Tag Archives: paganism

Jesus Christ – Pagan Messiah

Updated version of a post from 2011


The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated by Christians on January 6th. It is thought to be the date upon which Jesus was visited by the Wise men, and in many non-English speaking countries (e.g. most of Africa) is regarded as the actual date that Santa Claus comes to visit (Europeans – though not those in the UK –  believe he comes a month earlier on December 6th – the feast of St Nicholas). However all this is by the by as in this blog post I intend to analyse the symbolism of the feast of the Epiphany from a Qabalistic perspective.

It is widely thought that there were three Wise Men i.e. Magi, however this is a misconception – the number three only arises because of the number of gifts specified. There could in actual fact have been any number of Magi – they might for example have decided to ignore a literal reading of the constitution and quietly re-elect one on the sly! The actual wording of Matthew’s Gospel in fact seems to indicate that there were many so-called Magi living in Jerusalem – perhaps making up an actual cult or secret society.

Nevertheless, let’s examine the symbolism of the three gifts: Gold, Frankincence and Myrrh. It has been said many times in the past that they are symbols of Jesus’ ministry: Gold – because it symbolises his Kingly role; Frankincense – His Priestly role; and Myrrh – the mastery over Death. Now let’s compare this with the Tarot. Although there is a rather obvious card associated with “Death,” there is at least one less obvious one as well – “The Empress” – because in Rosicrucian terms, Daleth / Venus is “the Door” to the Tomb.  The Kingly role is most obviously associated with “The Emperor” and the Priestly role with “The Hierophant.”

Gold Heh The Emperor
Frankincense Vav The Hierophant
Myrrh Daleth The Empress

Now you see the pattern emerging? The three gifts represent paths leading to the sephirah Chokmah. And, in the Rosicrucian tradition, an initiate of the grade of Chokmah is called a Magus. What actually makes this most remarkable is that the name of the Rosicrucian grade of Magus pre-dates the assignment of Tarot trumps to the Tree of Life by over a hundred years or so, coming as it does from the Gold + Rosy Cross.

What we have in effect in Matthew’s Gospel is Jesus, whilst still a small child, effectively being advanced to the grade of 9=2 Magus. I say with no intended irony that it is the very model of a modern Magus ritual. Seriously though, the fact is that thereafter, “being warned in a dream they returned to their own country by another route.” In other words, these Magi were not Jews at all but foreigners – i.e. Pagans! Moreover there is at least one Gnostic gospel that claims that Jesus’ coming was foretold by “Zeredusht” (i.e. Zoroaster). What this means is that Matthew – and indeed perhaps the early Church itself – intended Jesus not just to be the Messiah of the Jews, but of the Pagans as well.

If this is true, then it represents a notion which would have proved far too radical for later and more modern Christians, if indeed they even dared to conceive it all. For example – how many times have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to the Old Testament? A lot. How many times, however, have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to Pagan scriptures in the same manner? I am keen to wager it is somewhat less. Yet the implication of Jesus being initiated as a Magus by Pagans would seem to imply, to my mind at least, that it would be appropriate to do so.

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Jesus Christ: Lord of Misrule

This is a re-posting of a blog from 2010. I was prompted to do so after reading another blog, by a Catholic Priest, who was adamant that Saturnalia had nothing to do with Christmas. Apparently, all though he admitted that Saturn was associated with human sacrifice, the fact that Jesus Christ Himself was a Sacrificed God eluded him! Nevertheless, the same blog was interesting as it pointed out that the available evidence as to dates suggests that the feast of the birth of Sol Invictus is based upon Christmas, not the other way round. See here for more details.


He's revelling now, but tomorrow he'll feel slaughtered!

He’s revelling now, but tomorrow he’ll feel slaughtered!

Happy Saturnalia to you all. This is of course the ancient Roman festival that was celebrated from the 17th to the 23rd December, and involved a lot of feasting, revelry and debauchery. And guess what? It was being condemned as sordid and commercial as early as 400 AD! O Tempora – O mores!

The pagan customs obviously survived into the Christian era. In mediaeval times there was elected a “Lord of Misrule” who was the master of revels of the Saturnalia *cough* I mean Christmas period. However, James Frazer (he of The Golden Bough fame) reported that there was at least one incident of Roman soldiers choosing a “Lord of Misrule,” and at the end of the Saturnalia period – sacrificing him on the altar of Saturn.

This got the Sumner family brain cell working. Where had I heard of Roman soldiers doing something like that before? Oh yes! Here:

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band [of soldiers]. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify [him].

Matthew 27:27-31

The “coincidences” stack up even further when you consider that Jesus was “sacrificed” on a Cross, which in Hebrew is Tau – the letter associated (in the modern Hermetic Qabalah) with Saturn. Thus, what we have here is Jesus being put through a version of the Saturnalia ritual!

The idea that Jesus Christ is in fact the Lord of Misrule might seem strange at first, although I suspect that it occurred to William Blake in the past, when he made the point in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell that Jesus was all virtue yet he acted from impulse. Thus the “Misrule” of which Jesus was Lord was defiance of the stifling restrictions of old religion which often ran counter to justice.

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Church of England creating its own Pagan Church… or not, as the case may be.

Pagans at Stonehenge

Dearly beloved brethren, let us now sing our next hymn, “My Erotic Angel” by Inkubus/Sukkubus.

It’s that time of year again when tired internet hacks try to capitalise on the symbolism of the Summer Solstice in a pathetic attempt to drive traffic to their website. But enough about me, and let’s have a good chortle at what journalists around the web have been down to recently. ;-)

Your humble blogmaster’s interest was briefly awakened this morning when I saw a news report saying that the Church of England is trying to create its own Pagan Church. The otherwise sensible Daily Telegraph even went as far as saying:

The new move could see famous druids such as druid leader Arthur Pendragon move to Anglicanism.

This reminds me of a sketch from Not The Nine O’Clock News some thirty years ago, in which the premise was that the Church of England was so desperate for members that it was now accepting practising Satanists into its ranks. Cue trendy vicars trying to justify why this was a sensible proposition.

As always, the truth is far more boring. Since the news report first came out, the Church Mission Service – the body alleged to be wanting to create this Pagan CofE church – has issued a clarification:

CMS is happy to categorically say, for the record, that we are not seeking to create any kind of ‘Pagan church’. Our vision remains unaltered: we want the world to know Jesus.

The Jesus Deck – Christian oracle cards!

The story may have come about due to the fact that a member of the CMS attended a Lammas festival in Eastbourne last year, and did “readings” for visitors to her tent, with something called the Jesus Deck. Presumably a cunning plan to prosetelyse Tarot enthusiasts!

Perhaps though, the CMS could teach the Catholic Church in Ireland a thing or two. The Association of Catholic Priests there has said that Irish people have “to all intents and purposes, become pagan.” NB: in the mind of the ACP this is supposedly a Bad Thing. Their response however is bizarre. Ask any right-thinking person why this state of affairs might have come to pass, and they will probably say it is because the Irish Church has made a complete balls-up, including most notably – but not exclusively – the scandal surrounding its treatment of child molesters. Ah no, says the ACP, it is because the Irish have been seduced by the evils of materialism and consumerism – it’s not the Church’s fault at all! Hence the answer is not wholesale reform of the Church but more evangelisation. Which is another way of saying more of the kind of stuff that got it into so much trouble in the first place.

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Helo, helo, helo, beth yw’r holl wedyn?

Four London Policeman in high visibility jackets

Four druids in traditional pagan costumes – according to the Daily Mail

News today that Nazi propaganda rag the Daily Mail continues its unhealthy fascination with pagans by running a piece on them that stoops to its usual levels of journalistic credibility. To wit: amongst the Metropolitan Police Force there are apparently four spiritualists, “a pagan and a DRUID” (sic) who are serving officers.

Yeah I know, technically they could have said “four spiritualists and two pagans,” and the article does correct itself later on. Still, what’s a little yellow-journalism when trying to concoct a good headline? Nevertheless: just in case there are Daily Mail readers coming to my blog to receive enlightenment to the true state of affairs, and more importantly for the comedy value to the rest of my millions of readers, I will continue.

