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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Druids by Ronald Hutton


The Druids were Celtic Religious leaders who were wiped out by the Romans. Not much is known about them as their teachings were oral rather than written. They left behind no written records of themselves. The only thing modern scholars have to go on is written records left behind by their foes, which were not too complimentary.

In the early 1500's European Nations started to become interested in the Druids. The Germans were the first, although the Druids were not Germanic. They claimed that the Druids were there ancestors and forebears. Next France jumped on the bandwagon. Eventually it would get to Wales, England and Scotland. Although Ireland was were the Celts last settled, Ireland never became to interested in the Druids. Later Britain would come to have an interest in the Druids. Britain today is the country that seems to be most enthusiastic about Druids. Wales through their poetry and mythology seemed to go back and forth with the Druids.

In European Literature the Druids have taken a variety of roles. The first role is that of patriotic leaders. They were the ones who blessed the soldiers before they went to fight and they are also the ones who let out the battle call. The Romans when they took over Anglesy supposedly encountered a group off wild druids consisting of males and females. They put up a wild fight fight before they were subdued. Of course these images of Druids come from the annals of Roman Historians.

Another image of the Druids is that is that of Wisemen. Roman reports, which somewhat contradict each other , also depict the Druids as hanging out in the Forests and groves dispensing wisdom and judgment under an oak tree. They were even
said to have schools out in the forest. In the Mythology there are three types of Druids. Certain ones were Bards or singers, the second type ovates were ones who read oracle. Druids were wisemen or religious leaders. The Druids were also astronomers, mathematicians and philosophers. They were said to have become followers of Pythagoreas.

The third image of Druids is that of environmentalist. They were ones who had knowledge of nature and herbs and were into preserving nature. A final image was that off the Demonic Druid. They are seen as sacrificing young children and women in order to ensure for a good crop. This was started by the Romans and later perpetrated by later British writers. The Roman said that the Druids would load people into a wicker man and set it alight. Ussually this consisted of criminals and prisoners of war. If that was not available then they would use citizens. European literature took it even a step further and portrayed them as forest wanderers who would kidnap children and make them into Druids or sacrifice them.

In the 1700's Fraternal organizations sprang up all over Britain . At first they were set up as organization that had entertainment, insurance policies and funds to help those in need. These groups modeled themselves after the Masons some of them flourish today. Later on the Druids would start incorporating religious rituals into their format. Many of these were learned from the Golden Dawn Magickal Order. These people has celebration at the Stonehenge.

This book dealt with perceptions of the Druids not who they really were as that would be really hard to do with the lack of records left behind. Many people have speculated on who the Druids were. Some thought they were Phoenicians or Hebrews who practices a corrupted for of the Middle Eastern faith. Other thought that they were Japhetites who came to prepare the way for the acceptance of Christ. Later this view would change and people would see the Druids as those who opposed the true faith

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brother Shall Not Lift Sword against Brother


Numerous attempts have been made at resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and all have failed due to the fact that they were based on the erroneous thinking that lead too failure in the first place. A two state solution will lead to a hudna, or a temporary ceasefire. Something new must be tried. That something is re-engagement.

Genetic studies comparing the Y chromosomes of Jews, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, have yielded a result that both Palestinians and Jews came from the same core population. Another genetic test has shown that Palestinian and Jewish immune systems are so close as to be an almost identical match. A final third study showed that only two groups of people suffered from inherited deafness. A group of Ashkenazi Jews and a group of Palestinians.
What is going on here? Why all the fighting? Contrary to popular belief the Jews were not expelled en masse from Judea after the revolt against the Romans. Many of the am haeretz remained in the hills to till the soil and harvest their crops. These Judeans would later convert to Christianity under the Byzantines and later under Al Hakem who was so young when he came to power that his religious ministers were the ones running the show. Under his ruler ship everyone was supposed to convert to Islam or die. Most of the Jedeans that were left behind chose to convert rather than face death or part from their land. Later on Al Hakem's decree would be rescinded. A portion of the converted Judeans would return to Judaism openly while other chose to remain publicly Muslim. These Marrano type Judeans were called Mustarabim. They never really were that enthusiastic about Islam. In fact it was not until recently that many mosques would bee built. After a while these Mustarabim forgot their identity and thought of themselves as Arabs. Hence the Palestinians.

Many groups of people would wander in to Judea. Descendants of the Roman Army stayed behind mostly as Christians. Even before the advent of Islam Arab tribes came moving into Judea. The Judham who were idol worshipers who now live around Jerusalem are prime examples. Over the years people would come and go leaving behind a remnant.

The Edmomite and the Moabites, who being related to the Israelites, were forcibly converted to Judaism on two occasions. They were devoted to the religion to the religion of Israel perhaps more so than the actual children of Israel. They also fought back against the Romans a lot more devotedly than the children of Israel. These Bretheren of Israel would later migrate to Persia and come back wiith their cultural memories wiped clean. They though they were Sunni. Their real homeland according to the author is in Jordan where Moab was located.

The solution to this endless fighting is to reunite the Palestinians with the Jews their brothers. This is not to be done by converting them to Judaism but rather by teaching them all the cultural components of Judaism. The Bible, history and Hebrew. Of course if they chose to adhere to Christianity and Islam they would be welcome to do so. They must also serve in the Israel defense forces.

This book was excellent in many ways. For the longest time it has been my opinion that the Palestinians and the Jews were one people from the start. Hence a bi-national state. However the author advises one state for one people. Since the Palestinians and the Jews are really two haves of the same nation it makes sense.

The author does break down the Palestinian population into component parts with percentages as to their origins. Part of the Palestinian population are descended from Israelites while another part comes from the Edmomites and Moabites. A small portion comes from the Roman Army. I can accept the origins but where does the author get these facts and figures about the origins?

THe author has enough wisdom to know that solutions take time and that they are also learning processes. He advises a gradual solution and advises learning from mistakes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Scout by Steven Plaut


Steven Plautt is 49 years old living in Israel as a professor and a computer person. His world changes when he is diagnosed with Cancer and has to have a kidney removed. While he is is the hospital h he meets the person next to him named Salim Saadiya. Salim Saaadiya is known as the "Scout". Hailing from the Bedouin Tribe of Saadiya from Saudi Arabia, a tribe that was known for looking after Muhammed, Salim was exposed to warfare at an early age. The Saadiya tribe served as scouts for Muhammed's army. They had enclaves in Syria, Israel/Palestine and even inn North Africa.

Salim you could say had a tough life. At age 9 his mother had passed away and his father married another woman. This woman was not to good with the kids and Salim had many confrontations with her. Now Salim's father had a job as a scout or tracker with a German Templar community in the Jordan Valley. He was scout tracker. If someone stole cattle from them he would track the missing cattle. Salim's Uncle helped with the cattle breeding. The father got Salim a job at the colony. Salim's first job was to milk cows. After he stayed there for four years he ended up being a foreman in charge of worker who were older than he was. Many of the workers did not like this. Salim was also sent to errands in Tel Aviv.

The first Arab Jewish war changed things for Salim. His village was taken over by Fauzi Kaukjis forces. Since Salim was working with the Jews he was considered a wanted man. Upon entering his village he captured and imprisoned. They had plans to take him to Syria and execute him. But luckily an ally on the inside helped him escape. Later he was able to return to normal life after the war was over. His first job as a scout involved killing a hyena that was eating the cattle of a Moshav. He killed it. Later on the Israelis would just about force him to work for their police department. His tracking ability became legendary.

The Bedouin have a history of working with the Jews of Israel/Palestine. The Al Heib tribe always had good relations with the Jews of Rosh Pina. They were later inducted inot the Palmach and formed a unit called the PalHeib.They fought valiantly against the Syrians when they fought against the Zionists. Amos Yarkoni, a bedouin helped set up the tracker of Israel.

Around the Middle East the Bedouin are infamous for their tracking ability. They can find a coin buried in a desert three days ago. From a footprint they can tell if you are male, female, injured or well. They can even track on concrete.

Over all good book. One weakness if the author kept getting off track with anecdotes that had nothing to do with the story or Israel's relationship with the Bedouin. Perhaps a more comprehensive book about the bedouin should be written.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hebrew Myths by Robert Graves

If you want a deeper understanding of the first 61 stories in Genesis then this book is a great place to start. With the help of eminent scholar Raphael Patai Mr. Graves analyzes Hebrew mythology. The first stories about the flood, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve etc are examined against the backdrop of Sumerian Mythology. All those elements were in Sumeria prior to their inclusion into the Hebrew Bible. The flood in Sumeria was caused by man being too loud it was Enki who communicated to Utanpishtim to build the Ark. Enlil was good with it after wards. Ea also tells Adapa the first man that when visiting the Gods he must not eat any of their food for fear it may be poisoned. It turns out that wanted to give Adapa the food of immortality. Gods creation myth had several parallels in common with Egyptian and Sumerian mythology. In all three mythologies there is a separation of firmaments. Lilith is Sumerian mythology is part of a race of demons that seduces people at night and then drinks their blood. These demons are called Lillin. In midrashic mythology Lilith is one who does not submit too Adam's authority. She ends up cavorting with demon.

Through out the book Hebrew mythology is measured up against many other mythologies. Often times parallels are found and differences explained. Often times it is very evident that cultures borrowed extensively from each other. Some times myths traveled from Canaan to Greece and sometimes it was the other way around. Going back through time it seems that there have been Canaanite Settlements in Greece and there have been Greek settlements in Canaan. Myths travel along with people.

The sojourn in Egypt is analyzed with a backdrop in History. There was a general in Egypt who was sold by his parents for corn. He helped Egypt defeat troops and was in charge of granaries. In fact many people in Canaan have been promoted to high position.

In all Robert Graves does a great job of explaining the Bible in it's cultural context. Of course his material may be dated as much new material has been un earthed thanks to Archaeological excavations.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stairway to Heaven by Zecharia Sitchin


The quest for immortality is a quest that has dominated the mid of man since time immemorial. Ponce De Leon searched in vain for it. He heard legend of it from the local natives. His search covered almost all of the islands and even part of Florida but he never found it.

In the Koran there is legend of Moses meeting a servant and being told to follow an underground river so as to meet his spirit guide. He is is given a dead fish and is told that when the fish jumps to life he is to follow that fish into the river. Of course the fish come to life but they miss it before they are aware that it jumps into the river.

Alexander had a similar quest but he himself ended up there only to be turned back by two men in feathered suits eerily reminiscent of Seraphim who guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden. Alexander was the famous Macedonian conqueror. As he was about to conquer Persia which at that time was seen as a pressing matter, Alexander chose to Conquer Egypt and then go further south. Legend has it that the Oasis of Siwa was of some importance to him. It was there that he met Queen Candace and she showed him through the tunnels to a place where Enoch was and a couple of other people were hanging out. These were the Gods. This was Alexanders ticket to immortality. Something only granted by the Gods called Annunaki in Sumerian and Nephilim in Hebrew.

Enoch was a pretty important guy in the over all scheme of things. He was taken alive to heaven and turned into Metatron. Before he died he was given an advance tour of the after life. Enoch had to travel through a treacherous desert land. First he was taken through a series of tunnels until he finally arrived at a Mountain. The Mountain took him up to the heavens. In the heaven he was taken to the throne of God. The process of going there is almost the same as what the Egyptians had to go through to get to their after life.

There are a few differences however. Like in the Greek Myths the Pharoah had to cross a lake and pay a ferryman to take him to the other side. Once there he traveled a desert land that was filled with peril. Then he went through a tunnel system on a barge and was escorted by being dressed in feathers who looked a lot like Seraphim. Finally he was taken to the mountain which lead him into heaven.

Alexander himself never achieved immortality he died after conquering lands all the way to India. If he was not to achieve immortality what right did he have to meet the Gods. According to legend there is some doubt as to weather Alexander was Philips true son. AMMON a God of Egypt or one of his priests came to Macedonia and while in Macedonia he supposedly seduced Phillip's wife. Back in those days the Gods used to couple with mortals. The big question who was Ammon.

According to Egyptian Legend their Gods came from across the seas from another land. Linguistic evidence seems to point to their origin as being Mesopotamia. As the legend goes Egypt was flooded. Ptah came by in a boat and dried up the flood and built damns. I believe he coupled with Nuit and gave birth to Isis, Osiris and Set. Isis and Osiris were lovers and rulers of Egypt. Seth was jealous and killed Osiris . It was up to Isis to revive him. Later on Horus would do battle with Seth. Seth gets killed but Horus's eye gets knocked out. In any case at one point Ra had control over Egypt. When he lost it Ammon took control from the City of Thebes.

THe book goes on to examine various legends from the Canaanites and Sumerians i norder to piece together the mystery. If anyone knows the Gods were not Gods but aliens from the Planet Nabiru which has an elliptical orbit around our sun. It comes into our solar system once every 3,600 years. They need gold to sustain their atmosphere and hence they genetically engineered a race of slaves to run it for them, That race is the human race. They blended their genes with some indigenous ape and whammo there was man. Maan was almost wiped out by the flood. Fortunately for us Enki was on our side.

The secret to immortality is being invited but the Gods to their space port and eating some off their food and drink. Once you have dined you live forever with the gods. Question where were the space ports located. The author examines Canaanite myth to tell us that supposedly it existed in Baalbeck the Cedar Forest of Lebanon. Another one was located in the Sinai Desert.

Whether you believe the author's premise of alien intelligence creating life on our planet you have to admit one thing. The Ancients were more advanced then we give them credit for and the people earnestly believed these myths. Any student of thenear east will enjoy reading these books as Zeharia Sitchin shows how they all come together.

Baba-Sali

Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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