Sunday, 14 October 2018

Hinduism in Bali - Temples and Dances

Balinese Hindu temples, puras, are different from those in India. They are enclosures with open air areas for worship. The compounds are connected with beautifully decorated gates, and each contains thatched shrines. Learn more in my latest video..

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Interactive Survive the Jive video map

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Living Wooden Idol that Speaks - Tremann

The word Trémann (tree man) appears several times in Norse sources, referring to some kind of living wooden idol. In Flateyjarbók, Ogmundr the Dane goes ashore at Samsey and finds a "trémann fornan" (ancient tree man) 140ft high and covered in moss and he wondered who worshipped this enormous god. In other cases the tremann is alive, such as in one story one is sent by pagan Hakon Jarl to kill Thorleifr Jarlaskald. This one was made from driftwood and dressed in human clothes with a human heart placed inside it and it was named Þorgarðr. The fact that Þorgarðr is referred to in a kenning as the Gautr of the battlefire, associates him with Odin, since Gautr is a name for Odin. In Havamal 49 a verse describes how Odin clothes two wooden men with the armour of noblemen, and in so doing turns them to demons of battle, presumably for his army in Valhöll.

There are other sources that associate Odin with the creation of idols that he makes live, such as The Old English gnomic poem Maxims I phrase 'Woden worhte weos' ('Woden made idols'’) and the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, who pretended that Odin was only a man, still admitted that he had the power to make inanimate statues speak.

All this was brought to my mind when I witnessed the funerary puppet dancing of the Batak people in Sumatra. Batak pagan priests made human-sized puppets which were dressed like those who had died and were manipulated by the Datu to dance, weep, gnash their teeth, and speak in the voice of the deceased. The puppets were used to revive souls of the dead and communicate with them. An extraordinarily Odinic form of necromancy. There is no historic link between Indonesia and the Odin cult of course, but the similarity is testament to the perennial nature of pagan truth. You can see it in my new video here.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Where Did Celts Come From?

While Germanic language is widely agreed to have emerged around 3000 years ago in Northern Denmark, amongst a people who were genetically like modern Danes, and then to have spread from 750BC as neighbouring peoples adopted the language for some reason, it is harder to pin point who the first Celtic speakers were or explain how their languages got to Britain.
As I have said in videos, the modern British genetic profile emerged 4500 years ago with the arrival of the beaker folk from Holland, but these people did NOT speak a Celtic language, as linguists agree Proto-Celtic isn't that old (maybe 3000 or 3500 years old). This means that either: 

a) The peoples of the British Isles adopted a Celtic language due to trade with continental Celts
b) A small Celtic elite took over Britain and Ireland and somehow changed the culture and language but not the genetics
c) A continental population of Celts took over Britain and Ireland and did change the genetics, but this change is only very slight because they were already closely related to the people of the British Isles.
Archeologically, the Hallstatt culture of the 8th to 6th centuries BC, is seen as the first proper Celtic material culture. The two black stars on the PCA chart above, made by Eurogenes, represent two skeletons from the Hallstatt culture, and it can clearly be seen that one plots among the Dutch and one among the Northern French, but neither among modern "Celtic" areas. However, the purple Iron Age Celts on the chart are between the older Bronze age British samples and the Halstatt samples indicating there WAS an invasion of continental Celts to Britain who were related to these Halstatt samples and that they changed the DNA of Britain and Ireland.
Modern English people plot between these purple Iron Age Celts and the red Anglo-Saxon samples, but there is always the possibility that other 5th century Anglo-Saxon invaders from Frisia, Holland etc would have plotted like modern Dutch people just as the much older Halstatt sample does - thus making the job of distinguishing "Celtic and Germanic DNA" very complicated! Especially when you also see that the Anglo-Saxon samples are closer to the Bronze Age Britons than the Halstatt Celts are.

The Hero in the Mountain - An Archetype

"In this country the most noted example is that of King Arthur, who may fitly give his name to the type. King Arthur, according to the romances, is, like Olger, in the Island of Avalon, where indeed the romance of Olger declares that the two heroes met. Sir Thomas Malory tells us: “Some men yet say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesus Christ into another place; and men say that hee will come againe, and he shall winne the holy crosse. I will not say that it shall bee so, but rather I will say that heere in this world hee changed his life. But many men say that there is written upon his tombe this verse: Hic jacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque futurus.” This is a belief dear to the heart of many an oppressed people. It was told of Harold that he was not slain at Senlac, and that he would yet come back to lead his countrymen against the hated Normans. Even of Roderick, the Last of the Goths, deeply stained as he was with crime, men were loth to believe that he was dead. In the latter part of the[Pg 206] sixteenth century, after Don Sebastian had fallen in the ill-fated expedition to Morocco, Philip the Second of Spain took advantage of the failure of the male line on the death of the cardinal-king, Henry, to add Portugal to his dominions, already too large. His tyranny roused a popular party whose faith was that Don Sebastian was not really dead: he was reigning in the Island of the Seven Cities, and he would return by and by to drive out the Spaniards and their justly execrated king. Even in the year 1761 a monk was condemned by the Inquisition as a Sebastianist, a believer and a disseminator of false prophecies,—so long did the tradition linger. In the Spanish peninsula, indeed, the superstition has been by no means confined to Christians. The Moors who were left in the mountains of Valentia looked for the return of their hero Alfatimi upon a green horse, from his place of concealment in the Sierra de Aguar, to defend them and to put their Catholic tyrants to the sword.
Oppression nourishes beliefs of this kind. It was under the Roman dominion that the Jewish expectation of a Messiah grew to its utmost strength; and the manifestation of the Messiah was to be preceded by the reappearance of Elijah, a prophet who was not dead but translated to heaven. And strange sometimes are the gods from whom salvation is to come. Only a few years ago, if we may trust Bishop Melchisedech of Roumania, there was a Slavonic sect, the object of whose worship was Napoleon the First. He, said his worshippers, had not really died; he was only at Irkousk, in Siberia, where, at the head of a powerful, an invincible, army, he was ready once more to overrun the world.
But, however the belief in a deity, or hero, who is to[Pg 207] return some day, may be strengthened by political causes, it is not dependent upon them. Many races having traditions of a Culture God—that is, of a superior being who has taught them agriculture and the arts of life, and led them to victory over their enemies—add that he has gone away from them for awhile, and that he will some day come back again. Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha, the culture gods of Mexico and Peru, are familiar instances of this. In the later Brahminism of India, Vishnu, having already accomplished nine avatars, or incarnations, for special emergencies in the past, was yet to have one more avatar for the final destruction of the wicked and the restoration of goodness at the end of the present age; he would then be revealed in the sky seated on a white horse and wielding a blazing sword. I need not specify others: it will be manifest that the traditions of modern Europe we have been considering contain the same thought. Nor is it unlikely that they have been influenced by the Christian doctrine of the Second Advent. Many of them have received the polish of literature. The stories of Olger and Arthur, for example, have descended to us as romances written by cultivated men. Don Sebastian was the plaything of a political party, if not the symbol of religious heresy, for nearly two centuries. In all these stories we encounter the belief that the god or hero is in heaven, or in some remote land. Such a belief is the sign of a civilization comparatively advanced. The cruder and more archaic belief is that he sleeps within the hills.
This cruder belief is more familiar in the folklore of Europe than the other. King Arthur was believed to lie with his warriors beneath the Craig-y-Ddinas (Castle Rock) in the Vale of Neath. Iolo Morganwg, a well-known Welsh antiquary, used to relate a curious tradition concerning this rock. A Welshman, it was said, walking over London Bridge with a hazel staff in his hand, was met by an Englishman, who told him that the[Pg 208] stick he carried grew on a spot under which were hidden vast treasures, and if the Welshman remembered the place and would show it to him he would put him in possession of those treasures. After some demur the Welshman consented, and took the Englishman (who was in fact a wizard) to the Craig-y-Ddinas and showed him the spot. They dug up the hazel tree on which the staff grew and found under it a broad flat stone. This covered the entrance to a cavern in which thousands of warriors lay in a circle sleeping on their arms. In the centre of the entrance hung a bell which the conjurer begged the Welshman to beware of touching. But if at any time he did touch it and any of the warriors should ask if it were day, he was to answer without hesitation: “No; sleep thou on.” The warriors' arms were so brightly polished that they illumined the whole cavern; and one of them had arms that outshone the rest, and a crown of gold lay by his side. This was Arthur; and when the Welshman had taken as much as he could carry of the gold which lay in a heap amid the warriors, both men passed out; not, however, without the Welshman's accidentally touching the bell. It rang; but when the inquiry: “Is it day?” came from one of the warriors, he was prompt with the reply: “No; sleep thou on.” The conjurer afterwards told him that the company he had seen lay asleep ready for the dawn of the day when the Black Eagle and the Golden Eagle should go to war, the clamour of which would make the earth tremble so much that the bell would ring loudly and the warriors would start up, seize their arms, and destroy the enemies of the Cymry, who should then repossess the island of Britain and be governed from Caerlleon with justice and peace so long as the world endured. When the Welshman's treasure was all spent he went back to the cavern and helped himself still more liberally than before. On his way out he touched the bell again: again it rang. But this time he was not so ready with his answer, and[Pg 209] some of the warriors rose up, took the gold from him, beat him and cast him out of the cave. He never recovered the effects of that beating, but remained a cripple and a pauper to the end of his days; and he never could find the entrance to the cavern again. Merlin and the charm
“Of woven paces and of waving hands”

