The Child of the Darkness Eros —

Eros, is the Greek god of love. To which there are also darker elements, and the true context must be understood. In Rome his counterpart was Cupid meaning “desire”. In the earliest account, he is a primordial god, while in later accounts he is described as one of the children of Aphrodite and Ares and,…

The Child of the Darkness Eros —

Giant Tales: The Making of the Wrekin

Under the influence!

The Wrekin, Shropshire – Public Domain

The Wrekin 

In Shropshire, England, is a large hill called the Wrekin. It is about 407 metres (1,335 feet) high situated about five miles west of Telford. It is an impressive landmark visible from miles around, including  Cleeve Hill, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and the Black Country and even Beetham Tower, Manchester, and Winter Hill, Lancashire.  Probably because of its prominence a number of myths, legends and folklore traditions are associated with it.  Here we look at two different folktales that tell how it was by giants and there are several versions some may differ in detail.  The first concerns a Welsh giant who sought revenge against the people of the town of Shrewsbury.  The second tells how the hill and nearby River Severn were created by two exiled giants working to build themselves a new home.  

 Gwendol Wrekin ap Shenkin ap Mynyddmawr 

Long ago…

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Come Down O Love Divine

Immaculate Conception DC Christ

In traditional Mariology there is what might be called a binary unity- in-communion between Christ and Mary in the analogy of Sun and Moon. It is at least as old as the Adam – Christ, Eve – Mary binary analogy, but is based in apocalyptic eschatology and the centrality of Johannine theology and Christology. It begins with the famous Marian text, Rev. 12: 1-2:

Bougereau Regina-Angelorum-large

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. (RSV: Catholic Edition)

This text from the Johannine apocalypse is paired with the even more familiar Prologue to the Gospel of John, Jn. 1: 1-18;

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word…

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Vinland — Logarithmic History

1003 – 1058 Toward the year 1000, the Scandinavians, under Leif Eriksson, reached the coast of America. No one bothered them, but one morning (as Erik the Red’s Saga tells it) many men disembarked from canoes made of leather and stared at them in a kind of stupor. “They were dark and very ill-looking, and the hair […]

Vinland — Logarithmic History

A History of Hoax Relics in Christianity – Charles Freeman

The Bonds of Brotherhood (Ribaat ul-Ukhuwa)

Free Inquiry.

The Shroud of Turin and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey

by Charles Freeman
2012 May 24


When I was researching my book on medieval relics, Holy Bones, Holy Dust, How Relics Shaped the History of the Medieval World, Yale University Press, 2011, I decided to leave out the Shroud of Turin. Relic cults come and go and the Turin Shroud is very much a cult of the past fifty years, not a medieval one. The debates over its authenticity have been acrimonious and inconclusive. However, having been sent a copy of Thomas de Wesselow’s The Sign, the Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection, Viking, 2012, I had strong reservations about much of the historical evidence presented to provide an narrative history of the Shroud before 1350. Despite many years of research de Wesselow uncritically accepts much of the work of the…

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Medieval Tour Guides and The Stations of Jerusalem

Medieval Pilgrimage

A very belated Happy New Year to you all. After a very busy, post-Christmas few weeks, I am finally getting around to fulfilling one of my New Year’s blogging resolutions: continuing with a second installment of Middle English pilgrimage guides. The Stations of Jerusalem, a fifteenth century work written in the vernacular at the height of the popularity of journeys in search of shrines and sacred places, displays what George Shuffleton refers to as „the standardization of the Jerusalem pilgrimage“. The undertaking of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land remained a dangerous affair but now structures were in place, with the presence of prescribed routes and copious amounts of guidebooks with more detail than today’s satnavs.

The Stations of Jerusalem begins with a list of shrines that one will meet on their outward journey, a list so detailed that the voyage resembles one undertaken by an island hopping relic…

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