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Everything posted by CrystalFaerie

  1. Random Thoughts

    If there's one funny thing about my town being placed on high terrorist alert during a historical celebration, it's that there's an equal number of men in plate armour and halbards standing guard as there are actual policemen.
  2. Re-introduction!

    Welcome back Cou!
  3. Travel: New Zealand

    I second the above. Also, Wellington is a funky place and very natural for a capital city, and I'd recommend all travelers spend at least a couple of days there Otherwise, the whole Coromandel area is beautiful, and Rotorua is awesome if you're looking for a unique destination.
  4. Who on here likes to read?

    I'm glad you like the map search engine! I can't remember how I found it, it must've been while doing research. There's more precise ones out there, but they're not as interactive or easy to use, and I've grown pretty fond of that one My interest in the Late Bronze Age collapse came from reading the Iliad when I was 12 (another great book, by the way!). After I found out that it was based on real events that happened during a real historical time, I started learning more about it and before I knew it, I had a new fascination! I don't read many survival-type books, but I read quite a lot of fantasy. Any subgenres you like in particular? Traditional Tolkien-ish or non-traditional, realistic or dreamlike, happy or sad endings, good/evil characters or morally grey? I might be able to recommend something
  5. If you define altruism as being kind and considerate towards others, I'd say practically every world religion aims to teach people to live a better, more virtuous life in harmony with other people and their God(s). Interpretations vary, but the basic "be good to yourself, to God(s) and to other people" is always there. About the article, I agree with Slayerofdragon. I'd also like to add that what is considered altruism varies a lot depending on the culture. In some countries, it's ingrained in people that if you receive something special, you keep it for yourself. That doesn't mean that you're selfish, it just means circumstances dictate that it's the best thing to do (for example, you might not have much and what you do have could be taken away at any time, so it's in your interest to hang onto what you do have and not share it). You might be extremely altruistic in other ways - volunteering at a food bank, donating blood, taking care of wounded wildlife - but the study wouldn't measure that. Likewise, in different countries, it's expected that people will share everything they have with their community - think of communism. That doesn't mean these people are any more altruistic, it just means sharing is part of their culture, and it wouldn't stop them from being absolutely horrid to each other in different ways. It's like concluding that Americans are friendly because their retail workers are contractually obliged to smile and sound cheery. The problem with this study is that it doesn't differentiate between religious people of different countries. At first sight, that would seem like a good thing, but the problem is that religion is not equally distributed among those countries. A lot of the Muslims who participated in the study probably came from Jordan and Turkey. A lot of the non-religious people probably came from China. The thing is that what is considered altruistic in Jordan is probably very different from what is considered altruistic in China. But since the study doesn't take this into account, the results for Middle Eastern culture are assumed to be those of Muslims, and the results for Asian culture are assumed to be those of atheists. A better way of doing the study would've been to compare children from each country separately, taking into account their different cultures. But that still doesn't solve the issues that Slayerofdragon mentioned. All in all, I think it's an interesting study, but it should be taken with a grain of salt.
  6. Random Thoughts

  7. My Story :)

    Hahahahaha. Well, I was born in New Zealand and everyone knows that the entirety of New Zealand played in Lord of the Rings, so… Just kidding, but I was trying out LotR hairstyles when I took that picture.
  8. Who on here likes to read?

    Short version: it was the year the Sea Peoples, a group of unidentified seafaring tribes attacked Egypt, weakening it considerably. Around the same time, a number of advanced civilisations around the Aegean and the Middle East - the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Hittites, Babylonians and more - collapsed, effectively marking it as "the year (or general time period) civilisation collapsed". If you're interested to learn more, here's the long version (warning: when I say long, I mean it): The Late Bronze Age, around 1500-1200 B.C., was a time that saw many great civilisations flourish. These were all concentrated in the area spanning from what is now Greece to what is now Iraq, and even part of Iran. The greatest civilisations were the Minoans (Crete, later invaded and ruled by Mycenaeans), the Mycenaeans (Greece, the Greek islands and the coast of Turkey), the Hittites (central Turkey), the Egyptians (Mexico! Just kidding, Egypt of course), the Assyrians (Syria and Northern Iraq), the Babylonians (Southern Iraq), Elam (Iran) and the short-lived Mitanni (Syria and Lebanon). Those were the Big Powers of the time. You can trust that if there had been a G8 summit back then, they would've been in it. Of those eight, you're probably only familiar with Egypt, maybe Assyria and Babylonia too, and that's okay. What you're going to do now is think of the Pyramids of Giza. Think of the Great Sphinx and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and beautiful hallways with coloured frescoes and hieroglyphs, and columned temples, and delicate jewelry. Now imagine eight great civilisations who all rival each other in their mastery of such things. There was Hattusa and its 70m (230ft) sloped wall, Mycenae and its Mask of Agamemnon, Ugarit and its tablet of the oldest song ever discovered, and so much more. The Minoans of Crete even had houses with several floors and flushing toilets! The greatest thing, though, is how well-connected these civilisations were to each other. They fought a lot, of course, but they also traded and made treaties. In fact, the earliest known international peace treaty was concluded during this time, between the Egyptians and the Hittites. A copy of it is in the UN headquarters. As for trade, a good example is lapis lazuli, which was highly prized in Egypt but had to be transported all the way from mines in Afghanistan. Imagine the sophistication required for a Bronze Age society to achieve that! So basically, we have these eight civilisations in a very interesting power dynamic, not too different from international politics today. Some of these people invaded others - the Mycenaeans annexed Minoan Crete, and the Hittites invaded Mitanni and severely weakened Babylonia for some time** - but overall, they coexisted and traded in an extremely complex and advanced world. Around 1200 B.C., all of that came abruptly to an end. The Mycenaeans vanished, leaving only stories that the Classical Greeks turned into myths of a Golden Age. The Hittites fled from their homeland and disappeared from history altogether, until their ruined capital were discovered in the 19th century. Egypt was severely weakened. Assyria and Babylonia became a shadow of their former selves. Click here for a visual representation and type "-1200" in the box, then "-1100". See the difference? So what happened? Nobody knows. The collapse caused the disappearance of several ancient languages and writing systems, so whatever happened, the survivors couldn't tell the story. What we do know comes from the Egyptians, the only ones to emerge without too much damage, though they never reached their former glory again. In 1177 B.C., a group of tribes from the sea attacked Egypt after ravaging the Mediterranean coast. Egypt managed to fight them off, but others weren't so lucky. Ugarit, the city of the oldest song, was burnt to the ground and its inhabitants massacred. Crete and its multiple-storied houses were ravaged. But although the Sea Peoples may have caused the downfall of several civilisations, they can't be responsible for all the destruction that occurred. The Hittites, for example, lived in the mountains, too far from the sea for such an attack. So did the Babylonians and Assyrians. Even Elam, which wasn't even situated near the Mediterranean, suffered a temporary collapse (though, ever determined, as they had always been throughout history, they bounced right back). Another thing to consider is that we don't know who the Sea Peoples were, either. Were they foreign attackers? Were they people from collapsed societies that turned to piracy and ravaged the remaining ones? We just don't know. All we can be sure of is that one of the tribes settled in the Levant and later became known as the Philistines, but that's not much to work from. All in all, this was a period which saw some of the greatest advances of humanity in a relatively small area and time frame, among civilisations that suddenly, without explanation, fell to pieces around 1200-1175 B.C. Why? We can only guess. And that's what the book is all about I know this forum is not the best place for this kind of discussion, but I thought I'd share it just in case anyone was interested **Bonus history fact: the person responsible for this campaign was Mursili I. He ascended to the Hittite throne when he was only a teenager and decided soon after that he was going to attack Babylon. Not that the two nations were at odds or anything - Mursili just wanted to attack Babylon. So he marched his army 1500km (900 miles) across the Turkish steppes and Syrian desert, which according to Google Maps takes almost 300 hours, and sacked one of the largest and most prosperous cities of the time. Just like that. Did he annex Babylonia after that? No. He stole the doors to the city and, without further ado, marched his army all the way back home. Babylon, meanwhile, was invaded by a tribe from the North, which proceeded to rule there for the next 200 years. And that's the story of the time a teenage king walked across the Middle East to steal a door.
  9. Who on here likes to read?

    Reading was my first love I love and have always loved books. My favourite genres are historical fiction and fantasy, but I'm happy to read practically anything. When I was four and had just learnt to read, I plowed through my father's guidebook to Paris because, well, it was there But my favourites are fantasy, especially non-medieval (Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Pierre Bottero, Philip Pullmann), and historical fiction, especially set in Antiquity, the Victorian Era or the Titanic. Actually, I'll read any history-related fiction, whether it was written during the time period in question or not - I like David Gemmel (also a fantasy writer) and Marion Zimmer Bradley just as much as Victor Hugo and Emily Brontë I also read a lot of non-fiction, mainly about ancient history, the Titanic, languages, religion and Victorian photography. A really good book I read recently was 1177 BC: The Year Civilisation Collapsed by Eric Cline. Fascinating stuff!
  10. My Story :)

    Welcome! I hope you enjoy it here, we are glad to have you among us! It makes me happy to see another Muslim member join - I was starting to wonder where you guys were! Nice to have some diversity
  11. I'm no longer waiting till marriage....

    Right, now for a more elaborate reply I've questioned my decision to wait quite a lot, actually. I've always wanted to keep sex for intimate relationships - by that I mean I've never been one for random hookups and one night stands - but I have wondered before whether I really wanted to wait all the way till marriage. I'm not waiting for religious reasons (well, not quite - more on that below) but because I believe that sex is too special and personal to be shared with just anyone. However, that means that there's nothing stopping me from having that experience when I'm in a long-term relationship. Sure, I'd rather only experience it with one person because that makes it a whole lot more special and romantic, but there comes a point where I'd rather have sex with more than one person rather than wait until I'm 30, or 50, or risk never having sex at all. I'm not afraid of dying a virgin, not in the least. But like publishing a book, and visiting Greece, and learning Swedish, it's an experience I do want to have in my life To me, marriage isn't as vital as it is to others. It's a pledge to stay together for the rest of our lives, and that's not to be taken lightly, but it's not an official permission from God to have sex. That means that I don't see a big difference between a committed long-term relationship which may well last a lifetime (like my friends' parents - they're not married but they've been together for 30 years) and marriage. So really, for me personally, there isn't much of a reason to wait other than my own desire to make sure I can 100% trust the person I'm with before having sex with them. For a long time, that 100% trust meant that I was ready to marry them, but recently, I've started to doubt that. Add to that the matter of religion. In Hellenismos (my religion), extramarital sex isn't bad, and in fact, long-term abstinence is considered unhealthy. Moderation is important, and while that means not having sex with anything that moves, it also means not making vows of lifelong chastity. The exception is if you make such a vow to a virgin Goddess, but even so, abstinence vows rarely last a lifetime (fun fact: in Ancient Greece, priests didn't offer a lifelong service but were ordained for a few years, then went back to their normal lives). And stories show that even those vows aren't always a good thing - one version of Hippolytos's myth goes that he promised to Artemis to stay a virgin forever, but was killed by Aphrodite for neglecting her. I tell you, polytheism isn't easy Anyway, that particular myth speaks a lot to me because although I'm not waiting for religious reasons, I did vow to Artemis, a deity with whom I have a very close devotional relationship, to save sex for marriage. My vow isn't permanent, but I have started wondering if, within the context of my other beliefs, it's too long-term. On one hand, I believe that moderation in all things is important, but on the other, I did make a vow to a Goddess, and that's not something you break because you don't feel like keeping it anymore. That's still something I'm trying to make up my mind about, but it explains how I feel and have felt about things. All this to say that yes, I have wavered in my conviction to wait, and I still haven't quite made up my mind about what I want to do. I'm certainly not going to start having sex with anyone or anything anytime soon, but in the context of a long-term relationship, if I trusted the person enough, I would have to have a good long think about where I stand on the matter. As of now, though, I'm still committed to waiting till marriage Weapon X, you do what's best for you and what aligns best with your personal beliefs. If that means no longer waiting till marriage, I support you in that decision and I hope all goes well for you As for the people who choose to wait, don't be discouraged, I think your choice is great and I support you too! This community is a fantastic place and I would hate to see people leave because of a talk about no longer waiting. We all have our struggles, and I hope that through talking about them, we can all emerge stronger and more determined in our personal decisions, whatever they may be.
  12. I'm no longer waiting till marriage....

    I'll reply in more detail tomorrow but for now I want to say that I understand how you feel, Weapon X, as I've felt a similar way before. Unlike others, I do appreciate you posting about it as you've been a valuable member of the community for a long time and I think we have the right to know, and you have the right to let us know, your change of thoughts. Personally, I'd rather long-term members who stop waiting let us know rather than just disappearing and leaving us to wonder what happened to them
  13. Natural family planning : what do you think?

    I'm neither a guy nor Catholic, but I thought I'd drop in to say I want to use NFP as well. I was on birth control for medical reasons a few years ago, and it didn't suit me at all. I got loads of side effects, and this was on the mildest type of pill! My doctor concluded that I'm very sensitive to hormonal birth control and that it's not a good idea for me to take it. Hence why I plan on using NFP. It's very important to me to be in tune with my body cycles and to know what's happening inside of me, instead of ignoring it with a pill or a condom. I also don't like the idea of having a barrier between me and my partner once we're married. This is why I think that NFP, for me at least, is the best option. I would be open to other forms of birth control, such as an IUD, but NFP seems like the only one that keeps us in tune with our biological cycles as well as being natural and non-invasive.
  14. Hi everybody!!!

    Hi Robby! Welcome
  15. Hi everyone, I am glad to have found this website!

    Welcome, MissVasalisa! We're happy to have you among us I'm CrystalFaerie, also known as Crystal or CF, and I made the decision to wait and joined the community almost two years ago now. I'll be glad to help if you have any questions or want to chat
  16. I like where I live, but given the chance, I would move to Sweden. I love the language, the culture, the scenery, everything. I've been there twice and I felt right at home. Stockholm is funky, but I also really like the little cities, especially in the North, and I don't know where I'd prefer to live. One thing that I really like about the North is the aurora, and the fact that it's dark all winter. I'm a creature of the night So maybe I'd spend the summer in Stockholm and the winter in some dark town in the North As for travel, there are so many places I'd love to go! Greece, of course, is number one (and if I'm lucky I might even go there as part of my university course, fingers crossed!) but I would also love to visit Turkey. I've been studying its history in class and it seems like such an interesting place, with a culture very different from mine. Top destinations would be the ruins of Troy and of Hattusa. I know, I know, I'm a history nerd. I'd also love to visit the Middle East - Egypt (does that count as the Middle East?), Syria, Iraq, Iran… Unfortunately, they're not the safest travel destinations at the moment. And then there's Canada and the US I've never been to Canada but I do have family ties there, so it would be nice to visit. As for the US, I would love to go further west than I've been before, in particular to Utah, Colorado and Montana. Actually, given the opportunity, I would travel practically anywhere in the world so long as it's safe.
  17. Hello World (:

    Hi and welcome, Donna! Nice to have you among us
  18. The satanic origin of halloween

    Oh, good to know! I stand corrected. That article was very well researched, by the way. On the subject of Samhain, I should have been clearer in that, as the Catholic article says, it wasn't a pan-Celtic festival. The Celts were a non-unified culture that spread all the way from the British Isles to Spain, Romania and even part of Turkey. Samhain was a Gaelic festival, the Gaels being the Celts that inhabited the British Isles. It's true that a lot of Neo-Pagans like to claim that pre-Christian Europe was unified in belief and culture. This wasn't the case. However, a certain number of elements of Halloween do originate in Gaelic - not Celtic - customs.
  19. The satanic origin of halloween

    Hahahahahaha. No. Guys, if you insist on bringing up this topic, I'm a real life, in the flesh, modern Pagan. Granted, I lean more towards the Hellenic (Greek) side of things, but I used to be Wiccan and I dabbled in Celtic Paganism for a while. I know a bunch of Druids too. I can assure you, not a single one of them has sacrificed a child, ever. We're not out to get you. I promise. That said, I would like to make a small correction: Actually… they kind of did. Well, the Celts did. (By that I mean that their culture practised human sacrifice, but it was not necessarily the Druids doing the actual killing.) Many Greek and Roman authors, amongst which Cicero and Julius Caesar, mention it in their works. While some of it is definitely propaganda, there is evidence that human sacrifice did indeed happen in Celtic cultures across Europe, as shown by various mass graves and bog bodies. I've seen, at the museum, an actual sacrificed person who was killed just up the hill from where I live. Human sacrifice was definitely a thing in Iron Age Celtic cultures. But before we start demonising the Celts, we need to remember that sacrifice in general was a very, very common thing in ancient cultures. Animal sacrifice was pracised by almost everyone. As for human sacrifice, the Greeks and Romans didn't do it at the height of their civilisations, but there's evidence that the Minoans (a pre-Greek civilisation that flourished in Crete from 2600-1400 BC) did. Some scholars also theorise that myths such as Iphigenia's sacrifice, where she was replaced by a deer at the last time, are a metaphor for the passage from human to animal sacrifice. The ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians practised retainer sacrifice (when an important person's servants/slaves are entombed with them). So did the Vikings. The Canaanites practised human sacrifice. Carthaginians and possibly Phoenicians sacrificed babies and children. The Aztecs, Incas and Mayas are infamous for this too. Even Abraham wasn't particularly opposed to the idea of sacrificing his son. Sure, Isaac didn't die in the end, but Abraham wasn't too shocked when God asked him to perform the sacrifice, was he? My point is that while human sacrifice is a horrible thing condemned by practically every modern society, we can't go "woo scary evil Celts" when everybody else did it too. On to the article. This is true. Halloween has its origin in the Gaelic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-enn). What was Samhain? Simply a festival in honour of the Dead. You know, like Dia de Muertos and All Souls' Day. People honoured their deceased family members by setting an empty place at the dinner table, placing candles on graves and in their windows to guide lost souls to the Afterlife. Since the festival celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of a harsh winter, people would go from door to door asking for food. They would dress up and play tricks in an attempt to confuse malicious spirits into thinking they were spirits too. That's where trick or treating comes from. There was nothing ghoulish about it. No. Like I said, they did perform human sacrifices, but there is absolutely no evidence for them doing it specifically on Samhain. Please ignore all other references to this in the article. Shhh, Strabo. Your propaganda is showing. For information, Strabo was an Ancient Greek writer who lived in Rome and who, like most Ancient Greek and Roman writers, considered foreigners "barbarians" and inferior to Greco-Roman civilisation. Strabo traveled a lot, but never to Central and Northern Europe. While he is a valuable source for Egypt, when it comes to the Celts, he had no idea what he was talking about. Haha, come on. Baal is a Canaanite God of thunder. He has nothing to do with the Celts and Halloween. He gets a bad rep in the Bible because the Bible was written by Israelites, and Israelites and Canaanites got along notoriously badly. Is he a "synonym for the Devil"? No more than Zeus, Horus or Mercury are. If you consider them to be the Devil, then yes, Baal is the Devil too. Otherwise, no. As far as I know, this is true, though I would need a Catholic to confirm. It's cute that you think that. Seriously though, yes, Wiccans and Celtic Pagans do perform important rituals on Samhain. It's nothing unusual - Christians do it too at Christmas and Easter. When a day is special in your religion, you want to do something special to celebrate. As for devils and spirits being unleashed, see the explanation for Samhain above. (Side note: witchcraft, Wicca, Satanism and Paganism are all very different things. Witchcraft is a way of life, not a set of beliefs. Wicca is very, very different from Satanism, and Paganism is a very broad term used to define all sorts of religions. Not all Pagans celebrate Samhain. I, for one, don't, because I'm a Hellenic polytheist and there is no such thing as Samhain in Hellenic polytheism. But then, I don't expect this kind of article to make this distinction.) See above with Baal. If you believe that all Gods that aren't your God are the Devil, then I guess witches do worship him. On the other hand, that's not what witches and Pagans themselves believe. They don't rub their hands together, laugh maniacally and invoke Satan. They believe in Gods that manifest themselves in nature, and in the divine essence of everything that surrounds us. If you must consider them Devil-worshippers, please think of them as normal, everyday people who are being misled rather than people who are consciously "evil". Haha. Okay, so the Celts did have a thing for severed human heads. I don't condone that, I think it's pretty icky (though from an anthropological point of view, very interesting). But the jack-o'-lantern doesn't come from that. Like the article itself states a few lines earlier, nobody knows what the jack-o'-lantern is meant to represent. The bottom line: if you don't want to celebrate Halloween because of religious reasons, fine. But please check your sources before using me and my fellow Pagans for fear-mongering.
  20. America, or the world?

    Disclaimer: I've only been on a couple of small trips to America, so most of my thoughts on the US are based on what I've heard from people online (on this site and elsewhere), the media, and my few friends that live there. Feel free to correct me if I get something wrong I believe that waiting till marriage is actually more popular in the United States than in Europe, Australia and New Zealand (I don't know about Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas). From what I know, there's a particular demographic in the US, mostly religious people, with whom waiting till marriage is very popular. Nationwide, though, I've noticed that views on the subject tend to be very polarised - the majority of the population thinks it's ridiculous, but there's still a sizable number of people who are staunch believers in it. The fact that those who aren't waiting don't respect others' choice to do so, added to the fact that what I've seen of American media seems to be very promiscuous, makes waiters feel lonely even though percentage-wise, there seems to be more than in Europe. Here in Switzerland, waiting till marriage is almost unheard of. The situation seems to be similar in France, Germany, Austria and other liberal, mostly non-religious European countries (Australia and New Zealand are similar too, but are becoming more like the US). The fact that most people here are non-religious or very liberally religious takes away most of the demographic of religiously motivated waiters (that doesn't mean there aren't a few, but way less than in the US). But it also means that people feel less strongly about waiting, and views are more mixed. The difference between "waiting" and "not waiting" isn't so clear-cut. Waiters are spread out between people who wait until they're in a relationship, wait for love, wait for engagement and wait for marriage. Waiting all the way till marriage is the least popular choice, but since there are a lot of people deciding to wait too, just not for that long, it's met with a certain amount of acceptance. So while there might be less people waiting till marriage where I live, I don't feel as lonely, because A) waiting at least till you're in a relationship is common, and even though it's not a popular choice, I don't get judged for it. So basically, from what I've seen: United States - more waiters but a less accepted choice by the masses, so waiters feel marginalised Switzerland/Europe - less people waiting till marriage but more liberal views on waiting, so waiters feel a bit less marginalised
  21. Random Thoughts

    Yes, I'm reading the Homeric Hymn to Demeter in Ancient Greek. Yes, it's for my homework. Yes, I'm aware it's 4:30 am. No, I don't know what my life has become either.
  22. Ask an Atheist!

    What is your opinion on this? I thought it was pretty cool, and a nice way to interfaith (or in this case, internonfaith).
  23. Greetings from Asia

    Welcome to the site!
  24. Obliviousness and Missed Signals

    Aaah, why are all your stories so cute? If a guy I'm interested doesn't seem to be picking up on my signals, I generally just keep trying. Sometimes I will keep using the same techniques until either he shows interest, he confirms that he's not interested, or I stop being interested in him. Other times, I get frustrated and try to be more obvious, which ends up breaking our friendship if he's not interested, which in turn makes me more cautious next time. I'm pretty much caught in an endless cycle of be brave - bravery didn't work so be subtle - subtlety didn't work so be brave When I'm feeling shy, I can be extremely patient, to the point of waiting 1-2 years before giving up. Otherwise, I only wait a couple of months or so before moving on to more obvious signals.