Realms

The interdimensional hypothesis is a theory that paranormal phenomenon and related events involve visitations from other realities or dimensions that coexist separately alongside our own. The theory holds that UFOs are a modern manifestation of a phenomenon that has occurred throughout recorded human history, which in prior ages were ascribed to mythological or supernatural creatures.

Proponents believe it possible that a technology already exists which encompasses both the physical and the psychic. It is thought that there may be a civilization that is millions of years more advanced than ours, and that it is possible that a million-year-old civilization may show us something that we don’t know how to perceive.

It is argued that if the other dimension is more advanced than ours, or is our own future, this would explain how paranormal phenomenon have a tendency to appear and disappear from sight and fail all testing and experimentation.

Some consider the interdimensional hypothesis as a belief system rather than a scientific hypothesis. Others believe a technology encompassing the mental and material realms is not entirely out of the question. The psychic realms, so mysterious to us today, could be an ordinary part of an advanced technology we are unable to comprehend.

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Metaphor

A walk-in is a new age concept of a person whose original soul has departed his or her body and has been replaced with a new soul, either temporarily or permanently.

Interest in the walk-in phenomenon was initially stimulated in the 1970s by the popular Seth Speaks series of occult books written by channel Jane Roberts, as reputedly authored by her various spirit-world benefactors. In 1979, Ruth Montgomery contributed to the fascination with Strangers Among Us, a collection of accounts of walk-ins. She included prominent historical figures among her subjects, such as Thomas Jefferson as having hosted walk-in spirits who actually wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Subsequently, a belief system grew up around the walk-in. It included New Age attributes such as the concept of ascending into higher frequencies of evolution, a variety of psi powers, traditional predictions regarding earth changes first cited in the Bible, and predictions of dire fates for those whose vibrational levels remain unraised. The New Age walk-in belief system now includes a number of variant experiences such as channeling, telepathy contact with extraterrestrial intelligences, or soul merging, where the original soul is said to remain present, coexisting or integrating with the new one.

The experiences are not regarded favorably by some religious groups and mental health professionals. Some psychiatrists believe that all of these experiences, from traditional walk-ins to the New Age variety up to and including cooperative healthy multiples, are an attention-seeking playacting, or at best a metaphor of distress to express something the client feels is wrong or somehow different from usual, but is having trouble describing.

Insurance

Alien abduction insurance is an insurance policy issued against alien abduction. The insurance policy is redeemed if the insured person is abducted by aliens. A policy normally costs around $150 per $1.5 million in coverage. Some companies offer policies for alien pregnancy, alien examinations and death caused by aliens. More recently the Alien Abduction Insurance Corporation has launched the idea of abduction insurance certificates as a unique gift for a lifetime premium and sells it for $9.95.

The first company to offer UFO abduction insurance was the St. Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The company says that it has paid out at least two claims. The company pays the claimant $1 per year until their death or for 1 million years, whichever comes first. Over 20,000 people have purchased the insurance.

The insurance company Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson stopped offering alien abduction insurance after having sold the policy to about four thousand people. At a cost of roughly $155 a year the policy would pay about $160,000 to someone who could show that they had been abducted by a being who was not from Earth. The payment would double if the insured person was impregnated during the event. Men were also able to purchase the impregnation insurance for protection against the unknown capabilities of alien technology.

Occasion

All seasonal festivals attract superstitions, which usually focus on whatever elements are considered particularly special to the season. Christmas has been one of the most popular festivals in calendar for a long time, so it is no surprise that it has had more than its fair share of beliefs, and those which are still widely known are concentrated on.

The only genuine belief today about mistletoe is that anyone who stands under it cannot refuse to be kissed.  Special powers are attributed to it by a wide range of cultures, both within Europe and elsewhere. The use of mistletoe as an all-heal and a cure for impotence is reputed to have a very ancient history. The link between mistletoe and fertility persists to this day in the tradition of kissing underneath bunches of it at Christmas. In the early 19th century, it was traditional for each man who kissed under the mistletoe to remove one berry. Once all the berries were gone, so was the potency.

The Druids regarded anything growing on oak trees as having been sent from heaven. On the rare occasions when mistletoe was found growing on an oak, it would be gathered with great ceremony. A priest in white clothing would cut the mistletoe with a golden sickle and allow it to fall onto a white cloak, and two white bulls would then be sacrificed.

Evergreen

In decorating the house with evergreens at Christmas, it was once believed that care must be taken not to let ivy be used alone, or even predominate, as it is a plant of bad omen and would prove injurious. Ivy was used in garlands by the ancient Greeks and the Romans for religious ceremonies and was strongly associated with Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine.

Since Roman times, ivy has been associated with wine and wine-making. Branches of evergreen ivy tied to a pole was often used to indicate a place where wine or alcohol was for sale. Hence, the proverb “Good wine needs no bush” meaning that it is not necessary to advertise well-made goods. Ivy is less commonly seen in houses in Britain at Christmas compared to holly and mistletoe and it may be that established religions opposed its use in Christmas wreaths because of its association with drunkenness.

At one time, there was disagreement between those who believed that the Christmas evergreens should be burned when taken down, and those who insisted they should not. Both sides maintained it would be dreadfully bad luck not to follow their rule, but there is no pattern to explain the different views on burning. The earliest anti-burning treatise dates from 1866, but there are references which support burning back to the eleventh century. On this evidence, it would seem that burning the Christmas evergreens was the norm until late in the nineteenth century.

Mainstay

Holly has been a mainstay of Christmas decoration since the fifteenth century, mentioned regularly in churchwardens’ records, but many of the specific traditions about it are found in much later accounts. It has been said that the kind of holly that comes into a house at Christmas could determine who would be master during the coming year, the wife or the husband. If the holly is smooth the wife will be master, if the holly is prickly, the husband will be the master.

Holly is palatable to livestock despite its spines and was extensively used as a winter fodder for livestock in medieval times. Hay and grains for wintering stock would often run short, and the livestock would eventually have to be slaughtered, causing problems to medieval economies in the following years. Thus, a supply of fresh browse would have been extremely valuable. Written records of payments and agreements involving the use of holly for livestock cover a wide period from the late 12th century to the mid-18th century, by which time the practice had been largely abandoned.

In the past, many believed that it was extremely unlucky to decorate before Christmas Eve. It was once thought that if every scrap of Christmas decoration was not removed from the church before Candlemas Day on February 2nd, there would be a death within a year in the family occupying the pew where the leaf or berry was left.

Ecology

Festive ecology explores the relationships between the symbolism and the ecology of the plants, fungi and animals associated with cultural events such as festivals, processions and special occasions.

Holly, ivy and mistletoe, plants traditionally associated with Christmas, have had special roles in earlier religions and past cultures. Houses were decorated with evergreens and bunches of holly were given as tokens of friendship. When this festival was absorbed into the Christian calendar, holly and the other evergreens were absorbed as well.

The main areas in which belief comes to play in respect to Christmas decorations are which plants can be used and which are forbidden, when they are put up and taken down, and what happens to them later and whether they should be burnt or not.

Artificial decorations were not introduced until late Victorian times and do not seem to have gathered any beliefs of their own.

Equator

The Anhinga, sometimes called the Snakebird, Darter, American Darter, or Water Turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird.

It is a cormorant-like bird with a very long neck, and often swims with only the neck above water. When swimming in this way the name Snakebird is apparent, since only the light-colored neck appears above water, making the bird look like a snake ready to strike

Unlike ducks, the Anhinga is not able to waterproof its feathers using oil produced by the uropygial gland. Consequently, feathers can become waterlogged, making the bird barely buoyant. However, this allows them to dive easily and search for underwater prey such as fish and amphibians. They remain submerged for significant periods.

When necessary, the Anhinga will dry out its wings and feathers. It will perch for long periods with its wings spread to allow the drying process. If it attempts to fly while its wings are wet, it has great difficulty getting off the water and takes off by flapping vigorously while “running” on the water.

Anhingas will migrate towards the equator during winter but this range is determined by the amount of sunshine to warm their chilled feathers. They have been found as far north as the states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A flock or group of anhingas is known as a kettle.

Archetypes

Oneiromancy is a form of divination based upon dreams. It is a system of dream interpretation that uses dreams to predict the future.

The word comes from the Oneiroi, the sons of Hypnos the Greek god of sleep. Usually such dream interpretation is of a prophetic nature as opposed to the modern psychological version whereby dreams are often seen as clues to the present state of the dreamer, as in the scientific field of oneirology.

The interpretation of dreams was particularly prevalent in ancient Egypt where the dreams of the Pharoah were given great prominence. Oneiromancy also occurs in the Christian bible, as when the Magi are told in a dream to avoid Herod on their journey home.

For many cultures in the past, oneiromancy was seen as a science rather than an art. The use of flexible imagery and artistic interpretation is similar to some of the modern psychological approaches to dreams such as Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and archetypes.

Light

Diwali, popularly known as the festival of lights, is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of firecrackers, joy, togetherness and hope.

The celebration commemorates the return of Lord Rama from his fourteen-year long exile, and his vanquishing of the demon king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen oil lamps and burst firecrackers.

While the Diwali is popularly known as the festival of lights, the most significant spiritual meaning is the awareness of inner light. The celebration refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one’s true nature.

In each legend, myth and story of Diwali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts. It is the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds; that which brings us closer to divinity.