Thursday, 30 December 2021

Belief in the Unknown and Unknowable

Once more, before I move on
and set my sights ahead,
in loneliness I lift my hands up to you,
you to whom I flee,
to whom I, in the deepmost depth of my heart,
solemnly consecrated altars
so that ever
your voice may summon me again.

Deeply graved into those altars
glows the phrase: To The Unknown God.
I am his, although I have, until now,
also lingered amid the unholy mob;
I am his—and I feel the snares
that pull me down in the struggle and,
if I would flee,
compel me yet into his service.

I want to know you, Unknown One,
Who reaches deep into my soul,
Who roams through my life like a storm—
You Unfathomable One, akin to me!
I want to know you, even serve you.

—Friedrich Nietzsche, 1864. Translated by Michael Moynihan

Nietzsche here frankly expresses a strikingly honest form of spirituality which I believe typified the highest sentiments of the Indo-European spiritual worldview. It combines faith, which most religions require, with an honest appraisal of what is truly known of the divine by mortals. In this case the existence of the god is unquestioned, but the exact nature or even the name of the god are not known.

In this post I will provide some examples of this heroic spiritual view of the divine and of death. Consider the Nāsadīya Sūkta also known as the Hymn of Creation, the 129th hymn of the 10th mandala of the Rigveda (10:129). In it, the speaker or singer asks philosophical questions about Creation, and answers himself - we do not know and maybe even the creator himself does not know.

1. Then even non-existence was not there, nor existence,

There was no air then, nor the space beyond it.

What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?

Was there then cosmic fluid, in depths unfathomed?

2. Then there was neither death nor immortality

nor was there then the torch of night and day.

The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.

There was that One then, and there was no other.

3. At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.

All this was only unillumined cosmic water.

That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,

arose at last, born of the power of knowledge.

4. In the beginning desire descended on it -

that was the primal seed, born of the mind.

The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom

know that which is, is kin to that which is not.

5. And they have stretched their cord across the void,

and know what was above, and what below.

Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.

Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

6. But, after all, who knows, and who can say

Whence it all came, and how creation happened?

the gods themselves are later than creation,

so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

7. Whence all creation had its origin,

the creator, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,

the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven,

he knows — or maybe even he does not know.

This reflects the religious attitude of the Bronze Age Aryan, in which no insincere claims are made about what can actually be known with any certainty by mere mortals. Obviously this is less consoling than a religion which claims to have all the answers, but in this spiritual worldview, truth comes first.

This same attitude is evident in Greece where there was a shrine to the unknown God at the Areopagus. St Paul exploits this in his sermon, twisting the pagan honesty about that which is unknown of the divine, and calling this a failing of the pagan faith.

"As I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship — and this is what I am going to proclaim to you."

Either in ignorance, or as a technique of deception, Paul missed the pious and honest religious meaning of celebrating that which is unknown and unknowable of the divine by mortals. Christianity can not accommodate this kind of expression of faith, if it did we should see Christian prayers where they ask frank questions about what it is possible for them to know with certainty:

"Did the angel really appear to Mary or was it a daemon? We cannot say.
Was Jesus really a god or was he possessed by a daemon? It cannot be known.
Is YHWH the only god or is he lying? Maybe even He himself doesn’t know for sure.”

Instead, even uttering such things is called heresy. The Bible and the Abrahamic faiths in general provide only a tautological argument that their claims are true because of the scripture and that the scripture is true because it says it is true.

We have seen how Christianity exploited the frank admission by Greek pagans of what can be known of the divine by manipulating the less secure and less knowledgeable pagans who longed for consoling answers to the great unanswerable questions. I believe the same thing occurred 700 years later in England.

In Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, Bede describes how the pagan King Edwin of the Northumbrians calls a council of his wisest retainers to debate whether they should convert to Christianity and it is at this point that one of the "king's chief men" gave the following speech:

“The present life of man upon earth, O King, seems to me in comparison with that time which is unknown to us like the swift flight of a sparrow through the mead-hall where you sit at supper in winter, with your Ealdormen and thanes, while the fire blazes in the midst and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest, but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter to winter again. So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.”
Evidently the anecdote is provided by Bede as an example of a pagan feeling hopeless with the uncertainty of pagan beliefs, and thus wanting something more solid in the form of Christian doctrine. However, this story is intended to impress pagans and encourage them to convert and is part of a conversion narrative, therefore we should expect to see in it tropes that would be recognised by pagans. For that reason I believe that Bede has used a well known pagan poetic metaphor about the uncertainty of life, not only after death, but before birth! I have covered in my videos how Germanic and Celtic pagans believed in a form of reincarnation so the fate of the “soul” prior to birth was also a concerning question for them.

