syncretized religion

Marble bust of the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis.  Roman copy after a Greek original (4th cent. BCE) made by the sculptor Bryaxis for the Serapeum in Alexandria.  Now in the Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican City.

Hermanubis, the god occuring as the combination of two gods, the greek god Hermes and the egyptian god Anubis. Hermanubis is a god associated with the exploration of truth, which is the mystery of the mysteries. His experimental and complicated nature is evident of the unification of seemingly different natures according to their meeting points, according to their similarities. Both Hermes and Anubis were/are conductors of souls, or else called ‘psychopomps’,  escorts of newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife.

Statue of Hermanubis, white marble, 1st-2nd century AD.


Arthur : “What are they doing ?”
Morgaine : “They’re praying to the Goddess for a good harvest.”
Arthur :  “The Goddess ? The one Father Cuthbert doesn’t like ?”
Morgaine  : “And now she’ll look after their seeds, and make them grow … all through spring.”
Arthur : “So these people don’t like Jesus Christ ?”
Morgaine : “Some of them do. But others still pray to the Goddess.”
Arthur : “Can there be a God and a Goddess at the same time ?”
Morgaine :”Of course. it’s just like having a father and a mother.“

from the movie The Mists of Avalon (2001)

anonymous asked:

I think I am losing my faith. Not because something bad happened to me and I think it is unfair, or because I'm to lazy to go to the Mass. I /want/ to believe and to be confident that there is someone out there hearing my prayers. It is just I /can't/. I can't cope with the amount of abstraction, and everything starts to seem so dumb - candles, flowers, words - didn't "Pagans" do the same? Is there anything I can do to stop doubting? (It's OK if you can't answer, I understand it's very random.)

I mean, there’s no magic wand to wave, no mantra to chant that’ll grant you faith. Sometimes being religious is just a long, ugly slog, waiting around for the belief to show up again. But if it’s the abstraction and ritual that’s bothering you, then I suggest trying other places, seeking out other sources—doing service might bring religion back down to earth for you; maybe being with other people in a Bible study or something like that will root it in tangible connection.

And honestly, I think a lot of people get bored with their faith, just going to mass. The whole affair becomes habitual, tired, and dissatisfaction grows, making people think that there’s something deficient about their faith. But faith is more than something you have or don’t. You have to think of it like…exercise. If you only ever do an hour of exercise a week, you’re never going to get any stronger, your body will get accustomed to that one hour, and you’ll get bored.

The idea is to start with the hour, and go from there. Mass is meant to be a beginning, not faith entire.

But you might also just…have to live with doubt? There’s a very mistaken idea that faith is being 100% certain all the time, like any of us go around absolutely confident that God exists and Jesus was more than just some 1st century cult leader. I’m definitely not that certain. I have doubts, lots of doubts, but they’re not a death knell—they’re part of a healthy, evolving faith, you keep them near to you, mull them over, put them back on the shelf. Doubts don’t go away, but they do keep you honest.

Anyone want a hymn?

Hello lovelies, I’m trying to write a collection of adorations [double rhyming couplets based on epithets] in honour of the gods. Are there any you want to see next? I’ll be favouring Kemetic deities, and will not write any for any deities of closed religions. Syncretisms welcome :)











Horus (the elder)

















Update 22nd of June 2017 Hi all! I have finished writing all of these on the list and they will be released over the next few days. If anyone wants more hymns feel free to ask! I will allow new deities for the next month. I won’t be taking anymore after the 22nd of July 2017. So get in now!

