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An enormous row of 90 megalithic stones has been found buried beneath the prehistoric super-henge of Durrington Walls earthworks, only one mile from the world-famous site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The huge line of megalithic stones lies 3 feet underground and has just been discovered through the use of sophisticated radar equipment. The finding is believed to have been a huge ritual monument.
“We’re looking at one of the largest stone monuments in Europe and it has been under our noses for something like 4,000 years… It’s truly remarkable.” said Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University of Bradford and co-director of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, which made the discovery. “We don’t think there’s anything quite like this anywhere else in the world. This is completely new and the scale is extraordinary,” he added.
The discovery was announced at the opening of the British Science Festival in Bradford, and has been described as the most exciting finding of Neolithic Britain for many years.
It isn’t only biblical figures who lived to well-seasoned ages of 900 years or more. Ancient texts from many cultures have listed life spans most modern people find simply and literally unbelievable. Some say it’s due to misunderstandings in the translation process, or that the numbers have symbolic meaning—but against the many explanations are also counterarguments that leave the historian wondering whether the human lifespan has actually decreased so significantly over thousands of years.
For example, one explanation is that the ancient Near East understanding of a year could be different than our concept of a year today. Perhaps a year meant an orbit of the moon (a month) instead of an orbit of the sun (12 months).
But if we make the changes accordingly, while it brings the age of the biblical figure Adam down from 930 to a more reasonable 77 at the time of his death, it also means he would have fathered his son Enoch at the age of 11. And Enoch would have only been 5 years old when he fathered Methuselah.
Similar inconsistencies arise when we adjust the year figures to represent seasons instead of solar orbits, noted Carol A. Hill in her article “Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis,” published in the journal “Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith” in December 2003.
Similar problems have arisen when adjusting ages in ancient texts with the assumption that authors used a certain pattern for skewing the actual ages (such as multiplying them by a given number).
“Numbers [in Genesis] could have both real (numerical) and sacred (numerological or symbolic) meaning,” Hill wrote.
In both Genesis and in the 4,000-year-old Sumerian King List—which lists the reigns of single kings in Sumer (ancient southern Iraq) as exceeding 30,000 years in some cases—analysts have noted the use of square numbers.
Much like the Bible, the King List shows a steady decline in lifespans. The list differentiates between pre-flood and post-flood reigns. The pre-flood reigns are significantly longer than the post-flood, though even post-flood lifespans are shown to be several hundred years or more than 1,000 years. In the Bible, we see a progressive decline over the generations from Adam’s 930-year life, to Noah’s 500 years, to Abraham’s 175.
Dwight Young of Brandeis University wrote of the post-flood lifespans in the Sumerian King List: “It is not merely because of their largeness that some of these numbers appear artificial. Etana’s 1560 years, to cite the longest, is but the sum of the two preceding reigns. … Certain spans seem simply to have arisen as multiples of 60. Other large numbers may be recognized as squares: 900, the square of 30; 625, the square of 25; 400, the square of 20 … even among smaller figures, the square of six appears more frequently than one might expect.” Young’s article, titled “A Mathematical Approach to Certain Dynastic Spans in the Sumerian King List,” was published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies in 1988. Paul Y. Hoskisson, director of the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies wrote along a similar vein of the patriarch ages in the Bible in a short article for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.
On the other hand, looking at patterns, co-founder of the Church of God in South Texas Arthur Mendez thinks the rate of decline in longevity from pre-flood times as recorded in ancient texts to today matches the rate of decay observed in organisms when they are exposed to radiation or toxins.
Accounts in Many Cultures, Including Chinese and Persian
In ancient China, super-centenarians were also commonplace, according to many texts. Joseph P. Hou, Ph.D., acupuncturist, wrote in his book “Healthy Longevity Techniques”: “According to Chinese medical records, a doctor named Cuie Wenze of the Qin dynasty lived to be 300 years old. Gee Yule of the later Han dynasty lived to be 280 years old. A high ranking Taoist master monk, Hui Zhao, lived to be 290 years old and Lo Zichange lived to be 180 years old. As recorded in the The Chinese Encyclopedia of Materia Medica, He Nengci of the Tang dynasty lived to be 168 years old. A Taoist master, Li Qingyuan, lived to be 250 years old. In modern times, a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, Lo Mingshan of Sichuan province, lived to be 124 years old.”
Dr. Hou said the Eastern key to longevity is “nourishing life,” including not only physical nourishment, but also mental and spiritual nourishment.
The Shahnameh or Shahnama (“The Book of Kings”) is a Persian epic poem written by Ferdowsi around the end of the 10th century A.D. It tells of kings reigning 1,000 years, several hundred years, down to 150 years, and so on.
Depiction of Laozi in E.T.C. Werner’s Myths and Legends of China (Public Domain). Laozi was said to have gone to live as a hermit at the age of 160.
Modern Claims of Longevity
Even today, people report lifespans of some 150 or more years. These reports often come from rural areas, however, where documentation is scant. Documentation was probably even less valued in rural communities more than a century ago, making it harder to prove such claims.
One example is that of Bir Narayan Chaudhary in Nepal. In 1996, Vijay Jung Thapa visited Chaudhary in Tharu village of Aamjhoki in the Tarai region. Chaudhary told him he was 141 years old, Thapa wrote in an article for India Today. If this claim was true, Chaudhary trumped the Guinness World Record holder for the longest life ever recorded by almost 20 years.
A photograph of Bir Narayan Chaudhary. Image source: thedogintheclouds.com
But Chaudhary didn’t have the papers to prove it. He did, however, have collective village memory.
“Almost all the elders around remember their youth when Chaudhary (already an elder) would talk about working in the first Nepal survey of 1888,” Thapa wrote. “Village logic goes that he must have been more than 21 then, since the survey was a responsible job. Chaudhary claims to have been 33 and still a stubborn bachelor.”
Many people in the Caucasus region of Russia similarly claim ages reaching even over 170 years without the documentation to back their claims.
Dr. Hou wrote: “These exceptionally long-lived people have invariably lived humble lives, doing hard physical work or exercise, often outdoors, from youth well into old age. Their diet is simple, as is their social life involving families. One example is Shisali Mislinlow who lived to be 170 years old and gardened in the Azerbaijan region in Russia. Mislinlow’s life was never hurried. He said, ‘I am never in a hurry, so don’t be in a hurry to live, this is the main idea. I have been doing physical labor for 150 years.’”
A photo of Shisali Mislinlow taken in 1970. (Wikipedia)
A Matter of Faith?
The issue of longevity in ancient times has long been connected to Taoist practices of internal alchemy, or mind-body cultivation, in China. Here, longevity was connected with virtue. Likewise it is intertwined with Western spiritual beliefs as part of the Bible.
Mendez quoted first century Roman-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus: “Now when Noah had lived three hundred and fifty years after the Flood … But let no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our lives, and with the few years which we now live, think that what we have said of them is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an argument, that neither did they attain to so long a duration of life, for those ancients were beloved of God, and [lately] made by God himself; and because their food was then fitter for the prolongation of life, might well live so great a number of years: and besides, God afforded them a longer time of life on account of their virtue, and the good use they made of it.”
For now, modern scientists are left either to believe what ancient records and village memory have to say about seemingly unbelievable lifespans, or to consider the accounts exaggerations, symbolism, or misunderstandings. For many, it’s simply a matter of faith.
The article ‘Did Ancient People Really Have Lifespans Longer Than 200 Years?’ was originally published on The Epoch Times and has been republished with permission.
Featured image: ‘Abraham and the Angels’ by Aert de Gelder (Wikipedia). Abraham was said to have lived to the age of 175.
The Venus figurines is a term given to a collection of prehistoric statuettes of women made during the Paleolithic Period, mostly found in Europe, but with finds as far as Siberia. To date, more than 200 of the figurines have been found, all of whom are portrayed with similar physical attributes, including curvaceous bodies with large breasts, bottoms, abdomen, hips, and thighs, and usually tapered at the top and bottom. The heads are often of relatively small size and devoid of detail, and most are missing hands and feet. Some appear to represent pregnant women, while others show no such signs. There have been many different interpretations of the figurines, but none based on any kind of solid evidence. Like many prehistoric artifacts, the cultural meaning may never be known.
The Paleolithic period lasted from around 30,000 BC to 10,000 BC and is characterised by the emergence of human creativity. Man-made artifacts from this period show the very earliest signs of workmanship, from small personal adornments and cave paintings to the prevalent Venus figurines, which represent the earliest known works of figurative art.
The figurines were carved from all manner of different materials, ranging from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite, or limestone) to bone, ivory, or clay. The latter type are among the earliest ceramic works yet discovered. The oldest statuette was uncovered in 2008 in Germany. The “Venus of Hohle Fels”, as the figure has since been called, was carved from a mammoth’s tusk and dates to at least 35,000 years old.
The size of the figurines ranges from 1.5 inches to 9.8 inches in height. They have mostly been discovered in settlement contexts, both in open-air sites and caves, and on rare occasions, they have been found in burials. Considering they were found all throughout Europe, and were sometimes separated by thousands of years, the general similarity of these sculptures is extraordinary.
A selection of some of the Venus figurines found throughout Europe. Image source.
The term ‘Venus figurines’ is controversial in itself. Inspired by Venus, the ancient Greek goddess of love, it assumes that the figures represent a goddess. Of course, this is one possible explanation, but it is just one of many interpretations that have been proposed. A considerable diversity of opinion exists in the archeological and paleoanthropological literature regarding the possible functions and significance of these objects. Some of the different theories put forward include: fertility symbols, self-portraits, Stone Age dolls, realistic depictions of actual women, ideal representations of female beauty, religious icons, representations of a mother goddess, or even the equivalent of pornographic imagery.
According to Soffer, Adovasio, and Hyland (2000), the garments that many of the Venus figures have been found wearing, including basket hats, netted snoods, bandeaux, string skirts, and belts, were not typical Paleolithic day wear. The authors suggest that the garments are more likely ritual wear, real or imagined, which served as a signifier of distinct social categories.
Dixson and Dixson (2011) argue that it is unlikely that the figures were realistic representations of women. At the time the statuettes were made, Europe was in the grip of a severe ice age and it is unlikely that obesity was a common feature. Instead, the authors proposed that the figures may have symbolized abundance and hope for survival and longevity, and for well-nourished and reproductively successful communities, during the harshest period of the major glaciation in Europe.
Unfortunately, the true meaning and purpose of these statuettes may never be known, leaving us to wonder why prehistoric people separated by significant time and distance created such similar figures, and what they really meant.
Legend has it that centuries ago a witch turned a would-be king of England and his men and knights to stone, which still stand and are among the Rollright Stones circle at Warwickshire. Now a new legend has cropped up: A 7th century AD skeleton recently unearthed at the site is being called the witch who turned the ambitious men to stone.
The woman stood between 4 feet 11 inches and 5 feet tall (about 152 cm) and was buried with a Roman patera or bronze vessel possibly used to cook offerings to the gods, a large amber bead and an amethyst set in silver. The patera is only the fifth found in England. She also had with her a large spindle whorl, which, with the patera, ITV.com says, indicates that “Rita,” the Saxon pagan Rollright Witch, as she is being called, was a spiritual woman of high status.
The person who found the grave is Charles Wood. He was using a metal detector at the Rollright Stones with friends. He explains to ITV:
‘This was more of a social event as we weren’t expecting to find much. The ground is difficult to dig and you normally just find bottle caps from the Rollright Fayre they hold here. When my metal detector made a faint murmur I knew I’d have to dig down deep, but thought it would only be a plough tooth that had been pressed into the ground. I got 14 inches down and a small bronze rim appeared, but it seemed in too good condition to be anything significant. As I dug further though I saw it had a handle and it soon became obvious it was a patera, which is a very significant find. There’s a myth around here of the Rollright Witch, and this find is certainly very interesting because of the spiritual element. I’m not saying anything for sure, but there’s no smoke without fire. It was a once in a lifetime find. I could detect for the next 14 years and not find anything like it.’
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Anni Byard, a British antiquities official, said in a report:
“The location of the grave is of significance, and the items found with her were possibly religious in nature. She was definitely somebody of importance at that time, but this will take further investigation. We are currently trying to raise grants to examine the soil of the grave, this might be able to tell us something more.”
The Bronze Age Rollright Stones have much lore and myth surrounding them to this day. RollrightStones.co.uk is a website devoted just to the stone circle that gives the legend of the king and his entourage. The site says many stone circles in the British Isles were supposedly revelers petrified by God or the devil for dancing and fiddling or picking turnips on the Sabbath. The Rollright Stones legend is different.
There lived a king who aspired to rule England. He got as far as the Rollright Stones when he encountered a witch, possibly Mother Shipton of Shipton-under-Wychwood, who lived from 1488 to 1551 AD. (Mother Shipton is another story, but suffice to say she is England’s most famous prophetess who in childhood was a strange girl raised in a cave and who went on to become an accomplished herbalist and seeress who foretold many calamities of English history.)
The King’s Men stone circle at Rollright Stones (Photo by Midnightblueowl/Wikimedia Commons)
According to the legend reported by Rollrightstones.co.uk, the witch challenged the king:
“Seven long strides shalt thou take And if Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be.”
The king continued on toward Long Compton, which is not far from the Rollright Stones, and as he strode along he shouted:
“Stick, stock, stone as King of England I shall be known.”
The King Stone at Rollright Stones in Warwickshire, England (Poliphilo/Wikimedia Commons)
When he hit his seventh stride, the ground rose up before him in the form of what is now sometimes called the Arch-Druid’s barrow. The witch said:
“As Long Compton thou canst not see King of England thou shalt not be. Rise up stick and stand still stone for King of England thou shalt be none; Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be And I myself an eldern tree.”
Then legend says she turned him into the King Stone, his men into the King’s Men Stone Circle and his knights into the Whispering Knights.
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The Whispering Knights, a Neolithic dolmen at the Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds, England (Midnightblueowl/Wikimedia Commons)
Rollrightstones.co.uk says it is unknown what the king did to incur the witch’s wrath or why she turned herself into a witch-elder tree, which is said to still grow in a nearby hedge.
The site says folk tales tell of caves under the King Stone and King’s Men that are the haunt of fairies or the little folk who dance around the stones at midnight. When people go into the caves, tales say, they report being in the fairy realm for years but only a few hours have passed outside. Similar tales are told of other stone circles and megalithic monuments in the British Isles.
Rita’s remains and her grave goods were shipped to the British Museum in London for further study.
Featured Image: The skeleton of the Rollright Stone “witch” (News Team International photo).
If you see someone’s faults hanging out and you truly want to help—whether it be a friend, a spouse, your child, or even your nemesis—don’t say a word about what you have found wrong.
In very little time, you will see such a new person, you will believe you are a maker of wonders.
Indeed, we all are.
You are the Creator’s needle with which is sewn the many patches of Creation into a single garment of glory.
At one end, the needle must be hard and sharp, to squeeze through the ordeal. But the other end must have a vacant hollow, a nothingness with which to hold the thread.
With the world, be firm and sharp. Within, feel how small you are before the Infinite.
Not by toil, nor by struggle did the world come into being. Creator spoke and it was, a world created by words.
Not by toil, nor by struggle is the world sustained. We speak words of wisdom and of kindness and the world endures.
If so, what is the effort Creator demands from us?
That we invest our very essence in those words, as Creator’s very essence was invested within this world’s making.
When the Divine Light began its awesome descent—a journey of world to lower world for endless worlds, condensing its unbounded state again and again into finite packages until focused to a fine, crystallized resolution—it did so with purpose: to bring forth a world of continuous ascent.
Since that beginning, not a day has passed that does not transcend its yesterday.
Like a mighty river rushing to reach its ocean, no dam can hold it back, no creature can struggle against its current. If we appear to fall backward, to take a wrong turn, to lose a day in failure—it is only an illusion, for we have no map to know its way. We see from within, but the river knows its path from Above. And to that place Above all is drawn.
We are not masters of that river— not of our ultimate destiny, nor of the stops along the way, not even of the direction of our travel. We did not create the river—its flow creates us. It is the blood and soul of our world, its pulse and its warmth.
Yet of one thing we have been given mastery: Not of the journey, but of our role within it.
How soon will we arrive? How complete? How fulfilled? Will we be the spectators? Or simply the props?
Or will we be the heroes?
One life breaking through the soil into this world. Where, with all our might, we struggle to rise above it, grapple for its sun and its dew, desperate not to be torn away by the fury of its storms or consumed by its fires.
Then there are our roots, deep under the ground, unmoving and serene. They are our ancient mothers and fathers, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rivkah, Yaakov, Leah and Rachel.
They lie deep within us, at our very core. For them, there is no storm, no struggle. There is only the One, the Infinite, for Whom all the cosmos with all its challenges are nothing more than a fantasy renewed every moment from the void.
Our strength is from our bond with them, and with their nurture we will conquer the storm. We will bring beauty to the world we were planted within.
Show a mighty emperor the world and ask him where he most desires to conquer. He will spin the globe to the furthest peninsula of the most far-flung land, stab his finger upon it and declare, “This! When I have this, then I shall have greatness!”
So too, the Infinite Light. In those places most finite, where the light of day barely trickles in, there is found His greatest glory.
Two rivers take you home: One flows with bitter tears of remorse,
the other with sweet tears of joy.
For most of time, the principal path of travel was the bitter one. Only once soaked in those bitter waters could you rise to embrace your G‑d with joy.
But now we have experienced more than our fill of pain. That which our people suffered in lands across the ocean has purged every stain, bleached every garment of our souls, refined us and lifted us high.
We have cried enough bitter tears. Now is time to return with joy.
Man ponders and answers, “No! I give you a name! You are ‘tree’! You have beauty and you have a soul. You point upwards and you say, ‘There is something higher, there is the One who gives me life and gives me my very being.’”
And so Man goes on, until he has brought the whole of creation down on its knees.
Man alone can accomplish what the angels cannot. Man alone can discover the spiritual within the material.
My fire has been drawn out of the darkness; purified
My expansive fire is Solar by nature and I am called
the Son of the Sun .
I am the purified and exalted fire of your soul.
I am the solar radiance of your consciousness and the true Gold of the philosophers.
Faith is prepared to throw itself into fire for the truth. But, on its own, it cannot find its way.
Hand in hand, intelligence and faith, understanding and wisdom, find their way into the most inner chambers of truth.
He questions every premise; she accepts with complete certitude.
His world revolves around his own good; hers around that which has greater gravitational pull.
Yet, without one another, neither is complete, neither can find it’s own essence or know its own truth.
Superficially, they seem impossibly incompatible.
At their core, intellect and faith are the perfect marriage.
What is the basis for your Faith and your Truth?
Each journey the soul travels takes her higher.
Some journeys are painful, but with purpose. The purpose overwhelms the pain and transforms it into joy.
Some journeys are painful, but with no purpose in sight. There is no medicine to wash away the pain.
There is no medicine, other than the faith that every journey the soul travels takes her higher. Some so much higher, she cannot even imagine their meaning. Until she arrives.
February is a month of Love… and this year on Valentine’s Day the ultimate Love numerology code is activated!
A weeklong celebration of love kicks off on February 9 – triggering New Beginnings in Love.
In numerology, 6 and 9 are the “love numbers”.
No coincidence they make up the number 69 😉
69 has many layers of meaning. One is that 6+9 adds up to the exquisite number 15, symbolizing spiritual alchemy through Love.
What’s really beautiful about the Love Code is that we see it throughout 2015, along with 8 and 15 (wealth and spiritual alchemy) ensuring that love and wealth creation walk hand in hand.
Valentine’s Day this year is more special than ever! Here’s why:
⤞ Valentine’s Day occurs on 2.14.2015, a Universal Date that adds up to 15(2+1+4+2+0+1+5 = 15)
⤞ 2015 is the 15th year of our century.
How beautiful that in 2015, on the one day the whole world celebrates Love and Lovers, we will be immersed in the ACTUAL numerology code of Love!
When you can play and love and laugh all at once – be playful and loving with another – nothing is more sacred, more eternal.
When you are IN LOVE, you are fearless. You are drunk with joy and blissfully merged with another.
(Click on the above image to read the entire article.)
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True faith is intellect’s most vital partner. To travel beyond its boundaries, intellect must find a vision that transcends itself.
That is the meaning of true faith: A perspective that surpasses the field of intellect’s vision, a sense that there is something not only unknown, but unknowable; something before which all our knowledge is an infinitesimal point of nothingness.
And so, the mind that fears faith will choose a truth with which it is most comfortable, while the mind that has found a partner in faith will choose truth that is absolute.
Why must we have jobs? Why can’t our bread fall from heaven?
It does. Our bread is manna from heaven. But it bursts forth from Above like a solar flare—a light far too intense for any world to contain.
So, in each world in the chain of spiritual worlds that extend from above to below until our earthly realm, the beings of that world must labor to absorb that light. Only then can the light descend to the world that follows theirs in the chain—and there yet another form of labor is required, according to the limitations of that world.
Until the light arrives at our world. And here we must do the work that our world requires so that it, too, may absorb the light.
And that is why we each have our worldly occupations.
Derech Mitzvosecha, Taglachat Metzora
Kislev 12, 5775 · December 4, 2014
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson