After centuries of finding evidence for it, the astrotheology of the ancients is so self-evident to me that it is difficult to believe there is even a debate anymore. As I show in my book Suns of God, the fact that the ancient Greeks were likewise involved in the worship of the sun and other aspects of nature has been known since antiquity, with not only the prominence of the Greek versions of the God Sun, Apollo and Helios, but with numerous other solar manifestations and aspects within the Greek pantheon. The other solar deities include the god Dionysus, as highlighted by the writers Macrobius (4th cent. AD/CE) and Nonnus (5th cent. AD/CE, for example.
In his analysis of ancient deities as solar in nature, Macrobius quotes mysterious Orphic verses:
The sun, which men also call by name Dionysus
One Zeus, one Hades, one Sun, one Dionysus
It is therefore unsurprising that Greek temples are being found to have been built facing the rising sun. Of course, that fact does not make this news any less exciting, as yet more evidence of our fascinating but forgotten past!
London, November 23 (ANI): A new research has indicated that the ancient Greeks deliberately built their temples to face the rising Sun, which suggests that they were inclined towards the worship of the sun.
According to a report in the Times, an investigation into temples built by Greek colonists in Sicily has found strong evidence that they were aligned to the East.
The findings, by Alun Salt, of the University of Leicester, UK, suggest that Ancient Greek religion may have included ritual elements inspired by astronomy….
Although it has long been known that most of these shrines face east, some academics have questioned whether this alignment reflected a deliberate plan.
Critics of astronomical theories have pointed out that some temples face north, south or west, and argue that their orientation was not important to the Greeks.
Dr Salt’s research, however, indicates that the predominant east-west alignment is almost impossible to explain by chance, and probably followed a religious convention founded on astronomy….
In the study, Dr Salt found that 40 of 41 temples that he analysed in Sicily were oriented towards the eastern horizon….
“There is also evidence that astronomy was important to the relgious calendar, and there was probably a practical purpose too. A temple that faces the sunrise would be well-lit at dawn, so the priest would not be working in the shadows,” he added. (ANI)
For more on the ancient Greek calendar, be sure to see my 2010 Astrotheology Calendar.