9 - Christmas: Pagan Holiday
During every Christmas week the airwaves are full of priests, ministers and announcers declaring "Christmas, December 25th, is the day Jesus Christ was born." This indicates that they either don't know their own history or that they are deliberately falsifying the truth. There is absolutely no record in existence about the birth of Jesus Christ, neither in the Bible nor in other ancient texts. When some say "December 25th is the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ" they're telling the truth, though by implication it indicates the day he was born.
Before the advent of Christianity, and long before the Holy Roman Catholic Church officially sanctioned December 25th as Christmas (Christ Mass) this was the date celebrating the Winter Solstice, wherein ancients rejoiced in the Birthday of the Sun, when days became longer and the sun's power increased. The sun became deified and personified in such figures of Mithra, Horus, Osiris and Adonis.
In the book The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours Kersey Graves, first published in 1875, the author writes: "Bacchus of Egypt, Bacchus of Greece, Adonis of Greece, Chrishna of India, Chang-ti of China, Chris of Chaldea, Mithra of Persia, Sakia of India, Jao Wapaul (a crucified Savior of Ancient Britain), were all born on the twenty fifth of December, according to their respective histories. Chrishna (Krishna) is represented to have been born at midnight on the twenty fifth of the month Savarana, which answers to our December, and millions of his disciples celebrated his birthday by decorating their houses with garlands and gilt paper, and the bestowment of presents to friends. The Rev. Mr. Barret tells us, 'It was once common for the women in Rome to perambulate the streets on the twenty fifth of December, singing in a loud voice: Unto us a child is born this day."'
The Catholic Church selected December 25th to coincide with the "pagan" holiday of December 25th in an attempt to assimilate non-Christians. The Christian world had no history of its own for hundreds of years, no historical chronology for at least four hundred years. An older Encyclopedia Britannica states: "Christians count one hundred and thirty-three contrary opinions of different authors concerning the year the Messiah appeared on earth ... many of them celebrated writers."
December 25th was chosen as the birthday of Jesus Christ by Pope Julius I in 337 A.D. following the heritage of older religions honoring their Founders on that date. Lord Krishna, last great teacher of Hinduism, regarded as an "incarnation of God" is designated "He who takes away the sins of the world." The circumstances surrounding his birth are similar to those of Jesus.
Lord Krishna was born in a cave when his foster father came to the city to pay taxes. He was saluted by a chorus of angels, a great light shone in the heavens, and he was adored by wise men and shepherds. His mother Devaki addressed her new born child: "O God of gods, Who art all things, Who hast assumed the condition of an infant, have compassion on us." His parents were visited by a prophet who proclaimed the child's Divine descent, and he was saved from the cruelty of his wide (the Hindu Herod) who had ordered the slaughter of all infants in the hope of killing the Lord Krishna. While growing up he astonished his teachers, performed miracles, was tempted by the devil, and washed the feet of highborn Brahmins ... Since his birthday is celebrated on December 25th it could be called Krishnamas!
Mithra, the sun-god, was called Saviour in Persia and other countries, his birthday celebrated on December 25th. He too was born in a cave, and his coming as a Messiah was prophesied thus: "In the latter days a pure virgin will conceive, and when the child is born a star will appear. When you behold the star follow wheresoever it shall lead you and adore the child, offering gifts with humility. He is the Almighty Word which created the Heavens."
The analogies between Mithraism and Christianity are as follows: They had sacraments of initiation, baptism, use of consecrated water, bread and wine; they were regulated by the priests called "fathers." Mithra is the mediator between God and man, he insures mankind's happiness by a sacrifice, his worship comprises communion and fasts, In the clergy were men and women vowed to celibacy St. Augustine relates that one day an Asiatic priest told him that they worshipped the same God, and Tertullian about 200 A.D. explained the analogies between Mithraism and Christianity.
The Lord Buddha was said to have been born of a virgin, Maya, heralded by a star and angels singing: "Today Budhisattva is born on earth, to give joy and peace to men and angels, to shed light in the darkened places, and to give sight to the blind." A wise man visited him at birth, foretold his greatness, and wept that he would not live to see it, yet happy that his eyes had seen the Saviour. The Lord Buddha was called the "Key of Righteousness" and regarded as being one and the same time both Father and Son. Wise men and saints paid homage to the Holy Child. He instructed his teachers, was tempted in the wilderness by the spirit of evil, later comforted by angels. In later years, like Jesus Christ he left his family and home for his greater work.
In Babylon, Tammuz, a sun-god, was worshipped as the Saviour and described as the only son of the God EH His mother is pictured as "O Virgin Istar" ... or Astoreth. She is seen with the Divine Child in her arms, her head Surrounded by a halo, crowned with twelve stars. The Egyptian Isis, mother of Horus, was often pictured in the same way.
A whole book could be written on the similarities, analogies and comparisons of the many older religions to Christianity. Legends, stories, symbolism, titles, even the very words of supposed angels, prophets, wise men, astrologers, Magi, concerning their Founders are identical to Christianity today. Yet all of these religions, including Druidism, Sorcery and Witchcraft, were an integral part of people's lives in the ancient world. They survive today in many Christian customs, which adopted and adapted them to its own needs.
Jesus Christ was deified by Constantine in the year 325 A.D. December 25th, Christmas, was propagated and propagandized as the day of his birth and Christians accepted this on faith though their top chronologists could find no evidence to support this. This date was celebrated in the temple of Jerusalem to the god Adonis. One writer has said "At the first moment after midnight of the twenty fourth of December, the ancient nations celebrated the accouchement of the queen of heaven and celestial virgin, and the birth of the God, Sol, The Infant Savior, and the God of Day." In Egypt and Syria the celebrants went into temples and the night before December 25th and at the stroke of midnight rushed out yelling "The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!" Since most of the ancient Gods were said to be born of a virgin, many historians believe that this may relate to the zodiacal sign Virgo.
Mithra, a Persian sun-god was the strongest "pagan" god, and its followers had made strong inroads into the Roman Empire up to the. fourth century. He was called Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun). His birthdate was celebrated on December 25th and called Natalis Solis Invicti (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun). Fires were
lit, and there was dancing, singing and exchanging of gifts ... Mithraism believed in only one God, Mithra, and this religion was a powerful opponent of Christianity, in fact it almost became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
The Yule Log is a popular Christmas symbol. It originated in Scandinavia and it was called Yule. This was the burning of the yule log or block or piece of wood. Early Christians adopted it as their own and called it Christbund or Chrisklotz. This was an ancient fertility rite. It was believed that if a piece of this log was placed in the cow's drinking water it would become pregnant. Another belief was that there would be as many chickens as there were sparks that flew from the burning log. Many kept pieces of the yule log as a talisman against fife or having their house struck by lightning.
Indo-Europeans venerated the oak tree. There are many gods identified with this tree: In Rome every oak tree was dedicated to Jupiter, god of thunder, lightning and the oak. In Greece there was the oak of Zeus at Dodona, where he delivered his messages. Any place that had been struck by lightning was fenced-in, an altar built, and sacrifices made. The Druids considered the oak tree sacred and every ritual used oak leaves.
Many authorities believe that the name "Druids" means "oak men". Teutons considered the oak tree sacred and it was dedicated to their God of Thor, (sometimes called Ahunar or Donar). Thursday, was named for Thor's Day, from the Latin dies Jovis (Day of Jupiter). In French it's Jeudi, in Spanish Jueves. While on this subject it's important to note that all the days of the week are named after ancient non-Christian gods: Sunday of course is the Sun's Day. In French it's Dimanche, in Spanish it's Domingo, etc. The root origin of this is Dio, Dios, God, or God's Day.
Monday is of course Moon's day. In French it's Lundi, in Spanish Lunes (from the Latin luna ... moon). Tuesday comes from Anglo-Saxon Tiwesdaeg. In French it's Mardi, in Spanish it's Maries ... Mar's Day. Wednesday is from Wodon's Day, Anglo-Saxon God. In French it's Mercredi, in Spanish it's Miercoles ... Mercury's Day We've already discussed Thursday; Friday is from the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Frig or Frigga ... her day. In French it's Vendredi, in Spanish Viernes ... Venus' Day. Saturday is a direct descendant of Saturn's Day. In French it's Samedi; in Spanish it's Sabado. From this you can see that Saturn's Day and Sabbat's Day are closely linked.
It's important to mention here that in ancient Rome the Birthday of the Sun was preceded by days of festivities, from the 17th to the 23rd of December, which was called the Saturnalia. It honored Saturn, God of sowing and husbandry. He was reputed to have lived on earth and his reign was called the Golden Age. This was a day of revelry ... in modern parlance a "national holiday". All work stopped, wars ceased, slaves were freed, executions were postponed, gifts were exchanged.
Slaves on this day became masters: They were permitted to "rule the roost," gave orders to their masters, were waited on and served by them, and conducted a ceremony to elect a mock king who symbolically represented Saturn himself. The word saturnalia in English means "a period or occasion of general license, as in excess of vice; an orgy." Christians unknowingly and unintentionally honor the god of Saturn to this day, in their use of Saturday.
Using surrealism painter Paul Delvaux was able to illustrate how magicians interpret dreams. These "Tree Women" are symbolizing departure from the vegetable kingdom despite the deep roots that pull them back. They are an expression of the emancipation of the mind as it attains liberty.
Mistletoe is a common Christmas decoration. Its ancient history and symbolism goes back to the Druids, and their worship of the oak. Mistletoe that grew on an oak tree was considered sacred, sent from heaven, that it was sent by God himself. Druid priests dressed in a white robe cut the mistletoe and caught it in a white cloth, making sure that it never touched the ground. The mistletoe had magical and curative powers, was an antidote against all poisons, made animals fertile. Italians also venerated it.
One major reason why the mistletoe was so venerated was that it did not grow on soil, had no roots in the earth, and only grew "magically' on the branches of trees. Even in the winter when the oak trees were bare the mistletoe remained green. The oak tree's connection with the God of Thunder and Lightning (Thor or Jupiter) is that of all the trees it was the one most frequently hit by lightning. The mistletoe turns a golden color when it withers and came to be known as "The Golden Bough." A famous book on witchcraft was written with that title.
Both the oak and the mistletoe were thus identified with fire. The mistletoe was used in magical ceremonies and believed not only to have great power but was worn as a protection against witchcraft. December 25th, the Winter Solstice, Druid's Day, Christmas, when a girl who stands under the mistletoe is kissed, is a modern tribute to an ancient fertility tradition.
St. Nicholas ... St. Nick ... was reputedly born at Patara, Lycia, Asia Minor, around the fourth century A.D. He became the Christian Bishop of Myra. Many believe that his name is the Christianized version of the Greek God Apollo, who was worshipped in Patara. St. Nicholas always had two days dedicated to him: May 9th, celebrated by Apollo worshippers, and December 6th. When the Eastern and Western Churches split, the Eastern Church kept May 9th as St. Nicholas' Day, while the Western (Roman) church retained December 6th. It was a very popular custom as far back as 700 years ago for children to hang up their stockings on the eve of December 6th and wake up to find them full of toys, candies and other surprises.
The parents told their children that St. Nicholas had come while they were sleeping. Holland's homage to St. Nicholas became popularized in the Low Dutch form of Nicholaus, Claus, and from the popularized Latin for saint into Santa. The legend of St. Nicholas as the patron saint of children, one who brought gifts, was finally immortalized in 1823 by the Rev. Clement Clark Moore in his famous poem "The Night Before Christmas."
From paganism to Christian pageantry, the origins of Christmas can be historically traced, irrefutably proven, to the ancient religions, not the least of which is witchcraft ... or at least what would be considered such by the Church. The modern custom of decorating one's home with evergreens was once forbidden to Christians.
The earliest record of a "Christmas tree" that I could find was in Strasbourg, in 1605. It wasn't until 1840 that it was introduced into France and England. Modern mistletoe kissing is a throwback to the Saturnalia. So is the giving of gifts. The pagan celebration of Christmas was actually forbidden by an Act of Parliament in 1644, in England. It was looked upon as sacreligious by conservative Christians.
John Chrysostom writing in the year 385 said "The birth of Christ after the flesh." And "It is not yet ten years since this day became manifest and known to us." The celebration of Jesus Christ "after the spirit" was an earlier custom. It was the Epiphany celebrated on January 6th.
The meaning of this was the baptism of Jesus Christ, his "new birth" and being anointed "The Messiah." The three Wise Men have often been identified with the three bright stars in the constellation of Orion, and are still called the "Three Kings" (Trois Roi in French) by Swiss and French peasants to this day. Many believed them to be Astrologers and there are authorities who are firmly convinced that the entire legend of the Christ Birth is based upon Astrological observations, fictionalized and personified by theological writers.
Following are brief excerpts from short articles of mine which appeared in the Summer 1967 issue of Fate's Astrology Forecast:
"In the histories of Abraham, Caesar, Pythagoras, Yu and Krishna a bright star figured prominently either just before or at their birth. Three of the astrological symbols feature animals that were either worshipped or sacrificed in worship in ancient times: The ram (Aries), the bull (Taurus), and the goat (Capricorn). The fishes (Pisces) of course were an early Christian symbol used by converts as a secret code during the time of persecution.
In the seventh century before Christ, the Babylonians had acquired an accurate knowledge of the movements of heavenly bodies: they recognized the sun as the center of the solar system. Arstarchus of Samos and Seleucus of Babylon were indeed using the Copernican system and realized that the earth is a planet which travelled around the sun."
Astrological Origins Of Christianity
The analogies between Christianity and ancient religions are too numerous to be mere coincidences. What is interesting astrologically is that in the histories of all world saviors there are legends about a star foretelling their coming. The "wise men", Biblical or Babylonian, were astrologer-prophets. The twelve stars depicted on icons of Istar or Isis correspond to the twelve months in a year, the twelve signs, the twelve houses and, to take, the analogy further, lire twelve apostles (or disciples). Monotheism, the concept of the one supreme God, evolved from the most radiant and obvious of them all: sol or the sun.
Whether fable or fact, astrology's influence on the origins of most religions, including Christianity, is indisputable. In his Book On The Universe Albert the Great writes: "The sign of the celestial virgin rises above the horizon, at the moment we find fixed for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ." And Dr. Hales in his Chronology says:" ... the star of our salvation, the true Apollo, the sun of righteousness" (describing Christ.)
Osiris was also credited with an immaculate birth thousands of years before Christ. His mother Isis was called "Queen of Heaven," "Star of the Sea" and "Mother of God." In Egyptian pictures she is seen standing on the crescent moon with twelve stars around her head (as the Virgin Mary is often depicted). There are other images of the infant Horus on the knees of his mother Isis, and sometimes a cross is seen in the background (Christianity didn't exist then); this is another counterpart of the Madonna and Child. Horus and Osiris were both referred to as "King of Kings" and "King of Lords."
Sir William Drummond in his Oedipus Judaicus published over a century ago, writes the following: "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 King or Messiah.''
World Saviors And The Stars
Astrology has foretold the coming of many Saviours. Most Christians aren't aware that before Christ there were many other saviours and each one of them has been recorded in ancient texts. Matthew 2:2 reads: "We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him." It does not say a star but his star. In modern terminology this is the same as saying "his sign." The book Origin Of Idolatry by Faber (Vol. II, pg. 77) reports that Zoroaster who lived six hundred years before Christ announced to the "wise men" of his country that a Saviour would be born "attended by a star at noonday."
Numbers 24:17 states: 'There shall come a star out of Jacob, etc." This text has been quoted often by Christian writers as meaning a prophecy of the coming of Christ. The verse says further, "It shall destroy the children of Seth." This would refute such a claim. The Star of Jacob (or Judah) is shown on astronomical maps as a prominent star in the constellation Virgo (the Virgin), called Ephraim by the Hebrew.
In the Syrian, Arabian and Persian systems of astronomy, it was known as Massaeil, from which is derived Messiah. The "Star of Jacob" derives from the older astronomical systems in which virgin (Virgi) was depicted rising with an infant messiah (Messaeil) in her arms. Messaeil is made up of Messael-el (Messiah-God) and is found in the Virgo constellation. This rises at midnight on December 25th ... "the star in the East." The Biblical "wise men" were astrologers."