Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ante Diem VII Idus September

Modern Date : September 7th

Ante Diem VII Idus September
The Ludi Romani

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

The emperor Vitellius was born this day in 12 AD. The Ludi Romani, the great games in honor of Jupiter (Jove) continued this day and were celebrated through to the 19th.

September is the 'magical' seventh month (after March).

Zarathustra, a Persian prophet and mystic, was born around this date in the 6th century BC. He founded the Zoroastrian religion, a monotheistic, dualistic religion which has contributed greatly in the formation of Judaism and Christianity. Zarathushtra (Zaraθuštra), usually known in English as Zoroaster after the Greek version of the name, Ζωροάστρης, was an Iranian prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism, which was the national religion of the Persian Empire from the time of the Achaemenidae to the close of the Sassanid period. Zoroaster was probably born in the northeastern part of Iran, though there is also a tradition that he came from Balkh in modern day Afghanistan. In Modern Persian the name takes the form of Zartošt or Zardošt (زرتشت).

Zoroaster is generally accepted as a historical figure, but efforts to date Zoroaster vary widely. Scholarly estimates are usually roughly near 1000 BC. Others, however, give earlier estimates, making him a candidate as the founder of the earliest religion based on revealed scripture, while still others place him in the 6th century BC, which would make him contemporary to the rise of the Achaemenids.

Durga Puja
The nine day festival of Durga Puja begins in Bengal. Starting from the day of the Mahalaya, the days of Sashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami or Bijoya Dashami every day has its own unique rituals to follow. The making of Durga idols is governed by a series of rituals closely related with the holy river Ganga. The immersing of the idol in the Ganga at the end of the festival points to a theme of cyclical regeneration. The idol of Durga is flanked by the idols of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh, all of whom are believed to be her children. The goddess sits atop a lion, her vahan. The favorite tableau is of her stabbing Asura, the demon, symbolic of the victory she achieved for the gods over the demons.

On the third day of the lunar month of Boedromion, the Greeks held a state celebration in honor of the dead. This holiday was originally celebrated only by the aristocratic clans in their private burial grounds.

"And the Issedonians are said to observe laws like these: whenever a man's father dies, all his relatives bring forward cattle and then, having sacrificed those and cut up pieces of meat, cut up the one received by their dead father, then, mixing up all the pieces of meat, they have a banquet. Finally, after cleaning out the head of the ox, they gild it utterly and then use it like an idol and bring great yearly sacrifices. So son does that for his father, so do the Greeks celebrate the Genesia."
Herodotus, 450BCE

The Theosophical Society
The original Theosophical Society was founded in New York City on this day 1875 by Henry Steel Olcott, H.P. Blavatsky, William Quan Judge and others. Its initial objective was the study and explanation of mediumistic phenomena. After Olcott and Blavatsky moved to India, they became also interested in studying Eastern religions, and these were included into the Society's agenda. By 1889 when Blavatsky wrote Key to Theosophy, the Society's objectives had evolved into:

To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed.

To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World's religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.

To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. (p. 39, Key to Theosophy)

After Blavatsky's death in 1891, the Society's leaders seemed at first to work together peacefully in her memory. This did not last long. Judge was accused by Olcott and Annie Besant of forging letters from the Mahatmas; he ended his association with Olcott and Besant in 1895 and took most of the Society's American Section with him. The faction led by Olcott and Besant is today based in India and known as the Theosophical Society - Adyar, while the faction led by Judge is today known simply as the Theosophical Society, but often with the clarifying statement, "international headquarters, Pasadena, California". A third organization, the United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT, in 1909 split off from the latter organization. While all three organizations trace their history back to the founding of the original Society, one might say that in some sense the original Society has ceased to exist after the 1895 schism.


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