In classical antiquity, the seven classical planets are the seven non-fixed astronomical objects in the sky visible to the naked eye: Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Sun, the Moon. The word planet comes from two related Greek words, πλάνης planēs and πλανήτης planētēs, both with the original meaning of "wanderer", expressing the fact that these objects move across the celestial sphere relative to the fixed stars. Greek astronomers such as Geminus and Ptolemy divided the seven planets into the Sun, the Moon, the five planets; the term planet in modern terminology is only applied to natural satellites directly orbiting the Sun, so that of the seven classical planets, five are planets in the modern sense. Babylonians recognized seven planets. A bilingual list in the British Museum records the seven Babylonian planets in this order: The astrological symbols for the classical planets appear in the medieval Byzantine codices in which many ancient horoscopes were preserved. In the original papyri of these Greek horoscopes, there are found a circle with one ray for the Sun and a crescent for the Moon.
The written symbols for Mercury, Venus and Saturn have been traced to forms found in late Greek papyri. The symbols for Jupiter and Saturn are identified as monograms of the initial letters of the corresponding Greek names, the symbol for Mercury is a stylized caduceus. A. S. D. Maunder finds antecedents of the planetary symbols in earlier sources, used to represent the gods associated with the classical planets. Bianchini's planisphere, produced in the 2nd century, shows Greek personifications of planetary gods charged with early versions of the planetary symbols: Mercury has a caduceus. A diagram in Johannes Kamateros' 12th century Compendium of Astrology shows the Sun represented by the circle with a ray, Jupiter by the letter zeta, Mars by a shield crossed by a spear, the remaining classical planets by symbols resembling the modern ones, without the cross-mark seen in modern versions of the symbols; the modern sun symbol, pictured as a circle with a dot, first appeared in the Renaissance.
The Ptolemaic system used in Greek astronomy placed the planets in order, closest to Earth to furthest, as the Moon, Venus, Mars and Saturn. In addition the day was divided into 7 hour intervals, each ruled by one of the planets, although the order was staggered; the first hour of each day was named after the ruling planet, giving rise to the names and order of the Roman seven-day week. Modern Latin-based cultures, in general, directly inherited the days of the week from the Romans and they were named after the classical planets; the modern English days of the week were inherited from gods of the old Germanic Norse culture — Wednesday is Wōden’s-day, Thursday is Thor’s-day, Friday is Frige-day. It can be correlated that the Norse gods were attributed to each Roman planet and its god due to Roman influence rather than coincidentally by the naming of the planets. In alchemy, each classical planet was associated with one of the seven metals known to the classical world; as a result, the alchemical glyphs for associated planet coincide.
Alchemists believed. Alchemy in the Western World and other locations where it was practiced was allied and intertwined with traditional Babylonian-Greek style astrology. Astrology has used the concept of classical elements from antiquity up until the present day today. Most modern astrologers use the four classical elements extensively, indeed they are still viewed as a critical part of interpreting the astrological chart. Traditionally, each of the seven "planets" in the solar system as known to the ancients was associated with, held dominion over, "ruled" a certain metal; the list of rulership is as follows: The Sun rules Gold The Moon, Silver Mercury, Quicksilver/Mercury Venus, Copper Mars, Iron Jupiter, Tin Saturn, Lead Some alchemists adopted the Hermetic Qabalah assignment between the vital organs and the planets as follows: Indian astronomy and astrology recognises seven visible planets and two additional invisible planets. The cycles of the Chinese calendar are linked to the orbit of Jupiter, there being 12 sacred beasts in the Chinese dodecannualar geomantic and astrological cycle, 12 years in the orbit of Jupiter.
