Friday, June 26, 2020

Narmer Palette- The Ceremonial Engraving

Narmer Palette
The Narmer Palette is an Egyptian Ceremonial engraving. The Chevron shaped stone tablet is over two feet tall. It also is known as the Victory Palette and Great Hierakonopolis Palette. The palette shows the first Dynasty King conquering his foes and uniting upper and lower Egypt. The palette is almost the first of its kind dating back 3200-3000BCE. It also depicts one of the earliest hieroglyphics to date. The tablet is said to be made from a single siltstone and represents the first ceremonial tablet of its kind. The very fact that the tablet is found to be carved on both sides shows that it was used for ceremonial purposes and not of the ordinary kind. The palette intricately depicts the king of the First Dynasty in Egypt defeating his enemies and securing the Approval of the gods for uniting the lower and upper parts of Egypt.

The Narmer Palette Scenes: 

The engraving shows a king defeating is enemies only to unite Egypt under one rule. Traditionally such a King is called Menes- a king of the first dynastic rule of Egypt that united both the lower and upper halves.

Menes was also associated with his predecessor Narmer who also had ambitions of uniting Egypt under one rule using peaceful means. This was according to discoveries made by the BCE historian Manetho. Another ruler who also had aspirations of ruling a unified Egypt was Hor –Aha, Menes’ successor.

Based on earlier records of Manetho the chronology depicts Menes as the first king of Egypt’s dynasty. But since then records have been lost. Piecing back the earlier records however shows that Manetho might have been wrong. Subsequent archeological finds of artifacts and temples shows the view that Menes was the first king to be wrong. When the Narmer palette was eventually found, there was no express sign showing that it belonged to Menes as the King of the first Dynasty in Egypt. As time passed Menes is now come to symbolize the three kings wishing to unite the upper and lower halves of Egypt and not just one king.

Later Egyptologist Flinders Petrie associated Menes with Narmer, claiming that the two were in fact one person. Menes was merely an honorary name meaning “one who endures” and was conferred on Narmer, this was according to Petrie. As for Hor- Aha- the name is again associated with Menes in that the king was also given the honorary title of Menes.

Archeological Finds 

So technically the reference to Narmer was then assumed to be the first king of first dynasty Egypt. The Narmer palette was conferred on him when he united both halves of Egypt under a single rule. The palette shows the king of upper Egypt defeating the then ruler of lower Egypt into uniting Egypt as a whole.

Based on found records and archeological finds Egypt’s unification took place between 3150 BCE to 2680 BCE. Dates for unification of the first dynasty is normally accepted to be 3150BCE but for the second dynasty it is between 2890-2670BCE. This shows that the unification under the second dynasty rule did not last and every king had to put up with civil unrests. Records of the time show that mostly all the unrest was between the lower and upper halves of Egypt and there was no foreign element at play.

Unification under Narmer’s rule was most assuredly done under a military campaign and not through peaceful means. This was as depicted by the palette.

Narmer Palette Depictions: 

On one side of the palette we see Narmer wearing the war crown of Upper Egypt as well as the wicker crown signifying his defeat of Lower Egypt. At the bottom of the same side we see two people capturing the entwined bodies of two serpentine beasts. The two serpentine beasts are commonly interpreted as being the Lower and Upper halves of Egypt. There is however no proof for this interpretation.

Still lower on the section, the king is depicted as a bull ramming the city walls and trampling his enemies with his hooves.

The other side of the Narmer Palette shows a single large image of Narmer with his war club with which he is about to strike down his enemy that he is holding by the hair. Beneath his feet are two men who are either dead or trying to escape his wrath. At the back of the king is a servant who holds his sandals and above is the god Horus that is supposedly pleased with the proceedings.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Ibn Battuta, His Life and Travel Tales

Ibn Battuta
Never was he to travel any road a second time is something that was followed by Medieval history’s most renowned travelers- Ibn Battuta. Ibn Battuta lived by this mantra too.

A famous scholar and traveler, Ibn Battuta made his passion for travelling around the world not only his source of income but also what he is most famous for. Ibn Battuta is one of the greatest Muslim travelers of the medieval centuries. Many would even argue that he is the best.

Where the traveling all Began: 

Ibn Battuta belonged to a Muslim family known to produce judges or qadis as they were commonly called. Typical of being born in a Muslim adjudicators family, Ibn Battuta received the traditional juristic and literary education in Tangier, Morocco.

After that, to fulfil his duty and widen his ever increasing knowledge base, he decided to go to mecca for Hajj. It was over there that he also decided to learn under other famous scholars of the time in Egypt, Syria and Hejaz.

To say that he accomplished what he set out for would be an understatement. Not only are there records showing the various enumerations from the scholars he studied under, but there are also various diplomas to his credit. These diplomas qualified him for various judicial offices as well. But his educational background does not end here either, the claim that he was also a former pupil of the then highly renowned authorities on Islamic sciences, made him a guest star in many courts.

Ibn Battuta- The Passion for Travel: 

It was only after travelling to Egypt that the passion for travels was born. After landing in Egypt through Tunis and Tripoli, Ibn Battuta decided that he loved travelling. That is when he decided that he would never travel any road twice.

While at that time Ibn Battuta’s contemporaries travelled for pilgrimage or trade or education, he traveled because he simply- enjoyed it. It was at Egypt where Ibn Battuta’s love for different countries and it’s people blossomed. He just had to learn more.

But it was not only fun and games either; Ibn Battuta made a living from his journeys as well. Using his scholarly status he enjoyed the benevolence of many a ruler and sultan alike. This thus gave him an income that contributed to all his travels.

The Journey of Ibn Battuta: 

After Cairo, Ibn Battuta visited Syria. It was here that he joined a caravan to Mecca. He thus completed his pilgrimage in the year 1326. After this he then travelled via the Arabian desert to Iraq and then onward to Iran, Azerbaijan and then to Baghdad. It was in Baghdad that he met the last of the Mongol

Khans of Iran- Abu Said. Besides that he also came to know many other lesser rulers of that time. For many years Ibn Battuta spent life as a devotee in Mecca between 1327 to 1330. But this long stay as a devotee was short lived. Ibn Battuta soon realized that life as a devote was not for him and in 1327 he set sail to Yemen.

Arriving at Yemen he then crossed it by land and then set sail again from Aden.

His travels then brought him to the eastern African coast. Ibn Battuta then traveled the length of the coast visiting all their trading routes. The return journey took him through southern Arabia, Oman, Hormuz, southern Persia as well as across the Persian Gulf. All this travels culminated back to Mecca in 1332.

Ibn Battuta’s Visit to India: 

After that Ibn Battuta set his sights on the Sultan of Delhi. Hearing of the Sultan’s favorable treatment of Muslim scholars, Ibn Battuta decided to try his luck in Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s court in Delhi. His travel again started off in Egypt and then ended in a boat sailing to Asia Minor. This brought him across the upcoming Ottoman Empire and his history of that region during that time.
After stopping in a number of locations and receiving the hospitality of various rulers and sultans of the time, he then embarked on his journey to India. After traversing the Hindu Kush range he then arrived at the frontiers of India.

Ibn Battuta’s stay in India: 

At this point Ibn Battuta was already a man of high regard both in his circles of travelers as well as scholars. At this point in his journey he had a number of followers and attendants as well. Through his journey to India he also brought with him his own harem of wives and concubines.

The Tughlaq dynasty emperor lived to Ibn Battuta’s every expectation. Not only was he highly generous in his welcome and the numerous gifts he showered on Ibn Battuta, he also made him qadi of Delhi, A post that he was to hold by him for several years.

Life at court was not all that glamorous: 

For a few years life at court seemed easy and full of promise. But then shortly danger set its sights on everyone at court. Sultan Muhammed was known for his generosity but Ibn Battuta soon realized for his cruelty as well. The Sultan ruled the greater part of northern India with an Iron fist. This iron fist did not seem to discriminate between Hindu or Muslim. While his bad temperament stayed outdoors for a short duration they soon set their sights indoors as well, namely his courts.

The Sultan grew more and more suspicious of people in his court every day. Ibn Battuta started seeing many of his friends fall a prey to the Sultan’s increasing suspicions. It was not surprising then that he too fell from the Sultan’s good graces. But in a matter of time, he again came into the Sulatn’s good books and became envoy to China in 1342.

His journey to China was waylaid with problems right from being attacked by Hindu Insurgents to being shipwrecked with all the gifts he had for the Chinese emperor. At this point, Ibn Battuta was seriously afraid of the Sultan and decided to go to the Maldive Islands. It is here that he got married into the royal family and even aspired to be Sultan someday himself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Galaxy – XMM-2599: Dead Monster Galaxy in Distant Universe

Galaxy – XMM-2599

Ultra-Massive Giant Galaxy – XMM-2599

According to reports, astronomers are anxious regarding an ultra-massive giant galaxy which dates back to the ancient days of the universe. It has been named XMM-2599. Astronomers are of the opinion that the galaxies lived fast and died young. If one tends to gaze at the night sky with a telescope and see beyond the naked eye, they will see numerous stars which are in fact imposters. Several of these points of light are in fact galaxies which are a collection of millions and trillions of stars. Galaxies are formation of stars, dark matter and dust which are held together through gravity. Astronomers are uncertain on the formation of galaxies.

