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ATTIS AND CYBELE

THE MYTH OF ATTIS AND CYBELE...EXPORTED FROM THRACE

It is important that we don't forget what we have just learned in the previous articles as we will continually build upon these ideas.

Barbara Walker says in The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets that "The cult of Attis strongly influenced early Christianity."

The worship of Attis in association with that of the Great Mother of All Things, Cybele, came from Phrygia in Asia Minor. Attis accompanied Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods, who was brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C.E. Phrygia is an area that is often called "Thrace," a region of SE Europe comprising NE Greece, S Bulgaria, and European Turkey, bordered by the Black Sea in the northeast, and the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea in the south. Attis and Cybele were established in a temple on the Vatican hill, where they remained for six centuries. Attis was a son of the Goddess' earthly incarnation, the virgin Nana, who miraculously conceived him by eating an almond or a pomegranate, yonic symbols both. Thus Attis was a typical "god without a father," the Virgin's son. He grew up to become a sacrificial victim and Savior, slain to bring salvation to mankind. His body was eaten by his worshippers in the form of bread [the Eucharist of Attis]. He was resurrected as "The Most High God, who holds the universe together." Like his priests he was castrated, then crucified on a pine tree, where his blood poured down to redeem the earth. (Walker, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, p. 77).

Cybele was worshipped for over 500 years. She was the Mater Deum Magna—Great Mother of the Gods, and of men, animals and plants. She was a mother of nature and a Mountain Mother—her shrines were often on mountains and in caves. She was identified with several other mother goddesses including Demeter and Gaia. She was, in her loving and comforting aspect, the equivalent of Isis, Hera, Juno and the Christians' Mary. But she also had a destructive aspect in which she signified the unknown, the unconscious and mysterious, the magical and intuitive qualities women in particular are considered to have. She is then Astarte, Luna, Hecate, Kali. Cybele was represented by a black meteorite set in the face of a silver statue.

Worship of Cybele arose in the prehistoric Phrygian Empire. The main centre of the cult came to be Pessinus in Galatia. In 204 BC the Sibylline Oracle prophesied that enemies of Rome would be defeated if the Great Mother were taken from Pessinus to Rome. The cult and her symbol, the small black meteorite, were duly moved to Rome and established in 191 BC on the Palatine Hill in the heart of the city. Later the cult incorporated that of Attis who probably never had any following independent of her. The High Priest or Archigallus of Cybele was identified with Attis.

Her priests, the Galli, were eunuchs with hair perfumed and dressed with oils. Priests, priestesses, acolytes and initiates celebrated her rites with fast music and wild dancing until in a frenzy the participants exhausted and finally mutilated themselves by castration becoming candidates for the priesthood. Even the phlegmatic Romans were shocked at first by these rites and at first Roman citizens were banned from participating in them. The ban was not lifted until the beginning of the Empire but then Attis and Cybele worship became one of the three main religions along with those of Isis and Mithras. It made its last appearance under the pagan revival of Eugenius in AD 394.

THE ATTIS MYTH

There are associated with the Attis myth horrific rites as will quickly come to learn. Attis was a handsome Phrygian shepherd, the "Good Shepherd", the son of Cybele. Cybele loved her son intensely but Attis fell in love with a nymph and jealousy overcame the mother. In a rage she cast a spell of madness on Attis and he castrated himself at the foot of a pine tree. As his life blood dripped to the earth violets sprang up. Thus it was that death and sadness entered the world. Cybele, full of remorse took the body to a cave and wept. She first buried Attis at Pessinus but then used her power to restore him to life and they were reunited, thus bringing nature back to life and hope and salvation into the world. She founded the cult making Attis the priest and the pine tree sacred (remember the significance of trees from the other gods?).

There are some variations on the Attis myth. One tradition says he was either killed by Cybele, his mother, out of jealousy or by a boar sent by Zeus, possibly an identification of Attis with the Syrian god known as Lord (Adonis). In another tradition Attis castrated himself as stated above. Attis' passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before the solstitial festival of his birth, the 25th of December. The time of his death was also the time of his conception, or re-conception. To mark the event when Attis entered his mother to beget his reincaration, his tree-phallus was carried into her sacred cavern. Thus the virgin mother Nana was actually the Goddess herself: she who was called Inanna by the Sumerians, Mari-Anna by the Canannites, Anna Perennea by the Sabines, and Nanna, mother of the dying god Balder, in northern Europe (Ibid., p. 77).

The day of Attis' death was Black Friday, or the Day of Blood. His image was carried to the temple and bound to the tree, escorted by "reed-bearers" with the reed scepters representing re-generated phalli and new fertility. During the ceremonies, initiated castrastred themselves in imitation of the castrated god, and presented their severed genitals to the Goddess along with those of the gelded bull sacrificed at the Taurobolium. All these male remnants were deposited in the sacred cave of the Great Mother.

The god died and was buried. He descended into the underworld (Hell). On the third day he rose again from the dead. His worshippers were told: "The god is saved; and for you also will come salvation from your trials." This day was the Carnival or Hilaria, also known as the Day of Joy. People danced in the streets and went about in disguise, indulging in horseplay and casual love affairs. Thus was the Sunday; the god arose in glory as the solar deity of a new season. Christians ever afterward kept Easter Sunday with carnival processions derived from the mysteries of Attis. Like Christ, Attis arose when "the sun makes the day for the first time longer than the night."

So as you can see that is was at the spring festival the death of the god was mourned until he was resurrected by the Great Mother when grief turned to joy. Inscriptions of the 4th century gave Attis the title of Menotyrannus, from the Greek "tyrannos," or "lord," plus Men or Mennu, Osiris as the resurrected ithyphallic moon-bull, "the Lord Who Impregnates His Mother."

Pagans sometimes celebrated the Hilaria or Carnival at the end of their Holy Week (Mardi Gras), bringing it to April 1 and the carnival of the April Fool, or Carnival King, or Prince of Love, all originally synonymous with Attis. He was also identified with Green George of the Old Roman Pahilia, honored on Easter Monday with sacrificial hanging of the god's effigy on a sacred tree.

Some Christians claimed Jesus' crucifixion took place on April 1, so the Fool of April Fool's Day procession became Christ carrying his cross and enduring the mockery of the mob. But the spring Holy Week was not really Christian. Its origin was a universal Indo-European tradition of extreme antiquity, probably traceable to the Holi festivals of India which celebrated the rebirth of spring with joyous orgies (Walker, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, p. 78-79).

Just as Jesus acknowledged YHVH as his senior, Cybele, the mother, is the senior of Attis. Like YHVH, whose anger at mankind's disobedience could only be assuaged through the death of his son, Cybele's jealous anger could only be assuaged through the death of her son. Cybele's most solemn ritual was the Taurobolium, a sacrifice of a bull, like Mithras's. The blood flowed through the slats of the sacrificial platform. The initiate standing below thereby became "born again". People who could not afford a bull made do with a sheep and so were "washed in the blood of the lamb".

In Rome the festival of Cybele and Attis was at the vernal equinox in the spring. During the reign of Claudius shortly after the crucifixion this was from 15 to 27 March. Though the cult had been brought to Rome on the prophecies of the Sibylline oracles, even Romans were shocked by the festival and were forbidden to join in until the time of Claudius according to a late Byzantine source. Previously the ceremonies had been held privately in the temple of Cybele on the Palatine Hill and only Phrygians participated.

Claudius admitted the ceremonies to the official religious calendar of Rome, some say, to counter the growing influence of Isis worship. The chief priests or archigalli of the religion from then on had Roman rather than foreign names. The calendar was:

15 March - The "reed bearers" enter and a six year old bull is sacrificed.

22 March - A pine is felled representing the death of the god. The acolytes and initiates proceed to the Temple of Cybele with the sacred pine bearing the effigy of the god in its branches (the god is on the tree). The tree is laid to rest at the Temple of Cybele.

24 March - The "day of blood". The sacred pine tree and an effigy of Attis is buried in a tomb and a day of mourning, fasting, sexual abstinence, self-flagellation and self-mutilation commemorating the Mother's grief follows (as a form of self-emasculation as we will see in a second). The High Priest playing the part of Attis draws blood from his arm and offers it as a substitute for a human sacrifice. That night the tomb is found brightly illuminated but empty, the god having risen on the third day. Initiates undertake the Mysteries and are baptized in bull's blood at the Taurobolium to wash away their sins whereupon they are "born again". They then become ecstatic and frenzied and recruits to the priesthood, castrate themselves in imitation of the god.

25 March - Hilaria: the resurrection of Attis and the onset of spring is celebrated with a sacramental meal and a day of joy and feasting. Those who castrated themselves become Galli—cocks—dress in women's clothes and wear perfumed oils.

26 March - A quiet day of rest and recovery;

27 March - The conclusion of the festival with a procession in which the statue of the goddess, meteorite embedded in her brow, is majestically carried to her temple and a series of religious dramas and entertainments follows.

Clay statues of the gods were made in ancient times just as tawdry statues of saints are sold today at Catholic shrines. Attis was depicted in his death throes drenched in blood, then serene after his resurrection, androgynous, released from his worldly sins and surrounded by solar rays. Or he was shown as a child, naked and dancing for joy. Cybele was depicted much like the virgin Mary with a baby or babies. An ancient figure of a Madonna and child in a church at Enna in Sicily were actually Cybele in her role of corn goddess (Demeter) and her daughter Persephone. The church was on a site formerly dedicated to the goddess. Pope Pius IX had the statues moved to a museum. The Black Madonnas of Italy are also on sites dedicated to Demeter, and the virgin of Chartres Cathedral was taken from a pagan alter.

Attis, the "Good Shepherd", was extremely popular in the Empire around the time of Christ. His death and resurrection were celebrated at the time of year we would call Easter. The "reed bearers" of Attis compare directly with the palm bearers of the entry into Jerusalem and the procession of the tree compares directly with the procession along the Via Dolorosa today when believing Christians enact the carrying of the cross, symbolically a tree. The effigy of the god Attis on the tree meant that ritually the god was hanged from a tree, like Jesus. The High Priest draws blood to symbolize the shedding of blood by the god for the good of men, just as Jesus is believed to have shed his blood for the salvation of believers. The brightly illuminated empty tomb directly parallels the Christian legend, the god having risen on the third day. The resurrection was celebrated with a sacramental meal and initiates baptized with blood to wash away their sins were "born again".

The site of a sanctuary to Attis on the Vatican Hill is where now stands the Church of St Peter! In countries where Attis was revered 25 March was adopted as the date of Jesus's passion and crucifixion rather than the moveable feast that was later adopted as Easter. Hilaria, 25 March is precisely nine months before the official birthday of Jesus on 25 December. It is therefore the day on which Jesus was considered to have been miraculously conceived of God. The Church celebrates the day on which Jesus was considered to have been miraculously conceived of God as "Lady Day." One of the titles of Cybele was Domina - the Lady! It is difficult for any rational man to regard all of this as coincidence.

So you now understand that Attis was, as it were, a grandchild of Osiris, because Attis was nothing more than a reconstituted Dionysus, joined also, like Adonis, to the Great Mother. What happened is clear: after the Thracians had absorbed the Egyptian mystery of Osiris, they carried it with them, as Strabo declares, first, into the island of Samothrace, and next into Phrygia, as they colonized both (Geography, X, iii, 15-16). In Asian Phrygia, Dionysus, like Osiris at Byblus, encountered the age-old Semitic Mother; and from their conjuncture issued a new and strange amalgam.

We would guess that this cult preceded the Eleusinian, and probably dates back to 1800-1600 B.C.E.

SAMOTHRACIAN VERSION OF THE ATTIS MYTH

Originally, Cybele she was a mountain-dwelling earth-goddess (some of her epithets are "Mountain Mother," "Goddess of the Mountain," and "Lady of Mt. Ida"). A very early deity, in later times her attributes of fertility and unrestrained sexuality predominated. Her later consort is her offspring, the dying god Attis, whom she drives mad, and who castrates himself and dies. Cybele, passionately in love with Attis, revives him in the springtime. In classical times, Cybele's worship spread throughout the northern Mediterranean, and continued in the Roman Empire, when she became known as "Mother of the Gods," "The All-Nurturing One," and "All-Mother". In classical times, her priests were males, who probably castrated themselves. According to the myth current among the Samothracians, "the sacred rites of the Great Mother of the gods . . . together with cymbals and kettledrums and the instruments of her ritual" (Diodorus, V, 49) had first been established there. It seems that Cybele became the mother of Corybas, to whom she bore a daughter, also named Cybele. We note here the similarity to the Cinyras-Aphrodite myth. Corybas gave the name Corybants to all who, in celebrating the sacred rites of his mother, acted like men possessed. Moving to the Asian mainland with their attendant Dardanus, they established the Cybele-Corybas ritual in Phrygia. It would thus appear that Corybas (or Attis) was at once the father, the lover, and the son of Cybele.

