Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

So it's Easter, another of those usurped pagan holidays which the Roman Catholic church decided to make it's own in order to make Christianity more palatable to their various converts.

Eggs, a millenniums old symbol of eternal life always renewing itself, have been decorated since long before an insignificant Bedouin tribe left off it's wandering to follow their goat herds and settle in the Sinai valley.  They were considered sacred to various of the mother goddess figures of several cultures, ranging from Isis of the Egyptians to Ishtar of the Babylonians to Ostara of the Norse. 

Rabbits, with their excruciatingly quick reproductive cycle, are another of those ancient pagan symbols of fertility and renewal which were held to be sacred to various mother goddess types.

The Spring festivals associated with the various goddesses always fell around the Vernal (spring) Equinox - which just happens to also coincide with the Judaic Pasch (Passover) celebration commemorating the Israelis leaving slavery in Egypt. 

Is it any wonder, really, that Ramses II was reluctant to allow the Israelis to migrate at that point?  The floods had passed and spring planting was about to get under way.  Losing a good half of your work force right at that point, in an agrarian culture, is disastrous in and of itself.  Forget plagues, etc - just the lack of manpower to till the fields and sow that year's crop is going to almost certainly guarantee Famine come harvest time - when you'll need that same work force to get the spring planted crops in from the fields and into the grain silos.  No ruler in his right mind is going to willingly let go of a free (slave) labor force large enough to keep his entire country fed for the following year in those circumstances.  He (or she) would be extremely unwise to even Consider allowing it. 

So, jump ahead a couple hundred years and several generations, and you get to one Joshua Ben Joseph, more commonly called Jesus of Nazareth.  Typical Jew, in town to celebrate the Passover with all his Jewish buddies, like all good Jews did at the time (and still do, I'm assuming, since I've never put a lot of time into studying Judaism but it's a marked holiday on the calendar.)  He gets whacked, his followers - all good Jews - continue to observe the Jewish high holy days of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread - for a couple hundred More years. 

By then, the Church has gained acceptance as something other than a minor (and somewhat heretical) Jewish sect, gained Political power, and is nearing the point when it's going to start forcibly converting "barbarians" and "heathens" who happen to Not follow this originally minor desert tribal god.  Go a few more years, and they're taking over the still celebrated holidays of their converts, renaming them, attaching their own religious significance to those dates in the form of feasts for various revered church elders (saints) and ignoring the fact that "their" holiday is not "theirs" at all - but a completely pagan celebration which the founders of their religion considered to be abominable, detestable, and completely no-go for celebrating. 

After all, if you follow Only One God - who is supposed to be THE ONLY god - what are you doing taking part in celebrations which, through the centuries, were specifically to venerate and pay homage to OLDER gods, And Goddesses??  It doesn't matter how much you attempt to place your own significance on the celebration - not when you retain the rights of other deities, and simply stick a new name on them.  Remember Shakespeare?  "A Rose by any other name... " etc? 

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