I respect the young girl who was raped i.e. arranged marriage, to an old man, and then told by another ‘old man’ aka an ‘angel’ on behalf of an even older ‘man’ aka ‘God’ that she was having a special boy/son who was later called ‘the son of Man’ and even later ‘the Son of God’ and the baby was visited by ‘three Kings/Wise men’ (always the ‘three’). That poor girl her whole life and body was dominated by men, human and otherwise, and mansplaining. She had no chance, her existence was all planned out – if ‘he’ the chosen one, her son, was born knowing what would happen why choose to have his Mother’s life mapped out as well? He didn’t like how hard his life was/the direction in which it went and he knew in advance – both intentionally and unintentionally demonstrating that knowing something and go through it are two different things so why add to that and choose a girl who had no life/opportunity/choice at all? At least he could talk to God (or someone) and perhaps get an answer, she couldn’t at all as far as we know and it sounds like God or he and God (if they were even related in an immediate familial sense) picked a vulnerable/easily taken advantage of person to impose their plan(s) on. How nice. How good. Not. That is one of the types of innocent they were supposed to protect no? And no it wasn’t an honour or even an obligation/honour of duty as she may have seen it, she didn’t have a choice – she was a young girl she couldn’t make such big decisions herself let alone with informed, understood consent and she shouldn’t have had to – her choices were made for her. A child like the children in the world today who are married off and/or are children who have children and many of the rest of us in the world agree that even though it’s cultural we have moved on and/or we don’t like it/it’s not right and those who don’t mind are either of the ‘it’s not our children and there’s not much we can do about it so we don’t bother/just leave them to it’ mentality and those that want that kind of thing are deemed pedophiles.
Her festival including fasting period is almost overshadowed and even undone by:
‘The Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus is celebrated by the most Christian denominations on August 06, 2017. Transfiguration is considered a major feast, numbered among the twelve Great Feasts in Orthodoxy. In all these churches, if the feast falls on a Sunday, its liturgy is not combined with the Sunday liturgy, but completely replaces it.
The Transfiguration is the second of the “Three Feasts of the Saviour in August”, the other two being the Procession of the Cross on August 1 and the Icon of Christ Not Made by Hand on August 16. The Transfiguration is preceded by a one-day Forefeast and is followed by an Afterfeast of eight days, ending the day before the Forefeast of the Dormition.
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported in the New Testament in which Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant upon a mountain. Jesus and three of his apostles go to a mountain (the Mount of Transfiguration). On the mountain, Jesus begins to shine with bright rays of light, the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to him and he speaks with them. Jesus is then called “Son” by a voice in the sky, assumed to be God the Father, as in the Baptism of Jesus.
In Christian teachings, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth.
So even though I’m not Catholic or Christian I wouldn’t mind showing respect to this great female icon and I already have shown her recognition and sympathy by posting this and acknowledging this day two weeks ago but I don’t and didn’t need to fast even if I was of the necessary religious persuasion. Know why? I’m vegan and I fast/abstain more than that every day and I don’t even see it as fasting, vegans act every day for a better world via compassion to other creatures, the environment, human health and their own health. We don’t do too badly by the ethos of the New Testament do we. (Ha just recently I told a cleric I wasn’t going to have honey no matter what and outlined the reasons why even though it’s seen in many texts and science as a cure-all even in treatment for what I suffer from, so there. At first he was surprised and laughing but when I said I don’t laugh at his beliefs and it’s not funny he apologized, listened and quickly learned my ethos to be kind to all creatures great and small as something to be respected.)
The Dormition of the Mother of God (Greek: Κοίμησις Θεοτόκου, Koímēsis Theotokou often anglicized as Kimisis, Slavonic: Успение Пресвятыя Богородицы, Uspenie Presvetia Bogoroditsi) is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of Mary the Theotokos (“Mother of God”, literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 (August 28, N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest August 15.
The Feast of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. From August 1 to August 14 (inclusive) Orthodox and Eastern Catholics fast from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products (eggs and milk products), fish, oil, and wine. The Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than either the Nativity Fast (Advent) or the Apostles’ Fast, with only wine and oil (but no fish) allowed on weekends. As with the other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Fast; in this case, the Transfiguration (August 6), on which fish, wine and oil are allowed.
In some places, the services on weekdays during the Fast are similar to the services during Great Lent (with some variations). Many churches and monasteries in the Russian tradition perform the lenten services on at least the first day of the Dormition Fast. In the Greek tradition, during the Fast either the Great Paraklesis (Supplicatory Canon) or the Small Paraklesis is celebrated every evening except Saturday evening and the Eves of the Transfiguration and the Dormition.
The first day of the Dormition Fast is a feast day called the Procession of the Cross (August 1), on which day it is customary to have an outdoor procession and perform the Lesser Blessing of Water.
Significance of the feast
In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, in the language of the scripture, death is often called a “sleeping” or “falling asleep” (Greek κοίμησις; whence κοιμητήριον > coemetērium > cemetery, “a place of sleeping”). A prominent example of this is the name of this feast; another is the Dormition of Anna, Mary’s mother.[My comment – remember Anna and Anna-Marie stem from Ishtar and Inanna.]
Up until the 5th century Church Fathers do not mention the Dormition of the Virgin and to the 6th century Dormition was not celebrated among the Christians as a holy day.
For example, Epiphanius of Salamis, a Jew by birth, born in Phoenicia, converted to Christianity in adulthood and lived as a monk for over 20 years in Palestine with 335-340 for 362 years, writes in “Panarion” in “Contra antidicomarianst” about the death of the Virgin Mary following: “If any think [ I ] am mistaken, moreover, let them search through the scriptures any neither find Mary’s death, nor whether or not she died, nor whether or not she was buried — even though John surely traveled throughout Asia. And yet, nowhere does he say that he took the holy Virgin with him. Scripture simply kept silence because of the overwhelming wonder, not to throw men’s minds into consternation[my comment – I doubt it was out of wonder and/or respect, morelike patriarchy like some people’s gospels downplaying Mary Magdalene’s role]. For I dare not say — though I have my suspicions, I keep silent. Perhaps, just as her death is not to be found, so I may have found some traces of the holy and blessed Virgin.” “The holy virgin may have died and been buried — her falling asleep was with honor, her death in purity, her crown in virginity. Or she may have been put to death — as the scripture says, “And a sword shall pierce through her soul” — her fame is among the martyrs and her holy body, by which light rose on the world, [rests] amid blessings. Or she may have remained alive, for God is not incapable of doing whatever he wills. No one knows her end. But we must not honor the saints to excess; we must honor their Master. It is time for the error of those who have gone astray to cease.” Christians in the late 4th century had different opinions regarding Mary’s death; some believed that she was martyred. For this reason, Ambrose, for example, wrote: “Neither the letter of Scripture nor Tradition does not teach us that Mary had left this life as a consequence of suffering from bodily ulcers.”
The events of the Dormition of the Virgin, and the burial of several known apocrypha: “Tale of the Dormition of the Virgin” Pseudo-John the Theologian (V emerged in the mid-century or later), “De transitu Virginis Mariae” Pseudo-Melito of Sardis (5th century), the composition of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, “According to John, Archbishop of Thessalonica.” One of these apocrypha placed in the “History of the Church” Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos. All listed Apocrypha quite late (5th and 6th century) and differ from each other content.
Therefore, the Church was not taken all their content, but only the basic idea that the Virgin Mary blissfully rested and Her soul was adopted by her Son Jesus Christ at Dormition. According to Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos in his “History of the Church,” the emperor Maurice (582—602), issued an edict which set the date for the celebration of the Dormition – August 15. After that Christians in the empire began to celebrate the death of the Virgin Mary. Patriarch of Jerusalem Modestus (630—632) preaching, said at this celebration, regrets the lack of specific information about the death of the Virgin Mary. In Rome the feast called Dormitio Beatae Virginis set by Pope Sergius I (687-701), borrowed from Constantinople.
According to later Catholic tradition, Mary, having spent her life after Pentecost supporting and serving the nascent Church, was living in the house of the Apostle John, in Jerusalem, when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her death would occur three days later. The apostles, scattered throughout the world, are said to have been miraculously transported to be at her side when she died. The sole exception was Thomas, who had been delayed. He is said to have arrived three days after her death in a cloud above her tomb and to have seen her body leaving to heaven. He asked her “Where are you going, O Holy One?” and then she took off her girdle and gave it to him and said “Receive this my friend” then she disappeared. Thomas was taken to his fellow Apostles and asked to see her grave so that he could bid her goodbye. Mary had been buried in Gethsemane, according to her request. When they arrived at the grave, her body was gone, leaving a sweet fragrance. An apparition is said to have confirmed that Christ had taken her body to heaven after three days to be reunited with her soul. Orthodox theology teaches that the Theotokos has already undergone the bodily resurrection which all will experience at the second coming, and stands in heaven in that glorified state which the other righteous ones will only enjoy after the Last Judgment.
Dormition versus Assumption
The Dormition of the Theotokos is celebrated on August 15 (August 28, N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar), the same calendar day as the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The Dormition and the Assumption are different names for the same event, Mary’s departure from the earth, although the beliefs are not necessarily identical.
The Orthodox Church specifically holds one of two Roman Catholic alternative beliefs, teaching that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven when the apostles, miraculously transported from the ends of the earth, found her tomb to be empty.
While some Roman Catholics agree with the Orthodox that this happened after Mary’s death, others hold that she did not experience death and she was “assumed” into heaven in bodily form, just as her son Jesus ascended. However, Pope Pius XII alludes to the fact of her death at least five times, but left open the question of whether or not Mary actually underwent death in connection with her departure, in his Apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus (1950), which dogmatically defined ex cathedra (i.e., infallibly) the Assumption.
On 25 June 1997 during a General Audience Pope John Paul II stated that Mary experienced natural death prior to her assumption into Heaven, stating:
It is true that in Revelation death is presented as a punishment for sin. However, the fact that the Church proclaims Mary free from original sin [my comment – sex though note that being raped and taken advantage of sexually in any way is still sex/sexual it’s not the victim’s fault and they are still innocent, perhaps even ‘innocent’ sexually in some people’s eyes too] by a unique divine privilege does not lead to the conclusion that she also received physical immortality. The Mother is not superior to the Son [my comment – was she not a chosen one as well? Who suffered and died not only for ‘God’/’his’ but for people as well?] who underwent death, giving it a new meaning and changing it into a means of salvation. Involved in Christ’s redemptive work and associated in his saving sacrifice, Mary was able to share in his suffering and death for the sake of humanity’s Redemption [my comment – ‘redemption’ nothing much has happened since has it? And the ‘second coming’ is supposedly about humanity’s ‘ascension’ – we haven’t even made up for any of our ‘crimes’ yet]. What Severus of Antioch says about Christ also applies to her: “Without a preliminary death, how could the Resurrection have taken place?” (Antijulianistica, Beirut 1931, 194f.). To share in Christ’s Resurrection, Mary had first to share in his death. The New Testament provides no information on the circumstances of Mary’s death. This silence leads one to suppose that it happened naturally, with no detail particularly worthy of mention. [My comment – seriously???] If this were not the case, how could the information about it have remained hidden from her contemporaries and not have been passed down to us in some way? [My comment – It’s called selective storytelling or truth telling, his-story and patriarchy, religious/culture ommission.] As to the cause of Mary’s death, the opinions that wish to exclude her from death by natural causes seem groundless. It is more important to look for the Blessed Virgin’s spiritual attitude at the moment of her departure from this world. In this regard, St Francis de Sales maintains that Mary’s death was due to a transport of love. He speaks of a dying “in love, from love and through love”, going so far as to say that the Mother of God died of love for her Son Jesus (Treatise on the Love of God, bk. 7, ch. XIII-XIV). Whatever from the physical point of view was the organic, biological cause of the end of her bodily life, it can be said that for Mary the passage from this life to the next was the full development of grace in glory, so that no death can ever be so fittingly described as a “dormition” as hers.”
Both views agree that she was taken up into heaven bodily. The specific belief of the Orthodox is expressed in their liturgical texts used of the feast of the Dormition.
The Eastern Catholic observance of the feast corresponds to that of their Orthodox counterparts, whether Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox.
So being a pure being, Mary was ressurected like Jesus? Mary in relation to Ishtar/Inanna i.e. Venus (Venus the planet and Venus/Aphrodite) the Morning Star? Ishtar/Inanna are goddesses of a race(s) which isn’t always known for dying but when they do so it’s usually dramatic and can involve resurrection or at least metaphor for death an ressurection e.g. the decent into the underworld/netherworld giving up mortal ‘trappings’ such as sexuality and clothing/graces facing the Dark Mother, seven levels and then ascent. Obviously by the time they became Mary ‘Mother of [a] Christ’ (the earlier and longest lived in history ‘Christ’ in history being Krishna – and the fact that he (avatar of Vishnu), Shiv[a] and Brahm[a] are not the be all and end all nor absolute creators in Hinduism or even pre-Vedic Hinduism, they’re not creators at all and at times of extreme distress usually of their own making call forth and pretend to pay tribute to the Mother of all Lalit[h]a – she is above all of the Hindu Mother Goddesses, she was there first*) came along the sensuality, sexuality, aggressiveness and cleverness of Ishtar/Inanna/Venus/Aphrodite was turned into the perfect innocent (but still typically a rape victim – many goddesses and divine females suffer rape) non-sexual free of ‘sin’ being even though she was married and even though ‘God’ choosing to use her baby to either be or be possessed by another ‘soul’/character (later commonly known as ‘Jesus’).
Either way kudos to her, she had it tough.
P.S. Interestingly enough as per the Gregorian calendar August 15 [1947 after WWII] is the anniversary of the Independence of India – the oldest still living Mother Goddess (though twisted/morphed version) culture.
*Ancient gods and God herself are written/told to spend much of their time sleeping (‘dormition’/asleep), dreaming and breathing/meditating – the breath of/or brahma i.e. the inwards and outwards motion of breath is the same as the movement of the universe and creation predominantly our galaxy towards and outwards from its centre and the Maya is the illusion/dream/barrier/veil between creation and potential or dreaming and waking, truth and lie. Creation/existence as we know it is seen as a dream perhaps even a daydream or forced dream and part of the or a cycle of breath of God.
Every time I visit a town/small city I like to go to the local library, museum and/or masonic hall to learn about the place and the people who live(d) there. It’s especially interesting to know which families survived the ages and are still based there.
My most recent visit was to Chelmsford Museum, Essex:
It was a stately home that has been carefully maintained, extended and free to the public to visit. What I really liked about it was the array of subjects it covered; initially I was under the impression that it was a war/industry museum and I was fine with that because I love science/technology museums/centres but it was rich with cultural history of all kinds from natural history to glassware and even a Buddha. Additionally I was very lucky to have a local resident who’d lived there all her life guide me around the museum and tell me more about the exhibits, her memories of Chelmsford and its transition over time. From little girl to lady hers was a lovely experience to learn from.
Reminiscent of Stonehenge? A number of the pieces in the museum had ancient inspiration. There is even a modern art interpretation of Anubis in the sculpture section.
A comment from my guide: ‘it’s really interesting to see how different people interpret the same place(s)’. I agreed, each picture looked almost entirely different given their medium and personal vision. It was also great to hear how places look now in comparison to the dates they were painted. This picture for example of Barnes Mill shows the property without its hedge which obscures the view from pedestrians nowadays as it is a private property.
Glassware from the 1600’s onwards all preserved in wonderful condition. How may tales of scandal and intel do they hold via the alcohol they served? Isn’t it a shame that Britain’s glass and pottery/ceramics industries have become insolvent or relocated abroad? This cabinet reminds me of a glass collection Mum and I used to have; every type of glass for each alcoholic beverage. Just for looking at mind you 😉
The stems of the glasses were most interesting, moreso than the etching because it shows the skill of the craftspeople in circling/twisting glass symmetrically (I’m a sucker for symmetry and ‘order’) – no easy feat especially in a spiral. They also remind me of the ‘ribbons’ you get in marbles (yes some of them had coloured glass inside).
Why did people ever use penny farthings, they’re so impractical?! Can you imagine how many injuries were sustained?
Remnants of the bygone disco era – my guide remembered having her hen night at ‘Dukes’, apparently they had a different jukebox but it still jogged a happy memory. Those seats and tables are pretty high too, not as high as the penny farthing but in need of a hop and a skip to sit on. Love them!
A double mug for the romantically minded or the extra drunk?
Masses of military silver, even on the drums.
Was there really need for a sphinx on top of this tankard?
My favourite was the inkwell. I’d love to write old fashioned letters with a proper set like this. I love calligraphy too.
I’m not sure if those are real skins but my guide and I weren’t keen on the taxidermy in the museum.
This mace/staff has ‘EGYPT’ and a sphinx on the top, weird. It also has a large dent on the underside from what I wonder?
‘A lot of kit’ my guide said as I wondered just how heavy it all was. Who misses the Army & Navy stores where you can buy their clothes etc? Their everyday clothes and camping gear are the only things I like about the military lol.
Like a prisoner’s markings on a wall whilst whiling away the days ‘ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME NOW’ in the top left corner. A calendar of broken dreams?
‘He looks happy’ my guide remarked, ‘there’s a headless woman behind him, how macabre’ I jokingly retorted, ‘oh yes!’ She replied. A pub sign that looks like a gravestone in depiction and shape.
Recruiting from the poor and intoxicated/ignorant, typical.
The importance of ball bearings, they make machinery much more efficient.
Yes that’s Marconi, best known for his work in radio amongst many other things.
The Marconiphone, later purchased by Gramophone.
The Co-Op was founded in Chelmsford! Well ahead of their time especially since we still don’t have much fairtrade today.
And so many people still can’t afford housing today with rising homeless too! How little things change when only a few care about fairtrade.
The sexualisation of goods and services, we’re still doing the same today but for a fizzy drink? Wow. Well, Coca-cola was advertised as a drink for babies and growing children back in the day…
The Co-Op sold everything from coal to fashion.
From cradle to grave to the Co-Op caters to everything – just not quite as bombastically as megamarts like Tesco etc.
And to finish, one of my favourites! Hey, at least it’s not Punch and Judy! I can’t be having with domestic violence and murder.
I had a great time learning about local history and discovering that my guide was from one of the old families from the World Wars. I haven’t any pictures of the garden but it is well manicured and not been given over to too much parking.
A Chinese New Year related/continued festival; a festival of lights but without flying lanterns as those are dangerous 😉 It was approx a 1hour15min walk following the Silk Road (rather than the Yellow Brick Road 😛 ) plus refreshments and small fun fair. One of the most popular refreshments was roasting marshmallows on sticks over a fire camping style.
It took place in Chiswick House Gardens at night so as to benefit from the lighted displays all the more. It’s also a lovely to visit in warm weather in the daytime too 🙂
It’s 2017 and so we are now in the cycle of the Rooster; an animal that knew how to work together in the great race with the goat and the monkey to be awarded Tenth place. Remember that the elements are also involved (Earth, Metal, Fire, Water and Wood for China) so this is the year of the Fire Rooster; Rooster years are generally lucky but Fire Roosters no so much :S it’s more about hard work and channeling your energy for reward rather than hoping.
Before going out:
Lol this exhibition of an actual lantern went out as soon as I passed so it went pitch Black for everybody else!
My Sister and I on the Teacup ride (yes we’re just big kids really):
And for afters – we stopped off at a gorgeous restaurant for Vietnamese ‘street food’ (just not on the street obviously!)
Fragrant Jasmine tea with a beautiful closed flower within
which then opens with time
That was the first time I’ve been on an outing for a very long time and when we were sitting at a Red light on the way back a drunk driver crashed into the back of us and I’ve had a pounding headache since. Sod’s Law or the year of Fire Rooster proving to be intense like it’s reputation?
Remember (for example) the next time you get on a plane and fly over airspace that is being used for war that whilst you’re off on a business or leisure trip there are people, animals and land being ripped apart in some of the most brutal ways right underneath you that you might never have heard of or forgotten even if it’s on the news everyday. Weapons of war get more ‘sophisticated’ from biochemical warfare to cluster bombs and ones that release masses of tiny blades to cut up everything in reach leaving survivors to take remains of loved ones and those around in carrier bags.
Many of the methods below don’t occur anymore but quite frankly if/when people could/can get away with such things, they do and can’t you just imagine those who would want to. This is why I aspire to pacifist yet we live in such a violent world.
The Scold’s Bridle or Branks Bridle – I remember reading husbands used this to silence ‘nagging’ wives and it could even be heated up – it also has a plate that fits onto the tongue.
England, Wales and Scotland
First recorded in Scotland in 1567, the branks were also used in England, where it may not have been formally legalized as a punishment. The kirk-sessions and barony courts in Scotland inflicted the contraption mostly on female transgressors and women considered to be rude or nags or common scolds.
