Category Archives: Cultures

Marigold

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For Dia de Muertos:

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there, I did not die.
~unknown

 

Mountain of Truth

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Monte Verita, Ascona Switzerland

I came across the most amazing piece of history the other day: the free spirits of the art community at Monte Verita in 1915. These people created an open society of artists and philosophers; people that wanted to explore the potential of the human spirit.

What strikes me are the huge similarities between this story and our current society in 2018. These people that escaped to the mountains of Switzerland were rebelling against mass consumerism, war, intolerance, and celebrity culture. They created the first alternative community, assimilating all groups of people under the banner of pacifism and free thought. Many accomplished philosophers and radicals joined them – including Hermann Hesse.

This movement is one of the catalysts for the original hippie movement in 1967. It’s not about obliterating your mind with drugs, or trying to escape reality, it’s about creating a free, human, utopian society on earth. Article below.

There’s a movie about it that came out in 2014 called “FREAK OUT!” if you’re interested in learning more about it!

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Article:  “Monte Verità: “The place where our minds can reach up to the heavens…
In the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, the Ticino republic became a gateway to the south, and favourite destination of a group of unconventional loners who found in the region, with its southern atmosphere, fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of the utopia they were unable to cultivate in the north.
The Ticino came to represent the antithesis of the urbanised, industrialized north, a sanctuary for all kinds of idealist. From 1900 onwards Mount Monescia above Ascona, Switzerand, became a pole of attraction for those seeking an “alternative” life. These reformers who sought a third way between the capitalist and communist blocks, eventually found a home in the region of the north Italian lakes.

The founders came from all directions :
Henry Oedenkoven from Antwerp
the pianist Ida Hofmann from Montenegro
the artist Gusto
and the ex-officer Karl Gräser from Transylvania.

United by a common ideal they settled on the “Mount of Truth” as they renamed Monte Monescia. Draped in loose flowing garments and long hair, they worked in the gardens and fields, built spartan timber cabins and found relaxation in dancing and naked bathing, exposing their bodies to light, air, sun and water. Their diet excluded all animal foods and was based entirely on plants, vegetables and fruit. They worshipped nature, preaching its purity and interpreting it symbolically as the ultimate work of art: “Parsifal’s meadow”, “The rock of Valkyrie” and the “Harrassprung” were symbolic names which with time were adopted even by the local population of Ascona who had initially regarded the community with suspicion.
Their social organization was based on cooperation, and through it they strove to achieve the emancipation of women, self-criticism, and new ways of cultivating mind and spirit with the unity of body and soul.

The intensity of the single ideals fused in this community were such that word of it soon spread across the whole of Europe and overseas. Gradually over the years the community itself became a sanatorium frequented by theosophists, reformers, anarchists, communists, social democrats, psyco-analysts; followed by literary personalities, writers, poets, artists and finally emigrants of both world wars: Raphael Friedeberg, Prince Peter Kropotkin, Erich Mühsam. They declared Ascona “the Republic of the Homeless”: Otto Gross who planned a “School for the liberation of humanity”, August Bebel, Karl Kautsky, Otto Braun, even perhaps Lenin and Trotzki, Hermann Hesse, Franziska Gräfin zu Reventlow, Else Lasker-Schüler, D.H Lawrence, Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman, Isadora Duncan, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Hans Richter, Marianne von Werefkin, Alexej von Jawlensky, Arthur Segal, El Lissitzky and many others.
After the departure of the founder for Brazil in 1920 there followed a brief bohemian period at the Monte Verità which lasted until the complex was purchased as a residence by the Baron von der Heydt, banker to the ex-Kaiser Willhelm II and one of the most important collectors of contemporary and non European art. The bohemian life continued in the village and in the Locarnese valleys from then on.

The Mount, now used as a Hotel and park, still maintains its almost magic power of attraction. Along with the proven magnetic anomalies of geological formations underlying Ascona, it is as if the mount preserves, hidden away out of sight, the sum of all the successful and unsuccessful attempts to breach the gap between the “I” and “we”, and the striving towards an ideal creative society, thus making the Monte Verità a special scenic and climatic micro-paradise.

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The Monte Verità is also however a well preserved testimony for the history of architecture. From Adam’s hut to the Bauhaus. The ideology of the first settlers demanded spartan chalet-like timber dwellings with plenty of light and air and few comforts. Shortly after 1900 the following buildings began to spring up: Casa Selma (now museum), […]1, Casa Andrea with its geometrical façade, the sunniest of the buildings (now converted), Casa Elena and the Casa del Tè – Tea House (now demolished) and the Casa dei Russi (hideout for Russian students after the 1905 revolution and now undergoing renovation). The Casa Centrale was built for the community and allowed for maximum natural light. Ying-Yang symbols were worked into windows and balconies. (In 1948 this building was demolished to make way for a restaurant and only the curving flight of steps remains).
Henry Oedenkoven built Casa Anatta as living quarters and reception rooms in the theosophist style with rounded corners everywhere, double timber walls, sliding doors, domed ceilings and huge windows with views of the landscape as supreme works of art, a large flat roof and sun-terrace.

Origins of Magicians

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Well here’s a fascinating article by Robert Sepehr.

Article

“The Medes were people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portions of present-day Iran. By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes has established an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves their descendants.

Apart from a few personal names, the original Aryan language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown, but it was most likely similar to the Avesta and Scythian languages (photo-Indo-European/Iranian). Herodotus mentions that” “The Medes had exactly the same equipment as the Persians; and indeed the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median”.

Eventually, the older tribes of Aryan Iran lost their district character and amalgamated into one people, the Iranians. In Arabic texts, as in the Greco-Roman tradition, Zoroaster is the “founder” of the Magicians, Arabic ‘Majusya’. There are many views on the timeline for Zoroaster’s life. The traditional Zoroastrian date for Zarathustra’s birth and ministry is around 600 BC Green sources placed him as early as 6000 BC. Zoroaster spoke of duality and ceasing balance at the end of time; his goal, was to show humans their connection to one source of light and consciousness. According to the Zend Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster was born in Azerbaijan, in northern Persia.

A Magus was a Zoroastrian astrologer-priest from ancient Persia, and was also referred to as a sorcerer or wizard. The terms magic and magician derive from the word “magus”. The English term may also refer to a shaman. The Greek word is attested from the 5th century B.C., as a direct loan from the Old Persian “magus”.

Professor of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania, Victor H. Mair, provides archaeological and linguistic evidence suggesting that the Chinese “wu” (shaman; witch, wizard; magician) was also loanword from Old Persian magus “magician; magi”:

The recent discovery at an early Chou site of two figurines with unmistakably Caucasoid or Europoid features is startling prima facie evidence of East- West interaction during the first half of the first millennium Before Current Era. It is especially investing that one of the figurines bears on the top of his head the clearly incised graph (cross with potents) which identifies him as a “wu” (shaman; witch, wizard; magician).

The Aryan, or Indo-European, root appears to have expressed power or ability. This meaning continued, e.g. in Greek “mekhos” (see mechanics) and in Germanic magan (English may), magts (English might, the expression “might and magic”). The original significance of the name for Median priests, thus, seems to have been “the powerful”. The modern Persian “Mobed” derived from an Old Persian compound magu-pati “lord priest”.

The plural “Magi” entered the English language ca. 1200, referring to the Magi mentioned in Matthew 2:1. The singular following only considerably later, in late 14th century, when it was borrowed from Old French in the meaning magician together with magic.

In Farsi, Magi is ‘meguceen’, which meaning “Fire Worshipper”, and it is the origin of the word “magician”. While, in Herodotus, “Magos” refers to either an ethnically Aryan member of one of the tribes/peoples (ethnous) of the Medes, or to one of the Persian priest  who could interpret dreams, it could also be used for any enchanter wizard.

In Hellenism, “Magos” started to be used as an adjective, meaning “magical”, as in magas techne “ars magica” (e.g. used by Philostratus). Sources from before the Hellenistic period include Xenophon, who had first-hand experience  at the Persian Achaemenid court. In his early 4th century BC Cyropaedia, Xenophon depicts the Magicians as authorities for all religious matters, and imagines the Magicians were responsible for the education of the emperor-to-be.

According to to Robert Charles Zaehner, author of the book, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism:

We hear the Magi not only in Persia, Parthia, Bactria, Chorasmia, Aria, Media, and among the Sakas, but also in non-Iranian lands like Samaria and Egypt. Their influence was also widespread throughout Asia Minor. It is, therefore, quite likely that the sacerdotal caste of the Magi was distinct from the Median tribe of the same name.”

Extracts from the book Occult Secrets of Vril (chapter 7: Magicians)

About the author:

Robert Sepehr is an author, producer and anthropologist living in Los Angeles, CA.

He specializes in linguistics, paleogenetics and archeology.

Also read:

Talk like  Buddhist


I happened upon this and thought I would share it 🙂 . A lot of these might sound easy, but they are challenging to put into practice! 

“How to Communicate Like a Buddhist
BY CYNTHIA KANE
I used to lie awake at night and worry about work, family, friends, boyfriends. Honestly, I would obsess about all of it. And while all these thoughts and emotions were going on inside I rarely expressed any of them. Instead, a colleague would knock on my cubicle while I was in the middle of something and I’d roll my eyes and say in a passive aggressive tone, “what can I do for you now.” Or my boyfriend would ask me to empty the water out of the tea kettle and I’d argue about why leaving it there made sense. Sometimes someone even asking me a simple question like what do you want for lunch would be difficult to answer. There was so much clutter in my head that I couldn’t focus or slow down to express myself accurately. Everything irked me and had me reacting impulsively damaging my relationships. Of course I wanted to interact differently I just didn’t know how.
So I went out and learned everything I could about how to communicate to express myself in a clear, direct, and accurate way. And after years of reading, going to lectures / seminars, and retreats I came up with a practice grounded in the elements of right speech in Buddhism that takes away the clutter, cultivates kind and calm conversations, and helps shift us out of the internal chatter and into the present moment.

Conscious Communication

To speak consciously, clearly, and concisely without anxiety

To respond instead of react

To speak in a way that’s kind, honest, and helpful

To know when to speak and when to stay quiet

To stay engaged when listening

To express yourself so that others can hear you

To nip potential problems in the bud before they become meltdowns

To be comfortable in silence – no longer needing to fill the space”
…and from the Dalai Lama: