Monday, November 15, 2010

Hajj 2010

Feel the power and the energy. What do you think the black stone is and represents as a metaphor?

Officials: Record number of Muslims to participate in Hajj   CNN - November 15, 2010

About 1.8 million Muslims were in the holy city of Mecca on Monday for the first day of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage that every able-bodied Muslim is expected to perform at least once in his or her lifetime. Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, who is overseeing Hajj in 2010, was quoted in the Saudi Press Agency as saying that the pilgrims this year amounted to the "highest number ever recorded." An additional 1.6 million local residents are expected, bringing the total anticipated number of pilgrims to more than 3.4 million. The pilgrims have come from a total of 181 countries.

New Saudi train shuttles hajj pilgrims   AFP - November 14, 2010

A Chinese-built railway, only to be used for five days a year, was open to Hajj pilgrims. It traveled through the Red Sea city of Jeddah at a high speed reaching 360 kilometres (225 miles) per hour.

Millions of Muslims on Annual Hajj Pilgrimage   Voice of America - November 14, 2010

Thousands of tents housing Muslim pilgrims are crowded together near Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon. The pilgrimage ends with the start of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha.

The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).

The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special state in which Muslims live while on the pilgrimage.

The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham (Ibrahim). Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer, runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, and throws stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.

As of 2009, about two million pilgrims participate in this annual pilgrimage. Crowd-control techniques have become critical, and because of the large numbers of people, many of the rituals have become more stylized. It is not necessary to kiss the Black Stone, but merely to point at it on each circuit around the Kaaba. Throwing pebbles was done at large pillars, which for safety reasons in 2004 were changed to long walls with catch basins below to catch the stones. The slaughter of an animal can be done either personally, or by appointing someone else to do it, and so forth.[8] But even with the crowd control techniques, there are still many incidents during the Hajj, as pilgrims are trampled in a crush, or ramps collapse under the weight of the many visitors, causing hundreds of deaths. Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the "lesser pilgrimage", or Umrah. However, even if one chooses to perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so.

The Black Stone of Mecca Crystalinks

  Scenes of Hajj From Mecca   Google Videos

Black Stones

Alchemy and Mythology

Stanley Kubrick uses alchemical allegories through out the film '2001: A Space Odyssey'.

    The obvious analogies in '2001: A Space Odyssey' are the celestial alignments that proceed each of the alchemical transmutations in the film.

    The second main allegory is that it is a black stone that initiates these transmutations. Again this mirrors the alchemical lore about the black stone causing the transmutation of the alchemist. Kubrick proves that he knows exactly what he is doing as his secret is in plain sight.

    First one must remember that every time the monolith, the magical stone, appears in the film there is a strange beautiful celestial alignment occurring. And one must remember that every celestial alignment in the film is followed by a monolith, that is, except for one. That would be the lunar eclipse that occurs at the very beginning of the film. So the question arises - if we are to stay within the rules that are prescribed in the rest of the film - where is the monolith that is supposed to follow that first alignment?

    The monolith itself doesn't show up in the film for ten more minutes after that first celestial alignment, so what gives here? Is Kubrick just showing off his incredible special effects? Is it just there to impress the viewer from the beginning? These things may very well also be true, but the ultimate trick of Kubrick's is embedded in the idea that the monolith must appear after every one of these magical alignments. Once again, the secret of the film is completely revealed from the beginning. There is a monolith that appears right after the opening sequence with the magical, lunar eclipse. But where is it?

    It is right in front of the viewer's eyes! The film is the monolith. In a secret that seems to never have been seen by anyone - the monolith in the film has the same exact dimensions as the Cinerama movie screen on which 2001 was projected in 1968. This can only be seen if one sees the film in it's wide-screen format. Completely hidden, from critic and fan alike, is the fact that Kubrick consciously designed his film to be the monolith, the stone that transforms. Like the monolith, the film projects images into our heads that make us consider wider possibilities and ideas. Like the monolith, the film ultimately presents an initiation, not just of the actor on the screen, but also of the audience viewing the film. That is Kubrick's ultimate trick. He slyly shows here that he knows what he is doing at every step in the process.

    The monolith and the movie are the same thing.

- Alchemical Kubrick - 2001: The Great Work On Film - by Jay Weidner

Isis was a magician who is thought to have sometimes used a shiny black stone. Her magic was allied to Thoth and given to mankind as a tool in resurrection after destruction in the alchemy of time.

- Egyptian Mythology by Richard Patrick

The Black Stone and the Hourglass

If you believe in the ancient astronaut theory of creation,

you have to wonder if the Black Stone is an alien artifact.