Posts tagged ‘dying god’

April 18, 2014

EASTER AND THE ANCIENT MYSTERY RELIGIONS

by eirenehogan

Great Eleusis ReliefMost ancient societies had a spring festival, to celebrate the ending of the cold winter and the beginning of the warmth again. With this warmth came the budding of new life, of plants, flowers, and often of the young of animals. In societies where food was dependent on an almost subsistence existence, ie, where your food depended on your own farm products, then spring was a very important time. Spring meant the growth of new food, both plant and animal. Without spring, all the food stores of winter would be very soon used up, and no more food would come. Without spring would be death.

In a pre scientific age, the most obvious explanation for the seasons were the whims of the gods. Something magic and other-world like would have to explain the seasons, what else would? The sun’s heat ranges from the heat of summer, then fades into the cold of winter. There would always be the fear that maybe one day the sun might not get hot again after winter, that it might continue to fade away and no warmth would return (“Winter is coming”).

Spring was seen as the rebirth of life, the rebirth of plants, and animals, and of the sun, and the very essence of life itself. In primitive societies, the rebirth was seen to be of the gods, or of a particular god or goddess who brought the rebirth of plants and animals with him/her. In ancient Egypt this god was Osiris and his associated Goddess, Isis. In ancient Greece the god Adonis was connected with it, as also was the Goddess Kore/Persephone, and the god Dionysus. In the ancient Near East there was the god Tammuz, who is mentioned in the Bible. These gods, by their discovery of rebirth, offered the secret of eternal life after death to humans. This could be gained by initiation ceremonies, which were often held in Spring, and involved a symbolic retelling of their myth of death and rebirth. The most famous one involved Persephone in the Eleusinian Mysteries of Athens.

When Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire the festival of the rebirth of Jesus Christ (Easter) took on many of the aspects of these mystery religions.

December 20, 2013

Why is Christmas on the 25th December?

by eirenehogan

1 – this is date of mid-winter by the Julian calendar, which was the calendar of the Roman Empire. 

 

2 – The date was in practise as the time of Christ’s birth by the 4th century AD.  There is a theory that an old Jewish tradition of the time believed that people died on the same date they were conceived.  [Huh! If such a belief did not belong to any of the Judeo-Christian-Islam tradition, it would be considered ‘superstition’].  Given that this Jesus character was supposedly killed in a crucifixion during the Jewish Passover, in 33 AD, which was in Spring, then the early Church Elders worked out that, if he had been conceived at that time, he would have been born in December.

 

It is convenient that Jesus died in Spring, a common time for the death of dying gods in ancient Mediterranean religions.  And it is equally convenient that his supposed birth occurred in mid-winter, another time of religious celebrations in ancient Mediterranean religions.

 

Jesus is just another in the long line of dying gods in the Mediterranean, popular with the Greeks.  They tended to be accompanied with ‘Mysteries’ which were secret ceremonies people were inducted into, which generally gave them a promise of eternal life.  Sound familiar?  Christianity was just another Mystery Cult.

 

The Postgrad Chronicles

Medieval History from Alfred the Great to The Battle of Castillon

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