Some of the astronomers are of the opinion that gravity tends to pull dust and gas together for the formation of single star. These stars then have a tendency to draw closer into collection which eventually become galaxies. Several of the galaxies tend to have black holes towards the centre which produces a great amount of energy. This can be seen by the astronomers over great distances. A galaxy’s central black hole, in some instance is extremely big or active even in the case of comparatively small galaxies.

Galaxy – XMM-2599 in Existence – 2 Billion Years Ago

The giant galaxy XMM-2599 had been in existence around 12 billion years back. According to data and measurement astronomers taken, utilising W. M. Keck Observatory’s Multi-Object Spectrograph for Infrared Exploration, it has rapidly moulded into a bunch of stars and died. It is unknown why the galaxy seemed to die down. The astronomers have concluded that the cause of its death is unclear though there could be numerous possible explanations.

Its expiry seems surprising since the galaxy passed away during a time when the other galaxies seemed to be stirring out stars in enormous masses. The observatory is located in the proximity of the summit of the dormant Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii. Benjamin Forrest, lead study author and postdoctoral researcher in the University of California, Riverside’s Department of Physics and Astronomy had commented that the galaxy had been in existence much before the universe was 2 billion years old and XMM-2599 had already moulded into a mass of over 300 billion suns, thus making it an ultra-massive galaxy.

Descendent –Population of High Star Formation

The galaxy at its peak had the capability of creating over 1,000 solar masses comprising of stars in a given year. This is considered to be an incredible high rate of formation of stars in comparison to its own galaxy, the Milky Way - its one new star each year. Strangely, XMM-2599 formed several of its stars in a massive state when the universe seemed to be less than a billion years old. By the time, the universe became 1.8 billion years old, it seemed to be inactive.

According to the opinion of Danilo Marchesini, study co-author and an associate professor of astronomy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, XMM-2599 could have been a descendent from a population of high star formation, dusty galaxies in the initial stage of the universe which the new infrared telescopes have recently revealed.

Galaxy – XMM-2599 Caught in Inactive Phase

However astronomers are uncertain on how the massive galaxy could have evolved. In comparison to the other known galaxies in size, this formation seems strange. XMM-2599, based on their models could still be forming stars. Gillian Wilson, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Riverside Forrest informed the amazing fact that XMM-2599 seemed interesting and unusual since it had stopped forming stars probably due to its restriction in obtaining fuel or its black hole seemed to turn on.

He further added that results call for changes in how models turn off star formation in early galaxies. XMM-2599 has been caught in its inactive phase. Astronomers are now speculating on what would happen now that the galaxy is no longer forming stars anymore and is unable to lose mass. Wilson is contemplating that as time goes by, its gravitational attraction of nearby stars could help in formation of galaxies and end up being a bright city of galaxies.

Answers – Ultra Massive Giant Galaxy

It is essential to note that when we gaze at distant areas of space, we tend to peer back in time due to the time light it takes in reaching us and hence the giant galaxy has now met its fate A professor of astronomy and co-author at UC Irvine stated that this the result could be a strong possibility. Cooper commented that perhaps during the following 11.7 billion years of cosmic history, XMM-2599 would be the central member of one of the brightest and most massive clusters of galaxies in the local universe. Moreover, it could continue to exist in isolation.

Alternatively, we could have a scenario which would lie between these two results. The astronomers have been permitted additional time limit at the observatory in order to carry out their research on the complex galaxy. They are waiting in anticipation in discovering the answers to their various question with regards to the ultra-massive giant galaxy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

All about Remote Proctoring You Should Know

All about Remote Proctoring You Should Know
Due to the trend of digitalization, every sector is focused to shift themselves towards it. Today, if any person or sector does not shift towards it will be considered as outdated. Not only this, but they will also not be able to compete in the market as the person who doesn't change himself cannot stand in the future. The same is the case with the educational sector. It is shifting gradually towards digitalization. Today, the trend of distance learning is decreasing and, in its place,, online teaching is trending. And the educational institutions which don't have modern and advanced technology are suffering. For example, due to COVID-19, the studies of the students are being affected as the schools or colleges don't have the technology or if they have the technology then there are no skilled persons to operate that. It is the major reason why it is important to upgrade to advance technology.

