Recent Reviews for Gary R Varner
The Ancient Religion and Beliefs of Ethiopia (Book) - 3/13/2014 4:49:45 AM|
Congratulations, Gary. Good luck with a book which promises to fill a long ignored, but significant player in western culture.
Remembrances of the Dead - Graveyard Art & Symbolism (Book) - 1/29/2013 4:47:07 AM
Congratulations, Gary. Your work preserving our past is terrific and vital to the health of our and any culture. Good luck.
The Owens Valley Paiute - A Cultural History (Book) - 11/21/2012 5:47:38 AM
Great subject. So sorry to hear about the theft of so many petroglyphs recently ... you do valuable work keep mythology in focus.
Ethiopia - A Cultural History of an Ancient Land (Book) - 10/18/2012 9:22:58 AM
I intend to read it as it's fascinating how the research done by this author led him to tell us that Ethiopia is "the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant". Thank you Mr. Garner, for your intensive research.
My book "HOPE FOR A BETTER WORLD" is a much more modest contribution compared to yours, the latter reminding us that there is so much we do not know about this world of ours.
Hidden in Plain Sight II - Pittsburgh (Book) - 10/17/2012 5:55:59 PM
Hi Margaret! Yes you are right. The dragon is a special symbol in many ways. Unfortunately the show was really tight and they moved me along at a fast clip and I was unable to show so much more that I had discussed with them. Oh well. I enjoy doing them but, like now, I am waiting on the History Channel to come up with a schedule. Another hurry up and wait situation. I believe I prefer writing! I am currently working on a book about cupule rock art around the world which is taking most of my time but at least it keeps me occupied even though I won't be able to retire on it!
Hidden in Plain Sight II - Pittsburgh (Book) - 10/17/2012 4:56:00 PM
Hi again Gary, I watched your video on the symbols in Sacremento ... did read a few months ago that the Romans took this symbol on board, but I believe it goes way back into Celtic Pagan tradition (I haven't read your books so therefore I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know LOL). With the dragon , I have read somewhere that the symbol was also used on ancient maps as a place that was uncharted, ie - the unknown. I have a painting on my wall which actually has the pirst pillar out of eight, I believe he represents some sort of gatekeeper to the underworld ... Just love this stuff ... Cheers Margaret
Hidden in Plain Sight - Sacramento (Book) - 1/5/2012 9:22:37 AM
Very Nice! I hope to see sequels covering other cities, done in the same way. :)
Hecate: The Witches' Goddess (Book) - 10/30/2010 3:29:14 AM
My understanding is that Hecate functioned a little like the Hindu goddess Kali - on the one hand symbolising the destructive principle in mortal existence (and in cosmological existence), on the other she was routinely appraoched for all kinds of 'favours'. I recall standing beside a gigantic 'Kali' in the streets of Kathmandu some years back, despite the skulls that adorned the icon etc. no one in the street seemed to phased at her presence. Early on, as Varner documents, Hecate was seen in a more positive light, as a form of the Earth Mother - the patriarchal march to Greek culture may have distorted her more primordial attributes causing her to become 'demonic female other' to the increasingly masculinist pantheon (which also happened to Lilith in ancient Israel. The wicca folk might ponder, however, whether they are worshipping the later Hecate or the earlier Hecate ... Varner's looks to be a fascinating excursion into aspects of European polytheism that still hold relevance for us today - Jung understood that figures like Hecate, and her sometimes husband of the lonely crossroad, Hermes, remain potent in the psyches of modern humans. Varner's book allows us to acknowledge the presence of an ambivalent figure who reminds us that life is not all peaches and cream - sometimes we learn most from archetypes overseeing 'transformation' - and the spirits of transformation/change are always ambivalent figures.
Ghosts, Spirits & the Afterlife in Native American Folklore and Religion (Book) - 8/22/2010 10:51:44 AM
I like your cover, sounds an interesting read
Mysteries of Native American Myth and Religion (Book) - 6/10/2010 2:37:40 AM
A fantastic book indeed!
Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters (Book) - 12/13/2009 8:39:13 PM
I am keen reader of books on various topics ranging from computers to literature. I just went through this book, Sacred Wells, (A Study in the History, Meaning, and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters, 2nd Edition). I would like to applaud Gary Varner for the immense research he has done in compiling such information. I was however very much upset and unwilling to believe that he had missed one of the most famous and important wells in history which is known as Zamzam well in the holy city of Makkah, Saudia Arabia. According to history this well exists from the times of Prophet Abraham's son Ismael (May peace be upon them).
Even today after several thousands of years Muslims drink and bath from it for reasons of its sacredness. Millions of Muslims perform Hajj and bring this water to their home countries for relatives and friends.
I would like the author to explain the reason for excluding this most important well.
Hecate: The Witches' Goddess (Book) - 6/16/2009 5:42:59 AM
I have always been intrigued with Hecate. It started when I first read MacBeth. I write Goddess poetry (among other subjects) and am compiling a book entitled, The Goddess, A Journey of Fantasy ". I don't think I have written a poem about Hecate, so you have inspired me to do so. Thank you for that.
I wish you success with your book.
Much peace, love, and light,
Amber "V" Moonstone
Gargoyles, Grotesques & Green Men: Ancient Symbolism in European... (Book) - 2/16/2008 2:04:28 PM
I loved this book. Now I see the Green Man everywhere!
The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature (Book) - 3/24/2006 3:14:04 PM
Congratulations on your new book!
The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature (Book) - 3/24/2006 7:53:16 AM
This book sounds truly fascinating. As a forest lover my entire life, and a lover of ancient myths and lore, I can't wait to read it.
Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters (Book) - 12/8/2002 8:06:27 AM
Ah, Gary, you are a kindred spirit! I am definitely putting your book on my "to buy" list! Looks fascinating in various aspects; both sociologically and nature-wise as well.
Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters (Book) - 7/24/2002 6:39:45 PM
Sacred Wells is an excellent reference on holy wells and springs around the world. Photos taken by the author complement the text and make it an enjoyable read. I recommend to to anyone with an interest in the topic.
My Old Kentucky Garden (Article) - 8/29/2014 7:43:39 AM
I most certainly enjoyed this article! I remember the summers around here in N.E. Ohio that flourished due to our perfect summers. The growing season has gotten later into the summer and the first frost will ruin a ripe crop.
My Old Kentucky Garden (Article) - 8/29/2014 7:12:54 AM
You have come back to gardening naturally and it looks like you have a very good start.
While I tended my mother's gardens as a child, I never had a garden, but found great solace and contentment from tending my yard and flowers. On a visit to Richmond in Northern California one time, the woman of the house at a wonderful garden in an area where gardens were almost nonexistent. I also remember that the south end of the Bay area was very productive of vegetable crops before Silicon Valley moved in.
My partner has been growing a very limited garden in pots because our soil here is like concrete when dry. Our squash failed when the heat came, but the cherry tomatoes have been producing since June and with 500 harvested already they look like they will produce until October.
Giving to the food bank is a wonderful idea. Soon everyone will be planting Liberty Gardens again to free themselves of high produce prices for inferior products.
My Old Kentucky Garden (Article) - 8/29/2014 4:28:11 AM
Sounds like paradise, indeed. California has become even drier than you remember - even gophers have given up in my area and the bears have been reduced to raiding green houses. Enjoy your gardens and let us know from time to time what its like in the wet.
Cup-Marks and Pre-Historic Rock Carvings: Portals to Other Realms (Article) - 1/22/2014 4:07:32 AM
a very interesting book. I myself study cupstones since 1982 all over Europe and I would like too see some in California.
Coal: Energy and Pain in Eastern Kentucky (Article) - 10/30/2013 6:15:01 AM
Night Comes of the Cumberlands described how other states raped Appalachia and its resources for their own benefit leaving the area perpetually poor. I was appalled at the destruction and damaged waterways back then, 40 years ago when I lived there. A neighbor who had a rich playboy detestable behavior, John Raese, now CEO of Greer industries, as tried many times to become governor or senator from West Virginia. If he and won Senate in 2012 he would be right of Ted Cruz and all for further destruction of the area.
An exceptional article that everyone should read who uses electrical power on the cheap. If everyone would stop buying their power from coal fired power plants, and the federal government moved in with incentive for small business startups in Appalachian towns without business prospects, the whole picture would change and the vast natural beauty and character of the area could be saved.
At a party once, I met in environmental scientist who worked for Consolidated Coal. I sure thought that was strange, but I know why.
Coal: Energy and Pain in Eastern Kentucky (Article) - 10/29/2013 12:02:21 PM
Good article, Gary. As for the 'complexities' you know a great deal about the 'old' days all the way back to 'primitives' ... good water was and is more important for human survival than fossil fuels. Coal companies ought to employ KY's good folk to clean up the environmental mess coal conglomerates have made. Glad you are settling in back there. Best.
Coal: Energy and Pain in Eastern Kentucky (Article) - 10/29/2013 11:26:48 AM
I've got to think about this one. My ex-father in law had black lung from working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. A lot of men put themselves in jeopardy to heat someone's home who had just had a little baby. Ya know?
Moving On... (Article) - 9/13/2013 5:57:29 AM
I can see that you are both a prolific and thorough writer by immersing yourself in the culture and history that you are writing about. I, too, have been fortunate to live in 5 quite different parts of the country. I must say that I have been trying to escape Houston ever since I got here.
When I first came to West Virginia and was driving through Wheeling, John Denver's new song, Country Roads, came on the air. It was interesting that after his brief love affair with West Virginia, he found Colorado more inviting. My seven years in two locations in West Virginia endeared me to the people, their language and their customs.
My younger brother, Tom, lives in Arizona and spends many weekends every year exploring the desert for evidence of early native civilization. He has sent me many pictures of glyphs that he's found. I'm sure if you got together with him you would have a lot to talk about.
Deluge Myths based on Fact? (Article) - 5/9/2013 5:19:44 AM
Very interesting and educational.
Deluge Myths based on Fact? (Article) - 5/9/2013 4:14:31 AM
Nice job, Gary. My own experience with storms and flash floods makes the telling of them an awesome task. Relating a truly catastrophic story is subject to all manner of exaggeration and misinterpretation, especially to those who have no first hand experience but must continue a traditional myth. Amazing that we can recognize individual events at all. Perhaps these myths tell us more about the limitations of language and storytelling than actual events. Thanks for bringing so many legends together, and for the insightful suggestions about our current difficulties.
Deluge Myths based on Fact? (Article) - 5/9/2013 1:23:58 AM
A wonderful article, Gary! Truly worthy of your name. It scared me - to think of the Tzotil legend of three creations (we being the third) and the Yokut legend of "eating the earth and it was nearly gone". Do we not stand at that same precipice now? Our scientists warn us today of the constant tilting of the earth and its consequences - just as the Cherokee legend mentions. The article gave me shivers. Thank you so much, Gary. I'm delighted to pass this along to everyone I know.
Merry Solstice...er...Happy Yule... (Article) - 10/16/2012 1:57:00 AM
Hello Gary, it's 9-30pm here in Tasmania, haven't got much time to read your interesting findings at the moment ... but I'll be back. It's great to see that the old beliefs and myths are resurfacing. In fact, I'm introducing a touch of universal law and history into my children's series 'Merlin's School for Ordinary Children'. As for Yule ... I think there is a touch of the Roman's Saturnalia in there somewhere.
A review copy did you say?... (Article) - 8/9/2012 5:03:03 AM
I haven't written anything in book form yet, but I always welcome any criticism if it will help me. In your case here, that person was just plain rude!
You captured my attention with your articles and wanted you to know I appreciate them and agree with you we must stay in touch with mythology and the ancient stories, there are more to them than most are willing to accept. Bravo Gary
Love and Light
Ethiopian Folklore and Folkmedicine (Article) - 5/24/2012 8:01:12 PM
I find this so very interesting! I look forward to reading more about other folklores!!
Jane Noponen Perinacci
Faeries: A World of Reality or World of Myth? (Article) - 3/31/2012 1:20:49 PM
I love this type of information! I beleive in fairies! I even clapped as loud as I could when Peter Pan told us all to clap to bring Tinkerbell back from the edge of death!!!! I found the part about the "little people" in a cave. When humans develop their sixth sense, we'll probably remember stuff from when we shared this planet with another species of human!! Good stuff!!