The idea that this passage was just an expression of Christian belief is unsatisfactory because Christians do claim to know the fate of the soul after death and they certainly do not consider that souls have a similar existence prior to birth as they do after death. The possibility that this passage is a modified pagan metaphor, misrepresented by Bede in a similar way to how Paul had misrepresented the unknown god, seems very likely and it is therefore mysterious to me that no other historian has suggested it (as far as I am aware). The passage was, after all, put in the mouth of a pagan Anglo-Saxon, so why should we not presume it is intended to reflect a pagan world view to some extent?

I am also convinced it has pagan provenance because it matches the heroic and frank attitude toward death and the divine which is seen elsewhere in Indo-European religions and which I have outlined above.

The same heroic, Indo-European fatalistic resolve in the face of death survives in Buddhism and is beautifully portrayed in the film Kagemusha by Kurosawa. In the scene below, Oda Nobunaga the demon king, quotes the following lines:
"Human life lasts only 50 years, compare it with the life of Geten (a form of Buddhist paradise, where one day lasts years of our world), it is truly a dream and an illusion. Life, once given, cannot last forever”

The text recited by Oda Nobunaga is from a Japanese Noh play called "Atsumori" which was named after Taira no Atsumori, a Taira soldier who died during the Gempei war 1180-1185 (Taira vs Minamoto clan). The Oda clan claimed descent from the Taira and this dance and song is famous for having been recited by Oda Nobunaga which is why Kurosawa included it in Kagemusha. Watching this performance, I can imagine the story of the sparrow in the hall was sung in a similar way, in a meadhall by a scop to all the Thegns and the Lord. I imagine them moodily pondering the unknowable destiny of the soul as the scop strummed his lyre and recited the holy verses.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Jive Book Review: The Shaman: Patterns of Siberian and Ojibway Healing

A review of The Shaman: Patterns of Siberian and Ojibway Healing by John A. Grim. He describes the common features of the figure known as "the shaman" by anthropologists who is found mainly in cultures of Siberian origin: with the focus mainly on the Yakut of Siberia and the Ojibwe Indians aka Chippewa, Saulteaux, Anishinaabe people of southern Canada and the northern Midwestern USA. I attempt to compare the features of the shaman and of shamanic religious practices to Indo-European religious customs, particularly in Nordic Germanic religion.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Why was Survive the Jive removed from Facebook?

On July 22nd 2021 the Facebook profile of myself (Thomas Rowsell), my wife, and the Facebook pages of my business and associated products (including Survive the Jive and From Runes to Ruins) were deleted without warning. Several other profiles which I owned and had used in my work as a social media manager for various organisations, including the WHO, were also removed. I responded with a short stream on Instagram (below) and later a longer YouTube stream. The ban was also covered in the news by Reclaim the Net and on MRCTV.

A social media campaign to reinstate my account and pages, using the hashtag #survivethejivedidnothingwrong failed to provoke a response from Facebook. Several attempts at emailing them also resulted in no response. 

The only message I got was on the day of the ban which said I did not "follow community guidelines" and that this decision "cannot be reversed" - both of these statements avoid saying in what way I am alleged to have breached the community guidelines and how this was determined. Usually users are given warnings and the offending posts are highlighted so the user understands why they were removed. The other strange thing is that my wife's account was deleted even though she was not very active on that website. 

I was not satisfied with Facebook's conduct and sought to obtain more information about their mysterious decision. I contacted them on 25th July 2021 with an SAR request for data relating to the ban which they were legally obliged to respond to within 30 days, yet they chose to ignore the law. 

On the 14th October the ICO contacted Facebook insisting that they respond to my data request within 28 days. On the very last day, 11th November, Facebook finally emailed me. They provided a download link for the data from my profile itself, but refused to provide data on the ban, or the justification for it, saying:

Please note, our internal policies and protocols with respect to the application of our Terms and Community Standards (and the imposition of sanctions) are not comprised of personal data and so these documents do not fall within the scope of data access requests under Article 15 GDPR. These documents relate to Facebook Ireland’s enforcement of its Terms and Policies.

With respect to our decision to impose sanctions on your specific account, we reserve the right not to provide access to data relating to sanctions and/or our process for deciding in specific cases whether to impose sanctions, and we are entitled to do so under Article 15(4) GDPR.

To the extent that information contained in internal documentation in respect of the violation of our policies and protocols includes personal data about you, we are not able to provide this information to you, as the provision of such information could adversely affect the rights and freedoms of others (as set out in Article 15(4) GDPR). This could include the rights and freedoms of our members and our employees but more importantly, the rights and freedoms of individuals who may have reported your account.

