May Day Maypole Dancing

May Day Maypole Dancing

Original Image.

May Day. Mary’s Month, Walpurgis Night, dancing around the May Pole, the start of Summer in some traditions, and a cross quarter day on the solar calendar. Oh, and the communists have tried to co-opt it as a labor celebration. Sorry, not interested in “political” holidays.

What’s a ‘cross quarter day’?

However a less-used parallel system holds that June 21st is actually Midsummer’s Day, which then requires the start of summer to be in early May. This date and three others like it are known as the Cross-Quarter Days, because they are evenly spaced between the fundamental Quarter Days of the Solstices and Equinoxes. The Cross-Quarter Days thus mark the middle of each season under our current system, or seasonal boundaries under the alternative system.

So what is this day? What makes it “special”? Two things. First, it is a ‘cross quarter day’, or 1/2 way between solstice and equinox. Old Celts and Druids held the cross quarter days as more important than the solstice and equinox days in many cases. More importantly, being 1/2 way from the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, it was held to be the official start of Summer. (Modern traditions on when summer starts are more variable, and often based on local weather tendencies. Then there is also that small issue of the bottom 1/2 of the planet ;-)

So there’s a wiki for May Day and it has some interesting points.

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. Many pagan celebrations were abandoned or Christianized during the process of conversion in Europe. A more secular version of May Day continues to be observed in Europe and America. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of the May. Various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on May 1.

The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning.

A fairly typical pattern of western holidays. Largely indirectly tied to the seasons and relative positions of the sun, moon, and earth (including axial tilt). Originating in our firm ties to the cycle of life in the land and farming. Then empires, such as the Roman Empire, bend them to a larger social pattern. Eventually the conversion to Christianity in the Roman Empire and the Catholic Church plants a “Church Holiday” on top of the prior traditions. Finally, a conversion to a ‘secular holiday’ as the political correctness movement tries to stamp out all hint of public faith and tradition.

So what Holiday (from Holy Day…) are we celebrating on May Day? Well, that is up to you. There is a bit of “jitter” in the exact timing (and many religious traditions get all wound up in fighting over minor variations in schedule). Some traditions (like the old Druids) have the “day” beginning at sundown, so start “May Day” on the last day of April at sun down. As I’m near the end of the planetary rotation, my May Day starts when most other folks on the planet are already nearing the end of their day. (So this posting is a day late for many folks). But even there, the ‘drift’ in the formal calendar vs the solar calendar means that we are no longer exactly aligned with the ‘cross quarter day’. So once again we have one of those opportunities for folks to bicker and fuss and divide over exactly when is the Holiday. In truth, it does not matter.

So pick what suits you and your schedule. The “Official Date” for TCOTSC is the ‘cross quarter day’ as observed in a solar calendar. For all practical purposes, it is May 1st. If another day is more convenient for you, no bad thing happens from celebrating May Day / Beltane / Mary’s Month /Flora’s Day / Walpurgis Night a day or two off of the exact solar alignment. The important point is simply to realize that the cold is ending, the warmth is coming, any final snows are nearer the end point of cold and any warm days are harbingers of things to come. In short, it’s a time to party.

So break out the Altar (be it a minimal P.O.B. version or a Delux Webber) prepare a glorious Burnt Offering, pour some generous Wave Offerings (saluting the Re/Ra rising point and the Amen setting point) and give thanks for Carbon and our Carbon Based Life.

Other Traditions

So what were some of the older / other traditions?

Flora is the Roman Goddess of flowering plants, especially those that bear fruit. Spring, of course, is Her season, and She has elements of a Love-Goddess, with its attendant attributes of fertility, sex, and blossoming. She is quite ancient; the Sabines are said to have named a month for Her (which corresponds to our and the Roman April), and She was known among the Samnites as well as the Oscans, where She was called Flusia. She was originally the Goddess specifically of the flowering crops, such as the grain or fruit-trees, and Her function was to make the grain, vegetables and trees bloom so that autumn’s harvest would be good. She was invoked to avert rust, a nasty fungal disease of plants that causes orange growths the exact color of rusting iron, and which was (is) an especial problem affecting wheat. Hers is the beginning of the process that finds its completion with Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit and the Harvest; and like Pomona, Flora had Her own flamen, one of a small number of priests each in service to a specific Deity. The flamens were said to have been instituted by Numa, the legendary second King of Rome who succeeded Romulus; and whether Numa really existed or not, the flamens were undoubtedly of ancient origin, as were the Deities they served.

In later times Flora became the Goddess of all flowering plants, including the ornamental varieties. Her name is related to Latin floris, meaning naturally enough “a flower”, with the additional meaning of “[something] in its prime”; other related words have meanings like “prospering”, “flourishing”, “abounding”, and “fresh or blooming”.

Or in English traditions:

The Three Milkings, or Þrimilci-mōnaþ of the old English.

Roodmas was a Christian Mass celebrated in England at midnight on May 1.

Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a Maypole. Much of this tradition derive from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings).

May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. With Christianity came agricultural feasts such as Plough Sunday (the first Sunday in January), Rogationtide, Harvest Festival and May Day. It is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Since May 1st is the Feast of St Philip & St James, they became the patron saints of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm labourers a day off. Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the Maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons.

So a Feast of St. Philip and St. James, or just a Feast of Fertility and some revelry.

The wiki says “Since the reform of the Catholic Calendar, May 1 is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of workers.” so perhaps it’s St. Joseph… Consult your local Catholic ;-)

Walpurgis – Walpurgisnacht

Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht), the night before May Day, is similar to Halloween in that it has to do with supernatural spirits. And like Halloween, Walpurgisnacht is of pagan origin. The bonfires seen in today’s celebration reflect those pagan origins and the human desire to drive away the winter cold and welcome spring.

Celebrated mainly in Sweden, Finnland, Estonia, Latvia, and Germany, Walpurgisnacht gets its name from Saint Walburga (or Walpurga), a woman born in what is now England in 710. Die heilige Walpurga traveled to Germany and became a nun at the convent of Heidenheim in Württemberg. Following her death in 778 (or 779), she was made a saint, with May 1 as her saint day.

So looks like Bonfires are part of some traditions. Massive salute to Sacred Carbon and the release of dead carbon from wood back into the cycle of life.

Again we see the link between past “pagan” roots in a solar calendar and an overlay with a Christian tradition.

More from the wiki:


May Day has been celebrated in Ireland since pagan times as the feast of Bealtaine and in latter times as Mary’s day. Traditionally, bonfires were lit to mark the coming of summer and to banish the long nights of winter. Officially Irish May Day holiday is the first Monday in May. Old traditions such as bonfires are no longer widely observed, though the practice still persists in some places across the country. Limerick, Clare and many other people in other counties still keep on this tradition.

Again the tradition of bonfires to drive out the last of the winter cold. If you are in a jurisdiction and location that allows for a bonfire, it is a fine way to celebrate the day. If legally or logistically encumbered, even just lighting a candle or kerosene lamp can be a ‘miniature bonfire’…


On May Day, the Romanians celebrate the arminden (or armindeni), the beginning of summer, symbolically tied with the protection of crops and farm animals. The name comes from Slavonic Jeremiinŭ dĭnĭ, meaning prophet Jeremiah’s day, but the celebration rites and habits of this day are apotropaic and pagan (possibly originating in the cult of the god Pan).

The day is also called ziua pelinului (mugwort day) or ziua bețivilor (drunkards’ day) and it is celebrated to insure good wine in autumn and, for people and farm animals alike, good health and protection from the elements of nature (storms, hail, illness, pests). People would have parties in the nature with lăutari (fiddlers), for those who could afford it. There, it is customary to roast and eat lamb, also eat new mutton cheese and drink mugwort-flavoured wine or just red wine to refresh the blood and get protection from diseases. On the way back, the men wear lilac or mugwort flowers on their hats.

In Romania we’ve got the prophet Jeremiah… OK, so the Christian Church was not all that coordinated in planting their folks on top of existing natural festivals…

In the USA things are more mixed. Due to the Communists attempting to co-opt the day as Workers Day it’s not celebrated all that much any more. (It was when I was a kid). Yet some places still do. There is a ‘Green Root’ tradition with some Pagans celebrating and some left wing folks with a ‘red root’ tradition doing the Workers Day thing. There was even an official “Law Day” poke at the USSR (that near as I can tell went nowhere). But the one I like most is Hawaii:


In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day, and it is normally set aside as a day to celebrate island culture in general and native Hawaiian culture in particular. Invented by poet and local newspaper columnist Eric Kosciuszko in the 1920s, it has since been adopted by state and local government, as well as local residents, and has taken on the sense of a general spring celebration. The first official Lei Day was proposed in 1927 in Honolulu by poet and artist Don Blanding. Leonard “Red” and Ruth Hawk composed “May Day Is Lei Day in Hawai’i”, the traditional holiday song. Originally it was a contemporary fox trot, later rearranged as the Hawaiian hula song performed today.

So, to recycle an old joke, looks like it’s a good day to get lei’ed. ;-) At least in Hawaii…

Core Meaning

But the core meaning of the day has not changed. Through empires and churches and communists and more.

It is a celebration of the ending of cold and the arrival of warmth.
(in some cases “real soon now” ;-)

A celebration of life.

So get out there and start celebrating if you haven’t already!

For many Hispanics, they celebrate on the 3rd of May as Fiesta de las Cruces that has a root back in the pagans and the Roman / Byzantine Empire transition to Christianity.

Religiously, the festival is rooted in the search by the Byzantine Empress Saint Helena for the cross on which Jesus died, but the popular traditions connected to the festival certainly originate from pagan traditions brought to Spain by the Roman Empire (see May Day).

The legend is that Emperor Constantine I, in the sixth year of his reign, confronted the barbarians on the banks of the Danube, in a battle where victory was believed to be impossible because of the great size of the enemy army. One night, Constantine had a vision of a cross in the sky, and by it the words “In hoc signo vincis” (With this sign, you shall be victorious). The emperor had a cross made and put it at the front of his army, which won an easy victory over the enemy multitude. On returning to the city and learning the significance of the cross, Constantine was baptized as a Christian and gave orders to construct Christian churches. He sent his mother, Saint Helena, to Jerusalem in search of the True Cross, the cross on which Jesus died.

In short, it doesn’t matter much if you start your celebration on April 30th, or May 1st, or even May 3rd. It doesn’t even matter if you are celebrating the end of the cold and the coming warmth, the position of the sun at a cross quarter day, or a ‘patron saint’. What matters is that this is a day to be in touch with life. To recognize the cycle of times. That we are a product of the Creator Force, powered through the life force from the sun, via a carbon cycle. The beginning of the new explosion of life as spring turns to summer.

Southern Hemisphere Note

There is an interesting problem with most holidays. They come from a northern hemisphere root and perspective. So what to do? Again, it is for the individual to choose. Those who follow a cultural based tradition will stay ‘in sync’ with the above pattern. Those who choose to stay aligned with the original and seasonal cycles will instead be celebrating a different day. Samhain (pronounced Sow-een). Yes, Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the night before November 1st or Samhain. It is still a time for bonfires and celebration, but now it is the last warmth of Summer / Fall turning to the arrival of Winter.

Catholics planted “All Saint’s Day” on November 1st, so it’s also a Christian celebration.

You still hear people doubt it, even when you show them that Halloween is All-Hallows’-Eve which is the night-before-All-Saints’- Day. Some tell me they understand that Halloween pranks were a post-Reformation contribution to plague Catholics who kept the vigil of All Saints. Now it is possible that Halloween was abused for such a purpose; nevertheless, during all the Christian centuries up until the simplification of the Church calendar in 1956, it was a liturgical vigil in its own right and thus has a reason for being. Learning this, one pious lady of our acquaintance was heard to say: “Oh, I’m so glad to know that. I was about to write my congressman and suggest the whole thing be outlawed.”

