The Power of Prayer

With so many faiths having special holidays around this time of year, I thought this video by the BBC was really nice (sorry I can’t embed it, but please click on the link): Father Giles is a Benedictine monk for nearly 50 years and he reflects on how his life of devotion and religionContinue reading “The Power of Prayer”

Actions, Not Words

As I continue watching the Japanese historical drama The Thirteen Lords of Kamakura, I am struck by how much a scoundrel the lead character, Minamoto no Yoritomo (based on the real historical figure), is. By episode twelve, he’s tossed out his first wife, sleeping around behind the back of his pregnant second wife’s, and hasContinue reading “Actions, Not Words”

Tyche: Goddess of Fortune

Recently, I finished a fascinating book about the Parthian Empire called The Parthians: The Forgotten Empire, which covered almost every aspect of the Empire and its eclectic culture including religion. The Parthians, originally a nomadic tribe, were a fascinating people who inherited a logistical mess from the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, but somehow made it allContinue reading “Tyche: Goddess of Fortune”

The Seven Luck Gods

As 2021 draws to a close, this is a nice opportunity to review a fascinating aspect of Japanese spirituality: the Seven Luck Gods! The Seven Luck Gods or shichi-fukujin (七福神) exemplify the syncretic nature of Japanese religion, because the seven gods have different origins including some native Shinto kami to Hindu gods who have undergoneContinue reading “The Seven Luck Gods”

Polytheism in Dungeons and Dragons

Religion has always been a fascinating subject to me, and when I play Dungeons and Dragons (or build adventures for my kids), I spend a lot of time thinking about it. By default, religion in Dungeons and Dragons is polytheistic, and mostly just a vehicle for clerical players. As a teenager, I remember way backContinue reading “Polytheism in Dungeons and Dragons”

Learning, Not Parroting

This is why I look on people like this as a spiritless lot — the people who are forever acting as interpreters and never as creators, always lurking in someone else’s shadow….It is one thing, however, to remember, another to know. To remember is to safeguard something entrusted to your memory, whereas to know, byContinue reading “Learning, Not Parroting”

The Many Many Kami of Shinto Religion

In the past, I’ve touched on the subject of Shinto religion, and its great many kami (神) who range from great deities to little more than nature spirits or revered historical figures. In Japanese Shinto there is a saying: ya-o-yorozu no kami (八百万の神) which means “the Eight Million kami (of Japan)” which captures this sense,Continue reading “The Many Many Kami of Shinto Religion”

Io Saturnalia, Baby!

December 17th was formerly the start of an ancient Roman holiday called Saturnalia. To celebrate, let me post this awesome video by Historia Civilia about it: Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not directly derived from Saturnalia, but did adopt some aspects such as gift giving and festivities. Christmas derives its date more from aContinue reading “Io Saturnalia, Baby!”