PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in bull

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bull Dance

Our Minnesota weather's been lushly Mediterranean of late, so naturally (such is the life of the wandering scholar) I've been thinking about bull-leaping.

I'm wondering if maybe—just maybe—the scholars have got it wrong.

Admittedly, my knowledge of the literature on the subject is not exhaustive. Still, on the basis of information available (to me, at any rate), I have the impression that much, if not most, current scholarship assumes that what we see depicted in Minoan art—what Mary Renault so charmingly calls the Bull Dance—is a sport, if perhaps a sport with religious overtones. Discussion tends to center on whether such a sport would actually have been physically possible or not.

I am given to understand that the scenes of bull-acrobatics that we see—on the golden ring-seal shown above, for example—are simply not possible; that bulls gore sideways rather than upwards, as the leaping scenes would imply. Contemporary athletes have been unable to duplicate the classical frontal bull-leap shown in Minoan art.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Wendilyn Emrys
    Wendilyn Emrys says #
    Europa; Minotaur; & Pasiphae's luring of the Bull are all possible mythological memories of the bull dance.
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I'm totally with you about the need for a mythological basis for bull leaping. It must have been inspired by some portion of the m
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My thanks to you both: I was hoping to hear from people with more personal knowledge of the subject than this son of the suburbs c
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    BTW some of my information comes from animal trainers whose bulls appear in movies and commercials. Bulls are quite trainable and
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Steven, I love your thoughts on this subject. Having grown up on a farm, I can tell you, a bull calf that is used to being handled

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Tying a Sacred Knot

Many symbols and images have held sacred meaning within religious traditions around the world and throughout time: the circle, the cross, the pillar, the pentagram. These symbols don’t necessarily mean the same thing in every tradition, and sometimes we can’t even be sure what the original significance was for each culture. One such symbol is the knot. You may be familiar with the tale of the Gordian knot from Greek and Roman mythology (the one Alexander the Great famously sliced with his sword) or the tyet of Isis from Egyptian mythology, often found in the form of amulets but also related to the knot on some Egyptian deities’ garments. But there’s another one you might not have heard of: the Minoan sacral knot. Let’s explore this symbol and see what we can discover about it.

The famed ‘snake goddess’ figurine from Knossos (in the photo at the top of this post) has an object that Sir Arthur Evans identified as a sacral knot between her breasts, at the top of the girdle that encircles her waist. A second ‘snake goddess’ figurine, also found at Knossos, has a similar, though larger, knot between the front edges of her top. I find it interesting that the snakes themselves form a large knot over her lower abdomen. I have to wonder if that has any significance. What do you think? 

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ruby
    Ruby says #
    When I first saw the image of the sacral knots my immediate thought is that it could be a birthing rope. Something like a rebozo u
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    What a great insight! Yes, I'm familiar with the rebozo as used by the women of Central America during labor and childbirth. The m

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Sign of the Hoof

A mudra that links Star Trek, Orthodox Jewish liturgy, and the god of witches.

Fascinating.

The “Vulcan salute” premiered in 1967 during Star Trek's second season. Series creator Gene Roddenberry felt that the words of the newly-invented Vulcan greeting needed some sort of physical gesture to go with them. Actor Leonard Nimoy held up his hand, palm facing out, thumb extended, fingers divided between the second and third fingers. In that moment, a pop-culture icon was born. Live long and prosper, folks.

Nimoy knew the gesture from his childhood. Six times a year in the Orthodox synagogue that his grandfather took him to, the kohanim—men from priestly families—would face the congregation, raise both hands before their faces making the same hand-sign, and pronounce the ancient Threefold Blessing:

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Deus eduxit eum de Aegypto cuius fortitude similis est rincerotis. So, a god whose strength is like unto a rhino's. Well.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Yikes. My first thought was, "they must have been working from a different underlying Hebrew text," which, given the difficulties
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I would agree that your reading makes sense of 24:8 with its singular object, Brian, and would add that some MSS. read motsi'o for
  • Brian Niskala
    Brian Niskala says #
    One thing I find funny is the Septuagint's translation here: ὡς δόξα μονοκέρωτος αὐτῷ, taking the Hebrew's תוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם as 'glo
  • Brian Niskala
    Brian Niskala says #
    I would question that translation of Number 23:20/24:8. That reading of 'lo' לוֹ as a possessive here doesn't quite work; I read i

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Bulls.  Big, strong, temperamental creatures that have had loomed large in man’s past.  Bull jumping, bull baiting, bull fights and running of the bulls are events where they were, and in some cases still are, featured.  They were used in the form of oxen to pull plows and carts.  Their virility kept up herds, generating wealth for their owners. In some areas, placing a bull head above a door gives protection and luck much like the horse shoe.  As sacrifices, few animals were more costly.  From them we get the terms ‘seeing red’ and ‘bull-headed’.  A lot of myths feature bulls, even modern myths like Paul Bunyan and his blue ox.  In some cultures, earthquakes are blamed on a rowdy celestial bull believed to have the world upon its horns.  A lot of masculine divinities, particularly those of the sun and the sky, are associated with bulls.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Minoan_Head_Bull_-_Heraklion_Archaeological_Museum.jpg

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I saw that but again I wonder if those are bulls or cows with horns. Sounds like an interesting temple!
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Interesting post and great list thanks! I follow the research done at Catal Huyuk; their dig season just started back up, so I've
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    Great informational post. Odd coincidence: My wife and I were just talking about Paul Bunyan and Babe today.
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Paul and Blue have been popping out at me a lot lately...I've been trying to figure out why. Thanks!
  • Samantha Lahlali
    Samantha Lahlali says #
    In Hellenic polytheism there is also Apollon who has perhaps a less recognized connection among oxen and cattle. Pausanias tells u

Additional information