A celebration much like our Halloween, with bonfires and feasting on apples and nuts and harvest fruits, was part of pagan worship for centuries. The Britons celebrated in honor of their sun-god with bonfires, a tribute to the light that brought them abundant harvest. At the same time they saluted Samhain, their “lord of death,” who was thought to gather together at last the souls of the year’s dead which had been consigned to the bodies of animals in punishment for their sins. The Romans celebrated the same kind of festival at this time in honor of their goddess Pomona, a patroness of fruits and gardens. Whether the Church “baptized” these customs or chose this season for her feasts of the dead independent of them, their coincidence shows again how alike men are when they seek God and His ways, give praise, use the language of symbols to express the inexpressible.

It was in the eighth century that the Church appointed a special date for the feast of All Saints, followed by a day in honor of her soon-to-be saints, the feast of All Souls. She chose this time of year, it is supposed, because in her part of the world it was the time of barrenness on the earth. The harvest was in, the summer done, the world brown and drab and mindful of death. Snow had not yet descended to comfort and hide the bony trees or blackened fields; so with little effort man could look about and see a meditation on death and life hereafter.

Apparently how you spent the vigil of All Saints depended on where you lived in Christendom. In Brittany the night was solemn and without a trace of merriment. On their “night of the dead” and for forty-eight hours thereafter, the Bretons believed the poor souls were liberated from Purgatory and were free to visit their old homes. The vigil for the souls, as well as the saints, had to be kept on this night because of course the two days were consecutive feasts — and a vigil is never kept on a feast.

So since the cross quarter days are symmetrical and since the holiday schedule is both Pagan and Christian (and in cycle with nature) it does not really matter which schedule you choose to follow. If in doubt (for example, for folks on the Equator) one could choose to celebrate both Samhain and Beltane on the same day. In truth, what we are celebrating is the great Cycle Of Carbon Life, that it aligns with other traditions is largely a convenience. We are all in the same solar driven cycles, we are all faced with the beginning, growth, decline, and death cycle of spring, summer, fall and winter. So “call it what you will”, it is all the same reality. We don’t really need to ‘break it up’ into 8 pieces (equinox, solstice, cross quarter days) with special meanings. Those are just to give us a special awareness of a given state of the cycle of life. It is the whole cycle that is being recognized and celebrated at each point.

In Conclusion

We are at the end of one part of the cycle, the start of the next. Take a moment to realize that transition, and our transitory nature in life. “This life is not a dress rehearsal. Take Big Bites!” (Perhaps a quote from me, or I might have picked it up somewhere.) So celebrate, liberate some Sacred Carbon, and enjoy the warmth!

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Atomic Presbyters

Religions love to use unusual words to describe themselves. What is the root meaning of “catholic” or “presbyterian”? Notice those are lower case? I’m not talking about the religions. I’m talking about the pedestrian words. Similarly, the word atomic has come to mean almost entirely things powered by nuclear reactions. Yet it has a root in άτομο meaning the individual person or what can not be further divided.

Yes, words change over time (and between languages). Yet it often preserves history and understanding better when we look at the roots of words. From where did our names for things come?

In many ways, they come from the tendency of people to get grumpy at each other and desire to toss each other out of their club. In other ways, it comes from our desires to grasp after power (on the part of some) and our desire to be lazy and let someone else tell us what to think (on the part of others). So we divide into “leaders” and “followers”, sometimes just for convenience or due to sloth. Supposedly our “leaders” are our betters in some way or some topic area. All too often they are only “better” and grasping the levers of power and self aggrandizement. Yet we can’t be everywhere at all times and we can’t be experts in all things. So we like to think we are ‘delegating’ some area of responsibility. The M.D. spends a decade getting to be a good doctor, far more than I could. The Minister spends hours every week (or even every day) in Bible Study. Me? I’ve got dinner to cook and work to do.

Yet an individual can know more than their M.D. about ONE disease. When the individual finds they have some particular diagnosis, they can, and often do, spend more time on that one disease then their M.D. has spent in their entire career. On of my M.D.s that I liked most was a black woman. (I mention that simply to point out how good she had to be to have become an M.D. in a time before quotas and favoritism. She retired several years ago.) WHY was she so good? More than once, I’d show up with a slightly unusual complaint. I’d have ‘done my homework’ and usually would show up saying “Patient presents with apparent rosacea and…” (I worked as a medical records technician for a few years…) but when I did NOT have it ‘figured out’, it usually was not simple and there were ‘loose ends’. I’d “present my patient history”. Some times she would just say “It’s FOO.” But other times, much to my delight, she would say: ~”Well, that’s interesting. Just a minute, I need to look something up.” She would take a minute in her office, and once brought a very thick book back with her to read a bit while looking at some part of me, in alternation. She was “becoming an expert” on some minor aspect of what I had. Since I already knew a lot about my ONE disease, she would learn more. And was not bashful about it. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, I can not remember a single wrong diagnosis from her nor a single rushed “it’s the usual”…

The point here is just that each of us is an expert on something. Collectively, we can do more and learn more than any one individual; yet delegating too much to those too unsuited to it is the root cause of much grief. Empires are comfortable, until they become tyrannical oppressors. Authority is useful, until it is woefully wrong or indifferent to your particular needs. So we create power structures, that then tend to become self serving instead of serving the people. That dynamic is reflected in the history of religions and of their names.

One of the “big decisions” in any religion is how the hierarchy of authority is structured. It has been the root cause of religious wars for generations. The Protestants revolting against the Catholic mandates of uniformity are still with us in some parts of Ireland, even to this day. So what do the various religion names tell us about them? For Christianity, most often it tells us about the internal arguments over “who decides”. (But it is not just Christians. Jews have Orthodox vs Reformed vs… and the Muslims have sects based on which “leaders” decide what the Koran means. It’s a fundamental property of people.)

Here are my rough explanations of some of the various names, and some snide remarks on my part about “attitude”.

Catholic – basic meaning is “universal”. They are staking out the position that there is ONE Christian church, theirs, and if you are not in it, you are not a valid Christian. Lately there has been a bit of loosening in that they recognize others as Christians, but just a bit lost, and even allow that they might allow communion for some particular denominations. There is an effort to ‘reunify’ some of the various churches, and the Catholic Church is angling to get them back inside the Catholic fold. There is a formal distinction between ‘excommunicated’ and ‘schismatic’ and a few other terms. Great import is attached to ‘name calling’ of other sects into “apostate” vs “schismatic” vs… establishing degrees of distance and rejection from “The One”…

Orthodox – Seen in both the Orthodox Eastern Church and the Orthodox Coptics. Sometimes also seen as “Orthodox Catholic Church” and “Greek Orthodox Church”. Orthodox means “right” (as in correct). So they are saying “Hey, we are the ones who have it right.” For the Jewish Orthodox, they also mean “We have it right, and it is a strict following of the Old Testament.” The “Orthodox Catholic” now becomes “The only ones who have it right”. Nice touch, that…

The ‘3 way split’ between those churches largely comes out of which Apostle went where and started what churches. So another term gets added. Apostolic. An Apostolic Church is claiming a direct lineage back to one of the Apostles. So the Catholics have St. Peter’s Square and are really fond of The Apostle Peter. Then those other 11 Apostles? What about their authority? Crickets… Oddly, there are Christian Churches in India that claim to have roots in one of the Apostles (Thomas, per the Gnostic texts) that ran off to India (and they are likely correct. The “facts on the ground” indicate an antiquity that is about right, and so do their documents.) My favorite, though, is this one:

The Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian: Հայ Առաքելական Սուրբ Եկեղեցի, Hay Aṙak̕elakan Surb Ekeġec̕i) is the world’s oldest national church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in AD 301, in establishing this church. The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church claims to trace its origins to the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century and is an early center of Christianity.

It is sometimes referred to as the Gregorian Church but this name is not preferred by the church itself, as it views the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus as its founders, and St. Gregory the Illuminator as merely the first official governor of the church.

So in terms of “Authority” does being FIRST and having not one, but TWO Apostles make this The ONE and the RIGHT? Hmmm? That’s the problem you run into with “credential wars” and one-upmanship.

Gnostics – They get around this by just saying “We know“. Gnosis meaning ‘knowing’. Their general idea is that anyone can “just know”, so you don’t need that whole “Catholic Hierarchy” and all. Needless to say, the other big churches were not keen on folks running around saying “We don’t need them!”, and ruthlessly attached and stamped out the Gnostics wherever they could (back in about 300-400 AD). Called “heretical” by the Catholics (even ‘worse’ than being excommunicated and far worse than schismatic…) for ‘failing’ to recognize The One Authority. As The Catholics were somewhat dominated by Roman Empire then, I’m fond of my copy of the Gnostic Bible (with the Gospel of Thomas that is not in the Catholic Cannon) and of my copy of the Nag Hammadi Library with similar books in it. While most of the formation of the Cannon by The Roman Catholic Church was a decent job, they made some choices, as to what books to toss, on what seems to be more political grounds. I’m glad to have some of those “tossers” for my own decision making…

There is a myth or tradition confined to a Christian sect in Kerala that he reached as far as India in his travels whereas historically, his presence is not traced beyond Iran and Balochistan. The apocryphal text called the Acts of Thomas clearly mentions that the apostle St Thomas went from Palestine eastwards to a desert-like country where people were “ Mazdei” (the followers of Ahura Mazda ie the Zoroastrians) and have Persian names. The Church Fathers Clement of Alexandra, Origen and Eusebius confirm explicitly that St Thomas settled in “Parthia”, a part of the Iranian world.

The Acts of Thomas records that Judas Thomas landed at Andropolis after a short sea journey, a royal city somewhere to the east of Jerusalem. Andropolis has been identified as Sandaruck, one of the ancient Alexandrias, in Balochistan. The geographical term “India” has been used only twice in the whole text of the Acts of Thomas, and it is used as a synonym for Asia.

Yet there are churches in India that claim they were founded by Thomas…

From the Orthodox Syrian Church:

Apostle St. Thomas reached ‘Muziri in AD 51-52 from the northern part of Indian peninsula visiting many inland-countries and sharing the Gospel in many places as you see the imprints. Perhaps, one reason of selecting the southern coast was flourishing Jewish settlements in along the coast in Kodungallur, Cochin, madras etc., which date back to the Jewish Diaspora or even back to King Solomon’s trading centres. Another reason was the flourishing Roman trade links.

“The Apostle St. Thomas landed at Maliankara (i.e Cranganore) with Habban, the merchant. He (St. Thomas) worked great miracles and in eight months established in that town, the Church of Jesus Christ. Then he went to Mailepuram (Mylapore – Madras) where he preached the Gospel of the Lord for four months and a half and embarked for China. He remained in China for four and a half months and returned to Mailepuram. After he had been there for a month a so, the son – in- law of the King of ‘Tiruvanchikulam’ come to him and besought him to return to Malabar. They embarked on a ship and come to Maliankara (Kodungallore), where, in less than six months, the Apostle converted the King and his family, 40 Jews and 400 heathens.

There’s a pretty long history at that link.

So right off the bat, one thing to notice is that by denying the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas and casting aspersions on the history of Indian Christianity as reported by those Indian Christians, the Catholic Church has created a ‘schism’ of it’s own. There is a very long history attached with this, so I’ll only briefly mention it now. Nestorianism.

Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius’s studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus. Nestorius’ teachings brought him into conflict with some other prominent church leaders, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who criticized especially his rejection of the title Theotokos (“Bringer forth of God”) for the Virgin Mary. Nestorius and his teachings were eventually condemned as heretical at the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451, leading to the Nestorian Schism in which churches supporting Nestorius broke with the rest of the Christian Church. Afterward many of Nestorius’ supporters relocated to Sassanid Persia, where they affiliated with the local Christian community, known as the Church of the East. Over the next decades the Church of the East became increasingly Nestorian in doctrine, leading it to be known alternately as the Nestorian Church.

The ‘short form’ of this is that the Catholics were asserting the Trinity. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” as a key element of The Christ. Nestorians were more from the idea that God is god and made Jesus as special, but Jesus was a human just like us. A special one, but still, one that lived and died.

Most likely, Mohammed taught a Nestorian version of Christianity (since he was learning it in the time and place where it was common) and the vehemence of Islam against Christians stems from their adherence to the notion of “Jesus was just a human prophet” and that the Koran stresses that the Trinity is a false teaching. (Islam now asserts that the Bible used by Mohammad has been lost, and current Bibles are corrupt, so only the Koran matters. In reality, Nestorian Bibles are still widely available.)

But this is, at it’s core, just another argument over “Who decides?”. The Roman Catholic Pope? Nestor? Some Imam in Persia deciding to reject the Nestorian / Syriac Bibles?


Back in Europe…

The Protestants clearly are named for protesting. Protesting The One authority of the Catholics.

It is a movement that is widely seen as beginning in Germany with The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 as a reaction against medieval doctrines and practices, especially in regard to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology. The doctrines of the over 33,000 Protestant denominations vary, but most include justification by grace through faith alone, known as Sola Gratia and Sola Fide respectively, the priesthood of all believers, and the Bible as the supreme authority in matters of faith and morals, known as Sola Scriptura, Latin for “by scripture alone”.

At the time, the Catholics were claiming a monopoly on access to heaven and you pretty much needed to do what they told you to do or you were in Deep Doo. They asserted this extended to Kings as well. The Protestants basically said “Wait a minute! That’s not what Christ said…”

Lutherans are named for Martin Luther who pretty much touched off this whole thing in the Germanic parts of Europe, where Lutherans are pretty much found (along with the USA) to this day.

But a whole zoo of other Protestants sects have popped up over the centuries. They all reach back to this theme as their justification, though. The whole: “Popes. Popes? We don’t need no Steeenking Popes!” moment. That anyone can read the Bible and figure it out for themselves. We don’t need some legacy Roman Empire Hierarchy controlling the gates of heaven, nor demanding a tithe and submission. (Shades of “islam”, that also means submission…)

Needless to say, the Catholics have not been fond of that whole “Do your own thing” and “We don’t need you” attitude. That’s why in a Catholic Mass you are not allowed to take communion if you are not a Catholic. See, they think you are not One With Christ if you are not approved by their hierarchy. (Other churches are much more accepting, and in all protestant churches that I’ve attended, anyone can take communion. Though do ask, as some have special meanings. Near as I can tell, the Jehovah’s Witnesses pass around the grape juice and wafers but nobody takes a sip unless they are making a new statement of joining… To ‘take communion’ is to make a new statement of acceptance of Christ and (I’m a bit unsure of this part) accepting membership with them (perhaps). There was a lot of ‘expectant watching’ as the plate was passed around, but not a lot of sipping…)

Any church that says “We are not derived from an Apostle, but are founded on The Book itself and our own reading / revelation” is following a Protestant ideal. (Though exactly which books are in the books is a bit of another issue…)

If any of this sounds “anti-Catholic” is isn’t. Dad was a Catholic and my Mom converted later in life. I’m pretty sure I was hauled off to be blessed and baptized as an infant. (Though by the time catechism came around we lived on the far side of town, mom didn’t drive, so we walked to the nearest protestant church. I was raised going to Southern Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and the occasional visits to the Catholic and Mormon churches. Even the odd Presbyterian and others. Baptized again as Southern Baptist at 12.) It is more just the sound of someone raised close to Catholic culture. I’ve spent time at Catholic deaf services and the spouse attends mass most Sundays (and is likely to start the “becoming a Catholic” classes soon). It is just recognizing the nature of a Roman Hierarchy for what it is, and reporting how people reacted. My own comparison of the Catholic cannon of books with the other choices mostly has found they did a pretty good job. I’d quibble over some, but not in a big way. Frankly, if they still did the mass in Latin, odds are I’d be attending.

Back at the 1500’s A.D.:

The Catholics were pretty much “The One” and P.O.ed the King of England. In 1538 in the reign of King Henry VIII. Seems he wanted a divorce and The Pope said that was, er, not allowed. So The King decided HE could be ‘the decider’, and split off the Anglican Church (that basically says “Church of England” where my Mom was raised). One thing had been a bit of mystery to me for a while. The American Episcopalian Church. Yes, they ‘broke off’ from the Anglicans, but why “Episcopal”?

Well, episcopal is another name for Bishop. It is basically saying that “The Local Bishop can decide”. That, IMHO, is also part of why in America we have had a new Anglican Rite church pop up. One of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church decided to do “Same Sex Marriages” and the more “scripture driven” folks decided they were not keen on that. So the church has split over that “issue” at the level of Bishops. Now, if your very name says “individual Bishops” can decide, it’s a bit hard to argue they can’t…

Moving on…

So what’s with this whole Presbyterian thing? What’s a “presbyter”?

Presbyter (Greek πρεσβύτερος, presbuteros: “elder”, or “priest” in Christian usage) in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, then often not clearly distinguished from episkopos, presbyter referring to ordinary priests or elders and episkopos referring exclusively to the full order or office of bishop. In modern usage, it is thus distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest and pastor. In mainline Protestant usage, the term is however not seen as referring to a member of the priesthood and terms such as minister, pastor and elder are used.

Any elder or priest can set up a church and decide things. “Bishops. Bishops? We don’t… ”

And so it goes…

There are more ‘flavors’ and sects of various religions than I could hope to list. (Nor do I wish to list them). But I think understanding the nature of Church Authority and how given denominations parcel out authority on doctrine and decisions is enlightening. There are Authoritarian and Hierarchical structures in some, others are disbursed and localized. (Some with disbursed heritage, coping with unwelcome divergence and splitting. Look at the number of flavors of Baptists. Who, BTW, are named for their full immersion Baptism.)

And what about The Church Of The Sacred Carbon?

While “official doctrine” comes only from me, and I think it ought to be minimal; the general structure is “atomic” in the original sense of “individual” and “presbyter” based. So any individual is empowered to read the same books and do the same investigations of life and come to their own, individual, conclusions about “what is right”. ( The ULC doctrine is “Do that which is right”, with which I agree.)

There are hundreds of examples (thousands? millions?) of cases where individuals have simply decided on their own to ignore some particular bit of Church Dogma. From the millions of Catholic Women using birth control, to the Jew who has a ham sandwich from time to time ( I’ve known some: “It’s only a minor sin, and is forgiven at sundown… I think I can make it to sundown ;-)” was once presented to me when I asked…) How many of us follow Leviticus to the letter? See “Ultra Orthodox Jews”… (and even they sometimes miss a few bits…)

So why even start down that “strict rules” path knowing that in reality we are each empowered by nature to have “Free Will”? What use is “Free Will” if using it gets you beat about the head and shoulders with angst, anger, attacks, excommunication, and even physical assault? (That “stoning” given in the Bible and Koran…) So Sacred Carbon Church doctrine is one that recognizes Free Will as supreme. Every individual (atom) has the right, and duty, to decide for themselves what they will accept for themselves. They do not have the right to decide for others. You can encourage others. You can work to common acceptance. Parents have the authority to direct the acts of their children, but at the end of the day, even the child will either accept “that which is right” on their own, or find a new path. Eventually we all outgrow our parents and decide for ourselves.

Yet there is a place for the wisdom of elders. (Presbyters). So folks are encouraged to grow and develop their understanding over time. While each individual is responsible for their own Free Will, and their own identification of “that which is right” and acceptance of it; others have trod those paths before. Looking to them for guidance as to “what didn’t work so well” vs “that was a good choice” is a simple wisdom.

In matters of specific Church Dogma, I’m the present presbyter for The Church Of The Sacred Carbon. Partly I’m asserting that privilege simply to assure that Dogma stays absolutely minimal. To the extent there isn’t an official Dogma on some point, the individual is forced to introspection. and consultation with presbyters. That’s a good thing.

So we have a generalized burnt offering and wave offering. A loose communion based on sharing of that ritual and offering. A respect for ancient Wisdom Texts and Wisdom Teachings. A clear appreciation of Sacred Carbon as the vehicle by which the sun’s energy and the life energy Gift Of The Creator Force comes to us. An expectation that trapped dead carbon in things like coal, wood, and oil are best returned to the Cycle Of Life and encouragement to use them in the Offering and Communion (and any other activity of life – as they are the bringers of life), and a respect for the rites and rituals of others. Beyond that, there is not a lot of dogma. (Though I may add more over time). Plus the overall ULC doctrine of “Do that which is right”.

That puts us in alignment with the protestant ethic of ‘anyone can read the books’, but just with a larger suite of books. And without any need for a “schism” if a couple of folks resolve internal conflicts between them in a different way. We also have an attitude of gnosis in that we think anyone can come to know, all on their own. (Though help from others makes it a whole lot easier!)

If YOU decide that the Burt Offering ought to be offered daily, or even 3 times a day, instead of just one day a week, that that is dogma for you and must be obeyed. It is a mandate of your individual church aspect. It is valid to claim “it is dogma that I must have a burnt offering now” if you have decided that it must be done. You are an atomic presbyter of your own Free Will.

If YOU decide that following strict Torah Law is necessary for your soul, then that is your dogma from your Free Will. If some aspect of The Church Of The Sacred Carbon conflicts with the Torah, it is for you to resolve (though I can’t think of any conflicts. We allow pork, but do not require it, and accept Kosher as preferred.)

If YOU decide that the Catholic Rite is essential for your soul, and that following Papal Decrees matters, then that is your dogma from The Church of You. It is, in essence, saying that the Chief Presbyter (elder) in your understanding is The Pope and that is where authority on most matters rests. Just realize that it is a function of your Free Will to make that choice.

As things move forward, I’ll be presenting some items of Wisdom Texts from many sources. That does not make those things Church Dogma. It makes them Wisdom Teachings. So, for example, the Leviticus laws on Kosher are in fact wise teachings. They will help you to avoid many diseases and illnesses. That recognition does not make them mandatory (but does make them wise). Similarly, the New Testament recognition that many of the old Leviticus Laws might not need to apply has some wisdom in it too. (There’s an interesting circumlocution to dodge Leviticus by Christians that I’ll not go into here). Do we really need to follow Bronze Age food preparation methods in this millennium? Is community stoning really the “that which is right” for modern justice? So you are invited to “pick and chose” among the Wisdom Teachings using your own Free Will and the discernment of your soul in finding “that which is right”. The Wisdom Texts are just written forms of ‘presbyter’ consultations.

In Conclusion

Hopefully this brief trip down “faction lane” helps to illuminate the ways that religions fracture and divide over details of dogma, and illuminates why “minimal dogma” is one of our foundation stones. It also illuminates an important aspect of the “hierarchical attractions of power” and why we have instead a “bottoms up” authority.

Each of us is possessed of Free Will. Even Catholics clearly are practicing it, even while officially bound to Papal Mandates. Each of us must choose for ourselves “that which is right” on a daily basis, and without consulting a presbyter on every item. That’s just a reality. Yet there are others who have traveled the road of life before us, who have written Wisdom Texts. There are ‘elders’ alive today who can help us to solve the problems of our lives. We can all be an ‘elder’ on some point or other (it’s not an age thing, though age gives time that can help find answers through more searching) as we all have “mutual superiority”. Just like on some particular detail of my health, I can be more “studied” than my M.D. while they are clearly superior to me on most of the rest of medicine. So use that Free Will and use those ‘elders’ to help solve life’s problems. Both for yourself, and for others.

The foundation of authority over your life is you, and no one else. Others may assert physical dominance over you, even to imprisonment. That does not mean they have authority over what you think, feel, believe, or even how you choose to enjoy your life. Milankovitch spent years in a prison during one of the wars. He used that time to work out the long calculations of his theory. He did not see confinement as preventing him finding joy in life nor doing his life’s work. He took authority over his life, despite others and despite circumstances. We all face various adversities and disappointments in life. It is up to each of us to find the good in this life for ourselves.

Take some time for yourself, and introspection. Look to find that which is good and right for you, now and here. No circumstance and no external authority can remove that right from you. You are your own ‘atomic presbyter’.

So with that, please join in The Burt Offering, and The Wave Offering, and the Communion in sharing. On whichever Sabbath day (or days) you identify as “that which is right”. (Yesterday, I had lamb shish kabobs). There is no need to argue over the Torah identification of Friday, or the Roman Catholic move to Sunday, or the Seventh Day Adventist position that it is Saturday. That is pedantry and dogma that does not help. The Sabbath day(s) are those that work for you, in your Free Will choices.

For me, I’m off to fire up the Altar Fires and prepare the burn offering and the wave offering. Welcome to our life in Sacred Carbon and sharing with others the roots of our life, and our common humanity.

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Of Sky Gods and Legends

The author of this video, and the related book, subscribes to a belief that the planets once wandered the sky in a different way. While I can not find a way to “make the physics work out”, we also know that orbits are not stable. The Moon, for example, is slowly leaving the Earth. Might the solar system once have had, say, Mars as a moon of Jupiter or Saturn? Or Venus as such a moon? One that escaped (as they eventually do; and as planets escape suns…) and went rushing past us on the way to the present orbit?

Like I said, I can’t make the physics work. That but could just be my limitation.

There are still some remarkable “connections” between ancient cultures “gods” and symbols cataloged over the length of the video.

They have more videos on their ‘channel’ and I’m going to explore a few to see if they ought to be added here.

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Et tu Utu? Marduk AMAR.UTU

In the prior posting, we looked at the origin of the One God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the prior One God of ancient Egypt. Aten as the sun disk and/or Amun-Ra as the combined daytime visible solar presence and the unseen nighttime solar existence. Exploring the simple realization that “One God” was a preexisting concept in Egypt prior to the time when Moses lead the Exodus. That the conversion from worship of Baal to YHWH, the unseen One God, was consistent with a conversion to Amun or Amen as the unseen One God, both in time and in nature. (Early Jewish priestly paraphernalia also includes ‘sun’ imagery).

If we look back a bit further, back to Babylon, we find yet more “Sun God” and sun imagery.

Sun God and the Chaos Monster

Sun God and the Chaos Monster

Original image

The wiki captions this picture:

Marduk, sun god of Babylon, with his thunderbolts pursues Anzu after Anzu stole the Tablets of Destiny.

Which the wiki itself admonishes ought to be ‘The tablet of Destinies’… but who needs foolish consistency ;-)

Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian UD 𒌓 “Sun”, Assyro-Babylonian Shamash “Sun”) is the Sun god in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal. His brother and sisters are Ishkur and the twins Inanna and Ereshkigal.

Utu is the god of the sun, justice, application of law, and the lord of truth.
He is usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw. It is thought that every day, Utu emerges from a mountain in the east, symbolizing dawn, and travels either via chariot or boat across the Earth, returning to a hole in a mountain in the west, symbolizing sunset. Every night, Utu descends into the underworld to decide the fate of the dead. He is also depicted as carrying a mace, and standing with one foot on a mountain. It’s symbol is “sun rays from the shoulders, and or sun disk or a saw”.

The sun god is only modestly mentioned in Sumerian mythology with one of the notable exceptions being the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the myth, Gilgamesh seeks to establish his name with the assistance of Utu, because of his connection with the cedar mountain. Gilgamesh and his father, Lugalbanda were kings of the first dynasty of Uruk, a lineage that Jeffrey H. Tigay suggested could be traced back to Utu himself. He further suggested that Lugalbanda’s association with the sun-god in the Old Babylonian version of the epic strengthened “the impression that at one point in the history of the tradition the sun-god was also invoked as an ancestor”.

Marduk is spelled AMAR.UTU in Sumerian, literally, “the calf of Utu” or “the young bull of the Sun”.

Marduk is seen frequently in Babylonian records where new kings would often claim that Marduk was wanting them to take over… Some things never change…

If you look around the ancient world, there are a great many “Sun Gods”.

This page has a very long list of ‘sun symbolism’:

From 9th century B.C. we have ‘the winged sun’, that shows up all over the ancient (and sometimes the modern) world:

Winged Sun 9th century B.C.

Winged Sun 9th century B.C.

The Hebrews too (though they feel compelled to discount the meaning):

From ca. the 8th century BC, it appears on Hebrew seals, by now as a generic symbol for “power”. One example is a seal where the winged sun is flanked by two Ankh symbols and a Hebrew inscription translating to “possession of Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Juda”. Numerous pottery finds dating to the same time bear the symbol together with the inscription lemelekh “king’s [property]”.

Compare also Malachi 4:2, referring to a winged “Sun of righteousness”,

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings… (KJV)

As an aside, several Biblical stories have a remarkable similarity to Babylonian stores from much earlier. Noah and the Flood is largely Gilgamesh.

But all this just leaves the question of who borrowed what from whom…

The Hebrews “spent time” in Babylon. They also spent time in Egypt. Each of these had symbols and mythologies that show up in the later religious records of the Hebrews. Coincidence?

IMHO, it is mostly just showing that when in comes to people in the Levant and into Egypt: “They’ve Met”. There isn’t a lot of purity of culture in an area where the history is one of massive flowing of armies back and forth over the whole area. Kings and Pharaohs coming and going, religious shrines being torn down, and new ones put up (or just recycled…)

So is there some “common thread” that likely is behind this Sun Worship stuff?

I think the answer is yes. That hidden Creator Force / One God. We see images of a sun, and think they were literally worshiping the physical sun. Yet we forget that most religion is just chock full of symbols and allegory. The sun is a vehicle through which the One God creation and One God creator force flows to the rest of the solar system. To recognize that it is a great power, and dramatically important to life, is to recognize that fact.

Look again at that list of attributes for Utu.
“Utu is the god of the sun, justice, application of law, and the lord of truth.”

Anyone really think that hot ball of light in the sky shouts out “lord of truth”? Or “application of law”?

This is symbology. Nobody was confused and thinking that the physical sun was walking around on the planet in the form of a human being. They were projecting human attributes onto a symbol. One that was based on the physical manifestation of the real power of the universe, from creation to the birth of new life and powering our existence. The thing being praised “as God” was not a humanized sun, nor even the physical sun, but the embodiment of the power of creation as it flows through that sun, and to us.

We, then, pick up that same power via plants and the animals that eat plants and that same process, the power of the creator, flows into us and into our lives via the vehicle of carbon. So say carbon is sacred, or that the sun is sacred, is different from saying they ARE a humanoid god. It is my belief that where we have “got it wrong” is that we are seeing the ancient symbols of the sun, and even references to a Sun God, as literal, when they are symbolic. Ancient religions were full of “mystery teachings”, where the “top message” was often a very simple “dumbed down” version. Occasionally even a deliberately misleading one. So now, with a few bits of stone, or some carvings in clay, or a story on a tablet, we expect to “get it” on the entire package of a Mystery Teaching? When very often the most sacred wisdom is specifically NOT to be written down, and never to be given out to the masses?

It just looks like we are buying the ‘top story’ and not seeing the wisdom behind things. The unification of understanding. Those ancients were just as bright as we are today. They “got it” that the sun powers the world. They knew that there was some deeper creation that they could not see, nor explain (nor BTW, can we, today – just where did ‘The Big Bang’ come from? What was before it?…) So they recognized that there was a creator force / God that made all this happen. They also recognized that the means of delivery of that creation and power to us was via the Sun, and that our lives depended on it. Not exactly a ‘hard call’ to say a few words in favor of the power of the Sun. Yet it clearly also is far more than “hot ball of gas”. Justice? Truth? Those are the properties of the deeper mysteries.

This sun symbology carries forward into Christianity and Judaism even to today.

Unfortunately, when it comes to religion, the emphasis is often on fracturing and dividing, not on integrating and synthesizing. Finding reasons to reject, not to embrace. So the example pages here will have a negative tone. Asserting it is an evil thing. To me, it is not an evil thing at all. It is seeing the true roots of our origins and recognizing that the actual flows of energy and truth were known from long ago.

So, were the symbols reused just from familiarity? As an “homage” to the prior beliefs? As a “mystery teaching” recognizing the foundation of reality? Or just without even thinking? Does it really matter?

Personally, I find the “unification” that comes from the realization of the common root of several major religions in one truth to be an energizing and liberating thing. There are simple reasons why these then get treated as fractious, but that doesn’t me we must do so.

Take, for example, the Bible clearly saying that Baal was to be rejected and YHWH was to be worshiped without idols. Does that mean The Sun is now The Devil? Or just that perhaps there was an effort to get folks to look beyond the symbols of the Creator Force, and see that the “unseen” was the real God? To look one more ‘connection’ up stream.

Baal, also rendered Baʿal (Biblical Hebrew בעל, pronounced [ˈbaʕal]), is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning “master” or “lord” that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu. A Baalist or Baalite means a worshipper of Baal.

“Baʿal” can refer to any god and even to human officials. In some texts it is used for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of “Baʿal” refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images, each called baʿal and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a “false god”.

The Baal cult provided the greatest and most enduring threat to the exclusive worship of Yahweh among ancient Israelites.

Many of those “local spirit-deities” were “Sun Gods”. In short, we are back at the struggle between Aten – the visible sun disk; and Amun / Amen – the unseen.

The ancient Hebrews were trying to get folks to look beyond the visible, and into the deeper mystery.

So this link starts off with the creation of an ‘identity’ of sun=devil and then rails against various uses of a “Sun Symbol” by Jews. But what if the Sun does not equal the Devil? What if the sun is just a manifestation of The Creator Force and you don’t need to demonize the Creation nor the flow of Life Energy to get folks to look a bit deeper into the mysteries of the universe? Maybe then having a bit of Sun Symbol isn’t such an evil thing. Just a recognition of the “roots” of the wisdom in the ancient Amun-Ra / Aten / Amen / Utu / {whatever} recognition that the One God made all this stuff and the sun is a very important part of the machinery that is used to get our life force to us. Doesn’t take anything away from YHWH to recognize how the deed is done.

It’s all about the hats

The kipa is one of Judaism’s most sacred items. A man can not go into a synagogue to worship God without one. Many believers, both Jewish and Gentile, wear the kipa to identify with the Jewish People. This is why I wore one for 14 years. It was more of a need on my part, because I saw it as what religious Jews were supposed to look like. But the Holy Spirit led me to see its pagan origin and symbolism, and I removed it.

We are to be an example to our People in the Way that they should go (Jeremiah 15:19). Where is any biblical basis for the wearing of the kipa? I have no problem with the woman’s head covering for modesty and submission to authority, or a man wearing a hat, etc., but the kipa is different. It is a religious symbol in and of itself. And what it symbolizes I have come to see is the sun, the sun god, and his followers. The sun god is none other than Satan himself. (1) We have no place with them even if it means ‘separating’ from what our People think. For they are to follow us, not us them. We are to walk in His Truth.

There is no place in Scripture to imply that the Jewish People had the kipa at the time of Moses or King David or Ezra. It is certainly a Jewish tradition but it has no biblical basis, and it is of pagan origin. If one says that the kipa is like the bonnet (KJV: Exodus 39:28, etc.), or the hat that Yahveh gave to the priests, I would ask for a reference that describes the bonnet to be a kipa. For the burden of proof resides upon the one doing the tradition: why do you do what you do? What biblical basis do you have? For if you do not have a biblical basis then you are walking in a tradition. It is very important to understand where the tradition comes from. For if it is of pagan origin, we must have nothing to do with it. If it is not, and it enhances Scriptures, then it is alright.

My question is: ‘Does the kipa symbolize submission to the God of Israel or to the sun god, Satan?’ And if to the God of Israel, then we must be able to substantiate our claim with Scripture. If a man wants to wear a turban, fine. But God never commanded it for anyone in Israel except Aaron the High Priest and his sons. Turbans today take on a form of identification, as to if one is a Moslem, and from what country. Just by the color or the way it is wrapped. But just because they wear them, I don’t see the turban itself as pagan. The turban does not contain within itself a religious symbolic meaning. But not so with the kipa.

It goes on from there at some length.

Along the way, the root of things is chased back to hair cuts, and the admonition not to cut the hair into the form that was used by the sun worshipers.

In memory of that, he was lamented with bitter weeping every year, as ‘Rosh-Gheza,’ ‘the mutilated Prince.’ But ‘Rosh-Gheza’ also signified the ‘clipped or shaved head.’ Therefore he was himself represented either with the one or the other form of tonsure; and his priests, for the same reason, at their ordination had their heads either clipped or shaven.

Over all the world, where the traces of the Chaldean system are found, this tonsure or shaving of the head is always found along with it. The priests of Osiris, the Egyptian Bacchus, were always distinguished by the shaving of their heads. In Pagan Rome, in India, and even in China, the distinguishing mark of the Babylonian priesthood was the shaven head. Thus Gautama Buddha, who lived at least 540 years before Christ, when setting up the sect of Buddhism in India which spread to the remotest regions of the East, first shaved his own head, in obedience, as he pretended, to a Divine command, and then set to work to get others to imitate his example.

The circular head cover is, supposedly, a recapitulation of the round hair cut, that is an homage to the Sun God.

So is that really evil, or just recognizing a subtle shift from a “top story” to a “mystery teaching” that YHWH is “the God behind the curtain” of Ba’al and Utu and Ra?

The Christians have a very similar set of critics as the Vatican has kept a large number of Sun Symbols from prior eras.

Above is a Roman coin from the 3rd century A.D. (Probus, A.D. 276-282) which on the reverse depicts the pagan sun god driving a chariot drawn by four horses (Sol in Quadriga). The inscription reads SOLI INVICTO – The Invincible Sun.]

At right is a similar mosaic found in the Vatican grottoes under St. Peter’s Basilica, on the vaulted ceiling of the tomb of the Julii (also known as “Mausoleum M”). It depicts Christ as the sun-god Helios / Sol riding in his chariot, and is dated to the 3rd century A.D. The two left horses were destroyed when the hole was made to enter the tomb. Other mosaics in this Christian tomb depicted Jonah and the whale, the good shepherd carrying a lamb, and fishermen. This blending of paganism with Christianity is syncretism, and apostasy.
The Symbols of Baal, Ishtar and Shamash

Below is an artifact unearthed in the holy of holies of the pagan temple in the Canaanite city of Hatzor / Hazor, in northern Israel. It is described as follows:

“Of special interest is a square basalt altar for burning incense. On one of its sides, a circle with a cross in the center – the divine symbol of the Canaanite storm god – is carved in low relief.”

“… a basalt offering table, pillar-shaped, with a carved symbol of the storm god Baal on its side. That symbol was a circle with a cross in the center”
Here is a photo of the papal palace with the pope at the window of his apartment. Note the many eight-pointed stars of Ishtar in the decorative work above the windows. Some are within a darker circle.
Pope John Paul II, at World Youth Day 2000, was wearing a crimson and gold stole, which bears the symbols of Baal / Shamash within an eight-pointed star of Ishtar. An enlargement is shown below.
Pope Pius XII wearing the same stole.

And so it goes…

Eventually they too get to the little round hats as sun symbols and a wander down Tonsure leads to similar ends.

Two sidebar links:

That one has a interesting insight on Greek vs Hebrew linguistic forms and thinking styles. (Don’t know how true it is, though).

Is an online archive of a whole lot of stuff… Be prepared to lose a day or two, especially if you start reading about Rosy Crosses ;-)

Back at the main line:

Also has a load of “Papal as Pagan” complaints.

The first thing you might notice is that “Truth” stands with her foot on a globe of the earth, symbolizing her power over the globe. Then looking closer you will see that she clutches in her arms the sun, probably symbolizing that the Truth will be revealed in time, by the light of day.

Historically, pagan Babylon worshipped the sun as a deity, and pagan Rome also worshipped the invincible sun. The Roman Catholic Church, with the assistance of Caesar (Constantine), changed the day of worship from Sabbath to the Sun Day and commonly uses images and symbols of the sun. In the following articles we will examine the many pagan sunburst images used by the Catholic Church in various forms of art.

So why have all that heartache and acrimony? Why not just recognize that the sun IS part of creation. That the sun IS the ‘energy carrier’ from the One Invisible God / Creator Force and on to the rest of us in our carbon based life?

What’s so bad about that?

The use of such “iconography” by the Catholics then leads to the Muslims calling THEM idolators and evil, and that whole cycle of division and rejection ramps up some more.

Yet, at the core of it all, at the taproot of history, YHWH comes from the same religious roots in Amen. The Unseen God Force behind the Aten sun disk.

To me, it looks like one heck of a lot of divisiveness and acrimony circling around what ought to be a simple unifying truth. There was a moment of creation, we don’t know how the miracle was made to be so we call it God or YWHW or Ba’al or whatever, we know that the product of that creation is a heaven full of stars, just like our sun, and we know that the Life Force in our bodies comes from that creation moment and via that Sun.

Isn’t it really more appropriate to just recognize those realities, and be a little more inclusive? To say that having some symbols of things created is “OK too”, and maybe folks ought to look a bit more upstream to the “unseen” Amen / YHWH to see “The God behind the curtain” of Aten / Ra?

In Conclusion

So that’s my sermon for this week.

Be accepting of others, even if they wear a funny hat or cut their hair oddly.

Be accepting of those who can’t quite see past the image to the meaning behind the symbols.

Recognize that at some point in our travels through life, each of us has been the person on the “wrong” side of that Mystery Wisdom Teaching.

And maybe wearing a nice little round hat, even one that reminds of the sun, or even one that ‘connects’ back to a sun worship of 4000 years ago via a pretty star or circle on it, can be OK.

In short: Don’t over think things. See what is real and in front of you; and see what powers it and makes it work. But you don’t need to be ‘unnecessarily complicating things’ with made up problems.

Sometimes a picture of a man labeled “Sun God” isn’t a literal God but a symbol of other meanings and, maybe sometimes; “A hat is just a hat”…

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The Unseen God of Air, Amen

So what is the ultimate root of the God of Islam, of the God Father of Christ, of the Hebrew God Jehovah, of that one Father of the other gods, the unseen God? Can we “Dig Here!” into some bits of history or tease things out of the threads of linguistic heritage? Is there an unseen history carried by us all in the words we speak? Perhaps.

I say “perhaps” for the simple reason that the real history is lost to antiquity, heaped high with passions from folks more interested in their own power and prestige than in preserving the history of those they wished to erase from the pages of time. Kings, Princes, Pharaohs and Ancient Head Priests, all want to say “Me Me ME!” and “Mine Mine MINE!” and remove others from memory. Often our history has been “Rewritten by the victors”. Yet bits remain, often in the rituals and habits of “The Common Man” who can be stubborn about even trivial changes of habits. Part of why I frequently speak with some praise about “Joe and Jane Sixpack”. They are more reliable and preserve more wisdom against the winds of political caprice than anyone else.

So do realize there is speculation in this trip back down the pages of history, in some cases an unwritten history found in our ancient habits, or an erased history being recovered from scraps.

One small mention up front, since it will only be “in passing” later, is the questionable history of the Hyksos:

The Hyksos first appeared in Egypt c.1800 BC, during the eleventh dynasty, and began their climb to power in the thirteenth dynasty, coming out of the second intermediate period in control of Avaris and the Delta. By the fifteenth dynasty, they ruled Lower Egypt, and at the end of the seventeenth dynasty, they were expelled (c.1560 BC).

The Hyksos practiced horse burials, and their chief deity “BAAL” who became associated with the Egyptian storm and desert god, Seth, whom they identified with their native storm god. Although most Hyksos names seem Semitic, the Hyksos also included Hurrians, who, while speaking an isolated language, were under the rule and influence of Indo-Europeans.

The Hyksos brought several technical improvements to Egypt, as well as cultural impulses such as new musical instruments and foreign loan words. The changes affected techniques from bronze working and pottery to new breeds of animals and new crops were introduced. In warfare, they introduced the horse and chariot, the composite bow, improved battle axes, and advanced fortification techniques.
There are various hypotheses as to the Hyksos’ ethnic identity. Most archaeologists describe the Hyksos as multi-ethnic, to include all of the peoples who occupied the emporia of the delta. Some were warlords seeking employment by the Egyptians as mercenaries. Some were unemployed agricultural workers looking for work helping produce food and resorting to banditry, theft and other crimes when they did not get it. Some were skilled tradesmen, professionals, doctors, lawyers, scribes, priests, diplomats, accountants. Some were merchants importing raw materials: timber from Byblos, semi-precious stones from as far away as Afghanistan, tin, copper and bronze, medicines for the doctors, perfumes for the wigmakers, bitumen, natron, linen, frankincense and myrrh for the mummification industry at Karnak, or exporting grain and beer to as far away as Greece.

The origin of the term “Hyksos” derives from the Egyptian expression heka khasewet (“rulers of foreign lands”), used in Egyptian texts such as the Turin King List to describe the rulers of neighbouring lands. This expression begins to appear as early as the late Old Kingdom in Egypt, referring to various Nubian chieftains, and in the Middle Kingdom, referring to the Semitic chieftains of Syria and Canaan.

Very hard to sort that out. On The History Channel was a show asserting they were the ancient Hebrews (and that there was a, roughly, 200 year error in the usual dating IIRC.) Then going on to connect the Exodus of the Hebrews with the expulsion of the Hyksos. Yet the chariot and bronze working and several other things are parallels to ancient Celt and Pre-Celt innovations. We also know that some of the Celts were running around ancient Egypt as mercenaries, and even as a Pharaoh or two. Which then connects back to some odd hints that Celts derived from some of the “Lost Tribes”. Hinted, but not proven. So might the expulsion of the Hyksos have been a ‘mixed group’? Perhaps…

But what is clear is that the ancient folks from the area spent time in Egypt, then spread out. Eventually Baal was replaced by “One God” who was an unseen God. Much as in ancient Egypt there was a “one God” movement under Akhenaten. (There has even been speculation that Akhenaten was one of the Hyksos and / or a Hebrew.)

It is a time of much speculation, and little proof.

But has there been a preservation of an older root in the habits of “Everyday Jane and Joe”? Amen to that, brother!

Amen Amun

There is an ancient Egyptian name for a God, Amun, who was at some times held to be the primary (or only?) God.

Their was also an alternative spelling of his name as Amen (as in Tutankamen ) and prayers were often ended with that name of Amen, as in, as a hypothetical example, “Hear our plea in Osiris’s name, Amen!” if one were making a prayer to the “head God” invoking a “lesser god”.

There isn’t a lot of “proof”.

Frankly, IMHO, some of the strongest proof is just that the Wiki disparages the idea, so someone has their toes being stepped on ;-)

The usage of Amen, meaning “so be it”, as found in the early scriptures of the Bible is said to be of Hebrew origin; however, the basic triconsonantal root from which the word was derived is common to a number of Semitic Languages such as Aramaic or Syriac. The word was imported into the Greek of the early Church from Judaism. From Greek, amen entered the other Western languages. According to a standard dictionary etymology, amen passed from Greek into Late Latin, and thence into English. Rabbinic scholars from medieval France believed the standard Hebrew word for faith emuna comes from the root amen. Although in English transliteration they look different, they are both from the root aleph-mem-nun.

That is, the Hebrew word amen derives from the same ancient triliteral Hebrew root as does the verb ʾāmán. Grammarians frequently list ʾāmán under its three consonants (aleph-mem-nun), which are identical to those of ʾāmēn (note that the Hebrew letter א aleph represents a glottal stop sound, which functions as a consonant in the morphology of Hebrew). This triliteral root means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe.

In Arabic, the word is derived from its triliteral common root word ʾĀmana (Arabic: آمن‎), which has the same meanings as the Hebrew root word.

Popular among some theosophists, proponents of Afrocentric theories of history, and adherents of esoteric Christianity is the conjecture that amen is a derivative of the name of the Egyptian god Amun (which is sometimes also spelled Amen). Some adherents of Eastern religions believe that amen shares roots with the Hindu Sanskrit word, Aum. There is no academic support for either of these views. The Hebrew word, as noted above, starts with aleph, while the Egyptian name begins with a yodh.

So their argument comes down to an assertion that over 4000 years spelling never changes. On odd behaviour to assert… especially given how the individual names of aspects of God drift even within the span of Egyptian history.

In many cases, tracing back the use of “amen” on the end of prayers in Christian, Muslim, and Hebrew prayers, it ends up in old Hebrew and an unclear origin, but just stated as agreeing with the speaker and endorsing what they said. But where did the Hebrews pick it up? Unclear. Perhaps in that time in Egypt back when they had a polytheistic bent and worshiped Baal, among others? Could they, perhaps, have had an epiphany then, during a Monotheistic Pharaoh period and then been expelled when Egypt returned, again, to the old ways and old gods?

Traces it back to Berber – an old Hamitic language of North Africa with similar roots to ancient Egyptian:

The word “Amen” (Hebrew:  ןֵמא , Arabic: نيمآ ) is found in three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is usually uttered at the end of a prayer to confirm what has been said before, meaning therefore “so be it”, “truly”, “let it be so”. But what is its origin, linguistically speaking?The word is commonly said to be of a Hebrew origin. It is the Grecian theologians who introduced it in Western languages after the translation of the Bible. Then, it is adopted by the Arabs as it is used in the Koran revealed to their prophet in Arabic. But the problem is that in none of these languages(Hebrew, Arabic, Greek) can be found contemporarily the least trace of the word “Amen”. The only language – and we never thought of it though it is as ancient as the two first ones – which offers us aclear explanation and confirms the meaning of “Amen” as it is stated above, is the Berber language.In Kabyle (one of the various dialects of Berber), there is the phrase “am-in” that means synchronically, in common speech, “like that”. However, if we put “am-in” in the context of a prayer, it will clearly mean “so be it”; with “it” referring here to what has been said before. Notice the following example: “ad ig Rebbi yedder! Am-in” (May he live! Amen; i.e. may what has been said come true).The Berber term “in”, meaning the one who/which, is attested in today’s Touareg dialects which arewell-known for their preservation of the most ancient phenomena related to the Berber language. It is the allomorph of the Kabyle non-annexed form “wi

Yet might that not just be an ‘echo’ of an earlier use? Of folks from 4000 years ago who used it in a different way, being preserved in the use of these folks (who were under Egyptian influence for a lot of that time).

Amen (Amon) and Amen-Ra, King of the Gods, and the Triad of Thebes

Gee… “King of kings, Lord of lords” and part of a trilogy? Where have we heard that before…

Among the gods who were known to the Egyptians in very early times were Amen and his consort Ament, and their names are found in the Pyramid Texts, e.g., Unas, line 558, where they are mentioned immediately after the pair of gods Nau and Nen, and in connection with the twin Lion-gods Shu and Tefnut, who are described as the two gods who made their own bodies, and with the goddess Temt, the female counterpart of Tem. It is evident that even in the remote period of the Vth Dynasty Amen and Ament were numbered among the primeval gods, if not as gods in chief certainly as subsidiary forms of some of them, and from the fact that they are mentioned immediately after the deities of primeval matter, Nau and Nen, who we may consider to be the equivalents of the watery abyss from which all things sprang, and immediately before Temt and Shu and Tefnut, it would seem that the writers or editors of the Pyramid Texts assigned great antiquity to their existence. Of the attributes ascribed to Amen in the Ancient Empire nothing is known, but, if we accept the meaning “hidden” which is usually given to his name, we must conclude that he was the personification of the hidden and unknown creative power which was associated with the primeval abyss, gods in the creation of the world, and all that is in it. The word or root amen, certainly means “what is hidden,” “what is not seen,” “what cannot be seen,” and the like, and this fact is proved by scores of examples which may be collected from texts of all periods. In hymns to Amen we often read that he is “hidden to his children, “and “hidden to gods and men,” and it has been stated that these expressions only refer to the “hiding,” i.e., “setting” of the sun each evening, and that they are only to be understood in a physical sense, and to mean nothing more than the disappearance of the god Amen from the sight of men at the close of day. Now, not only is the god himself said to be “hidden,” but his name also is “hidden,” and his form, or similitude, is said to be “unknown;” these statements show that “hidden,” when applied to Amen, the great god, has reference to something more than the “sun which has disappeared below the horizon,” and that it indicates the god who cannot be seen with the mortal eyes, and who is invisible, as well as inscrutable, to gods as well as men. In the times approaching the Ptolemaic period the name Amen appears to have been connected with the root men, “to abide, to be permanent;” and one of the attributes which were applied to him was that of eternal. Amen is represented in five forms: 1. As a man, when he is seen seated on a throne, and holding in one hand the scepter, and in the other the symbol of “life.” In this form he is one of the nine deities who compose the company of the gods of Amen-Ra, the other eight being Ament, Nu, Nut, Hehui, Hehet, Kekui, Keket, and Hathor. 2. As a man with the head of a frog, whilst his female counterpart Ament has the head of a uraeus. 3. As a man with the head of a uraeus, whilst his female counterpart has the head of a cat. 4. As an ape. 5. As a lion couching upon a pedestal

In the Hebrew traditions, we have an invisible God as well. One who’s name is not to be spoken and is to remain “hidden”.

What interests me is the “invisible” and “primordial” aspects. There are odd parallels between the Egyptian conception of primordial creation and The Big Bang. While that must wait “for another day”, what comes just after The Big Bang? The creation of stars (the Sun – Ra) and unseen invisible gasses that bring life…

It is only an opinion, but it is my opinion that we have, in the Ancient Egyptian Deities, a recapitulation of The Big Bang, the creation of the Sun & stars, the heavens, earth, seas, and air; and the evolution of life. With their Gods being personifications of those aspects of the One Creator Force. (The Egyptian Gods were not distinct beings so much as aspects of the universal forces, often seen in various combinations – So Amun-Ra was the joined Amun and Ra god forces of the Unseen and The Sun.)

Amun (also Amon, Amen, Greek Ἄμμων Ámmōn, Ἅμμων Hámmōn) was a local deity of Thebes. He was attested since the Old Kingdom together with his spouse Amaunet. With the 11th dynasty (c. 21st century BC), he rose to the position of patron deity of Thebes by replacing Monthu.

After the rebellion of Thebes against the Hyksos and with the rule of Ahmose I, Amun acquired national importance, expressed in his fusion with the Sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra.

Amun-Ra retained chief importance in the Egyptian pantheon throughout the New Kingdom (with the exception of the “Atenist heresy” under Akhenaten). Amun-Ra in this period (16th to 11th centuries BC) held the position of transcendental, self-created creator deity “par excellence”, he was the champion of the poor or troubled and central to personal piety. His position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other gods became manifestations of him. With Osiris, Amun-Ra is the most widely recorded of the Egyptian gods. As the chief deity of the Egyptian Empire, Amun-Ra also came to be worshipped outside of Egypt, in Ancient Libya and Nubia, and as Zeus Ammon came to be identified with Zeus in Ancient Greece.

Sounding rather a lot like that Hebrew one Lord of Lords…

As the cult of Amun grew in importance, Amun became identified with the chief deity who was worshipped in other areas during that period, the sun god Ra. This identification led to another merger of identities, with Amun becoming Amun-Ra. In the Hymn to Amun-Ra he is described as

“Lord of truth, father of the gods, maker of men, creator of all animals, Lord of things that are, creator of the staff of life.”

Creator of the “staff of life”? As in plants and bread? Hmmmm….

There’s another odd twist, where Ankenaten was pushing a “One God” approach, but with a different god (or aspect of the gods as one?). Aten was the same Sun God, but as the “disk of the sun”. That was not appreciated by the Priests whom he had removed from importance… after his demise, Amen was put back as the Top God.

When Akhenaten died, the priests of Amun-Ra reasserted themselves. His name was struck from Egyptian records, all of his religious and governmental changes were undone, and the capital was returned to Thebes. The return to the previous capital and its patron deity was accomplished so swiftly that it seemed this almost monotheistic cult and its governmental reforms had never existed. Worship of Aten ceased and worship of Amun-Ra was restored. The priests of Amun even persuaded his young son, Tutankhaten, whose name meant “the living image of Aten”—and who later would become a pharaoh—to change his name to Tutankhamun, “the living image of Amun”.

In many ways, the theistic heritage of Egypt is more one of a hierarchy of relationships in one theistic whole, (one God), rather than a collection of competing personages as embodied Gods. To me, as a speculation, it looks like the One God of the Hebrews likely came out of their time in Egypt as a refinement of Amen. Thus their adoption and use of Amen in their prayers. To say Amen is to invoke the spirit of a One God theology and their historical roots, IMHO.

In the New Kingdom, Amun became successively identified with all other Egyptian deities, to the point of virtual monotheism (which was then attacked by means of the “counter-monotheism” of Atenism). Primarily, the god of wind Amun came to be identified with the solar god Ra and the god of fertility and creation Min, so that Amun-Ra had the main characteristic of a solar god, creator god and fertility god. He also adopted the aspect of the ram from the Nubian solar god, besides numerous other titles and aspects.

A monotheism, that looks to the sun for the source of the power of all life, that is embodied and carried in the wind. Sounding just a little bit like “solar driven life through carbon” to me… with CO2 creating life in plants, and oxygen creating life in people and animals via oxidation of that plant based carbon. The “Breath Of Life” in balance between the two.

That “god of the wind” aspect is the key to the Carbon connection IMHO. It is the method by which Amun-Ra is embodied ‘when hidden’ and the solar energy flows through life itself, even as the sun has set.

In the Leiden hymns, Amun, Ptah, and Re are regarded as a trinity who are distinct gods but with unity in plurality. “The three gods are one yet the Egyptian elsewhere insists on the separate identity of each of the three.” This unity in plurality is expressed in one text:

“All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, whom none equals. He who hides his name as Amun, he appears to the face as Re, his body is Ptah.”

The hidden aspect of Amun and his likely association with the wind caused Henri Frankfort to draw parallels with a passage from the Gospel of John: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going.”[John 3:8]

A Leiden hymn to Amun describes how he calms stormy seas for the troubled sailor:

“The tempest moves aside for the sailor who remembers the name of Amon. The storm becomes a sweet breeze for he who invokes His name… Amon is more effective than millions for he who places Him in his heart. Thanks to Him the single man becomes stronger than a crowd.”

So One God, as Trinity…

Since this is the first we’ve seen of Ptah, a single quote:

Ptah is the creator god par excellence: He is considered the demiurge who existed before all things, and by his willingness, thought the world. It was first conceived by Thought, and realized by the Word: Ptah conceives the world by the thought of his heart and gives life through the magic of his Word. That which Ptah commanded was created, with which the constituents of nature, fauna, and flora, are contained. He also plays a role in the preservation of the world and the permanence of the royal function.

