Nietzsche and Eastern Philosophy (Buddhism) — Eternalised – Philosophy (Reblog)

There are some good reasons to believe that Nietzsche was interested in Eastern philosophy during his lifetime. In the Antichrist he states: “Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more objective. It no longer has to justify its pains, its susceptibility to suffering, by interpreting these things in terms of sin—it […]

Nietzsche and Eastern Philosophy (Buddhism) — Eternalised – Philosophy

Euro-roadtrip Day 6: Hamburg, Germany — Life in Copenhagen (Reblog)

On the final full day of our roadtrip we headed to Hamburg as our last stopover. We were pretty tired by this point and arrived rather late in the day, so didn’t do as much exploring as the previous days. I did manage to capture a couple of photos in the centre though 🙂

Euro-roadtrip Day 6: Hamburg, Germany — Life in Copenhagen

*The Beatles in Hamburg here.

Albrecht Dürer — Marina Kanavaki (Reblog)

German painter, draftsman, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer was born, May 21, 1471, in the Franconian city of Nuremberg. ❦ Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his […]

Albrecht Dürer — Marina Kanavaki

*This man was extraordinary: here‘s an interesting book.

*And my short take on him from an astrological perspective.

What on Earth’s Been Going Down in Antarctica?

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There have been rumours and several ‘conspiracy theories’ since the Second World War claiming that the Germans built a secret base in Antarctica, creating a kind of breakaway civilisation.

Now, with another story in the news about an apparently sophisticated 400 ft ship being found in an iceberg off the coast of Antarctica, these stories have resurfaced once again.

It is known that the Germans made several expeditions to Antarctica prior to the war. When by 1942 they realised they were going to lose, they apparently began to secretly transfer men and materials to a hidden base they had created in Antarctica, in a region called Neuschwabenland. Here, allegedly, they found areas free of ice, as well as areas under the ice they could inhabit safely.

Are Flying Saucers Real?

Of course, it would seem there is no way of verifying these theories and rumours, but it is definitely known that the Germans were also experimenting with some serious hi tech, in the form of flying discs. The blueprints for these craft are available and some of them were actually built and could fly.

However, it is indeed a huge leap of faith to associate these (as some do) with the flying saucer phenomenon, or UFOs, which exploded in to the news controversially in 1947 with the Roswell Incident.

How much actual truth lies behind these rumours I cannot say. As far as we know the biggest populations in Antarctica are still penguins. Nevertheless, it is intriguing to speculate.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Jophar Vorin — 19th Century Man of Mystery

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I have previously written a piece about the 1851 Great Exhibition in London in an astrological context. It is probably coincidental but around the same time there was one other less well publicised and rather odd occurrence in Prussia, in what is now northern Germany.

This involved the appearance of a stranger calling himself Jophar Vorin, in the small town of Lebus. He was subsequently taken for further questioning to nearby Frankfurt an der Oder.

Strange Caucasian

This strange Caucasian spoke what sounded like an obscure German dialect, but he also stated that he spoke Abramian and Laxarian, the official written and spoken languages of his country. Jophar was also nominally Christian, the name of which he gave as Ispatian.

He called the country of his origin Laxaria, in a region of the world called Sakria. However, when asked to locate his home on a map provided he could not do so. He stated that his country was hundreds of miles away, that the reason for his ‘voyage’ was to locate his long lost brother, and that he had been shipwrecked en route. Intriguingly, he described his world as having several regions, perhaps continents, namely Sakria, Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar.

It appears that the authorities in Frankfurt an der Oder took his story seriously. He was taken to the then Prussian capital of Berlin for further examination. As far as I can tell, it is not known officially what happened to him.

Parallel Universe?

So what are we to make of this highly irregular case? Many have speculated that it was simply a hoax, or even an example of the existence of parallel universes. Could they exist?

The fact that Jophar could speak a kind of broken German is interesting. Whilst Laxaria does not suggest too much to me, the name of his country or region, Sakria, may give us a clue.

In our known histories the Scythians, a people who appeared in a broad region north of the Black and Caspian Seas sometime around 2,500 years ago, were also known as Saka, or Sacae. The word Saxon may originate from this. These people were fierce warriors and metalsmiths of great skill. It was these same people who were to later move en masse to central and northern Europe, speaking a form of the Indo European language related to modern day German and other Germanic languages, like English.

Not of this World

So whilst Jophar Vorin does not appear to have been a time traveller, how can we explain his ability to communicate in a form of broken German?

The other regions of his world, which he named as Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar, have prefixes at least tenuously related to some continents of our world, namely Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe.

One of the languages of his people he described as Abramian, which is highly suggestive of Abram, or Abraham, perhaps hinting of a link to Hebrew origins. Abram means ‘high father’ in Hebrew, whilst Abraham means ‘father of many’ nations.

Multiple Timelines

This unusual individual’s Christian name, Jophar, might have been interpreted as Joseph, which indeed some people called him at the time. However, it is even closer to Japheth, one of Noah’s sons, whose name means something like ‘wide expansion’ – highly appropriate considering much of humanity today is still believed (by some) to be descended from Japheth and his two brothers, Ham and Shem.

What is more, Noah’s ark is said to have come aground in the Mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4), exactly between the Black and Caspian Seas, where the Scythian (Saka, Sacae) people were to develop centuries later.

Jophar’s second name, Vorin, sounds almost Slavic, though this may be a genuine coincidence, unless you are a particular fan of Star Wars mythology.

Speculation

So whilst some speculate that here may be proof of parallel universes, the existence of multiple timelines is also an interesting concept and is of course related. Is it possible that these timelines occasionally cross over or meet, allowing some to intentionally or accidentally pass through?

If you will allow me the indulgence of speculation, perhaps Jophar’s own timeline diverged from the one we are currently on around 2,500 years ago. Maybe his country of Laxaria developed from the Saka, or Sacae and followed a divergent course to our own, yet retained a few similarities in language and custom.

If the Sacae (Scythians) were speaking a form of proto German, that may explain how he could, at least to some degree, converse with the German speaking Prussians of the mid 19th century, who were in part descended from the Scythians in our own accepted timeline.

Allegorical

The world he described had clearly developed along very different lines to our own, however, even though his religion, Ispatian as he called it, was apparently Christian.

Finally, it strikes me as highly allegorical that the reason for his voyage was to find a long lost brother. Maybe Jophar was as surprised as those who questioned him to discover he could make himself understood. But what if he had actually found his long lost brother, not a single individual, but a ‘brother’ people?

Hoax or true story? We will probably never know for sure, yet it will remain endlessly fascinating.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Evening Haiku: Peace

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If peace rules the heart
then the whole world will be still
Glory in silence

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Stunning Cochem, Germany

Germany is such a beautiful and varied country – well worth a visit in 2020.

Check out Reichsburg, Cochem

There is beauty and stunning imagery to be found at any time of the year, in any place in the world.

https://www.cochem.de/stadt/

Today is Reformation Day

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In the largely secular world of ‘Western’ society today, Halloween has become a huge and ever growing event each year. So much so that the other significant anniversary of October 31, namely Reformation Day, is often forgotten, or ignored by many.

Today marks 502 years since the German monk, Martin Luther, one of the prime movers in the Reformation of Christianity, apparently nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg church of All Saints.

A sprawling empire, a collection of German states

In those days the Electorate of Saxony, in which the city of Wittenberg lay, was part of the sprawling Holy Roman Empire, of which, what we now know as Germany, was wholly contained, though it was not a unified country but a hotchpotch collection of smaller states and city states.

Martin Luther, who had long agonised about his own faith, was dismayed by the growing sale of indulgences, and especially the spread of this practice to his homeland of Germany.

The selling of indulgences

For a tidy sum, an indulgence could reduce or cancel your time in purgatory. The funds from the sale of indulgences were to be used for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

This may have been the final straw which led Luther to publicly portray his strong misgivings about the religion in which he was so deeply immersed.

The stone which Martin Luther dropped into the lake of faith that day has continued to ripple ever since – an action which was demonstrably epoch making.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Tanka: 2020 Vision

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The super fun ride
Saturn conjoining Pluto
Hold on to your seat
The world is about to change
I hope your view will be good

copyright Francis Barker 2019

England’s Heritage: Saint John the Baptist Parish Church, Peterborough

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Of course, the city of Peterborough’s greatest glory is its amazing cathedral, but that subject deserves a full article of its own.

One of the overlooked features of Peterborough, a growing city in the east of England, is the Parish church of Saint John the Baptist around the cathedral square.

Consecrated in 1409 during the reign of Henry IV, its close proximity to the cathedral and the modern shopping mall attraction of Queensgate, probably detracts large numbers of visitors. However, it is well worth a visit, and as is quite usual in England’s medieval heritage buildings, there are often some wonderful ‘hidden’ gems.

