Honest Myth:Arabian/Islamic- The Tale of the Trader and the Jinni

For this one, I was not sure how to categorize it. This is a story in the One Thousand and One Nights so I put it as Arabian, but it also mentions Allah quite a lot so I included Islam. Anyways, here is the story.

One Thousand and One Nights. Not sure who the artist is. Please tell me if you know.

One Thousand and One Nights. Not sure who the artist is. Please tell me if you know.

One day, a wealthy merchant traveling through many towns stopped to eat breakfast in a garden. After eating a date, he threw the pit onto the ground and a great ifrit (infernal Jinni that are  known for being cunning and being able to fly) appeared with a sword in his hand. He told the merchant that he had to kill him for murdering his son with the date pit. The merchant tried to say that it was an accident, but the Jinni would not listen. So, the merchant begged that the Jinni not kill him till the New Year, and in that time he would fix everything to make sure that he leaves with no dept and with his family well looked after. The Jinni accepted, since the merchant made an oath to Allah that he would come back. On New Years day, after finishing what he needed, the merchant went to the garden and sat waiting. As he sobbed in fear, a Shaykh (honorific title for scholars of Islamic sciences) walked by. the old man had a gazelle with him and asked the merchant why he was weeping. The merchant shared his story and the old man stayed with him talking. After some time, a second Shakyh with two grey hounds appeared, and he too decided to stay with the merchant. Again, a third Shakyh appeared with a she-mule, and the same occurred with him. Finally, the Jinni appeared ready to kill the merchant. the first Shakyh asked the Jinni, “If I tell you the story of my gazelle and it amazes you, then give me 1/3 of this man’s blood.” And the Jinni agreed. The man told his story: He married his cousin, but she was unable to have children. So he got a concubine that bore him a beautiful boy. After many years, he left to work for a year and on his return his concubine and son were gone. His wife, who practiced dark magic, had turned them into a heifer and a calf, but lied that they had passed. When the Great Festival for Allah came around, he asked his herdsman to bring in a fat heifer for sacrifice. He brought in the concubine who cried and wept. The Shakyh refused to kill the crying cow, but the wife insisted, and it had no meat  just skin and bones. So he asked the herdsman to bring a calf, and the son was brought out. The calf ran to him and began weeping. Again, he refused to kill it, and again the wife insisted. this time (regretting the heifer), the man put his foot down and told teh herdsman to take the calf home. Once home, the herdsman’s daughter began to laugh and cry, “Why do you bring a strange man into our home?” she asked. And she explained who the calf was to her father (since she also practiced dark magic). The herdsman told his master, and the girl changed the calf back in exchange for the son’s hand in marriage and the ability to turn the evil step mother into a gazelle (for she feared she would target her next for seeing through her magic). After many years, the girl died and the son left to travel. now the old man traveled with his gazelle in search of his son. The Jinni was amazed and accepted that 1/3 of the merchant was the first Shakyh’s. The second Shakyh asked for the same opportunity and promised that his story was more amazing. His story went like this: He and his two brothers each owned a shop. Both elder brothers chose to sell their shops to travel and make more money. Each time they did, they would come back broke, and he would give them money to start over. For 6 years, they tried to persuade him to travel with them. Finally, he accepted, but found that both brothers had squandered all their money. So he gave them his, and they were off. While traveling, he was able to make 10 times more money, but they became broke quickly. He also found a ragged maiden who asked him to marry her (which he did). His brothers, jealous of his money and his new wife, decided to kill them. But the wife (who was a Jinni) flew away with her husband. She told him, she was a believer of Allah and felt compelled to marry and be with him, and now she had to kill his brothers. He begged her not to, so instead she flew him home. After fixing his store, he came home to find two grey hounds and knew instantly that they were his brothers. His wife explained that her sister had cast the spell for her, and that after 10 years she would be able to change them back for him. And so that now he was traveling to his sister-in-law’s home to change his brothers back to men. Again the Jinni was amazed and awarded the second old man a third  of the merchants blood. The third asked for the same chance and his story went thus: After traveling for a year, he came home to find his wife in bed with a slave. When she saw her husband, she cast a spell that changed him into a dog. He ran from the home and wandered until he came upon a butcher who fed him and took him in. The butcher’s daughter yelled, “Why do you bring a strange man before me?” Then she explained to her father the story of the dog (it seems these witch/magic ladies just know). She quickly changed him back into a man and taught him how to cast the same smell onto his wife. And as she slept, he changed her into a mule. And again the Jinni was amazed. Having given away all of the merchant, he could no longer kill him, and he was saved.

