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Hidden In Plain Sight
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Sacramento. Capital of California and home to a half million people and hundreds of symbols and images from an ancient past. These are the same symbols that have been part of the framework of the... More > human psyche for thousands of years. While contemporary man of the 21st century may think that they are simply decorative manifestations of a by-gone era, they represent so much more. They represent the fears, dreams, ideas, beliefs and struggles that humankind has endured since we began to walk upright. This book will survey many of the icons that still reside alongside modern man in Sacramento and will present them in a broader context both in the context of ancient history and folklore as well as a meaning that is suitable for our contemporary times. The locations of these images are also given so that the reader may seek them out at leisure. Gary R. Varner has authored numerous books on symbolism, folklore, mythology and Native American culture.< Less
Hecate - The Witches' Goddess
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For the most part Hecate is seen today as the Goddess of Witches and Sorcery—but this wasn’t always so. Hecate was at one time both protectress of women and children and Goddess of Death.... More > She was, in her trinity aspect, goddess of fertility and prosperity, Goddess of the Moon, and Queen of Ghosts, shades and the night. It is interesting that she was seen both as the goddess of fertility and life as well as death. “Hekate can poison as well as intoxicate,” wrote Nor Hall, “turn ecstasy into madness, and cause death where incubation—or a short journey—was intended.” This book will examine her many facets and bring about a truer sense of the primal goddess known as “The Distant One” and “The Nameless One.” One of her titles places these in a softer light, for she was also called “most lovely one.”< Less
The Gods of Man: Gods of Nature - God of War
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Today the majority of humankind worships a single God. Although this God is said to be all loving and wanting peace for his worshippers there is very little peace among the three religions based on... More > common theology. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all foster hatred for one another, causing millions of deaths and untold suffering for hundreds of years. This book explores the mythic, historical, and archaeological record to illustrate the history of these conflicts. The Gods of Man also looks at how monotheism eventually dominated and destroyed the ancient and peaceful goddess traditions that had existed for thousands of years before. Is the God of today simply used to enforce government edicts, justify war and to control society? Gary R. Varner has written several articles and books on ancient religions, folklore and mythology. He is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.< Less
Maria Lionza: An Indigenous Goddess of Venezuela
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María Lionza is at once a native girl, born in the 16th century to an Indian chief in the Venezuelan region of Yaracuy, and a goddess of nature, peace and harmony to over eight million... More > Venezuelans in the 21st century. Her name means “Mary of the boar,” taken from her full name “Santa María de la Onza Talavera del Prato de Nivar”—a title given by the Catholic Church in the attempt to Christianize her cult. This book is María’s story, as much as can be told. Other than a few scholarly articles, the existence of María Lionza and her following is unknown in Western literature. Gabriel Ernesto Andrade of La Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela wrote “If I would have to find one word to describe the María Lionza religion, it would be ‘mysterious’.” And so María, as well as her origins and how she became regarded as the goddess of the people of Venezuela, remains a mystery in many ways. And that is as it should be.< Less
The Ancient Religions and Beliefs of Ethiopia
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One of the most ancient nations in the world, Ethiopia is a magnificent and diverse society attempting to hold on to its traditional ways in an ever changing world. The first nation to accept... More > Christianity in the 4th century, indigenous religions and practices have been able to survive in a symbiotic relationship with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church mixing pagan beliefs and ways with the dominate Christian religion. Today, however, due to the missionary efforts of both the Evangelical Christian and Muslim factions only a small percentage of Ethiopian peoples still observe their traditional ways and beliefs. The Evil Eye and spirit possession continue to exist across the Ethiopian scene in a fascinating mixture of the ancient and modern worlds.< Less
ETHIOPIA: A Cultural History of an Ancient Land
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According to ancient Ptolemaic writings, Ethiopians were the first men that ever lived and the first to worship the gods and to honor the gods with sacrifice. Some believe that the Ethiopians were... More > the origination of Egyptian religion in the worship of Osiris as well as the worship of Zeus. The Ethiopians, according to Herodotus, “reverence of the gods Zeus and Dionysos alone, and these they greatly honour; and they have an Oracle of Zeus established, and make warlike marches whensoever this god commands them by prophecy and to whatsoever place he commands.” Science was also believed to have traversed from the Upper Nile, the homeland of the Ethiopians, into Egypt. Before these gods, however, the ancient Ethiopians worshipped the serpent and even sacrificed to it. Today many believe Ethiopia is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. This book is an ethnographic analysis of the ancient cultures of Ethiopia, their religious beliefs and current environmental and political challenges.< Less
The Dark Wind: Witches and the Concept of Evil
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The Dark Wind provides a survey of witches around the world, their prehistoric origin and how society has viewed them throughout history. Folklorist Gary R. Varner explores the use of magic,... More > spells and curses among indigenous groups as well as state approved religions such as those observed in ancient Rome and Greece, and how even contemporary Christianity uses many of the same "magic" combinations. Also examined is the current "witch craze" in several countries where thousands are being killed as witches,the underlying reasons for this tragedy and the history of anti-witchcraft laws. The Dark Wind is a book for everyone interested in anthropology, archaeology, ancient history, religion and the occult. Illustrated with contemporary woodcuts and drawings. The author is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.< Less
Ghosts, Spirits & the Afterlife in Native American Folklore and Religion
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Death. We deny it. We fear it. Some of us welcome it. No matter what age we live in we keep the traditional feelings for our departed. We try to ease the soul into the afterworld as best we can.... More > “Celebrations of life” provide a time for friends and loved ones to gather, share food and stories and grieve. Some who pass on are cremated to free the soul. Some are buried believing that the body will not become corrupted but will survive until the final judgment day. “Grave goods” are still commonly buried or are cremated as well with the body. While we believe we are more "advanced" than those who lived before us, we actually do the same things they did to honor and to provide for our deceased loved ones. We are not so very different after all. This book provides a brief survey of how America’s first people reacted to death, how they disposed of their dead, their thoughts about the spirit world and the possibilities of being reborn.< Less
Water from the Sacred Well
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An illustrated exploration of the folklore and mythology of sacred water found throughout the world. A companion volume to Sacred Wells, Water From the Sacred Well continues the quest for the... More > underlying sacredness associated with water and the universal themes found in folklore and religious traditions from around the world. Blending personal exploration with archaeology, folklore, and ancient traditions, Water From the Sacred Well takes the reader on a fascinating trip to surreal lakes, hot springs, and rivers in search of the spirit helpers, demons, faeries, mysterious Black Dogs, Women in White, Water Babies and the gods and goddesses that are part of this story. Water From the Sacred Well connects common themes found in water lore to sites around the world. Varner provides a glimpse into the world of spiritual development and the continuing rituals and traditions associated with life-giving waters and how these traditions continue to create a need for sacred space.< Less
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When we think of the “First Americans” we generally tend to think of the American Indian. After all, there is no doubt that the Indian has lived in North America for thousands of years,... More > descended from those original explorers who trekked across the Bering land bridge. At least this is what we are taught in school. But is this entirely correct? Were there others that came perhaps before and during the original population of North and South America by those that would later be called “Native Americans”? Were there others that embarked on expeditions to the mysterious lands to the west (or east) that brought not only trade goods but knowledge and ideas of other religions, cultures and oral traditions?< Less
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