Categorie archief: spiritual

Taijitu

yinyang

Taijitu (a Chinese word that translates roughly as ‘diagram of ultimate power’) is a term which refers to any of the Chinese symbols for the concept of yin yang, and is sometimes extended to similar geometric patterns used historically by various cultures. The most recognized form is composed of two semi-circular teardrop-shaped curves of different colors, or a circle separated by an S-shaped line, where each half is marked with a dot in the opposite (or different) color. Symbols of this type are found as Celtic art forms and coat of arms for several Western Roman army units in Late Antiquity.[1][2][3] Taoist philosophy adopted equivalent symbols several hundred years later, as representations of yin and yang, from which the most common modern usage of the symbol and the name ‘taijitu’ arise. There is no academically established relationship between the Taoist and the earlier ancient Roman symbols.

 

Symbols with a partial resemblance to the later Taoist diagram appeared in Celtic art from the 3rd century BC onwards, showing groups of leaves separated by an S-shaped line.[1] The pattern lacked the element of mutual penetration, though, and the two halfs were not always portraited in different colours.[1] A mosaic in a Roman villa in Sousse, Tunisia, features different colors for the two halves of the circle, but here, too, the little circles of opposite color are absent.[1]

The earliest depiction of the diagram which today is known as Taijitu or Taiji  appears in the Roman Notitia Dignitatum, an ancient collection of shield patterns of the Roman army dated to ca. AD 430.[1][2][3] The emblem of an infantry unit called the armigeri defensores seniores (“shield-bearers”) is graphically identical in all but colour to the dynamic, clockwise version of the Far Eastern tradition.[1] Another Western Romandetachment, the Pseudocomitatenses Mauri Osismiaci, featured an insignia with the same contours, but with the dot in each part kept in the same shade of colour.[1] A third infantry regiment, the Legion palatinaeThebaei, had a shield pattern comparable to the static version of the East Asian symbol: three concentric circles vertically divided into two halfs of opposite and alternating colors, so that on each side the two colors follow one another in the inverse order of the opposite half.[1] The Roman yin-yang-like symbols predate the Taoist version by several hundred years:

As for the appearance of the iconography of the “yin-yang” in the course of time, it was recorded that in China the first representations of the yin-yang, at least the ones that have reached us, go back to the eleventh century AD, even though these two principles were spoken of in the fourth or fifth century BC. With the Notitia Dignitatum we are instead in the fourth or fifth century AD, therefore from the iconographic point of view, almost seven hundred years earlier than the date of its appearance in China.

It should be mentioned that there is no academically established relationship between the ancient Roman and the later Taoist symbols.

 

 

The Taijitu or Taiji diagram is a well known symbol representing the principle of yin and yang, introduced in China by Ming period author Lai Zhide. The term taijitu (literally “diagram of the supreme ultimate”) is commonly used to mean the simple ‘divided circle’ form, but may refer to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles, such as the one at right.

In the taijitu, the circle itself represents a whole (see wuji), while the black and white areas within it represent interacting parts or manifestations of the whole. The white area represents yang elements, and is generally depicted as rising on the left, while the dark (yin) area is shown descending on the right (though other arrangements exist, most notably the version used on the flag of South Korea). The image is designed to give the appearance of movement. Each area also contains a small circle of the opposite color at its fullest point (near the zenith and nadir of the figure) to indicate how each will transform into the other.

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Fairy Ring

 

fairyring

fairy ring, also known as fairy circleelf circle or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. The rings may grow over ten meters in diameter and become stable over time as the fungus grows and seeks food underground. They are found mainly in forested areas, but also appear in grasslands or rangelands. Fairy rings are not only detectable by sporocarps in rings or arcs, but also by a necrotic zone (dead grass) or a ring of dark green grass. If these manifestations are visible a fairy fungus mycelium is likely present in the ring or arc underneath.

Fairy rings also occupy a prominent place in European folklore as the location of gateways into elfin kingdoms, or places where elves gather and dance.

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Bora (rings)

bora

A Bora is the name given both to an initiation ceremony of Indigenous Australians, and to the site on which the initiation is performed. At such a site, young boys are transformed into men. The initiation ceremony differs from culture to culture, but often involves circumcision and scarification, and may also involve the removal of a tooth or part of a finger. The ceremony, and the process leading up to it, involves the learning of sacred songs, stories, dances, and traditional lore. Many different clans will assemble to participate in an initiation ceremony. The word Bora was originally from South-East Australia, but is now often used throughout Australia to describe an initiation site or ceremony. It is called a Burbung in the language of the Darkinjung, to the North of Sydney. The name is said to come from that of the belt worn by initiated men. The appearance of the site varies from one culture to another, but it is often associated with stone arrangements, rock engravings, or other art works. Women are generally prohibited from entering a bora. In South East Australia, the Bora is often associated with the creator-spirit Baiame. In the Sydney region, large Earth mounds were made, shaped as long bands or simple circles. Sometimes the boys would have to pass along a path marked on the ground representing the transition from childhood to manhood, and this path might be marked by a stone arrangement or by footsteps, or mundoes, cut into the rock. In other areas of South-East Australia, a Bora site might consist of two circles of stones, and the boys would start the ceremony in the larger, public, one, and end it in the other, smaller, one, to which only initiated men are admitted. Bora rings, found in South-East Australia, are circles of foot-hardened earth surrounded by raised embankments. They were generally constructed in pairs (although some sites have three), with a bigger circle about 22 metres in diameter and a smaller one of about 14 metres. The rings are joined by a sacred walkway. Matthews (1897) gives an excellent eye-witness account of a Bora ceremony, and explains the use of the two circles.

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Carolingian cross

 

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A variation of the Everlasting Cross is the Carolingian Cross, named after the Carolingian dynasty, a Frankish noble family that can be traced back to the seventh century. One member of this family, Pepin the Short, was crowned King of the Franks by the church, who saw this as a useful way to extend their authority over the secular world. A later and greater Carolingian monarch was Charlemagne, crowned in 800 A.D. making Western Europe an extension of the Roman Empire.

Coincidentally, the cross has a similarly sounding name to Cardinham Cross, an ancient Celtic Cross found in the walls of the 15th century village church of Cardinham, near Bodmin, Cornwall, England. This Cardinham Cross incorporates the Carolingian design.

The Carolingian Cross is made by extending the lines of aTriquetra (from the Latin tri ‘three’ and quetrus ‘cornered’). In Christian art, the triquetra represents the Trinity as one God. The triquetra is found also in Celtic knotwork, sometimes referred to as a Knotted Cross or Celtic Twirls Cross, and is popular with Neopagans to represent the interdependence in nature of Land, Sea and Sky, or the spiritual interdependence in man’s Mind, Body and Soul.

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Triquetra

triquetra-circle-interlaced

Triquetra (IPA: [tɹaɪ’kwεtɹə]) is a word derived from the Latin tri- (“three”) and quetrus (“cornered”). Its original meaning was simply “triangle” and it has been used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it has come to refer exclusively to a certain more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. This widely recognized symbol has been used in for the past two centuries a sign of special things and persons that are threefold.

Germanic paganism

The triquetra has been found on runestones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.

Celtic art

The triquetra is often found in Insular art, most notably metal work and in illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells. The fact that the triquetra very rarely stood alone in medieval Celtic has cast a reasonable doubt on its use as a symbol in context where it was used primarily as a space filler or ornament in much more complex compositions. But Celtic art lives on as both a living folk art tradition and through several revivals. This widely recognized knot has been used in for the past two centuries a sign of special things and persons that are threefold, such as Mother, Daughter and Grandmother – Past, Present and Future -and especially the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It can also mean Self, brother, and sister. 

Christian use

The symbol was later used by Christians as a symbol of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). This appropriation was particularly easy because the triquetra conveniently incorporated three shapes that could be interpreted as Christian Ιχθυς symbols.

A common representation of the symbol is with a circle that goes through the three interconnected loops of the Triquetra. The circle emphasizes the unity of the whole combination of the three elements.

Neopaganism

Modern Pagans use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures.

Germanic Neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins. Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans use the triquetra either to represent one of the various triplicities in their cosmology and theology (such as the tripartite division of the world into the realms of Land, Sea and Sky), or as a symbol of one of the specific triple Goddesses, for example, The Morrígan.

The symbol is also sometimes used by Wiccans and some New Agers to symbolize either the Wiccan triple goddess, the interconnected parts of our existence (Mind, Body, and Soul), or many other concepts that seem to fit into this idea of a unity.

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Tree of life

tree-of-life_flower-of-life_stage

The concept of a many-branched tree illustrating the idea that all life on earth is related has been used in science, religion, philosophy, mythology and other areas. A tree of life is variously, a) a mystical concept alluding to the interconnectedness of all life on our planet, b) a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense, and c) a motif in various world theologies, mythologies and philosophies.Various trees of life are recounted in folklore, culture and fiction, often relating to immortality or fertility. They had their origin in religious symbolism.

picture: A Tree of Life, in the form of ten interconnected nodes, is an important part of the Kabbalah. As such, it resembles the ten Sephirot.

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Hourglass Nebula

 

hourglasseyecompr

The Engraved Hourglass Nebula (also known as MyCn 18) is a young planetary nebula situated in the southern constellation Musca about 8,000 light-years away from Earth. It was discovered by Annie Jump Cannon and Margaret W. Mayall during their work on an extended Henry Draper Catalogue. At the time [January 18, 1996] it was designated simply as a small faint planetary nebula. Much improved telescopes and imaging techniques allowed the hourglass shape of the nebula to be discovered by Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on January 18, 1996. It is conjectured that MyCn 18’shourglass shape is produced by the expansion of a fast stellar wind within a slowly expanding cloud which is denser near its equator than its poles.

The Hourglass Nebula was photographed by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hourglass Nebula was featured on the cover of the April 1997 issue of National Geographic. The nebula’s unique appearance led the magazine’s editors to comment, “Astronomers looked 8,000 light-years into the cosmos with the Hubble Space Telescope, and it seemed that the eye of God was staring back.”

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