The Old Rugged Cross

Long, long before the Christian movement began, the symbol of the cross was used across the world for more life-affirming beliefs than as used today with a tortured dead male body hanging upon it.  In fact the cross symbol was appropriated from Pagan mythology by the Christian movement around 250-300 CE to replace the cult’s original symbol that had consisted of two arced lines suggestive of a fish form–for planet Earth had then only recently (c.60 BCE) entered the Age of Pisces.

Babylonian, Egyptian and other Near East cultures had long used the cross symbol as a sacred emblem, not necessarily as an object of worship but as emblematic of the power that gives forth with life.  For this reason the cross was referred to as the “tree of life,” and it was not uncommon to show the cross with leaves and blossoms, sometimes even fruit, springing from it.   In ancient Rome, even the Vestal Virgins wore crosses suspended from their necklaces.  The ancient city of Nicaea of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, built in 316 BCE was laid out in the form of the cross.

To quote from Time Frames and Taboo Data (TF&TD, page 191), “The cross was a focal  point in Babylonian mysteries long centuries before it was made the central symbol for Christianity.  Worship of or before the cross–the mystic Tau–was simply because the T-form stood as representative of the god Tammuz (personification of nature) resurrected every spring.  Those initiated into the mysteries were marked upon the forehead with water with the sign of the mystic Tau, a cross, as a mark of new life.   The T symbol had always implied the salvation of life, being as it was one of the symbols for the male organ of generation.”  In other words, the T-cross represented for them the means of creation and renewal of life and the ecstasy of that divine release. 

The use of the cross in connection to the Christian movement apparently arose out of Egypt and regions of Africa where the familiar Pagan symbol, the ankh or Crux Ansata, was eagerly embraced.  In the early third century CE, Tertullian (c. 160-c250 CE), the Latin ecclesiastical writer regarded as one of the greatest of  the Latin Church “fathers,” complained bitterly that the Church of Carthage was infected with the Pagan symbol–meaning the Crux Ansata–the sign of life.  Again from TF&TD, “Thus the cross emblem used first by Christian cult members in Egypt had absolutely nothing to do with the crucifixion of the cult’s central figure.  The symbol gradually became shorn of  its loop ‘handle’ to become the simple Tau cross and was  first  employed on the sepulchers of Christian cult members.  This is a revealing clue: the symbol professed belief in life–the sustenance of life–and not as the gross reminder of a savior’s torture and death.

On the other side of the world the Aztecs, who never heard of Jesus Christ, would address the Cosmic Principle–the life affirming principle–from some high point by standing erect with arms outstretched as a living  model of the mystical T symbol. 

It was around the years 250-300 that the “fathers” of the Christian church chose to identify more with the harsher interpretation drawn from the gospel story of Jesus’ crucifixion, which provided a rich launching base for judgment-passing and apocalyptic threats.  Thus the early peace-suggestive fish emblem was discarded in favor of the symbol of Roman instruments of  torture and death which, they rationalized, more compellingly symbolized the doctrines of sacrifice.  And as an added plus, the cross symbol also inflicted upon the followers a subliminal sense of trepidation and unworthiness.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: