Welcome to Sott.net
Fri, 10 Apr 2020
The World for People who Think

Society's Child
Map

Bacon

The Pagan Origins of Easter

Image

The Goddess Ostara by Johannes Gehrts
Though it is one of the most sacred days on the Christian calendar, the trappings of Easter are derived from pagan practices.

To the casual observer, the two aspects of Easter seem somewhat incongruous. On the one hand is the secular holiday, where children hunt for brightly colored eggs in the grass and receive candy and toys in baskets brought by an anthropomorphic rabbit. On the other hand is the religious observance, where the Christian faithful mark the miraculous resurrection of their savior. While the two sides seem to have nothing at all in common, they begin to make greater sense when one considers the pagan roots of the holiday.

Fertility Goddesses

The word Easter itself is likely derived from Eostre, the Saxon mother goddess, whose name in turn was adapted from Eastre, an ancient word for spring. The Norse equivalent of Eostre was the goddess Ostara, whose symbols were an egg and a hare, both denoting fertility. Festivals honoring these goddesses were celebrated on or around the vernal equinox, and even today, when Easter has supposedly been Christianized, the date of the holiday falls according to rather pagan reckonings, i.e. on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

Bunnies, Eggs and Lilies

Rabbits, of course, are a potent symbol of fertility due to their prodigious output of young. Eggs, likewise, have always been considered representative of new life, fertility, and reincarnation. Painted eggs, thought to imitate the bright sunlight and gaily colored flowers of spring, have been used in rituals since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. Lilies were also seen as fertility symbols because of their perceived resemblance to male genitalia. Even hot cross buns, associated with Lent, derive from the ancient Greeks and Romans, who baked "magic" wheat cakes with crosses scored in the top; two of these cakes were discovered in the ruins of Herculaneum, which was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Info

Kashmir on Strike after US Sentences Accused Agent

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai
© STR/AFP/Getty Images
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai
Srinagar, India - Shops and businesses have been shut in Indian Kashmir during a strike to protest the U.S. prison sentence given to a Kashmir-born man accused of working for Pakistan's spy agency to influence Washington policymakers.

A court in the state of Virginia sentenced Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai of the Kashmiri American Council to two years in prison on March 30. He admitted he concealed financial links to Pakistan's spy agency while he presented himself as an independent voice on Kashmir's behalf.

Saturday's strike was called by a top Kashmiri separatist leader. Syed Ali Shah Geelani called the U.S. court decision unfortunate and extreme.

Public transport was off the roads and schools were closed in Srinagar, the main city in Kashmir.

Bulb

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness- Part III: The Corruptibility of Ideology

Image
After having read Part I and Part II of this three part series, the reader may be under the impression that I am somehow suggesting that in order to get things back on track for the world economy, politics, society, and the environment, etc., that we must return to good-old-fashioned values, like those that our forefathers so eloquently proclaimed and sacrificed to achieve. If you've come to that conclusion, I'd say that is to be expected. After all, we are all looking for the answer to the riddle of the times, and we are all turning to what we've been conditioned by societal life to admire: namely those good-old-fashioned ideals - or at least good "new" ideals that reflect our societally established values.

For instance: the ideals propounded in the US Declaration of Independence were no less than glorious! And most Americans naturally feel great pride when reminded of them. Indeed, it's a marvelous document, complete with some of the greatest and most attractive ideals ever put to parchment. The problem isn't the beautiful Truth expressed; the problem is that it was a lie! That's right! You've been tricked, we all have, for well more than two centuries now! We were spoon-fed a fantastic truism whose exemplification was found only in the illustrious patriotism of folklore. The myth of the American Dream was predicated foremost on the promise of humankind's natural, unalienable equality and freedom. It was a Truth never delivered, paralleled in deceit only by its utter impudence.
"America began with the invasion of a populated continent, and the genocide of its people. Once entrenched, it embraced enslavement of another race. With those pillars of State in place it declared itself an independent nation in a testament that proclaimed the equality of all mankind. In that monumental act of hypocrisy, America's myth had its genesis." ~Paul F. Edwards & Lanny Cotler, ClassWarFilms
But this series of essays isn't really about the failure of the US to uphold it's founding ideals, nor is it an attempt to expound the problems caused as a result, or the solutions to those problems. I know it may seem that way with just a quick read through Part I and Part II, and what you have read here so far, but if I may rouse the reader to take a closer look, to contemplate the hard ground of what I'm getting at, you will see that what I am really saying is that our problems (not just the big ones; not just the impending global nightmare we face)
Image
essentially stem from our inability to distinguish Truth from our ideas - even our very best ideas. This series is about our deeply embedded attachments to the ideas and ideals that provide comfort and solace in an otherwise uncertain, unfamiliar, and thereby, disagreeable reality - enabling us to ignore the most obvious, underlying constructs of our Reality (including, but certainly not limited to, our unalienable Right to Liberty, Equality and Happiness). It's about peeling back the felicitous yet fundamentally untrue veil disguising who we really are. As such, I am not here to present you with "new" or "better" ideas to worship and identify with; I am here to burst your bubble, to show you why the ideas are unreliable to begin with - always have been, always will be.

What do I mean? Well, observe that all we have to do to have peace and harmony on Earth is to agree with each other. If we can only agree, we'll be just fine!

Now I've got you laughing good and hard, right? You see? We can't agree with one another because we all have different ideas of how things should be - irrespective of how they actually are. The world is what it is; Truth IS what it IS; it's just our ideas about the world and about Truth that are different. Unless we all have exactly the same idea, we can't seem to coincide in thought. We can agree that up is up and down is down; that the sky is blue and the grass is green, but get anymore complex than that and worlds collide. We could fill the heavens with the breath wasted on the senseless bickering originating from differing opinions both vast and subtle. Even folks who basically believe the same thing can't see eye to eye on grounds as trivial as rudimentary semantics or who's interpretation ought to be considered "official". Observe, for example, that there are roughly 38-thousand different denominations of Christianity - one idea, 38-thousand "official" ways of seeing it.

Bomb

Nigeria Bombing Near Church 'Kills 20'

Image
© Agence France-Presse/Aminu Abubakar
Residents speculated that the explosives were placed in a badly-mangled car.
Kano, Nigeria - A large bomb exploded near a church in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna as Easter Sunday services were being held, killing at least 20 people, a rescue official said on condition of anonymity.

"Now we have 20 dead from the twin explosions," said the official who was not authorised to speak publicly.

Residents suggested the explosion was caused by a car bomb parked outside the church, in a stark reminder of Christmas Day attacks in Nigeria that left dozens dead.

A spokesman for the national emergency management agency said most of the victims appeared to be motorcyle taxi drivers who were in the area at the time.

Police confirmed the explosion was a bomb, but did not comment further.

"We have a bomb explosion. We are trying to sort things out," police spokesman Aminu Lawal told AFP.

Pistol

2 Men Arrested in Tulsa Shootings

police sirens
© CBS News
US - Police in Tulsa, Okla., arrested two men Sunday morning in connections with shootings that left three people dead and two others wounded.

A Tulsa police spokesman, Jason Willingham, told The Associated Press that the men - 19-year-old Jake England and 32-year-old Alvin Watts - were arrested early Sunday at a house just north of Tulsa and that they would face three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.

Mr. Willingham told The A.P. that a tip had led police to the men.

Capt. Jonathan Brooks of the Tulsa police told CNN that investigators were still trying to find a motive behind the four apparently random shootings, which occurred early Friday.

All five victims were African-American, and the two men arrested were white, Captain Brooks said.

Arrow Down

Trayvon Martin Case: NBC Fires Producer Over Edit

NBC
© NBC
US, New York - NBC News has fired a producer for editing a recording of George Zimmerman's call to police the night he shot Trayvon Martin, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

The identity of the producer was not disclosed. The dismissal followed an internal investigation that led to NBC apologizing for having aired the misleading audio.

The person with knowledge of the firing spoke on the condition of anonymity. An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment.

NBC's Today show first aired the edited version of Zimmerman's call on March 27. The recording that viewers heard was trimmed to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police, with no prompting, that Martin was black: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black."

Comment: Please read the Sott Focus: Hysterization Via Racism in the Trayvon Martin Case for a better understanding of the dynamics at play in the Trayvon Martin case.


Phoenix

12-Year-Old Girl to be Sentenced for Arson

Image
© CBC News
The blaze at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse in June 2011 destroyed much of the wall in the back of the centre's Olympic-sized ice arena and caused smoke, soot and water damage throughout the facility.
Canada, Yukon - The lawyer for the second of two young girls to be sentenced for setting fire to the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse last year says she should never have been charged.

Malcolm Campbell, the 12-year-old girl's lawyer, said at her sentencing hearing Thursday that prosecutors have blown the case out of proportion, and a stern warning or reprimand from a judge would have sufficed for his client.

The 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl both pleaded guilty last fall to charges of arson in relation to the fire which caused $7 million in damage to the sports facility. The girls cannot be named under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Campbell's client had just turned 12 last June when she was out on a Friday night with friends. They engaged in "horseplay" with lighters and set some speed skating mats on fire.

Document

Grass Seeks to Quell Controversy Over Israel Poem as Iran Applauds

Guenter Grass
© The Associated Press/Jens Meyer
German writer and Nobel Prize laureate for literature Guenter Grass
Berlin - German Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass, under fire for a poem that sharply criticized Israel, said he was singling out the Jewish state's government, not the country as a whole.

The poem drew sharp rebukes at home and from Israel, including accusations of being anti-Semitic, but Grass received praise from a senior Iranian official Saturday.

In the poem published in European dailies Wednesday, the 84-year-old German author criticized what he described as western hypocrisy over Israel's nuclear program and labelled the country a threat to "already fragile world peace" over its belligerent stance on Iran.

In an interview published Saturday by the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Grass said he sought foremost to single out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, whose policies "are creating ever more enemies of Israel, and are ever more increasing the country's isolation."

"The man who damages Israel the most at the moment is in my opinion Netanyahu - and I should have included that in the poem," Grass was quoted as saying.

The left-leaning Grass established himself as a leading literary figure with "The Tin Drum," published in 1959, and won the Nobel Prize in 1999. He urged fellow Germans to confront their painful Nazi history in the decades after the Second World War.

Attention

Asahi TV: "Unbelievable"- If Unit 4 pool gets a crack from quake and leaks, it would be end for Tokyo

Image

The end could come sooner rather than later for Japan
Most discussion of the No. 4 spent fuel pool has focused on an earthquake causing the pool to collapse. This video is different because it reveals:
  1. A crack, rather than the collapse of the pool itself, can be the end of Tokyo
  2. The quake that could put a crack in the pool and be the end of Tokyo does not have to be a large one
  3. The sense of shock when people in Japan are made aware of this information for the first time

Info

Artifacts Worth $3.2 Million Stolen from UK Museum

Image
© unknown
Chinese artifacts have been stolen from Durham University’s Oriental Museum.
British police say two Chinese artifacts with an estimated combined value of 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) have been stolen from Durham University's Oriental Museum.

Durham police said Saturday that two men and a woman from the West Midlands area have been arrested in connection with the theft.

The police did not further describe the artifacts, which were stolen Thursday night from the museum in northern England, but said they have not yet been recovered.