Here’s a splendid piece of stupidity. A collector’s item:
Boys and girls at an Alabama elementary school will still get to hunt for eggs – but they can’t call them “Easter Eggs” because the principal banished the word for the sake of religious diversity.
“We had in the past a parent to question us about some of the things we do here at school,” said Heritage Elementary School principal Lydia Davenport. “So we’re just trying to make sure we respect and honor everybody’s differences.”
Television station WHNT reported that teachers were informed that no activities related to or centered around any religious holiday would be allowed – in the interest of religious diversity.
“Kids love the bunny and we just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter Bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others because people relate the Easter bunny to religion,” she told the television station.
After the laughter, let’s consider: what do we know about Easter – the word and its associations?
From bill casselman’s words of the world:
All Hail, Eostre!
Eostre was a Germanic goddess. In all the lovingly museumed depictions of ancient British, Celtic and European deities, we have no surviving image of Eostre and she is mentioned only once in ancient literature, in the writings of the always pious Venerable Bede. But Eostre’s name tells us she was a Teutonic goddess of dawn. Her name originated in Old Teutonic, from austrôn- dawn. Austrôn can evolve into Eostre. What we know with certainty is that the Christian Easter celebration took its name from Eostur-monath, the Anglo-Saxon word for the month of April, literally Eostre-month.
Who then was this fair goddess Eostre? A coy and modest damsel tiptoeing in divinely sequined velvet slippers through vernal dells, all the while sprinkling with dew yon awakening posies? Probably not. She was more likely The Wanton Slut of the Spring Rut, a lubricious deity who smiled upon and encouraged the potent surge of returning fertility. The Anglo-Saxons celebrated her lustful advent at the spring solstice, the vernal equinox, as part of the worship of a pagan deity who brought teeming uberousness back to the land and to the groin after a morose winter of vegetal and bodily moping. …
The name Easter may have been adopted during a time when Christians were attempting to convert new followers by highlighting the similarities between Christianity and pagan religions. The story of Christ’s resurrection, the focal point of the Easter holiday, has much in common with the rebirth stories of pagan tradition.
The most sober and linguistically compelling root word of Easter is however probably a source based on Germanic forms of East, forms like Ost, Osten, the Germanic Easter word Oster and Old High German ostarun which means literally “easterly celebration times”. The sun rises in the East. In many languages the word for dawn, daybreak, even daylight stems from a word meaning “east”. The sun returned in glory during the spring. What better time of year then to celebrate “eastern springy stuff”.
A Proto-Germanic root for east is cognate with many other east/dawn words in other Indo-European languages. For example, all the PIE dawn words like Latin aurora (think of aurora borealis, literal meaning “northern dawn”), Epic Greek ἠώς and Attic ἔως eos “dawn”. Think of English scientific words like palaeozoology’s name for the earliest horse, eohippus “‘dawn-horse”, or the Eocene era. Sanskrit for “dawn” is usas and Avestan is usah. …
What of the word paschal? It was –
… borrowed directly from the Hebrew word for Passover, pesach. Consider Greek pascha, Latin pascha, French Pâques, Italian Pasqua, Spanish Pascua and Dutch pask. English has a technical adjective from theology, paschal [meaning] “of Easter”.
A delightful Old English term named the paschal lamb, ostarfrisking.
This questing etymologist looks at the classical Greek word oistros, not for an origin, but for a cognate, that is, a word born from the same Indo-European root as Eostre then Easter.
Oistros was a large European horsefly whose painful bite drew blood and caused cattle to run wild, even stampede. The insect’s Victorian zoological name was Tabanus bovinus, where tabanus is the Latin word for horsefly or gadfly. Today Oestrus is the genus name of the common botfly, a similarly nasty little insect whose larvae are parasites in mammal tissues and body cavities, mammals such as humans, horses, and cows.
English-speakers know the ancient Greek word in more familiar dress as oestrus or estrus, its Latin forms. In modern physiology, estrus is the female equivalent of the word rut. When a female animal is “in heat” it is in estrus. In Classical Greek oistros meant “frenzy”, “sexual rage”, “ravening, slavering female lust”. It described, for example, the scary maenads, drunken women running wild over the Greek mountains, spring-moon-mad in their ecstatic worship of Dionysus, futtering [?] the night away in unholy orgies of forbidden lust, catching a male “chase animal”, ripping his body apart, and devouring his oozing gobbets of flesh. …
The Greeks thought you could catch such sexual ardor from being bitten by a gadfly. Oistros meant “gadfly” too. More to the point, Herodotus (Histories ch.93.1) uses oistros to describe the desire of fish to spawn. So its root meaning is probably “rage” with a later semantic overlay of “raging, powerful sexual urge”.