Furthermore, providing information regarding what specific behaviour types trigger blocks and/or sanctions may prejudice the effective application of our policies and protocols by potentially allowing individuals to understand how we determine breaches and therefore how to adjust their behaviour slightly so as to avoid their account being actioned. As such, and in accordance with Article 15(4) GDPR, we do not provide access to this specific data.

 This seems like a very poor excuse since Facebook could redact any sensitive names. They are still obliged to provide any data that pertains to me according to UK data protection law. Their reluctance to do so is extremely suspicious.

EDIT: My instagram page was also deleted on 8th December 2021 with no reason given.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Modern Horses were domesticated in Europe

I've been waiting for some concrete DNA evidence about where modern horses came from since I interviewed Alan Outram three years ago and he hinted that it was soon to be published. He indicated that Sintashta horses might end up being more important than Yamnaya ones, and now that the new paper, to which he contributed, has finally been published, I can see why.


The new paper (Librado et al 2021) doesn't make the findings very clear IMO (refers to Europe as West Eurasia and makes the false assumption that Corded Ware was descended from Yamnaya) but it does answer some important questions. I will summarise the findings in a clear TLDR bullet point list below:
  • Botai may have been first to corral horses for milking but they didn't ride them.

  • Yamnaya kept horses for milking too but we cannot see if they were ridden

  • Wilkin et al (2021) looking at milk proteins in pottery agrees with this new paper regarding "a potential epicentre for horse domestication in the Pontic–Caspian steppe by the third millennium BC" = Yamnaya.

  • Librado et al (2021) points to Volga-Don region (aka Yamnaya EUROPE) as the homeland of modern domestic horses

  • Sintashta horses (DOM2) were superior for riding (stronger backs) and replaced earlier ones from 2200 BC

  • Sintashta horses (DOM2) had genetic continuity with earlier Yamnaya Repin ones (TURG) and Steppe Maykop (Aygurskii), and Poltavka (Sosnovka) - specifically two late Yamnaya specimens from approximately 2900 to 2600 BC

  • Yamnaya horses had some relation, but not much, to Botai horses

  • The Tarpan and modern Przewalski’s horses do not descend from the same ancestral population as modern domestic horses

  • Modern horses were domesticated in Europe but the paper calls it West Eurasia - possibly as a deliberate, politically motivated obfuscation

  • The ancestors of Sintashta horses came from the steppe East of the Dnieper and West of the Volga-Don region - ie: firmly within European Yamnaya territory during the late fourth and early third millennia BC

  • Corded Ware horses were not the same as Yamnaya/Sintashta horses 

  • Earlier LBK and other Neolithic horses in Denmark, Poland, Czechia and Hungary had some affinity with Yamnaya/Sintashta horses - the geneflow seems to have been via Thrace

  • Corded Ware expansion into Europe was not accompanied by horses but rather they adopted local horses as they migrated (not clear if they were ridden)

  • Replacement of other horse lineages in Europe and Asia by Sintashta ones was accompanied by spread of both equestrianism and (a bit later) light two wheeled war chariots

  • The spread of Sintashta horses into the middle east was likely accompanied by the spread of a specialised class of Sintashta descended horse trainers like the Mitanni.

Sintashta horses come from Yamnaya horses and Yamnaya domesticated their horses in Europe (see Robert Molyneaux's forensic reconstruction of a Yamnaya male above). Reminder that Sintashta, despite being Proto-Indo-Iranic speakers, the descendant languages of which are now found in Iran and India, were white people. So it is accurate to say that white people gave modern domestic horses to the world. Below are some reconstructions of Sintashta men by "ancestral whispers".

All this new information should be considered when we examine the evident Indo-European origin of horse sacrifice which I discussed at length in a documentary film on the subject.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Thursday, 28 October 2021

New Genetic Study on Tarim Mummies of China

New genetic data on Tarim mummies disproves my claim that early Tarim mummies were Iranic. It also shows the likely origin of Tocharian languages is in the Dzungarian Basin just north of Tarim rather than Tarim itself. Tarim mummies date from 2000 BC to AD 200 yet this sample only looks at the very oldest of those. Even older samples (3000–2800 BC) in the new study are from the Dzungarian Basin and these samples appear to be Afanasievo derived and therefore are likely the source of Tocharian languages, and if so then the language moved South into Tarim from them, but the early mummies from Tarim itself, at least the 13 in this study which date from 2100–1700 BC, do NOT appear to be Tocharians or even, as I speculated in my video las year, Iranic speaking Aryans, rather an isolated refugia of ice-age like people predominantly descended from Ancient North Eurasians and West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers (WSHG themselves were 72.5% ANE, 7.5% West European Hunter-Gatherer, and 20% Ancient East Asian).

