Category: religion

This may be a female shaman.
This fragment of an earthenware vessel inscribed with a possible drawing of
a woman shaman wearing a bird costume was uncovered in western Japan at
Shimizukaze, a site dating to the middle of the Yayoi Period, around
100 BCE.

Nineteen other earthen vessels inscribed with human figures with
outstretched arms have been unearthed across Japan, but this is the
first to appear to have breasts.
Her eyes, nose, mouth, and one arm with five fingers are also visible on
the fragment, which measures just 5 inches by 6.5 inches.

Did you know that Christ the Redeemer, the iconic statue that looms over Rio de Janeiro, was finished in 1931? The 130-foot reinforced concrete-and-soapstone statue sits atop the peak of the 700-meter (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park.

The statue cost approximately US$250,000 to build. That’s 3.5 million in today’s dollars. It was built mainly on donations, too. So thank goodness the project was started in 1922, giving them plenty of time to raise donations before the Great Depression hit!

Rāgarāja, also known as Aizen-Myōō, one of the five Wisdom Kings of Buddhist tradition. He has a fearsome appearance, all red, with a third eye and flaming wild hair.

Japan, Kamakura-Nambokuchô period, 1300s.

During a 1968 visit with the Pope, William D. Borders, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, Florida, observed that arguably he was now bishop of the moon. According to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was in force at the time, any newly discovered territory fell under the jurisdiction of the diocese from which the discovering expedition had left.

And Bishop Borders’ diocese included Brevard County. Which is the home of Cape Canaveral, where the Apollo missions to the moon took off.

In 1529, it looked like Switzerland would fall into war between its Protestant and Catholics. Similar religious wars, both small and large, were raging across Europe.

Switzerland’s cantons were divided by religion. To the north was the Protestant-favouring canton of Zürich, led by Martin Luther-like reformer Ulrich Zwingli, a parish overseer who was spreading reform. To the south was Zug and the allied Catholic cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy, who felt their rural union should remain aligned with the Vatican and Rome. In June of 1529 diplomacy failed and the Zürich soldiers marched south to fight.

When the armies met, negotiations between the leadership continued. Meanwhile the soldiers in both armies were hungry, and Zürich had plenty of bread and salt, while Zug had a surplus of milk from its farms. They pooled their resources to make a simple soup of milk and bread. The men who ate together would not fight against each other, and no fighting would happen that year. And the legend of the miltschuppe was born. Even today, politicians in Switzerland share miltschuppe to (symbolically) help resolve disagreements.

The archangel Michael, whose cult first emerged in Ethiopia under the patronage of Emperor Zär’a Ya’eqob (ruled 1434–1468), remains the most venerated archangel in Ethiopia. This is largely due to his role as an intercessor on behalf of the faithful.

In this folio dating to the late 1600s, Saint Michael rescues the faithful from the flames of hell. And on the facing page, those Michael has already saved are depicted as living safely in paradise.

The first record of a bagel is in Krakow, Poland in 1610. A document issued by the Jewish elders of Krakow, with instructions on various aspects of Jewish life, included the recommendation to give “beygls” to women after childbirth. It was part of a section on how to properly celebrate the birth of a boy.

One man, Kumarajiva, is responsible for revolutionizing Chinese Buddhism. He lived from 334 to 413 CE during China’s Sixteen Kingdoms Era, and was tasked by the Later Qin emperor with translating key Buddhist texts into Chinese from Sanskrit. This is harder than mere literal translation. Sanskrit and Chinese are very different, linguistically, and Kumarajiva complained that the translation work was like having to eat rice after someone else had already chewed it!

Kumarajiva was able to translate many key Buddhist texts. In China today, millions of Chinese speak the words of Kumarajiva every day.

YAZIDISM

YAZIDISM is a syncretic, monotheistic religion practiced by the Yazidis, an ethnoreligious group which resides primarily in northern Iraq, northern Syria, and southeastern Turkey. Yazidism is considered by its adherents to be the oldest religion in the world and the first truly monotheistic faith. The Yazidi calendar states that the religion, as well as the universe, is almost 7,000 years old, which is 5,000 years older than the Gregorian Calendar and 1,000 years older than the Jewish calendar. Yazidism has had a rich history of syncretic development. For thousands of years, Yazidism incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which coalesced from 1162 CE to the 15th century CE. Ultimately, this process created Yazidi culture and ethnic identity. However, to understand Yazidism, its history must first be explained.

Almost nothing is recorded about the history of the first Yazidis. The etymology of the word ‘Yazidi’ is uncertain. Scholars debate whether or not it comes from the Middle Persian and Kurdish Yazad, which means ‘God.’ Other scholars believe that the Yazidis originated in the Zoroastrian city of Yazd in Iran. Another theory is that the Yazidis are descended from the Umayyad caliph Yazid ibn Mu’awiya, who reigned from 680 to 683 CE and killed the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein ibn ‘Ali. After the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate in 750 CE, descendants of the royal family and other Umayyad sympathizers fled into the Kurdish mountains from the rival Abbasid Caliphate. There, they were welcomed by the Kurds, who remained loyal to them. The theory concludes that the Umayyad refugees intermarried with the Yazidis, passing along their admiration for Yazid ibn Mua’wiyah, their ancestor and former ruler.

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