Monday, December 22, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Ancient Roman battlefield excavated in Lower SaxonyRead the whole thing: http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20081211-16075.htmlA Roman dagger from another dig near Hedemünden. Photo: DPAArchaeologists have discovered an ancient roman battlefield from the third century near Göttingen that will rewrite history, Lower Saxony's department for preservation of historical monuments said on Thursday. “The find can be dated to the third century and will definitely change the historical perception of that time,” Dr. Henning Haßmann told The Local. The amazing discovery allows an insight in what must have been a dramatic battle between Romans and Germanic tribes. “The find indicates a massive Roman military presence,” Haßmann said.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
- A - Appendages
- B - Bioengineering
- C - Caffeine
- D - Dirigible
- E - Experiment
- F - Freeze ray (you can see this one in the posted image)
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
In search of a wizardIn 'Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage,' Adam Ardrey condemns long-ago chroniclers for their motives but is like a sleuth in tracking ancient details.By Nick Owchar November 23, 2008Think of your favorite movie Merlin: Was it Sam Neill's Tolkienesque version (see photo) or was it "Excalibur's" Nicol Williamson, with that unforgettable steel skullcap? How about Stephen Dillane's blue-faced portrayal in the 2004 box office disappointment "King Arthur"? (The movie didn't disappoint me, Keira Knightley was in it.) Adam Ardrey would have none of them, and very little of all the other Arthuriana that's out there -- not T.H. White's "The Once and Future King," not Tennyson's "Idylls of the King," Thomas Malory's epic, "Le Morte D'Arthur," not even Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon."The author of "Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage" (The Overlook Press: 384 pp., $24.95) would say that any adult interested in these inventions must be emotionally trapped in junior high. Oh, and they've probably also participated (at least once) in one of those silly medieval warfare reenactments. Excuse me while I adjust my chain-mail pants. And yet, above his clear distaste for the popular versions of this legend -- and he doles out plenty of this in his new book -- there is a fascinating question which he pursues with zeal: Just who was Merlin, really?The answer Ardrey's book provides is that the real Merlin was something of a scientist and Druid leader who helped the Scots and Britons fight off the Angles in the aftermath of Roman occupation. For his efforts, though, Ardrey says Merlin's contributions were written out of early English chronicles or, when he is found, he is reduced to an insulting form -- a wildman or a madman of some kind... [Read More]
Friday, November 21, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Hammer Hallow this stead:Then I poured cider into the horn, raised it, and blessed it, asking the Gods and Goddesses and the Disr to accept it. Likewise I raised the offerings up and blessed them. I then performed three draughts (I cannot really call them "rounds"), raising the horn first to the Aesir and the Vanir, second to collective Disr, and finally to my own paternal great grandmothers and Mrs. Brainwise's paternal grandmother. I left the plate of food offerings at the base of the tree and poured out some fresh cream. Then I took the blessing blowl and poured out its contents with my own twist on a familiar refrain:
By Thor's might which upholds us,
By Baldur's light, which inspires us,
By Frigga's wisdom which guides us,
By Odin's hand which guards us,
By Heimdall's watch which shields us,
By Freyr's vitality, which sustains us,
And by Freya's love which blesses us,
Hammer hallow and hold this holy stead.
From the Source to the Gods to the Earth to Us.With that, the ritual was complete. I answered a few brief questions for Mrs. Brainwise, after which she returned to watch college football. And I began the slow effort of dismantling the ritual space, taking care to ensure the fire would burn out safely. Welcome winter...
From Us to the Earth to the Gods the Source.
A Gift for a Gift.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Are Your Cats Old Enough To Learn About Jesus? :: Onion Store
People often ask us when they should teach the Good News to their housecats. We have but one answer: "What are you waiting for?"
Think of the alternative: your cat mired in darkness for eternity because you put off a 10-minute conversation.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A Methodology for the Mature Spiritual Seeker
1. Actively seek out and have your own direct spiritual experiences. Testimony is not sufficient for believing in paranormal phenomena. Direct experience is.
2. Think critically about the experiences you have had. What can you legitimately conclude from experience X? To what extent might you be reading into your experience based on your own religious / cultural preconceptions?
