Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:21 PM /
Throughout history there has been a ton of written records about witches, and for certain, before writing was invented, there were a lot of witches too (or at least the kind of people we so label as being a witch). But one of the first written records of a witch might have been the case of Herodias, of whom I am about to speak.
Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, Herod the Great’s son, who was executed around 7 BC for offending the King presumably. Herodias was left an orphan and, and Herod the Great engaged her to marry his other son (who was also called Herod) in an attempt to compensate her for killing her father.
All was well for a time, including their marriage, until Herod II was no longer in his father’s favour. As such, Herodias then divorced her husband and married a more favoured son of Herod the Great, called Herod Antipas. One of those condemning the new marriage was John the Baptist (a well known character from the Gospels), who had just paid a visit to the palace to reveal the new messiah was coming, yet to be born. Herodias was a cunning woman, she had outmanoeuvred kings to get what she wanted, so she would not dare to be judged by some messenger and a messiah no one knew and wasn't even born. John the Baptist was marked by her.
Herodias had a grown daughter from her marriage with Herod II, whose name is confused but comes down to us as Salome. According to the bible, she was the archetypal seductress and snared John the Baptist after dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils in his presence. In truth, she was between the age of 17 and 22, and her acts may have been more innocent than the bible describes. After dancing, it was not only John who was stricken with by Salome but also Herod Antipas (her step-father and half-uncle). In fact, so besotted was Herod that he offered Salome anything she wished for. Following the counsel of her mother - Herodias (who saw in this her chance of revenge on John the Baptist) - Salome asked for the prophet’s head on a plate. Herod obliged. You might find this a strange tale, but that's because during the medieval ages a new twist (and much stranger) was added to the Gospel accounts - obviously, you didn't expect to read the original accounts of the biblie nowadays, did you? It has been altered for centuries for the purposes of political and religious orders, and still today its being altered and "miraculously" some new stuff appears. Nevardus, in his 12th century tome, Ysengrimus, tells that Herodias (subsuming her identity with Salome) asked to see John’s head as it lay on the plate. As she took in the sight, the head repelled her with its breath. So strong was this ghostly wind that Herodias was carried high into the air and then blown through a hole in the roof. The wrath of John the Baptist followed and Herodias was condemned to what Spanish medieval texts call “la dance aéra” or the aerial dance. So yes, in truth John the Baptist was not dead. Since she (Herodias) had engineered the execution of a key figure in early Christianity, she was already recognised as being an anti-Christian, but her reputation got darker still as people began referring to her as a witch. Her aerial dance became a night-time phenomenon and Herodias ushered in the belief that witches fly. Not only that, but she could draw out others to join her dance. During the 13th century, Jean de Meung explains (by means of writing) that up to a third of the population rode out with Herodias (now confusingly called Dame Abonde) for three nights every week. Interestingly, de Meung implies that only people’s souls rode out with Herodias, commenting that their bodies remain in bed. Adding a note of scepticism, he adds that their senses deceive them and they only believe they are witches wandering the night.
Some medieval writers tell of Herodias as the witch-ruler who sits in judgement over her devotees. Some are rewarded, others punished. There are also records that Herodias and her followers devour babies. Coming to the conclusion they they are night demons and muses, and only women and simple minded men would follow Herodias.
In more recent times by the end of the 19th century, there is a new account of a witch named Aradia, reputedly, the first-born witch. She is equated with Herodias - indeed, Herodias is mentioned as a Witch Goddess in many Italian witch trial transcripts.
Herodias got very famous during the medieval ages, and because of such tales around her name, women (and also some men and children) who were seen to practice something odd to the society standards of that time, and to go off the path the political and religious orders wanted people to follow, were seen as witches, demons, and persecution to those people started. Nowadays Herodias is not so famous as she was during the Medieval Age, and as far as I know, no one ever mentions her name, not even in the New-Age pagan circles.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:31 PM /
In the narrow valley of the Nottinghamshire border, archaeologists went searching for engravings of the British Paleolithic era. In 2003, a team of archaeologists discovered an engraving in a cave near this zone. The Church Hole cave on the Nottinghamshire side of the valley was also the subject of an archaeological intervention.
This cave was north-facing and therefore got very little daylight penetrating the interior, and it was assumed that this meant there were no engravings. Moreover, directly opposite this cave, on the south-facing side of the valley, was another cave - named the "Robin Hood Cave" - where there was evidence of living during the Ice Age period. The arrangement of these two sites – which were inhabited at the same time, around 13,000 to 11,000 years-ago – may provide the key to explain how people related to their valley home.
At the "Robin Hood Cave", where people used to live, was in sunlight and the large chamber just inside the door provided space for people to cook, prepare hides, and gather socially. In contrast, Church Hole Cave was on the dark side of the valley, reached by crossing a river that flooded the valley bottom, and showed no sign of habitation. People engraved images but did not live there. This suggests the cave was reserved for ritual use, a place of darkness and possibly death.
It was accepted that during the Ice Age people had a shamanic worldview. A shamanic journey often involves crossing water (made while in trance). Another common element of a spiritual/shamanic journey is by entering a long and dark passage, moving along it till one reaches the light. People visiting Church Hole Cave from their base in Robin Hood Cave, would experience both elements of a shamanic journey , symbolically of course. When setting off, they would travel down to the river, which they would need to cross. Climbing up to Church Hole Cave, they would then enter a long, dark passage. While most of the rock engravings found by the archaeologists, were in the front of the cave, there were others further back, where the original artist would have been in total darkness. This cave tunel could have possibly represent the symbology of a shamanic journey to the otherworld, for the people that lived in the area during the Ice Age period.
The archaeologists suggested that the images at the back of the cave, were stylised women, adopting the late Palaeolithic shape for women as tall and slender but with large buttocks. The carvings on the same side of the cave as the stylised women, there are images of triangles which, using analogies with other Palaeolithic sites, may represent female pubic triangles. One even had a trace of another triangle within it, possibly relating to pregnancy. In fact, all the images on this side – the eastern side – of the cave featured images related to females.
At the western side the images were mostly of animals. These included an ibis, a stag, a bison, and a horse, along with other animal shapes. It may represent the animals as prey, but in the context it may represent the spirit animals found on the otherworld during a shamanic journey.
It seems that Church Hole Cave was divided between female images on the right side of the cave ( facing east as it is), and hunting prey - potentially a male realm, on the left side of the cave (facing west). Rituals may have been performed there, with each group using the cave at specific times or both groups visiting and interacting with each other. It is only towards the rear of the cave that the passage narrows and this is where the stylised female figures are located. This may be an inner sanctum visited by only a few, perhaps girls on reaching adulthood, initiating them into the mysteries of womanhood.
The Palaeolithic people who inhabited this place, had massive challenges with hostile weather and a lack of available game. Church Hole Cave may have been a response to this, initiating the young into the roles of adulthood. It might have also been to experience a shamanic journey in the real life, teaching future shamans and preparing them for what they may face in a spiritual journey.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 2:05 PM /
In the year of 2010 a metal detectorist belonging to a club of metal detectorists in Selby in Yorkshire, found two pots stuffed full with coins. He called in the archaeologists to take a look at his finding.
Before I go any further with this subject, I would like you to take notice that Metal detectorists in Great Britain are extremely helpful when it comes to the finding of archaeological sites where metal can be found of course. There are thousands of groups of metal detectorists all over Britain, and it is actually a profession; they always cooperate with the professionals of archaeology, history and anthropology. In other countries, a metal detectorist is the same as a tomb raider, burglar, grave robber, well... a thief. They do not cooperate with anyone but themselves, they steal and sell whatever they find in the black market, or anyone else interested in antiquities. There is a constant struggle between archaeologists and metal detectorists. But have in mind, that in Great Britain it isn't the case, and metal detectorists are quite useful.
Going back to the subject, such a large find of coins was instantly classed as a treasure and the British Museum had a chance to buy it and put it on public display. Astonishingly, the solid mass of coins could still be identified through the process called Microtomographic Volume Imaging, which means using X-rays to identify every coin singularly. From this, researchers could tell each pot contained 201 (unbroken pot) and 99 (broken pot) Roman denarii, the silver coins of their daily usage, dating from the last years of the Republic right through to coins dating to AD 181. It seems remarkable that so many historical coins would have still been circulating so long after minting, so it is possible they had been collected and kept for many years.
Initially, the find was reported as a chance loss of somebody’s life savings, buried in the ground for safe keeping but, unfortunately for the owner, never retrieved. This seems to be the standard approach to all coin hoards, at least initially, as it is hard for modern people to imagine giving away so much wealth for any other reason. We no longer offer such gifts to the Gods but there is something the X-rays found in both pots that suggest this may have been the true intention of whoever buried it.
In between the coins, the X-rays revealed small organic material (preserved only because the coins were so tightly fused), which turned out to be chaff from spelt-wheat grains. This was the grain from which Romans and Romano-Britons made their daily bread. But why put grain in with a coin hoard, unless both were intended to be a gift to the Gods. Could these grains represent the first harvest of the year, offered in thanks for a successful year of farming? - Perhaps.
Roman historian Siculus tells us that the inhabitants of Britain burnt their “first fruits” on a bonfire as an offering to the Gods in thanks for the harvest. The Greek historian Arrian adds that Celtic people always offer the first fruits of the hunt to the Gods in a similar gesture of thanks. Perhaps the grain in the jars was the “first fruits” of the harvest, not burnt but buried in the ground. If grain was a usual offering to the Gods from the first take from the harvest, then this particular year it was boosted by the addition of a small fortune in silver denarii.
The only event that occurred around 181 AD (the date of the last coin in the hoard and hoards are usually deposited close to the date of the last coin) is the overthrow of the Antonine Wall by the northern tribes and the retreat of the Romans to Hadrian’s Wall. It’s possible this may have caused repercussions further south, especially if it led to increased militarisation of the area.
Maybe the farmer at Selby, probably an estate owner given the sheer wealth he or she gave away, had had a good harvest but with the unrest in the north the person feared for the future. So this year, as well as giving his or her first fruits to the Gods, he or she added the family’s greatest treasure, an heirloom passed down and added to across generations. It would have been a momentous event, seeing so much money disappear into the ground and perhaps gave the family hope that they would be safe from the turmoil.