In part 2 – Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia travels back to the two greatest and largest lasting civilizations of the ancient world, Egypt the land of the Nile and Mesopotamia , the fertile crescent and examines the religions of these two amazing cultures of the past and finds remarkable metaphysical ideas and content. First up its the spiritual significance of the Scarab Beetle in ancient Egyptian religion and culture and the sacred insects linked to the supreme sun God RE/RA. The first deity to have involvement with the concept of ethical and moral values. Then its the dying and rising God – Osiris – who saves those who have been assimilated to him and the link to other grain/vegetation deities of the near east (Attis, Adonis & Dummuzi) . Gods of a different kind that would have a peculiar but highly influential place in the history of world religions. Then Jack journeys back to Mesopotamia and the temple/city states complex Ziggurat system and looks at the many different types of priests, priestess , rites , rituals and ceremonies that filled their sacred halls for many centuries. Next up, Jack plays voyeur and takes an eye popping look at the concept of the Hieros Gamos/ The sacred Marriage. A once a year sex magic ritual in which the king and the high priestess (The Entu) would perform a mystical divine copulation , that would ensure the fertility and abundance of the land for the coming year. And last but not least , its some of the great Gods and Goddesses from the cosmic Mesopotamian pantheon . Deities that represented cosmic law and order – and protected the people from evil and demonic supernatural forces.
In the season 14 premiere , Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia chronicles the dawn or awakening of human spirituality and religious consciousness. Essentially, the origins of the concept of Deity , a supernatural power that rules the universe and mysteriously replaces the dead with the newly born. First up, its the Neanderthals , who were the first people to lovingly bury their dead and the first to have a symbolic interpretation of themselves and the world around them. Then its the Magdellians of Western Europe whose cave paintings of animals, shamanistic in nature showcases an uncanny sense of life and the divine. Masters of portable art, they also created tiny figures of fertility goddesses with exaggerated Maternal attributes like wide , round hips and massive milk-filled breasts. The Great Mother whose womb was thought to be the source of all life and the place of repose for the dead. Next up, its the Neolithic town of Katat Huyuk, where the cult of the Great Goddess flourished in shrines and sanctuaries. Holy places adorned with a series of perplexing sculptures , frescoes and friezes. Plaster models of the female breast, human skulls and animal bones – maternal nourishment in combination with symbols of death. And last but not least – Jack examines four famous fertility Goddesses , The Mesopotamian- Ishtar, The Syrian – Astarte, The Anatolian- Cybelle and The Greek – Aphrodite. Powerful female Deities of love, sex and fertility that all sprang from the Paleolithic and Neolithic , Great Goddess of Pre-history.
In the conclusion to GRR’s 4 part mini series on the lives and legends of Saintly Medieval Ladies , Jack “The agnostic” Garcia chronicles the sacred stories of four more remarkable women from the Middle Ages, this time from the 14th century AD. First up, its the saga of St. Notburga a tale that resembles a fable more than historian fact. A Polish peasant girl who works in the labyrinth like kitchens of Count Henry of Rattenberg , Notburga notices that there are lots of leftover food from the feasting and overindulgence of the nobles. So she secretly brings the leftover morsels to a side door in the castle and gives the food to the poor each and every night. That is until the Count’s wicked wife Ottila – finds out and then all Hell breaks loose. Next up. its St. Agnes of Montepulciano – a child prodigy who enters a convent at the age of nine and by the age of fifteen is the Mother Superior of the nunnery. Agnes would become one of the great evangelical preachers of her time and run various convents with successful combination of spirituality and economic savvy. Then its , St. Juliana Falconieri – who was born into a powerful and mega-wealthy Florentine family , but as she grew up would care little for pomp, partying and politics and instead starts her own religious community- a nunnery dedicated to prayer , charity and the glory of God. And last but not least its – St. Bridget of Sweden – whose prescient dreams and intense visions would make her famous in Europe and even The Holy Land. Each revelation or cosmic message takes a physical toll on her body and as the visions become more frequent the Saint grows weaker and weaker.
With the Latin Church now functioning as an evangelical , administrative and mega-wealthy growth industry , a great intensification of Christianity in life and consciousness takes hold of Europe and the effervescence of Medieval spirituality stands out in art, literature and architecture. But…not every soul is content with the status quo and this spiritual disillusionment gives rise to the age of heretics. As entire communities separate themselves and form their own religious enclaves. As opposing dogmas and theologies fight a deadly battle for supremacy amid this sometimes glorious, sometimes dangerous and sometimes smelly and uncomfortable Medieval era , it is the sacred stories of the saints , those that have a special place in Heaven, that can intercede for us on Earth and those who powerful names are invoked in prayer that retained a constant grip on the Medieval mind and spiritual imagination. Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues to chronicle the lives and legends of little known but remarkable ans saintly Medieval women – this time from the 13th century AD – The High Middle Ages -saints include – St. Christina The Astonishing / St. Rose of Viterbo & St. Margaret of Cortona.