In the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, the Nubian pharaoh Shabaka would transcribe on a stela known as the Shabaka Stone, an old theological document found in the archives of the library of the temple of the god at Memphis. This document has been known as the Memphite Theology, and shows the god Ptah, the god responsible for the creation of the universe by thought and by the Word.

The universe, spoken into being by The Word, and then the trinity giving rise to stars and the embodied Sun that brings daily life to all of us, via the unseen God, via the winds and breath of life.

That, in a Nutshell, is my understanding where this bit of investigation leads. That Islam, grown out of Christianity, which itself came from the Jewish religion of the Hebrews, has a taproot reaching back to The One God of the ancient Egyptians, and through them, to the creation of the universe in The Big Bang – through Ptah, the central nature of the Sun – Ra – as bringer of the power of life to Earth, and Amen as the unseen breath of life itself. A Trinity.

That is my conception of the unification of “The Three Great Religions”, in an even earlier Great Religion. (The Greek, and through them the Roman, pantheon of “gods” also maps onto the ancient Egyptian pantheon, so they, too, are ‘the same’, meaning that those “Pagan” gods also have the same root. )

A great deal more about Amen / Amun / Aten and Moses can be found in this page:

Ammon (Amen) or Ament

Another among the Egyptian solar divinities was Ammon(Amen), and he was the personification of the Sun after it had descended below the western horizon, and was thus ‘hidden from sight’. Ammon was made in the image of a man with the head and horns of a ram, and his pictures and statues were painted blue, the sacred color of the source of life. In the Egyptian language, the word ram means concealment, and the solar God Amen(Ammon) was called the concealed one – which is an appropriate title for the sun as it had disappeared in the western sky and descended into the underworld. In Thebes, the cults of Ammon and Ra consolidated, and the Sun was worshipped under the name Amen-Ra.

One God. One Power. Many manifestations. As the Sun Disk – Aten, as the Sun – Ra. As Ammon / Amun / Amen – the sun that has set, and that is the wind itself. As a personification God in the God of the Hebrews, Christians, and Muslims.

That page goes on at some length about the Moses connection to Aten:

Moses and Monotheism

There is a tradition of considering Moses as an Egyptian rather than a Hebrew, which Freud also did in Moses and Monotheism, Not as implausible as it might sound to those familiar only with the traditional story. The familiar Biblical story self describes Moses as growing up as an Egyptian prince, and Moses is an Egyptian name. The research about Amon/Amen as to why it is being used today after people say ” The Lord’s Prayer” and end up calling to and closing by saying “Amen” has been the focus of this hub. The search to the origins of the Word or name Amon/Amen revealed in this hub that the origins of Monotheism were tied with the the story of Amun as he was lifted into prominence around the 5th Dynasty by the High Priests of Thebes, required that a historical straight path be drawn linking up Amoun’Amen with Akhenaton and Moses, which, I speculated, will lead us to Understanding why we end up in our prayers, in whatever language, with the salutation, “Amen” Thus far, it is becoming clearer that the use of Amen in our prayers is a forgotten ancient histrical mind-set as to why is Amen an ever-enduring name for over ten millenniums. If we are able to trace Amoun/Amen from the primordial epoch, and the effect that this had on Akhenaton,then we can see how Akhenaton got to his philossphy and religious conception of Aten, because he had deep knowledge of Amoun/Amen so that one can see some of the themes, tributes and elements of the attributes of Amoun/Amen in his hymns and religious philosophy; and we move closer to our time by interrogating the story of Moses and Monotheism, and how this is linked to the story of Akhenaton. It is always important that we know things as much clearer and closer, broader and deeper into to the truth or the original story or history in order to make informed decisions and retain positive knowledge about Amoun/Amen and the role they have played in our understanding the importance of saying Amon,Amen today, and throughout time- and what that means or may mean or is.

Sigmund Freud informs us: “The man Moses, the liberator of his people, who gave them their religion and their laws, belonged to an age so remote that the preliminary question arise whether he was a historical person or a legendary figure. If he lived, his time was the thirteenth of fourteenth century B.C. We have no word of him except from the Holy books and written traditions of the Jews. Although the decision lacks final historical certainty, the great majority of historians have expressed the opinion that Moses did live and that the Exodus from Egypt, led by him, did in fact take place. It has been maintained with good reason that the later history of Israel could not be understood if this were to admitted.

I accept and admit that the truth about the Exodus did exists and am also saying we need to research it and begin to understand the formation and notion of Only One God and its ties or relationship to Moses, Aton, Amoun/Amen, the Jews and the world. It must be noted that when Akhenaton was expelled or moved away from Thebes to form Akhenaton(in modern-day Tell El Amarna), he and his people went wandering in the wilderness and died form the thirst and hunger. This too has bee a very important note to be made about Akhenaton and his “exodus” to the City of Akhanaton, that some historians have observed that he got his inspiration of worshiping the Sun, even tough it was killing his people, but he also saw it as a source of life and ultimately the God-symbol of Aten. He banished all other gods and betook himself from Thebes and build his Akhenaton city in Tell El Amarna. He elevated his God, Aten, symbolized by the Sun to a new and revolutionary religion in Egypt and all over the world, and in Asia too. The normachs (provincial governors) had warned him that that hostile armies were gathering on the borders and planning to invade the nation, but he did not pay attention to them. The priests of the banned Amoun/Amen religion rebelled and Akhenaton died, probably poisoned by his enemies; the Aton religion was abolished. On the enthronement of his youthful son-in-law, Tutanka\hamen, the capital was moved back to Thebes, and the old religious adherence to Amoun/Amen restored to power. The career of King Tut was ended by his early death,at the age of seventeen years. Then the throne was seized by a priest named Eye, whose reign brought reign brought ruin to the country; for, during his brief rule, nearly all the foreign territories annexed by the great Kings of Dynasty XVIII were lost. Eye was toppled by Harmhab, as noted briefly above, and the decline of Egypt was brought to an end.

The monotheistic Aton religion was crushed in Egypt, but it did not perish entirely; since there was a young priest Moshe(Moses) who had received his theological education at the Temple of Heliopolis, and who became the disciple of Akhenaton. When Atonism was was suppressed in Egypt, Moses led a group of heretics out of the country and reestablished the religion in Palestine. The Egyptian historian, Manetho, is our authority for saying that Moses was an Egyptian Priest. His opinion was endorsed by Strabo, who wrote: “Moses, who was one of the Egyptian priest, taught his followers that it was an egregious error to represent the deity under the form of animals, as the Egyptians did, or in the shape of man, as was the practice of the Greeks and Africans.

Mosche, as it is written in Hebrew, whom we know today told of a young princess as Moses. Exodus Chapter ii has answered that by telling of a story of an Egyptian princess who saved the baby. Breasted’s explanation helps us cut through the various explanation causing cacophony and confusion- Breasted writes: “It is important to notice that his name, Moses, was Egyptian. It is simply the Egyptian word ‘mose’ meaning ‘child,’ and this is an abridgment of a fuller form of such names as ‘Amen-mose’ meaning ‘Amon-a-child’ or ‘Ptah-mose,’ meaning ‘Ptah-a-child,’ these forms themselves being likewise abbreviations for the complete form ‘Amon- (has given a child’) or ‘Ptah- (has-given -a-child.) The abbreviation ‘child’ early became a convenient rapid form for the cumbrous full name, and the name Mose, ‘child’, is not uncommon on the Egyptian monuments. the father of Moses without doubt doubt prefixed to his son’s name that of an Egyptian god like Amon or Ptah, and his divine name was gradually lost in current usage, till the boy was called ‘mose’. As he grew up and became a high Priest, and in the final analysis led the followers of Aten into the wilderness, it is clear that he passed on his knowledge gained from being a disciple of AKhenaton and his religion. The Jewish religion did not speak of anything beyond the the grave, for such a doctrine is reconcilable with the strictest monotheism. Being perplexed disappears if we go back from the Jewish religion to the Aton religion and surmise that this feature was taken over from the Aton religion, since for Akhenaton, it was a necessity in fighting the popular religion, where the death-god, Osiris, played perhaps a greater part than any god of the upper regions(See and Read my Hub “Egypt(Kemet, Alkebuland): The Egyptian Book of the Dead – The Negative confession. Part 1 and Part 2), in order to fully understand the role played by Osiris, God and Judge of the Dead in after life.

Moses, did not enjoy an unqualified success in his promulgation of the new religion since many of his followers still recognized the old gods: “But in vain did he proscribe the worship of symbols which prevailed in Lower Egypt and Phoenicia, for his god was, nevertheless, an Egyptian god invented by those priests of whom Moses had been the disciple. … In vain did Moses wish to blot from is religion everything which had relation to the stars; many traits call them to mind in spite of all he has done. The seven planetary luminaries of the great candlestick; the twelve stones, or signs in the Urim of the high priests; the feasts of the two equinoxes (entrances and gates of the two hemispheres); the ceremony of the lamb the celestial ram, then in the fifteenth degree); … all remains so may witnesses of the filiation of his ideas, and of their extraction form the common course.” (Count Volney)

As has been noted above, there are differing views as to how the religion of Akhenaton got to be powerful and spread around the world, and taken up by the Jewish people according to a myriad scholarly works, a certain consistency emerges. That of Moses being an Egyptian and having taught the principles of Aten to his follower and recognizing the existence of One God. There is a historical narrative that traces the route taken by the believers of Aten into what is the belief of one God amongst the Jews and role played by the original monotheistic Amoun/Amen Religion.

That is the theological basis of saying that The Church Of The Sacred Carbon is not in conflict with any of those religious traditions (nor those of Druids and Pagans in general). They all come from a common root in the ancient Wisdom Texts and ancient Wisdom Practices. Each has taken their own path, their own evolution to today. Yet we are all powered by the Sun, nourished via Carbon, made of the the same stuff, and by the same means. The ancients recognized that.

So it doesn’t matter if you see this basic truth as “One God” or many gods as aspects of the one “Amen-Aten-Ra”, or even as many gods of a Greek Pantheon. It is all, at the taproot, the same. A “Big Bang”, creation of the heavens and suns, and our sun, and life through carbon in all of us.

For those who can, be sure to perform the Sacred Rituals with a Burnt Offering and a Wave Offering. Holding the Wave Offering in the direction of the rising sun recognizes the Ra aspect of God, in the direction of the setting sun, the Amun aspect of God, and the Burnt Offering freeing carbon dioxide for plants, and putting that same embodied Ra-life-energy into our own bodies recognizes that we are all “Children of the ONE God” with many names. Amun-Aten-Ra-YHWH-Trinity. Amen

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Example Small Altar and Offering

The Small Altar of Offerings

There are no strict requirements for an Offering Altar. What is important is the act and the participation, not the equipment. It can be a $10,000 custom extravaganza, or as simple as “3 rocks and a fire” with a pan on top.

As an example of what can be done with “not much money”, this Altar is made from 8 common bricks that cost under $0.50 each, so a total of $4. There is a cast iron griddle on top of it that I bought some decades back for about $10, but any grate or pan would do. I have seen replacement grates for commercial grills sold for just a few dollars, and often the “pan” rusts out leaving the grill portion without a home, so the cost could be a low as “free”. So even a humble $14 Altar can be reasonably classy.

Altar of Offerings - 8 bricks

Altar of Offerings – 8 bricks

The bottom is made of 6 bricks, laid in 2 rows of 3, side by side. Then two additional brick make the support for the metal surface. If a wire grill is used, it is best to put 2 more bricks on top of the ends to secure it against sliding. This cast iron griddle is heavy enough to hold itself in place.

Once a suitable Altar is constructed, purchased, or identified ( or an expedient Altar found such as in a campgrounds or even an electric burner in a ‘residence hotel’ when traveling) it ought to be consecrated with appropriate sayings. “Blessed be this Altar”, “God Bless this Charcoal and all who use it”, “Good God and hot coals!”, or even “Nice.” (which is especially useful when others have set up an appropriate Altar, but are not members, and you wish to sanctify the Altar without too much attention being drawn). Personally, I prefer “Bless this Altar and Bless this Carbon.” but the exact words are not important. It is the sense of the central role of Sacred Carbon in life that makes an Altar consecrated. The consecration, like the Altar, can be as ornate, or as simple, as you feel it ought to be.

Preparing The Sacred Carbon

As noted in the introductory page, it is preferred to use Carbon from natural woods. If those are unavailable or circumstances do not permit, it is just as acceptable to use “charcoal briquettes”, natural gas, propane, even gasoline stoves or kerosene stoves. Electric heat is discouraged, but acceptable if the only option available (as the “Grid” is full of fungible electricity, at least some of which was made with Sacred Carbon). But this is an example of the preferred way. In this case Mesquite is being used. It is particularly popular and common in the U.S.A. West. Member P.G. Sharrow prefers Manzanita, and having tried some he graciously gave to me, I must agree. However, not wanting to waste my bag of Mesquite, it is being used here.

Yes, an overly generous amount here, but I wanted a nice picture, and for several offerings in a row, being generous is a virtue. I was also trying out both the griddle, and a wire grill.

Preparing The Carbon

Preparing The Carbon

The Burnt Offering & The Wave Offering

It is traditional to have several wave offerings. As many as your means allow and your heart desires. These frequently are made at any time from before, to during, and after the Burnt Offering. As few as one for some folks and at some times, or more as deemed appropriate.

The Wave Offering is lifted and appropriate words said. This can vary with the circumstances. From a hearty “To Sacred Carbon!” at a meeting of like souls, to a discrete “To Life.” (which is really the same thing) in less tolerant environments. It is also allowed to simply have a moment of silence and think the incantation to yourself. In an ornate ceremony, the Wave Offering is held aloft, in the direction of the rising and setting sun, and longer offering prayers or incantations can be said. (But as this discussion is of a more ‘minimal’ example, “To Carbon! To Life!” is more in keeping).

Here is a picture of a reasonable presentation of a Wave Offering (after the Burnt Offering was completed – witness the ashes behind the vessel). While normally it would be held aloft, I have set it on the Altar so as to work the camera.

An example Wave Offering

An example Wave Offering

Next is a picture of a Burnt Offering nearing readiness:

Altar with Burnt Offering nearing readiness

Altar with Burnt Offering nearing readiness

Some will notice that this is an offering of pork. I did that deliberately. While some traditions hold that pork is not to be eaten, that it is not Halal or Kosher, those traditions are based on the Biblical recognition of the known health risks of Trichinosis. Since the meaning of Kosher is to be healthful, and since modern methods let us assure the pork is, in fact, healthful, we have no prohibition on pork. (Those who wish to hold to the letter of the Bible or Koran are welcome to do so. Personally, I prefer lamb as a Burnt Offering.) So those of you who like things such as ‘pulled pork’ can prepare it as a Burnt Offering secure in knowing it is acceptable.

Just be sure that any pork products are thoroughly Burnt and no raw red remains.

For those who are vegetarians, similar Burnt Offerings can be made from, for example, metal skewers with alternating bits of onions, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms. Lightly coated with Olive Oil helps to enhance the character. In a future posting, I’ll provide a specific example of preparation.

Becoming One With The Sacred Carbon

At this point, the prepared Burnt Offering, along with any prepared Wave Offering ought to be sanctified with the saying (or thinking) of appropriate phrases. Examples would be “Dear God, we thank you for this which we are about to enjoy.” or “Thanks be to the Divine Creator Force, bringer of Carbon and Life!” Even a simple “Thank You” is sufficient (and works better in some circumstances, such as those where another person has prepared the Burnt Offering and many not be aware of The Church Of The Sacred Carbon and our rituals.)

The Burnt Offering and the Wave Offering are then to be consumed by the faithful and brought back to life through your own life force, while nourishing your life force in the process. The Great Cycle Of Carbon, taking another turn. From life, to non-life, and back to life again. We all participate in this, a true miracle. We all can create new life from death, a resurrection of Sacred Carbon from death, back to life. In each of us is a Miracle.

Just as the Sacred Altar releases dead Carbon to the air, returning it to life in trees, grasses, and plants world wide is, in its own right, a Miracle of the Great Cycle Of Carbon. Returning life to the dead Carbon, and returning Carbon to new life in plants all over the world.

This can bring great peace, a feeling of centeredness, along with joy in living; being part of the circle of life, through Carbon. Given that, there is no limit on how often the service may be performed.

At a minimum, once per week is recommended; but the very faithful may find that 2 or even 3 times a day brings greater fulfillment. It is entirely up to you how often you hold a service. How much reaffirmation of life through Carbon is desired.

In all cases, it is a Holy Rite and a duty we all ought to perform to the best of our ability and means.

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I’m Official, Exam Passed

Yes, I made a hoopla and announcement back about last July, then went quiet.

Why? I am, after all, an ordained Minister. Minsters can set up a church.

But I wanted a bit more. I’d started working on things like an official calendar (and found out that the seasons are not matched to the equinox / solstice points as the arrival to apogee has a slightly different acceleration profile to that of the departure.

Which has “implications” for how to synchronize a church calendar to the movements of the celestial objects.

At that point I figured I needed to “study up” a bit more, and not just on celestial mechanics. I didn’t want to be just “making stuff up”, and while I had a lot of background in various religious texts and readings, I felt I needed a bit of “something more”.

Re: Ph.D. Final Exam answers attached.

Well done! You scored 100% on the final exam. Your diploma will be shipped immediately.

Brother Kevin

Yes, it’s a “Distance Learning” school, and it’s a degree in Religion, so not exactly like an academic research degree. Then again, the Ph.D. started out as a non-research degree awarded in most cases by religious institutions, way back when.

In the universities of Medieval Europe, study was organised in four faculties: the basic faculty of arts, and the three higher faculties of theology, medicine and law (canonical and civil). All of these faculties awarded intermediate degrees (bachelor of arts, of theology, of laws, of medicine) and final degrees. Initially, the titles of master and doctor were used interchangeably for the final degrees, but by the late Middle Ages the terms Master of Arts and Doctor of Theology/Divinity, Doctor of Law and Doctor of Medicine had become standard in most places (though in the German and Italian universities the term Doctor was used for all faculties). The doctorates in the higher faculties were quite different from the current Ph.D. degree in that they were awarded for advanced scholarship, not original research. No dissertation or original work was required, only lengthy residency requirements and examinations. Besides these degrees there was the licentiate. Originally this was a license to teach, awarded shortly before the award of the master or doctor degree by the diocese in which the university was located, but later it evolved into an academic degree in its own right, in particular in the continental universities. So in theory the full course of studies might lead in succession to the degrees of e.g. Bachelor of Arts, Licentiate of Arts, Master of Arts, Bachelor of Medicine, Licentiate of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine. There were many exceptions to this however, e.g. most students left the university before becoming masters of arts, whereas regulars (members of monastic orders) could skip the arts faculty entirely.

So this is more like the old Medieval kind. Exams and reading. A recognition that one is a “Lover of Wisdom” fit to teach.

In the context of academic degrees, the term “philosophy” does not refer solely to the field of philosophy, but is used in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek meaning, which is “love of wisdom”

Doctor, as a title, originates from the Latin word of the same spelling and meaning. The word is originally an agentive noun of the Latin verb docēre [dɔˈkeːrɛ] ‘to teach’.

So teacher of the love of wisdom. In the old sense.

Going Forward

So now I think I’ve got a much better handle on the orbital mechanics / calendar issues. (Churches have, from the beginning of time, been the keepers of time and of the calendar. From Stonehenge, that was to set the seasons from the solstice dates, to the Maya, and on to the Gregorian and more.)

I also feel just a little more comfortable digging through old musty books, looking for wisdom, and integrating it here, at The Church Of The Sacred Carbon.

Which leads to two little ‘pontifications’ ;-)

1) The Calendar is synchronized with the heavens on The Winter Solstice. It is a Solar Calendar, but will have an adjunct Lunar Calendar option (so that folks with strong prior roots in a lunar calendar religion can continue to keep those dates, with my blessings.) While the Official Year Zero starts on the Winter Solstice of 2012 (in keeping with the Maya Long Count; for practical purposes, dates will be presented in the current system with 2012 instead of Zero, and 2013 instead of 1. While, technically, there will be a few days between the Winter Solstice and January 1, where the two years are ‘out of sync’, for practical purposes this will have no impact. In reality, one can just have a very long Happy New Years party from Solstice December to January 2nd. Recreations of the 12 days of Yule are encouraged.

There will not be a synchronizing on the other solstice / equinox dates. The formal calendar has a holiday on each of those days, and 12 months of 30 days each between them (2 days on Winter Solstice) but due to the slight irregularity between the two orbital sides, the actual solstice days and equinox days can end up “off by one” from that formality. You may choose to celebrate on an observed Solstice or Equinox date, or on one from the formal calendar, or from the “informal” dates of common prior usage if circumstances make that preferable. So Easter, as the celebration of Spring Equinox, or Christmas that was placed on top of the Winter Solstice celebration of the Druids by the Catholic Church in an attempt to win them over, is an acceptable schedule, even though the Christian calendar has now drifted from the actual Sacred Solstice Day.

In short, while there are formal calendar and holiday dates to be kept, for practical purposes, folks can choose different dates, if needed.

2) The Church Of The Sacred Carbon is a Syncretic sect.

Syncretism /ˈsɪŋkrətɪzəm/ is the combining of different (often seemingly contradictory) beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. Syncretism also occurs commonly in expressions of arts and culture (known as eclecticism) as well as politics (syncretic politics).

You are encouraged to bring with you any prior beliefs, ceremonies, and wisdom. Specifically, nothing in Sacred Carbon Teachings is exclusionary or prohibitive to the practice of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, or any other prior faith. I will be sourcing bits of wisdom from the sacred texts of all of those traditions.

On some things, I will have a preference, and will state a preferred practice. So, for example, there is no requirement for circumcision. The practice is not needed and puts the child at risk, and without their consent. They, too, have a right to their own body. Yet a practitioner of Sacred Carbon Teachings may still choose to follow their ancestral traditions on circumcision. The preferences are just that, the preferred way. But other ways are possible.

The Church Of The Sacred Carbon is inclusive, not exclusive. It isn’t about “pitching out unbelievers”, it is about finding what is true, and wise, and common to us all.

The Church Of The Sacred Carbon is a personal quest for understanding, wisdom, and a centered life. One person can not tell another how to make that journey. Each of us is unique, has our own starting point, our own history, and our own path. So each person is encouraged to customize rituals and dogma to fit their own life path. So, for example, a wave offering of wine: can be fermented wine, or it can be simple juice (unfermented wine), or even plain water. Some folks simply do not like wine, and will find beer or champagne more suited. That’s fine too. In fact, any carbonated beverage is full of The Sacred Carbon as CO2 gas making bubbles. That’s a fine offering!

So yes, I will have “preferred insights and teachings”; but you, too, have insights and teachings. I can point out the path that I have found, but each of us walks a slightly different path; and that is fine.

Celebration Dinner

So tonight I’m having a Celebration Dinner.

The Burnt Offering is on the coals as I type. Chicken and vegetables in an American Camp Oven (a.k.a. “Dutch Oven”). A mix of briquettes and natural wood charcoal as Holy Power for the Sacred Carbon burnt offering on the Altar Stones. An Altar need not be fancy, nor elaborate. It need only be sacred to you and consecrated with Sacred Carbon in one of its many forms. Solids, liquids, or gas.

Wave Offering TBD, but leaning toward a nice pink wine…

You are welcome to have your own celebration too. Burnt offerings and wave offerings encouraged.

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