Mercury and Venus are visible only in twilight hours because their orbits are interior to that of Earth. Venus is the third-brightest object in the most prominent planet. Mercury is more difficult to see due to its proximity to the Sun. Lengthy twilight and an low angle at maximum elongations make optical filters necessary to see Mercury from extreme polar locations. Mars is at its brightest when it is in opposition, which occurs every twenty-five months. Jupiter and Sat
The philosopher's stone, or stone of the philosophers is a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold or silver. It is called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and for achieving immortality; the philosopher's stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosopher's stone were known as the Magnum Opus. Mention of the philosopher's stone in writing can be found as far back as Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis. Alchemical writers assign a longer history. Elias Ashmole and the anonymous author of Gloria Mundi claim that its history goes back to Adam who acquired the knowledge of the stone directly from God; this knowledge was said to be passed down through biblical patriarchs. The legend of the stone was compared to the biblical history of the Temple of Solomon and the rejected cornerstone described in Psalm 118; the theoretical roots outlining the stone’s creation can be traced to Greek philosophy.
Alchemists used the classical elements, the concept of anima mundi, Creation stories presented in texts like Plato's Timaeus as analogies for their process. According to Plato, the four elements are derived from a common source or prima materia, associated with chaos. Prima materia is the name alchemists assign to the starting ingredient for the creation of the philosopher's stone; the importance of this philosophical first matter persisted throughout the history of alchemy. In the seventeenth century, Thomas Vaughan writes, "the first matter of the stone is the same with the first matter of all things". Early medieval alchemists built upon the work of Zosimos in the Byzantine Empire and the Arab empires. Byzantine and Arab alchemists were fascinated by the concept of metal transmutation and attempted to carry out the process; the 8th-century Muslim alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan analyzed each classical element in terms of the four basic qualities. Fire was both hot and dry, earth cold and dry, water cold and moist, air hot and moist.
He theorized that every metal was a combination of these four principles, two of them interior and two exterior. From this premise, it was reasoned that the transmutation of one metal into another could be affected by the rearrangement of its basic qualities; this change would be mediated by a substance, which came to be called xerion in Greek and al-iksir in Arabic. It was considered to exist as a dry red powder made from a legendary stone—the philosopher's stone; the elixir powder came to be regarded as a crucial component of transmutation by Arab alchemists. In the 11th century, there was a debate among Muslim world chemists on whether the transmutation of substances was possible. A leading opponent was the Persian polymath Avicenna, who discredited the theory of transmutation of substances, stating, "Those of the chemical craft know well that no change can be effected in the different species of substances, though they can produce the appearance of such change."According to legend, the 13th-century scientist and philosopher Albertus Magnus is said to have discovered the philosopher's stone.
Magnus does not confirm he discovered the stone in his writings, but he did record that he witnessed the creation of gold by "transmutation". The 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus believed in the existence of alkahest, which he thought to be an undiscovered element from which all other elements were derivative forms. Paracelsus believed; the English philosopher Sir Thomas Browne in his spiritual testament Religio Medici identified the religious aspect of the quest for the philosopher's Stone when declaring: The smattering I have of the Philosophers stone, hath taught me a great deale of Divinity. A mystical text published in the 17th century called the Mutus Liber appears to be a symbolic instruction manual for concocting a philosopher's stone. Called the "wordless book", it was a collection of 15 illustrations; the equivalent of the philosopher's stone in Buddhism and Hinduism is the Cintamani. It is referred to as Paras/Parasmani or Paris. In Mahayana Buddhism, Chintamani is held by the bodhisattvas and Ksitigarbha.
It is seen carried upon the back of the Lung ta, depicted on Tibetan prayer flags. By reciting the Dharani of Chintamani, Buddhist tradition maintains that one attains the Wisdom of Buddhas, is able to understand the truth of the Buddhas, turns afflictions into Bodhi, it is said to allow one to see the Holy Retinue of his assembly upon one's deathbed. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Chintamani is sometimes depicted as a luminous pearl and is in the possession of several of different forms of the Buddha. Within Hinduism it is connected with the gods Ganesha. In Hindu tradition it is depicted as a fabulous jewel in the possession of the Nāga king or as on the forehead of the Makara; the Yoga Vasistha written in the 10th century AD, contains a story about the philosopher's stone. A great Hindu sage wrote about the spiritual accomplishment of Gnosis using the metaphor of the philosopher's stone. Saint Jnaneshwar wrote a commentar
Mary, mother of Jesus
Mary was a 1st-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran. The gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament and the Quran describe Mary as a virgin; the miraculous conception took place when she was betrothed to Joseph. She accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem; the Gospel of Luke begins its account of Mary's life with the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced her divine selection to be the mother of Jesus. According to canonical gospel accounts, Mary was present at the crucifixion and is depicted as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. According to Catholic and Orthodox teachings, at the end of her earthly life her body was raised directly into Heaven. Mary has been venerated since early Christianity, is considered by millions to be the most meritorious saint of the religion, she is claimed to have miraculously appeared to believers many times over the centuries. The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God.
There is significant diversity in the Marian beliefs and devotional practices of major Christian traditions. The Catholic Church holds distinctive Marian dogmas, namely her status as the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity, her Assumption into heaven. Many Protestants minimize Mary's role within Christianity, basing their argument on the relative brevity of biblical references. Mary has a revered position in Islam, where one of the longer chapters of the Quran is devoted to her. Mary's name in the original manuscripts of the New Testament was based on her original Aramaic name מרים, translit. Maryam or Mariam; the English name Mary comes from the Greek Μαρία, a shortened form of Μαριάμ. Both Μαρία and Μαριάμ appear in the New Testament. In Christianity, Mary is referred to as the Virgin Mary, in accordance with the belief that she conceived Jesus miraculously through the Holy Spirit without her husband's involvement. Among her many other names and titles are the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, the Mother of God, the Theotokos, Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, although the title "Queen of Heaven" was a name for a pagan goddess being worshipped during the prophet Jeremiah's lifetime.
Titles in use vary among Anglicans, Catholics, Protestants and other Christians. The three main titles for Mary used by the Orthodox are Theotokos, Aeiparthenos as confirmed in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, Panagia. Catholics use a wide variety of titles for Mary, these titles have in turn given rise to many artistic depictions. For example, the title Our Lady of Sorrows has inspired such masterpieces as Michelangelo's Pietà; the title Theotokos was recognized at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The direct equivalents of title in Latin are Deipara and Dei Genetrix, although the phrase is more loosely translated into Latin as Mater Dei, with similar patterns for other languages used in the Latin Church. However, this same phrase in Greek, in the abbreviated form ΜΡ ΘΥ, is an indication attached to her image in Byzantine icons; the Council stated that the Church Fathers "did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God". Some Marian titles have a direct scriptural basis.
For instance, the title "Queen Mother" has been given to Mary since she was the mother of Jesus, sometimes referred to as the "King of Kings" due to his ancestral descent from King David. Other titles have arisen from special appeals, or occasions for calling on Mary. To give a few examples, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Navigators, Our Lady Undoer of Knots fit this description. In Islam, she is known as mother of Isa, she is referred to by the honorific title sayyidatuna, meaning "our lady". A related term of endearment is Siddiqah, meaning "she who confirms the truth" and "she who believes sincerely completely". Another title for Mary is Qānitah, which signifies both constant submission to God and absorption in prayer and invocation in Islam, she is called "Tahira", meaning "one, purified" and representing her status as one of two humans in creation to not be touched by Satan at any point. The Gospel of Luke mentions Mary the most identifying her by name twelve times, all of these in the infancy narrative.
