Monday, April 14, 2014

H is for Hell

The idea of Hell is one of those things that varies it's mythology from religion to religion.  In most cases it is a place of torment, punishment for the sins we commit in this world.   To me as a relatively non-religious person, looking at the world around me I find it a lot easier to believe in Hell than in Heaven.
Linear religions often depict Hell as being endless whereas in cyclic religions it is a stopping place between incarnations.  Other traditions merely consider Hell as a neutral place, a housing for the dead so to speak.  Regardless I learned some neat things about some of the mythology surrounding Hell and I would like to share them with you:

1) Though the word Hell generally brings to mind visions of fire and brimstone a number of religions including Buddhism and early Christianity also include portrayals of Hell being a cold place.

2) In Ancient Egypt a guilty person was taken by a 'devourer' and would be subjected to terrifying punishment and then annihilated.

3) The Mayans have an underworld of nine levels of hell, the worst of which is also of course the lowest.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Aside

A few days ago I can down with what (at least in my opinion) is one of the worst stomach flues I have ever had.  On a positive note I have lost a few pounds, on a negative note, as you may have noticed I have fallen behind on my A to Z Challenge posts.

I was debating not continuing this year as it is not the only thing I am behind on at the moment but as the doctor feels semi confident that I will be fit as a fiddle within a few days I have decided to take the weekend to catch up with my posting and continue to move forward with a positive attitude.

So a apologize for the tardiness of the forthcoming posts and hopefully everything shall be back in sync by Monday or Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is For Geisha

 Geisha are traditional female Japanese entertainers whose skills include classical music, dance and games.  There is so much here to be fascinated with that it's like being a kid in a candy don't know where to look first.  I learned some really neat stuff and I think there are great stories there.

The most interesting thing I learned is that there is (like most things) a process of apprenticeship for becoming a a geisha.  As, they progress towards becoming a full geisha their dress, hairstyle and makeup all become simpler.   Other things I learned are:

1) There were (and still are a few) male geisha.

2) Geisha must retire if they marry.  

Geisha can work well into later life which is just fascinating to me as I said. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

F is For France

 As part of my family history France has always held a special place in my heart as far as places I want to write about go.  My great grandparents met and fell in love in France, it was my great grandmother's home and one day I want to travel there and see where my things got started for my family.

I had a very hard time even beginning to narrow down all the interesting things there are to say about France because really being that it has so much history, and is a major power center in the world how do you say only a few things? 

1) The oldest traces of human life in France date from approximately 1.8 million years ago.  (that's flipping awesome)

2)  France was one of the first countries to have an environment ministry in 1971.  

3) There are 47,000 religious buildings in France 94% of which are Roman Catholic.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is For Emu

So I discovered a few years ago that Emu farming is actually this HUGE thing here.  I'm not entirely sure why, but it's like insanely popular.  Which whatever, I love a good edible meat.  I also saw on a morning show I was watching with my mom the other day that you can feed something like 8-10 people with an Emu egg.  At which point I totally wanted to get one for home because with Ace heading into puberty he eats like a horse and could probably eat an Emu egg in a sitting.  
Anyhow, other interesting things I learned about Emus are:
1) They are nomadic and may travel long distances to find food.
2) They can live between 10 and 20 years in the wild. 
3) Females are a small amount larger than males and have a wider rump. 
4)  They require pebbles and stones to assist in the digestion of plant material. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is For Demons

 A demon is a supernatural being, often malevolent prevalent in religion, occultism, mythology, fiction and folklore.  In some religions they are considered unclean spirits often fallen angels or deceased humans.  In other religions or occultism demons are spiritual entities that may be conjured and controlled. 

Like most of the things I am writing about for the challenge this year I have always had an intense fascination with, not necessarily demons themselves but with all the mythology and lore surrounding them.  I think they are a great  subject for stories much like vampires and witches because there is so much there to work with.

Some interesting things about demons are:

1) The Ancient Greek word daimon refers to a spirit or divine power with no connotations of evil or malevolence.   

2) Popular Hebrew mythology has demons that are believed to come from the nether world and have various physical ailments ascribed to them such as headaches, epilepsy and nightmares.  (suffering from migraines I totally see how they could come from the nether world)

3) There was a demon, 'Shabriri' who rested on still water at night and blinded people who drank from it.

4)  Demons are often shown to be under divine control despite typically being associated with evil. 

5) Grimoires contain that names and abilities of demons as well as instructions for conjuring and controlling them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is For Cat

I find cats to be utterly fascinating creatures, they are just so adorable and mysterious.  My own cat especially, you can just never tell what the little angel is thinking.  The unusual look she gives us when she isn't demanding food or attention is one of utter disdain and I can only imagine what can be going on in her mind.

You aren't actually leaving the house dressed like that? 

There are many excellent stories that include cats, revolve around cats or just have a little tiny dash of cat in there.   My personal favorite cat quote comes from Terry Pratchetts's Sourcery.   

"I meant," Said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"  
Death thought about it.
"CATS," he said eventually. "CATS ARE NICE."

As you may know Terry Pratchett's Death is my very favorite written personification of Death ever.  But that is another post entirely.  

Now, on to the neat things I learned about cats:

1) Domestic cats are descended from African wildcats.

2) A group of cats is called a clowder or a glaring.  ( I think that's funny, we have a gang of cats that roam our neighborhood, we call them trouble)

3) Cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones which allows them to pass through any space that they can fit their head into.

4) Cats can see at one sixth the light level required for human vision.

5) Cats sleep an average of 13-14 hours a day.