We can't say what language these Siberian mammoth hunters turned lizard-eaters of Tarim spoke (not an Indo-European one though), although we know the genes associated with Tocharian and Iranic speakers both entered the Tarim basin region later on. Interesting that the mummies appear to be European in phenotype despite not descending from Indo-European bronze age steppe peoples who are autosomally like modern Europeans. As the paper says:

“The Tarim mummies’ so-called Western physical features are probably due to their connection to the Pleistocene ANE gene pool,”

So they look physically European because they have ANE DNA. This also answers the question of why some Ainu people from Japan, and some ancient native American skeletons like Kennewick man, look like Europeans; They all have ANE DNA and ANE were obviously Europoid.

This also explains why the material culture of early Tarim people resembles that of Siberian peoples. Take the idols for example:

You find faces similar to this everywhere you find WSHG/ANE ancestry in Siberia and Central Asia. The Mansi, Kalash and Ket all make figurines in similar trends to this day.

Mansi idols

It is important to remember that these new samples from Tarim represent only the first 400 years of that burial tradition which lasted a further 1900 years! Without samples from those following long 19 centuries we cannot say for sure when the WSHG people disappeared but I highly suspect that later Tarim mummies like Cherchen man (see below), who died c. 1000 BC, in all probability do have steppe admixture and could well be Iranic or Tocharian speakers.

Cherchen man Tarim
Chercen man depicted by Andrew Whyte

Tocharian and Iranic speakers of steppe descent entered the Tarim basin from different routes at different times, but the original inhabitants were these ANE descended Siberian people and they mixed with the incoming Indo-Europeans. So I still think that Cherchen man and the Yanghai cannabis shaman were both Indo-European people.

So what do we know about the people of this Siberian ANE-rich refugia?

  • Their race underwent a bottleneck and formed over 9000 years ago

  • They were homogenous population scattered in the Tarim desert, rarely mixing with neighbours

  • They adopted pastoralist lifestyle from neighbouring steppe peoples

  • They consumed dairy products like kefir but were lactose intolerant

  • They farmed animals - likely due to Afanasievo influence

  • They were not European but they looked European due to ANE ancestry

  • They had genes associated with dark skin in SLC24A5 and SLC45A5 like East asians do

  • We don’t know what language they originally spoke

  • They likely adopted Tocharian and Iranic languages after mixing with their Afanasievo neighbours of the Dzungarian basin to the North who were related to Yamnaya, and Andronovo neighbours to the West who were Aryans. This occurred sometime after 1700 BC

  • They buried their dead with ephedra twigs like later BMAC and Iranic cultures did

  • They made idols similar to those made by other Siberian peoples

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The ancient Indo-European Cannabis Cult

Who were the first cannabis users in history? Cannabis sativa has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years both as a narcotic and also for making hemp fabrics. Brand new genetic and archaeological evidence places the original domestication event in China, but indicates that the plant was mainly spread by Indo-European peoples such as the Yamnaya and the Scythians. Cannabis was used in the funerary and religious rites in many pagan religions as well as in ancient Jewish rites in Israel.


Waking of sky tree - Stonehenge shaman


I was aided in research for this video by Chris Bennett of to whom I am very grateful

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Friday, 1 October 2021

Yamnaya: Indo-European documentary

The Yamnaya culture, also called the Kurgan or Late Ochre Grave culture, of the late Neolithic and Bronze age Pontic steppe is believed to be one of several Proto-Indo-European speaking Western Steppe herder peoples who were ancestral to many modern peoples and who spread Indo-European languages across Eurasia. But what did Yamnaya look like? In this documentary film you can see 3D forensic facial reconstructions of Yamnaya men by the artist Robert Molyneaux and you can learn all about what Yamnaya people ate, why they loved milk, how they lived, their burial customs, how they spread and more.



Xurious - Steppe expansion

Altyn Tuu - Altai throat singing

Gargoyle - dance with me

The Whole Other - Ether Oar

Patrick Patrik - Away

Doug maxwell - tribal war council

Bark sound productions - in return 

kevin macleod - Master of the feast

Aethelruna - Output

Chris Zabriskie - The Theatrical Poster for Poltergeist III

Borg - The Dancing Forest

Khan Kurra - Little dragon

Chris Zabriskie - I Am Running Down the Long Hallway of Viewmont Elementary


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