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Jackal The Egyptian jackal was regarded as somewhat sacred by the ancient Egyptians, so much so that one of their main and most important gods, Anubis, was depicted with the head of a jackal.  Anubis was considered a god of the Underworld, and was also the god who oversaw the process of embalming.

The ancient Egyptian jackal appears frightening if one is not aware of the spiritual benefits of the jackal spirit guide.  The jackal, as personified or deified in the jackal-god Anubis, is a psychopomp (a spirit that guides the newly departed souls to the next life or world).  The ancient Egyptians looked at death in a different way from those of us living today, and as such they valued animals they believed would guide the dead to the next world, e.g. the Egyptian jackal.

Archaeologists identified the sacred animal of Anubis as an Egyptian canid, that at the time was called the golden jackal, but recent genetic testing has caused the Egyptian animal to be reclassified as the African golden wolf, also known simply as the golden wolf or African wolf, a canid native to north and north-eastern Africa.




Jain Om This Jain Symbol is a modified version of the Hindu Om.  The five parts that make up the symbol represent the five lines of the Namokar Mantra, a daily prayer whose recital by believers is a central part of the Jain religion.  The Namokar, or namkar mantra honours the five Jain Panch Parmeshtis, or great entities, which are:

Arihantas, (Tirthankars or Jinas), the pure souls, the saints.
Siddhas, liberated souls who are beyond birth and death.
Acharyas, leaders of Jain congregations.
Upadhyays, initiated monks and nuns.
Sadhus and Sadhvis, male and female laypersons (householders).

The Namokar mantra is as follows:

"I bow to the Arahants, the perfected human beings.  I bow to the Siddhas, liberated bodiless souls.  I bow to the Acharyas, the masters and heads of congregations.  I bow to the Upadhyayas, the spiritual teachers.  I bow to the spiritual practitioners in the universe, Sadhus.  This fivefold obeisance mantra, destroys all sins and obstacles, and of all auspicious repetitions is the first and foremost.  Or: I bow to the enlightened beings I bow to the liberated souls, I bow to religious leaders, I bow to religious teachers, I bow to all ascetics of the world.  These five salutations are capable of destroying all sins.  And they are the most auspicious of all benedictions."




Jainism Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is one of the most ancient of all Indian religions.  The three main principles of Jainism are ahimsa ('non-violence'), anekantavada ('non-absolutism'), and aparigraha ('non-attachment'); it is also characterised by asceticism.

Followers of Jainism are called 'Jains', a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina ('victor') and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life.

Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as Tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who is believed to have lived millions of years ago, and the twenty-fourth being the Mahavira around 500 BCE.  Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal Dharma with the Tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

There are two major ancient sub-traditions within Jainism, Digambaras and Svetambaras, with several smaller sub-traditions which emerged in the second millennium CE.  The Digambaras and Svetambaras have different views on ascetic practices, gender and which Jain texts can be considered canonical.  Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions, with laypersons (sravakas) supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources.

Jainism has between four and five million followers, the majority of which live in India.  Outside of India, some of the largest Jain communities can be found in Canada, Europe, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname, Fiji, and the United States.  Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, and Diwali.




Jerusalem Cross The Jerusalem cross (also known as the 'Crusaders' cross', 'Five-fold Cross', or 'cross-and-crosslets') is an heraldic cross and Christian Cross variant consisting of a large cross potent surrounded by four smaller Greek Crosses, one in each quadrant.  There are variants to the design, with either the four crosslets also in the form of Crosses potent, or conversely with the central cross also in the form of a plain Greek cross.

While the symbol of the five-fold cross appears to originate in the 11th century CE, its association with the Kingdom of Jerusalem dates to the second half of the 13th century.  The symbolism of the five-fold cross is variously given as the five wounds of Christ, Christ and the four evangelists, or Christ and the four quarters of the world.  The symbolism of five crosses representing the five wounds is first recorded in the context of the consecration of the St Brelade's Church under the patronage of Robert of Normandy (before 1035 CE); the crosses are incised in the church's altar stone.




Jesuits See Society of Jesus.



Jesus Fish See Ichthys.



Jewdas Jewdas was founded in 2006 CE.  It is a Jewish organisation based in London, England, whose aims are the dispersion of Israelites, Judahites and later Jews out of their ancestral homeland (Israel) and their subsequent settlement in other parts of the globe (known as diaspora).  It describes itself as ‘radical’ and is described by The Jewish Chronicle as a "Jewish diaspora group, known for its far-left anti-Zionism."  Jewdas has a satirical-communal website and stages events in London and elsewhere.  It is engaged in political, cultural and artistic activities whose representatives use the collective pseudonym ‘Geoffrey Cohen’ when speaking to the media.

Its first 'event' was held on 18 March 2006 at rampART, a derelict building in Rampart Street in London's East End, the traditional home of the city’s immigrant Jewish community.  It was a supposedly ‘free party' celebrating Purim, a Jewish holiday commemorating the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews.  It was open to anyone of any ethnic or religious background and was attended by over 600 people.  Its second main event was a subject of great controversy, being called ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Hackney’.  This is a reference to an anti-Semitic fabricated text claiming to describe a Jewish plan for global domination called ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'.

There have been several other notable events since, but perhaps one of the most controversial was the 'Passover Seder' (a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover) held in April 2018, which was attended by the leader of HM Government’s opposition, Jeremy Corbyn (born 1949), who attended in a ‘personal’ rather than an ‘official’ capacity.  Jon Lansman (born 1957), the founder of the pro-Corbyn organisation ‘Momentum’ and himself Jewish, said on BBC Radio 4: "It's certainly not helpful to Jeremy or the cause of opposing anti-Semitism in the Labour Party," particularly as Jewdas’ Twitter account called Israel “a steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.”