I need not do more than mention. A recess in the rock three miles eastward of Carmarthen, called Merlin's Cave, is generally accredited as the place where Vivien perpetrated her treachery. Merlin's county is possessed of another enchanted hero. On the northern side of Mynydd Mawr (the Great Mountain) near Llandilo, is a cave where Owen Lawgoch (Owen of the Red Hand), one of the last chieftains who fought against the English, lies with his men asleep. And there they will lie until awakened by the sound of a trumpet and the clang of arms on Rhywgoch, when they will arise and conquer their Saxon foes, driving them from the land. A more famous chieftain is the subject of a similar belief in the Vale of Gwent. Considerable obscurity overhangs the fate of Owen Glendower. What is certain about him is that he disappeared from history in the year 1415. What is believed in the Vale of Gwent is that he and his men still live and lie asleep on their arms in a cave there, called “Gogov y Ddinas,” or Castle Cave, where they will continue until England become self-debased; but that then they will sally forth to reconquer their country, privileges, and crown for the Welsh, who shall be dispossessed of them no more until the Day of Judgment."
The Science of Fairy Tales
Picture: Barbarossa awakens, 19th-century painting by Hermann Wislicenus

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Survive the Jive T Shirt Store

You can now purchase STJ hoodies, t-shirts, mugs and phone cases from the official STJ teespring store. Click here!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Monday, 13 August 2018

Sacred Spring of Goddess Coventina

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Documentary: Altar of Fire

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Kali Yuga and the Age of Iron in different traditions

Irish, Nordic, Greek and Indian texts all warn about an evil age that will be the final one in a cycle of ages, in which religious principles are forgotten, hardship and strife are widespread and people become evil. This video quotes from Hindu sources, Ovid's Metamorphoses, the Old Norse pagan text Völuspá (the prophecy of the seeress) and the old Irish prophecy of the crow goddess Badb.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Odin as Brihaspati

Not everyone agreed with my association of Woden with the Vedic era sage god Brihaspati, but I stick by it. I refer not to the medieval Brihaspati (Jupiter) but to the Vedic Brihaspati, favourite guru of Lord Indra, said to have been appointed as the priest of the Devas during their war with the Asuras. He he did not have the skill of Necromancy which gave the Asuras an advantage, therefore, his son Kacha, whose name means sage, was sent to learn necromancy from Shukracharya, the guru of the Asuras.
Like Brihaspati and his son, we see that Odin/Woden is the sage god, as I said in my video "Who is Woden", he performs all priestly activities for the gods, giving himself as a sacrifice to himself, and even performing the first ever sacrifice with his brothers in Gylfaginning.
More specifically, Odin learned seiðr from the Vanir. There was a conflict between Aesir and Vanir, yet Odin had to learn magic from them. He became a necromancer and a god of the dead. The 12th rune he learned from his sacrifice allowed him to speak with the dead, bringing them back like the Mrita Sanjivini mantra does. 
"A twelfth I know, if high on a tree  
I see a hanged man swing;  
So do I write  and color the runes 
That forth he fares,   
And to me talks."

Remember that the root meaning of "rune" is esoteric secret and it is therefore essentially a magical formula like a mantra. The parallels between these stories are quite obvious. An additional parallel may be found in the part of the myth in which Kacha is killed by the Asuras and his remains are mixed with wine, which is imbibed by his master - a story reminiscent of the Norse myth in which the wisest man, Kvasir, is murdered by dwarves who blend his blood with honey to make the divine mead....

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Milk Drinking Serpent

Out on a Spring jog last weekend I was delighted to encounter a grass snake which I chased into a corner where I could admire it. They are very lucky in the folklore of Indo-European countries and this must be due to its former mythological status. The grass snake (natrix natrix) is a non-venomous serpent found across Europe and the Eurasian steppes where the Proto-Indo-Europeans originated.

A paper by Lender and Janssen (2014) argued that the grass snake has been sacred since the Neolithic, and owes its wide distribution due to the fact that dung heaps made by farmers create the perfect nesting environment for them to thrive. The paper shows that the grass snake spread during the Neolithic with agriculture. We can presume it spread even more in the late Neolithic, after the Indo-Europeans brought lactase persistence to the region and made cows an even more valuable resource.

Snakes got a bad name with Christianity, and the grass snake lost its special status in many places. However, in Lithuania, the last European country to be Christianised, the grass snake, known as žaltys, is still a sacred animal. In mythology, it is a household spirit, and Baltic people, particularly young couples, would keep them as pets beneath the bed, and feed them by hand. If a grass snake was found in the wild then people would try to befriend it with an offering  of milk.

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I am assured by a Swedish friend that the same practice of offering bowls of milk to grass snakes, snok, also occurred in Sweden until quite recently. This got me wondering how widespread the practice was. 

Then I read in the Hindu myth of Mansā Devi, the goddess of snakes, the story of a girl called Behula who placated malicious serpents with bowls of milk to drink. The snakes were vicious in the legend but the snake goddess is revered and she can heal or prevent snake bites. In fact, there is even a Hindu snake festival held in July/August called Naga Panchami, during which snake spirits (Naga) are worshiped. Just as the realm of the underworld in Norse mythology is populated by serpents such as Nidhogg, Hindu cosmology relegates Naga to the lowest of the seven realms of the universe. During this festival, snakes are sometimes bathed in milk or they are fed milk, but as you can see from the image below, the snakes are reluctant to participate. Some Indians don't realise that snakes prefer bugs and rats to bowls of milk.

The notion of malevolent spirits such as elves or fairies stealing butter or milk is common in the folklore or the British Isles, but in rural parts of England, such as Gloucestershire, there are specific examples where milk is said to be sucked directly from the cow's udder by a snake. This charming tale from 1700 is a nice example:

The story begins with the unaccountable failure of an Alderney cow to yield her customary supply of milk. Hitherto the reputation of Daisy, the animal in question, had been above reproach. She had borne twelve promising calves in thirteen years, and had supplied milk with the regularity of penny-in-the-slot machine. But without warning her generous fountains ran suddenly dry, and to quote ‘our Jarge’ my principal informant ‘Her didn’t yield not spot of milk for more’n two days.’ The farm bailiff, suspecting that gipsies or tramps must have got at Daisy’s supply, instructed the cowman to keep an eye on that excellent beast, which Jorge accordingly did, with surprising results. After a brief period of vigilance the honest fellow sought out the bailiff and made his report boldly as follows; ‘l’ve been a-waitin’, and I do know what be wrong with our Daisy. I’ve seed snakes.’ Now the farm hand who sees snakes is rarely encouraged. ‘Jarge,’ however, stuck manfully to his story, which was that had come upon Daisy lying on the grass with expression of bovine bliss upon her countenance ‘same if her bein’ tickled pleasantlike.’ He made the cow get up, and then to his astonishment saw two great snakes wriggle in the grass where she had lain. ‘I struck out stick’ quoth Jarge ‘and killed ’em dead. They’ve been a-suckin’ our Daisy’s milk this three days.’
In Spain, rural peasants not only still believe that snakes will steal the milk of their cows, but also that a sickly child may be suffering because a snake has been stealing the mother's milk straight from the tit while she sleeps. The Spaniards are wont to kill snakes wherever they see them. No doubt due to Christian superstition and ignorant prejudice. The snake in these folkloric beliefs is reduced to a despised thief (maybe due to Christianity), unlike the revered serpents in the other examples, but in each case, the enduring belief that snakes drink milk must derive from some pre-Christian, Indo-European source.

Snakes, being reptiles, do not have the necessary digestive equipment to break down the lactose in milk and therefore have no interest in drinking it. In fact, even humans couldn't digest milk until the Indo-Europeans spread their lactase persistent genes across Eurasia in the Bronze age. The Indo-Europeans had a prominent serpent in their mythology which was slain by the storm god. They also had a myth about enchanted apples being stolen from a deity by a sub-race of god-like beings. It seems likely that there was a folk belief among these early drinkers of cow and goat milk, that their treasured nutritious beverage would be stolen from them by serpents and that serpent-like nature-spirits ought also to be placated with offerings of milk.

EDIT: There is a whole paper on this phenomenon here - ERMACORA (2017)

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Reich and the Genetic Barbarians at the Gates

Leading geneticist David Reich's recent interview with Atlantic reveals so much about how the field is simultaneously challenging left wing narratives of history and science, and also being used to shape them.

Since WWII, historians and archaeologists have disputed long held beliefs about ancient population replacements. Epochal events like the Anglo-Saxon migration, the spread of the Indo-Europeans and the Northern origin (Corded Ware) of the Aryans of India were all either "re-examined" or dismissed entirely as the product of "old" Nationalistic ideas. Genetic science is now vindicating many of the early 20th century theories, causing a great deal of kvetching in the ivory towers.

"Reich: So after the Second World War, there was a very strong reaction in the European archaeological community—not just the Germans, but the broad continental European archaeological community—to the fact that their discipline had been used for these terrible political ends. And there was a retreat from the ideas of Kossinna.
Zhang: You actually had German collaborators drop out of a study because of these exact concerns, right? One of them wrote, “We must(!) avoid ... being compared with the so-called ‘siedlungsarchäologie Method’ from Gustaf Kossinna!”
Reich: Yeah, that’s right. I think one of the things the ancient DNA is showing is actually the Corded Ware culture does correspond coherently to a group of people. [Editor’s note: The Corded Ware made pottery with cord-like ornamentation and according to ancient DNA studies, they descended from steppe ancestry.] I think that was a very sensitive issue to some of our coauthors, and one of the coauthors resigned because he felt we were returning to that idea of migration in archaeology that pots are the same as people. There have been a fair number of other coauthors from different parts of continental Europe who shared this anxiety."
Although population geneticists like Reich are regarded as a threat to the comfy hug-box that modern historians and archeologists have created, with Reich comparing his team to "barbarians at the gates", he is still just as much a part of the zeitgeist as the archeologists. He says, "You have to be more open to immigration. You have to be more open to the mixing of different peoples. That’s your own history."

Slavs, Germanics, Celts, the Romans, the Iranics and the Aryans etc are all directly descended from the Corded Ware peoples of Northern and Eastern Europe and these people were like modern Nordic/Baltic/Slavic people. This fact makes the establishment nervous so it needs to be sanitised by calling them "immigrants" saying they "came from the East" etc - They want to equate a conquering, ruling people with modern economic migrants, so that instead of being ignited with pride by the achievements of your ancestors, you instead shame them by destroying their legacy. Don't dismiss modern science as "left-wing lies", instead pick out the real facts from within the narrative-friendly media statements.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Indo-European Archery Contest Myth

While reading the Hindu epic Mahābhārata for the first time, I was struck by several quite obvious parallels in European literature regarding archery, which immediately aroused my suspicion of a common Proto-Indo-European origin. Not just because both Indian and Homeric sources use similar language, such as describing arrows as "winged" and bows as "shining" (West, 2007) but because of similar kinds of contests of archery.

The first simply involves the stringing of an incredibly strong bow. In Mahābhārata it is a bow so strong that it can be strung by none but Arjuna the son of Indra the thunder god. This feat Arjuna performs at a contest where he shoots five arrows into a horn. The story has the same origin as one in the Odyssey, in which Penelope, wife of Odysseus, says to her suitors in her husband's absence that she will marry any who can string his bow. All fail but Odysseus himself, who strings the bow while in disguise and thus woos his own wife. This follows an Indo-European tradition of heroic wooing.

In the Iliad at the funeral of Patroclus there is an archery contest in which a bird must be shot from the top of a mast, and this is very like Drona's archery test in Mahābhārata in which a fake bird is used as the target instead.

Another Greek source tells the story of how Heracles seeks a throne through marriage and hears that Eurytus, king of the city of Oechalia, is holding an archery contest with his daughter Iole as a bride for a winner. Of course Heracles beats everybody.

Another example in Mahābhārata was the archery contest in which the hand of Princess Draupadi is the prize at her Swayamvara. The five Pandavas all attend in disguise as Brahmins. Here we see both the theme of the archery contest with a Princess bride as the prize, and also the the theme of the heroic suitor in disguise.

You may recognise this story from Robin Hood? I did! Michael Nagler wrote that the origin of this story, widespread in mythology and fairy tales, is an Indo-European contest "with a disguised hero whose invincible identity is hidden behind a mask of social inferiority, the former arousing the suitors' fear and the latter their indignant rejection."

The contest is recorded in 'A Gest of Robyn Hode", one of the oldest surviving tales of Robin Hood, printed between 1492 and 1534, but was based on much older stories. It is possible the Robin Hood stories borrowed elements from Greek myths, but it seems to me just as likely that the Robin Hood version is derived from a native English myth, perhaps of Anglo-Saxon or even of Celtic origin?

Let me know if you can shed any light on this in the comments. 


Michael N. (1993) "Penelope's Male Hand: Gender and Violence in the Odyssey,"

Indo-European Poetry and Myth By M. L. West (2007)

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sacred Water Places for Pagans

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Indo-European Prayer and Ritual