Today's sacred text is from the the art of alchemy, which was outwardly concerned with the transmutation of lead or other base metals into gold. However the heart of alchemy was personal transformation. This piece is of uncertain provenance, but is considered to be the oldest extant alchemical tract. It is called the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus -- this particular translation is from Fulcanelli, and was translated from the French by Sieveking. From the Internet Sacred Text Archive.
The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus
1) This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:-
2) As below, so above; and as above so below. With this knowledge alone you may work miracles.
3) And since all things exist in and eminate from the ONE Who is the ultimate Cause, so all things are born after their kind from this ONE.
4) The Sun is the father, the Moon the mother;
5) the wind carried it in his belly. Earth is its nurse and its guardian.
6) It is the Father of all things,
6a) the eternal Will is contained in it.
7) Here, on earth, its strength, its power remain one and undivded.
7a) Earth must be separated from fire, the subtle from the dense, gently with unremitting care.
8) It arises from the earth and descends from heaven; it gathers to itself the strength of things above and things below.
9) By means of this one thing all the glory of the world shall be yours and all obscurity flee from you.
10) It is power, strong with the strength of all power, for it will penetrate all mysteries and dispel all ignorance.
11a) By it the world was created.
12) From it are born manifold wonders, the means to achieving which are here given
13) It is for this reason that I am called Hermes Trismegistus; for I possess the three essentials of the philosophy of the universe.
14) This is is the sum total of the work of the Sun.
Today's sacred text is from Confucianism, which was the state religion of ancient China. Confucianism is chiefly concerned with virtue and how to behave properly, especially where one's parents or superiors are concerned. This is a section from the Confucian Analects as translated by James Legge on the Internet Sacred Text Archive.
The Confucian Analects
The Master said, "Where the solid qualities are in excess of
accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in
excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When
the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then
have the man of virtue."
The Master said, "Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his
uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere
The Master said, "They who know the truth are not equal to those who
love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in
The Master said, "To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the
highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below
mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced."
Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, "To give
one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting
spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom." He
asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "The man of virtue
makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success
only a subsequent consideration;-this may be called perfect virtue."
The Master said, "The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find
pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The
wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived."
Today's sacred text is from Mormonism, a branch of Christianity that holds several texts as holy in addition to the Bible -- chief amongst which is the Book of Mormon. This is a section called the First Book of Nephi from the Book of Mormon on the Internet Sacred Text Archive.
1 Nephi 1
1 Nephi 1:1
1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was
taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen
many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having
been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a
great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God,
therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
1 Nephi 1:2
2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which
consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the
1 Nephi 1:3
3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it
with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.
1 Nephi 1:4
4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of
the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having
dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there
came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must
repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.
1 Nephi 1:5
5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went
forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in
behalf of his people.
1 Nephi 1:6
6 And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a
pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and
heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he
did quake and tremble exceedingly.
1 Nephi 1:7
7 And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at
Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with
the Spirit and the things which he had seen.
1 Nephi 1:8
8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away
in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he
saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless
concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising
1 Nephi 1:9
9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the
midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of
the sun at noon-day.
1 Nephi 1:10
10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their
brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.
1 Nephi 1:11
11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth;
and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him
a book, and bade him that he should read.
1 Nephi 1:12
12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the
Spirit of the Lord.
1 Nephi 1:13
13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen
thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read
concerning Jerusalem--that it should be destroyed, and the
inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many
should be carried away captive into Babylon.
1 Nephi 1:14
14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen
many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto
the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God
Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and
goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth,
and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who
come unto thee that they shall perish!
Today's sacred text is from the ancient Egyptian religion, which was extremely focused on fertility (the rising and falling of the Nile), and death (specifically the afterlife). This is a section called A Hymn of Praise to Ra When He Riseth in the Eastern Part of Heaven from the Egyptian Book of the Dead as translated by Wallis Budge on the Internet Sacred Text Archive.