Hope you enjoyed!

-Blog Barista

*squeal of joy*

*squeal of joy*

Check it out here:

Translated by Burton, R. Francis. Tales from Arabian Nights. New York: Fall River press, 2012, pp. 21-31. Print.

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Honest Myth:Buddhism/Christianity- Three Temptations

Hello everyone. Sorry for how long it has been since the last post. I hoped that as summer came along I would get the time to do more, but sadly I had to take classes this summer and have been unable to. So today, I have chosen to post up many myths that I looked up lately. I hope you enjoy the variation in these. Sadly, there is no correlation or theme between them though.

This first post is just a comparison between Jesus and Buddha, and their trials that tested them before reaching their divine levels.

I saw this picture on the cover of a book called: I See Buddha in Jesus-Years in Kashmir . But I am not sure who the artist is. Please tell me if you know.

I saw this picture on the cover of a book called: I See Buddha in Jesus-Years in Kashmir . But I am not sure who the artist is. Please tell me if you know.

  • Jesus

1. Stone to Bread (Desire of the body)- Jesus was brought into the wilderness (a desert) by the Spirit. He was there to meditate and ponder over what God wanted of him. There he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and the Devil came to him and told him that as the son of God, he could easily change the stone to bread, ending his plight. Jesus then responded, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

2. On Top of the Temple (Fear)- The Devil then brought Jesus to the top of a temple in the Holy City, and told him to throw himself off the pinnacle to prove himself the son of God, for ‘He shall give his angels charge over thee (Jesus), to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ (Basically, Jesus would always be saved, because God had told the angels to protect him). Jesus responds saying, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

3. Top of the Mountain (Cultural)- Satan then brings Jesus to the top of a mountain where all the Kingdoms could be seen. He promised to him (Jesus) that if Jesus worshiped him (Satan), then he would get the world. Jesus refused saying, “Get away! The Lord, your God, shall you worship him and him alone you serve.” Satan tempts Jesus with the power to rule the Earth and over throw the Romans. He gives him a chance to rule and do the things he wants to for the Earth, but in a way where he goes against God (or at least that is my interpretation).

These temptations occurred before Jesus was baptized.

  • Buddha

1. Daughters (Desire of the Body)- Mara, the demon who personifies unwholesome impulses and death of spiritual life, sent his three daughters (Tanha=Desire, Aarath=Aversion, and Raga=Passion) to Buddha. Mara usually tempts humans by making the mundane alluring so that they forget to practice their spiritual duties. His daughters attempted to seduce Gautama with their feminine wiles. Coming in many forms and guises, they danced and sang, but Gautama told them that he was beyond temptation of the body and they should return to their father.

2. Army (Fear)- Mara then threatened Buddha with a vast army. He planned to strike him with his army, and Siddhartha, unmoved, said, “Mere numbers do not make the strength of the army. The sun can outshine a myriad of glow worms. If wisdom is the source of power, a single hero can defeat countless soldiers.” The army advanced (with monstrous beings that have lion heads, rhino horns, wearing human skulls, and so on).  Mara tried to frighten him with earth shaking, uprooting trees, and devastating villages, but arrows became flowers when shot at him and light aura around him became his shield. In fear, the army ran.

