Las 21 Divisiones and Los Misterios
“Voodoo” is still a taboo subject in the DR. Most Dominican will identify Hollywood style voodoo as some pagan religion practiced by Haitians where weird animal sacrifices take place under the cover of darkness and dolls are pushed with pins, placing spells on unsuspecting individuals. Though there are a large number of Dominicans who practice some form of a Dominican version of Vudu, Las 21 Divisiones, the “religion” is still highly controversial, misunderstood and feared. The main religion in the DR is Roman Catholicism and the Church still wields an immense amount of power over the Caribbean nation. Many of the ideas held by Dominicans come from the teachings of the Church and throughout history the Catholic Church has identified Vudu as a something to be feared.
Regardless Vudu is an influential Dominican subculture and religion. But due to historical, racial and cultural pressures Vudu morphed into Las 21 Divisiones and became more acceptable to the Dominicans who practice it. Even so, Las 21 Divisiones, is still looked upon with suspicion by some in the Dominican Continue reading
Rahab and the Spies
1 Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, including Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Behold,* men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.”
3 Jericho’s king sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house; for they have come to spy out all the land.”
4 The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. 5 About the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, the men went out. Where the men went, I don’t know. Pursue them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hidden them under the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the way to the fords of the Jordan River. As soon as Continue reading
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT EGYPT
By W. M. FLINDERS PETRIE, 1906
Part 1 See here
VII. THE COSMIC GODS
VIII. THE ABSTRACT GODS
IX. THE FOREIGN GODS
X. THE COSMOGONY
XI. THE RITUAL AND PRIESTHOOD
XII. THE SACRED BOOKS
XIII. PRIVATE WORSHIP
XIV. EGYPTIAN ETHICS
XV. THE INFLUENCE OF EGYPT
CHAPTER VII THE COSMIC GODS
The gods which personify the sun and sky stand apart in their essential idea from those already described, although they were largely mixed and combined with other classes of gods. So much did this mixture pervade all the later views that some writers have seen nothing but varying forms of sun-worship in Egyptian religion. It will have been noticed however in the previous chapters what a large body of theology was entirely apart from the sun-worship, while here we treat the latter as separate from the other elements with which it was more or less combined.
_Ra_ was the great sun-god, to whom every king pledged himself, by adopting on his accession a motto-title embodying the god’s name, such as _Ra-men-kau_, ‘Ra established the kas,’ Continue reading
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT EGYPT
By W. M. FLINDERS PETRIE, 1906
I. THE NATURE OF GODS1
II. THE NATURE OF MAN
III. THE FUTURE LIFE
IV. ANIMAL WORSHIP
V. THE GROUPS OF GODS. ANIMAL-HEADED GODS
VI. THE HUMAN GODS
CHAPTER I THE NATURE OF GODS
Before dealing with the special varieties of the Egyptians’ belief in gods, it is best to try to avoid a misunderstanding of their whole conception of the supernatural. The term god has come to tacitly imply to our minds such a highly specialised group of attributes, that we can hardly throw our ideas back into the more remote conceptions to which we also attach the same name. It is unfortunate that every other word for supernatural intelligences has become debased, so that we cannot well speak of demons, devils, ghosts, or fairies without implying a noxious or a trifling meaning, quite unsuited to the ancient deities that were so beneficent and powerful. If then we use the word god for such conceptions, it must always be with the reservation that the word has now a very different meaning from what it had to ancient minds. Continue reading
In the Qur’an, [there are] three words to describe our hearts: qalb, fu‘ad and sadr. We know that every Arabic word is chosen for a reason, yet all three of these words for the most part are translated as “heart.” As usual, the intricate meanings of these words are not captured in the translation.
So, what is their difference?
Qalb is the general word for heart. It comes from the root which means something that turns around and about and upside down. It is the nature of hearts that they are constantly changing, this is the normal state of our hearts. When ta’ala refers to eman and diseases of the heart, qalb is used.
Fu’ad is from the verb fa’ada meaning burning or a flame. Continue reading
Who Was the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
By Kerry A. Shirts, 1992 [Excerpted]
The Dead Sea Scrolls are documents (thousands of fragments) found in caves in the deserts of Palestine around Jerusalem, during the 1940’s-50’s, written by Jewish sectaries who fled to the wilderness in opposition to the prevailing powers at Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple, approximately 200 B.C. Samuel Sandmal, notes that it is clear the community of Qumran arose because of the dissatisfaction of how the priests were running the Temple. It had divine sanction, they did not.1
The scrolls contain instructions on how to live in order to be the receivers of a new covenant the sect felt was coming. In other words the documents seem to have an apocalyptic orientation. Every book of the Bible is represented except the Book of Esther, as well as many apocryphal books, commentaries on these books with their particular application to the sect (arguably the Essenes), sectarian materials on how to join the sect, etc. Continue reading
The Teacher of Righteousness
in the Qumran Texts
By F. F. BRUCE, 1957
I. THE TEACHER AND THE TEXTS
‘The Teacher of Righteousness’ is the name given in a number of the lately discovered Qumran documents to a man who was held in high veneration by the religious community on whose beliefs and practices these documents have thrown so much light. If he was not actually the founder of the community, it was certainly he who impressed upon it those features which distinguished it from other pious groups which flourished among the Jews during the last two or three centuries of the Second Commonwealth. So far as we can gather from our present sources of information, he is never referred to by his personal name in the Qumran texts.1
The title bestowed on him by his followers, ‘The Teacher of Righteousness’ (Heb. moreh sedeq or moreh hassedeq), may echo Hosea x. 12, where the prophet calls to his people: ‘break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness (Heb. yoreh sedeq) upon you.’ The RV margin gives ‘teach you righteousness’ as an alternative translation to ‘rain righteousness Continue reading
King James Bible
1. Habakkuk’s Complaint
1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
The Lord’s Answer
5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. 8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. 9 They shall come all for violence: Continue reading
Male Nkisi Figure with Strips of Hide, held at the Brooklyn Museum, CC
Nkisi (plural minkisi, zinkisi or nkisi [n- concords with mi-] according to dialect). The term nkisi is the general name for a a spirit, or for any object that spirit inhabits. It is frequently applied to a variety of objects used throughout the Congo Basin in Central Africa thought to contain spiritual powers or spirits. The term and its concept have passed with the enslavement of Africans into the Americas, especially South America (in Palo Mayombe the spirits of nkisi are often called “[…]”).
The current meaning of the term derives from the root, *-kitį- referring to a spiritual entity, or material objects in which it is manifested or inhabits in Proto-Njila, an ancient subdivision of the Bantu language family.
In its earliest attestations in Kikongo dialects in the early seventeenth century it was spelled “mokissie” (in Dutch), as the mu- prefix in this noun class were still pronounced, and was reported by Dutch visitors to Loango as referring both to a material item and the spiritual entity that inhabits it. In the sixteenth century, when the Kingdom of Kongo was converted to Christianity, ukisi (a substance having characteristics of nkisi) was used to translate “holy” in the Kikongo Catechism of 1624. Continue reading
The Malāmatiyya (ملامتية) or Malamatis were a mystic group active in the 9th century Greater Khorasan. Their root word of their name is the Arabic word malāmah (ملامة) “blame”. The Malamatiyya believed in the value of self-blame, that piety should be a private matter and that being held in good esteem would lead to worldly attachment. They concealed their knowledge and made sure their faults would be known, reminding them of their imperfection. The Malamati is one for whom the doctrine of “spiritual states” is fraught with subtle deceptions of the most despicable kind; he despises personal piety, not because he is focused on the perceptions or reactions of people, but as a consistent involuntary witness of his own “pious hypocrisy”. Continue reading