Kamis, 25 Desember 2008
What role do candles play in your life? Since they were first invented, their role in human societies continues to diversify. In the beginning, it was all about light. Of course, the meaning of light is as diverse as it is essential to our existence. A candle may play a different role in your life today, tomorrow or the next day. Just how profoundly have candles affected human development functionally, culturally and spiritually?
Retail sails for candles in the U.S. for 2001 were approximately 2.3 billion dollars. Candles are used in seven out of 10 U.S. households. The majority of candle consumers burn candles between one and three times per week and burn one to two candles at a time. There are over 300 known commercial manufacturers of candles in the U.S. alone. These statistics are provided by the National Candle Association (NCA, http://www.nationalcandles.org/).
What elements constitute or define a candle? The essential elements of early candles were a wick, fuel and container or mount. Aromatherapy and colorants have become common editions to most modern candles. Candles have been used for thousands of years but until the 20th century, their essential and primary purpose was to provide artificial light. Today, the applications for candles are so broad and diverse; they have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Reference: http://www.rosecandleslive.com/.
It is fair to assume that controlling and capturing fire to produce artificial light on demand has been an obsession since early man first discovered fire. The first known records of this process begin with the ancient Egyptians. Clay candle holders dating from the 4th century B.C. have been found in Egypt. Egyptians eventually used rush lights or torches. They made these torches by soaking the pithy core of reeds in molten tallow. Tallow is the fatty tissue or suet of animals. The tallow of cattle and sheep was routinely used because it became hard. There was no wick involved in these early candles.
The people of the Roman Empire were the first to use candle wicks. They melted tallow to a very liquid state and poured it over flax, hemp or cotton fiber which created a wick. These candles provided artificial light for utilitarian purposes and were also used in religious ceremonies. There were two primary problems with the use of tallow. It produced both a terrible odor and smoke. Tallow did not burn cleanly.
Early Asian cultures extracted wax from insects (coccos pella) and seeds and then molded it in tube containers of plant paper. The Japanese extracted wax from tree nuts to create candles. In China, beeswax was used during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.).
Early Indian cultures extracted wax from boiling cinnamon and created tapered candles. These candles were used in Indian Temples.
By this time, beeswax had been discovered. Although harder to acquire, this was a great improvement because the beeswax produced a subtle sweet smell and burned cleanly. These candles were highly valued by the clergy and upper classes that were among those who could access/afford them.
In the first century A.D., Native Americans burned oily fish that were called candlefish. Missionaries that eventually settled the southwestern United States boiled bark from the Cerio tree to extract wax for candle making. Colonial women in New England discovered they could boil the grayish green berries of bayberry bushes and extract wax. This was a difficult and tedious process but the bayberry wax burned sweetly and cleanly. In the late eighteenth century, the whaling industry developed. Spermaceti wax, a whale product that had a mild odor and was harder than both tallow and beeswax made candles available to more people. Many historians claim that the first “standard candles” were made using spermaceti wax.
The Industrial Age
Mass production came to candle making. Joseph Morgan invented a machine that used a cylinder featuring a piston that ejected candles as they solidified in their molds.
Paraffin wax was invented. It is processed by distilling the residues left behind by the refining of crude petroleum. This bluish-white wax burned cleanly and with no unpleasant or much odor of any kind. It was also cheap to produce.
Eventually, stearic acid was added since it was discovered this ingredient in the original tallow candles was what maintained a higher melting point and produced a harder candle. The growth of the meatpacking and oil industries made candles a common necessity. In 1879, the electric light bulb was invented. However, history did not end for the development of the candle. This was just a temporary setback that reinvented the mission and the market for candles.
Modern Chandlers (Candle Makers)
Internationally, paraffin remains the most popular candle fuel although the use of stearic wax is mostly practiced in Europe. However, technology continues to develop candles that offer new and more benefits. In 1992, after much testing Michael Richards made the first all vegetable candle wax which has developed into our modern soy candle. The versatility of this wax allows for use in both low-melt container candles and high temperature melt for free standing pillar candles.
The most recent state-of-the-art technology revolves around gel candles. The gel is a combination of polymer resin and mineral oil. The patent for making gel wax is held by Penreco Corporaton (US Patent 5,879,694) and is called versagel. Gel provides exceptional safety in terms of its flash point. It is best used in creating what is known as a hurricane candle by putting it in a decorative translucent container and adding a wick. Due to the clarity of the gel, these candles produce 40% more luminescence than regular paraffin wax. Modern chandlers turned artists, now produce beautiful collectibles in the form of embedded glass candle designs. The gel can be reinstated, and the candle passed down through generations to be used again and again. Detailed pictures of these art candles are available at http://www.rosecandleslive.com/.
So, What role do candles play in your life?
Well, they can still light a room, but they can also light a heart. They can express love that lasts a lifetime and an infinite collection of special moments and appreciation. Candles are a cultural, technical, artistic, therapeutic and spiritual expression of the finest moments in human evolution and experience. That is why they are still present in our lives, in spite of the electric light bulb. This article invites you to use them to celebrate life in all its creative glory.
