Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Showing posts with label Stonehenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stonehenge. Show all posts

Monday, October 8, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: London's Dragons, Druids, and Pumping Stations

Image Source: Bob Speel.

The countdown this week is devoted to arcane secrets which lie in plain sight. We start in the streets of London, where for seven years, the brilliant and acerbic vlogger swilliamism (aka Samuel William) has explored the dark nooks and crannies of the UK's capital. During his lunch breaks from work, he peeks behind the white façades with his digital camera, and reveals unnerving little details.

Occult Symbols in London (23 April 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Symbolism Of The Dragon (20 May 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Sam describes London's history with low key sarcasm. His videos have titles like: Where's Daddy's Pig?; Proud Taxpayer Day; Theft Appreciation Day; the eye-opening The Strange Mystical Horse and the companion video, The Strange Mystical Dead Horse; The Fresh Face of Fascism; Hello Data Subject; Very Nearly Grenfell; and A Day At The Arms Fair.

This vlogger's paranoia is not entirely joyless, like the time, inspired by fears of Santa Claus, he gave up Christmas to break his social conditioning. His main channel concentrates on the symbolism of London architecture, and he expresses his opinions more explicitly on his back-up channel.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Humanity's Tombstone

Image Source: Vigilant Citizen.

I try to address really strange conspiracy theories, which nonetheless have some larger importance, during the month of October. Special weirdness is reserved for a Stonehenge-like monument in Georgia, USA, which bears cryptic messages in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

Brad Meltzer's Decoded: Apocalypse in Georgia Season 1, Episode 10 (3 February 2011) © History Channel. Video Source: Youtube.

The Georgia Guidestones outside Atlanta were erected in 1980 on the orders of man working under an assumed name, R. C. Christian. There are revelations of his secret identity here and here. The Guidestones have inspired fear and vandalism, because alongside their espousal of rationalism, they also declare that the earth's human population should be cut back to 500 million people.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cairn Building Sacred Tree Chimps

This Could Be First-Ever Observed Ritual Practice Among Chimpanzees (1 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

The above video circulated last year, when researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Chimbo Foundation observed male chimpanzees filling hollow trees up with rocks, and then hurling more rocks at the filled trees in what looked like a strange ritual. This occurred in the Boé region of Guinea-Bissau on the western tip of Africa.

Were the researchers correct in projecting onto the chimpanzees the theory of human evolution, much less a theory of human evolution as dependent on the development of religion? For that seems to be the underlying argument: that biological evolution is impossible without the cognitive moment when the brain seeks the divine. As the researchers put it:
"We found four populations in West Africa where chimpanzees habitually bang and throw rocks against trees, or toss them into tree cavities, resulting in conspicuous stone accumulations at these sites. This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees. The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites."
It is a banal but fascinating beginning for the gods: merely a pile of rubble, mounded in a new way which could begin to take on significance. The hypothesis is not asking whether these animals actually find gods in the stone configurations they make, rather whether their brains make the mental jump into thinking they do. In this theory, that's evolution.

One Youtuber summed up the discovery as "chimphenge." Other comments:
  • "Sorry mi english google translator: I do not believe in God, this discovery shows that never need God in our lives, we evolve throwing stones at the trees and forming mounds, then named sacred, those trees symbolically became pillars adorned our temples, after millions of years evolution forget this and we must give a name to both advance and consciousness. Unfortunately there was a lot to us and we prefer to form symbolic it out from within us and shape, we call 'God' and is the perfect excuse to manipulate and keep people away from the truth, everyone is 'God' does not exist a single God, in fact none exists, are just stones of different shapes and sizes in different trees, it depends on the monkey and the group which is the 'real tree' that 'God' is life, we are each living being. We gave shape the world as we know it and everything, God does not exist we create it, we ourselves are God, this evolutionary step in monkeys demonstrated."
  • "and what has been noted on which specific trees have been used? do these specific trees also feature in human's use such as shamanism, or medicinal or spiritual functions?"
  • "Maybe they're trying to recreate fire. . .from a past incident that simply happened by chance."
  • "Stop bring God into it. They are intelligent apes and live with nature. And if humans stopped interfering with there lives they would be ok"
  • "might be the start of next chapter in chimpanzee evolution theyre going to build their first pyramid"
  • "Idiots!!! clear they are playing a game unknown to man. Not everything is supposed to be [for a] reason. ..."
Click to enlarge. Image Source: Nature.

This theory relates to how we worship our own ability to make things. The scientists here may be unconsciously projecting contemporary attitudes toward creativity onto the chimps. Most of the world has received the Technological Revolution with cult-like fervour. Today's Maker Culture is a 21st century extension of the old Arts and Crafts movement (c. 1880-1920), updated with machine building, engineering, arts and crafts, and open-sourced hardware. These trends involve the wonder of building something with one's bare hands, to the point where it enters an intellectual, conceptual, or spiritual realm. A more etheric branch of Maker Culture is software-oriented Hacker Culture.

So, a secular search for a moment of transcendence is there, and central to understanding the creative and intellectual arts. For artists and thinkers as creators, there is something magical about manipulating matter into a thing or moment beyond what existed before, through a creative act. At the core of it lies humankind's conflicted connection with nature.

The current manipulation of the world is based on a presumed human disconnection from the environment. These were the presumptions of the Enlightenment. In Enlightenment secularism, there was no divine entity and we did not derive from divine action. But we also had a right to control, understand, and rationalize the world because we were no longer animals and were disconnected from nature, and thus gained dominion over it.

Nothing could be sadder or further from the truth, and the fundamental error in that core assumption is reflected in the anguish caused by the superficial focus on modern materialism and rationalism, devoid of emotion and spiritual wonder. It is on the basis of that rigid, mask-like quantification of existence that we find ourselves seduced by technology.

Even technophiles who try to go deeper than commercialism and materialism yearn for microchip implants and brain-machine interfaces. They want the interface to fill the holes in their souls. It is interesting that they are obsessed with organic food, and nature-oriented spiritualism, but with a cardboard level of understanding. The spiritual disconnection from nature is complete, and robot-dom is just around the corner, even if that robot thinks it has done its job by climbing mountains, or contorting itself into yoga poses, drinking purified vitamin water, or eating organic vegetables. Mechanically going through the motions around consciousness does not constitute consciousness. The symbiotic bio-tech mesh between ourselves and our tools has already started. Even with the redemptive Maker Movement still trending, the philosophical consideration of what that means lags far behind.

This is why organized religion, for all its flaws and superstitions, constantly reminded human beings of the creative moment when they tried to understand their place in nature, in a fashion that went way beyond tool-building. Early technological monuments like Stonehenge were conceived not for the sake of technology itself, but to measure astronomical changes for even greater purpose.

Wells Cathedral: Gothic cathedrals were designed to look like the faithful were entering an artificial stone forest, reminiscent of earlier Druidic practices in real forest groves. Image Source: Shutterstock.

Architects designed the Gothic cathedrals of Europe to resemble forest groves. Yes, they invented the flying buttress, but they did it not for the sake of the buttresses. They did it to build stone forests, with stained-glass windows which imitated dappled sunlight, penetrating the canopy.

Compare that to our current disconnection from nature, in which technology is created blindly for the sake of mechanized production and mechanical modalities, desperately rolled out on accelerated machine-oriented schedules. The underlying spiritual gap is evident in the current demolition of European churches because they are too expensive to maintain. They are replaced by square cement boxes.

Today, there are enormous efforts toward creativity; but technophiles still indulge powerful fantasies that they control the process. This Millennial blind spot, which replaced God with the ego, may explain why the chimpanzees' stone cairns remain a mystery to us, who are so much more intelligent.

The scholarly article on the subject, published 29 February 2016, is by Hjalmar S. Kühl, Ammie K. Kalan, and others, "Chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing," Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 22219 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep22219.

Rise of the 'maker movement' (12 March 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

The Mad Geniuses of Maker Faire (10 July 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Maker trailer - A documentary on the Maker Movement (30 September 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

HOME MADE A Documentary on the Maker Movement in Denmark HD (9 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Next Maker Movement (22 May 2015). Video Source: Youtube.
Maker Faire Hannover 2015 Teil 1 - Impressionen JS TECHhack (6 June 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 (23 May 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Full Documentary) | Future Cities | WIRED (5 July 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Hubs, Hackerspaces and the Maker Movement: Investing in Tech Innovation in Africa | #APF15 (27 July 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

The Maker Movement and the Next Manufacturing Revolution (21 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

MakerFaire UK 2017 (1 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

The Maker Movement: Finding Meaning in Work (7 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Bay Area Maker Faire 2017 (24 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Maker Faire 2017 Berlin (12 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tweet of the Day: The Solstice

Welcome the Summer Solstice 2017

Image Source: mindbodygreen.

Welcome to Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For a description of the importance of the solstice to ancient people and pagans, go here.

Ivan Kupala Day in Eastern Europe. Image Source: CNN.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). London Philharmonic Orchestra (David Nolan, Bryden Thomson). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Amy Van Artsdalen / pinterest.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Welcome the Winter Solstice

Image Source:  Bentobjects via Dark Roasted Blend.

Today (17:11 UTC) marks the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night, and the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. You can see the gradual lengthening of days, second by second, here.  The winter solstice occurred this year in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21.

On this day, Stonehenge is a magnet for tourist groups, neo-pagans, Wiccans and neo-Druids. From Stonehenge Tours:
Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset (opposed to New Grange, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle, which is aligned to both the sunset and sunrise). It is thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. The Winter Solstice was a time when most cattle were slaughtered (so they would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.The exact time for the Winter Solstice is December 21st, 17.11pm (UK time).
See 2006 and 2009 videos of the great Neolithic and Bronze Age site below the jump. The earliest possible date for building at Stonehenge dates from around 3100 BCE. And to bring us back to the present, there's also a video for a 2008 Canadian winter tire ad.

Image Source: Mount Washington Observatory via Greetings May All Your Dreams Come True.

Image Source: Out of Ashes.

Lighthouse covered in ice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Lake Erie (16 December 2010). Image Source: National Geographic.

Image Source: Forum Garden
Snow in Athens (February 2008). Image Source: Kim Trathen / BBC.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Progressive Rock Returns

Image Source: caseymongoven.

Just as 1990s' grunge is back, so is a pocket in pop music which reached its high point roughly from the 1970s to early 1980s - progressive rock. The Independent reported on 30 June 2013:
Clubbers who have made "Get Lucky" this summer's dance-floor anthem will be shocked to hear that Daft Punk aren't the robot-friendly sound of the future – but revivalists of Seventies progressive rock, once the most derided of genres.

Prog, a bombastic mutation of rock and classical genres typically performed by highly skilled musicians in outrageous capes, could once be heard echoing from student halls and stadiums across the land. Supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer sold 40 million copies of their symphonic rock while Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes and Rush became prog's most commercially savvy flag-bearers.

In the end it was punk that swept away those highly designed concept albums with their epic or medieval themes and ostentatious, lengthy, and, some would say, self-indulgent displays of musical proficiency.
Long dismissed as laughably self-important and pretentious by critics, progressive rock combined classic rock and hard rock with more complex classical and jazz musical styles. It also amalgamated some of the wild lyrical images from Psychedelic rock and the Canterbury scene. Wiki notes that it was "an attempt to give greater artistic weight and credibility to rock music." Progressive rock was rooted in no-nonsense electric guitars, but it embroidered upon classic riffs with gorgeous, elaborate layers and florid lyrics with loaded metaphors. Using a bigger and bigger sound, it overlapped with the big sound and themes of stadium rock favoured by groups such as Queen, Journey, Foreigner and Styx. This style also influenced power ballads produced by hard rock groups.

Progressive rock was a style conceived as high thinking for the masses, for the isolated or downtrodden, for the little man. It took everyday, depressing, banal situations and blew them up to epic levels, to the realms of myth, karma, mystery and eternity. Moments of individual alienation (being unpopular in high school, romantic break-ups, losing a job) were gnostic triggers, doorways to more profound and exalted levels of thinking. This probably made prog the most conceptually complex form of rock music.

This is Spinal Tap Stonehenge sequence. Image Source: This Blog Goes to Eleven.

This style was mainly a British, European and Canadian phenomenon. Kansas became the most famous American progressive rock band. The Genesis News forum lists newer American prog bands: "Djam Karet, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Glass Hammer, Timothy Pure, Echolyn (very Genesis influenced), Discipline, Enchant, Spock's Beard." There is a longer list of American progressive rock groups here. A global list of prog bands is here.

Aspects of prog were parodied in the Druids-and-Stonehenge sequence in the film, This is Spinal Tap (1984) as progressive rock became commercialized. By the 1980s, progressive rock was swept aside by punk, and the anti-punk, glitzy, synthesized New Romanticism. But new prog music was revived around the turn of the Millennium. Subsequent progressive rock genres are progressive metalneo-prog, and new prog, also known as nu prog or post-prog music.

Below the jump, some famous progressive rock pieces from the early 1970s to the mid-to-late 1980s. Several of these videos are not pure examples of the genre, but they all contain prog aspects.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Syria's 10,000 Year Layers of Reality

Image Source: Web Pro News.

Syria is currently the Internet's favourite conspiracy theorists' stepchild. WikiLeaks dumps contend with a so-called "US-led conspiracy against Syria." There are the unconfirmed Homs Youtube massacre videos and anguished MSM chatter about 'chemical weapons' aimed at the country's citizens. As the situation shifts toward international action, characters like George Galloway join the rain dance.

I won't comment here directly on the Syrian troubles, but rather suggest in this case how Millennial meta-realities are derived from information, not the other way around. This is a phenomenon which Orwell recognized during the Spanish Civil War: because of opposing disinformation campaigns, independent reality disappears. That is a frightening moment. In our era, this moment depends critically on the implementation of online media. And it offers powerful potential, recognized by all players.

Conspiracy theorists are waist deep in the usual suspects, many of which are thinly-disguised characters out of the fake fin-de-siècle anti-Semitic tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Illuminati, CIA, Zionists, anti-Zionists, Arab nationalists, religious factions, al-Qaeda, international bankers and Russians. Theorists' complex logic and exciting mythologies supposedly inch toward something called the 'real truth.' As the conflict escalates, the blogger at Examined Intelligence, who must surely be an anti-Galloway animal, describes WikiLeaks' Syrian role in metaphorical style:
The recent hype created by the limited hangout operation known as 'Wikileaks' regarding the exposures of Syrian government documents shows no real Scoops, but simply rehashes old news in a manner designed to condemn 'Western Hypocrisy' with regards to Syria. It doesn't take a genius to understand it has something to do with Assange's new Bosses at the Kremlin.

As we noticed a few months ago, the purchase of former CIA asset \ MK-Ultra zombie Julian Assange by the Kremlin's state sponsored propaganda channel ' Russia Today \ RT' (believed to be an "alternative news" outfit by all too many gullible American bloggers) where he was given a prime time show (the first of which hosted Hezbollah's terror kingpin Hassan Nasrallah), had nothing to do with any kind of 'investigative journalism'. Assange simply switched sides to the Russian FSB once he became a liability to the CIA limited hangout apparatus.

All the documents published so far by Wikileaks are related to western companies selling communications gear to the Syrian government, supposedly in violations of the sanctions regime imposed on Syria on behalf of western oligarchies. This is in a time when Russian trade with Syria is heavily condemned by the western MSM, thus the whole thing can be understood as a Russian counter measure to western propaganda. ...

A real investigative exposure would have focused on NATO's complicity with funding and arming Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups in an effort to destabilize the Syrian government, but Wikileaks has no interest in any of this. Instead they simply focus on whatever serves the present short term interest of their current bosses in Moscow. There's nothing dramatic with western companies trading with Assad, unless it is understood in the context of current Russian diplomacy. ...

It is best for everyone in 'alternative' media to realize that state sponsored propaganda channels (like RT or PressTV) as well as their patsy facades (like Wikileaks \ Anonymous) must be discarded (and treated like BBC (MI6)) , even when they attempt to create the superficial impression of supporting the anti-establishment agenda. This impression is always fake and meant to lure western patsies (and otherwise well intentioned activists) to serve a rival establishment which is just as bad as the western one.
After flashing the anti-anti-anti-establishment badge of trust (plus garnering points for creatively working in the popular word, 'zombie'), Examined Intelligence believes that Anonymous leads Netizens to a "cybernetic Sleepy Hollow" and argues that the hacker group is a headless bogeyman created by evil financiers: "The 'Anonymous' operation - which isn't likely to represent a real movement but rather a 'no-flag' operation played by the Banksters against the free Internet - seems to be escalating its position on the globalist world theater of destabilization with actual acts of sabotage. What are its real motives?"

Debates on Syria are full of the language of blame and irresponsibility; but these bloody, tragic troubles originate in oppression and mystery. Perhaps they are the latest in a long line of unsolved histories.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Göbekli Tepe: The Divine Origins of Civilization?

"Now seen as early evidence of prehistoric worship, the hilltop site was previously shunned by researchers as nothing more than a medieval cemetery." Göbekli Tepe in November 2008. Image Source: Berthold Steinhilber via The Smithsonian.

In recent years, startling archaeological discoveries have indicated that human civilization is millennia older than we have long thought it is.  Case in point: Göbekli Tepe, a Neolithic santuary perched atop a hill in southeastern Anatolia in Turkey. This sacred place, with its megaliths and strange animal carvings, is 6,000 years older than Stonehenge. That makes Göbekli Tepe 11,000 to 12,000 years oldWiki: "The site was most likely erected by hunter-gatherers in the 10th millennium BC and has been under excavation since 1994 by German and Turkish archaeologists. Together with Nevalı Çori, it has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic." It is considered by scholars to be one of the most, if not the most, important archaeological site in the world.

The site in 2011. Image Source: Teomancimit via Wiki.

Göbekli Tepe comprises twenty round structures - stone circles made up of edifices weighing dozens of tonnes - which took enormous effort to build. Then, strangely, the entire complex was buried by local people 2,000 years after it was constructed, around 8,000 BCE. This is somewhat equivalent to ancient Egyptians burying the pyramids. That act adds to the questions and a dark mystery surrounding the site's purpose. Why cover up something so spiritually significant? To our mindset, it would suggest the site was cursed; some have linked it to the Garden of Eden and Cain and Abel stories in the bible. Its lead archaeologist has called Göbekli Tepe not the 'Garden of Eden,' but the 'Temple of Eden.' One theory suggests that the burial reflected a great conflict between the dying hunter-gatherer society and a rising agricultural society, indicated by evidence of mass human sacrifices in the nearby Stone Age village of Caynou. If the place was cursed, what does it mean that it is now being unearthed around the turn of the Millennium?

Only four of the site's monolithic circles have been excavated. The German archaeologist who has worked the site since the mid-1990s is Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut); he believes these structures constituted the world's oldest known, and possibly first, temple. He calls it, "the first human-built holy place." He bases this conclusion on the fact that there is no evidence that people lived at the site, even though it looked over what was once a fertile valley:
Prehistoric people would have gazed upon herds of gazelle and other wild animals; gently flowing rivers, which attracted migrating geese and ducks; fruit and nut trees; and rippling fields of wild barley and wild wheat varieties such as emmer and einkorn. "This area was like a paradise," says Schmidt, a member of the German Archaeological Institute. Indeed, Gobekli Tepe sits at the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent—an arc of mild climate and arable land from the Persian Gulf to present-day Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Egypt—and would have attracted hunter-gatherers from Africa and the Levant. And partly because Schmidt has found no evidence that people permanently resided on the summit of Gobekli Tepe itself, he believes this was a place of worship on an unprecedented scale—humanity's first "cathedral on a hill."

Schmidt says the monuments could not have been built by ragged bands of hunter-gatherers. To carve, erect and bury rings of seven-ton stone pillars would have required hundreds of workers, all needing to be fed and housed. Hence the eventual emergence of settled communities in the area around 10,000 years ago. "This shows sociocultural changes come first, agriculture comes later," says Stanford University archaeologist Ian Hodder, who excavated Catalhoyuk, a prehistoric settlement 300 miles from Gobekli Tepe. "You can make a good case this area is the real origin of complex Neolithic societies."

What was so important to these early people that they gathered to build (and bury) the stone rings? The gulf that separates us from Gobekli Tepe's builders is almost unimaginable. ... The [standing stones are] utterly foreign, placed there by people who saw the world in a way ... [we] will never comprehend. There are no sources to explain what the symbols might mean[, according to] Schmidt ... . "We're 6,000 years before the invention of writing here," he says.
In other words, Schmidt hypothesizes that religious worship came before agriculture in the development of civilization. It was worship that impelled people to settle in order to build holy sites. And out of that settlement came domesticated animals and agriculture, the need to have captive and controlled sources of food. Thus, Stone Age peoples did not foresake hunting and gathering simply in order to settle down. They did so for a greater goal of appealing to their gods, of giving deities physical form and building a place where spirits could live, and be visited by passing hunter-gatherer bands.

The  carved beasts in this complex are not the ones associated with farming, but rather frightening creatures: lions, boars, spiders, vultures, snakes and scorpions. Perhaps it was a location where prehistoric peoples could conquer their fears. It might be a burial mound for as-yet-undiscovered warriors, or the centre for a death cult.

This interpretation means that Göbekli Tepe was a spiritual waystation, a holy pit stop on a nomadic circuit. It is as startling a vision of the deep past as it is revolutionary. It means that prehistoric human worship, the need to capture the unknown, may be the oldest of higher human impulses. That impulse may even predate spoken language, let alone written language, by several millennia.

"According to archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, 'this is the first human-built holy place.'" Göbekli Tepe in November 2008. Image Source: Berthold Steinhilber via The Smithsonian.

Because this is a civilized, non-settled Stone Age site which predates the invention of agriculture and writing (normally taken as the civilization's starting points), Göbekli Tepe is a magnet for Millennial mythology-mongers and conspiracy theorists.

Göbekli Tepe particularly lends itself to the Millennial alien astronaut concept. American journalist Linda Moulton Howe just visited the site. She marries Schmidt's stunning archaeological work to Internet-driven Millennial crypto-mystery-making. The Examiner reports that Moulton Howe thinks that structures at the site were parts of an alien machine, incredibly surrounded by vibrating pillars. Her wild theories are an example of the current symbols and metaphors which people use to make the inexplicable make sense.

Göbekli Tepe in November 2008. Image Source: Berthold Steinhilber via The Smithsonian.

"An arm, a fox and other strange carvings adorn stones at Turkey's Gobekli Tepe."
Göbekli Tepe in November 2008. Image Source: Berthold Steinhilber via The Smithsonian.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hail the Winter Solstice: Deus Sol Invictus

Winter Solstice: Dawn at Stonehenge. Image Source: Stellarium.

Today, at 5:30 a.m. UTC or Greenwich Mean Time, the Winter Solstice occurs.  Thank Heavens. It's been getting pretty dark out there. In Antarctica, it is Midsummer and the Sun is shining nearly continuously. See the three videos in the bottom of my post here, which explain the Winter Solstice and the origins of Christmas in earlier Sun god worship.

The Solstice is the core of many religions and mythologies in the Northern Hemisphere.  In fact, since the dawn of human civilization in the Stone Age, the Winter Solstice and the days that follow it have been celebrated to hail the victory of the Sun, or the powers of light, life and good - in short, basic survival! - over the powers of dark, death and evil.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blue Stonehenge

The super blog, Unsolved Mysteries of the World, recently did a great piece on a circle of blue standing stones near Stonehenge which was discovered in 2008.  The monument was erected 5,000 years ago and is another piece of the Stonehenge puzzle.  Have a look at the post with more details, here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Phantom Time Hypothesis

Every feel like you lost 300 years somewhere? Image © by Michael Paukner. Image Source: Cargo Collective.

I09 recently reported on Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz's Phantom Time Hypothesis, defined on Brain Pickings as a "bizarre historical conspiracy theory positing that the Roman calendar was infiltrated with 297 years which never actually occurred and the Middle Ages never took place, so this isn’t the year 2010 but, rather, 1713."  According to Cargo Collective:
When Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz introduces his paper on the “phantom time hypothesis”, he kindly asks his readers to be patient, benevolent, and open to radically new ideas, because his claims are highly unconventional. This is because his paper is suggesting three difficult-to-believe propositions: 1) Hundreds of years ago, our calendar was polluted with 297 years which never occurred; 2) this is not the year 2010, but rather 1713; and 3) The purveyors of this hypothesis are not crackpots.

The Phantom Time Hypothesis suggests that the early Middle Ages (614-911 A.D.) never happened, but were added to the calendar long ago either by accident, by misinterpretation of documents, or by deliberate falsification by calendar conspirators. This would mean that all artifacts ascribed to those three centuries belong to other periods, and that all events thought to have occurred during that same period occurred at other times, or are outright fabrications.
Yes, calendar conspirators.  If this is really 1713, then the Millennium will not arrive until the year 2297. We can all relax!  In fact, Niemitz's theory is a result of miscounting the calendar around the resolutions of the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time-tossing the Lunar Truth

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin practicing on a simulated lunar mock-up, 22 April 1969. Image Source: Wiki.

I09 recently complained that a viral marketing campaign is going too far in insisting on the veracity of the upcoming American horror film, Apollo 18, directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego.  This film is based on supposed 'found footage' of a hushed-up Apollo 18 mission.  According to the film's producers, the public were told that Apollo 18 was cancelled.  In fact, the mission took place and was a secret disaster.  The I09 reporter, Meredith Woerner, says she loves a mocumentary as much as the next girl, but when Dimension Films (a division of the Weinstein Company) recently told the press that the footage is absolutely 100 per cent real, she got annoyed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Welcome the Winter Solstice - Lunar Eclipse and the Ursids Meteors

Image Source: Redbubble.com.

Winter. The solstice marks the shortest day and longest night in the calendar. Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on December 21 at 6:38 p.m. EST (2338 UT) and summer begins in the southern hemisphere. It is marked in several cultures. In Greek mythology, it was the one night when Hades, god of the Underworld, was permitted to enter Mount Olympus and walk with the other gods. Christmas, on the 25th, was the original Roman celebration of Brumalia, heralding the winter solstice under the Julian calendar. The festival honoured the god Dionysus (Bacchus), the god of wine, and typically involved role inversions, that is, reversals between master and servant, or man and woman. In Germanic cultures, the solstice was closely followed by Yule, the beginning of the heathen year.

Image Source: Big5.china.com.

Chinese tradition similarly picks up on the idea of the solstice representing a turning point as an extreme of feminine power is reached (mentioned briefly here): "In the Chinese idea of Yin and Yang, Yin symbolizes feminine, negative and dark qualities of the universe, and yang masculine, positive and fiery qualities, and when something goes to one extreme it then goes to the opposite. Winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is the shortest day and longest night. After it, days become longer, which ancient Chinese thought meant yang qualities would become stronger, so should be celebrated." In East Asia, the Dōngzhì Festival (冬至) is celebrated, where people eat coloured rice dumplings that symbolize the coming together and reunions of families.  In Taiwan, they also make glutinous nine-layer cakes made in the shape of auspicious animals.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The History of the Past Week in Meta-Tweets

Image: Is that Wacked/Bruce Marlin (Chicago).

According to Multiversity Comics (here), the Mother Ship has landed and Grant Morrison joined Twitter (here) on the 13th of October. This got me wondering about the tweets I saw in the past week that really captured (for me) how people are thinking about what is going on. In reviewing them beyond the constant reading flow that is normal for Twitter, the tweets produced a picture of the fractured landscape and fragmented reality that the Internet is constantly making out of discussions on various topics. The sense of the tweets comes not just from the single tweets themselves, but from the connections between tweeters, the reactions they have to one another's posts, and the retweets they make. Together, these messages form a loosely-knit lattice that creates a larger, collective meaning. But because Twitter is so dynamic, that form and meaning are constantly changing. It would be impossible to pin down or document, in a traditional historiographical sense, the general way tweeters are thinking about a certain range of topics at a given time. It could only be done by storing all the messages and sorting them with computer algorithms, analyzing them linguistically according to the use of certain words and the date. Is this how the history of our times and future times will be written in the distant future? Who will have access to the information amassed by sites like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook? And how will they analyze it? And with what tools?  And how will that affect how future people understand our incredibly important era, the dawn of the Technological Revolution?  Will the history of our present be written by the corporate ancestors of marketing and branding agencies?  It's something that professional historians in the universities should contemplate.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stonehenge Skeleton

Photo: AP Photo (2010) © Wessex Archaeology, Ho.

Associated Press recently circulated a story from Wessex Archaeology that a Mediterranean skeleton has been found at Stonehenge: "this image provided by Wessex Archaeology on Wednesday Sept. 29, 2010 shows the remains of an early bronze age burial. Although it cannot be seen in this photograph, this person was buried wearing a necklace made from amber beads. The body is in a flexed position, reminiscent of a sleeping pose. A wealthy young teenager buried near Britain's mysterious Stonehenge monument came from the Mediterranean, scientists say, proof of Stonehenge's international importance even in prehistoric times."  Wessex Archaeology's homepage is hereIn an earlier post,  discussed research that postulates that Stonehenge had a neighbouring wooden henge; it may even have been surrounded by wooden henges.  These may have been houses of the living, while Stonehenge may have been a house of the dead.

See my other posts on Stonehenge.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Times Outside History 5: Stonehenge and Wooden Henge

Wooden Henge. Image © University of Birmingham.

CNN reported July 22 that Professor Vince Gaffney and Dr. Henry Chapman of the University of Birmingham and a team of British and Austrian archaeologists from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Vienna have discovered the imprint of a former Wooden Henge 900 metres from Stonehenge.