December 1, 2016

World AID Day: Myth Buster

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system. HIV can cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a disease that severely weakens immunity and can be fatal. One person passes HIV to another under certain circumstances. Understanding the facts rather than buying into lingering myths about transmission can prevent misinformation — and HIV —from spreading.
There is still no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, which affects approximately 37 million people around the world. But there is reason to hope that the global response to this pandemic is improving. 
Fewer people died of HIV in 2015 than at any point in almost 20 years, while new HIV infections are at the lowest point since 1991, the World Health Organization noted in its 2016 progress report. That may be, in part, because at least two million new people began taking antiretroviral therapy in 2015, the largest annual increase ever in the history of the disease. 

So this weekend I'm doing AIDS weekend. I will talk the myth of the AIDS, it's history and treatment and possible cure. 

Myth Buster

Myth 1: The “Down-Low” Is Why So Many Black Women Have HIV
We can thank the media, celebrities and our own homophobia for why this lie continues to thrive. But be clear: The down-low is NOT fueling HIV among Black women—it only accounts for a small number of infections. And we have the data that proves as much.
Now, no one is denying that there are Black men living double lives, but if we truly want to understand what’s behind our disproportionate HIV rates, look to the following: Having unprotected vaginal and anal sex with multiple partners or even one partner; high rates of incarceration that take men out of the mating pool and create a system of women sharing the same man; intravenous drug use; untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which make people more vulnerable to contracting HIV once exposed to the virus; and people having unprotected sex, being unaware that they are positive and who are going untreated while highly infectious.
Not to mention, gender inequality in relationships (i.e. who controls condom use in relationships) and lack of access to testing and quality health care.

Myth 2: Straight Men Don’t Have HIV
So here’s the deal: If  women contract HIV through heterosexual sex and it’s not the Down-Low fueling HIV, so logic dictates that straight dudes have HIV too. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm this: They estimated that in 2014, more than 2,108 Black heterosexual men received HIV diagnoses (compared with 4,654 black women). Now take to the national level Most men become HIV-positive through sexual contact with other men. But you can get the virus from heterosexual contact, too: About 1 in 6 men and 3 in 4 women do.
And while it’s biologically easier for a woman to contract HIV from a man, that doesn’t mean that men can’t contract it from women. It happens way more often than you think. During unprotected sex, the virus can enter through the tip of the penis of through a cut or abrasion. This risk becomes even more heightened, if that man has an untreated STD.

Myth 3: Homosexual men and drug users are more likely to get infected with HIV than other people.
In Singapore, 90% of all HIV infections occur through sexual intercourse. Out of these, 60% result from heterosexual intercourse. HIV is spread mostly through unprotected sexual contact and does not discriminate against anyone. It is not who you are but your risky behaviors which put you at risk of HIV infection. Regardless of your personality or sexuality, you will be at risk if you don't take protective measures.

Myth 4: There is no need to use a condom during sexual contact if both partners already have HIV.
There are different strains of HIV. If a condom is not used during sexual contact, HIV-infected partners may exchange different types or strains of HIV. This can lead to re-infection, which will make the treatment of HIV infection more difficult. The new HIV strain may become more resistant to the current treatment taken, or cause the current treatment option to be ineffective. So please, please DON'T do this. Wear a  condom

Myth 5: The Meds Are What Kill You right
Definitely back in the early days of the epidemic, AZT—a form of treatment— was practically the only medication out there for people living with HIV/AIDS. And there were serious side effects, which made people appear to be sicker than they were before they took the meds. And its toxicity did in fact end in death for some who took it. But thanks to tremendous progress in treatment for HIV and AIDS over the years. A person living with HIV/AIDS can now continue to live a strong and productive life for many years. Treatment doesn’t take lives, it saves them. However, HIV remains in the body and can be transmitted to others.

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and friends

Here some of popular gods of the harvest from around the world. 

Demeter (Greek) is the Goddess of the Green Earth, fertile land, grains, fruit, agriculture and the harvest. She is the sister to Zeus and mother of Persephone. She also presided over the cycle of the Seasons. She is responsible for feeding the earth and its inhabitants! The Goddess Demeter was beloved for her service to mankind in giving them the gift of the harvest, the reward for cultivation of the soil.

Dagon (Semitic): Worshipped by an early Semitic tribe called the Amorites, Dagon was a god of fertility and agriculture. He's also mentioned as a father-deity type in early Sumerian texts and sometimes appears as a fish god. Dagon is credited with giving the Amorites the knowledge to build the plough.
Dagon was the principal deity of the Philistines, whose ancestors migrated to Palestinian shores from Crete. He was the god of fertility and crops. Dagon also figured prominently in the Philistine concepts of death and the afterlife. In addition to his role in the religion of the Philistines, Dagon was worshiped in the more general society of Canaanite peoples.

Ceres (Roman): Ever wonder why crunched-up grain is called cereal? It's named for Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest and grain. Not only that, she was the one who taught lowly mankind how to preserve and prepare corn and grain once it was ready for threshing. In many areas, she was a mother-type goddess who was responsible for agricultural fertility.

Freyr of the Vanir was brother of Freya and son to Njord. He is the Norse God of the Sun, Harvest and Rain, and very popular for being the bringer of peace, prosperity, bountiful harvests and fertile marriages. After the war and the joining of the Aesir and the Vanir; Freyr is called 'Lord of the Aesir' paradoxically he was both a god of peace and a warrior, possessing a magic sword that could emerge from its sheath on its own and spread a field with carnage and death.
Also Lord of Alfheim and the Ruler of the Elves, Freyr was the most celebrated and most beautiful of the Vanir men, called 'God of the World' by the ancient Vikings. His dear companion, Gullinbursti the wild pig carried him in a chariot made by the dwarfs Brokk and Eitri. He was very similar to the god Apollo and goddess Persephone of Greek mythology in many ways.

Sif (Norse) is the Goddess of the grain who is a prophetess, and the beautiful golden-haired wife of Thor. Thor is the Thunder God, Champion of the Gods and Man and frequent companion of Loki, as He makes the perfect lackey, being not too bright. Sif is of the race of Gods or Aesir. She is a swan-maiden, like the Valkyries, and can take that form.

November 11, 2016

Roll call of the War Gods

War and strife have never been far from human society. For the ancients, war was a way of life, and its varied expressions and nuances determined a host of patron deities. There’s a misconception among many that functions of gods and goddesses were attributed to a single aspect or purpose. It is true that Gods and Goddesses were known for specific roles that involved their skills, but what's blown out of proportion are stories about a single purpose deity not connecting with other aspects of warfare. Gods and Goddesses have been associated with a specific order for their expertise at a particular craft. This article showcases a list of some of the most powerful Gods and Goddesses of war from world mythology. I invoke these gods to combat Trump's presidency in near future and protect the average citizens from his regime of madness.

Athena is the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare. Her warfare was the tactical warfare that calculated each move carefully with strategic strikes in order to get the job done. Athena represents the nobler aspect of war— courage and self-control she appears on the battlefield beside her chosen warriors. She shows no mercy toward those who anger her, but protects her favorites and suggests ways for them to win fame and fortune. She also became patron goddess of many heroes, providing guidance while acting more like an ideal elder sister. 

Ares is the Greek God of war and Bloodlust; he represented the primal nature of war, its brutality, and its violence. He fought just on instinct and his own rage and personal fury he had, and fought primarily for the sake of fighting.

Mars (Roman) is the Roman God of War and Patron & Father of Rome, and is one of the most commonly worshipped deities in ancient Rome. Because of the nature of Roman society, nearly every healthy patrician male had some connection to the military, so it is logical that Mars was highly revered throughout the Empire.

Bellona is the Roman Goddess of War, closely associated with Mars, the Roman God of War. She is always his companion, although she called his wife, daughter, younger sister, or charioteer but mostly identified for being his twin sister. She is daughter of Jupiter and Juno. She is an important goddess to the Romans, as she also controls the policy of foreign warfare.

Seth is the Egyptian God of deserts, storms, strength, war, chaos, and evil. He is the son of Geb and Nut, as well as the brother of Horus, Isis, Osiris, and Nephthys. Later, Horus would become his nephew and Nephthys would become his wife. 

Sekhmet is the lion goddess and a warrior, the daughter of Ra and the original Eye of Ra, before Bast took over. Her alternate form is Hathor, the goddess of beauty and joy. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet was originally the warrior goddess of Upper Egypt. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare.

Huitzilopochtli (Aztec) This warrior god of the ancient Aztecs was a sun god and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He battled with Nanahuatzin, an earlier solar god. Huitzilopochtli fought against darkness, and required his worshippers to make regular sacrifices to ensure the sun's survival over the next fifty-two years, which is a significant number in Mesoamerican myths.

The Morrighan (Celtic) is known as a goddess of battle and war. However, there's a bit more to her than this. Also referred to as Morrígu, Morríghan, or Mor-Ríoghain, she is called the "washer at the ford," because if a warrior saw her washing his armor in the stream, it meant he was to die that day. She is the goddess who determines whether or not you walk off the field of battle, or are carried off upon your shield.

The Aesir are the warrior gods who first inhabited Asgard, one of the nine worlds. The first three gods of the race of the Aesir were Odin, Vili and Vé. Odin was the father and leader of the Aesir.
The Aesir stayed forever young by eating the apples of Iðunn, although they could be slain, as it was predicted that nearly all will die at Ragnarok (fate of the gods); this battle at the end of the world is waged between the Aesir, led by Odin and their evil aggressors of fire giants, man eaters and various monsters, led by Loki). Not only will many perish in this apocalyptic conflagration, but almost everything in the universe will be torn asunder. Here is some of Aesir Gods
Thor (Norse) is the Aesir God of Thunder. He is typically portrayed as red-headed and bearded, and carrying Mjolnir, a magical hammer. Depictions of Mjolnir became popular adornment for warriors during the age of the Vikings, and it is still seen today among adherents of some forms of Norse Paganism.

Tyr (pronounced "TEER") is the Norse Aesir warrior and God of courage, law, and trial by combat. He is famous for sacrificing his right hand to keep the Fenris Wolf bound. He was known as Tiwto the Anglo-Saxons, and Tui to continental Germanic tribes. Interestingly, he is portrayed as having only one hand. He appears in the Prose Edda as the son of Odin.

October 31, 2016

God of Death and Mummification: Anubis

Lord of the Funerals
Keeper of the Ways of Death
God of Burial and Embalming
God of Cemeteries and Mummification
Anubis is known as the god of death and is one of the oldest and most popular of ancient Egyptian deities. The ancient Egyptians revered Anubis highly because they believed he had tremendous power over both their physical and spiritual selves when they died.
References to Anubis are found in texts dating back to the Old Kingdom. His fame lasted until the Middle Kingdom, when his role as God of death was taken over by Osiris and Anubis became Osiris' assistant.
Nephthys: his mother
He is the son of Nephthys and Set or Osiris. It was believed that his aunt Isis raised him, rather than his mother Nephthys, as Set might murder his wife's illegitimate son or be a horrible influence on him. Thus he grew up as a son, friend and follower of Osiris and Isis. Despite the fact that he was given to Osiris and Isis to raise, Anubis is aware of his true parentage and says that he's "different" and not a great warrior like his cousin/stepbrother Horus is.

Anubis Wore Many Hats as God of the Death:
The Guardian of the Scales: one of his many roles surrounding the dead included the Guardian of Scales where he dictated the fate of souls. As depicted in the Book of the Dead, Anubis weighs the dead’s heart against the weight of a feather. The feather represents “Ma’at” or truth. If the scale of justice tipped toward the heart, the dead person would be consumed by Ammit, a female demon the ancient Egyptian people dubbed “devourer of the dead.” If the scale of justice tipped toward the feather, Anubis would lead the dead to Osiris so he could ascend to a worthy existence in heaven.
The God of Embalming and Mummification: Anubis held the important role of overseeing the embalming and mummification of the dead. The daughter of Anubis (Kebechet) is frequently seen as his assistant in the mummification process of the dead. Ancient Egyptians believed that Anubis sniffed the bodies of the dead, so they preserved them with sweet smelling herbs and plants. Anubis invents in the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual to ensure a good burial. When a corpse was mummified the priests wore jackal headed masks and prayed to Anubis. At the tomb, the priest held the mummy during the Opening of the Mouth ceremony to give the dead person the power to eat, move and breathe. Anubis is also the only deity who is allowed to do the Opening of the Mouth ceremony. He also invents the “Closing of the Mouth” ritual to shut the dead if they are too annoying. When someone died, Anubis personally guided him or her to the underworld and along the perilous pathways the dead had to travel before they reached the court of Osiris to be judged.
Anubis helped Isis bring her husband back to life again after Set had killed him. He embalmed the body of the god, swathed it in the linen cloths that had been woven by the twin goddesses, Isis and Nephthys, making sure that the body would never decay or rot. Anubis preserved the body until his eventual resurrection.
Protector of Tombs: as the Egyptian god responsible for protecting the dead, many prayers to Anubis were carved into their tombs. Anubis held this role until Osiris gained popularity and took it over.

October 29, 2016

Queen of Cat: Bast

Eye of Ra
Goddess of Cats
Goddess of Family and Homes
Warrior Goddess who guarded the Pharaohs and their soft-footed pets alike, Bast is one of the most well known of the Egyptian deities; her cult, which encouraged all Egyptians to revere cats above all other creatures, was widespread and enormously influential, leading both to joyous revels and even to death penalties for those who might dare to kill a feline. She is also a moon goddess and serves as the opposite number of her sun god father, reigning over the cool, secretive silences of the night.
Bast (known as "Bastet" in later times to emphasize that the "t" was to be pronounced) was one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt. She is generally thought of as a cat goddess. However, she originally had the head of a lion or a desert sand-cat and it was not until the New Kingdom that she became exclusively associated with the domesticated cat. However, even then she remained true to her origins and retained her war-like aspect. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness. She was also worshiped all over Lower Egypt, but her cult was centered on her temple at Bubastis in the Eighteenth Nome of Lower Egypt (which is now in ruins). Bubastis was the capital of ancient Egypt for a time during the Late Period, and a number of pharaohs included the goddess in their throne names.
Bast and Ra
Legend has it that, by day, Bast would ride through the sky with her father, the sun god Ra, his boat pulling the sun through the sky. Ever watchful, she protected Ra from his enemies. Thus she became known as the Lady of the East, the Goddess of the Rising Sun, and The Sacred and All-Seeing Eye.  But by night, she was a different creature entirely! Bast transformed herself into a cat (renown for its superb night vision) to guard her father from Apep (also known as Apophis), a serpent who was her father's greatest enemy and Lord of Chaos. Ra's priests burned wax models of the snake and wrote his name with green ink, trying to put an execration spell on him — but to no avail. Finally, with her cat eyes shining in the dark, she managed to kill the evil serpent. Credited with killing the vile Apep, the Goddess Bast ensured the warmth of the sun would continue to bless the delta of the Nile with fertile soil and abundant crops and was honored as a goddess of fertility. Though Bast was a daughter of Ra, she once quarreled with her father, and rather than accept his wishes she exiled herself to wander in the desert. However, in spite of her disobedience, Ra still cared for his daughter's well-being. When Bast, while walking among the desert dunes, stung by a vicious and enormous scorpion, she cried out to Ra to save her as the poison coursed through her veins. Taking pity on his daughter, Ra descended to earth in the middle of the day, bringing the sun to the ground for a few moments, and burned the poison out of her, rendering her well again.
Cats were sacred to Bast, and to harm one was considered to be a crime against her and so very unlucky. Her priests kept sacred cats in her temple, which were considered to be incarnations of the goddess. When they died they were mummified and could be presented to the goddess as an offering. The ancient Egyptians placed great value on cats because they protected the crops and slowed the spread of disease by killing vermin. As a result, Bast was seen as a protective goddess. Evidence from tomb paintings suggests that the Egyptians hunted with their cats (who were apparently trained to retrieve prey) and also kept them as loved pets.
Her Festival
Her center of worship was in Bubastis (Per-Bast, Pa-Bast, Pibeseth, Tell-Basta), in the eastern Delta. Her chief festivals were celebrated in April and May. Herodotus, the famous Greek historian and early blogger, provides the following description of one of the festivals:
"When the Egyptians travel to Bubastis, they do so in this manner: men and women sail together, and in each boat there are many persons of both sexes. Some of the women shake their rattles and some of the men blow their pipes during the whole journey, while others sing and clap their hands. If they pass a town on the way, some of the women land and shout and jeer at the local women, while others dance and create a disturbance. They do this at every town on the Nile. When they arrive at Bubastis, they begin the festival with great sacrifices, and on this occasion, more wine is consumed than during the whole of the rest of the year."
With loud music, women shaking their rattles, others gyrate in dance, and some lifting their skirts while making lewd comments to the townspeople lined up on the riverbank to watch the procession, the feasts of Bast may have been a precursor to the Mardi Gras and Carnival of today but tamer than the Roman parties. Some think that it is even the basis for the word "floats" that describe the decorated rides in a parade.
Personality and Personal Live
Bast seemed to have two sides to her personality, docile and aggressive. Her docile and gentle side was displayed in her duties as a protector of the home, and pregnant women. Her aggressive and vicious nature was exposed in the accounts of battles in which the pharaoh was said to have slaughtered the enemy as Bast slaughtered her victims.
Now on her love life; one of the oldest versions of the goddess Bast was known by the name 'Pasht', from which our word passion was derived. (And from which the English term "Puss" may have arisen.) It's not surprising she had a reputation, since she herself had three husbands and was acknowledged as a sexual partner of every god and goddess (explaining her association with lesbians, although bisexuality would be a more accurate description of her nature).

Anubis: God of Embalming

Ptah; God of Creation-sometime his wife with her sister Sekhmet

Thoth: God of Magic and Knowledge

Min: God of Male Sexuality (very popular with gods)
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