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Astral Worship by J.H. Hill, M.D., 1895

ANNIVERSARIES OF SOLAR WORSHIP


The Nativity

Applying the anniversaries inculcated in the worship of God Sol to his imaginary incarnations, the founders of the ancient Astrolatry made them refer to the several stages of human existence from infancy to mature age. Hence, comparing the first day of infantile life to the shortest day of the year, it would naturally be expected that they would have placed the anniversary of the Nativity exactly at the Winter solstice; but, having conceived the idea that the sun stood still for the space of three days at each of the cardinal points, and making it represent the figurative death of the genius of that luminary, they fixed the date for its observance three days later, or on the 25th of December. The Gnostic adherents to the ancient solar worship, or those who were conversant with the teachings of the Esoteric philosophy, knowing that the dramatis personae of the fable of incarnation were pictured with stars upon the azure vault, recognized the woman “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars,” referred to in Revelations xii. 1, as the Virgo of the Zodiac; they also knew that she was the true queen of heaven and mother of God; and that the infant, anciently represented in her arms, and with whom, in their day, she arose on the Eastern horizon at midnight on the 24th of December, was the same of whom the people were taught to sing at Christmas “Unto us a child is born this day.”

With the knowledge of these facts we can readily see that this is the Virgin and child which constituted the originals of those exquisite paintings, by the old masters, known as the Madonna and Child

Epiphany or Twelfth Day

In reference to the twelve signs through which the sun makes his apparent annual revolution, the twelfth day after Christmas, answering to the 6th of January, was observed by the votaries of the ancient Astrolatry as the anniversary of the Epiphany or Twelfth Day. In the solar fables, it was taught that a star appeared in the heavens on that day to manifest the birthplace of the infant Saviour to the Magi or Wise Men of the East, who came to pay him homage, and to present him with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, as related in Matthew ii. 11.

The reason for presenting these gifts is explained by the facts that of the seven metals dedicated to the genii of the planets, gold was the one consecrated to God Sol; and frankincense and myrrh were the gums burned in censers in his worship.

In reading the account of the Magi’s visit to the infant Saviour, we have but to exercise our thinking faculties to realize that it is allegory instead of literal history.

Lent or Lenten Season

In the ancient solar fables it was taught that the persecutions to which the incarnate Saviours were subjected while passing through the dominion of God Sol as Lord of Evil, raged with greatest fury during the forty days preceding the festival of Easter, which period, beginning when the days were perceptibly lengthening, was called Lent, or the Lenten season. It was during this season that the votaries of the ancient religion were taught to manifest their sympathy for the Saviour in his imaginary conflict with the Devil by abstaining from all festivities, and by fasting and prayer; and, as that was the season in which the flocks and herds were poor in flesh, while the seas and rivers abounded with fish in good condition, the ancient priests, making a virtue of necessity, enjoined a diet principally of fish, and for that reason placed the constellation Pisces at the point in the Zodiac in which the Lenten season anciently began; which, without regard to the day of the week, was always observed on the 15th day of February, the name of that month having been derived from the Februa, or feast of purification and expiation of the old Roman calendar.

At the council of Nice the Lenten season was made to begin on the fourth day of the week, and in reference to the ancient custom of the more devout sprinkling ashes upon their heads at the feast of the Februa, it is called Ash Wednesday.

Hence we see that all years in which Ash Wednesday does not come on the 15th of February, the Lenten season must necessarily contain a greater or lesser number than the original assignment of forty days.

Passion Week

The last seven days of Lent is called Passion Week, in reference to the apparent passage of the sun across the Celestial equator at the Vernal Equinox or 21st of March; the ancient astrologers having conceived the idea that the sun stood still for the space of three days at each of the cardinal points, and making it represent the figurative death of the genius of that luminary, it was observed as the anniversary of the Vernal crucifixion or passion of the incarnate Saviours; and in commemoration of their imaginary sufferings and death it was the custom to expose in the temples during the last three days of Passion Week figures representing their dead bodies, over which the votaries of solar worship, especially the women, made great lamentation. It was in reference to one of these images, laid out in the temple at Jerusalem, to which the jealous Jehovah, considering it a great abomination in his own house, is made to direct the attention of Ezekiel, the prophet, who, looking, beheld “Women weeping for Tammuz” as recorded in the eighth chapter. This divinity was the Phoenician prototype of the Grecian Adonis, to whom the women of Judea preferred to pay homage.

It was during the last three days of Passion Week that the votaries of solar worship performed their severest penance. Besides fasting and prayer, the more devout flagellated and slashed themselves and others with knives and thongs, and carried heavy crosses up steep acclivities. In all ultra-Catholic countries the priests, in imitation of the ancient custom, expose in the churches figures representing the dead Saviour, over which the laity, especially the women, weep and mourn; and the more devout men cut and slash themselves, and each other, with knives and thongs; and, in imitation of the imaginary tramp of Jesus with his cross up Calvary’s rugged side, bear heavy crosses up steep acclivities.