3. Duty (Cultural)- As a last attempt, Mara then tried to tempt Buddha with his varna duty. Buddha was born to the Hindu community, where dharma (meaning social duty in Hindi and truth in Buddhism) is so important that it makes up a major part of achieving Moksha (freedom from Samsara). Your duty to society is based on which social order you were born into. Mara tempted to guilt Buddha by telling him that he failed his family and society by leaving and not doing his duty as a prince (leader), a father, a son, and a husband. (Dharma is a little more complicated than this, but I think this is good for now, just to understand a little). But Buddha continued to meditate and ignored Mara knowing this was not Truth.

This occurred during his meditation and before his enlightenment.

Here are some sites to check out:

http://www.epistle.us/articles/jesustemptation.html

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lob/lob21.htm

Hope you enjoyed this!

-Blog Barista

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Honest Myth:Christian- Apostles

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Andrew and Peter from Saint Young Men

So this was supposed to be last week’s post, but I seem to have gotten real behind on the stuff I was supposed to do. I have an organic chemistry test this Friday, along with a statistic test. TheBetterCup has like four tests, and I cannot remember what they are for the life of me. This week has also been hectic in other ways. We started running in October and now we run everyday for like 50 minutes, and so a friend and the two of us signed up to run our first 5K. I am so excited but the training drains a little time. After this we can aim for a 10K. I have also been swamped with volunteer opportunities (some of which did not pan out all that well). But I will try to continue posting weekly just for my sanity. So here I present the Apostles. TheBetterCup and I spent a good 5 hours researching them, which was a lot of fun, and this is what we cam up with.

  1.  Peter (Originally known as Simon) was a fisherman and one who brought people to Jesus (a fisher of men). He was the leader of the apostle. He healed a forty year old man, who was crippled from birth, by saying ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have to give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazerath: walk.’ He was one of the three pillars of the Church. His ministry was primarily to the Jews. The Denial of Peter: When Jesus was being arrested, following them as Jesus was being taken away, Peter denied being with or knowing Jesus three times. Jesus allowed the Devil to tempt Peter with fear (making him a coward that denied his lord) to allow Peter to learn of his weaknesses. When he was to be crucified, he asked to be crucified head downwards for he was not worthy to die like his Lord. That upside down cross with crossed keys became Peter’s apostolic symbols.
  2. Andrew (Brother of Peter) was the first disciple of Christ and brought Peter to Jesus. His main goal was to bring others to Jesus (also a fisher of men). His ministry was to the Greeks, and that is where he went to preach. He was tied to a cross, and lived two days preaching to others before dyeing. Not wanting to be crucified like Jesus, he asked for an x-shaped cross. His apostolic symbol is an x-shaped cross with two fish.
  3. James (The Greater) was the first apostle to become a martyr (first to die). He and his brother, John, were called ‘Brothers of Thunder’ by Jesus. He was one of the few people who witnessed the rising of the daughter of Jairus, the transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, and Jesus’s agony at the Garden of Gethsemane. His mother was Salome (the one who danced the Dance of the Seven Veils for Herod and a possible sister of Mary). he preached in Spain. James saved a drowning knight, by covering his body in sea shells which allowed him to stay afloat and come back to land. He is the saint of warriors and knights. His symbol includes three shells (because of the story) and a sword (because he is a saint to warriors and because he was beheaded with a sword).
  4. John (Brother of James) was the last Apostle to die and one of two that was not a martyr. He died of natural causes at the ripe old age of about 180 (supposedly). He was exiled to to the Cave of Apocalypse where he was given the text of the Book of Revelation. he continued to build churches to the east in Asia. His symbol is a chalice with a snake in the cup, because so many attempts were made on his life. This includes one where he drank from a poisoned chalice but was miraculously spared.  He was also one of the pillars of the church. John was rash, impetuous, and very impassioned. He mellowed out over time and lost his explosive temper by old age. Because of this he became the Apostle of Love where he symbolized a balance between love and zeal.
  5. Philip was the only one that was not brought to Jesus. Instead, Jesus came to him and said to him “Follow me” He was the practical and logical Apostle. In the feeding of 5’000, Jesus asked him where they could find bread for everyone. Philip answered that did not have enough money to feed them all (this was a test of his faith which he failed). His symbol is of a basket with loaves of bread and a cross. He was warm hearted, pessimistic, shy, naive, and sober minded. He was the one all about ‘seeing is believing’. In some text, he was hung, crucified, or stoned. He requested his body to be wrapped in papyrus not linen (like Jesus). He went to Syria to pass on the words of Jesus.
  6. Bartholomew (Also called Nathaniel) was one of the only disciples to be of royal blood/noble birth. He went to India and most of Asia Minor to spread Christianity. he was flayed alive with knives, and his symbol is three parallel knives. Philip went to Bartholomew and told him that he found the messiah. Bartholomew then asked “what good comes from Nazareth?” To which Phillip replied, “come and see.”
  7. The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1602).

    The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1602).

    Thomas (Sometimes called Didymus) was one who had faith based on touch (while Philip had to see it to believe it. So they basically represent the ways people choose not to believe/types of proof they need). He was always a little doubting , but was courageous and told other to follow no matter what. Jesus was resurrected and went to the Apostles, but Thomas, who did not see him come up, did not believe them. He would only believe if he could touch the five holy wounds. Jesus let him, but told him that he should believe with out physical proof. He died by being speared by the priests in India. His symbol has spears, arrows, and stones (since he was shot with arrows and stoned before the priests killed him).

  8. Matthew (Also known as Levi) was a tax collector (which at the time everyone hated tax collector who were considered sinful outcasts). He brought many outcasts to Jesus who showed them love no matter what. Matthew means gift of God. Jesus found him at a tax collectors post and told him ‘Follow me.’ In this case, unlike Philip, Matthew was not sought out he just so happened to pass him. Matthew got up and did just that. Because he was the only one who knew how to write, he was the first to write Jesus’s teachings. His symbol is that of bags of money to show that he was a tax collector. Before meeting Jesus, he thought money was the only important thing in the world. He never wavered and was very committed to Jesus. He died in Ethiopia after humiliating a King in front of all his followers (he was right and it was awesome how he did it too), stabbed in the back by a sword. He is said to be Collector of the Souls (like how the first four were Fisher of Men).
  9. James (The Lesser) was said to be either brother to Jude or to Matthew and had some familial connections to Jesus. He witnessed the Resurrection and is a pillar of the church. he went to Egypt and Palestine to spread the word of God. He had a strong character and was described as fiery (also called James the Just). He became Bishop of Jerusalem. James was also a hardcore worshiper (seems to be the trend with the Jameses) who never bathed, was a virgin, never ate meat, and prostrated till his forehead and knees were calloused like camel hooves. The Jews got mad, pushed him off the temple, but he rose to beg God to forgive them. he was then beaten by fullers bats and his body was sawed into pieces. his symbol is the saw.
  10. Jude (Brother of James ≤) was the only one to ask Jesus, during the Last Supper, why he did not show himself to the whole world after his resurrection. He stressed that man should persevere and thus people invoke him when they are in desperate situations, Many confused him for Judas (because of the name and that is why he is often forgotten mostly in middle ages). It was said that he was killed by an axe in Persia. His symbol is boat (because of all his missionary work). He was given the cloth with Jesus’s face (it wiped off on to it like in Saint Young Men), so as to cure leprosy of the King.
  11. Simon (The Zealot) preached in Egypt and Persia. He accompanied Jude and died with him. He was the bridegroom at a wedding where Jesus turned the water into wine. After witnessing his holiness, he became a zealous follower. He was crucified when he died and his symbol is of a fish lying on a bible.
  12. Judas (The Traitor) is said to have given Jesus up to the Roman’s for 30 pieces of silver (which in Saint Young Men, Jesus makes an allusion to that which is super funny. When they were hard for cash, he suggested sacrificing himself to be sold. He then said, “I have heard that I am worth 30 pieces of silver at the least”). Judas later hung himself out of guilt. He is the only Apostle who was not a Galallian or Galilean (I am not sure which spelling is right, I have seen both), and he was the carrier of the purse or the treasurer of the group. In some versions, Judas takes the initiative to to betray Jesus. In others, the devil takes over him and makes him betray Jesus. In others (not as common), it is said that he was asked to do this so as to allow Jesus to die for man’s sin (so Jesus would have asked). In these, it is said that Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas and only then could the Devil enter him. Jesus then old him to do what he had to do quickly. This part has been interpreted as a foreshadow to his deeds. His symbol is that of a noose (because he hung himself).

Well this was a very lost post. I really hope you guys enjoyed this and learned something new, I know we did. James the Lesser and Andrew have got to be some of my favorites. Anyways, I hope everyone has a good week, and I will try to post one more this week before the weekend comes. I also have one last anime post, but I will do that maybe Saturday. Things tend to get busy with school, volunteer work, running, and with my job, but I always try to make a small amount of time for my mythology and anime hobbies.

-Blog Barista

tumblr_ncrz9sO93T1rb9a6wo1_500

I felt this way around Friday last week.

 

Honest Myth:Christian- Santa Claus

I have been cooped up in my room for days now playing the Sims4. I had no idea what day it was, and I have completely lost track of my usual daily habits. It is weird how something like that can occur, but oh well. Anyways, Merry Christmas guys!!! I hope you all had a great day with your family. I know that today’s myth is nothing knew to all of y’all, but I figured it would not hurt to take it easy today. It was either this or a story of Jesus, but I chose the easier path. Enjoy the post of Santa Claus! If you know who the artists of the photos are, please tell me.

Santa-Gifts1Santa Claus is also known as Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, and he usually connected to Saint Nicholas. The name Kris Kringle is believed to originate from Christkind. Christkind is a spirit created by Martin Luther who was attempting to differentiate his church from Catholicism and created this spirit/angel to take the place of Saint Nicholas as patron of children.

Many songs, poems, and stories added to the depiction of Santa Claus, creating the modern idea of what Santa Claus looks and acts like.

He is depicted as a portly man with rosy cheeks , white beard and mustache, spectacles (not so much lately) and a red coat and cap. His name comes from Sinterklaas, a Dutch figure, and it is believed that Santa Claus is a mixture of Sinterklaas and the English named Father Christmas.

Santa Claus gives gifts to all the good children and is known to go around the entire globe in one night, in a sleigh pulled by 8 (9 if you include Rudolph) reindeer. He lives in the North Pole with his wife and a throng of elves who help manufacture the presents for the children each year.

I love Christmas, but sometimes it feels like the Holiday season is this really shallow and materialistic celebration of nothing. I loved it as a child because it was a warm and magical time, but now that I am older I really can see that it is nothing but this commercialized time with out the bonding and kindness that it felt like. Each year I try harder to try and recreate a much more wonderful Christmas feeling, but I am not sure how. I think it is through traditions, family gathering, and ignoring all the propaganda for buying gifts. Sorry for this long paragraph, it was not very happy go lucky. I just wanted to stress the importance of celebrating more then the gifts.

Merry Christmas!!!

-Blog Barista

On Comet!

On Comet!

Honest Myth:Christian- St. Nicholas

nikolaus1-wmaster

Vintage card from Switzerland

 

It is Christmas Eve!! I hope every one is having a very fantastic holiday season right now. I love this time of year. I am not a fan of the whole commercialized celebration (all about presents and money), but I really enjoy the whole religious and familial aspects. Anyways let us get on with this.

St. Nicholas was a Greek man born in Patara of Asia Minor. He was the son of a wealthy family but both of his parents died in an epidemic while he was still young. He was instead raised by an uncle who was connected to the church. Afterwards as an adult, he became Bishop of Myra, dedicated his life to God, and gave all his inheritance to those less fortunate. He was greatly revered (called a saint while alive) and called the wonder-worker.

In one legend, he was the saint who saved the three young boys from the butcher (see: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/honest-mythfrench-pere-fouettard/). He brought them to life by praying to God.

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St Nicholas card from Ukraine

In another legend, a family with only three daughters could not afford dowries. With out money or marriage, the girls would never get married and would most likely become prostitutes. Either out of modesty, or so as not to humiliate them, he secretly threw three gold purses through the window one night. In one version, the daughters left their stockings to dry in the fireplace above the embers. He dropped the purses down the chimney, and they landed in the socks.

For this third story, the land of Myra was in a great famine. A ship delivering wheat to the Emperor stopped by the port. He asked them to leave some wheat behind. At first, the sailors disagreed (for the wheat was meant for the Emperor), but they finally agreed. They left behind two years worth of food, and when they arrived, they found that amount did not change.

Saint Nicholas is Patron of Children

To learn more go here: www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

I hope you enjoyed this!

-Blog Barista

eww....

eww….

Honest Myth:Christian- St. Lucia

Here again for today’s myth. It is a very short one, but I found it interesting and awesome, and hopefully you will too.

lucia

Lucia was a young girl long ago who went to a shrine of Saint Agnes to pray for her ill mother. An angel appeared to her in a dream and the mother was healed miraculously. Lucia then became devout Christian and vowed to never compromise her virginity as a way to to prove her thanks for her mothers glorious recovery. Her fiance (who she was going to be forced to marry) denounced her to the Roman authorities and they went after her. They tried to remove her from the shrine, but even fifty oxen could not pull her out. As a final attempt, they attempted to burn her and set her on fire, but she continued to preach the word of God. She was only then able to die after being given the Christian Sacrament.

This holiday is celebrated on December 13, considered one of the first days where there is less daylight. On this day in Sweden, the eldest daughter of the family wakes up early and dresses as the Queen of Light (St. Lucia). She wears a white dress, red sash, and a crown/wreath of candles. She then goes around waking the family by singing the traditional song (Sankta Lucia) and giving coffee and treats.

To learn more go here: www.ingebretsens.com/culture/traditions/the-legend-of-sankta-lucia

-Blog Barista

Dasher is definitely my favorite!

Dancer is definitely my favorite!

Honest myth:Judiasm- Hanukkah

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Illustration by David Harrington (This is a children’s story tom Hanukkah).

On to the next day of our Holiday special. Today’s myth will focus on the story of Hanukkah! Most people in the United States know some things about the holiday, but (myself included) don’t tend to know the story. If anyone of the Jewish fate sees anything wrong in how I retell the story, please tell me so that I may correct it. This one I found specifically confusing in terms of what occurred to bring about the holiday. So here I present to you what I learned.

At one point in history, Israel was under the rule of the Syrian King whose father (previous King) had won control of that land after waging war with Ptolemy, Hellenic King of Egypt. The Jews were greatly oppressed under this King. The Jewish treasury consisted of contributions of half shekel (some sort of currency) from each adult male every year. This money was meant for religious rituals and as funds for improving for improving the temple. The King needed money to pay the Romans, and he wished to unity the Kingdom under one religion so as to make them easier to handle. Because of this, he planned to oppress the Jewish more and to take over the temple.

The Jewish temple was seized by the soldiers and dedicated to the worship of Zeus. Observance of Judaism became an offense punishable by death. the high priest, Mattahias refused to do as they said. he and is five sons fought back and then went into hiding in the mountains. They gained more rebels, and calling themselves the Maccabees, they fought to regain the temple.

The temple needed to be purified (after they claimed it back as a Jewish place of worship), and to do so a menorah had to be burned for eighht days, but only one day’s worth of oil was left. They lit it anyways and miraculously, it lasted all eight days, just enough time for more oi kosher oil to be made.

They have lots of yummy food on this  holiday, I swear it is so yummy.

-Blog Barista

To learn more, check this website out: www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah

Yeah, Dasher!

Yeah, Dasher!

 

 

Honest Myths:Christian- Three Wise Men

It has been a very long time since my last post, and I am very sorry. I just finished my finals week and now break can begin. I don’t have anything super special planned, but since we are in the middle of the Holiday season, I plan on doing different Holiday based myths of Christmas and Hanukkah and so on. I am actually really excited. Mostly because it has been so very long since I got a chance to relax. I planned on doing a Thanksgiving myth, back in November, but my Thanksgiving Break (only 3 days) was basically spent working (my part time job) and doing school work. Right now I am just enjoying a bunch of books I checked out from my university, and I also plan on doing a post that reviews the 5 to 6 books I want to read. I guess we will see. Anyways I hope you guys enjoy the first part of my Holiday themed Honest Myths (this one may be a little short, but I really liked this part of the whole Nativity Scene in general).

If you know who the artist is, please tell me. Thank you

If you know who the artist is, please tell me. Thank you

The Three Wise Men, also known as the Biblical Magi or the Three Kings of the Orient, are foreigners that came to give gifts to Jesus, King of the Jews, at his birth. Not much is actually said in the Bible about them that explains how many there was or if they were really Kings, but traditionally it was believed that there was three and that they were wise kings.

"We Three Kings" by Simon Dewey. He sells his art. If you want to see his work go here: http://www.altusfineart.com/home/afa/smartlist_127/we_three_kings.html

“We Three Kings” by Simon Dewey. He sells his art. If you want to see his work go here: http://www.altusfineart.com/home/afa/smartlist_127/we_three_kings.html

The three kings are considered to be Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar. Caspar was King of India and brought the gift of frankincense. Balthazar was King of Arabia and brought myrrh. And Melchior was King of Persia, and he brought gold. Some believe that the Kings could possibly be the descendants of Noah, and thus Balthazar can also be shown as the King of Ethiopia. Christians of different backgrounds, though, have many differing beliefs as to where the Kings came from. Some Christians of Chinese descent believe that one of the wise men was Chinese in origin.

These wise men heard or read a prophecy of the birth of the true king, and thus they set out to find Jesus. They went to Herod, King of Jerusalem, to get counsel and he sent them out with the condition that they would return to him afterwards. He wanted to be told where to find the child, saying that it was so he could pay respects to the baby, but he actually wanted to murdered him instead. The three wise men went out to find the baby and began to follow a very bright light in the western sky called the Star of Bethlehem. They found the baby the night he was born, or at least that is what the Nativity Scene makes it seem like (I am not super sure if that detail was ever mentioned anywhere). That night, they had a dream where God warned them of going to Herod. With this, they decided to go back to their kingdoms through another route.

-Blog Barista

To learn some more go here: www.answersingenesis.org/holidays/christmas/we-three-kings/

I am still a little broken over the end of Naruto...

I am still a little broken over the end of Naruto…

Honest Myth:Islamic- Azrael

Winged Figure Seated Upon a Rock by Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849)

Winged Figure Seated Upon a Rock by Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849)

Today’s ‘deity’ of death is an angel that can be found in Islamic texts, Christian texts, Sikh texts, and Jewish texts, but whose name is most common in Islam, the Archangel of Death, Azrael.

Azrael’s name means one who helps god. He was one of the first angels to become an arch angel. When souls were going missing, or not going to heaven after death, God gave Azrael the Word of Death so that he could research the problem. He learned that many souls got reincarnated, and some got lost and became ghosts stuck on earth. Finding this, he was elevated to Archangel and given the duties to direct souls to heaven after death (kind of like a psychopomp). As the angel of Death, he will be the last to die or disappear at the end of existence.

The Jewish have a positive view of Azrael. He is said to be a high ranking angel of God who receives prayers of faithful souls when they finally enter heaven.

In the Christian Bible, Azrael is not seen as canon,  but there was a mention of a scribe name Azra who was elevated to angelic status. Did you know: that the addition of ‘el’ at the end of an angel’s name is the show of angelic status.

The Sikh have a more negative view where they believe that Azrael is only sent to those who do not repent their sins. He kills the sinful, and takes their souls to hell.

Morrocan men have a custom of leaving a single lock of hair on their head so that Azreal can pull their souls from their body and lead them to heaven.

Azrael, the Angel of Death, by Evelyn De Morgan (1881)

Azrael, the Angel of Death, by Evelyn De Morgan (1881)

In the Qur’an, Azrael is known as the Archangel of Death who returns the souls of the dead back to God. He never knows when people are meant to die until God tells him. Azrael’s role is to care for dying so they do not fear death, removed the soul from the body, and then guides them to god. Here he is more then just death, but an angel that follows the will of God. He also comforts those whose loved one died.

In the Islamic texts, Azrael is shown to be a very kind angel. He is patient, soft-spoken, and hardworking, doing his duty obediently. His role includes helping the dying make peace with god, and counseling those grieving for loved ones. He is depicted as having four faces, and four thousand wings. His entire body is covered in eyes and tongues, the exact number of each being the amount of souls on earth. He tracks the souls by writing down the names of souls at birth in a book and erasing them once they die.

Find more here, very interesting to read: http://www.amadan.org/Innomine/Azrael.htm
-Blog Barista
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Daily Myth-Christian: St. George and the Dragon

I know there may be a chance that, by putting this under the category of mythology, I will be making some people displeased and insulted. I just want to say that mythologies does not mean something demeaning. Hindu is a religion that people believe in today, the Greek Pantheon was the leading religion of the time, and folklore are still stories that make a part of everyday life. Mythologies are just a set of stories and traditions that make up a major part of human culture. I love all stories and respect them greatly, whether or not I believe in them, and Christian, Ancient Greek, Islamic, Chinese, and Ancient Egyptian stories are all beautiful religious narratives that I want to share on this site. So with out bias, all will be titled as daily myths, whether or not they are believed in now-a-days or in the distant past, by a great majority or for thousands of years.

 

Anyways…

St. George and the Dragon

St. George and the Dragon

Today’s story will be really fun one from the Medieval Era: St. George and the Dragon!!!

Background:

  • St. George is England’s patron saint
  • The legend has been told a number of different ways (the one I tell is more similar to the one on this website: http://images.scholastic.co.uk/assets/a/20/a9/dragon-pcps-217327.pdf )
  • He is seen as a hero who protested against Roman persecution of Christians

The legend begins in a distant place, some say Libya, in a town that was bedeviled by a dragon. Each day, two sheep were given to the dragon in order to mitigate the dragon’s anger. But when the sheep began to fail in appeasing him, young maidens were sent instead. A lottery was used to chose the sacrificial women, and one day, when almost all the maidens had been sacrificed, the King’s daughter Sabra was chosen.

St. George and the Dragon depicted on a German Stamp

St. George and the Dragon depicted on a German Stamp

As expected, the king was tormented with sorrow and begged his people to spare her in return for all his riches and half his kingdom. They refused, so Sabra was sent to the lake where the dragon went to receive his sacrifices. Saint George was told by an old hermit of the sacrifices, and Saint George became determined to save the Princess. That same day Saint George rode to the  lake and saw the young princess. She warned him of the dragon, but he refused to leave. When the dragon came, Saint George attacked with his spear, but hitting against the dragon scales, the spear snapped.  The dragon attempted to use his poison on St. George, but he was able to protect himself under an orange tree (some say it was enchanted). Protecting himself with the sign of the cross, Saint George wounded the dragon with a lance under its wing. Using the girdle of the princess, he captured the dragon.

Leading the princess and the dragon back to the town, he promised the people he would kill the dragon once they promised to become baptized Christians. The king built a church to Saint George and Virgin Mary and an alter raised whose waters cured all disease.

In an alternate ending, St. George fails in his initial confrontation with the dragon. After some praying, he melts down his amour into a box and locks away his fears and doubts giving him the ability to slay the dragon.

 

If you wish to know more about St. George, check out this website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/saints/george_1.shtml

 

-Blog Barista

 

 

I feel like people may still feel mad at me after this.                       This is Garnet from Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar.

I feel like people may still feel mad at me after this. This is Garnet from Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar.