Archive for Religion

Happy Easter

Easter Lily

This is one of this year’s Easter lilies lighted from behind by sunlight from the window above. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Happy St. Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s why hearts, flowers and candy are associated with St. Valentine’s Day:

heart-candy.jpgDuring the medieval era of chivalry, the names of English maidens and bachelors were put into boxes and drawn out in pairs. Each couple exchanged gifts and the girl became the man’s sweetheart for a year. He wore her name on his sleeve and was bound by duty to attend and protect her (the accepted origin of the phrase, “to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve”). This old custom of drawing names was considered a good omen for love and often foretold a wedding. In 1537, King Henry VIII declared, by Royal Charter, that all England would celebrate February 14 as “Saint Valentine’s Day” and with the passage of time, February 14 became the traditional date for exchanging love messages and simple gifts (such as flowers or candy), with Saint Valentine becoming the accepted Patron Saint of Lovers.

Did you know that St. Valentine was not only the patron saint of lovers, but also of epilepsy, fainting and the plague?

godivaSt. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way. He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.

Enjoy the candy - Click on the pictures for larger size.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Monuments

From APOD:

Mars and Orion Over Monument Valley
Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (

Welcome to The World At Night. Sharing the night sky seen around the world, this view from Monument Valley, USA includes a picturesque foreground of famous buttes. Buttes are composed of hard volcanic rock left behind after water eroded away the surrounding soft rock. The two buttes on the image left are known as the Mittens, while Merrick Butte is on the right. Recorded just last week, planet Mars is at the left of the skyscape, a glowing beacon of orange that is the brightest object in the frame. To the right of Mars lies the constellation of Orion. Betelgeuse is the reddish star near the center and the Belt of Orion and the Orion Nebula are farther right. Finally, the bright blue star Rigel appears above Merrick Butte in this stunning view of The World At Night.

Please click on the image for the full-sized view of this magnificent photo.

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Squirrel at La Purisima Mission

One of the more charming landmarks along El Camino Real in California is the La Purisima Mission near Lompoc. The ambience in the mission is set by docents dressed in the attire and playing roles as though the original occupants were still there. On our last visit, we snapped this picture of a squirrel on a low tree limb in the picnic ground. We liked the composition and lighting of this picture very much. Click the image for a larger view.

More about the mission itself:

La Purisima Mission

Misión La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima (Mission of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary) was founded by Father Presidente Fermin de Lasuén on December 8, 1787 and was the 11th of 21 Franciscan Missions in California. During the Mission’s early years, several thousand Chumash Indians were baptized into the Catholic Church; over 100 large and small adobe buildings were built; a water system developed; crops and livestock raised and La Purisima grew and prospered.

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Celebrating Carnival

Carnival (a farewell to meat) is defined as a communal celebration, especially the religious celebration in Catholic countries that takes place just before Lent. Since early times carnivals have been accompanied by parades, masquerades, pageants, and other forms of revelry that had their origins in pre-Christian pagan rites, particularly fertility rites that were connected with the coming of spring and the rebirth of vegetation.

One of the first recorded instances of an annual spring festival is the festival of Osiris in Egypt; it commemorated the renewal of life brought about by the yearly flooding of the Nile. In Athens, during the 6th century B.C., a yearly celebration in honor of the god Dionysus was the first recorded instance of the use of a float. It was during the Roman Empire that carnivals reached an unparalleled peak of civil disorder and licentiousness. The major Roman carnivals were the Bacchanalia, the Saturnalia, and the Lupercalia.

Image: a peacock-feathered Carnival mask - credit: Damsel

In Europe the tradition of spring fertility celebrations persisted well into Christian times, where carnivals reached their peak during the 14th and 15th cent. Because carnivals are deeply rooted in pagan superstitions and the folklore of Europe, the Roman Catholic Church was unable to stamp them out and finally accepted many of them as part of church activity. The immediate consequence of church influence may be seen in the medieval Feast of Fools, which included a mock Mass and a blasphemous impersonation of church officials. Eventually, however, the power of the church made itself felt, and the carnival was stripped of its most offending elements. The church succeeded in dominating the activities of the carnivals, and eventually they became directly related to the coming of Lent. The major celebrations are generally on Shrove Tuesday or “Fat” Tuesday (Mardi Gras).

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St. Valentine’s Day

Long celebrated as a religious feast, St. Valentines Day has become the second most popular day of the year to exchange greeting cards, Christmas being the most popular. Eighty-five percent of Valentines Greeting cards are purchased by women.

From WikiPedia:

St. Valentine’s Day

St. Valentine’s Day falls on February 14, and is the traditional day on which lovers in certain cultures let each other know about their love, commonly by sending Valentine’s cards, which are often anonymous. The history of Valentine’s day can be traced back to a Catholic Church feast day, in honor of Saint Valentine. The day’s associations with romantic love arrived after the High Middle Ages, during which the concept of romantic love was formulated.

And finally, for those disappointed in love or who lack faith, there is this SAD alternative: Single Awareness Day (SAD)

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Damsel Sends You a Glass Chapel

After some rain moved through the area the day before, we took a drive to Palos Verdes last weekend and stopped at the Wayfarer’s Chapel on a spectacular day.

Wayfarers Chapel

With its breathtaking Pacific Ocean view and original Lloyd Wright architecture, the Wayfarers Chapel was conceived as a respite for all wayfarers on the journey of life. Here all people may sit and be nurtured by the beauty of nature and enjoy peaceful meditation. No one realized that this simple idea would produce a world-renowned sacred site. The power of Wayfarers Chapel is a blend of the sacred purpose and beauty that people experience. This quiet beauty is emphasized by the openness and echoing of nature in the elegant glass structure.

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