The nature of memory (and the Wunderblocken)

This is going to be a bit rambly. I’ve been thinking recently about the weird ways human memory works, and how it’s not nearly as straightforward as a biological video tape. This was inspired by a conversation I had with my brother a couple of months ago; we were discussing what he should get me for Christmas.

Brother: makes comment about buying me woodworking supplies.
Me: You could get me a Wunderblocken.
Brother: Oh, yeah! What show was that?

As it happens, I did remember the name of the show (Murphy Brown), and even though we only saw the episode in question once, over 20 years ago, we both remembered the name Wunderblocken and the gag that went with it. (Murphy orders an expensive ‘educational toy’ that’s just a cube of wood.) But here’s the strange thing: we each remember the Wunderblocken itself differently. I remember it as plain and six inches square, and my brother remembers it as about a foot square with rubix-cube-like panels.

The clip is memorable enough that it must be on Youtube, but I haven’t looked it up. To me, which one of us is ‘right’ is less interesting than why the difference arose in the first place. Obviously our brains don’t just record memories like DVDs, but what are they doing? Are there any benefits to having fluid memory? Does anyone have any thoughts on memory and/or odd-memory anecdotes?

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Helping someone with grief and anger

I’m not certain how to ask what I’m asking.

I am a complete beginner when it comes to these things, as my background is Christian. It turns out some of the things I’ve done my whole life apparently fall under the realm of “folk magic” but I certainly didn’t know our family traditions as that or call them as such.

My husband is going through a terrible time emotionally. He is struggling with grief, anger, and depression; understandably so after a terrible loss in his life.

Normally I would just say this grief is just something he needs to work through, but I’m concerned that he seems stuck. I have never seen him like this. Therapy did not help, so he stopped going. He is so very unhappy.

I’m praying for him every day during my morning ritual but I’m wondering if there is anything else I can do for him, energy wise, without crossing a boundary with his free will. Perhaps something as simple as preparing an herbal tea for him with specific intention (and if this is a good idea, can you help me understand how to fully use intention other than just wishing for it to help?). All ideas or thoughts are appreciated.

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Virginia Gov. expected to step down over yearbook photo


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) saw his support within the commonwealth wither Friday night with mounting calls from members of his own party for him to resign after he admitted to appearing in a racist picture from medical school.
Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation began calling Northam on Friday night and privately urged him to resign, a source familiar with the calls told The Hill. Various national Democratic officials also publicly called for him to step down.

Jacques Mallet du Pan famously observed that ‘like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children’ and here’s another story to file under ‘devoured revolutionary’. After a medical school yearbook photo of Governor Northam wearing blackface next to a fake Klansman emerged the Governor apologised and resisted calls to step down, but after Virginia Democrats abandoned him en masse it looks like he now has no choice.

It will surprise none of you to know that I didn’t support Northam or any Democratic candidate in our last election, but I still feel terrible for the poor man. Being forced out of American politics — resigning from a governorship, no less —  over a stupid photo you were in in college is hardly just; especially after he had already engaged in the sackcloth-and-ashes flagellation expected of his particular brand of offense.

This is an occurrence that I can’t help but think will be repeated over and over again in the coming years. The Revolution spawned many children and more than a few of them are due for a reckoning with it; damned by whatever sin against liberal orthodoxy they committed decades ago. It is extremely bittersweet.

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Rudolph Hess really was prisoner “Spandau #7”

Ever since Rudolph Hess (Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany) flew to the UK in 1941 (supposedly to negotiate peace on his own), there have been questions about rather Hess was really Hess. They have apparently finally been put to rest by DNA testing. A sample of the prisoner’s blood was found and the DNA compared to relatives of Hess.

Read the Article:

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Unanswerable questions

Are any of you familiar with this subject of unanswerable questions?

I’m sure I came across it mentioned in some thread or other, not too long ago, but I couldn’t find it again using the keyword search.  I’m (almost) sure whoever mentioned it spoke about how these unanswerable questions are utilised in some religious traditions, and possibly other areas (like maybe therapy – but I can’t recall exactly).  Anyway…

I speculated that maybe these questions were along the lines of ones I’d read started to be used in job interviews these days (apparently), such as “How do you fit a giraffe in a refrigerator?”

But an internet search (albeit only a brief one) came up with sites listing various trivial questions, most of which aren’t strictly unanswerable at all.  Such as the following:-
1. Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
2. Why is it said that an alarm clock is going off when really it’s coming on?
3. How come people tell you not to stand in front of an emergency exit when if there was an emergency surely you would run through it?
4. Why did Sally sell seashells on the seashore when you can just pick them up anyway?
5. Why are both of Spongebob’s parents round like sea sponges while he is square like a kitchen sponge?
(Above the first 5 from a list on a site called chartcons in an item called ‘100 Unanswerable Questions That Will Blow Your Mind’.)

So, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who’s familiar with this topic of unanswerable questions, and I’d also be interested to hear any examples anyone’s got of specific unanswerable questions…

Thanks in advance! :)

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On Reconstructing the Entirely Pagan Version of Celtic Mythology

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and considering and I’ve often wanted to rewrite the key “texts” of Celtic mythology to at least in spirit reflect the original pagan form. I have a few key points which I think would open up a world of new insight if people simply took them into consideration. I do want others to share possible elements that can obviously be linked to common threads in Indo-European mythologies that shed light on the mythology and beliefs of the Celtic peoples.