This all comes about after someone made a Freedom of Information request to the Met in relation to non-mainstream religions. In relation to the one officer who is a druid, the Mail helpfully explains

According to the Romans, Druids practised human sacrifice 2,000 years ago, but modern day druidism – called neo-Druidism – focuses on the worship of nature, especially trees.

Pagans are described as people

… which worship a string of gods and festivals according to archaic religions which pre-date Christianity.

Spiritualists are described thus:

Spiritualists and mediums believe that there is life after death and that by holding seances, the dead can talk to the living, either through direct communication or the Ouija board.

(Emphasis mine).

I’m not actually sure that this is the case! If the marketing for Ouija boards is anything to go by, most of those who use them are silly people with no occult training who are out to scare themselves for kicks. Becoming a proper medium, on the other hand, involves several years training within a development circle, so that one learns not only to contact the departed but also to do so in a safe, respectful, and appropriate manner – and not to freak out when doing so. Nevertheless: I’m surprised they don’t employ more mediums – after all they could come in immensely useful in solving homicide cases!

Mercifully, the Daily Mail goes on to reassure us that:

The list found that no officers were Devil worshippers – also known as Occultists …

Cheers, Daily Mail, for lumping all occultists as Devil worshippers! Nevertheless, though, the good news is that police officers are perfectly entitled, legally speaking, to hold beliefs such as paganism and druidism due to freedom of religion being enshrined in UK Human rights law. However, perhaps the most blatant display of editorial bias on the Daily Mail’s part is that in relation to advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the paper says:

Druids, vegans and green activists should be given special treatment at work, according to ‘lunatic’ advice from the equalities watchdog.

(Emphasis mine)

Inevitably the last word is given to a rent-a-quote Tory MP, Dominic Raab, who says

This is a recipe for every crank and crazy to take their boss for a ride. The EHRC has become an expensive taxpayer-funded laughing stock.

So next time you are in London for a drunken night-out in Leicester Square – or celebrating the death of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministeror both – spare a thought that there is a one in 15,500 chance that the officer arresting you is in fact a Pagan, and consequently liable to be labelled by the Mail as a lunatic.

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Now available in Salem, Missouri!

News today that a Federal Judge has ordered the town library of Salem, Mo., to un-censor pagan and wiccan websites. This comes after a pagan lady attempted to use the public terminals to research death and death rituals in minority religions but was prevented from doing so, on the grounds that the Library’s filtering software had been set to prevent access to undesirable content. The Library staff refused to change the settings when the plaintiff complained to them.

The Judge however ruled that as a public body, the Library was obliged to abide by the First Amendment to the Constitution: the filtering employed by the Library discriminated against pagan religions, hence it was unconstitutional.

There is a happy side-effect to this! Apparently,

* The library’s board agreed Tuesday it would not place filters that blocked “occult” websites, among others, as it had done in the past.

This must surely mean that now, the good people of Salem, Missouri have the opportunity to visit my website as well! In which case I would like to extend my heartiest of welcomes to everyone from Salem visiting my site for the first time. I hope you enjoy your stay here, and I assure you that my occult thrillers are quite reasonably priced. ;-)

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25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (European Wing)

Reblogged from Patheos.com – nice to see Macgregor Mathers, Dion Fortune, Eliphas Levi mentioned!

25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (European Wing).

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Florida Grand Master Decides Pagans Can’t Be Freemasons

Over at the the Wild Hunt I notice that the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Florida has decided that certain named types of pagans – including Wiccans and Odinists – cannot be Freemasons. Here is a scan of the edict:

Florida Grand Master Decides Pagans Can’t Be Freemasons

Now, get this. As far as I understand Freemasonry, the authorities he has cited as part of his edict – the Landmarks, and the charge of a Freemason – are entirely correct. However he seems to have excluded a number of things from his consideration, to wit:

The Volume of the Sacred Law is not necessarily a specific book (e.g. the Bible), but that which constitutes the revelation from heaven which is binding on the conscience of the individual. Hence, it would be the Holy Book of the religion of the candidate being initiated – and indeed, non-Christians are allowed to swear their G.’. and S.’.O.’. on the Holy Book of their choice, e.g. the Tanakh, Koran, Zend Avesta, etc. It is my understanding of Freemasonry, therefore, that one may become a Mason so long as one believes in a God, who is the G.’.A.’.O.’.T’.’.U.’. from one’s own point of view,  and one is prepared in all good conscience to swear on a Holy Book of one of the world’s religions.

Furthermore, the GM of Florida has managed to discriminate against pagans, without exercising discrimination! Whilst Agnosticism probably isn’t compatible with the craft, Gnosticism and Paganism are far too general terms to bandy about and there is a lack of explanation as to what is exactly wrong with Wiccan and Odinism. The thing is, religious and political discussions are banned within craft lodges anyway, so once they are in, they cease to be members of different religions and are simply Brothers of one Craft. It is within my personal knowledge that there are many pagans who are Freemasons, though not within Florida in the United States.

Now let me tell you a little story. In my novella, Shall We Kill The President? I described a conversation between a taxi driver and a Vampire in the Deep South of America.

“The bus-boycott was when, exactly?” Elijah said.

“You’re from out-of-state, right?” the driver said. “Just cause it’s fifty years gone don’t mean attitudes change much in these parts.”

“Tell me about it,” Elijah muttered.

“Like when I joined the Masons,” the driver continued. “Whenever I tried going to a Lodge in this state, immediately they go to ‘refreshment’ soon as I walk in the door. ‘So, Bros,’ I sez to ‘em, ‘when we gone from refreshment to labour again? Ain’t you got a ritual today?’ But they just plain ignore me as if I ain’t there. I gets the message real quick, and take mysel’ down to Prince Hall sharpish, if you know what I’m sayin’.”

“Huh!” Elijah snorted. He paused, before adding: “So how do you join the Masons? The Prince Hall ones, I mean.”

“Oh, you just need to believe in God and that you’re goin’ to Heaven when you die,” the driver said. “Why? Does that sound like something which appeals to you?”

Elijah frowned. “No,” he said.

The fact of the matter is that although dressed as fiction, the experience described by the taxi-driver is a real-life phenomenon experienced by African-Americans who are either Masons or who want to become Masons in certain parts of America. I know this because it was related to me by an American Mason – in the state of Florida.

That’s right: the unpalatable truth is that pagans might feel aggrieved because they can’t become Masons in Lodges warranted by the Grand Lodge of Florida, but black Masons have been discriminated against in the same state for far longer than just November 2012. The problem is far more serious than pagans seem to realise.

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On Astrology

Astrologer poking his head out of the sphere of fixed stars to see what lies beyond

“Help! I’m stuck!” ;-)

Astrology is an Art, and more importantly, the continuation of a tradition which stretches back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt – and times and places even more remote.

Anyone who makes a casual study of Astrology might surmise that since (for example) the planet Venus is said to represent love and relationships, and Mercury represents communication, and furthermore that the Roman deities bearing the same names were the Goddess of Love, and the Messenger of the Gods respectively, then modern Astrology is somehow connected with ancient Roman mythology. And they would be entirely correct! In ancient times, the people of the day did not believe that the planets were named after the gods: they believed that the planets were the gods. Therefore, by noting the movements of the planets, they sought to understand how their gods affected their daily lives.

Astrology, therefore, is really the direct continuation of the old Pagan religions, from ancient right into modern times. Therefore, in order to really understand Astrology, one ought to consider it not from a “scientific” (in the modern sense) point of view, nor from a psychological or even a “New Age” point of view: but instead ask – “how would the ancients have viewed it?”

Fortunately, one ancient sage named Hermes Trismegistos spoke with refreshing clarity on the subject. He said:

Nay more, if we must boldly speak the truth, the true “man” is e’en higher than the gods, or at the [very] least the gods and men are very whit in power each with the other equal. For no one of the gods in heaven shall come down to the earth, o’er-stepping heaven’s limit; whereas man doth mount up to heaven and measure it.

That is to say: the “gods” are the planets of astrology. Although they influence the earth, they cannot “over-step heaven’s limit” i.e. stray outside their regular course, but man can, through the use of his reason and other faculties, take account of their influence, and eventually overcome them.

Thus to the ancients in general – and Hermes Trismegistos in particular – Astrology is neither deterministic nor fatalistic. Instead, properly understood, it is the key to achieving true Free Will: by learning about what influences are affecting one’s life, one can learn to escape from them, and thus rise “higher than the gods.”

