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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Hello everyone,

There is a 3rd century fish mosaic on the floor of the christian megiddo church.

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Here is a link to a massive amount of early christian art with fish symbolism.
http://www.google.com/search?q=fish+symbolism+in+early+christian+art&start=10&hl=en&sa=N&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=srVxUKebPOmUjAKDkIDADg&ved=0CEgQsAQ4Cg&biw=1280&bih=603

I seem to recall Audrey Fletcher having a website about precession and ancient egypt specifically dealing with the Narmer plate that explains knowledge of precession was known as far back as 4468 BCE.

http://ancientegypt.hypermart.net/osirisprecession/index.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:21 pm 
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Excellent find, Locutus! I'd forgotten about that.

Site may be 3rd-century place of Christian worship

Megiddo, Church, & Prison. Or, “Wait’ll the warden sees this!”

"Church & prison"?? You got that right! :lol: There are some decent photos in that link, btw.

Wikipedia on the Ichthys fish issue

The Nermer Plate or Narma Plate issue by Audrey Fletcher is fascinating but, I'll have to do more research on it to verify and confirm it and I wonder if she's still available for contact?

Quote:
"The Nermer Plate was named after the hieroglyph of the catfish and the chisel, which is recorded three times upon it. The catfish translates as "Ner" and the chisel as "Mer". Until now scholars have deciphered and misinterpreted the Nermer Plate in terms of its scenes commemorating the Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt and its accompanying battle in c3200BCE.

Jean-Francois Champollion, who is renowned for having deciphered the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing using the Rosetta Stone as his reference, dated the Unification to 5867BCE. However this date was not acceptable to Egyptian Scholars as it contradicted the accepted "fact" that Sumer, the Land of the Two Rivers, was the First Civilization. In reality Sumer could not possibly have been settled before 5000BCE because it was still under the waters of the Persian Gulf! However the decision was made that the Nermer Plate must be dated to 3200BCE because that date was acceptable to Egyptian Scholars.

Far from commemorating the Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt and its accompanying battle in c3200BCE … the Nermer Plate is a sky chart commemorating the Dawn of the Age of Taurus in the Precession of the Equinoxes!

This astronomical event occurred on September 21st 4468BCE … when the Autumn Equinox of the Sun was in conjunction with the Milky Way. This conjunction initialized the movement of the Sun out of the Age of Gemini and into the Age of Taurus.

As the Nermer Plate celebrates the Dawn of the Age of Taurus in 4468BCE, it is reasonable to suggest that the Plate itself also dates back to 4468BCE. It defies logic to suggest that it dates back to 3200BCE.

The whole of Ancient Egyptian history as perceived by Egyptologists needs to be re-written!

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http://ancientegypt.hypermart.net/narmerplate/index.htm

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:53 am 
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Locutus wrote:
@ Robert - Since you were recently talking about the breast plate and the zodiac, could you clarify your stance as to why it's reasonable to suggest that the two are related in the face of NG criticism that they are not.



Philo of Alexandria wrote:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book25.html
XXIV. (117) Such, then, is the dress of the high priest. But we must not omit to mention the signification which it conceals beneath both in its whole and in its parts. In its whole it is a copy and representation of the world; and the parts are a representation of the separate parts of the world. ...(124) Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac? For that also is divided into four parts, each consisting of three animals, by which divisions it makes up the seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, distinguishing the four changes, the two solstices, and the two equinoxes, each of which has its limit of three signs of this zodiac, by the revolutions of the sun, according to that unchangeable, and most lasting, and really divine ratio which exists in numbers;


Josephus wrote:
Antiquities 3 http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text ... /ant3.html

take a view of the garments of the high priest, ... they were every one made in way of imitation and representation of the universe. When Moses distinguished the tabernacle into three parts, and allowed two of them to the priests, as a place accessible and common, he denoted the land and the sea, these being of general access to all; but he set apart the third division for God, because heaven is inaccessible to men. And when he ordered twelve loaves to be set on the table, he denoted the year, as distinguished into so many months. By branching out the candlestick into seventy parts, he secretly intimated the Decani, or seventy divisions of the planets; and as to the seven lamps upon the candlesticks, they referred to the course of the planets, of which that is the number. ... the ephod showed that God had made the universe of four elements; and as for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related to the splendor by which all things are enlightened. He also appointed the breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod, to resemble the earth, for that has the very middle place of the world. And the girdle which encompassed the high priest round, signified the ocean, for that goes round about and includes the universe. Each of the sardonyxes declares to us the sun and the moon; those, I mean, that were in the nature of buttons on the high priest's shoulders. And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:15 pm 
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@ Robert - Thanks for posting that reply and also including that great back and forth at yahoo groups with Jim. I hope you post more of that as it develops. I noted the 12 points you made above and couldn't agree more. I see point number 10 as being key and if that idea is fleshed out more for people to grasp then the problem of HOW MUCH influence is solved. I think you're all doing an excellent job at explaining the positions. I get it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:50 pm 
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* Moderator note: I have split the discussion related to Neil Godfrey's blog into its own thread: Neil Godfrey's blog, Vridar

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:07 pm 
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Let us get back to the important and fascinating work here.

I just stumbled across an article by the following title:

"Astral Myths Rise Again: Interpreting Religious Astronomy"

A search of Google books for this article turns up some very interesting works, including a book that notes this article discusses Charles Dupuis:

Quote:
Sullivan, "Astral Myths Rise Again," 12-13, treats the significance of Charles Francois Dupuis, De l'origine de Tous les Cultes

So, here we see the term "astral myth" and "religious astronomy," which are readily combined as "astrotheology," a perfectly good and utile word.

The article is cited in David Kelley's book Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy.

Here is another interesting article:

"Star Gatherers and Wobbling Suns: Astral Symbolism in the Aztec Tradition"

Note that it is in a publication titled History of Religions. Might be worth obtaining.

Per our recent discussion, it is rather absurd to ignore the astral mythology/religious astronomy/astrotheology when studying the origins of religion and myth. If one wishes to do so, one is entitled to that option; however, one should not be professing to be an expert on ancient religion. Obviously, some of the better curious human minds are interested in these subjects.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:35 pm 
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Here's another juicy quote showing how the Mesoamerican natives considered Christ to be the sun and the Virgin Mary to be the moon. The correlations that had been present also in the "Old World" were quite obvious to these natives, for the reason that these figures are largely astrotheological in nature.

From Chamulas in the World of the Sun: Time and Space in a Maya Oral Tradition by Gary Gossen, p. 138:

Quote:
Ritual games have a similar meaning in the Festival of Games (k'in tahimoltik). This major five-day fiesta, celebrated in February, corresponds generally to the pre-Lenten carnival time in the Catholic calendar. It was the best-attended fiesta in 1968. The fiesta is totally different in spirit from the other annual fiestas in that it has mixed sacred and secular significance. At one and the same time it provides the occasion for the annual cult worship of the sun and moon (Christ and the Virgin Mary) and for a remarkable series of ritual games.

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I have not obtained the book to read the surrounding text, but we know from other sources of the astrotheologically oriented roles of Christ and Mary to the Native Americans, North, Central and South. Some of this material is contained in my ebook Jesus as the Sun throught the Ages.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:23 pm 
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Aztec Astrotheology

More on Mesoamerican astral mythology.

Quote:
Aztec religion is the Mesoamerican religion of the Aztecs. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it had elements of human sacrifice in connection with a large number of religious festivals which were held according to patterns of the Aztec calendar. It had a large and ever increasing pantheon; the Aztecs would often adopt deities of other geographic regions or peoples into their own religious practice. Aztec cosmology divided the world into upper and nether worlds, each associated with a specific set of deities and astronomical objects. Important in Aztec religion were the sun, moon and the planet Venus—all of which held different symbolic and religious meanings and were connected to deities and geographical places.

Large parts of the Aztec pantheon were inherited from previous Mesoamerican civilizations and others, such as Tlaloc, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, were venerated by different names in most cultures throughout the history of Mesoamerica....

The concept of Teotl is central to the Aztec religion. The term is often translated as "god", but may have held more abstract aspects of divinity or supernatural energy akin to the Polynesian concept of Mana.

Not a few people have noticed the resemblance between the Aztec word teo-tl to the Greek dios or theos, Latin deus and deo, which have roots in Indian religion, such as the Vedic dyaus.

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While the list of the Aztec pantheon on the "Aztec religion" Wiki article does not include Quetzalcoatl's solar role, the myths depict him as the "second sun," with numerous solar attributes. Moreover, his adversary Tezcatlipoca is a god of night, along with the listed attributes. In this competition, we clearly have an echo of a primordial light-versus-dark myth that can also be found within Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Egyptian religion and Christianity, etc.

Nature-Worshipping Pantheon

In the Aztec religion we find specific godnames attributed to the sun and moon as well:

Quote:
Tonatiuh - The Sun
Metztli - The Moon

Image
Aztec sun god Tonatiuh (Codex Telleriano-Remensis)

Quote:
The Aztecs were fascinated by the sun and carefully observed it, and had a solar calendar similar to that of the Maya. Many of today's remaining Aztec monuments have structures aligned with the sun.

It should be recalled that in the Mayan mythology the twin "sons of Quetzalcoatl" or the Maize God go into the underworld to rescue the solar/corn deity and allow him to be resurrected into the world. These twins themselves are killed, ascending to heaven as the sun and moon.

What is pertinent about the Aztec pantheon, then, is that it is largely nature worshipping/astrotheological, like the systems of Egypt and India in particular but also others such as the sun-worshipping Inca and numerous cultures globally. Here are other nature deities:

Quote:
Tlaloc - a panmesoamerican god of rain, storm, water and thunder
Tlaltecuhtli - means "Earth Lord", Goddess of the Earth
Chalchiuhtlicue - means "Jade Her Skirt", goddess of springs
Centzon Huitznahua - means "The 400 Southerners", Gods of the stars
Ehecatl the Wind, often conflated with Quetzalcoatl and called "Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl"
Mayahuel - Goddess of Pulque and Maguey
Cinteotl - God of maize
Xilonen/Chicomecoatl - Goddess of tender maize
Xochipilli means "Flower Prince", god of happiness, flowers, pleasure and fertility

Gods of the Stars

The "gods of the stars" is an intriguing concept that requires further study.

Quote:
Centzonhuitznahua

In Aztec mythology, the Centzonuitznahua (or, in plural, Centzon Huitznauhtin) were the gods of the southern stars. They are the evil elder sons of Coatlicue, and their sister is Coyolxauhqui. They and their sister tried to murder their mother upon learning of her pregnancy with Huitzilopochtli; their plan was thwarted when their brother sprang from the womb—fully grown and garbed for battle—and killed them all.

The Centzonuitznaua are known as the "Four Hundred Southerners"; the gods of the northern stars are the Centzonmimixcoa.