THE PHRYGIAN VERSION OF THE ATTIS MYTH

The Phrygians themselves, however, had a variant version (Ibid., III, 58-59). King Meison of Phrygia had married Dindymeme—which often appears as one of the names of the goddess—and she bore a daughter, Cybele, whom he, thinking her illegitimate, exposed to die. She, however, suckled by wild beasts and adopted by herdsmen, grew into great beauty and was the first to devise the pipe of many reeds, the cymbal, and the kettledrum. Upon attaining womanhood, she fell in love with Attis, later called Pappa. She conceived a child by him shortly before her parents discovered that she was the royal princess and brought her back to the palace. When the king learned of her seduction, he executed not only her nurses but Attis also, whose body was cast forth unburied. Cybele, like Isis and Astarte, was disconsolate with grief; and she "became frenzied and rushed out of the palace into the countryside. And crying aloud and beating on a kettledrum she visited every country alone, with hair hanging free.... But a pestilence fell upon human beings throughout Phrygia and the land ceased to bear fruit, and when the unfortunate people inquired of the god how they might rid themselves of their ills, he commanded them, it is said, to bury the body of Attis and to honor Cybele as a goddess" (Ibid.).

ARNOBIUS' VERSION OF THE ATTIS MYTH

Arnobius relates a third version: The Great Mother, sleeping upon a mountain in Phrygia, was assailed by Jupiter but she repelled him; and so he spent his lust upon a stone, which brought forth Acdestis, a fierce and bloody creature. Dionysus made him drunk, and emasculated him; from the drops of his blood sprang a pomegranate tree; Nana, daughter of King Sangarius, placed some of the fruit in her bosom, and she conceived and bore a child, which her father exposed on the mountainside as illegitimate. When the Mother of the Gods beheld his beauty, she loved him exceedingly, as did the wickedly lustful Acdestis, who gave him gifts and forced an unnatural relationship upon him. King Midas of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the prince from so disgraceful an intimacy, offered him his daughter in marriage. But the Mother Goddess, determined to free Attis forever both from shame and matrimony, filled him "with furious passion," so that he mutilated himself under a pine tree, saying, "'Take these, Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous commotions.'" As his life ebbed away with his flowing blood, the Mother of the Gods gathered the parts and spread earth upon them. A violet sprang from the blood. Weeping, the Goddess carried the sacred pine tree to her cave, where "she beats and mutilates her breasts" (Adversus Gentes, V, 5-7; 13-17).

ATTIS: SALVATION THROUGH EMASCULATION

Such are the fragments which survive concerning the tragic fate of Attis. Notice again the repetition to what we have already seen previously:

BUT NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE

Up to now we have seen salvation attained by various means:

OMOPHAGIA:

Omophagia means "Eating-into-the Belly." It was a Greek ritual of holy communion by eating the flesh of sacrificial victims, human or animal. This custom goes back to primitive tradition when worshippers would tear apart the victims with their hands and teeth as supposedly happened in the earliest cults of Dionysus, Orpheus, Ziagreus, and other gods torn apart in their myths. "The communicants rushed madly upon the sacrificial animal, tore it to pieces and ate it raw, believing that the god was resident in the offering...It was believed thus there took place an identification with the god himself, together with a participation in his substance and qualities." His immorality was consumed too–both in the omophagia and its descendant, the Christian sacrament of communion–though the body is no longer meat but tiny pieces of bread.

COPULATION

Through copulation, as in the Aphrodite-cult, one partook of the divine essence of the god by becoming one with the god through sexual union with the god representative; either male or female.

But here we encounter something different. Instead of omophagia or copulation for salvation, we have a frenzy of emasculation: in short we find escape from sin and guilt and a highway to blessed immortality through celibacy and castration, the eradication of the sexual urge. And so, by a strange twist of irony, we have two bizarre conjunctures of the Osirian concept with the Mother Goddess of Asia: in the first, the mystery called for sacred sexual communion; in the second, the ritual consisted primarily in the castration of the male initiate and in the mutilation of the woman's breasts.