3. Form your own tentative conclusions. Don't get too attached to any one conception about the way things are. Remain open to revising your ideas about reality based on new information.
4. Dialogue with others and rigorously test your hypotheses. If there are other interpretations of your experience, listen to them. See what experiments you could do and what background information you could find to determine which explanation best fits the reality of the situation.
5. Seek to integrate all areas of objective knowledge into a coherent narrative. To what extent does our knowledge from other areas of study (anthropology, psychology, biology, history, literary criticism, etc.) support or oppose your interpretation of reality?
6. Repeat. This is a continuing process. Always be open to new experiences and to revising your beliefs based on new information.
You can dialogue with Ben over at his own blog, The Philosophy of Ben Dench (http://bendench.blogspot.com/).
Monday, October 06, 2008
A proclamation was issued by President Reagan in a Rose Garden Ceremony calling on the American people to observe this day with appropriate celebrations and activities. The date was chosen because on October 6, 1683 the first group of Germans sailed into Philadelphia Harbor on the Concord. Individually Germans had arrived before that date. [German-American Day Teaching Unit]Since that date, every U.S. president has made a proclamation that October 6 is German-American day, a day to honor and remember the outstanding, significant, and lasting contributions that German immigrants made to our country. For more information on German contributions to the United States, or for activities to celebrate German-American Day, I offer the following links:
- German-American Internet Scavenger Hunt
- German-American Day Teaching Unit (Grades 9-12)
- Society for German-American Studies
Friday, October 03, 2008
Read the whole thing: Energy Bulletin: Cassandra's View by John Michael Greer
...In terms of the original tale, though, the whole cast of Cassandra’s story was present and accounted for at the ASPO conference last week. The event took place in an expensive hotel across the street from the California state capitol, with skyscrapers filling in for the fabled towers of Troy, and King Priam played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who did not attend the conference but prefers a penthouse suite in the same hotel to the less private comforts of the governor’s mansion up the street. Lunches, finger food for breaks, and hors d’oeuvres for the evening receptions all tended toward the overly precious, and the uniformed hotel staff bustled about like servants at a Bronze Age royal court.
In this setting, the presentations and talk at the conference took on a surreal quality, as though the global civilization we were discussing – the one running out of cheap and easily available fossil fuels – was on some other planet. I’m not at all sure how many of the attendees took the time to connect the energy that provided climate-controlled air, fluorescent lighting, PowerPoint slideshows and overabundant snacks for the conference with the sinking lines on graphs that tracked our world’s rapidly depleting oil, coal, and natural gas reserves. I’m even less sure how many of them traced out those graphs to their logical conclusions and thought through the likely impacts on their own lives; even in peak oil circles, this is surprisingly uncommon...
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Truemors :: Alarm Clock Pillow a Truly Bright Idea Tired of waking up to whatever heart-attack-inducing alarm is working for you this month? A student design team from Dublin may have found a calmer, but more effective way to wrest you from the covers; their pillow alarm clock is rigged with LED lights that gradually brighten over a forty minute period, simulating a sunrise and letting your circadian rhythms adjust more naturally to a waking state. A layer of special material makes for a feeling indistinguishable from a normal pillow and even doubles as a reading light. Brits can look for it in stores by the end of the year, but no telling when it will hit North American shores."
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Oh politician, won't you pay for, my Mercedes Benz? The taxpayers all drive Yarises and Hybrids, I must make amends. Fleeced the public all my lifetime, with bigtime government friends. So politician, won't you pay for, my Mercedes Benz?I wrote those four lines during an IM session with a friend. Derivative? Yes. Still, it's not bad for off the cuff.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
But, after enduring a decade of inquiries, court cases and planning hearings, the 22 villagers are celebrating a victory. Take a look at the full story, which includes a few photos of the village's buildings. This might be what some Heathens mean when they wistfully speak of getting back to the land.
Palin Linked Electoral Success to Prayer of Kenyan Witchhunter (September 16, 2008)
The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witchhunt against a Kenyan woman who he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells.
