Ancient Greek Burial Customs

The ancient Greeks held firm beliefs of the afterlife and the ceremonies that would help guide those recently departed toward it. In fact, by the 6th century BC, their conceptions and ideas were already well established and this is evident throughout their writings, works of art, statuary and other archaeological materials. While the images and quirks of the Greek gods may seem fanciful to many nowadays, they have far outlived the people of the time and are still very much a part of popular culture today.

greek burial

According to the belief system of the ancient Greeks, they held it as true that from the moment death occurred, the spirit would vacate the mortal body via a small action, such as a puff of air or as a sigh. Once this had occurred, the body would then be prepared for burial, which would be performed according to the traditions and customs passed down through generations. To deprive a man of proper burial rights was seen as an insult to dignity and respect.

 

Typically, all burial rituals were conducted by the female relatives of the departed. This would consist of 3 parts, all of which completed the ritual.  The first step, called Prothesis, would involve the body of the dead being washed thoroughly, and then covered with oil. The body would then be dressed and taken to the highest bed in the house where they were laid. Family and friends could then visit and pay their respects.

 

The next step is called Ekphora.  Ekphora is the moment when the body of the deceased was taken to the cemetery as part of a dawn procession. Inside the grave, it would be rare to place any objects other than the body itself. Once the grave had been filled and the earth replaced, elaborate markers were placed on top of the site. Statues were often a marker of choice to help ensure that the dead were not easily forgotten. In a way, these were the predecessors to headstones that many people have today.

 

Their belief was that to be remembered by the living was tantamount to immortality. From engravings of the time, it is known that female family members would visit the burial sites of the dead with small offerings, such as cakes and flowers.

 

The 3rd part of the ritual was Stelai, which were small inscriptions covering memorandums to help honor the dead. An image of the deceased would also often be inscribed onto the marker, and if the person was of importance, their servant, pet dogs, belongings, etc would be added to it. This used to make identifying the dead easy, but as time progressed, more and more family members would be added to images and writings and soon it would become almost impossible to know who the grave belonged to.

 

As the end of the 5th century BC approached, many ancient Greek families started to bury the deceased inside a basic stone sarcophagus, which would be put into the ground located inside of specially created grave precincts. These grave precincts were placed inside terraces and were buttressed by a tall wall which would face the main cemetery street. It was also around this time that any large monuments and statues were placed to the side of the terrace instead of directly above the graves. As time moved forward, so did the customs and cultures of the ancient Greeks.

 

If you see modern day cemeteries in Greece, you will quickly notice that many of the traditions and practices from this period of time are still very much used to some degree or another, and the dead are immortalized through the memories of the era they were once a part of.

 

Some Things They Never Tell You About Becoming a Parent

Becoming a parent can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling rites-of-passage in your life. To pass on your DNA to the next generation, who will hopefully improve the world for the better leaves you feeling proud and that you’ve truly accomplished something great with your life. Of course, not everyone wants to be a parent and some might say kudos to you for helping keep the population down. All too often many parents forget that to have children is a choice and one that needs to be made with care.

parenting

So, you have heard about how fulfilling it is to become a parent, how wonderful it feels to see your baby, to experience that love, all of those positives keep blowing up your Facebook feed… but what about the secret dark side to it all? What don’t they tell parents before baby arrives?

Financial Bliss

Well, they don’t tell you that every cent you earn will be swallowed by a non-stop eating, pooping, and crying machine. Sure, you love the little tyke regardless, but it would have been nice to have known just how expensive kids really are.

Better sell those grown-up toys you keep in your garage! A boat, fishing tackle, motorcycle, mountain bike – those are the possessions of non-parents (at least when the kids are babies).  You’ll need the money you get from selling your playthings to put into baby’s playthings – and budget some for a 529 or other college savings plan.

Meltdowns

Another thing they don’t tell you is how the wrong color drinking straw can be the end of the world and completely ruin your day. Or that a face-down screaming protest in the canned goods aisle at the supermarket is something you’ll likely experience. These moments will test your will.  All the baby advice books tell you to stand firm and not give in to your child’s tantrums, but when you’re in the trenches and your eardrums are waiving the white flag, you’re going to have yours periods of weakness and surrender for the sake of a “quiet-fix”.