This, incidentally, is why one should be cautious when you hear about an Astrologer talking about “bad luck.” If I were to say that such and such a thing would lead to ill-fortune, the very fact that I have warned you about it gives you the key to escape it.

THE FUTURE IS NOT CARVED IN STONE – WE ALL HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT IF WE WANT.

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Live! At The Witch Trials

 

Connie Booth as the witch from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Burn her anyway!

I read today in the Daily Telegraph of how authorities in Germany are reviewing the 400 year old case of a woman burned for witchcraft. What gets me though is that instead of just giving her a posthumous pardon, they are actually “resuming her trial.” :o

Why??? As I said in a comment to another post, if modern standards of justice were applied to all those of accused of witchcraft in the past, they would all be acquitted, or their cases would never have come to trial in the first place, because (a) their acts would not nowadays be classed as crimes; (b) their confessions were obtained by torture (and hence would be inadmissable as evidence); and (c) it is doubtful that the allegations would be treated with anything other than scepticism anyway. I suppose that because of (stereo)typical German efficiency they have to go through the rigmarole of re-trying the woman in order to exonerate her.

However, before Wiccans start rejoicing, one should note that the present case is taking place not because of the efforts of a pagan activist but those of an evangelical pastor and religious education teacher. Therefore his agenda is not to prove that as a pagan she was not guilty, but as a Christian she was not guilty. The argument being that – like almost all of the 25,000 people accused of Witchcraft between 1500 and 1782 – they were almost all not Pagans, but Christians who had been wrongly accused.

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The Quadruple Goddess

Quadruple Goddess?

The “Triple Goddess” was an idea first proposed by Robert Graves in “The White Goddess” and nowadays taken as gospel by modern neo-pagan groups. However, I have a problem with it – for the following reason. The “Triple Goddess” supposedly represents three ideals of womanhood, Maid, Mother and Crone, or to put it another way:

  • In the first stage of her life, a woman is a chaste virgin (Maid);
  • Then as she enters adulthood, she becomes a dutiful wife and home-maker (Mother);
  • Then she becomes a nice old Grandma (Crone).

Seen in this way, the Triple Goddess, far from representing the ideal of womanhood, represents the apotheosizing of a patriarchal, sexist and chauvinistic male idea of what womanhood should be.

If, however, The White Goddess had been written by a woman, i.e. a woman living in the twenty-first century, I suspect that the idea of a “Triple Goddess” would not have been proposed at all. Rather, she would have come up with the idea of a “Quadruple Goddess,” to wit:

  • Maid;
  • “Whore”;
  • Mother; and
  • Crone.

I.e. to represent the fact that in between being a Maid and settling down to become a Mother, most young women – and certainly all those of my acquaintance – want to spend several years going out and having a good time.

I appreciate the fact a lot of people might attach stigma to the idea. Indeed, I was wracking my brains to find an appropriate word to describe stage two: most of the epithets of which I could think have been or are used perjoratively. So in the end I just said to hell with it!

Now before I start getting criticised by the fluffy-bunnies for coming up with an idea at such variance to their cherished beliefs, I would like to back up my claim with some evidence, to wit: the phenomenon of the “Love Spell.”

I read a lot of neo-pagans say “Oh you cannot cast love-spells! It’s dangerous! It’s unethical! It would saddle you with lots of bad karma! It would mean interfering with someone’s free will! Think of everything that could go wrong!” Etc etc etc. So if Love Spells are so bad, how come they exist at all??? Unless the old village wise-woman – who existed to service the needs of the Maid, Mother and Crone – also serviced those of the “Whore” as well.

Herodotus writes about “sacred prostitution” or rather “sacred-random-sex-encounters” taking place in temples of Aphrodite, whilst even the Old Testament uses the word “Qadeshah”  in some places to describe prostitutes – a word which literally means “a consecrated woman.” (The context was a mitzvah prohibiting women from being Qadeshahs, but at least it points to their existence.)

Thus there is a historical precedent for claiming that the Goddess has a “Whore-aspect,” yet a lot of neo-pagans are still buying into the Robert Graves inspired paradigm, thereby helping to stigmatise an aspect of feminity that many women want to indulge in.

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