News Briefs 12-07-2016

Incompatible realities...

Quote of the Day:

There is no way to peace; peace is the way.

A. J. Muste

Archaeologists Find Elongated Skull of a Woman with Jewel-Encrusted Teeth at Teotihuacan

Elongated skull of the  Lady of Tlailotlacan

Coming soon to Ancient Aliens: archaeologists in Mexico have unearthed a unique 'elongated skull' with ornate custom dental work while excavating at the ancient city of Teotihuacan. The skeletal remains belong to a woman - dubbed 'The Lady of Tlailotlacan' - who was 35 to 40 years old at the time of her death, around 350-400 CE:

Her teeth are of particular note. The central incisors in her upper jaw are embedded with round pyrite stones. This technique required cutting a hole in the enamel of the tooth and inserting the decorative stones. It was practiced in the Mayan cities of southern Mexico (see the jade tooth inserts found in Uxul on the Yucatan peninsula), Guatemala and Belize. One incisor in her lower jaw was replaced with a prosthetic made of serpentine, a green stone carved in the shape of a tooth. This was not of local manufacture and she must have worn it for many years because it shows signs of wear and tartar growth. Researchers are currently studying this tooth looking for evidence of how it was affixed to the jaw, possibly with a cement-like adhesive or some kind of fiber that held it in place.

Her grill isn’t the most extreme of her body mods. The shape of her skull is elongated, an intentional cranial shaping of the tabular erect type produced by fronto-occipital compression likely with a cradleboard when she was a child and her bones were still soft. Hers is an extreme example of the practice. This kind of skull shaping isn’t typical of the Central Highlands. It too is more frequently found in the south.

Her teeth and skull make hers one of the most extensively modified bodies ever discovered at Teotihuacan. It also confirms that the residents of Tlailotlacan weren’t only labourers who were brought to or moved to the big city for work, but people of wealth and status as well. The Lady of Tlailotlacan’s modifications were reserved for the Maya elites.

Below is a video of the skeletal remains:

Link: Woman with stone tooth inserts, long skull found in Teotihuacan

News Briefs 11-07-2016

Ultimate gravestone...

Quote of the Day:

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.

Philip K. Dick

Do We See Reality As It Really Is?

The nature of reality is one of our abiding fascinations here at the Daily Grail, so I'm sure many readers will enjoy the TED talk above from Donald Hoffman:

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.

News Briefs 08-07-2016

Be nice to as many people as you possibly can. Lord knows, we all need it...

Quote of the Day:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy; instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it...Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

News Briefs 07-07-2016

A reminder: if you would like to be in the draw for a cool prize this month, offer some support as a 'Friend of the Grail' (e.g. by chipping in a few dollars a month to help keep our heads above water)...

Quote of the Day:

One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction

Nathan (Ex Machina)

Video from Juno Space Probe Shows Moons Orbiting Jupiter

I will never get tired of space probe images. Four centuries after Galileo gazed through his crude telescope and saw Jupiter being circled by a number of its own moons (thus dealing a serious blow to the Ptolemaic, Earth-centric view of the cosmos), NASA's Juno probe captured the higher-fidelity view above of the Galilean satellites orbiting the giant planet as it approached its own orbit.

During it’s final approach to Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this unique time-lapse movie of the Galilean satellites in motion about the planet. The images were taken 5 days prior to arrival and end when the spacecraft was 3 million miles distant. The innermost moon is volcanic Io; next in line is the ice-crusted ocean world Europa, followed by massive Ganymede, and finally, heavily cratered Callisto.

Imagine the look on Galileo's face if you could go back and show him that video...

News Briefs 06-07-2016

Here and now:

  • Possible remains of the Buddha found in China.
  • Rock art on Danish island of Bornholm older than previously thought.
  • Shaman woman's grave from 10,000 BC discovered in Galilee.
  • Stone Age text links Australia to Europe: initial evidence for worldwide travel by an ancient Stone Age civilization.
  • "Leaders of otherplanets are worried" - Confused EU President talks about extraterrestrials.
  • Listen to the LHC’s weird, whale-like sounds.
  • German 'Stonehenge' opens to the public.
  • Scientists say Serpent Mound as old as Aristotle.
  • What alien abductees’ stories tell us about humanity.
  • Possible discovery of ancient mother and baby with elongated heads in Bolivia.
  • Scientists warn of 'global climate emergency' over shifting jet stream.
  • Massive 'lava lamp' blobs deep inside Earth have scientists puzzled.
  • Single-celled organisms forced to play life-or-death Pac-Man.
  • Stanley Kubrick's daughter has some choice words for moon landing truthers.
  • A fifth force: fact or fiction?

Quote of the Day:

Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.

Albert Einstein

New Book: The Power of Ritual

The Power of Ritual

In my late twenties I sat - for the very first time - through a Catholic Mass. As a rather non-social person who, when put into a group situation, often finds myself studying the behaviour of those around me 'from afar', I was surprised when - despite not being an active participant in the ritual - elements of the Mass seemed to have intriguing effects on my consciousness. Alternating passages swapping from droning vocals to the ringing of a bell felt like they were breaking the door to my mind down, one strike of the bell at a time.

Having already studied the consciousness changing rituals of 'magick' in previous years, I did afterwards chuckle to myself that the Catholic Mass seemed to be an occult ritual of the highest order. But it also did make clear to me how malleable our mind can be when subjected to ritual elements, and I have had a growing interest in this topic since.

So it gives me great pleasure to announce that Daily Grail Publishing has just released a new book on this very topic: The Power of Ritual, by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles Laughlin (available now from both Amazon US and Amazon UK). The beautiful cover was once again put together by our good friend Mark Foster, of Artifice Design.

Here's the blurb:

This book is about ritual itself - what it is, how it works to influence human belief and behavior, what makes it powerful, what makes it dangerous, and most of all, what makes it useful to contemporary humans. The authors draw often on their own personal experiences with ritual to illuminate its potential for generating and perpetuating group belief and individual transformation, making the book an engaging read. Professors teaching about ritual will find this to be a useful resource, while students and scholars seeking to study ritual will find much to interest them, as will all those interested in designing and performing rituals, and understanding the rituals they choose to participate in or perform.

If you're at all interested in the human mind, and especially its relationship with ritual and belief systems, then I highly recommend that you add this one to your bookshelf.

I've just posted an excerpt from the Preface of the book in which co-author Robbie Davis-Floyd describes the origins of her own interest (and expertise) in ritual, from her anthropological studies - which at one point even led to her indoctrination in a cult - through to personally finding ways to work through the tragic passing of her daughter Peyton in an automobile accident at 20. It's an amazingly raw and honest piece of writing, which I hope you'll take time to read.