Sun Worship


Earlier this month celestial lovers throughout south and central Africa got to enjoy a spectacular solar eclipse that produced a ring of fire as the Moon transversed across the pathway of the Sun. The peculiar occasions when the Earth, Moon and Sun all line up together doesn’t happen too often. Such a rare event has historically been linked with all sorts of predictions and paranormal expectations.

The funniest recording of a solar eclipse is, perhaps, also the earliest record. Occuring in October of the 2137 B.C., two royal astronomers, Ho and Hi, offended the fourth Emperor of China’s Hsia Dynasty,  Chung-K’ang. The eclipse was an unexpected event. The poor astronomers were unprepared to perform the customary rituals that should have taken place. The pair of official stargazers were drunk and failed to launch the traditional arrows and beat out the right rhythm on the gongs and drums so that the Sun could be delivered from the mythical beast that was attempting to devour it.

Convinced that chaos would soon consume the empire, the astronomers were summarily executed as an appeasement sacrifice for their drunken dereliction of duty.  A public record of their death was translated in 1839 by scholars to reveal an amusing verse indicating that, although brutal in enforcing their expectations, the ancient Chinese did have a sense of humor:

“Here lie the bodies of Ho and Hi,

Whose fate though sad was visible –

Being hanged because they could not spy

Th’ eclipse which was invisible.”

In November of the year 569 an eclipse was recorded before the birth of the Prophet Mohammad in 570. There are many religious historians who link this eclipse as the moment of Mohammad’s conception. Interestingly enough Mohammed’s son Ibrahim died at the age of two-years-old during the occurrence of a solar eclipse. Mohammed wrote of this event as a sign sent from his God, Allah, of personal condolences. Muslims today still consider eclipses significant religious events. When the recent eclipse occurred mosques throughout Africa had special calls to prayer for safety and deliverance from harm.

Perhaps the most significant solar eclipse in modern history is the one of May, 1919. Commonly called “Einstein’s Eclipse”, it is considered to be the solar eclipse that changed the universe. For more than 200 years scientists had accepted Isaac Newton’s principle that the space of the Universe was as inflexible as mathematical principles.  Einstein set out to challenge this longheld belief. Einstein believed gravity was curved and flexible, affected by the mass of planetary bodies. He proposed that warping of space allowed planets to remain in their orbital paths, gravity distorted by the mass of a celestial body, the greater the mass, the stronger the force, which would result in more bending of light. This was to become known as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

When the 1919 eclipse occurred, British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington led the charge for an experiment to take advantage of the expected eclipse. Eddington traveled to Principe which is in the Gulf of Guinea off of Africa’s western coastline. A horrible thunderstorm threatened to ruin Eddington’s chances but, fortunately, by afternoon the skies had cleared. Eddington’s celestial photographs and measurements were compared with photos and measurements recorded by Andrew  Crommelin at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The findings were announced by Britain’s Royal Society’s Astronomer Royal Sir Frank Watson Dyson. It was announced in London on November 6, 1919 that Newton’s theory had been disproven by Einstein’s new Theory of Relativity.

To make sure that you are ready for the next opportunity to view a solar eclipse, log on to www.timeanddate.com and keep a watch on the countdown clock for eclipses listed under their Sun & Moon tab. It seems we are only about 5 months away from the next big event.  There is a handy search window everyone can use to see if their city or country is going to be in the most fortunate position of being able to see the eclipse.

To view a solar eclipse it is important to wear protective eyewear. A homemade viewbox can also be created called a pinhole camera. All you need is a box with a small hole on one side for light to pass through and project an inverted image of the eclipse on the opposite side.  Below is a video with an example of how to make and use a homemade pinhole camera. One tip: The bigger the box the better the view.

 

 

Sources:

eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov

www.timeanddate.com

Image Credit: cherokeebillie.files.wordpress.com

 

Cannibals & Their Lightning God


Two things the gringa loves most are science and history. When the two collide I believe I am in Paradise.  Add the spice of controversy and there is simply no going back for the gringa. Archaeologists in Greece have made this dream combination come true for the gringa.

Let us travel back 3,000 years to the bleak mountaintop of Mount Lykaion in southern Greece, which some ancient Greeks believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, rather than Crete. This is the revered resting place of an altar featuring a grisly design of sheep bone construction. This is where the religious leaders of Greece hoped to pacify their god of gods, Zeus himself. Offered up are the bloody sacrifices of what one would expect to be sheep or goats, considering what the altar is made of. Think again dear readers.

For those schooled in literature and philosophy, when Greece is mentioned, you hearken back to the days of Plato and Socrates. You believe these sophisticated thinkers of Greece gave birth to civilized society as we know it. As you cruise about town, passing homes with columned porches, you remind yourself that this bit of architecture was passed down from an exceptionally cultured society. Or not. Not when the skeletal remains of a teenage boy near Zeus’ altar indicates that young, human sacrifices were being bled out on top of a table made from sheep bones in efforts to gain favor with a god that might rain down lightning if he got pissed.

But Mount Lykaion is historically linked to Greek athletic festivals, isn’t it? Isn’t it one of the ancient sites with a stadium and hippodrome, all indicators of a culture that appreciated athletic competitions? The gringa wonders, was death the price for losing or, could it have been the price for winning, or, could it have been the “opening ceremony” after which a priest turns around and commands, “Let the games begin!” Who really knows at this time because this is a recent discovery.

And some scholars are not too happy about revelations of human sacrifice as part of ancient Greek religious ceremonies. I mean, after all, Greece way back then liked to call rival foreign nations nasty names like barbarians and cannibals. But, really, who do they think they are fooling? Remember, Socrates asked Adeimantos if he had heard the latest gossip about religious zealouts feasting on the remains of their human sacrifice. Socrates includes a gruesome description of a terrible recipe of mixing the entrails of different victims which, if ingested by some hapless cannibal, transforms them into a wolf. Considering that Adeimantos had already heard the story, it seems that the nasty religious practices going on atop Mount Lykaion were no big secret among the ancient Greeks. It’s just big news to us.

So what kind of science goes into the decision that the remains of this young man belong to a specific era and culture? Scientists have to analyze the composition of the altar itself. Considered an “ash altar”, the gringa’s depiction of it being constructed in the fashion of, say, a dining room table and made completely out of sheep bones is not an altogether clear picture of what scientists are dealing with. Imagine, if you will, that ancient priests led sheep and goats to a sacred place, slit their throat, then burned the remains. Each sacrifice slaughtered and burned atop the ones that went before. Eventually a mound of ash accumulates and becomes a ritual platform. At Mount Lykaion the mound was almost five feet high.

So, the scientists use their handy-dandy equipment to measure remains of bones to see which animal (or human) they belong to. If human, they measure the pelvis to see if it is male or female. Then they need to determine the age of the remains. The first thing that comes to mind is ye aulde carbon dating technique. But there are other methods that can be used on other objects and archaeological sites to determine age:

  • Stratigraphical: The science of geology comes into play with a method that relies on the accumulation of soil to calculate the passage of time. The premise is that the area where people live results in layers of earth becoming deposited. Gives a whole new meaning to the saying that a particular area sure has “built up”.
  • Astronomical Chronology: Astronomers have used their knowledge to study the fluctuations of solar radiation to calculate when ice ages have occurred. The common argument is that 5 have occurred.
  • Dendrochronology: This science was pioneered in 1904 by A.E. Douglass who created the technique of analyzing tree rings to determine not only the age of a tree but to find indicators of drought, disease and hearty growing seasons.

So, if history, science and drama are appealing to someone you know, remind them that there are still exciting discoveries to be made, particularly in Greece. For young people who long for the curiosities that are found in archaeological digs, remind them that not every ancient puzzle has been solved. Along with history, they should also have a strong foundation in STEM studies.  And lucky for me this archaeological site has its own website keeping fascinated individuals like myself up-to-date on their latest discoveries. Because the gringa really wants to know just went on up there.

Sources:

www.greekmythology.com

www.biblicalarchaeology.org

www.oocities.org

lykaionexcavation.org

Image Source: tse4.mm.bing.net

 

 

 

Good Guy/Bad Guy – Who Needs ’em?


The good guy/bad guy narrative is a literary classic. It seems rooted in religious beliefs of good and evil and non-religious esoteric beliefs of Yin & Yang. For every good guy there seems to be a universal need for a counterbalancing bad guy. Is this realistic? Is this necessary? The gringa would like to believe that bad guys and evil are simply obsolete. I mean, haven’t we reached that point yet in the evolution of humanity that we don’t need the contrast of the bad in order to recognize and appreciate what is good? And if we are basing our good guy/bad guy theory on ancient teachings that use real world examples of good and evil, what if those past histories are incorrect? After all, aren’t historical records always skewed according to the perspective of the author, whether they be the victor or the vanquished?

Take, for example, one of the earliest examples of good guy/bad guy: Egypt and the ancient Israelites. According to the religious teachings of Judaism and Christianity, it is widely accepted that the Egyptians were the “bad guys”, enslaving the Hebrew people who were eventually chosen by God to be the “good guys”. However, historians and archaeologists who specialize in Egyptian history, not to mention Egyptians themselves, argue that this is an unfair depiction of the relationship between the ancient Egyptian empires and the surrounding less powerful nations and peoples. Can science and historians reveal the truth?

David Wolpe is a rabbinical scholar who argues that archaeological evidence simply does not support the biblical notion that ancient Egypt practiced widespread enslavement of the Hebrew people, or any people for that matter. But just because evidence hasn’t been found doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. So let’s look at the historical facts that are known and the science of archaeology to understand these facts.

1700 B.C.

Before their enslavement, the Hebrew people migrated to Egypt to survive a famine. The biblical record maintains that they were there for several generations. There is basically a 300 year gap between the appearance of the Joseph story and Moses.

1400 B.C.

The earliest possible date suggested by the Jewish and Christian religious texts for the enslavement of the Hebrew people by Egypt would have been 1400 B.C., in other words, about 300 years after the era of the pyramids.

So what was going on in Egypt from 1700 B.C. to 1400 B.C.? Why would Egypt need widespread enslavement if the grand monuments had already been constructed?

14th Dynasty

Egypt’s 14th Dynasty ruled anywhere from 1725-1650 B.C. or 1805-1650 B.C. depending on which historian you talk to. Regardless, this would have been the dynasty in power when Jewish and Christian texts claim that Joseph took his family to Egypt in order to survive the region’s famine. His family would grow to become the Hebrew people. Does the known history and archaeological science support that a famine occurred in the region during this time? What kind of science might be used to find out?

Interestingly enough, an examination of pollen buried deeply in Egyptian soil around the Nile reveals that a devastating drought occurred at this time in history. This region was dependent upon the annual floods of the Nile Delta to enrich their agricultural lands. A drought would have, indeed, resulted in a famine.

So what would life have been like as an immigrant in an ancient Egyptian kingdom?

Archaeology reveals that rulers during the 14th dynasty had names that indicated Canaanite or Western Semitic origins, with one king and queen with Nubian names. So, it seems that at this time Egypt was an ethnically mixed bag. These kings and queens would be involved in conflicts with neighboring rivals to control the strategic area of the fertile Nile Delta. Control the agriculture, control the food. Eventually a prolonged period of famine and disease weakened the kingdom which then fell to a takeover by the Hyksos. The Hyksos takeover would have occurred after the suggested time of the Hebrew Exodus story.

So, pre-Hyksos Egypt was noted by industrious multi-ethnic rulers who jealously defended the Nile Delta with military might and concentrated on building extravagant monuments to demonstrate their success as rulers. Rulers during the time period 1800 B.C. to 1650 B.C. contain a series of non-contested figures as well as controversial names:

  • Yakbim Sekhaenre (contested): 1805 B.C. – 1780 B.C.
  • Ya’ammu Nubwoserre (contested): 1780 B.C. – 1770 B.C.
  • Qareh Khawoserre (contested): 1770 B.C. – 1760 B.C.
  • Ammu Ahotepre (contested): 1760 B.C. – 1745 B.C.
  • Sheshi Maaibre (contested): 1745 B.C. – 1705 B.C.
  • Nehesy Aasehre (uncontested): 1705 B.C., name means “The Nubian” inscribed on 2 known monuments.
  • Khakherewre (uncontested): 1705 B.C.
  • Nebefawre (uncontested): 1704 B.C.
  • Sehebre (uncontested): 1702-1699 B.C.
  • Merdjefare (uncontested): 1699 B.C.
  • Sewadjkare III (uncontested): 1698 B.C.
  • Nebdjefare (uncontested): 1697-1694 B.C.
  • After this there is a list of names established as Egyptian kings of the 14th Dynasty but without designated dates for their reigns.

What do we know about these kings and the conditions of their kingdoms that might have any affect on the good guy/bad guy designations in the Jewish and Christian religious texts?

  • Majority of the cartouches excavated refer to each reigning king as “son of Ra” in addition to whatever the king’s individual name was.
  • During Sheshi’s reign 1745-1705 B.C., seals with his provenance have been discovered in archaeological digs in Egypt, Nubia and Canaan suggesting that his kingdom enjoyed widespread trade and relations outside the immediate borders of Egypt. Some scholars believe this to be the Sheshai mentioned in Jewish and Christian religious texts as being of the Anakim of Hebron when the Hebrews conquered the land of Canaan.
  • If Sheshi had good trade relations with the people of Canaan and was the ruler of Egypt when the Hebrew people conquered Canaan, it would only be natural that Egypt might then take a posture of hostility toward the Hebrew people.

It is then possible that the ancient Hebrew people were not victims of the ancient Egyptians. They may have been viewed as nomadic invaders who disrupted trade with allies. It reminds the gringa of European history and stories of Viking raiders. The Hebrew people also practiced a foreign religion that was monotheistic. It is easy to see even today how religion can play a big part in hostilities between cultures that can lead up to oppression and even war.

I mean, think about it. The Hebrew people first show up needing a place to survive a famine. Egypt graciously takes them in. Then, after weathering the storm, growing fat and happy as well as increasing in population and herds who need grazing land, the Hebrews, within one generation, rise up and attack a trade ally, Canaan, a rich land for Hebrew herds of sheep and goats. The Hebrew people take over the nation by slaughtering, according to the biblical account, every man, woman and child because God “told them so”. The gringa can imagine the horror of Egypt at these actions. I can also understand how the polytheistic Egyptians would decide that the single God of the Hebrews was a backstabbing baby-killer. No suprise then, that there would be no love loss between Egyptians and Hebrews that continued to live together in Egypt. Hebrews were probably eyed suspiciously and discriminated against, though probably not enslaved.

These resentments, deep in the heart of the Egyptians who saw their trade allies vanquished by people they considered to be dangerous heretics, would have most likely been an attitude that would have been passed down for generations. Just as politicians have used such emotions and history to stir up support for their cause throughout my own country’s history, the gringa thinks it is very possible the same type of politics were at play when it came time for the Hebrew people to rise up, claim oppression, revolt and march out of town. They just seemed to forget that they started it all.

The natural result would be for the Hebrew people to villainize Egypt, victimize themselves, then paint a heroic picture of their escape to inspire their own people and motivate them for noble purposes. On the other hand, the ancient Egyptians would have historians creating records for the pleasure of their rulers. They would depict their nation as benevolent and tolerant. Factions such as the immigrant, nomadic, heretical Hebrews would be painted as radical rebels stirring up unrest and not wanting to work.

So, in the end, the gringa does believe that, much as I would like to think that humanity has evolved to the point where we no longer need the good guy/bad guy narrative because people know better now, that’s simply not the case. As long as we have politicians who have something to gain by exploiting the differences in groups of people, we will always have the good guy/bad guy narrative. But it is a human creation, not a spiritual reality. And for kids who adore science as much as they adore truth, the science involved in archaeology can help resolve many divisive differences that exist today because of politicized religious teachings of yesterday. Become an archaeologist and change the world.

Sources:

www.biblicalarchaeology.org

www.ancientegypt.co.uk

wikipedia.org

Image Credit:  flashtrafficblog.files.wordpress.com

 

Guests & Gods


The gringa was recently requested by a fellow blogger for permission to re-post some of my material. I was flattered at the interest and apparent seal of approval. In appreciative reciprocation I also wanted to re-post an item of this blogger’s choosing. The gringa’s “guest” blogger, Octavian D. Curpas, YouTube video blogger from Arizona, forwarded a transcript of a German Christian singer he recently interviewed, Florence Joy Enns. Lacking a URL link to a video of this interview, the best the gringa can do is provide a link to his YouTube channel, Octavian D. Curpas and a link to the video that inspired the interview, Florence performing “Mein Ziel”. From a Christian perspective, Octavian advocates for reunification of Norwegian children separated from their families through Norway’s version of the U.S.’s Child Protective Services. The gringa will not even attempt to delve into those delicate waters and stick to what she knows. But, dear reader, expect this post to be a bit more personal.

So, returning to his interview of Florence, the gringa then wonders how she can get the subject of a German Christian singer to relate to anything science or fantastical. The intrigue begins with the first quote Octavian cites from Florence, “God answered my prayer when I was 5 years old.” Florence prayed for a baby brother and, despite her parents’ intentions to have no more children, Florence’s prayers were answered and she got a baby brother.

This takes the gringa back to when her eldest son was only three-years-old. We were driving over a bridge and a little dog was running through traffic, perilously close to becoming flattened road kill. Zachary began praying very loudly for God to send a rescuer to the dog. Within moments traffic stopped behind us, a car opened its door and the dog jumped in. My son became a believer.

Now, my son’s independent action of unprompted prayer came as a surprise. The gringa is Jewish. The caveman is Catholic. We are both non-practicers of our respective religions where ritual and temple attendance is concerned. We believe our faiths are based on love and compassion and that is the lifestyle we live, following the easy rule of thumb delivered by Jesus to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It seems simple enough. As a homeschooling mom, the gringa did include religious studies as part of my son’s curriculum, but it included instruction and history on every major religion in the world: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, and much more. So, although we have never forced any formal religious training upon our children, they have all grown up and adopted their own religious beliefs and lifestyles. They learned the best way, by our example and explanations for their questions.

A few years after our eldest son’s first prayer was answered, he asked me how he would know that God is real. The gringa adopted, of course, a Jewish perspective for such a question. I explained to him that in the religious texts I rely on for wisdom an example is given in which the person asks God for a demonstration. There is nothing wrong with such a thing. I told him that Jews call it “asking God for a sign”. I told him the story of Gideon who asked God to give him a sign by “putting out the fleece”. God responded. That night, before Zachary went to bed, he looked upward and said, “God, if you’re real there will be a cat at the front door tomorrow.” Now, the gringa chuckled to herself then tucked her precocious six-year-old boy into bed and thought nothing more of it. The next morning, while preparing breakfast, I saw my little boy tear through the apartment and open the door, immediately screaming, “YES!” Low and behold there was a darn cat sitting on our welcome mat. I thought I might faint. How strong the faith of the child. How pure the heart that asks for a sign. How kind and benevolent for a god to respond.

The reality is that such stories are not uncommon. They cannot be explained. Regardless of whether a person believes in God as creative cosmic energy or a divine old man with a beard, there are simply things that happen in which science can only shrug, hold up its hands and say, “Hey, we don’t have a clue.” The gringa adores science and all its fascinations. I also believe that there is a kernel of truth to all of the world’s diverse religions. They all share commonalities where kindness, compassion and forgiveness are concerned. I try to not sweat the details that are controversial points of doctrine and stick to those key elements that maintain a single thread throughout them. I don’t believe religious faith and belief in science are mutually exclusive. I believe they are inextricably linked together. I believe that science will eventually reveal what exactly the greatest architect, scientist and artist the world has ever known is. So, in a way, science is also my religion.

Image Source: 3.bp.blogspot.com

 

Suicide Forest


Every weekday the gringa looks forward to 4pm.  That’s when my oldest son calls me as he drives home from work. He is a bit of a political revolutionary, young, passionate, ready to change the world. Although he loves to talk politics, current events and debate solutions, the very first thing he asks me is, “How was your day?” I usually tell him boring, just the way I like it since I am a “no drama mama”.

Although he doesn’t read my blog, he always asks me what I’ve been writing about. In a recent conversation, when I told him about my underwater Japanese mystery city post, he said, “You should write about the Suicide Forest.” I had never heard of such a thing so, of course, it totally piqued the gringa’s interest. Although I usually like to keep my stuff focused on science, mysteries and the interestingly inane, a dark, macabre cultural piece has begun a creative itch that simply must be scratched.

In Japan there is Aokigahara which, roughly translated, means “Sea of Trees”. Sounds romantic, right? Well, it is more commonly known as the Suicide Forest and is situated near the northwest base of Mount Fuji, covering almost 14 square miles of raw woodland. Thick with foliage and set against the backdrop of a majestic volcano, it would seem to be the perfect spot for a picturesque photo safari for a tourist until you realize what the locals do here, the hike of no return.

Why is Aokigahara such a select place for suicide? Perhaps it is because the undergrowth is so dense a corpse can go undiscovered and undisturbed. Local officials estimate that roughly 100 persons kill themselves in this forest annually. However, because many go undetected, the suicide victim count could be much higher. Despite instituting prevention methods such as surveillance cameras  and posting encouraging signs throughout the paths that have messages reminding folks how precious their life is to loved ones, Japanese people determined to take their own lives still succeed in their mission.

The favorite method of self-inflicted death is hanging. However, ingesting poison runs a close second and then there’s option number three, a drug overdose.  But why here? Officials point to a popular romantic tragedy written by Japanese author Seicho Matsumoto. His 1960 novel  depicts a failed love story. The heroine ultimately ends her life in the Sea of Trees. She chose the Sea of Trees, according to the story, because, referenced within the tale by the author, she reads the book The Complete Suicide Manual which describes the forest as the “perfect place to die”. This novel has been found with many of the victims.

Every year volunteers gather to roam the thick stands of old trees and deep undergrowth to search for human remains. Officials have ceased to publicize the results of these grisly corpse hunts. Curious people like the gringa can only refer to earlier published reports that clearly indicate an average of 75-100 bodies returned to families for burial annually.

In the West, suicide is stigmatized. This is greatly due to our religious conditioning. Even if a person is not a practicing Jew or Christian, Western culture still considers suicide as anything but honorable. Some consider it self-murder. In fact, that is how it is considered by much of Western law. It is against the law to kill a human being, including yourself. Many religious sects believe a suicide victim’s remains have been desecrated by the act. Such bodies are not allowed to be buried in hallowed church cemeteries. But suicide is considered very differently in Japan.

In the Japan of old, ubasute was considered an honorable solution to ignoble suffering. In other words, desperate times called for desperate measures. If years of famine or drought rolled around, a head of a household would have to consider the effect it was having on his family. How many mouths were there to feed? How much food was there to go around? In order to survive, the least productive family member with no future, basically the old folks, would be led up into the mountains and abandoned to their natural fate of a slow death by exposure. Whether or not ubasute was ever widely practiced is irrelevant. All that matters is that it is a strong feature of Japanese historical myths and legends which has helped to shape their cultural practices and beliefs. Suicide is noble if it preserves the honor, integrity and prosperity of the family.

Although ubasute may be the stuff of legends, noble Samurai suicides are well documented throughout Japan’s feudal history.  It was the honorable way to go out. Seppuku culture views it as a way of taking responsibility of a situation that has gone bad.

Because suicide is considered a virtuous solution and is not stigmatized the way it is in Western culture, Japan ranks the world’s leader in suicide. When the entire world became mired in an economic crisis in 2008, over 2,000 Japanese chose suicide over living a life of financial ruin.

Should you, like the gringa, find the disturbing allure of Aokigahara irresistible and mark it as a place to visit and satisfy your own curiosity, or perhaps meditate in an effort to bring peace to a place that must be saturated with anguish, there are a few things you may want to know before you arrive:

  • Hauntings – It is said that the Sea of Trees is filled with yurei, or, ghosts. And these are not your average ghosts. They are mourning and vengeful. They desire company, your company. Legends go that they attempt to lure you off the beaten path so that you become lost in the wilderness and die like the ubasute victims of old.
  • Camping – Overnight camping is allowed. Be aware that local forest patrols are trained to consider tents as a sign that someone is taking their time about contemplating suicide. Don’t be surprised if a ranger shows up and begins conversing with gentle words of affirmation and encouragement. If he suspects you are engaged in a mental suicide debate, he will probably urge you to pack up and leave.
  • Tape – As you explore the forest on nature hikes, you may see tape looped in the branches of trees and bushes. These are the signs left behind to mark the path of corpse searchers in their attempt to not become lost.
  • Demons – What is attributed to demonic interference by local legend is more likely the result of geology. The area is rich in iron which affects magnetics. GPS systems, ye olde compasses and cellphone are pretty much useless. If you can’t navigate by the stars, for heaven’s sake don’t get off the trail!
  • Be Prepared – Like a good boy scout who is prepared for anything, mentally brace yourself for the very real possibility that you could stumble across a decomposing body, skeletal remains or personal effects of a victim of the forest.
  • More Than Death – Despite the ghastliness of the Sea of Trees being called Suicide Forest, there is still much more to be appreciated. Don’t let a macabre history put you off as a tourist. There is, of course, the fantastic opportunity to be near Mount Fuji. Great photo opportunities also await on the lava plateau, ancient centuries-old trees and the bewitching ice-scape of the Narusawa Ice Cave.

The gringa would love to go there and contemplate respectfully. Although I am a bit of a prankster and once staged a tragic fall down a rocky cliff when the caveman and I hiked about the Smoky Mountains, I’m certain this knowledge of Aokigahara will keep me in a more subdued state of mind.

Source:  www.mentalfloss.com

image: www.jennyjinya.deviantart.com

 

 

Trump – Connect The Dots


The gringa likes to steer clear of controversial politics. However, after researching Donald Trump’s candidacy for almost 12 months now, I feel compelled to share. Although all the candidates for the US presidency have their fair share of baggage and issues, I sincerely believe Donald is the only one who threatens to cause irreparable damage to my nation as well as to other countries around the world. So, while some candidates may be troublesome, Donald is downright dangerous.

This election season is historical and a struggle for the heart of our nation. Donald’s bigotry is dangerous. Those who deny this are: A. Right wing extremists who are trained in the art of subversion and misinformation; or B. Average folk who really don’t want to destroy their country but are caught up in the celebrity of Donald and doing nothing more than believing everything he says. This post is for those people in the hopes that it will open their eyes. To see the outline of Donald the white supremacist in chief, one only has to connect the dots.

Over the past year I have been going toe-to-toe with Donald supporters, dispelling and exposing their concerted efforts to recruit through misinformation campaigns. I have been threatened with rape, beheading, bombing, dismemberment and any other imaginable form of torture and murder, along with my loved ones. Although the gringa finds this disturbing, it only confirms my belief in the truth I will share, truth Donald supporters either don’t want to admit or don’t want to see the light of day. So, get comfortable. You are in for a long read, almost 4,000 words.

If you are a Donald supporter and become incensed by what I publish and feel the need to insult or threaten me, it’s no big deal to this gal. I’ve heard it all before. Besides, I am a direct descendant of a Mississippi Klansmen, my maternal great-grandfather, and have dealt with just about any insult you could throw my way. I will ignore your insults just as I have ignored that side of my family for years. Truth matters more.

Begin At The Beginning – Donald’s Early Years

Donald’s father, Frederick Christ Trump, was arrested in May, 1927. He was a KKK Klansmen participating in a “Fascisti” riot targeting Catholic New York City Police officers. Trump was arrested for assaulting New York City police officers. Arrested with him were fellow KKK Klansmen: John E. Kapp, John Marcy, Fred Lyons, Thomas Caroll, Thomas Erwin, and Harry J. Free. The arrest was reported in the June 1, 1927 edition of the New York Times as well as many other newspapers. Trump got off with a not guilty plea which is not surprising. One strategy of the hoods Klansmen hide behind is so that legally they can offer up a defense of no proper identification available as to their involvement in the crime.

Donald’s father enjoyed the power and benefits of KKK membership in an America that had not yet passed the Civil Rights Act (passage in 1964). This is the era where a young Donald, born in 1946, was raised and conditioned, being prepped to one day take over his father’s empire. A teenage Donald would have witnessed his KKK father’s reactions to Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Park’s famous bus ride, marches, protests and the riots and unrest associated with desegregation. The gringa does not believe that a KKK father would have left a multi-million dollar legacy to a son who was not with the ideological “program”. (Sources: boingboing.net/2015/09/09/1927,  www.ibtimes.co.uk/frederick-christ-trump,  www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1918462/1927,  www.vice.com/read/all-the-evidence,   www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3229542/).

Donald’s father needed effective legal counsel to help manage his real estate empire. Donald spoke of the family attorney as his personal mentor, perhaps even more influential than his own father to shaping Trump’s business style and persona as we see him today. This man was none other than Roy Cohn, aide to Joe McCarthy, and known for his anti-Semitism, hatred of Communists and brutal hatred of homosexuals. After service to McCarthy, Cohn became counsel to some of the most notorious mafia figures in US history: Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante, and John Gotti, just to name a few. In essence, Donald “mobbed up” with a vicious attorney who believed what our country calls “McCarthyism”. (Source:  www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/04/, www.thenation.comwww.salon.com/2015/09/26/ ).

As Donald continued managing the helm of his father’s empire, his true racist colors can be seen in the transcripts of the Department of Justice case against a young Donald and his father’s empire for racial discrimination. Their racism is DOCUMENTED in court records. They were once again defended in court aggressively by their “McCarthy-ist” attorney. This occurred in the 1970s, less than a decade after the passage of the Civil Rights Act but it seems Donald and his father believed they did not have to change with the times.  (Source:  www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/15/, www.washingtonpost.com).

In 1991 a biography on Donald was published, “Trumped!”. Within the covers are quotes of Donald’s words to biographer O’Donnel about a black man working at Trump Plaza as an accountant. Donald’s words are very telling that, as of 1991, “grown man” Donald, no longer dependent on the approval of a KKK father, was still a well-conditioned racist: “… laziness is a trait in blacks… Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”  Donald said that. You can buy the book yourself or Google it.

Donald & His Special Interest Groups – Now

What about now? Has Donald changed? Is he still a racist, xenophobe Klansman in Republican disguise? The gringa believes he is based on the fact that his strongest support comes from special interest groups that are identified by the FBI, Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League as domestic terror groups, right wing extremists, white supremacists, white nationalists, radicalized Christians, radicalized Constitutionalists and conspiracy theorists and Donald has never denounced them publicly or vehemently. In fact he has allowed them to flourish and recruit at his rallies. His campaign’s success is greatly in part because of the effective recruitment campaigns of these domestic terror organizations. Let’s examine a few of these groups connected to Donald and see who they are, what they represent and what they believe Donald’s political ideology represents.

Donald’s first public endorsement by a white supremacist domestic terror group was Tweeted September, 2015:

@realDonaldTrump You Sir are the only hope we have of getting WHITE AMERICA BACK! WE all will be voting for you! CHURCH OF INVISIBLE EMPIRE  – Wm. Quigg (@GrandDragonCa) September 17, 2015

After this endorsement Donald came under media scrutiny. The KKK moved into damage control and attempted a public endorsement of Hillary Clinton. This move is very typical of the political strategies exercised by groups like this in order to propagate misinformation campaigns. The media and Clinton’s other political opponents ignored this ruse for what it was, but white supremacists still use this as a deflect argument when the truth of Donald’s white supremacy connections begins to hit too close to home in debate and argument. More on misinformation strategies of organizations like this will follow later in the post. For now the gringa is trying to stay on point about some of the domestic terror organizations linked to Donald.

Opening line quote from open letter to Donald from the national KKK chapter, published March, 2016 on their website, www.kkk.com, which he has never denounced:  “They hate you for the same reason they hate us.”

Most recent public endorsement of Donald by the KKK national chapter published May, 2, 2016 that Donald has not denounced:  “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in,” KKK Imperial Wizard. The KKK video can be viewed at www.thewrap.com  (Source:  www.sfgate.com, www.washingtonpost.com/news ).

Recent interview with former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke expressing his belief that Donald will enact a white supremacist agenda that Donald has not refuted:  freakoutnation.com/2016/05/.

Stormfront is a white nationalist domestic terror group that proudly supports Donald and has actively recruited at his rallies. Although this organization officially lists its membership at 30,000, it has the largest white supremacist web forum in the entire WORLD according to the FBI and Southern Poverty Law Center.  Its founder and leader, Don Black, was investigated, along with other white supremacist domestic terror groups, by the FBI in connection with the radicalization of Dylan Roof who murdered a church full of people in North Carolina last year. In Black’s appeals to fellow white supremacists he railed against the investigation as a violation of his Second Amendment right to freedom of speech. He believes speech is protected even if that right is exploited in the propagation of radicalizing propaganda designed to incite mass murder. (Sources:   www.postandcourier.com   and  www.splcenter.org/hatewatch).

Stormfront makes no effort to hide their faith in Donald to enact their white supremacist ideology as his political agenda should he become president. Title of article written by one of their members supporting Donald with this message as a byline: “Donald Trump is just the opening act. Yes, we will live to see a Fourth Reich”. (Source:  www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/28/1416143/).

Southern Poverty Law Center has classified Stormfront as a white nationalist/white supremacist domestic terror group of radicalized right-wing extremists. This domestic terror group is connected with Donald Trump. A quote from their website states that they have actively recruited at Donald’s rallies: “Trump’s presidential campaign has received support from numerous white nationalist groups and leaders who have used his campaign to recruit followers, fundraise, and spread their message. Trump has retweeted white nationalists, repeatedly declined to denounce former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in an interview, and gave press credentials to a white nationalist figure who also interviewed Donald Trump Jr.” Stormfront also announced recently that they had to upgrade their servers due to a 40% increase in website traffic since Donald’s sail to the top and Donald has NEVER denounced their support. (Sources:  www.stormfront.org/forum/t1149220/, www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/17/).

A third white supremacist domestic terror group supporting Donald due to their belief that his political ideology aligns with their own is the Council of Conservative Citizens that boasts over 1 million members and growing. Dylan Roof, who murdered nine Americans having a prayer meeting in their North Carolina church last year, credited this domestic terror group’s website as one source of radicalizing propaganda. Introduction to an article on the CofCC website  expresses their belief in Donald’s white supremacist agenda and that he will “make America great again” by returning the nation to pre-Reconstruction Era policies. Donald has never denounced the support of this domestic terror group. (Source: www.amren.com/news/2016/03/).

The Anti-Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI have all identified Council of Conservative Citizens as a domestic terror organization of radicalized extremists and this is yet one of many such organizations tied to Donald’s rise to the top as the Republican candidate. CofCC has also stated that it actively recruited at Trump’s rallies.  (Sources:  www.adl.org/combating-hate/).

Now, the dear reader may be asking themselves, “Are these fringe groups really that dangerous? I mean, isn’t it the radicalized ISIS style terrorists we should be worried about?” The gringa assures you that the domestic terror threat from Trump’s most fervent supporters is the REAL and PRESENT danger the US is dealing with. Consider the following data and information…

Since 9/11 only 45 Americans have lost their lives on American soil at the hands of radicalized extremists using the Muslim label. Those extremists were radicalized HERE, in America. Our vetting process of immigrants is working the way it is designed to work to protect Americans from imported terrorists.

However, since 9/11 right wing extremists, such as white supremacists, white nationalists, radicalized Christians, radicalized Constitutionalists, and conspiracy theorists, have murdered, injured and terrorized thousands of Americans. According to collated data from the FBI, on average, 337 events of domestic terror occur every year. These terrorist activities are performed by some of the very groups supporting Donald, not Muslims. To break it down easier, the average American is 7 times more likely to be injured or killed by a right wing extremist than by a radicalized Muslim. A few examples of the terrorist activities perpetrated by the types of domestic terror groups and individual domestic terrorists supporting Donald:

  • SC church massacre, 2015, by Dylan Roof, radicalized by white nationalist groups Stormfront & Council of Conservative Citizens, 9 AMERICANS KILLED
  • 1/8/2011 Gabrielle Gifford shot, 6 killed by Jared Loughner who was radicalized by the propaganda of anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, white supremacist hate group American Renaissance according to DHS report.
  • Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, Aug. 5, 2012 Wade Michael Page, neo-Nazi, fatally shot six worshippers and wounded four others.
  • George Tiller murdered May 31, 2009 by radicalized Christian Scott Roeder. This occurred after he had already had his clinic firebombed by right wing extremists and had survived a previous assassination attempt, shot 5 times by radicalized Christian Shelly Shannon in 1993.
  • Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church massacre July 27, 2008 by radicalized Christian Jim David Adkisson murdering 2 and injuring others while a children’s play was being performed. His manifesto stated that he hated “liberals, Democrats and gays”.
  • January 17, 2011 white supremacist/white separatist Kevin William Harpham was arrested after attempting to bomb a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in Spokane, Washington.
  • January 2012, Jason Barnwell, Jake Murphy, Dustin Hammond, and Gary Dodson, white supremacists, committed a racial hate crime of fire bombing the home of an inter-racial couple in Evening Shade, Arkansas.

Over a period of 86 years the KKK alone was responsible for lynching over 3,446 AMERICANS. That does not include unreported crimes, rapes, and assaults by the KKK or crimes committed by any number of white supremacist groups spawned since the KKKs inception.

Donald lies about Muslims being the REAL domestic terror threat. The FBI and Southern Poverty Law Center’s data and public reports both agree that the very organizations that support Donald, the domestic terror groups he is connected to and has never denounced, are the very REAL and present domestic terror threat. FBI quote published on their website regarding domestic terror:  “Today’s extremists are more challenging than ever. They’re affiliated with a variety of white supremacy groups, and they can be motivated by any number of religious or political ideologies… White supremacy extremists specifically target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; the federal government;… Their tactics include assault, murder, threats and intimidation, and bombings. They also commit other kinds of crimes—like drug trafficking, bank and armored car robberies, and counterfeiting—to fund their hate-filled activities…”

White nationalists, radicalized Christians and white supremacist domestic terror groups and their terrorist in chief, Donald, are a greater threat to freedom in America today than radicalized Muslims have ever been. Anyone who says otherwise is either a white supremacist sympathizer attempting to misinform or a person who is simply ignorant of the truth.

Sources:  www.rawstory.com/2015/06/, securitydata.newamerica.net/extremists, www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/may/extremism,    thinkprogress.org/justice/, usuncut.com/news/, www.FBI.gov, Southern Poverty Law Center
Despite the official data from the FBI, Donald still insists on promoting anti-Muslim hate propaganda. Donald has re-stated recently that he will indeed require Muslim ID badges. This is an absolute unconstitutional position, requiring dismantling the fundamental principle of the Constitution, separation of church and state. NO federal, state, county or municipal ID requires religious identity. A person can change their religious identity whenever they please. It is not a permanent identifier such as physical identifiers.

But Donald goes even further than badges, dangerously further. He proposes to create a database on all activities of Muslim AMERICANS. He also wants to legalize warrantless searches of Muslim AMERICANS. Do you understand that? Because he is proposing an absolute ban of Muslim immigrants, his ID, database and warrantless searches agenda is aimed at AMERICANS.  (Source:  www.washingtonpost.com/news/,  thehill.com)

Political Strategies of Domestic Terror Groups

The dear reader may be wondering why the media doesn’t expose Donald. The dear reader may also be wondering why political opponents have not used this information as well to expose Donald. The gringa will tell you why. Every media outlet has their own political bias and agenda. They do not want to tank the careers of the politicians they support. And the racist domestic terror groups have perpetrated a very clever strategy to protect themselves from ever being exposed by either political party. This strategy is just as effective as the cloaks and hoods the KKK Klansmen use to hide their identities.

Radicalized racist domestic terror groups are neither Republican nor Democrat, although members have their own political affiliation. Throughout history they have aligned with either party depending on which was most expedient at any given time to further the white supremacist/nationalist cause. And at THIS PRESENT TIME they do not necessarily identify as Republican, but as Donald’s supporters. White supremacists/nationalists only exploit the advantages of power within each party. A white supremacist/nationalist is neither a Republican nor Democrat, even if it is actively supporting one of the parties. The political party identity is really only a means to an end, furthering a white supremacist/nationalist agenda. The loyalty of a white supremacist/nationalist is only to their racist agenda and white nationalist identity.

What this strategy effectively does, then, is muddy the political waters.  The effective political strategy of moving between both parties has created a dirty political history with skeletons in both party’s closet. This strategy results in NEITHER party ever going after an opponent hard about any white supremacist/nationalist support they may be receiving. It is another way white supremacists/nationalists are able to hide under the shrouds of political party shame, knowing full well one party cannot call out the other party on the connection because they both have history. By infiltrating BOTH parties at different times in history white supremacist/nationalist organizations have ensured they can wear this cloak of shame and remain hidden as they push through their political agendas.

The leaders of these domestic terror groups supporting Donald are not uneducated hillbillies living in bunkers in the deep woods (although many of their minions are). The leaders of these organizations are highly educated, many of them have law degrees, specializing in Constitutional law, medical degrees in psychology that enable them to develop effective recruitment propaganda. And ever since the first day that they have been forced to submit to a black man’s presidency, they have been fervently strategizing and infiltrating powerful political parties for this very moment in time.

These infiltrators are in America’s state legislatures, governors’ mansions, city councils, sheriff’s departments, school boards, city police departments and, most importantly, the Republican party. They have already staged a successful coup of one of the nation’s most powerful political parties and they are staged to next take the White House. And the discriminatory “bathroom” legislation going on the deep South now comes as no surprise once people understand what is going on.

Transgender Americans have been using public bathrooms associated with their gender identity for decades without any outcry. There is absolutely no criminal data to suggest it has ever been a problem. Yet now the transgender community and the LGBT community at large are the targets of discriminatory laws in southern states in the control of right wing extremists. It is a test. These domestic terror groups are determining what kind of resistance they should expect from the public once Donald takes office and rewards the special interest groups that helped him get there by giving them exactly what they want, free reign to oppress and discriminate against non-whites and non-Christians. And the LGBT community is the “safe” group to target right now without fully exposing themselves and their full race/religious based agenda.

White supremacists/nationalist domestic terror groups have become highly active with recruitment and their ranks have been growing with Donald’s supporters. Recruitment propaganda uses key emotional trigger words such as “patriot” and “conservative”. Not all political groups that use these labels are white supremacist, but many are and you have to be careful. White supremacist recruiters are highly trained to be subversive. These are not rednecks from the backwoods. A white supremacist/nationalist recruiter is not going to approach you and say, “Hey, I’m with a racist organization. Wanna join?” No, they tap into a person’s Christian or politically conservative outrage at having to live politically correct and gradually condition them to a white supremacist ideology.

And don’t be surprised to see a few acceptable minorities mixed in to a “public” face for these organizations. Much like how Donald exploits Ben Carson and other minorities, placing them in the limelight. This strategy is so when white supremacist connections are pointed out Donald and his supporters can point to their “cover” and say, “Look! Donald’s even working close with minorities. He loves them and they love him.”

And if a person gets too close to exposing the truth about Donald’s white supremacist/nationalist domestic terror group connections, the favorite strategy these groups use is to deflect with the accusation of the Democrat party’s connection with the KKK. In particular they like to point the finger at Hillary’s relationship with Robert Byrd. The gringa has already explained the inter-party relationships white supremacists historically have with both political parties as a strategy to protect them from exposure. However, to move beyond that neutralizing argument, let’s examine Democrat Senator Byrd’s history and put that argument to bed once and for all as well:

The REAL story on Byrd and why it’s a non-issue with the media & other candidates who see it as NON-relevant: A young adult 20-something Robert Byrd was a KKK recruiter in the 1930s-1940s. He remained a Klansman during the early years of his 51 year career serving as Senator of West Virginia. Byrd later renounced his KKK past and called it “the worst mistake” of his life in his last autobiography in 1997. When interviewed, he warned all young people to steer clear of the Klan. He also publicly expressed deep regret at voting against Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. Born in 1917, Byrd’s early life was conditioned in a heavily racist South (much like Donald’s dad) but he grew and socially evolved and recognized the error of such beliefs and became a changed man (unlike Donald’s dad).

I find it amusing when subversive white supremacists defending Donald’s white supremacist connections with misinformation use the Byrd argument. Their own argument defeats them. Their logic is that they reject and demonize the Democrat party/Hillary/Byrd because of historical connections with white supremacists. By their own logic, then, they must reject Donald whose white supremacist connections are very real, out in the open, active right now and obvious to everyone which is why white supremacists are working so hard on spreading misinformation on social media and any venue of open debate. And if misinformation doesn’t work to shut up a person they then resort to personal insults, attacks and, ultimately, intimidation. And that is exactly why every single non-racist, non-xenophobic, non-religious bigot must work even harder to defeat them despite the fact that they are well armed, well organized and have a history of intimidation, murder, arson and bombing as their methods of dealing with those who oppose them.

Sources: cited within the body of the article

Image Credit:  www.pbskids.org

 

 

Alien Airports of Nazca


Studying the extra-terrestrial link with ancient Egypt was so much fun the gringa has decided to continue along this same line but head over to the other side of the globe. Did extra-terrestrials have contact with the ancient Incan or pre-Incan civilizations of today’s Peru? Since the gringa’s beloved caveman is from Peru, this subject is especially close to my heart. I’ve always known the caveman’s a bit strange. Perhaps that’s because he’s not from around here. Let’s find out together.

One feature of Peru that is a favorite of ancient alien theorists to point to as supportive evidence of their belief that pre-Incan civilization was in contact with extra-terrestrials is the Nazca lines located south of Lima. For miles elaborate lines etched into the earth stretch across a flattened mountaintop region, covering an area of about sixty square miles. Ufologists describe it as an ancient airport for aircraft. Although there are straight lines that resemble an airstrip, there are also etched into the earth images of animals and geometric patterns. What the heck is all of this for? What were those crazy people doing over a thousand years ago? Who were they? What were their beliefs? What was their culture like?

Most people are familiar with the Incan Empire when the country of Peru is mentioned. However, the Nazca lines were not created by the Incas. The Nazca lines date back to around 500AD, the time period of the coastal cultures of Moche (Mochica) and Nazca. Their cultures are most notable for their warfare characteristics. Moche and Nazca art is filled with images of warriors.

The Moche civilization existed at the right time but they were in the wrong place, too far north. The Moche lived in a region with its southernmost border over 750km (over 450 miles) north of Nazca. Mochica territory stretched from the northern Piura Valley to the southern Huarmey Valley.

That leaves the actual Nazca civilization that had its heyday from 200BC until around 600AD. These folks were in the right place at the right time. Their most important cities were Cahuachi, the religious center, and Ventilla, the center for government, markets and residents. Cahuachi is ground zero for the Nazca lines.

Nazca civilization was known for more than just the famous lines. They also made beautiful pottery and textiles. Nazca was not just one kingdom under one ruler. It was actually a cooperative of chiefdoms who worked together in the interest of their individual groups of people with a Shaman as the spiritual leader. In all, the Nazca population is estimated to have been around 25,000 people.

Since Nazca is located in the coastal desert region of southern Peru, the evidence of wool in their textiles indicates that they engaged in trade with the people further inland of the Cusco region where llama, alpaca and vicuna were raised in the colder, higher altitude climate of the Andes. There is also evidence of trade with rainforest tribes by the presence of feathers from exotic bird species in headdresses discovered in ancient Nazca archaeological sites.

peru geology map

These geographical connections are important because many of the Nazca lines depict images of creatures that did not live in the coastal desert such as the monkey and hummingbird. Contact with civilizations where these animals exist explains why they are featured in Nazcan art. It is also important to note that many of the etchings overlap, some being created earlier and later etchings overlapping them. So, there was no clear, well-thought out “plan” of how all of the images should be arranged. Poor planning if the intent was a high-tech space-port as far as the gringa is concerned.

Polytheistic and pantheistic, The Oculate Being was the principal god of the Nazcas. Mr. Oculate could fly, sported large, googly eyes (the better to be “all-seeing” with), and had Sun-like and serpent-like features and characteristics.

 

oculate

The Nazca lines are geoglyphs etched into the coastal desert floor. They served many purposes, none of which had anything to do with spaceships. Many were connected to sacred ceremonial sites. Others designated the location of an underground water source, which, being a coastal desert, was a critical site. Many were sort of like the labyrinths of Europe. They were designed to be walked as a form of religious meditation or en masse in a formal religious procession. There is also speculation that they could represent a calendar due to astronomical orientation of many of the lines. The images were not created to entertain extra-terrestrials with clever geological art as they approached Nazca for a landing. The images were created to appease the Oculate Being who resided in the sky.

Shamans, rather than priests, were Nazca’s religious leaders. Ceremonies usually involved the Shaman getting high on a psychedelic drink. He would be costumed to impersonate the spirit or deity who would possess him during his psychedelic “trip”. A sampling of a few Nazcan rituals:

  • Using severed head war trophies in human and agricultural fertility rites
  • Music and feasting for harvest celebrations
  • Pilgrimages and marched festivals to bring offerings to the gods at their numerous shrines (shrines were not man-made temples but, rather, certain geographical features or landscapes the Nazcans considered sacred, such as the Pampa de San Jose or the Cerro Blanco mountain)

Religious rituals and festivals centered around agriculture, water and fertility. They built sophisticated aqueduct systems to irrigate their agricultural areas which are still used today. They worshipped nature, the sea, the sky, the earth and water.  Nazcans had shrines dedicated to each deity they worshipped.

With Cahuachi, the religious center, in close proximity to the Nazca lines, the gringa believes the lines are religious expressions. If the purpose of the lines was to be a spaceport for visiting alien dignitaries, it is more likely the lines would have then been closer to Ventilla, Nazca’s urban and government center.

Considering the geology of Peru’s coastal desert, the lines were relatively easy to create. But, as they are actually only visible when airborne were the ancient Nazca people capable of constructing something on such a large scale? Were they advanced mathematicians? How well did they perform where geometry is concerned?

A Canadian archaeologist conducted an exercise to prove that creating these large-scale elaborate geoglyphs is not that difficult. Being a coastal desert, it was easy for ancient Nazcans to get clear sight lines. So, working from a masterful drawing and supervised by a competent mathematician/engineer, teams of Nazcans could accurately recreate a small scale drawing upon the desert floor the size of a football field. To “etch” the line into the earth it was a simple matter of removing the surface materials that were darker due to oxidization and reveal the lighter desert floor underneath. And, judging from the ruins of ancient pyramid structures, Nazca had no shortage of competent mathematicians and engineers.

If you travel in Peru’s coastal desert regions and get off the touristy, beaten path, you’ll be surprised to find that lines are all over the place. Many of them are footpaths. They are not as distinct as the Nazca lines because they are not purposely created as the Nazca lines were. They simply form naturally as the local people tramp from one place to another. Often, walking across the coastal desert is the only way to get from point A to point B.

The caveman and the gringa visited Supe Puerto, a Peruvian coastal desert town. We tramped numerous footpaths as we explored. Below is a screenshot of a lighthouse we trekked to. It was a half day hike from town. The image is at maximum enlargement from Google Earth. However, if you peer closely, you can make out the faint tracing of the footpath hugging the edge of the cliff, following its line with a leg branching off toward the lighthouse. Later, in the middle of the night after our lighthouse adventure, the poor caveman woke up the gringa. He had a nightmare about us falling off the edge of that cliff.

Screenshot (1)

So, the gringa is pretty convinced the caveman is not a descendant of extra-terrestrials. He’s just a regular old Earthling like the gringa. But he is still strange in his own endearing ways.

Sources & Image Credits:

http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc156.htm

http://www.timemaps.com/history/peru-500ad

http://www.ancient.eu/Moche_Civilization/

http://www.ancient.eu/Nazca_Civilization/

http://archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/nazca-lines

http://www.peru-explorer.com/nasca/nazca_culture.htm

Google Earth

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