christmas or yule
christmas or yule, part two
In the handout the pagan association sent home with the school children, they invited the children to come to a pagan ritual at the “church”, “where we’ll explore the traditions of December and their origins.” The news article quotes a list of suggestions to return the original paganism to Christmas, as advocated by pagan organizations. One such suggestion is to:
Reclaim Santa Claus as a pagan godform by decorating him with images that reflect his various heritages ranging from the Greek god Cronos (father time) to Odin, the Scandinavian all-father riding the sky on an eight-legged horse.
The original December holiday was Saturnalia, or the celebration honoring Saturn, as the Romans called it, but its origin was much older than Rome. Who the Romans called Saturn, the Greeks called Cronos, and we can see that today’s pagans still associate Cronos, or Saturn, to December, Santa, and Christmas. Cronos actually originated in Babylon, as did paganism itself. The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop is a fascinating dig into ancient history and the classics on the origin of paganism:
That this deity was Ninus, or Nimrod, we have still further evidence from what the scattered notices of antiquity say of the first deified king of Babylon, under a name that identifies him as the husband of Rhea (mother nature or Ishtar; more on her coming). That name is Kronos or Saturn. It is well known that Kronos, or Saturn, was Rhea’s husband; but it is not so well known who was Kronos himself. Traced back to his original, that divinity is proved to have been the first king of Babylon. (Proofs follow in the text.)
The name Kronos itself goes not a little to confirm the argument (that Kronos was Nimrod, the first king of Babylon). Kronos signifies “the Horned One.” As a horn is a well-known oriental symbol for power or might, Kronos, the horned one, was, according to the Babylonian mysticism, just a synonym for the Scriptural epithet applied to Nimrod: the mighty one (Gen 10:8). The name Kronos, as the classical reader is well aware, is applied to Saturn as the father of the gods.
The meaning of this name Kronos, the horned one, as applied to Nimrod, fully explains the origin of the remarkable symbol, so frequently occurring among the Nineveh sculptures, the gigantic horned man-bull, as representing the great divinities in Assyria. The same word that signifies a bull, meant also a ruler or prince. Hence the horned bull signified the “mighty prince” thereby pointing back to the first of those mighty ones who occupied so conspicuous a place in the ancient world.
This explains why the Bacchus (from Bar-Cush, or son of Cush — who was Nimrod) of the Greeks was represented as wearing horns, and why he was frequently addressed by the epithet “bull-horned” as one of the high titles of his dignity.
The name for a bull or ruler, is in Hebrew without the points, shur, which in Chaldee (Babylonian) becomes tur. From tur, in the sense of a bull, comes the Latin taurus, and from the same word, in the sense of a ruler, turannus, which originally had no evil meaning.
Our word tyrant comes from turannus, which means an absolute ruler, of which Nimrod was the first, according to Josephus.
So why was December associated with Saturn? Nimrod and Cush were also worshiped as the sun, and on the winter solstice, December 21st, the sun has its nativity: the days cease shortening and begin lengthening. A week of festivities from the winter solstice to New Year’s, in which “father time,” another name for Cronos, was reborn as the new year, marked Saturnalia. Antiquity’s Saturn, who was Nimrod deified, is today’s Santa. Because the nativity of the sun was celebrated during this time, the early Roman church set Christ’s mass on December 25th, the nativity, or birth, of the son (of God).
Nimrod was the first to rebel against God the Creator after the Flood, and defy His command to spread abroad in the earth. He was the first to claim that it was not God, but nature, who was the Creator, and so his rebellion was the origin of both paganism and evolution. You had no idea that witchcraft and darwinsim were so closely tied together, but they in fact share the same root.
Hi Christine, haven't been back to your blog in a long time. Many people were concerned when you dropped out for so long, and we were praying for you. Glad to see you back.
I really appreciate your service to the LORD in Christian classical homeschooling, and I consider you a valuable light in the movement. I must therefore humbly ask you to dig deep into the sources and not rely on Hislop and the whole cottage industry that has grown up around this very damaging book. You might want to read Ralph Woodrow's critiques of Hislop. They're a bit light but not a bad place to start.
Please read the sources Hislop cites and notice the very broad assumptions, associations and inferences he makes that are way beyond what is actually taught in the historical record. I'm especially concerned about his embroidery of Nimrod, and some of the outlandish, unhistorical things he writes about the Emperor Constantine. You might want to read Josephus's "Antiquities of the Jews" and also Eusebius's "Life of Constantine" (at ccel.org) which are our principal historical sources for these men.
We hear each year about the Saturnalia, but the historical facts show that this feast was held well before the solstice (about December 14), did not closely resemble our traditional Christmas observance, and was not the only Roman feast celebrated in the second half of December. I've appended an excerpt from pp 70 and 71 of Macrobius's "Saturnalia," (400 A.D.) one of our principal historical sources on the subject.
While there may have been some syncretism here and there, a lot of our Christmas traditions are at least ostensibly based on apocryphal legends of Jesus, e.g. Saint Boniface and the Christmas tree, and the date of Christmas following nine months after The Annunciation (near the Vernal Equinox). I've blogged a bit on these subjects this December, and there's been a lively discussion at Gene Edward Veith's blog — http://cranach.worldmagblog.com/cranach/
Christine, please accept these recommendations as I only intend kindness and a desire to "prove all things" (1 Thess 5:21). And I thank you for citing Romans 14, which should settle this issue for everyone.
Here is that passage from Macrobius. Whatever you observe this holiday season, please accept my best wishes and for blessings in the New Year. God bless, jay
FROM MACROBIUS'S "SATURNALIA"
(Columbia U. Press, 1969)
[ I] But to return to our account of the Saturnalia. It was held to be an offense against religion to begin a war at the time of the Saturnalia, and to punish a criminal during the days of the festival called for an act of atonement.  Our ancestors restricted the Saturnalia to a single day, the fourteenth before the Kalends of January, but, after Gaius Caesar had added two days to December, 'the day on which the festival was held became the sixteenth before the Kalends of January, with the result that, since the exact day .was not commonly known-some observing the addition which Caesar had made to the calendar and others following the old usage -the festival came to be regarded as lasting for more days than one.
And yet in fact among the men of old time there were some who supposed that the Saturnalia lasted for seven days (if one may use the word "suppose" of something which has the support of competent authorities);  for Novius, that excellent writer of Atellan plays, says: "Long awaited they come, the seven days of the Saturnalia" [Ribbeck, II, 328]; and Mummius too, who, after Novius and Pomponius, restored the long-neglected Atellan to favor, says: "Of the many excellent institutions of our ancestors this is the best-that they made the seven days of the Saturnalia begin when the weather is coldest" [Ribbeck, II, 33 2].
 lvlallius, however, says that the men who, as I have already related, had found protection in the name of Saturn and in the awe which he inspired, ordained a three-day festival in honor of the god, calling it the Saturnalia, and that it was on the authority of this belief that Augustus, in his laws for the administration of justice, ordered the three days to be kept as rest days.
r 5] Masurius and others believed that the Saturnalia were held on one day, the fourteenth day before the Kalends of January, and their opinion is corroborated by Fenestella when he says that the virgin Aemilia was condemned on the fifteenth day before the Kalends of January; for, had that day been a day on which the festival of the Saturnalia was being celebrated, she could not by any means have been called on to plead,  and he adds that "the day was the day which preceded the Saturnalia," and then goes on to say that "on the day after that, namely, the thirteenth day before the Kalends of January, the virgin Licinia was to plead," thereby making it clear that the thirteenth day too was not a festival.
 On the twelfth day before the Kalends of January there is a rest day in honor of the goddess Angeronia, to whom the pontiffs offer sacrifice in the chapel of Volupia. According to Verrius Flaccus, tIlis goddess is called Angeronia because, duly propitiated, she banishes anxiety (angores) and mental distress.  Masurius adds that an image of this goddess, with the mouth bound up and sealed,t is placed on the altar of Volupia, because all who conceal their pain and care find, thanks to their endurance, great joy (voluptas) at last.  According to Julius Modestus, however, sacrifices are offered to Angeronia because, pursuant to the fulfillment of a vow, she delivered the Roman people from the disease known as the quinsy (angina).
[IO] The eleventh day before the Kalends of January is a rest day in honor of the Lares, for whom the praetor Aemilius Regillus in the war against Antiochus solemnly promised to provide a temple in the Campus Martius.
[ I I] The tenth day before the Kalends is a rest day in honor of Jupiter, called the Larentinalia. I should like to say something of this day, and here are the beliefs generally held about it.
[ 12] In the reign of Ancus, they say, a sacristan of the temple of Hercules, having nothing to do during the rest day challenged the god to a game of dice,2 throwing for both players himself, and the stake for which they played was a dinner and the company of a courtesan.  Hercules won, and so the sacristan shut up Acca Larentia 3 in the temple (she was the most notable courtesan of the
1 Cf. Pliny Historia naturalis 3· 5· 65·
2 For Hercules and the throwing of dice, see Pausanias 7. 5. IO and Frazer's Pausanias, IV, 173,
3 Cf. Aulus Gellius 7· 7. Edited by jayfromcleveland on Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 3:17 PM
Thank you so much for your thoughts, Jay; I appreciate your prayers and pointing me to the resources you cite. I can't wait to read and comment on them. Grace and love to you and yours, Christine
UPDATE: I have written about Jay’s comment here.