Sun Worship, religious devotion paid to the sun either as a deity or as the symbol of a deity. Sun worship was practiced by the Iroquois, Plains, and Tsimshian peoples of North America and reached a high state of development among the Native Americans of Mexico and Peru. The sun was also a Hindu deity, regarded as maleficent by the Dravidians of southern India and as benevolent by the Munda of the central parts. The Babylonians were sun worshipers, and in ancient Persia worship of the sun was an integral part of the elaborate cult of Mithras. The ancient Egyptians worshiped the sun god Ra.
In ancient Greece the deities of the sun were Helios and Apollo. The worship of Helios was widespread; temples were built in Corinth, Árgos, Troezen (no longer in existence), and many other cities, but the principal seat was on the island of Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, where four white horses were sacrificed annually to the god. A similar sacrifice was offered on the summit of Mount Hagios Elias, in the Taïyetos Mountains, in Laconia. In time virtually all the functions of Helios were transferred to the god Apollo, in his identity as Phoebus. Sun worship persisted in Europe even after the introduction of Christianity, as is evidenced by its disguised survival in such traditional Christian practices as the Easter bonfire and the Yule log on Christmas.
– “Sun Worship,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000 http://encarta.msn.com/ © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
The Sun God
from Christianity Unadorned
Why was the only true god born on a Pagan date—25 December?
The Christian world had no chronology. There is no clue in the gospels to the time of the year when Jesus was born except that it cannot have been the rainy season, winter, for shepherds would not have been out at night. Mary forgot the date of a uniquely wonderful day or forgot to mention it in the story. Early Christians found themselves having to tell the world of the most tremendous birth there ever was on this planet not knowing when it happened. No event of their history was marked by justifiable dates for nearly four hundred years. Centuries later the year of Christ’s birth was determined but was determined wrongly. Nobody now holds that Jesus was born in the year 1 AD.
For several hundred years various Churches celebrated the birthday of Jesus on different dates. The eastern Churches kept it on January 6th, now the Epiphany. Other Churches chose April 24th or 25th and some placed it in May. Only in 354 AD did the Church choose December 25th as the birth date of Christ. Rome was then the leading Church but Romans had celebrated this festival for centuries as Pagans.
Considering that an omnipotent God descended from heaven and performed astounding miracles to proof that people could now be saved in everlasting life, it seems odd that no one noted the year of his birth, even though many beings from shepherds to angels knew about it. This itself should be sufficient to banish all faith in Christianity.
The birth date of Jesus was unknown. Admittedly, poor and illiterate parents in undeveloped societies do not remember the dates when their children were born and often do not even remember the year—simple people are not ruled by clocks and calendars as we are. If, as Acts claims, Mary, Jesus’s mother, lived with the disciples after the crucifixion, evidently she had forgotten when her son was born. But this is surprising even for a poor person considering the interest shown by kings, shepherds and angels at the time. Mary could not have experienced any of this because the gospels indicate that she had no recollection of it.
Nor had the first Christians ever heard of it, scholars of the first two centuries even differing over the year he was born, some believing that he was born fully twenty years before the currently accepted date. Most believed that Jesus’s birth date was irrelevant—only his divine life was relevant and that began at his baptism. Sadly they did not know the date of the baptism either and arbitrarily chose 6 January.
Why? Because that date had long been associated with people bathing in blessed water. Followers of the god Osiris, the deity of the Nile, had held a festival, the “Festival of the Immersion”, on the river on 6 January from time immemorial. Christian Copts celebrate it still. The Hierophant poured holy water into the river and blessed it, then people bathed in it. The Greeks identified Dionysos with Osiris and so on 6 January the sacred waters were blessed in both the religions of Osiris and Dionysos! Epiphany is a continuation of these Pagan rites.
The Egyptian Gnostics known as Basilidians, seeing the immersion ceremonies as a symbol of the baptism of Jesus, celebrated it on 6 January and gradually Christians elsewhere adopted this date as the anniversary of the Jesus’s baptism. By 386 AD the two great Christian festivals were Easter, the festival of the crucifixion, and Epiphany when rivers and springs were blessed and water was drawn and saved for baptisms throughout the year. Aristides Rhetor in about 160 AD tells us that water drawn from the Nile at the “Festival of the Immersion” is at its purest. Stored in wine jars, he says, it improves with time just like wine. And so does the myth! Two centuries later Epiphanius writes that the stored water actually changes into wine! In Dionysos worship water turns to wine on 6 January. The miracle at Cana when Jesus turned water into wine is celebrated in the Christian calendar on 6 January!
Today the Epiphany celebration is most closely associated with the visit of the Magi at Jesus’s birth and has been since the fourth century AD. Magi were Persian priests so it seems likely that the legend was introduced from Mithras worship, originally a Persian religion. The babe Mithras was adored by shepherds who brought gifts as in the Luke version of Jesus’s birth. Rather than merely equalling a rival, the editor who inserted the birth narrative into Matthew took a more positive tack. He aimed to show the superiority of Christianity over the other eastern religions: the divine baby Jesus is superior to the divine baby Mithras whose priests bring gifts to the new god. So the three Zadokites who officiated at Jesus’s rebirth were adapted into Magi from Persia appearing at his actual birth to prove that even the priests of Mithras worshipped the Christian God.
Cassian at about the beginning of the fifth century says the Egyptian provinces regarded Epiphany as being the birth date of Jesus. This was because Jesus was thought to be exactly 30 years old on his baptism. Note also that the Persian law-giver Zoroaster was exactly thirty when the spirit of god descended on him, and the Egyptian Pharaoh’s held a celebration called Sed exactly 30 years after the day they had been chosen by their father as his successor, their spiritual birthday.
Toward the end of the fourth century, hoping to counteract the Manichaean heresy—that Jesus was never born at all but was a phantasm—church leaders decided to move the date of Jesus’s birth “after the flesh” from 6 January to 25 December, which since 274 AD under the emperor Aurelian, Rome had celebrated as Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. During the third and fourth centuries Mithraism had become the most important solar religion in the Empire, Mithras being called, “the Unconquerable Sun”. Thus 25 December was celebrated as the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun” in the calendar of Philocalus in 336 AD, only a year before Constantine dies and a quarter of a century after he had supposedly made the empire Christian.
The solar celebration was so widespread and popular that the church could neither stop it, nor stop it being identified in the popular mind with Jesus’s birth anyway. The importance of 25 December to Pagans made Christian converts think it must also be important to their newly adopted religion. They easily supposed it must have been the birthday of their messiah.
Every Roman was familiar from childhood with the great midwinter festival, and in the earliest days of the Christian era the religions of Persia and Egypt, with similar festivals, had spread over the Empire. The Romans later presided over the council of Nicea (325 AD) which lead to the official Christian recognition of the Trinity as the true nature of God. Since his birth date had been forgotten, when Jesus was made a god by Constantine, 25 December was selected as his birthday, because it was the birthday of other gods, and particularly that of the chief rivals to Christianity in the Roman Empire, Sol Invictus and Mithras. The Pagan emperor Constantine, who presided over the council of Nicea, was popularly considered the embodiment or incarnation of the this supreme Roman sun god. The bishops were typically opportunistic. By celebrating at the same time as Pagan religions they hoped to offer the same benefits and pull in some Pagan punters. Christmas remained the start of a new year up to the tenth century.
The Emperor Honorius (395 to 423) speaks of 25 December as being a “new” festival, and a text of about the same time says it is one of the three great Christian festivals so holy that theatres had to close by law. The churches of the Eastern Empire accused the Western Church of idolatry and sun worship. Jesus was identified with the sun by both Cyprian and Ambrose. Jesus and Mithras had become almost identical in the minds of the western populace. Saint Augustine was one who did not approve of this particular concession to Paganism.
Christmas festivals today incorporate many other Pagan customs, such as the use of holly, mistletoe, Yule logs, and wassail bowls. The Christmas tree itself is the most obvious aspect of ancient Pagan celebrations which were later incorporated into church rites. Scholars believe that the Christian celebration was originally derived in part from rites held by pre-Christian Germanic and Celtic peoples to celebrate the winter solstice. The Christmas tree, an evergreen trimmed with lights and other decorations, because it keeps its green needles throughout the winter months, was believed by pre-Christian Pagans to have special powers of protection against the forces of nature and evil spirits. The Christmas tree is derived from the so-called paradise tree, symbolizing Eden, of German mystery plays. The use of a Christmas tree began early in the 17th century, in Strasbourg, France, spreading from there through Germany, into northern Europe and Great Britain, and then on to the United States.
Christmas is not the only Christian festival which was borrowed from ancient Paganism and adapted to the Essenism of Jesus. There is also Easter, the Feast of St John, the Holy communion, the Annunciation of the virgin, the assumption of the virgin, and many others have their roots in ancient Pagan worship. Midsummer Day is the Feast of St John the Baptist and is dedicated also to Saints Philip and James. Saints Peter, James, Andrew and Paul were given unimportant days even though we are told they were Christ’s Apostles.
Christians were never too keen on following the instructions of their holy texts though they usually made a great show of studying them. Had they taken notice they could not have taken these Pagan practices into the divine religion of Essenism. The scriptures warned against it quite explicitly:
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. (Deut 12:30)
It was hard for the gentile Christian converts though. They had lately been celebrating these festivals and all their friends still were. So they thought: “What does it matter?” That has often been the enduring strength of Christianity. Its ministers have been so flexible in the face of serious rivalry as to be unprincipled. Yet in the face of weak or isolated rivals, it has applied the devil’s own punishments as if they were the guardians of hell not heaven.
Christmas Before Christ
Long before Christianity, as mid-winter approached, Rome was lit up with joy. It was the festival of the old vegetation-god Saturn who, as a god, died or was displaced by Jupiter, the sky-god, but had a fine temple on the Capitol. His festival lasted seven days, from December 17th to 24th, and was the most joyous time of the joyous Roman year. For the whole week, no work was done, the one law being good cheer and good nature, but the 25th was the culmination of it all, the greatest festival in the Roman calendar—the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun…
There was great rejoicing, illuminations and public games, and all shops were closed. Presents were exchanged, and the slaves were indulged in special liberties—on this one day they were free. They donned the conical cap of the freedman—as frolickers continue at Christmas, and on other festive occasions today, to don caps of paper—and sit at table while masters wait on them.
On 25 December, crowds filled the streets and raised festive cries, and the women of Rome paraded, singing in a loud voice, Unto us a child is born this day. Stalls laden with presents lined the streets near the Forum, but the great present of the season was a doll, of wax or terracotta. Hundreds of thousands of these dolls were on sale on the stalls and held in the arms of passers by. Once human beings were sacrificed to Saturn, and, as human life grew more important than religion, the god or his priests had to be content with effigies of men or maids—dolls! It was a time of peace on earth, for by Roman law no war could begin during the Saturnalia, and of good-will toward all men.
The festival went back far into the mists of prehistoric times. It had been earlier a one-day festival, the feast of Saturn, an important magico-religious festival for insuring the harvest of the next year, rejoicing that the year’s work was over, and helping and propitiating the god of fecundity by generous indulgence in wine and love. The mysterious winter dying of the sun was also arrested. When it was on the turn, it seemed to hover at the same altitude in the sky for three days, from the solstice, before observably beginning to rise on the 25th, the great day of the sun’s rebirth.
Christians never think it strange that the birth date of Jesus is also the birth date of many of the incarnated gods of antiquity. They never think it curious that it was for ancient astronomers the last day of the year—when the year was re-born and a new sun began to climb again in the heavens. That Pagans venerated the birthday of Christ as the birthday of their gods is beyond coincidence .
At the first moment after midnight of 24 December the nations of the East would rise at midnight to celebrate the arrival of 25 December, the birthday of their gods. At midnight on the twenty-fifth of the month Savarana, which is our December, millions of Krishna’s disciples celebrated his birthday by decorating their houses with garlands and gilt paper, and giving presents to friends. The people of China also traditionally celebrated this day, closing their shops. Buddha is said to have been born on this day after the Holy Ghost had descended on his virgin mother Maya. The god of the Persians, Mithras, was born on the 25th of December long before the coming of Jesus.
The Egyptians celebrated this day as the birth day of their great saviour Horus, the Egyptian god of light and son of a virgin mother, the queen of the heaven, Isis. Osiris, god of the dead and the underworld in Egypt, another son of a holy virgin, was born on the 25th of December. Adonis, revered as a dying and rising god among the Phrygians then the Greeks, was born on the 25th of December. His worshipers held him a yearly festival representing his death and resurrection, in midsummer. Even the temple at Jerusalem was used to celebrate the birthday of the god Adonis in the years when Jesus might have been born, Herod being no Jew by conviction. The cave in Bethlehem which is said to have been the birth place of Jesus was also previously a place in which the birthday of Adonis was celebrated.
The Greeks celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of Hercules, the son of their supreme god, Zeus, through the mortal woman Alcmene. Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry among the Romans, known among the Greeks as Dionysos, was born on this day.
The nations of the north also had their greatest festival of the year in midwinter. To these northern barbarians, shuddering in the snow laden forests beyond the Danube, the return of the sun was the most desired event of the year, and they soon learned the time—the winter solstice—when the “wheel” turned. The sun was figured as a fiery wheel, and as late as the nineteenth century there were parts of France where a straw wheel was set on fire and rolled down a hill, to give an augury of the next harvest.
Hence “Yule” (from the Teutonic word “hoel” or “wheel”) was the outstanding festival of the ancestors of the French and Germans, the English and Scandinavians. The sun was born, and fires (“Yule logs,” still traditionally symbols of Christmas, though usually in the form of a chocolate cake) flamed in the forest villages, the huts were decorated with holly and evergreens, Yule trees were laden with presents, and stores of solid food and strong drink were lavishly opened. This lasted until Twelfth Day, now Epiphany. The Scandinavians celebrated the 25th of December as the birth day of their god Freyr, the son of their supreme god of the heavens, Odin.
The entire known world of two thousand years ago had its “Christmas without Christ.” The figure of Christ was drawn in all its chief features before a line of the gospels was written, unarguably in the details relevant to Christmas. The first symbol of the Christian religion, the manger or basket cradle of the divine child, the supposed unique exhortation to humility, was one of the most familiar religious emblems of the Pagan world. Had it been exhibited to a crowd in one of the cosmopolitan cities of the Empire, it would have been strange or new to few. One might pronounce it Horus, another Mithras, another Hermes, another Dionysos, but all would have shrugged their shoulders nonchalantly at the news that it was just another divine sun child in the great family of gods. The world flowed on. The names only were changed.
For Christians, Christ was the real sun that had risen upon the world. Why not boldly pinch the birthday of the unconquered sun? The masses could then be told they were celebrating Jesus—but the ribaldry, license and fooling were contrary to Essenic, now Christian, prudery, and despite attempts to stop it all, it thankfully persists until today.
A prosperous Asiatic sun religion was housed on the Vatican hill before the Popes commandeered it for Christianity. Mithraism spread rapidly, was respected, and was strikingly like Christianity.
Mithras was an old Aryan sun god. The reform of the Persian religion by Zoroaster (Zarathrustra) had put the ethical deity Ormuzd so high above the old nature gods that he was practically the one god. But Mithras stole upward, as gods do, and Persian kings of the fifth century BC put him on a level with Ormuzd.
The Persians conquered and blended with Babylon, and Mithras rose to the supreme position and became an intensely ethical deity. He was, like Aten and Christ, the sun of the world. He sacrificed the pleasures of life, like Christ but unlike Zeus. Drastic asceticism and purity were demanded of his worshippers. They were baptized in blood. They practiced the most severe austerities and fasts. They had a communion supper of bread and wine. They worshiped Mithras in underground temples, artificial caves called grottos, which blazed with the light of candles and reeked with incense.
Every year they celebrated the birthday of this god, who had come to take away the sins of the world, and the day was December 25th. As that day approached, near midnight of the 24th, Christians might see the stern devotees of Mithras going to their temple on the Vatican, and at midnight it would shine with joy and light. The Saviour of the world was born. He had been born in a cave, like so many other sun-gods, and some of the apocryphal gospels put the birth of Christ in a cave. He had had no earthly father. He was born to free men from sin, to redeem them.
F Cumont, the great authority on Mithras, who it is now fashionable to disparage, has laboriously collected for us all these details about the Persian religion, and more than one of the Christian Fathers refers nervously to the close parallel of the two religions. The Saviour Mithras was in possession, had been in possession for ages, of December 25th as his birthday. He was the real “unconquered sun”, a sun god transformed into a spiritual god, with light as his emblem and purity his supreme command. What could the Christians do? Nothing, until they had the ear of the emperors. Then they appropriated December 25th, and even bits of the Mithraic ritual, and they so zealously destroyed the traces of the Mithraic religion that one has to be a scholar to know anything about it.
There is more. A Roman writer of the fourth century, Macrobius, in a work called “Saturnalia” (1:18) discusses the practice of representing the gods in the temples as of different ages. He says:
These differences of age refer to the sun, which seems to be a babe at the winter solstice, as the Egyptians represent him in their temples on a certain day, that being the shortest day, he is then supposed to be small and an infant.
This is confirmed and elaborated by a Christian writer, the author of the “Paschal Chronicle,” who says:
Jeremiah gave a sign to the Egyptian priests, saying that their idols would be destroyed by a child-Saviour, born of a virgin and lying in a manger. That is why they still worship as a goddess a virgin-mother, and adore an infant in a manger.
He wants to explain age old customs to which their god is indebted as imitations of their own much later god. Horus, the god in question, was an old sun god of the Egyptians. In the adjustment of the rival Egyptian gods, when the tribes were amalgamated in one kingdom, about 3000 years before Jesus was born, Horus was made the son of Osiris and Isis. The latter goddess was the sister and the spouse or lover of Osiris, but whether we should speak of her as “a virgin mother” is a matter of words. In one Egyptian myth she was fecundated by Osiris in their mother’s womb, in another and more popular, she was miraculously impregnated by contact with the false phallus of the dead Osiris. Virginity in goddesses is a relative matter.
Whatever we make of the myths, Isis seems to have been originally a virgin goddess, and in the later period of Egyptian religion she was again considered a virgin goddess, demanding strict abstinence from her devotees. At this period, apparently the birthday of Horus was annually celebrated, about December 25th, in the temples. As both Macrobius and the Christian writer say, a figure of Horus as a baby was laid in a manger, in a scenic reconstruction of a stable, and a statue of Isis was placed beside it. Horus was, in a sense, the Saviour of mankind. He was their avenger against the powers of darkness, he was the light of the world. His birth festival was Christmas without Christ.
This spectacle is presented in every church in the world on December 25th. Catholic priests have taught their flocks to believe St Francis of Assisi invented this touching scene of the humble birth of the redeemer. Francis of Assisi will never have read the obscure “Paschal Chronicle,” but some other Christian writer had seen and reproduced it, and it had come to the knowledge of Francis. Christ’s crib is an exact reproduction of the scene exhibited in Egyptian temples centuries before Christ, and the Egyptian legend itself is thousands of years older than Jeremiah. On the analogy of the Christian practice, the Egyptian legend must have described Isis as having given birth to her divine son in a stable. In Alexandria, there was a similar Greek celebration on December 25th of the birth of a divine son to Kore (the “virgin”).
And this is not the end. The Greeks had a similar celebration. The idea of a divine son being born in a cave was common, or there were actually several scenic representations of the birth of these gods in their festivals. J M Robertson gives three in Christianity and Mythology. Hermes, the Logos (like Jesus in John), the messenger of the gods, son of Zeus and the virgin Maia, was born in a cave, and he performed extraordinary prodigies a few hours after birth. He was represented as a “child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Dionysos (or Bacchus) was similarly represented. The image of him as a babe was laid in a basket cradle in the cave in which he was born. There is good reason to think that Mithras was figured in the same way.
From end to end of the Roman Empire December 25th was the birthday of the unconquered sun, of the Saviour Mithras, and of the divine Horus and they and the others, whose festivals were in other seasons, were represented almost exactly as the birth of Christ was described in the gospels and is depicted in Catholic churches today.
The tradition of divine saviours being born of undeflowered women has an astronomical aspect. It has been said, “the adventures of Jesus Christ are all depicted among the stars,” and this is why the Romans saw him as a sun god like Mithras with whom he eventually became identified.
The myth of the Star of Bethlehem comes from the prophecy of Numbers 24:17:
There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Seth.
This is a text often quoted by Christian writers as having a prophetic reference to the Christian Messiah. The same text goes on to say, “It shall destroy the children of Seth,” a prophecy which is plainly false if it is meant, like the rest of it, to apply to Jesus Christ. This prophecy is obviously a prophecy of a traditional victorious messiah of Israel, modelled on king David.
The star of Jacob or Judah, both being the same, is shown on astronomical maps as prominent in the constellation Virgo, the Virgin, called by the Hebrews, Ephraim. It was known in the Syrian, Arabian and Persian Systems of astronomy as Messaeil and was considered the ruling genius of the constellation. Messaeil is Messiah El (Son of God)—apparently the star, Spica. The star of Jacob was evidently a figure from astrology, in which the virgin is shown rising with an infant son of God in her arms.
The virgin, with her god-begotten child, the bright star, Spica, represented as an ear of corn (the meaning of the name of the star), was pictured in the heavens from time immemorial. They are present in the Hindu zodiac, at least three thousand years old, and in the ancient Egyptian one. Virgo commences rising at midnight, on the 25th of December, with this star in the east in her arms—the star which piloted the wise men.
According to Albertus Magnus, in his Book on the Universe:
The sign of the celestial virgin rises above the horizon, at the moment we find fixed for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sir William Drummond adds in Œdipus Judaicus:
The anointed of El, the male infant, who rises in the arms of Virgo, was called Jesus by the Hebrews… and was hailed as the anointed king or Messiah.
Now though the sun is annually reborn on the date chosen for Christ’s birth, 25th of December, the midwinter solstice, for a period the sun was also born at the autumnal equinox as the infant son of God, the bread of life. This is the time of the original Jewish New Year, Rosh ha Shanah, 1 Tishri, the religious new year as opposed to the civil new year which began on 1 Nisan. Rosh ha Shanah was designated in Jewish religious law as a festival and a time of great rejoicing. Paradoxically it was also the Day of Judgement because it was an anniversary of the creation. This is the real date of the birth of Christ, if Christians want to celebrate it.
The reason is that in the centuries ending the first millenium BC the precession of the equinoxes led to a curious celestial event. The child of the cosmic virgin, Spica, rose on the Eastern horizon at the autumnal equinox at the same time as the sun. So after the constellation of the virgin had risen just before dawn in the east, the sun rose just when the bright star Spica was expected to rise. It seemed as if the son of the virgin, the ear of corn symbolising the bread of life (Rosh ha Shanah celebrated the beginning of the agricultural year), had risen as the glorious sun. The virgin had given birth to a god.
What was even more spectacular on some of these occasions was that the morning star, Venus, the Queen of Heaven, rose in the constellation of Virgo before the sun! So the sun rises as the child of the virgin Queen of Heaven over the eastern horizon, appearing out of the sea in many countries. In Latin sea is Mare whence Maria or Mary. The infant god arises as the light of the East in the arms of his mother, Mary or Venus, the morning star, which rises minutes before the child.
Also interesting is the fact that the Virgin in ancient zodiacs is associated with a tree, in which case the son would be an offshoot, a shoot or a branch, all of which were messianic names, and the word Nazarene comes from the word Neser meaning a branch. The messianic name, Shiloh, which puzzled scholars for a long time also means branch and therefore means the star Spica. When the branch or son of the virgin appears as the light of the east in all his glory then the messiah has been born. Whence:
We have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him (Mt 2:8).
This phenomenon occurred in 11 BC and 3 BC and either might have been associated with Jesus, though the earlier one is the favourite. The Essenes who were astrologers trained in Babylonian exile would have seen all this. It later escaped into the empire as literal truth instead of the astrological signs it originally was.
The story of the slaughter of the innocents is also widespread because originally it was again part of the allegory of the sun’s journey through the heavens. When the sun passed through the constellation of Gemini in May, he was imagined to have destroyed them. The Greek word to destroy is anaireo which literally means to pass through or withdraw from as well as to take away. The sun takes on the characteristics of each constellation it proceeds through so here Hercules is an infant twin. In myth that is, of course, what he was, his brother being Iphicles. So Hercules was a sun god who in his journey through the heavens threatens to kill himself as an infant of the constellation, Gemini. His earthly, adopted father had to flee with him and his mother to Galem for protection from threatening danger. Herod’s name suggested a link with Hercules so he fitted appropriately into the legend. Jesus was, of course, supposed to have had a twin brother, Thomas.
Pharaoh’s slaughter of the children, Christians believe, is referred to in the Bible when Rachel weeps for her children, a passage introduced by: “In Rama there was a voice heard.”
Note that Rama is the Indian and Phoenican name for the zodiac, and that Rachel had two children only—Joseph and Benjamin—equivalent to Castor and Pollux. Rachel then was the queen of heaven, Venus, because for the Assyrians and the Phoenicians she wept when the sun passed through the astronomical twins, the constellation of Gemini, doubtless fearing their destruction.
The stories of gods cohabiting with virgins, and begetting other gods, are of astronomical origin. Astronomy and religion were interwoven at an early period of time.
Jesus as a Sun God
The idea of a Son of God is amongst the oldest cults of the patriarchal god worshippers. The sun is the son of heaven in all primitive faiths. The firmament is personified as the Father on High and the sun becomes the Son of God. Then, because no wrongdoing is missed by the sun in its travels around the heavens, it becomes the Son of Righteousness. The sun in its annual course around the zodiac and its regular daily periodicity typified the ever present, everlasting, ever faithful qualities that reassured people.
For Christian clergy who are always scared that one of these days their flocks will catch on and be outraged at the confidence trick they have been subject to, the Jesus of the New Testament bears an uncomfortable resemblance to other mythical figures like Bacchus, the Phoenician Ies, the Hindu Krishna, the Persian Mithras, the Egyptian Horus and other sun gods.
Many of the patriarchs, prophets, priests and kings of the Bible are sun gods allegoricized as men by ancient poets. They can be recognized because there is negligible historical evidence for them. Many scholars agree that the patriarchs of the Bible and even Saul, David, Solomon and Samson are ancient gods whose myths have been ludicrously accepted as history even by the most scholarly of men.
The ancients saw in the sun’s annual course round the heavens an image of human experience—conception in June, birth into the world of fleshly life in the autumn, spiritual awakening or rebirth at Christmas, and glorious resurrection from the dead body of this life at Easter. In the dramas of the mystery religions the central character was the initiate in the role of the sun god.
Christians have confounded pre-Christian Persian and Hellenistic cosmic principles with Jesus, a historical human being, a national hero of the Jewish nation fighting repression. The Jesus of the gospels, whether he was a historical person or not, was given the characteristics of a solar god.
When the sun rose in the constellation of Virgo, the sun was born of a Virgin. Light imagery is wisespread in descriptions of Jesus. He is the “Light of the World” (Jn 8:12) but the only proper Light of the World is the sun. He cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him (Rev 1:7), a description of the sun. The sun, in the form of its reflexion as it rises and sets, walks on water. Jesus is the saviour of mankind, but truly the proper saviour of mankind and all life on earth is the sun—without it we should be unable to survive.
The sun’s corona is traditionally depicted by a halo, a sunburst or a crown of thorns, and indeed the halo can be taken as an indication of a sun god in pre-Christian art. Sun gods such as Horus, Buddha and Krishna are shown with haloes before it became a Christian convention. Often Jesus is depicted surrounded by a sunburst of rays. The horns of the older deities and the rays of light radiating from the heads of Hindu and Pagan gods show that gods were often given the attributes of the sun. The halo, that originally indicated a solar god, was transferred to other divine people in Christian art. The halo became the symbol of a god and then a holy person because it is a characteristic of the holy sun.
The sun has 12 aspects being the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which it must pass in its yearly journey. It is born in the sign of the goat, the Augean stable of the Greeks, then has an adventure as it enters each different sign during the course of a year. Finally it dies and is reborn or resurrected after three days on the twenty-fifth of December in the same sign of the celestial goat. From ancient times the year was partitioned into the 12 segments based on the constellation that the sun was in at the time, and from this the sun itself was given the aspects of the imagined signs in the heavens or friends or foes were given these imagined characteristics.
The magic number 12 is usually derived from this source and so it is with the twelve Labours of Hercules and the tribes of Israel. The rationalisation of the number twelve of the apostles is that they were to rule over the twelve tribes, but the origin of the twelve is then still solar. In fact, there were not twelve tribes and the number is only chosen to meet the requirements of a sun god.
People in agrarian societies appreciated the importance of the sun in agriculture. Farmers noted that the sun descended in altitude in the sky as it moved southwards until 21 or 22 December, the winter solstice, when it stoped declining for three days and thereafter started to ascend and move north again. The sun seemed to die for three days on 22 December when it ceased its heavenly motion and was born again on December 25th, when it resumes its heavenly motion. The punter worried that the sun might really die and not begin its annual ascent again, just as primitive peoples worried that the night might not end when the sun had set.
Ancients astronomer–priests knew of the annual cycles of the sun and told the punters that they could influence it in its journeys—if they were rewarded for their skills. Priests always were frauds—modern ones are no different in claiming they can help people get eternal life—and pretended they had rituals to revive the sun each winter. Each year on 25 December, when it was born again, people celebrated its birthday. Sons of god usually are born on December 25th. Jesus has no known birthdate but he was given the birthdate of the Unconquerable Sun because he was perceived by the Romans and the Greeks as a sun god.
The sun is hung on a cross or crucified when it passes through the equinoxes. At the vernal equinox at Easter, it is resurrected, rising above the celestial equator. Jesus’ death was accompanied by the darkening of the sun. The date of his resurrection is the position of the sun at the time of the vernal equinox when the priests could declare that the rebirth was complete—the day was now longer than the night. March 25th was considered the end of the sun’s passing through the vernal equinox, when the sun was resurrected.
Early Christians repudiated the cross because it was Pagan. The first images of Jesus show him as an androgynous youth, the Good Shepherd, carrying a lamb. The original occupant of the cross was this lamb. A man was not shown hanging on a cross until the 7th century AD.
That Christians worship on Sunday shows the origins of their god—Jesus is actually the sun, the Light of the world that every eye can see. The sun has been viewed consistently throughout history as the saviour of mankind for reasons that are obvious. Without the sun, life on the planet would die.
The ancients had no only-begotten son of the Christian type because the term they used was in Greek monogenes, and in Latin unigenitus, and did not mean only-begotten, but that which was begotten of one parent, the father, alone. The ancients meant by the term to designate the projection into matter by God of the force of life, not the sole and unique product of the union of spirit and matter, or a male god and a female human.
The Etymology of God’s Names
The name Jesus is cognate with Jehovah, properly, Yehouah, who was apparently a fertility god. It is not the personal name of an historical being but a title. This illuminates the concept of the Messiah and the coming Son, or sun god.
Alvin Boyd Kuhn, in a lecture 100 years ago, explained that Jesus and Jehovah derive from the two letters—consonants not vowels—I (Yeh) and O (oo), which in the beginning of writing symbolized the two elements, spirit and matter, male and female, into which the primal One Life bifurcated. The I symbolises a phallus, the male or spirit, and the O symbolises the vagina or womb, the female or material universe. Together they represented the biune male-female deity, Yeho. We have, then, the letters IO.
The invention of written vowels was a great discovery which the priests kept secret for a long time just as they had kept writing secret. The name of god was also a secret never to be pronounced except by those authorised—the priests—on solemn occasions. So the expression of God’s name in writing seems to have been rendered apparently unpronounceable by writing it as the set of vowel sounds discovered and currently expressed in symbolic form. The words actually were pronounceable because, paradoxically, some of the vowel symbols were pronounced as consonants.
Vowels never remain fixed. As the vowels changed, in ancient languages, expression of the different pronunciations of the sacred name caused it to be rendered as IO, IA, IE, or IU. All these forms are found. Meanwhile, when the symbol I began to be used as a pure vowel, it was replaced as a consonant by J (as it is in Latin), so that we find the names JO, JA, JE and JU.
That the priests were linking their secret discovery of the alphabet and writing with the gods is suggested by the use of the Word or Logos as the name of the Son. When the male and female which emerged from the Primal Creation had given birth to the Son or Logos, the first trinity was formed and the written name of the threefold god was expressed as three letters yielding names like IAO, JAH, IEO, JEU, ZUE. Observation of another vowel sound brought the number to four matching the four cardinal points, the square of four dimensions, and the four elements, so the holy name was spelled variously as IEOU, JOVE, ZEUS, JEVE, DIOS, (TH)EOS, HUHI, IHUH and others.
Finally, the early priestly linguistic discoveries were brought to a halt with the agreement that five vowel sounds sufficed. Thus we got IEOUA, pronounced as Yehouah, as the name of god. This is Jehovah, the V being properly a W, pronounced as a long O sound (OO) as it is in the alternative written form Yahweh. Later, some priests seemed to settle on the magic number seven, giving seven-lettered names for God. YEHOUAH, SABAOTH, DEBORAH, DELILAH, SE(PH)IROT, SEPIRO(TH), MICHAEL and SOLOMON might reflect this phase.
The I also transmuted into L (el) and transposed, so that IE became LE and then EL, the Semitic name of God. The EL and the IAH (JAH), became the most frequent names of God among the Semites and were used in hosts of personal names. The Jews have names like Bethel, Emanuel, Michael, Israel, Gabriel, Samuel, Abdiel, Uriel, Muriel, Azazel and many others featuring the EL form. The IO form appears as JO and JEHO in many Hebrew names like Joseph, Joshua, John and Jehosephat, while the JAH form is equally seen in such names as Elijah and Abijah, and the IAH form comes in a such names as Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Obediah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Messiah and Alleluiah. These endings are usually written in the Greek Testaments in the Greek form IAS, which is the same as IES and IHS. IES was the Phoenician Bacchus, or the Sun personified. This name is found everywhere on Christian altars, both Protestant and Catholic.
This looks like a linguistic accident but the central S in Jesus’s name curiously matches an Egyptian suffix written either SA, SE, SI, SU, or SAF, SEF, SIF or SUF—alternatively SAPH, SEPH, SIPH or SUPH. The F is an Egyptian ending for the masculine singular so the meaning of it is the son, heir, prince or masculine successor to the father. When the original symbol of divinity, IO or IE, JO or JE, was combined with the Egyptian suffix for the succeeding heir, SU or SA, the resultant was the name IUSA, IUSE, IUSU, or IOSE; or IESU, JESU, IUSEF, IOSEF, JOSEF. One of the many forms was JESU and another was JOSEF.
Jesus therefore means the divine son, and combined in the Egyptian IU the idea of the coming one. Hence JESUS was the Messiah, the coming son of the divine life. Indeed messiah is a combination of the Egyptian word MS and the word for god, IAH. MS means son so the meaning of Messiah is precisely son of God. It is the same word as Rameses where Ra, the name of the sun god replaces Iah and the words are reversed in order. Scholars, Christian and Jewish alike, say Messiah means the anointed one, deriving Messiah from the word for anointing with oil. They have, of course, got the derivations back to front. The word for making someone a son of God by anointing them with oil was derived from the purpose of the ritual, not the other way round.
Startling as this etymology is, more amazing is the realisation that the Old Testament of the Bible itself has about twenty sun gods called Jesus or one of its cognate forms! Besides the variant forms of Jesus already noted, there are still others in the Jewish scriptures which most people do not suspect as being related to the name of the Christian saviour—Joshua, Hosea and Jesse are indisputably of the same root. Among Semitic people we also find other related names like Yusuf, Yehoshua and Yeshu. Isaac, Esau, Jacob, Jeshu, Joachim and Jonah might not seem so clearly the same.
Jonah and the whale is a story which refers to the Mesopotamian town of Nineveh, where in the earliest tradition Tiamat, the earth mother, and sea goddess, swallows the sun, Marduk, at the end of his journey across the heavens. The scriptural story depicts the messenger of God, Jonah, as Marduk and the monster, Tiamat, as the whale. Jonah who therefore represents the sun is saved by God from the Babylonian monster and goes on to convert the whole city of Nineveh. Noah’s Ark is similarly an adaptation of the journey of the sun around the heavens, the animals being the constellations.
There are yet other sun god figures in the Old Testament under unrelated names. Samson or Sampson whose name means solar and whose hair (rays) was cut off by Delilah is perhaps the most obvious one, being a Semitic Hercules. Solomon and Saul both derive from the same root as soul and sol, the sun in Latin. David, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Jephtha are also among those whose actions identify them as solar representatives. In 2 Kings 23:11 is clear evidence of Jewish sun worshipping, when king Josiah, removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun.
The Book of Joshua leads us to think that he had several attributes of the sun god, and that, like Samson and Moses, he was an ancient deity reduced to human status. He is the son of Nun, the primeval Egyptian god who created everything but then receded into the waters to lift up the sun each dawn. His symbol was a fish. Horus in Egypt had been a fish from time immemorial, and when the equinox entered the sign of Pisces, Horus, was portrayed as Ichthys with the fish sign of over his head. Joshua might originally have been Horus as Iusa, it being a cult of Horus which left Egypt and found a home in the promised land of Canaan when it was part of the Egyptian kingdom, its followers being called Israelites. Israel then means “Our God is the Son of Ra!” When the equinox entered Pisces, this perhaps signified to some Jews that Joshua was the messiah.
The historicity of the Exodus is undermined by the lack of archaeological evidence. By coincidence, it is celebrated at the festival of Passover at the vernal equinox, in spring when the Paschal supper is consumed. It is a well known principle that legends are often invented to explain ritual practices, the origins of which have been forgotten or have become inappropriate. It is clear then that the Passover really celebrates the passing over of the sun from being below the celestial horizon to being above it. Both the Book of Enoch and the Jewish Kaballah put the Exodus in the sky not in true history. The events of the Exodus are historically impossible, in any case. 600,000 men could not have been mobilized in a single night. Nor could three million people with their flocks and herds have drawn water from a single well.
Horus of Egypt
For millennia in Egypt the messianic idea was expressed in the name IUSA. A 19th Dynasty king list says that the pre-dynastic rulers of Egypt were followers of Horus. Later he was the Iu-em-hotep, which means the divine son is peace (hotep). Hotep also means seven. IU comes to complete the six elementary powers of natural evolution with the gift of divine knowledge. Love and intelligence supplant elementary chaos and bring peace. Jesus is the seventh cosmic principle announced in all religious lore as he who brings peace and good will to men. The Christian gospels announced him thus but Jesus or IUSA or IU was known before the coming of any historical Jesus. IUSA, IAO and IESU were alternative names of Horus, the Egyptian Son (of Ra or Osiris) who was himself a sun god.
The stories of Jesus and Horus are very similar. In the later Egyptian religion, Osiris, the father of Horus was essentially a supreme and transcendental god who had acquired the attributes of most other Egyptian gods. Among his many titles were Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God of Gods, the Resurrection and the Life, the Good Shepherd, Eternity and Everlastingness, the god who “made men and women to be born again.” Even Horus and his Father, Osiris, were interchangeable, reminding us that Jesus said: “I and my Father are one.”
Osiris was the god who suffered, died and rose again, to reign eternally over the souls of the righteous dead. His worshippers believed that, like their god, they would inherit eternal life. Osiris’s coming was announced by the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris’s star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), the sign of his birth. Osiris typified the Christian idea of a messiah, a saviour god, rather than the Jewish idea of a conquering king. His flesh was also eaten in the form of communion cakes of wheat, the plant of Truth, just as Christians devour wafers which are the body of their saviour god.
In the Bible, the 23rd Psalm is an Egyptian appeal to Osiris. A hymn to Osiris as the Good Shepherd begs him to lead the deceased to the green pastures and still waters of Paradise, the nefer-nefer or beautiful, beautiful land, to restore the soul to the body and give protection in the valley of the shadow of death (the Tuat). The Lord’s Prayer was prefigured by an Egyptian hymn to Osiris-Amun (Amen) beginning, “O Amen, O Amen, who art in heaven.” Amen was also invoked at the end of every prayer.
Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri, Isis the Beloved, on December 25th, and like his father, his birth was announced by that star in the east (Sothis) and attended by the three wise men. When the birthplace was in the sign of the Bull, 6000 years ago (4000 BC), the constellation in the east that arose to attend the birth of the babe was Orion.
The identity of these old traditions with Christmas are no longer disputed by scholars. Only ignorant fundamentalist ministers and some barmy priests of other denominations deny it. The celebrations of the birthdays of Mithras and Horus are as certain as the Saturnalia. Legends of the miraculous birth of gods, demigods, and heroes in the ancient world were as certain as that the Chaldeans knew astronomy and the Romans built tenement buildings.
The whole story of Jesus cannot be reduced to solar mythology. Once the legend of the historic Jesus had been carried into the Pagan empire he came to be understood as a sun god. He collected bits of sun god mythology, but some people today, strain to explain every element of the biography of Jesus in the gospels in terms of sun mythology. There is plainly a genuine story of a living human at the core of the gospels, most clearly seen unadorned in Mark’s gospel. This was its novelty—here was a sun god that had lived on earth recently!
The chief mythical constituents of the life of Jesus were known all over the cosmopolitan Græco-Roman world, most particularly in the overlapping fringe of the Græco-Roman and the Persian-Egyptian worlds—the eastern coast of the Mediterranean—where the gospels were certainly composed. Whatever city we may favour as the cradle of the gospels, Alexandria or Antioch, Smyrna or Ephesus, every myth and ritual representation mentioned was familiar there. Mithraism spread from Persia to Britain. Roman soldiers prayed to Mithras in the towers in which they guarded the north of England from the marauding Scots. The religion of Isis and Horus was even more familiar round the Mediterranean. The legend and ritual of Dionysos were hardly less familiar.
The death and resurrection legends were just as widely diffused. Why should Pagan beliefs have to be used to explain the virgin birth myth? The Septuagint plainly, but in a false translation, said, “A virgin shall conceive”, and this was taken to refer to the Messiah. Moreover, if Jesus despised conjugal relations, as early Christians believed, they could not accept that he, as a god, would have chosen such a vile union necessary to enter the world. The early Christians in whose circles the gospel stories developed, will have seen this as a reference to the popular Pagan legends of gods born to virgins.
In the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis—the original Madonna and Child. The Gnostics said to the Christians:
You poor ignoramuses (idiotai), you have mistaken the mysteries of old for modern history, and accepted literally all that was only meant mystically.
Addition by Larry Wright
The worship of the Virgin Mary is, in all relevant details, the same as the worship of all the other Goddesses that were prevalent in the ancient world. Mary is Isis, or Venus, or Aphrodite, or Semiramis, et al… She is the “Queen of Heaven” or the “Mother of God”, or the “Star of the Sea”, or the “Immaculate Virgin”. The Mother and Child were worshipped in Babylon, as were Isis and Horus in Egypt. In Greece there was Ceres as the Great Mother with a babe at her breast, or Irene with Plutus, and even in China there was Shing Moo, also with a babe. The ancient Etruscans and Italians worshipped the goddess Nutria, who also had a son in her arms, and the Virgin mother Devaki suckled the divine Krishna. Minerva was honoured by the title “Virgin Queen”, as was Juno who was called the “Virgin queen of Heaven”.
The Virgin Mary, the Grecian Venus, and the Egyptian Isis et al… are all Queens of the starry heavens, for they are all personifications of Virgo, the eternal virgin of the zodiac. The constellation Virgo is a Y shaped group, which the star at the foot is the well known Spica, a star of the first magnitude. The whole resembles more a cup than the human figure; but when we remember the symbolic meaning of the cup, that seems to be an obvious explanation of the name Virgo, which the constellation has borne since the earliest times. Virgo lies very nearly on the ecliptic, that is the imagined path of the sun.
In Egypt 3000 years ago, the birthday of the sun god was celebrated on the 25 December, the first day to noticeably lengthen after the day of the winter solstice—the 21 December. At the midnight hour on the first minutes of the 25 December the birthday of the sun was celebrated. The sun was then in the zodiacal sign of Capricorn, then known as the Stable of Augeus, so the infant sun god was said to have been born in a stable.
Brightly shining on the meridian was Sirius—the “Star from the East”, while rising in the east was Virgo the Virgin of the zodiac, with the horizon passing through the centre of the constellation. It is this astronomical fact that is the basis of the many legends of virgin born world saviours. To the right of Sirius was the constellation Orion, “The Great Hunter”, with three stars in his belt. These stars, in a straight line, point at Sirius and were anciently known as “The Three Kings”. Depicted in the Zodiac of the temple Denderah, the constellation Virgo was pictured as a woman with a spike of corn in one hand, and on the adjacent margin the Virgin was denoted by a figure of Isis with Horus in her arms. Carpenter remarks:
But it is well known as a matter of history that the worship of Isis and Horus descended in the early Christian centuries to Alexandria, where it took the form of the worship of the Virgin Mary and the infant saviour, and so passed into the European ceremonial. We have therefore the Virgin Mary connected by linear succession and descent with that remote Zodiacal cluster in the sky! A curious confirmation of the same astrological connection is afforded by the Roman Catholic Calendar. For if this be consulted, it will be found that the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin is placed on the 15 August, while the festival of the birth of the Virgin is dated the 8 September… At the present day, the Zodiacal signs— owing to the precession of the Equinoxes—have shifted some distance from the constellations of the same name. But at the time when the Zodiac was constituted and these names were given, the first date obviously would signalise the actual disappearance of the cluster Virgo in the sun’s rays, i.e. the Assumption of the Virgin into the glory of the god, while the second date would signalise the reappearance of the constellation—or the birth of the Virgin.
The Jews held that the time of the messiah’s advent was to be astrologically indicated by the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, in the constellation of the Fishes. The prophecy related to the entrance of the vernal equinox into the zodiacal sign of Pisces the Fishes—due to the precession of the equinoxes—in approximately 255 BC. Bethlehem means the “The house of the bread corn”, in the mansions of the zodiac, Virgo is the place of the seed for sowing, and the opposite sign Pisces, is the mansion of the “Bringer forth in fruitfulness”, first set in heaven in accordance with the seasons of Egypt. The Hebrew messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, because the birthplace above was localised in the city of Judea, the land of the solar birthplace in the sign of the Fishes.
The ancient starry drama was played out yet again. At midnight on the 24th of December Virgo rose in the east and a new infant saviour was stable born. All the sins committed on earth gradually drifted down to Capricorn, hence the filthy condition of the stable, whose cleansing was one of the twelve zodiacal labours of Hercules, himself a sun god. The second-century church father Justin Martyr remarked that Christ was born when the sun had its birth in the Augean stable, Jesus coming as a second Hercules to cleanse the foul world. There is another stable in the constellation Auriga on either side of which are Taurus the bull and Ursa Major, known in Egypt as the “Ass of Typhon”. Here we have the ox and ass of the traditional nativity scene. It is also worth noting that the stars of the Great Bear were known to the Arabians as “Martha and Mary”, and also the “Coffin of Lazarus”.
“The Three Kings”—the stars of Orion— the Magi from the east mentioned in the Gospels (Mt 2:11), at the birth of the sun god, came to pay homage, and bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The reason for presenting these particular gifts is explained by the fact that of the seven metals dedicated to the genie of the planets, gold was the one consecrated to the sun god, and frankincense and myrrh were the gums burnt in censers, at his worship.
Despite their astral origins, Christians later “discovered” the bodies of Melchior, Gaspar and Balthassar; and placed them in their new cathedral in Constantinople. From Constantinople the bones of the three kings were, as a special favour to Milan, allowed to be moved to that city. When Milan was captured by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162 AD, the Archbishop of Cologne persuaded the Emperor to transfer these relics to his cathedral; and there for the last eight centuries the bones have rested. The shrine of the “Three Kings” thereafter became one of the greatest treasures of Cologne cathedral.
The Egyptian astrological elements in the stable myth are provided by Massey:
The manger is the celestial, zodiacal and the actual birthplace of the messiah in Egyptian mythology. The typical birthplace was designated Apt or Aptu, whence came the name of Abydus. Ap means to manifest and expose to view, also to guide; Apt is the place or person. Apt, as person, was the most ancient genitrix who first brought forth from the waters as the fish, dragon or hippopotamus, hence Aptu is the mythical fish. Apt as place was also the pool of two truths, the piscina of the beginning, which was made zodiacal at last in the sign of Pisces. The pool, fish, uterus and crib, are all types of the birthplace named apt, and the “apt” is also a manger. The manger, apt, is a sign of the birthplace in Thebes, as in Aptu (Abydus). Thus the hieroglyphics will explain why the divine child, as Ichthyus, was born in a manger. One position of the manger can be identified by the asterism called Proesepe, in the sign of Cancer, which was at one time the place of birth of the god at summer solstice. The manger at Bethlehem had been the birthplace of the divine babe in a far earlier cult. Hieronymus describes the Syrian Adonis, extant in his time 331-420 AD and says that in the place where the redeemer cried in the manger, the lament of the women mourning for Adonis had been heard even in later times, as it assuredly had been in the pre-Christian period.
According to the “Chronicle Of Alexandria”, the Egyptians not only consecrated the nativity of the new-born babe and the virgin mother, they had the symbolic custom of exposing a child in a crib to the adoration of the people. When Ptolemy asked why this was done, he was informed that it was an ancient mystery—the crib or Apt being identical to the manger, thus being the same babe in the manger—that was born in the Apt above.
It is clear that the worship of the virgin mother was a common practice in the ancient world. In the sixth or seventh century the Roman Pagan festival of Diana celebrated by torch light on August 13th, was adopted by the Christian cult as the “Dormition” or “Falling asleep of the Mother of God”. This later became known as the “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin”, and was celebrated two days later than the Pagan festival—on August 15th.
The worship of the Virgin, the Queen of Heaven, became one of the grand features of the Christian religion. Mary the mother of Jesus, was pronounced Theotokus— “Mother of God”— by the Council of Ephesus 431 AD, and a church on the site was made sacred to her. Twenty years later in 451 AD at the council of Chalcedon Mary was further likened to the many virgin mothers that had preceded her by being pronounced a Virgin. Ephesus was chosen, because here had stood the great temple of Artemis, the great Virgin mother of Asia minor—of whom Isis was the prototype.
Artemis was to the Greeks what Diana was to the Romans (Acts 19:27). Her temple had been rebuilt for the fourth time under the patronage of the fabulously rich Croesus. It took 140 years to complete and was dedicated in 430 BC. It was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt to even greater magnificence by about 356 BC, and became known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was finally destroyed by an edict of the Christian Emperor Theodosius in 381 AD. Her Assumption was decreed in 813 AD, her Immaculate Conception became dogma during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX in 1854. Although the former was not made official papal dogma until the pontificate of Pius XII in 1950 AD.
Regarding the elevation of Mary, Smith remarks:
Mary soon began to compete in popular affection with Isis, Cybele and Demeter. It required but slight and easy changes to transfer to her the stately ritual of the goddess Isis, with its shaven and tonsured priests, its matins and vespers, its tinkling music, its jewelled images of the mother of god; the ancient portrait of Isis and the child Horus was ultimately accepted not only in popular opinion, but by formal Episcopal sanction, as the portrait of the virgin and her child.
There can be little doubt that the Virgin Mary has been modelled directly upon the Egyptian Isis, for the two are virtually indistinguishable. The qualities which so endear Mary to the Catholics are the ones which made Isis so popular in Egypt. Both goddesses, gentle mothers that they were, could intercede with the all-powerful creator and stern judge far more effectively than their sons, and accordingly both have been styled Intercessor. Other titles of Isis include Saviour of Souls and Immaculate Virgin, all appropriated by her Christian counterpart. Like Isis before her, Mary is portrayed standing on a crescent moon with an arch of stars above her head.
Certain images of Isis were celebrated for their miraculous movements, or the shedding of tears, and she was even said to have appeared to her worshippers on rare but special occasion. This miraculous work of “Our Lady” was naturally continued by the Christian church which gradually took over the cult of Isis. In fourth-century Alexandria, the Temple of Isis and the Church of Saint Mary stood side by side, the devotees of the mother goddesses indifferently frequenting either. The end came in the sixth century, when the last remaining Temple of Isis, on the Nile island of Philae, became a Christian church at the point of a sword under an edict of Justinian.
In the foregoing it has been argued that Mary the virgin mother of Jesus, like her counterparts in the many saviour cults of antiquity, had their origin in the starry heavens, patterned on Virgo the celestial world virgin of the zodiac. This symbolism of the birth of a new sun god, with its attendant message of hope and redemption at the winter solstice, originated in Egypt with the infant Horus and his mother Isis, the Egyptian Madonna. The doctrine of the Mother of God was brought in along with the worship of the Madonna by Bishop Cyril, and the monks of Alexandria, in the 5th century AD. Figures of Isis nursing the infant Horus were taken from the temples to serve as the Madonna and Child. The name Madonna is no more than a contraction of Mater Domina or Great Mother—in Roman times a title of mother goddesses in general.
As we have noted, Isis was also represented like Mary standing on the crescent moon with twelve stars surrounding her head, and with the infant saviour in her arms enclosed in a framework of the flowers of the Egyptian bean or lotus. The Virgin Mary was often depicted in this manner in medieval art; and she was represented in statuary as being black or dark skinned; black Madonnas exist today in many of the cathedrals of Europe. The most ancient pictures and statues in Italy and other parts of Europe, of what are supposed to be representations of the Christian Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus are black. The infant god, is depicted in the arms of his black mother, his eyes and drapery white, but he is himself is perfectly black. The reason why these early representations of the Virgin Mary and Jesus are black, crowned, and covered with jewels, is that they are of pre-Christian origin; as Isis the Egyptian “Queen of Heaven” was worshipped in Europe for centuries before the Christian Era.
Temples and statues were erected to her at Bologna in Italy, and the church of Notre Dame in Paris is built on the original site of a Temple of Isis. On the entrance to the north cloister is figured the signs of the Zodiac, except that the sign Virgo is replaced by the figure of the Madonna and Child. Finally, in many parts of Italy can be seen pictures of the Virgin with her infant in her arms, inscribed with the words, “Deo Soli” (Sun God). This betrays their Pagan origin.
– Christianity Unadorned, http://www.askwhy.co.uk/awcnotes/cn2/0105SunGod.html
from Pre-game school prayer protest drowned out on field
09/03/2000, C. Bryson Hull; The Associated Press
“The loudspeakers are paid for with our tax dollars, so we should be able to use them as we wish. If other groups want to pray that way, let them put their Buddhas or their wooden statues up there and pray to their dead gods.” (Jackie Nelson, Santa Fe resident, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court ban on school-sanctioned pre-game prayer)
from “The Worship of the Sun among the Ancient Romans”
by Sir James G. Frazer
The imperial patronage thus accorded to Sun-worship for at least half a century before the establishment of Christianity was little more than an official recognition of a universal solar religion which had long been spreading in the empire under the combined influences of philosophic thought, astrological speculation, and Oriental mysteries. Among these mysteries none were more popular, none proved more dangerous rivals to Christianity, than the worship of the old Persian god Mithra, who was now definitely identified with the Sun-god under the title of the Unconquered Sun. About the beginning of our era Strabo affirms without hesitation or ambiguity that the Persian deity Mithra was the Sun. Yet in the opinion of some good modern scholars Mithra originally personified the light, not of the Sun, but of the luminous heaven in general. As to the mode, place, and date of the process which transformed him from a god of light in general into a god of the Sun in particular we have no information. The change perhaps took place in Babylonia, where, under the powerful influence of Chaldean theology and astrology, the Iranian deities were assimilated to their nearest Semitic counterparts, the Supreme God Ahura Mazda being identified with the Sky-god Bel, while the goddess Anahita was confused with Ishtar (Astarte), the goddess of the planet Venus, and Mithra was equated with the Sun-god Shamash. But Babylonia was only a stage in the triumphal march of Mithra westward. Even under the early kings of the Achemenidian dynasty Persian colonists seem to have settled in Armenia, where, according to Strabo, all the Persian deities were worshipped. It is said that the governor of Armenia used to send no less than twenty thousand colts a year to the Persian king for use at the Mithrakana or festival of Mithra. Of the mode of celebrating the festival at the Persian court we know little or nothing except that the only day on which the king was allowed to be drunk was the day on which sacrifices were offered to Mithra, and on that day he also danced a Persian dance. But the wave of Persian colonization rolled westward beyond the boundaries of Armenia. In its climate, as in its natural products, the tableland of Anatolia resembles that of Iran, and lent itself particularly to the breeding of horses, and hence to the formation of a native cavalry, the arm in which the Persians always excelled. Under the sway of Persia the nobility who owned the land appear to have belonged to the conquering race in Cappadocia and Pontus as well as in Armenia, and despite all the changes of government which followed the death of Alexander these noble lords remained the real masters of the country, ruling each the particular canton in which his domains were situated and, on the borders of Armenia at least, preserving through all political vicissitudes down to the time of Justinian the hereditary title of satrap which recalled their Iranian origin. This military and feudal aristocracy furnished Mithridates Eupator with many of the officers, by whose help he was so long able to set the power of Rome at defiance, and still later it offered a stout resistance to the efforts of the Roman emperors to subjugate Armenia. Now these warlike grandees worshipped Mithra as the patron-saint of chivalry; hence it was natural enough that even in the Latin world Mithra always passed for the “Invincible,” the guardian of armies, the soldier’s god. In the time of Strabo the Magians were still to be found in large numbers, scattered over Cappadocia, where they maintained the perpetual fires in their chapels, intoning the liturgy with the regular Persian ritual. A century and a half later the same sacred fires still blazed to the drone of the same liturgy in certain cities in Lydia: for Pausanias tells us that:
The Lydians have sanctuaries of the Persian goddess, as she is called, in the cities of Hierocaesarea and Hypaepa, and in each of the sanctuaries is a chapel, and in the chapel there are ashes on an altar, but the colour of the ashes is not that of ordinary ashes. A magician, after entering the chapel and piling dry wood on the altar, first claps a tiara on his head, and next chants an invocation of some god in a barbarous and, to a Greek, utterly unintelligible tongue: he chants the words from a book. Then without the application of fire the wood must needs kindle and a bright blaze shoot up from it.
Outside of the Anatolian tableland the first to observe the rites of Mithra are said to have been the Cilician pirates. During the civil wars which distracted the attention and absorbed the energies of the Romans in the first century [B.C.], these daring rovers seized the opportunity to issue from the secret creeks and winding rivers of Cilicia and scour the seas, landing from time to time, harrying islands, holding cities to ransom, and carrying off from some of the most famous sanctuaries the wealth which had been accumulated there by the piety of ages. Gorged with plunder and elated by the impunity which they long enjoyed, the corsairs rose to an extraordinary pitch of audacity and effrontery, marching up the highroads of Italy, plundering villas, and abducting Roman magistrates in their robes of office; while at sea they displayed a pomp and pageantry proportioned to the riches which they had amassed by their successful forays. Their galleys flaunted gilded sails and purple awnings, and glided along to the measured plash of silver oars, while the sounds of music and revelry, wafted across the water, told to the trembling inhabitants of the neighbouring coasts the riot and debauchery of the buccaneers. The worship of Mithra, which these sanctified ruffians practised in their fastnesses among the wild Cilician mountains, may have been learned by them from Mithridates Eupator, King of Pontus, whom they assisted in his wars with the Romans.
By the end of the first century of our era the worship of Mithra and his identification with the Sun appear to have been familiar to the Romans; for in an address to Apollo the poet Statius, enumerating the titles by which that deity was called, suggests that the god might prefer to be known as “Mithra, who under the rocks of the Persian cave twists the bull’s struggling horns.” The allusion is plainly to the most widespread and familiar monument of Mithraism, the sculpture which represents Mithra in a cave, kneeling on the back of a bull and twisting its head back with one hand, while with the other he plunges a knife into its flank. The ancient scholiast Lactantius Placidus, commenting on this passage of Statius, not only explains Mithra as the Sun whom the Persians worhipped in caves, but completes the solar interpretation by adding that the horned bull is the horned Moon, and that the scene is laid in a cave to signify an eclipse of the sun by the interposition of the moon. In the group of Mithra and the bull, as the scholiast correctly observes, Mithra is regularly portrayed in Persian costume wearing the usual tiara or peaked Phrygian cap; but the scholiast proceeds to say that Mithra was also represented with the head of a lion, and he explains this representation either with reference to the constellation of the Lion which the Sun enters in his course through the zodiac, or as a symbol of the superiority of the Sun-god over all the other gods, like the superiority of the lion over all the other beasts. In this interpretation the scholiast appears to have erred. The figure of a lion-headed god, standing with a serpent twined round his body and holding one or two keys in his hands, is explained with greater probability as a personification of Time, answering to the Persian divinity Zervan Akarana, Infinite Time, which from the period of the Achemenides was deemed by a Magian sect to be the origin of all things and the begetter both of Ormuzd and Ahriman.
Compared to the other Oriental deities, such as the Phrygian Great Mother, the Carthaginian Astarte, and the Egyptian Isis and Serapis, the Phrygian god Mithra was a late arrival in Rome. The nature of the Anatolian plateau explains in some measure the long seclusion of the deity from the western world. It is a bleak upland region of steppes and forests and precipices, which offers few attractions to the stranger; and there, in the solitude of the mountains or the dreary expanse of the unending plains, Mithra remained for ages isolated amid natural surroundings which formed a not unsuitable setting for his stern and soldierly religion. Even during the Alexandrian age, after the victorious Greek armies had swept over the country, Mithra never descended from his highland home to the soft skies and blue seas of Ionia. A single late dedication to the Sun Mithra, found at the Piraeus, is the only monument of his worship on the coasts of the Aegean. The Greeks never welcomed this god of their ancient enemies to their hospitable pantheon.
But no sooner was the Anatolian tableland overrun by Roman armies and annexed to the Roman empire than the worship of Mithra spread like wildfire to the remotest regions of the west and south. The soldiers adopted it with enthusiasm, and from about the end of the first century of our era they carried it with them to their distant camps on the Danube and the Rhine, on the coast of France, among the mountains of Wales and Scotland, in the valleys of the Asturias, and even on the edge of the Sahara, where a line of military posts guarded the southern frontier of the empire. In all these widely separated quarters of the globe they left memorials of their devotion to Mithra in the shape of monuments dedicated to his worship. At the same time merchants of Asia introduced the religion into the ports of the Mediterranean and carried it far into the interior by waterways or roadways to all the important trading cities and marts of commerce. In our own country Mithraic monuments have been found in London, York and Chester. Finally, among the apostles of the new faith must be reckoned the Oriental slaves, who were everywhere and had a hand in everything, being employed in the public service as well as in private families, whether they toiled as labourers in the fields and the mines, or as clerks and bookkeepers in counting-houses and government offices, where their number was legion.
At last the foreign deity wormed his way into the favour of the high officials and even of the emperor. Towards the close of the second century of our era an immense impulse was given to the propagation of the religion by the attention bestowed on it by the Emperor Commodus, who, in keeping with his brutal and cruel character, is said to have polluted the rites by human sacrifice. The dedications, “to The Unconquered Sun Mithra for the safety of Commodus Antoninus Augustus, our Lord,” and numerous other Mithraic dedications dating from the reign of Commodus, attest the popularity which the worship attained in the sunshine of imperial favour. From the early years of the third century the religion was served by a domestic chaplain in the palace of the Caesars, and inscriptions record the vows and offerings of its devotees for the prosperity of the Emperors Septimius and Alexander Severus, and afterwards of Philip. Still later the Emperor Aurelian, who, as we have seen, established an official cult of the Sun at Rome, could not but sympathize with Mithra, the god who was himself now regularly identified with the Sun.
By the beginning of the fourth century the Mithraic faith had spread so widely and struck its roots so deep, that for a moment it seemed as if it would overshadow all its rivals and dominate the Roman world from end to end. In the year 307 A. D., Diocletian, Galerius, and Licinius had a solemn meeting at Carnuntum on the Danube, and there consecrated together a sanctuary “to the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra, the favourer of their empire.” So near did Mithra come to being the Supreme God of the Roman empire. Yet a few years later and that same empire bowed its neck to the yoke of another Oriental god, and the Sun, the nconquered Sun, of Mithra set forever.
The popular identification of Mithra with the Sun in the later times of classical antiquity is placed beyond the reach of doubt by a multitude of inscriptions, found in all parts of the Roman empire, which directly qualify Mithra as the Sun or more usually as Mithra the Unconquered Sun. Nevertheless on many monuments of the worship Mithra and the Sun are represented by separate figures as if they were distinct deities. In one scene we see Mithra standing in his usual Oriental costume opposite a young man, naked or clad in a simple cloak, who is either standing or kneeling at the feet of Mithra. In some reliefs Mithra is putting on his companion’s head or removing from it a large curved object which sometimes resembles a horn or a deflated leathern bottle. The kneeling personage is usually passive, but sometimes he lifts his arms, whether in supplication or to put aside or retain the mysterious object which is being placed on his head or removed from it. In some reliefs the scene is more complicated: Mithra is displacing the enigmatical object with his right hand, while with his left he places on his companion’s head a radiant crown. In one scene of a great relief found at Osterburken we see Mithra holding the same object over the head of the kneeling figure with his right hand, while he puts his left hand to the hilt of his sword at his belt, and the radiant crown lies on the ground between them. The exact significance of the scene is uncertain, but the standing or kneeling figure who receives or loses the radiant crown is interpreted as the Sun, towards whom Mithra seems to adopt an attitude of superiority by conferring upon him or removing from him the crown of rays which is the emblem of his solar character. Perhaps the scene refers to a contest between the two deities in which Mithra remained the victor. It has also been suggested that Mithra is pouring oil or other liquid from a horn on the head of the Sun as a solemn form of baptism or investiture in sign of the powers which that deity will wield when he is crowned with the diadem of rays. In another scene of a great relief found at Heddernheim we see Mithra holding out his hand to the kneeling Sun as if helping him to rise: the head of the Sun is surrounded by a nimbus. On several monuments the two gods are represented standing opposite each other and shaking hands. Mithra wears his usual costume: the Sun is either naked with a nimbus round his head, or he wears a cloak and the radiant crown and carries a whip. The meaning of the scene is obvious. The two deities have concluded a treaty of alliance, and peace and harmony will henceforth reign between them. In the relief at Osterburken, as if to give a religious consecration to the union of the two gods, they are represented shaking hands over an altar. Further, the peace between Mithra and the Sun is sealed by a banquet, at which they are portrayed reclining side by side at the festive board and holding up goblets in their right hands, while about the table are gathered a number of guests as partakers of the sacred feast. The importance attached to this divine banquet is attested both by the number of the monuments on which it is figured and by the important place assigned to it in the series of subsidiary scenes arranged around the central piece, the sacrifice of the bull by Mithra. Often, especially in the great sculptured reliefs which have been found in the valley of the Rhine, the relief representing the banquet is the last of the whole series, as if it formed the concluding act in the history of the god’s exploits, the Last Supper of which he partook before quitting the scene of his earthly labours.
Remembering that according to the Christian Fathers a sort of communion was celebrated in the Mithraic mysteries, we can understand why the devotees of the religion set so high a value on this last feast of Mithra and his companions, or should we say his disciples? The sacramental act which the liturgy appears to have prescribed was accomplished in memory of the example set by the Divine Master. This relation between a legend and the ritual is established by a fragmentary relief discovered in Bosnia. It represents two devotees reclining at a table on which loaves are set out: one of them holds a drinking horn: both are in the attitude in which Mithra and the Sun are regularly represented on the other monuments. Round about the two devotees, or rather communicants, are grouped the initiated of various grades in the mystic hierarchy, including the Raven, the Persian, the Soldier, and the Lion, wearing the masks which are appropriate to their names and which they are known from other sources to have worn in the sacred rites. A text of St. Jerome, confirmed by a series of inscriptions, informs us that there were seven degrees of initiation in the Mithraic mysteries, and that the initiated took successively the names of the Raven, the Occult, the Soldier, the Lion, the Persian, the Courier of the Sun (heliodromus), and the Father. These strange names were not simply honorary titles. On certain occasions the officiants disguised themselves in costumes appropriate to the names they bore. These sacred masquerades were variously interpreted by the ancients with reference either to the signs of the zodiac or to the theory of transmigration. Such differences of opinion only prove that the original meaning of the disguises was forgotten. Probably the masquerade was a survival from a time when the gods were supposed to wear or assume the form of animals, and when the worshipper attempted to identify himself with his deity by dressing in the skin and other trappings of the divine creature. Similar survivals in ritual are common in many religions.
To complete the history of Mithra we must notice the monuments on which the Sun is represented driving his chariot, which is drawn by four horses at full gallop. With the left hand he grasps the reins, while he holds out his right hand to Mithra, who approaches to take his place beside the Sun in the chariot: sometimes, indeed, Mithra clings to the arm of the Sun-god as if preparing to leap into the whirling car. Sometimes the Ocean, into which the Sun’s chariot descends at night, is indicated by the figure of a bearded man reclining on the ground and leaning on an urn or holding a reed. Yet the daily disappearance of the Sun setting in the sea does not suffice to explain this scene nor the part which Mithra plays in it. To understand it we must compare the scenes carved on some Christian sarcophaguses, which present so striking a resemblance to the Mithraic sculptures that the two series can hardly be independent of each other. On the Christian sarcophaguses it is the prophet Elijah who stands erect in his car drawn by four galloping steeds. He grasps the reins with his left hand, while with his right he holds out his mantle to the prophet Elisha, who stands on the ground behind the car. In front of the car, and beneath the rearing steeds, the figure of a bearded man is stretched, leaning with his left arm on an urn from which water is flowing. The reclining figure represents the Jordan, from whose banks the prophet Elijah was swept away to heaven on the chariot and horses of fire. In the light of this parallel we may suppose that Mithra, like the prophet of Israel, his earthly labours over, was believed to have ascended up to heaven in the Sun’s bright chariot, though doubtless he was thought still to look down upon and protect the faithful worshippers whom he left behind him on earth. Sic itur ad astra.
It remains to mention among the Mithraic sculptures two figures which are commonly supposed to be connected with the solar character of Mithra. The great scene of the sacrifice of the bull, which occupied the central place in Mithraic art and probably in Mithraic religion, is regularly flanked by two youthful male figures dressed like Mithra and wearing the usual peaked Phrygian cap. Each of them grasps a burning torch, but one of them holds the burning end of the torch up, while the other turns it down towards the earth. Though they are most commonly represented in the scene of the sacrifice, where they are in a sense the acolytes or satellites of Mithra, yet they also occur in large numbers as detached sculptures. For example, they are found in couples as votive offerings in the usual subterranean sanctuaries. In the scene of the sacrifice they are portrayed as smaller than Mithra, but not disproportionately so, and they are always dressed exactly like him. For the most part they take no part in the sacrifice, but stand motionless as statues, gazing into space or absorbed in the contemplation of the flame of their torch. Sometimes, however, the torch-bearer who stands behind the bull grips the animal’s tale below the bunch of ears of corn in which the tail terminates: the gestures seems to indicate that he is about to detach the bunch of ears from the tail. Two pairs of statues of these torch-bearers are accompanied by inscriptions, from which we learn that the one who held up his torch was called Cautes, and that the one who held down his torch was called Cautopates. Elsewhere the same names have been found on inscribed pairs of pedestals, though the statues which stood on the pedestals are lost. The addition of the words “deus” (“god”) to the names in some of the inscriptions proves that both Cautes and Cautopates were regarded as divine.
The meaning and etymology of these two barbarous names are uncertain, attempts to derive them from the Persian appear to have hitherto failed; but from some of the inscriptions in which they occur it seems indubitable that both names are merely epithets of Mithra himself. One of these inscriptions reads, “d(eo) i(nvicto) M(ithrae) Cautopati,” that is, “To the Unconquered god Mithra Cautopates,” and a certain number of dedications ought to be read similarly. Another inscription runs, “deo M(ithrae) C(autopati) S(oli) i(nvicto),” that is, “To the god Mithra Cautopates, the Unconquered Sun.” Hence it would seem that in the great scene of the sacrifice of the bull, which occurs so often in Mithraic art, Mithra is represented thrice over. Now we are told by the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite that the Magians celebrated a festival of the Triple Mithra; and this statement, which has been much discussed, is illustrated by the monuments in question, which represent Mithra in three distinct forms, namely, the central figure of Mithra slaying the bull, flanked by two torch-bearers Cautes and Cautopates. Hence apparently we are driven to conclude that the sculptor meant to portray a triune god or a single deity at three different moments of his existence.
This Mithraic trinity has nothing to correspond to it in the religion of Zoroaster, but it may well be of Babylonian origin. Now according to Semitic astrology Mithra is a solar god; hence the two torch-bearers must also be the Sun, but they must represent him under different aspects or at different moments of his course. Perhaps the two youths stand for the brightening or the fading glow of the morning or evening twilight, while the god stabbing the bull between them may represent the splendour of noon. Long ago the learned French antiquary Montfaucon interpreted the three figures of these reliefs as the rising sun, the mid-day sun, and the setting sun. This would explain why in many reliefs the figure of Cautes, who holds up his torch, is accompanied by a cock, the herald of the dawn. So in Greek mythology the cock was regarded as the herald of the Sun and was accounted sacred to him; and Plutarch speaks of an image of Apollo holding a cock in his hand, which he naturally interprets as a symbol of the dawn and sunrise. Similarly in two Mithraic monuments the torch-bearer who holds up his torch in one hand supports a cock on the other. Hence we infer that this youth, named Cautes, was regarded as an emblem of the rising sun, and we may suppose that in the daily liturgy Cautes was invoked at sunrise, the bull-slaying god at noon, and Cautopates at sunset.
A more recondite theory would explain the two torch- bearers as symbols of the vernal and the autumnal sun respectively, the one waxing and the other waning in power and splendour. In favour of this interpretation it is pointed out that Cautes and Cautopates are sometimes represented holding in their hands, the one the head of a bull, and the other a scorpion; or a bull is seen browsing or resting beside Cautes, while a scorpion crawls at the feet of Cautopates. Now at a very remote date the Bull and the Scorpion were the signs of the zodiac which the sun occupied at the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes respectively, although in classical times, as a consequence of the precession of the equinoxes, the sun had long retrograded to the signs of the Ram and the Balance. It is tempting to conjecture that the traditional emblems of the constellations which once marked the beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn were transmitted from Chaldea to the west and preserved in the symbolism of the mysteries long after they had ceased to correspond with the facts of astronomy.
Be that as it may, we may be fairly certain as to the general significance of the two torch-bearers in Mithraic art. The one who lifts his torch is a personification either of the matutinal or of the vernal sun which mounts higher and higher in the sky and by its growing light and strength imparts fertility to the earth. The other who depresses his torch personifies the declining sun, whether the great luminary appears to haste at evening to his setting, or to sink day by day lower and lower in the autumnal and wintry sky.
Far more obscure and difficult to interpret is the scene of the sacrifice of the bull, which, as we have seen, occupies the central place in Mithraic art, as the sacrifice itself doubtless formed the supreme act in the Mithraic religion. In the crypts, which constituted the Mithraic temples, a sculptured group representing Mithra in the act of slaying the bull was regularly placed at the far end, facing the entrance, in a position corresponding to that which is occupied by the altar in Christian churches. Not only so, but reduced copies of the group were placed, like crucifixes with Christians, in domestic oratories and no doubt in the private apartments of the faithful. The number of reproductions of it which have come down to us is enormous, comparable to the number of crucifixes which would be found in the ruins of Europe by the hordes of infidel and iconoclastic invaders which may one day lay the whole fabric of western civilization in the dust.
A possible clue to the meaning of the mysterious sacrifice is furnished by certain curious details of the sculptures which represent it. On almost all the monuments the tail of the dying bull ends in a bunch of ears of corn, and on the most ancient of the Italian monuments three ears of corn are distinctly represented issuing instead of blood from the wound in the bull’s side. The inference seems inevitable that the bull was supposed to contain in itself certain powers of vegetable fertility, which were liberated by its death.
Now according to the ancient Avestan system of cosmogony the primeval ox, created by the Supreme God Ahura Mazda, contained in itself the seeds of all plants and of all animals except man; it was slain by the evil demon Ahriman, but in its death it gave birth to the whole vegetable and animal creation, always with the exception of the human species, which was supposed to have had a different origin. Thus in the Bundahish, an ancient Pahlavi work on cosmology, mythology, and legendary history, we read:
On the nature of the five classes of animals it says in revelation that, when the primeval ox passed away, there where the marrow came out grain grew up of fifty and five species, and twelve species of medicinal plants grew; as it says that out of the marrow is every separate creature, every single thing whose lodgment is in the marrow. From the horns arose peas, from the nose the leek, from the blood the grape-vine from which they make wine — on this account wine abounds with blood — from the lungs the rue-like herbs, from the middle of the heart thyme for keeping away stench, and every one of the others as revealed in the Avesta. The seed of the ox was carried up to the moon station; there it was thoroughly purified, and produced the manifold species of animals. First, two oxen, one male and one female, and, afterwards, one pair of every single species was let go into the earth.
Again, in another passage of the same treatise we read:
As it (the primeval ox) passed away, owing to the vegetable principle proceeding from every limb of the ox, fifty and five species of grain and twelve species of medicinal plants grew forth from the earth, and their splendour and strength were the seminal energy of the ox. Delivered to the moon station, that seed was thoroughly purified by the light of the moon, fully prepared in every way, and produced life in a body. Thence arose two oxen, one male and one female; and, afterwards, two hundred and eighty-two species of each kind became manifest upon the earth.
Hence it seems highly probable that the Mithraic sculpture of the sacrifice of the bull represents the slaughter of the primeval ox, which in dying produced from the various parts of its body the whole vegetable and animal creation, always with the exception of mankind. We can now understand why, in the Mithraic group of the slaughter of the bull, the animal is always represented fallen with its head to the right, never to the left. The reason is given in the Bundahish, which tells us that “when the primeval ox passed away it fell to the right hand.” Thus we may fairly conclude that in the belief of the Mithraic devotees the slaughter of the primeval ox was a creative act to which plants and animals alike owed their origin. We can therefore understand why the priests should have transferred that beneficent, though painful, act from Ahriman, the evil spirit, to Mithra, the good and beneficent god. In this way Mithra apparently came to be deemed the creator and source of life, as indeed he is described in a passage of Porphyry. Thus the sad and solemn scene which always met the eyes of Mithraic worshippers in the apse at the far end of their temples commemorated the consummation of the great sacrifice which in ages gone by had given life and fertility to the world.
But perhaps the sight of the tragic group in the religious gloom of the vaulted temple awakened in the minds of the worshippers other thoughts which moved them still more deeply. For it is possible, we are told, that in the Mithraic religion the cosmogonic myths were correlated with the ideas entertained by the Magians as to the end of the world. In fact, the two sets of beliefs present a resemblance which is naturally explained by the identity of their origin, if we suppose that both narratives are variants of a single primitive theme. We know, both from Greek writers and the Mazdean scriptures, that the ancient Persians believed in a resurrection of the dead at the end of this present world. Thus the Greek historian Theopompus recorded that according to the Magians men would come to life again and be immortal. According to Aeneas of Gaza, in his treatise on the immortality of the soul, “Zoroaster predicts that a time will come in which there will be a resurrection of all the dead.” The statements of these Greek writers are amply confirmed by the sacred books of the ancient Persian religion, which explicitly teach the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, good and bad alike, at the end of the present dispensation. They predict that in these last days there will rise a Redeemer or Saviour named Soshyans or Saoshyant, who will be the agent of the resurrection. He it is, we are told, “who makes the evil spirit impotent, and causes the resurrection and future existence.” In the task of bringing the dead to life the Redeemer will be assisted by fifteen men and fifteen damsels, and their labours will last for seven and fifty years. Now the way in which they will bring about the resurrection is this. They will slay an ox called Hadhayos, and from the fat of that ox and the sacred white “hom” or “haoma” (the equivalent of the Sanscrit “soma”) they will prepare ambrosia (“hush”), and they will give it to all the men, and all men will drink of it and become immortal forever and ever. Then will all men stand up, the righteous and the wicked alike. Every human creature will arise, each on the spot where he died. The souls of the dead will resume their former bodies and they will gather in one place, and they will know those whom they knew formerly in life. They will say, “This is my father, and this is mother, and this is my brother, and this is my wife, and these are some other of my nearest relations.” They will come together with the greatest affection, father and son and brother and friend, and they will ask one another, saying, “Where hast thou been these many years? and what was the judgment upon thy soul? hast thou been righteous or wicked?” And all will join with one voice and praise aloud the Lord God Almighty (Ahura Mazda) and the archangels. There in that assembly, which no man can number, all men will stand together, and every man will see his own good deeds and his own evil deeds, and in that assembly a wicked man will be as plain to see as a white sheep among black. In that day the wicked man who was a friend of a righteous man will make his moan, saying, “Why, when he was in the world, did he not make me acquainted with the good deeds which he practised himself?” Afterwards they will separate the righteous from the wicked, and the righteous will be carried up to heaven, but the wicked will be cast down into hell. For at the bidding of the Lord God Almighty (Ahura Mazda), the Redeemer and his assistants will give to every man the reward and recompense of his deeds.
Hence it would seem that Mithra succeeded to the place which in the old Persian religion had been occupied by Soshyans or Saoshyant, the Redeemer or Saviour. Thus in the belief of his worshippers “the sacrifice of the divine bull was in truth the great event in the history of the world, the event which stands alike at the beginning of the ages and at the consummation of time, the event which is the source at once of the earthly life and of the life eternal. We can therefore understand why among all the sacred imagery of the mysteries the place of honour was reserved for the representation of this supreme sacrifice, and why always and everywhere it was exposed in the apse of the temples to the adoration of the worshippers.” [F. Cumont, “Textes et Monuments,” i. 188.] On the minds of worshippers, seated in the religious gloom of the subterranean temple, the mournful scene of the slaughter of the bull, dimly discerned at the far end of the sanctuary, was doubtless well fitted to impress solemn thoughts, not only of the great sacrifice which in days long gone by had been the source of life on earth, but also of that other great sacrifice, still to come, on which depended all their hopes of a blissful immortality.
A rite which presents a superficial resemblance to the sacrifice of the bull in the Mithraic religion was the ceremony known as a “taurobolium.” This strange sacrament consisted essentially in a baptism or bath of bull’s blood, which was believed to wash away sin, and from which the devotee was supposed to emerge born again to eternal life. Crowned with gold and wreathed with fillets, the candidates for the new birth descended into a pit, the mouth of which was covered with a wooden grating. A bull, adorned with garlands of flowers, its forehead plastered with gold leaf, was then driven on to the grating and there slaughtered with a sacred spear. Its hot reeking blood poured through the grating on the worshipper in the pit, who received it with devout eagerness on every part of his person and garments, till at last he emerged gory from head to foot, and received the homage, nay, the adoration, of his fellows as one who had been born again to eternal life and had washed away his sins in the blood of the bull. It does not appear that this baptism of blood ever formed part of the regular Mithraic ritual. The many inscriptions which mention it, with the exception of one which appears to be forged, explicitly refer the rite to the worship of the Great Mother and Attis. Yet worshippers of Mithra are known to have sometimes submitted to the repulsive rite; for we possess the dedication of an altar to the Mother of the Gods and Attis by a certain Sextilius Agesilaus Aedesius, who describes himself as Father of Fathers in the religion of the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra, and at the same time claims to have been “born again to eternal life by the sacrifices of a bull and a ram.” But the Father of Fathers ranked as the highest dignitary, a sort of little pope, in the Mithraic hierarchy; accordingly we can hardly doubt that the example set by so exalted a prelate was often followed by the inferior clergy. In fact, we hear of another Father of Fathers who boasted, with honest pride, that not only he himself but his wife also, with whom he lived for forty years, had been washed in the blood of the bull. Another high dignitary of the Mithraic church was the Father of the Sacred Rites, though presumably he ranked below the supreme pontiff, the Father of Fathers. Two of these Fathers of Sacred Rites similarly bragged of having been regenerated by the application of bull’s blood. Again, one of the inferior clergy, a simple Father and Sacred Herald of the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra, records that he too had partaken of the sacrament of the bull. This last prelate would seem to have mixed up his religions in a very liberal spirit, for, apart from the preferments which he held in the Mithraic communion, he informs us that he was priest of Isis, hierophant of Hecate, and arch-cowkeeper of the god Liber, who apparently laid himself out for cattle-breeding. And far from being ashamed of having been drenched with the blood of the slaughtered bull, this reverend pluralist prayed that he might live to repeat the performance twenty years later; for though in theory the blood was supposed to regenerate the votary forever, it seems that in practice its saving efficacy could not safely be trusted to last longer than twenty years at the most, after which the sacrament had to be repeated. Thus we may conclude that the worshippers of Mithra were often glad to practise a barbarous rite which, though it formed no part of their own religious service, yet served to remind them of that supreme sacrifice to which they attached the deepest importance as being nothing less than the great central fact in the history of the world.
The striking similarities which may be traced in certain points between Mithraism and Christianity were clearly perceived by the Christian Fathers; indeed we are indebted to their writings for our knowledge of some of the parallels which otherwise might have been forgotten. In accordance with their general theory of the world, they explained the resemblances as wiles of the devil, who sought to beguile poor souls by a spurious imitation of the true faith. Thus Justin Martyr tells us that in the mysteries of Mithra the evil spirits mimicked the eucharist by setting before the initiates a loaf of bread and a cup of water with certain forms of words. But the Father who appears to have possessed the most intimate knowledge of Satan and the greatest skill in unmasking him under all his disguises, was Tertullian, and to his ruthless exposure of the great Enemy of Mankind we are indebted for certain particulars which, but for his scathing denunciation, might long have been consigned to the peaceful limbo of oblivion. Thus in his essay on “The Soldier’s Crown” he reveals some points in the curious ritual observed when a Mithraic votary was promoted to the rank of soldier in the sacred hierarchy, for Mithraism had its Salvation Army. The ceremony took place in one of the crypts which formed the regular Mithraic temples. There a crown was offered to the candidate on the point of a sword, and a pretence was made of placing it on his head; but he was instructed to wave it aside and to say that his crown was Mithra. Thus was his constancy put to the proof, and he was counted a true soldier of Mithra if he cast down the crown and said that his crown was his god. This, according to Tertullian, was a diabolic counterfeit of the conduct of a true Christian who should learn to despise the glories of this frail fleeting world in the prospect of a better world that will last forever. “What hast thou to do,” asks the Father in a glow of religious emotion, “what hast thou to do with flowers that fade? Thou hast a flower from the rod of Jesse, a flower on which hath rested the whole grace of the Holy Spirit, a flower incorruptible, unfading, eternal.” He reminds the Christian soldier of the Spirit’s promise: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life”; and he recalls the boast of the great Apostle of the Gentiles uttered when the time of his departure was at hand: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Further, we learn from Tertullian that among the Mithraic rites there was a species of baptism at which remission of sins was promised to the initiate at the baptismal font. This also, according to Tertullian, was a device of Satan, whose cue it is to invert the truth by aping the holy sacraments in the mysteries of idols. In further proof of the craft and subtlety of the devil Tertullian adds: “And if I remember aright, Mithra marks his soldiers on their foreheads: he celebrates the offering of bread: he enacts a parody of the resurrection; and he redeems the crown at the point of the sword. Nay more, he enacts that his high priest shall marry but once, and he has his virgins and celibates.” Here “the offering of bread” obviously refers to the same sacrament of bread and water which Justin Martyr stigmatizes as a diabolic imitation of the eucharist. The virgins and celibates of Mithra appear to have anticipated the nuns and monks of Christianity. It is not so certain what “the parody of the resurrection” alludes to. But from the words which Lampridius uses in describing the profanation of the mysteries by Commodus, it seems clearly to follow that the death of a man by violence was dramatically represented in the mysteries. For the historian says that Commodus “polluted the Mithraic rites with real homicide, whereas the custom in them is only to say or to pretend something that creates an appearance of fright.” Again, Zacharias the Scholiast, in a life of the Patriarch Severus of Antioch, which must have been written about 514 A.D., asks, “Why in the mysteries of the Sun do the pretended gods reveal themselves to the initiates only at the moment when the priest produces a sword stained with the blood of a man who has died by violence? It is because they only consent to impart their revelations when they see a man violently put to death by their machinations.” The mysteries of the Sun here referred to are probably those of Mithra, but the writer appears to be mistaken in supposing that human sacrifices ever formed part of the Mithraic ritual. All that we can safely infer from his testimony, confirmed by that of Lampridius, is that one of the scenes acted in the mysteries was the pretended killing of a man, and that a bloody sword was produced in proof that the slaughter had actually been perpetrated. We may conjecture that the supposed dead man was afterwards brought to life, and that this was the parody of the resurrection which Tertullian denounced as a device of the devil.
If the Mithraic mysteries were indeed a Satanic copy of a divine original, we are driven to conclude that Christianity took a leaf out of the devil’s book when it fixed the birth of the Saviour on the twenty-fifth of December; for there can be no doubt that the day in question was celebrated as the birthday of the Sun by the heathen before the Church, by an afterthought, arbitrarily transferred the Nativity of its Founder from the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December. From the calendar of Philocalus, which was drawn up at Rome about 354 A.D., we learn that the twenty-fifth of December was celebrated as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun by games in the circus. These games are mentioned by the Emperor Julian, who tells us that they were performed with great magnificence in honour of the Unconquered Sun immediately after the end of the Saturnalia in December. The motives which induced the ecclesiastical authorities to transfer the festival of Christmas from the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December are explained with great frankness by a Syrian scholiast on Bar Salibi. He says:
The reason why the fathers transferred the celebration of the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December was this. It was a custom of the heathen to celebrate on the same twenty-fifth of December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and festivals the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day and the festival of the Epiphany on the sixth of January. Accordingly, along with this custom, the practice has prevailed of kindling fires until the sixth.
The custom of holding a festival of the Sun on the twenty-fifth of December persisted in Syria among the pagans down at least to the first half of the sixth century, for a Syriac writer of that period, Thomas of Edessa, in a treatise on the Nativity of Christ, informs us that at the winter solstice “the heathen, the worshippers of the elements, to this day everywhere celebrate annually a great festival, for the reason that then the sun begins to conquer and to extend his kingdom.” But the pious writer adds that, though the power of the Sun waxes from that day, it will afterwards wane again; whereas, “Holy Church celebrates the festival of the Nativity of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who begins to conquer error and Satan, and will never wane.” This opposition between the natural Sun of the heathen and the metaphorical Sun of Righteousness of the Christians is a rhetorical commonplace of ecclesiastical writers, who make use of it particularly with reference to the Nativity. The pagan origin of Christmas is plainly hinted at, if not exactly admitted by St. Augustine in a sermon wherein he exorts his Christian brethren not to solemnize that day like the heathen on account of the sun, but on account of Him who made the sun. Similarly Leo the Great rebuked the pestilent belief of those who thought that Christmas was to be observed for the sake of the birth of the new sun, as it was called, and not for the sake of the Nativity of Christ.
The last stand for the worship of the Sun in antiquity was made by the Emperor Julian. In a rhapsody addressed to the orb of day, the grave and philosophic emperor professes himself a follower of King Sun. He declares that the Sun is the common Father of all men, since he begat us and feeds us and gives us all good things; there is no single blessing in our lives which we do not receive from him alone, or at the hand of the other gods perfected by him. And Julian concludes his enthusiastic panegyric with a prayer that the Sun, the King of the Universe, would be gracious to him, granting him, as a reward for his pious zeal, a virtuous life and more perfect wisdom, and in due time an easy and peaceful departure from this life, that he might ascend to his God in heaven, there to dwell with him for ever. However the deity to whom he prayed may have granted him a virtuous life, he withheld from his worshipper the boon of an easy and peaceful end. It was in the press of battle that this last imperial votary of the Sun received his mortal wound and met a most painful death with the fortitude of a hero and the serenity of a saint. With him the sun of pagan and imperial Rome set not ingloriously.
– Sir James G. Frazer, The worship of the Sun Among the Aryan Peoples of Antiquity (Chapter XII of The Worship of Nature); 1925; http://members.aol.com/zoticus/bathlib/helios/index.htm
Astro-Theology: Retelling an Ancient Story
from Jordan Maxwell’s BBC of America
The Judaic-Christian Bible tells a wonderful story. It is, in fact, often referred to as “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. And so it is! You are now about to find out why!
In the New Testament of Christian Bible, a provocative and most serious challenge is laid on the whole of Christianity. Since it bears directly on our subject, we will quote it: “…if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God … And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (I Cor 15:14, 15, 17)
In the New Testament there is a warning given to all who would build a house. Namely, before you lay the foundation, find out what the foundation itself will rest on – solid rock, or sand? The reason is obvious…
or said another way; “You need to stand under the foundation to get a true under-standing!”
Let’s closely examine the original, conceptual foundations of the faith, and then decide “…if Christ be not risen. ” But in order to do that, we must go back, not 2.000 years to the birth of Christ, but 8 to 10,000 years to the birth of modern man. For when one seeks to establish foundations, one must begin at the beginning.
Many thousands of years ago in what we refer to as the the “primordial world” of the ancients, human life was a far different experience to that which we enjoy today. While it is true that we have less documentation on that prehistoric world than we have on our own age, ample enough is known from the ancient writings to paint a rather clear picture of our primitive ancestry. If we have learned anything at all, it is this: The more we change, the more we stay the same. And nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the history of man’s quest for “God”, and the ancient religion we still keep holy today.
According to the best understanding we have gleaned from the available records, life for our ancient forefathers was a mixture of wonder and fear. Each day, just finding food for one’s family without becoming a meal yourself for the roaming predatory animals, was a life and death struggle. (If you have ever ventured out on a cold night with insufficient clothing, and without friend or family near, you could quickly see how fearful the dark, cold primordial nights could be) And then came winter!
It was from these meager, distressful conditions of the human race that our long history of the search for God and meaning has come. Any evolution, at it’s most accelerated rate, is always agonisingly slow. But from the beginning, man’s’ profound questions demanded answers. When no clear answers were forthcoming from the universe, man turned inward, and developed his own. Keep in mind that all the theological teachings of the Western World were developed in the Northern Hemisphere. The study of this subject is properly called
– “Astro-Theology” or, “The Worship of the Heavens”.
This is the first, original, and therefore the oldest, and most respected story on Earth! It did not take ancient man very long to decide that in this world the single greatest enemy to be feared was the darkness of night, and all the unknown dangers that came with it. Simply stated, man’s first enemy was darkness.
Understanding this one fact alone, people can readily see why the greatest and most trustworthy friend the human race could ever have was by far, heaven’s greatest gift to the world … that Glorious Rising Orb of Day …
With this simple truth understood, we can now begin to unravel an ancient and wonderful story. Today, as in all mankind’s history, it has once again been told anew.
Modern-day Christianity has often belittled our ancient ancestors who are not here to defend themselves. They falsely accuse that they were nothing more than ignorant worshippers of the sun. Therefore we can, with assurance, summarily dismiss thousands of years of human spirituality as ignominious myth, believed by well-meaning, but gullible primitives. Too much of this kind of spiritual arrogance and religious pride has continued without challenge. The time has come to set matters straight.
First. no people of the ancient world believed the “Sun” to be “God”. That belongs in the “disinformation file”.
In point of fact, every Ancient culture and nation on Earth have all used the Sun as the most logically appropriate symbol to represent the Glory of the unseen Creator of the heavens. Here it is important to remember two points.
First, with the exception of Japan, the ancient world mythologies always understood the Sun to be masculine in qualities, and the moon feminine. Second, the English language is derived from the German. In the Germanic, the word ‘Sun’ is spelled ‘Sonne’. The two words can (and have been) used interchangeably.
“The heavens are declaring the Glory of God.” (Ps. 19: 1)
“Jesus is the Glory of God.” (2 Cor 4:6)
“The SUN of Righteousness will arise with healings in His wings.” (Mal 4:2)
“God’s Son/Sun…he is risen!” (Matt 4:16)
Saying. “How, often I wanted to gather you under my wing. ”
The “Ancient Story” went something like this …
1. The ancient peoples reasoned that no one on Earth could ever lay claim of ownership to the Great Orb of Day. It must belong to the unseen Creator of the Universe. It was, figuratively speaking, not man’s, but “GOD’S SUN”. Truly, “God’s Sun/Son was … THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
2. As stated before, in the dark cold of night man realised his utter vulnerability to the elements. Each night, mankind was forced to wait for the ” Risen Sun” to chase away the physical and mental insecurity brought on by the darkness. Therefore, the morning Sun focused man’s attention on heavenly dependents for his frail, short existence on Earth, and in doing so, it became the appropriate symbol of divine benevolence from heaven.
3. So just as small fire brought limited light into man’s own little world of darkness, likewise the “Great Fire of Day” served the whole Earth with its heavenly presence. For this reason, it was said at Deut 4:24, and Heb 12:29 that the God of the Bible was a “Consuming Fire” in heaven. And so He is!
4. It was accepted by all that man was bound to a life on Earth, but the sky was God the Father’s abode – His dwelling place. Naturally, God’s Son/Sun would also reside with his Father “up in HEAVEN”.
5. Ancient man saw in his male offspring his own image and likeness, and his own existence as a father was proved by the person of his son. It was assumed that God’s ‘Sun was but a visible representative of the unseen Creator in heaven. So it was said, “When you have seen the Sun, you have seen the Father”; or “the Father is glorified in his Sun.”
6. Ancient man had no problem understanding that all life on Earth depended directly on life-giving energy from the Sun. Consequently, all life was lost without the Sun. It followed that God’s “Sun” was nothing less than “Our very Saviour”. If you don’t think so, wait ’till it don’t come up!
7. Since life is energy, and energy from the Sun gave life, and we sustained our very existence by taking energy in from our food (which came directly from God’s Sun), the Sun must give up its life supporting energy so that we may continue to live. “God’s Sun gives his life for us to live.”
8. While it was plainly true that our life came from and was sustained each day by “Our Saviour… God’s Sun”, it was and would be true only as long as the Sun would return each morning. Our hope of salvation would be secure only in a “RISEN saviour”. For if he did not rise from his grave of darkness, all would be lost. All the world waited patiently for His ‘imminent return”. The Divine Father would never leave us at the mercy of this world of darkness. His Heavenly promise concerning his Sun was surely that…”He would come again”…to light our path, and save those lost in the darkness … And He still does … every morning about 5:30 am.
9. Logically, even if man himself died, as long as the Sun comes up each day, life on Earth will continue forever. Therefore, it was said in the ancient texts that everlasting life was “the gift” that the Father gives through his Sun. For…”God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten SUN that we may have life everlasting”….on Earth! Not for you personally – but ON EARTH… everlasting life!
10. Since evil and harm lurked at every turn in the fearful dark of night, all evil or harmful deeds were naturally, the…”works of darkness.”
11. With the return of the Sun each morning, man felt more secure in his world and therefore, was at peace. Therefore, God’s ‘Sun’ was with his warm rays of life and hope…The Great “Prince of Peace”.
12. And of course the reverse was equally true. The dark evil of night was ruled by none other than…”Prince of Darkness”… The EVIL/DEVIL.
13. Our English words ‘Good’ and ‘God’ we get from the German word ‘Goth’ as in ‘Gothic’. Now we see God is Good, and Devil is Evil.
14. It was only a short step to see “The Light of God’s Sun” equated with the light of truth – and evil equated with darkness. From then on, it was simple to understand … “LIGHT was GOOD – DARK was BAD.”
15. That being true, then the Great Orb of Day (God’s Sun) could rightly say of itself, “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, and no man comes to the Father except through me,” or one comes to God Only by the Light of Truth.
16. We should all “give thanks” to the Father for sending us His “Sun”. For the peace and tranquillity he brings to our life is even called ‘Solace’ – from “Solar” = Sun.
17. We now have before us two (2) cosmic brothers – one very good, and one very evil. One brings the “truth to light” with the “light of truth”. The other is the opposite, or in opposition to the light – “The Opposer” … Prince of this World of Darkness – The “Devil”.
18. It is at this point that we come to Egypt. More than 3,000 years before Christianity began, the early morning “Sun/ Saviour” was pictured in Egypt as the “New Born Babe”. The infant saviour’s name was “HORUS”.
19. The early morning Sun or “New Born Babe”, was pictured in two ways.
A) The Dove – Bringer of Peace
B) The Hawk – God of War (who punishes the enemies of God!).
20. At daybreak. this wonderful, newborn child, God’s ‘Sun’, is … ‘Born Again’ Horus is Risen. Even today, when the Sun comes up, we see it on the “Horus-Risen”, or “Horizon”. His life was also divided into 12 parts or steps across Heaven each day: 12 HORUS = 12 HOURS. This is the origin of the modern ” 12 Step Program”. Horus is the (new-born) Sun, or the Bringer of the Light. In Latin, Light Bringer is Lucis, or Lucifer, or Luke.
21. But now, what about the evil brother of God’s Sun, that old rascally “Prince of Darkness” himself? In the Egyptian, he was called “SET”. We are told in the Bible that when God’s Sun died, He left the world in the hands of the Evil Prince of Darkness. This evil prince took over the world at “SON-SET”.
22. It was generally observed that ‘God’s Sun’ could be depended upon to return in the same manner that he left, namely, “On a Cloud””..and that “Every eye will see Him”” … Every evening, go out and watch the Sun leave this world “on a cloud”. And next morning, watch to see Him return on a cloud. And every eye will see him come again! … Unless you’re blind!
23. Keep in mind ‘God’s Sun’ symbolically represented the light of truth, but was condemned by His enemies who could not endure the light of truth in their life. The ancients taught that the very act of opposing or denying the light of truth to the point of killing it, happened in one’s own mind! When we are confronted with the harsh realities of life, the light of truth, which we do not wish to face, and which runs counter to our views, such truth is judged in your mind, or judged “in the temple area” of your brain, and put to death in your head ! Therefore, ‘God’s Sun – The Truth and The Light – is put to death at “GOLGOTHA” , or “PLACE OF THE SKULL “, located somewhere between your ears! This putting to death of the light of truth in your mind is always accompanied by two thieves: Regret for the past and Fear of the future.
24. And of course God’s ‘Sun’ goes to His death wearing a “corona” – Latin for “Crown of Thorns” . Remember the Statue of Liberty? To this day, Kings still wear a round crown of thorns, symbolising the rays of the Sun!
25. God’s ‘Sun’ brought His wonderful light to the world, and distributed it over 12 months. So it was said, God’s ‘Sun’ had 12 companions, or helpers, that assisted His life-saving work. So it was, God’s ‘Sun’ had 12 apostles (or months) that followed Him religiously through His life. Incidentally, now you know why the American jury system has 12 jurors who help bring the truth to light, with the “Light of Truth”.
26. As far back as we can go into the ancient world, we find that all known cultures had a “Three-in-one” Triune God. The very first trinity was simply the three stages of the life of the Sun.
A) New Born Savior at dawn.
B) Mature, full-grown (The Most High) at 12 (High) noon.
C) Old and dying, at the end of day (going back to The Father).
All three were of course One Divinity – The Sun. Three different phases, but one God! The Trinity is truly a mystery … like electricity, radio, TV, and jumbo-jets are all a mystery to the unenlightened mind!
27. The Egyptians knew that the Sun was at its highest point in the sky (at high noon). At that point, one offered prayers to the “Most High” God! To the ancients, the sky was the abode, or heavenly temple, of the “Most High”. Therefore, God’s ‘Sun’ was doing His heavenly Father’s work of enlightening all in the temple at 12 …not 12 years old, but 12 noon!
28. The world of ancient man kept track of times and seasons by the movement of the Sun daily, monthly, and yearly. For this, the sundial and sun calendars were devised. Not only the daily movement of the Sun was tracked on the round dial, but also the whole year was charted on a round Sun calendar dial. Examples: Ancient Mexican, Mayan, Inca, Aztec, Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Celtic, Aryan, etc. With this method, certain new concepts emerged in the mind of ancient man.
29. Since the Earth experienced 4 different seasons, all the same and equal (in time) each year, the round Sun calendar was divided into 4 equal parts. This is also why we have, in the Bible, only 4 Gospels. Of this point, there can be no doubt. The 4 Gospels represent the four 4 seasons which collectively tell the entire story of the life of God’s ‘Sun’. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John are Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. This is why the famous painting of “The Last Supper” pictures the 12 followers of the Sun in four groups (of three) …
30. On the round surface of the yearly calendar, you can draw a straight line directly across the middle, cutting the circle in half… one end being the point of the winter solstice; the other end being the point of the summer solstice. Then you can draw another straight line (crossing the first one); one end of the new line being the spring equinox; the other end being the autumn equinox. You now have the starting points for each of the 4 seasons. This is referred to by all major encyclopedias and reference works, both ancient and modern, as “The Cross of the Zodiac”. Thus, the life of God’s ‘Sun’ is on “the Cross”. This is why we see the round circle of the Sun on the crosses of Christian churches. The next time you pass a Christian church, look for the circle (God’s Sun) on the cross.
The Sun, since the first day of summer, has each day been moving southward, and stops when it reaches its lowest point in the Northern Hemispheric sky (December 22nd – our winter solstice). At this lowest point, the Sun stops its journey southward. For three days, December 22nd, 23rd , and 24th, the Sun rises on the exact same latitudinal (declination) degree.
This is the only time in the year that the Sun actually stops its movement Northward or Southward in our sky. On the morning of December 25th the Sun moves one degree northward beginning its annual journey back to us in the Northern Hemisphere, ultimately bringing our spring. Anything steadily moving all year long that suddenly stops moving for three days was considered to have died. Therefore, God’s Sun who was dead for three days, moves one-degree Northward on December 25th beginning its annual journey back to the Northern Hemisphere. The Sun is symbolically … BORN AGAIN. And to this day, His worshippers still celebrate His BIRTHDAY!…. Merry Christmas.
31. Today we use expressions when someone dies. We say things like, “They Passed”, or “They Passed On”, or “They Passed Away”. The ancients said “They Passed Over” (from one life to another), And so it was with the coming of spring, as God’s Sun is “Resurrected” from the Death of Winter to His New Life (in spring). In the ancient world, long before the Hebrews ever existed, the celebration of spring was called “The Pass Over”; The Sun, which was dead in winter, has passed over to His new life in spring. This is the origin of the modern Passover celebration. This is why Christians also celebrate “The Resurrection”, or His return, in spring with a “Sunrise service” … He kept His Promise, and has returned to us with the Promise of New Life… “HAPPY EASTER-PASSOVER!”
– Jordan Maxwell, http://www.bbcoa.com/astro.html