Δευτέρα, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Acharya S-When Was the First Christmas?


When Was the First Christmas?

by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

Christ's Nativity; Bernardo Dadi, c. 1325-1350; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 
For the past nearly 1,700 years, a significant portion of the Western world has celebrated the day of December 25th as the birth of the divine Son of God and Savior Jesus Christ. Thousands of images have been created, as well as songs, poems and other artistic endeavors, depicting the baby Jesus lying in a manger surrounded by ox and lamb, with the Virgin Mary, Joseph, angels and three Wise Men looking on in wonder at the luminous infant. This imagery, we are told, represents the very first Christmas, when the Lord of the Universe was born on this earth, on the 25th day of December in the year 1 AD/CE. But is this story true?
"O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born."
The tradition of "Christmas" or December 25th as the birth of Jesus Christ, the main figure of the New Testament who is believed by nearly two billion Christians worldwide to have been God in the flesh come to save mankind from its sins, is traceable to the late second to third century AD/CE. During that time, the Church father Cyprian (d. 258) remarked (De pasch. Comp., xix): "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born." In other words, the Savior's birth was being observed at the winter soltice. What is seldom known, however, is that prior to that time, Christ's birth was placed on a variety of days, indicating its non-historicity:
January 5th, January 6th, March 25th, March 28th, April 19th, April 20th, May 20th, August 21st, November 17th and November 19th.
Title page of the 'Chronography of 354'; MS c. 1620December 25th as Christ's birthday makes its way into a "calendar" or chronology created in 354 AD/CE called the Calendar of Filocalus or Philocalian Calendar. In addition to listing the 25th of December as the Natalis Invicti, which means "Birth of the Unconquered (Sun)," the Calendar also names the day as that of natus Christus in Betleem Iudeae: "Birth of Christ in Bethlehem Judea." Hence, we can see that people of the fourth century were clearly aware of the association, if not identification, of Christ with the sun, as they had been in Cyprian's time and earlier, since Jesus is claimed to be the "Sun of Righteousness" in the Old Testament book of Malachi (4:2).
"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings."
Over the past few decades, many people have come to understand that "December 25th" represents not the birthday of a "historical" savior named Jesus Christ but the time of the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, when the day begins to become longer than the night, and the sun is said to be "born again," "renewed" or "resurrected."

Numerous Winter-Solstice Celebrations Globally

Click to Enlarge!
By the time Jesus's birth was placed at the winter solstice there had been numerous solstitial celebrations of the coming "new sun" in a wide variety of places. Many winter-solstice festivals can be found listed in my 2010 Astrotheology Calendar, for the month of December. As I write there:
December is full of winter-solstice celebrations beginning in remotest antiquity. For example, the date of December 21st as the festival of the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu represents her "coming out of the cave," a typical solar myth.
Likewise noteworthy is the festival of the Egyptian baby sun god Sokar occurring on 26 Khoiak, as related in the Calendar of Hathor at Dendera, corresponding at the turn of the common era to December 22nd. The longstanding ritual of Sokar being carried out of the temple on this day in an "ark" closely resembles the censored commentary by Church father Epiphanius (c. 310/320-403) concerning the Egyptians bringing forth the baby sun born of a virgin at the winter solstice.
Sokar the baby sun at the Winter Solstice approached by three dignitaries, Ptah-Osiris-Sokar
The winter-solstice celebrations were so important that at times they exceeded the one or two days of the actual solstice in the Gregorian calendar, i.e., December 21st or 22nd. Solstice celebrations therefore do not necessarily fall on the traditional time of the solstice but may occur up to several days before or after, such as is exemplified by the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, which began on  December 17th and ended on the 23rd.
Hence, a "winter solstice" birth as asserted for a number of gods would not necessarily be celebrated on those exact days or even on the more commonly accepted date of December 25th, which signifies the end of a three-day period of the solstice—meaning "sun stands still"—as perceived in ancient times. In this regard, the winter-solstice birthday of the Greek sun and wine god Dionysus was originally recognized in early January but was eventually placed on December 25th, as related by the ancient Latin writer Macrobius (4th cent. ad/ce). Regardless, the effect is the same: The winter sun god is born around this time, when the day begins to become longer than the night.
Nativity of Dionysus: Hermes presents the baby Dionysus to a goddess or mortal woman; two groups of three figures are in attendance on either side; bas relief from the Museum of Naples
In 275 ad/ce, December 25th was formalized by Emperor Aurelian as the birthday of Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun, and it is claimed that Aurelian likewise combined the Greek festival of the sun god Helios, called the Helia, with Saturnalia as well to establish this solstice celebration. The highly important Mysteries of Osiris, which begin on the 14th of December and end with his resurrection on December 26th, follow a winter-solstice pattern similar to the Brumalia, Saturnalia and Christmas celebrations. The facts that this period comprises several festivities having to do with the passion, death and resurrection or rebirth of this prominent Egyptian sun god, and that the dates for these mysteries happened to correspond to the winter solstice when the wandering Egyptian Calendar was finally fixed, are extraordinary.

How Far Back Do Winter-Solstice Celebrations Go?

Newgrange Passage Tomb/Temple, Ireland; photo: ClemensfranzIn my 2011 Astrotheology Calendar, the month of December is illustrated by the "passage tomb" at Newgrange, Ireland, which is oriented to the sunrise on the winter solstice or around December 21st in the Gregorian calendar. This tombwhich has also been called a "temple" based on its evident importanceis guarded by a large boulder with spiral solar symbols and dates to around 3200 BCE. The winter-solstice sunrise at Newgrange sends a shaft of light down the cruciform corridor and chamber. This ceremony is believed to signify the "return to life" or resurrection from the death of winter. In this sacred site is thus a 5,000-year-old "cross of light" representing the resurrection to life or rebirth on "December 25th."
"In the sacred site at Newgrange is a 5,000-year-old 'cross of light' representing the resurrection to life and rebirth on 'December 25th.'"
There are many other archaeological sites globally that are astronomically aligned, particularly to the winter solstice, some even Goseck circle, Germany; yellow lines represent sunrise and sunset at the winter solstice; c. 7,000 years agoolder than Newgrange, such as the wooden circle or "henge" at Goseck, Germany, which may be 7,000 years old. The building of such astronomically aligned edifices, which are widely understood to be "temples" of a sort, indicates that the ancient astrotheological motif of the sun god's birth at the winter solstice is at least that old. Moreover, there is evidence that this solar observation is much older even than that.
The suggestion that the winter-solstice celebration by human beings in several parts of the world, particularly in the farther northern reaches of the northern hemisphere, dates back to Paleolithic times and was part of religious "mysteries" even then is indicated by a number of artifacts, including the painting known as "Sorcerer with the Antelope's Head" from Les Trois Freres caves in the French Pyrenees. As I write in Suns of God, these caves were occupied during the Magdalenian period, 10,000-16,000 years ago, although mythologist Robert Graves dates the paintings therein to "at least 20,000 B.C."
In Prehistoric Lunar Astronomy, Indian scholar S.B. Roy theorizes that these paintings are representative of secret deposits relating to the mysteries, remarking that they would "necessarily be performed at a particular auspicious moment," upon which their potency would depend. This auspicious moment would be dependent on the solar and lunar phases, as well as the seasons.
Sorcerer with Antelope's Head Les Trois Freres CaveAs I also relate in Suns of God, Roy further posits that the antelope-headed "sorcerer" was "a figure marking the onset of a season." The reasons for this assertion include that the "remote traditions" in the Rig Veda and in Vedic astronomy relate that the Stag's head represents the star L-Orionis and the winter solstice at the new moon, as well as the summer solstice at the full moon. Roy concludes that the sorcerer figure "marked the winter solstice," which was "a great day in the Ice Age of Europe." Based on the astronomy, the figure dates to 10,600 BCE.
Discussing the European Magdalenian cave-dwellers of around 10,000 years ago, Roy also asserts:
In Northern Europe and Asia, in latitudes of 60º and higher, where Slavonic languages now prevail, the winter was then long and dark. It was very cold. Everyone looked to the day of the winter solstice when the sun would turn North. The astronomers would know the date even though the sun itself was not visible. This was the great day, for the spring would now come.
Thus, the winter solstice was an important factor in human culture, particularly that of the cold, northern latitudes, at least 12,000 years ago.
"'Christmas' is thus an extremely ancient celebration, predating the Christian era by many millennia."
The winter solstice celebration that developed throughout much of the inhabited world has been handed down as "Christmas," i.e., December 25th, the birthday of the "sun of God." "Christmas" is thus an extremely ancient celebration, predating the Christian era by many millennia.
Have a Happy Solstice!


