(continued from last post) This plays itself out in the changes wrought by the teachings o

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

(continued from last post) This plays itself out in the changes wrought by the teachings of missionaries on folk religions. For example, the "Penitente" ceremonies of self-mortification were unknown to the Pueblo Amerinds before the coming of the Padres. And the native people of Bolivia (Incas) and the Philippines now practice, among their rituals, the actual flogging and crucifixion of a "chosen one" during the Easter season. Lastly, the concept of a Final End to life in an apocalypse is ludicrous to Shamanic Religions, which view life as an eternal process, with no real "beginning" or "end". To the initiate in a Shamanic society, life is a series of repeating cycles. The "Ghost Dance" movement of the Paiute prophet Wovoka is a direct syncrete of the old ways of the Ute/Aztecan peoples with the "judgement day" fervor of revivalist, proto-Fundamentalist Christianity that was popular in the Old West. II. A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE MAJOR ANCIENT MYSTERY RELIGIONS A.) The mysteries of Isis Egypt had many mysteries, none more important that those of Isis. Her name is said to mean 'throne', 'wisdom', or 'savior', though she possessed many other titles in many different languages which testify to the universality of her cult in the ancient Mediterranean. The deepest mysteries of Isis, and her consort-brother Osiris, the God of the Sun, revolve around his death at the hands of his brother Set, who cut Osiris' body into 14 parts and scattered them through the world. (It is ironic that the name Isis is a Greek rendering of her original Egyptian name AuSet, meaning "From Set".) Isis undertook a terrible journey, suffering great hardship, seeking out the broken body of her lord and reassembling the parts. She found and reassembled all but one part, the phallus, which was thrown into the Nile and consumed by a fish. Despite this, such was the creative power of Isis that she was able to conceive by means of an artificial phallus, and bore the child Horus who avenged his father by killing Set. This is an archetypical mystery-telling, introducing themes found later in the teachings of the Hellenistic schools, in the death and resurrection myths of Mithras and Christ, and in the work of modern esoteric orders. (continued next post)


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank