Rare structures and artifacts of the Viking religion practiced centuries prior to Christianity's introduction have been uncovered by archaeologists in Norway, including a "god house."
- A 1,200-year-old temple to the Old Norse gods including Thor and Odin has been unearthed in Norway by a team of archaeologists.
- It was likely used for worship and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices, and other fertility festivals.
- Icelanders are officially practicing the Old Norse pagan religions again; the first temple to the Norse gods in 1000 years is currently being constructed in the City of Reykjavík.
The god house<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU1MjM3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1ODkzNzY0MX0.pmfs1whuVE2pdAlBLV64Zw0T2FSLPFpm63j48AlyUz4/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=700" id="531ba" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="693df469340e1552b5babcf965f8df7e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Aerial view of the "godhouse."
Photo courtesy of the University Museum of Bergen<p>The building remains were unearthed by <a href="https://www.universitetsmuseet.no/nb/artikkel/230/enestaende-funn-av-hedensk-gudehov-fra-yngre-jernalder" target="_blank">archaeologists from the University Museum of Bergen</a> in September at the seaside village of Ose located in western Norway ahead of preparations for a new housing development project. Based on the placement of post holes and other artifacts, the team was able to determine the structure of the god house and how it was used.</p><p>The large wooden building was about 45 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 40 feet high, and is thought by archaeologists to date from the end of the eighth century. The building's layout is almost identical to late Iron Age god houses found at Uppåkra in southern Sweden and Tissø in Denmark, but this is the first temple of its kind found in Norway according to archaeologist and architect <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Soren_Diinhoff" target="_blank">Søren Diinhoff</a> who led the project.</p><p>"We have discovered the most perfectly shaped god house of all the finds so far — I know of no other Scandinavian buildings in which the house construction is as clear as it is here," <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Soren_Diinhoff" target="_blank">Diinhoff</a> told <a href="https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/1200-year-old-viking-temple-found-in-norway" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Syfy Wire</a>'s Elizabeth Rayne. "I think our building is central to document and verify this very special architecture."</p><p>Diinhoff told Live Science that god houses at Ose followed the architectural blueprint of Christian basilicas that travelers would have come across in southern regions. Because of this, Old Norse religious temples of this time are characterized by a high tower looming above a pitched roof, similar to early Christian churches. At the site were also a number of cooking pits for preparing religious feats, and a collection of bones — the remains of animal sacrifices.</p><p>Their excavations also revealed traces of early agricultural settlements dating to between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, including the remains of two <a href="https://www.livescience.com/oldest-viking-settlement-discovered.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">longhouses</a> — large wooden halls typically covered with turf and thatch and used as communal habitations. According to Diinhoff, they would have each been the center of a small farm for a family and their animals. </p>
Old Norse religion<p>Later in the sixth century is when the Norse began to construct large "god houses." These were complex outdoor worship sites dedicated to deities of the Norse pantheon including the fertility god Freyer, the war god Odin, and the storm god Thor. This suggests the worship was more than a small cult or folk practice. Rather, it likely had something to do with elite classes wanting to put on an ideological spectacle. As high-status families began to take control of the earlier religious cults, Norse religious worship became more organized.</p><p>The temple at Ose was likely used for celebrations and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices (the shortest and longest days of the year), which would have been highly revered cosmological events for agrarian societies like the Old Norse. Several years ago, a "phallus" stone was found nearby the excavation site. According to Diinhoff, it was likely a part of Old Norse fertility rituals. </p><p>Festivals in which meat, drinks, and treasures were offered to wooden figurines representing the gods would have also taken place. While the gods consumed the spiritual essence of the food and drink, practitioners were able to enjoy the material of the feast. </p><p> "You would have a good mood, a lot of eating and a lot of drinking," Diinhoff said to Live Science. "I think they would have had a good time."</p>
A return to pagan practices in Norway?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2fc0c3e3cc8af1ce80c73d8eac464841"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OYAWNj76axM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Unfortunately, the party was brought to an end during the 11th century. It was then that Norway's rulers imposed Christianity onto the population. As a result, pagan religious structures were torn down and burned, and Norse gods were demonized. There's currently no evidence suggesting that Ose's god house was part of the iconoclastic purge, but Diinhoff and his team would like to find out in further work.</p><p>Recently, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/iceland-to-officially-worship-norse-gods-again" target="_self">the Norse pagan religions have made a comeback</a>. For example, an Icelandic neopagan faith group called the <a href="https://asatru.is/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ásatrú Association of Iceland</a>, is currently one of the country's fastest growing religions. Over the last decade, it's almost quadrupled its membership going from a (granted, low) base of 1,275 people in 2009 to 4,473 in 2018. The association is constructing the first temple to the Norse gods in 1000 years in the City of Reykjavík. The project began in 2017 and after running into a funding roadblock, it's expected to be completed later this year. </p>
Eastern traditions have complex views on how karma affects your life.
- Karma is not simple retribution for bad deeds.
- Eastern traditions view karma as part of a cycle of birth and rebirth.
- Actions and intentions can influence karma, which can be both positive and negative.
Thanga Wheel of LIfe
Credit: Adobe Stock
Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Life~ Samsara Cyclic Existence<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c84ca072d61d5303c11f6290102a63ea"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5m6Vge2JBFs?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Law professor Ganesh Sitaraman explains why America has never achieved true democracy—and how it can.
- Three essential components of democracy are economic equality, social unity, and a government that acts in the interest of the people. America lacks all three of those components, says Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Ganesh Sitaraman.
- "In study after study, political scientists have shown that our government is responsive primarily to the wealthy and interest groups, not to ordinary people," says Sitaraman. "A system of government that is mostly unresponsive to the people is not a democracy at all."
