July 20, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days are traditionally the 40 days leading up to the heliacal rising of Sirius, being the period of 3rd July to 11th August.  These are considered to be the hottest days of the summer – especially in the regions around the Mediterranean Sea, where Sirius has long had a major role in mythology, religion and agriculture.  For the Egyptians the rising of Sirius was essential, marking the inundation of the Nile and the start of a new year.  Sirius, which was also known as Sothis, was closely linked to the Egyptian Mother goddess Isis (Aset) and Osiris, Ruler of the Underworld. 
Osiris: God King of the Underworld
 Sirius has been known since ancient times, and its name signified its nature as “scorching” or “sparkling.” It was associated with the Egyptian god Osiris and other gods. Ancient Egyptians noted that Sirius rose just before the sun each year immediately prior to the annual flooding of the Nile River. Although the floods could bring destruction, they also brought new soil and new life. Fittingly, Osiris, whom Sirius may have represented, was God of Life, Death, Fertility and Rebirth of Plant life along the Nile.
Indra: Thunder God
In India, Sirius is sometimes known as Svana, the dog of Prince Yudhistira. The prince and his four brothers, along with Svana, set out on a long and arduous journey to find the kingdom of heaven. However, one by one the brothers all abandoned the search until only Yudhistira and Svana were left. At long last they came to the gates of heaven. The gatekeeper, Lord Indra, welcomed the prince but denied Svana entrance. Yudhistira was aghast and told Lord Indra that he could not forsake his good and faithful servant and friend. His brothers, Yudhistira told the Lord, had abandoned the journey to heaven to follow their hearts’ desires. But Svana, who had given his heart freely, chose to follow none but Yudhistira. The prince told the Lord that without his dog, he would forsake even heaven. This is what Lord Indra had wanted to hear, and then he welcomed both the prince and the dog through the gates of heaven.
In her new book Isis: The Eternal Goddess of Egypt and Rome (2016) the author Lesley Jackson writes that:
“The star Sirius is in the constellation of Canis Major (the Great Dog) and is also referred to as the Dog Star. It is the brightest star in the sky but, more importantly to the Egyptians, its heliacal rising coincided with the start of the inundation. A heliacal rising is when the star reappears in the east just before sunrise after being invisible for a period. In Egypt in 3,000 BCE this occurred at the summer solstice; now it is about six weeks later. “At the same time that the Dog-star rises…the Nile also in a sense rises, coming up to water the land of Egypt.” The reappearance of Sirius brought the hot ‘dog days’ of the summer. From the earliest times New Year was considered to start with the inundation because it was so critical to the country. “

June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Here is some of the Father Gods of the Ancient World

Egyptian sun god can be likened unto the Christian God, as a supreme deity and creator. He created the 8 great gods and the human race came from his tears.  Ra is usually depicted as a human with a falcon or a ram head. The sun was either his eye or his body. He traveled the sky every day, passing over the lands and then going into the underworld. Because of this legend, he is considered to be the god of the underworld. 
Ra is stated to be the "heart" of the Egyptian gods and, by extension, the entire universe. Even if the others do not acknowledge it or possibly don’t even know it as Isis presumably didn’t know the consequences, without Ra, the rest of the gods would eventually fade into nothingness. Ra is the most powerful among all the other gods and is only contested by Apophis in power and might. As the god of creation and renewal, he is able to replenish energy and give vitality by just his presence.

Zeus is the King of the Gods and God of the Sky, Thunder and Lightning. Only Zeus (bright sky), the Father of Heaven, might wield the thunderbolt; and it was with the threat of its fatal flash that he controlled his quarrelsome and rebellious family of Mount Olympus. He also ordered the heavenly bodies, made laws, enforced oaths and pronounced oracles. He is the venerable patriarch of the ancient Greeks.He was married to Hera who was always very jealous of him while he is known for his erotic escapades, including relationship with Ganymede. His trysts resulted in many famous offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen, Minos, the Muses and it is also said that he is also the father of Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.

Mars is the father of Romulus and Remus by the Vestal Rhea Silvia. Because he was the father of these legendary founders of Rome, and thus of the Roman people, the Romans called themselves the ‘Sons of Mars'. As the god who strode with warlike step to the battlefield, he himself marched before them to battle, and acted as their invisible protector. As guardian of the state, he bore the name of Quirinus.

Odin is top banana in the Norse-god homeworld of Asgard. In mythology, however, the god is a bit more complex than Marvel’s throne-sitting deity. Odin gives humans their souls and often spends time among them, wandering around disguised as a wizened old man and, though he’s also a warrior, whenever Odin speaks — after obtaining the magical mead of poetry — it’s always in verse. He is the Father of  Gods: Thor, Baldur and Heimdall.

Olodumare is the creator deity of the native Yoruban religion and its diaspora including Santeria (La Regla Lukumi) and Candomble. Olodumare is a transcendent, omniscient and gender-neutral deity who created the earth and the entire universe. Olodumare is considered the source of all ashé (power) in the universe. Olodumare's name can be broken down into the Yoruban words olo odu ma ire, revealing the deeper meaning Owner of the containers of creation and great blessings.

Izanagi (recorded in the Kojiki as 伊邪那岐) is the god of the sky in Japanese Shinto mythology. Izanagi (“the male who invites”) is also a creation deity, who along with his spouse and sister Izanami (“the female who invites”), were given the task of creating the world. Izanagi and Izanami produced numerous islands and deities.

El is the supreme creator god of the Canaanites who lives with the other gods on Mount Zaphon (similar to Mount Olympus of the Greeks but located at the mouth of the Orontes River near the border between Turkey and Syria). He is the father of all the gods and men and is often addressed as such by the Canaanite gods. He is the god of the earth and the air who is represented by a bull.
El 'was known as the Creator God, the Kindly One, the Compassionate One. He expressed the concept of ordered government and social justice. It is noteworthy that the Bible never stigmatizes the Canaanite worship of El, whose authority in social affairs was recognized by the Patriarchs. His consort was Asherah, the mother goddess, represented in Canaanite sanctuaries by a natural or stylized tree (Hebrew ashera).
In the Bible EL is translated as God. Elohim is the plural form of EL yet in most places in the Bible it is used in the singular sense so it is also translated as God instead of gods. Strict monotheism was not fully developed in Israelite thought until their exile to Babylon. Before then Yahweh (translated as Lord in the Bible) was the god of Israel and Judah (officially their only god) who’s principle power and characteristic was that of justice and righteousness. Because he judged other peoples and gods he soon came to be seen as the supreme God (the equivalent of EL), and finally as the only God for all people. 

Happy Father's Day

June 14, 2016

Power of Love

In what police are calling the worst shooting in American history, a lone gunman killed 49 people and injured at least 53 others after opening fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Officials have identified Omar Mateen as the shooter who killed 49 people and left at least 53 injured at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. Mateen, an American citizen in his 20s, acted alone and “very quickly” when he opened fire with what officials described as an assault rifle.
At 2 a.m., Mateen entered the club with an AR-15-type assault rifle. He began shooting, and at one point entered a gunfight with an armed, off-duty officer. Mateen left the building, and then went back in, where the violence turned into a hostage situation
Around 5 a.m., authorities decided to attempt to rescue the hostages, leading to a gunfire exchange that ended in the suspect’s death, Mina said.
The type of gun Mateen used is the same legally obtainable weapon used in the Newtown massacre, the Colorado Theater shooting and the San Bernardino shooting, in which 14 people were killed.
Prior to the killings, Mateen called 911 to pledge his allegiance to ISIL. He gave his full name to the operator, and mentioned the Boston Bombers, according to multiple sources who spoke to law enforcement.
He’s believed to have acted alone. City officials said he was an American citizen, but noted that many of his family members are not. He was killed by police following an hour-long hostage situation. (Andy Campbell)
The wife of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen said she knew her husband was planning an attack, multiple outlets reported Tuesday, citing anonymous law enforcement officials. She may now face charges. Noor Salman Mateen, the gunman’s second wife, told the FBI that she was aware of his plan for a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, but didn’t notify authorities, according to local TV station WFTV. She said that she tried to discourage her husband from carrying out the attack, NBC News reported. Authorities are considering criminal charges against Noor Mateen, according to ABC News.
Let's get real; she could have called the FBI or the local police, but the truth is there is very little to nothing they could have done. They would have interviewed him; he would have denied planning any attacks. With the legal purchase of those weapons, there would have been nothing to hold him on. And the fact FBI interviewed him multiple times and found “not really a threat” says a lot. It's also hard to believe this stuff can happen until it happens. Judging by the statements from his first wife, she might also have been afraid for her own life.
The American Muslim community reacted with an outpouring of love and support in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The support came in the form of fundraisers, blood donations, and public statements that firmly condemned the violence. Muslim organizations and activists across the country have spoken out against the shooting, explicitly calling it a hate crime. At the same time, the violence sparked a debate within the community about whether Muslim leaders need to speak out more forcefully against homophobic ideologies. Like the Bible, the Quran contains verses that condemn homosexuality. LGBT Muslims have reported that it is hard for them to find queer-friendly prayer spaces and mosques. Some report feeling marginalized and even invisible.
Having grown up gay under the homophobic teachings of Christianity, a person can understand clearly where a lot of homophobia came from. Christianity taught people to hate themselves and others that were gay. This completely unnecessary and horrific brainwashing ruined a path to peaceful life....hence tremendous disdain for religion and clarity on its corrupt and false beliefs.
I cannot conceive of a worse combination than growing up gay under the oppressive influence of radical Islam. That creates an irreconcilable mental crisis within the gay male psyche. And when you add in the historically brutal retribution typically found under Islamic rule especially recently; beheadings, skinning people alive, burning them alive, cutting off their limbs, throwing them off buildings, it annihilates the mental health of a gay man.
If Omar Mateen was a sociopath to begin with, there could be no more deadly combination than his pathology perfused with the incongruous teachings of Islam that display immense ignorance and denial of the complete spectrum of human sexuality found naturally in human populations.
Being gay and alive is a radical offensive act of protest that none of us signed up for and sometimes it can genuinely feel too hard to bear but please, please keep going. There’s no better weapon against the people who want us dead than to live, and keep trying, and keep doing things that make you happy and loving each other and thriving in whatever way you can in a world that doesn’t want you. They can’t get rid of us that fucking easily. Let prove that Love triumph over evil and hatred.

May 28, 2016

PTSD: A Problem since the Invention of War


Post Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be defined as an emotional illness rooting from anxiety that happens when a person was exposed to a scary, dangerous, and even life threatening event. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal, continue for more than a month after the occurrence of a traumatic event. More than 5 million Americans are affected by post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each year. The history of post traumatic stress disorder was not well documented until it was appropriately defined in modern times.

From Ancient Times
Post traumatic stress disorder has existed as long as there has been trauma. Although PTSD is not limited to war experience, it was battle that brought it to public attention. PTSD has been documented for having going on for thousands of years, although went through history being called different names. During early war periods, PTSD was referred to by many names such as "shell shock," "exhaustion" and "battle fatigue."
Throughout history, there have been accounts of soldiers fleeing the battlefield, having emotional breakdowns and suffering the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Some of the earliest record of PTSD was from 3,000 years ago, a man named Hori who was an Egyptian combat veteran wrote about his feelings before going to war – describing that “shuddering seizes you, the hair on your head stands on end, your soul lies in your hand.”
The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians many of the time psychologically broke while wars went on. Although there wasn’t a name for PTSD yet, a Greek historian named Herodotus wrote about a man, Epizelius,  who went permanently blind although he wasn’t physically wounded anywhere called  hysterical blindness, after seeing the person next to him being killed in the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Deafness and paralysis were also common in some soldiers due to PTSD. In 1678, Swiss military physicians were among the first to identify and group behaviors of PTSD (although it was not called this).
During the American Civil War, military physicians attributed many emotionally disabling behaviors to stress and fear of battle. Military physicians were at a loss to treat the soldiers so many were sent home with no supervision. The symptoms of battle related stress were dismissed as lack of discipline and cowardice.
In 1905, during their war with the Japanese, the Russian army was the first to connect mental collapse with the stress of war and accept it as a legitimate condition.

Modern Wartime
World War I produced many psychiatric casualties and during this period, symptoms of PTSD were still viewed as a weakness in character. Some soldiers fled the battlefield as they were so traumatized by the mass slaughter. Such was the ignorance of the time about the mental effects of war that some of these soldiers were accused of being cowards and executed.
Interest in shellshock waned as memories of World War I receded, but it was reawakened by the advent of World War II. As had happened previously, soldiers who were chronically exposed to combat experienced a syndrome characterized anxiety, intense autonomic arousal, reliving, and sensitivity to stimuli that are reminiscent of the original trauma. Around this time, people started to notice that not just the “weak” were breaking down. This syndrome was given a variety of different names: traumatic war neurosis, combat fatigue, battle stress, and gross stress reaction. When the war drew to its end, another type of stress was discovered: the experience of death camp survivors.
Continuing in the Korean war, those who became psychologically ill were 24.2% of 198,380 in combat that were recorded. In Vietnam, out of the 2.8 million who served, 480,000 have full-blown PTSD, and 350,000 others have partial PTSD. Many soldiers tried to detach from emotions of people and the war, which caused emotional numbing. PTSD was largely disregarded for decades. After much research, study, and suffering on the part of war veterans it began to be recognized as a legitimate condition.

Trauma Related to Other Events
Although post traumatic stress disorder came into the public eye through war veterans, it was later realized that the condition was not solely experienced by those engaged in military battle. Events such as sexual assault, physical abuse, car accidents, plane crashes and natural disasters like an earthquake could result in post traumatic stress disorder.
Before the full impact of PTSD became known, this type of stress was often viewed as a weakness by others. Once it was understood that the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder was the mind's attempt to process the traumatic event, the reality of the disorder was gradually recognized. And the proper help and treatments could be given.

May 13, 2016

History of Dildoes

A dildo is a sex toy, often explicitly phallic in appearance, intended for sexual penetration or other sexual activity during masturbation or with sex partners. Some expand this definition to include vibrators. Others exclude penis prosthetic aids, which are known as "extensions". Some include penis-shaped items clearly designed with vaginal penetration in mind, even if they are not true approximations of a penis. Some people include devices designed for anal penetration (butt plugs), while others do not. These devices are often used by people of all genders and sexual orientations, for masturbation or for other sexual activity.
Conventionally, many dildos are shaped like a human penis with varying degrees of detail; others are made to resemble the phallus of male animals. Not all, however, are fashioned to reproduce the male anatomy meticulously, and dildos come in a wide variety of shapes. These may resemble figures, or simply be practical creations which stimulate more easily than conventional designs. In Japan, many dildos are created to resemble animals or cartoon characters, such as Hello Kitty, so that they may be sold as toys, thus avoiding obscenity laws. Some dildos have textured surfaces to enhance sexual pleasure.
Most dildos are intended for vaginal or anal penetration and stimulation, whether masturbation or with a sexual partner. Dildos have fetishistic value as well, and may be used in other ways, such as touching one's own or another's skin in various places, often during foreplay or as an act of dominance and submission. If of appropriate sizes, they can be used as gags, for oral penetration for a sort of artificial fellatio. Dildos, especially specially designed ones, may be used to stimulate the G-spot area.
A dildo designed to be inserted in the anus and remain in place for a period of time is usually referred to as a butt plug. A dildo intended for repeated anal penetration (thrusting) is typically referred to as an anal dildo or simply "dildo". Anal dildos and butt plugs generally have a large base to avoid becoming accidentally completely inserted into the rectum, which may require medical attention to remove. There are also double-ended dildos, with different-sized shafts pointing in the same direction, used by women to accomplish vaginal and anal penetration at once, or for two partners to share a single dildo. In this case, the dildo acts as a sort of "see-saw"; each partner takes an end and receives stimulation.
Other types of dildos include those designed to be fitted to the face of one party, inflatable dildos, and dildos with suction cups attached to the base (sometimes referred to as a wall mount). Other types of harness mounts for dildos (besides strapping to the groin) include thigh mount, face mount, or furniture mounting straps.
Ancient History
The dildo may well be humanity’s most durable invention. Only fire, weapons, clothing and beads seem to have been around longer. In the history of sex toys we will start our quest during the earlier Paleolithic era. Archaeologists have found figurines from this period in caves, some of which have been understood as fertility goddesses, but others have suggested that these instruments served other purposes. The devices in the photo are approximately 26,000 to 30,000 years old!  They were discovered in a cave by a team from Tübingen University in Germany, and measured approximately 20 cm and are made of polished stone. It is very clear that the artifacts themselves are deliberate representations of male genitals, or what may be called 'dildos' today, the figures are clearly shaped like a male penis. The shape is so evocative that scholars like Prof. Nicholas Conrad, have suggested that these life-size replicas may have been used as a type of prehistoric adult toy given the fact that they are highly polished and rounded at the end. Archaeologists find them all the time; it’s almost as if people in the prehistoric era found sex a natural, enjoyable thing they didn’t have to be ashamed of.
Excavations of many ancient civilizations have revealed stone objects that are clearly sculptures of penises. The archeologists who made the discoveries (and the historians who wrote about them) tell us that they were used symbolically in religious or fertility rituals. Chances are the archeologists (many of whom lived during the ultra-conservative Victorian era) were just a little too embarrassed to report back to the scientific community that they had discovered the world's first sex toys.
Historians can’t put a finger on the ingenious and probably hoary person that invented the dildo, but the popularity of them is owed to the Greek port city of Miletus. Miletan dealers traded olisbos (classical term for dildo), a hot commodity for lonely women, around the Mediterranean. Women (and surely some men) in Ancient Greece enjoyed using olisbos, which were phallic shaped objects made of wood or leather. Back in those days, olive oil wasn't just a staple of the Greek diet — it doubled as the best lube available.
The Greeks believed that a lack of sperm caused "hysteria," or a wandering uterus, in women. Greek men who left home for long periods of time to fight in wars often gave their wives olisbos to prevent hysteria (the link between hysteria and sex toys would last well into the 20th century more on this later ;) ).
Historically, the connection between female hysteria and dildos was something male doctors had a hard time letting go of. Romans are also thought to have invented double dildos for use in ceremony, or with a friend. The Greeks are responsible for the first use of leather or animal intestine to cover a carved penis, adding a more natural feel and a complexity of texture.

Modern Times
The possession and sale of dildos is illegal in some jurisdictions, including India. Until recently, many southern states and some Great Plains states in the United States banned the sale of dildos completely, either directly or through laws regulating "obscene devices". In 2007, a federal appeals court upheld Alabama's law prohibiting the sale of sex toys. The law, the Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1998, was also upheld by the Supreme Court of Alabama on September 11, 2009.
In February 2008, a federal appeals court overturned a Texas statute banning the sales of dildos and other sexual toys, deeming such a statute as violating the Constitution's 14th Amendment on the right to privacy. The appeals court cited Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court of the United States in 2003 struck down bans on consensual sex between gay couples, as unconstitutionally aiming at "enforcing a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct." Similar statutes have been struck down in Kansas and Colorado. Alabama is the only state where a law prohibiting the sale of sex toys remains on the books is it enforce I don’t know.
Recent social acceptance and popularity has resulted in the emergence of highly adorned dildos. These are often made of expensive materials and may also be jeweled.

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