Janet Nelson Published 02/3/2007 Around The World Valuable Content.Com
Minggu, 21 Desember 2008
In the twentieth century, the Sundanese joined in the struggle for an independent, united Indonesian nation, which was established on August 17, 1945. Even after independence, however, some Sundanese worked to establish a separate, autonomous (self-ruled) territory. These efforts were suppressed by Indonesia's first president, Sukarno (1901–70). By the late-1950s, "Sunda-land" had been fully integrated into Indonesia. Called West Java, it is one of the nation's richest provinces.
The Sundanese number more than thirty million people. The vast majority live on the island of Java. Java is a small island, but it is the administrative and economic center of the Indonesian archipelago (chain of islands). The larger Javanese ethnic group forms the majority in Java's central and eastern provinces. The Sundanese constitute a majority in West Java. West Java spreads over an area of 16,670 square miles (43,177 square kilometers), about half the size of greater metropolitan Los Angeles, California. The northern coast is flat, and the southern coast is hilly. The central area is mountainous and is marked by some spectacular volcanoes.
Like other Indonesians, most Sundanese are bilingual. They speak both their native tongue, Sundanese, and the Indonesian national language. Generally, Sundanese is the language of choice among family members and friends, while in the public sphere, Indonesian is used. Both languages are part of the Austronesian language family.
Sundanese is extremely diverse, with various regional dialects. However, all are divided into different levels of formality depending on the social status of the person being addressed. Thus, the words one uses when talking to one's father differ from those used when talking to a friend or to one's younger sister. Most people use only two levels, or sometimes three. However, some older people make use of four.
Sundanese naming practices are extremely varied. Some people have only a single name, while others have a first name and a last name. Women do not legally change their names after marriage but are frequently called "Mrs. [name of husband]."
Myths and heroic stories are an extremely important part of Sundanese culture. Such stories are told through films, puppet shows, oral poetry, novels, and even comic books. Some are regional in character. They explain the history of a local kingdom, or the mythical origin of a lake or mountain. Others, like the Ramayana, are Hindu in origin.
One myth the Sundanese think of as distinctly their own is the legend of Nyi Loro Kidul, the Queen of the South Seas. As the story goes, in the fourteenth century there was a princess in the Pajajaran kingdom whose thirst for power was so great that her father placed a curse on her. The curse gave her more power than he himself had, but allowed her to wield it only over the South Seas. The princess was then reincarnated as the exquisitely beautiful Nyi Loro Kidul. Said to live off West Java's south coast to this day, she is more powerful than all the spirits. She is said to have received nighttime visits from Javanese kings and Muslim saints in her palace beneath the waves. Men who swim or fish off the south coast are warned not to wear green, for those who do are often spirited away by Nyi Loro Kidul and never return.
The overwhelming majority of Sundanese are orthodox Muslim, although some are Catholic or Protestant. Many Muslims pray five times a day, travel to Mecca at some point in their life, and fast during the holy month of Ramadan. In towns and cities, there is a mosque in every neighborhood. Each day the calls to prayer are broadcast over loudspeakers for everyone to hear. There are still many non-Islamic elements in Sundanese ceremonies and rituals, particularly those surrounding the growing of rice. They probably come from the Hindu religion that preceded the spread of Islam, or from pre-Hindu Sundanese culture.
The Sundanese have no special holidays of their own. They follow the calendar of Indonesian national holidays. It includes both secular holidays and those of the nation's official religions.
When a Sundanese child is born, a paraji (midwife) is usually present to provide advice. The paraji also prays to help the mother and the newborn get through the ordeal safely. Once the baby is born, its umbilical cord is cut with a special instrument called a hinis (bamboo knife). The placenta is buried beneath a window at the rear of the house. A ritual party is held, attended by family and neighbors.
At the age of seven or eight years, boys undergo a circumcision ritual to usher them into adulthood. Before the circumcision takes place, the boy is bathed and dressed in a sarung (a skirtlike garment). The entire ceremony takes place at the boy's home. Frequently it is accompanied by a party.
Marriage is the most elaborate Sundanese rite of passage. Formally, it involves nine stages, from the initial visit between both sets of parents to the sharing of food and gifts on the day of the wedding. The groom's family brings gifts and money to the family of the bride. A few days before the wedding, the groom is "given" to the bride, along with clothing, jewelry, and money. On the day of the wedding, the groom is picked up at his home and taken to the bride's house, where he presents her with an agreed-upon amount of gold. The parents of the couple ceremonially feed them the last bites they will receive from their parents' hands. One week after the wedding, a gathering is held at the groom's house for his family and friends to meet the bride.
After a death, friends and relatives immediately gather at the house of the deceased. They bring gifts of money and rice for the family. Flowers are soaked in water, which is used for washing the body of the deceased. A religious leader (kiai) reads a prayer over the body before it is carried in a procession to the cemetery. The death is later marked by ritual gatherings on the third, seventh, fortieth, one-hundredth, and one-thousandth days after the person has passed away.