That’s something pagan peoples celebrated every spring, the upsurge of sap in tree and plant and human. The Anglo-Saxons’ Eosturmonath was Sex Surge Month, not as dainty as April perhaps, but much more to the pagan point.
Here are two stories of asylum-seeking in Europe.
News story one:
Abu Qatada could be here for life: Judges admit he’s very dangerous but won’t kick him out… as HIS human rights come first
See our posts The tale of a Muslim terrorist parasite, January 18, 2012, and Human rights are wrongs in Europe, January 6, 2013, for the long drawn out and infuriating history of Abu Qatada in Britain.
The judges said that while Qatada’s deportation was “long overdue”, his risk to the public was not “a relevant consideration” under human rights laws.
Q: What about the “human rights” of his reluctant host population?
A: In Europe, Muslim rights always take precedence.
The verdict drew a furious response from the Tories and sparked new demands for the Government to ignore the courts and simply throw him out of the country.
The Appeal Court yesterday upheld an earlier verdict that sending the hate preacher to face a terror trial in Jordan would not be fair.
Being “fair” is a traditional British – and now apparently European – value. The idea of being “fair” to a terrorist is a lunacy – unless one understands it as first putting him or her in the hands of those inventive US soldiers at Abu Ghraib and then executing him.
Home Secretary Theresa May will now lodge a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court. If that fails, it would raise the prospect of Qatada … Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe – never being deported. He could apply to be freed within days.
He is in Belmarsh high-security jail for breaching his immigration bail conditions. He “has been linked to a long list of international terrorists [and] featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers.”
Qatada … has now defied the wishes of six Labour and Tory home secretaries over eight years.
Yesterday Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ refusal to contemplate big changes to human rights law is inexplicable given problems like this. I am bitterly unhappy that we have to wait until the next general election to sort this out.” …
Ministers have been trying for a decade to send Qatada to Jordan, where he is accused of plotting a terrorist atrocity …
His removal was originally approved by the British courts, only to be halted by the European Court of Human Rights last year. Judges in Strasbourg said he would not get a fair trial because some of the evidence used against him may have been obtained by torture. Controversially, Mrs May opted not to appeal against this verdict. …
Instead, she and her ministers secured personal promises from the Jordanian authorities there would be no use of torture evidence, and began the deportation process again in the UK legal system.
But last November, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said it was not satisfied with the assurances, and halted Qatada’s removal. The court said it must reflect the Strasbourg ruling. …
Tory MPs have repeatedly urged Mrs May to ignore the courts and throw Qatada out.
But that would mean taking the unprecedented step of defying judges in both Europe and Britain.
Last night, there was growing unrest among Tories at the failure to get rid of the cleric.
Backbencher Dominic Raab said: “The Government made a strategic mistake in the way it argued this case. There is nothing in the European Convention or UK law that says we have to guarantee fair trials at the other end when we deport foreign criminals or terrorists. If we had made clear that we rejected Strasbourg’s ruling – and meddling – on principle at the outset, the UK Border Agency could have deported Qatada without the UK courts stopping them.”
He will probably be freed, and if he is –
Qatada would go back under round-the-clock surveillance estimated to cost £100,000 a week, or £5million a year.
News Story Two:
Iranian Christians Denied Asylum Even Though Arrest, Torture and Death Await Back in Iran
Iranian Christian applying for asylum in Sweden have been denied their request for asylum even though authorities know these Christians face arrest, torture and death if they were to be forced to return. …
A number of Iranian Christians facing persecution for their faith back home have reportedly been denied asylum in Sweden, despite authorities being aware of the hardships awaiting them if they are returned to their homeland. …
Sweden … has been described as one of the most progressive countries in the world. However [or should that be "Therefore", since Progressives are on the side of Islam? - ed], the Swedish Immigration Board is rejecting their request despite knowing that the converts face arrest, torture and even death back home. …
The Immigration Board has apparently questioned the validity of the converts’ Christian faith, accusing them of trying to scheme their way to asylum. But the senior pastor of the Iranian church in Stockholm has testified that the believers have served on the worship team at the church and contributed to Iranian Christian TV networks and websites. …
“We have told our families in Iran that we are Christian now, and they have disowned us. So we don’t have a family to return to. Our blood is now halal – it is holy for Muslims to kill us,” said Ali Roshan and Mahtab Shafadi, who were denied asylum to Sweden with their young daughter.