Acharya S. Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled. Illinois: AUP, 2004.
Egyptology Online Resources. aegyptologie.online-resourcen.de/Date_Converter_for_Ancient_Egypt/Roman-Emperors
Halsberghe, Gaston H. The Cult of Sol Invictus. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1972.
Herbermann, Charles G., et al., eds. "Christmas." The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 3. New York: The Catholic Encyclopedia Inc., 1913.
Graves, Robert. The White Goddess. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1966.
Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: "Dying and Rising Gods" in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell Internat., 2001.
Murdock, D.M. Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Seattle: Stellar House Publishing, 2009.
Murdock, D.M., and N.W. Barker. The 2010 Astrotheology Calendar. Seattle: Stellar House Publishing, 2009.
The 2011 Astrotheology Calendar. Seattle: Stellar House Publishing, 2010.
Roy, Shashanka Bhushan. Prehistory Lunar Astronomy. New Delhi: Institute of Chronology, 1976.
What is the real "reason for the season?"
by Acharya S
The December 25th birthday of the sun god is a common motif globally, dating back at least 12,000 years as reflected in winter solstices artfully recorded in caves. "Nearly all nations," says Doane, commemorated the birth of the god Sol to the "Queen of Heaven" and "Celestial Virgin." The winter solstice was celebrated in countless places, including China and Persia, the latter regarding the solar Lord and Savior Mithra's birth. In Rome, a great festival called "Saturnalia" was celebrated from December 1st to the 23rd. The winter solstice festival in Egypt included the babe in a manger brought out of the sanctuary.
Roman god Sol InvictusRegarding the date of the "Christmas Feast," the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Christmas") remarks:
The well-known solar feast...of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date....
The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cypr., "De pasch. Comp.", xix, "...O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born." In the fourth century, Chrysostom, "del Solst. Et Æquin." (II, p. 118, ed. 1588), says: "...But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December...the eight before the calends of January [25 December]... But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord...? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice." Already Tertullian (Apol., 16; cf. Ad. Nat., I, 13; Orig. c. Cels., VIII, 67, etc) had to assert that Sol was not the Christians' God; Augustine (Tract xxxiv, in Joan. In P. L., XXXV, 1652) denounces the heretical indentification of Christ with Sol. Pope Leo I (Serm. xxxvii in nat. dom., VII, 4; xxii, II, 6 in P. L., LIV, 218 and 198) bitterly reproves solar survivals--Christians, on the very doorstep of the Apostles' basilica, turn to adore the rising sun.
Ancient Greeks celebrated the birthday of Hercules and Dionysus on this date, as the ancient authority Macrobius (c. 400 AD/CE) maintained. Even the Greek father god, Zeus, was supposedly born at the winter solstice. The "Christmas" festival was celebrated at Athens and was called "the Lenaea," during which time, apparently, "the death and rebirth of the harvest infant Dionysus were similarly dramatized." This Lenaea festival is depicted in an Aurignacian cave-painting in Spain, with a "young Dionysus with huge genitals," standing naked in the middle of "nine dancing women." The Aurignacian period extended from 34,000 to 23,000 years ago. InThe White Goddess (399), mythologist Robert Graves states:
The most ancient surviving record of European religious practices is an Aurignacian cave-painting at Cogul in North-Eastern Spain of the Old Stone Age Lenaea. A young Dionysus with huge genitals stands un-armed, alone and exhausted in the middle of a crescent of nine dancing women, who face him. He is naked, except for what appear to be a pair of close-fitting boots laced at the knee; they are fully clothed and wear small cone-shaped hats. These wild women, differentiated by their figures and details of their dress, grow progressively older as one looks clock-wise around the crescent...
By using the term "Dionysus," Graves is not stating that it was written on the walls of the cave. He is using it to describe an archetype that is very ancient.
The Greco-Syrian sun god Adonis - the "Adonai" of the Bible - was also born on December 25th, a festival "spoken of by Tertullian, Jerome, and other Fathers of the Church, who inform us that the ceremonies took place in a cave, and that the cave in which they celebrated his mysteries in Bethlehem, was that in which Christ Jesus was born."
Nor is the winter solstice celebration a purely "Pagan" concept, as the Jews also observed it in reference to the birth of their god, Yahweh. The "Feast of Illumination," "Feast of Lights" or "feast of the Dedication," occurred in winter (John 10:22-23; Josephus's Antiquities XII, 7.7)¹ and represented the "ancient Hebrew Winter Solstice Feast." The reference in the gospel of John states:
"It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter..." (RSV)
The passage in Josephus's Antiquities (XII, 7.7) refers to the eight-day festival celebrated by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabeus (190 BCE-160 BCE), the "festival of the restoration off the sacrifices of the temple." This 8-day festival is called by Josephus simply "Lights," as in the "festival of Lights." Known as "Hannukah," this "feast of Lights" represents a "restoration" of the ancient temple sacrifices.
Regarding this Hannukah feast, in The White Goddess (469), Graves further says:
The rabbinical account is that this eight-day festival which begins on the twenty-fifth day of the month Kislev, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus and that it celebrates a miracle: at the Maccabean consecration of the Temple a small cruse of sacred oil was found, hidden by a former High Priest, which lasted for eight days. By this legend the authors of the Talmud hoped to conceal the antiquity of the feast, which was originally Jehovah's birthday as the Sun-god and had been celebrated at least as early as the time of Nehemiah (MaccabeesI, 18).
The citation in Graves concerning the antiquity of this feast should be 2 Maccabees 1:18, which states:
Since on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev we shall celebrate the purification of the temple, we thought it necessary to notify you, in order that you also may celebrate the feast of booths and the feast of the fire given when Nehemiah, who built the temple and the altar, offered sacrifices.
The biblical figure Nehemiah is reputed to have lived during the fifth century (fl. 430 BCE), and 25th of the month of Kislev (November/December) is indeed the time of the celebration called Hannukah/Chanukah. As 2 Maccabees recounts, during this earlier sacrifice by Nehemiah, the Persians to whom he had sent for the sacred fire had only given him a "thick liquid" (oil?). After the liquid was sprinkled on the wood, the sun - previously hidden by clouds - beamed brightly, causing a great fire to blaze up, "so that all marveled." At this point, the priests offered fervent prayers to the Lord God.
From the account in the biblical book of Ezekiel concerning the Temple priests holding secret rites - sacrilegious in Ezekiel's opinion - we know that there is an esoteric tradition within Judaism that is not made known to the masses. Graves is apparently suggesting that this esoteric tradition included the knowledge of Jehovah/Yahweh as a sun god - as asserted and demonstrated by numerous authorities and researchers - and that, as a sun god, he too was typically considered as born on the winter solstice. It would appear, therefore, that this "festival of Lights" and "feast of the dedication" was a winter-solstice celebration based on the solar aspect either of the old Israelite gods or elohim, as they are repeatedly termed in the Old Testament, or of the Jewish tribal god Yahweh. (These inferences make for further studies by interested parties. The solar attributes of the main Jewish god Yahweh are brought out in detail in The Christ Conspiracy andSuns of God.)
In addition, Indians for millennia have celebrated the winter solstice, as a cardinal point, the new year and, presumably, the birth of the sun god. In the Indian solstice celebration--a "great religious festival"--there is "rejoicing everywhere." As in the West, the Indians "decorate their houses with garlands, and make presents to friends and relatives," a "custom of very great antiquity." One way the Brahman priests of Orissa have celebrated the solstice is by carrying images of "the youthful Krishna to the houses of their disciples and their patrons, to whom they present some of the red powder and tar of roses, and receive presents of money and cloth in return." Thus, in India the winter solstice has been as much a major holiday as it was anywhere, which is to be expected in a land permeated with sun worship for millennia.
Regarding the Persian sun god Mithra and his sacrifice, in the 19th century respected Christian author Rev. J.P. Lundy remarked:
"For let it be borne in mind that it was precisely at the season of this sacrifice, near the beginning of the new year, that the birth of Mithra was celebrated over all Persia and the world, in temple-caves, on the night of the 24th of December, the night of light. Even the British Druids celebrated it, and called the next day, the 25th of December, Nollagh or Noel, the day of regeneration, celebrating it with great fires on tops of their mountains. In fact, all nations, as if by common consent, at the first moment after midnight of the 24th of December, celebrated the birth of the sun-god, type among the Gentiles of Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, as the Desire of all nations and the Saviour of the world."
Lundy was thus well aware of the sun gods, whom he deemed "types of Christ," indicating Christ's solar nature as well.
Concerning the winter solstice festival in Ireland, the author of Christian Mythology Unveiled relates:
"The Baal-fire feast, or meeting, was a great festival in Ireland, on the 25th of December, and midsummer eve. Baal, or Bel, was a name of the sun all over the east."
It is important to note that the "December 25th" birthdate only applies to the age and hemisphere in which the winter solstice falls on December 21-24. In other ages, the solstice month is different, changing with the precession of the equinoxes every 2150 years.
The December 25th birthdate is that of the sun, not a "real person," revealing its unoriginality within Christianity and the true nature of the Christian godman. "Christmas" was not incorporated into Christianity until 354 AD/CE. In reality, there is no evidence, no primary sources which show that "Jesus is the reason for the season."
Happy Solstice!

Born of a Virgin on December 25th:
Horus, Sun God of Egypt

by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock

The following article is excerpted from:
suns of god acharya s cover img
In the story regarding the sun god, the moon gives birth monthly and annually to the sun. In The Story of Religious Controversy, Joseph McCabe, a Catholic priest for many years, writes:
…Virginity in goddesses is a relative matter.
Whatever we make of the original myth…Isis seems to have been originally a virgin (or, perhaps, sexless) goddess, and in the later period of Egyptian religion she was again considered a virgin goddess, demanding very strict abstinence from her devotees. It is at this period, apparently, that the birthday of Horus was annually celebrated, about December 25th, in the temples. As both Macrobius and the Christian writer [of the "Paschal Chronicle"] say, a figure of Horus as a baby was laid in a manger, in a scenic reconstruction of a stable, and a statue of Isis was placed beside it. Horus was, in a sense, the Savior of mankind. He was their avenger against the powers of darkness; he was the light of the world. His birth-festival was a real Christmas before Christ.
Equinox Solstice cross imageThe Chronicon Paschale, or Paschal Chronicle, is a compilation finalized in the 7th century CE that seeks to establish a Christian chronology from "creation" to the year 628 CE, focusing on the date of Easter. In establishing Easter, the Christian authors naturally discussed astronomy/ astrology, since such is the basis of the celebration of Easter, a pre-Christian festival founded upon the vernal equinox, or spring, when the "sun of God" is resurrected in full from his winter death. The vernal equinox during the current Ages of Pisces has fallen in March, specifically beginning on March 21st, lasting three days, when the sun overcomes the darkness, and the days begin to become longer than the night. In the solar mythos, the sun god starts his growth towards "manhood," when he is the strongest, at the summer solstice. Hence, Easter is the resurrection of the sun. As does the ancient authority Macrobius (5th cent.), the Paschal Chronicle relates that the sun (Horus) was presented every year at winter solstice (c. 12/25), as a babe born in a manger.
Concerning the Paschal Chronicle, Charles Dupuis relates:
…the author of the Chronicle of Alexandria…expresses himself in the following words: "The Egyptians have consecrated up to this day the child-birth of a virgin and the nativity of her son, who is exposed in a 'crib' to the adoration of the people…"
Another important source who cites the Paschal Chronicle and mentions Isis's virginity is James Bonwick in Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought:
In an ancient Christian work, called the "Chronicle of Alexandria," occurs the following: "Watch how Egypt has consecrated the childbirth of a virgin, and the birth of her son, who was exposed in a crib to the adoration of her people…"
The author of Christian Mythology Unveiled cites the "most ancient chronicles of Alexandria, which "testify as follows":
"To this day, Egypt has consecrated the pregnancy of a virgin, and the nativity of her son, whom they annually present in a cradle, to the adoration of the people; and when king Ptolemy, three hundred and fifty years before our Christian era, demanded of the priests the significance of this religious ceremony, they told him it was a mystery."
CMU further states, "According to Eratosthenes [276-194 BCE], the celestial Virgin was supposed to be Isis, that is, the symbol of the returning year."
Interestingly, all sources cited herein relate a different translation of the Chronicle, which would indicate that they used the original Latin text and that it contained the word "virgin."
Isis Horus imageRegarding Isis's baby, Count Volney remarks:
"It is the sun which, under the name of Horus, was born, like your [Christian] God, at the winter solstice, in the arms of the celestial virgin, and who passed a childhood of obscurity, indigence, and want, answering to the season of cold and frost."
Regarding the astrotheological nature of the gospel story, including the virgin birth/immaculate conception, the famous Christian theologian and saint Albertus Magnus, or Albert the Great, (1193?-1280) admitted:
"We know that the sign of the celestial Virgin did come to the horizon at the moment where we have fixed the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. All the mysteries of the incarnation of our Saviour Christ; and all the circumstances of his marvellous life, from his conception to his ascension, are to be traced out in the constellations, and are figured in the stars."
As Albert the Great acknowledged, the virgin-birth motif is astrotheological, referring to the hour of midnight, December 25th, when the constellation of Virgo rises on the horizon. The Assumption of the Virgin, celebrated in Catholicism on August 15th, represents the summer sun's brightness blotting out Virgo. Mary's Nativity, celebrated on September 8th, occurs when the constellation is visible again. Such is what these "Christian" motifs and holidays represent, as has obviously been known by the more erudite of the Catholic clergy. Hence, the virgin who will conceive and bring forth is Virgo, and her son is the sun.
For more on this subject, see also Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection, which includes 120 pages on the subjects of the Egyptian virgin birth on the winter solstice, providing primary sources and the works of highly credentialed authorities from relevant fields.

 Was Krishna Born on December 25th?

by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

"The Mahabharata and the Puranas are unanimous in saying that the god Krishna was an incarnation of the god Vishnu, born as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki... His story is made up of marvellous legends. From them scholars have tried to eliminate his godhood and all that is extravagant and physically impossible, and reduce him to a human being who, born as the son of one Vasudeva, made his name as a great Kshatriya hero, but who subsequently was deified for the purpose of hero-worship. But in the case of Krishna, instead of a man being deified, the contrary seems to me to be the case, viz., that god Vishnu is anthropomorphized and made man-god-man-as Krishna Vasudeva.... Likewise Krishna [is] identical with Vishnu, the God of Sacrifice..."
Aiyangar Narayan, Essays on Indo-Aryan Mythology (478)
"Vishnu, being moved to relieve the earth of her load of misery and sin, came down from heaven, and was born of the virgin Devaki, on the twenty-fifth of December."
Sarah E. Titcomb, Aryan Sun Myths (37)
"[In] India...in celebration of the new solar year, or the birth of the pastoral god Krishna...it is customary, towards the end of December, to give cows to the Brahmans, exchange presents..."
Angelo De Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology (I, 51)
Devaki and Vasudeva holding baby Krishna, 5th cent. CE, DeogarhTraditionally, the Indian god Krishna is said to have been born during the summer months, usually in June, July, August or September. The facts that his birthday is cited as having occurred on the "eighth day of a dark fortnight" and that the date varies from place to place and era to era indicate that we were dealing with a mythical motif, not a historical event. As I relate in my book Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled (229-230):
There is no agreement even as to the epoch in which Krishna was "born." Nor is there concurrence as to the particular month of his birth. Even in modern times there is no consensus, except that he was born on the eighth day of a dark fortnight. Indeed, "in Krishnaism itself there are different dates for the Birthday Festival, the Varaha Purana entirely departing from the accepted view."  Robertson states that the "Krishna Birth-Festival"...is equivalent to July 24th.  Another writer gives Krishna's exact birthdate as July 20, 3228 BCE. Yet another source says that it happened in "the dark half of Bhadrapada," a month beginning on August 23rd and ending on September 22nd, according to the Indian civil calendar, and occurring from August 16th to September 15th, according to the religious calendar.  The [birthday of Krishna] has also been placed on the 8th of the month Sravana, which in the civil calendar runs from July 23rd to August 22nd, making it equivalent to the zodiac sign of Leo, while in the religious calendar, it is July 16th to the 15th of August. That these dates are not "historical" but manipulated is revealed in the fact that, "while the Birth Festival falls in July, the date of the birth in later texts appears to be August."...
Moreover, Krishna's birthday, also called Jananashtami, Krishnaastami, Crishnajanmashtami, Gokulashtami, etc., occurs on different days in different years. In 1993, Krishna's birthday was celebrated in July, in some parts of the world. However, in 1996, it was celebrated on September 4th or 5th, again depending on the place. In 1997, his birthday occurred on August 25th. In the year 2000, it fell on August 22nd or 23rd:
Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of theKrishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September). This year Janmashthami, as this auspicious day is called, falls on the 23rd of August, 2000.
Other dates include September 2nd or 3rd, September 12th, September 27th and so on. As can be seen, the month, like the day and year, is not agreed upon: Some sources claim Lord Krishna was born in the month of Bhadra or Bhadrapada, which is August/September; others say the month is Sravana or Shravan, corresponding to July/August. Adding to the confusion, in the Bhagavad Gita (10:35), Krishna is identified as the month of November/December, which indicates that said month is very important for his followers: "Of all the nuwsas (months), I am the margasira (November-December)."
In this regard, Indologist Dr. E. Washburn Hopkins remarks that "the Puranas that describe the Birthday Festival of Sri Krishna give the time variously on different dates (between June and September) though they all agree that the hour is midnight." (Hopkins, 166)
In light of his traditional summer, rainy-season birth, the contention made by several writers over the past couple of centuries that Krishna was born on "December 25th" or the winter solstice appears to be a mistake. Oddly enough, however, this "error" may have revealed a mystery for the higher initiates in the Indian religion: To wit, Krishna is a mythical incarnation of the solar deity Vishnu, who is said to "sleep" and then "rise" at the winter solstice or "December 25th." (Tod, 448)

'Christmas' is the winter solstice

It should be understood that the phrase "December 25th" refers to the period of the winter solstice, which has been celebrated over the millennia on not only the day we call "December 21st," according to the Gregorian calendar, but also several other days in both December and January. These festivals include multiple-day celebrations such as the Roman Saturnalia, which ran from Surya the sun god in his chariot drawn by seven horses, with charioteer ArunaDecember 17th to the 23rd. Other winter-solstice observances include December 22nd through the 26th-with the typical triduum or three-day period from the 21st to the 24th at midnight-and January 5th, 6th, 7th, 14th and 15th.
The "rise," "rebirth" or "resurrection" of the sun god at the winter solstice is a common theme globally, reflected in myths and artifacts dating back thousands of years. In this regard, the winter solstice is an important holiday in India as well, currently celebrated on January 14th, called "Makar Sankrati." The next day, January 15th, is styled "Surya Pongal" or Sun God Day, after the main Indian solar deity, Surya, which is but one of the many names of the sun.

The Many Names of the Sun God

As we know from Egyptian mythology, for example, numerous ancient gods are interchangeable in their characteristics and attributes; the same can be said of various Indian gods, especially when it comes to the "sun gods" or deities who possess solar attributes. In reality, many Indian gods are deemed solar, and their names represent aspects of the sun, grouped in numbers of 12 to the sacred 108.
Although they vary from source to source, one list of the "twelve general names of the sun god" includes: "Aditya, Savita, Surya, Mihira, Arka, Prabhakara, Martanda, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Citrabhanu, Divakara and Ravi." The twelve "Adityas" as found in the Vishnu Purana and as correlate to the months of the years are as follows:
Indra, Dhatr, Parjanya, Pusan, Tvastr, Aryama, Bhaga, Vivasvat, Visnu, Amsu, Varuna and Mitra. (Singh, 2361)
In the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Dr. Rajendra Singh (2499) explains that while Surya is one the 12 names of the sun god, Vishnu is one of the appellations of Surya, who "possesses twelve names for each of the months of the year..." In Vaishnavism, Lord Vishnu is the sun or solar genius during the  month of "Chaitra" or "Caitra," which begins on the vernal equinox or  March 20th in the Indian civil calendar. Vishnu himself has 1,000 names, as can be found in the Vishnu Purana by B.K. Chaturvedi.

Vishnu the Sun

As concerns the correlation between mythical Indian figures and celestial bodies or events, the Indian scholar Aiyangar Naryan deems the mythical characters as "metamorphoses" of various stars and/or constellations or "asterisms." His book is called Essays on Indo-Aryan Mythology, demonstrating that Indian scholars understand these stories as myths, not history. Discussing Vishnu, Narayan remarks:
He is described by means of several metaphors. One of them is that he is the sun. (93)
The sun god Vishnu takes three strides across the sky.Regarding the motif of the sun god Vishnu's "three strides" across the sky, Naryana further says that "his three strides are his placing one step at the point of the winter solstice in the south (the beginning of the Uttarâyana), the second step at the point of the vernal equinox, and the third step at the point of the summer solstice in the north..." (94)
Hence, Vishnu is the sun or a solar genius, and his "life" and "adventures" represent astrotheological interpretations of the sun's movements, especially of the important annual milestones of both solstices and the spring equinox. As noted, Vishnu is said to "rise" at the winter solstice, which is a sort of rebirth common in the stories of sun gods.

Krishna as Solar Deity

As we can see from his quote asserting Krishna to be a manmade anthropomorphization of Vishnu, rather than a man made into a god, as in evemerism or apotheosis, Narayan contends that "Krishna is identical with Vishnu," who is also a solar deity or genius of the sun.
In discussing the asterism or constellations and stars incarnated in various figures in the Krishna birth myth, including both the god's parents and his foster-parents, Naryan remarks:
As these are the asterisms in whose region the Sun's winter solstice or the renewal of the Uttarâyana of the olden time was taking place, let us take the child Krishna placed with [the fosterparents] for protection to be Vishnu's solar aspect. (506)
Here the scholar seems to be saying that because the parents and fosterparents of the Krishna myth are "metamorphoses" of the constellations in the celestial region of the winter solsticethe Uttarâyana being the six-month sosticial period that starts on January 14th, the Makar Sankrati or Indian winter-solsticethe baby Krishna can be understood as "Vishnu's solar aspect." In other words, Krishna is the sun born at the winter solstice. Furthermore, in discussing Krishna's birth in the rainy season, Narayan assumes Krishna to be "not only the metaphorical rain-cloud, but also the Sun as the cause of rain..." (506) In this case, then, it is apparent that Krishna is the sun born at the summer solstice.
Arjuna and Krishna riding in their chariot, as depicted in 'The Mahabharata'After reviewing some of Krishna's deeds in the Puranas, Narayan remarks, "I would view these four acts of Krishna as a description of the career of the Uttarâyana Sun..." (508) The fact that Krishna is viewed by this Indian scholar as the incarnation of the Uttarâyana sun further indicates his perception that the god is born also at the winter solstice. Moreover, the contention that, during the winter-solstice celebrations Indians of Orissa, for one, have proceeded through their villages  carrying images of the "youthful Krishna," would indicate this connection as well. 
It is possible that this apparent tradition of Krishna's birth at the renewal of the Uttarâyana sun is the same as the celebration discussed by Dr. Angelo Gubernatis, a professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Literature at the Istituto di Studii Superiori e di Perfezionamento, quoted above as stating that the birth of the pastoral god Krishna was celebrated at the "end of December."
In this regard, an Indian correspondent, Dr. O.P. Sudrania, wrote the following to me:
The controversy that you point out may be understandable from the fact that the Indian calendar is lunar-based, like the Islamic calendar. It is quite possible that there may have been some time lag over the eons due to movements of Moon around the sun.
There is a yearly time lag in Indian and Gregorian calenders, and the exact dates in both systems do not tally. It has to be matched every year. So it is possible that the time when Krishna was born may have been in December and the date has now slowly shifted in the summer/rainy season.
In the Indian epics, as you are well aware, it does not mention of rainy season in particular but it does mention of the full "Yamuna" river bed in Mathura (the birth place of Lord Krishna) with overflowing water. This again is quite compatible to your research that the rivers are generally over flowing with water in winter just after the rainy season. Hence your contention is very pertinent and requires further study and research. Another thing that may be possible is that even the seasons may have shifted themselves.
The "mistake" of identifying the summer-solstice month of Sravanain which Krishna is said to have been born-with December may also have been based on the fact that in Indian mythological astronomy Sravana is also a star, "whose regent is Vishnu" and which can be seen "on the new-moon day at the beginning of the Uttarâyana...." (Narayan, 3) The six-month summer-to-winter-solstice period begun by the month of Sravana and Krishna's rainy-season birth is called the "Dakshinyana." It thus appears from Narayan's extensive analysis that there is a tradition in which "Krishna" refers to the baby sun born at the beginning of both six-month periods marked by the solstices. As we can see, rather than being a cut-and-dry biography of a "real person," there is much more to this mythical story than meets the eye.
For more information about the solar nature of Krishna, his birthday and the winter solstice in India, see Suns of God. Whether or not the sun's annual return is called a "birth," "rising" or "resurrection," whether or not it is held in December or January in the northern hemisphere or June 21st or 24th in the southern, and by whatever name the sun may have been called, the effect is still the same, and the motif of "Christmas" or the Light of the World being born at the winter solstice remains unoriginal in Christianity, the demonstration of which is the main purpose of this comparison.


