Sunday, May 31, 2015

'Disciplina Etrusca' by Voltumna

This band named itself after the supreme god of the Etruscan pantheon, "Voltumna" (also called "Veltha"), which I just covered a bit on the other blog ('Etruscan women, mythology, and the god Veltha'). Black Metal music is a lot like the old Heavy Metal music in that some of it is truly good, while most you would probably have to really like the genre to appreciate. This particular song wouldn't be my first choice to promote, but I love the theme! The 'Disciplina Etrusca' was the text of ancient Etruscan polytheism, which was made up of the three "books of fate."

Beyond the larger Black Metal genre, are the sub-genres of "Celtic Black Metal," "Viking Black Metal," etc., etc. One thing this music offers is a clear link to folk-identity, in this case "Etruscan Black Metal." The band's lyrical theme is defined as "Etruscan Paganism, Mythology, Modern Decay"; and it's genre as Black/Death Metal. This additionally suggests a type of Gothic element to it. Dark symbolism can be beautiful, and could be an outlet for people, primarily younger people, who feel alienated by society.

This song is brand new; just released today in fact. The band is from Viterbo, Latium, and has been around since 2009. Viterbo was one of the city-states of the Etruscan civilization. In a Western society which makes a special point to squash identity (individual and collective), I think it's great that people can turn to their ancestors for inspiration and strength. It's not just Black Folk Metal, but there are many other genres which are folk-oriented in this manner. I mean something a little beyond a band merely playing folk music from a certain culture. There's often a rebel-aspect to it. 

If you don't like Black Metal, maybe seek out some of the other types of music within this concept. There's one band from Sardinia called Atrium Animae which is under a genre called "Atmospheric Neoclassical Darkwave," which is hauntingly beautiful.. and is based on what appears to be a Medieval Catholic style. There is Irish Black Metal, Odinic music of many sounds, Slavic, you name it. You might find something you like within one of these folk-spiritual-identity sub-genres.

I like music of just about every texture and harmony, but I don't like "sad music." There are enough things in this life to be sad or depressed about; especially when we lose people. Something inspirational is great, especially when there's that blood-folk connection with a spiritual tie-in. Black Metal is almost like fighting music. Perhaps we need some of that in our lives, because often life is a war. Evolutionary struggle.

Voltumna official website

Voltumna YouTube channel band profile

Voltumna facebook (official; in Italian mostly)

Voltumna facebook (in English)


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Maria Gaetana Agnesi - Groundbreaking Milanese Mathematician: Part 2

Contributions to mathematics

Instituzioni analitiche

According to Dirk Jan Struik, Agnesi is "the first important woman mathematician since Hypatia (fifth century A.D.)". The most valuable result of her labours was the Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventù italiana, (Analytical Institutions for the Use of Italian Youth) which was published in Milan in 1748 and "was regarded as the best introduction extant to the works of Euler." In the work, she worked on integrating mathematical analysis with algebra. The first volume treats of the analysis of finite quantities and the second of the analysis of infinitesimals.

A French translation of the second volume by P. T. d'Antelmy, with additions by Charles Bossut (1730–1814), was published in Paris in 1775; and Analytical Institutions, an English translation of the whole work by John Colson (1680–1760), the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, "inspected" by John Hellins, was published in 1801 at the expense of Baron Maseres. The work was dedicated to Empress Maria Theresa, who thanked Agnesi with the gift of a diamond ring, a personal letter, and a diamond and crystal case. Many others praised her work, including Pope Benedict XIV, who wrote her a complimentary letter and sent her a gold wreath and a gold medal.

Witch of Agnesi

The Instituzioni analitiche..., among other things, discussed a curve earlier studied and constructed by Pierre de Fermat and Guido Grandi. Grandi called the curve versoria in Latin and suggested the term versiera for Italian, possibly as a pun: 'versoria' is a nautical term, "sheet", while versiera/aversiera is "she-devil", "witch", from Latin Adversarius, an alias for "devil" (Adversary of God). For whatever reasons, after translations and publications of the Instituzioni analitiche... the curve has become known as the "Witch of Agnesi"

Witch of Agnesi (full article)


Agnesi also wrote a commentary on the Traité analytique des sections coniques du marquis de l'Hôpital, which, though highly praised by those who saw it in manuscript, was never published.

Later life

In 1750, on the illness of her father, she was appointed by Pope Benedict XIV to the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy and physics at Bologna, though she never served. She was the second woman ever to be granted professorship at a university, Laura Bassi being the first. In 1751, she became ill again and was told not to study by her doctors. After the death of her father in 1752 she carried out a long-cherished purpose by giving herself to the study of theology, and especially of the Fathers and devoted herself to the poor, homeless, and sick, giving away the gifts she had received and begging for money to continue her work with the poor. In 1783, she founded and became the director of the Opera Pia Trivulzio, a home for Milan's elderly, where she lived as the nuns of the institution did.


Witch of Agnesi, a curve
A crater on Venus
Asteroid 16765 Agnesi (1996)


Friday, May 29, 2015

Maria Gaetana Agnesi - Groundbreaking Milanese Mathematician: Part 1

"Agnesi is the first important woman mathematician since Hypatia."

-- Dirk Jan Struik

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (16 May 1718 – 9 January 1799) was an Italian mathematician and philosopher. She was the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first woman appointed as a Mathematics Professor at a University.

She is credited with writing the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus and was an honorary member of the faculty at the University of Bologna.

She devoted the last four decades of her life to studying theology (especially patristics) and to charitable work and serving the poor. This extended to helping the sick by allowing them entrance into her home where she set up a hospital. She was a devout Christian and wrote extensively on the marriage between intellectual pursuit and mystical contemplation, most notably in her essay Il cielo mistico (The Mystic Heaven). She saw the rational contemplation of God as a complement to prayer and contemplation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini, clavicembalist and composer, was her sister.

Early life

Maria Gaetana Agnesi was born in Milan, to a wealthy and literate family.  Her father Pietro Agnesi, a University of Bologna mathematics professor, wanted to elevate his family into the Milanese nobility. In order to achieve his goal, he had married Anna Fortunata Brivio in 1717. Her mother's death provided her the excuse to retire from public life. She took over management of the household.

Maria was recognized early on as a child prodigy; she could speak both Italian and French at five years of age. By her eleventh birthday, she had also learned Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, German, and Latin, and was referred to as the "Seven-Tongued Orator". She even educated her younger brothers. When she was nine years old, she composed and delivered an hour-long speech in Latin to some of the most distinguished intellectuals of the day. The subject was women's right to be educated.

Agnesi suffered a mysterious illness at the age of 12 that was attributed to her excessive studying and was prescribed vigorous dancing and horseback riding. This treatment did not work - she began to experience extreme convulsions, after which she was encouraged to pursue moderation. By age fourteen, she was studying ballistics and geometry. When she was fifteen, her father began to regularly gather in his house a circle of the most learned men in Bologna, before whom she read and maintained a series of theses on the most abstruse philosophical questions. Records of these meetings are given in Charles de Brosses' Lettres sur l'Italie and in the Propositiones Philosophicae, which her father had published in 1738 as an account of her final performance, where she defended 190 theses. Maria was very shy in nature and did not like these meetings.

Her father remarried twice after Maria's mother died, and Maria Agnesi ended up the eldest of 21 children, including her half-siblings. In addition to her performances and lessons, her responsibility was to teach her siblings. This task kept her from her own goal of entering a convent, as she had become strongly religious. Although her father refused to grant this wish, he agreed to let her live from that time on in an almost conventual semi-retirement, avoiding all interactions with society and devoting herself entirely to the study of mathematics. During that time, Maria studied both differential and integral calculus. Fellow philosophers thought she was extremely beautiful, and her family was recognized as one of the wealthiest in Milan. Maria became a professor at the University of Bologna.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Italy runestones and Langbarðaland

Guðlaug had the stones raised in memory of Holmi, her son. He died in Lombardy.

Guðlaug let ræisa stæina at Holma, sun sinn. Hann do a Langbarðalandi. 

-- Old Norse transcription of "U 141" runestone (see image)
Apparently his mother requested that two runestones be carved and erected in honor of her son who died while serving in the Byzantine "Varagian Guard."


The Italy runestones with English translation


The Italy runestones with English translation from the Scandinavian runic-text database.

The young men who applied for a position in the Varangian guard were not uncouth roughnecks, as in the traditional stereotype, but instead, it appears that they were usually fit and well-raised young warriors who were skilled in weapons. They were the kind of warriors who were welcome as the elite troops of the Byzantine Emperor, and who the rulers of Kievan Rus requested from Scandinavia when they were under threat.


Italy runestones (Wikipedia)

The Italy Runestones are three or four Varangian Runestones from 11th-century Sweden that talk of warriors who died in Langbarðaland ("Land of the Lombards"), the Old Norse name for Italy. On these rune stones it is southern Italy that is referred to (Langobardia), but the Rundata project renders it rather anachronistically as Lombardy (see the translations of the individual stones, below).

The rune stones are engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark, and two of them are found in Uppland and one or two in Södermanland.

Langbard duchies Spoleto and Benevento in blue
The memorials are probably raised in memory of members of the Varangian Guard, the elite guard of the Byzantine Emperor, and they probably died while fighting in southern Italy against the local Lombard principalities or the invading Normans. Many of their brothers-in-arms are remembered on the 28 Greece Runestones most of which are found in the same part of Sweden.

The young men who applied for a position in the Varangian guard were not uncouth roughnecks, as in the traditional stereotype, but instead, it appears that they were usually fit and well-raised young warriors who were skilled in weapons. They were the kind of warriors who were welcome as the elite troops of the Byzantine Emperor, and who the rulers of Kievan Rus' requested from Scandinavia when they were under threat. 


Johan Peringskiöld (d. 1720) considered the Fittja stone and the Djulefors stone to refer to the Lombard migration from Sweden, whereas Celsius (1727) interpreted them in a strikingly different manner. He noted that the name Longobardia was not applied to Italy until after the destruction of the Kingdom of the Lombards in 774. He claimed that the kingdom had been taken over by Varangians from Byzantium in the 11th and 12th centuries, and noted that in Barbarossa's campaign in Italy there were many Scandinavian warriors. The stones would have commemorated Swedish warriors who died in Barbarossa's war. This view was also espoused by Brocman (1762) who considered Holmi to have died in the 12th century for either the Byzantine Emperor or ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.

von Friesen (1913) noted that it is not Lombardy in northern Italy that is intended, but Langobardia in southern Italy, which was ruled by the Byzantine Emperor during the 11th century. The Greeks had to fight several battles against the Normans in southern Italy during the mid-11th century. It is likely that Holmi, who is mentioned on two stones, took part in these battles as a member of the Byzantine Emperor's elite unit, the Varangian Guard, since they use a name based on the Greek name for the region.


It would be curious to know what contact may have occurred between the Vikings and the Langbard Kingdom, since the kingdom's demise and the start of what is considered the "Viking Age" were only a few years apart. It's also possible that, since these warriors probably died in Southern Italy, the location was in the southern Langobard duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. These two states continued on after Langbard was destroyed by Charlemagne. These Vikings likely had been Christianized by this time, as this was the on the verge of or past the point of the Viking Age. They had been brought into the Christian fold.

Inga raised this stone in memory of Óleifr, her son. He ploughed his stern to the east, and met his end in the land of the Lombards.

Inga ræisti stæin þannsi at Olæif sun sinn. Hann austarla arði barði ok a Langbarðalandi andaðis.

-- Old Norse transcription of "Sö 65" runestone (see image)


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nick Montana still a free agent

I saw Nick Montana play in person. He was freshman for the Washington Huskies, playing at Stanford in 2011. He had a chance to run a couple of drives late, and showed a strong arm. After transferring a couple of times, he ended up at Tulane in New Orleans. He did have one good year in 2013, where he led the Green Wave to a 7-5 regular season record, while throwing for 1,722 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and a narrow 24-21 loss in the 2013 New Orleans Bowl

Pro football doesn't have a farm-system, and even great players who were very unheralded at one time, like Kurt Warner, had to try to hang on by playing in the Arena Football League, the CFL, or one of the smaller semi-pro leagues which have sprung up in recent years. I don't know if he's willing to go that route if he isn't signed by an NFL team. He's still a bit of a raw talent. Even Joe Montana and Tom Brady were down on the depth chart even in college at one point, and weren't high draft picks.

'Tulane senior Nick Montana says goodbye to Wave football, but keeping future in sport open'

'Nick Montana: Latest on Undrafted Free Agent After 2015 NFL Draft'


Nate Montana's sister Elizabeth, apparently still working as a model.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ancient Camunian petroglyph standing stone - 3,000 BCE

I couldn't find much information about this standing stone. Apparently it was carved and erected by the ancient Camunni tribe somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd millennium BCE. Evidently it was relocated to a museum, which appears to be the Teglio Antiquarium Tellinum (Archaeological Museum). The location was said to be Cornal, Val Camonica; although it wasn't clear as to whether or not this was the original location, or the location of the museum itself. It may be a very small village or more of a type of place name in the old language. The flat square stone, resembling an Odinic runestone, was described as an "idol statue with graffiti."

I feel a bit cheated, since this a beautiful very ancient artifact, and I want to know more about it. The "graffiti" looks something like a labyrinth, which was an important symbol to the Camunni. It may be of something else, although it's not clear. It does look very interesting and meaningful. It's at least as thought provoking as one image of an ancient Camunnian warrior doing battle with a Spartan-like helmet, sword, and shield. Remember, the Camunni weren't afraid to do battle with the Romans.

[Petroglyph standing stone in case the above link doesn't hold]

1937 National Socialist expedition to Val Camonica

The Ahnenerbe was an institute in Nazi Germany purposed to research the archaeological and cultural history of the Aryan race. Founded on July 1, 1935, by Heinrich Himmler, Herman Wirth, and Richard Walther Darré, the Ahnenerbe later conducted experiments and launched expeditions in an attempt to prove that mythological Nordic populations had once ruled the world.

In 1937, the Ahnenerbe sent the archaeologist Franz Altheim and his wife, the photographer Erika Trautmann, to Val Camonica, to study prehistoric rock inscriptions. The two returned to Germany claiming that they had found traces of Nordic runes on the rocks, supposedly confirming that ancient Rome was originally founded by Nordic incomers.

Wikipedia displays the following image as an example of Camunic runes in Val Camonica. What is interesting is that--despite the fact that the Camunni were an Alpine/proto-European people, and not Teutonic--the ancient Camunic alphabet is made up of some symbols which appear to be of Teutonic origin. For example, the Life rune and the Death rune (see letter "Z"). Although some of the Norse runes actually have their origin in the Italian peninsula, those two particular runes are of Norse origin. Also, there's a type of "double-Life rune" as well (see letter "S).

If you compare the runes from the Camunic alphabet above to the Teutonic/Odinic runes, clearly some are the same. For the record, the Camunic alphabet is from the first century BCE in the Val Camonica and the Valtellina. Although it can be confusing, some of these ancient symbols moved around; perhaps via the old trading routes. Although I believe that the National Socialists got the eastern Teutonic origins--including very ancient symbology--largely correct; the idea of "Teutonic Romans" was an embarrassing falsehood. 

The Romans would seem to have been primarily a shorter, heavy-boned Alpine type with true-Mediterranean admixture. This is why the old statues didn't particularly appear to be Mediterranean; for example, with Roman noses. I use the term "Alpine" loosely, since I'm referring to a more widespread stock 3,000 years ago.


Monday, May 25, 2015

'How It's Made: Dream Cars' - Bugatti Veyron

I still think of Bugatti as having a tie-in with the company's Milanese founders, Ettore Bugatti and his family. Certainly the legacy has a Milanese spirit. Bugattis, in all of their forms, are truly a work of mechanical and artistic genius. I love the old ads, which are something of an art form in of themselves. The company today is headquartered in France, and owned by Volkwagon.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Finding your magical name

How To Find Your Magickal Name by LunarWisdom

Per request from rchyx this is a video in how to find your craft or magickal name using numerology.

Brightest Blessings!


This is interesting, and food for thought, but I wouldn't hang my hat on it entirely. The word or compound word should feel perfect within you. There is an energetic element at work within any name that you use for anything. I would suggest taking many names for levels of personal identity and symbolism, and then even look into those words in other languages and dialects... and really make it a project.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Ancient Aliens - 'The Viking Gods' - Part 3

The following text apparently no longer has any type of copyright, and I wanted to save this particular writing from being lost. I would suggest using for anyone who just wanted to sit back and listen rather than read. I find the "Heather" voice to be clear and easy to understand. I can recall republishing a wonderful text interview which the Odinic Rite conducted with a representative of the Slavic Faith Association from Poland a few years ago. I was very surprised that the OR discarded it. Also, I wanted to add that this isn't necessarily a "Norse Creation Myth" as much as it is a Teutonic Creation Myth. It could very well have originated in the original Teutonic homeland north the the Himalayas, probably well over 10,000 years ago, and perhaps much longer. "Nordic" is a region, while "Teutonic" is a people who lived in many regions over the course of time. 

Odinic/Asatru Creation Myth
In the beginning, there was Ginnungagap, the yawning void or the vast abyss. It was a region so tremendous, so limitless that it extended for ever in any direction, with space to contain a million universes and still have room for another few million. To contemplate it would make you sick with dizziness, would make you weightless, would bend your mind with terror for it had no length, no breadth, no up, no down. In the beginning there was nothing in Ginnungagap that any human thought could grasp, not a drop of water, not a blade of grass, not a even a grain of sand. There was no light, no darkness, no silence and yet no sound - only a yawning void. Although this nothingness was so vast and shapeless, it was still not empty.  It had no form but it was definitely not empty. Only the gods know this secret. After the beginning, this nothing began to be something and there were seen to be in it two contrasting regions.

First of all was a region of fire, called Muspell (also known as Muspellheim). No ordinary being could live there for the land was ablaze and the air aflame. Later the combusting fire giants were to make Muspell their home. Muspell means "Home of the Destroyers of the world".

The second of the great regions in the vast abyss of Ginnungagap was cold, bleak wilderness of ice and snow and freezing fog, called Niflheim. Niflheim like Muspell, had existed for countless ages before our earth was created. In the center of Niflheim there surged and foamed up the mighty fountain of Hvergelmir, the Roaring Cauldron. All the rivers of all time proceeded from Hvergelmir. Their names were fearsome and their forms were magic: Howling, one was called, others Storming, Frightful, Bubble-blasting. One was said to be composed entirely of chunks of ice fighting their way along in the shape of weapons - spears, javelins, swords and battle-axes.

Another tumultuous fountain in Niflheim was Elivagar or Icy Waves. Elivagar, too had welled up from its unknown source since time immemorial. Some even say that Hvergelmir and Elivagar were only different names for the one primeval fountain. However that may be Elivagar's crunching, creaking, groaning mountains of ice expanded and exploded and spread lay upon layer as glaciers all over the northern quarter of Ginnungagap. And across the ever growing sierras of ice, whirled winds of hail, blizzards and frozen torrents of rain.

Most important, there bubbled up through Elivagar a poisonous scum which set the slag which runs out of a furnace. This hardened into black ice. When the mass stopped and flowed no further it hung suspended, forming colossal icicles and icebergs log jammed up and up, one on top of another. So between them, Hvergelmir and the poisoned Elivagar completely filled the northern part of Ginnungagap. At last the yawning void which lay to the north quarter was blocked with heavy and crushing ice and frost; while in contrast, the southern sky of Ginnungagap glared with sparks and molten gases gushing out of Muspell.

It was quite obvious that after eons of time the regions of fire and ice in the yawning void must meet. When this eventually happened there arose that most amazing of all phenomena, which no one since the world began has been able to explain - Life. When the two elements came together in space, the yawning void was as mild as the windless air, but as the ice of Niflheim touched the fire of Muspell there was a tremendous explosion and a mighty booming band. The fermenting drops of venom bubbling up through Elivagar were fused to life by the fire and across the length and breadth of Ginnungagap their there formed the body of a giant. He was shaped like a man and at first he hardly moved. A broth of bubbling and boiling mud and ice gave birth to his ferocious head, his arms, his torso and his sludge-streaked legs. His later descendants, the frost giants, named him Aurgelmir which meant Mud Boiler, for they knew the secret of his creation; but others called him Ymir.

For long ages Ymir lay sleeping in his porridge of poisonous, seething mud and ice. At last his body was solid and he began to sweat. Under his armpit grew a male and a female; then one of his feet mated with the other to produce a six-headed son, Thrudgelmir, who in due course gave birth to Bergelmir, the direct ancestor of the frost giants.

Not all the ice of Niflheim was impregnated with the poison from Elivagar, and where it remained pure but was still melted by the fires of Muspell, a vast cow appeared in the thawing ice. Her belly spread across the heights as a colossal cumulus cloud and her legs were columns at the corners of space. From the udder of this great cow the giant Ymir suckled. The frost giants called her Authumla meaning Great Nurse. Authumla herself needed sustenance and she began to lick the continents of ice about her, finding them pleasantly salty to her taste. Just as a master sculptor sees in a block of marble an image which only he can release, so when Authumla  licked the ice something new began to appear.

By the evening of the first day her questing tongue had licked out the hair of a man. All next day she nuzzled and slobbered until a man's head appeared. By the third day she had licked a complete man into shape. The gods called him Buri for they claim him as their firs ancestor: he was beautiful and bright to look at, a great and mighty god. As time went on, Buri had a son called Bor, a name which means born, for all those thousands of years ago there were still not very many words available. Bor's wife was Bestla the daughter of a giant known as Balethorn. Bor and Bestla had three sons called Odin, Vili and Ve.

All these beings, the ancestors of the giants and the gods, and the universal cow Authumla, had formed the primeval form lessness Ginnungagap. Because of the venom proceeding from Elivagar some were evil. Others, like Buri, were good. But it is well known that good and evil cannot live peacefully together and before long there was a tremendous battle between the cosmic powers.

The frost giants were a dark and violent race, misshapen, monstrous and noisy. Old Ymir's son, born by the union of his foot with the other, was a glacier-like being with six-heads called Thruthgelmir or Mighty Roarer, and his son was known as Bergelmir or Rock Roarer. When they and their ancient father and grand father Ymir met in council with the notice was ugly and and Odin, Vili and Ve, the sons of Bor were irritated beyond endurance.

Odin and his two brothers quarreled with old giant Ymir and after a great battle they killed him. When he fell, hacked to pieces, so much blood flooded from his body that all his giant family were drowned except the youngest, Bergelmir, and his wife. Bergelmir swam through the billows of blood dragging his wife by the hair until he was able to scramble on to a giant mill and there they sprawled across the millstone gasping for breath. In this way, the race of frost giants and hill ogres was able to continue.

Odin, Vili and Ve dragged Ymir's carcass, still pouring volumes of blood into the middle of Ginnungap. There were so many wounds in Ymir's body that the blood flowing out formed the sea. All oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, pools and streams came from Ymir's blood.

Wondering what to do with the remains, the sons of Bor decided to sculpt it into something useful, so they set to work. They pounded, kneaded, chopped and slashed his tremendous corpse, pushing and pulling his flesh this way and that as though it were clay until they were satisfied. When they had finished the first part of their gruesome task they had produce the groundwork of the earth: the rolling hills, plains, dry river beds, empty lakes, and empty sea-bed. Into all these hollows they poured Ymir's blood so that the earth lay entirely surrounded by the sea with rivers running through it. His bones they hacked and splintered to make mountain crags. They made individual rocks and seashore pebbles from his toes, double teeth and remains of broken bone. They used Ymir's hair for tree's and bushes. For soil the made out of his flesh, and the race of dwarfs appeared spontaneously rather like maggots. Bor's sons had now created the earth and the beaches and the sea but yet there was no sky. So Odin, Vili and Ve between them heaved up the mighty skull of Ymir to form a dome over the earth. Now they had to find a way to keep it in place.

Fortunately (because without a sky the earth would been a dark and miserable, not to mention uninteresting place to live in) a solution was at hand: they were able to make use of the dwarfs. Odin, Vili and Ve peremptorily ordered four of them to stand forever at the four corners of the world to hold up the sky. They called them Nordi (North), Sudri (South), Austri (East) and Westri (West). A little later on Odin created the winds by posting a giant (one of Bergelmir's sons) in the form of an eagle at eh ends of the earth to flap his wings for ever. And into the stream of air Bor's sons cast Ymir's brains to make the clouds.

The dome of the sky was now firmly fixed, but it remained dark and menacing. Freed from the supporting sky, the sons of Bor caught the glowing cinders and sparks which were thrown up and out of Muspell and poised them in the middle of the yawning gulf to light both heaven and earth. They appointed positions to all the stars: some were fixed in heaven, some were to pass backwards and forwards in regular patterns. In this way the seasons of the years were marked out, but as yet there was no sun and moon, and day was not separated from night.

Odin, Vili and Ve now gave a great grant of land encircling the outward shores of the ocean for the race of giants to settle in, calling it Jotunheim or Giant land. Finally the gods took Ymir's brows to build a circular stronghold of the cliff-like walls around the earth. They called this fortress Midgard, meaning the Middle Enclosure. 

Creation of Night and Day

Narfi, one of the first giants to colonize Jotunheim, had a stunningly beautiful daughter who was quite unlike the Viking women in appearance. She had a dark complexion and dusky hair. Her name was Nott (Night). Beautiful she was, she made herself more so by wearing bright stars in her long dark hair. Naturally enough, many men wished to marry her and being a young woman of strong character, she married three husbands, one after another.

 Nott's first husband was a handsome young fellow called Naglfari or Darkling, who may well have been a distant cousin of hers. Their marriage did not last long, but long enough for them to produce a son called Aud (Space). If you happen to be alone on a dark night with no clouds and the stars twinkling away into infinity, you will be well aware of the presence of Aud.

There was some mystery about Nott's second husband. Nobody ever called him anything else but Annar (Another). It looks suspiciously as if 'Annar' was simply a bye-name, a name employed to disguised the person's identity. People frequently speculated about who could really be or where he came from. There seems no doubt that he was not a giant and if that was the case, then he must have been a God, for no other beings have been created at that time. It is probably no was to find out whether Annar was someone of supreme importance who felt embarrassed about acknowledging a relationship by marriage to the giants. Whoever he was, Nott and her second husband Annar had a lovely daughter who was named Erda (Earth). Now, here is the surprising thing: of all the gods, Odin himself also had a daughter called Erda - so people are left to draw their own conclusions.

Night's third and last husband was Dellinger (Dawn), god of Dawn, He was definitely a relative of the gods and as his name implies, he was bright and fair. Their son Dag (Day), took after his father's side of the family and was very blond and beautiful.

It is clear that the Gods knew all about Nott and her various children and they were only too happy to work them into their scheme for the universe. The gods decided that each twenty-four hours should be divided into twelve and twelve and that half should be light and half dark. They gave Nott and her son Dag each a chariot and a pair of horses and sent them up to the heavens to drive around the earth, one after the other, once every twenty-four hours.

Nott drove first with her lead horse, Hrimfaxi (Frostymane) who each morning sprinkles the ground below with dew as he champs at his bit. The froth and glitter of his spit can be seen as it gathers in beads on the leaves and petals before dawn.

Behind, gallops Dag. His lead horse Skinfaxi (Shiningmane). The resplendence of his two shining steeds and of his own long golden hair, illumines all the earth and the sky with light.

Creation of Sun and Moon

In the old days the sun and moon, made like the other stars and planets from the flames of Muspell, swung unguided across the heavens. At that time there lived on earth a man named Mundilfari. It is not clear whether he was of the giant race of a poor relation of the gods. His name means 'the world turner' and in the beginning he man well have charged with making the world spin round - under the direction of the Gods of course. Perhaps this important work may explain his rather arrogant nature which in the end, got him into trouble.

Mundilfari had two children so bright and handsome that he thought nothing in creation could compare with them except the sun and the moon. Proudly he called the boy Mani (Moon) and the girl Sun (Sol). When the Gods heard about this they took offense. Vainglory of this kind was too much for them to bear and they snatched the children away from their father and put them to work in the heavens. It is these children we see as bright lights in the sky.

They made the girl he named Sol ride like a jockey on one of the horses pulling the chariot of the sun. The two horses drawing Sol's chariot, Arvakr and Alsvin (Early-Wake and Supreme-in-Strength), had to be protected from Sol's great heat, the Gods fixed an indestructible shield known as Svalin (Iron Cool) between the horses and Sol. Year after year, until the end of time, they follow their path across the sky, varying its height and length with the regular pattern of the changing seasons.

Sol's brother had to ride one of the horses of the moon, called Alsvider. But because his journeys were much more complicated than because the moon he was set to a guide of waxes and wanes each month so that it is never quite the same for two days in a row. Mani could not manage this himself and he in his turn kidnapped two other children from earth. A little boy named Bit and his sister Hiuki, had been sent up a high mountain by their father to fetch water from a well. That was the last the old man ever saw of them.

As Mani drove behind the peak in his glowing chariot, he snatched the unsuspecting children and took them along with him. On a clear night of the full moon they are both visible: people on earth call them the children in the moon and it is they who make the moon wax and wane. How exactly they do this is a puzzle. No one knows whether they draw a curtain across Mani's face, or whether they persuade him gradually to turn his head sideways and then back again.

From the earth both the son and the moon can be seen racing across the sky. This is not only because they are drawn by splendid galloping horses. They have a pressing reason for losing no time in their journey: they are both being pursued by wolves.

A long, long way away from Midgard, where it is almost always winter and dark forests stretch as far as the eye can see, in one desolate ravine where the tree trunks are corroded iron, live evil witches, troll women known as Ironwooders. Evil breeds evil. The worst of these witches became the mother of dozens of giants, all born in the form of wolves. Their brutish father was himself a wolf or at least a werewolf and it is said that he was no other than the famous Fenrir. Two of his cubs grew into such huge, terrifying animals that the powers of evil were able to set them like ravening dogs onto the sun and the ever-changing moon.

Bounding through the sky, the wolves chase the horses and the chariots as though they are rabbits or hares. One shaggy, dark wolf pursues the sun; the other just as hideous, leaps along, following the moon. Sun and moon have no hiding place from these evil beasts and are doomed to run away until the doom of the Gods.

The prophecies say that in the end the wolves will overtake Mani and Sol and swallow them up completely. 

Creation of Humans

The three sons of Bor were at first known as Odin, Vili and Ve. Though Odin developed many names during his years, he was still mainly known as Odin. Vili was sometimes known as Hoenir and Ve often called Lothur.

One morning, when all creation was new, the sons of Bor were walking together along the ocean shore. As they looked about them they could not help admiring the world they had made. The pure air sparkled with light for everything was running according to their plan - the sun was thinning, the breezes were blowing enough to cool and refresh the skin, puffy white clouds adorned the blue sky and the waves lapped pleasantly along the vast empty strand.

Empty? Well, not quite. In the distance, just beyond the waterline, the three gods made out two logs of driftwood. They had only been recently deposited on the yellow sand by the waves sweeping in from the ocean and were so near the water's edge that the tide still splashed the side of the one nearest to the sea.

Odin looked at his brothers Hoenir and Lothur and a wild idea came into his mind. Together they strode along the firm golden sand until they stood over the two logs. As the bay curved round, the sun happened to be behind them and Hoenir's shadow fell along the log nearest the water while Lothur's shadow lay along the other one.

Odin watched as the shadows of their legs and arms moved, making it look as if the logs too, were moving. He dropped down onto his knees by the log nearest the shore; it had been the trunk of some primeval elm tree. Placing his lips to the rough bark of the tree, he breathed out his divine spirit. Then he stood up and the three stepped back to watch.

Slowly, perhaps even hesitantly, the bark of the elm log began to shrivel and split and roll back until the body of a naked woman appeared. She was very beautiful but her skin was blanched like plant grown for a long time with out light and her eyes were vacant. She lay quite still without moving a limb.

Odin bent over the other log, which had come from an ash tree. Once more he breathed on the thin bark and this time the figure of a man appeared in the wood. His eyes open vacantly and he, too, lay motionless.

All this time the shadows of Hoenir and Lothur lay alone the newly released bodies. The three young Gods looked at each other and without speaking each knew what to do.
Odin had released Woman and Man and given them a soul and life. Now the other two brothers made their gifts.

As Lothur looked down on the woman he transferred to her the flush of youth, the use of her five senses and the power of understanding. Slowly she sat up, looking around the new world. Then she turned to look at the body still lying motionless and empty beside her.

Lothur then transferred his power to Man. The warmth of blood began to course through his veins and he, too, received understanding and the gifts of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

Hoenir's gift was the faculty of speech.

The two new beings, the first man and the first woman, looked at each other in full understanding, rose to their feet and embraced. Odin name the man Ask (Ash) and the woman Embla (Elm), from the trees out of which they had been formed. He took off his clock and draped it over the woman and put his tunic around the man's shoulders. Together the first human beings turned away from the sea and walked hand in hand into their new world.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Swiss Italians in Australia

It should be clarified that the proper term is "Swiss Italian," not Italian Swiss. As has been covered here before, an immigration--earlier than that to California--had been to the state of Victoria, Australia. Just like with other smaller Alpine regions, such as Val Camonica or Valtellina, the Swiss Italians/Ticinese have a local type of cuisine. It appears that there were many similarities between the California settlers and the Victoria settlers.

Swiss Italians of Australia

Swiss Italians of Australia, are Italian-speaking Swiss that settled in Australia during the 1850s and 1860s. The Swiss Italians initially settled in the area around Daylesford, Victoria. The Swiss settlers were from the canton of Ticino and the southern part of Graubünden

The influence of the Swiss Italians of Australia—Italian-speaking Swiss from the cantons of Ticino and Grison and the northern Italians is still present in the township of Hepburn Springs—through the names of its residents, the names of its springs (Locarno) and buildings (Savoia Hotel, Parma House, Perinis, Bellinzona) and the annual Swiss-Italian Festa.

The heart of the Italian-speaking community was the area around the Savoia (Spring Creek) Hotel and the Macaroni Factory. The Savoia is named after the royal family of unified Italy. An Italian reading library was located at the hotel and pasta was made opposite in Lucini's Macaroni Factory which was also home to the Democratic Club. Lucini's moved from Lonsdale Street, Melbourne in 1865, where they had set up as the first pasta factory in Australia in 1864. Vanzetta's bakery supplied bread to the community and Crippa, Perini, and the Gervasoni's (Yandoit Creek) produced wine.

In 2007 the Melbourne Immigration Museum featured a display entitled Wine Water and Stone reflecting the Swiss and Italian heritage of the area.

Swiss Italian food and culture

The Swiss Italians loved sport, food, and music. Their influence on local culture is celebrated annually during the Swiss Italian Festa. Swiss Italians of Australia have made their mark in spheres of art, music, literature, journalism, sport, education, science, and engineering.

A local delicacy is bullboar, which is a sausage made from beef, pork, garlic, and spices. Local families jealously guard their recipes. In 2005 Daylesford Secondary College came in second place in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Young Gourmets by making bullboars from the Gervasoni and Sartori recipes, which gained much media attention over the fate of Charlotte the pig, with little concern for the steer involved. The bullboar has been named an endangered recipe by the Slow Food Movement.

The Hepburn Springs Swiss and Italian Festa is an annual  five day celebration in late October of the area's Swiss Italian and Northern Italian heritage, with music, food, art, wine etc. Ticino and Val Camonica are very kindred cultures, both being Lombard-speaking mountain communities. The Lombard cultural relationship doesn't just end because some long ago German king decided to build a fence. This is a part of our culture as well. 

There are local (Bay Area) Swiss Italian events, and in other parts of the state, but they're hard to find as they would usually only pertain to those of that cultural family; and perhaps through the "Pro Ticino" clubs. However, there should basically be no difference between--for example--the Ticinese of west Marin County and the Milanese of east Marin County. Not only does the canton of Ticino border with the province of Milano, but both are from the same "West Lombard" dialect.

I came across an article on the Switzerland information website entitled 'Italian Swiss... or Swiss Italians?' Although interesting, that issue has been covered here before. Still, I wanted to link it for anyone interesting in reading up on it. The Ticino question becomes important to us partly because of the large past immigration in a few areas, and because we should bridge the gap finally with the idea of "Lombard cultural identity."

The "clan" concept is great, but let us not forget the ancient nation of Lumbardia. One "Lumbard" cultural family: Bergamo, Brescia/Val Camonica, Como, Cremona, Lodi, Mantova, Milano, Monza/Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio (Valtellina/Valchiavenna), Süd Graubünden/Val Poschiavo, Ticino, and Varese.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

'Alchemical Invocations of Vox Populi – Leland’s Aradia & the Creation of the Folk' [Part III]

This combination of ingredients is found in Christian exorcism rites practiced by the Catholic church, or more pointedly rites which would have been found in the Episcopalian tradition that Leland adopted during his time at Princeton:

“These four—water, wine, salt, and ashes—were the ingredients of the Exorcising Water to expel the enemy from a Church at its consecration ; the water symbolizing the outpouring of tears, and so penitence ; the wine, exultation of mind ; the salt, natural discretion or wisdom; and the ashes, the humility of penitence.”

– The symbolism of churches and church ornaments, Guillaume Durandus

And these three can also be equated in alchemical terms to Mercury (water), Sulphur, (wine) and Salt, which in the Paracelsian tradition are the three essential elements that form the basis of reality prior to the four elements of fire, water, earth and air. The rectification of these three also forms the basis of the Philosopher’s Stone. Leland was well acquainted with Paracelsus by the time he wrote Aradia, we find him discussing Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism at Princeton while still a student:

“When (Professor Dodd) asked me how it was that I had renegaded into Trinitarianism, I replied that it was due to reflection on the perfectly obvious and usual road of the Platonic hypostases eked out with Gnosticism. I had…learned…that ” it was a religious instinct of man to begin with a Trinity, in which I was much aided by Schelling, and that there was no trace of a Trinity in the Bible, or rather the contrary, yet that it ought consistently to have been there…For man or God consists of the Monad from which developed spirit or intellect and soul; for toto enim in mundo Ivcet Trias cujus Monas est princeps, as the creed of the Rosicrucians begins (which is taken from the Zoroastrian oracles)…and it is set forth on the face of every Egyptian temple as the ball, the wings of the spirit which rusheth into all worlds, and the serpent, which is the Logos.”

– Memoirs, Charles Leland

Here we see the core of Leland’s belief, “there was no trace…yet…it ought consistently to have been there.” Aradia is a classic work of Pastoral poetry, the work of an educated Romantic who longs for the Golden Age of Nature. Through the use of vox populi he takes the unrefined elements of folk culture and, in an alchemical moment of myth building, creates what “should be there.” He separates out the dross of true poverty and seeks the essence of hunger, desperation and wisdom that exists in the lives of the dispossessed.

Leland takes what the common people already know, but have no chance to define, and  shows them a reflection of themselves. Reworking their traditions with the purpose of returning to them the freedom that they already have, while undermining the bonds of control that have been put on them by social conventions that laud ostentation while rejecting the simplicity of life.  It is therefore no surprise that Aradia has had a foundational affect on contemporary witchcraft, that was the very purpose of the book.

Margherita Taluti’s information alone could not complete his vision, but it provided the ground and reality from which he could perfect the Work. It contained the Prima Materia missing from his own experience and provided the Key. Leland’s practice is no different than Ovid, Homer, Chaucer, Boccacio, Shakespeare, or any of the great Traditional Poets who took the popular mythologies and legends of their time and re-veiled them.

As he remarked to one of his fellow folklorists, “I am proud to be a first pointer-out – just as I am of having been acknowledge to be the first discoverer of Shelta…also of Italian-Latin witch lore and mythology, which latter has not as yet been credited to me, but will be some day.”

Through an alchemical invocation of the popular voice Charles Leland created a vision for the dispossessed to lay claim to. His ‘gospel of the witches‘ was the ‘good news‘ of the free spirit, the reclamation of the Edenic purity of Humanity that “shall dance, sing, make music, and then love in the darkness.”  It is the message to the establishment that “the true God the Father is not yours; for I have come to sweet away the bad, the men of evil, all will I destroy!” It’s a mark of success that Leland’s work has been reviled by the Academy, he wasn’t writing it for them, he was writing it for the People.

Note: The folks at Red Wheel/Weiser were kind enough to provide a copy of Charles Leland’s Aradia, Gospel of the Witches for research and review. Check out Bob Freeman’s review of Aradia and Freeman Presson’s review as well.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

'Alchemical Invocations of Vox Populi – Leland’s Aradia & the Creation of the Folk' [Part II]

The tradition that Leland invokes in Aradia is an idealistic tradition of the people.  Unbound by the historical accuracy or literary criticism through the character of Margherita Taluti, who is herself unbound through the mask of Aradia, he attempts to give voice to a deeper current of thought running through the cultural narrative. Just as the African Diaspora Traditions easily slide between Christian saints and African gods, Aradia presents the picture of a living tradition that invokes the Spirits by their Signs without regard for any cultural designations.  These are not the civilized gods of Empires, but the unrefined forces of Nature herself.

Despite the hesitation of some contemporary pagans over the use of the name Lucifer in the text, the marriage of Lucifer and Diana is not necessarily an amalgam of Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman traditions. In Latin Lucifer can be interpreted as “Light Bearer” an epitaph for Apollo (also called Φοίβος, Phoibos, “radiant”) who is the brother of Artemis, Artemis being another name for Diana.  With Italian being so close to Latin, it may be that the use of Lucifer actually predates the Christian tradition.

Another appellation given to Apollo is “born of the wolf”, and in pre-Hellenistic times (as Jake Stratton-Kent points out in his work Geosophia) Apollo had a definitive role in Cthonic (underworld) rites. The designation given in Aradia of Diana’s husband with “one who of old once reigned in Hell,” may be a subtle clue that it is this Cthonic Apollo, the Oracular Apollo, who is being called upon.

The Invocation to Aradia hints at this when it says, “may there be  one of three signs distinctly clear to me: the hiss of a serpent, the light of a firefly, the sound of a frog” The Serpent was sacred to Apollo, and the connection of the firefly to the “light bearer” is self evident, the frog is sacred to Hekate, a Cthonic Greek goddess who, like Diana, is connected to magical rites and nocturnal pursuits.

If this seems a bit academic for folk wisdom, it may very well be. Leland’s recounting may be every bit as free as his critics contend. In his work English Gypsy Songs he laments that none of the Romany he spoke with  could give an adequate representation of their tradition.  “Not finding what I wanted, I had given up the intention of forming such a collection, when the perusal of a few excellent Romany ballads by a friend who may fairly claim to be among the ”
deepest” of the deep in the language, as well as others by Professor Palmer and Miss Janet Tuckey, suggested to me the idea that poetry, impressed with true Gipsy spirit, and perfectly idiomatic, might be written and honestly classed as Romany, even though not composed by dwellers in tents or caravans. The experiment was made, great care being taken to avoid anything like theatrical Gypsyism, or fanciful idealization.”

There are many correspondences in Aradia to beliefs common to European and early American folk magic which Leland would have been familiar with through his extensive reading and passion for the “occult.” The Charm of the Stones Sacred to Diana is surprisingly similar to the seer stone used by Joseph Smith for treasure hunting and scrying while dictating the Book of Mormon. Leland’s niece recounts that he, “not only studied witchcraft with the impersonal curiosity of the scholar, but practiced it with the zest of the initiated,” so it would not be surprising if a bit of his own practice seeped in to the reworking of Margherita’s account of Italian witchcraft.

In fact Leland, in his memoirs, tells of his own ownership of such a stone, only he calls it a “voodoo stone,” and based on the timing of the tale he tells (at the end of the Civil War) his possession of it predates by many years his time in Italy:

“Now, to-day I hold and possess the black stone of the Voodoo, the possession of which of itself makes me a grand-master and initiate or adept…”

– Memoirs, Charles Leland

Similarly the Conjuration of Diana which calls for water, wine and salt, bears resemblance to invocation techniques used by folk magicians discussed in George Oliver's book from 1875, The Pythagorean Triangle: “It appears that in the time when conjurers could profitably exercise their art, they used to raise spirits within a circle nine feet in diameter, which they consecrated by sprinkling with a mixture of holy water, wine, and salt; that they might be protected from any onslaught of the fiend.”


Monday, May 18, 2015

'Alchemical Invocations of Vox Populi – Leland’s Aradia & the Creation of the Folk' [Part I]


'Alchemical Invocations of Vox Populi – Leland’s Aradia & the Creation of the Folk'

“If the lawful order (κόσμος) hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

If ye were of the lawful order (κόσμος), the lawful order (κόσμος) would love his own: but because ye are not of the lawful order(κόσμος), but I have chosen you out of the lawful order (κόσμος), therefore the world hateth you.

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me."

– John 15:18-21

Most reading the charming reprinting of Charles Leland’s Aradia, Gospel of the Witches easily forget how far we are from rural Italy in the 19th century,  from the world inhabited by those who remember the Ancient Ways, perhaps more telling, how far we are from the lives of the dispossessed in our own time.  Leland’s disarming erudition of Margherita Taluti’s information lulls us into gentle repose, arrested only by the sudden bursts of light when the reality of Margherita’s world sneaks through our contemporary dream.

“In those days there were on earth many rich and many poor.

The rich made slaves of all the poor.

In those days were many slaves who were cruelly treated; in every palace tortures, in every castle prisons.

Many slaves escaped. They fled to the country; thus they became thieves and evil folks. Instead of sleeping by night, they plotted escape and robbed their masters, and then slew them. So they dwelt in the mountains and forest as robbers and assassins, all to avoid slavery.”

An educated Western audience may find it uncouth that such things would be spoken aloud, but they aren’t spoken aloud, they are passed in secret, sub-rosa, in silence. Leland’s passion for various groups on the fringes of the society of his day, the Romany, the Native American, American Voodoo and European witches, gave him a strong sense of Romanticism for the struggles of the people, and provides him with the raw materials for an invocation of this struggle through his writing.

This is not the genteel voice of an educated Marxist lamenting capitalism, nor the hopeful philosophies of Utopian sustainability, this is Lex Talonis, justice driven by the Left Hand under the auspices of Divine Right. This is the uninhibited outcry of those who labor, live and die without ever seeing the fruits of their work, and watching daily while an uncaring elite sit in abstract control over their destinies.

During the Haitian Revolution in the late 18th century, escaped slaves met in the mountains and gathered strength while plotting to overthrow the Colonial French. During a ceremony in the northern mountains at Bois Caiman, which has since passed into a national myth, the freedom fighters called on the gods of their homeland to give them strength, protection and the vigor to overthrown their oppressors.

According to accounts of the ceremony “a woman started dancing languorously in the crowd, taken by the spirits of the loas. With a knife in her hand, she cut the throat of a pig and distributed the blood to all the participants of the meeting who swore to kill all the whites on the island.”

– History of Haiti and the Haitian Revolution

An interesting thing about Leland is that he’s writing from a place of experience. He was active during the American Civil War, both as a propagandist and journalist for the North and as a soldier, and was in Paris during the French uprising in 1848 where he participated in street fighting against the Royalist supporters.

In all of these revolutionary moments, however, we must be honest and recognize that the people do not stir on their own cognizance.  Even the Haitian revolution was spurred on by educated Haitians who invoked the power of their traditions to stir the people.  It takes someone to spark the collective consciousness, and that someone is more often than not a sympathetic member of the literati.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dr. Fiorella Terenzi - Famous Lombard astrophysicist

Fiorella Terenzi

Fiorella Terenzi is an Italian-born astrophysicist, author and recording artist who is best known for taking recordings of radio waves from far-away galaxies and turning them into music. She received her doctorate from the University of Milan but is currently based in the United States.

Described by Time magazine as "a cross between Carl Sagan and Madonna", Dr. Terenzi has studied opera and composition at Conservatory G. Verdi, Corsi Popolari Serali and taught physics and astronomy at various U.S. colleges and universities; she is currently on the full-time faculty at Florida International University in Miami. In research at the Computer Audio Research Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, she pioneered techniques to convert radio waves emanating from distant galaxies into sound, with some of the results released by Island Records on her acclaimed CD Music from the Galaxies. The goal of her audiofication/sonification of celestial data is to investigate how sound could reflect chemical, dynamical and physical properties of celestial objects, what she calls "Acoustic Astronomy."

Website of Dr. Fiorella Terenzi

Fiorella Terenzi YouTube channel


Dr. Fiorella Terenzi song "Eternal"

Astro-physicist and composer Fiorella Terenzi has used the most modern radio-tele- scopes and computers to convert the natural radiation from a galaxy designated UGC6697 into the audible range then add instrumental harmonies.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Everyday windows to the past II

Maybe this is going a little off topic, but this 1964 hit by Gale Garnett--entitled 'We'll Sing in the Sunshine'--really reminds me of part of a summer vacation that I spent with cousins in Wisconsin when I was ten. They lived right on a muddy lake, and I can still smell that particular mud scent. It was okay once you got out aways. It was hot every day. Also, the old photographs in this video remind me of certain places and how they were in the past. They really work with this song. 

Another song that comes to mind is 'Holiday Road' by Lindsay Buckingham, which really reminds me of the feel of family vacations in the American west (song and movie). I never would have thought that the guy was actually from the UK. This song is from the 1983 comedy 'National Lampoon's Vacation' with Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo. That's such a popular movie, as it's on TV all the time.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ghost programs and the metaphysical issue: Part 16 - The Melissa Galka case

Ghost Adventures - The Galka Family House by f100003542948733

Melissa Galka was a seventeen year old girl who died in a car accident some years ago. Her continued soul presence and clear relevant conversations--in her own voice--using EVP technology, appears to be proof of the afterlife. If it isn't proof, then we're experiencing the final stages of where soon "proof" will be undeniable. We're offered so many silly things in the mainstream media and popular culture, and here is arguably the most important issue of all staring us in the face. This could change the world forever. For one thing, it would usher in an era where there could possibly be eventual proof of "consequences" for actions committed in this plane of existence. That would be quite a game changer. It would also be the absolute end of Atheism, so I suspect that they will fight this thing to the bitter end. Additionally, it could eventually mark the end of "absolutist" or "supremacist" religion... particularly "faith-based" religion. The world would be a much better place. I'm not saying it would be the end of religion, far from it. But it may lead to more of a spiritual existence.

Needless to say, this is a very important case. Melissa Galka's angel-like spirit is still here. As far as what I have been able to understand, her soul must have passed over, then is free to wander over to this plane for as long as she wishes. Eventually the soul has the choice to experience life again. So she isn't really a "ghost" by exact definition. I don't believe that they can actually interfere with human fate. Just the fact that she can communicate with her family is quite a gift for them. Also particularly interesting in this episode of 'Ghost Adventures', is that at one point fellow spirit "friends" crossed over to where Zak Bagans was conducting communication with her in her parents house. It was a fascinating look at what could possibly be. As this spirit communication technology improves, it should become more and more interesting. The following link is the YouTube channel of Gary Galka, Melissa's father. It has numerous videos of EVP communications with Melissa and of other cases; as well as a good source of the continued evolution of this technology.

Union Cemetery (Easton, Connecticut)

Union Cemetery is a cemetery located near Stepney Road in Easton, Connecticut. The site dates back to the 1700s and is reputed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries not only in Connecticut, but also in the entire United States. Connecticut demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren have written a book about the cemetery entitled Graveyard.


Monday, May 11, 2015

'The 13th Warrior' (1999) - movie review

'The 13th Warrior' (Wikipedia)

The 13th Warrior is a 1999 American historical fiction action film based on the novel Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton and is a loose retelling of the tale of Beowulf. It stars Antonio Banderas as Ahmad ibn Fadlan, Diane Venora and Omar Sharif. It was directed by John McTiernan. Crichton directed some reshoots uncredited. The film was produced by McTiernan, Crichton, and Ned Dowd, with Andrew G. Vajna and Ethan Dubrow as executive producers.

While rewatching this film a few days ago, it just hit me. This film was a reversal of 'Lawrence of Arabia. Instead of a Western gentleman and adventurer aiding the "good Muslims" against the aggression of the "bad Muslims" in a foreign exotic land, it was a Muslim gentleman and adventurer aiding the "good Vikings" against the "bad Vikings" in a foreign exotic land. Antonio Banderas plays the role of Ahmad, who after a social-political dispute in Baghdad, is exiled to serve as an ambassador to "northern barbarians" (Vikings) who were apparently living somewhere in northwestern Asia. Omar Sharif plays the role of a senior official who teaches him the ropes. An old Viking woman with a raspy voice is a type of magical seer, and further adds to the idea of the Northmen as strange and exotic.

The Vikings are portrayed as unkempt, crude, and gruff, while Ahmad was well dressed, gentlemanly, and well spoken. Although it wasn't really clear to me, after an incident he is selected as a non-Northman "thirteenth warrior" by the seer when news arrives that their particular Viking tribal home is under attack. They embark back north by ship. Ahmad soon learns their language. To Ahmad, rich dark colors, the northern climate, heavy clouds, mountains, and forests would have seemed exotic and inhospitable. The architectural designs and Odinic totems was impressive. For the record, an Odinic death prayer was portrayed in the movie.

After repelling an attack by the enemy tribe, powerful men who were adorned with the heads, furs, and claws of bears, Ahmad soon gains respect after displaying his expertise with the sword and horse. He meets a Viking woman, whom is his semi-romantic interest throughout his stay. During the first battle, he bravely saves a little Viking girl, which further raises his stock with the group. The beastly cannibalistic enemy tribe reminded me of the accounts by the Romans of a particular people whom I think they referred to as the "Scritobini" in Scandinavia. I actually made a video about them a few years ago, in an expression of primal dark imagery, entitled Scritobini Dawn of Europe.


Spoiler alert beyond this point





After a long struggle, the enemy is defeated. The tribal chieftain Buliwyf kills the fearsome leader of the enemy tribe in battle, although he is terminally poisoned in the process. His character was based on the Beowulf legend. The dying Buliwyf, wants the story of this struggle told so he would be remembered. Ahmad, the allegorical "Lawrence of Arabia," then returns home by ship. According to this fictional account, Ahmad writes Buliwyf's story when he is back in Baghdad. Actually, there are some old texts about the Vikings by Islamic historians and writers.

This movie was not a financial success, likely partly due to the costs of the sets  It's a good enough movie, but probably one that you would generally watch only once.