Now, the problem in online teaching arises when the students can't be monitored which means they can do whatever they want during online classes. They strikingly escape the classes or show their presence when they are not even there. And the bigger problem is cheating during online exams. Online exams cannot be taken without proper surveillance as students can use books or phones for the answers or it might be possible that someone else gives the exam in place of the student. Hence, to resolve all these problems the concept of remote proctoring is established. It is reaching and gauging the students without any geographical boundaries with the help of computers and high-speed internet.

In simple words, it is keeping an eye on the students every activity during the online exams to prevent cheating. It also helps to know the identity of the person with the help of a webcam. Its main purpose is to keep the sanctity of the exams alive and to prevent cheating. The person who is responsible for the surveillance of exams and monitoring the activities of students is known as proctor.

Working of online remote proctoring: - 

  • It is a double-sided affair, on which one side there is the candidate and the other side proctor or invigilator. It is important to have computers with internet for controlling the online test efficiently.
  • After ensuring with essentials, the candidate is supposed to fill all the informative fields related to his biodata i.e. Name, Roll No., etc.
  • After that candidate is supposed to submit an identity proof. This will help to recognize the facial features with the identity so that no other person can come to give the exam.
  • After that, the exam commences, and the proctor can keep an eye on every candidate with the help of a webcam.
  • There is a chatbox with the help of which any further information can be conveyed to candidates.
  • If any sceptical activity is noticed, then the proctor has the right to take action accordingly.
  • The exam gets submitted spontaneously once the candidate ran out of time. He can also submit it before the time.
  • The result is reflected on the screen, once the exam is submitted.
Types of online remote proctoring are:-

  • Live online proctoring: - In this, there is no restriction of location. Candidate can give tests from any place. The proctor is obliged to look after the activities using audio and visual devices. Any candidate suspicious of being involved in cheating can be disqualified from the exam.
  • Recorded proctoring: - In this, instead of monitoring the students while they give the test, they are reviewed afterward. The proctor is supposed to examine the recorder audio-video and mark it with a red flag where there is any doubtful activity.
  • Advance automated proctoring: - It is the most advanced form of proctoring as in this no proctor is required to examine the candidates. As the recorded audio-video is later on monitored by the audio-video analytics system.
Cases where online remote proctoring is used: - 

  • University: - The teachers in colleges or universities can use this advanced technology for keeping track of the students while examination. This will lower the burden of exam printing, making sitting arrangements for the students. This will also save a lot of paper and the teacher's efforts to check the answer sheets. They can also set up online entrance exams and this will help in saving time and cost of students.
  • Companies: - This concept will also be very beneficial for the companies as they can conduct the online test and can shortlist the candidates for the interview. This will save their cost as setting up the exam for recruitment of candidates cost a lot not only in terms of money but also in terms of time.
  • Certification programs: - Certification programs are taking the greatest advantage of remote proctoring. As they provide certificates programs at a lower cost and even to the students who cannot afford to travel or pay the fee.
  • Government: - Even the government is using this concept to conduct exams or recruit candidates.
Advantages of remote proctoring are: -

  • No need for exam centre: - It has helped in doing away with exam centre or hall. No hall needs to be booked now as students can give an exam sitting at their home.
  • No requirement of physical proctoring: - Remote proctoring has eliminated the need for physical monitoring i.e. there is no need to invigilate the candidates physically. It can be done online having real-time access.
  • Simplified exam of scheduling: - Earlier, there is a fixed time and place to give the exam. But now, it can be given at flexible hours and can be monitored easily with the help of webcams.
  • Advance exam security: - In the traditional examination system, there needs to be strict invigilation and supervision and still, there are chances of cheating. Now the concept of auto proctoring has made it easy to monitor the examination and reduces the chances of cheating.
  • Now candidates do not need to travel to examination centres. It saves time, energy, and efforts.
Across the board analysis, it can be said that it is the best and secure way of supervision and monitoring the online exams. Hence, more and more educational institutions should adopt it so that its benefits can be taken at difficult times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Papyrus 46- New Testament papyri

Papyrus 46

Papyrus 46 – Unfinished Papyrus Manuscript

Papyrus 46 is said to be an unfinished papyrus manuscript comprising mostly of the Pauline epistles in Greek. It was one of the ancient remaining manuscripts of the early Christian documents, originally written approximately in 52-58 CE. Papyrus 46 is said to be inscribed between 175 and 250 CE. It is the only surviving manuscripts of the New Testament.

 No one is aware of the origin of the papyrus though it was possibly discovered among the ruins of the first Christian church or abbey. The manuscript had been broken up by the dealer, after its discovery which took place in Cairo.

In 1930, Chester Beatty had purchased 10 leaves, while 6 were attained in 1931 and 24 in 1933 by the University of Michigan. In 1935 he purchased 46 leaves more and his achievements now tends to form part of the Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, eleven manuscripts of scriptural material.

Papyrus 46 Identified – Cairo - 1930 

It was in 1930, that the leaves of the document was first identified among the stuffs of a innate relics vendor in Cairo which was purchased without any delay by private collector, Mr. Chester Beatty of London. Thereafter the remaining of the manuscript was acquired from the same dealer by Beatty and the representatives of the University of Michigan.

The earliest extensive New Testament script which existed is said to be a somewhat damaged papyrus of Paul’s epistles around the year 200. It comprised of eighty-six leaves, which measured around 11 by 6.5 inches. Originally it was presumed to comprise of 104 leaves, wherein eighteen leaves now seemed to be missing from the beginning and towards the end.

Existing leaves includes the last eight chapters of Romans, mostly of Hebrews; almost all of 1-2 Corinthians, all of Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians together with two chapters of 1 Thessalonians. Due to corrosion, all of the leaves of Papyrus 46 are said to have lost some lines towards the bottom of the leaves.

Papyrus 46 Examined – Micro Graph Form

Initially the document had been examined by prominent researcher Frederic G. Kenyon, in micro graph form. Kenyon made great efforts to discover the susceptibilities of the scribe of Papyrus 46. He also made attempts to determine the number of lines for each page and letters for each line in order to evaluate the contents of the missing pages.

The data gathered from Papyrus 46 would have been utilised by the transcriber for calculating on the quantity of writing material needed. Moreover it would have also been helpful in getting some insight on the fee which the transcriber gathered for each line of the services rendered by them. It was observed from the existing page numbers, that seven leaves were lost from the beginning of Papyrus 46.

This synchronizes impeccably with the length of the lost parts of Roman, which it certainly contained. Since the manuscript had been designed from the mass of papyrus leaves folded from the centre, in the style of a magazine, the outer seven sheets, comprising of the first and last seven leaves of the manuscripts seemed to be lost. Matter from the seven missing leaves towards the end is vague since they has been lost.

Queries – Analysis of Kenyon

According to Kenyon’s calculation, 2 Thessalonians would need two leaves, where only five leaves are left (10 pages), for the remaining canonical Pauline writings. 1 Timothy (considered 8.25 pages, 2 Timothy – 6 pages, Titus – 3.5 pages, Philemon – 1.5 pages all totalling to ten leaves were needed. Kenyon was of the opinion that Papyrus 46 did not contain the pastorals and this prevailed for several decades.

New study however had raised queries regarding the analysis of Kenyon. Initially, Kenyon had not accounted for the fact that the average letter for each page of the transcriber had been increasingly deep in the text. It was observed that there were half as many letters on each page in the last pages than what was in the centre leaves.

This was somewhat owing to the outer leaves being wider than the inner leaves. However there seemed to be more letters towards the outer leaves at the back in comparison to the front outer leaves. This specified that some compression could have taken place at some point of time portraying that transcriber had been conscious of the issue he created for inclusion of the pastorals. He then had made attempts compensating for the same on realising the error done.

CSNTM – High resolution Images

Furthermore, the Centre for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts – CSNTM were capable of taking high resolution images of the earlier manuscript. On scrutiny of the fresh images, the CSNTM were of the opinion that the lower quality microfilm of Kenyon was somewhat twisted which led him to misjudge on the writing space the transcriber had utilised in the completion of his work.

It was found that at least 3 of his measurements had been miscalculated by 3mm and another one by 5mm. The flaw on measurement had then been compounded over the remaining manuscript leading him to underestimate on the space the transcriber utilised for completing his work. Daniel B. Wallace, who performed measurement only on few leaves, suggested that further study would be essential.

It has been detected that all through Romans, Hebrews and the concluding chapters of 1 Corinthians, small and thick strokes or dots, generally considered to be that of the reader instead of the transcriber of the manuscript. On examination it was found that the ink seemed much lighter than what was found on the text. They seems to indicate divisions which are likely to verse numbering found in Bible as well in parts of Papyrus 45.

Papyrus 46 Nomina Sacra

Papyrus 46 could be some evidence of reading in the community held for both the manuscripts. Edgar Ebojo made a case that the `reading signs’ with or without space could be of some help to the readers most probably with regards to liturgical perspective.

Nomina Sacra, in Christian scribal training is said to be the abbreviation of various regular happenings of divine name or titles, particularly in Holy Scriptures in Greek manuscripts. A Nomina Sacra comprises of two or more letters for the new word crossed by an overline.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Book of Shadows- Elixir of Knowledge

Book of Shadows

Bricket Wood Coven

The Book of Shadows, had initially been presented by Gerald Gardner in 1950s, to those whom he had introduced into the craft through his Bricket Wood coven. According to him it was a private recipe book of enchantments which was useful to the owner. They could copy from his own book, and add or delete the contents according to their choice.

He was of the opinion that the preparation of witches maintaining this book was ancient, which was practiced by them in ancient times. Gardner claims that after the death of the person, the book would be burnt down. This was carried out to ensure that no one would know that the person was a witch. However no mention has been made by Gerald Garner of anything as a `Book of Shadows’, in his 1949 novel with regards to mediaeval witchcraft – High Magic’s Aid.

According to Doreen Valiente, High Priestess, this was because Gardner had not been aware of the idea at that point of time and had invented it only after he had written the novel. Doreen Valiente was of the opinion that the term `Book of Shadows’, was found by Gardner from a 1949 edition – Volume 1, Number 3 of a magazine which was called The Occult Observer. She claimed that in this edition, it had been an advertisement for his novel, High Magic’s Aid. This was opposite an article known as `The Book of Shadows’, written by palmist Mir Bashir.

Book of shadows- Ancient Sanskrit Prediction

The said article related to an apparently ancient Sanskrit prediction manual, which elaborated on how to prophesy instances based on the length of the shadow of a person. Valiente speculated that Gardner had adopted this term for his magic spell textbook.

She appreciated the name of the book, from whichever source Gardner may have found it. Later on, a leather bound manuscript which had been handwritten by Gardner, titled `Ye Bok of Ye Art Magical’, had been located from his papers after his death in the Museum.

 This was found by Aidan Kelly which was later on acquired by Richard and Tamarra James of the Wiccan Church of Canada. This seemed to be the first draft of the Book of Shadows of Gardner featuring sections related to the ceremonials of the Ordo temple Orientis.

This was formulated by the occultist Aleister Crowley. Access to these ceremonials was gained by Gardner in 1946 when he had acquired a contract from Cowley providing him approval to execute the OTO ceremonials.

Book of shadows Considered as Evidence

It had been considered as evidence by some of the folks, that Gardner had invented this notion of a textbook of spells probably between 1946 and 1949, when he had completed his High Magic’s Aid novel. Later he had named it Ye Bok of Ye Art Magical. Towards 1949, he had again renamed it to the Book of Shadows and started utilising it with his Bricket Wood Coven. Doreen Valiente merged with Gardner’s Bricket Wood Coven in 1953 and soon became its High Priestess.

She investigated how much of the material of his Book of Shadows had been taken from prehistoric sources as claimed by Gardner originally. However it was not taken from prehistoric sources but from the occultist Aleister Crowley from Aradia or the books of the Witches, from the Key of Solomon as well as from the ceremonials of Freemasonry.

She challenged Gardner regarding this who had acknowledged that the text he had obtained had been incomplete from the New Forest coven. He admitted that he had to fill in much by utilising numerous sources. He stated to Valiente saying that if she could do better, then she should go ahead.

Book of shadows- Accepted Challenge

Valiente on her part found that she was capable of doing it and stated that ‘I accepted the challenge and set out to rewrite the Book of Shadows, cutting out the Crowleyanity as much as I could and trying to bring it back to what I felt was, if not so elaborate as Crowley’s phraseology, at least our own and in our own words’.

Valiente rephrased most of it, cutting out numerous sections which had come from Crowley, (since she feared his negative reputation). However she maintained the parts which had been initiated from Aradia or the books of the Witches, since she sensed they were normal witchcraft practice. She rewrote radically sections like the Charge of the Goddess as well as various poems like The Witches Rune. Moreover she also assisted in creating poem comprising of the Wiccan Rede in it.

Valiente also observed in one ceremonials that a chant was based on a poem, ‘A Tree Song’, from Puck of Pook’s Hill by Rudyard Kipling. This she had enjoyed as a child. The said chant stated that, ‘This version of the ritual, written by both Gardner and Valiente, but containing sections adopted from various sources, such as Aleister Crowley, Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches and even Rudyard Kipling, went on to become the traditional text for Gardnerian Wicca’.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Anunnaki- Sumerian Gods and Goddesses


Anunnaki – Sumerian God of Sky

Anunnaki is the resultant of An, which is the Sumerian god of the sky. Anunnaki has been considered to be the descendants of An and his spouse, the earth goddess Ki. According to Samuel Noah Kramer, Ki has been identified with the Sumerian mother goddess Ninhursag asserting that they were initially the identical figure.

Enlik, was said to be the oldest of the Anunnaki, who was the god of air and chief god of the Sumerian pantheon. The Sumerian were of the belief that till the birth of Enlil heaven and earth had been inseparable. It was when Enlil had slashed between heaven and earth into two parts and had carried away the earth, his father An, had carried away the sky and this separation between heaven and earth took place.

Anunnaki Worship

The appearance of the Sumerian on the archaeological record stated it to be around 4,500 BCE. The region, Mesopotamia located in the present day Iraq, has been referred as `the `cradle of civilization’. Initially, Sumer had been a city-states which was governed by priest. Each of these priest, controlled a city and temple which is presently known as `ziggurats’. These dedicated to Anunnaki worship, were said to be layered pyramids having flat tops and these communities were considered as servant-slave populations who had to serve Anunnaki, the temple gods.

Skilled Trade Merchants With the passage of time, this priesthood ruler-ship gave rise to the reign of kings. The Sumerians were known to be skilled trade merchants who learned lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. They obtained gold from the Indus Valley and cedar from Lebanon. The history of Sumerian had been established from archaeological and geologic evidences.

It is said that the engraved chronicles were in the form of cuneiform tablets. According to reports, around half a million tablets were excavated. However only a small number of the same could be translated. Great insight has been achieved from these translations of Babylonian records. During the Babylonian era, Sumer had been considered as an `ancient’ city. Anunnaki was worshipped by the Sumerians.

Findings about Anunnaki

Author Michael Cremo `Forbidden Archaeology’ had carried out study on the history of archaeology for over 40 years. His recording details had been left out from the mainstream, academic archaeology since these discoveries would unsettle the extensively acknowledged story of human backgrounds. Cremo together with author Zecharia Sitchin, Erich von Daniken, author of Chariots of Gods, and research cum author Michael Tellinger and many others had been debating that Anunnaki were off-world beings construed as gods.

Anunnaki Chthonic Deities of the Underworld

Sumerian winged god
The Anunnaki in Inanna’s Descent into the Netherworld, have been depicted as seven judges sitting before the throne of Ereshkigal in the Underworld. The later text of Akkadian, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, trails this depiction. The Anunnaki, during the Old Babylonian era were said to be the chthonic deities of the Underworld and the gods of heaven were considered as Igigi.

The early Hittites recognise the Anunnaki as the oldest generation of gods who had been defeated and expelled to the Underworld by the younger gods. They have featured in the present pseudo-archaeological works like the books of Erich von Daniken and Zecharia Stichin. According to theory it states that the sky gods considered the human race as slave class.

These theories have given rise to the understanding of `ancient astronaut’ hypothesis speculated that off-world being could been considered as gods to influence human affairs for ages. Many were of the opinion that Anunnaki had been extracting huge amount of gold engaging human labor.

Cultured Astronomical & Mathematical Understanding

This information has been gathered from the various findings from ancient mining tunnels in South Africa. Besides theses, the relics and links to the Sumerians has also made its contribution to the information.

Tellinger has commented stating that no one is aware as to why they needed the gold or how much of it had been taken. He added further that the Anunnaki had make known the concept of money, finance together with debt to human societies. There is also a possibility that the off-world gods brought about advanced technologies which accounts for refined megastructures like the pyramids or Stonehenge.

Rare artifacts together with the discoveries of tool have make their contribution to these premises. Besides this, the Sumerians have also been known for cultured astronomical as well as mathematical understanding which is probably presumed to be passed on from the Anunnaki. Though we find no trace of the Anunnaki pantheon, it is known that every Sumerian city-state had its individual Annunaki god that had been assigned by a senior Annunaki Marduk.

According to others motivated by Theosophical Society founder Helene Blavatsky’s book – The Secret Doctrine, are of the opinion that Annunaki could be a reptilian race which survives till date. They further believe that they are deeply rooted in human affairs. Blavatsky in her book mentioned about `dragon men’ who had influenced the lost Lemurian civilization.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Ancient Cave Paintings Show Unexplained Knowledge Of Solar System

Ancient Cave Paintings

Ancient Cave Paintings – Innovative Awareness of Astronomy

Some old cave paintings have been discovered which reveals how the ancient people had innovative awareness of astronomy. A group of scientists have located a series of Ancient cave paintings and drawings strategically left in the open in the caves. This could be kept by the primeval team of Native American settlers which portray their solar understanding of their world in which they lived.

An archaeologist at the University of Tennessee, Jab Simek commented, `the subject matter of this artwork, what they were drawing pictures of, we knew all along was mythological, cosmological. They draw pictures of bird men that are important characters in their origin stories and in their hero legends, and so we knew it was a religious thing and because of that, we knew that it potentially referred to this multi-tiered universe that was the foundation of their cosmology’.

Initial Depiction – Ancient cave paintings are 6000 Years

Art from around 44 open areas together with 50 cave sites were examined by Simek and his researchers. The initial depiction of this type of solar stratification dates back to about 6000 years back though most of the art seems latest dating around the 11th to the 17th centuries.

It was also observed by the scientists that some types of depictions together with the Ancient cave paintings seemed to be in particular locations of the plateau. Open areas for instance, in high altitudes, which were touched by the sun, featured `upper world’ artistic version. This comprised of portrayals of heavenly bodies, weather forces and characters which tend to exert influence on humans.

Star Constellation in Sky

Drawings and Ancient cave paintings of `lower world’, were the dark areas such as caves which had been concealed from the sun. Generally this kind of layer is related to danger, darkness and death.

The `middle world’ on the other hand is characteristic of the realism surrounding prehistoric human on regular base. The Ancient cave paintings were discovered in open air setting as well as the caves, though they were traced in the midst of raised up areas of the plateau. Simek had mentioned in a statement that this layered universe had been a platform for various actors which comprised of heroes, creatures and monsters which could get across the levels.

As per the analysis, it submits that the artworks located at the site throughout Europe, the Ancient cave paintings are not just drawings of wild animals which were earlier presumed. On the contrary the animal character portrays star constellations in the sky at night. These are utilised to represent dates and mark events like the comet strikes.

Refined knowledge of Stars

They have arrived at an understanding that probably 40,000 years ago, the ancient people had refined knowledge of the stars and kept note of the time utilising knowledge based on the position of the stars and its gradual changes in the night sky, over thousands of years.

Simek mentioned that though the Ancient cave paintings of several of the actors had been located in low, high and middle elevations, the colour correlated the overall cosmological structure of the universe.

The character carved in red, were the colour of life. These were located in higher locations while black had been utilised to draw figures found in the lower world. Simek informed LiveScience that `the main thing noticed in all this is the images of human which is known as anthropomorphs.

 All of them are not humans and some of them are mythological people or those who tend to blend the characteristics of animal and humans’

Astronomical Calendars Monitoring Equinoxes

The Ancient cave paintings of the universe could also be helpful in getting some insight on the modern world.

Simek informed that `it is very common human conception that there are different levels of beings and different levels of cognition and different levels of connectivity with the human condition’. He was of the opinion that all people at one level or the other tend to do that.

One of the oldest obsessions of humans is astronomy which dates back to ancient times. Prior to the Scientific Revolution teaching that the Sun is the centre of the Solar System and the modern astronomy disclosed the fact of our galaxy and the Universe, the people of the ancient times observed the night sky and the patterns of the stars.

The scholars for some time were of the belief that comprehending the difficult astronomical phenomena such as the precession of the equinoxes did not precede the ancient Greeks.In their recent discovery, researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Kent portrayed how Ancient cave paintings which date back to 40,000 years could in fact be astronomical calendars monitoring the equinoxes and keeping track of main happenings.

Main Astronomical Occasions Detailed in the Ancient cave paintings

Decoding European Palaeolithic Art- Extremely Ancient knowledge of Precession of the Equinoxes, the study made by the team had appeared in the Athens Journal of History. The study team comprised of Martin B, Sweatman – an associate professor at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, together with Alistair Coombs, researcher and PhD at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent.

Sweatman and Coombs had assessed the details of the Paleolithic and Neolithic artof animal symbols at sites in Turkey, France, Spain and Germany. The same system of date-keeping was discovered at these sites though it had been formed by the ancient people living thousands of kilometres and years apart.

As per the study of the team the Ancient cave paintings had not only depicted wild animals as presumed earlier but represented star constellation in the night sky. These carvings had probably been utilised to present dates and mark main astronomical occasions. It was eventually concluded that the ancient people kept track of time by observing the precession of the equinoxes.

This is related to the occurrences where the constellations seem to move in cycle in the sky spanning a period of around 25,920 years. This is the outcome of the axial precession, a slow though continuous change in the orientation of rotational axis of the astronomical body.

To an observer, the equinoxes would seem to shift westward towards the ecliptic comparatively to the background stars and in the reverse track of the Sun.