The Gospel of Matthew mentions her by name six times, five of these in the infancy narrative and only once outside the infancy narrative. The Gospel of Mark names her once and mentions her as Jesus' mother without naming her in 3:31 and 3:32; the Gospel of John never mentions her by name. Described as Jesus' mother, she makes two appearances, she is first seen at the wedding at Cana. The second reference, listed only in this gospel, has her standing near the cross of Jesus together with Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas (or Cleophas
Holy Spirit, is a term found in English translations of the Bible, understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures; the word spirit appears either alone or with other words, in the New Testament. Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ"; the word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. In its Aramaic parts, the term is rûacḥ; the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates the word as πνεῦμα. This is the same word, used throughout the New Testament, written in Greek; the English term spirit comes from its Latin origin, how the Vulgate translates both the Old and New Testament concept. The alternative term, "Holy Ghost", comes from Old English translations of spiritus; the Hebrew Bible contains the term "spirit of God" in the sense of the might of a unitary God. This meaning is different from the Christian concept of "Holy Spirit" as one personality of God in the Trinity.
The Christian concept tends to emphasize the moral aspect of the Holy Spirit more than Judaism, evident in the epithet Holy Spirit that appeared in Jewish religious writings only late but was a common expression in the Christian New Testament. According to theologian Rudolf Bultmann, there are two ways to think about the Holy Spirit: "animistic" and "dynamistic". In animistic thinking, it is "an independent agent, a personal power which like a demon can fall upon a man and take possession of him, enabling him or compelling him to perform manifestations of power" while in dynamistic thought it "appears as an impersonal force which fills a man like a fluid". Both kinds of thought appear in Jewish and Christian scripture, but animistic is more typical of the Old Testament whereas dynamistic is more common in the New Testament; the distinction coincides with the Holy Spirit as either a permanent gift. In the Old Testament and Jewish thought, it is temporary with a specific situation or task in mind, whereas in the Christian concept the gift resides in man permanently.
On the surface, the Holy Spirit appears to have an equivalent in non-Abrahamic Hellenistic mystery religions. These religions included a distinction between the spirit and psyche, seen in the Pauline epistles. According to proponents of the History of religions school, the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit cannot be explained from Jewish ideas alone without reference to the Hellenistic religions. However, according to theologian Erik Konsmo, the views "are so dissimilar that the only legitimate connection one can make is with the Greek term πνεῦμα itself". Another link with ancient Greek thought is the Stoic idea of the spirit as anima mundi—or world soul—that unites all people; some believe that this can be seen in Paul's formulation of the concept of the Holy Spirit that unites Christians in Jesus Christ and love for one another, but Konsmo again thinks that this position is difficult to maintain. In his Introduction to the 1964 book Meditations, the Anglican priest Maxwell Staniforth wrote: Another Stoic concept which offered inspiration to the Church was that of'divine Spirit'.
Cleanthes, wishing to give more explicit meaning to Zeno's'creative fire', had been the first to hit upon the term pneuma, or'spirit', to describe it. Like fire, this intelligent'spirit' was imagined as a tenuous substance akin to a current of air or breath, but possessing the quality of warmth, it is not a long step from this to the'Holy Spirit' of Christian theology, the'Lord and Giver of life', visibly manifested as tongues of fire at Pentecost and since associated – in the Christian as in the Stoic mind – with the ideas of vital fire and beneficient warmth. The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH, it means "spirit of the holiness" or "spirit of the holy place". The Hebrew terms ruacḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit", ruacḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" occur; the "Holy Spirit" in Judaism refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It refers to the divine force and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.
For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity: The "Triune God" manifested as Father and Holy Spirit. Two symbols from the New Testament canon are associated with the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography: a winged dove, tongues of fire; each depiction of the Holy Spirit arose from different historical accounts in the Gospel narratives. Called "the unveiled epiphany of God", the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers the followers of Jesus with spiritual gifts and power that enables the proclamation of Jesus Christ, a
Elixir of life
The elixir of life known as elixir of immortality and sometimes equated with the philosopher's stone, is a potion that grants the drinker eternal life and/or eternal youth. This elixir was said to cure all diseases. Alchemists in various ages and cultures sought the means of formulating the elixir. In ancient China, many emperors sought the fabled elixir with varying results. In the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang sent Taoist alchemist Xu Fu with 500 young men and 500 young women to the eastern seas to find the elixir, but he never came back; when Shi Huang Di visited, he brought 3000 young girls and boys, but none of them returned. The ancient Chinese believed that ingesting long-lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar or hematite would confer some of that longevity on the person who consumed them. Gold was considered potent, as it was a non-tarnishing precious metal; the most famous Chinese alchemical book, the Danjing yaojue attributed to Sun Simiao, a famous medical specialist respectfully called "King of Medicine" by generations, discusses in detail the creation of elixirs for immortality as well as those for curing certain diseases and the fabrication of precious stones.
Many of these substances, far from contributing to longevity, were toxic and resulted in Chinese alchemical elixir poisoning. The Jiajing Emperor in the Ming Dynasty died from ingesting a lethal dosage of mercury in the supposed "Elixir of Life" conjured by alchemists. Amrita, the elixir of life has been described in the Hindu scriptures. Anybody who consumes a tiniest portion of Amrit has been described to gain immortality. Legend has it that at early times when the inception of the world had just taken place, evil demons had gained strength; this was seen as a threat to the gods. So these gods went to seek advice and help from the three primary gods according to the Hindus: Vishnu and Shiva, they suggested that Amrit could only be gained from the samudra manthan for the ocean in its depths hid mysterious and secret objects. Vishnu agreed to take the form of a turtle; this mountain was used as a churning pole. With the help of a Vasuki the churning process began at the surface. From one side the gods pulled the serpent, which had coiled itself around the mountain, the demons pulled it from the other side.
As the churning process required immense strength, hence the demons were persuaded to do the job—they agreed in return for a portion of Amrit. With their combined efforts, Amrit emerged from the ocean depths. All the gods were offered the drink but the gods managed to trick the demons who did not get the holy drink; the oldest Indian writings, the Vedas, contain the same hints of alchemy that are found in evidence from ancient China, namely vague references to a connection between gold and long life. Mercury, so vital to alchemy everywhere, is first mentioned in the 4th to 3rd century BC Arthashastra, about the same time it is encountered in China and in the West. Evidence of the idea of transmuting base metals to gold appears in 2nd to 5th century AD Buddhist texts, about the same time as in the West, it is possible that the alchemy of medicine and immortality came to China from India, or vice versa. But the elixir of immortality was of little importance in India; the Indian elixirs were mineral remedies for specific diseases or, at the most, to promote long life.
In European alchemical tradition, the Elixir of Life is related to the creation of the philosopher's stone. According to legend, certain alchemists have gained a reputation as creators of the elixir; these include St. Germain. In the eight-century Man'yōshū,'waters of rejuvenation' are said to be in the possession of the moon god Tsukuyomi. Similarities have been noted with a folktale from the Ryukyu Islands, in which the moon god decides to give man the water of life, serpents the water of death. However, the person entrusted with carrying the pails down to Earth gets tired and takes a break, a serpent bathes in the water of life, rendering it unusable; this is said to be why serpents can rejuvenate themselves each year by shedding their skin while men are doomed to die. The Elixir has had hundreds of names, among them Amrit Ras or Amrita, Aab-i-Hayat, Maha Ras, Aab-Haiwan, Dancing Water, Chasma-i-Kausar, Mansarover or the Pool of Nectar, Philosopher's stone, Soma Ras; the word elixir was not used until the 7th century A.
D. and derives from the Arabic name for miracle substances, "al iksir". Some view it as a metaphor for the spirit of God. "But whoever drinks the water. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The Scots and the Irish adopted the name for their "liquid gold": the Gae
Fermentation is a metabolic process that produces chemical changes in organic substrates through the action of enzymes. In biochemistry, it is narrowly defined as the extraction of energy from carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen. In the context of food production, it may more broadly refer to any process in which the activity of microorganisms brings about a desirable change to a foodstuff or beverage; the science of fermentation is known as zymology. In microorganisms, fermentation is the primary means of producing ATP by the degradation of organic nutrients anaerobically. Humans have used fermentation to produce beverages since the Neolithic age. For example, fermentation is used for preservation in a process that produces lactic acid found in such sour foods as pickled cucumbers and yogurt, as well as for producing alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer. Fermentation occurs within the gastrointestinal tracts including humans. Below are some definitions of fermentation, they range from general usages to more scientific definitions.
Preservation methods for food via microorganisms. Any process that produces alcoholic beverages or acidic dairy products. Any large-scale microbial process occurring with or without air. Any energy-releasing metabolic process that takes place only under anaerobic conditions. Any metabolic process that releases energy from a sugar or other organic molecule, does not require oxygen or an electron transport system, uses an organic molecule as the final electron acceptor. Along with photosynthesis and aerobic respiration, fermentation is a way of extracting energy from molecules, but it is the only one common to all bacteria and eukaryotes, it is therefore considered the oldest metabolic pathway, suitable for an environment that does not yet have oxygen. Yeast, a form of fungus, occurs in any environment capable of supporting microbes, from the skins of fruits to the guts of insects and mammals and the deep ocean, they harvest sugar-rich materials to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide; the basic mechanism for fermentation remains present in all cells of higher organisms.
Mammalian muscle carries out the fermentation that occurs during periods of intense exercise where oxygen supply becomes limited, resulting in the creation of lactic acid. In invertebrates, fermentation produces succinate and alanine. Fermentative bacteria play an essential role in the production of methane in habitats ranging from the rumens of cattle to sewage digesters and freshwater sediments, they produce hydrogen, carbon dioxide and acetate and carboxylic acids. Acetogenic bacteria oxidize the acids, obtaining more acetate and either formate. Methanogens convert acetate to methane. Fermentation reacts NADH with an organic electron acceptor; this is pyruvate formed from sugar through glycolysis. The reaction produces NAD+ and an organic product, typical examples being ethanol, lactic acid, carbon dioxide, hydrogen gas. However, more exotic compounds can be produced by fermentation, such as butyric acetone. Fermentation products contain chemical energy, but are considered waste products, since they cannot be metabolized further without the use of oxygen.
Fermentation occurs in an anaerobic environment. In the presence of O2, NADH, pyruvate are used to generate ATP in respiration; this is called oxidative phosphorylation, it generates much more ATP than glycolysis alone. For that reason, fermentation is utilized when oxygen is available; however in the presence of abundant oxygen, some strains of yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae prefer fermentation to aerobic respiration as long as there is an adequate supply of sugars. Some fermentation processes involve obligate anaerobes. Although yeast carries out the fermentation in the production of ethanol in beers and other alcoholic drinks, this is not the only possible agent: bacteria carry out the fermentation in the production of xanthan gum. In ethanol fermentation, one glucose molecule is converted into two ethanol molecules and two carbon dioxide molecules, it is used to make bread dough rise: the carbon dioxide forms bubbles, expanding the dough into a foam. The ethanol is the intoxicating agent in alcoholic beverages such as wine and liquor.
Fermentation of feedstocks, including sugarcane and sugar beets, produces ethanol, added to gasoline. In some species of fish, including goldfish and carp, it provides energy; the figure illustrates the process. Before fermentation, a glucose molecule breaks down into two pyruvate molecules; the energy from this exothermic reaction is used to bind inorganic phosphates to ATP and convert NAD+ to NADH. The pyruvates break down into two acetaldehyde molecules and give off two carbon dioxide molecules as a waste product; the acetaldehyde is reduced into ethanol using the energy and hydrogen from NADH, the NADH is oxidized into NAD+ so that the cycle may repeat. The reaction is catalysed by the enzymes pyruvate alcohol dehydrogenase. Homolactic fermentation is the simplest type of fermentation; the pyruvate from glycolysis undergoes a simple redox reaction. It is unique because it is one of the only respiration processes to not produce a gas as a byproduct. Overall, one molecule of glucose is converted to two molecules of lactic ac
The Holy Rosary known as the Dominican Rosary, refers to a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. When used for the prayer, the word is capitalized, as is customary for other names of prayers, such as "the Lord's Prayer", "the Hail Mary"; the prayers that comprise the Rosary are arranged in sets of ten Hail Marys, called decades. Each decade is followed by one Glory Be. During recitation of each set, thought is given to one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Five decades are recited per rosary. Other prayers are sometimes added after each decade. Rosary beads are an aid towards saying these prayers in the proper sequence. A standard 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, based on the long-standing custom, was established by Pope Pius V during the 16th century, grouping the mysteries in three sets: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries. During 2002 Pope John Paul II said that it is fitting that a new set of five be added, termed the Luminous Mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to 20.
The Glorious mysteries are said on Sunday and Wednesday, the Joyful on Monday and Saturday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, the Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursday. Five decades are recited in a session. For more than four centuries, the rosary has been promoted by several popes as part of the veneration of Mary in Roman Catholicism, consisting in meditation on the life of Christ; the rosary represents the Roman Catholic emphasis on "participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ", the Mariological theme "to Christ through Mary." During the 16th century, Pope Pius V associated the rosary with the General Roman Calendar by instituting the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, celebrated on 7 October. Pope Leo XIII, known as "The Rosary Pope," issued twelve encyclicals and five apostolic letters concerning the rosary and added the invocation Queen of the most Holy Rosary to the Litany of Loreto. Pope Pius XII and his successors promoted veneration of the Virgin in Lourdes and Fatima, credited with a new resurgence of the rosary within the Catholic Church.
Pope John XXIII deemed the rosary of such importance that on April 28, 1962, in an apostolic letter he appealed for the recitation of the Rosary in preparation for the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Pope John Paul II issued the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae which emphasized the Christocentric nature of the Rosary as a meditation on the life of Christ, he said: “Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as by the hands of the Mother of the Redeemer." On 3 May 2008, Pope Benedict XVI stated that the Rosary was experiencing a new springtime: "It is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother." To Benedict XVI, the rosary is a meditation on all the important moments of salvation history. The Congregation for Divine Worship's directory of popular piety and the liturgy emphasizes the Christian meditation/meditative aspects of the rosary, states that the Rosary is a contemplative prayer which requires "tranquility of rhythm or a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life."
The Congregation for Divine Worship points out the role the Rosary can have as a formative component of spiritual life. The theologian Romano Guardini described the Roman Catholic emphasis on the rosary as "participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ." This opinion was expressed earlier by Leo XIII who considered the rosary as way to accompany Mary in her contemplation of Christ. Devotion to the rosary is one of the most notable features of popular Catholic spirituality. Pope John Paul II placed the rosary at the center of Christian spirituality and called it "among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation."Catholics believe the Rosary is a remedy against severe trials and the hardships of life, that the Rosary is one of the great weapons given to believers in their battle against every evil. Saints and popes have emphasized the meditative and contemplative elements of the rosary and provided specific teachings for how the rosary should be prayed, for instance the need for "focus, respect and purity of intention" during rosary recitations and contemplations.
From the sixteenth century onwards, rosary recitations involved "picture texts" that assisted meditation. Such imagery continues to be used to depict the mysteries of the rosary. Catholic saints have stressed the importance of contemplation. Scriptural meditations concerning the rosary are based on the Christian tradition of Lectio Divina, as a way of using the Gospel to start a conversation between the person and Christ. Padre Pio, a rosary devotee, said: "Through the study of books one seeks God; the reported messages from these apparitions have influenced the spread of rosary devotion worldwide. In Quamquam pluries Pope Leo XIII related rosary devotions to Saint Joseph and granted indulgences for adding a prayer to St. Joseph to the Rosary during the month of October. Praying the Rosary may be prescribed by priests as a type of penance after confession. (Penance is not intended as a "punishment".