1800+ Useful Spanish Phrases

This book is a carefully chosen practice list to improve your conversational Spanish. These 1800+ phrases are not about ordering soup at a restaurant or finding the bus station; they’re about helping you learn to say in Spanish the things you naturally want to say. The simple list format is in alphabetical order and displays each Spanish phrase, with the English version on the next line.

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Simple Superfood Recipes: Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt can make a delicious, low-fat superfood substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, cream, cream cheese, and oil and butter (for instance, in baked goods). Using Greek yogurt instead of milk or water to cook oatmeal, or in a smoothie, produces an extra-creamy and extra-high-protein result. Greek yogurt is also great in marinades, for its flavor and to keep the meat moist.

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Weird Plants

Formally, the word weird means suggesting something supernatural — beyond nature. The weird plants in this book are not beyond nature, but they may seem that way. They are great examples of how powerful and diverse nature is.

Informally, weird means very strange, and these plants are certainly that. They demonstrate what an excellent problem-solver nature is, equipping plants to survive and thrive in the strangest of ways.

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Teotihuacán, “the Place Where Men Became Gods”

According to Graham Hancock, in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, Central American legends collected in the sixteenth century by Father Bernardino de Sahagun say that Teotihuacán is known as the “City of the Gods” because “the Lords therein buried, after their deaths, did not perish but turned into gods….” (Note that ascension to “heaven” can be seen as becoming a god or a star.) Hancock writes: [Teotihuacán] was “the place where men became gods”. It was also known as “the place of those who had the road of the gods”, and “the place where gods were made”.

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Are Mormons Christians? And What About the Underwear?

Just as there are a lot of different kinds of Christians, there are a lot of different kinds of Mormons. Depending on which kinds are being compared, Mormonism can be a fair amount like Christianity, or completely outside it. But even when Mormonism is a fair amount like Christianity, it’s still a huge amount not like it.

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Drugs on Earth 4: Alcohol

The below post is part of a guest-blog series I wrote for the former website Alien Earth Guide, called Drugs on Earth. The idea is that I am instructing clueless extraterrestrial visitors on how to use Earth’s most popular recreational drugs — nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana. Here’s the 4th post in the series of 20: an Introduction to Alcohol.

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Hagar Said What?

I was having trouble understanding the Bible story of Hagar talking with an “angel of the LORD.” It starts out clearly enough, with Sarah telling her husband Abraham to go sire a child by her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. So Abraham impregnates Hagar, at which point Hagar becomes hateful toward Sarah. Sarah is furious; Abraham tells her to deal with Hagar however she wishes. When Sarah is then harsh with Hagar, the servant flees to the wilderness.

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The Aztec Suns

The Aztecs believed that there had been four great cycles, or “Suns”, since the beginning of humankind, and that we are now in the Fifth Sun, the “Sun of Movement”, due to end soon with movement of the Earth that will kill almost everyone. Unfortunately, although the Aztecs knew that the Fifth Sun was already very old, having begun in the fourth millennium BCE, they had forgotten how to calculate exactly when the Fifth Sun will end. They thus conducted massive amounts of human sacrifices in hopes of postponing the end of the Fifth Sun.

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Thunder Gods, Such as Yahweh…

Thunder gods, such as Yahweh, are popular all over the world. Making big noise and throwing lightning bolts, they get people’s attention, and fearful obedience. Wind gods and sky gods may also be thunder gods—sky gods tend to speak with voices of thunder and cause strong winds. There is further overlap between thunder gods, weather gods, storm gods, war gods, fire gods, and sun gods. A lot of deities tend to be noisy and flaming, up in the sky.

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Vishnu, Preserver of the Universe

Vishnu is called “the Preserver of the Universe.” He is said to be omnipresent and without shape, but is usually shown as crowned, four-armed, and blue (the color of clouds full of water); wearing earrings, with a jewel and a garland of flowers around his neck; holding a mace, chakra, lotus, shankha (conch used as a trumpet); and resting on Ananta, the infinite, immortal snake. 

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Nanna the Sumerian Moon God

Nanna was the Sumerian moon god (not to be confused with the goddess Nanna, Baldr’s wife in Norse mythology). He later became identified with the Semitic god Sin. Nanna was said to be the son of Enlil and Ninlil. His wife, Ningal (Great Lady), bore him two powerful children, Utu/Shamash and Athtart/Inanna/Ishtar. Nanna/Sin is called En-zu, meaning Lord of Wisdom, partially because the wisdom of astronomy and astrology depends on moon phases.

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HTML and CSS Cheat Sheet

Here’s an HTML and CSS cheat sheet for formatting Kindle books. You could use this info together with the Overview from my free book How to Convert Your Book to Kindle: Simple Steps for Non-Programmers, to help troubleshoot your Kindle conversion efforts.

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The Authentic Experience of Ancient Gods

Religion has been part of all societies, but why? A lot of intellectual discourse has tackled the subject, much of it reaching the conclusion that people just need to have gods and so they make them up. But even a quick scan of ancient religious history will show that authentic experience of something awesome — perhaps not “God” or “gods,” perhaps beings with technology so advanced it seemed like magic — inspired the creation and growth of religions around the world.

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Enki and the Creation of Humankind

Enki (Ea), along with An and Enlil, form the triad of gods at the heart of Mesopotamian mythology. He is often said to be the son of An, and the half-brother of Enlil. With the goddess Damkina, he is father of the great Babylonian god Marduk. Ea voluntarily hands over control of humanity to his super-impressive son, which act is said to reflect the passing of the “supremacy once enjoyed by [the city of] Eridu to Babylon as a religious and political center.”

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The Mayan Calendar and Venus

The fact that the Mayan calendar failed the End of the World Test — the Fifth Sun didn’t end on December 21, 2012, as so many expected — doesn’t mean there’s not something going on there, and perhaps something catastrophic. But considering how wound up the calendar is with the movements of the planet Venus, as we will see, it seems at least possible that the calamity should be expected to involve that planet, as well as perhaps our own.

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The First Men Were Too Powerful

According to Graham Hancock in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, the Mayans’ advanced learning came from “the First Men, the creatures of Quetzalcoatl”, namely “Balam-Quitze (Jaguar with the Sweet Smile), Balam-Acab (Jaguar of the Night), Mahucutah (The Distinguished Name), and Iqui-Balam (Jaguar of the Moon).”

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Lego Biblical Sex, Satire

It takes a lot for me to call something a work of genius, but Brendan Powell Smith’s Brick Testament is a work of genius. He has created —out of Legos— “the world’s largest, most comprehensive illustrated Bible”. This is not kid stuff. It comes with warnings for nudity, sexual content, violence, and cursing.

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Billy Graham on Angels and UFOs

The Reverend Billy Graham — spiritual advisor to U.S. presidents, evangelist to millions of Christians — wrote a book called Angels in which he shows himself to be remarkably open-minded about UFOs in the world of God. He writes: Some Christian writers have speculated that UFOs could very well be a part of God’s angelic host who preside over the physical affairs of universal creation.

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Elijah and Ahab’s Deadly Barbecue Contest

It’s easy to see why the miracles in the Bible (and in other religious texts) impressed the hell out of (or into) those observing them. But nowadays the miracles seem a lot more like parlor tricks. Here’s a quick look at one of my favorites: The Bible tells the detailed story, in 1 Kings 18, describing the contest at Mount Carmel between the priests of Ba‘al, led by Ahab, and the priests of Yahweh, led by Elijah, to see whose god was best.

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Quetzalcoatl

There’s a class of ancient stories about knowledge bringers. These were highly accomplished beings who came from the sky and taught the people the skills they needed to survive and thrive. Not surprisingly, many of these knowledge bringers are known as gods, usually creator gods. One of my favorite knowledge bringers is Quetzalcoatl. Lots of people have loved him through the ages, and love him still.

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Enlil Rides Zu, a Huge Storm-Bird, His Firebreathing “Servant”

The third member of the main triad of Sumerian gods — along with An and Enki — Enlil is the tutelary deity of Nippur. He was originally the most powerful Mesopotamian god, but his position was taken over by the Babylonian god Marduk (who also replaced Enki), and then by Ashur (his Assyrian version).

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Isis (ee-set), Goddess of Magic and Motherhood

Worship of Isis (Aset) was established in the Nile delta by 3500 BCE, spreading prominently throughout the Greco-Roman world — as far as Asia Minor and Britain, absorbing numerous other goddess cults, lasting until Christianity stamped out paganism. Isis was goddess of magic, motherhood, fertility, and children. She protected the dead, sailors, “slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden.”

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The Sumerian Noah Built an Ark

In a great story that has survived the ages, Gilgamesh, a great King of Sumer, went looking for eternal life. He did not succeed, but he did bring back a tale from Utnapishtim (whose name means The Faraway) — himself a great king thousands of years before — about the deluge. Utnapishtim told how he had saved “the seed of all living things” in a boat he built after being forewarned by the god Ea, and how he and his wife had been made immortal in exchange for services rendered.

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Noah and the Deluge, with Details and Illustrations

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

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The Abaasy & Adar Llwch Gwin: Magical Creatures, or What?

Historically, descriptions of weird events up in the sky use names like monsters or demons, serpents or birds, giving rise to “mythical creatures”, whereas from our modern perspective the events clearly involved flying vehicles. As I write elsewhere: It’s obvious when looking at depictions of gods that the ancients sometimes had a hard time figuring out what they were seeing, or hearing described.

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Lots of Deities Drove Cooler Vehicles than Yahweh

In addition to the very interesting divine vehicles associated with Yahweh (the God of the Christians and Jews), many gods and goddesses have driven massively cool vehicles. In fact, many of their avatars (changed aspects) may be the vehicles themselves rather than a transformation of the deity.

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Molech, Popular Ancient God of Child Sacrifice

Molech (also Moloch, Molekh, Molok, Molek, Molock, Moloc) is an ancient Semitic god associated with child sacrifice, who was popular with the Canaanites and many other Middle Eastern peoples. Some scholars suggest that Yahweh’s insistence that the Israelites owe their firstborn son to him means that Yahweh required human sacrifice.

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Athirat: God’s Wife?

Athirat, also known as Asherah, is a mother goddess called “creatrix of the gods” and “she who treads on the sea.” She is one of the contenders for the title “Queen of Heaven” and was said to be the consort of the high god El, and later Ba‘al. William G. Dever’s book Did God Have a Wife? suggests that Asherah was Yahweh’s consort in Israelite folk religion—not too surprising since Yahweh apparently merged with El and Ba‘al over the years.

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The Great Pyramid of Cholula, the Deluge, and the Tower of Babel

In his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, Graham Hancock quotes a story told to Franciscan friar Diego de Duran in 1585 by a “venerated elder… said to have been more than one hundred years old” concerning the building of the very ancient Great Pyramid of Cholula, in central Mexico.

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The Early Days of Moses

As the story goes, Moses was born in Egypt, probably in the 13th century BCE, at a time when Hebrews — in slavery for centuries — were required, by order of the Pharaoh, to drown their male babies in the Nile at birth. His mother instead set him adrift on the river in a papyrus basket, and he was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who raised him in the palace as if he were her son, naming him Moses.

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Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart

For the first part of this story, see The Early Days of Moses.

To recap a bit, Yahweh (or his angel) appeared in a burning bush and told Moses his mission from God was to go back to Egypt, free the Hebrew slaves, and lead them to the promised land, Canaan, which was already occupied by numerous tribes. Moses was not interested in fulfilling this mission; he explained that he wasn’t eloquent enough, and that no one would ever believe Yahweh had appeared to him.

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The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens

For parts 1 and 2 of this story, see The Early Days of Moses and Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart.

To recap a bit: Moses frees the Hebrew slaves from the Pharoah by inflicting ten plagues. They leave in a hurry, “borrowing” silver and gold jewelry, and clothes from the Egyptians, which items would later be used to build the Ark of the Covenant and its Tabernacle.

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Exodus: Into the Wilderness with Moses

So… Yahweh led the million-plus Hebrews towards the land of the Canaanites, which he promised them would be their new land:

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

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A New Look at King David’s Song of Deliverance

David’s Song of Deliverance is well known as a beautiful Bible song praising Yahweh—but you should see the parts they ignore.

King David of Israel wrote this song to thank Yahweh for delivering him from his enemies. It sounds as if Yahweh gave David superpowers and super-weapons (for instance, “by my God I have leaped over a wall”). When he says God has given him “the shield of thy salvation,” it sounds like he’s speaking literally. This kind of physical help in battle — saving David from his enemies — may well be where the concept of salvation originated.

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Humans Were Created to Be Workers

A recurring piece of information found in ancient creation stories is that humans were created to be workers. Although people commonly speak of freedom as mankind’s birthright, that’s not so if you believe the ancient texts — we were created to serve “God” or “the gods” as physical laborers.

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What Swallowed Jonah and Why?

Raised with Sunday School sensationalism, I was aware that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, or maybe a big fish, but the finer points escaped me. The info I picked up from Geppetto and Pinocchio’s Disney adventures inside Monstro was not much help, either. Now I’ve learned the whole Jonah story, or as much of it as has survived the ages.

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Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a … Mace?

When I saw a recent photo of a jet nose-diving at a Chinese air show, it jogged a long-standing question in my mind. Why do anthropologists and archaeologists call rock-art pictures such as the ones in this post “maces”? My suggestion for an answer is “Because their academic world-view does not allow them to see these pictures as airplanes or spaceships.”

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Dwarves and Bizarre Religious Rites Popular with Both Ancient Egyptians, Mesoamericans

Located far away from one another, without known interactions, how did the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Mesoamericans have so much in common? (Mesoamerica extends approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and was home to many pre-Columbian societies.)

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“Myths” of Global Catastrophes through the Ages

Here are some excerpts and notes from various sources regarding a few of the many “myths” of global destruction through the ages, including Ovid’s Ages of Man and Hindu scriptures, pole shifts, and “mythical” doomsday events in North America, Egypt, South America, Australia, and more.

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Kothar-wa-Khasis and the Casement Window

Kothar-wa-Khasis (Skillful and Wise), a Canaanite craftsman god, designs and creates weapons for the gods, imbuing them with magic. He makes the two weapons, called Chaser and Driver, with which Ba‘al defeats Yam, and he builds an opulent palace for Ba‘al, of cedar from Lebanon, gold, silver, and lapis lazuli.

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Dagon — A God in a Fish Suit

Dagon is a god of agricultural fertility and grain, and also a major deity of fish and fishing. Like the Babylonian god Oannes, who may be another form of Dagon, he is shown as a merman, human above the waist and fish below. The Babylonian writer Berossus stated that Oannes was the bringer of all wisdom to humankind after the creation, that he had the form of a fish, but underneath looked like a man, and that he rose out of the Persian Gulf each day to teach humans writing, arts, and sciences, returning to the deep each night.

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Notes: Clues the Ark of the Covenant Is a Transmitter

If you don’t think the Ark of the Covenant was a transmitter for communicating with space ships (“God”), you just haven’t read the details yet. The Ark of the Covenant is a container, whose location is currently unknown, said to house the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Von Daniken and Brasington suggest that the “ark of the covenant, as well as being a repository for the Ten Commandments and the law, also housed a transmitter that could communicate with the cloud-ships.”

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What Would God Drive?

Divine chariots are described quite a bit in the Bible. They are often hard to distinguish from descriptions of Yahweh himself, who was known for making big noisy fiery spectacles in the sky. In fact, as many people have noted, Yahweh behaved a whole lot like a jet airplane. Below are some descriptions of divine chariots in the Bible.

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The Magonia Database Tracks 100 Years of UFOs

I’m intrigued when I read about UFO encounters that took place a hundred years ago or more, such as this one: Apr. 15, 1897 Perry Springs (Missouri). A passenger train on the Wabash line, going toward Quincy, was followed by a low-flying object for 15 min between Perry Springs and Hersman. All the passengers saw the craft, which had a red and white light. After Hersman it flew ahead of the train and disappeared rapidly, although the train was then running at 65 km/h.

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