I. (1) A HYMN OF PRAISE TO RA WHEN HE RISETH IN THE EASTERN PART OF HEAVEN.
Behold Osiris, Qenna the merchant, (2) who saith: "Homage to thee, in thy rising thou Tmu in thy crowns of beauty. Thou risest, thou risest, thou Ra shinest, (3) thou shinest, at dawn of day. Thou art crowned like unto the king of the gods, and the goddess Shuti doeth homage unto thee. (4) The company of the gods praise thee from the double-dwelling. Thou goest forth over the upper air and thy heart is filled with gladness. (5) The sektet boat draweth onward as [Ra] cometh to the haven in the atet boat with fair winds. Ra rejoiceth, Ra rejoiceth. (6) Thy father is Nu, thy mother is Nut, and thou art crowned as Ra-Harmachis. Thy sacred boat advanceth in peace. Thy foe hath been cast down and his (7) head hath been cut off; the heart of the Lady of life rejoiceth in that the enemy of her lord hath been overthrown. The mariners of Ra have content of heart and Annu rejoiceth."
Today's sacred text is from Hinduism, an ancient polytheistic South Asian religion that encompasses everything from yogic traditions to societal norms such as marriage customs. It focuses on the notion of karma and the cycles of death and rebirth. This is a section called Hymn to Surya from the Rig Veda as translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith on the Internet Sacred Text Archive.
Hymn to Surya
1 HIS bright rays bear him up aloft, the God who knoweth all that lives,
Sūrya, that all may look on him.
2 The constellations pass away, like thieves, together with their beams,
Before the all-beholding Sun.
3 His herald rays are seen afar refulgent o’er the world of men,
Like flames of fire that burn and blaze.
4 Swift and all beautiful art thou, O Sūrya, maker of the light,
Illuming all the radiant realm.
5 Thou goest to the hosts of Gods, thou comest hither to mankind,
Hither all light to be beheld.
6 With that same eye of thine wherewith thou lookest brilliant Varuṇa,
Upon the busy race of men,
7 Traversing sky and wide mid-air, thou metest with thy beams our days,
Sun, seeing all things that have birth.
8 Seven Bay Steeds harnessed to thy car bear thee, O thou farseeing One,
God, Sūrya, with the radiant hair.
9 Sūrya hath yoked the pure bright Seven, the daughters of the car; with these,
His own dear team, he goeth forth.
10 Looking upon the loftier light above the darkness we have come
To Sūrya, God among the Gods, the light that is most excellent.
11 Rising this day, O rich in friends, ascending to the loftier heaven,
Sūrya remove my heart's disease, take from me this my yellow hue.
12 To parrots and to starlings let us give away my yellowness,
Or this my yellowness let us transfer to Haritāla trees.
13 With all his conquering vigour this Āditya hath gone up on high,
Giving my foe into mine hand: let me not be my foeman's prey.
Want to know what "book google" or "cubicle coma" means? Not sure about a particular piece of slang you heard on TV? Urban Dictionary is your source for weird, occasionally obscene, and completely hilarious definitions of up-to-the-minute phrases and words. Like Wikipedia it is written by the community; however, anyone can submit a definition for an entry, and then viewers vote it up or down depending on their opinion of its correctness.
I've lost hours on Urban Dictionary following weird slang chains and horrifying definitions, so user beware. If you don't mind being amused and insulted by turns, though, I can definitely recommend it as a valuable pop-culture reference and resource!
(As always, I'm unaffiliated with anything I recommend!)
When you were a kid, did you ever threaten to run away and join the circus? It's a staple of childhood threats and wishes -- the dream of freedom that comes with dressing up in a fantastic costume and performing amazing feats.
Now that you're an adult it may seem a little less feasible to run off with the big top. But there's no reason to give up on that dream! There are many troupes around the world who offer classes in everything from trick horseback riding to trapezery. (I'm not sure that's a word, but whatever…)
In Seattle there are several such as the Anunnaki Project which teaches dance trapeze, fabric, aerial sling, and hoop. It's as easy as figuring out what you want to do -- become a clown, perhaps? -- and googling [Your City] Clown Classes. Not only can you have a lot of fun, but you can get a great workout, meet some fantastic new people, and maybe even pick up a side job doing parties or performing with your teachers! Give yourself the gift of realizing a bit of that childhood dream -- mix it up and take circus classes today!
(Photo taken at the Brazilian Academy of Circus in Sao Paulo by jacsonquerubin from flickr.com's Creative Commons photostream.)