Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Winter Solstice Tribute to the Gods

According to ancient Babylonian tradition, Semiramis (who eventually became known as the goddess Astarte/Asherah/Ashtoreth/Isis/Ishtar/Easter in other pagan religions) claimed that after the untimely death of her son/husband Nimrod, a full grown evergreen tree sprang up overnight from a dead tree stump. Semiramis claimed that Nimrod would visit that evergreen tree and leave gifts each year on the anniversary of his birth,  December 25th.

Birthday of the Twins:
Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) holy day. Birthday of the Twins, Heru Sa Aset and Bast, children of Aset [Isis]. Origin of Yule and Christmas. On Winter Solstice Asar [Osiris] dies. Aset [Isis] with the magick help of Nebt Het [Nephthys] creates a Djed Pillar [artificial penis] for Her husband and impregnates Herself. For three full days (December 22-24) Asar lies dead and the Twins grow in Aset’s belly. On this day (December 25th) the Twins are born, the reincarnation or resurrection of Their Father. 
The green tree is a symbol of the green-skinned Asar, God of fertility and vegetation. 
The colored lights are symbols of Aset, Goddess of magick and divine light. 
Red, green, and white are the traditional candle colors of Bast (this was Her birthday alone for several thousand years of early Kemetic history), later being adapted to red for Aset (the color of the Mother’s menstrual flow), green for Asar (the color of vegetation), and white for the Twins (the color of pure light).

Leading up to December 25th in ancient Rome, a festival known as Saturnalia was one of the biggest celebrations of the year.  Saturnalia was a festival during which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of their god Saturn. This holiday began on the 17th of December and it would last for an entire week until the 23rd of December.
Saturnalia was typically characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and lots and lots of debauchery.  The priests of Saturn would carry wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the pagan Roman temples.
Later on, the Romans also started holding a festival on December 25th called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which means "the birthday of the unconquered sun."  Basically it was a way for the empire to consolidate all of the December 25th "sun god" birthdays throughout the empire into one holiday.

Yule celebrates the winter solstice, the year's shortest day when the sun ceases its southern
journey and begins its return north. Yule is a Nordic word meaning wheel. The Celtic name for
this solstice is Alban Arthuran. The winter solstice was celebrated throughout the ancient
pagan world and included Greek and Roman festivals. The sun provided light and warmed the
earth; its gradual disappearance each fall caused great concern. Each year our ancestors
worried that maybe this year the sun would not return. Consequently their solstice
celebrations used lots of lights in an attempt to lure back the Sun.

Yule also celebrates the death and rebirth of the sun god(s). Ancient Celts believed that the
Goddess lived forever, but the sun god was annually born at Yule. He matured during the
winter and spring, became her lover and mated with her during the fullness of the growing
season, then grew old and frail as the crops matured and were harvested. At Yule the Goddess
gave birth to his son, the new sun king, after the old king died, and so the annual cycle began
Later, the Druids believed that the Oak King ruled during the waxing year. At Yule he battled
and overcame the Holly King who ruled during the waning year. At Litha, the summer solstice,
the two kings battled again with the returned Holly King emerging as victor until the next Yule.

 Happy Birthday, Happy Solstice, Happy Yuletide & Merry Christmas to:
Dionysus the son of Zeus
Sol Invictus - (The "Unconquered Sun")

1 comment :

  1. Found you on Sarah's Christmas tree link party. So glad to see a post about solstice! I was raised Catholic but in the past few years realized I'm actually an athiest, so I appreciate any holiday celebrations that aren't religion-related!