EXPANSION OF THE CULT

Although the Attis-cult never developed as extensively in Greece as did those of Dionysus, Demeter, and Isis, we learn from Strabo (Geography, X, iii, 18), Pausanias (Description of Greece, II, iv; VIII, xxxvii), and Pindar (Dithyramb for the Thebans) that "the mighty Mother of the Gods" and her desexed lover were by no means unknown in Hellas. But it was among other less sensitive Mediterranean people that the Attis cult made its greatest conquests: in Africa, Gaul, Spain, and Italy. Wondrous powers were attributed to the Phrygian goddess. And so it was that, in the year 204 B.C.E., while Rome was facing crop failures and imminent destruction at the hands of Hannibal, some one suggested that Cybele could make the imperial city the mistress of the world. Livy states that the Delphian Oracle had once declared that should Italy ever be invaded by a foreign foe, he could be driven out "if the Idaean Mother should be brought from Pessinus to Rome" (History, XXIX, 10, 11, 14). Ambassadors were therefore dispatched to Phrygia, who in due time returned with a small black stone. Whatever may have been its efficacy, it is certain that during the ensuing season the crops were excellent and the hosts of Carthage were defeated. Arnobius expresses a commendable skepticism concerning the powers of the diminutive stone and the emasculated priests of Cybele; many, however, were convinced of their puissance; for the cult was soon firmly established, and the mystery-dramas, noisy processions, and bloody rites of Cybele became familiar sights in the streets of Rome; and her temple rose on the very site where the basilica of St. Peter stands today.

THE PUBLIC ORGIES....AS TOLD BY APULEIUS

Apuleius wrote that the devotees of Cybele "went . . . forth, shouting and dancing . . . they bent down their necks and spun round so that their hair flew out in a circle; they hit their own flesh; finally, every one took his two-edged weapon and wounded himself in divers places. Meanwhile, there was one . . . who invented . . . a great lie, noisily . . . accusing himself, saying that he had displeased the divine majesty of the goddess . . . wherefore he prayed that vengeance might be done to himself. And therewithal he tools a whip . . . and scourged his own body . . . so that you might see the ground wet and defiled with the womanish blood that issued forth abundantly'' (The Golden Ass, VIII).

The celebrants thereupon brought in a youth whom they had abducted and upon whom they inflicted some form of sodomy. It is clear that the Phrygian mystery reflects its Osirian origin; but it is also obvious that here appeared for the first time that overwhelming sense of guilt which was considered inseparable from the sexual lust residing in our members and which must be conquered by beating, whipping, slashing, torture, and self-mutilation, but which, nevertheless, must needs seek relief through some vile and abnormal practice. Since the frenzied devotees of Attis identified their congenital corruption with erotic desire, they must needs renounce not merely all sexual consummation but sexuality itself before they could be united with their god. The climacteric of the mystery-ritual, therefore, consisted in the same emasculation and castration once performed by Attis and Cybele.

THE PUBLIC ORGIES...AS TOLD BY ARNOBIUS

Arnobius was one of those scholarly converts who rejected paganism more than they accepted Christianity. He flourished about 300 B.C.E., some five hundred years after the cult of Cybele had been introduced into Rome. There is no doubt that he had been outraged by witnessing the gruesome atrocities performed in the public dramas representing the passion of Attis. We gain a vivid impression of what these were like from his description of the emasculated priests, "the Galli, with disheveled hair, beating their breasts." They must, he surmised, "be involved in the infamy of some shameful deed. For who would believe that there is any honor in that which the worthless Galli perform, effeminate debauchers complete?'' (Adversus Gentes, V, 16-17).

