Article on Christmas and Easter (No. 236)
(Edition 1.0 19980127-19980127)
This article on the origins of Christmas and Easter was requested to be written after discussions with the editor of an Australian newspaper. The research paper entitled the Origins of Christmas and Easter was written as the background paper for this article which does not contain the detailed and necessary scholarship, which some readers find a little tedious.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 1998 Wade Cox)
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Article on Christmas and Easter
Christmas and Easter are celebrated by most of Christianity. They are not Christian festivals and their origins are steeped in the worship of heathen gods and paganism.
Much of the traditions are derived directly from refinements of the ancient fertility cults developed under the Roman Empire and Asia Minor.
The first tradition we need to examine is the Saturnalia. That ancient Roman practice was kept in the period of the build up to the winter solstice which anciently was celebrated on 25 December. By the time of the Roman Empire, it was celebrated for seven days from 17 December to 23 December. It was in three phases.
Among the Roman populace and from records of the army in 303 AD, we see that a soldier was selected by lot thirty days prior to the festival and lived a life of absolute debauchery being hailed, robed and treated as the personification of the god Saturn. At the end of the period, he then cut his own throat on the altar of the god Saturn. In 303 AD, the Christian soldier Dasius was executed by order of his commander Bassus for refusing to participate in the ceremonies and end his last days in debauchery at a pagan festival.
This aspect of human sacrifice is anciently associated with all phases of the festivals at each stage of the year.
The Saturnalia by the second century after the birth of Christ was in three phases:
The Saturnalia proper from 17 December dedicated to the god Saturn.
The Opali dedicated to Opis the wife of Saturn commenced 19 December. Originally this was part of the theme of the Mother goddess system held jointly with the Saturnalia.
The sixth and seventh days were the Sigillaria when clay toys were made and sold, being given as presents to the children at the end of the festival. This is where the custom of giving presents to children on Christmas eve comes from.
All of the traditions seem to associate human sacrifice with it originally.
During these days, the law courts were closed and no public business could be transacted. The schools kept holiday. Wars were not undertaken, slaves were given privileges of free men and wore robes and were waited on at a special banquet by their masters. All ranks of the society engaged in feasting and mirth. This is the origin of the term the festive season and the customs associated with it.
Wax tapers or illuminations were given and lit and employed as the lights are on the last day of the carnival in Europe. This is the origin of the tradition of our Christmas lights.
They elected a mock king for amusement. This was transferred to the ceremony of Twelfth-night. The Lord of Misrule of the Christian tradition, or the King of Fools or the King of the Bean, found throughout Europe in both Christianity and also in Judaism at Purim, stems from the King of the Saturnalia and appears to have ended in death as we see from the example with the martyr Dasius.
The Heavenly Virgin as Mother goddess
The Mother goddess religion was very popular in the Roman Empire and her association with lover or son was common. It extended from Africa to Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, and to Bulgaria. She was declared the Heavenly Virgin, accorded divine honours and she and her infant child were paraded on a yearly basis. Her association with a grotto was found in Africa, and her effeminate priests were still parading her and the child at Carthage as the Mother goddess at the time of Augustine.
She was adopted into the Christian faith as the Virgin Mary. Christ’s mother’s name was Mariam, not Mary. We will see more of her later.
The god Mithras entered Rome in about 63 BC. The 25th of December was traditionally associated with his worship. He was part of the Mystery cults and the public form of his worship was as Elagabal. He was the Invincible Sun god. His worship was tied up with the Mystery cults and Sun-worship through a multitude of gods and goddesses. Their feasts were noted by the early church to have been taken over from the pagans and given Christian names. The feasts of Isis and Cybele were noted by the Christian writer Tertullian to be similar to the feasts of Christianity. The gods of the Greeks and the Egyptians and the Romans and the Orientals had similar rites, though different names. The Roman worship of the cult of Attis was more barbarous than, say, the cult of Adonis with the Greeks but both were similar. The feasts of the gods and goddesses were simply taken over and given Christian names.
Christmas and the Heavenly Virgin
The 25th of December was regarded as the nativity of the Sun. The ritual celebrated in Syria and Egypt was very similar to the modern Christian festival. The celebrants retired to inner shrines. At midnight they issued a loud cry The Virgin has brought forth! the light is waxing!
This appears to be the origin of the Christmas eve party. The Heavenly Virgin was the Mother goddess giving birth to the infant Sun whose light had begun to wax after its long decline.
This is the origin of the idea of the perpetual virginity of the deity termed the Heavenly Virgin or the Heavenly goddess.
The three kings
The three kings associated with the birth of Christ come from another source. The Bible does not tell us there were three and they are not mentioned as kings. They are termed wise men. There were three types of gifts. The names are traditionally Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Melchior is always portrayed as a black. Throughout all Europe we see that the three entities seem to stem from the activities associated with the twelve days of Christmas and they are actually representations of the corn spirits or deities of fertility. The black face comes from the traditions associated with Demeter and the other two are the deities Pluto and Persephone. These are much more ancient than Christianity.
The Lord of Misrule, the King of the Beans and the Festival of Fools
The tradition of the appointed king at the Saturnalia came to spread throughout Europe and the twelve days of Christmas. The traditions vary from place to place and activities occur on different days but basically they have the same themes. The practice of wearing masks originated from these fertility festivals anciently. In Europe, the clergy dressed sometimes as women and people masqueraded as bishops, archbishops, popes and abbots. The most solemn rites of the church were parodied by the clergy and the laity. Asses were led into the churches and tethered at the altars while farcical services were carried out with lewd chanting and drinking. At the end, lewd farces were performed.
These practices were performed up until the twentieth century.
The Christmas cake and money
The Festival of Fools goes on to the Twelfth- night of Christmas, which is the Epiphany of 6 January. This is the end of the Sun festival phase, which follows the Saturnalia festivities ending 24 December. It lasts from 25 December to 6 January. The king is elected in this phase and, in some areas, he has a queen consort who is sometimes elected and sometimes chosen. Both are tied in to the ancient fertility and agricultural festivals. They are elected on Twelfth-night or on the eve of the Epiphany on 5 January. In some areas, beans were baked in a cake to select the king and queen. In England, a bean was put in the hat for the king and a pea for the queen. Sometimes, a bean was put there for every person and coloured beans were used to select the king and queen.
In some areas, a child was placed under a table and used in a manner similar to the oracle of Apollo to direct the distribution of the Christmas cake.
Later, money was substituted for the beans. This became the origin of the silver coins placed in Christmas cakes.
The height of the king and queen in many areas were used to determine the height of the hemp crops.
The beans were taken to be blessed by the clergy and were used for divination as were many other things during this period.
The fertility rites employed over the twelve days of Christmas in most areas involved the use of bonfires. This was to ensure the success of the crops and the plenty of bread and wine. The fires were protection against smut in the wheat and against disease. Often there were twelve smaller fires with a thirteenth larger fire. The fires also guarded against witches and changelings who became beasts at night. The fires commence in some places as early as Christmas eve and in others up until Twelfth-night or the Epiphany of 6 January.
These fires also take the form of candles.
The origin of candles in ritual
Candles were used in the early rituals of the Aryans. They were used as a form of magic in ritual and were to placate the spirits, both good and evil.
The Aryans took them with them into India and west into Europe with the Celts and later tribes. The original purpose of the candles and bonfires was to ward off the gods of thunder, storm and tempest and also witches and evil spirits generally. In some areas, they were made from human tallow and, as late as the seventeenth century, they were made for purposes of magic from the fat of hanged felons and also the fat of children or the foetus taken from the womb of a pregnant woman murdered for the purpose.
They were noted as being used from the Babylonian captivity. They entered Christianity through the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Their use was in placating the deities based on the animistic theories and the Doctrine of the Immortal Soul, which the original Christians considered a godless and blasphemous doctrine.
The twelve days of Christmas was used for weather forecasting and other forms of divination. The weather on each day was said to forecast the weather on the months of the year and other forms of ritual magic. The Scots did this from 31 December and so on as an infallible rule. The Celts of Scotland and France are divided as to the beginning of days but the same views are held by both and this view extends into India. The Aryans there took the belief into Hinduism. The twelve days were held as the time when the three Genies, the Ribhus or Genii of the seasons, rested from their labours in the house of the Sun god.
The twelve days of Christmas actually appears to have relationship to the adjustment between the lunar and the solar year. This also relates to the five days between Christmas and New Year as an adjustment to the calculations of the theoretical year of the twelve thirty-day months and the actual length of the solar year. This is not to be confused with the biblical prophetic year of 360 days.
These five days were regarded as having no real purpose and people did nothing on them. This custom survives today from Ireland to Asia and on to South America. It was a feature of ancient Sun-worship and had nothing to do with Christianity.
The Sun god and his worship
The birthday of the Sun god Mithras was on 25 December, and the Roman calendar was adjusted to represent the concept of the eight- day sequence from the day of Saturn to the day of the Sun. Sunday worship was introduced to Christianity from the Sun-worship in Rome and was not found in Christianity until the middle of the second century in Rome and later elsewhere. Christmas was the primary festival upon which this Sun-worship was insinuated and Sunday is the day of the week which is dedicated to the worship of the Sun god following on from the Christmas traditions. The day of the God of the Bible is the seventh day Sabbath called Saturday – it is not Sunday.
From this point, in the East, prayer to the Sun was introduced to Christianity.
The early church fathers record that the Greco-Roman church transferred the festival of the Greek system of 6 January to 25 December because it was the custom of the heathens to celebrate that day with festivities and the lighting of lights. Augustine then is faced with exhorting the Christians not to celebrate the custom as the heathen do on account of the Sun but on account of He who made the Sun. But it was a hopeless cause.
The worship of the Mother goddess system as Heavenly Virgin with her infant child being paraded at Christmas was an ancient practice of Sun-worship.
Animals and ritual beatings
It was the practice in the Christmas festivals to dress people up as goats or bears or wolves and to dress some in an animal hide or skin and beat it. The people would dance around leaping high and engage in ritual waving and sometimes ploughing. All these activities were related aspects of the invocation of the spirits of fertility. They went from house to house and sometimes it was even done by the priest accompanied by young boys.
The usual practice was to bless the house in some ritual, often having gone around it three times in the direction of the Sun. This practice is still undertaken in Europe. Sometimes, the individual goes by the title of the Shrovetide or Carnival Bear. In some areas, it is called an oats-goat. In other areas, it is a wolf and a bear. The purpose is invariably associated with the invocation of the gods of the harvest and the spirits of the corn.
Anciently, the practice of sprouting wheat or other grain in small bowls indoors in the dark was found in the cult of the god Adonis and this practice entered Christianity among the Greeks and Latins and is found in the Balkans to this day. The gardens were placed on the altar of the god to ensure a plentiful harvest.
In Scandinavia, the goat appears as a man dressed as a goat with horns on his head and is termed the Yule-goat.
The practice of lighting the log fire at Christmas known as the Yule festival was an ancient pre-Christian festival related to the fires of the fertility cults. The Yule fire was burnt indoors whereas the midsummer fires were burnt out of doors. Anciently, human sacrifice was involved in each of them.
Often the three personages have as their centre an old woman as the Mother goddess. Her name is often a play on the word Epiphany and she is given a black face. This is the goddess Demeter accompanied by Pluto and Persephone from the Greek systems prior to Christ. They were simply dressed up in a pseudo-Christian guise.
The fires associated with midsummer and midwinter were associated with burning of witches. This is the origin of Walpurgis night. That also is the basis behind the fires of the twelve days of Christmas. New Year’s eve is often the traditional day for the fires. The last witches actually recorded as being burnt in Britain was in 1644 on Leith Links Scotland where nine witches were burnt.
In the Shetland Isles, the Yule festival begins seven days before Christmas and ends at Antinmas twenty-four days after Christmas.
The Shetlanders have a tradition of the elves, which they call Trows coming out of the ground and dwelling above ground. They are the origin of the original Santa Claus symbol as an elf. They are also held to be grey and are probably the origin of the alien grey myth emanating from the USA at present.
People make ostentatious display of iron and Bible reading on the basis that the elves can not abide iron. Infants are signed against the evil eye. The Trows or Grey-folk disappear on the twenty-fourth day after Christmas.
The idea behind the fires
The fires of 25 December were associated with the worship of the Sun. The lighting of the tree fire was designed to help the Sun to relight its lamp.
The association of the Heavenly Virgin with her infant the Sun god was also as a rebirth at the solstice. It has nothing to do with Jesus Christ who actually appears to have been born around September. He certainly was not born on 25 December and the Heavenly Virgin was around long before his mother Mariam was born.
The Yule log was kept and placed upon the fire to ward off storms, thunder and lightning. This relationship between the gods of the ancient Teutons and the Yule log fire at Christmas is easily seen.
Mistletoe and oak
Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids who came from Egypt to Spain among the Gadelians and then went into Ireland and later Britain with the Milesians. They worshipped the oak, and the mistletoe that grew on it was sacred to them.
It was only cut with a golden scythe and never allowed to fall to the ground. It appears that the cutting involved human sacrifice when it was done. The worship of the oak was in groves and extends into Scythia and Asia Minor. It was common to the Aryans generally. Mistletoe was also called the all-healer and was thought to have fallen from the sky. It was held to heal epilepsy. Two white bulls were sacrificed at its cutting also. The Norse god Balder was held to have been slain by its cutting, thus the mistletoe is the life of the god and the signal for the sacrifice of the human taking his place.
The oak was also sacred to the Italians. The image of Jupiter on the Capitol was nothing but a natural oak tree originally. That was also why the columns in the temples were arranged as a circular grove.
Human sacrifice was considered a central element in the Italian festivities. World experts have recorded up until the twentieth century in Italy, on the Isle of Capri, for example, that in excess of eight or ten people were assassinated every year at the festivities.
The Italians attribute fertility power to the oak and the connection with the fertility cults is obvious. The common connection is millennia before Christ. The views extend from Ireland to Japan and down to the Torres Strait.
It was also considered protection against fire and lightning, and thus associated with the Yule system. The sacred fires of the Celtic Germans or Slavs was by the use of oak on grey stone. These fires are found from Germany to Scotland as need-fires.
The perpetual fire of Vesta in Rome was fed by oak. It was also burnt before the sacred oak at Romove in Lithuania. The ashes of the blocks of oak are mixed with seed for fertility.
Holly and ivy
The holly and ivy are often held to represent male and female but it is likely that the original understanding has been reversed.
The holly-oak was sacred to the Brethren of the Tilled Fields which were a Roman college of twelve priests. They performed public religious rites for the purpose of fertility. The sacrifices were made in the grove of the goddess Dia five miles down the Tiber from Rome. The grove contained sacred laurels and holly-oaks and sacrifices were made when even a bough fell to the ground.
Originally, the woods were temples of the deities and we know that at the time of Pliny that the peasants dedicated tall trees to the gods as they did in ancient times.
The tree-worshipping system is ancient. It finds its expression in the irrationality of the Hug A Tree movements of today. Anciently, German tribes disembowelled people who cut down dedicated trees and bound the stumps with the entrails.
The Greeks used ivy as part of the board for making the sacred fires. The borer was often laurel or oak.
The ivy was identified anciently with the male god Dionysius, called Bacchus by the Romans, and ivy was chewed at the Bacchanalian festivals.
All these aspects are directly condemned by the Bible.
The Christmas tree
The decorated pine stems from the worship of the god Attis. He is said to have been a man who became a tree. This ancient theme of the three-headed god in the tree is found as early as the Indus civilisation in the end of the third millennia BC.
The bringing in of the pine decked with violets and woollen bands was like bringing in the May-tree or Summer-tree in modern folk custom.
The tree was originally decked with an effigy of the god Attis, which was retained until the next year and then burnt. Pine resin is also burnt at the solstice festivals.
The original intent of the custom was to retain the spirit of vegetation intact.
This is the origin of the Christmas tree and decorations. The god Attis was replaced by the Sun symbol on the top of the tree, and the effigies of Eros and the Sun, Moon and stars are represented by the baubles, and the tinsel of today represents the woollen bands.
The lights are the wax tapers. The pine is sacred to the god and the tree, which he became.
The symbol of the cross is associated with the worship of the pre-Christian system. That is also why all supposed relics of the cross are made of pine (see the paper The Cross: Its Origin and Significance (No. 39), CCG, 1994).
Ivy was also sacred to Attis and his eunuch priests were tattooed with the symbol of the ivy leaf.
The pine nuts were also used to produce a wine used in the orgiastic rites of Cybele which were the counterpart of the Dionysian orgies and Strabo compared them.
The term Epiphany means manifestation as the appearance of some divine or superhuman being. It was applied to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria (175-164 BC).
The Epiphany was also known as: the dies luminum (day of lights); as three king’s day or the Twelfth Day. All of these are dealt with above. The practices associated with it are all derived from the ancient sources and have little to do with the faith.
The name survives in the great festival of Befana at Rome (cf. Catholic Encyclopedia, art. Epiphany, Robert Appleton, NY, 1909, Vol. V, p. 504). The CE says:
It is difficult to say how closely the practice then observed of buying all sorts of earthenware images, combined with whistles and representing some type of Roman life, is to be connected with the rather similar custom in vogue during the December feast of the Saturnalia (ibid.).
It is hardly difficult to identify. The practices were the same and the term is applied to the manifestation of the Befana as the goddess as we see above.
The first substantive reference to the Epiphany is in Clement (Stromateis, I, xxi, p. 45). The CE quotes this text as follows and then goes on to say:
‘There are those, too, who over-curiously assign to the Birth of our Saviour not only its year but its day, which they say to be on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty eighth year of Augustus. But the followers of Basilides celebrate the day of his Baptism too, spending the previous night in readings. And they say that it was the 15th of the month Tybi of the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. And some say that it was observed the 11th of the same month.’ Now, 15 and 11 Tybi are 6 and 10 January.
Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church try to draw from this practice of the Gnostics under Basilides (teaching at Rome in the middle of the second century) support for the celebration of the nativity as well as the baptism of Christ but there is no real evidence for this conjecture. The evidence of the festivals themselves indicates that the practice was the ancient fertility festival and the blessing of the produce. From this arose the practice of blessing the waters and the practice of throwing crucifixes into the sea to make the seas productive for fisherman. All are based in ancient paganism and were not evident in Christianity until the fourth century. This addition was well after Origen writing in the third century as he makes no mention of the Epiphany in his list of the festivals. The first reference to it as a feast of the church is in 361 (cf. CE, p. 505).
From Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus
Santa Claus is the final American commercial product of an evolutionary process.
The man known as Saint Nicholas was Nicholas of Myra bishop of Lycia in Asia Minor. He died on 6 December 345 or 352 (the date is uncertain). His life is surrounded by myth. He is alleged to have made his wages for three years into three golden balls and rolled them into a house to save a noble but poverty stricken family. The first ball allegedly rolled into a stocking and that is the origin of the tradition of the Christmas stocking for presents.
The three balls later became the symbol of merchants and ended up over pawn shops. Nicholas was hence the patron saint of merchants. Italian merchants stole his body at Myra in 1087 and took it to Bari.
The tradition of his support of the poor was taken up by Norman French nuns and the gifts were distributed from the alms box on 26 December. From this practice we get the term Boxing Day.
In Germany, Christ Bundles were also given to the poor. The annual parades took on the Heavenly Mother goddess symbolism with it.
The practice in Holland of children saving all year for the pig at Christmas seems to have originated the piggy bank among children.
The customs of the Teutons with the wild ride of Odin, the false Roman robes of the Festival of Fools in Europe, the beards of the Magi or Druids, and the elves of the Yule festivals saw a gradual evolution of the character.
In the Netherlands, Saint Nicolas became Sinterklaas. The black faced Demeter or Melchior became Black Peter. Sinterklaas is in the robes of a bishop.
The festival is celebrated on 5 December in the Netherlands and 6 December in Belgium.
The children sing songs around the chimney to Sinterklaas:
"The nice or Lordlike evening has come. Come in with your servant."
This appears to be the origin of the Silent Night, Holy Night carols.
Black Peter listens at the chimneys to see if the right songs are sung and the right offerings are offered in the form of hay and carrots for the horses.
The presents for the children are put through the chimney.
This being is a syncretic product of the old Germanic or Teutonic religion. The god Woden or Odin, for whom Wednesday is named, is depicted as riding through the air on his great white horse with flowing robes and a long white beard. He had a big hat, a great spear and a book of rune letters.
He was also accompanied by the giant Nowi who had a black countenance being the father of the night. He carried a bunch of twigs in his hand as a sign of fertility. Woden, with Nowi, were famous for rhyme.
The Teutons always left the last sheaf of the harvest on the field for the white horse of Woden. The hay offered by the children in their shoes is the remnant of this custom. It relates back to the fertility rites of the harvest and the corn spirits. This is the origin also of the traditions of the burning of the twelve fires and the thirteenth major fire of straw.
These practices go back to the fertility cults and the rites of Apollo as the Sun god in pre-Christian Europe.
Today’s tradition in the Netherlands is to give letters of chocolate or almond pastry. These letters are associated with the runic letters of Woden or Odin. The presents also take the form of lovers made from speculatis or other cakes and there are also animals in the shape of sugar mice and pigs to substitute for the real animals.
The robes were Roman Catholic and the Reformation tried to stamp it out in the Netherlands. It went underground and resurfaced in the twentieth century in association with the 25 December festivities.
Santa Claus in the USA
The European migrants to the USA brought with them the Pere Noel traditions, Sinterklaas and the Christ Child (Christkindl) and Christ Bundles and other traditions of Europe. From this we later get the name Kris Kringle.
Washington Irving in The Knickerbocker Tales (c. 1820) depicted Santa Claus as an elf who presents the stocking.
New elements were introduced by Clement Clarke Moore in the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas renamed ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. He introduced the eight reindeer with the traditional identification of the god of thunder and lightning in the names such as Donner (Donder) and Blitzen.
Santa Claus remained an elf of the Yule tradition until the American Civil War when Thomas Nast of Harpers Weekly was commissioned to do a series of Santa Claus cartoons which he continued after the Civil War. The publishing firm Mclaughlin Brothers Printing Company experimented with the colours and decided on red leather.
The final change was made in 1931. The Scandinavian Haddon Sundblom was commissioned by the Coca Cola company and, using his own face on the death of his model, portrayed Santa Claus for the next twenty-five years.
In 1941, the song Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was sung by Gene Autry and the final addition was made.
The current myths are derived from paganism or heathen religion and were developed around a crass commercial product which was finally, and perhaps fittingly, depicted by the Coca Cola company.
Christmas in all its forms is entirely idolatrous and commercial. It is directly contrary to the laws of God and the edicts of the Bible. No one can keep it and remain a Christian.
We have seen that the so-called Christian church had adopted and syncretised the practices concerning the midwinter festival of 25 December and called it Christmas.
The authority on magic and religion Sir James Frazer held that the ecclesiastical authorities assimilated the death and resurrection of our Lord to the death and resurrection of another Asiatic god which fell at the same season (The Golden Bough, Vol. v, p. 306).
He holds that the Easter rite of Greece, Sicily and Southern Italy bear a striking resemblance to the rites of Adonis and he suggests that the church consciously adopted these rites for the purpose of absorbing his followers (ibid.).
The worship of Adonis never formed part of the official Roman religion. The Romans and the West were preoccupied with the more barbaric rituals of the worship of the god Attis and the Great Mother.
The death of the god Attis was officially celebrated at Rome on 24 and 25 March. The 25th was regarded as the spring equinox.
The spring equinox was regarded as the appropriate day for the revival of a god of vegetation who had been sleeping throughout the year.
The tradition of celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ without regard to the state of the Moon in the lunar calendar began in Phrygia, Cappadocia, Gaul and in Rome itself. This date came to be taken up by writers such as, Hippolytus and Augustine.
Tertullian affirms that Christ was crucified on 25 March 29 AD. This is an absolute impossibility and seems to stem directly from the traditions associated with Attis (the timings of the crucifixion and resurrection are examined in the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159), CCG, 1996).
This festival of the spring equinox also was connected with an ancient view regarding the creation of the world on that day.
The resurrection of the god Attis who connected in himself the characters of the divine Father and the divine Son was officially celebrated at Rome on the same day.
We see here how the doctrine of Modalism, or one God as Father and Son (and later Holy Spirit), originated in Rome. It was based on this doctrine of the god Attis. It became modified into Trinitarianism by the fourth century.
The Mother goddess of Rome and the Attis system in like manner replaced other goddesses centralising the Mother goddess and Heavenly Virgin theology to make it acceptable within Christianity. The Festival of Diana was ousted by the Festival of the Assumption of the Virgin in August. The pagan Pailia of April was replaced by the Feast of St George. The midsummer Water Festival in June was replaced by the Festival of St John the Baptist. The Nativity of Christ replaced that of the Nativity of the Sun. The Festival of Easter is that of the Phrygian god Attis at the vernal equinox, which was adopted by the Romans.
Attis was introduced from Phrygia as was the worship of Mithras whose system was introduced by Cilician pirates captured by Pompey around 63 BC. The very places we find worshipping the death of Christ at the equinox are the very places where the worship of Attis had taken deepest root – namely, Phrygia, Gaul and Rome itself.
Another factor of importance is that the resurrection is ascribed to 27 March two days later. From this we get the shortened period of the Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. These days are impossible for the years in question, as are the dates.
By the fourth century, the worshippers of the god Attis were complaining bitterly that the Christians had made a spurious imitation of their theology. The Christians then tried to assert that the resurrection of Attis was a diabolical counterfeit of the resurrection of Christ.
We know for certain that the original dates were based on the Passover of the lunar calendar which was on 14 and 15 of the first month of the Hebrew (or lunar) year, called Abib or Nisan.
It proceeded to the Wave-sheaf offering on the Sunday following. In 30 AD, Christ was crucified on a Wednesday spending three days and three nights in the belly of the earth and was resurrected on Saturday evening and ascended on Sunday morning at the time of the Wave-sheaf. This entire period was called the Pasha or Passover. The entire feast was also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The entire period was eight days in duration. This has no relationship to the festival of Easter or Attis.
The most telling point is that the Christians in Gaul and the traditions of Lactantius placed the death of Christ on the 23rd and the resurrection on the 25th exactly in accordance with the festival of Attis and a total impossibility for the Hebrew system.
Candles at the change of the seasons
We have seen that the use of candles and fire came from the common ancestor of the Aryan religion seemingly associated with the Assyro-Babylonians prior to the conquest of India by the Aryans circa 1000 BC.
This practice continued into Europe with the practice of lighting new fires at Easter and sending the sticks to each home to ward off the gods of thunder, storm and tempest. This practice was adapted by Christianity to lighting a great candle at Easter, from which the bonfires were lit, and then the home fires and the other and subsequent candles.
All the fires in Rome were lit afresh from this ceremony of the holy fire kindled afresh at St Peter’s on Easter Saturday. The practice appears to have taken place on the night before the day of the Sun, as part of the Sun-worshipping system.
These ancient fertility rites brought in the church as the locus of the procession. They marched around it according to the procession of the Sun. The fires were lit on Easter mountains.
The candle stems from the ancient animist doctrines. The candles are held in occult circles to be a symbol of the life of an individual as opposed to the cosmic and universal life. Demons or malevolent gods as well as spirits of the dead were invoked by their use.
This process of ascent to the heavens by concentration on light as symbol also entered Judaism through Kabbalah and Mysticism.
This same process is found in the primitive mystical magic of the Shamans.
The ancient writing Zohar speaks of colours of fire and may be derived from the Mazdean and Zoroastrian systems.
Passover and Easter
The method of calculating the day of the Sun and the Ishtar system at Easter was similar to, but not the same as, that for calculating the Passover.
The Universal Oxford Dictionary states that Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the calendar full moon, i.e. the 14th day of the calendar moon which happens on or next after 21 March. It is applied colloquially to the week commencing Easter Sunday.
This is distinguished from the Passover system of the Temple period and the later Jewish Hillel calendar when the Sunday falls on 15 Nisan as the full moon immediately following the equinox being when the equinox falls on a Saturday as the 14th day of the month.
The early system went by the conjunction as we know from Philo and we also know from Jewish authorities, such as Josephus, that the Passover started on the 14th of the first month being the day of sacrifice and not just 15 Nisan as it is now. Moreover the Jews have postponed the Passover since 358 AD and do not do what they did at the time of Jesus Christ and the Temple period.
Socrates the historian of the fifth century holds that the Jews of his day did not do what they did at the time of the Temple period and were wrong in almost everything. He quotes Josephus in this regard (Antiquities of the Jews, III, 10).
The Passover was determined, according to Josephus, as being on the 14th day of the Moon while the Sun is in the sign of Aries. Thus, the Passover could not be later than 19/20 April and could not start earlier than the equinox. This month (called Nisan by the Hebrews and Xanthicus by the Greeks) was the beginning of the year. Thus, the correct Bible New Year is the New Moon nearest the equinox at the end of March each year.
The preparation day of the 14th was thus seen anciently as the day on which the Passover began. The Jews dropped the sacrifice in the afternoon of the 14th with the closure of the Temple and so simply kept the Passover on the 15th day of the month.
The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD did not fix the timing of Easter. They simply adapted the practice of the Easter system which had been determined from ancient Babylon. They had begun keeping this system in the Roman Church from the middle of the second century.
The meaning of the name Easter
Easter is the name of a goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox (Universal Oxford Dictionary).
The ancient Anglo-Saxon name is the equivalent of the Semitic Ishtar, which is the same goddess as Astarte. She was part of the trinity worshipped as Ishtar the Morning Star and goddess of war and, as Evening Star, she was goddess of sensual love. She was also called Venus. She was associated with the Moon god Sin and the Sun as Shamash.
This was the basis of the golden calf at Sinai. The calf symbolised the crescent of the Moon whose upturned horns were viewed in the evening with Venus on the horizon. Sin was also known as Moloch and children were sacrificed to him by placing them on the arms of his statue from where they rolled into the fire. As the Minotaur, Greek children were sacrificed to him at Crete each year.
Ishtar as Heavenly Virgin and Queen of Heaven
Ishtar or Astarte was also the Heavenly Virgin or Mother figure as Queen of Heaven.
The actual queens of Egypt and Athens were associated as consorts of the deity – in Egypt, as wife of Ammon and, in Athens, as wife of Dionysius.
The queens became consort of the gods but in this role remained the fertility goddess and Mother goddess.
This degenerated in Egypt to a young girl of a good family being appointed to live a loose moral life until she reached puberty and then she was mourned and given in marriage.
Prostitution was anciently associated with the cult of Astarte or Ishtar. It was prevalent in Corinth to the extent that thousands of young girls were enrolled as temple prostitutes.
At Ephesus the many-breasted goddess Artemis was attended by Essene (meaning King Bees) who remained celibate during their period of service even though some were married. This is probably the reason Pliny referred to the community at Qumran as Essene. They would have rejected this label. Celibacy of the clergy entered Christianity from Gnosticism and these cults. The term Father was a rank of the Mithras system and was actually forbidden by Jesus Christ to be applied to Christians (Mat. 23:9).
The females of the Ishtar cult were not celibate but promiscuous.
Artemis and Diana were both patrons of fertility and fruit trees. It seems that Artemis and Diana were associated as the same deity and hence the crowd at Acts cried Great is Diana of Ephesus, when in fact the ancient name in Ephesus was Artemis and Diana was the name used elsewhere.
Dionysius was also god of fruit trees and we begin to see an intertwined relationship in these fertility and Mystery cults.
As Queen of May, the Mother goddess was representative of the spirit of vegetation. This was prevalent in Europe and Britain.
The Mother goddess was also goddess of the corn (a term for any grain).
Cakes for the Queen of Heaven
Cakes were baked to the Queen of Heaven and dedicated to her. This practice was condemned by the prophet Jeremiah and was already ancient when he lived. The Aryans took the practice with them when they went into India and cakes were baked there from both the barley harvest in spring and the rice harvest in autumn. The harvest goddess is Gauri wife of Siva. The cakes were offered to a plant-formed effigy of Gauri and on the third day it was thrown into a river or tank and then dirt or handfuls of pebbles are taken and thrown about the house and gardens to ensure fertility. The same custom is prevalent in Italy where the churches are swept and the dirt is thrown on the gardens. The tradition is ancient and common to both India and Europe.
In Europe, the cakes at Easter became the hot cross buns.
The same practices are found among the Chins of Burma. The Mother goddess is also the Chinese goddess Kuan-yin and the Avalokitesvara of Mahayana Buddhism.
She entered Christianity as the Heavenly Virgin.
She became known as the Virgin Mary and she was given a black face in association with the fertility rites of the goddess Demeter in her aspects as the spring goddess or as Artemis and Diana. In this way, she became the Black Madonna.
There was no record of a cult of the virgin in the early church. In the early days, the martyrs were prayed for, not to, and there is no record in the early church that the Virgin was so much as even mentioned.
The heresy of the Easter cakes and prayers to the Heavenly Virgin called Mariolatry is first recorded and labelled as a heresy by Epiphanius. He said that:
certain women in Thrace, Scythia and Arabia were in the habit of adoring the virgin as a goddess and offering to her a certain kind of cake from which he called them Collyridians. Their practice (cf. Jer. 44:19) and the notion underlying it were undoubtedly the relics of heathenism always familiar with female deities.
These cakes made to the Queen of Heaven or Heavenly Virgin and condemned by the prophet Jeremiah long preceded Christianity and came from the Ishtar or Easter cult. Epiphanius was adamant that Mary (or more correctly, Mariam) was not to be worshipped.
The Trinitarians elevated Mary in response to the arguments of the non-Trinitarians. They elevated Christ to God and then elevated Mary as Mother of God. These ideas were purely heathen, and did not originate until the end of the fourth century. This honour was paid to the Virgin at Ephesus and this was simply the re-emergence of the worship of the goddess at Ephesus in a false Christian form.
The Virgin Mary was none other than Artemis or Diana of Ephesus that Paul had spoken so boldly against.
There is no doubt that Mariam the mother of Jesus Christ was thought of as dead and awaiting the resurrection. This view was eroded by the Mother goddess cult as the Virgin Mary and developed from the emergence in the fifth century until the Council of Trent in the Reformation, which tried to reduce the cult. But a succession of popes, to the present day, has supported the heresy and undermined the Council.
Hanukkah and Purim
The Jewish festivals of Hanukkah and Purim are likewise festivals that were introduced from the Babylonian captivity and afterwards.
Hanukkah is the festival of lights of 25 Kislev, which approximates with December. The lights are the same as the lights of the Saturnalia and were introduced during the restoration of the Temple by the Macabbees after the desecrations by Antiochus Epiphanes. The Greek system introduced there under the reign from Persia resulted in the Greek cultic traditions being adopted.
The next festival just prior to Easter called Purim involves all of the traditions associated with the fertility cults in Europe. The festival involved beating and burning Haman in the same way the Germans beat and burned Judas at their festivals. They ate beans for fertility and they elected a Purim Rabbi in much the same way the King of Beans was elected in Europe. They had a masquerade as did the Europeans. They lit ten candles for Haman’s ten sons and this can only have been to propitiate the ancient and adverse spirits of evil in the same way the heathen systems did.
Hayyim Schauss the Jewish scholar says it originated from the same ancient heathen origin as the Christian traditions.
The cult of Adonis
The remnants of the cult of Adonis are still kept to this day in Sicily and Calabria, and in Croatia. It is inferred from this that the practice was there as well as in Syria.
The gardens are bowls in which wheat, lentils and canary seed are sprouted by keeping them in the dark and watering every two days. The plants sprout and the stalks are tied with red ribbons. In Croatia, they are often tied with the national colours over Christmas. At Easter, in Sicily and Calabria, the practice is to place them on sepulchres, which have effigies of the dead Christ. This is done on so-called Good Friday in both Catholic and Orthodox churches in the same way as the gardens of Adonis were placed on the grave of the dead Adonis.
The Greek church incorporated the festival of the god into Christian guise and kept the festival of parading the dead god as Christ around Greek cities from house to house, bewailing his death.
The Catholic and Orthodox churches grafted the dead and risen Adonis as the dead and risen Christ.
The depictions of Greek art of the sorrowful goddess with the dying Adonis in her arms seems to have been the model for the Christian Pieta of the Virgin with the dead body of her son in her lap. The most outstanding model is that of Michelangelo at St Peter’s.
Jerome tells of the grove to Adonis at Bethlehem. Where Jesus wept, the Syrian god and lover of Venus (or Easter) wept.
Bethlehem means the House of Bread. The worship of Adonis, god of the corn, came to be associated with Bethlehem instead of the bread of life that was Messiah.
This was deliberately done to assimilate the belief. The first seat of Christianity outside of Palestine was at Antioch under the apostle Peter as bishop. Here, the cult of Adonis was deeply entrenched.
The emperor Julian entered the city of Antioch from the east at Easter and was greeted with the cry The star of salvation has dawned upon them in the east. The adherents of Adonis associated him with the god because of the time and direction of his arrival.
Rain-making at Easter
To ensure the growth of crops, it was necessary to get good rains by the equinox to get spring under way. Thus, rain-making ceremonies were held and the gods were exposed to hardship.
In Italy, on Palm Sunday, which was the day of the Sun god at the Easter festival, consecrated palm branches were hung on trees. The churches were swept and dust was sprinkled on the gardens. This practice was found also in Asia into India. Special consecrated candles were also lit.
The statue of St Francis of Paola is credited with annually bringing the rain when he is paraded every spring through the market gardens.
In the great drought of 1893, after some six months and invocations by candles, bells, illuminations, fireworks special masses and vespers, and scourging themselves with iron whips to no avail, the Italians turned on the statues. At Palermo they dumped the statue of St Joseph in a garden to see the state of things for himself. He was to be left until rain fell and other statues were turned to the wall like naughty children. Some were stripped of their regalia, banished from their parishes and dunked in horse-ponds, threatened and grossly insulted. At Calsinetta, the statue of the Archangel Michael was stripped of his golden wings and given pasteboard wings and made to wear a clout. The statue of St Angelo at Licata was stripped and left naked. It was reviled, put in irons and threatened with drowning or hanging. The angry crowds yelling at it: Rain or the rope.
These same ideas were found in ancient China and all over the East. The ideas spring from Babylonian style Animism where the statue is held to be invested with the spirit of the god.
The ideas are used to manipulate a superstitious mass.
The Morning Star
As we see, the cult of Adonis involved the divine mistress. She was known as Venus but her ancient name was Ishtar or Astarte from where the name Easter is derived. She was the Morning and Evening Star.
We know also that this was the symbol of Satan. The Morning Star is held to appear as an angel of light in the form of the Heavenly Virgin.
The Babylonian astronomers identified the star with Venus and made careful notation of her transit from morning to evening star, drawing omens from the appearance and disappearance.
It may be deduced that the festival of Adonis was timed to commence with the appearance of the star in the east. From the incident at Antioch, this can only have been as Morning Star if it was Venus.
The link with the god Adonis and Astarte is absolute. The link with Attis as the dead and risen god associated with the pine is also conclusive. The symbol of the dead man hanged on a tree of pine and then absorbed into it as the god Attis is the basis behind all the supposed relics of the cross being of pine.
Christianity compromised with its rivals to accommodate a still dangerous enemy. Of this, we are now certain. In this way, the faith of the Messiah and the gospel of the Kingdom of God was subverted by worldly secular priests who accommodated the faith to the religions of Rome and the Sun-worshipping Mystery cults. They introduced Christmas and Easter dislocating the Passover and providing the locus for the introduction of Sunday worship from the Sun cults, doing away with the Sabbath and breaking the first and fourth and the other commandments.
The symbolism of the Virgin bringing forth an infant from a cave is the symbol of the rebirth of the Sun. A Friday death and Sunday resurrection is the symbol of the Easter system and the spring fertility cults of the ancient goddess Easter or Ishtar or Astarte, the Queen of Heaven so condemned by the law and the prophets.
Christ called them hypocrites and quoted God speaking through the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 29:13):
This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Mat. 15:8-9; Mk. 7:6-7).
God has given His laws through His servants the prophets. Soon, the Messiah will return to enforce those laws and that system.