Branking (in Scotland and the North of England) was designed as a mirror punishment for shrews or scolds; women of the lower classes whose speech was deemed “riotous” or “troublesome”; — often women suspected of witchcraft — by preventing such “gossips or scolds” from speaking. This also gives it its other name ‘The Gossip’s Bridle’
It was also used as corporal punishment for other offences, notably on female workhouse inmates. The person to be punished was placed in a public place for additional humiliation and sometimes beaten. The Lanark Burgh Records record a typical example of the punishment being used, ” Iff evir the said Elizabeth salbe fund scolding or railling… scho salbe sett upone the trone in the brankis and be banishit the toun thaireftir” (1653 Lanark B. Rec. 151).
During the 1500s it spread to some other European countries, including Germany. Some bridles even had a bell on top of them to draw more attention to the wearer, thus increasing their humiliation. It continued in use until the early 1800s as a punishment in German workhouses.
The real brilliance of patriarchy… it doesn’t just naturalise oppression. It sexualises acts of oppression. It eroticises domination and subordination. It institutionalises them as masculinity and femininity. So, it naturalises, it eroticises and it institutionalises domination and subordination. The brilliance of feminism is that we figured that out. – Lierre Keith
In recent months, so much legislation has been passed or proposed in the U.S. and elsewhere to indicate a frightening escalation in the war – yes, it is a war – on women. The Russian parliament just voted 380-3 to decriminalise domestic violence. This is in a country where an average of 40 women per day – 14,000 women per year – are murdered by male partners. The United States, where over 1,000 women are murdered by their partners per year, has of course just elected a president who boasts that “when you’re a star, they let you do it, grab them by the pussy”, and has been involved in pornography and sex trafficking. He plans to eliminate funding for 25 domestic violence programmes, and is ordering female staffers to “dress like a woman”. Texas is now looking to remove voting rights from women who have had abortions; Arkansas, to enable rapists to sue women for having them.
All of these advances rest, of course, on a long established notion of women as male property. The stigma on abortion rests on the idea that women do not create human life through a ten month process of gestation and labour; men ejaculate life into women, and women, as state-regulated incubators, are obligated to carry it to term. Domestic violence, the porn and prostitution industries that fuel sex trafficking, dress codes – these all rest on the same principle of male sexual entitlement. No wonder commentators are calling the current coming to life of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale; a new era of more orthodox, strictly designated rules and roles for women in the West. All justified through myths that women are biologically predisposed to such roles and rules.
Given the situation we face, it is alarming to confront the reality that the left is equally as ill-equipped and unwilling to discuss women’s oppression as the conservative right. Nowadays, notions of “gender identity” for instance, are threatening to swallow women’s collective understandings of sex-based oppression whole. A “gender identity” ideology claims that gender is a personal matter of identification, and one’s biological sex can be switched and changed at will. “Cis” is a word women are increasingly adopting to signal they understand the “privilege” of having a gender identity that matches their biological sex. At the same time, of course, women are being pressured to swallow the idea that biological sex itself isn’t real.
The thing is, being female is very real, and being gendered as a woman as a result is, too – and it is not a form of privilege. It is a form of oppression women have resisted since the creation of patriarchy. By offering a potted history of the cancerous, globalised, Western system of sexual objectification we live under today, I hope to offer a small reminder of that here. This essay tracks the development of sex-based oppression from its roots, through the witchcraze, slave trade, pathologisation of women’s bodies in gynecology, and backlashes to feminist uprising up to today.
Matricentry, and the creation of patriarchy
Despite the orthodox insistence that male rule simply reflects the “natural” order of things, patriarchy is only a relatively recent development in human history. For 99% of our existence human beings have not lived under patriarchal rule. Feminist author Marilyn French calls the horticultural, subsistence, matrilineal kinship groups that existed widely before the development of patriarchy matricentric; Audre Lorde writes about reverence of goddesses like Afrekete, Yemanje, Oyo and Mawulisa; Max Dashu’s film Woman Shaman explores the art and archaeological finds that remain from these matricentric cultures around the world.
French’s History of Women and Gerda Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy are incredible texts on the historic processes by which men created the patriarchy that forms the basis of Western society. This happened over the course of about 2.5 thousand years, from around 3100 B.C, during the agricultural revolution. According to Lerner, the transition from subsistence living to agriculture meant that children became an economic asset, a labour supply – and women became the first form private property.
French shows how male dominance was first asserted through paternal claims to ownership and naming rights of children. The murder of firstborn children was common in early patrilineal groups, when men wanted to ensure a wife’s firstborn was really his ‘own’. The fact that abortion is still in New Zealand’s Crimes Act is a contemporary expression of this presumption that human life is made and owned by men. In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also sanctified men’s ‘rights’ to children through a new policy declaring failure to find a sexual partner a ‘disability’.
With the appropriation of control over children, the institution of marriage increasingly became a practice that commodified, disempowered and isolated women from their families and communities. To put this in perspective, rape within the context of marriage was not made illegal in New Zealand until 1985.
With the institution of marriage came dowry, and the main value of having daughters became their potential as brides; “bride stealing” and “ritual defloration” was commonplace, as it still is today, for instance in Kyrgyzstan. Kidnapped “brides” are often children, and today an average of 15 million girls each year are forced into marriage. In 2013, an eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding the night she was married to a man five times her age. This is what patriarchy does to girls.
One of the practices that best exemplifies commodification through marriage was the Indian suttee, only legally banned in 1829. This practice involved the burning of female widows, including girls kidnapped as child brides, alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands. A myth that girls and women lost husbands as a result of their own bad karma underpinned the practice. As this was supposed to be a “cleansing” ritual, men typically avoided burning women while they were menstruating [my comment: menstruating women are also considered dirty to this day and not allowed in temples], and waited two months after the birth of a child if she was pregnant. Countless women could be burned after the death of a single, royal male.
After men appropriated control of women and the domestic sphere, the status of women was further institutionalised and codified into law through the building of monotheistic religions, the state, and development of commercial prostitution. If anyone tries to tell you that prostitution is the “oldest profession”, they are being condescending and essentialist: as Max Dashu shows, medicine women were practicing long before men figured out how to objectify and profit from women through prostitution. Lerner discusses how the burqa, the veiling of women, was designed to help men distinguish between the “respectable and non-respectable” among us; between wives and women in prostitution.
As Moana Jackson writes, colonisation always comes with a takeover of historical memory, plundered so that vast silences proliferate. “Sometimes that silencing is described as a “social amnesia”,” says Jackson, “in which the past has slipped from the mind in the kind of almost accidental and blameless forgetting that occurs with the passage of time.” What really happens though, he says, is that stories are consciously redefined in a way that “flies in the face” of the political and social realities of the colonised. The same applies to women. Today, few of us know our history – either that of our oppression or of our resistance to it, since history is told by the patriarchs. But we can reclaim it.
The witch burnings and gynecology
Medicine women continued to practice widely in Europe up until the so-called “Enlightenment” period. Between the Roman Empire and that time, the witchcraze and its “myth of feminine evil” resulted in the slaughter of 9 million people, nearly all women, over 300 years. History remembers this 300-year effort, if at all, as a sort of freak superstitious episode (think of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible). Yet feminist writers like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin and Max Dashu offer a different account.
Dworkin writes how many women deemed witches were medicine women, a truth that still exists in our cultural memory, only in distorted and corrupted form, in the frogs-and-cauldron stereotype. But these were not green-faced, evil women. According to Dworkin, it was as midwives, especially, that learned women really offended the Church.
The witches used drugs like belladonna and aconite, organic amphetamines, and hallucinogenics. They also pioneered the development of analgesics. They performed abortions, provided all medical help for births, were consulted in cases of impotence which they treated with herbs and hypnotism, and were the first practitioners of euthanasia.
Anna Göldi is said to have been the last woman executed as a witch in Europe. She was a maidservant to a physician, who accused her of having placed needles in his children’s bread by supernatural means. After attempting to escape trial, she was captured and beheaded in Switzerland in 1782.
In her book Gyn/Ecology, Mary Daly points out how gynecology was established as a practice governed by men after the time of the witch burnings. 1873 marked the publication of Dr. Robert Battey’s invention of ‘female castration’: the removal of women’s ovaries to “cure insanity”. Male gynecologists have since routinely pathologised, and medically and surgically tortured and injured women and women’s bodies through violent childbirth practices, radical mastectomies and hysterectomies, electro- and hormone “therapy”, and lobotomies.
By the 1890s, there was a mad interest in wood and glass prosthetic or mechanical “wombs” (“artificial mothers” or “child hatcheries”) – technology that attempted to challenge the indispensability of women’s bodies. In these incubators we see how the present push by transactivists to neuter and dehumanise the language of pregnancy and childbirth, and sever the connection to women’s bodies and women’s health, has echoes through history.
Daly points out that the male takeover of women’s health after the witchcraze was not coincidental:
Many feminists have noted the significance of the fact that the massacre of the wise women / healers during the witchcraze was followed by the rise of man-midwives who eventually became dignified by the name “gynecologist. Gynecology was slow to rise. Man-midwives of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were under fire from woman midwives, such as Elizabeth Nihell, who described their instruments as “weapons of death”. Nevertheless, the nineteenth century saw the erection of gynecology over women’s dead bodies.
The compounding of abuses
J. Marion Sims, “the Father of Modern Gynecology,” used African-American women in slavery to conduct his surgical experiments. Sims medically experimented on black women for research into illnesses like cancer – without providing anesthetics or other pain-numbing medicines. If a woman died from complications or excessive bleeding, Sims simply replaced her with another slave, and his practice was completely legal.
The compounding of oppressions on black women is the topic of Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class. In it, Davis discusses the experience of black women during the slave trade; including Harriet Tubman (pictured), who rescued over three hundred people through the Underground Railroad and was the only woman in the U.S. ever to lead troops into battle.
Black women, says Davis, had to work as steadily on plantations as men, performing the same tasks, despite the myths that patriarchy perpetuates about women.
Women were not too “feminine” to work in coal mines, in iron foundries or to be lumberjacks and ditch diggers. When the Santee Canal was constructed in North Carolina, slave women were a full fifty percent of the labour force.
Women were sex slaves in addition to this labour. “If the most violent punishments of men consisted in floggings and mutilations,” Davis writes, “women were flogged and mutilated, as well as raped”. White men also saw Black women as “breeders”:
During the decades preceding the Civil War, Black women came to be increasingly appraised for their fertility (or for the lack of it): she who was potentially the mother of ten, twelve, fourteen or more became a coveted treasure indeed. This did not mean, however, that as mothers, Black women enjoyed a more respected status than they enjoyed as workers. Ideological exaltation of motherhood – as popular as it was in the nineteenth century – did not extend to slaves. In fact, in the eyes of the slaveholders, slave women were not mothers at all; they were simply instruments guaranteeing the growth of the labour force. They were “breeders” – animals, whose monetary value could be precisely calculated in terms of their ability to multiply their numbers.
Since slave women were classified as “breeders” as opposed to “mothers”, their infant children could be sold away from them like calves to cows.
This is another reason we should look sideways at the introduction of terms like “menstruators” and “incubators” into the language of women’s health, pregnancy and childbirth as a result of transactivism today. These phrases have a history, and are tied especially to the dehumanising treatment of black women in sexual slavery. The documentary Google Baby shows how women are currently forced to tolerate life treated as “incubators” in surrogacy clinics in India, often giving birth to white babies in through the use of both egg and sperm donors.
The production-line treatment of women who give birth to babies in surrogacy clinics is spine chilling, yet the surrogacy trade sees 12,000 foreigners per year coming to India to hire the wombs, usually of poor women, in an industry worth an annual $1 billion.
An expression of racist, patriarchal colonisation as painful and brutal as the surrogacy clinics in India would be hard to find, if it wasn’t for the oldest oppression: prostitution. Today, 80% of people used in prostitution are women, as are 98% of sex trafficking victims. Almost all johns are men, and sex trafficking generates men U.S.$32 billion a year. An increasingly violent porn industry accrues about US$97.06 billion, which is more than the combined revenue of the top 10 web technology companies combined. The latest ‘trend’ in porn is for women to be raped anally until they suffer rectal prolapse (“rosebudding“). Nevertheless, Amnesty International has signalled its support for this industry, buckling under pressure from influential pimps.
As Cherry Smiley points out, indigenous women are disproportionately affected. In New Zealand, 15% of women are Māori. In our country’s fully decriminalised sex trade, 32% of prostituted persons are Māori. There is a narrative gaining traction in New Zealand, no doubt fuelled by the white man running programmes at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), that it is “racist” to critique prostitution because of the Māori and Pacific women within the industry. Remember that demand for this industry comes from wealthy, white men. In 2017, liberals are still being coached to believe that indigenous women are somehow innately predisposed to being subjected to the abuses of wealthy white men.
Angela Davis’ book points out not only how black women have been affected by the compounding of race, class and sex-based oppression, but have also had to fight the hardest for political representation, even in resistance movements. Her book explores the intersection of the abolition movement to end slavery, and the first wave of feminism; neither of which sufficiently represented the plight of black women. Sojourner Truth stood up to the white feminists of the first wave, just as bell hooks to those of the second wave. Today, we again see a white, middle class liberal movement, marketing ‘sex positive’ identity-based liberalism as women’s rights. This has happened because the backlash to each feminist wave has ensured that mainstream feminism has come out the other side domesticated, whitewashed and sexualised.
Sexology, pornography and feminism
In her essay Sexology and Antifeminism, Sheila Jeffreys describes how the “discipline” of sexology was founded as a backlash to the first wave of feminist suffragists.
This period, immediately after World War I, was a time in which many women had considerably more freedom and independence than they had had before. The fact that large numbers of women were not marrying, were choosing to be independent, and were fighting male violence caused considerable alarm. This alarm is apparent in sexological literature.
Many women had little interest in sexual intercourse, and moreover, thought that “no woman should have to do sexual intercourse” (this was, of course, many decades before second wave feminists fought to have marital rape criminalised). In response to this increased resistance and independence, and to defend the status quo of women’s oppression, women’s sexual subordination being naturalised in sexology. Havelock Ellis, the founder of sexology, argued that male sexuality was absolutely and inevitably aggressive, taking the form of pursuit and capture, and that it was normal and inevitable for men to take pleasure in inflicting pain on women. Women’s sexuality, he said, was passive. Women were supposed to be captured and took “delight” in experiencing pain at the hands of male lovers.
Sexologists also invented the concept of women’s “frigidity”: “frigid” women were defective, and had to be sent to gynecologists and psychoanalysts.
Hot off the heels of sexology came the pornography industry that we know today. By the conclusion of World War II, there was big business in the promotion of this objectification of women. Businessmen-pornographers like Hugh Hefner (Playboy) Bob Guccione (Penthouse) and Larry Flynt (Hustler) began grooming the market to make porn socially acceptable. By the 90s, bunny merchandise was being consumed by girls everywhere – the bunny branding everything from stationery to pyjama pants. Cosmopolitan’s publishers, Bauer Media, have been involved in this global sex trade lobbying, and once owned the publishing license for Germany’s Playboy.
“It was a very different world,” says feminist writer Gail Dines, “after Hefner eroded the cultural, economic, and legal barriers to mass production and distribution of porn.”
It is now even considered up for debate now whether pole dancing is the best after school activity for 8-year-olds.
How did this shift to the mainstream happen? The answer is simple: by design. What we see today is the result of years of careful strategising and marketing by the porn industry to sanitise its products… reconstructing porn as fun, edgy, chic, sexy, and hot. The more sanitised the industry became, the more it seeped into the pop culture and into our collective consciousness.
Second wave feminism recognised and resisted the abuse and normalisation of pornography – but the university Women’s Studies departments in which a lot of this critique could be made are no more to be found. Even the books are now under threat. The discipline that usurped Women’s Studies is queer theory, and according to feminists, queer theory is to the second wave of feminism what sexology was to the first: a backlash. Sheila Jeffreys states how this backlash has come from sexual liberals on the left – in particular, from men – and from a large part of the gay male movement. That is where the backlash is coming from, but it is being represented within feminism as well. [My comment: most people forget that feminism/anti-sexism was the umbrella that incorporated and supported homosexual rights and what is now LGBT but for a long time it was all about gay men, lesbian woman were also called ‘gay’.]
Lierre Keith illustrates the representation of this backlash within feminism:
As early as 1982, Ellen Willis invented the term “sex positive” to distinguish herself from radical feminists – because we’re so negative, us radicals. Rape, rape, rape – it’s all we want to talk about. Well, I’ll make you a deal – if men stop with the rape, I’ll stop talking about it.
Keith also points out that the search term “torture porn” results in 32 million online hits. It is worth noting that the aesthetic, the tools and the practices of modern pornography and BDSM endorsed in “edgy” and “sex positive” queer theory and ‘kink’ stem back to the witch trials. Max Dashu’s essay Reign of the Demonologists shows how the torture of witches was sexualised, through fetishised torture routines and equipment and forced confessions of grotesque sex with devils. An interview with Audre Lorde in Burst of Light critiques sadomasochism for similar reasons.
Sadomasochism is congruent with other developments going on in this country that have to do with dominance and submission, with disparate power – politically, culturally and economically… Sadomasochism is an institutionalised celebration of dominant/ subordinate relationships… Sadomasochism feeds the belief that domination is inevitable and legitimately enjoyable.
Feminist Susanne Kappeler offers us a reminder for when we find these kinds of practices accepted and celebrated as groundbreaking in academia.
As feminists, we would do well do remember and highlight the fact that the history of liberalism, of libertarianism, and libertinism has been a history of gentlemen advocating liberty and license for gentlemen – liberties to which the rights and liberty of women have routinely been sacrificed.
Commodification and “choice”
The production of sex robots is a contemporary, further entrenchment of the objectification of women that disciplines like queer theory allow to slip by, and even celebrate. Eating disorders and demand for cosmetic surgeries like labiaplasty are only two examples of the impact of escalating objectification on women. We are seeing other bizarre inventions on the market, too: the penis FitBit, a mouthpiece for blowjobs.
One way that the sex trade lobby gets under women’s skin, sucks confidence, encourages competition and fosters dependency like an abusive partner or a pimp, is through media, through women’s magazines. 70% of women report experiencing guilt and shame after three minutes of browsing these kinds of magazines. It is well known that publishers and their advertisers feed off insecurity – and abuse. Most models in these magazines weigh 25% less than the average woman, and are in the anorexia weight range. Now, in the U.S. and EU, 50 million women suffer from eating disorders, and girls as young as six are increasingly expressing anxiety about their shape.
Bauer Media publishes Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day and teen magazine Dolly. It also currently profits from online porn, and used to hold publishing licenses for a range of German porn magazines: the German Playboy; Das neue Wochenend; Blitz Illu; Schlüsselloch (which means ‘keyhole’); Sexy, Praline and Coupé. Bauer Media also own one third of the famous private T.V. channel RTL II, which airs pro “sex work” reality shows almost daily. It’s not surprising to see the latest issue of Cosmopolitan offer advice on invasive cosmetic treatments from brow tattoos, to lip filling, laser treatment and light therapy.
Labiaplasty – surgical reduction of women’s labia – is another Western trend on the rise that has connections to more brutal practices, in this case that of female genital mutilation (FGM). According to the WHO (who actually endorsed this practice in 1958) more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated. These practices can see girls having their clitoris or labia removed; in Somalia, there is a practice of sewing up the labia, leaving only a small hole. Somali woman Hibo Wardere says urinating through such an opening feels like “an open wound rubbed with salt or hot chilli.” Feminism needs to work to end genital mutilation, not get busy glorifying new, commercial varieties as sex-positive “choice”.
Patriarchy mines and cuts up women’s bodies whilst women’s worth is undermined. From the tenth century and for ten centuries of course, Chinese patriarchs saw to it that girls and women would never run around, by binding their feet, and fetishising this act of crippling women. Today we see trades in woman’s hair, our eggs, breast milk and wombs rented through surrogacy. While surrogates are normally poor women; egg donors are usually young, educated women screened for heredity diseases and not warned of the implications or possible side effects of egg harvesting.
Mainstream, white feminism will today frame labiaplasty as something women ‘choose‘. Like immolation was ‘chosen’ throughout the practice of the Indian suttee. Like mothers ‘chose’ to bind their daughters’ feet, ‘choose’ to cut out their clitorises; like women ‘choose’ to be prostituted and even trafficked, to wear the burqa, to wear stilettos, to not eat, to bind their breasts flat. Not only are these practices so often marketed and claimed as ‘choice’, but altruism. [My comment: a lot of women enable these practices to continue by a) endorsing them (like middle and upper class White women who claim university campus rape is a part of culture and girls shouldn’t moan about it) and/or b) not standing up against it, many think they went through it therefore the next generation has to and there’s plenty of cases where women are behind it. If they had stood up a long time ago things might have been different… But that’s wishful thinking. However there are also women who believe that mutilation is a form of protection against non-acceptable males (‘acceptable’ being the ones generally forced on them via marriage or ‘favour’/obligation and that includes one’s boss if you work). It’s all brainwashing.] Prostitution, surrogacy, and immolation have all been called ‘atruistic’ practices. Women, obviously, want to be able to choose and to contribute. And what choices does society allow us to make? These. So we claim to have made these choices ourselves. But feminism needs to acknowledge what Meagan Tyler does – that yes, “we make choices, but these are shaped and constrained by the unequal conditions in which we live.”