THE ESOTERIC RITUAL...ACCORDING TO HIPPOLYTUS

There is a long discussion in Hippolytus (Refutation of All Heresies, V, i-v), who wrote about 210 A. D., concerning the Naasenes, one of several Christian heresies deriving certain tenets from the Phrygian mystery. According to them, when Jesus declares that "there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake," he was simply repeating an injunction which had been taught throughout Asia Minor by the cult of Attis for more than a thousand years. Hippolytus elaborates by adding that, according to the Naasenes, "the ineffable mystery of the Samothracians, which it is allowable" only for "the initiated to know" was precisely the same as that proclaimed by Christ when He declared, "If ye do not drink my blood, and eat my flesh, ye will not enter the kingdom of heaven." This flesh-and-blood sacrament, states Hippolytus, is according to the Naasenes, called Corybas by Phrygians as well as by those "Thracians who dwell around Haemus." Hippolytus continues that Attis prohibited all sexual intercourse and quotes his Naasene source as follows: "Hail, Attis, gloomy mutilation of Rhea. Assyrians style thee thrice longed-for Adonis, and the whole of Egypt calls thee Osiris, . . .; Samothracians, venerable Adam; Haemonians, Corybas; and the Phrygians name thee at one time Pappa, at another time God . . . or the Green Ear of Corn that has been reaped" (Ibid., V, iv).

SO WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? LET US SUMMARIZE IN CONCLUSION

All this establishes further the congenital relationship among the savior-cults; the identification of Attis with the seed that dies and is resurrected; and, most significant of all, that in Attis the soter (savior) appears at last as a eunuch who requires celibacy from his devotees. The fact is that although Osiris and Dionysus were gods of virility, the opposite characteristic was always immanent in them also. For the priests of Osiris had been mandatory celibates since time immemorial; and the images of Dionysus had for centuries resembled an hermaphrodite, a "womanly man," an effeminate god. In Attis, the repudiation of sex took its most drastic form. This is important as we will later see that the Essenes who once advocated marriage will evolve into an ascetic and celibate cult in the days of Jesus as they will adopt mandatory celibacy as well and this continues today in the Roman Catholic Church among its priests as well. Let me remind you the first commandment in the Torah is to have sexual union and produce children. The Essenes disregarded such a Commandment as does the Catholic Church today.

THE PASSION OF ATTIS...THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE GOD AND HIS RESURRECTION

We saw that the annual festival of Cybele, which lasted four days, began on the rend of March, when the trunk of a pine tree (here we find Osiris' tree again) was carried ceremonially into the temple. Wreathed with violets and swathed with woolen cloth, the tree stood in the midst of its worshipers; and to this the effigy of Attis was then affixed or impaled (crucifixion). The god was crucified on a tree (as had Osiris died on a tree as well). On the second day, there were processions of overwrought mourners, bearing images upon their breasts, following the statue of the goddess through the streets; driven to the highest pitch of frenzy by the wild and discordant music of fifes, cymbals, tambourines and kettledrums, they screamed and whirled and leaped about like demented dervishes, and slashed themselves with knives and swords. On the next day, March 24, the bloody passion-drama reached its climax. As Sir J. G. Frazer notes, this was "the Day of Blood," on which the novices sacrificed their virility. Wrought to the highest pitch of religious excitement, they dashed the severed portions of themselves against the image of the cruel goddess'' (The Golden Bough, IV: II, i). Thus, while their god hung upon the pine tree, his initiates performed the same sacred mutilation upon themselves which he had undergone, so that they might share in his resurrection.

At the close of March 24, the priests reverently removed the sacred effigy from the tree, and laid it in the tomb, The older as well as the newly desexed initiates watched and fasted all through the long night, until the dawn of March 25. The tomb was then opened; and a great shout of joy went up from the assembled worshipers: for the tomb was empty, the god was not there. He had been resurrected from the grave into eternal life.

With the resurrection, the people gave themselves over to an unrestricted Saturnalia of joy, gaiety, and license. The festival ended with a procession bearing the sacred black stone to the river Almo, where it was washed and purified; after which it was returned amidst singing and rejoicing to its sacred place within the temple.

SIMILARITY TO EASTER...COINCIDENCE?

The similarity between these rites and the pascha or Easter celebration in the Catholic Church is striking indeed. Like the devotees of Attis, the Christians mourned and watched all through the dreadful hours when their god hung upon the tree; but on resurrection morning, they too were filled with joy at the empty tomb. Ambrose in his sermon on "The Mystery of the Pascha" calls the day the real beginning of the year, in which nature revives after the long death of winter (Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, p. 69). The issue of whether the stark similarity with Easter is a coincidence or a "copy" you will have to determine for yourself, but at least you now have the facts.