A New Appreciation for Earplugs

While we are talking about quiet, it will soon become a word that seems to exist only in print. Where did quiet go? They don’t tell you how much you will miss relative silence and that you will savor every last second of it when it comes along. And make sure you do savor it because you can guarantee that in 3, 2, 1, someone is either screaming or crying again. As a heads-up, you’ll also find that the noisiest toys are the most popular in your house.  And your child won’t get bored pushing the button to repeat whatever ear-piercing sounds she currently finds herself enamored with.  So picture alternating screams with singing dolls and that is the horror movie soundtrack your life has now become.

The Fibbing

Talking about your dishonesty here, not the child’s!  They fail to tell you that you will never be able to eat chocolate again in plain sight, and must resort to stealth tactics and trickery in order to do so.  Someone else needs it more, after all, and so you will have to retreat to a closet, bathroom or garage when you indulge, while claiming to be “looking for something”.  Other fabrications you’ll employ: the ice-cream truck is coming, and you tell your kids that the music means it’s sold out. You see them eyeing up your dessert, so you tell them that they won’t like it because it’s too spicy. You tell them to be good, or Santa won’t come, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter bunny! Lies become commonplace and easy all of a sudden.

But the thing is, none of this matters when you and your kid are laughing and playing together. When you sit and clean up their cuts and scrapes, your protective nature kicks in. When they make you that first breakfast in bed, or simply hug you and say they love you.  They tell you that everything is worth it, and they are right. They tell you that it’s rewarding, and it is, even if we do miss that chocolate, money, Foosball table, and quiet moments. Would you change anything? Absolutely not!

Some Truly Odd Marriage Laws

Marriage is a lifetime commitment to that certain special someone. In this sense, it couldn’t be more traditional. However, despite the romance, it’s a legal bond and some of the laws governing marriage are a little bit “out there”. Today, we want to amuse, educate and entertain you, by providing information about a few truly weird marriage laws.

beach wedding couple

Is Marriage By Proxy Right for You?

 

If you’re in the American Armed Forces, you may not realize that you have the option of choosing a proxy for your wedding! This means that another person may stand in for you, whether you’re the bride or groom. This practice was put into place in order to help Armed Forces members who aren’t able to be present at their weddings. However, this weird marriage law is only applicable in a group of USA states, which are Montana, Texas, Kansas, California and Colorado. In Montana, it’s actually possible to have “double proxy” nuptials. This means that both parties can have proxies.

 

This Saudi Arabian Law Is a Bit Bizarre

 

In Saudi Arabia, male citizens aren’t permitted to get married to ladies from a select few countries and these nations are Myanmar, Pakistan, Chad and Bangladesh. According to reports, this weird marriage law was created in order to stop guys in Saudi Arabia from marrying “expats”. Clearly, the powers-that-be in Saudi Arabian want men from Saudi Arabian to get hitched to Saudi women! This law is a real restriction of personal freedom and it’s bound to have rubbed some men in Saudi Arabia the wrong way!

 

Not Sure this Law Really Has Teeth to It

 

In beautiful Vermont, USA, an arcane marriage law forbids women from donning false teeth unless they ask permission from their spouses first. It’s hard to know what lawmakers were thinking before they put this truly weird marriage law into place. Also, who is out there enforcing it? It seems like lawmakers go off on a tangent sometimes and create laws for no good reason. This one is particularly strange. Some people consider it to be very “anti-woman” and it’s hard to argue with that take on things.

 

This Arkansas Marriage Law is Barbaric

 

The most unsettling marriage law on our list is an Arkansas law which permits men to beat up their own spouses…but only once per month! If you want to live under marriage laws which are straight out of the Dark Ages, then Arkansas may be your American state of choice when it comes to getting married. The law has been around since the 1800s. Back then, wife beating seemed to be the norm. It was actually something that society encouraged guys to do. It was regarded as a privilege of being male.

 

Marriage is Serious Business

 

As you can see, there are tons of laws governing marriage and some of them are silly, sexist and just plain wrong. Marriage is a legal tie that should be carefully considered before it’s undertaken. Over fifty percent of marriages in the USA end in divorce, although weird marriage laws aren’t usually the reason why marriages fail. The biggest causes of divorce are money problems, infidelity and poor communication. Getting out of a marriage can be tough. Divorce laws are complex, just like marriage laws are.

 

Now that you know about four of the weirdest marriage laws, you’ve got the inside scoop on how certain places handle the business side of marriage – even if these are mostly obscure cases more or less unknown to modern citizens. This is really only the tip of the iceberg so let us know if the comments if your state or country has some odd regulations concerning “the big day”.

 

And let us know if you would be cool with someone standing in for you at your own wedding!

 

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8 Surprising Birth Rituals from Near and Far

baby naming ceremony

8 Surprising Birth Rituals from Near and Far

 

Globally, the birth of a baby is celebrated in a variety of creative and spiritual ways. Viewed in many cultures as a sacred event, participating in various rituals has become the norm for new parents around the world. While some of the more controversial rituals are presently contested by modern science, many are nonetheless still practiced in religious communities, just the way they have been for centuries.

NOTE: Some of the rituals described in this document are not suitable for all audiences. Since a glimpse into the real world of global birth rituals is the main objective, no efforts were made to obscure the details.

Notable Birth Rituals from Sea to Shining Sea

Although there are birth rituals practiced in almost every region of the world, some are more bizarre or heart-warming than others. Furthermore, the rituals described here are deemed the most popular because there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people who participate, with many of the followers spread out into different regions of the world. It’s obvious that some of these habits have taken on a special meaning for their participants, having inspired them to bring their beliefs along with them to new areas of the globe.

Below are 8 still practiced, yet most unique, ways that modern spiritual families welcome their new bundles of joy into the world.

Parents Shave the Baby’s Head

Within the first few days of being born, and certainly within the first 3 years of life, new parents will shave their little one’s head in certain corners of the Hindu and Muslim traditions. In Islam, it’s a sign of servitude to Allah, while it’s seen as a means to rid the baby’s aura of negative energy by the Hindu believers. Either way, the chopped locks typically end up being thrown into the local river or traded for its equal weight in precious metal.

Family Members Honor the Placenta

As a group event, the baby’s detached placenta is honored in a ritualistic fashion by certain religious denominations. Seen as a dense source of vital nutrients, some people are inclined to perform some odd rites with this otherwise disposable reproductive organ. Among the rituals are activities such as burying it, eating it, and even making jewelry with it. While there are proven nutritional benefits to consumption, medical professionals do not typically recommend it.

Male Circumcision

Viewed as an acceptable ritual in most parts of the developed world, removing a male baby’s foreskin is commonly known as “circumcision.” Started in ancient Judaea and practiced by many Islamic, Christian, and Muslim faiths today, this removal process is not seen as traumatic in any way to the baby who is, for the most part, less than 8 days old at the time of the procedure.

The Baby Is Submerged in Holy Water

Typically referred to as “baptism,” submerging a newborn baby in water that has been blessed by a religious officiant is a common ritual that’s been practiced for millennia. Believed to be a way to cleanse the child of its original sin, Catholics and other Christian denominations ritualistically baptize their baby in a holy ceremony by either dipping the child into a large bowl or by gently sprinkling its head.  In the modern European pagan perspective the Baby Naming Rite – normally held on the 9th day of the infant’s life – resembles this practice except that the child is blessed with an evergreen sprig dipped in holy water.

The Child Is Given Godparents

Godparents are people assigned through a union between God, the biological parents, and the child for the purposes of ensuring proper care for the child in the unfortunate event of the deaths of the biological parents. Seen as a wise plan of action by most, Godparent rituals often have guest lists that include religious and public officials, family members from both parties, friends, and church members. In fact, most Godparent Ceremonies are viewed as legally binding contracts.

The Baby Gets Its Ears Pierced

Some Hindus believe that piercing their baby’s ears in a ritual known as Karnavedha will keep evil spirits from inhabiting the innocent souls of the young. With a dual benefit of being a positive acupuncture point, the ear lobes are pierced in a ceremony that happens on either the 1st or 3rd birthday of the child. At times, it’s even done at the same time as the head shaving ritual since it’s practiced by the same group of religious participants.

Naming the Baby Is Done by Randomly Flipping to a Page in Holy Text

Welcoming a baby to their awaiting community is often done with great fanfare. Parents take their newborn to a temple (usually within 40 days of it birth) to present it to a priest. There, a holy book is opened to a random page and the contents are read aloud. Parents then name their child based on the first letter of the hymn found on the page. Once the baby’s new name is announced to the congregation, a traditional treat is served, and the ceremony comes to a close.

The Baby Is Given Something Sweet with which to Start Life

Families from the Middle East have several mysterious superstitions, but some of them are sweeter than others. For instance, newborn babies are given something sweet tasting within hours of being born. Followers of this ritual believe that it will make the baby speak sweetly as it learns to talk. While honey is typically the food of choice, sweets of all types are used by those who practice this ritual which is most commonly known as Jatakarma.

The List (and the Love) Is Endless

The variation of birth rituals around the world is astounding, not to mention fascinating. The sheer number of naming rite ceremonies alone is enough to fill an entire book. People from all walks of life tend to regard the birth of a child as a sacred experience, reserved for somber celebration by families who value a quality life and commitment to tradition. And while some of the rituals seem off-putting, unhealthy, painful, or even dangerous, it’s still obvious that there’s a lot of love behind them all.

Personal Development Tactics You’re Probably Not Using

never stop learning

There’s nothing simple or straightforward about trying to find ways to reinvent yourself, to improve your life, and to lead the kind of lifestyle that you’ve always dreamed of.

 

Reshaping the way we think, the way we act, and the kinds of decisions that we make on a minute by minute basis is tough work. That’s why so few people find a way to escape the gravity of our habits and our “old decisions”, and why so many people resist and fight change with every ounce of energy that they have.

 

At the same time, we now know that there are only a handful of small but fundamental changes you have to make in your life to overhaul almost every aspect of your day to day lifestyle. With just a couple of simple habits, you’re able to make your transformation a lot easier – and you can hit the ground running with these simple and straightforward personal development tactics below.

 

Embrace That You Are Your Greatest Motivator

 

Nothing is going to get done without sufficient motivation, but far too many of us look for motivation from the outside rather than looking to ourselves to give us the “kick in the pants” we need to really rock and roll.

By understanding that you are the only one that can truly motivate yourself, and that you are the only one that can alter your attitude and your perception so that you have every chance of success, you are able to unleash the kind of personal development potential that you are after with far greater effectiveness.

Yes, it’s easier to have accountability and someone holding your feet to the flames, so maybe as a compromise put a productivity app to work for you.

 

 

Visualization is an Insider Secret all Top Performers Utilize

 

Every truly successful individual, from the highest levels of athletics to the board room and everything in between, has mentioned that visualization is a huge part of their success, and you’d be crazy not to take advantage of everything that visualization stands to offer you moving forward.

 

There’s only enough time in each day to get in a bit of physical practice, regardless of the kinds of skills you are looking to develop or to hone, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get excellent results by visualizing yourself going through those same practice sessions when you can’t do so physically.

 

A college basketball team recently tried a novel new approach to developing the perfect free throw shot. The team was split into three groups – a control group that didn’t practice free throws at all, a group that practiced free throws for an hour each day, and a group that practiced free throws through visualization for an hour each day without physically shooting them.

 

After a six-week trial, those that practiced physically shooting free throws for an hour each day were able to increase their success rate by nearly 60% – not too shocking.  What is surprising is that those who never practiced free shots on the court but instead used visualization techniques for an hour each day were able to increase their success rate by a whopping 45%!

(As expected, those who didn’t practice at all continue to shoot at about the same.)

 

There’s a tremendous amount of leverage in visualization that makes it worth a try.  Similarly there are other types of manifestation techniques, usually coupled with some kind of meditation approach.  Cosmic Ordering is one.  Basically you write down or otherwise draw up your goals, meditate upon and stay mindful of them until they become reality (okay, that’s the short version!)  There are some good books on the subject and if you’ve historically been challenged by staying focused in meditation check into guided meditations for cosmic ordering with binaural beats and other brainwave stimulation components – it’s the easy way to get the desired effect.

 

Get Real about Failure

 

It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to have any real measure of ongoing growth and success without some failure along the way, and the sooner you embrace the fact that failure isn’t just possible but inevitable – and you commit to learn from each and every stumble – the sooner you are able to accelerate your path toward achieving goals.

 

Only those that are able to overcome the fear of failure have the best chances at sustained success. Use failure as a learning lesson and a positive steppingstone towards what you are trying to achieve, rather than allowing performance anxiety to keep you on the sideline and never pursuing your dreams.

 

The worst failure isn’t striving for something and coming up short, but never attempting to achieve what you know you are capable of in the first place.