The Sundanese place great value on showing people respect by following an unwritten code of behavior. Formal greetings are made by bowing the head and upper body. The hands are held together in front of the chest with fingers outstretched, and the fingertips touch the tips of the other person's fingers. In business settings, handshaking is acceptable. It is done with the right hand. When one lets go, the heart should be touched briefly with the same hand.
Social visits are governed by rules of etiquette for both guests and host. When the visitor is ready to go, she or he should always announce the intention to leave. The host will reply that the visitor is leaving too soon and has not even eaten yet (even if the visitor has been there for hours and the host had hoped to be doing something else).
A man must treat the woman he asks on a date with respect. This means he must pick her up at home, make small talk with her family, and pay for any food and entertainment. It would be considered humiliating for a woman to openly take the initiative in dating. However, Sundanese women have all sorts of tricks that allow them to do so while appearing to remain passive.
Living conditions in West Java are extremely diverse. Some people live in luxurious tropical mansions, while others live in squatter settlements with no running water or electricity. Most people live somewhere between these two extremes.
The growth of consumerism is apparent at all levels of society. The greatest objects of consumerism are cars, televisions, jewelry, and clothing.
Kinship among the Sundanese is bilateral, meaning that descent lines are traced through both the mother and the father. In principle, all the descendants of a seventh-generation ancestor are members of one extended family. The smallest kin group is the nuclear family of parents and their children. Members of a nuclear family usually live in their own house. However, it is not uncommon for relatives of either the husband or the wife to stay with them for a time.
Although marriages are sometimes arranged by parents in the traditional nine-step ritual, urbanization has made such matches increasingly rare. Couples often meet at school or in the workplace rather than at family or neighborhood gatherings. The parents of a woman often try to prevent her from seeing someone they do not approve of, in the hope that she will find someone more to their liking. The preferred marriage partner should come from the same neighborhood and be a descendant of a common ancestor. Such a marriage is called perkawinan gulangkep.
Sundanese society draws a clear line between male and female gender roles. In rural areas, women participate in subsistence agriculture and are thus quite powerful. But in cities, women are economically dependent on their husbands. To combat this dependence, many have taken on careers or part-time jobs to help earn additional cash.
Traditional Sundanese clothing for women consists of a kebaya and a sarung (a skirt-like garment). The kebaya is a long-sleeved, fitted lace blouse that is worn over another layer of clothing. The sarung is a length of cloth that is wrapped around the waist and hangs down to the ankles. Men also wear a sarung, but instead of a kebaya, they wear a long-sleeved batik shirt or a fitted, embroidered jacket.
Increasingly, such traditional clothing is worn only on formal occasions such as weddings. Everyday dress follows either Western or Islamic styles.
The Sundanese like to say, "If you have not eaten rice, then you have not eaten." Rice is prepared in hundreds of different ways. However, it is simple boiled rice that serves as the centerpiece of all meals. Side dishes of vegetables, fish, or meat are added to provide variety. These side dishes are spiced with any combination of garlic, galingale (a plant of the ginger family), turmeric, coriander, ginger, and lemon grass. Usually the food itself is not too spicy, but it is served with a very hot sauce made by grinding chili peppers and garlic together.
On the coast, saltwater fish are common; in the mountains, fish tend to be either pond-raised carp or goldfish. The Sundanese, being Muslim, do not eat pork. They eat the meat of goats, sheep, water buffalo, and cows. Preferred fowl include chickens, ducks, geese, and pigeons. A well-known Sundanese dish is lalapan, which consists only of raw vegetables, such as papaya leaves, cucumber, eggplant, and bitter melon. It is said to be the only Indonesian dish that features raw vegetables. Thus it often gives rise to jokes comparing Sundanese people to goats.
The Sundanese follow Indonesia's national education system. Six years of compulsory primary school may be followed by three years of middle school, three years of high school, four years of college, and then studies toward a graduate degree.
West Java has been a center of education since colonial times. Education is valued very highly among the Sundanese. Parents will sacrifice a great deal to pay for their children's education. This is reflected in the fact that West Java has higher literacy rates than other areas of Indonesia.
The Sundanese have an extremely rich cultural heritage. Many of Indonesia's most famous pop stars are Sundanese. Local music is sometimes set to the beat of "house music." One of the more traditional varieties is called degung. It is performed by a simplified gamelan orchestra blending soft-sounding percussion instruments with the melancholy sounds of a flute. Another type of orchestra is made up of an instrument called angklung (consisting of suspended bamboo tubes in different lengths that make a musical sound when shaken).
One of the oldest forms of Sundanese literature still in existence is the pantun cerita. It is a kind of traditional poetry, in which each verse consists of two couplets. It tells of Sundanese heroes from ancient times. More modern forms of literature, such as the novel, have also emerged among the Sundanese. Sundanese novels are strictly popular, rather than "high brow."
