The historic Maya oriented their lives by the heavens. Today, their descendants and Western scholars team up to understand their sophisticated astronomy

ZUNIL, GUATEMALA—As the Sun climbs over a hillside ceremony, Ixquik Poz Salanic invokes a day in the sacred calendar: T’zi’, a day for seeking justice. Before she passes the microphone to the next speaker, she counts to 13 in K’iche’, an Indigenous Maya language with more than 1 million present-day speakers in Guatemala’s central highlands. A few dozen onlookers nod along, from grandmothers in traditional dresses to visiting schoolchildren shifting politely in their seats. Then the crowd joins a counterclockwise procession around a fire at the mouth of a cave, shuffle dancing to the beat of three men playing marimba while they toss offerings of candles, copal, and incense to the wind-licked flames.

Poz Salanic, a lawyer, serves as a daykeeper for her community, which means she keeps track of a 260-day cycle—20 days counted 13 times—that informs Maya ritual life. In April, archaeologists announced they had deciphered a 2300-year-old inscription bearing a date in this same calendar format, proving it was in use millennia ago by the historic Maya, who lived across southeastern Mexico and Central America. In small villages like this one, the Maya calendar kept ticking through conquest and centuries of persecution.

As recently as the 1990s, “Everything we did today would have been called witchcraft,” says fellow daykeeper Roberto Poz Pérez, Poz Salanic’s father, after the day count concludes and everyone has enjoyed a…

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A version of this story appeared in Science, Vol 376, Issue 6597.

830 million-year-old organisms found locked in ancient crystals could be resurrected

An interesting article that shows some of the wonders that Mother Earth/Gaia has made.

I found this on NewsBreak: 830 million-year-old organisms found locked in ancient crystals could be resurrected https://share.newsbreak.com/13s74s9x

Greek Temples of Sicily

There are at least a thousand reasons to visit Sicily, the great island – indeed the largest in the Mediterranean – that forms the triangular football to the boot that is the Italian peninsula. They are all very good reasons, including amazing landscapes, a uniquely complex and delicious cuisine, a history that is diverse and multifaceted beyond belief, excellent wines, a vast array of archaeological sites, an even vaster one of historical towns and villages. But one key reason to visit the island is missing from the list above: Greek temples!

Greek temples are one of the earliest well-defined expressions of what we now recognise as the Western tradition in architecture, and one of the most influential ones by a vast margin to this day. They go back to the 8th or 7th centuries BCE, and, as the name entails, they are indeed a key achievement of the Archaic Greeks. They originated in what is the south of modern Greece, namely the Peloponnese and Central Greece, where Greek temple architecture appears to have its main roots, probably derived from local wooden predecessors.

The Greek mainland’s architectural style is the Doric one, considered to be the most austere and ‘male’ in character. The eastern Aegean and Asia Minor were famous for their own development, the more elegant and ‘female’ Ionic style, conceived about a century after the Doric one. Its most prominent examples at SamosEphesus, and Didyma (much better preserved than the other two) are also marked by their …

 

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A Great Website for Irish Pagan Information

I have been following this website Irish Pagan School for about two years and have taken a couple of courses through them about Irish Celtic Paganism. The first course I took was on Ogham and even though I have been reading ogham Staves for years I learned somethings I was doing wrong that would affect a reading and some new ways to go about using the Ogham alphabet. Their courses are do not cost a lot for the information you can gain plus you can go back to the material time and time again.  You will get almost daily information usually in the form of a video through youtube.com. You can find the list of a variety of topics here by Irish Pagan School Videos I highly recommend watching a few if you are all interested in Celtic Paganism. Even with their Irish accent they are easy to understand.

Yesterday’s email announced a new way to gain information and I am really looking forward to listening to their podcasts. Here is the email I received including the link for the podcasts.

 

A Magickal Rite for Mabon: Honor the Dark Mother

A Magickal Rite for Mabon

Honor the Dark Mother at Mabon

Demeter and Persephone are strongly connected to the time of the Autumn Equinox. When Hades abducted Persephone, it set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the earth falling into darkness each winter. This is the time of the Dark Mother, the Crone aspect of the triple goddess. The goddess is bearing this time not a basket of flowers, but a sickle and scythe. She is prepared to reap what has been sown.

The earth dies a little each day, and we must embrace this slow descent into dark before we can truly appreciate the light that will return in a few months.

This ritual welcomes the archetype of the Dark Mother and celebrates that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Decorate your altar with symbols of Demeter and her daughter — flowers in red and yellow for Demeter, purple or black for Persephone, stalks of wheat, Indian corn, sickles, baskets. Have a candle on hand to represent each of them — harvest colors for Demeter, black for Persephone. You’ll also need a chalice of wine, or grape juice if you prefer, and a pomegranate.

If you normally cast a circle, or call the quarters, do so now. Turn to the altar, and light the Persephone candle. Say:

The land is beginning to die, and the soil grows cold.
The fertile womb of the earth has gone barren.
As Persephone descended into the Underworld,
So the earth continues its descent into night.
As Demeter mourns the loss of her daughter,
So we mourn the days drawing shorter.
The winter will soon be here.

Light the Demeter candle, and say:

In her anger and sorrow, Demeter roamed the earth,
And the crops died, and life withered and the soil went dormant.
In grief, she traveled looking for her lost child,
Leaving darkness behind in her wake.
We feel the mother’s pain, and our hearts break for her,
As she searches for the child she gave birth to.
We welcome the darkness, in her honor.

Break open the pomegranate (it’s a good idea to have a bowl to catch the drippings), and take out six seeds. Place them on the altar. Say:

Six months of light, and six months of dark.
The earth goes to sleep, and later wakes again.
O dark mother, we honor you this night,
And dance in your shadows.
We embrace that which is the darkness,
And celebrate the life of the Crone. Blessings to the dark goddess on this night, and every other.

As the wine is replaced upon the altar, hold your arms out in the Goddess position, and take a moment to reflect on the darker aspects of the human experience. Think of all the goddesses who evoke the night, and call out:

Demeter, Inanna, Kali, Tiamet, Hecate, Nemesis, Morrighan.
Bringers of destruction and darkness,
I embrace you tonight.
Without rage, we cannot feel love,
Without pain, we cannot feel happiness,
Without the night, there is no day,
Without death, there is no life.
Great goddesses of the night, I thank you.

Take a few moments to meditate on the darker aspects of your own soul. Is there a pain you’ve been longing to get rid of? Is there anger and frustration that you’ve been unable to move past? Is there someone who’s hurt you, but you haven’t told them how you feel? Now is the time to take this energy and turn it to your own purposes. Take any pain inside you, and reverse it so that it becomes a positive experience. If you’re not suffering from anything hurtful, count your blessings, and reflect on a time in your life when you weren’t so fortunate.

When you are ready, end the ritual.

By Patti Wigington,Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article found on & owned by ThoughtCo

Celtic Tree Calendar Month of the Elder – a tree sacred to the Celts

I am sorry I got the current Celtic calendar month posted a week late. I was down with allergies and (this was a PERSONAL CHOICE) getting my covid vaccine booster.

From Ireland-Calling.com

In Ireland, the elder was considered a sacred tree and, like the hawthorn, it was forbidden to cut one down. The elder tree was prized for its many uses culinary, medicinal and mystical.

Both the flowers and berries of the elder can be used to make wine. Elderflower wine was said to be drunk at the Beltane celebrations and elderberries were made into a wine at Samhain which was consumed to promote divination and hallucinations.

Poisonous

The seeds, bark, leaves and flowers of the elder can be poisonous as is the unripe fruit so special care must have been taken when preparing such beverages.

Ruis, R, Elder is the fifteenth letter in the ogham alphabet, Ruis, and the thirteenth and final month of the Celtic tree calendar.

The superstition of never cutting down an elder bush was not unique to Ireland. In Denmark, peasants never chopped an elder because Hyldemor, The Elder Mother, lived in the trunk.

This belief was possibly brought to the East of England by the Vikings and, even today, in Lincolnshire people ask permission from ‘The Old Lady’ before taking cuttings from the tree.

Christians gave elder a bad reputation

Christians believed that the elder tree was the tree that Judas hanged himself from, therefore making it unlucky. Some also believed the cross was made of elder wood. In fact the Christians gave the elder a bad reputation in general.

It was during Christian times that the elder became most associated with witches and many stories of ‘elder-witches’ spread throughout Ireland and Britain. This developed into an association with the devil.

To burn elder wood in your fire would bring the devil into your house.

Celts believed it protected the from evil spirits

It seems more likely that rather than a tree to be feared the elder was a highly respected tree in the old Celtic land. It was said to protect from evil spirits as well as inviting them.

Cradles were built from elder wood to protect babies and elder bushes were often planted around cattle to keep them healthy. It was believed that planting an elder near your house would also protect it from lightning.

At the same time, a flute made of elder could be used to summon spirits and, in Scotland, if you stand under an elder tree at Samhain you will be able to see the fairies riding by.

When Isis Was Queen

Ancient Egyptian Goddess Isis and God Osiris

At the ancient Egyptian temples of Philae, Nubians gave new life to a vanishing religious tradition.

Hathor.When the Romans conquered Egypt in 30 B.C., the country’s system of temples, which had sustained religious traditions dating back more than 3,000 years, began to slowly wither away. Starved of the funds that pharaohs traditionally supplied to religious institutions, priests lost their vocation and temples fell into disuse throughout the country. The introduction of Christianity in the first century a.d. only hastened this process. But there was one exception to this trend: In the temples on the island of Philae in the Nile River, rites dedicated to the goddess Isis and the god Osiris continued to be celebrated in high style for some 500 years after the Roman conquest. This final flowering of ancient Egyptian religion was only possible because of the piety and support of Egypt’s neighbors to the south, the Nubians.

Philae lies just south of the Nile’s first cataract—one of six rapids along the river—which marked the historical border between ancient Egypt and Nubia, also known as Kush. In this region of Kush, called Lower Nubia, the temple complex at Philae was just one of many that were built on islands in the Nile and along its banks. Throughout the long history of Egypt and Nubia, Lower Nubia was a kind of buffer zone between these two lands and a place…