Excerpt from Have A Cool Yule

Nov 11th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles, Book News, Books for Pagans

Towards the end of the year the internet is full of pagan postings bemoaning the fact that they hate Christmas. How all the pagan meaning has been profaned and announcing that they will be holed up in solitary misery until all the commercially decadent festivities are over – all of which sadly demonstrates a complete lack of awareness concerning our pagan ancestry and its customs.

Let’s understand one thing before we go further: the Church did not invent the Mid-Winter Festival…it was there with all its rich pageantry of feasting and celebration long before Pope Julius I officially decreed, in the 4th century AD, that the birth of Jesus would henceforth be celebrated on the 25th December.

There are several factors that may have influenced this choice. December 25th was the date the Romans marked as the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birth of the Unconquered Sun), which was easily massaged to become the ‘Unconquered Son’ based on some obscure Old Testament verse (Malachi 4:2) where the Messiah was identified with the sun. The date was exactly nine months following
Annunciation, when the conception of Jesus was celebrated in the Christian calendar. Biblical scholars, however, reckon it most likely Jesus was born late August or September, because ‘when John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of Jesus in Mary’ it was during the Festival of Lights (Chanukah) in December and that is more likely closer to his conception than birth!

More importantly, it was also around the birth date of Mithras, whose following rivalled that of early Christianity; although Mithraic iconography always portrays Mithras and the sun god as separate beings, in Mithraic inscriptions this god of the Roman Legions was often identifi ed with the sun by being called ‘Sol Invictus’ – the Unconquered Sun. Finally, the Romans also celebrated a series of pagan solstice festivals near the end of the
year, so the calendar dates were realigned to appropriate these
sacred days for the Christian holy days, but without any historical
evidence to justify this hijacking of pagan customs.

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