Books, E-H

Harry Potter Still Rules

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling was released on June 30th 1997.  (Also published in some countries, like the United States, as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

“I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who did not know he was a wizard became more and more real to me.”- J.K. Rowling

An inspiration to us all. ~ lisa

Official Site http://www.jkrowling.com/
Timeline http://www.jkrowling.com/en_GB/text
J.K. Rowling biography http://www.jkrowling.com/en_GB/about-jk-rowling/biography

Berne Botts Every Flavor Beans

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Mythology, Y-Z

Yoruba Mythology

The Yoruba people have an amazingly rich mythology and a fantastic history that dates back to powerful city-states that flourished in the 15th century. The Yoruba were known for their mastery of the arts.

Yorubaland is in a region in Southwest Nigeria and also in adjoining Benin and Togo. Before an 1820 invasion, the Yoruba resided in powerful city-states with a very advanced culture in all the arts. Due to the slave trade, many people of African descent in the Americas trace their lineage to the Yoruba.

Now on to the Yoruba myth. (There is far too much to cover, but there are some great resources listed at the end of this post).

Itan is a collection of all Yoruba myths, songs, and histories. Itan is accepted as fact and is often used to settle disputes.

There is a strong belief in pursuing a constant quest to better one’s Iwa (moral character and behavior). Each person is responsible for making all aspects of himself better. This quest leads to transcendence and finding one’s destiny.

The belief is that each person has a destiny and each person will one day become one in spirit with Olodumare, the divine creator and source of all energy.

If becoming one with Olodumare is not one’s destiny then maybe it is to come back as a new member of the family. The Yoruba believe in reincarnation within the family.

After Olodumare, there are a multitude of deities known as Orisa (Orisha). The Orisas are both manifestations of Olodumare and are intermediaries between man and the supernatural. The Orisas have control over elements and nature.

One of the most important of the Orisa is the god Ogun. Ogun is the god of war, the hunt, contracts and iron working. The followers of Ogun would swear to tell the truth by kissing a machete sacred to Ogun.

Shango, once a king of the Yoruba, is the Sky Father and god of thunder. Shango creates thunder and lightning by casting thunder stones to down to earth. Priests search for the thunder stone which contains great powers. – This is so cool.

The Yoruba trickster god is called Eshu and he is well-respected by the other Orisas. The Yoruba think rather highly of him. Since I love almost all trickster characters I will be colleting Eshu stories to share in later posts.

The Yoruba are a large population with a strong oral tradition. All of these myths may vary from village to village by name and even by the gender of the gods.

If you experience a storm, then I wish you both a beautiful rainbow and a thunder stone as a souvenir.
~ lisa

A Must-Read – Best Site on Nigerian Mythology, complete with a great list of Orishas http://darkmythology-dark234.blogspot.com/2011/05/nigeria-mythology.html
Excellent rendition of a Yoruba Creation Myth http://www.gateway-africa.com/stories/Yoruba_Creation_Myth.html
A very good listing of Orishas http://www.fact-index.com/y/yo/yoruba_mythology.html
http://www.nairaland.com/781645/yoruba-mythology
http://africlectic.com/nigerian-mythology-the-orisha/
http://www.mythicjourneys.org/bigmyth/myths/english/eng_yoruba_pantheon.htm
http://postcolonialweb.org/nigeria/yorubarel.html
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yoruba_People

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V-Z

Vacations

I’m heading out for two weeks of vacation to the California and Oregon coasts and to the LA convention center for the Los Angeles Anime Expo.
Loki
Please excuse the noise as I try to get automated posts up and going. My first attempt “Summer Solstice” didn’t work so back to the drawing board.

Just back from the Olympic Peninsula. I have now been to the Northwest corner of the continental United States. The Makah Nation maintains a good path to Cape Flattery and an overlook of Tatoosh Island. There is also a wonderful museum that houses the artifacts and story of the Ozette Pompeii.

~lisa

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Bengal Cat Pictures, Introduction, Q-U

RHM Intro 3 2014 6 24

It has now been three months since the birth of Rainbow Hill Meanders (RHM). And The Hill still meanders through the space/time continuum, subject to glorious subject.

TLC, Bengal styleYou may have noticed that the tag line has changed to better reflect the blog’s content. Writer’s A.D.D. more correctly sums up the eclectic nature of the subjects covered.