"India Celebrates Harvest Festivals, Three Chariot Festival in Udupi," www.harekrsna.com/sun/news/01-07/news958.htm
"Names of Sun God, Brahma Purana," www.indianetzone.com/46/names_sun_god.htm
"Twelve Names of the Sun"
Acharya S. Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled. IL: AUP, 2004.
Chaturvedi, B.K. Vishnu Purana. New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books, 2006.
De Gubernatis. Zoological Mythology; or, The Legends of Animals, I. London: Trubner & Co., 1872.
Hopkins, Edward Washburn. India Old and New. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901.
Narayan, Aiyangar. Essays on Indo-Aryan Mythology. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1987.
Singh, Nagendra. Encyclopaedia of Hinduism. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2000.
Titcomb, Sarah E. Aryan Sun-Myths: The Origin of Religions. Boston: Estes and Lauriat, 1890.
Tod, James. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, I. London: Routledge & Sons, 1914.

Christ in Egypt cover image
"Osiris's coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris's star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), significator of his birth."
Barbara Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (749)
"So this was the harbinger of the annual inundation of the Nile through her appearance with the rising sun at the time when the inundation was due to begin. The bright star would therefore naturally become, together with the conjoined constellation of Orion, the sign and symbol of new vegetation which the Year then beginning would infallibly bring with it."
Dr. John Gwyn Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and His Cult (157)
Much has been made of the gospel account of the "star in the east" followed by "wise men" from afar, claimed to have heralded the birth of the newborn savior of the world. Over the centuries, various supposedly scientific theories have been put forth concerning this purported phenomenon that turn out to be all for naught, because this theme reveals itself to be an old mythical motif. In actuality, many ancient gods, kings and heroes were said to have been born under a "bright star" or some other sort of celestial sign, indicating their greatness and role as "savior" as well. Despite protests to the contrary, this heavenly theme is obviously astrological and astrotheological in nature, dating back centuries to millennia prior to the common era. Indeed, like so many other religious and mythological correspondences, the "bright star" and the "three kings" represent motifs that long predate Christianity and are found within Egyptian religion, symbolizing the star Sirius as well as those of the constellation called Orion, along with their relationship to the Egyptian deities Osiris, Isis and Horus.
In the gospel story, Jesus's birth is signaled by a bright star and a visit from wise men or magi, as they are termed in the New Testament, representing Three Wise Men and the StarPersian astrologers following the star. Despite the stellar brilliance and obviousness, this tracking was apparently not a simple act, since these "wise men" are depicted as nevertheless illogically becoming hopelessly lost and must ask Christ's enemy King Herod for assistance. (Mt 2:1-10) Concerning this pericope, Dr. James Orr remarks, "It may...be inferred from Mt 2 10 that in some way or other the wise men had for a time lost sight of the star."1 (Matthew 2:10 states: "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.")
Herod points the wise men in the right direction, but he too evidently becomes so discombobulated that, instead of following his own instructions to find Jesus, he needs to slaughter all of the children in the village, a heinous act that can be found nowhere in the historical record and would be rather deplorable for the all-powerful God/Jesus to allow in order to save his own neck. In any event, although in the gospels these magi are not numbered, their gifts are counted as three, and over the centuries tradition has set them at three as well. Hence, the familiar tale is that Jesus’s birth was accompanied by a "star in the east" and "three wise men." These three wise men were also said to be "kings," as in the popular Christmas song, "We Three Kings." At a certain point the three kings were given names, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and the mythmaking continued.
Coincidentally, there happen to be three very conspicuous stars in the "belt" of the constellation of Orion that are also called the "Three Kings." Moreover, as French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943), herself a Christian, remarked, "The Christians named the three stars of Orion the Magi," revealing esoteric knowledge of Christian astrotheology, regardless of when it was first adopted. In addition, one of the brightest stars in the sky is that of Sirius, which, along with Orion, was a favorite of the Egyptian priesthood for thousands of years, keen observers of the skies as they were, and well aware of astronomical phenomena. Not a few people have thus equated this bright star and these wise men in Christian tradition with these revered celestial bodies within Egyptian and other mythologies. In reality, rather than representing a "historical" event surrounding the birth of a superhuman Jewish messiah and divine Son of God, the stellar appearance at the coming of the savior can be found in the myths of Egypt, particularly concerning Osiris, Isis and Horus.

A Sirius Star

The coming of Osiris - the savior of Egypt - was associated with the "Star in the East" because the Egyptians recognized that the rising of Sirius with the sun, or "heliacally," occurred around the summer solstice, the time of the Nile flooding. Life along the Nile was highly dependent upon the inundation associated with the heliacal rising of Sirius, a flood deified as Osiris, who was said to be "born" at that time.
Thus, this important association of Sirius - "Sothis" in the Greek and "Sepdet" or "Sopdet" in the Egyptian - with the life-giving Nile flood began some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Hence, the "Star in the East" heralded the birth of the Egyptian Messiah thousands of years before the Christian era. This annual birth of Osiris was also a resurrection, as the goddess Sopdet "woke him from the dead."
Sopdet goddess SiriusRegarding the role of Sirius/Sothis in Egyptian mythology, in The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Dr. James P. Allen states:
Sothis (spdt "Sharp"). The morning star, Sirius, seen by the Egyptians as a goddess. In Egypt the star disappears below the horizon once a year for a period of some seventy days; its reappearance in midsummer marked the beginning of the annual inundation and the Egyptian year. The star's rising was also seen as a harbinger of the sunrise and therefore associated with Horus in his solar aspect, occasionally specified as Horus in Sothis (hrw jmj spdt), Sothic Horus (hrw spdtj), or Sharp Horus (hrw spd).
Thus, sometime around the middle of April, Sirius could no longer be seen on the horizon, until its reemergence at the summer solstice, starting a new cycle. Sirius is identified with Isis: "Sirius, the herald of flooding of the Nile, was the star of the goddess Isis, consort to the great god Osiris, who was represented by the constellation of Orion."
In addition, Pyramid Text 593:1636b/M 206 states: "Horus the pointed has come forth from thee, in his name of 'Horus who was in Sothis.'" "Horus in Sothis," therefore, refers to when the sun rises with Sirius. Thus, in ancient texts we find the birth of Horus the sun associated with the star in the east.
Egyptologist Dr. J. Gwyn Griffiths concurs that "the inundation of the Nile was often connected by the Egyptians with the heliacal rising of the star Sothis (the Dog Star, Sirius), seen in the constellation of Orion." To summarize, the three wise men serve as pointers for the star in the east, which in turn announces the savior of Egypt.