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The south porch entrance is most interesting, particularly the roof in the above photograph.

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The nave is very large and light with a rood screen.

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There is also a wonderful reredos.

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One of the most interesting features is this probable vestments cupboard, dated 1569, a wonderful piece of woodcarving, which I would think is limewood, similar in style to the plethora of such art produced in Germany during the same period.

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The pulpit too had some intricate woodcarving, probably oak by the look of it, although I did not find a date on it, but I would assume it is later than the earlier piece.

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There are even a couple of examples of medieval embroidery by the door.

words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019

My DNA Results – So, Am I Surprised?

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A few days ago I received my long awaited DNA results from 23andme.com.

The process was relatively easy; they kept me up to date with how it was going with regular emails. In total it took around five weeks from ordering the kit to receiving the results.

So it was with a little excitement, and a some trepidation, when my finger finally clicked the email link which took me to the website login.

It has long been contended within my family that there might be some more, shall we say, far flung genes within our pool. What might they be?

Geordies

All of the family I’ve known have been British, mostly, though not exclusively, English. My Geordie (Newcastle area born) Grandmother, for instance, had a Scottish maiden name, which nevertheless did not prevent her from occasionally casting one or two harsh words aimed at her genetic cousins just a short distance north of the border. Borders are always areas of contention.

My mother’s side of the family were largely dark haired, often with dark eyes too. I myself have dark brown hair with hazel-green eyes, which appear to come from my father.

Pure Speculation

On top of this there was some speculation that there might be Irish, or perhaps Romany blood. I don’t know where such speculation might have started though.

To put it another way though, I would not have been surprised to find some such significant traces in our family history.

Imagine my surprise then when I read down the composition of my ancestry according to the research based on my sample of saliva. Here it is in basic terms:

100% European.

97.9% Northwest European.

59.8% British and Irish – the strongest hits being Greater London and Glasgow, with lesser ones in the north midlands, north west and north eastern England, perhaps Cornwall. In Ireland it was found that Limerick, Dublin, Roscommon and County Wexford also represent some significance.

The above is to be found mostly within the last 1-3 generations, down to my great grandparents.

12.1% French and German. No actual place name hits could be found here, though looking at some of those within 23andme.com (my ‘relatives’ or possible distant cousins) with small percentages of similar DNA, Germany seems to come up quite often, whereas France does not. This may be misleading, however.

This DNA would most likely be found in generations 4-7, from my great great grandparents backwards.

‘Viking Blood’

3.6% Scandinavian. No actual place name hits here either, though once more this is a large area, with the best chance of finding it within generations 4-7.

22.5% Broadly Northwestern European. This generality is explained by significant migrations over longer periods of time which might ‘smooth over’ more specific areas of placement.

Maybe these ancestors tended to live in or around seaports (where there’s more influx of people – my speculation), anywhere from Germany to Iceland, from Norway to France. This is a significant percentage, almost a quarter of my DNA, so it would be nice to narrow this down, if possible.

1.6% Southern European. Another generality.

0.5% Broadly European.

All the other tested populations came up with zero percentages.

Irish Eyes

I knew of the Scottish connection, though not of Glasgow, I assumed it was more to do with Edinburgh, the Lothians or the Borders. I had speculated about the Irish. It would be great to follow up both of these with more investigation.

The London connection is a great surprise, however. I know of only one family member, a great grandmother on my father’s side, who was born anywhere near London, South Weald in Essex. I don’t think this would be enough to score the highest hit. So there might be one or two things to investigate here – maybe the London connection is indeed stronger than I think.

Exciting

And as for the French, German, Scandinavian, and southern European links I simply have no idea, so that’s exciting in itself. It’s at times like this I wish I’d asked my parents or grandparents more questions about family related matters.

However, one of the great things you can do with 23andme is link up with others of similar DNA strands and share information, if both parties are willing to do so. You can display as much or as little information as you wish. This can and does often lead to revelation, I am told.

Is It Worth It?

So is it worth around the ninety pounds I paid in all?  If you are seriously interested in family history, then yes, definitely.

And don’t think these results are the end – this is only the beginning. They are continually updated; if you’re prepared to participate with other members, plus also to join up for further research, such as in health, then this process should keep you intrigued and consumed for many years to come.

In the future, I hope to visit some of the places my DNA has been linked to, to visit Scotland and Ireland again, to go to parts of France, Germany and Scandinavia I’ve never seen.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019