There are many myths revolving around the north star and others towards the north, as well as constellations visible to the south. The grand battle in the Indian text the Mahabharata - which has correspondences to The Iliad, Homer's depiction of the Trojan War - is said to be between the northern and southern stars. This motif could be very old, brought with the migrants to the Americans.

Image

The above image represents the 400 southern stars (top right) killed by Huitzilopochtli, another god of the sun. Huitzilopochtli is depicted as killing his sister, who in turn attempted to "honor kill" their mother. Like the armed and shielded Greek goddess of wisdom Athena springing forth fully formed from her father Zeus's head, this solar deity emanates miraculously from his mother's womb fully formed and ready for battle.

Quote:
The legend of Huitzilopochtli is recorded in the Mexicayotl Chronicle. His sister, Coyolxauhqui, tried to kill their mother because she became pregnant in a shameful way (by a ball of feathers). Her offspring, Huitzilopochtli, learned of this plan while still in the womb, and before it was put into action, sprang from his mother's womb fully grown and fully armed. He then killed his sister Coyolxauhqui and many of his 400 brothers. He tossed his sister's head into the sky, where it became the moon, so that his mother would be comforted in seeing her daughter in the sky every night. He threw his other brothers and sisters into the sky, where they became the stars.

This myth represents Aztec astral religion or astrotheology, plain and simple. There is no need for rancor and freaking out over these simple and comprehensible concepts.

Gods of the Day and Dawn

Nor are we surprised to find in the Mesoamerican pantheon the "Lord of the Dawn" or dawn and other day deities, albeit this particular manifestation is fascinating as always:

Quote:
In Aztec mythology the Lords of the Day are a set of thirteen gods that ruled over a particular day. They were cyclical, so that same god recurred every thirteen days. In the Aztec calendar, the lords of the day are:

Xiuhtecuhtli, god of fire.
Tlaltecuhtli, god of the earth.
Chalchiuhtlicue, goddess of water, lakes, rivers, seas, streams, horizontal waters, storms and baptism.
Tonatiuh, god of the sun.
Tlazolteotl, goddess of lust, carnality, sexual misdeeds.
Mictlantecuhtli, god of the underworld.
Centeotl, goddess of maize. Also recognized as Chicomecoatl, goddess of agriculture.
Tlaloc, god of the thunder, rain and earthquakes.
Quetzalcoatl, god of wisdom, life, knowledge, morning star, fertility, patron of the winds and the light, the lord of the West.
Tezcatlipoca, god of providence, matter and the invisible, ruler of the night, Great Bear, impalpable, ubiquity and the twilight, the lord of the North.
Mictecacihuatl, goddess of the underworld.
Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, god of dawn.
Citlalicue, goddess of the female stars (Milky Way).

Here I am strongly reminded of the Indian text the Rig Veda, which emphasizes the roles of the soli-fire god Agni and soli-storm god Indra, along with the dawn goddess. Of course, the Egyptian religion also personified numerous elements as we see here in the "Deities of Day," including the "Lord of Dawn," Ra-Horakhty.

As in other mythologies, such as the Greek and Roman, the Mesoamericans also had a king and queen of the underworld, another motif that may have been devised by the human many thousands of years ago, possibly before humans migrated out of Africa.

Quote:
Mictlantecutli - Lord of the underworld
Mictlancihuatl - Queen of the underworld

Note that, as in the "Old World," there is a great deal of syncretism not only between deities of the same Mesoamerican ethnicity but also between the deities of the various peoples in the whole region of Central America and beyond. The syncretism allows for much overlap between the functions and attributes of the different deities, so their stories are not always set in stone, so to speak, but change.

The Rise of Huitzilopochtli

An excellent example of how a religion, mythology or pantheon changes can be found in the rise of Huitzilopochtli:

Quote:
Huitzilopochtli was the patron god of the Mexica tribe. Originally he was of little importance to the Nahuas, but after the rise of the Aztecs, Tlacaelel reformed their religion and put Huitzilopochtli at the same level as Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, and Tezcatlipoca, making him a solar god. Through this, Huitzilopochtli replaced Nanahuatzin, the solar god from the Nahua legend. Huitzilopochtli was said to be in a constant struggle with the darkness and required nourishment in the form of sacrifices to ensure the sun would survive the cycle of 52 years, which was the basis of many Mesoamerican myths.

Notice among these various solar attributes and the classic 52-year cycle (52 also being the number of weeks in a year) is the political reason behind the popularity of this god and his absorption of other attributes, including and especially the solar ones. We find this same sort of syncretic process all over the world, whenever different peoples come into contact with each. Sometimes this merging and syncretism are relatively peaceful, whereas many other times they have been contentious and bloody.

Notice also that Lord Huitzilopochtli's "rebirth" is depicted as occurring in December, on the 9th. As we know, many December celebrations in the northern hemisphere revolved around solar/light gods and goddesses, as demonstrated by the calendar below, which depicts numerous December light/sun festivals from around the world, including the Egyptian as they would have been in the year 1 AD/CE.

Image

We also discover that the entire month of December is dedicated to the solar Huitzilopochtli, with great celebrations reminiscent of "Yule" (Scandinavia) and "Yalda" (Persia) festivals in many parts of the world. Indeed, the celebrations were so similar to the "Christmas" festival that they were subsumed into the Catholic practices:

Quote:
Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was the Aztec month dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers, and finally human sacrifices. This was one of the more important Aztec festivals, and the people prepared for the whole month. They fasted or ate very little; a statue of the god was made with amaranth (huautli) seeds and honey, and at the end of the month, it was cut into small pieces so everybody could eat a little piece of the god. After the Spanish conquest, cultivation of amaranth was outlawed, while some of the festivities were subsumed into the Christmas celebration.

Here we see again that the Mesoamerican practices existed first and overlaid by Catholicism, but they did not originate with Christianity.

Many Quetzalcoatls

Furthermore, it is claimed that all kings were named after Quetzalcoatl/Kukulkan, in anticipation of the god's supposed "second coming." Their stories too are intertwined with each other and with the myths of the god by the same name. Disentangling these various attributes is sometimes but not always possible or even necessary, as the Maya themselves confounded them, possibly even deliberately at times. The important point to comparative religion studies is whether or not a particular motif can be found in common with other religious systems. Another major fact of interest is, again, that the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican peoples engaged significantly in nature worship and astral religion or astrotheology.

Temples, Priesthood, Monasteries and Nunneries

Notice also the section in this Wiki article about the Aztec priesthood and religious organization, which has its roots in far more ancient Mesoamerican religion, not borrowed from either Judaism or Christianity. This latter contention was the default position for a couple of hundred years after "First Contact," because the similarities between these Old World religions and the Mesoamerican cultus were so profound that the Jews and Christians who encountered the Mexicans could only come up with such a solution.

We see that these earlier explorers and scholars' perceptions of the parallels are indeed sound, but we know that these similarities could not have come from biblical religion to Mesoamerica, so we must find another reason for their mysterious existence. The first and foremost reason is because they are indeed nature-worshipping and astrotheological attributes. Hence, they revolve around natural elements and celestial bodies that can be observed globally.

These observations are depicted from the observers' own environment, which explains the differences between the religious systems and mythological perceptions. However, in some instances the similarities are so profound and unique that one must wonder if they do not constitute what I call the "lost religion" - the name of a future publication - or religious and mythological elements that, as previously stated, may have been perceived and devised many tens of thousands of years ago and accompanied our ancestors as they migrated out of Africa and spread around the world.

Another such shared motif that may be 10,000 or more years old is that of the virgin mother goddess giving birth to the cosmos. Yes, we see it again in the Mesoamerican religion, about which we have lost so much because of the holocaust of thousands of codices - created hundreds of years before Columbus on fig bark! Imagine how amazing it would be to discover such a culture with libraries of books made from bark. And then to burn them all - quelle horreur!

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Dresden Codex, c. 11th-12th cent. Maya manuscript on fig-bark paper

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Astronomy in the Maya Codices and the Maya Zodiac

Here's another great-looking book demonstrating Mesoamerican astrotheology, which I found originally on the website of Dr. David Stuart, one of the most famous Mayanists in the world, who helped significantly to decipher the hieroglyphs.

Remember that "astrotheology" = astronomy + religion. As we know, like the Egyptians, the Maya were extremely religious and spiritual, projecting themselves and their world into the sky and vice versa, claiming divinity for the natural world around them.

Image

Quote:
Astronomy in the Maya Codices
Harvey M. Bricker and Victoria R. Bricker

The Precolumbian Maya were closely attuned to the movements of the Sun and the Moon, the stars and the planets. Their rituals and daily tasks were performed according to a timetable established by these celestial bodies, a timetable based on a highly complex calendar system. Agriculture provided the foundation for their civilization, and the skies served as a kind of farmer s almanac for when to plant and when to harvest. In this remarkable volume, noted Maya scholars Harvey Bricker and Victoria Bricker offer invaluable insight into the complex world of the Precolumbian Maya, and in particular the amazing achievements of Maya astronomy, as revealed in the Maya codices the indigenous hieroglyphic books written before the Spanish Conquest. This far-reaching study confirms that, independent of the Old World traditions that gave rise to modern Western astronomy, the Precolumbian Maya achieved a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy based on observations recorded over centuries.

Below are images of the Maya zodiac from the book Maya Cosmos by David Freidel, Linda Schele and Joy Parker.

Image
Image

Note that Scorpius is represented by a scorpion, as it is in the Old World. Could such an occurrence have developed independently in the two hemispheres? Does the attendant constellation really look like a scorpion, such that two peoples in different parts of the world would attach this imagery to it? Or could it be a very old motif held by groups as they traveled out of the Old Word, into Siberia and to the Americas?

Note that the "Out of Africa" DNA theory has been challenged by some claiming that there are markers indicating the aboriginal population of Australia is older. There are also those who aver the Middle East is the point of emergence, with the discovery of apparent homo sapiens teeth dating back some 400,000 years.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:25 am 
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Star Gods of the Maya by Susan Milbrath is an excellent source on Mayan cosmology, including contemporary indigenous linking of Christ and the sun.

Milbrath notes that the solar zenith passage is marked in May each year among traditional Mayan communities to fix dates for sowing and harvesting, and that the heliacal rising of Sirius is noted in July. As early as 1949, Milbrath notes that anthropologists linked the position of the zenith sun in Mayan custom to the cosmological cross formed in the sky by the galaxy and the ecliptic. She says "Ceremonies dedicated to the Sun God are fused with the Catholic festival calendar at Chamula. Christ's birthday is celebrated as the rebirth of the sun on the winter solstice."


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:40 am 
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Solar Verses from the New Testament

Some here will appreciate the paper "Pier Tulip's Theorem: Jesus in the Gospels is an allegory of the Sun (Jesus = Sun)," a translation from the Italian sent to me by the author, Pier Tulip. Yes, another Tulip fascinated by the astrotheological roots of Christianity. Who knew? In consideration of the fact that Jesus as the sun has been a major theme within mythicism for centuries - one that I have been developing for 20 years - it's inaccurate to name the thesis "Pier Tulip's Theorem," however. It's good to see others thinking in this way, nevertheless.

