Archive for astronomy in faith

Winter Solstice in Faith System Disguises

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , on November 9, 2013 by chouck017894

Every year as the hours of daylight grow progressively less in the Northern Hemisphere, western organized faith systems burst forth during the approach of the Winter Solstice in lavish demonstrations of belief that a one-time event occurred just for them a couple of thousand years ago at this time of year. In truth, that which is being celebrated is actually the cyclic celestial panorama which activates the seasons and which has set the pace of life on planet Earth for many millions of years.

Bluntly, it has been astrophysical features that have served as the basis for many portions of scriptural stories which are marketed as “holy” accounts. And it is the two major turning points in the year–the solstices–which have been artfully disguised in sacred tales and which have allowed practitioners of divine deception (faith systems) to manipulate large masses of people.

The seasonal change occurring with the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere signals a time of renewal and revival in Nature. That regulatory cyclic change which is spoken of as “solstice” comes from the Latin word sol, meaning Sun, and the Latin word sistere, past participle of stit, meaning “to stand.” The illusion in the Northern Hemisphere that the Sun moves southward periodically in the winter and northward in the spring is, as we know today, caused by Earth’s axial tilt as it orbits the Sun. In the Northern Hemisphere the Sun appears to reach its most southern point on December 21, and appears to begin a northward movement on December 25. In pre-Christian Rome the twenty-fifth of December was therefore known and celebrated as Natalis Solis Invict, meaning “birthday of the Sun.”

With the approach of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the star Murzim or Murzar (in constellation Canis Major) rises upon the eastern horizon. The name Murzim is said to mean “the Announcer,” and it precedes the appearance of the star Sirius—the brightest star in the sky—which, in turn, seemingly heralds the greater light of the Sun that is to come. Remember, Jesus allegedly said of himself, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The month preceding the Winter Solstice (November) carried great significance in ancient cultures, and it is from Pagan study and awe of astronomical movements that the observance of Advent (from Latin adventus, “the coming”) was introduced into Catholic formality around 600 by Pope Gregory the Great. This allowed the faith system’s representatives four Sundays before the solstice to utilize the declining light of the Sun as reminder of God’s power, and it was inferred that it was only by the flock’s continuous obedience that the power continued in glory. In Pagan antiquity the commencement of the new yearly cycle was celebrated after the perceptible northward movement of the Sun was certain; then it was perceived as the “Deliverer” or “Redeemer.”

In Judaism the festival of Hanukkah, meaning “dedication” (to the light which will be increasing), is observed within the same seasonal period of the approaching Winter Solstice, being celebrated from the 25th of Kislev (third month of the Jewish calendar) to the first of Tevet (which overlaps December and January). This is known variously as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees. The increase of light for the Northern Hemisphere is disguised here in the story of the Temple of Jerusalem having been rededicated to Yahweh by Judas Maccabaeus in 165 BCE, which had been profaned by Antiochus VI Epiphanes, King and overlord of Syria. Three years earlier, 168 BCE, on the date corresponding to December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, the Syrian king had dedicated the captured Temple in Jerusalem to the worship of Zeus Olympius. When Maccabaeus recaptured Jerusalem, the Temple was purged and a new altar replaced the desecrated one. This re-dedication was then planned to be celebrated for eight days, but woe!–supposedly only one cruse of pure olive oil, blessed by the priest, could be found. Yahweh intervened and that single cruse of oil burned miraculously for the whole eight days! Yahweh’s holy light prevailed.

The connection of the Muslim fast Ramadan to the Winter Solstice is far less obvious, due partly to Mohammad’s (or his scribe’s) misunderstanding of Jewish/Christian myths which allowed for their disguised ceremonial observance of the Winter Solstice period. The link to the Winter Solstice became lost in Islamic observation due to the Muslim year being calculated according to lunar phases instead of solar cycles. Also, being from a desert culture the seasonal changes were not such an obvious yearly transitional event as it was to those in higher latitudes. Therefore Islamic holidays seemingly “relocate” through each season, and in a period of about thirty-three years Ramadan makes a complete cycle of the solar year. For these reasons the Muslim celebration of Laylat-al-Qadr, meaning “the Night of Power,” which is held on the evening of the twenty-seventh day of the ninth month of their year calculation because Mohammed allegedly received his first revelation in this timeframe. Thus, although Ramadan seems not to be obviously related to the “infidel’s” recognition of the approaching increase of light (symbolizing revelation), the fasting and rites of the Night of Power were inspired by the disguised Jewish/Christian observances of the Winter Solstice.

Now back to the Christian faith system observation, which, of these three sister faith systems, is more closely aligned with prehistory (Pagan) wisdom that had deeper understanding of our direct relationship to cosmic forces. It was not any priests who initiated the Jesus cult in Rome; it was Roman aristocrats and literati, for prehistory wisdom was known and revered by them. The Winter Solstice was referred to by the ancient ones as “Mother Night,” and this was because the star Spica, the brightest star in constellation Virgo, the virgin, appears on the meridian at midnight during the longest night. This is why Christian lore relates that the Virgin (symbolic of the cosmic void) gave birth to a divine son (the Sun) which characterizes the Life Principle. Light begins to increase in the Northern Hemisphere after the Sun’s intercourse with darkness, and so light is “born” again—out of itself. Thus the Winter Solstice figuratively marks the “birthday” of life-giving light, and this prehistory acknowledgment of the life supporting Sun’s movements was absorbed into the Christian faith system and dubbed “Christmas,” i.e. Christs’s Mass.

As noted, constellation Virgo makes its appearance on the horizon at the decisive point of the Winter Solstice period, and this is the basis for all the stories of world saviors that were said to have been born of a virgin. The returning light was reason for celebration and gift giving, and this accounts for the gifts borne by the Magi or wise men or kings to such saviors (of spirit) as Zoroaster, Mithras, Tammuz, Jesus, and others.

That respect for ancient wisdom by the Roman authors of earliest Jesus cult texts gradually became smothered by those who awoke to the possible manipulative power that the new cult offered as a mechanism for social and political control. It was the passion for material power, not spiritual enlightenment and guidance that drove men to weave myths upon the ancient cosmic knowledge and build corporate-style “faith” businesses upon them.