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Daniel Gauss

Daniel Gauss is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BA) and Columbia University (MA). He has written about art, film and religion for numerous platforms and is currently working as a teacher in Shenzhen, China. 

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Malangan carvings, now world-famous, are the wooden carvings which are created for use in malangan ceremonies. Traditionally these were burnt at the conclusion of the event; in modern times most are now retained.      Source: Rita Willaert/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Honoring and Negating the Dead through Malangan in Papua New Guinea

The term “malangan” has a dual meaning. It can either represent the elaborate memorial festivals held in New Ireland (Papua New Guinea) in honor of deceased members of a clan, or it can refer to the...
Although a creator god, Coniraya dressed like a beggar. Source: fresnel6 / Adobe Stock

Coniraya: The Inca Fertility God Who Dressed Like a Bum

If you thought the Greek gods had a monopoly on selfishness, rape, deception and other shady derring-do, you were wrong. Take, for instance, the Inca god Coniraya (also Cuniraya), who might have fit...
The Moon god of the Chimu and Moche cultures rising behind the Andes Mountains and used as a calendar.		Source: Aliaksei / Adobe Stock

The Case for the Moon: Si, Supreme Ruler of the Gods, Sky and Earth

Si is an androgenous moon god chosen as the leader of the major South American Chimú and Moche culture pantheon, bucking the trend in world mythology where the moon god is both feminine and inferior...
The malevolent Mishipizheu monster-god of Lake Superior. Source: SJB1995 / CC-BY-SA

Godlike Power and Monster Malevolence: Mishipizheu of Lake Superior

In Gordon Lightfoot’s 1976 song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald , he figuratively blames the sinking of that ship on the “witch” of November. Folks more familiar with Ojibway mythology might,...
The Route to Secular Art through the Kwakiutl Hamatsa Dance

The Route to Secular Art through the Kwakiutl Hamatsa Dance

“Magic preceded art, art served magic, and art was then liberated from magic.” This was among a number of sometimes controversial assertions made by Scottish anthropologist James Frazer in his 19 th...
The Planet Venus as a Symbol of Death and Resurrection in Ancient Mesoamerica

The Planet Venus as a Symbol of Death and Resurrection in Ancient Mesoamerica

Do our myths come from the stars or do we project our myths onto the stars? The story of Mithras truly does come from astronomical discoveries in the ancient world. It was noticed that every 2,160...