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The origins of Christmas predate Christianity through the Pagan holiday called Saturnalia, which was a weeklong of lawlessness from December 17th through December 25th that honored Saturn and included human sacrifice, intoxication, naked caroling and rape. During these seven days, there were no punishments for breaking any laws, according to Roman law.
In the year 4 A.D., Christianity adopted Saturnalia with the hopes that they could convert the Pagans into Christianity by promising that they could still celebrate Saturnalia as Christians. (Imagine how that would work out today). Because Saturnalia did not follow Christian principles, the Christian leaders designated the last day of Saturnalia as the birth date of Jesus.
Because of the Pagan origins of Christmas, the Puritans banned this holiday and between 1659 and 1681, Christmas was illegal in Massachusetts.
In 1466, the Roman Catholic Church, under Pope Paul II, forced Jews to run through the city naked as a tribute to Saturnalia. According to author David I. Kertzer, The Popes Against the Jews: The
Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”
It is important to note that in Astrotheology, Saturn is Satan. The rings we give during a wedding ritual represent the rings of Saturn. The word Saturday originates from the Old English word that means “Saturn’s day”. To this day, many people continue to unknowingly celebrate Saturnalia through their participation in debauchery and gluttony.
According to wiki, the etymology of Christmas stems from the Old English word of Crīstesmæsse, which literally means" Christ's mass".
Christmas is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos, a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ, "Messiah"; and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist. The form "Christenmas" was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, literally "Christian mass". "Xmas" is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi (Χ) in Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use; it has precedent in Middle English Χρ̄es masse (where "Χρ̄" is an abbreviation for Χριστός).
Each season is reflected by the tilt and spin of the Earth’s axis resulting with the sun being more prominent in the northern hemisphere for half of the year and in the southern hemisphere for the other half. The winter solstice occurs in winter when the sun has reached its lowest elevation reflected with the fewest amount of daylight hours and the greatest amount of nighttime hours around December 21st.
Our seasons are reflected by the amount of sun and darkness that we receive:
Autumn Equinox - daily sunlight is waning, day and night is equal in length
Pagans and Christians alike celebrate their holidays on sacred, astrological dates and Christmas is no exception. This particular holiday was has been celebrated for much longer by the ancients as one of the four great festivals that reflect each season through astrology and astronomy.
Esoteric Meaning of the Winter Solsitce
Various mystery schools have also celebrated the change of seasons in association with the various astrological signs that fall on the spring and fall equinoxes as well as the summer and winter solistices.
In an esoteric sense, the sun’s cycle represents your soul’s growth in consciousness along with the illumination of your soul.
To envision this, imagine that Spring is the birth of your soul. Once you have reached Summer, your soul begins its decent from its spiritual home into incarnating to this planet. As the days begin to get shorter beginning on the Summer solstice, the decrease in sunlight represents the veil of forgetfulness where we do not remember why we came here or what our purpose is. As the days become longer beginning on the Winter solstice, your soul is released from its physical presence and makes its ascension back to its spiritual home with Source.
On the Wheel of Life, winter is the season of rest and represents preparation for renewed life, similar to how some animals go into hibernation. It is also known as the time of germination as spring brings the flowering of plant life that follows the maturation process into summer; autumn gives us our crops (along with new seeds) and we return to winter to complete the full cycle and prepare for renewed life.
Of the four sacred directions and cardinal colors, winter is represented by the North and the color blue, which in Cherokee, literally means “cold”.
The seasons teach us a lot about the process of birth, life, death and rebirth. Alchemy provides the saying, As above, so below”. Think of this along the lines of how we came here and how we leave this vessel.
After the sperm fertilizes the egg, we go through a maturation process that is identical to the exact number of days of both the maturation of corn from a seed along with the gestation period for a woman to give birth to a child.
The child travels down the birth canal (the tunnel) as the child is brought from darkness to birth (the light). As confirmed through near death experiences, we follow the same process of going through a tunnel and following the light back to Source.
In a grander scheme, this cycle is repeated through seasons and our personal lives from birth to death, proving how our life is simply a mere fractal of the universe, the cosmos and ultimately, of Source.
The Winter solstice falls under the sign of Capricorn, which represents materialism and ego. In astrotheology, this is the time when Jesus (the Sun) indulges in materialism (Capricorn) after leaving his father’s home. It is also the time when Jesus (the Sun) dies on the cross (where the sun remains on the Southern Cross constellation) for three days, only to be reborn again (as the days begin to get longer after this 3 day period).
What religion fails to teach us are the esoteric and occult meanings of the equinoxes and solstices.
Adepts of mystery schools and practitioners of the occult sciences can also attest to the cosmic currents and life force of each season. The following excerpt from Esoteric (Soul) Astrology best explains this process:
While people argue over ethnic sensitivity issues between saying “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays”, the truth dates back much further than its Christian beginnings. The intent of Christmas seems to be the overriding value behind its true, esoteric meaning or its Pagan origin. A symbol or celebration is only as powerful as the intent behind it. While Christmas has become the biggest holiday that supports the corporate world which in turn, lobbies against our civil rights, it also is a time of giving and being with family.