A Nerd Dad’s Review of Mythic Odysseys of Theros

Hi folks, In addition to my recent adventures in adventure module writing, and gardening, I finally got a belated Father’s Day gift recently: The Mythic Odysseys of Theros (MOoT) is a cross-over reference guide between Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, specifically the Greek-mythology inspired plane of Theros. Theros is a kind of idealizedContinue reading “A Nerd Dad’s Review of Mythic Odysseys of Theros”

Shit’s Fucked, But What’re You Gonna Do?

I started writing this post weeks before this and this, but now it seems strangely relevant. Recently Eidolon posted a great article about Seneca’s philosophy vs. his tragedies. One of the many, great parts of this article is this one: Once I started to confront my depression and anxiety, Seneca’s philosophy sounded even more likeContinue reading “Shit’s Fucked, But What’re You Gonna Do?”

Magic and Science: Same Difference?

Recently, the family attended a little setsubun ceremony at a local Buddhist temple of the Japanese Shingon sect. Shingon Buddhism is one of several “esoteric” (mikkyō 密教) sects in Buddhism including Japanese Tendai and Tibetan Buddhism, and rely more on practices through a complex array of rituals, chants and gestures called “mudra”. This particular ceremonyContinue reading “Magic and Science: Same Difference?”

Sarapis: The Manufactured God

The Hellenistic Period of history was marked by a number of Greek kingdoms that vied for power after the death of Alexander the Great, with Egypt being among the most powerful. Egypt under the Ptolemy Dynasty, descendants of Ptolemy the First, Soter1, one of Alexander’s generals, was a very tightly-regulated society. The Greek minority ruledContinue reading “Sarapis: The Manufactured God”

Yakudoshi Got the Last Laugh On Me

Call it karma, superstition, what have you, but the last week of yakudoshi got the last laugh on me.  You see, I was in the last year of yakudoshi (a.k.a. atoyaku, 後厄 ) until the Chinese New Year of 2020, or January 25th.  Although Japan doesn’t celebrate the New Year according to the Chinese calendarContinue reading “Yakudoshi Got the Last Laugh On Me”

Whatever Happened to the Ancient Greek Religion?

While reading about the Hellenistic Period of ancient history, and the later Roman history, I have been curious about the gradual evolution and decline of the ancient Greek religion, centered around the Olympian gods. As history shows, the Roman Empire gradually transitioned from a pagan Imperial religion to Christianity, becoming official with the reign ofContinue reading “Whatever Happened to the Ancient Greek Religion?”

The Japanese Zodiac Explained

This year, 2020, is in the Japanese (extended) zodiac the year of 庚子 (kano-é-ne).  The Japanese zodiac was originally based off the Chinese Lunar calendar, though this changed in the late 19th century when Japan moved toward rapid Westernization and industrialization. However, the 12-animal zodiac, or jūnishi (十二支), is still an important part of theContinue reading “The Japanese Zodiac Explained”

A Brief Introduction to Japanese Shinto Religion

While I usually talk about Buddhism a lot, especially Japanese Buddhism, on the blog, I wanted to take some time to talk a little bit about the other religion in Japan: Shintoism. With New Year’s just past, it’s a good time to explore this oft-misunderstood tradition. Shinto is a tricky subject in some ways becauseContinue reading “A Brief Introduction to Japanese Shinto Religion”

Symbols for Japanese New Year

Japanese New Year (oshōgatsu お正月) has come and gone, and we’re now in the year 2020, but I took a photos around the house to show the kinds of symbols and accoutrements you’ll see this time of year. The first one is a kadomatsu (門松): This display, combines bamboo (竹), pine (松) and plum blossomsContinue reading “Symbols for Japanese New Year”