Already see a hymn to your deity of choice? Don’t like the current adoration? Feel free to drop me a name and chosen epithet for me to base the adoration around. Again closing on the 22nd of July.

dancing-thru-clouds  asked:

Tegs, is there a tv show that gets its science mostly right? How does Bones do?

hoooo boy Bones

where do I even start with Bones

Actually, I know where I start with Bones. I actually met the woman who wrote the books it’s based on. Kathy Reichs- she’s an old friend of one of my professors- she came to talk to my advanced forensics class when I was in undergrad, and one of the things she told us was “don’t let them turn your life into a TV show.” Real science doesn’t look good on television. It just doesn’t. Bones gets the same things wrong that every cop show gets wrong- DNA tests that come back quickly, imaging that works like magic, a lab space that isn’t cramped with old equipment, a limitless budget, forensic expertise accepted at face value, and big, sexy, solvable cases. The biggest employer of forensic anthropologists in the US today is actually the military- and not for modern cases, for old, unidentified war dead. So much of the time, there’s just not enough to go on. Bones has some major Research Failure, too- there’s a few episodes with major Bird Mistakes (like one time they used an African Augur buzzard to represent a North American hawk…), there’s a voodoo episode that’s a really poor representation of Haitian vodou (which is what they were trying to represent, as opposed to the southern North American voodoo, which really is its own syncretic religion different from the Haitian form), stuff like that. 

Honestly, most TV shows are going to have Bad Science. And that’s just how TV works, and by and large you just have to deal with it. Suspension of disbelief and all- if a show’s got good writing, solid characters, it can overcome the fact that it’s glossed over its scientific proceedings. It’s a hard line to walk!

President Zuckerberg gonna attempt to do one of those things some rulers of religiously divided realms do and try to create a new ultra-syncretic religion with themself at the head

The Yazidi  are a Kurdish- and Arabic-speaking ethno-religious community who practice an ancient syncretic religion linked to Zoroastrianism and early Mesopotamian religions.They live primarily in the Nineveh Province of northern Iraq, a region once part of ancient Assyria. Additional communities in Armenia, Georgia and Syria have been in decline since the 1990s, their members having migrated to Europe, especially to Germany.

The Yazidi believe in God as creator of the world, which he has placed under the care of seven “holy beings” or angels, the “chief” (archangel) of whom is Melek Taus, the “Peacock Angel.” In Zoroastrian-like tradition, the Peacock Angel embodied humanity’s potential for both good (light) and bad (dark) acts, and due to pride temporarily fell from God’s favor, before his remorseful tears extinguished the fires of his hellish prison and he reconciled with God.

Some followers of other monotheistic religion jokingly or mistakenly re-cast the Peacock Angel as the unredeemed evil deity Satan, which has incited centuries of persecution of the Yazidi as “devil worshippers” by some followers of these religions.Persecution of Yazidis has continued in their home communities within the borders of modern Iraq, under both Saddam Hussein and fundamentalist Sunni Muslim revolutionaries.

Onlookers watch a parade during the Feast of Saint James the Apostle in Loíza, Puerto Rico.

The municipality of Loíza is home to Puerto Rico’s largest concentration of black islanders. Legend says that the original town was named after one of the last female Taino cacique’s of the time named Yuiza. She is said to have become the lover of a black conquistador called Pedro Mejías, in order to protect her people. Pedro Mejías is one example of a number of free-African men who lived in Europe at the start of colonization, was baptized, and joined the Spaniards in expeditions and later invasions of the Caribbean. Historical records show that most of the original population of Loíza descended from enslaved Yoruba’s brought to Puerto Rico by the Spaniards, but also maroons and free-blacks from British colonies who had ended up in Puerto Rico. A royal decree by Spain in the seventeenth century, stated that the latter two groups were permitted to settle in Loíza as a way to defend Puerto Rico from British invasion; given that it was the islands weakest border of defense. 

Loíza is home to a large variety of Afro-Puerto Rican: dances, religious practices, cuisine, festivities, and other forms of cultural expression. The most popular festival is that in honor of St. James the Apostle, during the festivities African-influenced rituals and masks are present in celebrations. The Afro-Cuban syncretic religion Lucumí, which blends Yoruba and Catholic traditions together, has a large following in this particular area. Another popular African derived religion is the Congo-based Palo religion, with much older roots in Puerto Rico than Lucumí. Palo was directly brought to Puerto Rico by the Africans of modern day Congo and Angola; among the last group of enslaved people from that region was a man named Meliton Congo who later settled in Loíza. In 1914 the anthropologist, J. Alden Mason, interviewed Meliton who reported on a number of Kongo-based traditions found among the local population. Most notable was in the bomba; Puerto Rico’s traditional genre of African-based music and dance. Meliton noted that many of the songs were sang in a mixture of his native tongue Kikongo and Spanish.

Against Messianic Judaism

           There is a small, but vocal, movement among Christians who wish to “restore” Christianity as a sect of Judaism. They primarily rely on Jewish converts to Christianity to bolster their claims to legitimacy, however, large numbers of people who claim to be Jewish in Messianic communities are not Jewish at all. Messianic Judaism is in fact a misnomer as their central beliefs and authoritative scriptures are Christian, not Jewish. A more accurate, and older, name would be Hebrew Christianity. As I will demonstrate, the Messianic movement is riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, deceitful or incorrect terminology, and theological confusion. Messianic Judaism has the unique distinction of so thoroughly misunderstanding Christianity and Judaism that it is considered a heresy by both. While my criticisms will not likely sway a committed Christian in this movement to abandon their mistaken, anti-Semitic sect, I do hope that it will help to prevent anyone who may wish to join them from doing so. In this essay, I will bring forth arguments against Messianic Judaism, this will include criticism of Christianity itself. However, I do not wish this to be seen as an attack on Christianity. I respect committed, honest Christians and their right to practice their faith. My criticism of Christianity will only be for the sake of demonstrating why Judaism and Christianity cannot be joined in a syncretic religion and how Messianic Judaism disrespects both Judaism and Christianity.

           Before going further, we must define what we mean by Messianic Judaism. Primarily, it must be kept in mind that this sect is not a sect of Judaism at all. All of its central beliefs, which can be found at, are Christian in nature. Their statement of faith is primarily concerned with the Christian Trinity and salvation from sin through faith in Jesus, who they identify as the Jewish messiah (a claim that will be examined later). They also accept the Christian New Testament as authoritative scripture which will prove problematic to their claims of practicing Judaism in any sense of the term. Another important aspect of their purpose in existing is a desire to not assimilate into the larger church and to “share this way, this truth, and this life with their Jewish brothers and sisters.” They simultaneously wish to remain separate from the goyische churches and convert other Jews to Christianity. Both of these goals will be analyzed below.

           The fundamental problem with Messianic Judaism is their insistence on calling their religion Judaism. Despite their claims to be practicing a “complete” form of Judaism, they negate the entirety of Judaism. As the late Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote, “Christianity negates the fundamentals of Jewish faith, and one who accepts it rejects the very essence of Judaism. Even if he continues to keep all of the rituals, it is the same as if he abandoned Judaism completely.” Although Messianic Jews retain some Jewish rituals, their Christian beliefs, and the Christian New Testament itself, subvert and destroy the essentials of Jewish faith and practice.

           The Christian New Testament explicitly claims that the Law (i.e. the Torah) is obsolete and believers in Jesus are free from both the Law and sin (Romans 7:6; Galatians 3: 23-29; Hebrews 8:13). In fact, Paul makes an explicit connection between sin and following the law, claiming, “Sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it put me to death” (Romans 7:11). Considering that all Jewish religious rituals are grounded on the commandments of the Torah or Talmud, the Messianic insistence on holding to any of them places them in direct contradiction with their own scriptures that declare such rituals null and void. A perfect example would be the laws of kashrut, which are directly overturned in the book of Acts by one of the first church councils (Acts 15). Kashrut is an important part of traditional Jewish religious observance based on the Torah and Talmud; yet the Christian scriptures explicitly reject this Jewish practice and the argument made by some in the council to have gentile converts to Christianity “observe the Mosaic law” (Acts 15:5). And the rejection of Jewish law was not limited to gentile converts, but was practiced by Jewish Christians as well, as depicted in Acts 10. Throughout the Christian New Testament, Jewish law is rejected, the Torah is denigrated, and the essentials of the Jewish faith are subverted.

The rejection of Jewish law and practice in the Christian scriptures becomes important in later church history and church councils which explicitly forbade the “Judaizing” of Christianity as heresy (known as the Ebionite heresy). It was argued, based on the teaching of Paul, that “if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing” (Galatians 2:21). The practices of the Jews were further tarred by the antisemitism of the gospels, which portray the Jews as obstinate children of the devil and the killers of Jesus (John 8:44; Matthew 27: 22-25). Jewish practice was even further tarred by the portrayal of the Pharisees in the gospels and their position in Judaism as the rabbis who established the Talmud as the authoritative interpretation of the Torah. The authority of the rabbis was rejected by Jesus himself, most explicitly in Mark 7:13, claiming that the Pharisees/rabbis “nullify the word of God in favor of tradition.” Because Jewish rituals are largely based on the interpretations of Jewish law given in the Talmud, and Jesus himself rejected the authority of the rabbis, the church also rejected Jewish rituals, traditions, practices, and interpretations. Messianic Judaism neglects this anti-Jewish aspect of Christian history, teaching, and scripture for ideological reasons, i.e. the conversion of Jews to Christianity and the desire for a Jewish aesthetic in their worship services.

           Furthermore, the Messianic insistence on keeping themselves apart from the larger goyische church violates the teachings of the Christian New Testament. In Galatians 3:23-29, Paul states that there is “neither Jew nor Greek” and that all Christians are children of God and through Jesus they are all descendants of Abraham. Paul is essentially arguing that goyim have been grafted into the people of Israel through faith in Jesus. Ephesians 4:1-5 calls all Christians to live together in unity as “one body and one spirit […] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” Paul further teaches in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that “in one spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons.” He gives this exhortation after lambasting the Corinthian church for having divisions and factions (1 Corinthians 11:18-19). The insistence on maintaining Jewish traditions not only doesn’t fit the theology of Christianity, it creates factions and divisions in the community which is also explicitly forbidden by Christian scriptures.

           Moving away from the problems implicit in trying to make Christianity more Jewish, there is the problem of theology in Messianic Judaism. Theologically, they are Christian, not Jewish. In fact, their beliefs about the Trinity and Incarnation are remarkably orthodox for Christianity. They believe that there is one God in three persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They believe that Jesus is the son of God and God incarnate who died for the forgiveness of sins, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in the church and in the hearts of believers. These beliefs are adhered to by all mainstream Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches. However, this creates problems for the sect in claiming to be an expression of Judaism because Judaism denies all of these beliefs. Furthermore, the entire religious paradigm of Judaism is different from that of Christianity. Judaism is not primarily concerned with salvation from sin, but in living according to the will of God as expressed through the Torah.

           First and foremost, the divide between Judaism and Christianity has to do with the role of Jesus, not simply if he was the messiah, but whether or not he was a god. Judaism explicitly rejects Jesus as the messiah because of his failure to fulfill the requirements of the role. Judaism also rejects the idea that a human being can be God and on principle will not worship other gods. The Christian deification of Jesus violates both the concept of monotheism and the rejection of a human incarnation of God. Both principles can be found in the Bible. Furthermore, the Torah explicitly warns against false prophets, which by any rational standard Jesus (and the apostles) would fall into, even if we accepted the idea that he (they) performed miracles.

           The Jewish commitment to monotheism can be found throughout the Bible. The first and second commandments state, “I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods besides Me. You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image […] You shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus 20:2-5). The central statement of Jewish faith can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” And finally, God declares his utter singularity in Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord and there is none else; beside Me there is no god.” These verses reveal the absolute unity of God in Jewish theology. God identifies himself as the savior of the Jews from Egyptian slavery, and declares that the Jews will worship no other gods, in fact that there are no gods beside (with) him. Jewish interpretations of these verses have led them to completely reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as having no basis in the Bible. Moses Maimonides, one the greatest and most authoritative Jewish legal scholars in history, included in his 13 principles of faith belief in the absolute unity of God. Divisions like those of the Trinity are rejected.

           Maimonides also included a rejection of divine incarnation as one of his principles of Jewish faith, which he grounded in the Bible. The Jewish faith rejects the idea that God would have a physical body. The prophet Hosea quotes God as saying, “I am God and not a man” (Hosea 11:9). In the Torah, the idea that God could be a human being is explicitly rejected, “God is not a man to be capricious, or mortal to change his mind. Would he speak and not act, promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). Moving away from the Bible there is also the logical inconsistency of the idea of an infinite, eternal God truly becoming a finite, contingent human being. The concept of God is inherently mutually exclusive from that of humanity. One cannot truly become the other without totally leaving behind the nature of the former being. I.e. if God were to truly become a human being, he would cease to be God. The Incarnation not only violates the fundamental teaching of Jewish theology, but also flies in the face of logic.

           Moving away from these irreconcilable theological differences between Judaism and Christianity, there is the issue of the messiah. Christians, including Messianic Jews, believe that Jesus was the messiah, while Jews, in keeping with the teachings of halakha and the Bible, reject this claim. The reason for the rejection of the claim that Jesus was the messiah has to do with the standards which Jews have for the messiah. Primarily, the messiah will reestablish the Davidic line of kings, gather the Jewish exiles to Israel, and establish a world rule marked by world peace and mass recognition of the Jewish understanding of God as the correct one (Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Ezekiel 39:9; Ezekiel 36:24; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9,16). There are other, less dramatic requirements which I will not list here. None of these things have happened. Furthermore, Jesus failed to be properly descended from King David. The gospels state that Jesus was born of a virgin and did not have a human father. This in itself bars him from being the messiah if it is true because royal succession is passed through the father, not the mother. Assuming the validity of Jesus genealogy in the gospels, we must also take into account that he was not descended through the proper royal line. Luke shows Jesus as descended from Nathan, not Solomon, but the messiah must be descended from David through Solomon (Luke 3:31; II Samuel 7:12-17; I Chronicles 22:9-10). Because Jesus failed to have the proper pedigree and failed to fulfill the role of the messiah, Jews reject his claim to be the messiah.

           There is one other problem with the Christian understanding of the messiah, i.e. that the messiah must suffer and die for the sins of humanity. This idea is completely foreign to Judaism which explicitly rejects human sacrifice. It is, however, completely at home in pagan understandings of a dying and rising savior god, like Osiris, Horus, or Mithra. The Bible repeatedly and consistently states that human sacrifice is abhorrent to God (Deuteronomy 12:30-31; Jeremiah 19:4-6; Psalm 106:37-38; Ezekiel 16:20). Nor does Judaism, or the Bible, teach that a blood sacrifice must be made for the forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 5:11-13; Jonah 3:10; Jeremiah 7:22-23; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 51:16-17; etc. etc.). Judaism is consistent in teaching that repentance is what God looks for to forgive sins, not sacrifice. Furthermore, Judaism does not teach that someone can atone for the sins of another, each person must atone for their own sins (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:1-4, 20-24, 26-27; Jeremiah 31:29-30). For all these reasons the death of Jesus, a human sacrifice, has no place in Jewish theology, nor would the God of Judaism accept such a sacrifice.

           And finally, there is the issue of false prophets. Deuteronomy 13:2-6 states in part, “If there appears a prophet or dream diviner and he gives you a sign or portent, saying, ‘let us follow and worship another god’ […] even if the sign […] comes true, do not heed the words of that prophet […] the Lord is testing you.” Jesus claimed to be the son of God (perhaps even God himself) in John 8, and Paul taught throughout the epistles that “Jesus is Lord.” Considering the Jewish adherence to strict monotheism, these proclamations amount to Jesus, Paul, and any other Jewish Christian falling under the label of a false prophet, someone claiming to speak for God while violating the Torah, specifically the commands to worship God alone and obey his commandments. When a Jewish Christian proselytizes another Jew and exhorts him or her to worship Jesus, they are explicitly violating the dictates of the Torah as laid out above, not “fulfilling” or “completing” their Jewish faith.

