Showing posts from February, 2018

Dog tale

This short tale comes from the Inuit nations of Greenland. There are several versions of this story, but this is the one which I liked and which at least one anthropologist, Franz Boas, regards as an earlier version (some other accounts have merged with elements of the Sedna story which emanate from different nations in that part of the world). Thanks to Su Voke for advice on pronouncing the names.
I'm including a canine story because it is the Year of the Dog in Chinese astrology - I was initially going to tell the tale of the dog-warrior Pan Hu, but the versions I have read are so short as to be little more than anecdotes and I didn't think I could pad it out to full story without it ceasing to be identifiably Chinese in the process. Like this Inuit story, the account of Pan Hu involves the marriage of a woman with a magical dog and suggests that the descendants of their union go on to become modern day nations of people (in the case of Pan Hu there are at least two ethnic …

Ave Lupercalia

In Ancient Rome, the festival of Lupercalia was held on February 15th. In legend the twin-founders of the city, Romulus and Remus, were thrown into the River Tiber on the orders of their usurping great-uncle Amulius. The babies washed ashore by a wild fig tree, and were found by a she-wolf, who suckled them and raised them with her mate. Years later they were found, living feral, by the shepherd Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia who took them in. Upon reaching adulthood they discovered their true identities, and set out to avenge themselves on their wicked great-uncle. Having killed him, they founded the Eternal City. Once restored to their regal position, the brothers rediscovered the den and called it the Lupercal (the wolves cave.) It became a sacred site along with the remains of the shepherd's hut. The Lupercalia ritual in Rome was held in the cave itself. Similar rituals held in other parts of the Empire had to use venues symbolic of the cave on Mount Aventine. Two high-bor…

Religious Studies conference

This Friday, February 16th, West Suffolk College is hosting a Religious Studies conference on the theme of Freedom of Speech and Conscience. The event is free to attend, but please notify me via my work email ( if you wish to attend.
The speakers include a Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, and Odinist weighing up the issues from their own perspectives. The running order is as follows:

10.00 – Welcome & housekeeping
10.10 – Gurmeet Sually; Words Have Power; Creative & Destructive 10.55 – Comfort break & coffee
11.05 – Reverend Canon Tim Jones; Pauses Fall Pregnant: Language and coercion
11.50 – Janus van Helvert; Dialogue is the Essence of Life 12.30 – Lunch break
1.15 – Robin Herne; Hope, Healing, and Harmful Speech 2.00 – Workshops ·Discussionled byGurmeet Sually – does free speech have its limits when it comes to cherished beliefs? ·Discussionled byRobin Herne – if freedom of conscience is not accompanied by freedom of speech and action, does it become meaningle…