History Girls

{January 13, 2010}   Women and the Crusade

When thinking about the Crusades, few people consider the dramatic effect on women in these unsettling times. At first women, as ill prepared as men, set off for the Holy Lands, eager to wash away their sins and receive special glory for their effort to free Jerusalem from Muslim control.

After the bloody failures of the Crusaders in the fall of 1096, however, Pope Urban II decreed that henceforth no women, old people, nor children could take part in the Crusades. Despite Pope Urban’s ban, some women accompanied their husbands anyway. The best known adventurer was Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine.

Women who were left behind had to fend for themselves. The absence of a husband, son or guardian could be as long as ten years. Many men never returned. It is reported that in the second and third crusades perhaps 500,000 were lost, a significant drain on the male Christian population. Poignant evidence illustrates the emotional effect crusading men’s absence had on women. Two French troubadour songs speak to the depth of women’s loss: 

“Her eyes welled up beside the fountain, and she sighed from the depths of her heart.
‘Jesus,’ she said, ‘King of the world, because of You my grief increases,
I am undone by your humiliation, for the best men of this whole world are going off to serve you’,
..Nothing matters now, for he has gone so far away.’”
(Troubadour Marcabru) 
“Jerusalem, you do me a great wrong by taking from me that which I loved best.
Know this to be true: I’ll never love you, for this is the reason for my unhappiness… Fair, sweet lover, how will you endure your great ache for me out on the salty sea,
When nothing that exists could ever tell the deep grief that has come into my heart?
When I think of your gentle, sparkling face that I used to kiss and caress,
It is a great miracle that I am not deranged….”
(Anonymous singer of women’s songs)

Source: womeninworldhistory.com

Women’s History Magazine

{January 13, 2010}   Dance

 We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive… and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.
~ D.H. Lawrence ~

{January 13, 2010}   101 Zen Koans – Number 11

11. The Story of Shunkai

The exquisite Shunkai whose other name was Suzu was compelled to marry against her wishes when she was quite young. Later, after this marriage had ended, she attended the university, where she studied philosophy. To see Shunkai was to fall in love with her. Moreover, wherever she went, she herself fell in love with others. Love was with her at the university, and afterwards when philosophy did not satisfy her and she visited the temple to learn about Zen, the Zen students fell in love with her. Shunkai’s whole life was saturated with love.

At last in Kyoto she became a real student of Zen. Her brothers in the sub-temple of Kennin praised her sincerity. One of them proved to be a congenial spirit and assisted her in the mastery of Zen. The abbot of Kennin, Mokurai, Silent Thunder, was severe. He kept the precepts himself and expected the priests to do so. In modern Japan whatever zeal these priests have lost for Buddhism they seemed to have gained for having wives. Mokurai used to take a broom and chase the women away when he found them in any of his temples, but the more wives he swept out, the more seemed to come back.

In this particular temple the wife of the head priest had become jealous of Shunkai’s earnestness and beauty. Hearing the students praise her serious Zen made this wife squirm and itch. Finally she spread a rumor about that Shunkai and the young man who was her friend. As a consequence he was expelled and Shunkai was removed from the temple.

“I may have made the mistake of love,” thought Shunkai, “but the priest’s wife shall not remain in the temple either if my friend is to be treated so unjustly.”

Shunkai the same night with a can of kerosene set fire to the five-hundred-year-old temple and burned it to the ground. In the morning she found herself in the hands of the police. A young lawyer became interested in her and endeavoured to make her sentence lighter. “Do not help me.” she told him. “I might decide to do something else which will only imprison me again.”

At last a sentence of seven years was completed, and Shunkai was released from the prison, where the sixty-year-old warden also had become enamored of her. But now everyone looked upon her as a “jailbird”. No one would associate with her. Even the Zen people, who are supposed to believe in enlightenment in this life and with this body, shunned her. Zen, Shunkai found, was one thing and the followers of Zen quite another. Her relatives would have nothing to do with her. She grew sick, poor, and weak.

She met a Shinshu priest who taught her the name of the Buddha of Love, and in this Shunkai found some solace and peace of mind. She passed away when she was still exquisitely beautiful and hardly thirty years old. She wrote her own story in a futile endeavour to support herself and some of it she told to a women writer. So it reached the Japanese 

More Koans

{January 11, 2010}   Satet – Goddess of the Nile

 Satet (also known as Setet, Sathit, Satit, Sati, Setis or Satis) was an archer-goddess of the Nile cataracts. Her name comes from the term “sat” (to shoot, to eject, to pour out, to throw). It is often translated as “She Who Shoots (Arrows)” in relation to her aspect as a goddess of the hunt, or “She who Pours” with reference to her role in the innundation and her guardianship over the Nile cataracts. Her name was originally written with the hieroglyph for a shoulder knot but this was later replaced by the sign representing a cow´s skin pierced by an arrow.

