Happy Fourth of July!
The Speech of the Unknown: An electrifying speech given by an
unknown man, galvanizing the reluctant signers of the Declaration of
Independence into action.
The Spirit of ‘76-7/4 Review: Barry Alan Shain, ‘The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context’
FBI Files Document Hardcore Communism in Valerie Jarrett’s Family-6/29 Includes contacts with Soviet Agents ...
Editor: I recently took two consecutive workshops with Robert Peng on Qiqong. He's the real deal. His teachings come from a Master in China. There are several movements but much of Qiqong involves visualization, intense vizualization.
Fiery Thoughts ...
The End Times Revelation of the Ark of the Covenant-6/29 Unveiling the Apocalypse,
The above passage of the Apocalypse is the last mention of the Ark of the Covenant in the Bible, and is closely associated with the Woman Adorned with the Sun in the following chapter. Catholics and Orthodox alike traditionally hold that the Ark of the Covenant prefigures the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Theotokos (which means "God-bearer" in Greek); and similarly accept that the purpose of the juxtaposition between the vision of the Ark at the end of Rev 11 with the appearance of the Woman Adorned with the Sun at the start of Rev 12 is to intentionally draw a comparison between these archetypes. The Ark of the Covenant, which housed the presence of God in the form of the Divine Shekhinah Glory, directly prefigures the Woman who would bear the Eternal Logos within her own body. Indeed the Virgin Mary has been equated with the Ark of the New Covenant since the earliest days of Christianity. Writing in the third century, for example, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c.213-c.270), makes this analogy fully explicit:
“The ark is verily the holy Virgin, gilded within and without, who received the treasure of universal sanctification. Arise, O Lord, from the Father’s bosom, to raise up again the ruined race of our first parent”
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (Orat. in Deip. Annunciat. Int. Opp. S. Greg. Thaumaturg)
The fact that the exposition of the Ark of the Covenant at the end of the cycle concerning the Two Witnesses is immediately followed by the "Great Sign" seen in heaven at the opening of Rev 12 - a vision of the Theotokos, suggests that these two elements are inextricably linked. At the same time, the vision of the Ark of the Covenant in the Apocalypse also appears to be closely related to the widespread belief in ancient Judaism that the Ark would be discovered towards the end of the world, before the final coming of the Messiah.
We can find an example of this expectation in the recently discovered Hebrew pseudepigraphical text Treatise of the Vessels (the dating of which is uncertain, see here for more info), which claims that a portion of the treasures of King Solomon's Temple, including the Ark of the Covenant, were hidden by a number of Levites and prophets before the sack of the Temple by the Babylonian forces of King Nebuchadnezzar. The Treatise of the Vessels states that the Ark was hidden away in an unspecified location, and would "not be revealed until the day of the coming of the Messiah son of David" (See Davila, J. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures Vol 1, Eerdmans, 2013).
Most importantly for Catholics however, is the fact that the rediscovery of the Lost Ark towards the end time is prophesied in the deuterocanonical Second Book of Maccabees - which was infallibly defined by the Catholic Church as a divinely inspired work during the Council of Trent in the 16th century, and is thus considered to be part of Divine Revelation:
These same records also tell us that Jeremiah, acting under divine guidance, commanded the Tent of the Lord's Presence and the Covenant Box to follow him to the mountain where Moses had looked down on the land which God had promised our people. When Jeremiah got to the mountain, he found a huge cave and there he hid the Tent of the Lord's Presence, the Covenant Box, and the altar of incense. Then he sealed up the entrance.
Some of Jeremiah's friends tried to follow him and mark the way, but they could not find the cave. When Jeremiah learned what they had done, he reprimanded them, saying:
Ancient Persian Inscriptions Link a Babylonian King to the Man Who Became Buddha-5/9 Ancient Origins, Dramatic evidence has revealed the presence of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became Buddha, as far west as Persia. Family seals and records found at Persepolis, the ancient capital of the fourth Persian Emperor, Darius the Great, have been identified and associated with the names of Siddhartha Gautama and his father, Suddhodana Gautama. The Persepolis Seals identified royals and other important personages within the Persian ruling sphere. Guatama was the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom. Analysis of Seals PFS 79, PFS 796 and PF 250 found among the collection of important seals in Persepolis, the Persian capital of Emperor Darius I, are purported to be the Gautama family according to an interpretation by Dr. Ranajit Pal (The Dawn of Religions in Afghanistan-Seistan-Gandhara and the Personal Seals of Gotama Buddha and Zoroaster, published in Mithras Reader: An Academic and Religious Journal of Greek, Roman and Persian Studies. Vol. III, London, 2010, pg. 62). The family crest bore the etching of a crown-headed king flanked by two totems, each a standing bird-headed winged lion. The Seal of Sedda depiction of a Sramana (Persepolis Seal PFS 79), a Lion-Sun shaman, is based on information gathered from a number of other seals the name refers to Sedda Arta (Siddhartha), i.e., Siddha (Liberator of) and Arta (Universal Truth). ...
