind (“christ child”) is the traditional Christmas gift-bringer in parts of Germany along with Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, France, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Upper-Silesia in Poland. Promulgated by German church reformer Martin Luther to discourage the figure of St. Nicholas at the Protestant Reformation in 16/17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christkind and the date of giving gifts from Dec 6 to Christmas Eve on Dec 24. The Christkind was adopted in Catholic areas in the 19th century, while it began to be gradually replaced by a more or less secularized version of St. Nicholas, the Weihnachtsmann (“Christmas Man” aka Santa) in Protestant regions. The Christkind is a child or a young girl, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. As a gift-bringer, children will never see the Christkind in person. Parents tell them that the Christkind won’t come and bring presents if they’re too curious and try to spot it. One version is that a bell is rung and the family enters the living room for the opening of presents (“Bescherung”) after the Christkind has supposedly been there. This happens on the evening og Dec 24. For some time now, the Christkind has faced competition from the Weihnachtsmann, similar to the American Santa figure, which supposedly was caused by the use of Santa as an advertising figure. A well-known German figure is the Christkind at the Christkindlesmarkt in Nürnberg (as above), which is represented by a young woman chosen every year for this very task.

“In the recorded cosmic or Midgard concepts of the Indo-Europeans, man has his proper place in the great scheme of ordered life, but he is not enchained to it as are the oriental religions, with their star worship and priestly prophesies of the future — the study of entrails and the flight of birds, practised by the Babylonians, Etruscans and others. He appears in a trusting relationship with his God, whose nature itself is connected with the world order, and he joins with this God on a national scale in the struggle against all powers hostile to man and God, against chaos, against Utgard. The Indo-European recognises Midgard, the earth-space, as the field in which he may fulfil his destiny, cherishing life as a cultivator or farmer, where plants, animals and men are each called to grow and ripen into powerful forces asserting themselves within the timeless order. Guilt in man — not sin — arises wherever an individual defies or threatens this order and attempts through short-sighted obstinacy to oppose the divine universal order in life. For such a crime an individual incurs guilt. By such a crime, his people are threatened with the danger of decline and degeneration, and the world order with confusion and distortion.“

~   Hans F. K. Guenther,  The Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans

German Folklore

German folklore is the folk tradition which has naturally developed in Germany over the centuries. It shares many characteristics with Scandinavian and English folklore due to their origins in Germanic mythology, reflecting a similar mix of influences: a pre-Christian pantheon and other beings equivalent to those of Norse mythology; magical characters (often pre-Christian) associated with Christian festivals, and various regional stories. 

As in Scandinavia, when belief in the old gods disappeared, remnants of the mythos persisted: Holda, a supernatural patron of spinning; the Lorelei, a dangerous Rhein siren derived from 19th century literature; the spirit Berchta (aka Perchta); the Weisse Frauen, a water spirit said to protect children; the Wild Hunt (in German folklore preceded by an old man, Honest Eckart, who warns others of its approach); the giant Rübezahl; changeling legends; and many more generic entities such as the elf, dwarf, kobold, and erlking.

Popular holiday-related folklore includes Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht, a rough companion to Santa Claus; the Lutzelfrau, a Yule witch who must be appeased with small presents, the Osterhase (the original Easter Bunny), and Walpurgisnacht, a spring festival derived from Pagan customs. Character folklore includes the stories of Pied Piper of Hameln, the trickster hero Till Eulenspiegel, the Town Musicians of Bremen, and Faust.

Documentation and preservation of folklore in the German states was initially fostered in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Saxon author Johann Karl August Musäus was an early collector; study was further promoted by Prussian poet and philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder. His belief in the role of folklore in ethnic nationalism - a folklore of Germany as a nation rather than of disunited German-speaking peoples - inspired the Brothers Grimm, Goethe and others. Folklore elements, such as the Rhine Maidens and the Grimms’ The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear, formed part of the source material for Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Some of the works of Washington Irving - notably Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - are based on German folktales.

Within Germany, the nationalistic aspect was further emphasized during the National Socialist era. Folklore studies, Volkskunde, were co-opted as a political tool to seek out traditional customs in order to support the idea of historical continuity within a Germanic culture. 

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The oldest depiction of the universe

This is one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century and the oldest depiction of the universe so far. Called the Nebra sky disc, named for the town where it was found in 1999, the artifact has been dated back to 1600 BC. It was buried about 3,600 years ago but could be much older. It has been associated with the European Bronze Age Unetice culture.

When it was first crafted, it would have been golden brown because the disc itself is made from bronze. Over time, the it corroded to green. Fortunately, the symbols are made of gold and thanks to them we know it was possibly an astronomical instrument.
There’s Sun, a central to northern European Bronze Age religion and the crescent moon (in ancient times, the moon was used to represent time). The clump between the sun and moon are thought to be the Pleiades constellation, which was an imporant constellation for Bronze Age farmers because it appeared and disappeared in important farming times. So the Nebra disc could have told people the right time to plant and harvest.

What’s more, astronomer Wolfhard Schlosser, at the University of Hamburg, found that if you draw a line from the center of the disc to the top and bottom end of the right arc, the angle between the two ends measures exactly 82 degrees. And it’s the same value for the left golden arc. This number is very important for only a small group of people who live at the same latitude as the current German town of Nebra since it’s the angle between where the sun sets on the horizon in mid-winter and mid-summer.

The bronze disc combines an extraordinary comprehension of astronomical phenomena enabling to peak into the early knowledge of the heavens. It’s   shocking it was almost lost to the black market.

Photo: Original act of the Warsaw Confederation

Warsaw Confederation (January 28, 1573) was an important development in the history of Poland and Lithuania that extended religious tolerance to nobility, free persons and also for the peasants and others within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It is considered as the formal beginning of religious freedom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and in fact is the first such document in Europe. While it did not prevent all conflict based on religion, it did make the Commonwealth a much safer and more tolerant place than most of contemporaneous Europe.

Late 16th century Poland stood between the Orthodox Muscovy in the East, the Muslim Ottoman Empire to the South, and Western Europe, torn between Reformation and Counter-Reformation, to the North and West. Its religious tolerance made it a welcome refuge for those escaping religious persecution elsewhere; in the words of Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius, it became “a place of shelter for heretics”. The confederation legalized the previously unwritten customs of religious tolerance.

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
—  J. Krishnamurti 

Trier (Luxembourgish: Tréier; Italian: Treviri, French: Trèves) in Rheinland-Pfalz, Southwestern Germany lies on the river Mosel in a valley between vine-covered hills, near the border with Luxembourg in an important wine-growing region. Founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC as Augusta Treverorum, it may be the oldest city in Germany. It’s also the oldest seat of a bishop north of the Alps. In the Middle Ages, the Archbishop of Trier was important as he controlled land from the French border to the Rhein. He also had great significance as 1 of the 7 electors of the Holy Roman Empire. With a population of 105,000, Trier is now the 4th-largest city in its state after Mainz, Ludwigshafen, and Koblenz. The nearest major cities are Luxembourg (50 km), Saarbrücken (80 km), and Koblenz (100 km). Trier is home to the University of Trier, founded in 1473, closed in 1796 and restarted in 1970. The city also has the Trier University of Applied Sciences. Apart from the local wines and beers (local Löwenbräu, or Gaffel Kölsch & Bitburger), one should definitely try Viez or Viez/Limo. It’s an apple wine, often served with a splash of lemonade.

Some Thoughts on Imbolc

If you have been reading up on Wicca for a while, online and perhaps in books, you have probably read a bit about the eight sabbats. It’s important to note that these sabbats were included in Wicca by Gerald Gardner, and they are borrowed from several different places, from several different traditions. There is not one ancient European religion that celebrated all eight sabbats. 

In this post I want to talk about Imbolc on a slightly deeper level, from a different point of view than you might have come across in basic books on Wicca. 

To begin with this was the sabbat that I had the most trouble connecting with, but what I am going to share in this post has made it easier for me to feel a connection to this sabbat. Nowadays I am always looking forward to Imbolc and I feel a very strong connection to this beautiful celebration. 

Originally posted by mirandathekinglet


Basics About Imbolc

Date: 1st/2nd February (some places say 2nd but I like to celebrate on the Eve of the 1st)
Other names: Imbolg, Brigid, Candlemas

For me the biggest issue with Imbolc started when I found Wicca while still living in Sweden. In English books, this sabbat is described as the first spring sabbat. You are to celebrate that the nature is re-awakening, new life is growing. In the Goddess and God mythological cycle, the Goddess is entering Her phase as a young maiden, while the God is a child. There are snowdrops and other flowers too - the books tell you.

Originally posted by pagewoman

Swedish Imbolc

And this is probably true in some other places in the northern hemisphere as well (and in the southern hemisphere, this goes completely out the window!)

Right, so it says that now you can see the first signs of spring. 

And as a Swedish person you look out through the window at all the snow and wonder where exactly these signs of spring are hiding.

I know I was even thinking that the date for this sabbat should be changed, because it so obviously does ring true with the Swedish climate. Of course you can see Imbolc as a chance to help spring move along, but I never thought this was enough. It was always very frustrating to me, because I felt like I completely missed out on this part of the Wheel of the Year. 

It wasn’t until I moved to England, to Devon, that I actually felt I could get a connection to Sweden’s Imbolc. This is a bit ironic, since Devon is known as England’s Riviera. Here crocuses have already started to appear. Though this winter has been cold: the temperature has dropped below zero at least a couple of days. Sometimes we have had to have the heating on in the house all day. One day there was even sleet for an hour or two.

When Imbolc appears there are snowdrops, crocus and often daffodils. There are buds on the trees and I can really see how Imbolc is the first spring sabbat. 

Originally posted by pragmaculture


But Imbolc is so much more than that, and that is what I have gained a connection to that will also work in Sweden and other colder countries in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Because Imbolc is also called Brigid (pronounced ‘Breed), and Brigid is the Goddess of poetry, the forge, fire and creativity. She is also the Goddess of healing and midwifery. This is connected to the Goddess having given birth to the God, but it is also about re-awakening and give life to one’s own creativity and creative force after the winter darkness.

