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A freely available non-profit archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, occult and esoteric topics.

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      19.06.2002 23:57
      Very helpful



      Okay - well to be more accurate it probably sways gently to the sound of bells and chant but I couldn't think or a better (or less corny) title. I have no idea how I originally stumbled upon the gem of the Web - probably whilst researching some strangeness for my even stranger writing. However, stumble I did and I now raise up my arms in thanksgiving. The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a vast site that contains as you would guess sacred texts from all over the world. It is run on a not for profit basis (something nice to see in today's cash desperate web) and is 'dedicated to religious tolerance and scholorship'. Set up in 1999, the library is not short of visitors. In the first year it received over a million page hits. Nowadays it gets around 5000 visitors and a million hits daily! There is no set agenda - just simply a desire to offer people the chance to access the religions and beliefs of the world. No one belief system is accentuated or promoted. Many of the works offered are in the public domain whereas others have been offered to the archive. One of the joys of this website is the extremely simple yet stylish design. No pop-ups, no adverts, no tinkley midi music or garish colours. The home page is simply white writing on a black background. A nice little graphic on the left hand side and that's it. It looks clean and accessible. In the middle of the page are clickable links 'World Religions', 'Traditions' and 'Mysteries'. On the right hand side an overall list of topics. Don't be fooled by the number of headings you see because a click on each will take you to practically a whole years worth of reading . Clicking on the link 'world religions' in the centre of the page will take you to a list of all the main world religions (YAY they include Pagan!). Clicking on one of these links will take you to the main page for the respective religion and you w
      ill be offered a list of works to choose from. In all cases apart from those faiths that have no sacred text, you can view the scared text of the religion you have chose. The Book of Mormon, The Bible, The Granth of Sikhism, The Qur'an, Dialogues of the Buddha, all and many more can be found here. In each section not only are typical sacred texts offered but also there are often articles that offer insights and information on the religion you have chosen. Another aspect of the site is that they also provide other texts to complement your religious studies from those by Charles Darwin, and Mark Twain concerning the Age of Reason to The Kama Sutra and the poems of Sappho in the Sacred Sexuality section (try saying that five times fast). It seems as though in most cases you find not only important books and authors but also a wealth of information about them. For example clicking on the Poetry of Sappho won't just take you to the poetry, it will also lead you to a long introductory article on Sappho's life plus a website link to an outside site. For the purposes of this opinion (oh ye of naughty minds) I have also checked out the links to the Karma Sutra and found that although the full text is there, there are no accompanying diagrams. Whilst the nature of the text therefore is adult orientated, it seems as though the site have been careful to not offend those of a gentile disposition. The site has a wealth of information which could be useful for a youngster studying religious education but I would suggest that they be supervised perhaps due to the inclusion of sacred sexuality section. That said - better they read that than some of the other stuff easily available on the net which does little to further the belief that sex is a sacred act. The Sacred Text timeline is an interesting read putting many of the world religions in their rightful place in history with lots of links to various parts of the site. The Hypertext Bible is
      a great utility offering you various versions of the Bible such as Hebrew and Greek and also includes the Apocrypha (which I really must read soon!). Back on the homepage clicking 'Traditions' will take you to a list of traditions broken up into location and topics such as Africa, Egypt 'Classical Paganism' and 'Legends and Saga's'. The latter will take you to a giant selection of myths and legends available on the net - Celtic, Arthurian, Icelandic, Anglo-Saxon, Arabian, French, Spanish...Another excellent section under traditions is 'Women and Religion' which includes historic feminist texts and an exploration of women and Goddess orientated spirituality. Back on the homepage again, clicking on 'Mysteries' will take you to another set of options to explore the strange myths and legends of the world old and new. In this section you can find links to Grimoires, Nostradamos , the Occult, Alchemy and more. The newest addition to this section is 'Gothic Texts' which practically has me leaping up and down in excitement - so much to read and not enough time. I definitely need a clone or three to read all the books I want to read in this lifetime! At the top of the homepage is a range of links that inform you about the activities of the site itself. The FAQ will answer most of your questions, and 'About' tells you the history of the site. The Site Map is a Godsend (no pun intended) as it gives you a very quick overview of what is available here. The search function is absolutely brilliant as it's powered by Google. I tried typing in 'tarot', 'angels' and 'Rhiannon' just to see what the results were like. I was rewarded very quickly with a vast and accurate list each time. It is also possible to buy the whole content of the site on a cd. The price is $49.95 which is probably not a bad price considering the wealth of material it provides. The proceeds
      go towards keeping the site free to everyone. It is possible to pay using Paypal or to buy it from Amazon (in the US). You can also get it by snail mail too. I'm not in a position to buy it right now but I will certainly consider it in the future. For me personally, this is one of the most useful sites on the Internet. There is a huge Pagan/Wiccan section which includes the Internet Book of Shadows which began life well before the Internet as we know it came into existance. This alone could keep me revisiting the site. As a writer I find I constantly refer back to the site for information. There are many texts found here that cannot be bought elsewhere. Rare texts being gathered together all in one place and freely available is just well - fantastic. Although I walk my own Pagan Path I very much want to know more about other faiths held in the world. Also I just have a thing about books. When I was a kid, going to library was practically better than Xmas - afterall I go in and come out with 8 presents then two weeks later I exchange them for 8 more presents - cool! Oh look - I just can't contain my excitement of this site. If you are a writer, a researcher, a scholar, someone with a passing interest in these or history or literature - this is a website you simply HAVE to visit. Our beliefs shape the world and ourselves. In these times where religious acceptance is preached but rarely practised this website goes a long way to inform everyone about the rainbow of religions and practices in the world. When it comes to difference don?t settle for 'tolerate'. Read, learn and celebrate. http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm


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