In an oral culture — one that is not written down — mythology evolves as it is passed from storyteller to storyteller. The Jesus myth was created in exactly this way, pasted together from earlier sources. This process is called ‘syncretisation.’
There is no fixed record of an oral tradition, by definition. In an oral culture or tradition, myths grow and develop to reflect the lived experiences and cultures of the people telling them. It was only when writing was invented that these traditions could be codified and by that time, they had been evolving for thousands of years. This means that there are many versions of the same myth, as different peoples carried it forward.
There is a difference between sex and gender; I am going to begin with sex (you’ll see why.) Sex refers to our physical, biological bodies. Usually, it’s how we are identified as babies, by the sex of our genitalia.
So are the sexes unequal? Yes, absolutely. Women are many many times more important than men. This is because the success, indeed the survival, of any population is dependent on the number, not of men, but of fertile mothers.
In China right now, a disaster is unfolding because of decades of legal restriction of family size to one, and a cultural misogyny which has seen female foetuses routinely aborted. This means that China simply doesn’t have enough women and it is facing financial — and possibly existential — collapse as its population ages. Doubtless the Chinese will soon be seeking net immigration on a huge scale; whether they’ll be able to persuade anyone is less sure.
One man can father hundreds or thousands of babies, but a woman can only carry perhaps 20 or so children in her lifetime and very few do that. Most women have far fewer children, which makes each individual mother more important. We explain how human society developed around core groups of women and children in Why Men Made God. Without children, humans cannot survive and the key to this is not men but women. This is why we developed a ‘two-group’ social structure, based around the mothers and children, with the men in a peripheral role. Continue reading Are the sexes unequal?→
Human pair-bonding can be one of the most satisfying and awe-inspiring experiences available to us. The feelings of love, closeness and complicity, strengthened by sexual desire and reward, combine the best of what it is to be human.
Together, in the context of the shared adventure of life’s journey, these emotions are even more deeply satisfying. In a good pair-bonded relationship, the couple are not only best friends but also lovers, enjoying the most satisfying fruits of both.
The Goddess is a big deal in the Philippines and goddesses are out in strength there this week. The occasion is the closing rounds of the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament, held at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Teams with names like De La Salle Lady Spikers and Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles, the Tigresses, the Lady Warriors and the Lady Bulldogs battle it out in front of huge, enthusiastic and thoroughly partisan crowds. And these girls aren’t kidding; this is serious stuff.
The audience is mainly young – but everywhere in the Phils is mainly young. That’s only to be expected in a country where the population has increased by a factor of ten in fifty years. And there are as many men here as women. Filipinos are as passionate about volleyball as Scots are about football.
Imbolc, (pr EEmulk), is an ancient fire festival that marks the end of the dead part of the year. Originally it was celebrated at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, and in other traditions on the night of the first full moon after that.
At the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, in Ireland, the inner chamber is aligned with the rising sun at the midpoint between solstice and equinox, and so marks the dates of Imbolc and Samhain. Many other megalithic monuments in Northern Europe also have this characteristic, showing how important these dates were. They delineated the dead period of the year, which began at Samhain, when nothing grows and the shades of the dead and other supernatural beings walk freely in the world. Imbolc is the day the Goddess returns, not yet in her full glory and majesty, here a girl full of promise, one of the three forms of a triple-goddess. Continue reading Happy Imbolc!→