There is always a bright, new, shiny subject that needs exploring.

We live in a most amazing world and I often say:

“Oh, I can use that in a book!”
“Why is that so?”
“Where did that come from?”

And quite often I add: “Ooh, I want to know more.” That said there are a lot of strong themes that will remain the same.

hiyu

 I’m passionate about mythology.

Not only will there be a cultural mythology of the month (or months), but also an exploration of the cultural significance of certain common parts of our lives such as cats or roses. The latter being tenuously tied in by a connection to the month in which the subject is posted.

I’m fond of quirky history and why and how we celebrate things.

I feel strongly about the battle against several diseases and will put those forward as millions of people hope for a cure. May none of them be forgotten.

 I have learned that a single or even multiple blog posts can’t do justice to the subjects I cover or even do more than scratch the surface of the wealth of information out there.

With completely random bias, I select what I think are the most salient points. I then tell myself I’ll come back to the subject in future posts. On most of the subjects I cover, it is unlikely that I will ever run out of new material. There’s just so much good stuff out there.

Loki gets a hug

Next month I hope to add widgets and make it easy to search subject by subject through the various posts. It will be all the excitement of new sidebars.

As always send me any comments and questions you have. I love to hear from you.

 May there be a little myth, a little surprise and a lot of joy in everyone’s life.

~lisa

Other subjects that often catch my eye: The Arts, Bengal cats and Bengal Cat Pictures, Quotes, Names, Writers, Writing, Superstitions, Folklore, Fable, Seattle, Flowers, Gems, Anime, Fonts, Ecosystems, and so forth. Stay tuned.

 

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Holidays, M-P, Seattle, Washington

Happy Midsummer

Today several places in the Northern Hemisphere have the longest hours of sunlight of the year. This however can be taken to the extreme. On Summer Solstice, the North Pole gets 24 hours of daylight. Talk about sleep deprivation.

I have visiting Stonehenge during a summer solstice on my list of things to do. Not this year, but hopefully soon.

  • If you are in Seattle go to the Fremont Fair. This famous/infamous fair has a little bit of something for everyone.
  • Or attend a Native American ceremony.
  • Or go to a performance of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For luck, make sure you turn around three times clockwise after waking up on the morning of the Summer Solstice.

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Seattle’s Fremont Fair

http://www.fremontfair.org/
“The event, a celebration of Fremont’s “delibertas quirkas” (freedom to be pecuilar) culture”

Fremont is its own “Center of the Universe” within walking distance of downtown Seattle. At least what I consider walking distance. Most people would take cars.

The fair features the Seattle Art Car Blow-Out with over 75 “art” cars decked out in every manner of decoration. There’s a dog parade, solstice-inspired yoga, buskers of every conceivable type (chalk artists, musicians, jugglers etc.) and then there is the 2014 Solstice Parade.

The Solstice parade has marching bands, floats and all the usual cast of characters. It also has the famous or infamous (depending on how you look at it) Solstice Cyclists.

This is according to Wikipedia and I can say for a fact that this information is accurate:

“The Solstice Cyclists (also known as The Painted [Naked] Cyclists of the Solstice Parade, or The Painted Cyclists) is an artistic, non-political, clothing-optional bike ride celebrating the Summer Solstice. It is the unofficial start of the Summer Solstice Parade and Pageant.:

Or from this year’s Solstice Cyclists website http://www.solsticecyclist.org/

“The Painted Cyclists have long been a fixture of the Fremont Solstice Parade – an event created and produced by the Fremont Arts Council. The parade is a fantastic and whimsical celebration of the return of the sun, complete with larger than life puppets, floats, and street performers.

The Painted Cyclists engage and entertain the crowd with our boldness, bareness and enthusiasm. Join us as we welcome summer to Seattle with an outpouring of artistic expression, fossil-fuel-free travel, and fun.”

However you decide to celebrate the solstice, I wish you fun and adventure.

~lisa

Reliable Wikipedia on Solstice Cyclists – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice_Cyclists
Solstice data and more data – http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/SummerSolstice.html
Solstice traditions through the ages – http://www.medicaldaily.com/summer-solstice-native-americans-and-tradition-renewal-247028
Precise Solstice definition – www.thefreedictionary.com/solstice

Some fun FAQs I found for the Solstice Cyclists participants

Do I have to ride naked? Of course not, some cyclists chose to wear a little something. Try flesh colored undies for the ladies and speedos for the guys.