Orion and the Three Kings

Orion Three Stars Kings imageAs important as Sirius was to life in Egypt, associated with the renewal of the land around the Nile and thus memorialized in Egyptian religion and mythology, so too did the constellation of Orion figure prominently in Egyptian culture. In fact, it was observed that, as the rising of Sirius signaled the beginning of the summer solstice and its life-giving inundation of the Nile, the rising of Orion, with its three distinct stars acting as a pointer, signified the end of the flooding, towards the winter solstice: "The Nile flood...its coming and going heralded by the stars of Sirius and Orion, was without parallel."
The ascent of Orion could not have failed to impress its observers: "The heliacal rising of Orion occurs before that of Sirius, so, star by star, Osiris was revealed by this most magnificent of constellations straddling the celestial equator."...
Concerning the relationship between Orion, Sirius and the Egyptian deities, Egyptologst Dr. Bojana Mojsov states:
The constellation of Orion was linked with Osiris: "He has come as Orion. Osiris has come as Orion," proclaim the Pyramid Texts. Sirius and Orion, Isis and Osiris, inseparable in heaven as on earth, heralded the inundation and the rebirth of life. Their appearance in the sky was a measure of time and a portent of great magnitude. In historic times, both occasions were always marked by celebrations.
As we can see, the annual emergence of both Sirius and Orion were closely noted and commemorated, meaning that these celestial events factored significantly in the minds of possibly millions of Egyptians for thousands of years. Moreover, the "rebirth of life" in Osiris - his resurrection on Earth - constitutes an annual event, in the Nile's flooding.
Within the constellation of Orion, "the Hunter," are three bright stars said to make up his "belt." Concerning these stars, in The Geography of the Heavens renowned Christian astronomer Elijah Hinsdale Burritt remarks:
They are sometimes denominated the Three Kings, because they point out the Hyades and Pleiades on one side, and Sirius, or the Dog-star, on the other. In Job they are called the Bands of Orion...
The biblical Book of Job (38:32) also contains reference to the Mazzaroth, or "zodiac," and demonstrates significant astronomical knowledge, an important fact in consideration of the contention that, centuries later, the Jewish priesthood rehashed the Egyptian astrotheology in its "midrashic" or fictitious account of Jesus Christ.
Three stars in Orion's Belt and SiriusThe three highly visible "king-stars" of the splendid constellation of Orion are named Mintaka, Aniltak and Anilam or Alnilam, the latter of which means "string of pearls," while the former two signify "belt." The statement in the Egyptian texts that Sothis "leads Orion" thus constitutes the motif of the bright star followed by these three "kings," which have also been called the "three kings of the soothsayers," a title that may indicate the antiquity of this royal appellation.
The bright star Sirius rose with the sun at the summer solstice, signaling the birth of Osiris as the Nile inundation and the birth of Horus as the daily solar orb. In winter, the Three Kings in the belt of Orion pointed to Sirius at night before the annual birth of the sun, which is also Horus.
The appearance of the three stars in a line with Sirius occurred in the night sky over Egypt thousands of years ago, pointing to the horizon as the new sun was born at the winter solstice. Thus, it could be asserted that the three kings trailing the bright star announced the birth of the savior at the winter solstice in Egypt, ages prior to the same event purportedly taking place in Judea.
1 Orr, James, ed. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, V. Chicago: Howard Severance Co., 1915, p. 2848.

Attis: Born of a Virgin on December 25th, Crucified and Resurrected after Three Days

by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

'A Roman wood and ivory throne found in the Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum, showing Attis next to a sacred pine tree collecting a pine cone.' (Photo: Reuters/Archaeology Superintendent of Pompeii)
In many mythicist writings, the ancient Phrygo-Roman god Attis is depicted as having been born of a virgin mother on December 25th, being killed and resurrecting afterwards. Here we shall examine the evidence for these contentions, which parallel the gospel story and Christian tradition concerning Jesus Christ.
Providing a summary of the mythos and ritual of Attis, along with comparisons to Christian tradition, professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester Dr. Andrew T. Fear states:
The youthful Attis after his murder was miraculously brought to life again three days after his demise. The celebration of this cycle of death and renewal was one of the major festivals of the metroac cult. Attis therefore represented a promise of reborn life and as such it is not surprising that we find representations of the so-called mourning Attis as a common tomb motif in the ancient world.
The parallel, albeit at a superficial level, between this myth and the account of the resurrection of Christ is clear. Moreover Attis as a shepherd occupies a favourite Christian image of Christ as the good shepherd. Further parallels also seem to have existed: the pine tree of Attis, for example, was seen as a parallel to the cross of Christ.
Beyond Attis himself, Cybele too offered a challenge to Christian divine nomenclature.Cybele was regarded as a virgin goddess and as such could be seen as a rival to the Virgin Mary... Cybele as the mother of the Gods, mater Deum, here again presented a starkly pagan parallel to the Christian Mother of God.
There was rivalry too in ritual. The climax of the celebration of Attis' resurrection, the Hilaria, fell on the 25th of March, the date that the early church had settled on as the day of Christ's death.... (Lane, 39-40)
As we can see, according to this scholar, Attis is killed, fixed to a tree, and resurrects after three days, while his mother is "regarded as a virgin goddess" comparable to the Virgin Mary.
These conclusions come from the writings of ancient Pagans, as well as the early Church fathers, including Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Tatian, Tertullian, Augustine, Arnobius and Firmicus Maternus.