So back they must go. Unless … we wonder …. what if they applied to Britain for asylum?
Naa! Obviously, Europe prefers Muslims.
Note well: All this grief comes from religion.
Obama did not hide his intention to transform America. He stated that he would. What he did not say is what he would transform it into. But even a superficial acquaintance with his upbringing among dedicated Communists, education by Marxist professors, chosen affiliations to revolutionary and even terrorist Leftists, and activity as a “community organizer” could have told anyone paying attention in what direction he would try to move the country if he was elected to the presidency. He clearly intended to transform, if he could, a free capitalist country into an unfree socialist country. (What could not have been foreseen, but has become starkly clear, is that he also favors the advance of Islam in the US and the world.)
How a radical Leftist activist, once in power, might set about transforming America into a socialist country was blueprinted by Saul Alinsky – initiator of “community organizing” – in his Rules for Radicals. And Saul Alinsky had a blueprint in the works of Antonio Gramsci.
There’s an excellent survey of the life and works of Antonio Gramsci at Discover the Networks. Here’s an extract:
Antonio Gramsci was born in Sardinia on January 22, 1891. After graduating from the Dettori Lyceum in Cagliari, he won a scholarship to the University of Turin in 1911; by this point in his life, he was ideologically a socialist.
Four years later he became an active member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and began a journalistic career that saw him develop into one of Italy’s most influential writers. In the Turin edition of Avanti! (PSI’s official organ), Gramsci wrote a regular column on various aspects of the city’s social and political life.
Also active in educating and organizing Turin’s workers, Gramsci in 1916 began speaking periodically at workers’ study-circles on such topics as the French and Italian revolutions and the writings of Karl Marx.
When Russia’s Bolshevik revolution broke out in 1917, Gramsci embraced the goal of spreading socialist transformation throughout the capitalist world.
In the spring of 1919, Gramsci co-founded L’Ordine Nuovo: Rassegna Settimanale di Cultura Socialista (The New Order: A Weekly Review of Socialist Culture), which became an influential periodical among Italy’s radical and revolutionary Left. Meanwhile he continued to devote much of his time and energy to the development of the factory council movement, which sought to advance the cause of a proletarian revolution in Italy.
In January 1921 Gramsci aligned himself with the Communist minority within PSI at the Party’s Livorno Congress, and soon thereafter he became a central committee member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI).
From May 1922 to November 1923, Gramsci lived in Moscow as an Italian delegate to the Communist International. In 1924 he relocated to Rome and was named general secretary of PCI. He also began organizing the launch of PCI’s official newspaper, L’Unità (Unity).
In 1926, Italy’s Fascist government enacted a host of “Exceptional Laws for State Security,” designed to suppress political opposition. On November 8th of that year, Gramsci was arrested in Rome and was sentenced to 5 years in confinement on the island of Ustica. In June 1928, his prison sentence was increased to more than 20 years, including a stint in solitary confinement. …
He died, still under guard, in a Rome hospital in 1937.
During his years as a prisoner, Gramsci filled 32 notebooks (containing almost 3,000 pages) with his political and philosophical meditations on how Marxist theory could be applied practically to the conditions of advanced capitalism. …
Gramsci accepted Marx’s assertion that perpetual struggle between the ruling class and the subordinate working class was the driving mechanism that ultimately made social progress possible. But he rejected the notion that direct physical coercion by police and armies was the method of choice for achieving and maintaining victory in that struggle. Rather, Gramsci held that if a population at large could, for a period of time, be properly indoctrinated with a new “ideology”—specifically, a set of values, beliefs, and worldviews consistent with Marxist principles — a Marxist system could be sustained indefinitely and without coercion or force. In short, Gramsci held that Marxists needed to focus their efforts on gaining “hegemony” (i.e., control or dominion) over the core beliefs of non-Marxist societies; to change the population’s understanding of what constitutes basic “common sense.”