The first NT passage he cites as astrotheological gave me an "Aha!" moment, as it fits in beautifully with the enigmatic verse at John 3:30: "He must increase, and I must decrease." The verse cited is John 1:30:

Quote:
"This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.'"

If John was a person six months older than Jesus, how could the latter come before the former? This verse makes sense if we are discussing not human beings but a cycle, specifically a solar cycle, as in the sun from the winter to summer solstice and vice versa.

Image

Pier also points out Matthew 4:12-17, in which John is "imprisoned," so Jesus preaches in his stead - John's "prison" evidently representing the typical "cave" motif in which the sun is seen to be in the underworld. In these verses, Jesus is depicted as thereby fulfilling a prophecy in Isaiah (LXX: 9:1-2) that could not be more solar:

Quote:
"The land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles--the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."

The original Greek of the Septuagint/LXX of Isaiah 9:2 is:

Quote:
ὁ λαὸς ὁ πορευόμενος ἐν σκότει ἴδετε φῶς μέγα οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς λάμψει ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς

The Greek of Matthew 4:16 reads:

Quote:
ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκότει φῶς εἶδεν μέγα καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς

The Great Light or Mega Phos

Interestingly, in his Iphigenia (1063), the Greek playwright Euripides (c. 480-406 BCE) uses the same phrase φῶς μέγα or μέγα φῶς, mega phos or "big light," to describe the "daughter of Nereus," Thetis, giving birth to " a son, a dazzling light to Thessaly..." This passage refers to the Greek hero Achilles, who is immortalized except for his heel. It should not be surprising that the "great light" Achilles has been deemed a sun god, while his mother is considered the moon. As we know, Jesus is the "sun of righteousness," while Mary has been equated with the moon as well. Ditto with Horus and Isis.

In his Anabasis (3.12), Greek playwright Xenophon(c. 430–354 BCE) describes a "great light from God," using the exact phrase φῶς μέγα or phos mega and the word Διὸς or Dios, the same as the Latin Deus, French Dieu and Spanish Dios, Portuguese Deus and so on. This term Dios is used frequently in ancient Greek texts, but it is often rendered "Zeus." Those who do not read Greek, therefore, will not be instantly struck by such phrases as φῶς μέγα ἐκ Διὸς or "great light from God."

Around the time when the Christian effort truly took off, the second century AD/CE, Greek historian Plutarch (Alex. 30) was writing about "the great light of Mithras," using the phrase Μίθρου...φῶς μέγα. So, here we have yet another sun god - the predecessor of Jesus and probable contributor of much of Christ's biography and doctrine - called by the same phrase in Isaiah that Jesus is said in Matthew to fulfill. (The εἶδεν in between φῶς and μέγα in Matthew means "to see." Hence, the same essential phrase is used in that book as well.)

Indian Examples

The personification of these half-year periods can also be found in Indian mythology, with the winter-summer solstice period called the uttarayana, an auspicious period lorded over by the solar deity Vishnu. As I've written elsewhere, in "Christmas and the ancient winter festivals of light around the world":

The concept of the six months from summer to winter and from winter to summer representing important times can be found in Indian religion/mythology, in the doctrines and stories involving the uttarayana and dakshināyana, the six-month winter-summer and summer-winter periods beginning on the solstices. The uttarayana represents the "day of the gods," while dakshināyana symbolizes the "night of the gods." The uttaryana is said to be the period when the "gates to heaven" are open, and it is considered auspicious to die during this time, while the dakshināyana is the time when the heavenly gates are closed, and it is deemed unlucky to pass at this time. The enigmatic verse at John 3:30 about Christ needing to increase while John must decrease fits nicely with this Indian notion of the gates to heaven being open during this auspicious period and the gates closed during the unlucky time, especially since it is contended that Christ is the way to heaven. (E.g., John 14:6)

This notion of personified solstices or distinct solstitial periods also has precedence in other mythologies, such as the Egyptian, in which the gods Anubis and Osiris are said to be the personifications of the summer and winter solstices, respectively. Among other similarities, both Anubis and John are depicted as headless and as purifying or baptizing the god or godman who saves the worshipper from death and promises eternal life, leaving us to wonder whether or not John the Baptist is an Egyptian myth.

John and Jesus as remakes of Anubis and Osiris

In the case of Anubis and Osiris, the strange line, "He must increase, while I must decrease" would be appropriate, in consideration of their role as personifications of the summer and winter sun and solstices. In this regard and for many other reasons, the gospel of John, in which this verse may be found (3:30), is obviously geared toward an Egyptian audience, having also its apparent provenance in Egypt, where the earliest fragments of the book were discovered. Hence, the connection between this biblical verse and the winter-summer transition becomes even more logical to assume. It would therefore seem that the writer(s) of John's gospel - which does not appear in the literary record until the end of the second century - were aware already at this time of the identification of Jesus Christ with and as the sun, as they should be, since the coming messiah is specifically called "Sun of Righteousness" in the Old Testament book just before the Gospel of Matthew, Malachi (4:2).

Rather than representing the birthday of a human savior of a particular ethnicity and creed, this time of the year constitutes the "birth," "rebirth" or "resurrection" of Sol Invictus, the "Unconquered Sun," whose annual journey across our sky can be celebrated worldwide as a truly unifying expression of our global family.

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It looks like Pier has come up with some very useful verses in examining Christ's solar roots, which I would incorporate into my Jesus as the Sun book - with proper attribution - if I ever finish it.

See also:

Why do the Maya believe Christ is the sun?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:11 am 
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Hi Acharya, Pier and I are not related as far as I know!

What I find interesting in this material, considering also the Mithraic story of Cautes and Cautopates as symbols of the rise and fall of the seasonal cycle, is how these ideas must have been a big part of the oral tradition in the early church, but are only conveyed in fragmentary form in the surviving texts. Pier cites Luke 1:26 "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee," as indicating that John was born at the Summer Solstice six months before Jesus at the Winter Solstice. He suggests this is proven (QED) but that is an overstatement. What we have is a plausible account, in need of vastly more evidence before it can be considered to be persuasive and compelling in any scientific sense. We have the surviving tradition of the Saints Days of John and Christ after the solstices, but the origin of these in lost cultural conventions means any talk of proof should be reserved.

Forensically, the task is to reconstruct the most plausible ideas and rituals that make sense of the evidence. Days are getting longer in the time ascribed to Jesus from Christmas to summer, whereas days are getting shorter in the time ascribed to John from summer to Christmas. This is the natural sostice cycle of light. The solstice cycle drives the cycle of heat, with turning points one month later in July and January, and the cycle of life, with turning points three months later at the equinoxes in March and September.

This cyclic structure of annual time was far more central to ancient life than it is for modern industrial society. Pier usefully notes the verse John 1:30
John the Baptist wrote:
This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
as illustrating the cyclic structure of time. Conventionally this verse is understood to refer to Christ as the eternally pre-existent logos or cosmic reason. Understanding Jesus and John as forming the structure of the natural year appears highly plausible, especially in view of the link at John 3:30 to Christ as ascent (days get longer) and John as descent (days get shorter).

As Acharya mentioned, it is interesting to compare this natural cycle to the Indian tradition - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uttarayana


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:13 pm 
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Steve A. Wiggins wrote a review of Rev. Dr. Taylor's book 'Yahweh and the Sun' back in 1996 entitled: Yahweh: the God of Sun?.

Dr. Taylor responded with:

Quote:
A Response To Steve a. Wiggins, 'Yahweh: the God of Sun?'

Abstract

"This article is a response to Steve Wiggins's article which seeks to challenge the notion of solar Yahwism. Some of his cautions are commendable. In most areas, however, his alternative explanations seem only barely possible. Moreover, Wiggins offers no alternative to the recent consensus that sun worship was a Yahwistic phenomenon but to relegate the existence of sun worship to the realm only of the 'possible', which is untenable in light of the evidence. Specific criticisms of Wiggins include a severe downplaying of the religious significance of iconography and solar symbols, and a tendency to simplify, overlook or misunderstand key features in the debate. In the case of Ezek. 8.16 and 1 Kgs 8.12 (v. 53 LXX) he simply assumes the mutual exclusivity of Yahweh and the sun, thereby avoiding the possibility that the sun was considered to be symbolic of the presence of Yahweh."

2,750-year-old solar-aligned temple discovered in Israel

Acharya wrote:
The Eclipse of Solar Mythology?

In the Jesus Mysteries thread started by Robert Tulip, he has raised up the frantic handwaving dismissals and frowning derogation by certain scholars concerning the astrotheological studies of religious origins. He cites Bart Ehrman's sneering about "New Age," when considering "astrology" or, rather, astrolatry as the basis of much religion, including ideas within Christianity.

This bad attitude towards religious origins can be traced to an effort in the 20th century to overturn the significant amount of research and scholarship largely during the 19th century demonstrating numerous ancient religious and mythological notions to have their foundations in nature worship and astral mythology or astrotheology. Here is where the irrational snobbery and bigotry derive, with the resultant severing of all hidden meanings of mythical motifs that date back thousands of years.

As we know here, solar mythology, astral religion and astrotheology most assuredly are at the basis of much religious ideation, so all the snickering and snorting merely reflect the ignorance of this scholarship in the first place. For an immediate example of this contention, we may turn to the Latin writer Macrobius (4th-5th cents. AD/CE), who was quite adamant that most if not all of the deities of his day resolved themselves to sun gods or solar heroes. According to modern scholars, we should ignore all that he had to say, as well as all the literature before and after his time as concerns solar symbols and astral mythology in ancient religion.

Here is the attitude exemplified in an article published in 1955 in The Journal of American Folklore (v. 68, n. 270, p.. 393-416) by Richard M. Dorson, entitled "The Eclipse of Solar Mythology." In this article, Dorson remarks:

Quote:
We smile condescendingly today at the solar mythologists. So restrained a scholar as Stith Thompson refers to the extinct school as "absurd," "fantastic," "ridiculous," even dangerous to the sanity of the modern reader. Max Mueller and his disciples are chided for not recognizing the inanity of their own theories, and Andrew Lang is lauded with piercing them with ridicule.

Max Mueller's sun has indeed set. But was the leading Sanskrit scholar of his day a fool? And why did Lang have to spend a quarter of a century in demolishing ideas so patently absurd?

So, now we know that all such studies should be dismissed as absurd, fantastic, ridiculous and even dangerous! Imagine entertaining for even one moment that an ancient god could possibly have solar aspects or be considered the sun!

One of these absurd fools, as these mid-20th-century scholars would have deemed him, is the well-known Bible scholar Rev. Dr. J. Glen Taylor, who - absurdly, fantastically, ridiculously and even dangerously - wrote his entire doctoral dissertation about the Jewish god Yahweh as the sun! Let us ridicule him!

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As I relate in my ebook Jesus as the Sun throughout History, in his scholarly dissertation Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel, Taylor (7) remarks:

Quote:
This book is a slightly revised version of my doctoral dissertation entitled “Solar Worship in the Biblical World” which was submitted to the Graduate School of Yale University in the Spring of 1989. As may be judged from the title of that work, I had at one time planned to cover more territory than sun worship in ancient Israel, but found the material pertaining to ancient Israel so vast that I never got beyond it.

The description of Yahweh and the Sun states:

Quote:
This challenging provocative book argues that there was in ancient Israel a considerable degree of overlap between the worship of the sun and of Yahweh—even that Yahweh was worshipped as the sun in some contexts.

As Taylor further says:

Quote:
Probably the most provocative issue related to the nature of sun worship in ancient Israel...is the specific claim that Yahweh was identified with the sun.

In his tome, Taylor discusses Yahweh as a sun god—terming this adulation "solar Yahwism"—as reflected in the sun worship by Israelites described in the biblical texts of Deuteronomy, the Prophets, Job and the Psalms. He also addresses linguistic evidence as well as various archaeological finds that reveal Israelite sun worship, including artifacts such as sun disks and temple/shrine alignments.

What madness this fine scholar must be possessed of to even follow along lines such as these! Bring back the Inquisition!

As I also included in Jesus as the Sun, as concerns the prevalence of solar Yahwism in ancient Israel, Taylor concludes:

Quote:
Several lines of evidence, both archaeological and biblical, bear witness to a close relationship between Yahweh and the sun. The nature of that association is such that often a "solar" character was presumed for Yahweh. Indeed, at many points the sun actually represented Yahweh as a kind of "icon." Thus, in at least the vast majority of cases, biblical passages which refer to sun worship in Israel do not refer to a foreign phenomenon borrowed by idolatrous Israelites, but to a Yahwistic phenomenon which Deuteronomistic theology came to look upon as idolatrous.... an association between Yahweh and the sun was not limited to one or two obscure contexts, but was remarkably well integrated into the religion of ancient Israel.

Hence, the sun was worshipped by the Israelites, who associated it with their tribal god Yahweh. Indeed, we read from the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (1st cent. BCE) that Yahweh is the same as the god Iao, while, according to Dr. Roelof van den Broek, a professor of Christian History at the University of Utrecht, "Iao stood for the Sun." Concerning the Iao-Yahweh connection, Dr. Campbell Bonner, head of Classics at the University of Michigan, relates:

Quote:
As to the meaning of Iao, there can be no doubt, especially since the subject was thoroughly investigated by Graf von Baudission; and, in fact, the combination of Ιαω Σαβαωθ Αδωναι, "JHVH of hosts, Lord," which is common on both amulets and papyri, is convincing in itself.

As cited by Macrobius, the identification of JHVH/Iao with the sun also appeared in the work of Latin writer Cornelius Labeo (2nd-3rd cents. AD/CE), who in discussing the mysteries and the oracle of Apollo at Claros explained "splendid" Iao as the "supreme god of all gods" who is Hades in winter, Zeus in spring, the Sun in summer and Iao in the fall.

In his book, Taylor mentions Mark S. Smith, another scholar from Yale. Smith also demonstrated great interest in ancient solar and astral mythology - off with his foolish head! In his book Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, Smith includes a section entitled, "Yahweh and the Sun," in which he provides a subsection, "The Assimilation of Solar Imagery."

The fact is that one cannot be considered an expert on the nature of the biblical god Yahweh without having studied these solar aspects. Hence, those who wave away this subject with sneering and guffawing cannot be considered authorities in this field.

As we can see, solar mythology is alive and well, and we are right to look towards the Bible as a major source thereof. From there, we can proceed to consider not only the Father but also the Son: "I and the Father are one." (Jn 10:30). Let us not, therefore, be dissuaded by those who have clearly not studied this subject in any relevant depth and who are therefore missing out on much fascinating data.

"The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings."
Malachi 4:2

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:18 pm 
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The Persian Spring Celebration of Norouz

Today, March 20th, is the day of the vernal equinox and the ancient Persian spring festival of Norouz or Nowrouz, etc. The Iranians maintain their ancient ways, despite the Islamic fundamentalism forced upon them. This Persian vernal equinox celebration is very old, dating back at least 3,000 years, long predating Christianity and Islam. It revolves around nature-worship and heliolatry, or sun worship, as part of the world's great astrotheological traditions.

One of the main figures in the Persian religion is, of course, Mithra, who was said to be born of a virgin on December 25th. As Mithra is largely a sun god, we can be certain that this "Christian" motif is likewise solar and that Christ is a rehash of the ubiquitous sun god. Arguing against this scientific analysis can only be done when one is ignorant of these various holidays celebrated globally for thousands of years, as part of ancient astral religion.

Quote:
Iranian-Peoples and The Persianate Societies Celebrate Ancient Iranian Celebration of Norouz

By Faranak Suren-Pahlav

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Today the Earth enters the spring equinox and Iranians all over the world, irrespective of their religious creed or ethnicity, celebrate Norouz which lasts thirteen days according to the millennia-old Iranian tradition.

For Iranian peoples Norouz (also, Noruz, Nowruz, Nevruz, Newruz, Navruz) which literally (in Persian) means the 'dawn of a new day' is considered to be the most important celebration of the year; it is the greatest symbol of Iranian cultural and national identity, which has outlived all adversities and adversaries.

