Ancient Mothers of Drummers and the Art of Dance

The art of dance was incorporated in many religious rituals and festivals of ancient civilizations. From the third millennium BC, ancient Egyptians started to use dance as an integral part of their religious ceremonies, using dancers to perform important events such as divine tales and celestial patterns of shifting sun and stars. In ancient Greece, dance was very freely used for public purposes until it eventually brought about the birth of the popular Greek theatre in the 6th century BC. The first person in history to be called drummer was a woman – a Mesopotamian priestess, in fact.

Healers

Throughout history, women were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging the secrets of their uses. They were also nurses, counselors and midwives who traveled from home to home and village to village. They have always been healers. In around 3500 BCE, Queen Puabi of Ur was buried with surgical instruments so that she might practice surgery in the afterlife. Later in history, though, spoil-sport King Henry VIII of England proclaimed that “No carpenter, smith, weaver or women shall practice surgery.”

Sacrifice the Virgin, Save the People

According to Pliny the Elder, human sacrifice in Ancient Rome was abolished by a senatorial decree in 97 BCE, although by this time the practice had already become so rare that the decree was mostly a symbolic act. The Vedic Purushamedha (“human sacrifice”) is already a purely symbolic act in its earliest records. This was then followed by a period of embarrassment about violence in rituals of this sort as this period corresponds to the rise of Buddhism and Jainism, both of which place emphasis on ahimsa (“non-violence”). Apparently for a time, a very very long time ago, virgin sacrifice could be done for a number of widely accepted reasons – from winning a war, appeasing an angry deity, to architecture.

The Earth, the Goddess and the Color Green

Green is a colour that is universally known as representing nature and the environment. It is also the color of growth, renewal and rebirth. However, green also forebode death. In Egyptian wall paintings, Osiris, the ruler of the underworld, was typically portrayed with a green face. In Ancient Greece, green is associated with Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. For the Romans, green was the color of Venus who, despite being the Roman counterpart of the Greek Aphrodite, also served as the goddess of the gardens, vegetables and vineyards.

Understanding the Ancient Power of Women’s Tears

To this day women’s tears made people uncomfortable and often willing to do just about anything to stop the tears flowing. Another rather interesting reaction is when a woman’s tears invoke anger to those who hears it, or even outright denial. No one wants to hear about a woman’s unhappiness, especially if they feel that they can do very little to help.

Potens Risus: Creation, Destruction and The Ancient Power of Women’s Laughter

It is a great power to be able to light up our surroundings by a smile.  It is also one of the most mysterious features we have as human beings. The great men of the past tried to explain it and failed miserably. So what is laughter? And why are women more powerful when they laugh?

The Feminine Journey of the Woman in a White Dress

In Quezon City, Philippines, there is a well-known ghost of a long-haired woman in a white dress. This woman is said to have died in a car accident while driving along Balete Drive. There are many variations to her story, but they usually involve a taxi driver who was driving late at night and a beautiful woman who asked him for a ride. This long-haired woman in a white dress also exists on the other side of the world, making her way throughout history.

The Passion of Independent Women in Early Christianity

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. —  Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970 Passionate women … Continue reading The Passion of Independent Women in Early Christianity

“The Oldest Profession in the World”: Prostitution or Gardening?

Former president of the United States Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) allegedly once said, “Someone once said that politics is the second-oldest profession. I’m beginning to think it bears resemblance to the first”, unfavorably comparing politicians to prostitutes. But despite the old adage, prostitution is not “the oldest profession in the world”. It’s gardening.

Very Short Story about Voting in Ancient Greek and Rome

Sortition by lot was a form of selecting public officials in some ancient Greek city-states. It has been used particularly in the democracy of ancient Athens from which most information … Continue reading Very Short Story about Voting in Ancient Greek and Rome