At a speech at the Wasilla Assembly of God on June 8 this year, Mrs Palin described how Thomas Muthee had laid his hands on her when he visited the church as a guest preacher in late 2005, prior to her successful gubernatorial bid.
In video footage of the speech, she is seen saying: “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”
“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”
She then adds: “So, again, very very powerful, coming from this church,” before the presiding pastor comments on the “prophetic power” of the event.
An African evangelist, Pastor Muthee has given guest sermons at the Wasilla Assembly of God on at least 10 occasions in his role as the founder of the Word of Faith Church, also known as the Prayer Cave.
Pastor Muthee founded the Prayer Cave in 1989 in Kiambu, Kenya after “God spoke” to him and his late wife Margaret and called him to the country, according to the church’s website.
The pastor speaks of his offensive against a demonic presence in the town in a trailer for the evangelical video “Transformations”, made by Sentinel Group, a Christian research and information agency.
“We prayed, we fasted, the Lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place,” Pastor Muthee says.
After the spirit was broken, the crime rate dropped to almost zero and there was “explosive church growth” while almost every bar in the town closed down, the video says.
The full Transformations video featuring Pastor Muthee’s story has recently been removed from YouTube but the rest of the story is detailed in a 1999 article in the Christian Science Monitor, as well as on numerous evangelical websites.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a “divination” centre called the Emmanuel Clinic.
Her alleged involvement in fortune-telling and the fact that she lived near the site of a number of fatal car accidents led Pastor Muthee to publicly declare her a witch responsible for the town’s ills, and order her to offer her up her soul for salvation or leave Kiambu.
Says the Monitor, “Muthee held a crusade that “brought about 200 people to Christ”.” They set up round-the-clock prayer intercession in the basement of a grocery store and eventually, says the pastor “the demonic influence – the ‘principality’ over Kiambu –was broken”, and Mama Jane fled the town.
According to accounts of the witchhunt circulated on evangelical websites such as Prayer Links Ministries, after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon.
After Mama Jane was questioned by police – and released – she decided it was time to leave town, the account says.
Pastor Muthee has frequently referred to this witchhunt in his sermons as an example of the power of “spiritual warfare”. In October 2005, he delivered ten sermons at the Wasilla Assembly of God, the audio of which was available on the church’s website until it was removed around the time Mrs Palin’s candidacy was announced. The blog Irregular Times has listings and screen grabs of the sermons.
It was during that these sermons that Mrs Palin, who was then preparing for her gubernatorial run, was anointed by Pastor Muthee. His intercession, she says, was “awesome”.
Her June 8 speech was to mark the graduation of students from the Wasilla Assembly of God’s Masters’ Commission, which, as Pastor Ed Kalins explains, believes Alaska will be the refuge for American evangelicals upon the coming “End of Days”. After her speech, Mrs Palin was presented with an honorary Masters’ Commission diploma.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In this concise look at the various source materials (it is less than 80 pages), Sheffield has laid out a compelling case for moving Frey out of the commonly held, albeit limiting, description of "fertility god." Sheffield uses excerpts from lore -- paying particular attention to various translations -- to show Frey as fulfilling the roles of gift-giver and sacred king/divine ancestor. She then expands on those roles, showing how Frey -- as a sacred king -- is instrumental in maintaining prosperity, sacred inviolability, and fecundity. A brief overview of Dumezil's three functions is included for reference, aiding the reader's understanding of the comparative religious studies approach to Indo-European spiritualities. The book is footnoted throughout and includes an extensive bibliography.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"They crashed the planes and changed the rules." -- GrooveLily, Live Through This (Are We There Yet?), Are We There Yet?. QMR, 2003Seven years ago this very morning, the world changed. You may take that as an overstatement, or, conversely, as overly simple. But wherever you lived at the time, a shift in perspective occurred. That shift was all the more dramatic and palpable if you were a U.S. citizen. I don't want to dwell on the attacks themselves. But I do want to take some time to recall what happened in the wake of that dreadful event. Forget -- if you can, even if for only for a moment -- just forget how you feel about the war in Iraq, conspiracy theories, and Republican versus Democrat (or any other "them versus us" political