Even in Sweden the light is returning, and people know that they are headed toward spring and they have more energy. So this is a perfect time to honour the fire within ourselves, and its creative flames. That is what has allowed me to make a connection to Imbolc.

For me this is now a celebration of fire, a time to start forming what I want to achieve during the coming year. This is a chance for me to find myself and stand in my own power, just like the Goddess is doing. This is the sabbat when She has the least connection to the God; She is out there celebrating Herself and Her desires, and we have the chance to do the same!

Originally posted by fornootherreasondave


What You Can Focus On

The Goddess is in her forge. She is strong, she surely has soot smeared on her face, her skin is blank with sweat while she is lifting the hammer against the anvil, to form what she is working on. She is forming her own life. She works with what she wants. She decides which one of her ideas she wants to make reality, and then she makes it happen. There is nothing that can stop her. 

She is the mistress of her own life. 

So take this moment to have a ritual where you are honouring the Goddess’ immense power of creation. It is this very power that will soon melt even the snow. It is this power that makes nature crackle with new life. And this power is present within each and everyone of us. 

How can you use this power within a ritual? Here are some of my suggestions =)

  • Use this creative life force to think about what you want to make in your forge. What do you want to achieve the coming year?
  • Focus on your own inner creative fire. How does it look? Is it lit? Or do you need to kindle it? What fuel does it need? Think about how the fire used to be the very heart - the hearth - of the home, and how we need this to survive. If yours has gone out it is time to feed the flames!
  • Do you feel your are stuck in some project and you’re not sure how to move it forward? This is the perfect ritual to find new inspiration.
  • Do you need healing? Let Brigid’s healing hands help you to heal.
  • Do you want to get rid of bad habits? Let Brigid’s fire burn them away, and let yourself be born again from the flames.

Ideas For Magic

Originally posted by heartsnmagic

This is the perfect sabbat to work with healing magic both for yourself and for others. 

Candle and fire magic are also great to work with here, to re-connect to the power of the fire. 

It’s also a really good time to plant seeds representing that which you want to achieve the coming year. Plant a seed for something you want to grow and charge it with your energy and inention. See how it grows as your project is growing, and take some time each day to connect to your seed (and in time plant!) to deepen your own connection to it and that which you want to achieve. 

I hope this have given you some new thoughts about this glittering celebration!

How do you celebrate Imbolc? 

Germany - Basic Facts

Location: Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, plus the following countries: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and maritime borders with Sweden (Baltic Sea) and the UK (North Sea)

Area: 357,022 sq km - Country comparison to the world: #63 

Coastline: 2,389 km

Terrain: Northern lowlands, uplands in the center and Bavarian Alps in south

Lowest point: Neuendorf-Sachsenbande - 3.54 m
Highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m

Natural resources: Coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber and arable land

Ethnic groups: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.5%, others 6%, made up largely of other Europeans such as Greeks, Italians, Poles, Russians, Serbo-Croatians, and Spaniards.

Religions: Protestant ~34%, Roman Catholic ~34%, Muslim ~4%, unaffiliated or other ~28%

Population: 81,305,856 (2012) - Country comparison to the world: #16

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.3%
15-64 years: 66.1%
65 years and over: 20.6%

Major cities - population: Berlin (capital) 3.438 million, Cologne 1.001 million, Hamburg 1.786 million, Munich 1.349 million.

Health expenditures: 8.1% of GDP - Country comparison to the world: #55

Doctors’ density: 3.531 doctors/1,000 population - Country comparison to the world: #28

Hospital bed density: 8.17 beds/1,000 population - Country comparison to the world: #7

Education expenditures: 4.5% of GDP - Country comparison to the world: #82

reuters.com
Europe headed for 'religion wars' despite Wilders' stumble, Turkish minister says
Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders may have fallen short in this week's election in the Netherlands, but his views were shared by all the Dutch parties and are pushing Europe towards "wars of religion", Turkey's foreign minister said on Thursday.

He conveniently forgets that Turkey opened the floodgate of economic migrants into Europe in 2015

I think I just saw my first “Christians stole Christmas” post of the season.

I guess, just to put it out there, we didn’t.

We may have taken some elements of indigenous European religious traditions (i.e., the Christmas tree) and Christianized them, with the resulting Christianized version entering the mainstream.

However, these aspects of Christmas are not necessary parts of the holiday. Christians celebrated Christmas well enough before contact with most European religions, and in many parts of the world, we have managed to do so after.

(Not every culture’s Christmas celebrations include a tree and whatnot. Those celebrations are still valid.)

This historic Protestant church was founded in 1611, but suspended during the French Revolution. I saw this view while looking out of a Louvre Museum window and had no idea what the building was for. I love learning new things! 

L’Oratoire du Louvre, Paris, France

I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles…I am the original fragrance of the Earth and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics…I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent and the prowess of all powerful men.
—  Krishna

Bhagavad Gita  Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute