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Divination: An Introduction

Divination is the technical term for what most people would call fortune telling, but the reality of what divination is, is a bit more complicated than that. Most realistic practitioners will admit that most forms of divination simply offer a guideline, and the reader is simply interpreting the probable outcome based upon the forces presently at work.

In more ancient times, the purpose of divination was, primarily, discovering the will of the gods. The more modern view is split between a more fatalistic outlook on the future and one where the future is not fixed is simply a tool to analyze the specific path one is on and divination is a tool to determine what that path is.

Divination is also subject to interpretation error or bias, from the person reading, especially if they have a personal stake in the reading. Learning to remove your desires from the equation is a matter of practice. Most beginners try out several different methods and find they are more gifted in one method than the others. Picking a method with less room for interpretation (i.e. tarot cards versus scrying) is another way beginners can reduce the risk of misinterpretation.

Mantic Instruments:

Automatic Writing (Psychography): Psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing which are dictated  by the subconscious, or a spiritual or supernatural source

Osteomancy: The use of animal bones. The typical method, similar to runes and the ogham sticks, typically uses small bones, which are marked with symbols, placed in a bag or bowl, and then withdrawn one at a time so that the symbols can be analyzed.

Scrying: This type of divination is based on an analysis of reflections in water, on polished metal, rock crystals, or precious stones. Can be done during a full moon with water, or with crystals (like a crystal ball).

Lithomancy: Reading stones. Involves casting or picking stones to interpret an omen, foretell the future, or to seek insight on a specific subject. Many people base the readings off of the position of the stones as well as how the light hits them, but some simply assign meaning to the specific stones, similar to tarot cards.

Pendulum: This is one of the easiest methods. A pendulum can be made from almost anything. Once you “prepare” the pendulum, you may ask it yes or no questions. The swing of the pendulum dictates the answer.

Tasseography or Tasseomancy: The act of reading tea leaves or coffee grounds. The patterns and shapes are then reviewed and assigned meaning. There are many guides available for interpreting these signs.

The Celtic Ogham: Named for Ogma or Ogmos, the Celtic god of eloquence and literacy. Each character of the Ogham alphabet is carved into a staves or sticks.

Runes: Typically small pieces of wood or glass carved with the 24 ancient runic alphabetic symbols, each with specific characteristics. There are several ways to cast runes, depending on the type of question and complexity/depth of the reading.

Tarot Cards: A deck of 78 cards, broken into two sections, the Major and Minor Arcana. The exact images depicted vary based on the deck of cards being used but the Rider Waite deck is considered the standard for divination purposes. The most common spread is 3 cards (usually Past, Present, Future) but there are many more intricate spreads you can try. Interpretations are widely available, but the meaning of a card differs based on it’s position in the spread.

Cartomancy: This method uses the standard deck of playing cards. 52 card deck, separated into 4 suits of Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades. Though they are used for playing non-mantic games today, many consider these to be the original tarot cards. Similar to Tarot, you can do a simple 3 card spread or more intricate spread and the meaning for each card is widely available.

Ouija Board: Also called a spirit board or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, and the words yes, no, hello, and goodbye. The participant/s channel a spirit to answer their questions, similar to Automatic writing. The spirit will then guide the hands of the participant/s to the answer via the planchette.

*Palm Reading/Palmistry: I have included this method though there are no tools involved, because it can be done by a novice, and the interpretations of different lines are well established.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the objects that can be used for divination, just the “mainstream” ones.

One type of Divination that is quite popular in western culture is Numerology/Astrology through the reading of Horoscopes. However, these readings are generally not individualized enough, and are interpreted and assigned meaning by others through unknown methodologies which cannot be easily be duplicated by the average individual. Therefore I did not include these methods, and will not include them in future exploration of the instruments used for Divination.

I may do a post on Numberology and/or Astrology on a more psychological or sociological level in the future, to elaborate more on why I consider them to be the most fatalistic approach.

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The Lost Civilization of Mu (Lemuria)

The name Lemuria came from the “English geologist Philip Sclater who was puzzled by the presence of lemur fossils in Madagascar and India but not in mainland Africa and the Middle East. Sclater proposed that Madagascar and India were once part of a larger continent, and named this missing landmass ‘Lemuria’.”

The continent of Lemuria, which is also known as Mu, is supposed to have existed in what is now the eastern Indian and southwestern Pacific Oceans but sank beneath the waves long before the heyday of Atlantis. While Lemuria is second only to Atlantis itself among the lost continents, and has been backdated into myth and legend from around the world, the idea of a Lemurian continent dates back only as early as the 1860s.

In the 1860s, geologists in India and South Africa noticed close similarities in rock strata and fossil animals from the two regions. The theory of continental drift had not yet been proposed, much less accepted by conventional geology, but land bridges such as the Bering Sea land bridge connecting Alaska and Siberia and “Adam’s Bridge” were much in fashion. Thus several geologists proposed that a sunken landmass must have once connected southeastern Africa with the west coast of southern India. Within a few decades however, lemur fossils had been found over most of southern Asia and the Middle East, making the land bridge unnecessary, and the acceptance of continental drift in the 1970s removed most of the last supports for the old concept. Yet, the idea of a lost continent refused to die, and has been tied to several other local legends such as  ‎Kumari Kandam.

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Interesting Facts about Angels

 

  • The word angel comes from the Greek word angelos, which means “winged messenger.”

 

  • Although angels are generally found within three key religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, similar beings can also be found within Sumerian, Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian and Greek writings, as well, and are thought to have played a major influence upon the ideas regarding angels within the key religions themselves. Though maybe called different names, benevolent spirit beings quite similar to angels can also be found within other religions, mythologies, and lore. Hinduism has avatars, Buddhism has devas and bodhisattvas, the Greeks wrote about daimons, and other spirit beings similar to angels, such as guardian spirits and spirit guides, have been taught by tribal cultures. All of these have similar function as helpful spirit messengers, or angels.

 

  • Perhaps the most infamous of the angels are the fallen angels, who are led by Lucifer (which really needs it’s own post) and make up what many western religions believe to be the origin of demons. This originated in the Hebrew text of Isaiah about Lucifer being cast out of heaven with one third of the angels following him to the Earth. When the text was written, Lucifer actually referred to a Babylonian king, but later Christian interpretation of the same text changed Lucifer into Satan, commonly believed to be the “devil.”

 

  • The oldest known illustration of an angel can be found on a six-thousand-year-old engraving from Ur. This shows a winged figure pouring the water of life into a cup held by a king.

 

  • Many also draw correlations between these early winged figures, thought to be the prequels of angels, and astrology. The enormous part-human, part-animal winged griffins from Mesopotamia are one example. In Assyria, the griffins were considered Cherubim ( what we would call a “Cherub” today). They were strange figures with human or lion faces and the bodies of bulls, eagles, or sphinxes. These figures show the close relationship astrology has always had with angels, as griffins contain the four signs of the zodiac that mark the solstices and equinoxes: Taurus the Bull (spring equinox), Leo the Lion (summer solstice), the Eagle for Scorpio (autumn equinox), and the Water Carrier for Aquarius (winter solstice).
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Famadihana and the Black Plague in Madagascar

Although it may not be news to anyone anymore, Madagascar is still battling the worst outbreak of Bubonic plague in the last 50 years. 

And yes, it is that Bubonic plague. The one that killed over 50 million people across Europe in the 14th century, not accounting for the unknown destruction it caused in Asia, when it was known as the Black Death.

Interestingly enough, Madagascar is used to seeing hundreds of cases of (mostly) bubonic plague in its’ rural areas, every year. The difference is that, this year it has developed into the deadlier pneumonic version and spread to much more populated areas, including the capital. While the trend in the past two years indicated an overall lower number of deaths, there has been an alarmingly higher rate of contracting the pneumonic form of the disease.

The difference between the Bubonic Plague and Pneumonic Plague:

  • Bubonic plague is spread to humans by the bites of infected fleas that live on small mammals such as rats.
  • Without treatment, the Bubonic plague it kills up to two-thirds of those infected.
  • About one in 10 (untreated) cases will develop into pneumonic plague, which is almost always fatal if not treated quickly.
  • Unlike bubonic plague, the pneumonic plague spreads much more easily through droplets in the air. (So if a sick person coughs very close to you, you could pick it up) 

Though this is considered a medieval disease, the Bubonic plague strikes hundreds of people every year, with its highest concentrations in Africa. Madagascar is by far the country worst effected by this, so much so, that every single year they have what is dubbed “Plague Season”. Since 2010 it has been the site of over half (and one year, 90 percent) of worldwide incidents of this plague. In order to prevent the spread of the disease, it is common practice for the corpses of plague victims to be buried immediately. This means that they are usually interred near a city hospital, instead of a family crypt. Unfortunately, tradition may be a deterrent for some seeking treatment in a hospital. 

In Madagascar, if you have a question about family matters, or want blessings for fertility, you seek out your ancestors’ help. And sometimes, that means digging up their bodies. During the traditional ceremony, known as Famadihana, or “the turning of the bones” hundreds of people from the community gather at the family crypt usually every 5 to 7 years. In these ceremonies, the Malagasy open the tombs and remove the bodies, to be rewrapped in silk. The bodies are lifted over the heads of observing revelers and merrymakers.  The descendants use this time to ask for guidance from the ancestors and then the bodies are returned to their crypts.

But some families of plague victims will go so far as to stealthily unearth their loved ones to bring them back to their own villages for burial. There is even a chance that families may anticipate, based on what they may perceive as severity of disease, and the possibility of not being able to bury their family members properly and decide to not bring their relatives to the hospital at all. One such tactic that has been implemented is burying the corpses with concrete tombs to try to discourage the unearthings.

You can view the report from the World Health Organization here: 

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/259385/1/Ex-PlagueMadagascar30102017.pdf 

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American Government Pays Protection to Muslim Pirates

It all starts with the Barbary corsairs (another word for what we would call a pirate or privateer)… 

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Quick terminology lesson:

Pirate: generally considered to not be affiliated with any nation, or displaying any strong national predilection, or distinction, between attacking one nation’s ships over another’s

Privateer: generally “licensed” by a governing official to lay siege on other nation’s ships and property, while sending a portion of the proceeds to their country

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Most Barbary corsairs had either an official agreement, or an “understanding” with the port from which they sailed, which means they were, technically, privateers because they attacked only enemies of the state. The local rulers, called beys, typically offered privateering licenses to the corsairs in exchange for 10 percent of their profits plus port fees. Others, from smaller ports along the North African coast enjoyed a similar, although often less regimented, arrangement with the local government of their area.

Under their arrangement with the beys, the corsairs could attack any non-Muslim ships, particularly ships from countries with which the empire was at war, although this rule was not always strictly observed.

The Barbary pirates were based primarily out of various ports such as Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli (remember this). They seized ships and engaged in land raids of small coastal towns and villages throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa, and South America, and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland, but they primarily operated in the western Mediterranean area. The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Ottoman slave trade as well as the general Muslim slavery market in North Africa and the Middle East.

Up to this point, American commerce had been protected against the Barbary pirates by the peace treaty that Britain had with the four primary Barbary posts/ports (which America benefited from, being a colony of Britain colonies). But with their independence, the Americans lost that protection and fell prey to the corsairs. Unfortunately, as America had no warships to speak of, powerful naval forces, or large treasury, American commerce in the Mediterranean was promptly targeted by the Barbary corsairs. America’s merchants suffered, and the cries of families of men enslaved by the “barbarians” put pressure on the new Federal Government to come to terms. After years of negotiation, the United States agreed to pay tribute to keep American ships safe.

By the time President Thomas Jefferson took office, the United States had paid two million dollars in tribute. But once you start paying tribute (as anyone who has dealt with the mob will tell you) you set yourself up to demands for more tribute. The Pasha of Tripoli decided the $56,484 he had received wasn’t enough. He wanted $225,000, and an annual tribute of $20,000. When President Jefferson refused, the pasha declared war by cutting down the flagpole in front of the American consulate in Tripoli. A Barbary ruler could declare a peace treaty over (and therefore, declare war upon a country) by chopping down the flag outside of the rival nation’s embassy.

Between 1801 – 1805, the United States went to war against the Barbary pirates. This is known as the First Barbary War. 

Interestingly enough, the Marine’s Hymn includes a reference to this war:

“From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;”

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Update: 10 deadliest cults post

Almost exactly 3 years ago, I blogged about the 10 deadliest cults in the world. One of those cults was the Chicago Rippers, allegedly responsible for the deaths and disappearances of 18 women. If you want to know more about this you can view that post here. I mentioned that one of the “members”, Thomas Kokoraleis was due to be paroled Sept. 29, 2017. After serving half of a 70-year sentence for the abduction and fatal stabbing of Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski, of Elmhurst and numerous attempts by the family of the deceased to stop his release, it appears that he will in fact be released. However, his actual release has been delayed due to Kokoraleis’ inability to locate an “approved place to live”.

If Kokoraleis cannot find an approved place to live, state prison officials are required to release him once his mandatory supervised release expires. Because he is eligible for day-for-day credit for good behavior, also the reason for his early parole date, the three-year period may be reduced to half that time.

At the time of his arrest, Kokoraleis was a 22-year-old painter and drug abuser with no criminal record. During the trial, his attorney described him as “borderline” mentally impaired with an IQ of 75 and argued that he simply tagged along with his brother and the others but never participated in any of the attacks. There is an audio recording of him confessing to his role in the Borowski slaying and that of another victim, Linda Sutton, of Chicago, one year earlier, but Kokoraleis later alleged he made it all up after police coerced and coached him with specific details. He admitted to being present during some of the sadistic attacks, but he denied raping or killing anyone.

Kokoraleis was convicted of Borowski’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. However his conviction was reversed on appeal, based on a legal error made at trial because the judge did not allow confessions which did not mention Thomas Kokoraleis into evidence. Rather than risk standing trial again, Kokoraleis pleaded guilty to Borowski’s murder in exchange for a 70-year prison term.

However, nothing is yet set in stone. According to the Chicago Tribune, a joint effort is underway by prosecutors for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin to see whether Kokoraleis qualifies as a sexually violent person under a 1998 state civil commitment law. If so, authorities may hold him indefinitely under a civil process for inmates who are deemed too sexually violent to be freed.

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The Bush Family: A Timeline (Part 3)

The 2000’s

2000: Democrat Al Gore receives more popular votes than George W. Bush, but the U.S. Supreme Court declares GWB the victor in spite of a public outcry about voting irregularities. 

2001: On September 11, the terrible tragedies of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, the attack on the Pentagon, the supposed hijacking of airliners, and the loss of nearly three thousand lives changes America forever. GHWB is in a business meeting with one of Osama bin Laden’s brothers at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington when the attacks occur. Soon after the attacks, GWB and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld begin focusing on Iraq and planning an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

2002: GWB makes his famous “Axis of Evil” speech in which he links Iraq, Iran, and North Korea and suggests that the clouds of war might be forming. Some theorists note that in addition to being “evil,” the three nations mentioned are, interestingly, also great oil producers.

On January 31, 2002, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iraq has cooperated fully and that there are no weapons of biological and chemical mass destruction.

In March  and April the Bush administration begins to raise publicly the possibility of engaging Iraq and several meetings occur between the Bush Administration and British government officials including Britain’s chief foreign policy adviser, David Manning, and British prime minister, Tony Blair. 

In late May and early June, U.S. and British forces begin a covert combination of air strikes and raids on Iraq. (The chief Allied air force commander, Lieutenant General Michael Moseley, revealed on June 27, 2005, that between June 2002 and March 2003, before the official declaration of war was made, U.S./British aircraft flew 21,736 sorties over the southern no-fly zone. Moseley reported 600 bombs dropped on 391 targets.)

In July Hans von Sponeck, a UN humanitarian aid coordinator, returns from Iraq and says that all facilities the UN inspectors had previously destroyed are still disabled. Hans Blix, an expert nuclear weapons analyst, insists there are no WMDs and asks for just one more inspection to prove it. The New York Times reports that the CIA has no evidence that Iraq has any links to al-Qaeda or any weapons of mass destruction.

In August U.S. forces quietly move heavy armor into the region and increases air strikes.

2003: GWB authorizes the invasion of Iraq in March. Although the intense bombing raids are called “shock and awe,” the numbers of raids actually decreases after the “coalition of the willing” invades the nation.

2005: Michael Smith, the British reporter who broke the now infamous “Downing Street Leaks” that revealed the grand deception of the U.S. plans to use military force against Iraq over a year before declaring war, stated that he had further learned that on June 8, 2002, roughly one hundred U.S./British aircraft had engaged Iraq’s major western air defense installation. 

On October 15, 2005, Richard Norton-Taylor writing in the Guardian (UK), reported that on January 30, 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, Bush told Blair that he intended to go beyond Iraq and target other countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Iran, and North Korea. According to British international lawyer Philippe Sands, the memo was drawn up after a telephone conversation between the two heads of state by one of the prime minister’s foreign policy advisers in Downing Street and delivered to the Foreign Office.