See Jewdas.org for further details about this organisation.




Jobbik The Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom), commonly known as Jobbik, is a Hungarian political party with radical and nationalist roots.  Jobbik is actually a play on words -- the word jobb in Hungarian has two meanings; the adjective for ‘better’ and the direction ‘right’.  Consequently, the comparative 'Jobbik' means both ‘the more preferable choice’ and ‘more to the right’.  This is similar to the English phrase ‘right choice’, which could mean both ‘a choice on the right side of the political spectrum’ and ‘a correct choice’.

At its beginnings the party described itself as ‘a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party’ whose fundamental purpose is the protection of Hungarian values and interests.  The party has been described as an ‘anti-Semitic organisation by The Independent and a ‘neo-Nazi party’ by the president of the European Jewish Congress.  Philosopher Ágnes Heller (born 1929), a Holocaust survivor, says that Jobbik has never been a neo-Nazi party, although she has described them as far-right and racist.

Since 2014, as a result of its growing popularity, Jobbik has started to re-define itself as a conservative people's party and changed the controversial elements of its communication.  According to the party's Manifesto on the guidelines of a future government, Jobbik represents all Hungarian citizens and people and aims to build a modern national identity, while rejecting the chauvinism of the 20th century.

After the Hungarian parliamentary elections on 6 April 2014, the party polled 1,020,476 votes, securing 20.54% of the total making them Hungary's third largest party in the National Assembly.  Four years later, following the Hungarian parliamentary elections on 8 April 2018, Jobbik gained only one more seat compared with the 2014 election, after which its president resigned.




Jormungandr In Norse mythology, Jormungandr, also known as Iormungand or Jormung, is the serpentine son of the mischievous god Loki and the frost goddess Angrboda.  He is a monstrous serpent, destined to die by Thor's hand at the Battle of Ragnarok.

According to legend, the god Odin, in an attempt to forestall the inevitable, captured the great snake and threw him into the ocean where he grew so large he encircled the Earth.  Because of this he is also known as the Midgard (Earth) Serpent.

Jormungandr is sometimes pictured with three heads, symbolic of his existence in all three realms of Norse Cosmology.  See also Ouroboros.




Jujube Tree In Taoism, the jujube tree is a symbol of pure nourishment, its fruit being the food of immortality.  The tree also appears in the Islamic paradise (Jannah) and is a symbol of the farthest limits of time and space.

The freshly harvested, as well as the candied dried fruit, are often eaten as a snack, or with coffee.  Smoked jujubes are consumed in Vietnam and are referred to as black jujubes.  Both China and Korea produce a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruit in glass jars, and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags.

Its thorny branches had protective significance in folk superstition.




Judaism Judaism is an ancient monotheistic Abrahamic religion, the Torah being its foundational text which encompasses the religion, philosophy and culture of the Jewish people.  Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel.  It includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organisation.

The Torah is part of a larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud.  With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth-largest religion in the world.

A variety of movements exist within Judaism, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which believes that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah.  Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, and the significance of the State of Israel.  Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly adhered to, whereas Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more 'traditional' interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism.




Jumis Jumis is a Baltic pagan god who personified the harvest.  His symbol is two stylised, crossed grain stalks, a glyph which may be associated with the Sanskrit word for 'twin'.  The symbol is one of prosperity and good fortune, and is often found on clothing and decorative painting.

The two tied stalks are reminiscent of offerings left after the gathering in of the grain; they represent the two faces of the god, who is related to the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, thereafter also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time.  He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past.

Any 'double fruit' that occurs in nature or in cultivation, such as two cherries fused together or two ears of wheat on one stem is considered representative of the God Jumis.  If there is a double fruit or ear of grain, it should be left 'on the vine' to be used as part of the 'catching Jumis'1 ritual.

1 When reaping is over, a 'Catching Jumis' ritual occurs in the grain fields which is intended to capture his spirit and his fertility for the fields of a village.  A clump of uncut grain, (preferably one with a double ear) is left in the field.  This is tied in a bundle and the top is pushed down and weighed down with a stone or soil to press it into the ground.  This is thought to direct the fertility of the field back into the soil where it will be available for the grain crop next year.  Sometimes the sheaf is plaited into a wreath or braid and presented to a high-status woman in the community who keeps it until spring when any seeds will be rubbed out and scattered over the field and the entire wreath planted under a rock in the field.




Juno As the Roman Queen of the gods, Juno was Jupiter's wife and sister, sister to Neptune and Pluto, daughter of Saturn, and the mother of Juventas, Bellona, Mars, and Vulcan.  She was the protectress of the Roman state and the guardian of the Empire's finances, and considered the Matron goddess of all Rome.  The month of June was named after her.  Her Greek counterpart is Hera.

Juno's warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire.  She is often shown armed and wearing a goatskin cloak, an aspect assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, who bore a goatskin, or a goatskin shield, called the Aegis.

The Romans believed that every man had a spirit which looked after him throughout his life; this was called his genius.  Some people believed each man had both a good and a bad genius.  Strangely enough, women didn't have a genius, but had a Juno instead.




Jupiter Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the ruler of the gods and the god of the sky, lightning and thunder.  He is the son of Saturn and brother of Neptune, Pluto and Juno, who is also his wife.  His attribute is the lightning bolt and his symbol the eagle, which is his messenger.  He was also considered the Patron god of Rome, and his temple was the official place of state business and sacrifices.  All other gods, apart from his wife Juno, were terrified of him.  Jupiter's Greek counterpart was Zeus.

Following the death of their father, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto divided up the world between themselves; Jupiter took the air, Neptune had the sea, while Pluto ruled the Underworld, the home of the dead.

In astrology, Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius.




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