Observation 1: it’s pretty well known that the “older Gods being overthrown by new generations” is rather common here. The fomori are clearly analogous to the Jotun and or Titans, furthering this links is that Chronus being overthrown by one of his descendants is very similar to Lugh overthrowing Balor as he is actually a descendant of Balor. Thirdly, folklore and common sayings such as describing storms as being Lugh and Balor fighting suggests that Lugh among other common attributes associated with other sky Gods such as Zeus and Jupiter (justice, oaths, and so forth) further seem to suggest this. However, Lugh’s associations also bare a similarity to Odin. This also suggests a long suspected, but as far as I can tell not outright stated link between Odin and the sky. However, that last part is obviously more speculative.

Observation the 2nd: Cuchulainn is the descendant of Lugh which among other aspects of his legend suggests a possible and very likely mythological link between him and Heracles/Hercules. Those being that they are fierce, inhumanly powerful warriors descended from the chief God who appears to be a sky God.

Observation the third: At least based on their attributes and associations there seems at least to my mind to be a link between Epona and Macha. They are both associated with horses, the land, and fertility which may also suggest a link between these two and Demeter who is also associated with at least two of these.

Observation the fourth: The link between Morrigna/The Morrigan. prophecy, the number 3, and fate may or may not be connected to the three fates who also appear in Norse, Greek, and Roman religion, thus it would make sense, given that the ancient Celtic religions were often heavy with symbolism connected to the number 3. Not to mention that this seems to be a common motif in Indo-European Pagan religions.

Observation the fifth: It seems that given the associations between land Goddesses and sovereignty, it seems likely that the leadership of chieftains was linked to the favor of Divine forces connected with nature. This is also not uncommon in a number of different religions.Some have theorized that misfortunes that befell entire clans or tribes may have been linked to the misdeeds of their cheiftains/kings and thus led to their ritualistic killing as a penalty for their failure and a means to restore the balance. How much evidence that can be at least deemed solid by scholars dedicated to the understanding of Celtic culture  in the most objective possible light, I do not know.

Observation the sixth; Brigid and Goibiniu have some rather obvious parallels between Vulcan and Hephaestus and Hestia and Vesta given they are both associated with fire and one in particular with smithing, so while they may not be exact copies… WHY DO PEOPLE NEVER MENTION THIS?! I mean this isn’t exactly an uncommon motif in Indo-European religions and mythologies. Even if you can argue there isn’t much directly written about them, the fact that they are both Deities linked with fire and one is foremost associated with blacksmiths should be pretty obvious.

Observation the Seventh or rather a question: Why the hell does no one write at least an annotated version of these stories with at least some of these as footnotes?

I do apologize for ranting a bit, but does anyone else have any really obvious insights people don’t seem to bring up as much as they should or at all? There’s probably more I could say here, but mostly I just wanted to start a thread that will at least possibly help develop a more accurate understanding of what the original forms of the myths and the accompanying religion were like in their heyday. So feel free to discuss, critique, or share.

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Are these things ‘bad’? Also just seeking advice

Hello all,
Everyone was so nice and so helpful last time I posted so when I came to some hitches with my practice I figured this was the place to go. I’m just going to kind of conglomerate all my questions

-When you pray to your dieties (if you do so) what’s your dialogue like? Like, do you speak out loud? Speak casually like you would to a friend, or very formally? Do you recite prayers written by others for them? Do you sit in silence and say nothing at all?
I suppose I’m always worried that I’m praying ‘wrong’. I’m very awkward all the time.

-Is it bad that I’m excitedly bookmarking things I’d like to eventually add to my altar? I know the important thing is connecting with the gods and not any material things, but I’m a very tangible and visual person- I feel like I’m offering the most when I add things to the altar, caring for it, etc. I’d like to someday have a beautiful and full altar, though I worry that me being so focused on that material aspect is a bad thing, spiritually.

-Do you think using modernized representations of the gods in statues and pictures for altars is bad? I know sone only use imGes from original cultures but especially with Egyptian art I have a hard time connecting with it, as opposed to more modernized depictions with I suppose more dimension to them. Not sexualized or fantasized, just not in traditional Egyptian style.

-this ones random; what’s the consensus of getting a tattoo of a god or representing them? Is that considered disrespectful or as a tribute to your worship? I’m a huge body art person and it’s something I’d like to do one day if it’s not a bad thing to do.

Thank you all for any answers you may have :)

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Religious Choice

I am a Religious Pluralist and a strong believer in Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Thought, and Religious Choice. That said, I wonder how much of our religious views are chosen by us versus being inherited culturally through social conditioning? I am curious about the tension between beliefs that we are raised with versus those that we choose as adults. Can we ever fully escape how we were raised? Do we really have full freedom of choice?

I was recently reflecting on my own internal biases. I consider myself a Progressive, politically, and to a lesser degree culturally. But I had to question myself when someone recently assumed I was a Conservative. I was raised Catholic, and I think it has been hard for me to escape the implications of my upbringing. Even when I was a practicing Catholic, I always thought of myself as a more Liberal Catholic, educated mainly by Catholic Nuns and Catholic Lay Women who came out of the Vatican II Era.

So, amongst other Catholics, I tended to be viewed as Liberal. I could see this in contrast to other Catholics I have known who were more explicitly Conservative, like some of my Cousins, for example. Yet it has occurred to me that people who were “outside” of my Catholic Culture might see me as more Conservative than I view myself. This is not how I would choose to be viewed, but is how some others might have perceived me to be.

Anyway, it made me think that while I view myself as a Progressive who asserts Religious Freedom, I might still have something of a “shadow” Conservative streak that I have been trying to overcome for quite sometime. I wonder if anyone has had a similar experience yet was able to “escape” an early upbringing. I wonder how well people have been able to embrace a Religion that they chose versus the one that they were raised with. I expect that this is a common experience for many people. I am hoping maybe to hear stories about how people have been free to choose their own Religious views. I am open to any type of discussion on this, though

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