Color run 2

   It’s the “happiest 5K on the planet” and if you’ve been associated with just about any social networking site within the last two years you’ve probably seen multiple pictures of people smearing color powder all over their friends with huge smiles plastered on their faces. In fact, the array of colors covering the crisp white clothing worn by Color Run participants is enough to make any mother gasp in terror with the realization that there is no Tide TOGO bleach stick strong enough to get those stains out. However, the social buzz created by The Color Run has ostentatiously leaked color into the hearts of individuals everywhere. Regardless of the title, The Color Run is more than just color. The focus of The Color Run is to promote three core components of life which are healthiness, happiness, and individuality. This 5K isn’t about competition or your mile time, but rather a celebration of wellness and love. What most runners don’t know about the Color Run is that it stems from religious Hindu Roots.

                In countries such as India and Nepal a Hindu festival called Holi is celebrated every year after the first full moon in March to celebrate the coming of spring and the fertility of land. Holi is a three day festival that allows all members of society to celebrate together regardless of race, color, and social status. On the third day of Holi women, men, and children wear white clothing and throw colored powders called aabir and gulal  into the air and smear color onto their faces and bodies. Also, young people show respect to their elders by sprinkling color powder onto their elder’s feet. The celebration of Holi is linked to many mythological legends that are associated with the festival of colors. 

One of the more popular myths behind the festival of Holi involves the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. Krishna would complain to his mother about his skin color being so much darker than Radhas. Krishna’s mother then advised him to apply color to Radha’s skin and observe how her complexion changed. Images of Krishna and Radha are often carried through the streets during Holi celebrations.

So, the next time you put on your white sweat band and lace up your Nikes for The Color Run remember that this 5K represents more than just a work-out. The use of color in both The Color Run and the Holi festival provides individuals with a sense of unity and hope for a more prosperous tomorrow. The joy expressed in both of these celebrations allows people all around the world to come together though color and share a celebration of love and life. It doesn’t matter if you’re participating in The Color Run hosted in your city or traveling to India to celebrate Holi, the power of color reminds us that we are all connected no matter where we live.

Written by Kaley Funkhouser, Student Assistant in the Office of International Education

1148003_153539321516735_1407354802_n

Whales have been following the currents of the ocean for thousands of years like clockwork knowing and teaching the paths to generations to come. In some cultures, like the northern arctic Inuit in Canada, Russia, and Iceland, whales became a staple source of food and even shelter. However, for the people of the Mediterranean whales were mythical beasts of the ocean rumored to have great power and great mystery. Some larger than the biggest ships and capable of sending entire crews to their deaths, whales played a very different role in Mediterranean culture. In the early history of the city of Athens the word ketos is used to describe large sea creatures and ‘monsters’, whales fell into this category of terminology. Eventually ketos became cetacean, which is the contemporary scientific term for both whale and dolphin. For many Mediterranean’s whales were seen as leviathans, which is a biblical creature in the old testament that is associated with evil, and the wrath and omnipotence of God. The leviathan was so feared because of its existence in the earthly realm compared to heavenly or hellish creatures. The ocean is its domain and it attacks at random. One whale caused so much havoc off of the shore of Troy that it was given a name, Porphiyos. Porphiyos for nearly fifty years would destroy ships, and scare away herds of fish. Eventually Porphiyos ran aground and the locals saw their chance to exact their revenge. The people of the town dragged Porphiyos to shore and bludgeoned him to death and cut him to pieces. Contemporary scholars believe that the whale was a Sperm whale roughly 45ft long and 15ft wide. Whales were rare in the Mediterranean, but not so rare that they were unknown to many people. Archaeologists have found several different artifacts that prove whalebones were used for things such as cutting boards, leatherworking and scrimshaw. Most exposure that the people had to whales was accidental. Most commonly people would find them beached or washed up onto shore, but sometimes fisherman would unknowingly spear a smaller whale, though whales were never actively hunted. Whales were often represented in art as huge beasts destroying ships, or represented as the mythical creature Andromeda that terrorized a town demanding virgin sacrifices. In the arctic regions of Russia, Alaska, Iceland, and Canada, whales were extremely common and served a multitude of purposes. Whales were a source of food, heating, building materials, and other tools. When a wale was killed its entire body was used for the village. Its meat was of course served as food, its blubber used as oil for lamps, and even its bones were used as rafters for partially subterranean homes. Very different from the people of the Mediterranean, the Inuit had a healthy respect for the strength and abilities of these animals, but they were anything but leviathans of the sea. Mythology often times shows similarities between cultures that are separated by mountains and seas, but this is a great instance of how things are very different. Creatures like Whales can hold such drastically different meanings to so many cultures. This is just an example of how one culture can find something to be an evil creature that is the incarnation of God’s wrath and omnipotence to one culture, and to another a swimming warehouse of valuable goods that can support a village. Myths not only influence our history, but also our fears, hopes, and understanding.

Milford Sound

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where you would not have thought there would be doors and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else…” – Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell was an early 20th century American scholar of world mythology. He dissected and analyzed ancient stories from every inhabited part of the globe. These stories varied greatly from culture to culture yet there was a similarity in all of them. It was these similarities that intrigued Campbell as they seemed to have a message concerning humanity as a whole as well as every individual. From the stories he studied, Campbell developed a “monomyth” that he called “The Hero’s Journey”.

The documentary Finding Joe, written and directed by Patrick Solomon, explores what The Hero’s Journey is and how it relates to every individual. When viewing this documentary one should be warned that she or he may just decide to quit her or his job and become a “starving artist”. The documentary encourages people to look at the cultivation of the soul as not just a luxury for those with extra time and money, but a necessity for anyone wishing to live the most fulfilling and meaningful life possible.

The title Finding Joe is a bit deceiving as this is not a documentary on Joseph Campbell as much as it is an invitation to discover one’s own self and one’s own passion. When Campbell says “Follow your bliss” he means to acquiesce to the true longing of one’s own soul, to take heed to the muse within. When a person answers the call from the soul, that person radiates and finds success and prosperity.  The reason that most people do not follow their bliss is that it appears to be a path of folly. Campbell’s idea that following bliss, cultivating one’s own unique art, will lead to prosperity and success is not self-evident.  In the myths around the world, the hero must always take a risk. It is courage that defines the hero.  According to Campbell, everyone has the potential to be a hero. The hero lays dormant deep within the soul. All it takes is a little inspiration, a little courage, and a rather large leap of faith for the hero to manifest. I have a “Follow your bliss” bumper sticker on my vehicle. I have adopted Joseph Campbell’s words as my career counseling motto as well as a motto for life.

 -Article written by guest blogger, professor and educational counselor Julie Rudolph from Ferris State University.

tumblr_mqwssxidU61rapxgjo1_500

The ancient Mayan city of Tulum was home to approximately 1,600 people and was built on top of the cliffs of the Yucatan in the Caribbean. Built around the sixth century AD Tulum remained occupied all the way until the age of conquests. The city greatly impressed Europeans sailing by with its grand size and vertically cut obsidian, which gives off a golden glow in the sunlight. Tulum means ‘fence’ or ‘wall’, but some scholars believe that the before European intervention the city may have held the name ‘Zama’, meaning ‘dawn’, because the city faces eastwardly.

Tulum in its day was a very important site for trading as well as religion. Many of the buildings located within its protective wall were dedicated to gods of wind, water, earth, and sun (such as the one in above picture). Tulum was especially known for its temple of the descending god believed to be apart of the cult of the planet Venus. There is a descending god statue carved into the temple and similar statues can only be found in one other city known as Coba.

The central area of the city is level ground where trading would take place between townsfolk, and travelers. Archaeologists have found remnants of pottery, jewelry, and other goods buried within the topsoil to indicate a history of commerce in this open area of the city. Some believe that there may have been a wall in between the commerce and religious areas that only allowed a few individuals into the religious areas. However, during the solstices there was an area that allowed for the public viewing of rituals where the sun would shine directly through holes in the walls indicating the changing of the seasons.

26379_581704348095_3833653_n