Christianity and the summer solstice
- Acharya S
From the below article at Examiner.com, it looks like somebody’s been reading my work. Except: “the sun mimics the death and resurrection of Jesus!” Is that what they teach at Harvard Divinity School, that the sun is mimicking Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during the winter solstice? Couldn’t it be that the mythical Jesus’s “birthday” was placed at the winter solstice because he’s significantly a solar hero?
“But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.”
Nope, the living sun is evidently consciously imitating Jesus’s death and resurrection – and that’s why we have a winter solstice. Ditto with the summer solstice: The prescient sun knew that John the Baptist was going to be born at that time, so it imitated his birth.
In the meantime, the author’s got this part right: The enigmatic verse at John 3:30 quite likely reflects this mythological motif of the sun at the summer solstice losing its strength, while the “winter sun” gains in strength:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
It’s great to see someone in mainstream academia – with a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard University – confirm that this verse has astrotheological meaning: To wit, it represents the ancient concept of transition from the summer sun to the winter sun. This motif is exemplified in Egyptian mythology, which holds that the god Anubis – a decapitated figure who purifies or baptizes Horus/Osiris – was the personification of the summer solstice, while Osiris was the personification of the winter solstice. This ancient formula was simply copied into the gospel story.
What this fact/admission shows is that the gospel writers were conscious of solar mythology and of Jesus and John’s roles as solar heroes long before their births were placed formally on these days.
Also note that Doehring is recognizing here that the winter solstice represents not only the birth but also the death and resurrection of Jesus, which are likewise symbolic of the vernal equinox. As we know, mythical motifs often possess more than one meaning.
Christianity and the summer solstice
by William Doehring
The summer solstice, which occurs this year on Wednesday June 20, 2012 at 7:09 p.m. EDT, marks the exact time when the sun is furthest north in the sky, directly above the Tropic of Cancer. When it arrives this year, it will be especially important to some, as it marks six months until the winter solstice, which will occur on Dec. 21, 2012. Some believe that the end of the world will occur at this time. Though most scientists and archeologists believe they have debunked the doomsday theory, it still remains alive and well in popular culture and among Christians.
Though the summer solstice has not played a major role in the history of Christianity or Judaism, unaware to most, several summer solstice traditions have been passed down through the millennia. The most notable in Christianity, which occurs during the summer and winter solstices, are the births of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. According to tradition, John the Baptist’s birthday occurs on June 24th, which is the point when the sun visibly begins descent from its pinnacle during the summer solstice.
Similarly, the birthday of Jesus, which was set by early Roman Catholics on December 25th, marks a time of “rebirth,” as it is when the sun first visibly begins its ascent from its lowest point on the horizon, which occurred on December 21st, at the winter solstice. In essence, between the winter solstice and December 25th, the sun mimics the death and resurrection of Jesus, as it “dies” on December 21st, and remains at the lowest region in the sky for three days, and finally begins to visibly rise from the horizon on December 25th.
Likely, early Christians also appointed John the Baptists birthday to follow the same concept, in regard to the summer solstice. Believing that John the Baptist marked the “greatest pinnacle” of the Old Testament, early Christians likely set his birthday to follow the suns descent from its pinnacle. Thus, as John the Baptist’s “light” gave way to the Light of Jesus of Nazareth, so too the sun reaches its pinnacle at the summer solstice on June 20th -21st, and visibly begins its descent from that pinnacle on June 24th – 25th.
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist” Matt. 11:11
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:6-9
“And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he (Jesus) is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’…He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:22-30
Further summer solstice traditions can be found within the Jewish faith, which would have been prominant during the birth of Christianity. According to ancient Jewish traditions, the summer solstice represents a paradox: maximum light and a turn toward darkness or loss. This has arisen through certain events, which are believed to have occurred during the summer solstice. One such tradition can be found within the Jewish text Sedar Olam. According to verse 11:1, the sun stood still for Joshua during the battle of Gibeon (Joshua 10:12) on the summer solstice. This tradition reveals the theme of “maximum light.” Adding to this tradition, the Latin term solstice literally means sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).
A further ancient tradition, which reveals the theme of loss or a turn toward darkness, can be found in Jubilees 3:32. It states that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden during the summer solstice. Along with their expulsion from the garden, animals were said to have lost their ability to communicate with humans at the same time. Thus, as we can see, though the summer solstice has not played a major role in the history of Christianity and Judaism, both systems have not remained free from the celestial event.