St. George: Christian Dragon Slayer or Pagan Green Man? (Article) - 5/25/2011 8:12:59 AM
Fascinating look at the many associations and origins of this myth. It's always enjoyable to stumble over some truly cogent analytical writing by accident (as was the case in my reading of the article in reference). Joseph Campbell would likely also have enjoyed this examination of the archetypal inspirations for the Christian Saint George legend. As I am constantly reminded, man (humanity) is a spiritual creature by nature, constantly searching for deeper meaning in all things, buoyed by the belief that there MUST be something fathomably omniscient behind all these things that we have so much trouble getting our minds around. My conclusion, somewhat ironic and based upon similar observations and investigations conducted over a lifetime, is that there is finally only that which we wish to project upon all things that capture our (childlike) attentions. Whether by virtue of animism, naturalism, deity-based religious faith, or (with Occam's Razor-like simplicity) pure and unquestioned acceptance of existance, the functional end result is the same: no one human has (or ever shall have) the single key to complete understanding of our collective human experience (save that which we may choose individually to invest in it). I'll be back to read more of your eloquently stated thoughts, observations and conclusions.
Aloha mai e, Kalikiano
This Dying Earth (Article) - 10/30/2010 3:12:10 AM
We also need a profound paradigm shift to reverse all the trends Gary is documenting - a shift in the collective mind. We need to somehow reanimate the consciousness of ordinary people. I think we need to develop a kind of 'evolved animism' in our general cultural education to deactivate the Cartesian-Newtonion 'exploitation' machine we've had since the Enlightenment. This may mean a new kind of non-oppressive, non-exploitative spirituality. Gary's many research interests are clearly pointing us in similar directions. Keep speaking about the 'Elephant in the room' Gary - sooner or later people will start addressing the beast!
The Use of Magic in Christianity (Article) - 10/30/2010 3:03:06 AM
Yes, they had a 'Reformation' over exactly this issue. The author is correct of course, Medieval Christianity was awash in 'magic' - prayer is a form of magic after all. In those days one man's white magician, however, was another man's evil sorcerer. Given there was no atheistic science just about everyone believed in and practised 'magic' in some form - the Saints were kept very busy indeed imbuing amulets and the like with protective magic! Besides Keith Thomas's 'Religion and the Decline of Magic' a couple of other books detailing magical aspects to the Medieval church are worth documenting: Kieckhefer's "Magic in the Middle Ages' (I think this wasa source for the article) and Flint's 'The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe'. Always a fascinating topic - most moderns are unaware as to just how alive and present the supernatural world was to Medieval Europeans.
Water as Feminine (Article) - 10/20/2010 2:04:48 PM
holds reader interest
Antiquities: The Case for Cultural Diffusion (Article) - 8/18/2010 11:43:01 PM
I'm looking for information that demonstrates a relationship between the Indians from North, Middle and South American and perhaps having a connection with the Middle East.
Not again! (Article) - 8/12/2010 9:05:12 AM
I'm sure the English aren't willing to admit that their treatment of Travellers is in any manner derogatory. Perhaps it's the word "reservations" he objects to? I would also be highly suspicious of the circumstances by which you were informed of the desire for review. I've been expecting the same kind of message every since my translation appeared on the market. I did have an ugly note from one of the "Leland-ites", who promised to send me a lengthy essay regarding her disagreement with much of what is in my book, but she has yet to deliver, and I have not been hiding. This, by the way, is the same person who said it was "too bad" I'd chosen you as a contributor. I just consider the source. :)
Reincarnation Beliefs of Native American Tribes (Article) - 7/24/2010 4:13:50 AM
St. George: Christian Dragon Slayer or Pagan Green Man? (Article) - 6/7/2010 9:54:33 PM
The Spirit Land (Article) - 6/7/2010 9:53:27 PM
thought provoking read
The Use of Charms and Incantations (Article) - 4/19/2010 4:15:28 AM
Nicely done, Gary. Much information, presented in an interesting manner, and even some stuff I hadn't known before. Bravo.