CHRISTIANITY AND THE SUN
(from The Secret Teachings of All Ages - Manly P. Hall)
Among other allegories borrowed by Christianity from pagan intiquity is the story of the beautiful, blue-eyed Sun God, with His golden hair falling upon His shoulders, robed from head to foot in spotless white and carrying in His arms the Lamb of God, symbolic of the vernal equinox. This handsome youth is a composite of Apollo, Osiris, Orpheus, Mithras, and Bacchus, for He has certain characteristics in common with each of these pagan deities.
The philosophers of Greece and Egypt divided the life of the sun during the year into four parts; therefore they symbolized the Solar Man by four different figures. When He was born in the winter solstice, the Sun God was symbolised as a dependent infant who in some mysterious manner had managed to escape the Powers of Darkness seeking to destroy Him while He was still in the cradle of winter. The sun, being weak at this season of the year, had no golden rays (or locks of hair), but the survival of the light through the darkness of winter was symbolized by one tiny hair which alone adorned the head of the Celestial Child. (As the birth of the sun took place in Capricorn, it was often represented as being suckled by a goat.)
At the vernal equinox, the sun had grown to be a beautiful youth. His golden hair hung in ringlets on his shoulders and his light, as Schiller said, extended to all parts of infinity. At the surnmer solstice, the sun became a strong man, heavily bearded, who, in the prime of maturity, symbolized the fact that Nature at this period of the year is strongest and most fecund. At the autumnal equinox, the sun was pictured as an aged man, shuffling along with bended back and whitened locks into the oblivion of winter darkness. Thus, twelve months were assigned to the sun as the length of its life. During this period it circled the twelve signs of the zodiac in a magnificent triumphal march. When fall came, it entered, like Samson, into the house of Delilah (Virgo), where its rays were cut off and it lost its strength. In Masonry, the cruel winter months are symbolized by three murderers who sought to destroy the God of Light and Truth.
The coming of the sun was hailed with joy; the time of its departure was viewed as a period to be set aside for sorrow and unhappiness. This glorious, radiant orb of day, the true light "which lighteth every man who cometh into the world," the supreme benefactor, who raised all things from the dead, who fed the hungry multitudes, who stilled the tempest, who after dying rose again and restored all things to life-this Supreme Spirit of humanitarianism and philanthropy is known to Christendom as Christ, the Redeemer of worlds, the Only Begotten of The Father, the Word made Flesh, and the Hope of Glory.
THE BIRTHDAY OF THE SUN
The pagans set aside the 25th of Decemher as the birthday of the Solar Man. They rejoiced, feasted, gathered in processions, and made offerings in the temples. The darkness of winter was over and the glorious son of light was returning to the Northern Hemisphere. With his last effort the old Sun God had torn down the house of the Philistines (the Spirits of Darkness) and had cleared the way for the new sun who was born that day from the depths of the earth amidst the symbolic beasts of the lower world.
Concerning this season of celebration, anonymous Master of Arts of Balliol College, Oxford, in his scholarly treatise, Mankind Their Origin and Destiny, says: "The Romans also had their solar festival, and their games of the circus in honor of the birth of the god of day. It took place the eighth day before the kalends of January-rhat is, on December 25. Servius, in his commentary on verse 720 of the seventh book of the Aeneid, in which Virgil speaks of the new sun, says that, properly speaking, the sun is new on the 8th of the Kalends of January--that is, December 25. In the time of Leo 1. (Leo, Scrm. xxi., De NaEiv. Dom. p. 148), some of the Fathers of the Church said that 'what rendered the festival (of Christmas) venerable was less the birth of Jesus Christ than the return, and, as they expressed it, the new birth of the sun.' It was on the same day that the birth of the Invincible Sun (Natalis solis invicti), was celebrated at Rome, as can be seen in the Roman calendars, published in the reign of Constantine and of Julian (Hymn to the Sun, p. 155). This epithet 'Invicrus' is the same as the Persians gave to this same god, whom they worshipped by the name of Mithra, and whom they caused to be born in a grotto (Justin. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 305), just as he is represented as being born in a stable, under the name of Christ, by the Christians. "
Concerning the Catholic Feast of the Assumption and its parallel in astronomy, the same author adds: "At the end of eight months, when the sun-god, having increased, traverses the eighth sign, he absorbs the celestial Virgin in his fiery course, and she disappears in the midst of the luminous rays and the glory of her son. This phenomenon, which takes place every year about the middle of August, gave rise to a festival which still exists, and in which it is supposed that the mother of Christ, laying aside her earthly life, is associated with the glory of her son, and is placed at his side in the heavens. The Roman calender of Columella marks the death or disappearance of Virgo on the thirteenth day before the kalends of September. This is where the Catholics place the Feast of the Assumption, of the reunion of the Virgin to her son. This feast was formerley called the feast of the Passageof the Virgin (Beausobre, tome i. p. 350); and in the Library of the Fathers (Bibl. Patr. vol. 11. part ii. p. 212) we have an account of the Passage of the Blessed Virgin. The ancient Greeks and Romans fix the assumption of Astraea, who is also this same Virgin, on that day."
This Virgin mother, giving birth to the Sun God which Christianity has so faithfully preserved, is a reminder of the inscription concerning her Egyptian prototype, Isis, which appeared on the Temple of Sais: "The fruit which I have brought forth is the Sun." While the Virgin was associated with the moon by the early pagans, there is no doubt that they also understood her position as a constellation in the heavens, for nearly all the peoples of antiquity credit her as being the mother of the sun, and they realized that although the moon could not occupy that position, the sign of Virgo could, and did, give birth to the sun out of her side on the 25th day of December. Albertus Magnus states, "We know that the sign of the Celestial Virgin rose over the Horizon at the moment at which we fix the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. "
Among certain of the Arabian and Persian astronomers the three stars forming the sword belt of Orion were called the Magi who came to pay homage to the young Sun God. The author of Mankind-Their Origin and Destiny contributes the following additional information - "In Cancer, which had risen to the meridian at midnight, is the constellation of the Stable and of the Ass. The ancients called it Praesepe Jovis. In the north the scars of the Bear are seen, called by the Arabians Martha and Mary, and also the coffin of Lazarus. " Thus the esotericism of pagandom was embodied in Christianity, although its keys are lost. The Christian church blindly follows ancient customs, and when asked for a reason gives superficial and unsatisfactory explanations, either forgetting or ignoring the indisputable fact that each religion is based upon the Secret doctrines of its predecessor.