In the second installment of this season’s Thanksgiving special, Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues to examine the spiritual significance of plants, trees, weeds and flowers. First off, its the mystical plant lore and nature based religion of the Celts, Norse and Germanic peoples. And some of the mysterious rites and rituals linked to trees and plants, ceremonies presided over by the priestly Druids. Next up, its the Christians who use plants, weeds and wildflowers to help spread the gospels across Europe. Missionaries rechristen and reconsecrate them for use as teaching tools for valuable spiritual lessons that Pagan servants and farmers linked to the soil can understand. And last but not least…its the continent of North America , where the Indian nations have a vast knowledge of Herbology and plants are considered sanctified and holy. With the arrival of European settlers and kidnapped African slaves an intermingling of plant lore takes place and new American traditions blossom into being. Plants in this program include – oak trees,yew trees,miseltoe,holly,mallow,shamrock,lady’s mantle , angelica,rose, St. John’s Wort, henbane, foxglove, jimsomweed, mushrooms, peyote -etc .
To ancient peoples , plants were filled with vital cosmic energy and invested with a supernatural power that linked humanity with the Gods. In this season’s Thanksgiving Special – Jack “The Agnostic”Garcia examines the symbolic and religious role of plants throughout the course of Western civilization. First off, its the land of the fertile crescent where the Mesopotamians magically link the fertility and longevity of their Monarchs to the scared Tree of Life, then its the Egyptians who found evidence of a divine presence just about everywhere they looked. Next up, its the Holy Land where plant magic and spirituality played a role in the lives of the men and women found within the sacred stories of the Bible. Then its the Greeks who were highly inventive in their lore and plants played an important role in their timeless Mythology. And last but not least …its the Mighty Romans who may have been the uber-patriarchal militaristic champions of the world but also placed a high value on the divine power of Nature Goddesses. Plants in part 1 include – Garlic,Verbena,Onions,Myrrh, Belladonna , Mandrake Root , Lotus, Rose , Narcissuss,Palm Trees, Olive Trees and Pomegranates.
In the second installment of this seasons Halloween special , Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues to examine the rich tapestry of supernatural bloodsucking beings from Asian myth, legend and folklore. Including such malevolent nocturnal beasties as the re-animated corpse vampire of Chinese legend – The Chiang -Shih , that takes on a green phosphorescent glow before sprouting long talons and serrated teeth. The Huli-Jing (fox fairy) – Chinese spirit that rises from the grave shapeshifts into a beautiful woman and vampirizes its victims. Japan’s own version of the fox spirit demon seductress – The Kitsune that drains her victims sexually. The 58 Vampire Gods of Tibet – that are blood thirsty manifestations of bad Karma and play an intregral role in The Book of The Dead. And some shapeshifting , flying Lady Vampires , beautiful, seductive , deadly nocturnal maidens and supernatural bloodsucking babes like – The Pontiannak (Java) , The Langsuyar (Malaysia) and the Aswang (The Phillipines). This and lots more Vampiric creatures and Gods from the Far East.
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In the first installment of this seasons 2 part Halloween program, Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia digs deeply into various Hindu sacred texts seeking the origins of the European/Slavic Vampire mythos. Ancient Vedic concepts , imagery and traditions were carried by Greek,Roman ,Byzantine , Arab and Gypsies caravans and traders across the great silk routes from the Indus valley to the Mediterranean regions. Jack investigates some of the ghoulish brain munching , flesh eating , shapeshifting and blood sucking supernatural beings found in such sacred stories as the Ramayana, The Mahabaratha and The Puranas (just to name a few). Malevolent , nocturnal spirits , demons and ogres like the Raksasha, the Pisaca, the Brahmaparusha and the Vetala. Then its the deadly and seductive vampire women like the Chural, the Chedipe and the Dakini. Who not only suck the blood of their male victims but also drain their lifeforce or essence via sex and seduction. And last but not least .. its the Queen of the Hindu vampires and ghouls, the dangerous and ambiguous Kali.
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In the conclusion to the epic mini series – Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia journeys to the mystic deserts of Arabia and the kaliedoscopic swirls of ancient India. First off, its the third of the Abrahamic religions, Islam – a faith that includes the idea of personal submission to the divine sovereignty of God / Allah. And teaches that individuals have the power to gain salvation or damnation for themselves by having the the freewill to choose. Next up, its Hinduism – a religion that features a concept that is similar to salvation (Moksa) – the release from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Essentially a type of emancipation of the soul from the impediments of Karma and reincarnation (Samsara). And last but not least its Buddhism – a spiritual path that also believes in the doctrines of Samsara and Karma – but with some very interesting differences and distinctions.
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First off its the classical Gods of Greece and Rome and the official religion of the city-states (or Polis) which offered no salvation , no hope for a happy afterlife and no escape from death and the shared fate of humanity (Hades the Underworld). This sense of doom and gloom , a sad human dignity and tragic destiny would find a luminous expressions in Helenistic art and literature. Next up, its the mystery Cults that invaded the Roman Empire , promising the forgiveness of sins and the possibility of everlasting spiritual bliss. But… only to those who have been initiated in the sacred , esoteric knowledge and wisdom necessary to achieve salvation. Cult devotees believed the soul to be of celestial origin and immortal and that only they held the key to eternity. And last but not least…its Christianity – the salvation religion par excellence. Which may have originated in Judaism but was also highly influenced by the diversity of spiritual ideas floating around the Greco-Roman world – including such philosophies as Astralism, Gnosticism, Heremeticism and Neo-Platonism.
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In the first installment of an amazing three part mini series -Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia digs deeply into the widespread and diverse belief that deities rule the universe via a series of divine laws that preserve order and harmony and those who transgress must pay in this life or the next. First off, its the land of the Nile where the earliest written evidence can be found that people believed that an individuals well being in the afterlife could be jeopardized by wrong doing (Sins) they might have committed while still alive and breathing. Next up, its the land of the fertile crescent (Mesopotamia) whose people did not believe in the possibility of salvation or a happy afterlife since to them death was final and the underworld (Kurnugia) was a gloomy , dusty land of no return. Then its the ancient Israelites who at first believed only in the possibility of personal salvation in this life only at least until the concept of resurrection and final Judgement emerges in Hebrew thought circa the 2nd century BC and changes everything ….forever. And last but not least its Zorastarianism the ancient religion of Iran (Persia) that features a highly influential concept, that humanity is involved in a cosmic struggle between the forces of Good/Light & Evil/Darkness . And that each individual must make a fateful choice and align themselves with one or the other and thereby choose their eternal destiny.
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First off , its the many roles and guises of the great Goddess in Egyptian culture, spirituality and religion – including her links to the Ankh (The Looped Cross) and her function as the patroness of sages and magicians. Next up, its the multicultural Ptolemic dynasty who view religion as the key to their integration policy. The Ptolemys assimilate local deities to Hellenistic ones and fuse their prayers and hymns together and Isis acquires a universal character – The all goddess or Isis pantheon. then its the Roman Empire ,where the Cult of Isis becomes a major religion and her divine promises of salvation and eternal life are absorbed and reintergrated into the new concepts and contexts of Christianity.
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In the first installment of a special two part GRR event, Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia unveils the mystery of the greatest Goddess in Ancient Egyptian spirituality- Isis (The Winged One). First off its a few of the many Pre-dynastic Egyptian creation myths that feature a void of darkness , a Cosmic Egg, sacred Birds and Serpents, aromatic Lotus blossoms, flying eyeballs and a lonely masturbating God whose Divine Climax brings the World into existence. Up next, its the finest Ancient Egyptian account of creation from the time of the Pyramids featuring the Nine Gods of Heliopolis – the extended and incestuous family of Isis. Primal and powerful deities like Ra, Atum, Shu, Tefenet, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Seth, Nephthys, Horus and Thoth. Relatives and rivals who all play integral roles in the sacred story of Isis. Jack examines their complex and interwoven relationships , origins ,representations ,functions , rites and rituals.
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In the conclusion to the very popular fist installment of GRR’s mini-series , Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines some of the many great characters that inhabit the multiverse of Slavic Myth and Legend. First up its Ilya Muromets – a type of Slavic superhero with links to the ancient Pagan Gods of lighting, thunder and war. He rides a flying horse and destroys malevolent monsters with his magic bow and arrows . Then its Ivan The Fool – who reflects the ancient theme of ancestor worship and acts as a guardian of family traditions. He is rewarded with a magical horse of his own and a chance to win the hand of the Czar’s daughter. Next up its – the ladies both the deadly and the beautiful – once a powerful Earth Mother Goddess – The Baba Yaga – with the coming of Christianity is demoted and regulated to the realm of Folklore. A special place of the imagination where the ogres /witch thrives and becomes the prototype for the fairy tale Witch who lives in the forest. And last but not least …Jack plays storyteller and recites the tale of Wassalisa a spirited young girl with a special doll she hides in her pocket. Endlessly abused by her step family – they decide to finally be rid of her and hatch a plot to send Wassalisa deep into the forest to the hut of the Baba Yaga in a perilous quest for fire and light.
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