THE SACRAMENTAL EUCHARIST & THE TAUROBOLIUM ...BEING WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF HE BULL/LAMB ....BEING BORN AGAIN

The evidence supports the suspicion of Arnobius (Adversus Gentes, V, 17) that other and even more revolting ceremonies were performed: for there were secret rituals which only the emasculated initiates could witness. These consisted of a sacramental meal in which the novices ate out of a drum and drank from a cymbal [the form of their Eucharist] (Clement of Alexander, Exhortation, II).

And there was the great initiatory sacrament known as the taurobolium, or baptismal blood bath, in which the newly-inducted member, wreathed with the violets of Attis, descended into a pit, covered with a grating, on which stood the sacred bull. This was ceremonially slain, so that his blood streamed copiously over the inductees below who, by this ritual, were literally washed in the blood of the bull, and thus born anew into everlasting life. Again, we see the generic relationship to Osirian symbolism. It is ironic to note that on the very spot where the Pope now presides, the initiates of another Pappa were saved by a more realistic sacrament than that which now prevails. Later one the bull was replaced by lambs and the initiates could later say they were "washed in the blood of the lamb."

Sound familiar?

THE HIGH PRIESTS ORIGINALLY CRUCIFIED

There is no doubt that in the original ritual, an Archigallus, or desexed high priest, was annually impaled upon the pine tree; and that, during the era preceding recorded history, a thousand emasculated saviors had been crucified in Phrygia for the original sin of many and had died upon the tree so that others might have eternal life. This idea had become so deeply rooted in pagan consciousness that it was almost an obsession: the god-man must die and rise from the grave so that his devotees might also be resurrected into life immortal. However, as advancing civilization softened the manners of all races, this ceremony became an innocuous scene in a passion-play. And finally the living priest was simulated by a lifeless figure which was first impaled and then laid in his sacred tomb. The curse of Deuteronomy 21:23 against all who are hanged on a tree must have been directed at the crucified priests of Attis.

INFLUENCE OF ATTIS UPON CHRISTIANITY

Attis became one of the most potent savior-gods of the ancient world, and left his heavy imprint upon Christianity. The Gospel injunction commanding auto-emasculation, which was so widely practiced in the early Catholic Church, was derived primarily from the cult of Attis, since it is found nowhere else. Equally significant was its influence in the Easter celebration. We know that for centuries the date of the Christian crucifixion had caused the bitterest dispute; and, next to the Trinitarian controversy, this was the most serious issue which faced the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325. The Eastern Church had celebrated the resurrection on the 16th Nisan, in April, which was also the Jewish Passover, and which is certainly the time indicated in the Gospel narrative. In the West, however, this date had never been popular and we know from Irenaeus (Fragments, III) that the question was already a burning issue before the end of the second century. Lactantius tells us categorically that Jesus was crucified on March 23 (The Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, II), which would place his resurrection on the 25th; and these are precisely the dates on which the death and resurrection of Attis had been celebrated for nearly two thousand years. To say that the final selection of these dates by the Catholic Church after several centuries of vacillation and bitter controversy was a mere coincidence places too heavy a burden upon credulity; the Christian Easter and the Passion of Christ simply incorporated into a new cult a date and a ritual which had been celebrated by the communicants of the Attis-Cybele mystery beyond the dimmest reaches of history.

Christians claimed the same dates for the conception and birth of their savior. The usual quarrels ensued. The Christians resorted to their favorite argument, that the devil has established pagan Mysteries in imitation of Christianity before there was a Christianity. Tertullian said: "The devil by the mysteries of his idols, imitates even the main parts of the divine mysteries." Followers of Attis eventually lost their sacrificial day to the Christians. Justinian ruled that March 25th would be known as the day of the Annunciation, or Lady Day. Naturally, the day of the Annuncation was the day of Jesus' conception, so that he, like Attis, could be born nine months later at the winter solstice, as were all gods assimilated to the sun and called "Light of the World" (Ibid., p. 78).

John 8:12 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (KJV)

Answer for yourself: Do you want the truth concerning the historical Jesus before you die? Well, keep studying and you will find out how the real faith of Jesus has been robbed from you....and you have been given paganism and the Gentile Church calls this "Divine Revelation." You have to be the judge of that, but you need to know the facts. I have given them to you.

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