Foster Community House.













I am really happy to have been elected the President of the Foster Community House. We have some innovative changes planned for the future.  Here are a few photographs of what has taken place already.  We have a community shop and lounge, an outside area which is being decorated with hand made flowers and other artworks.  It is a welcoming place where people can drop in for a coffee and cake or take up a hobby or course.  The philosophy course and movies are very well attended.

Inquiries:  03 5682 1101

Saturnalia: The best end of year philosophy class.

The year of Jesus’s birth was determined by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk and abbot of a Roman monastery.

     In the Roman, pre-Christian era, years were counted from “the founding of the City” (Rome).  Ah, all the pilgrim roads lead to Rome!    

Saturn: God of life death and soul.

     The Romans identified Saturn with the Greek Cronus, whose myths were adapted for Latin literature and Roman art. In particular, Cronus’s role in the genealogy of the Greek gods was transferred to Saturn.  As early as Livius Andronicus (3rd century BC), Jupiter was called the son of Saturn.

How  did Christmas come to be celebrated on December 25th ?

Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17th -25th . During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration.

  The celebration still takes place today in Rome.

The Victims.

The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.”  Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week.  At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

Gingerbread Men.

The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival.    Human sacrifice, rape, intoxication and going from house to house while singing naked and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).


Christianity’s Pagan Origins.

In the 4th century AD, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to incorporate the pagan masses within it.  Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

No Puritan Christmas.

Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.

Anti -Semitism.

   In 1466 when Pope Paul II forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city.  An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators.

The Origin of Christmas Tree.

Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshippers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning “Christmas Trees”.  Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church.

The Origin of Mistletoe.

Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna.  Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim.  The Christian custom of “kissing under the mistletoe” is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia within the Druidic sacrificial cult.


The Origin of Christmas Presents.

In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January).  Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace.  The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavour by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas.

The Origin of Santa Claus.

Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra.  He died in 345 CE on December 6th.  He was only named a saint in the 19th century. Nicholas was among the most senior bishops who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and created the New Testament.  The text they produced portrayed Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.

The Nicholas Cult.

In 1087, a group of sailors who idolised Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy.  There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children’s stockings with her gifts.  The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the centre of the Nicholas cult.  Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’s death, December 6th.

From flying broomstick to flying horse.

•    The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans.  These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw.  Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn.  When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing.

Paganism versus Monotheism.

Paganism is a wide group of  polytheistic beliefs primarily those of cultures known to the ancient classical world.  Paganism has also been understood to include any non-Abrahamic , folk or ethic religion. Modern paganism is a group of  new spiritual movements influenced by, or claiming to be derived from, the various beliefs of pre-modern Europe.

The difference between Polytheism and Buddhism.

The Four Noble Truths, which comprise the foundation of Buddhism, are:

This world is suffering.

The cause of suffering is desire.

The cessation of suffering is the cessation of  desire.  [Middle path].

 The cessation of desire is achieved through practicing the Noble Eight-fold Path, which includes right speech, right action, right livelihood, etc.

Division Eightfold Path factors Acquired factors
Wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā) 1. Right view 9. Superior right knowledge
2. Right intention 10. Superior right liberation
Ethical conduct (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla) 3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
Concentration (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi) 6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration

Life After Life.

The goal of Buddhism is to escape the wheel of birth and death. Since suicide leads only to reincarnation, the only effective way to escape this world is by attaining nirvana, a transcendental state of consciousness which serves as an exit pass from the wheel of birth and death.

As Tenzin Josh asserted in explaining his personal transition from a punk lifestyle in London to becoming a Buddhist monk: “Whether a punk nihilist or a Buddhist hermit, you just don’t see a point in life and want to find a way out.”


The purpose of the other religions is to transcend this world.

The purpose of Judaism is to elevate this world, and in so doing, perfect oneself.


The purpose of meditation—in which Bhu-Jews spend many long hours—is to clearly perceive ultimate Truth, in the universe and in one’s own life. Unfortunately, one can be an adept in meditation, and still commit adultery, lose one’s temper, and be bloated with pride. I have known great masters of meditation who succumbed to all three. Spiritual consciousness, in and of itself, does not lead to proper action.

Bhu and Hassidim Jews.