Today Iranian celebration of Norouz is celebrated not only in Iran, but also in former Iranian territories, known as the Greater-Iran or the Persianate-Societies, including, Armenia, Arran (nowadays the Republic of Azerbaijan), Afghanistan, Bahrain, Dubai, Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Norouz tradition has also been stretched beyond Iran’s cultural sphere and it is now celebrated by many non-Iranians in the Middle East, Crimea and the Balkan Peninsula.

“Iranian oral tradition takes Norouz as far back as 15,000 years ago, before the last ice age. Pre-historic and mythical Iranian King Jamshid (Avestan Yima) is said to be the person who introduced Norouz celebrations to symbolise the transition of the proto-Indo-Iranians from hunter gathering to pastoralism. The Historians however, believe the celebration began circa 3,700 years ago with the prophet Zarathushtra and his Divine revelation (daenā).

Some twelfth centuries later, in 487 BCE, Darius the Great of the second Iranian dynasty, the Achaemenids (550-330 BCE) celebrated Norouz at his newly built ceremonial capital, the Persepolis. Recent research shows that the Persepolis was built not only as the seat of government for the Achaemenid kings, but also as a center for receptions and ceremonial festivities especially Norouz, since it was the place the Achaemenid emperors received gifts on Norouz from his subjects from all over the Persian Empire. The walls of the great royal palace depict scenes of the celebrations.”

Iranians under the Parthian dynasty (248 BCE - 224 CE) continued celebrating Norouz but we do not know the details -- it should have, more or less, followed the Achaemenid pattern. During the Sasanian dynasty (224-651 CE), preparations began at least twenty five days before Norouz. Twelve pillars of mud-bricks, each dedicated to one month of the year were erected in the imperial court. Various vegetable seeds--wheat, barley, lentils, beans, and others--were sown on top of the pillars, they grew into luxurious greens by the New Years Day. The pillars were removed on the 16th day and the festival came to a close. The occasion was celebrated on a lower level by all peoples throughout the empire.” Since then, the peoples of the Iranian culture, whether Zoroastrian, Jews, Christians, Muslims or other faiths have celebrated Norouz precisely at the time of vernal equinox, the first day of the first month of Farvardin (on about March 20/21).

After the Arab conquest of Iran in 7th century a new ritual, a mixture of old and new traditions added to the New Year ritual known as Chahār Shanbeh Suri, which is celebrated on the Tuesday night (continues to Wednesday) of before Noruz. A bonfire is prepared to celebrate Chahār Shanbeh Suri, ‘Ember Wednesday’. People of all ages jump over the fire yelling, "Sorkhi-ye to az man; Zardi-ye man az to" (give me your red colour; and take back my sickly pallor), representing the bad fortune being left behind and destroyed by the fire, and prosperity and happiness for the New Year brought by the fire's light, warmth and cleansing power. However, holiday preparations began fifteen days ago with the planting of vegetable seeds in a shallow bowl so the there is several inches of green for the celebration. The family cleans the house wearing new clothes to symbolise purification and the dawning of a new life.

On the night of Norouz the family gathers around Norouz table known as haft-seen, which "is prepared with seven objects with the letter 'S' from the Persian alphabet. Apart from seven ‘S’s, number of other items are placed on the spread including a holy scripture revered by the family, or Persian poetry such as Shāhnāmeh (the Book of Kings) and Divān-e Hāfez”, hard-boiled decorated eggs, a Mirror with lit candles as a symbol of fire and live gold fish in a fish bowl. In the old days they would be returned to the riverbanks, but today most people will keep them.

Traditionally the Norouz table was consisted of not seven 'S's, but essential items as the reflections of the pastoral and sedentary conditions of ancient Iranian peoples and their beliefs, especially with regard to the Zoroastrian Amesha Spentas. With the widespread of the Zoroastrian religion and the belief that the souls of the departed would come down to earth and partake in the table was behind the preparation for Norouz Table on the eve of celebration....

Also, during vernal equinox the elder members of family were reciting from the Holy Avesta, which is communication from the Divinity and the acceptance of the Creator, and obedience (Saroshā)...

Quote:
"In all the rites of Norouz there is one constantly recurring feature:[b] the conflict between light and darkness[/b]. It is no coincidence that legend should attribute the invention of this feast to Jamshid, the legendary king and divine heroe who triumphed over the forces of darkness."

Vernal Equinox for Norouz 3751 ZRE (Zoroastrian Religious Era)

1383 Yazdegerdi / 2572 Imperial Persian / 2741 Iranian / 1392 Khorshidi

A Very Happy Norouz to all & may the Norouz bring happiness & peace to people around the globe; as the saying in Persian goes: "har rūzetān norūz bād" (May your everyday be Norouz).

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:20 pm 
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The Šamaš Religious Texts

Here is a book cataloging numerous Assyro-Babylonian hymns and incantations to the sun, Šamaš or Shamash:

The Šamaš Religious Texts by Clifton Daggett Gray

If anyone would like to know where many of the religious ideas found in the Bible come from, especially as concerns the Jewish tribal god Yahweh and his mythical son, Jesus, he or she would do well to run, not walk, to reading the ancient Babylonian and Egyptian solar hymns, prayers, spells and incantations, among others.

In these writings, we find the sun in particular being revered with the typical divine epithets, such as "Lord," "Lord of lords," "King of kings," "Shepherd," etc.

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