Glastonbury Isle of Light: Journey of the Grail (2016)-5/9 film-entreprise-78.com, A sweeping epic chronicling the legends of Joseph of Arimathea as he escapes peril in Jerusalem only to find himself on the other side of the globe facing a more extreme enemy. Upon arrival in Britain, which is on the edge of war with Rome, he implores the help of the warrior-prince Caractacus in an effort to defend their sacred customs and ancient ways. - Written by Mark England
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes-5/9 Independent (UK), by Raluca Radulescu-- King Arthur is back at his mythical home – Wales. Guy Ritchie's Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur is being filmed in Snowdonia, starring Charlie Hunnam opposite villain Jude Law. This in the same week that Bangor University's rare books collection boasts the extension of its Arthurian archive after a generous donation from Flintshire County Library. Ritchie's Hollywood blockbuster is due to be released in the summer of 2016, and there are early reports that it could be the first of up to six films. Yet another film about King Arthur, possibly six? You might have thought that there have been enough renditions of the Arthurian legend to occupy anyone remotely interested. In just the past 15 years we've had the BBC's Merlin. Joseph Fiennes starred in another TV series, Camelot. Then there was King Arthur, the 2004 film starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. The more gritty historical version in 2007's The Last Legion. The list goes on. By choosing to shoot parts of the film in North Wales, Ritchie signals that he's taking the legend back home, where some of the stories – and our obsession – originated. We know that Jude Law's villain is the warlord Vortigern, which hints that Ritchie is returning to one of the first legends about Merlin. ... The story goes that Vortigern, fleeing from the Anglo-Saxons, was trying to build a fort at Dinas Emrys, but the tower his men built kept on collapsing. A young Merlin (in the legend, Ambrosius – Emrys in Welsh) reveals that this was happening because two dragons, one red, one white, were fighting in a pool underground and so toppling Vortigern's tower. Merlin prophesied that the red Welsh dragon was to overcome the white Saxon dragon. This legend of Dinas Emrys reaches back to the Welsh Dark Ages. So our fascination with all things Arthur is far from new. Arthur's roots are in the historical record and have seen innumerable incarnations over the centuries. He first appears in the 6th century, when the Welsh monk Gildas states in his De excidio et conquestu Britanniae (Of the ruin and conquest of Britain) that he lived within 45 years of the battle of Mount Badon, where the Britons were victorious. Gildas does not mention Arthur by name, but in the 9th century Nennius, another Welsh monk, writes that Arthur led and was victorious against the Saxons in 12 battles. ...
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"The mental experience of death is much broader than what’s been assumed" — Sam Parnia, researcher
The seven ways to have a near-death experience-3/22 BBC, by Rachel Nuwer -- Seeing a light and a tunnel may be the popular perception of death, but as Rachel Nuwer discovers, reports are emerging of many other strange experiences. -- In 2011, Mr A, a 57-year-old social worker from England, was admitted to Southampton General Hospital after collapsing at work. Medical personnel were in the middle of inserting a catheter into his groin when he went into cardiac arrest. With oxygen cut off, his brain immediately flat-lined. Mr A died. Despite this, he remembers what happened next. The staff grabbed an automated external defibrillator (AED), a shock-delivery machine used to try to reactivate the heart. Mr A heard a mechanical voice twice say, “Shock the patient.” In between those orders, he looked up to see a strange woman beckoning to him from the back corner of the room, near the ceiling. He joined her, leaving his inert body behind. “I felt that she knew me, I felt that I could trust her, and I felt she was there for a reason [but] I didn’t know what that was,” Mr A later recalled. “The next second, I was up there, looking down at me, the nurse and another man who had a bald head.” Hospital records later verified the AED’s two verbal commands. Mr A’s descriptions of the people in the room – people he had not seen before he lost consciousness – and their actions were also accurate. He was describing things that happened during a three-minute window of time that, according to what we know about biology, he should not have had any awareness of. Mr A’s story – described in a paper in the journal Resuscitation – is one of a number of reports that challenge accepted wisdom on near-death experiences. Until now, researchers assumed that when the heart ceases to beat and stops sending vital blood to a person’s brain, all awareness immediately ends. At this point, the person is technically dead – although as we learn more about the science of death, we are beginning to understand that, in some cases, the condition can be reversible. For years, those who have come back from that inscrutable place have often reported memories of the event. Doctors mostly dismissed such anecdotal evidence as hallucinations, and researchers have been reluctant to delve into the study of near-death experiences, predominantly because it was viewed as something outside of the reach of scientific exploration. But Sam Parnia, a critical care physician and director of resuscitation research at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, along with colleagues from 17 institutions in the US and UK, wanted to do away with assumptions about what people did or did not experience on their deathbeds. It is possible, they believe, to collect scientific data about those would-be final moments. So for four years, they analysed more than 2,000 cardiac arrest events – moments when a patient’s heart stops and they are officially dead. Of those patients, doctors were able to bring 16% back from the dead, and Parnia and his colleagues were able to interview 101 of them, or about a third. “The goal was to try to understand, first of all, what is the mental and cognitive experience of death?” Parnia says. “And then, if we got people who claimed auditory and visual awareness at the time of death, to see if we are able to determine if they really were aware.” ...
Editor: I'm not a huge fan of the genre "Thrillers," Lee Child and Daniel Silva are my favorites. Not interested in reading more than that. However, I just read my favorite thriller of all time: "I Am Pilgrim." There may not be a
Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream-3/13 Author: David McGowan; Publisher's description at Amazon: Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and early 1970s was a magical place where a dizzying array of musical artists congregated to create much of the music that provided the soundtrack to those turbulent times. Members of bands like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Monkees, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, the Turtles, the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Steppenwolf, Captain Beefheart, CSN, Three Dog Night, Alice Cooper, the Doors, and Love with Arthur Lee, along with such singer/songwriters as Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Judi Sill and David Blue, lived together and jammed together in the bucolic community nestled in the Hollywood Hills. But there was a dark side to that scene as well. Many didn't make it out alive, and many of those deaths remain shrouded in mystery to this day. Far more integrated into the scene than most would care to admit was a guy by the name of Charles Manson, along with his murderous entourage. Also floating about the periphery were various political operatives, up-and-coming politicians, and intelligence personnel - the same sort of people who just happened to give birth to many of the rock stars populating the canyon. And all of the canyon's colorful characters - rock stars, hippies, murderers, and politicos - happily coexisted alongside a covert military installation. Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon is the very strange, but nevertheless true story of the dark underbelly of a hippie utopia.
The Science of Near-Death Experiences-3/22 The Atlantic, By Gideon Lichfield -- Empirically investigating brushes with the afterlife -- Near-death experiences have gotten a lot of attention lately. The 2014 movie Heaven Is for Real, about a young boy who told his parents he had visited heaven while he was having emergency surgery, grossed a respectable $91 million in the United States. The book it was based on, published in 2010, has sold some 10 million copies and spent 206 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Two recent books by doctors—Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander, who writes about a near-death experience he had while in a week-long coma brought on by meningitis, and To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, who had her NDE while submerged in a river after a kayaking accident—have spent 94 and 36 weeks, respectively, on the list. (The subject of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, published in 2010, recently admitted that he made it all up.) Their stories are similar to those told in dozens if not hundreds of books and in thousands of interviews with “NDErs,” or “experiencers,” as they call themselves, in the past few decades. Though details and descriptions vary across cultures, the overall tenor of the experience is remarkably similar. ...
Jim Anderson: Heaven Can Wait-3/29 CBN, ... "As I prayed it got darker ‘til the point it went black," Jim said. "The next thing I knew, off in the distance, I saw a white light. It was beautiful. It just wasn’t blinding, but pure and perfect. As I started to go towards the light, I could see the out; the outer edge of it begins to spiral. And I couldn’t figure out what that was. But as I got closer, I could see it was the words of prayers revolving. The words broke off, going into the light. And I followed into the light." "The next thing I felt was being embraced ... safe and secure. It felt wonderful. It felt like total love," Jim said. "Next thing I knew, I was looking down at the room where my body was. I could see everyone working on me. I could hear what they were saying. There were two nurses outside of the room looking in. One said to the other, 'Why are they working so hard? He’s gone. If they do bring him back, he’ll be a vegetable.' I later on told her what she said. She about passed out." ...
Meet the 10-year-old son of Baptist parents who has baffled experts with his vivid and accurate accounts of a past life dancing on Broadway and acting opposite Mae West-3/21 Daily Mail,
John Dee was the 16th century's real-life Gandalf-2/27 Boing Boing, By Jason Louv -- Queen Elizabeth I’s court advisor was the foremost scientific genius of the 16th century, laying the foundation of modern science. Then teamed up with a disreputable, criminal psychic and things really got rolling. --