           The Torah teaches that the Torah is binding on all Jews for all time (Deuteronomy 29:9-14). There is no escape clause in the Torah. Judaism also views the Torah as a blessing, not a curse. It is through observing the teachings of the Torah that Jews are able to obey and draw close to God and live a good life (Deuteronomy 30:11-20). Therefore, the Messianic/Christian claim that the Torah leads to sin and death and has been discarded or superseded by the “new covenant” established by a false messiah is fundamentally incompatible with Judaism. If the Messianic movement accepts the teachings of the Christian New Testament, then they are fundamentally opposed to the essential teachings of Judaism, and therefore, the religion that they practice is not Judaism at all. It is Christianity deceitfully calling itself Judaism and appropriated Jewish rituals for the sake of converting Jews to Christianity. Christianity and Judaism are not compatible religions to be syncretized. Each has its own internal rationale and belief system. While there may be Jewish Christians (people born Jewish who converted to Christianity), there is no such thing as Christian Judaism. It is a contradiction of terms.

Need some help finding Vodou-positive movies.

So Haitian Vodou, as well as Louisiana Voodoo and Santeria (basically any Syncretic religions) are typically very poorly portrayed in popular media and are essentially always lumped together with hollywood black magic and satanism. If I ever see another movie where a Baron Samdei looking character tricks someone into a Faustian bargain it will be too soon.

What I wan’t to know is if you good folk of tumblr can recommend any media, but particularly movies, that show Vodou (or any syncretic religious traditions for that matter) in a positive light, as opposed to being witchcraft?


Four Furniture Ornaments  Depicting the Tyches of Alexandria, Rome, Constantinople and Antioch. From the Esquiline Treasure, Late 4th Century CE 

The Esquiline Treasure is a collection of over 57 different silver objects discovered in 1793 at the foot of the Esquiline Hill in Rome. All of the pieces date to 4th century CE, during the Late Roman Empire.

The Esquiline Treasure is important for the presence of silversmithing in the Late Roman Empire. Although a number of large late Roman hoards have been discovered, most are from the fringes of the empire (such as Carthage or Roman Britain), and very few objects from the period can be presumed to have been made by silversmiths in Rome itself. The Esquiline treasure is also considered some of the finest examples of metalwork in the Late Antiquity. 

The Esquiline Treasure is also important for the syncretism between Hellenistic religions and Christianity during Late Antiquity. The iconography of the figurative decoration of the treasure is purely pagan, depicting nereids, mythical creatures, and figures like Venus, Tyche and the muses. However, inscriptions on the Project Casket and other pieces in the treasure, suggest that some of the objects had Christian owners. The Esquiline Treasure reflects the survival of Hellenistic traditions, and that many Christians still embraced pagan images, despite the proscription of Hellenistic religion and establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the late 4th century CE.

The four Tyches, as well as the rest of the Esquiline Treasure, are on display at the British Museum

professor-worlds  asked:

What's your opinion about the Greek mythology being similar to Roman?

Although this is a fairly simple question, I’m going to answer it a bit more in-depth. So!
Religious syncretism is a term which refers to the combination or melding of religious symbols or gods in order to include them in one’s existing religious framework (like Isis getting heavily Romanized before being introduced into their culture, but still being included).
Often, this term is used when referring to taking in new gods. However, when the Romans, who were heavily influenced by Greeks (both those residing in Sicily and in Greece proper), wanted to find ties between their gods and the Greek ones, they decided to take pre-existing deities they had worshipped and to give these gods a sort of… Greek spin. So Mars, the manly god of agriculture, also becomes like Ares, a god of war.
This didn’t happen to all of their gods, as some religious rites performed by the Romans did not come from Greek or become beholden to Greek methods of worship. Furthermore, one Greek god, Apollo, came over as he is in Greek mythology, since there was no exact Roman equivalent for them to tie his many, many talents to.
Basically, the Romans really liked how old, established, and interesting the Greek gods were, and they decided to create in their own gods that same sense of authority by tying them to the Greeks (think Vergil tying the genealogy of Rome back to Venus/Aphrodite). They wanted more credibility, so they took it from a source they loved.
It is also interesting to note, as I mentioned earlier, that Rome kept building upon its existing framework of gods over the years by Romanizing and incorporating the gods of peoples they conquered, like Isis or Cybele, into their worship. However, these gods were not included in the “main gods,” and were simply tacked on at the end of a line of new ones.
I hope this answers your question :)

The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti by Kate Ramsey

Vodou has often served as a scapegoat for Haiti’s problems, from political upheavals to natural disasters. This tradition of scapegoating stretches back to the nation’s founding and forms part of a contest over the legitimacy of the religion, both beyond and within Haiti’s borders. The Spirits and the Law examines that vexed history, asking why, from 1835 to 1987, Haiti banned many popular ritual practices.

To find out, Kate Ramsey begins with the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath. Fearful of an independent black nation inspiring similar revolts, the United States, France, and the rest of Europe ostracized Haiti. Successive Haitian governments, seeking to counter the image of Haiti as primitive as well as contain popular organization and leadership, outlawed “spells” and, later, “superstitious practices.” While not often strictly enforced, these laws were at times the basis for attacks on Vodou by the Haitian state, the Catholic Church, and occupying U.S. forces. Beyond such offensives, Ramsey argues that in prohibiting practices considered essential for maintaining relations with the spirits, anti-Vodou laws reinforced the political marginalization, social stigmatization, and economic exploitation of the Haitian majority. At the same time, she examines the ways communities across Haiti evaded, subverted, redirected, and shaped enforcement of the laws. Analyzing the long genealogy of anti-Vodou rhetoric, Ramsey thoroughly dissects claims that the religion has impeded Haiti’s development.
So what’s the deal with Anya’s name?

Something a bit inspired by a discussion I had about Marvel not making their hispanic characters have “fully hispanic names”. So here goes some interesting info about Anya’s name and some possible theories/headcanons.

So you know, one thing that always weirded me out about Anya was her name. And I’m not talking about Anya here. That name, although not common, is not unheard of around here. The guy from the discussion above brought Anya since “Anya” isn’t a hispanic name (it’s from hebrew/russian origin according to wikipedia). But when I first heard of “Anya Corazón” I didn’t really question it, nor I thought “’Anya’? That doesn’t sound hispanic to me!”. In latin america is fairly common to find people with non-hispanic sounding names. I’ve met many Kevin’s, Thomas’, and Christina’s. I work at a doctor’s office and there’s at least three recurring patients named “Anya”. So “Anya”? Nothing really weird or “non-hispanic” about it when I discovered her.

And then this happens.

So her name is actually Aña Corazón. Now, THAT’S a weird name!

I’ve never in my life either met or heard of someone named “Aña”. Google doesn’t throw any famous person named “Aña”, at best some politician but all have it as their surname. Facebook also gets similar results. If you type “Aña” on Wikipedia you only get some names of cities, and none of them actually named Aña, that’s just the first three letters for them. The spanish version of Wikipedia leads to a guarani demon, but I really doubt that’s where her name comes from. To put it simple, it’s not even a actual word we use regularly, if ever.

So why did they choose that name for their first latina to led her very own series?

My original take was that Marvel just said “eh, let’s just think the most latino thing we could come up with. Aña? With a ‘ñ’? Sounds latino enough”. Let’s face it, this kind of laziness is expected from mainstream comic books. After all, in this same series, the Yucatan Peninsula is depicted as a desert (with WOLVES!). But, there where latino people involved in her conception, so how could they fail at even naming her?

Well, digging just a little bit more, I think I have a clue about it.

So I first tried to dig if Aña is a common name in Puerto Rico. It isn’t. But I did found what it could possibly mean, and why it makes sense for her to be have that name. 

That search for the name in Puerto Rico did lead me to information about the Yoruba religion and Santeria. Bare in mind that this is just from what I’ve read and I’m no expert on this. Due to syncretism, the way this religion is viewed and practiced really varies from place to place.

So anyway, Aña. In yoruba/santeria Añá (sometimes also spelled Anyá) is the Orisha of the drums. As I said, since this religion varies from place to place, I’ve seen the term Orisha compared from a deity on itself to something closer to a saint or a guardian angel. To put it simple, Añá is the “spirit of the drums”.

Although, this deity is mostly presented as male, there is a “variant” to the female deity Oshun, Oshun Ibu Añá. Oshun is one of the main -if not he main- female Orisha from yoruba/santeria. Oshun Ibu Añá means “Mistress of the drums”. 

Oshun is the Orisha of Love, Sensuality, Art, Power, Witchcraft, and the River. She is all things sweet, and all things sour. She is those things that make life worth living. In this road, Oshun was thrown out by the whole world. Only the Drums would take Her in, and so She dances ceaselessly with the sound of the drum drowning out Her tears.

It is said that the children blessed by her love music and to party.

So how does this relates to Anya?

Well, one of the people involved in her creation was Joe Quesada. He’s cuban-american and his mother was a devoted santerian. He even created a team on Daredevil based on Santeria called… The Santerians.

At the same time, Fiona Avery, her creator, is very much into obscure religions and mythology. So Anya being named after a santeria deity and it being part of it’s backstory is plausible. Would this resonate at some point in her characterization? We’ll probably never know at this point. (I’m probably giving them too much credit…).

And so, here it goes some possible theories/headcanons about why her parents named her Aña.

Anya herself doesn’t show too much interest in religion. She seems to be catholic and so does her mom. Anya wears a locket that belonged to her mom, with seemingly christian motives.

It really wouldn’t make much sense for her mom to be santerian since it has little following in Mexico. Her dad doesn’t seem to be a religious person, but maybe he does come from a santerian family and in Puerto Rico it has a large following. In santeria, is the godmother who assigns which orisha the newborn must follow. 

So here’s my theory: Gil comes from a santerian family, but he doesn’t really practices it. He does still respects it and a possible sister of his’ was Anya’s godmother and assigned her to Oshun Ibu Aña. At this point, her parents hadn’t decided on a name, so when they heard “Aña” and what it means -”Spirit/beating of the drums”- they decided to name her Aña.

Considering that her last name is Corazón -heart- and drums have always been used as a metaphor to hearts with the beating of both being compared, they essentially made the most elaborated pun out there. “Beating of the heart”.

Your Definition of Pagan is  Outdated

I keep seeing people using the definition of Pagan that means “someone who is neither Jewish, Christian, or Muslim’ to exclude Christopagans and as a student of religious studies I’m here to tell you to stop that.

Seriously, this definition is outdated and doesn’t accurately reflect how many adherents of religions that have historically been referred to as “pagan” wish to identify themselves. It’s based on a crapton of assumptions about what makes a “true religion” vs. “pagan superstition”. In addition, many adherents of these traditions that have historically been referred to as pagan have repeatedly asked not to be included under the Pagan umbrella, and not to be referred to as pagan in the older sense (an unbeliever, an idol worshiper) either.

What’s a better definition of the term Pagan then?

A better definition might look something like this:

1. A person who is part of the Pagan revivalist movement which began in the 20th century in Europe and North America.

2. Someone who self-identifies as Pagan (big P)

The definition would avoid encompassing religions that don’t have or want anything to do with it, while still accommodating syncretic religions like IndoPaganism (that is, a fusion of Hinduism and something like Wicca.

And it most certainly does include Christopaganism as a syncretic tradition and since adherents self-identify with the movement.

In sum, please stop using your outdated, colonialist definitions to try and exclude people you don’t like. It’s not cute it’s terrible.