Born of the Virgin Nana

The Phrygian god Attis's mother was variously called Cybele and Nana. Like the Egyptian goddess Isis and the Christian figure Mary, Nana/Cybele is a perpetual virgin, despite her status as a mother. The scholarly term used to describe virgin birth is "parthenogenesis," while many goddesses are referred to as "Parthenos," the Greek word meaning "virgin." This term is applicable to the Phrygian goddess Cybele/Nana as well.
"Attis is the son of Cybele in her form as the virgin, Nana."
Medallion of Cybele in chariot, under the sun, moon and star; 2nd cent. BCE, Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan (Singh, 94)
The diverse names of Attis's mother and her manner of impregnation are explained by Dr. David Adams Leeming (25), professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut:
Attis is the son of Cybele in her form as the virgin, Nana, who is impregnated by the divine force in the form of a pomegranate. 
Regarding Nana, in Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity (111), Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso states:
...Another instance of spontaneous conception occurred when Nana, whose very name was one by which the Great Goddess was known, became pregnant simply by eating the tree's fruit...

December 25th

The "December 25th" or winter-solstice birth of the sun god is a common theme in several cultures around the world over the past millennia, including the Egyptian, among others. As it is for the Perso-Roman god Mithrathe Egyptian god Horus and the Christian godman Jesus, this date has likewise been claimed for Attis's nativity as well. For example, Barbara G. Walker (77) writes:
Attis's passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before the solstitial festival of his birth, the 25th of December. The time of his death was also the time of his conception, or re-conception. 
"Each year, Attis was born at the winter solstice."
In this same regard, Shirley Toulson (34) remarks:
In the secret rites of this Great Mother the young god Attis figured as her acolyte and consort.... Each year he was born at the winter solstice, and each year as the days shortened, he died.
The reasoning behind this contention of the vegetative and solar god Attis's birth at the winter solstice is sound enough, in that it echoes natural cycles, with the god's death at the vernal equinox also representing the time when he is conceived again, to be born nine months later.
Moreover, at times the young Attis was merged with Mithra, whose birthday was traditionally held on December 25th and with whom he shared the same Phrygian capped attire.
Attis wearing a Phrygian cap
Marble bust of Attis wearing Phrygian cap
2nd cent.  ad/ce
Mithra wearing a Phrygian cap
Mithra in a Phrygian cap
2nd cent.  ad/ceRome, Italy
(British Museum, London)


The myths of Attis's death include him being killed by a boar or by castrating himself under a tree, as well as being hung on a tree or "crucified." Indeed, he has been called the "castrated and crucified Attis." (Harari, 31) It should be noted that the use of the term "crucified" as concerns gods like Horus and Attis does not connote that he or they were thrown to the ground and nailed to a cross, as we commonly think of crucifixion, based on the Christian tale. In reality, there have been plenty of ancient figures who appeared in cruciform, some of whose myths specifically have them punished or killed through crucifixion, such as Prometheus.
"The god has been called the 'castrated and crucified Attis.'"
Moreover, Attis is said to have been "crucified" to a pine tree, while Christ too was related as being both crucified and hung on a tree (Acts 5:30 ;  10:39 ). As stated by La Trobe University professor Dr. David John Tacey (110):
Especially significant for us is the fact that the Phrygian Attis was crucified upon the tree...
In antiquity, these two concepts were obviously similar enough to be interchangeable in understanding.

Tomb/Three Days/Resurrected

We have already seen Dr. Fear's commentary that Attis was dead for three days and was resurrected, worth reiterating here:
"The youthful Attis after his murder was miraculously brought to life again three days after his demise."
Death of AttisThe death and resurrection in three days, the "Passion of Attis," is also related by Professor Merlin Stone (146):
Roman reports of the rituals of Cybele record that the son...was first tied to a tree and then buried. Three days later a light was said to appear in the burial tomb, whereupon Attis rose from the dead, bringing salvation with him in his rebirth.
Concerning the discovery of a throne at Herculaneum, Italy, buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD/CE, archaeologist Dr. Mark Merrony remarks:
...Unusually, the throne is carved with scenes depicting the mystery cult of Attis, which spread to Rome from Turkey via Greece during the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54). Essentially, historical texts indicate that this cult was concerned with the life, death, and resurrection of the goddess, and involved several key stages enacted in March: the procession of the reed-bearers and flute-blowers; the entrance of the sacred pine tree; the burial of the effigy of Attis strapped to a stake; mourning, sacrifice, and bloodletting; and the resurrection of Attis. The best-preserved scene on the throne shows the deity collecting a pine cone next to a sacred pine tree.
There is a debate as to when the various elements were added to the Attis myth and ritual. Contrary to the current fad of dismissing all correspondences between Christianity and Paganism, the fact that Attis was at some point a "dying and rising god" is concluded by Dr. Tryggve Mettinger, a professor of Old Testament Studies at the University of Lund and author of The Riddle of the Resurrection, who relates: "Since the time of Damascius (6th cent. ad/ce), Attis seems to have been believed to die and return." (Mettinger, 159) By that point, we possess clear discussion in writing of Attis having been resurrected, but when exactly were these rites first celebrated and where? Attis worship is centuries older than Jesus worship and was popular in some parts of the Roman Empire before and well into the "Christian era."
In the case of Attis, we possess a significant account of his death and mourning in the writings of the Greek historian of the first century BCE, Diodorus Siculus (3.58.7), including the evidently annual ritual creation of his image by priests, indicative of his resurrection. Hence, these noteworthy aspects of the Attis myth are clearly pre-Christian. The reason these motifs are common in many places is because they revolve around nature worship, solar mythology andastrotheology.


Harari, Josue V. Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structural Criticism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979.
Lane, Eugene N., ed. Cybele, Attis and Related Cults. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996.
Leeming, David Adams. Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero. New York/Oxford University Press, 1998.
Merrony, Mark. "An Ivory Throne for Herculaneum." minervamagazine.com/news.asp?min_issue=MAR_APR2008
Mettinger, Tryggve D. The Riddle of the Resurrection. Coronet, 2001.
Murdock, D.M. Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Seattle: Stellar House Publishing, 2009.
--"The Real ZEITGEIST Challenge." stellarhousepublishing.com/zeitgeist-challenge.html
Rigoglioso, Marguerite. Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Stone, Merlin. When God was a Woman. New York: Dorset Press, 1990.
Tacey, David John. Patrick White: Fiction, and the Unconscious. Melbourne/New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Toulson, Shirley. The Winter Solstice. London: Jill Norman & Hobhouse, 1981.
Vermaseren, Maarten Jozef. Cybele, Attis, and Related Cults: Essays in Memory of M. J. Vermaseren. Leiden/New York: E.J. Brill, 1996.
Walker, Barbara G. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. HarperSanFrancisco, 1983.

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