As a warrior goddess, she protected the pharaoh and the southern borders of ancient Egypt and in her role as a goddess of fertility she caused the innundation and purified the deceased with water from the underworld (the mythical source of the Nile). Satet is described in the Pyramid Texts performing this service for the king.  Her most important role was as the goddess of the inundation (yearly flooding of the Nile). 

According to myth, on the “Night of the Teardrop” Isis would shed a single tear, which was caught by Satet and poured into the Nile, causing the inundation. As a result, she (like Isis) was linked to Sothis, the personification of the star Sept (Sirius A, the “Dog Star”) which rose in the sky just before the arrival of the inundation every year. 

Like Anuket (and many other goddesses) she was originally thought to have been Ra´s daughter and was sometimes considered to be the spouse of Montu (the Theban war god). By the New Kingdom she was believed to be the wife of Khnum and the mother or sister of Anuket . These three gods formed the Abu (Elephantine) triad. As Khnum became linked to Osiris, and Anuket linked to Nephthys, Satet became firmly connected to Isis. She was also linked with Hathor, as goddess of human fertility and love. 

She was worshiped through the Aswan area (particularly on Setet Island) and throught Upper Egypt. However, items found in Saqqara suggest she was popular in Lower Egypt even in ancient times. She remained popular throught Egyptian history and her temple in Abu (Elephantine) was one of the principal shrines in Egypt.

She is depicted as a woman wearing the Hedjet (White Crown) of Upper Egypt decorated with either ostrich plumes (the Atef crown), or gazelle or antelope horns. Due to her link with Sothis and the inundation, she was sometimes depicted wearing a star on her head and carrying water jars. Occasionally, she carries a bow and arrows, but usually this is replaced by a sceptre and an ankh (symbolising life).

Source: ancientegyptonline.co.uk

Women’s History Magazine

{January 8, 2010}  

Edutainment: Kissing http://ping.fm/n7fGG

{January 8, 2010}   Kissing

Kissing is like drinking salted water. You drink, and your thirst increases.

~ Chinese Proverb ~

{January 8, 2010}   Kyra Gracie

Kyra Gracie Guimaraes, born on May 29, 1985 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was welcomed into a clan of martial arts legends. From her grandfather Carlos Robson Gracie who founded the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), to Kyra’s title-holder uncles Ryan Gracie, Renzo Gracie and Ralph Gracie, it was expected that Kyra would practice the sport.

In fact, she began training in jujitsu when she was only 11 years old. Her mother Flavia Gracie also practices the fighting style. However, Kyra Gracie made history as being the first female to compete professionally in BJJ and win numerous titles. When Kyra Gracie was in her teens, she moved to the United States to train at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York and the Gracie Barra Academy in California.

By age 13, Kyra Gracie has already won the New York State BJJ and Brazilian BJJ Championships, both of which she earned in 1998. From then on, Kyra Gracie has managed to win four more Brazilian BJJ titles (in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004) as well as four otherNew York State BJJ titles (in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002).

Kyra Gracie has also won the World BJJ Championships in 2004 and 2005, the Asiatic BJJ Championships in 2006 and two Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships in 2005 and 2007. She has also become a Pan American BJJ Games Champion five times – in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Kyra Gracie is now a black-belter in the sport. Thanks to her numerous titles and legendary name, Kyra Gracie has been featured in several magazines, such as Crosscombat, Black Belt magazine, BJJ Legends and VIP Magazine.

In most of her interviews, Kyra has stated that she can be a fierce fighter, but still remain feminine – a statement proven by thousands of her male fans around the world. However, in a 2005 interview with NY Mag, Kyra Gracie asserts that she never thinks of jujitsu as being sexy, but only as a sport.

Kyra Gracie, whose name is often misspelled as “Kira,” is currently living in California. Aside from competing around the world, she also teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the Gracie Barra Academy in Lake Forest, California. She also remains associated with the Gracie Barra Academy inRio de Janeiro.


Soldiers of Humanity

Once a division of the Japanese army was engaged in a sham battle, and some of the officers found it necessary to make their headquarters in Gasan’s temple.

Gasan told his cook: “Let the officers have only the same simple fare we eat.”

This made the army men angry, as they were used to very deferential treatment. One came to Gasan and said: “Who do you think we are? We are soldiers, sacrificing our lives for our country. Why don’t you treat us accordingly?”

Gasan answered sternly: “Who do you think we are? We are soldiers of humanity, aiming to save all sentient beings.”

From: http://ping.fm/ldXS2

{January 7, 2010}  

101 Zen Koans � Numbers 58 & 59 | Bukisa.com http://ping.fm/GWLWP

Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts in April 1791 and attended Yale University where he took a great interest in electricity, a subject still little understood at the time. After collage, he hit upon the idea of an electric telegraph while sailing home from Europe in 1832, although others had already began work on similar projects.

From: http://ping.fm/FA7gH

et cetera