division). Recall, instead, the great communal sense that slowly seeped into our national fiber even as the weight of sorrow and shock seemed all too powerful and crushing. Remember neighbor comforting neighbor, even in cases where those neighbors had not known each other very well prior to that morning. Remember the outpouring of support and sympathy from around the world. And remember that shared conviction that, although we would never forget the tragedy, we would recover ... grow stronger ... and become ever more connected as a nation. Are we there yet? Now, I know many terrible and stupid things also occurred in the wake of 9-11. To suggest otherwise would be naive. And I would never suggest that we should simply gloss over the darker side of our all too human nature. It is my belief, however, that we can recover even from the damage we have done, and continue to do, to ourselves. So the cases of post-911 ignorance and bigotry are not the focus of my post today. They would only serve to drag us back down to the things I asked you forget in my second paragraph. And what is my focus? What's the point of one more 9-11 post on a blog? Well, I wanted to provide something a little different on this solemn anniversary. You see, in my opinion, Americans were offered a choice seven years ago. We had a chance to abandon partisan politics and all the other petty things that keep us from truly working together. We saw a glimpse of the society we could have, one that celebrated differences instead of drawing lines. A nation of people united by a common desire to be their very best, and give their very best. That desire trumped pain, loss, and even differences in ethnicity, gender, politics, religion, etc. Are we there yet? I think you will agree that we are not there. Our current election season is a perfect indicator of how far we have fallen from that vision. But I hope you will also agree, or at least choose to see, that the door which opened in the aftermath of 9-11 has not yet closed. We can still achieve a truly united, yet beautifully diverse, nation. A nation not necessarily blessed by this, that, or the other god, but blessed by its citizens and their actions. Can we get there? You tell me.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
This is the first in a series of articles examining the various economic and fiscal proposals of the two candidates for president: Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain. The articles will appear in each issue of Knowledge@Wharton running up to the November election.
They may paint themselves as agents for a new, more bipartisan attitude in Washington, but John McCain and Barack Obama both tend to adhere to their parties' usual approaches to tax policy.
McCain would cut overall income taxes for the top 1% of American earners, according to recent data from the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Obama would raise taxes on those in the highest tax bracket, while reducing them for low- and moderate-income families.
[Here is the kicker!] The TPC study says both candidates' tax plans would substantially increase the national debt over the next decade, though the candidates themselves have made general promises to reduce the deficit and eventually balance the federal budget. The study also says that neither candidate articulates how they will do this. As for the tax cuts, McCain says he would renew the package of cuts initiated by President Bush (due to expire in 2011), while Obama says he will keep only some of those cuts...
Read the whole thing: The Candidates on Taxes: Finding the Devil in the Details
- Was her performance impressive? Yes and no. She was polished, read off the prompter like a professional, and connected with the audience. I, however, have a difficult time listening to her voice. There is just something about its register or pitch that makes me physically recoil. (Full disclosure: I have the same negative reaction to Hillary Clinton's voice).
- While I give Palin some leeway regarding her performance, the content of her speech was overly negative and distasteful. For contrast, I refer to the recent speeches by Barak Obama and Joe Biden. Yes, they were both argumentative against John McCain's positions and proposed policies. But they were also complimentary of McCain as a person and admitted a degree of respect for him and his military service. I saw no such bipartisanship in Palin's presentation (though, as I have admitted earlier, I have yet to view/hear it in its entirety).
- I am still surpised at the hypocrisy I perceive in the Republican Party. In the 2000 primaries, John McCain was harpooned as a crazy war vet and POW. In 2004, John Kerry's service was called into question (as was the very notion of needing military experience because Bush and Cheney had none). Now, they are all about John McCain as the "good soldier". Bringing this back to Palin, the hypocrisy centers on her daughter's pregnancy. Mother Palin is quick to say (more or less) "respect my family's decision", yet she is asking us to elect her so that she can remove that aspect of choice for all other families in a similar position.
- Having made my previous point, I am also stunned and appalled at the way media outlets have attacked Sarah Palin on a personal level. Yes, I believe the way a person behaves on a personal level does reflect something of how that person will handle him or herself on the world stage, in the political arena. But don't single out candidates from one party for all the venom. Dig up dirt on all of them, or ignore everyone's dirt, please.
Obama is right in saying that he finds the attacks on Palin and her family offensive, but those who support him don't seem to be listening. They should. Keep this up, guys, and major backlash is sure to follow. Sarah Palin may be no Hillary Clinton, but if she faces the same sort of sexism that Hillary did, she may yet capture many of her supporters.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable. -- Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)
Friday, August 29, 2008
McCain picks Palin as running mate Alaska governor to be first female Republican VP nomineeBREAKING NEWSMSNBC and NBC Newsupdated 19 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, NBC News has learned.
She would be the first woman ever to serve on a Republican presidential ticket. The pro-life Palin would also be the first Alaskan ever to appear on a national ticket.
Palin, 44, was elected Alaska's first woman governor in 2006. The state’s voters had grown weary of career politician Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she defeated in the GOP primary... [Full story]
Thursday, August 28, 2008
- 90–100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
- 70–89 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
- 50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
- 25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
- 0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, laughs with Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., before the start of a presidential forum hosted by the AFL-CIO at Soldier Field in Chicago, in this Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007 file photo. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is Barack Obama's pick as vice presidential running mate, The Associated Press has learned Saturday Aug. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, FILE)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Just a little something offered by the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health:
Spiritual Perspectives and Health Science (PDF)
We are pleased to announce our 1st Seminar of the 2008/2009 Academic Year following our summer hiatus. This year we will also be offering AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.
"Spiritual Perspectives and Health Science" which is a presentation and discussion by Pamela Reed, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, Arizona.
This seminar will address spirituality as a perspective for advancing human health and well-being. Synthesis of spiritual perspectives and science for health care research and the practice will be explored.
The seminar will be offered Thursday, September 11 from Noon - 1:30 p.m. in the School of Nursing Auditorium Room 1014. Lunch will be provided.
Sponsored by Duke University School of Medicine
Accreditation: The Duke University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Credit Designation: The Duke University School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Faculty Disclosure: The following speakers and/or planning committee members have indicated they have no relationship(s) with industry to disclose relative to the content of this CME activity:
Pamela Reed, PhD Keith G. Meador, MD Harold Koenig, MD Catherine Craver, MEd
I would argue that my lack of a belief in God makes me a more moral person than someone who is religious. My moral choices aren't made out of fear of eternal punishment. Just as I don't have a reason to have "good" morals, I don't have an excuse for bad ones, either.It's almost poetic, don't you agree? * While Memoirs of a Godless Heathen does make for a wonderful title, the "Godless Heathen" part is a contradiction. We Heathens have lots of Gods and Godesses! :)
- I don't have a religious justification to hate gay people, so I don't hate gay people.
- I don't have a religious justification to believe that women are inherently inferior to men, so I don't believe women are inferior to men.
- I don't have a religious justification to not see a doctor when I'm sick, so I see a doctor when I'm sick.
- I don't have a religious justification to hate someone for having the "wrong" religion, so I don't hate people because they follow a certain religion.
- I don't have a religious justification to hate someone for being a member of the "wrong" race, so I am not a racist.
- I don't have a religious justification to support certain wars due to a belief that it will fulfill some sort of ancient prophecy, so I oppose needless death and destruction.
- I don't have a religious justification to strap a bomb to my chest and blow myself up in a crowded market, so I don't strap a bomb to my chest and blow myself up in a crowded market.
"[She] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that."2000 years ago? Hmmm... to whom might she be referring? Might it be ... Yeshua ben Joseph? (Yeah, that means "Jesus"). Well, I guess we can stop wasting time on planetary woes. On to the next major project! But seriously folks, even without going into a discussion of how Ms. Bachmann and clear-thinking people have a seriously different conception of "saved", this kind of talk is just stupid. It's worse than the "cute" sermon signs ("God answers knee-mail"), but nowhere near as bad as the people who are supposedly in favor of accelerating global problems because they want to hasten the next arrival of their savior. And I'm not certain what to think about folks who are trying to fulfill biblical prophecies with holograms and lasers (yeah, it's an old story, but the only one I have access to at the moment). Ms. Bachmann, let me save you from making any more ridiculous statements. Just remember this simple formula: Political Sanity = Religion | State There is a barrier between them for a reason.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Galina Krasskova has written a wonderful and practical contribution to Heathen spirituality. From a very broad outline, Krasskova leads the reader through a brief, but far from superficial, overview of the development of modern Heathenry, basic information about the Gods and Goddesses, and the metaphysical worldview. Along the way, she provides personal examples drawn from her own life along with suggestions on how the reader can develop his or her own devotions. The topics of Wyrd and Soul Matrix were particularly well done and interesting, and the outlines of ritual (Blot and Symbel) are helpful -- though I am familiar with the basics, I found new and inspired details in these sections. I should also point out that I found Krasskova's honest and practical attitude regarding syncretization quite refreshing. While trying to be "non-denominational", this material is slightly slanted toward the Anglo-Saxon varieties of religious reconstruction. This is to be somewhat expected given her own experience in Thaet Angelseaxisce Ealdriht. My comment is not at all meant as a criticism, but merely a piece of information the reader should be aware of. In closing, "Exploring the Northern Tradition" is more than a simple introduction to this spiritual path; it is a very readable reference that the new, or even seasoned, Heathen can turn to on a frequent basis.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_archaeology
- Archaeology Data Service (PDF): http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/PSAS_2002/pdf/vol_099/99_001_020.pdf
- The Nature of Experiment in Archaeology (Butser Ancient Farm): http://www.butser.org.uk/iafexp_hcc.html
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The Evolution of Economic Rationality: Do Monkeys Understand Money?By Roy F. Baumeister on July 15, 2008 in Cultural Animal (This post was coauthored with Kathleen D. Vohs.)
Money is a powerful force in human life and affairs. Its very power gives pause to those who look to evolution for full explanations of human behavior, because money has not existed long enough to have influenced evolution. By some estimates, money only goes back a couple thousand years, which is too short even to have influenced human evolution... [read more]
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
- Lehigh Valley Hex Tour Photos (Photos) [broken link]
- Hex Signs of Lehigh and Berks County (Multimedia)
Update: October 16, 2008 -- This story is no longer present in the Morning Call's archive, but the multimedia tour is still available. Full text of original story posted below...
July 15, 2008
The Pennsylvania Dutch influence on the Lehigh Valley shines through in any number of ways: the food, the festivals, the language. A part of the culture's very soul, however, are hex signs -- the brightly colored circles that are most authentic when painted on barns but also are very popular on decorative wooden discs. Few people realize that eastern Berks and western Lehigh counties are the epicenter of the indigenous folk art form. Though there are a few in Lancaster County, they are exclusive to the Pennsylvania Dutch even there, and have nothing to do with Amish culture, says Don Yoder, co-author with Thomas E. Graves of ''Hex Signs: Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Symbols & Their Meaning'' (Stackpole Books, second edition 2000).
"Hex signs and Amish don't mix,'' he says. The Amish and Mennonites are two distinct, smaller groups included in the much larger category of European immigrants called the Pennsylvania Dutch, or Pennsylvania German. The term ''Dutch'' once covered people who were German or Dutch. Because of their somber dress, the Amish and Mennonites are sometimes called the ''plain'' Dutch. The ''fancy'' Dutch are mostly Lutheran and Reformed Church members. Amish barns typically are white and trimmed with green. They display no ''fancy'' decoration whatsoever, says Patrick J. Donmoyer, a student at Kutztown University majoring in art and minoring in Pennsylvania German Studies. His honors project this summer involves cataloging all the barns with hex signs in Berks County.
Pennsylvania Dutch barns usually are red, owing to the low price and easy availability of the pigment just after the Civil War, says artist Eric Claypoole, who learned to paint hex signs by watching his father in the family's Greenwich Township home. Each symbol has a meaning, Claypoole explains: Hearts stand for romance and love of mankind, distlefinks -- stylized goldfinches -- signify abundance (but with eyes looking backward toward Germany). Snakes symbolize temptation. The Pennsylvania Dutch decorated everything with these symbols, furniture, birth certificates, even Bibles, he says. The concept of using the symbols for good luck or to ward off evil was publicly introduced in Wallace Nutting's 1924 book, ''Pennsylvania Beautiful,'' where he called the designs ''hexafoos,'' or witch's foot. He coined the ''hex sign'' moniker for the images that had previously been known simply as schtanne and blumme, stars and flowers. Claypoole breaks a sly smile when asked if he attaches any meaning other than decoration to his work, probably the same smile generations of farmers gave before they answered, ''Yuscht fer schee'' -- just for nice, the answer he always gives. Yoder, whose book is still the go-to source for information on hex signs decades after it was first published, plays down their mystical properties. He does, however, acknowledge the designs were used on the underside of furniture, the backs of mirrors and on paper rolled into scrolls that homeowners inserted into holes drilled into door frames and window lintels (with the hope that they would protect their houses). On barns, farmers were using hex signs simply to show ''that they cared about the aesthetics of the landscape.'' ''But use these designs on barns to keep witches away? No!'' Yoder writes.
He also writes that the story of hex signs still is being written. At age 22, Donmoyer is poised to be among the prime champions who continue the story. He lectures on the meaning of ''hexerei'' (hex signs) and continues to dig deep into their rich history. Some of the symbols, he says, date back to Norse, and even pagan, art. And it is no coincidence that the hub of hex sign activity is here rather than, say, New York or New Jersey. ''There was freedom of religion in Pennsylvania,'' he says. ''People were afraid of so many things. Even 'witches' were protected here.'' Donmoyer notes hex signs might be for more than just decoration and there could be a link to powwowing, a Pennsylvania German practice of healing using a core group of prayers. The practice was driven underground, where it remains today. Statements by other hex sign experts that the signs couldn't have mystical meanings because they're so public and out there for the world to see are misleading, Donmoyer says. While many can be seen from main roads, many are painted on the other side of the barn, which only could be seen by the family, he says. Protecting a barn -- the center of a farmer's life and livelihood -- from witches, even if they were only people who were very attuned to animals or nature, may or may not be whimsical. ''But witches were not the only reason to protect a barn,'' he says, referring to theft, fire and disease as other tragedies that could befall a farm or a home.
Although the exact meaning of hex signs may be known only to the farmers who painted them so many years ago, they are interesting and worth studying, he says. ''So many areas don't have something like this,'' he says, ''It's worth the time to approach them with gratitude.'' mariella.savidge@... 610-778-2253
WHAT THE SYMBOLS MEAN
The most authentic hex signs are painted onto barns and are said to invite good luck while keeping away evil and tragedy. Some of the most frequently used designs have specific meanings, though there is no verifiable source for any of them:
- 4-point star: the four seasons, good luck
- 5-point star: protection against evil, five senses, good luck
- Double 5-point star: sun and light
- 6-point star: prosperity, good luck, protection from lightening, perfect marriage
- 6-petal rosette: faith, fertility, protection from harm. One of the most common symbols, it is said to be one of the most ancient.
- 8-point star: fertility, perseverance
- 12-point star: the months of the year, rationalism, justice
- Hearts: love
- Raindrops: fertility, abundance
- Tulips: faith, hope and charity; the holy trinity
- Oak leaves: strength
- Maple leaves: contentment
- Distlefinks: (goldfinches) abundance, good luck, happiness
- Snakes: temptation
- Scalloped edge (waves): tranquility, smooth sailing
- Closed circle edge: eternity
Hex sign colors, as well as shapes, have meanings. In fact, they usually emphasize the meaning of the symbols. Although there are no verifiable sources, these are the meanings that folklore has conveyed to generations of Pennsylvania Dutch families:
- Red: love
- Orange: success, career
- Yellow: health, sun
- Green: growth, good fortune, fertility
- Blue: protection, peace, calm, spirituality
- Purple: spirituality, intuition, sanctity
- Brown: earth, nature
- White: purity, free flow of energy
- Black: protection