All posts tagged: mythology

A Brief History of Christmas Carols

In 1818 on a fascinating Christmas Eve Silent Night was performed for the first time at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria.

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Female Artists of the Victorian Era: Evelyn De Morgan

Evelyn De Morgan (Mary Evelyn Pickering) was an English painter in the reign of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V who was within the circle of later phase of the Pre-Raphaelites who took their influences from the romantic paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Evelyn was born in 1855 to a upper middle class family in London and was introduced to art by her uncle John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. On her 17th birthday, August 30th 1872, Evelyn recorded in her diary “At the beginning of each year I say ‘I will do something’ and at the end I have done nothing. Art is eternal, but life is short”..”I will make up for it now, I have not a moment to lose.” In 1873, she was enrolled at the Slade School of Art and her style of painting developed rapidly in those three years. It is believed that in the beginning of 1875 Evelyn often visited John Roddam Spencer Stanhope in Florence where he resided. It enabled her to study the …

The Tale of the Immortals

Daoism or Taoism is a tradition of Chinese origin emerged as a religious and philosophical system at about the same time as Confucianism , around the 6th–5th century BCE. It emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao or Dao (A Chinese word that signifies “the way” or “the path”. Tao is the natural order of the universe that underlies everything from the creation of galaxies to the interaction of human beings.) Later, with the growing popularity of Buddhism, Daoism acquired all the trappings of a religion. The “Eight Immortals” were the central figures of Daoist myth. They were a group of legendary xian (immortals) in Chinese mythology. Each of them were able to bestow life or destroy evil. These legendary beings have been part of Chinese oral history long before they were recorded in the works of writers of various dynasties – Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming. The Eight Immortals: Photo acquired by Henry Walters, 1915 They had all gained eternal life through seeking the Daoist way. Though they were not gods, their immortality gave them superhuman …

The August Male and The August Female (Izanagi and Izanami)

Before the universe came into existence, everything was a chaos. It was sunk into a shapeless and unimaginably infinite and vast matter filled with darkness and emptiness. Later there were sounds that indicated the movement of particles. And with this, the lightest and the transparent rose up and formed the Takamagahara (the Plain of High Heaven) and the heavy and opaque gradually subsided and became the earth. In Takamagahara the first Kami ( the spirits that are worshiped in the religion of Shinto ) Amenominakanushi ( Ame-no-minakanushi-no-mikoto (the Deity-of-the-August-Center-of-Heaven)) came into existence. And next the Heaven gave birth to Takami-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity) and Kammi-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Deity). These were the three primal Kami and Creating Deities of Japanese mythology. After the formation of Heaven and Earth and Kotoamatsukami (the first gods) seven generations of kami (Kamiyonanayo) came into existence. They were: Kuni-no-tokotachi-no-kami Toyo-kumo-no-no-kami U-hiji-ni and Su-hiji-ni Tsunu-guhi and Iku-guhi Ō-to-no-ji and Ō-to-no-be Omo-daru and Aya-kashiko-ne and Izanagi and Izanami Izanami’s Death and The Creation of the Islands and Deities: Izanagi (He who invites) and Izanami (She who …

A Diminished Custom

You’ve probably heard the famous quote of Joan Lowery Nixon before: “We don’t believe in ghosts, Mrs. Phipps.” “Don’t matter if you believe in them or not. If they’re there, they’re there.” So, I’d gone to bed last night with the expectation to see or hear from one, but nobody or nothing showed up. I have been a skeptic for a while now but I still have the curiosity concerning the unearthly hands that knock on so many people’s windows in the middle of the night. The day is Bhoot chaturdashi (Bengali Halloween in some ways) after all. The mythology that revolves around Bhoot Chaturdashi is —  When Danab Raj Bali  (fiend/monster king Bali) possessed the heaven, earth and abyss, he outset an indiscriminate carnage. No one was able to escape his rage, not even the divines. So to confine the offering rampage the preceptor of gods Brihaspati ( Jupiter ) delivered a plan to Vishnu. Vishnu then came down in the disguise of a saint and begged a land equal to the length of three steps from …