Archive for Ramadan

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.

Autumnal Equinox and Religious Myth

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, humanity, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by chouck017894

At the time of the Autumnal Equinox, September 22/23, when the days and nights are of equal length around planet Earth, the Sun is passing through part of the ecliptic corresponding to the dominance of constellation Libra, the symbol of balance.  The name by which constellation Libra was known among prehistory cultures reveal that the symbol of balance was associated with attaining favorable consideration from a higher source.  For example, the Coptic name for the constellation we know as Libra was Lambadia, which translates loosely as “station of propitiation,” implying the time to appease or resolve differences, to gain heaven’s good will.  The Arabic name for this constellation is Al Zubena, meaning “redemption” or “purchase,” implying that what one extracts from life must eventually be paid for.

The autumnal equinox occurring within the dominance of constellation Libra also carried a subtle reminder to the people of the ancient world regarding the double nature that is embodied in all life—the blend of spirit and matter, male and female, the positive and negative—the polarity that defines individuality.  The understanding that the constellation symbol offered was that life is most constructively lived by establishing a working balance between extremes.  To do otherwise was to bring with it a sinking of life’s ultimate purpose—the advancement into refined energy continuation. 

The widespread understanding associated with the group of stars which define constellation Libra was to live so the heavens would become favorably inclined.  This equinox period happens to be the general period of various religious commemorations.  In conjunction with the sign of the Balance the Jews celebrate Yom Kippur, day of atonement, the holiest Jewish holiday celebrated on the tenth day of Tishri; fasting and prayer for atonement of sins are prescribed.  Succoth (or Sukkoth),  which commemorates the alleged temporary shelter of the Israelites in the wilderness, is a harvest festival celebrated for nine days beginning on the eve of the 15th day of Tishri.  Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that precedes these observances, is a solemn occasion celebrated on the first and second day of Tishri (a month in the Babylonian, Persian and Jewish calendars corresponding to late September/early October).

In regard to the New Year being observed in autumn by orthodox Jews, the tradition is due to Canaanite influence.   Geography and climate conditions in the Canaanite region were such that summers were long and dry.  When autumn approached, the move toward rainy conditions was signaled by morning mists that drifted in from the valleys.  In Genesis 2, these regional autumn conditions are mirrored as circumstances in which Creation was initiated.  Hence, the first of Tishri is observed as the true New Year’s day by orthodox Jews.

In Christian belief Jesus serves in the capacity as conciliator, meaning the one who reconciles humankind’s sins so that the necessary balance  for evolutionary realization may be restored.  Unfortunately this interpretation has been presented in such a way that the evolved factor that is to be striven for (personified as Christ) is said to assume responsibility for everyone’s failure to seek balance, which only encourages the notion that individuals can sidestep personal responsibility for their actions. 

The Christian storyline was fashioned upon extremely ancient zodiac representations (figures associated with constellations, which are known to us through the zodiac, can be traced back at least 12,000 years).  There are three near-by constellations to Libra that provided interrelated inspiration for story elements in the alleged life events of the key characters in the myths of several  pre-Christian religions.  These story elements are also suspiciously prominent in Christian literature and they were drawn from constellations Crux (Cross), Lupus (the Victim-beast), and Corona Borealis (the Crown).   In the Romanized passion-play account based this ancient wisdom Christianity received its most dramatic illustration of spiritual triumph over physical dominance.  The representation of Libra as the Scales of Balance—the only inanimate figure in zodiac representation–depicts  what is basically a cross-form in itself.  It should be noted that in ancient cultures the cross symbol represented this plane of matter upon which spirit is temporarily nailed.  The event of the autumnal equinox during Libra dominance was consequently interpreted in Pagan cultures to correspond to man’s spirit-in-matter incarnation which is in search of necessary stability. 

Throughout the much maligned Pagan cultures, physical life was understood to position man at the threshold of higher potential where he is to take up the higher transformational powers of love, compassion, truth, mercy and justice.  The ancient ones believed that these transformational powers exist only potentially in this material-matter dimension of energy, and they develop only in accordance to one’s personal pursuit and reverence of wisdom earned in this matter-life experience.   The ancient Pagans understood that it is the regard that one experiences in this matter plane for those transformational powers that brings balance to spirit so it may proceed into elevated existence.  This is echoed in modern religious practice. 

The connection of the autumnal equinox with Muslim tradition is not as transparently associated to celestial movements as in Judaic-Christian traditions.  Nevertheless, the stipulation of atonement was, one might say, recycled from Jewish and Christian influence and incorporated as a period for Muslim  penitence.  Due to the more equatorial location in which Mohammad lived the seasons were not strongly pronounced, and for that reason the observance of Ramadan is not recognized as having been based on a noticeable seasonal change.  But Mohammad is said to have fled from Mecca at the height of summer, and arrived at Yathrib (present day Medina) on September 20—time of the autumnal equinox—which coincided with the Jewish day of atonement.  The word Ramadan is derived from an Arabic root, rhm, or “ar-ramad,” which denoted intense heat—an autumnal condition.  There were three Jewish tribes at the Yathrib oasis, and it was during the association with these tribes that Mohammad fine-tuned most of his faith’s concepts—there is but one God, for example.

Because yearly dates are constructed on a lunar calendar, Muslim religious observances come earlier each year by about eleven days, so the observance is not recognized as having been influenced by the event that in the past took place at the time of the autumnal equinox.  Ramadan is the period in which Muslims fast for the sake of Allah, and ask for forgiveness for past sins and attempt  to purify themselves through good deeds and self-restraint. The professed reason for the atonement observance is given as in honor of the time in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Mohammad.

Related posts:

  • Spring Equinox and Religious Myths, March 2010
  • Summer Solstice and Religious Myths, May 2010
  • Myths Built Around Winter Solstice, November 2009

 

Myths Built Around Winter Solstice

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, history, life, nature, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on November 18, 2009 by chouck017894

Every year as the hours of daylight grow progressively less in the Northern Hemisphere, western organized religions (especially Christian) burst forth during the approach of the Winter Solstice in lavish displays of belief that a one-time-only soul-saving event occurred just for them.  In truth, that which is being celebrated is the celestial panorama that activates the seasons and which has set the pace of life on Earth for millions of years.

Astrological elements are the basis for many portions of scriptural stories, and the two major turning points of the year—the solstices—have been artfully disguised in sacred tales which allowed practitioners of divine deceits to manipulate large masses of people.

The  seasonal change occurring with the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere signals a time of new beginnings.  That change is the meaning behind the word solstice, which comes from the Latin word sol, meaning Sun, and the Latin word sistere, past participle of stit, meaning “to stand.”   The illusion that the Sun moves periodically southward in the winter and northward in the spring is, as we know today, caused by Earth’s axial tilt as it orbits the Sun.  For life in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun appears to reach its most southern point on December 21, and appears to remain in a stationary period for three days time, after which it appears to start moving northward again—on December 25th.  In pre-Christian Rome the 25th of December was therefore known as Natalis Solis Invict, meaning “birthday of the Sun.”

With the approach of winter, 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 arrival of the star Sirius, seemingly to announce the greater light to come—just as in the New Testament the character of John the Baptist is portrayed as announcing the coming of Jesus (who declared “I am the light of the world”).

The month leading into the Winter Solstice carried great significance in ancient cultures, and it is from Pagan study of astronomical movements that the observance of Advent was incorporated into Catholic formality—which allows four Sundays to make ready for the light (personified as Jesus) to come back in glory.

In Judaism, the festival of Hanukkah, meaning “dedication” (to light which will be increasing), is observed within the same seasonal period of the approaching Winter Solstice, being celebrated from the 25th of Kislev to the first of Tevet of the Jewish calendar (overlaps December-January).

The connection of the Muslim fast of Ramadan to the Winter Solstice is far less obvious, due primarily to Mohammad’s (or his scribes’) misunderstanding of Jewish/Christian myth that allowed for ceremonial observance of the solstice period.  Being from a desert culture the seasonal change was not such an obvious yearly transitional event as it was to those of more northerly or southerly regions.  In addition, Islam uses a lunar calendar which is about eleven days shorter than the solar calendar that is more widely used throughout the world.  For this reason the Islamic holidays “move” each year.  Nevertheless, the Muslim celebration of Laylat-al-Qadr, meaning the “Night of Power,” is held on the evening of the 27th day of the ninth month of the Muslim year.  Although not as obviously related to recognition of the light phenomenon at the Winter Solstice due to geographic location (desert), the fasting and rites of the Night of Power were inspired by the Jewish/Christian observances of the yearly occasion of feeble light, after which light increases.