Unemployment is not as great a problem as is underemployment in West Java. Most people have some way of generating income, but they still have a hard time making ends meet. Even the new generation of college-educated youth is having a hard time finding work. When a job does open up, it is often for very low pay at one of the new factories that produce sneakers, televisions, clothing, or furniture. Such positions are usually filled by young women and uneducated men. Many jobs are filled by migrants from Central Java who are more willing to work long hours without vacations than are the family-oriented Sundanese.
The most popular sports in West Java are soccer, volleyball, badminton, and a martial art called pencat silat. Most neighborhoods have a small field in which children play volleyball and soccer. Badminton is played in neighborhood front yards or in courts at a community center. Soccer pulls in large crowds of local supporters. Pencat silat is a martial art that blurs the line between dance and self-defense. It is usually taught to groups of children at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren).
The central form of entertainment in West Java is called sore, or "evening." People go out to movies, take strolls, eat in open-air cafes, and watch public performances. It is a way to "see and be seen." People get a chance to put on their best clothes and show off their cars.
Cinemas in West Java show a mixture of Indonesian and foreign movies. Movie theaters in the city are air-conditioned and have plush seats. Poorer rural areas sometimes have open-air cinemas, which are like driveins without the cars. For those who prefer live performances, there is music and theater. One performance that always draws a crowd is sinten, in which magicians exhibit their powers. One can see, for example, people turned into birds, eggs cooked on someone's head, and people who are not hurt by the stab of a sword. Another is wayang golek, a type of puppet show, accompanied by singing and gamelan music.
At home, there is always television. Broadcasts include a peculiar blend of Indian movies, Latin American soap operas, American dramas, and Indonesian shows of all types. Television is sometimes considered a background entertainment like radio, with people going about their business while watching. It provides entertainment while people do their chores, and the soap operas provide a popular topic for discussion.
Like the neighboring Javanese, the Sundanese are known for the art of batik. This is a technique that uses beeswax to create patterns on textiles. Originally, batik was made by painting the wax on by hand and then bathing the whole cloth in a dye. Using this process it could take up to six months to complete one sarong. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, however, an industrial technique of stamping the cloth with wax was developed. This allowed for mass production, and today batik can be found in American and European stores.
West Java has the usual problems of a society with a large gap between the rich and the poor. As in other urban environments, there is a certain amount of crime. The Indonesian government is known internationally for its high level of corruption and its infringements on human and civil rights. It is common for criminals who have money and influence to go free, while petty thieves are given sentences of six months or more for a first offense. While alcoholism is not a serious problem, drug use in all segments of the population appears to be on the rise.
Cribb, R. B. Historical Dictionary of Indonesia. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
McNair, S. Indonesia. Chicago: Children's Press,1993.
Palmier, Leslie, ed. Understanding Indonesia. Brookfield, Vt.: Gower, 1985.
Selasa, 16 Desember 2008
Sabtu, 13 Desember 2008
Di dalam kehidupan manusia daya-daya kekuatan alam seperti berhubungan seks diberi bentuk yang bersifat kultural, sehingga dorongan-dorongan alamiah dalam bentuk perilaku seksual itu bukan sekedar pemenuhan kebutuhan biologis saja, melainkan diberi makna tertentu dan menjadi lebih ekspresif serta mempunyai nilai simbolik. Melalui mitos-mitos, daya-daya kekuatan alam dan nilai-nilai budaya yang melatarbelakanginya dikaitkan dengan daya-daya supra-natural beserta ritus keagamaannya sehingga seksualitas menjadi bagian dari proses ritual itu sendiri.
Setiap manusia dewasa yang ‘normal’, tentunya pernah atau setidaknya ingin mengadakan hubungan seks dengan lawan jenisnya. Hal tersebut menurut Malinowski (1944) disebabkan manusia sebagai makhluk hidup dilahirkan dengan membawa basic drives (dorongan-dorongan dasar), salah satunya adalah dorongan dasar untuk melanjutkan keturunan. Dorongan dasar ini kemudian menimbulkan basic needs (kebutuhan-kebutuhan dasar) yang masing-masing ada respons kebudayaannya. Dapat dikatakan bahwa dalam kehidupan manusia, daya-daya kekuatan alam seperti berhubungan seks itu diberi bentuk yang bersifat kultural, sehingga dorongan-dorongan alamiah dalam bentuk perilaku seksual itu bukan hanya pemenuhan kebutuhan biologis saja, melainkan ‘dikemas’ kembali, diberi makna tertentu dan menjadi lebih ekspresif serta mempunyai nilai simbolik. Perilaku seksual diatur secara sosial dengan seperangkat nilai-nilai, norma-norma, aturan-aturan yang berlaku dalam masyarakatnya. Melalui mitos-mitos, daya-daya kekuatan alam (kesuburan) dan nilai-nilai tersebut dikaitkan dengan daya-daya supra-natural beserta ritus keagamaannya sehingga seksualitas menjadi bagian dari proses ritual itu sendiri. Rituals reveal values at their deepest level, begitu kata Turner (1974:6).
Seseorang atau suatu makhluk hidup dilahirkan atau tumbuh dan berkembang dengan jenis kelamin tertentu. Seks atau jenis kelamin ini berhubungan dengan keadaan biologis dan anatomis yang mempunyai karakter saling berbeda satu sama lain, yaitu jenis kelamin jantan (male) dan jenis kelamin betina (female). Sedangkan seksualitas mencakup seluruh kompleks sifat emosi, perasaan, kepribadian dan watak sosial yang berkaitan dengan perilaku dan orientasi seksual (Sumiarni,1999:11). Dalam arti sempit, kegiatan seksual menyangkut pada hubungan persetubuhan dan reproduksi dari jenis kelamin yang berbeda.
(Tugu yang terletak di perempatan Jl. Jenderal Sudirman dan Jl. Pangeran Mangkubumi mempunyai nilai simbolis dan merupakan garis lurus yang bersifat magis yang menghubungkan laut selatan, kraton Yogya dan gunung Merapi).
Penyimpangan-penyimpangan dapat saja terjadi, disadari atau tidak disadari oleh para pelakunya. Misalnya penyimpangan yang dilakukan untuk kepentingan pribadi, atau penyimpangan yang terjadi karena kepercayaan yang berlebihan pada suatu mitos sehingga tanpa disadari justru menyimpang dari pesan-pesan yang terkandung dalam mitos itu sendiri. Mitos-mitos yang cenderung berakibat adanya penyimpangan seksual ini antara lain mitos raja sebagai keturunan dewa, pengorbanan perawan dengan upacara tertentu, atau melaksanakan ritual dengan melakukan persetubuhan bebas dengan siapa saja secara massal dan sebagainya yang dipercayai bahwa pelakunya akan mendapat keberhasilan dalam hidupnya.
Penyimpangan-penyimpangan tersebut sebenarnya sah-sah saja terjadi selama nilai-nilai sosial-budaya masyarakat yang bersangkutan mendukungnya sehingga tidak terjadi suatu konflik. Pada masyarakat Jawa, suatu prinsip untuk menghindari konflik ini disebut rukun, yang dapat diartikan sebagai suatu keadaan yang harmonis, tanpa pertengkaran, dan saling tolong menolong satu sama lain. Perbuatan rukun merupakan suatu usaha untuk mengurangi simbol-simbol ketegangan pribadi dan masyarakat dengan tujuan untuk menjaga keharmonisan hubungan antar manusia (Sumiarni,1999:23;Suseno,1981). Prinsip ini berdasarkan pula pada gambaran keadaan kosmos yang teratur. Pemeliharaan akan keteraturan itu merupakan tujuan dari praksis sosio-religius pada sistem kepercayaan masyarakat Jawa (Mulder,1983). Berkaitan dengan masalah hubungan seksual, menurut Sumiarni (1999:24) mayarakat Jawa tidak terlalu tertarik pada prinsip moral absolut. Suatu hal yang terpenting adalah menjaga keharmonisan dan menghindari konflik.
Kegiatan seksual di Gunung Kemukus selalu berkaitan dengan kepercayaan yang berhubungan dengan mitos Pangeran Samodro yang ada dalam masyarakat sekitar gunung tersebut. Ada beberapa versi tentang mitos Pangeran Samodro ini yang masing-masing mempunyai kepentingan sebagai alasan pembenar dalam mencapai tujuan, yaitu versi pemerintah daerah setempat, versi peziarah dan versi penduduk setempat. Berdasarkan pertimbangan bahwa versi pemerintah daerah setempat ‘sering dimuati unsur politis’, maka hanya akan dikemukakan secara ringkas versi peziarah dan versi penduduk setempat saja.
Pangeran Samodro adalah putra tertua istri resmi Prabu Brawijoyo dari kerajaan Majapahit. Ketika menginjak dewasa, untuk mengumpulkan pengalaman yang akan berguna di kemudian hari, ia dilepas ke dunia luar. Beberapa tahun kemudian, Pangeran Samodro kembali ke istana dan ia jatuh cinta kepada salah seorang selir ayahnya yang bernama R.A. Ontrowulan. Cintanya itu diterima. Ketika Prabu Brawijoyo mengetahuinya, beliau sangat marah dan mengusir mereka berdua. Kemudian menetaplah mereka di Gunung Kemukus sebagai suami-istri dengan bahagia.
Demikianlah mitos Pangeran Samodro dari dua versi yang berbeda, yang rupanya ditafsirkan secara berbeda pula. Menurut keyakinan para peziarah, Pangeran Samodro adalah orang yang sering bertapa dan mempunyai kekuatan sangat besar. Untuk memperoleh hasil yang memuaskan, Pangeran Samodro menginginkan agar para peziarah datang sebanyak tujuh kali dalam waktu peziarahan dan melakukan hubungan seks dengan orang yang bukan pasangan resmi. Jumlah tujuh kali didasarkan pada pengalaman bahwa jumlah tersebut membawa hasil atau rejeki tersendiri. Sedangkan hubungan seks dengan ‘orang yang bukan pasangan resmi’ adalah penafsiran dari kata dhemenane yang ditafsirkan oleh peziarah sebagai kata dhemenan yang berarti ‘pacar gelap’, yaitu laki-laki atau perempuan lain yang bukan suami atau istri (Sumiarni,1999:36).
Tujuan orang datang ke Gunung Kemukus umumnya hendak berziarah ke makam Pangeran Samodro untuk mengikuti ritual ngalab berkah. Bisa dikatakan daya pikat ‘utama’ ritual di Gunung Kemukus ialah kegiatan ritual yang sering dikaitkan dengan adanya hubungan ‘seks bebas’ yang dilakukan sebagian pengunjung di sekitar makam Pangeran Samodro. Hubungan seks tersebut dipercaya sebagai suatu keharusan jika niat mereka ingin terkabul. Kepercayaan itu sendiri didasari oleh adanya mitos yang hidup di dalam masyarakat sekitar Gunung Kemukus tentang tuah dari kekeramatan makam Pangeran Somodro. Hubungan seksual itu rupanya berkaitan erat dengan sikap masyarakat setempat yang tidak begitu peduli terhadap hal tersebut. Jadi ya oke-oke saja. Pada setiap hari Kamis Pahing (malam Jum’at Pon), suasana di sekitar makam Pangeran Samodro sangat ramai didatangi pengunjung dari berbagai jenis kelamin, kalangan, profesi, tua, muda, dengan latar belakang status sosial dan budaya serta tempat tinggal. Mereka bercampur-baur sehingga sulit pula sebenarnya bila hendak membedakan pengunjung mana yang benar-benar akan berziarah dengan pengunjung yang mempunyai ‘maksud lain’. Berdasarkan penelitian Sumiarni dkk.(1999), motivasi para peziarah datang ke Gunung Kemukus dapat diklasifikasikan bermotivasi ekonomi, kedudukan, mencari jodoh, ketenangan batin, pengobatan dan ingin lulus ujian. Dari berbagai motivasi tersebut, motivasi ekonomi selalu menjadi alasan utama, terutama bagi para pedagang yang umumnya tidak hanya sekali datang berziarah ke tempat itu.
Walaupun bukan menjadi syarat utama, ada beberapa hal yang dilakukan para peziarah untuk melengkapi ritual Ngalab Berkah itu, antara lain tirakatan, berhubungan seks, slametan, dan memenuhi kaul. Setelah nyekar di makam Pangeran Samodro, para peziarah dapat mengadakan tirakatan di pendopo yang terletak dekat ruangan makam. Bila pendopo sudah penuh, peziarah dapat pula bertirakat di halaman sekitar pendopo itu dengan menggelar tikar. Menurut juru kunci, tirakatan yang baik dilakukan pada malam hari, yaitu pada malam Jum’at Pon atau malam Jum’at Kliwon.
Tugu Monas, lingga-yoni versi modern
Kesejahteraan bagi penduduk setempat
Bila dilihat dari sumber daya alam, wilayah di sekitar Gunung Kemukus bisa dikatakan hampir tidak menghasilkan apa-apa. Hasil pertanian dari daerah tersebut hanya digunakan untuk keperluan sehari-hari saja, itu pun tidak mencukupi. Suatu hal yang pasti adalah dengan banyaknya peziarah atau pelancong yang datang ke Gunung Kemukus bagi penduduk setempat menunjang kehidupan dan menambah penghasilan mereka. Pada hari-hari peziarahan, daerah itu digunakan penduduk setempat sebagai pasar, tempat di mana orang dapat berjual-beli barang dan jasa, seperti menjadi penjual bunga, penjual makanan dan minuman, membuka warung, penginapan, menjual obat-obatan (khususnya ‘obat kuat’), menyewakan tikar, tukang ojek, tukang perahu, tukang parkir, bahkan ada yang ‘menjual’ atau ‘menyewakan’ dirinya. Demikian pula tambahan penghasilan bagi juru kunci dan juga pemerintah daerah setempat dari hasil penjualan karcis masuk serta pungutan lainnya. Pendek kata, adanya ritual di Gunung Kemukus itu menguntungkan bagi banyak pihak. Itu segi positifnya, sehingga pemerintah daerah setempat mengajukan Gunung Kemukus sebagai salah satu daerah tujuan wisata di Jawa Tengah.
Bagaimana dengan segi negatifnya? Apalagi bila dikaitkan dengan masalah moral, mengingat banyak pula pengunjung perempuan yang bukan sekedar ngalab berkah saja, tapi bertujuan mencari “berkah” lain dengan “menyewakan” tubuhnya sehingga Gunung Kemukus menimbulkan kesan sebagai lokalisasi pelacuran yang terselubung. Bagi sebagian orang masalah pelacuran ini sangat meresahkan, karena dianggap dapat menodai citra dan makna dari dilakukannya ritual ngalab berkah itu.
ke Neraka ?
A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essay, Chapen Hill, New York,
Java-Thailand : A Comparative Perspective, Gadjah Mada University Press,
Sumiarni, M.G. Endang dkk.
Seks dan Ritual di Gunung Kemukus, PPK-UGM, Yogyakarta, 1999.
Turner, Victor W.
The Ritual Process, Pelican Books, Middlesex, 1974.
Van Peursen, C.A.
Strategi Kebudayaan, BPK Gunung Mulia-Kanisius, Jakarta, 1976.
Mampir Mas! : Spiritualitas dan Dunia Bathin Perempuan Pelacur, Lapera,
Sex, Political Society : The Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800, Longman, London, 1981.
Kamis, 11 Desember 2008
World War II did not happen in a vacuum. It was preceded by millennia of the same behavior on a smaller scale involving the same type of players. In particular, the history of the Germans and the Jews is oddly intertwined, beginning over 1,000 years ago in Germany. However, the conflict between these groups goes back to the time of the foundation of Judaism, i.e., the creation of the oppressive Law (7-6th centuries BCE) that Jewish or "Zionist" leaders imposed upon their often hapless followers. Even prior to that, the area in which Judaism arose was subjected to a number of invasions and continuous battling between and among Semites and Japhethites ("Aryans" or Caucasians). However, they also intermingled, such that "the Hebrews/Israelites" were not of one race, as confirmed by "Ezekiel," who said of them, "your father is an Amorite, your mother a Hittite," i.e., Semites and Japhethites, as well as being "sons of Ham" (Canaanite/ African/ Cushite).
In reality, the creation of Christianity was an attempt to unify these various warring factions, while on the one hand raising up the Jews and their God as "the chosen" ("salvation is from the Jews" Jn. 4:22) and on the other striving to end the exploitative Law and bloody sacrifices of the priesthood, which included human sacrifice and cannibalism. Of course, Christianity also incorporated human sacrifice in its exhortations to martyrdom. Furthermore, in order to end human sacrifice, the Christians had to sacrifice millions of humans! Indeed, human sacrifice was prevalent in many societies prior to the Common Era, including in the form of warfare, crusades, pogroms, inquisitions, ad nauseam, often purported by their orchestrators to serve the purpose of "obeying," "worshipping" or "propitiating" "God" in some way or another.
The Cult of Human Sacrifice
In fact, a tremendous portion of the Old Testament is a chronicle of genocide, human and animal sacrifice, and regicide - the sacrifice of the sacred king. Because of propaganda that the biblical peoples were "the chosen" and, therefore, everything they represented was "godly," the na«ve masses are not aware of the bloodiness of the Old Testament, or of the gospel story serving as a record of a human sacrifice ritual based on the ubiquitous solar/fertility cult.
Although many profess to be believers, relatively few people actually read the Bible and are thus ignorant of the blood and gore in the "Good Book," which contains endless accounts of genocide, including against the Canaanites, Hittites, Moabites and others. Indeed, the "chosen" were to kill everyone they could get their hands on, save the virgin girls, whom they then raped. Other Jewish texts such as some of the original Dead Sea scrolls called for the extermination of the "Kittim," i.e., "Japhethites" or Caucasians, and the author of the Jewish apocryphon "Fourth Esdras," written after the destruction of Palestine in 135 CE, wailed that Israel had not taken its "rightful" place as ruler of "the nations" (Gentiles), which are "but spittle" to "the Lord." The Talmud, of course, is notorious for its statements against Gentiles. It is odd that the despicable biblical chronicle of horror and other texts are overlooked whenever the atrocities of human history are broadcast.
One of the most famous biblical stories, that of Abraham and his son Isaac, concerns human/child sacrifice. It is obvious from this story that such sacrifice was common, as Abram/Abraham seems quite comfortable with the notion, and the story is written as if such behavior were implicitly understood. In addition, biblical king after king is murdered, after being anointed, just like the "king of kings," Jesus. This sacred king ritual is what is recorded in the New Testament - not as a "historical" occurrence, but as an ongoing human sacrifice ritual that transpired repeatedly around and in Palestine. In reality, the Judeans were the last in the Roman Empire to give up such practices.
The practice of human sacrifice, found worldwide, appears to have been a result of cataclysms that caused the survivors to believe that the earth, God or some other entity desired flesh and blood, such that he/she/it had caused the calamity to get his/her/its fill. The ancient practitioners evidently reasoned that periodic sacrifices would appease the entity/deity and prevent further cataclysm. Such human sacrifice is recorded abundantly in Frazer's Golden Bough. In Fires that Cry, Anthony Hargis discusses human sacrifice and the sacred king ritual:
Since the penalties of magic fall most heavily on the defenseless, namely children, people who practice magic invariably adopt rites that lead to their extinction. It appears that Polynesians routinely killed more than half of their children. The same was done in some parts of East Africa into the present time. The Jagas of Angola killed all their children, so that their march would not be slowed. They maintained their numbers by taking the boys and girls of whose parents they had killed and eaten. In South America, the Mbaya Indians murdered all their children except the last... The Carthaginian priests renewed their divine power by persuading the people to sacrifice their children to Moloch. 'The children were laid on the hands of a calf-headed image of bronze, from which they slid into a fiery oven, while the people danced to the music of flutes and timbrels to drown out the shrieks of the burning victims.'
