Monday, 26 July 2021

Friday, 9 July 2021

Pagan Calendar by Survive the Jive


In 2018 I commissioned this "pagan calendar" as a guideline for those new to paganism, to help them understand the holy parts of the year. It was not accompanied by a thorough explanation and so has understandably been misunderstood. So now, three years later, I am posting this clarification to help people understand what this is:

  • This is NOT an accurate historical representation of a Germanic, Roman. Celtic or Slavic pagan calendar. It merely demonstrates how those different Indo-European folk-ways each had corresponding annual celebrations which closely resemble each other and are often held at similar, but not identical, times of year.
  • The purpose was to give practicing pagans a jumping off point to so they can make informed decisions about when to celebrate holy days in their own calendars - this was not me telling people exactly when to celebrate holy days, but gives them an idea of the right time of year to do things and the associated gods and rites.
  • This calendar is dated according to the modern Gregorian calendar which none of the pagans ever used. Therefore all the dates are historically wrong. I have mentioned in videos and blogs that the Germanic people, for example, used a lunar-solar calendar, which means we cannot have accurate fixed dates for holy days on a Gregorian calendar. This calendar approximates dates of ancient festivals onto a modern Gregorian calendar for the convenience of modern people.
  • The use of a "wheel of the year" calendar is not really attested reliably in historical sources and many have correctly pointed out that this is an invention of Wiccans. The stylistic choice of representing the year with a solar wheel was based on the fact that this symbol is prominent in the artwork of several Indo-European cultures. I was not influenced by Wicca and their calendar.
  • Prior knowledge was assumed, so the writing style is laconic and no explanation is given for the meaning or purpose of the ritual behaviours. This was because I assumed that only people who watch my videos would use the calendar, and that they would therefore understand it based on my talks. 
  • "Casual sex permissible" requires clarification for those who had not seen the May Day video which was published a couple of weeks before the calendar and explained what this means and why I wrote it (the video and calendar were supposed to compliment each other).
    • The May day/ Easter customs I describe are mostly derived from folkloric accounts from recent times and not ancient pagan customs. The fact that customs in Ireland, Britain, Poland, Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Spain etc pertaining usually to Spring festivals but sometimes to Midsummer ones, are so similar is, I argue, evidence for their ancient origin. 
    • All of these customs however are only recorded among Christians and by Christians and many continue to this day, not merely in neopagan forms, but as living folk traditions among peasants. 
    • In several places the evening before May day is associated with female sexuality, and certain Protestant accounts in England and Catholic accounts in Ireland lament the fact that young teenagers were prone to having sex on May eve outside of wedlock. For centuries after Christianisation however, it seems young people were able to have casual sex (sex outside of marriage) without suffering the normal social consequences, providing they did it on May eve. 
    • Many such couplings would result in marriages, however it was considered unlucky for a man to marry a woman on May day as she would then have more power over him. I suspect the marriages were often the necessary consequence of unexpected pregnancies. 
    • "Casual sex" applies to young unmarried heterosexual people. None of the sources I looked at mentions any kind of infidelity being socially acceptable. Indeed, the sources are disapproving of the young people having sex at all, since they come from the learned and moralising literate elite who did not participate in such folk customs, which have only been preserved by (mainly illiterate) peasants who probably didn't realise what they were doing had anything to do with "paganism" - they simply did what had always been done. 
    • My inclusion of this statement regarding "casual sex" was not a command that pagans ought to go and have sex on this night, nor even a suggestion. I simply recorded what has occurred throughout Christendom, throughout the entire history of Christian Europe because I believe the custom to be pagan in origin. I wanted to draw attention to the association of sex and fertility with the Spring festival so that pagans could understand it properly. 

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

What did Yamnaya look like?



About 46% of the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language as a first language, and the majority of humans on earth can speak at least one Indo-European language such as English, Spanish or Hindi. These languages all come from Proto-Indo-European speakers of the Yamnaya culture. The Yamnaya people were indigenous to the Eastern European steppe during the eneolithic and early Bronze age.

Using their skulls, the latest genetic data about their phenotype, and the latest facial reconstruction techniques, the 3D artist Robert Molyneaux was able to create realistic reconstructions of Yamnaya people for a forthcoming Survive the Jive video. We are pleased to reveal the first one in the form of this infographic which shows us what a male from Bykovo cemetery on the Volga looked like.

 His features are notably robust, particularly his chin and brow but his skull is quite long, which is typical of the dolichocephalic eastern Yamnaya. We have reconstructed him with brown eyes, which is statistically likely for his people, although we don’t have his personal DNA to check what colour hair he specifically had. His skin tone is at the darker end of the European spectrum and was based on that of modern Georgian people from the North Caucasus who have a similar range of complexions as the Yamnaya.

You can see more of him and learn all about the Yamnaya when the STJ documentary is finished later this year! In the meantime, please share this infographic all around.


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Khokhlov, A. A., ‘Morphogenetic processes in the Volga-Urals in the early Holocene (based on craniological materials of the Mesolithic-Bronze Age)’ Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education Samara State Social and Pedagogical University (2017).
Klejn, L., et al. ‘Discussion: Are the Origins of Indo-European Languages Explained by the Migration of the Yamnaya Culture to the West?’ European Journal of Archaeology (2017).
Saag et al, ‘Genetic ancestry changes in Stone to Bronze Age transition in the East European plain’ (2021).