The Greek word λόγος, or logos, is a word with various meanings. It is often translated into English as “Word,” but can also mean thought, speech, meaning, reason, proportions, principle, standard, or logic, among other things. In religious contexts, it can indicate the divine Word, wisdom, or truth. It is also used widely with varied meanings in the fields of philosophy, analytical psychology, and rhetoric.

Similar concepts are found in non-western traditions, such as Dao (Tao), the Vedic notion of rta, and the Hindu and Buddhist conception of dharma and Aum. These concepts in diverse traditions are based upon the common insight that certain principles regulate the orders of existence in both the universe and human reason.

The Greek word “logos” means “order,” “word,” and “reason.” It indicates a rational explanation in contrast to a mythological explanation. Among Greek philosophers, the first philosopher who used the term is Heraclitus. By using the term logos, he meant the principle of the cosmos that organizes and orders the world that had the power to regulate the birth and decay of things in the world. The cosmos was, as he saw it, constantly changing, and he conceived logos as the organizing principle of change. In the context of Ancient Greek philosophy, logos was a divine principle which transcended the world of mortals.

The Stoics developed the notion of logos and conceived it as the principle that gave life and order to all beings in the universe. In their view, logos existed both in the human soul and the universe, and identified justice within the life of a man who lived according to this order of the universe.

The Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus) tried to explain the relationship between God and the world by applying the Stoic concept of logos. Logos was the most universal among all things in the world, an intermediary between the transcendent God and the created world. He developed the idea that God created the world with logos as the intermediate being. In Christianity, various doctrines about logos were also developed.
Ancient Greek philosophy

In ancient philosophy, Logos was used by Heraclitus, a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He used the term logos to describe the universal Law, or the principle that inherently ordered the cosmos and regulated its phenomena. Some fragments ascribed to Heraclitus read:

The Law (of the universe) is as here explained; but men are always incapable of understanding it, both before they hear it, and when they have heard it for the first time. For though all things come into being in accordance with this Law, men seem as if they had never met with it, when they meet with words (theories) and actions (processes) such as I expound, separating each thing according to its nature and explaining how it is made.

Therefore one must follow (the universal Law, namely) that which is common (to all). But although the Law is universal, the majority live as if they had understanding peculiar to themselves.

Heraclitus also used the term Logos to mean the undifferentiated material substrate from which all things came: “Listening not to me but to the Logos it is wise to agree that all [things] are one.” In this sense, Logos is Heraclitus’ answer to the Pre-Socratic question of what the arche is of all things. Logos, therefore, designates both the material substrate itself and the universal, mechanical, “just” way in which this substrate manifests itself in, and as, individual things. What this means is, it encompasses within itself the later Platonic distinction (in Timaeus) between “form” and “matter.”

By the time of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, logos was the term established to describe the faculty of human reason and the knowledge men had of the known world and of other humans. Plato allowed his characters to engage in the conceit of describing logos as a living being in some of his dialogues. The development of the Academy with hypomnemata brought logos closer to the literal text. Aristotle, who studied under Plato and who was much more of a practical thinker, first developed the concept of logic as a depiction of the rules of human rationality.

The Stoics understood Logos as the animating power of the universe, (as it is also presently understood today in Theosophical terms) and by the Rosicrucians in their “conception of the cosmos,” which further influenced how this word was understood later on (in twentieth century psychology, for instance).

In rhetoric, logos is one of the three modes of persuasion (the other two are pathos, emotional appeal; and ethos, the qualification of the speaker). Logos refers to logical appeal, and in fact the term logic evolves from it. Logos normally implies numbers, polls, and other mathematical or scientific data.

In Christianity, the prologue of the Gospel of John calls Jesus “the Logos” (usually translated as “the Word” in English bibles, such as the King James Version) and plays a central role in establishing the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity and the Trinity. The opening verse in the KJV reads: “In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was God.”

Some scholars of the Bible have suggested that John made creative use of double meaning in the word “Logos” to communicate to both Jews, who were familiar with the Wisdom tradition in Judaism, and Hellenists, especially followers of Philo. Each of these two groups had its own history associated with the concept of the Logos, and each could understand John’s use of the term from one or both of those contexts. Especially for the Hellenists, however, John turns the concept of the Logos on its head when he claimed “the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us” (v. 14).

Gordon Clark famously translated Logos as “Logic” in the opening verses of the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Logic, and the Logic was with God and the Logic was God.” He meant to imply by this translation that the laws of logic were contained in the Bible itself and were therefore not a secular principle imposed on the Christian worldview.

On April 1, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who would later become Pope Benedict XVI) referred to the Christian religion as the religion of the Logos:

From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason. … It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them … the same dignity. In this connection, the Enlightenment is of Christian origin and it is no accident that it was born precisely and exclusively in the realm of the Christian faith. … It was and is the merit of the Enlightenment to have again proposed these original values of Christianity and of having given back to reason its own voice … Today, this should be precisely [Christianity’s] philosophical strength, in so far as the problem is whether the world comes from the irrational, and reason is not other than a “sub-product,” on occasion even harmful of its development—or whether the world comes from reason, and is, as a consequence, its criterion and goal. … In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and Catholics, we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: To live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.

He referred to this concept again in a controversial speech, in September 2006.
Similar concepts

Within Eastern religions, there are ideas with varying degrees of similarity to the philosophical and Christian uses of the term logos. Five concepts with some parallels to Logos are the Tao, the Vedic notion of rta, the Hindu and Buddhist conception of dharma, Aum (from Hindu cosmology), and the Egyptian Maat. These are all iconic terms of various cultures that have the meaning that Logos has: The order and orderliness of the world. At the same time, the material source of the world is the word as well.

In New Age mysticism, the Odic force is sometime described as “the physical manifestation of the creative Logos.”

In ancient Egyptian mythology, Hu was the deification of the word spoken to create existence. Maàt was the concept, and goddess, of divine order.

In Surat Shabd Yoga, Shabda is considered to be analogous to the Logos as representative of the supreme being in Christianity.



halloween night with pumpkin in grass tree bat and hunting house in background

Halloween (or Hallowe’en) is a holiday celebrated on October 31, particularly in the United States where it has been heavily commercialized. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints. As a result it is considered a time when the barrier between the physical realm and the spirit world is open, allowing the spirits of the dead to come to earth, possibly causing problems for the living.

The day is often associated with the colors orange and black, and is strongly associated with symbols such as the jack-o’-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving pumpkins, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.

For some Christians and Pagans the religious origins of the holiday are cause for concern. For most, though, the holiday is an opportunity for children to enjoy dressing up in costumes and obtaining large amounts of free candy from their neighbors. When this is done safely it promotes a closer community involving young and old alike with opportunities to express creativity and share happiness.

Halloween has origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠaunʲ]. The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year.”

The Celts believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the living and the dead dissolved, and the deceased become dangerous for the living, causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. Festivals frequently involved bonfires, into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to copy the evil spirits or placate them.

The term “Halloween” is shortened from “All Hallows’ Even” (both “even” and “eve” are abbreviations of “evening,” but “Halloween” gets its “n” from “even”) as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day,” which is now also known as All Saints’ Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, in the ninth century the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar, with the result that the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.

On Hallows’ eve, the Celts would place a skeleton on their window sill to represent the departed. Believing that the head was the most powerful part of the body, containing the spirit and its knowledge, the Celts also used the “head” of a vegetable to frighten off any evil spirits that might try to do harm. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces, and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.
Pumpkin Jack-o’-lantern

The “jack-o’-lantern” can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard-drinking old farmer. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him by carving a cross into the tree trunk. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth at night with the only light he had: a candle inside of a hollowed turnip.

The carving of pumpkins became associated with Halloween in North America, where pumpkins were not only readily available but much larger, making them easier to carve than turnips. The carved pumpkin was originally associated with harvest time in America, and did not become specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late nineteenth century.

The imagery surrounding Halloween today is an amalgamation of the Halloween season itself, works of Gothic, and horror literature, nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, evil, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include the Devil, the Grim Reaper, ghosts, ghouls, demons, witches, pumpkin-men, goblins, vampires, werewolves, zombies, mummies, skeletons, black cats, spiders, bats, owls, crows, and vultures.
Trick-or-treating and guising


“Trick-or-treating” is a custom for children on Halloween. Children proceed in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as confectionery, or sometimes money, with the question, “Trick or treat?” The “trick” is an idle threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.

