Put the Persian Solar Deity Back In Christmas
"...I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is."
- Christopher Hitchens from This Is Not a Test
Vienna and I spent yesterday celebrating the birthday of one of her heroines, Catherine of Aragon. It was probably the only holiday I'll enjoy this month. You see, despite being a life-long Atheist, I used to really enjoy Christmas (or Xmas, to be more historically accurate). I loved backing gingerbread houses and listening to the Chieftains' Bells Of Dublin. In short: Xmas and I had reached a sort of "understanding" wherein Xmas didn't make a lot of noise about Jesus and I didn't mention a certain Persian solar deity. And that worked just fine until the Galileans started in with this "War on Christmas" bullshit, thereby ruining a perfectly good holiday. You fuckers want a war? Ok, you've got it...
Having started out as a Persian Sun God roughly around 1400 BCE, Mithras (AKA "Mithra"; AKA "Mitra"; AKA "The Good Shepard") become a popular deity among Roman soldiers from the first through the fourth centuries CE. This accounts for the rapid spread of the Mithriac Mystery Cults throughout the Empire.
Now, here's the fun stuff about Mithras:
- Mithras was born of a virgin, who would later be known as "The Mother of God"
- Mithras had twelve disciples
- Initiates into the Cult of Mithras underwent a ritual Baptism before taking part in the Mithriac ceremony which included the drinking of wine, which represented Mithras' blood, and the eating of bread which symbolized Mithras' body.
"He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation." - Mithriac liturgy
- Mitras' day of worship was Sunday.
- Mithras' birthday (Natalis Solis Invicti: Birthday of the Invincible Sun) was celebrated on December 25th
- The leader of the Mithraic religion, who officiated from the Vatican Hill in Rome, was known as "Pater Patrum" ("Father of the Fathers" form where the word "Pope" derives)
When faced with the above and other similarities between Christianity and Mithraism, the early Church Fathers concocted an interesting hypothesis: Satan had created the story of Mithras prior long before the birth of Jesus in order to later confuse the laity.
In hoc signo
Now, you've all heard the story about how Emperor Constantine had a vision of the cross, so he had his soldiers paint crosses on their shields and was therefore victorious in battle, and immediately converted to Christianity. Well, that's not exactly true. The "symbol" Constantine had his soldiers paint on their shields was actually the greek letters chi (X) and rho (P), which also happened to be symbols for Mithras; oh, and Constantine was looking up at the sun when he received his famous vision (But momma, that's were the fuuuuun is). By the way, Constantine didn't convert to Christianity on the spot: he waited until he was on his deathbed in order to get in the maximum amount of sinning before asking for forgiveness.
Arbor Day Goes Fuckobazoo
This brings us to the weird part of the bible wherein Jesus gets pissed off at a fig tree for not bearing fruit out-of-season, so he condemns it to death. Pretty inexplicable behavior, right? It is unless you stop to consider that at the time the New Testament was being written, the chief rival to Christianity was Mithraism: and the tree most sacred to Mithras was, you guessed it, the fig tree.
"Mithras bless us every one!" said Tiny Tim, the last of all.