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Ancient Maya obsidian arrowhead

Human Blood Found on Ancient Maya Arrowheads, Bloodletting Rituals to Feed Life Force to the Gods

Five hundred years ago at a remote temple in Guatemala, sacrificial blood was spilled during cutting ceremonies using razor-sharp obsidian arrowheads. Archaeologists say this ritual was done to feed...
Head of Serapis with zodiac

Serapis: God of Fertility and the Afterlife that United Greeks and Egyptians

Serapis (also called Sarapis ) was a deity invented by the Ptolemies, and was meant to bridge the gap between their Egyptian and Greek subjects. The Ptolemies were one of the successors of Alexander...
A Maya lord forbids an individual from touching a container of chocolate

The Ancient History of Chocolate, Gift of the Gods

In today’s society, chocolate is a popular treat, and comes in many forms, including blocks, paste and powder. Several centuries ago, however, chocolate was considered a luxury item, and came only in...
The solar gods of the indigenous cultures of the Americas have many names but share one radiant face.

American Gods: Rituals & Sacrifices to the All-Powerful Solar Gods

The ancients knew him well. He was as powerful as a god, as dangerous as a demon. He generously gave life – and he ruthlessly took it away. He appeared to all, from the darkest and most bone-chilling...
A painting of Lakshmi on the inner walls of the Tanjore Big temple. Gold is said to symbolize this goddess.

Gold, the Peacock, the Lotus Flower, and Other Sacred Indian Symbols Explained

India is a very beautiful country and it has a culture full of symbolism. In what follows, some of the more popular Indian symbols are presented. These are some of the icons that are very relevant in...
Melpomene in a painting ‘Hesiod and the Muse’ (1891) by Gustave Moreau.

Melpomene: A Tragic Mother of Sirens or a Misunderstood Muse?

The term muse is now almost synonymous with inspiration. This is because the Muses were originally the goddesses of the arts which often lead to inspiration. The Muses were daughters of Zeus who were...
An ancient carved stone face of a megalithic statue in the San Agustín Archaeological Park, Colombia.

Necropolis of Warriors and Gods: The Ancient Statues of San Agustín, Colombia

The world’s largest necropolis, filled with gods, mythical animals, and heroes, rests in the southwestern Andes of Colombia The largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in...
Paleolithic Venus figures

The Ideal Woman’s Body – a Gift of the Gods?

We all know what the perfect woman’s body looks like. Or do we? Is it Kim Kardashian, with her popular ‘internet-breaking’ big behind, or Marilyn Monroe with her voluptuous movie curves? Is it a...
A relief of Epona, flanked by two pairs of horses, from Roman Macedonia, foruth century C.E.

The Celtic Goddess Epona that Rode Swiftly Across the Ancient Roman Empire

The protector of horses, mules, and cavalry, Epona was one of the only non-Roman goddesses to have been wholly adopted by the Roman Empire. Often depicted astride a horse, Epona resonated in the...
Asclepius – a fragment of mosaic bathroom in Kyustendil, Bulgaria.

The Rod of Asclepius and Zeus’s Fear of Immortality

Asclepius was a demi-god son of Apollo who developed such incredible powers of healing under the tuition of both his father and the centaur Chiron, that even Zeus felt threatened that he might...
Detail from the side of a seat of a group sculpture shows a baboon holding a cosmetic pot or kohl eyeliner; design by Anand Balaji

Primates of Ancient Egypt: The Bizarre and Satirical Monkeys of Amarna—Part II

Baboons and monkeys were an inalienable part of the religious and artistic landscape in ancient Egypt. A wealth of depictions of these animals exists in varied media spanning all dynasties. But it is...
Detail from one of the canopic jars of Padiouf, a priest of Amun, shows the face of the god Hapy; design by Anand Balaj

Primates of Ancient Egypt: The Deification and Importance of Baboons and Monkeys—Part I

The ancient Egyptians populated their vast pantheon of gods and goddesses with an incredible menagerie of animals and birds. These deities served as protectors, law-givers, healers, patrons of the...
Aztec sculpture representing the head of the aztec god Xolotl, exhibited in the Mexico room of the Museo Nacional de Antropología de México.

Xolotl – The Underworld Dog God of the Aztecs

According to Aztec mythology, Xolotl was a deity normally associated with Quetzalcoatl, one of the most important gods in the Aztec pantheon. As a matter of fact, Xolotl was regarded to be the twin...
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC).

In Ancient Mesopotamia, Sex among the Gods Shook Heaven and Earth

Sexuality was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia, an area of the Ancient Near East often described as the cradle of western civilisation roughly corresponding to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and...
Left:  Hopi snake dancer ( adobegallery) Right: A Hopi male during the annual snake dance and ritual prayers for rain, 1946 (public domain)

Dances with Snakes: The Real Reason for the Hopi Snake Dance – Part II

The day prior to the final Snake Dance performance in the plaza, before sunrise with Orion and Sirius rising, two warriors of the Snake society make several circuits around the Snake and Antelope...
Detail of ‘Hopi Snake Dance’ by Cornelia Cassady-Davis.

Dances with Snakes: The Real Reason for the Hopi Snake Dance

For thousands of years the Hopi tribe of northern Arizona has performed a secretive, sacred ceremony that embodies the manifold and richly evocative archetypal nature of the serpent. In modern times...

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