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Stone ‘mushroom’ formations in Bulgaria.

Mushroom Monuments of Thrace and Ancient Sacred Rites

Throughout northeastern Greece, western Turkey, and Bulgaria, in the region known in antiquity as Macedonia, Anatolia, and Thrace, there are numerous megalithic natural rock formations that resemble...
Detail of the runic inscription found on the 6th- or 7th-century Björketorp Runestone located in Blekinge, Sweden

Discover the Hidden Roots of the Runes

A long time ago, runes were used by the Shamans of Scandinavia and the word “rune” at its origin made reference to mystery. Runes were used as protective symbols and were carved in wood, bone, or...
Deriv; Shui-nu Niang-niang Illustration (Public Domain) and China landscape

Shui-mu Niang-niang: The Old Mother of the Waters Who Submerged an Ancient City

In Chinese folklore, Shui-mu Niang-niang, or the Old Mother of the Waters, is a legendary spirit guardian of the waters surrounding the city of Sizhou (or Ssu-Chou, according to ETC Werner’s...
Prince Arthur and the Fairy Queen by Johann Heinrich Füssli, c. 1788

Amoral Tricksters that Enhance World Mythology and Entertain Cultures

Mythologies around the world speak of beings which cannot be defined as good or evil. German folklore mentions a household elemental named kobold . Even though he can be helpful, as a trickster, he...
The Mutilation of Uranus by Saturn: fresco by Giorgio Vasari and Cristofano Gherardi, c. 1560

Wandering Sky Gods: The Personification of Astronomical Phenomena in Ancient Times

It is 1000 BC, roughly 3000 years ago. Things have changed in the civilized world. The Bronze Age is fading, to be replaced by the time of Iron. Armies strive across portions of the Near East and the...
: “The First Thanksgiving 1621, oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899). The painting shows common misconceptions about the event that persist to modern times: Pilgrims did not wear such outfits, and the Wampanoag are dressed in the style of Native Americans from the Great

The American Tradition of Thanksgiving: A Harvest Festival with Roots in the Old World

As the leaves turn beautiful golden and fiery red hues, and the weather gets colder and people prepare for the oncoming winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Americans enjoy the annual celebration of...
The ring was carved in nicolo, a type of onyx, and set in gold.

1,700-Year-Old Ancient Gold and Onyx Ring Depicts Cupid, God of Love

An exquisite onyx and gold ring from about the 300s AD depicting the god of love Cupid, found by a metal detectorist, will go on display in an English museum. Eros or Cupid was regarded by some...
Painting of Orixas dancing.

Candomble: The African-Brazilian Dance in Honor of the Gods

Candomblé (meaning dance in honor of the gods ) is a religion found primarily in Brazil with a number of elements derived from African cultures. It not only incorporates some religious aspects of...
The print depicts a samurai fighting snakes, which are conjured by a ghost as the ghosts of Heian court ladies watch. Japan, 1850.

Malevolent Phantoms, Corpse Brides, and Ancestor Spirits: The Ancient Belief in Ghosts – PART II

Many ancient civilizations had beliefs surrounding the hauntings of ghosts and malevolent spirits, and so they relied on careful rituals and exorcisms to keep the supernatural at bay. Read Part I...
Ancient legends tell of ghost hauntings.

Malevolent Phantoms, Corpse Brides, and Ancestor Spirits: The Ancient Belief in Ghosts – PART I

Ghosts and malevolent spirits haunted the ancients, and so they relied on careful rituals and exorcisms to keep the supernatural at bay. The concept of a spiritual afterlife connects cultures across...
The enigmatic Nazca Lines – Condor at center.

The Enigma of the Nazca Lines: Strange Theories and Unanswered Questions

The Nazca Lines of Peru remain one of history's most fascinating mysteries. They still mystify despite numerous attempts to unfold their secrets. Who designed and constructed the Nazca Lines, and why...
Detail, the sides and faces of the enigmatic Zbruch Idol.

Rare and Enigmatic Zbruch Idol: 4-Headed Slavic God Pulled from a River

In 1848, a four-headed monolith was pulled from a muddy river bottom in Ukraine after a thousand year exile. The enigmatic stone pillar was inscribed with stoic faces and strange symbols, and the...
“Eternal Punishment in Greek Mythology”

Crime and Punishment: Eternal Damnations as handed down by the Ancient Greek Gods

Nothing sends a clearer message than an angry punishment handed down from the gods. In belief systems of cultures around the world deities have been disciplining their flocks since time immemorial,...
The dramatic eruption of a volcano – eyewitness accounts, ancient chronicles, and mythical tales have surrounded this terrifying and astounding natural phenomenon since the dawn of man. Vesuvius erupting, painting by Johan Christian Dahl.

Deadly Volcanoes: The Eruptions that Reshaped the World and Became Legends - Part II

Read part 1 . The ancients witnessed the awesome and raw power of erupting volcanos, and sent out warnings through time in the form of religion lessons, myths, legends and chronicles. These amazing,...
A section of a Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 AD) fresco of 9 chariots, 50 horses, and over 70 men, from a tomb in Luoyang, China, which was once the capital of the Eastern Han.

Power and Prestige across Asia: A History of Chariots, Part II

Read Part I: Superweapon of the Ancient World: A History of Chariots According to written sources from ancient China, the chariot is reported to have been first used during the Xia dynasty. A Xia...
Sunk relief of personified provinces of Egypt bearing offerings for the temple god. Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos.

Foundation Rituals of Ancient Egypt: Elaborate Rites Conducted to Protect Great Monuments

In modern times, it is common to initiate a new building with what is known as a "ground-breaking" ceremony. This tradition symbolically marks the beginning of a new project in many cultures and is...

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