When it comes to modern trends like transgenderism, we cannot separate the male desire for access to women’s spaces and for uterus transplants, from a history of patriarchal appropriation (including “prosthetic womb” imitations). We cannot separate this movement from the entire history that precedes it, of the simultaneous mining of women’s bodies and undermining of women’s worth. We also cannot separate men’s desires to stifle and appropriate the discussion and capacity of women’s ability to create life from a history of the same. The white, male establishment has worked to appropriate control of women’s bodies and ability to create human life, and to stifle feminist dissent, since it came to power. In this Trump era, that history continues.
Conversely, we cannot separate women’s manufactured desires for male privilege, and women’s “choices” to undergo breast ironing and binding, mastectomies and invasive surgery from a history of oppression, demonisation, mutilation and self harm.
We cannot separate any discourse on gender from the realities of sex-based oppression – that’s if we ever want freedom.
ByAnna Olvera, writer at Creators.co Writer, Filmmaker and Horror Geek at MoviePilot. Like and Follow me at Screaming for Horror on Facebook and @Raging_Rain on Twitter.
During the Medieval Ages mainly nobles and royalty had pretty much power over society. Although when it came to “justice” it wasn’t any different. Most people with low resources such as peasants, labor workers and farmers, had little to no rights, when it came down to the “law”. The dark age torturers and executioners that created these devices, were really imaginative when it came down to torturing others and apparently it payed off because millions of people suffered the unimaginable when it came to their deaths. Most of them highly painful and very slow, while others were used as means of interrogation. Unfortunately many people died when these devices were used, but the ones that didn’t still suffered a great amount of pain and were scarred for life. Next I’ve put together a list of the 25 worst medieval torture devices.
NOTE: NOT ALL torture devices are listed here.
1.- SAW TORTURE
In this method, the victim is hung upside down, so that the blood will rush to their heads and keep them conscious during the long torture. The torturer would then saw through the victims’ bodies until they were completely sawed in half. Most were cut up only in their abdomen to prolong their agony.
2.- THE CHAIR OF TORTURE
Also known as the Judas Chair, it was a terrible, intimidating torture device that was added to dungeons in the Middle Ages. Used until the 1800′s in Europe, this chair was layered with 500 to 1,500 spikes on every surface with tight straps to restrain its victim. Made of iron, it can also contain spaces for heating elements beneath the seat. It was often used to scare people into giving confessions as they watched others being tortured on the device.
3.- THE RACK
Is a torture device consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one or both ends. The victim’s ankles are fastened to one roller and the wrists are chained to the other. As the interrogation progresses, a handle and ratchet mechanism attached to the top roller are used to very gradually increase the tension on the chains, inducing excruciating pain. By means of pulleys and levers this roller could be rotated on its own axis, thus straining the ropes until the sufferer’s joints were dislocated and eventually separated. Additionally, if muscle are stretched excessively, they lose their ability to contract, rendering them ineffective. One gruesome aspect of being stretched too far on the rack is the loud popping noises made by snapping cartilage, ligaments or bones.
4.- BREAST RIPPER
Known in another form as the Iron Spider or simply the spider, was a torture instrument mainly used on women who were accused of adultery, or self-abortion. The instrument was designed to rip the breasts from a woman and was made from iron, which was usually heated. The tool was used popularly in the Free State of Bavaria, a state in Germany, in 1599, and in parts of Germany and France until the nineteenth century.
5.- TONGUE TEARER
Looking like an over sized pair of scissors, it could effortlessly cut the victim’s tongue. Their mouth would be forced opened with a device called a mouth opener, and then the iron tongue tearer would uncomfortably twitch the tongue with its rough grippers. Once a firm hold was maintained, the screw would be firmly tightened and the victim’s tongue would roughly be torn out.
6.- IRON MAIDEN
This torture device consisted of an iron cabinet with a hinged front and spike-covered interior, sufficient enough to enclose a human being. Once inside its conical frame, the victim would be unable to move due to the great number of steel spikes impaling them from every direction. The interrogator would scream questions at the victim while poking them with jagged edges.
One of the most notorious forms of executions, the guillotine was made of a razor sharp blade attached to a rope. The victim’s head was placed in the middle of the frame as the blade dropped, severing the victim’s head from the body. Since the decapitation was considered to be an instant and painless event (at least less painful than the other torture methods), it was often considered the most humane method of execution.
8.- THE BRAZEN BULL
Also known as the Sicilian Bull, it was designed in ancient Greece. A solid piece of brass was cast with a door on the side that could be opened and latched. The victim would be placed inside the bull and a fire set underneath it until the metal became literally yellow as it was heated. The victim would then be slowly roasted to death all while screaming in agonizing pain. The bull was purposely designed to amplify these screams and make them sound like the bellowing of a bull.
The term boot refers to a family of instruments of torture and interrogation variously designed to cause crushing injuries to the foot and/or leg. The boot has taken many forms in various places and times. Common varieties include the Spanish boot and the Malay boot. One type was made of four pieces of narrow wooden board nailed together. The boards were measured to fit the victim’s leg. Once the leg was enclosed, wedges would be hammered between the boards, creating pressure. The pressure would be increased until the victim confessed or lost consciousness. Newer variants have included iron vises,sometimes armed with spikes that squeezed feet and metal frames employed red hot.
10.- HANGED, DRAWN AND QUARTERED
During medieval times, the penalty for high treason in England was to be hanged, drawn and quartered in public and though it was abolished in 1814, it has been responsible for the death of thousands of people. In this torture technique, the victim is dragged in a wooden frame called a hurdle to the place of execution. They would then be hanged by the neck for a short period of time until they are near-death (hanged), followed by disembowelment and castration where the entrails and genitalia are burned in front of the victim (drawn). The victim would then be divided into four separate parts and beheaded (quartered).
The Strappado is a form of torture in which the victim’s hands are first tied behind his or her back and suspended in the air by means of a rope attached to wrists, which most likely dislocates both arms. Weights may be added to the body to intensify the effect and increase the pain. Other names for strappado include “reverse hanging” and “Palestinian hanging” (although it is not used by the Palestinian Authority) It is best known for its use in the torture chambers of the medieval Inquisition.
12.- WOODEN HORSE/SPANISH DONKEY
One of the torture devices during the Spanish Inquisition and medieval ages, this is probably one of the most gruesome of them all. The victim is put astride, naked, on a donkey-like apparatus, which is actually a vertical wooden board with a sharp V-wedge on top of it. After that, the torturer would add varying weights to the victim’s feet until finally the wedge sliced through the victim’s body.
13.- PEAR OF ANGUISH/CHOKE PEAR
The pear of anguish or choke pear is the modern name for a type of instrument displayed in some museums, consisting of a metal body (usually pear-shaped) divided into spoon-like segments that could be spread apart by turning a screw. The museum descriptions and some recent sources assert that the devices were used either as a gag, to prevent people from speaking, or internally as an instrument of torture.
14.- JUDAS CRADLE
The victim would presumably be placed in the waist harness above the pyramid-shaped seat, with the point inserted into their an*s or v*gin*, then very slowly lowered by ropes. The subject is tortured by intense pressure and stretching of the orifice, eventually succumbing to tears in muscle tissue that could turn septic and kill from infection, or simply being impaled.
Principally practiced in antiquity, though it remains practiced in some countries today; it is one of the most well-known execution methods due to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a deliberately slow and painful execution where the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until they die, which usually takes days.
16.- NECK TORTURE
Humiliating and painful, this punishment was something of an endurance test where the victim would be hooked into a neck device, either made of metal or wood, which prevented the victim from adjusting into a comfortable position. The cruelty of this punishment lie within the fact that they were unable to lie down, eat, or lower their head for days.
17.- HERETIC’S FORK
The device was placed between the breast bone and throat just under the chin and secured with a leather strap around the neck, while the victim was hung from the ceiling or otherwise suspended in a way so that they could not lie down.Usually the Heretic’s fork was given to people who spoke the lord’s name in vain, blasphemers, or liars. This way, the punishment made it nearly impossible for them to talk. Also, a person wearing it couldn’t fall asleep. The moment their head dropped with fatigue, the prongs pierced their throat or chest, causing great pain. This very simple instrument created long periods of sleep deprivation. People were awake for days, which made confessions more likely.
18.- BREAKING WHEEL/ CATHERINE WHEEL
Was a torture device used for capital punishment from Antiquity into early modern times for public execution by breaking the criminal’s bones/bludgeoning him to death. As a form of execution, it was used from “Classical” times into the 18th century; as a form of post mortem punishment of the criminal, the wheel was still in use into 19th century Germany.
19.- SHREW’S FIDDLE/ NECK VIOLIN
is a form of rigid irons whereby the wrists are locked in front of the bound person by a hinged board or steel bar. It was originally used in the 18th century as a way of punishing women who were caught bickering or fighting.
20.- COFFIN TORTURE
The most preferred torture technique in the Middle Ages was known as coffin torture. This method involved placing the victim inside a metal cage roughly the size of the human body; hence the name. The torturers also forced overweight victims into smaller cages to heighten their discomfort as they hung from a tree or gallows. Generally, they would be left there until the crows came to feed on their remains.
21.- SPANISH TICKLER/ CAT’S PAW
Is a type of torture instrument, consisting of long, sharp iron spikes curved so as to resemble claws. It was often attached to a handle, or else used as an extension of the torturer’s hand. In this way it was used to rip and tear flesh away from the bone, from any part of the body. It was also used as a weapon. This device was commonly used on thieves and unfaithful wives. Most who were tortured in this manner died not at the time, but afterwards. Especially with the Cat’s Paw, the device would cause infections as the device would cut so deep. The prongs were nearly never washed, so the chances of these infections were very high.
22.- KNEE SPLITTER
The knee splitter was a form of torture used mainly during the inquisition. It was created from two spiked wood blocks, placed in front of, and behind the knee. The blocks were connected with two large screws. When turned, the blocks would close towards each other, destroying the knee underneath them. This method was used to render the knees useless. The number of spikes on the blocks would range from three to twenty, depending on the captive.
23.- HEAD CRUSHER
This metal device featured a plate that sat below the victim’s jaw, which was connected by a frame to the head cap. As the torturer slowly twisted the handle, the gap between the head cap and plate decreased in width, causing crushing of the skull and facial bones, including teeth and jaws, and ultimately inducing death; even if the torturer stopped before death, permanent damage to the facial muscles and structure would occur. The victim’s head would slowly be crushed, killing the victim, but not before the victim’s jaw had been crushed, and their eyes had popped from their socket.
24.- THUMBSCREW/ PILLYWINKS
Is a torture instrument which was first used in medieval Europe. It is a simple vice, sometimes with protruding studs on the interior surfaces. The victim’s thumbs or fingers were placed in the vice and slowly crushed. The thumbscrew was also applied to crush prisoners’ big toes. The crushing bars were sometimes lined with sharp metal points to puncture the thumbs and inflict greater pain in the nail beds. Larger, heavier devices based on the same design principle were applied to crush feet and ears.
Given his name, it should come as no surprise that this was the most favored method of execution by Vlad the Impaler. In 15th century Romania; the victim was forced to sit on a sharp and thick pole. When the pole was then raised upright, the victim was left to slide down the pole with their own weight. It could take the victim 3 days to die using this method and it has been said that Vlad once did this to 20,000 people all while enjoying a meal.
The above posts show that there is something seriously wrong with humanity; we’re deeply cruel, traumatized and haunted to the point of normalized atrocity and apathy.
Cacao now known as the ‘food of the gods’; here’s a chocolate wrapper I have as a little food for thought and what I personally call ‘The Orgy’:
This wrapper is from a company called Lovechock – who by the sound of it are trying their best to be as ethical as possible and are just trying to be culturally authentic so my thoughts here are no criticism to them whatsoever but to the beings that dominate the planet. (I liked the Lovechock but why are ethical chocolate bars so thin?)
What’s depicted on there exactly?
Cupid? [Brain washing using hormones/hormonal secretion = mood/feelings/thought]
Music? [Hypnotism – mood music]
‘Others’ i.e. spirits/entities doing what exactly?
Craven. Do they do this to themselves as well as humans or are they showing humans how they want them to behave?
It wasn’t until 1519, when the conquistador Hernan Cortes wrote to the Spanish Crown that he had discovered a miracle beverage, “a cup of it gives every soldier the strength to march for an entire day”, that importance by Europeans was given to this “Food of the Gods”. The Aztecs called it xocolatl which translates to: bitter water (xoc = bitter; atle = water). http://www.sacofoods.com/food-of-the-gods/
No wonder hot chocolate was almost my sole sustenance for nearly three years of my life.
Remember that the cacao pods were considered a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl to the South American peoples and who was Quetzalcoatl? A feathered serpent. You’ll have to look up the history, I’m not up to that or explaining at the moment.
Cacao was already used as the base for a spicy drink in South America and when that so-called explorer/navigator Christopher Columbus went there (somehow) instead of to India and paved the way for a Spanish invasion the elite nature of cacao for the monarchy/priests classes became known and the ingredient exported to Europe and made into a solid food. It’s aphrodisiac [Aphrodite and I prefer Aphrodite Urania myself ‘Aprodite Urania, a celestial Aphrodite who represented higher, or transcendent spiritual love, and Aphrodite Pandemos, a goddess representing earthly, non-spiritual love’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodisia%5D properties are shown above have been extensively researched but I think when we look at the culture surrounding cacao (which is empirical and witness testimony/art) and not just laboratory evidence/group testing I think they’re overblown by the ‘atmosphere’ of the situation. Cacao has very high (‘superfood’) nutritional value and whatever the likes of Montezuma were using it for I believe it has to be enhanced by indoctrination e.g. carousing… To the point where it was looked down upon and then re-classified as acceptable by the Catholic Church?
On a sidenote – today is the memorial day for Hiroshima, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
I was going to try and explain at least some of the symbolism of the rose but there’s so much of it and whilst similar it varies from Order to Order, age to age. Ultimately though it’s like the opposite of the lotus – whereas the Iris/Lily/Lotus signifies knowledge an enlightenment the rose represents (also in its multitude of layers) silence and secrecy regarding knowledge.
It’s easier to use a visual aid and ‘The Adolescence of Utena’ (1999 film) is a very apt one. It’s a summarized version of the anime series (1997) ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ (of course based on the manga (1996-7) and it’s one big metaphor. The whole thing, there isn’t anything in it that isn’t symbolism and yet at the same time hidden in plain sight truth. Whereas the longer manga and anime can be seen as ‘coming of age’ stories (and they are exactly for some of us) the film tells it like/as it is. (Bear in mind that adolescence is the activation stage for Goddess grooming, girl becoming physical woman with the sacred blood – Red rose from White rose, Mother from Daughter – at puberty, and puberty is artificially getting younger and younger with pharma-drug-faux-food culture but especially age 15/16, the height of teenage/feminine ‘beauty’. Evil, nasty, psychotic politco-religious bastards.)
There was once an Indian girl called Anthy (Anthony – look up the meaning and origins) and she was conquered by her false brother/the masculine. Her brother was known as ‘the prince’ or the Headmaster’s son (right away you’ve got the school and indeed mystery school symbolism), he wasn’t her real brother but pretended to be – took the title, to have the association. He put her to sleep (made her into a ‘living corpse’) and raped her in that state. The thing is, she wasn’t totally asleep, we don’t even know if she was ever asleep in the way we think it – but more like in a different state of consciousness and that state took her to a different place (like how the ‘traditional’ story of Kali – a root Indian goddess, one if not the oldest still known/living in the world – being pushed into a sexual frenzy and losing herself). With the capture of Anthy things changed.
From thence a Castle of Eternity arose, a mind boggling, twisting, tardis of a school/building/place/’dimension’, before that I’d guess the question of mortality/immortality wasn’t as important. It’s with the wars of the gods and others, the bargaining, the game playing and mixed breeding where it became sought – maybe because the innocence was lost?
The [arch] Gate and in this case trap/prison, its shown before the first duel so representative of the outer layer/courtyard, the gate to the other two major sections of the masonic temple/kingdom.
Anyway, the cartoon shows Anthy as already captured and in ‘custody’ of her ‘brother’ (we never see the Head Master), Anthy is now what is called the Rose Bride i.e. a prize in an elite tournament of ‘duelists’ (mostly male competitors but some female) where she has to do the bidding/grant the wishes of any one that ‘wins’, they win her, they think of her as their possession rather than a living being with thoughts and feelings, and they treat her as a sex toy. Which is why when her exhibitionist, popular and well loved/admired/respected ‘brother’ rapes her she doesn’t realize she’s been raped because that’s what she’s used to and is overawed by him when actually he’s the one in awe of her power (and hence desirability) so seeking to possess it even in the most insidious ways.
When he sees that she wasn’t actually asleep like he’d intended he gets hysterical because he’s been caught out and doesn’t want everybody to find out, he’s already lost his keys (get to that later) and so is subject to mortality/damage/going rusty and now he’s lost his marbles *ahem*. He [nowhere near really] gets what he deserves…
Note: Anthy wears a bindi which traditionally is a sign of marriage but it’s also an unacknowledged sign of the the third eye (hence women’s sindoor is made of toxic chemicals/colours and not the men’s).
Fast forward in time and cue a rose haired (colour – Pink in the day, Rosé at night) girl who has come to the school looking for her long lost prince (by this time duellists who are participating for the title/place of the illusory/dead prince are called princes and some princesses). She’s different though, in this modern age a real Princess is called a Prince (the ‘son’, the male messianic figures etc based on the Daughter) and she’s come to the school dressed as a Prince whilst not claiming to be male. (Like in Wonder Woman.) It takes this secret Princess/Prince to rescue the old India Earth Goddess (Anthy and notice that Anthy & her ‘brother’ are the only Brown skinned characters in the film but he is lighter in bother skin and hair signifying that he is younger) i.e. the Daughter rescuing the Mother. It’s shown as a sensual relationship and most would consider it lesbian/sexual but remember the old Goddesses are sensual, they feel/experience acutely because they are one with nature (can also be thought of as a ‘revelation’/exposing/stripping the false layers) – what it’s showing is that the Daughter & Mother become one again. The Divine Feminine. They even do the ‘dance’ as well, the dance representing time, space, cosmos and which the bastard Shiva has become known for.
Interestingly when Utena (the rose princess/Daughter, not the rose bride/Mother) duels she transforms, unlike the other contestants; she gets her hair back and looks more feminine/beautiful. She also has access to the a secret sword/weapon directly from the Mother. Not even the other female contestants do that because they’re not real/original women, they’re a product of the usurper society and playing the game for their own ends. Utena is the only one fighting for Anthy’s sake, wanting to be by her side because of how she is treated and to stop others from hurting her. Initially she also fights with a broom, i.e. the sweeper/cleaner goddess symbolism which has later become associated with monks in a monastery (priest schools, secret, snobby, schools where knowledge is passed on to the ‘worthy’ master-servant style – in that sense the ‘little old man/cleaner’ is always the wisest, and sometimes underestimated with his secret, smug smile – hey I’m not knocking smugness, sometimes it’s necessary…)
Showing that this is linked back to ancient India is the use of vehicles (which I tried to talk about in Momo); it’s kind of awkward to explain but modern vehicles aren’t so modern. If you lookup Vimanas for example you’ll see where the modern/streamlined version of gods/demons flying around on animals comes from. A vimana was a high-tech vehicle to travel in, they weren’t limited to sky travel, they could also be used on land and water; there’s schematics for such vehicles in old scripture (as well as a ton of ‘alien’ – not really alien though, just other beings on this planet – imagey carved in stone and drawn in artwork throughout world culture). They could be called spaceships simply because they traverse space (and water is used in the cartoon to symbolize the barrier/difference between life/death, awake/asleep worlds too) but that doesn’t make them alien as in from another planet necessarily. Basically the duellists change into cars so that they can reach the ‘outside world’, a ‘modern’ version of a horse but unlike a horse or other animal, a car is an exo-skeleton (remember the use of bones in She-Ra), a vessel. A vessel for what? Some say the spirit, others the soul, others the mind, consciousness (remember the spirit and the soul aren’t necessarily the same ‘thing’ either).
Horned and serpentine
When Utena wins the tournament instead of owning Anthy she tries to free her, tries to take her out of the closed/false/crazy world to the ‘outside’ and so she transforms into a car (a super car – note to self: funny how a certain astrologer used a Formula One racing metaphor for me to see recently) and of course the closed world/security/surveillance tries their darnedest to stop them. Interestingly it starts off with a race track where other duellists have transformed and chase them, but they are driverless – they don’t have Anthy – they don’t have the innate power, the spirit nor the soul.