In the United States, trick-or-treating is now one of the main traditions of Halloween and it has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters. The tradition has also spread to Britain, Ireland, and other European countries, where similar local traditions have been influenced by the American Halloween customs.

The practice of dressing up in costumes and going door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of “puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas.”

However, there is no evidence that souling was ever practiced in North America, where trick-or-treating may have developed independent of any Irish or British antecedent. There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween—in Ireland, the UK, or America—before 1900. Ruth Edna Kelley, in her 1919 history of the holiday, The Book of Hallowe’en, makes no mention of ritual begging in the chapter “Hallowe’en in America.” The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the twentieth century and the 1920s commonly show children, but do not depict trick-or-treating.

Halloween did not become a holiday in the United States until the nineteenth century, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted the observance of many holidays. American almanacs of the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries do not include Halloween in their lists of holidays. The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849) finally brought the holiday to the United States. Scottish emigration, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country. Irish-American and Scottish-American societies held dinners and balls that celebrated their heritages, with perhaps a recitation of Robert Burns’ poem “Halloween” or a telling of Irish legends. Home parties centered on children’s activities, such as apple bobbing, and various divination games often concerning future romance. Not surprisingly, pranks and mischief were common as well.

The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, near the border of upstate New York, reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street “guising” on Halloween between 6:00 and 7:00 P.M., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs. Another isolated reference to ritual begging on Halloween appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920.

The earliest known use in print of the term “trick or treat” appears in 1927, from Blackie, Alberta, Canada:

Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

Trick-or-treating does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the first U.S. appearances of the term in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939. Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, although it was stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat and Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show. At that time UNICEF began what became an annual national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.

Today, in many towns and cities, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by lit porch lights and jack-o’-lanterns. In some large and/or crime-ridden areas, however, trick-or-treating is discouraged, or re-focused to staged trick-or-treating events within nearby shopping malls, in order to prevent potential acts of violence against trick-or-treaters. Even where crime is not an issue, many American towns have designated specific hours for trick-or-treating to discourage late-night trick-or-treating.
Apple bobbing

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. A common one is dunking or apple bobbing, in which apples float in a tub of water; the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that inevitably leads to a very sticky face.

Some games traditionally played at Halloween are forms of divination. In Puicíní, a game played in Ireland, a blindfolded person is seated in front of a table on which several saucers are placed. The saucers are shuffled, and the seated person then chooses one by touch; the contents of the saucer determine the person’s life during the following year. A traditional Irish and Scottish form of divining one’s future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one’s shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse’s name. This custom has survived among Irish and Scottish immigrants in the rural United States. Unmarried women were frequently told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before marriage, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The telling of ghost stories and viewing of horror films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Episodes of TV series and specials with Halloween themes are commonly aired on or before the holiday, while new horror films are often released in theaters before the holiday to take advantage of the atmosphere.
Candy apple

Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (also known as toffee, caramel or taffy apples) are a common Halloween treat made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, sometimes followed by rolling them in nuts.

Other foods associated with the holiday include candy corn; Báirín Breac (Ireland); colcannon (Ireland); bonfire toffee (UK); apple cider; cider; roasted sweetcorn; popcorn; roasted pumpkin seeds; pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread; “fun-sized” or individually wrapped pieces of small candy, typically in Halloween colors of orange, and brown/black; novelty candy shaped like skulls, pumpkins, bats, worms, and so forth; small bags of potato chips, pretzels, and caramel corn; chocolates, caramels, and chewing gum; and nuts.
Haunted attractions

Haunted attractions are entertainment venues designed to thrill and scare patrons; most are seasonal Halloween businesses. Common motifs for Halloween are settings resembling a cemetery, a haunted house, a hospital, or a specific monster-driven theme built around famous creatures or characters.

Typical elements of decoration include jack-o’-lanterns, fake spiders and cobwebs, and artificial gravestones and coffins. Coffins can be built to contain bodies or skeletons, and are sometimes rigged with animatronic equipment and motion detectors so that they will spring open in reaction to passers-by. Eerie music and sound effects are often played over loudspeakers to add to the atmosphere. Haunts can also be given a more “professional” look, now that such items as fog machines and strobe lights have become available for more affordable prices at discount retailers. Some haunted houses issue flashlights with dying batteries to attendees to enhance the feeling of unease.

Commercialization of Halloween in the United States began perhaps with Halloween postcards (featuring hundreds of designs), which were most popular between 1905 and 1915. Dennison Manufacturing Company (which published its first Halloween catalog in 1909) and the Beistle Company were pioneers in commercially made Halloween decorations, particularly die-cut paper items. German manufacturers specialized in Halloween figurines that were exported to the United States in the period between the two World Wars. Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s.

In the 1990s, many manufacturers began producing a larger variety of Halloween yard decorations; before this, the majority of decorations were homemade. Some of the most popular yard decorations are jack-o’-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, orange string-lights; inflatable decorations such as spiders, pumpkins, mummies, vampires; and animatronic window and door decorations. Other popular decorations are foam tombstones and gargoyles.

Halloween is now the United States’ second-most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating; the sale of candy and costumes is also extremely common during the holiday, which is marketed to children and adults alike. Each year, popular costumes are dictated by various current events and pop-culture icons. On many college campuses, Halloween is a major celebration, with the Friday and Saturday nearest October 31 hosting many costume parties. Halloween costume parties provide an opportunity for adults to gather and socialize. Urban bars are frequented by people wearing Halloween masks and risqué costumes. Many bars and restaurants hold costume contests to attract customers to their establishments.

Several cities host Halloween parades. Anoka, Minnesota, the self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World,” celebrates the holiday with a large civic parade and several other city-wide events. Salem, Massachusetts, also has laid claim to the “Halloween Capital” title, while trying to dissociate itself from its history of persecuting witchcraft. New York City hosts the United States’ largest Halloween celebration, started by Greenwich Village mask-maker Ralph Lee in 1973, the evening parade now attracts over two million spectators and participants, as well as roughly four-million television viewers annually. It is the largest participatory parade in the country if not the world, encouraging spectators to march in the parade as well.
Religious perspectives

In North America, Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. In the Anglican Church, some dioceses have chosen to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints Day, while some other Protestants celebrate the holiday as Reformation Day, a day of remembrance and prayers for unity. Celtic Christians may have Samhain services:

 Many ancient Celtic customs proved compatible with the new Christian religion. Christianity embraced the Celtic notions of family, community, the bond among all people, and respect for the dead. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry (hodgepodge) of celebrations from October 31 through November 5, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery.

Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholic parochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection. Father Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican-appointed exorcist in Rome, has said, “If English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”

Most Christians hold the view that the tradition is far from being “satanic” in origin or practice, and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality, and the ways of the Celtic ancestors actually being a valuable life lesson and a part of many of their parishioners’ heritage. Other Christians, primarily of the Evangelical and Fundamentalist variety, are concerned about Halloween, and reject the holiday because they believe it trivializes (and celebrates) “the occult” and what they perceive as evil.

Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating “imaginary spooks” and handing out candy. Contemporary Protestant churches often view Halloween as a fun event for children, holding events in their churches where children and their parents can dress up, play games, and get candy.

Religions other than Christianity have varied views on Halloween. Some Wiccans feel that the tradition is offensive to “real witches” for promoting stereotypical caricatures of “wicked witches.”
Halloween around the world

Halloween is not celebrated in all countries and regions of the world. For example, Halloween is not celebrated in Eastern Europe, although it is popular in many Western European nations. Where it is celebrated the traditions and importance of the celebration vary significantly from country to country.

The celebrations in the United States have had a significant impact on how the holiday is observed in other nations. In Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, and some South American countries, Halloween has become popular in the context of American pop culture. Some Christians do not appreciate the resultant de-emphasis of the more spiritual aspects of All Hallows Eve and Reformation Day, respectively, or of regional festivals occurring around the same time (such as St Martin’s Day or Guy Fawkes Night).
United Kingdom

In parts of northern England, there is a traditional festival called Mischief Night, which falls on October 30. During the celebration, children play a range of “tricks” (ranging from minor to more serious) on adults. In recent years, such acts have occasionally escalated to extreme vandalism, sometimes involving street fires.

Halloween celebrations in England were popularized in the late-twentieth century under the pressure of American cultural influence, including a stream of films and television program aimed at children and adolescents and the discovery by retail experts of a marketing opportunity to fill the empty space before Christmas. This led to the introduction of practices such as pumpkin carving and trick-or-treat. In England and Wales, trick-or-treating occurs, although the practice is regarded by some as a nuisance, sometimes criminal.
Snap-Apple Night by Daniel Maclise portrays a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832. The young children on the right bob for apples. A couple in the center play “Snap-Apple,” which involves retrieving an apple hanging from a string.

Halloween is a significant event in Ireland where it is widely celebrated. It is known in Irish as Oíche Shamhna, literally “Samhain Night.” The pre-Christian Celtic autumn festival, Samhain, “End of Summer,” was a pastoral and agricultural “fire festival” or feast, when the dead revisited the mortal world and large communal bonfires would be lit to ward off evil spirits. Halloween was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the otherworld was blurred so that spirits of the dead and inhabitants from the underworld were able to walk free on the earth.

On Halloween night, adults and children dress up as creatures from the underworld (ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, and goblins), light bonfires, and enjoy spectacular fireworks displays—in particular, the city of Derry is home to the largest organized Halloween celebration on the island, in the form of a street carnival and fireworks display. It is also common for fireworks to be set off for the entire month preceding Halloween as well as a few days after.

Houses are frequently adorned with pumpkins or turnips carved into scary faces; lights or candles are sometimes placed inside the carvings, resulting in an eerie effect. The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barmbrack, which is a fruit bread. Games of divination are also played at Halloween, but are becoming less popular

In Scotland, folklore, including that of Halloween, revolves around the ancient Celtic belief in faeries (Sidhe, or Sith, in modern Gaelic). Children who ventured out carried a traditional lantern (samhnag) with a devil face carved into it to frighten away the evil spirits. Such Halloween lanterns were made from a turnip with a candle lit in the hollow inside. In modern times, however, such lanterns use pumpkins, as in North American traditions, possibly because it is easier to carve a face into a pumpkin than into a turnip.

Houses were also protected with the same candle lanterns. If the spirits got past the protection of the lanterns, the Scottish custom was to offer the spirits parcels of food to leave and spare the house another year. Children, too, were given the added protection by disguising them as such creatures in order to blend in with the spirits. If children approached the door of a house, they were also given offerings of food (Halloween being a harvest festival), which served to ward off the spirits. This is where the origin of the practice of Scottish “guising” (a word that comes from “disguising”), or going about in costume, arose. It is now a key feature of the tradition of trick-or-treating practiced in North America.

In modern-day Scotland, this old tradition survives, chiefly in the form of children going door to door “guising” in this manner; that is, dressed in a disguise (often as a witch, ghost, monster, or another supernatural being) and offering entertainment of various sorts. If the entertainment is enjoyed, the children are rewarded with gifts of sweets, fruits, or money.

Popular games played on the holiday include “dooking” for apples (retrieving an apple from a bucket of water using only one’s mouth). In some places, the game has been replaced (because of fears of contracting saliva-borne illnesses in the water) by standing over the bowl holding a fork in one’s mouth and releasing it in an attempt to skewer an apple using only gravity. Another popular game is attempting to eat, sometimes while blindfolded, a treacle or jam-coated scone on a piece of string hanging from the ceiling, without using hands.

In Wales, Halloween is known as Nos Calan Gaeaf (the beginning of the new winter. Spirits are said to walk around (as it is an Ysbrydnos, or “spirit night”), and a “white lady” ghost is sometimes said to appear. Bonfires are lit on hillsides to mark the night.
Isle of Man

The Manx traditionally celebrate Hop-tu-Naa on October 31. This ancient Celtic tradition has parallels in Scottish and Irish traditions.
European Continent

In Denmark children will go trick-or-treating on Halloween, despite collecting candy from neighbors on Fastelavn, Danish carnival. Fastelavn evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark became a Protestant nation, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast.

In the traditional culture of some regions of Italy, especially in the North of the country—populated by Celts before the arrive of Romans—there were until the last century traditions very similar to Halloween. These involves beliefs about nocturnal visiting and processions of dead people and the use of preparing special biscuits and carving jack-o’-lanterns. These traditions were vanishing when the feast of Halloween arrived in a new form from America.
The Netherlands

Halloween has become increasingly popular in The Netherlands since the early 1990s. From early October, stores are full of merchandising related to the popular Halloween themes. Students and little children dress up on Halloween for parties and small parades. Trick-or-treating is highly uncommon, however, because this directly interferes with the Dutch tradition of celebrating Saint Martin’s Day. On November 11, Dutch children ring doorbells hoping to receive a small treat in return for singing a short song dedicated to St. Martin.


In Sweden All Hallows Eve (All Saint’s Night, Alla Helgons Natt) is a Christian, public holiday which always falls on the first Saturday in November. It is about lighting candles at graves and remembering the dead. Swedes also go trick-or-treating on Maundy Thursday.
Other regions

The Island Territory of Bonaire is one of five islands of the Netherlands Antilles, accordingly a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As such, customs found in Europe as well as the United States are common, including the celebration of Halloween. Children often dress up in costume for trick-or-treating expecting to receive candy.
In Mexico, Halloween has been celebrated since the 1960s. There, celebrations have been influenced by the American traditions, such as the costuming of children who visit the houses of their neighborhood in search of candy. Though the “trick-or-treat” motif is used, tricks are not generally played on residents not providing candy. Older crowds of preteens, teenagers and adults will sometimes organize Halloween-themed parties, which might be scheduled on the nearest available weekend. Usually kids stop by at peoples’ houses, knock on their door or the ring the bell and say “¡Noche de Brujas, Halloween!” (‘Witches’ Night—Halloween!’) or “¡Queremos Haloween!” (We want Halloween!). The second phrase is more commonly used among children, the afirmation of “We want Halloween” means “We want candy.”

Halloween in Mexico begins three days of consecutive holidays, as it is followed by All Saints’ Day, which also marks the beginning of the two day celebration of the Day of the Dead or the Día de los Muertos. This might account for the initial explanations of the holiday having a traditional Mexican-Catholic slant.

Speculum Humanae Salvationis


The Speculum Humanae Salvationis or Mirror of Human Salvation was a bestselling anonymous illustrated work of popular theology in the late Middle Ages, part of the genre of encyclopedic speculum literature, in this case concentrating on the medieval theory of typology, whereby the events of the Old Testament prefigured, or foretold, the events of the New Testament. The original version is in rhyming Latin verse, and contains a series of New Testament events each with three Old Testament ones that prefigure it.

It is one of the most common books found as an illuminated manuscript, and also in early printing in both block book and incunabulum forms. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the most widely collected books of Christian popular piety, which fell in popularity following the Protestant Reformation and the ascendancy of vernacular Bible translations.

After a short “Prologue” (two pages) and Prohemium (four), both unillustrated, the first two chapters deal with the Creation, the Fall of Satan, the story of Adam and Eve and the Deluge in four pages. Then follow 40 more double-page chapters where a New Testament event is compared with three from the Old Testament, with four pictures each above a column of text. Usually each chapter occupies a two-page opening. The last three chapters cover the Seven Stations of the Cross, and the Seven Joys and Sorrows of Mary, at double this length. In all a complete standard version has 52 leaves, or 104 pages, and 192 illustrations (including a blank page at the beginning and end). The block book editions were much shorter, with 116 pictures, two to a woodblock.

The writing of the text follows an exact scheme: 25 lines per column, with two columns per page, one under each miniature, so a hundred lines per standard chapter. Sometimes there are captions over the pictures as well, of varying content. Many copies reduced the original text, often by omitting the non-standard chapters at the beginning or end, whilst others boosted the content with calendars and commentaries, or extra illustrations.
Dating and manuscript copies

The work originated between 1309 C.E., as a reference to the Pope being at Avignon indicates, and 1324 C.E., the date on two copies. A preface, probably from the original manuscript, says the author will remain anonymous out of humility. He (or she) was almost certainly a cleric, and there is evidence he was a Dominican. Ludolph of Saxony is a leading candidate for authorship, and Vincent of Beauvais has also been suggested.

The first versions are naturally in illuminated manuscript form, and in Latin. Many copies were made, and several hundred still survive (over 350 in Latin alone), often in translations into different vernacular languages; at least four different translations into French were made, and at least two into English. There were also translations into German, Dutch, Spanish and Czech.

Manuscript versions covered the whole range of the manuscript market: some are lavishly and expensively decorated, for a de luxe market, whilst in many the illustrations are simple, and without color. In particular, superb Flemish editions were produced in the fifteenth century for Philip the Good and other wealthy bibliophiles. The Speculum is probably the most popular title in this particular market of illustrated popular theology, competing especially with the Biblia pauperum and the Ars moriendi for the accolade.
Printed editions

In the fifteenth century, with the advent of printing, the work then appeared in four block book editions, two Latin and two in Dutch, and then in 16 incunabulum editions by 1500. The block books combine hand-rubbed woodcut pages with text pages printed in movable type. Further eccentricities include a run of 20 pages in one edition which are text cut as a woodcut, based on tracings of pages from another edition printed with movable type. Though the circumstances of production of these editions are unknown, two of the editions are in Dutch and the Netherlands was probably the centre of production, as with most block books. The Prohemium may have been sold separately as a pamphlet, as one version speaks of the usefulness of it for “poor preachers who cannot afford the entire book”.

The incunabulum editions, from 11 different presses, mostly, but not all, printed their woodcut illustrations in the printing press with the text. Some seem to have been printed in two sessions for texts and images. Günther Zainer of Augsburg, a specialist in popular illustrated works, produced the first one in 1473, in Latin and German, and with a metrical summary newly added for each chapter; this is considered an especially beautiful edition. Further incunabulum editions include Latin, German, French, Spanish and Dutch versions, and it was the first illustrated book printed in both Switzerland, at Basel, and France, at Lyon, which used the Basel picture blocks, later also used in Spain. A Speyer edition has woodcuts whose design has been attributed to the Master of the Housebook. In addition, the first of the somewhat legendary editions supposedly produced by Laurens Janszoon Coster, working earlier than Johannes Gutenberg, was a Speculum. Even if the Coster story is ignored, the work seems to have been the first printed in the Netherlands, probably in the early 1470s. Editions continued to be printed until the Reformation, which changed the nature of religious devotion on both sides of the Catholic/Protestant divide, and made the Speculum seem outdated.
Iconographic influence

The images in the Speculum were treated in many different styles and media over the course of the two centuries of its popularity, but generally the essentials of the compositions remained fairly stable, partly because most images had to retain their correspondence with their opposite number, and often the figures were posed to highlight these correspondences. Many works of art in other media can be seen to be derived from the illustrations; it was for example, the evident source for depictions for the Vision of Augustus in Rogier van der Weyden’s Bladelin Altarpiece and other Early Netherlandish works. In particular the work was used as a pattern-book for stained glass, but also for tapestries and sculpture.

Order of the Solar Temple


The Order of the Solar Temple, also known as Ordre du Temple Solaire (OTS) in French and the International Chivalric Organization of the Solar Tradition or simply as The Solar Temple, is a secret society that claims to be based upon the ideals of the Knights Templar. OTS was started by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in 1984 in Geneva as l’Ordre International Chevaleresque de Tradition Solaire (OICTS) and later renamed Ordre du Temple Solaire.

Some historians allege that the Solar Temple originates with French author Jacques Breyer, who established a Sovereign Order of the Solar Temple in 1952. In 1968, a schismatic order was renamed the Renewed Order of the Solar Temple (ROTS) under the leadership of French right-wing political activist Julien Origas.


According to “Peronnik” (a pseudonym of temple member Robert Chabrier) in his book, “Pourquoi la Résurgence de l’Ordre du Temple? Tome Premier: Le Corps” (“Why a Revival of the Order of the Solar Temple? Vol. One: The Body“) 1975, pp. 147–149, the aims of the Order of the Solar Temple included: establishing “correct notions of authority and power in the world”; an affirmation of the primacy of the spiritual over the temporal; assisting humanity through a great “transition”; preparing for the Second Coming of Christ as a solar god-king; and furthering a unification of all Christian churches and Islam. The group reportedly drew some inspiration for its teachings from British occultist Aleister Crowley, who headed the Order of Eastern Temple from 1923 until his death in 1947, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a 19th-century Rosicrucian Order Crowley belonged to briefly. Both occult groups had a grade system somewhat similar to the Solar Temple. Another Rosicrucian group, the Rosicrucian Fellowship headed by Max Heindel, also mentioned that Rosicrucians worship Christ as “The Solar Logos” (Rays from the Cross Magazine, June, 1933), although this is not orthodox Christian doctrine.

There were Solar Temple lodges in Morin Heights and Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Quebec, Canada, as well as in Australia, Switzerland, Martinique and other countries. The Temple’s activities were a mix of early Christian Identity, UFO religion and New Age philosophy using variously adapted Freemason rituals. Jouret was interested in attractive, wealthy and influential members, and it was reputed that several affluent Europeans were secret members of the group.


According to the literature of the OTS, the central authority was the Synarchy of the Temple, whose membership was secret. Its top 33 members were known as the Elder Brothers of the Rosy Cross (an alternative name for the Rosicrucians), and were headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The Council of the Order formed Lodges that were run by a Regional Commander and three Elders. Progression in the Order was by levels and grades, with three grades per level — the levels being The Brothers of Parvis, The Knights of the Alliance and the Brothers of the Ancient Times, in ascending order. There were many organizations associated with the OTS, including the International Archedia Sciences and Tradition, Archedia Clubs, Menta Clubs, Agata Clubs and Atlanta Clubs, all of which offered the teachings of Luc Jouret both to the general public and privately to OTS members. The Lodges had altars, rituals and costumes. Members were initiated at each stage of advancement in ceremonies which included expensive purchases, jewellery, costumes, regalia, and the payment of initiation fees. During ceremonies, members wore Crusader-type robes and were to hold in awe a sword, which Di Mambro said was an authentic Templar artifact, given to him a thousand years ago in a previous life.

Mass murders and suicides

In October 1994, Tony Dutoit’s infant son (Emmanuel Dutoit), aged three months, was killed at the group’s centre in Morin-Heights, Quebec. The baby had been stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stake. It is believed that Di Mambro ordered the murder, because he identified the baby as the Antichrist described in the Bible. He believed that the Antichrist was born into the order to prevent Di Mambro from succeeding in his spiritual aim.

A few days later, Di Mambro and twelve followers performed a ritual Last Supper. A few days after that, apparent mass suicides and murders were conducted at Cheiry and Salvan, two villages in Western Switzerland, and at Morin Heights — 15 inner circle members committed suicide with poison, 30 were killed by bullets or smothering, and 8 others were killed by other causes. In Switzerland, many of the victims were found in a secret underground chapel lined with mirrors and other items of Templar symbolism. The bodies were dressed in the order’s ceremonial robes and were in a circle, feet together, heads outward, most with plastic bags tied over their heads; they had each been shot in the head. It is believed that the plastic bags were a symbol of the ecological disaster that would befall the human race after the OTS members moved on to Sirius. It is also believed that these bags were used as part of the OTS rituals, and that members would have voluntarily worn them without being placed under duress. There was also evidence that many of the victims in Switzerland were drugged before they were shot. Other victims were found in three ski chalets; several dead children were lying together. The tragedy was discovered when officers rushed to the sites to fight the fires that had been ignited by remote-control devices. Farewell letters left by the believers stated that they believed they were leaving to escape the “hypocrisies and oppression of this world.”

A mayor, a journalist, a civil servant, and a sales manager were found among the dead in Switzerland. Records seized by the Quebec police showed that some members had personally donated over C$1 million to Di Mambro. Another attempted mass suicide of the remaining members was thwarted in the late 1990s. All the suicide/murders and attempts occurred around the dates of the equinoxes and solstices in some relation to the beliefs of the group.

Another mass-death incident related to the OTS took place during the night between the 15 and 16 December 1995. On 23 December 1995, 16 bodies were discovered in a star-formation in the Vercors mountains of France. It was found later that two of them shot the others and then committed suicide by firearm and immolation.

On the morning of 23 March 1997, five members of the OTS took their own lives in Saint-Casimir, Quebec. A small house erupted in flames, leaving behind five charred bodies for the police to pull from the rubble. Three teenagers, aged 13, 14 and 16, the children of one of the couples that died in the fire, were discovered in a shed behind the house, alive but heavily drugged.

Michel Tabachnik, an internationally renowned Swiss musician and conductor, was arrested as a leader of the Solar Temple in the late 1990s. He was indicted for “participation in a criminal organization” and murder. He came to trial in Grenoble, France during the spring of 2001 and was acquitted. French prosecutors appealed against the verdict and an appellate court ordered a second trial beginning October 24, 2006. He was again cleared less than two months later on December 2006.

In popular culture

The OTS and the suicides are major plot points in James Rollins’ Sigma Force novel 6.5, The Skeleton Key (2010). The story opens with cataphile/urban explorer Renny MacLeod, who has tattooed a map of the Catacombs of Paris on his body, learning he has been kidnapped and forced to guide former Guild member Seichan to find and save the kidnapper’s son, who is scheduled to be sacrificed, at noon, by the Order of the Solar Temple.

In the Season 2 episode “Cross-Pollination” of the Syfy television series Helix, a character makes a passing reference to the Solar Temple along with Jonestown in a scene involving a dangerous cult leader.

In the professional wrestling promotion CHIKARA, UltraMantis Black led a heel stable called the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple.

The sect in Spain

The Order of the Solar Temple is also based in Spain, especially in the Canary Islands. In 1984, the founder of the sect, Luc Jouret, lectured on the island of Tenerife. In the south of the island he lived the leader of the order in Spain, also the only Spaniard who died in the suicide of the Order of the Solar Temple was a barber precisely the island of Tenerife. In 1998, a sect attempted ritual suicide in the Parque Nacional del Teide, but were prevented by the authorities. Both the Spanish and German police have linked the cult to the Order of the Solar Temple.

Badami cave temples


The Badami cave temples are a complex of temples located at Badami, a town in the Bagalkot district in the north part of Karnataka, India. They are considered an example of Indian rock-cut architecture, especially Badami Chalukya architecture initiated during the 6th century. Badami was previously known as Vataapi Badami, the capital of the early Chalukya dynasty, who ruled much of Karnataka from middle of the sixth until the middle of the eighth centuries, is situated on the west bank of an artificial lake filed with greenish water dammed by an earthen wall faced with stone steps. Badami is surrounded in the north and south by forts built in later times from the ramparts that crown their summits.

Temple caves

The Badami cave temples are composed of four caves, all carved out of the soft Badami sandstone on a hill cliff in the late 6th to 7th centuries. The planning of four caves is simple. The entrance is a verandah (mukha mandapa) with stone columns and brackets, a distinctive feature of these caves, leading to a columned mandapa – main hall (also maha mandapa) and then to the small square shrine (sanctum sanctorum, garbhaghrha) cut deep into the cave. The Cave temples are linked by stepped path with intermediate terraces that offer spectacular views across the town and lake. Cave-temples are labelled 1-4 in their ascending series even though this numbering does not necessarily reflect the sequence of excavation

The cave temples date back to 600 and 700 CE. The architecture includes structures built in Nagara Style and Dravidian style which is the first and most persistent architectural idiom to be adopted by the early chalukyas Important part of historical heritage at Badami cave temples are inscriptions in old Kannada script. There is also the fifth natural cave temple in Badami – a Buddhist temple in natural cave which can be entered kneeling on all fours.

Cave 1

The cave 1 portrays Lord Shiva in his very beautiful incarnation of Nataraja. Lord Shiva in this incarnation has 18 arms. Some of the arms have weapons while some of the arms depict beautiful dance postures. The weapons include drums, trident, axe etc. Some arms also have serpents coiled around them. Lord Shiva has his son Ganesha and the bull Nandi by his side. They also are in beautiful postures. The two sons of Shiva, Ganesha and Kartikkeya are seen riding a peacock in one of the carved sculptures on the walls of the cave. Adjoining to the Nataraja, a wall also depicts the adorable goddess Mahishasuramardini. She has been shown in an angry incarnation killing a buffalo with a trident.

The entrance of the cave is like a verandah. The verandah having four columns is very beautifully sculpted with mindblowing images of Lord Shiva in different dancing positions and different incarnations.The cave also has carved sculptures of the goddesses Lakhsmi and Parvati to the left of Lord Shiva. To the left, there is also acarved sculpture of Harihar having an axe and a serpent in hand. To the right, Ardhanarishvara sculpted on the end of the walls. All the carved sculptures have beautiful ornaments worn by them,including the animals and birds. The ornaments have designs with lotus carved on them. There is also an image of the Vidyadhara couple on the ceiling,meaning they are flying in the air. Beautiful swords are also carved on the walls. The ceiling also depicts Nagaraja, the king of the snakes. The Nagaraja is surrounded by a lot of other serpents coiled around him.There are sections in the cave which are orthogonal in shape. The bands in those sections are decorated with jewellery and garlands. The view is fantastic. There is a cleavage in the back side of the cave. It led to the formation of a square sanctuary having beautiful images carved on it.

The cave 1 is very beautiful as it describes Lord Shiva and his family.Lord Shiva in his Nataraja avatar, known to be the goddess of dance, is very eye catching.The cave has beautiful bays and pilasters. The system of using columns gives the cave a foliant look.The cave being on a hill cliff gives an excellent view of the town.All the figures of the gods and goddesses are very excellently carved. The cave also has many human figures doing different actions which are neatly carved.

Cave 2

Cave 2 is created in late 6th century AD, is almost same as cave 1 in terms of its layout and dimensions but it is consecrated to Vishnu who is shown here as Trivikrama – with one foot on Earth and another – directed to the north. Vishnu in this temple is represented also as Varaha (boar) and Krishna avatars. Cave is reached by climbing 64 steps from the first cave. Entrance is adorned with reliefs of guardians.
The entrance of the cave has two armed guardians holding flowers rather than weapons. The end walls of the outer verandah is occupied by sculpted panels, to the right, Trivikrama; to the left, Varaha rescuing Bhudevi, with a penitent nag below. The adjacent side walls have smooth surfaces with traces of paintwork. The columns shows gods and battle scenes, the churning of cosmic ocean, Gajalakshmi and figures, Brahma and figures, Vishnu asleep on Shesha, illustrate the birth of Krishna, Krishna’s youth, Krishna with gopis and cows. The ceiling shows a wheel with sixteen fish spokes in a square frame along with swastikas and flying couples. The end bays have a flying couple and Vishnu on Garuda.
The doorway is framed by pilasters carrying an entablature with three blocks embellished with gavaksha ornament.

The theme on which the cave 3 is based on is Shaivite and Vaishnavite. The third cave is dedicated to Vishnu, and is the best and the biggest, and it has splendid giant figures of Trivikrama, Shankaranarayana, Anantasayana, Paravasudeva, Bhuvaraha, Harihara and Narasimha. All these statues are engraved in a vigorous style. An inscription found here records the creation of the shrine by Mangalesha in 578 CE. Chalukya king Mangalesha in 578 CE. Mangalesa was on the throne from 597 to 609 AD. It is common that Indian cave temples were patronised by influential members of royal families. These inscriptions are in Kannada language. The age of cave temple is known with certainty with the inscriptions on the rock in this cave.
Rock-cut temple has north – south orientation providing maximum amount of sunlight in winter. The hall and the verandah dig up to 14.5 m deep into the mountain and the shrine extends the cave some 4 m more inside. The Hall goes up to 4 m high.

Cave 3 is 60 steps away from the cave 2. The temple with its gigantic façade of 21 m wide is adorned of six hefty columns in a row. Below the columns there is a frieze consisting of 30 smaller reliefs of ganas.

Splendid embellishments are encompassed in the entire cave, including paintings on ceiling. Four-armed Brahma is the focal point of the murals .There happens to be a lotus medallion on the floor underneath the mural of Brahma – place to beseech.

Large number of Vishnu’s reliefs including standing Vishnu, Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Narasimha (half human – half lion), Varaha, Harihara and Trivikrama avatars epitomize the immensity of vastly admired Indian art. Reliefs stand 4 m tall.

The culture and clothing embedded in the sixth century is clearly visible in the art sculpted in cave 3.

There are some paintings on the ceiling and the style indicates maturity but has lost its original dazzling colour. The bracket figures on the piers here are some of the finest.

Cave 4

The fourth cave is Jaina which is constructed lastly among all the caves.It is only jain monument of early chalukya period in badami town and it was made in late 6th-7th century.The cave is not as large as the other cave. It is beautiful and rich with decoration. It is located higher than other caves. It is not as beautiful as the other three caves.It has five bayed entrance with square columns which make it more beautiful and attractive at base. The first aisle(a passage between buildings) is treated as verandah.The end walls have Parshvanath(right) represented using painting, his head is covered by a metal piece of multi cobra hoods and bahubali is left to him with his lower legs surrounded by snakes . His two sisters Brahmi and sundari is here with him.

On the back part of wall, Mahavira is painted on it.This painting shows Mahavira as a savior. He is sitting on lion throne.

The sanctum is adorned by the image of Mahavira. The pedestal contains an old Kannada inscription of the 12th century A.D. which registers the death of one Jakkave. Scores of Jaina Thirthankara images have been engraved in the inner pillars and walls. In addition to it, there are some idols of Bahubali, Yakshas and Yakshis. Other carvings here are of Padmavathi & other Thirthankaras. Some scholars assign the cave to the 8th century.

A steep climb up some steps cut in a crevice between Cave II and III leads to the southern part of Badami Fort and to an old gun placed there by Tippu Sultan.

Cave 5

It is a natural cave of small dimensions with a Buddha statue carved inside.

Enûma Eliš


Enûma Eliš is the Babylonian or Mesopotamian creation epic, composed probably in the eighteenth century B.C.E. A fragmentary copy written in the seventh century B.C.E. was first discovered by modern scholars in the ruined library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, near modern Mosul, Iraq, in 1875.

Enûma Elish has about a thousand lines and was recorded in Akkadian on seven clay tablets. This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of the god Marduk and the creation of humankind as the servants of the gods. One of its primary purposes seems to be the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other older Mesopotamian deities.

Many scholars see connections between Enuma Elish and the creation story of Genesis 1, as well as the ancient Greek writer Hesiod’s account of the early battles of the Olympian gods and Titans, and Canaanite mythology explaining the supremacy of Baal over other older gods. The Genesis parallel, however, is notable for its difference, as stately creation by the word replaces the motif of creation out of conflict.


The title of Enuma Elish means “When on High,” derived from the story’s opening line. The epic describes two primeval gods: Apsu (representing the upper, fresh waters) and Tiamat (goddess of the lower, salt waters), whose fluids join to generate creation. Several other gods spring from the union of the original pair. However, disharmony prevails, and Apsu is provoked to move against the younger gods. Ea, the wisest of the deities, learns of the plan, puts Apsu to sleep, and kills him. Ea then begets a son, Marduk, greater still than himself.

Tiamat is persuaded to take revenge for the death of her husband. She creates an army of titanic monsters, and some of the other gods join her. She elevates Kingu as her new husband and gives him supreme dominion. The gods who oppose her tyranny are powerless against Tiamat and Kingu and elect the glorious young Marduk as their champion. In a mighty battle, he defeats Tiamat’s forces with a mighty wind, kills her, and forms the world from her corpse. Marduk then reigns as the Supreme Deity. He orders the heavens and the earth, and controls the Tablets of Destiny that Tiamat had presented to Kingu.

The gods are still not at peace, however, for they must labor. Consulting with Ea and the other gods, Marduk decides to slay Kingu and use his blood to create humankind to serve the gods. Babylon is established as the residence of the chief gods. Finally, the gods confirm Marduk’s kingship, singing a hymn to his glory and hailing him with 50 titles.


Particularly noteworthy is Marduk’s symbolic elevation over Ea and/or Enlil, who were seen by earlier Mesopotamian civilizations as the supreme. Scholars believe Enuma Elish may have served to explain Marduk’s replacement of Enlil, as well as Babylon’s superiority over other more ancient religious centers that worshiped deities such as Ea and Inana/Ishtar.

Joseph Campbell and other scholars of comparative mythology have suggested that Enuma Elish also represents a continuation of a process of de-feminization that had begun centuries earlier. According to this theory, the Great Mother goddess (for example, Tiamat) once was supreme, either with or without a male consort. As warlike nomadic herdsmen began to dominate in Mesopotamian culture, they imposed their mythologies on preexisting legends. Thus, goddesses of the earth or sea such as Tiamat became villains, while male deities of the sky and storm such as Marduk came to the fore as heroes. A similar process can be seen in the Canaanite story of Baal, like Marduk a storm deity, who emerged to overshadow the earlier primordial couple of the god of heaven, El, and his consort, Lady Ashera of the sea.

Some see the Hebrew god Yahweh in a similar context. Like Marduk, he is portrayed as slaying the sea-god Leviathan (Psalm 74), and, like Baal, he came to replace both El and Ashera in the primitive Israelite pre-monotheistic pantheon.

Parallels between the titanic struggles of Enuma Elish and the later theogony described in Greek and Roman mythology is also widely accepted by scholars. Here, Gaia and Uranus are the primordial couple who give birth to the Titans. Then Cronos—like Ea—destroys Uranus, and is in turn unseated by the storm deity Zeus, who becomes the king of the gods.

The Tablets

The creation of the gods

Apsu and Tiamat mingle their waters together, causing Tiamat to give birth to heaven and earth, as well as the other deities. As the ages roll on various other divinities come into existence, including Ea, the god of intellect. However, discord arises, causing Tiamat great discomfort preventing the primordial couple from taking their rest. Apsu conspires with his first-born, Mummu, and plans to slay the younger gods. Tiamat, however, can not abide this, and she “writhes in lonely desolation.”

“Why must we destroy the children that we made?” Tiamat demands. “If their ways are troublesome, let us wait a little while.” Apsu, however, approves of Mummu’s plan.

Here, Ea comes to the rescue. He speaks order out of chaos, charming the waters and causing Apsu to fall asleep and drown. He also subdues Mummu and reigns in Apsu’s place. Ea builds his abode over the abyss and there with his consort Damkina conceives Marduk, who plays the decisive role in the rest of legend.

The emergence of Marduk

In the deep abyss he was conceived, MARDUK was made in the heart of the apsu, MARDUK was created in the heart of the holy apsu. Ea begot him and Damkina bore him, father and mother; he sucked the paps of goddesses, from his nurses he was fed on the terrib leness that filled him.

Marduk is so powerful and glorious that the other gods become jealous and complain to Tiamat:

Remember Apsu in your heart, your husband, remember Mummu who was defeated; now you are all alone, and thrash around in desolation, and we have lost your love, our eyes ache and we long for sleep. “Rouse up, our Mother! Pay them back and make them empty like the wind.”

The mighty sea-goddess approves of their plan and creates powerful weapons. She spawns terrible fanged serpents, as well as hurricanes, hell-hounds, she-monsters, and scorpion-men, a total of 11 types of horrifying monsters in all. Finally, she raises her son Kingu as her general, clothing him with royal raiment, and naming him as her spouse. Tiamat grants Kingu dominion over all of the other gods, and laying on his breast the Tablets of Destiny.

Ea receives the news of Tiamat’s plan to avenge Apsu. He consults with his grandfather, Ansar, who advises him to attempt to placate Tiamat. He attempts to do this but cannot and returns “cringing.” Ansar’s son Anu likewise tries to face Tiamat but cannot withstand her. Finally, the gods together decide that the only one equal to the task is Marduk. They declare him to be the greatest of them all and elect him as their leader and king.

They bestowed upon him the scepter, and the throne, and the ring. They give him an invincible weapony which overwhelmeth the foe. “Go, and cut off the life of Tiamat, and let the wind carry her blood into secret places.”

Marduk vs. Tiamat

Marduk arms for combat with mighty weapons, flame, and lightning bolts. He makes a net of seven winds to entrap “the inward parts” of Tiamat. He then confronts the fearsome goddess of the sea and her own champion, Kingu.

Seeing Marduk’s awesome character, Kingu loses his nerve, and his companions suffer a similar loss of morale. Tiamat, however, rages against him with all her power.

“Let then thy host be equipped, let thy weapons be girded on!” cries Marduk. “Stand! I and thou, let us join battle!” When Tiamat hears these words, “she was like one possessed,” uttering wild, piercing cries.

She trembled and shook to her very foundations. She recited an incantation, she pronounced her spell. And the gods of the battle cried out for their weapons.

Tiamat and Marduk advance toward one another and Tiamat opens her horrible maw to its full extent to devour Maduk. However, he releases a mighty wind which fills and bursts her belly. He then pierces her internal organs and her very heart. Casting her body down, Marduk stands in triumphant on the body of the slain mother of the gods.

Marduk as creator

Marduk proceeds to capture the gods who sided with Tiamat and to break their weapons. They “fill the world with their cries of grief.” He then defeats Kingu and takes from him the coveted Tablets of Destiny.

Finally, Marduk then smashes Tiamat’s skull with his club and splits her into a likeness of a huge fish or clam. One half of the titanic body becomes the sky. Then, “he stretched the immensity of the firmament, he made Esharra, the Great Palace, to be its earthly image, and Anu and Enlil and Ea had each their right stations.”

Next Marduk creates the Zodiac, heavenly bodies, and the god of the Sun. From the remains of Tiamat’s body, “He skimmed spume from the bitter sea, heaped up the clouds, spindrift of wet and wind and cooling rain, the spittle of Tiamat.”

With his own hands from the steaming mist he spread the clouds. He pressed hard down the head of water, heaping mountains over it, opening springs to flow: Euphrates and Tigris rose from her eyes, but he closed the nostrils and held back their springhead. He piled huge mountains on her paps and through them drove water-holes to channel the deep sources; and high overhead he arched her tail, locked-in to the wheel of heaven; the pit was under his feet, between was the crotch, the sky’s fulcrum. Now the earth had foundations and the sky its mantle.

Finishing this great work of creation, Marduk turned toward the making of temples. The gods rejoice at Marduk’s wonderful work, and fall prostrate at his feet in worship. Even his parents, Ea and Damkina declare: “In time past Marduk meant only ‘the beloved son’ but now he is king indeed, this is so!”

Babylon is established as the home of the gods, and Marduk then decides to make humankind as the servants of the gods:

Blood to blood I join,

Blood to bone I form,

an original thing, its name is MAN,

Aboriginal man is mine in making.

With Ea’s advice a great assembly is called to decide which one of the gods will be sacrificed to embue mankind with life. The rebellious faction agree that it should be Kingu, the one who stirred up their revolt. “They bound and held him down in front of Ea, they cut his arteries and from his blood they created man.”

The myth concludes with a hymn of praise to Marduk.

Enuma Elish and the Bible


Many scholars hold that the first of the two creation stories in the Book of Genesis was probably derived from the older Mesopotamian creation myth “Enuma Elish,” or its predecessor. (The first biblical creation story is found in Genesis 1, in which God, or Elohim, creates the heavens and the earth first. Genesis 2 tells an apparently different version.)

According to this theory, the vision of the Spirit of God “hovering over the face of the waters” and other language in the opening verses of Genesis is derived from Enuma Elish’s vision of Apsu and Tiamat generating primordial creation.

The six days of creation in the Genesis story also parallel the six generations of gods in the Enuma Elish myth. Marduk, a sixth generation god, creates man and finally allows the gods to rest. Similarly, God (Elohim) makes man on the sixth day and He himself rests (possibly with his angels, who—in honoring the supreme God—hold a similar position to the Mesopotamian deities in relation to Marduk).

However, there is a remarkable and fundamental difference between Genesis and Enuma Elish. In Genesis God is the unchallenged Creator, who creates by uttering words: “Let there be… and it was so.” There is nothing of the conflict that drives the process of creation in Enuma Elish.

Leviathan as Tiamat

However, the motif of creation out of conflict is not absent from other parts of the Bible, particularly in the Psalms and Isaiah, where Yahweh’s subjugation of Leviathan can be seen to parallel Eluma Elish’s description of Marduk’s defeat of Tiamat. Marduk became the Supreme Deity when he crushed the skull of the primordial sea-goddess, using her body to create the life-giving Tigris and Euphrates, and then proceeded to place the heavenly bodies in their places. In Psalm 74:13-17, Yahweh does likewise with “Sea” (Leviathan):

It was you (Yahweh) who split open the sea by your power;

you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.

It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan

and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.

It was you who opened up springs and streams;

you dried up the ever flowing rivers.

The day is yours, and yours also the night;

you established the sun and moon.

It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;

you made both summer and winter.

Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya


Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya ( or simply Rabiʿa al-Basri (717–801 C.E.) was a female Muslim Sufi saint, considered by some to be the first true saint in the Sufi tradition. Little is known of her life apart from her piety, popularity with men and women followers of the Sufi path, and her refusal to marry. The birth and death dates given for her are only approximate. She was orphaned then sold as a slave in her youth then set free by her Master to practice devotion and to engage in prayer. Many stories of her life were later told by Farid ad-Din Attar. She is associated in legend with Hassan of Basri as his pupil or even as his teacher, although it is unlikely that they met, since he died in 728, when she was still a child. The numerous stories of her piety, love for God, of people and of her ascetic life-style attest to the significance of her life in the story of the development of mystical Islam. Among women, perhaps only the wives of Muhammad, known as mothers of the believers, occupy so honored a place in the hearts of Muslims around the world.

Her reputation excels that of many Muslim men within the early days of Sufism; she “belongs to that elect company of Sufi women who have surpassed most of the contemporary masters of their time in wayfaring to God.” She has been described as symbolizing “saintliness among women Sufis.” Her love mysticism, which she is widely credited as pioneering, triumphed over other expressions that feared God rather than adored the divine. She was a teacher of men as well as of women, a women who called no man her master, indeed whose surrender to God was so complete that she placed all her trust in God to ensure that she was fed and clothed. Her devotion to God was so intense that relatively few solid facts about her life survived except that it was lived in complete and loving surrender to God, which is the Islamic path.


Early Life

She was born between 95 and 99 Hijri in Basra, Iraq. Much of her early life is narrated by Farid al-Din Attar. Many spiritual stories are associated with her and it is sometimes difficult to separate reality from legend. These traditions come from Farid al-Din Attar, a later sufi saint and poet, who used earlier sources. He is believed to have possessed a lost monograph on “her life and acts”. Rabia herself did not leave any written works.

She was the fourth daughter of her family and therefore named Rabia, meaning “fourth.” She was born free in a poor but respected family. According to Nurbakhsh, though poor, her family could trace its lineage back to Noah.

According to Farid al-Din Attar, Rabia’s parents were so poor that there was no oil in house to light a lamp, nor a cloth even to wrap her with. Her mother asked her husband to borrow some oil from a neighbor, but he had resolved in his life never to ask for anything from anyone except the Creator. He pretended to go to the neighbor’s door and returned home empty-handed.

In the night Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him:

Your newly born daughter is a favorite of the Lord, and shall lead many Muslims to the right path. You should approach the Amir of Basra and present him with a letter in which should be written this message: “You offer Durood to the Holy Prophet one hundred times every night and four hundred times every Thursday night. However, since you failed to observe the rule last Thursday, as a penalty you must pay the bearer four hundred dinars.”

Rabia’s father got up and went straight to the Amir with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. The Amir was delighted on receiving the message, knowing that he was in the eyes of Prophet. He distributed 1000 dinars to the poor and joyously paid 400 dinars to Rabia’s father. The Amir then asked Rabia’s father to come to him whenever he required anything, as the Amir would benefit very much by the visit of such a soul dear to the Lord.

After the death of her father a famine Basra experienced a famine. Separated from her sisters, legend has it that Rabia was accompanying a caravan, which fell into the hands of robbers. The chief of the robbers took Rabia captive, and sold her in the market as a slave. Her “purchaser put her to hard labor.”

She would pass the whole night in prayer, after she had finished her household jobs. She spent many of her days observing a fast.

Once the master of the house got up in the middle of the night, and was attracted by the pathetic voice in which Rabia was praying to her Lord. She was entreating in these terms:

“O my Lord, Thous knowest that the desire of my heart is to obey Thee, and that the light of my eye is in the service of Thy court. If the matter rested with me, I should not cease for one hour from Thy service, but Thou hast made me subject to a creature”

At once the master felt that it was sacrilegious to keep such a saint in his service. He decided to serve her instead. In the morning he called her and told her his decision; he would serve her and she should dwell there as the mistress of the house. If she insisted on leaving the house he was willing to free her from bondage.

She told him that she was willing to leave the house to carry on her worship in solitude. The master granted this and she left the house.

Ascetic and teacher

Rabia went into the desert to pray, spending some time at a Sufi hermitage. She then began what according to Farīd al-Dīn was a seven year walk (some accounts describe her as crawling on her stomach) to Mecca, to perform the Hajj. According to Farīd al-Dīn, as she approached the Ka’bah, her monthly period began, which made her unclean and unable to continue that day. Farīd al-Dīn uses this as lesson that even such a great saint as Rabia was “hindered on the way.” Another story has the Ka’bah coming to greet her even as she persevered in her journey yet she ignored it, since her desire was for the “House of the Lord” alone, “I pay no attention to the Ka’bah and enjoy not its beauty. My only desire is to encounter Him who said, ‘Whosoever approaches Me by a span, I will approach him by a cubit’.”

It is unclear whether Rabia received formal instruction in the Sufi way. Legend persistently associates her with Hasan of Basra, although their probable chronologies make this impossible. Hasan is sometimes described as her master although other stories suggest that her station along the path was more advanced. For example:

One day, she was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said:

“Hasan,” Rabe’a replied, “when you are showing off your spiritual goods in this worldly market, it should be things that your fellow-men are incapable of displaying.” And she flung her prayer rug into the air, and flew up on it. “Come up here, Hasan, where people can see us!” she cried. Hasan, who had not attained that station, said nothing. Rabe’a sought to console him. “Hasan,” she said, “what you did fishes also do, and what I did flies also do. The real business is outside both these tricks. One must apply one’s self to the real business.”

El Sakkakini suggests that it would have been from Sufi circles in Basra that Rabia received instruction;

It is also likely that Rabia, in her first encounter with Sufi circles at an early age, participated in playing the nay, at type of reed pipe or flute. This type of music was an integral part of ancient Sufi movements which are still in existence today … Rabia’s Sufism developed as a result of her inborn capacity … not only from being taught, or from initiating.

According to El Sakkakini, Rabia can also be considered the first Sufi teacher who taught by using “demonstration,” that is, by “object lesson.” As her fame grew she attracted many disciples. This suggests that she was recognized as a teacher in her own right. It is widely held that she achieved self-actualization, the end of the mystical path, that is, the total passing away of the self into complete intimacy and unity with the divine truth. She also had discussions with many of the renowned religious people of her time. She may have established her own hermitage, where she gave instruction, although this is not clear.

Her life was totally devoted to love of God, the ascetic life and self-denial. Her reputation for asceticism survives through numerous stories. It is said that her only possessions were a broken jug, a rush mat and a brick, which she used as a pillow. She spent all night in prayer and contemplation, reciting the Qur’an and chided herself if she fell asleep because it took her away from her active Love of God.

More interesting than her absolute asceticism, however, is the concept of Divine Love that Rabia introduced. She was the first to introduce the idea that God should be loved for God’s own sake, not out of fear—as earlier Sufis had done. “She was,” says El Sakkakini, “the first to explain the Higher Love in Islamic Sufism.” Margoliouth wrote:

The purely ascetic way of life did not remain a goal in itself. In the middle of the eight century, the first signs of genuine love mysticism appears among the pious. Its first representative was a woman, Rabi’a of Basra.


She taught that repentance was a gift from God because no one could repent unless God had already accepted him and given him this gift of repentance. Sinners, she said, must fear the punishment they deserved for their sins but she also offered sinners far more hope of Paradise than most other ascetics did. Intimacy with God was not the result of “work” but of self-abandonment; it is God who draws near to those who love God, not the lover who draws near to the beloved. For herself, she held to a higher ideal, worshiping God neither from fear of Hell nor from hope of Paradise, for she saw such self-interest as unworthy of God’s servants; emotions like fear and hope were like veils—that is, hindrances to the vision of God Himself.

She prayed: “O Allah! If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell,
and if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise.
But if I worship You for Your Own sake,
grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”

Much of the poetry that is attributed to her is of unknown origin. Gibb comments that she preferred the “illuminative from the contemplative life,” which in his opinion is closer to and perhaps derived from Christian mysticism. As Bennett comments, non-Muslims have often attributed the development of love-mysticism in Islam to external influence yet “not a few Qur’anic verses speak of God as a ‘lover:’ for example,Q5: 54, ‘Allah will bring a people whom He loveth and who love Him’; other verses, for example Q2: 165, speaks of the believers ‘love for God’.”

The question of marriage

Though she had many offers of marriage, and (tradition has it) one even from the Amir of Basra, she refused them as she had no time in her life for anything other than God. One story has the Prophet Muhammad asking her in a dream whether she loved him, to which she replied:

“O prophet of God, who is there who does not love thee? But my love to God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him,” which suggests that love for any man would represent a distraction for her from loving God.

Hasan of Basra is also reputed to have asked her to marry him. “Do you desire for us to get married?” Hasan asked Rabe’a. “The tie of marriage applies to those who have being,” Rabe’a replied. “Here being has disappeared, for I have become naughted to self and exist only through Him. I belong wholly to Him. I live in the shadow of His control. You must ask my hand of Him, not of me.” “How did you find this secret, Rabe’a?” Hasan asked. “I lost all ‘found’ things in Him,” Rabe’a answered. “How do you know Him?” Hasan enquired. “You know the ‘how’; I know the ‘howless’,” Rabe’a “You know of the how, but I know of the how-less.”


Rabia was in her early to mid eighties when she died, having followed the mystic Way to the end. She believed she was continually united with her Beloved. As she told her Sufi friends, “My Beloved is always with me.” As she passed away, those present heard a voice saying, “O soul at peace, return unto Thy lord, well pleased.”

Rabi’a’ and the Issue of Gender

Marriage is considered a duty in Islam, not an option. However, Rabia is never censored in any of the literature for having remained celibate. In including her as a saint in his series of biographical sketches, Farid al-Din Attar does begin on a defensive note:

If anyone asks, “why have you included Rabe’a in the rank of men?’ my answer is, that the prophet himself said, ‘God does not regard your outward forms …’ Moreover, if it is permissible to derive two-thirds of our religion from A’esha, surely it is permissible to take religious instruction from a handmaid of A’esha.” Rabia, said al-Din Attar, ‘wasn’t a single woman but a hundred men.”

Most Muslim men appear to have no problem learning from Rabia.


  • “I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.
  • At one occasion she was asked if she hated Satan. Hazrat Rabia replied: “My love to God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him.”
  • Once Hazrat Rabia was on her way to Makka, and when half-way there she saw the Ka’ba coming to meet her. She said, “It is the Lord of the house whom I need, what have I to do with the house? I need to meet with Him Who said, ‘Who approaches Me by a span’s length I will approach him by the length of a cubit.’ The Ka’ba which I see has no power over me; what joy does the beauty of the Ka’ba bring to me?”
  • Rab’eah was once asked, “did you ever perform any work that, in your opinion, caused God to favor and accept you?” She replied, “Whatever I did, may be counted against me.”


Her pioneering of love-mysticism in Islam produced a rich legacy. The poetry and philosophy of Farid ad-Din Attar, among that of others, stands on her shoulders. It is primarily from his work that what little biographical information we have has survived. However, lack of details of her life is compensated by the abundance of stories of her piety and total trust in God to provide for her every meal. Her love of God and her confidence in God’s mercy was absolute; since God provided for “those who insult Him” her would surely “provide for those who love Him” as well. The high praise that Rabia attracts from Muslim men as well as from Muslim women testifies to the value of her legacy as a guide for others to realize the same intimacy with God that she enjoyed. The fact that details of her life have not survived while her reputation for piety has means that her achievements do not overshadow her devotion to God. Not only did she not teach at a prestigious institution or establish one but exactly where she did teach remains obscure Nonetheless her legacy impacted significantly on religious life and thought.