- Sitaraman argues that the neoliberal era is what divided America and continues to prevent the country from realizing a true democracy. In this video, he explains the problem with neoliberalism and how a new agenda could create far better opportunities.
The young man died nearly 2,000 years ago in the volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii.
- A team of researchers in Italy discovered the intact brain cells of a young man who died in the Mount Vesuvius eruption in A.D. 79.
- The brain's cell structure was visible to researchers (who used an electron microscope) in a glassy, black material found inside the man's skull.
- The material was likely the victim's brain preserved through the process of vitrification in which the intense heat followed by rapid cooling turned the organ to glass.
Discovery of cells<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDUwNTc3Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzkxOTE3Nn0.P40yPfGHp1jlqrALyP2BXokaKnS1u0ThXdmsbOuRrtw/img.png?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C78%2C0%2C0&height=700" id="ba6e0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="72ff4c56563712e6e7a89df6207cebf1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Electron microscope image of brain axons.
Credit: PLOS ONE<p>Now, subsequent research has described how the researchers, using an electron microscope, discovered cells in the vitrified brain. According to Petrone they were "incredibly well preserved with a resolution that is impossible to find anywhere else." Additionally, the team used another method called energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to determine the chemical compounds of the glassy material. The sample was rich in carbon and oxygen, which indicates that it was organic. The researchers compared those ancient proteins to a database of proteins found in the human brain, and found that all of the discovered proteins are indeed present in human brain tissue.</p> <p>Additionally, Petrone and his team suspect they also discovered vitrified nerve cells in the ancient victim's spinal cord and cerebellum based on the position of the sample in the mind of the skull and the concentration of the proteins. </p>
Future research<p>These impeccable preservations of brain tissue are unprecedented and will undoubtedly open the door to new and exciting research opportunities on these ancient people and civilizations that weren't possible until now.</p> <p>The Italian research team will continue to study the remains to learn more about the vitrification process, including the precise temperatures the victims were exposed to and the cooling rate of the ash. They also, according to Petrone, want to analyze proteins from the remains and their related genes. </p>
A new survey also found that women executives believe imposter syndrome to be common among women in corporate America.
Am I the great pretender?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ3NzQzOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NzA2Nn0._YO27j8GmJnSeop1mPFxx_sOKg3DorgFFpcfHNYVV98/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C312%2C0%2C312&height=700" id="5201d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3474c9bcafb8198254dd798882b99551" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="diverse group meeting" />
Fake it till you make it (to the moon)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d991955b6be7f4d226a2e1572edec4f9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IrTrBNmMXG0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Because the original study focused on highly successful women, there's been a misconception that only women suffer from imposter syndrome and the best remedy is for them to "just get over it." Neither is true.</p><p>Regarding the gender gap, there's been much back and forth in the research. <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/men-suffer-from-impostor-syndrome-2016-1" target="_blank">Men certainly suffer</a> from imposter syndrome, and some studies have suggested men <a href="https://qz.com/1296783/it-turns-out-men-not-women-suffer-more-from-imposter-syndrome/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be more inclined toward it</a>—at least under specific conditions. But due to social expectations and cultural norms, they may not be as open about it. Other studies have found women, especially women of color and those from the LGBTQ community, to be <a href="https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200724-why-imposter-syndrome-hits-women-and-women-of-colour-harder" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hit harder by imposter syndrome</a>.</p><p>Thankfully, for both men and women, there are ways to diminish these fraudulent feelings of phoniness. <a href="https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Speaking with Time</a>, imposter syndrome expert Valerie Young recommended reframing your thoughts. We can learn to be mindful of the disruptive thought, relabeling it as a feeling and not a reality. We can learn to appreciate constructive criticism, develop growth mindsets, and push ourselves to ask questions rather than holding back out of fear. And as KPMG's study showed, having a supportive person to speak honestly with can do wonders.</p><p>"The goal is not to never feel like an impostor. The goal for me is to give [people] the tools and the insight and information to talk themselves down faster," Young told Time. "They can still have an impostor moment, but not an impostor life."</p><p>Short of pathological narcissism, I imagine we all have our imposter moments. I think <a href="https://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/160603396711/hi-i-read-that-youve-dealt-with-with-impostor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">author Neil Gaiman</a> illustrates this best in an anecdote. One night, Gaiman was chatting up a fellow Neil at a very important event filled with very important people who had done very important things. Like Gaiman, the elderly Neil felt he didn't belong in such a prestigious company. That Neil was, of course, Neil Armstrong.</p><p>As Gaiman put it so well: "And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren't any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for."</p>
Roger Penrose used mathematics to show black holes actually exist. Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel helped uncover what lies at the center of our galaxy.
- Half of the prize was awarded to Roger Penrose, a British mathematical physicist who proved that black holes ought to exist, if Einstein's relativity is correct.
- The other half was awarded to Reinhard Genzel, a German astrophysicist, and Andrea Ghez, an American astronomer.
- Genzel and Ghez helped develop techniques to capture clearer images of the cosmos.
Sagittarius A*<p>Since the early 1990s, Genzel and Ghez have been leading independent teams of astronomers that have helped develop techniques for capturing clearer images of the cosmos from Earth. The teams' primary focus of study was what lies at the center of our galaxy, a region called Sagittarius A*. </p>
Credit: Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences<p>Using some of the world's most sophisticated telescopes, Genzel and Ghez also discovered that one star in this region, known as S2 or S-O2, orbits the galaxy's center in just 16 years. (Compare that to our Sun, which takes 200 million years to complete an orbit around the galaxy.) Measurements from both teams indicated that Sagittarius A* is about the size of our solar system, but is incredibly dense, containing roughly 4 million solar masses. This led them to conclude the center of our galaxy could be only one thing: a supermassive black hole. </p>