Pope Sixtus V

 In 1589 Pope Sixtus V decided that castrated men should sing in Saint Peter's Basilica.

To enable male singers to become sopranos of high notes and unbroken trills, their testicles were mutilated.

For more than three centuries castrated men took the place of women in church choirs: the sinning voices of the daughters of Eve, which would have soiled the purity of the sanctuaries, were forbidden.

Also in 1589, Shakespeare completed his first play called "The Two Gentlemen of Verona."

In the play, various characters suggest that women are fickle, deceptive, incapable of meaningful relationships, and have the capacity to transform the men into fools. Women are also treated as personal property in the play. However, at the same time that women are treated as property that can be stolen, traded, or bestowed to other men as "gifts," the play also seems to hint at the dangers of viewing women this way. Shakespeare also creates two very strong heroines in Julia and Silvia, who are gutsy, loyal, and steadfast; unfortunately, however, as with all plays before the 1600's, woman roles were played by men, more precisely because acting was not a respected endeavor, teenage boys played the woman roles... which definitely made the Pope Sixtus V very happy that same year.

Schooled in the art of "Inquisition," Pope Sixtus V was definitely a man of our current right-wing patriarchal/conservative times: he was tough on crime by having 27,000 thousands criminals and their mob bosses executed within 2 years, as well as he cut spending for social programs and cut taxes for the rich.   Is it any wonder he went down in history as The Mad Monarchist?

Another thing that really, really, really, pissed off the Pope was the Gnostics.   Oh, history will tell you he went after the "protestants," but the reality is he was gunning for the more liberal 'Gnostic" sect, not the Protestants that had taken over the Christian church today, but the Gnostic who followed the teaching of the egalitarian sector of Christianity and sought to acquire knowledge about spiritual beliefs in order to further their understandings of all things divine, not the Protestants who were destroying the Gnostic texts and causing the true Christian faith to go underground in caves....

(Authors Note: sorry if i digressed there, but, tis' the season).


December 13 is also the beginning of the runic half-month of Jara.  The rune Jara represents the union between the spiritual and temporal.

This is also Saint Lucy's Day, or Little Yule.  On this date, a candlelight festival is celebrated throughout Sweden.  One daughter in each family wears a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head.

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