Charles Dickens unintentionally marked this merry time of the season exceedingly well in his classic tale, ‘A Christmas Carol’, which oddly enough was published on the ‘same’ day in mid-December that I find myself writing this particular piece, but way back in 1843.
Yuletide/Midwinter Solstice is a critical element of within our native, Pagan spiritual inheritance. It resides so deep within us that we cannot conceivably resist it.
The Solstice itself is a festive event that touches us with the extraordinary seasonal energies of this planet, of which we are all an essential part. We should always celebrate and enjoy it to the full! Nonetheless, we need to understand how this part of our psyche has been influenced, via historically-indoctrinated religious bias, if we are ever to achieve true spiritual liberation. Are we in a contemporary, diverse 21st Century society honestly thinking for ourselves or just being spoon -fed religious hoopla decade after decade? Moreover, is the widely-accepted Jesus Myth the real, ‘Reason for the Season’ – or just more fundamentalist misinformation?
Let’s probe a little deeper into the heart of the matter…
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
The current Christian feast day of Christmas (Christ’s Mass) originates from the huge storehouse of our ancient Pagan past.
The specific date of the assumed Jesus Christ’s birthday is unrevealed. Even the gospels fail to classify the exact time of this mythological figure’s initiation. In reality the Church only set up the administrative date of Christ’s birth in AD 273. The early Church, animated to win new converts from the natural old earth-orientated faiths, saw a vast theocratic profit to be gained by adopting this native midwinter festival.
This shrewd spiritual ruse was applied with equal vigour to all our indigenous Pagan feast days.
The entire Christian year is clandestinely grafted onto a much older Pagan agricultural calendar, which links closely with the solar orb/seasonal cycles.
Thousands of years before the Christian cult was first instigated, our Pagan forefathers were celebrating the jubilant feast of the Midwinter Solstice.
Everywhere people honoured the birth of the ‘Sun God’ under his abundant titles and epithets. Midwinter marked the critical stage when the sun was at its lowest point in the sky. This truth was recognised and invigorated on a spiritual level by the ancients as the time of ‘New birth.’ From now onward the days would grow lighter as the solar power of the great ‘Life giver’ increased.
Christianity basically took the name ‘Sun’ and transformed it into ‘Son’ so as to give the new obsessive piety from the East a more acceptable countenance for our Pagan ancestors.
This crafty manoeuvre guaranteed that the aboriginal peoples would still maintain their old celebration dates, whilst jettisoning their original, rich, native spirituality for the new manmade monotheistic doctrine.
THE SOURCE OF MOST XMAS CUSTOMS – THE ROMAN SATURNALIA
Most Christmas folklore, traditions and customs are unmistakably based on the old Roman feast of the ‘Saturnalia. The Roman people enjoyed this festival for seven days (although times varied), toward the end of December.
During the celebration of the god Saturn all schools, courts, businesses etc would remain shut. Slaves and masters would reverse roles with masters serving their subordinates at table etc. Military officers still serve their subordinates at Xmas dinner; employers worldwide still give big parties for their workers and folk exchange loving presents. These Pagan traditions still remain within our native consciousness even today. The charity/giving characteristic of the Solstice are extensive to almost everyone. Most amusingly, the source of charity is regularly linked with the Christian faith, yet its origins are blatantly Pagan.
A small cap known as a ‘Pileus’ was the Roman sign of a freeman. During the Saturnalia slaves were allowed to wear this head covering at the feast. This is a detail worth recalling when people next enter into the party spirit and put on childish hats at their Xmas banquet.
The term ‘Yuletide’ stems from the old Viking word ‘Iul’ meaning Wheel – Yule being the lowest ebb in the sun’s travel through the wheel of the year.
THE YULE LOG was customarily cut from an oak-tree. This wood was sacred to the Thunder God Thor, who is also known as ‘Thunor. This deity gives his name to Thursday (Thor’s-day). The Yule log, after being licked by fire, was believed to protect a dwelling from lightning strike.
MISTLETOE was seen as an all-healing plant and sacred to the Norse deity, Balder. This plant was used by druidic priests and native healers to encourage fertility. It is still used today in a magical sense, i.e. the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe!
HOLLY is of course a customary part of Yuletide and like the mistletoe it has long-established connections. It is sacred to Saturn, God of the Dying Year and was hung outside houses by the Romans to avert psychic attack, lightening and professed evils of any kind.
IVY is an evergreen climbing plant signifying immortality. It has been perceived as an exemplification of eternal life in numerous Pagan faith systems including Druidism, the spiritual ethos of the Celtic peoples.
TODAY’S FATHER CHRISTMAS/SANTA image is based upon the Holly-King figure of Odin, the Norse ‘Father – God’ who rode through the night’s sky not on a reindeer but a fast white charger. The aspect of his red and white clothing (and flying through the sky) is probably linked to the use of the brightly coloured hallucinogenic mushroom, Fly Agaric by Norse shamans and warriors before battle.
XMAS TREES originate from ancient rites of the great, Phrygian Mother Goddess ‘Cybele’. Her worship was brought to Rome in 204BC. A pine tree was felled and placed within her sacred temple then decorated with extravagant adornments of beautiful flowers and coloured wools, etc. I think that it is quite probable that the tree custom travelled with the legions into Germanic localities and amalgamated with native tradition there at some later date. We should possibly give credit for the tree’s contemporary usage in celebration to Drusus the Elder who embarked upon a military campaign for Roman supremacy against the Germanic and Raetian tribes in 15 BC.
THE ROBIN The cycle of natural fruitfulness has been articulated in many god-forms. One pair, which has persisted from Celtic Pagan times into modern tradition, is that of the Oak King and Holly King, gods correspondingly linked to the Waxing Year and the Waning Year. The wren is emblematic of the Holly King’s bird and the robin stands as the re-born sun belonging to the Oak King.
THE ‘BORN AGAIN’ SUN!
SUN (SON OF GOD) MYTH – HOW THE CHURCH SKILFULLY MANIPULATED YOUR MINDSET
Any earnestly impartial investigation into the historical side of Christmas traditions clearly reveals that Christianity has no right whatsoever to claim an exclusive monopoly over the Sun/Resurrection god situation.
The Christian re-born Sun-God Myth is just the latest in a long line of deity modifications.
So why did the Church seize original Pagan Midwinter Solstice celebrations and replace them with Xmas? Why the 25th December? Let us examine a few hard facts, rather than continue to propagate the same old Christian fundamentalist propaganda about our native midwinter celebrations.
Numerous crucified sun gods have their customary birthday on December 25th. This is because the ancients acknowledged that the sun makes a yearly decline southward in anticipation of December 21st or 22nd , the Winter Solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and next starts to move northward again.
During this period our insightful ancient forbears affirmed that ‘God’s sun’ had died for three days and was ‘Born again’ on December 25th.
The ancients realised that they needed the sun to come back every day and that they would be in huge difficulty if the sun continued to move southward and did not stop and revoke its direction. Accordingly, limitless diverse cultures celebrated their ‘Sun of God’s’ anniversary on December 25th. Fundamentalists within the early Christian Church simply adopted the heathen, earth-orientated midwinter celebrations to equate with their newly-fashioned version of the Sun God, Jesus Christ, known as the ‘Son of God’!
The Christian Christmas practice stands as a prime example of smart, theocratic mind control of the masses. Societies everywhere fell for this clever Church ruse as they still do to this day! The following list stands as the outstanding qualities of the pervasive Sun God myth, which can be related to contemporary Christian recycling of much older Pagan mythology. Consider the following:
The sun dies for three days on December 21/22nd, the Winter Solstice; when it stops its journey southward, to be born again (resurrected) on December 25th, when it continues its progress north.
In various areas, the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo and the sun would consequently be perceived as being ‘Born of a virgin.’
The sun is of course the ‘Light of the World.’
The sun ‘Cometh on clouds and every eye shall see him.’
The sun rising in the morning is the ‘Saviour of mankind.’
The sun wears a corona, crown of thorns or ‘Circle of light’ (halo).
The sun is seen to ‘Walk on water.’
The sun’s follower’s helpers (disciples) are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which the sun has to pass.
The sun at 12 noon is in the house/temple of the ‘Most High,’ consequently ‘He’ begins ‘his Father’s work’ at the age of 12.
The sun enters each sign of the zodiac at 30°; hence, the ‘Sun of God’ begins his ministry at the age of 30.
The sun is hung on a cross (crucified) which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the spring/vernal equinox being Easter, at which time it is then reborn.
It does not take a mastermind to differentiate the abundant similarities of the above when compared to the ‘newer’ Jesus Myth.
The Church fathers simply used earlier heathen legend/tradition and symbolism to fashion their innovative, patriarchal creed. Yes folks – it’s all been done before!
The early Church made light work of marketing its newly-formed Christ god template to the trusting Pagan masses and quite easily substituted the nourishing solar/agricultural calendar for a new manmade one based on its monotheistic prospectus.
In view of the above, can ‘You’ see how you have been clandestinely manipulated, by shrewd fundamentalists of old; into believing an exceptionally clever, religiously-based falsehood? There is of course – nothing new under the sun!
Attis, Adonis, Sol, Mithras, these gods and numerous others were celebrated during seasonal solar cycles long before the ‘Jesus story’ was ever manufactured by sectarian, monotheistic interest groups with an axe to ground against the social structure of the day!
MITHRAS GOT THERE FIRST
The Saturnalia was held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later extended with celebrations through to 23 December. The renowned Latin writer, Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, tells us that Saturnalia is a festival of light leading up to the Winter solstice. The merry festival saw a plentiful manifestation of candles symbolising the quest for knowledge and truth. The regeneration of light and the coming of the New Year were celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25.
This was a time of the Roman Soldiers’ god, Mithras; he was also a sun-god. Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave on December 25, and worshipped on Sunday, the day of the conquering sun. Adherents perceived Mithras as their redeemer who matched Jesus in status. Mithras died and was resurrected in order to become a messenger god, an arbitrator between man and the good god of light, and the leader of the forces of virtue against the dark forces of evil. Mithra, the earlier name for Mithras, was revered many centuries preceding the Christian era. The relevant elements of Mithraism are known to have heralded Christianity by hundreds or even thousands of years. Christianity merely adopted aspects of this earlier god and others to create its ‘new’ traditions, such as those now celebrated at Christmas. I wonder who will contest the Sun God title next. We would do well to recall the old maxim: ‘History repeats itself.’
‘XMAS: IS IT A SHORTENED ADAPTATION OF THE WORD ‘CHRISTMAS’ OR SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY…?
December, under the earlier Roman calendar, used to be, the 10th month of the year: the 1st month (March) being given to the god Mars. The Roman numeral for 10 is of course ‘X’, thus X-mas rather than being an abbreviation of a present Christian festival can be seen as being the Pagan ‘Mass of the 10th month’; a joyful time when the Saturnalia was celebrated with great merriment.
The genuine ‘Reason for the Season’ has been carefully concealed by devious fundamentalists with hidden agendas, aimed at keeping ‘you’ in the darkness of ignorance, over the centuries. Billions of individuals seeking spiritual deliverance, through the generations, have fallen for this enormous religious fraud, without as much as a question.
Mr Scrooge Was Right To Celebrate Wildly, Even Though His Reasoning Was Unsound!
Old Ebenezer was undeniably correct to give in to the festive distraction of spiritual deliverance; although his motives were subconsciously overshadowed by centuries of clever, wide-scale, religious indoctrination before him. The frenzy of a benevolent open heart, mind and spirit never had to be dependent on any crusty half-truths pumped out at Ebenezer’s local church hall. No, it was ‘always’ there in the first place – just waiting to be discovered. This most recently recycled Christian dogmatisation of the wholesome Midwinter Solstice celebration is nothing but a manmade ecclesiastical falsification of a much older organic truth that links humankind to the planet, the universe and beyond.
The magnificent storehouse of our Pagan birthright is incalculable and it is there; waiting like the first snowflake of winter, to be freely discovered by all.
A very joyful Yuletide, Midwinter Solstice, and Saturnalian blessings to all…
Pat Regan © 2015
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