Such a development, said Gramsci, would never occur naturally as a result of some inexorable, unseen, “historical laws” that Marx had accepted as axiomatic. Rather, Gramsci asserted that Marxism’s potential for transforming society was wholly dependent upon the willful initiative of activists committed to using a “reversal strategy” designed to establish a “counter hegemony”—i.e., an alternative dominant worldview—in opposition to the existing capitalist framework.
Specifically, Gramsci called for Marxists to spread their ideology in a gradual, incremental, stealth manner, by infiltrating all existing societal institutions and embedding it, largely without being noticed, in the popular mind. This, he emphasized, was to be an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary, process that, over a period of decades, would cause an ever-increasing number of people to embrace Marxist thought, until at last it achieved hegemony. Gramsci described this approach as a “long march through the institutions”.
Among the key institutions that would need to be infiltrated were the cinema and theater, the schools and universities, the seminaries and churches, the media, the courts, the labor unions, and at least one major political party. According to Gramsci, these institutions constituted society’s “superstructure,” which, if captured and reshaped by Marxists, could lead the masses to abandon capitalism of their own volition, entirely without resistance or objection.
Gramsci’s formula was followed by Marxists throughout the Western world. “The long march through the institutions” was doggedly pursued. From the 1960s on, they began to achieve success, perhaps beyond their own optimistic expectations. And in 2008 their efforts were crowned by the election of Barack Obama to the most politically powerful position in the world.
Socialism (or “Communism” – even in the USSR the two words were used interchangeably) is an economic dream-system that cannot succeed. So it will not succeed. But it takes time for a socialist state to fail completely, and in the meantime it does ruinous and painful harm.
In Europe the failure of socialism is gathering pace as calamities crowd to a fall.
In America the harm is only just beginning.
It is seldom that a news story from the Arab Muslim world has a happy ending. Here’s one that has. The bad guys get what they deserve.
Raymond Ibrahim reports:
Members of the Islamic group “Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” in Suez, Egypt … took to whipping an Egyptian woman … because of her clothing — only to receive a sound thrashing at the hands of the citizens of Suez.
This is how they looked when justice had been done.
Most of us have not only ourselves and our family dependents to support but also a welfare state.
We do not ask ourselves why we support a welfare state rather than let ourselves be supported by it. But perhaps we should.
Fred Reed, a dry-humored iconoclast (with whom we often but not invariably agree), has considered the question and presents “An Approach to Poverty”, which we like and quote. (Read it all here.)
Before I learned about poverty, I was just a country boy from up the holler in West Virginia, with twelve toes, and I guess I didn’t know much. Especially about poverty. When I got to Washington, DC, I decided that I ought to be poor. I just wish I’da started earlier.
It’s a good deal. You get lots of free stuff and you don’t have to work. If I had knowed about poverty when I was fourteen, and what a good thing it was, I’da give up my paper route. I mean, who in his right mind would get up at four-thirty in the morning in January, with eight inches of snow on the ground, and ride across lawns on a bike with four hundred pounds of the Wheeling Intelligencer in a basket, so people could read about crooked politicians and clip grocery coupons? And then I’d catch the school bus.
That teacher lady said I was pretty smart, and she hoped I’d go far, but I reckoned she’da been happy if I just went to the next country over.
When you got out of high school, you had to get a job, and get up mornings even if you didn’t want to, and do something all day that you probably didn’t like. Unless you were poor, and then you could sleep in and do what you wanted all day. I didn’t know it then, though.
Best thing if you want to be poor is to go to Washington, the Yankee Capital, and take up poverty. Then the feddle gummint gives you a house for free. It may not be the best house in the world. You probably don’t have your own swimming pool like a football field. But it’s dry and warm and nothing wrong with it. And in the morning you can get up early, just to appreciate that you don’t have to, and watch all those other people go to work. They got better houses, sure. But they got to sit all day in little square boxes in offices and scratch on pieces of paper. You don’t, if you’re poor.
The gummint gives you Medicaid in case you fall on your head, and Food Stalmps, or really it’s like a credit card, so you can act like one of them high-dollar lawyers that work twenty hours a day and makes a million dollars till they die of a heart attack. Don’t matter. There’s always another waiting in line. You can get roasted chicken at Safeway or Cheetos or anything you want. Or you can sell your Food Stalmps and buy liquor. Or that left-handed tobacco.
The gummint gives you welfare, which is money. See, you get to be poor and have money at the same time. Only America has figured out how to do that. It makes you feel all patriotic, when you wake up at eleven to eat roasted chicken.
Now, welfare ain’t a lot of money. It ain’t a lot of work, either. But it’s enough to live on really good if you think about it. For a couple of hundred dollars you can buy a cheap stereo that lasts forever. Cheap stuff now is a lot better than expensive stuff used to be. Another few hundred gets you a cheap computer that lasts for five years, and internet don’t cost much. You can steal all the music you want. You can get CDs from your friends and copy them. …
Anyhow, after I heard about this and went to Washington to be poor, I met this feller, Git-Some Jukis. … That wasn’t his real name, not Git-Some, but everybody called him that because he had a lot of girlfriends. He was real smart and had a beard and read books He told me he wanted a good education when he got out of high school, but it cost too much. He said being poor was better than a university. It was because when you are poor you have plenty of time to study, and everything you need is free.
Like, there’s the Martin Luther King Public Library on Ninth Street, where you can get any kind of book you want and read it. If you don’t read too good, there’s plenty of ways on the internet to learn if you really want to, but Git-Some could read fine already. He had this thing called a Kindle, that cost about seventy dollars. That’s less than you can sell one bunch of Food Stamps for. And he used to get free books from the internet with it.
The more he talked about it, the more I thought maybe I’d do it too… once I get really settled into poverty. You could go to all the Smithsonian museums, which are free, and read all about any of it on the computer before you went.
And he said you could find all kinds of free music, like classical at the Kennedy Center, and lots of free lectures about interesting stuff, and there was so much of it that getting educated could take up all your time. …
He said someplace called MIT put all its college courses on the internet and he was studying like a steam beaver, and anybody who had the advantage of poverty, and didn’t feel thankful and study and listen to music was just shiftless. He kind of upset me. Momma always told me not to be shiftless.
I thought about it all, and what Git-Some said. I’d always had curiosity about things and I wanted to educate myself, but I never had time because I had to work, like night shift at Kriegstedt’s Amoco on Route 301 in Virginia. Having a job really gets in the way of your poverty. I decided to be like Git-Some. I’d buy me a Kindle with my first Food Stamps and get him to help me. It made me appreciate things.
I always liked America fine. But poverty made me realize what a wonderful great country I lived in.
Sunday being the Christian sabbath, still a “holy” or at least non-working day in some countries where the Christian – mostly Protestant – tradition still weighs heavily with the people (even where most of them are no longer religious), it’s a day on which we are tempted to talk about religion.
Most of the obscure or extinct religions we have discussed are either Gnostic or relevant to the emergence of the Gnostic cults in the Christian era. Put these titles into our search slot to see the posts: Thus, more or less, spake Zarathustra, May 26, 2009 (on Zoroastrianism); How a rich shipowner affected Christianity, January 2, 2010 (on Marcion); Erotic religion, January 24, 2010 (on Carpocrates and Epiphanes); The father of all heresy, February 23, 2010 (on Simon Magus); Yezidis and Mandeans, April 4, 2010; Mani and Manicheism, May 9, 2010; Hot in the land of Hum, October 14, 2010 (on the Bugomils);Valentinus, February 14, 2011; The heretics of Languedoc, May 1, 2011 (on the Cathars); Gnosticism: what is it?, March 3, 2013. We will have more to say about Gnosticism in general when the set of essays on a selection of individual sects is complete.
Today the topic is the Ophites, snake-worshippers of the second century CE . (Some sources maintain that Ophitic cults existed before the Christian era, but it is the snake-cults that include “Christ” that are of interest to us.)
What must it have been like for a child forced to take part in Gnostic worship? Pretty horrible, I should think. I can imagine small people screaming with terror when told that it was time for church, so to speak. It’s a consolation to remember that there weren’t many children in the early Gnostic communities. Almost all the sects were doctrinally against having children, though there were obviously some who slipped – we know of Gnostic sons following in their fathers’ footsteps.
A group of sects that practiced one of the most chilling rites were the Ophites. Ophis is the Greek for snake. A similar (or the same?) group of sects were the Naassenes, from the Greek naas, derived from the Hebrew nahash, serpent. To see why they held the snake holy we must look at their mythology of creation. From various scholarly accounts (colourful and dramatic, but not necessarily accurate), I’ve pieced together a fairly coherent picture.
This is the Ophite cosmogony (or an Ophite cosmogony):
The First Source, the Pro-Father, or the Abyss, or the Lowest Depth (in Greek, Bythos), emanated his First Idea, and as consort to the First Idea, Thought (Ennoia). From this first pair descended another pair, Truth and the Word (Logos), and from them another pair, and so on in a long series, the whole of which was called the Pleroma, or Fullness, the region of light.
The last pair were Spirit (Pneuma) and Wisdom (Sophia), and they dwelt immediately above Chaos. Now the elements of Chaos were Matter, Water, Darkness; and Sophia desired to create order out of them, but as she was purely spiritual and entirely of the light, she could not handle them. So she and her consort, Spirit, emanated another pair or szyzygy: one perfect, the Christ (Christos), and one imperfect, Wisdom Unformed (Sophia-Achamoth).
With the help of Sophia, Christos created the Idea of the Church (Ecclesia). Sophia-Achamoth wanted to create Man, and conceived a heavenly model for him called Adam-Kadmon, but she had first to have the world shaped out of Chaos, and for this task she needed to produce a Demiurge (Demiurgos, the Greek for a craftsman). In her efforts to realise her desires, she became entangled with Matter, and all that she could manage to bring forth in that predicament was a Being baser than she had intended, a power polluted by the material, a Demiurge certainly, but a wrong one. His name was Ialdabaoth, also called ‘The Son of Darkness’. When she saw that Ialdabaoth was proud and ambitious, she dreaded the outcome of what she had begun. She managed to free herself from Matter and rose again to the sphere between the spiritual and material worlds whence she had come. She could rise no higher, never having belonged to the spiritual world, but tried to build a barrier to keep the material world in its place.
Meanwhile, Ialdabaoth, knowing nothing of worlds above him or the First Source, produced his own subordinate emanations. Among the first six pairs were Iao and Sabaoth, Adonai and Eloi, Ouraios and Astaphaios – the first four being mystic names of the God of the Jews, the last two Fire and Water. He and the six pairs were the Archons of the Seven Worlds (including Sun and Moon), each inhabiting his own region. Next he created numerous other Archangels, Angels, and Powers, and after that, with the aid of his first six emanations, he took matter and fashioned the earth and Man.
But this was not Man as we know him. It was a thing; a huge, soulless monstrosity, formed in the hideous image of Ialdabaoth, lying helpless in the mud. The six Archons lifted it and carried it to Ialdabaoth to be animated with a spark of spirit. Ialdabaoth could do this because he himself had a spark of the divine light, handed down from his mother Sophia-Achamoth, as she had it from her own begetters. But Sophia-Achamoth, hating what she perceived Ialdabaoth’s nature to be, grudged him this power, and determined to punish him for his arrogant enterprise. However, she took pity on Man, and augmented the spark of divine spirit in him, until he resembled Adam-Kadmon rather than Ialdabaoth. And thus Adam came to be.
When Ialdabaoth saw that Man looked better than he did himself, he was filled with envy and rage. His face, made uglier yet by these evil passions, were reflected in the waters of the lower world, and the image took on a life of its own and crawled on to the land as Ophiomorphos, the Serpent-Form, a creature made of base matter plus hate, envy, and cunning.
Then Ialdabaoth made the Three Kingdoms of nature, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, with all the defects that we know them to possess. He set Adam and the female consort made from one of his ribs, in the Garden of Eden, and to keep them from knowing more than he would have them know, forbade them to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge – the Gnosis of Good and Evil.
But the Gnosis was already in Adam and his wife Eve, for it had come to them with the spirit, derived and descended from the unknown Pro-Father, through Sophia-Achamoth. And to strengthen their Gnostic instincts, Sophia-Achamoth (or, by some accounts, Sophia herself) sent Ophis, a serpent opposed to Ophiomorphos, to call them to the Tree and persuade them to eat the forbidden fruit. They did, and the fruit awoke in them an awareness of their corporeal condition with all its defects, and of their divine spirit imprisoned in their bodies. And though their disobedience doomed them to death, they were consoled by the knowledge that, as the body was mortal, the spirit would eventually be set free to return to its heavenly source. So to the Ophites the Fall of Man was not a loss but a gain; not a doom but a liberation.
Ialdabaoth did all he could to make the sons of Adam forget what the spirit told them. He sent Ophiomorphos to corrupt Cain, and Cain killed Abel. But then Adam and Eve begat Seth, who did not forget and was not corrupted. Seth’s descendants are the Gnostics, scattered among men, each bearing within him his spark of divine light. They bless the counsel given to their first forebears by Ophis, the Serpent in the Tree, the form on earth of heavenly Wisdom.
As only the children of Seth remembered what the spirit told them, for them alone, after long ages, Christos descended through the Seven Spheres of the Seven Planets into the world, sent by Bythos at the behest of Sophia, yielding in her turn to the prayers of Sophia-Achamoth. And Jesus, the son of Mary, received Christos into himself when he was baptized.
Christos, for as long as he was on earth, was filled by Sophia with perfect knowledge, the true Gnosis, and he taught it to those of his apostles who were fit to receive it. When Jesus was about to be crucified, Christos left him and rose to the lower heaven and sat at the right hand of Ialdabaoth, unperceived by the Demiurge, there to catch and save every soul – or “spark” – purified in its lifetime.
When all the scattered sparks of divine light have been gathered up by Christ from Ialdabaoth’s creation, the work of redemption will be accomplished, and the world will come to an end. All will then be reabsorbed into the Pleroma.
While condemned to live this life, the Ophites worshipped Sophia, Sophia-Achamoth, Ophis, and Christ.
A congregation paid its gratitude ritually to the Snake of Eden whenever the Eucharist – Holy Thanksgiving – was celebrated. A snake was released to crawl over loaves of bread spread on the altar before the celebrants devoured them, drank wine and menstrual blood, and in defiance of laws imposed on mankind by Ialdabaoth, stripped themselves naked to perform systematically every forbidden act of sexual copulation and self-gratification. Nobody knows whether the snake had a further part to play in the love-feast, but every imagination is free to surmise its worst.
Jillian Becker March 24, 2013
Reality to Feminists: Give up, go home, stay close to the marital bed and the kitchen.
According to this report, tens of thousands of Western women are converting to Islam because they long to submit themselves – to a husband and to Allah. It comes from Radical Islam, by Abigail R. Esman:
The first thing the Dutch girl did once she’d converted to Islam was change her name – to Soumaya, she says, because “she was the first martyr. She was prepared to die for Allah.”
Soumaya … is one of a wave of tens of thousands of Westerners who convert to Islam every year, more than 75 percent of whom, astonishingly, are women. Equally surprising is the fact that most of these women gravitate to conservative Islamic groups – the more misogynistic and oppressive ones – insisting all the while that they feel “liberated” and “free.”
Reading through dozens of stories of such women, one can’t help but notice the similarities among them. All claim to have embraced Islam of their own free will; yet an overwhelming majority, like Soumaya (whose story was profiled in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool), converted only after dating (or wedding) a Muslim man, usually – interestingly enough – a Moroccan (even in countries like England, where Moroccans do not form the majority Muslim population).
Others speak of “finding themselves” after years of wild drink and drugs – a pattern similar to that found in male prison converts, who often are convinced by other Muslim inmates to seek salvation through Allah. They repeat, as if by rote, the same rhetoric about escaping the sexual objectification of women by adopting the hijab or full-body abaya …
Hilariously, Soumaya, along with all the other young women profiled, appears photographed in hijab and a full face of makeup – which, of course, is what women wear in order to appear more beautiful to men. In so doing, they ignore … the very essence of what such coverings in fact represent: The notion that a woman is nothing but a sexual object, and therefore must be kept hidden …
Young female converts speak of wanting to be a good Muslim and a good wife; the two become equated, acted out in a life of feminine submission, first to her husband and then, by extension, to Allah.
(Video from LiveLeak)
This religious act was carried out by Jabhat al-Nusra.
From Wikipedia: Jabhat an-Nusrah li-Ahl al-Sham … “The Support Front for the People of Syria”, is an Islamic group of militant rebels operating in Syria. The group announced its creation on 23 January 2012 during the Syrian Covil War. It is described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force“. … The group is generally described as being made up of Sunni Islamists and Jihadists. Its goal is to overthrow the Assad government and to create a Pan-Islamic state under sharia law and aims to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate. It has been claimed that al-Nusra Front is affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Our question: Would they be an improvement on Bashar Assad as rulers of Syria, d’you think?
Pat Condell talks about the attack by Islam on free speech.