How long does it take to be painted? Depending upon the complexity of your design, painting can take from 45 minutes to 4 hours. If your design consists of a base coat with detail on top, you’ll need to leave time for the base to dry plus time for the whole thing to dry before we ride.

Will the paint come off? Eventually. Your best bet is lots of warm, soapy water, a washcloth, and a friend to scrub between your shoulder blades. Most paints come off in little flakes so I recommend using a hair snare in your drain to prevent them from mucking up your plumbing. In 2004, I discovered the miracle of “pressure washing”. I attached a spray nozzle to my garden hose, stood in the middle of my yard and turned the water on, adjusting the nozzle until the water was a concentrated jet. This essentially peeled the paint right off my body. Combined with some sea salt and Dr. Bronner’s and I was clean in a record 30 minutes! It’s probably not a bad idea to stand in a kiddie pool or on a tarp to keep the paint flakes out of your lawn. Last year, I experimented with dry scrubbing first. I used an old, rough washcloth to gently abrade the paint off and then lathered up and rinsed. Like a charm!

I’m a little, um, hirsute. Will my body hair affect my paint? You can definitely be painted over body hair although it can be a bit trickier to get an even coat. Body hair also makes removing the paint more difficult and more painful. Some folks get into the hair removal aspect while others chose to go au naturel. It’s up to you.

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A-D, Mythology

Ashanti Mythology

Today I will look at the mythology of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana.

Ring with two pearls

As I mentioned before the Anansi stories are traced back to the Ashanti. If you want to know more about Anansi see the blog post Anansi of June 12th.

The animist side of the ancient Ashanti religion is a belief that all trees and animals have souls.

The supernatural side of the same tradition believes in witches and monsters.

The Ashanti also practice ancestor worship known as Nsamanfo.

Spirits receive their power from the supreme god Nyame and are usually a part of nature such as trees, streams, ocean sprites etc.

Nyame “the one who knows and sees everything” is the Supreme Being in the Ashanti pantheon.

Nyame is not only omniscient, but is also an omnipotent sky god. Despite his omnipotence he suffered some misuse in human hands and he now remains aloof and lets the lower gods assist humans on earth.

Nyame is married to an earth goddess by the name of Asase Ya. She is a goddess of earth and fertility. They have two children: Bia and Anansi. The eldest son, Bia, is overshadowed by his younger brother Anansi.

Anansi the spider and trickster god is well-known around the world. Does anyone have information on what Bia does in the Ashanti pantheon?

I will come back to the Ashanti in future posts.

~lisa

A brief history of the Ashanti people http://buzzghana.com/ashanti/
Another historical resource http://www.lotusmasks.com/category/ashanti-tribe-ghana.html
http://www.thefullwiki.org/Ashanti_mythology
An overview of all the tribes of Ghana and religion from traditional to present day http://easytrackghana.com/cultural-overview-ghana_tribes-rastas-religions.php

Besides the Ashanti majority, Ghana is also home to tribes such as Ewe, Fante, Ga, and Dagomba. I am ambitious enough to think that perhaps someday I will be able to cover and do justice to the mythologies of all the tribes

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M-P, Mythology

June Gemstones and Pearls

In a previous post I asked why June deserved three gemstones instead of one. I found the answer.
June actually has 12 (or possibly more) birthstones.

A list of June gemstones can include pearl, moonstone, alexandrite, agate, chalcedony, emerald, chrysoprase, tiger’s eye, white sapphire, ruby, sapphire and citrine.

The number of gemstones for a month depends on how many sources you wish to count:

Modern, Mystical, Zodiac, Arabic, Hindu, Traditional, Russian, Sun/Star, Moon, Planetary, Talismanic, Italian, Roman, and Ancient Hebrew. . .

Thanks to http://www.bernardine.com/birthstone/june.htm for a comprehensive list and sources.

Obviously I’m not going to explore the culture and myth of that many gemstones in a single blog post.

Pearl on a Wheat CentToday we’ll look at Pearls.

Pearl is the official birthstone for the month of June as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.

There are many other gems to explore in future posts – so many bright, shiny things out there and like a dragon I wish I could add all of them to my hoard.

For example I have now fallen in love with Moonstone.

But back to Pearls.

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Pearls have been traced back to our earliest histories. Even, before written history people have adorned themselves with pearls.

Pearl myth and legend has also come down from the long-ago mists of time in a high diversity of cultures. This blog post will barely scrape the surface.

China is credited with the earliest mention in writing of pearls (a 4,000 year old historical text), but evidence of the rare pearl is found in ancient Egypt, Japan, Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia, Rome and so forth.

My favorite myth stories are about rainbows. Rainbows and pearls intersect in myth both in ancient Persia and China.

Ancient Persian myths thought that pearls were born when a rainbow met the Earth. In their myth, thunder caused all irregularities in the pearls.

In China, pearls were thought to be raindrops swallowed by oysters. The Chinese associated dragons and pearls together, since they believed dragons fighting in the clouds caused pearls to drop from the sky in the form of rain.

My second favorite myth centers on what becomes of tears when they fall. In Japanese lore, pearls are the tears of creatures as diverse as mermaids, nymphs and angels.

Pearls on an antique mirror

Pearls are also cited in many religious traditions including Christianity, Islam, and Hindu.

There are the “Pearly Gates” in Christian Revelations 21:21 – “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl: and the streets of the city were pure gold, as if transparent glass.”

The Koran speaks of the pearl as a symbol of perfection and that dwellers of paradise will be adorned with them 22:23 – “God will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow: they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk.”

Questions for my Islamic readers.

What is the preferred spelling Koran or Quran? Is it okay to quote the verse(s) that apply to my research or should I summarize them? I have not found any clear answers on my own. What do you think?

Hindu texts say that Krishna discovered the first pearl, which he presented to his daughter on her wedding day and since then pearls have been a part of wedding ceremonies. I have also found that India traces their pearl heritage back to the 3000 year old Rigveda.

Pearl ring on a pink heart compact

Pearls generally symbolize wisdom, wealth, luck, integrity, loyalty, purity and generosity.

I have found that, like roses, each color of pearl has a different meaning. Unlike roses, there are about as many pearl colors as there are pearls, but they have been grouped in broad categories of color.

The familiar white. White = Purity, Truth, Fertility, Innocence, Faith, Honesty, Sincerity, and Peace.

Gold = Riches, Wealth, Prosperity, Freedom, Success, Love, Wisdom
Purple = Wisdom. Artistry, Creativity, Complexity, Mystery, Motivation

I’m partial to black gems like black opals and black pearls are not an exception.

Black pearls = Mystery, Strength, Fascination, Allure, Independence, and Balance.

A black pearl also equals Rest. And for that reason alone, I need to have a black pearl.

There are a seemingly endless number of myths about the rare black pearl. See http://www.prleap.com/pr/20341/ for a good recounting of many of them.

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My favorite origin story for black pearls comes from the ancient Chinese in which black pearls are created in the brains of dragons and one had to slay a dragon to get the black pearl held in its teeth.

If a black pearl actually equals rest, I might be quite tempted to slay a dragon even though I am more inclined towards getting dragons (rather belatedly) classified as an endangered species.

~lisa

An excellent site on pearl meanings – http://www.jewelry-secrets.com/Gemstones/Pearl/Meanings-Of-Colored-Pearls/Pearl-Color-Meanings-And-Moods.html
This site has lots of pearl jewelry available for sale, but the information between the items for sale is spot on – http://www.squidoo.com/pearl-myth

There are some gorgeous pictures of pearls at
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=PEARLS&qpvt=PEARLS&FORM=IGRE

To learn about pearls, their eight shapes, natural vs. cultured and how pearls are made see one of the sites below.

American Gem Society http://www.americangemsociety.org/pearls#sthash.1v0HmY1K.dpuf
A good summary of pearl history http://www.jjkent.com/articles/pearl-history-mythology.htm
A well done Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl – mineral
This site bills itself as the world’s best information site on pearls. I wouldn’t quite go that far, but it is a great site all about pearls – http://www.pearl-guide.com/pearl-history.shtml

More pearl snippets I found of interest:

The Roman General Vitellius financed a military campaign with one of his mother’s pearl earrings.

During the Dark Ages, knights would wear pearls onto the battlefield to protect them from harm.

It used to be a Hindu custom to present a completely new, undrilled pearl and pierce it during the wedding ceremony.

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