Early in our history it became the custom for the monarch to be anointed by the priesthood. A method employed by the priests to demonstrate the submissiveness of the monarch to the priesthood was to require the king, in a time of national danger, to give his own son to die as a sacrifice for his people. Thus Philo of Byblos, in his own work on the Jews, says: 'It was an ancient custom in a crisis of great danger that the ruler of a city or nation should give his beloved son to die for the whole people, as a ransom offered to the avenging demons; and the children thus offered were slain with mystic rites. So Cronus, whom the Phoenicians call Israel, being king of the land and having an only-begotten son called Ieoud (for in the Phoenician tongue Jeoud signifies 'only-begotten'), dressed him in royal robes and sacrificed him upon an altar in time of war, when the country was in great danger from the enemy.' When the Israelites besieged Moab, its king took his eldest son and gave him as a burnt offering on the wall.
In the Bible the "wise king Solomon" is portrayed as "whoring after" the Tyrian fire and sun god Moloch/Molech. In reality, the ancient Israelites were not monotheists but worshipped many gods, including Moloch, to whom their children were immolated. In fact, the priesthood of Moloch is that of Melchizedek ("Righteous Moloch"), a mythical character who in the Bible is given authority over not only Abraham but Jesus. Hence, the cult of Moloch is to reign supreme behind the scenes. Thus, it would not at all be surprising if clandestinely these wretched sacrifices have taken place over the centuries, somewhere in the world. We all know very well the story of the Aztecs and their massive and bloody sacrifices. Such sacrifices were extremely similar to those of the Jews (Jer. 7:31), except that when we even recognize that this bloodlust constitutes a significant portion of the Bible and Judaism, we usually think of the Jews as only holding mass sacrifices of animals.
In fact, when the Aztecs/Toltecs and their bloody behavior were discovered, they were likened to the Jews because of the similarities in their sacrifices. Indeed, a number of aspects of Toltec/Aztec culture, including language, are similar to that of the Jews, which has led to speculation that the Mesoamerican natives were one of the "lost tribes" of Israel. However, according to the Samaritans, who claimed themselves to be the Israelites, those tribes were never lost, the biblical story serving as Judean propaganda.
The connection between the Semites and the Central American peoples (including the Maya) evidently goes back much further than the time alleged for the "lost tribes," as the Phoenicians, for one, were likely in South and Central America possibly 1,000 years before the Common Era. Much earlier contact is indicated by the "fingerprints of the gods," but that is the subject of another treatise.
In actuality, like that of the Aztecs, the Jewish priesthood was feared for its sacrifices and cannibalistic ritual practices. This fear was the result of frequent sacrifices of huge numbers of animals. Imagine the butchery! The priest/cohen drenched in blood, with his elbows in entrails, splattering the blood all over the "audience" or congregation, as it were. "Hey, if you don't listen to us," the priest says; in effect, "this is what we'll do to you."
While most people think of "baptism" as being either sprinkled with or immersed in water, it was also common to baptize people with the blood of a sacrificed animal or human, the former of which is overtly reflected in biblical texts. As Dujardin says in Ancient History of the God Jesus: "Often in the sacrifices of expiation the blood of the victim was sprinkled upon the heads of those present, according to the rite of Exodus xxiv. 8, where 'Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you.'"
The Old Testament reflects the constant appeasement of Yahweh with blood-atonement sacrifice. This same barbaric concept of blood-atonement represents the very heart of Christianity, as the "scape-god" is sacrificed "for the sins of humankind." The blood of the god purifies, and the expiatory nature of Christ is evident, as is bludgeoned into the heads of millions around the clock by Christian propagandists. The New Testament line, "His blood be upon us and our children," is a stock phrase of the blood-atonement ritual and not an admission of murdering God: Christ's mythical appearance as a "scape-god" was designed to serve as a once-for-all event that would put an end to the periodic blood-atonement sacrifices that had occurred for millennia. As "history" it is insulting and absurd, as Dujardin says, "to imagine that the crowd would demand the death of an innocent man and would wish his blood to be on their heads and those of their children."
Greek religion, animal sacrifice
In addition, as horrendous and sickening as it was, "the Holocaust" was only a small part of the atrocities committed during WWII, most of which were against tens of millions of non-Jews. It seems that over the decades many of these other victims have been forgotten and few have received any reparations, the bulk of which have gone to Jewish Holocaust survivors. Rarely mentioned are the tens of millions of non-Jewish victims tortured and murdered during WWII, in Europe, in China under Japanese occupation, and in Russia under the Marxists/Stalinists.
Rows of bodies of dead inmates fill the yard of Lager Nordhausen a Gestapo concentration camp
Acharya S. is a classically trained archaeologist, historian, mythologist and linguist, as well as a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, and the associate director of the Institute for Historical Accuracy.