Anthy/Utena face many more obstacles and Utena is worn down badly. We can finally see the whole castle (‘castle in the sky’ which you get in a lot of these hinting stories e.g Laputa) is just a glowing ‘illuminated’ construct, a block between worlds, a distraction and the dead/illusory prince/’brother’/ghost beckons Anthy back “come back and be a living corpse, a living corpse” because that is the only way he can survive even if its only a memory, a ‘title’ that princes dreaming to fulfill his role/place fight over.
Remember the palace/castle from The NeverEnding – Story – the SAME GUY who wrote Momo.
Needless to say there are false friends a long the way, hidden friends, fairweather friends and unlikely friends. You can never trust anybody because at one moment they’re treating you like sh*t, the next they’re apparently supporting you, you just never know, it depends on the circumstances and what they want to get out of it. The castle however is a towering inferno (Utena has been the accelerant for the Fool, the Hanged Man, the Blasted Tower and The Magician saving the High Priestess, Empress and World – adding my own tarot metaphor there) and people want out or at least change so its in their best interest to help the duo.
Utena gives Anthy ‘Hope’ (in typical Daughter style) and Anthy gives her the ‘Wisdom’/Knowledge/Experience (in typical Mother style) and together they are/have the ‘Power’.
The crosses (originally a Goddess symbol) are sneakily added amongst the roses in typical Rosicrucian fashion (the ‘hidden in plain sight’ sneaky yet totally flourishing signature ‘WE’RE HERE, WE DID THIS, LOOK AT US AND BASK IN OUR GLORY – which we took/live through vicariously’ style and remember that Anthy is the sacrifice/loss of innocence), making it appear as if they’re the backbone/structure/support for roses in a garden. (Remember some wild roses are edible – e.g. dog roses (rosa canina) which both feed/nourish you and provide/are protected in that the bulbs contain itching powder typifying Mother Nature but modernized/masculanized with the ‘dog’ which has also become an insult, using the ‘feminine’ of something as an insult and ‘dog’ being ‘man’s best friend. I’ve noted the use of cats and dogs in symbolism before but also dogs are purported to be used in bestial ways for ritual programming. The garden variety are cultivated which says it all really, the orchestrators of society, man vs Nature, Man over Nature – very Italian and Eurocentric mindset in general in its gardening ethos – ‘Europa’ meaning trapped goddess.)
All duellists are given a ‘ring’ which seals the deal (like in marriage, and those who ‘win’ the tournament are ‘engaged’ to Anthy).
The cartoon also hints at systematic abuse of the contestants/students/players or at least some of them who are groomed, bought and sold; and it’s decided when they are children by adults, including their so-called parents/guardians. The whole thing is ritual abuse.
Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context
Issue 5, May 2001
Dir. Kunihiko Ikuhara
Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku
(The Adolescence of Utena)
Colour animation, 74mins, Japanese, Japan 1998. – Reviewed by Sabdha Charlton
Anthy and the rose seal the world
If it cannot hatch from its shell, the chick will die without ever truly being born. We are the chick; the world is our egg. If we don’t break the world’s shell, we will die without truly being born. Smash the world’s shell, for the Revolution of the World.
1. As its name suggests, revolution (kakumei) is a key theme in the suite of productions that go by the name Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena). Like many other Japanese manga, it is a story that has appeared in three formats – as a printed comic (manga), a television series, and a film (known in English as Adolescence of Utena). Each of these formats tells more or less the same story, with more or less the same characters, and though there are also significant differences between the three versions, they all have in common a narrative trajectory that climaxes in a revolution that destroys the world of the story and releases the main characters into a new world. This review will concentrate on the film, with some reference to the series.
2. Adolescence of Utena is a richly detailed and visually stunning film, with a storyline so complex that it is impossible to do it justice here. It occurs in what is commonly known as an alternate universe; that is, the story and characterisations differ significantly from the series, rather than being contiguous with Figure 1. Utena, Anthy and the Rose Seal the world set up in the series. Briefly, the film revolves around a pink-haired, boyish girl called Utena Tenjou, an eighth grader at the Ohtori Academy. When she arrives at the school, she receives a ring with a rose pattern on it from the centre of a white rose. Her old boyfriend, her ‘prince’, Touga Kiryuu (who we later learn is actually dead, and thus a figment of her imagination) also possesses a ‘rose seal’ (bara no kokuin). Utena soon meets other members of the school who wear the rose seal, and she learns that the wearers of the seal must duel each other – the winner of the duel is then engaged to Anthy Himemiya, the Rose Bride (bara no hanayome).
The possessor of the Rose Bride receives her services (sexual and otherwise), but, more importantly, also possesses the ‘power to revolutionise the world’ (sekai o kakumei suru chikara). Disappointed by the failures of her own prince, Utena has decided that she wants to become a prince herself, and so duels for Anthy not because she wants the revolutionary power, but because she is angry about the way the other duellists treat Anthy when they are engaged to her. Like Utena, Anthy also has her (dead) prince – her abusive brother Akio, the chairman of Ohtori Academy and the mastermind of the Ohtori world. Anthy is drawn to Utena because of her nobility and sincerity, and Utena eventually returns this feeling. Their bond is cemented by their mutual guilt over the deaths of their princes, and together they escape both Ohtori and their princes in a climactic scene where Utena turns into a car that Anthy drives through many obstacles to eventually reach the outside world. In doing so, together they revolutionise the world of Ohtori through this act of escape.
3. This revolution involves the complete collapse of the Ohtori Academy and the castle suspended above it. This castle is significant because it promises eternity and miracles to Utena as the possessor of the Rose Bride, at the price of both their freedoms, and its destruction means simultaneously the gaining of freedom but the loss of eternal life. Although the series also involves these kinds of excessive cataclysms of disaster and emotion, the Utena movie is a site of excess even beyond the series. The film is highly intertextual – at its most basic level, this is evidenced in the way that the narrative is very difficult to understand without prior knowledge of the storylines and characterisations of the series [my comment – or without knowledge of masonic symbolism and ancient culture/history]. This means that comparisons between the two are inevitable, and thus the movie is always more than the series more obscure, more symbolic, more artistically impressive. Similarly, in the characterisations of the main characters Utena is more masculine, Anthy is sexier, and Touga and Akio more princely. This excess extends to the settings and technical codes of the movie. For example, there are masses of roses as far as the eye can see where in the series there is a simple glasshouse within which the roses are contained, and all the characters have masses more hair (except Utena who, in keeping with her more sober, masculine characterisation has her hair cropped). The architecture of Ohtori academy is angular, distorted and often shown in long shots which emphasise space and distance – indeed there are huge echoing spaces everywhere, inside the buildings and out. This excess is particularly clear in the depiction of sexuality, most notably in the ending, where the same-sex love of Utena and Anthy is graphically illustrated, unlike the series where the same-sex eroticism is limited to a subtext fed by a visual vocabulary of looks and poses. Revolution is in itself a kind of excess or uprising, and thus these excesses of characterisation, mise-en-scene and sexuality in the movie are key in producing Utena as a revolutionary girl.
4. However, revolution is figured in Utena in more subtle ways than through setting and narrative. Both the series and the movie are known for their extensive use of symbols and myths from a variety of sources. One of the major sources from which these are drawn is the work of famous manga artist Riyoko Ikeda, in particular her path breaking work The Rose of Versailles, and indeed Chiho Saito and Kunihiko Ikuhara, the creative team that authored, drew and directed both the movie and the series, cite Ikeda as a major influence on their work.
The Rose of Versailles is a re-telling of the French Revolution through a fictional character called Oscar, who was born a girl but raised as a boy by her father (who was frustrated by his lack of sons). Oscar goes on to become the commander of the Royal Guard, and protects Marie Antoinette and the French court. Ikeda’s influence can be seen across many aspects of Utena, most immediately obviously in the use of roses as the primary symbolic sign, and the figure of revolution as the narrative engine of both series. Furthermore, all of the Utena series, manga and movie are subtitled in French (La Fillette Revolutionnaire). Revolution as it is invoked in Utena is thus inflected through this association with an allegorical link to a romanticised version of European history, specifically the French Revolution (which in Utena’s subtitling becomes a French revolution). Furthermore, Saito’s characters, like Ikeda’s, have angular, lean bodies, long flowing brightly coloured hair, wear close-fitting, romanticised, old-fashioned military uniforms complete with tassels on their shoulders, and regularly take part in spectacular sword fights. Their genders are similarly romanticised and fluid, and the main character in both The Rose of Versailles and Utena is a girl who wears boy’s clothes, uses the masculine self-referential pronoun boku and has a distinctly boyish way of speaking (especially in comparison to the hyper-femininity of characters such as Marie Antoinette and Anthy). Indeed, these characteristics of the two works are located within the broader tradition of shoujo manga (girls’ comics), which abounds in floral imagery, ambiguously gendered characters, and romanticised references to vaguely historical European culture.
5. The genre of shoujo manga is generally acknowledged to have been started by the ‘god’ of Japanese manga, Osamu Tezuka (best known in Australia for his Astro Boy series), and early shoujo manga was indeed mostly drawn by men. However in the 1970s a group of women known as the 49ers (because they were born in and around 1949 [my comment – notice how the re-introduction of the Divine Feminine started ‘finding’ its way into popular culture after WWII, before that it was purely secret society secret knowledge even amongst themselves]) came to prominence, and the genre of shoujo manga has been dominated by women authors and artists ever since. Ikeda was one of these 49ers, and is probably the most well-known of these outside of Japan thanks to Frederik Schodt’s translation of a few pages of The Rose of Versailles in his book Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. Shoujo manga is known for its fascination with human relationships, and notorious for its treatment of gender and sexuality through the sub-genre of bishounen manga (comics about beautiful boys, often with romantic, homosexual storylines). Ikeda’s work, and by extension Utena, is a twist on the beautiful boy story, in that the beautiful boy (Oscar, Utena) is actually a girl, yet stylistically and thematically both works are clearly influenced by this sub-genre. In drawing on Ikeda’s work, Utena harks back to a period in the history of manga when women artists were revolutionising the genre, carving out a space for themes not treated in mainstream boys’ and adult manga.
6. This relatively new genre of manga has received much attention in the academy. Many authors have been concerned with trying to understand why Japanese girls favour stories about subjects completely removed from their own experience – stories of love between boys, manga set in the West, and fantasy and magical storylines are those most often analysed. According to these scholars, Japanese girls are so subordinated and repressed in Japanese society that they turn to shoujo manga for an escape from the limited versions of sexuality, gender and desire that are proscribed for them. The director of Utena, Kunihiko Ikuhara, echoes this when he states that the reason that the female characters turn to each other, rejecting their failed princes, reflects Japanese girls’ dissatisfaction with their position in contemporary society – ‘women no longer wish to be subordinate. Women are asserting their position in society.' Utena is thus self-consciously produced from within a discourse that is concerned with women’s desires and resistances to their social positionings, and Utena’s revolution is as much about the feminist uprisings of the 1970s as it is about the French Revolution. In this sense, Utena and Anthy’s escape from Ohtori is also an escape from dependence on men, and by association, on the society that privileges men. Their escape is not a simple running away, however. By refusing the world of Ohtori where they can only ‘be alive while dead’ (like their princes, Akio and Touga), they revolutionise that world – without them to prop up the fantasy of eternity and miracles that Ohtori promises, it collapses behind them (almost destroying them in the process).
7. The outside world to which Anthy and Utena escape is a utopic world where ‘there are no paths, where we can make our own paths.’ In this line the ambivalence of Utena’s revolution becomes clear, for even though it suggests that the potential to revolutionise the world lies in a rejection of dominant discourses of gender and sexuality, it does not champion the taking up of other discourses, for example that of lesbianism, despite the fact that it seems to be so clearly figured in the barely subtextual grammar of looks and shots that suggest a same-sex desire between Utena and Anthy. Utena is perhaps the most popular ‘lesbian’ themed anime amongst fans of shoujo-ai and yuri (literally ‘girls’ love’ and ‘lily’, both terms used by fans to denote anime and manga that either contain female same-sex references or in which they can be read subtextually). However, the application of the word ‘lesbian’ by fans, and as a descriptor of Utena reflects a specifically Western desire to interpellate the text into pre-existing notions of lesbianism and same-sex desire. Utena does not invest in discourses of lesbianism or same-sex desire – in fact it paradoxically simultaneously invokes and disavows them. Rather, Utena invests in the romantic notion of revolution as being capable of fundamentally changing the world by erasing categories of gender and sexuality, even as it invests in these very categories.
8. Utena is a brilliant fantasy, richly textured through its invocation of the symbol of revolution. It pays homage to both the history of manga, and the desires of Japanese women, and its complex, highly allegorical narrative and imagery allow for a wide range of identifications and viewing positions. While Utena’s revolution of her world with all its gender and sexuality-bound restrictions may not be available to us in the ‘real world’, this utopic fantasy is pleasure enough in itself.
 Mona, ‘Re: Utena and Ikeda Riyoko,’ in Yuri: The Yuri Mailing List, 27 February 2001, (27 February 2001).
 An informative site that covers the history of shoujo manga as well as information on the genre in general and some anthropological analyses, see Matt Thorn, Matt Thorn’s Shoujo Manga Home Page, 9 March 2001, (21 March 2001).
 Frederik Schodt, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1983).
 See, for example, Tomoko Aoyama, ‘Male Homosexuality as Treated by Japanese Women Writers,’ in The Japanese Trajectory: Modernization and Beyond, ed. Gavin McCormack and Yoshio Sugimoto, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, pp. 186-204; Midori Matsui, ‘Little Girls Were Little Boys: Displaced Femininity in the Representation of Homosexuality in Japanese Girls’ Comics,’ in Feminism and the Politics of Difference, ed. Sneja Gunew and Anna Yeatman, Boulder: Westview Press, 1993, pp. 177-96; Matt Thorn, ‘What Japanese Girls Do with Manga’, in Matt Thorn’s Shoujo Manga Home Page, 23 September 1997 (9 May 2000); Maia Tsurumi, ‘Gender and Girls Comics in Japan,’ in Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 29, 2 (1997):46-55; Sandra Buckley, ‘”Penguin in Bondage”: A Graphic Tale of Japanese Comic Books,’ in Technoculture, ed. Andrew Ross and Constance Penley, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991; andYukari Fujimoto, ‘A Life-Size Mirror: Women’s Self-Representation in Girls’ Comics,’ in Review of Japanese Culture and Society 4, (December 1991):53-57.
 Cited in Shoujo Kakumei Utena Home Page, 5 September 2000, (22 March 2001).
 For more on feminist movements in Japan see Vera C. Mackie and Japanese Studies Centre (Melbourne Vic.), Feminism and the State in Modern Japan, Papers of the Japanese Studies Centre 22, Melbourne: Japanese Studies Centre, 1995; and Sandra Buckley, Broken Silence: Voices of Japanese Feminism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
 Indeed in the film the subtext becomes canon in the final scene, where ‘Utena and Anshi [do] the naked street luge while sucking face’ to quote one fan – that is, they exit the world of Ohtori Academy and the duelling arena on the remains of the car that was Utena, stark naked, kissing.
 It is worth noting that the other series that Ikuhara is famous for, Sailor Moon, also has a canonical female same-sex couple that is hugely popular among yuri fans.
Garudan Thookkam (Eagle Hanging) is a ritual art form performed in Kali temples of south Kerala. The people who dress up as Garuda perform the dance. After the dance performance, the hang-designate dangle from a shaft hooking the skin on his back. In some places, the ritual is performed colorfully with Garudas taken in a procession on bullock carts or boats or hand pulled carts. It will be available in Devi temple during the festival of Meena bharani and Pathamudayam in Thiruvanchoor in Kottayam district. During the ritual, the performer — with face painted green, and body complete with attached wings and red beak — undertakes a special dance. Following this, he strategically inserts a metal hook into his back and swings from a connected rope, wings outstretched. The blood that the performer sheds is viewed as an offering to the goddess.
Legend has it that even after slaying Darika, Kali remained insatiable and thirsty. At this time Vishnu sent Garuda to Kali to quench the thirst. A dancing and bleeding Garuda was taken to Kali and only after getting some drops of blood from Garuda, Kali was pacified. The ritual is performed based on this belief.
There is a famous Garudan Thookam at the Elamkavu Devi temple at Vadayar in Vaikkom taluk of Kottayam district. During the Aswathi, Bharanthi days of Meenam Month (Malayalam), more than 40 to 50 numbers of Garudan in the Thooka chadus, decorated and floated in thoni vallams (big country-boats), travel behind the Attuvela – a wooden structure constructed in the form of a three storied building which is considered as the floating temple of the Goddess Kali in the Moovattupuzha river. This is one of the best sights, with illuminated Structures. After the night long performance with the help of scores of chenda experts, the Garudans – bleeding after the Choondakuthal (Piercing of the skin on their back with a sharp metal hook) will be hung on a tall pedestal-like structure and taken thrice around the temple by the devotees. This is seen at the Pazhaveedu temple at Alappuzha district. But here the performance is done on a chariot-like structure on the road.
How much cocaine you on boys?
Want a whipping with that?
Oh what fun. Howabout a maypole, make it sexual too and we can swing you round and round.
Taking the piss is more like it, as Hinduism or new/Post-Vedic Hinduism did when it amalgamated and took over/usurped. The same goes human/animal sacrifice and beating women/children before the Goddess (the real Goddess thank you very much, none of the shitty little wannabes that came after, I’m looking at you traitor ‘snake’ bitches Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati) because men beating women and children in the name of Kali is really what the protector of the innocent (i.e. moreso human women & children and other animals in general) would condone. That’s just the same as people who rape them before the Goddess or any ‘goddess’ especially Mother Goddesses to say ‘hey look what I’m doing, what are you going to do about it? Hahaha.’
Now if it were the ‘real’ Garuda I would not be so against it and if it were ‘Vishnu’ hell yeah string the bastard up now! But wannabes and sacrifices/proxies? I know you’re cheap, but We’re priceless. I’m against sacrifice.
2) Throw your babies off a 50ft tower for good luck (Hindu and Muslim)
Yeah it’s been going on over half a millenium. In the spirit of animal mothers who throw their babes off everything from cliffs to ice bergs to see if they survive? Whilst I’ve never been keen on that design specification, the human version is not to show them the trials of life by throwing them off the ‘deep end’ (and hoping they don’t remember it) – it’s for something in return i.e. luck, prosperity/success etc all that material garbage. They catch them in a net, so that makes it ok…
I won’t post a picture, the men above quasi-not-really-too-stupid-to-know-better-but-will-do-anything-to-get-ahead chose to hang themselves in that unusual way. The kids didn’t.
3) Wasting [vegetarian] food even whilst poor.
Doing stupid things for material compensation/materialism is the norm (and also for lust based love rather than actual love) but there’s also living vicariously/basking in the glow/achievement or in this case pointless inherited status of others. In this case Brahmins (by default rather than say by meritocracy, there’s tons of ‘brahmin’ families who stick to the title, have done nothing to earn it, act like their ancestors achievements are theirs and are greedy, rich folk when priests are supposed to be poor or at least conscientious) and their leftovers. Now I might be a ‘poison taster’ (and multiple time survivor, I’m tough) for my Mum and finisher of the leftovers/everything that She makes but doesn’t want, doesn’t like, makes en masse but changes her mind and can’t be bothered with and I’ll have to finish it even if its about to go off (and put on weight because of the extra) but hey I’ve asserted my rights lately and she finishes her damned food now (now if only the cat would do the same) but I never used to roll around in it first…
Seriously, there’s a practice where people roll around on the leftovers of Brahmins (who technically are supposed to have what is offered to them, not the other way round) for good luck etc. Some people will do anything. The art of rolling is actually really good for you and significant but on food? Why not just bathe in the mud and get it over with, at least you’ll have massively clean skin afterwards. I can understand not sharing food or not wanting people too close or touching you – that’s an energy thing (and contamination thing) – but their food is so holy that you roll around in it?
Some places are trying to alter this by making it untasted food, but people want what they want.
4) Females are inferior but we’ll make you even moreso by saying you’re not only unclean, you’re possessed too (or we’ll make sure you’re possessed first by a contract/ritual so that we can say that) and then we’ll degrade and desecrate you further but exorcising you via bestiality, if we like you a tiny bit maybe a tree marriage.
Girls, women, ladies, if you have any kind of deformity, anything unattractive, any kind of undesirable behaviour (damn that means me then on maximum impact) then you might have to marry an animal or a tree before having the honour of an arranged marriage to man you don’t know/like/want anyway. It’s like how the medical profession in Britain used to call behaving in any way males and evil enabler females decided was unladylike then you had a disease or physical (usually genital) problem to be treated or operated on.
Since when was marriage about love?
Man’s best friend.
Who comes up with this trash? Oh yeah, power hungry secret keepers. It’s ridiculous how people don’t stand up for each other though or for those who try to help them, preferring their victimizers.