<html> <head> <title>Pagan Feasts - taken fron the net</title> </head> <body lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=purple style='tab-interval:.5in'> <div class=WordSection1> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:16.0pt'>Pagan Feasts</span></b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:16.0pt'>Christmas</span></b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The following is a quote from the Encyclopedia <span class=SpellE>Brittanica</span>, Volume <span class=GramE>11 ;</span> page 390.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>&quot;During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and ultimately led to what has been called a 'solar monotheism.' Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of Solar qualities, and both Christ and <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span> acquired the traits of solar deities.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The feast of Sol and <span class=SpellE>Victus</span> (open unconquered Sun) on December 25th was celebrated with great joy, and eventually this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the birthday of Christ.<span class=GramE>&quot; !!</span></b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The Christians were trying to get more converts <span class=GramE>So</span> they adapted a pagan holiday to their worship to appease the pagans in 336 AD.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The <span class=SpellE>Encyclopaedia</span> Britannica reports that &quot;The traditional customs connected with Christmas have developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observations at midwinter. In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts. <span class=GramE>December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span>, the Sun of Righteousness.&quot;</span> </b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Colliers Encyclopedia agrees. Quote: &quot;After the triumph of Constantine, the church at Rome assigned December 25 as the date for the celebration of the feast, possibly about A.D. 320 or 353. By the end of the fourth century the whole Christian world was celebrating Christmas on that day, with the exception of the Eastern churches, where it was celebrated on January 6. The choice of December 25 was probably influenced by the fact that on this day the Romans celebrated the <span class=SpellE>Mithraic</span> feast of the Sun-god (<span class=SpellE>natalis</span> <span class=SpellE>solis</span> <span class=SpellE>invicti</span>), and that the Saturnalia also came at this time.&quot;</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Both encyclopedias plainly reveal that the source of the celebration of December 25 is the birthday of <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span>, the pagan sun god.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Sun worshippers since the time of Babel recognized this time of year in honor of their gods.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>1st century believers, taught personally by Christ, did not celebrate His birthday. 2nd century theologians condemned the thought. Only after severe persecution, destruction and inaccessibility of biblical scripture and the blending of pagan doctrine with the worship of God was the <span class=SpellE>Mithraic</span> celebration of December 25th proclaimed to be &quot;Christian&quot; in nature.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>These facts are well documented. They can be found in any encyclopedia. There is no way to &quot;Christianize&quot; the birthday of the sun god. Anyone with access to an encyclopedia can know better and those with theological degrees do!</b></p> <p align=center style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt; margin-left:0in;text-align:center'><span class=SpellE><span style='font-size: 24.0pt'>Mithra</span></span></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>How does one begin to explain the very important connection between Mithraism and the <span class=SpellE>paganizing</span> of the true worship of God and His only begotten Son?</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>To begin with, Mithras was the sun god of the Persians and subsequent empires including the Roman Empire through the 4th century. During the 4th century, Mithras &quot;mysteriously&quot; vanished and Roman &quot;Christianity&quot; began. <span class=GramE>A Christianity</span> not like that of the 1st century; but, a polluted, corrupt &quot;Christianity&quot; lacking few <span class=SpellE>Mithraic</span> rituals.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Mithras was invoked in the inscriptions of the Biblical <span class=SpellE>Artaxerxes</span>, king of Babylon: making Mithras one of the pagan gods that God had warned His chosen people to beware of. Christ had come and defeated Satan by personally paying repentant man s death penalty for the transgression of God s laws - the penalty He, Himself, had established at the time of creation. And yet, in the 4th century, by way of a Satanic &quot;if you can t beat <span class=SpellE>em</span> join <span class=SpellE>em</span>&quot; deception, a blend of the worship of God and the worship of pagan gods was officially proclaimed as &quot;Christianity&quot; by the Roman Empire.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>As the gospel spread throughout the nations; and the persecution of true believers proved to be ineffective, Satan, the author of confusion, began his final assault on the truth - the truth that &quot;sin is the transgression of the law&quot; and that the penalty is death.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The celebrations including December 25th in honor of the rebirth of Mithras at the winter solstice and <span class=GramE>Easter ,</span> the solar observance of the spring equinox, attempted to void the 1st commandment in the name of &quot;Christianity&quot;.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The graven images of the pagan deities, given &quot;Christian&quot; titles, attempted to void the 2nd commandment. And the Sunday observance of &quot;<span class=SpellE>Deis</span> Solis&quot;, the day of the sun attempted to void the 4th commandment. Attempted only, for Christ had proclaimed &quot;till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one <span class=SpellE>tittle</span> shall in no wise pass from the law.&quot;</b></p> <p align=center style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt; margin-left:0in;text-align:center'><span style='font-size:24.0pt'>Sol <span class=SpellE>Invictus</span></span></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The official recognition of sun worship in the Roman Empire began during the time of Aurelian when he instituted the cult of &quot;Sol <span class=SpellE>invictus</span>&quot;. The cult of Sol <span class=SpellE>Invictus</span> and that of <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span> are virtually the same.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>In the year 307 A.D. Emperor Diocletian, a sun worshipper, was involved in the dedication of a temple to <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span> and was responsible for the burning of scripture which made it possible for later emperors to formulate their own version of &quot;Christianity.&quot;<br> After the rein of Diocletian, Emperor Constantine, while claiming to be a Christian maintained the title &quot;<span class=SpellE>Pontifus</span> <span class=SpellE>Maximus</span>&quot; the high priest of paganism. His coins were inscribed: &quot;SOL INVICTO COMITI&quot; (COMMITTED TO THE INVINCIBLE SUN).</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>During his reign pagan sun worship was blended with the worship of the Creator, and officially entitled &quot;Christianity.&quot;</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Cybele the Phrygian goddess, known to her followers as &quot;the mother of god&quot;, was closely related to the worship of <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span>. As Mithraism was a man s religion, the worship of Cybele was practiced by the women. The priests of <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span> were known as &quot;Fathers&quot; and the Priestesses of Cybele as &quot;Mothers.&quot;</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>After baptism into the Mysteries of <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span>, the initiate was marked on the forehead. The sign of the cross formed by the elliptic and the celestial equator was one of the signs of <span class=SpellE>Mithra</span>.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Sunday (<span class=SpellE>Deis</span> Solis), the day of the sun, was considered by <span class=SpellE>Mithraist</span> a sacred day of rest.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>December 25th was celebrated as the birth of the sun, given birth by the &quot;Queen of Heaven&quot; - &quot;Mother of god.&quot;</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The <span class=SpellE>Mithraists</span> celebrated a <span class=SpellE>mithraic</span> love feast. This feast consisted of loaves of bread decorated with crosses with wine over which the priest pronounced a mystic formula.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><span class=SpellE><b>Mithra</b></span><b> was considered mediator between god and man.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><span class=SpellE><b>Mithraists</b></span><b> also believed in eternal life in heaven and in the torture of the wicked after death. Many of these beliefs and rituals were exclusive to Mithraism and up until the fourth century were not a part of the Christian faith. Only those in accordance with the commandments of God could possibly be in honor of Christ.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>In the 4th century, through confusion and manipulation, rituals of &quot;sun worship&quot; were pronounced, by the followers of Satan to be &quot;Christian&quot; in nature.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>There is no Biblical support for the inclusion of <span class=SpellE>Mithraic</span> ritual, which is the worship of Satan, in the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Creator of heaven and earth. It is a <span class=GramE>Satanic</span> scheme to disguise the transgression of God s laws under the title of &quot;Christianity&quot;.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>This same system, characterized by the shrouding of truth in secrecy and the manipulation of the truth in order to achieve its ends, has been working for two millennia to combine paganism with Christianity.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:16.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Easter</span></b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The English word Easter is derived from the names &quot;<span class=SpellE>Eostre</span>&quot; - &quot;<span class=SpellE>Eastre</span>&quot; - &quot;Astarte&quot; or <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span>. Astarte was introduced into the British Isles by the Druids and is just another name for <span class=SpellE>Beltis</span> or Ishtar of the Chaldeans and Babylonians.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The book of Judges records that &quot;the children of Israel did evil ...in the sight of the LORD, and served <span class=SpellE>Baalim</span>, and <span class=SpellE><span class=GramE>Ashtaroth</span></span><span class=GramE>, ...and</span> forsook the LORD, and served not Him.&quot;</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>Easter is just another name for <span class=SpellE>Ashteroth</span> &quot;The Queen of Heaven.&quot; Easter was not considered a &quot;Christian&quot; festival until the fourth century. Early Christians celebrated Passover on the 14th day of the first month and a study of the dates on which Easter is celebrated will reveal that the celebration of Easter is not observed in accordance with the prescribed time for the observance of Passover.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>After much debate, the <span class=SpellE>Nicaean</span> council of 325 A.D. decreed that &quot;Easter&quot; should be celebrated on the first Sunday, after the full moon, on or after the vernal equinox. Why was so much debate necessary if &quot;Easter&quot; was a tradition passed down from the Apostles? The answer is that it was not an <span class=GramE>Apostolic</span> institution, but, an invention of man! They had to make up some rules.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>History records that spring festivals in honor of the pagan fertility goddesses and the events associated with them were celebrated at the same time as &quot;Easter&quot;. In the year 399 A.D. the <span class=SpellE>Theodosian</span> Code attempted to remove the pagan connotation from those events and banned their observance.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b>The pagan festival of Easter originated as the worship of the sun goddess, the Babylonian Queen of Heaven who was later worshipped under many names including Ishtar, Cybele, <span class=SpellE>Idaea</span> Mater (the Great Mother), or Astarte for whom the celebration of Easter is named. Easter is not another name for the Feast of Passover and is not celebrated at the Biblically prescribed time for Passover. This pagan festival was supposedly &quot;Christianized&quot; several hundred years after Christ.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt'>&nbsp;</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:16.0pt;color:red'>More on Easter </span></b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>Judg.2 </span></u></b>[<b>13</b>] <span class=GramE>And</span> they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and<b> <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span></b>.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>Judg.10</span></u></b>[<b>6</b>] And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served <span class=SpellE>Baalim</span>, and<b> <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span></b>, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of <span class=SpellE>Zidon</span>, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of <span class=SpellE>Ammon</span>, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>1Sam.7 </span></u></b>[<b>3</b>] And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and<b> <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span></b> from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .5in;text-indent:-.25in'>[<b>4</b>] Then the children of Israel did put away <span class=SpellE>Baalim</span> and<b> <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span></b>, and served the LORD only.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><span class=GramE><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>1Sam.12</span></u></b>[</span><b>10</b>] And they cried unto the LORD, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served <span class=SpellE>Baalim</span> and<b> <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span></b>: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><span class=GramE><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>1Sam.31</span></u></b>[</span><b>10</b>] And they put his <span class=SpellE>armour</span> in the house of<b> <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span></b>: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-<span class=SpellE>shan</span>.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>Jer.7</span></u></b>[<b>18</b>] The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women <span class=SpellE>knead</span> their dough, to make cakes to the<b> queen of heaven</b>, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><span class=GramE><b><u><span style='font-size:14.0pt;color:blue'>Jer.44</span></u></b>[</span><b>17</b>] But we will certainly do whatsoever thing <span class=SpellE>goeth</span> forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the<b> queen of heaven</b>, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .5in;text-indent:-.25in'>[<b>18</b>] But since we left off to burn incense to the<b> queen of heaven</b>, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .5in;text-indent:-.25in'>[<b>19</b>] And when we burned incense to the<b> queen of heaven</b>, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .5in;text-indent:-.25in'>[<b>25</b>] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the<b> queen of heaven</b>, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.</p> <p align=center style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt; margin-left:0in;text-align:center'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>THE PAGAN WORSHIP OF EASTER</span></b> <br> <br> <b>R</b>eading from <i>Compton s Pictured Encyclopedia</i>, 1948, Volume 4, page 140, we find that Easter is the Greatest Festival of the Christian Church, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus <span class=SpellE>Christ<sup>__</sup>which</span> festival was named after the ancient Anglo Saxon Goddess of Spring! </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE><b>EASTER</b>.</span> <b><u>The greatest festival of the Christian church commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ</u>.</b> It is a movable feast, that is, it is not always held on the same date. The church council of <span class=SpellE>Nicea</span> (<span class=SpellE>a.d</span>. 325) decided that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the <b><u>vernal equinox</u></b> (March 21). Easter can come as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><b><u>The name Easter comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, </u><span class=SpellE><i>Eostre</i></span><u> or </u><span class=SpellE><i>Ostara</i></span><u>, in whose honor an annual spring festival was held. Some of our Easter customs have come from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals</u>.</b> Others come from the Passover feast of the Jews, observed in memory of their deliverance from Egypt (<i>see</i> Passover). The word   paschal,  meaning   pertaining to Easter,  like the French word for Easter, <span class=SpellE><i>Pques</i></span>, comes through the Latin from the Hebrew name of the Passover. Passover is not Easter, nor <span class=GramE>the translation is</span> wrong.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>Unger s Bible Dictionary</i>, by Merrill F. Unger, 1957, page 283, goes on to corroborate this fact, saying:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><b>Easter</b> (<b><u>Gr. </u><span class=SpellE><i>pascha</i></span><u>, from Heb. </u><span class=SpellE><i>pesah</i></span></b>), <b><u>the Passover, and so translated in every passage excepting   intending after Easter</u></b> to bring him forth to the people  (<b><u>Acts 12:4</u></b>). <b><u>In the earlier English versions Easter had been frequently used as the translation of </u><span class=SpellE><i>pascha</i></span><i> which is wrong</i>.</b> At the last revision Passover was substituted <span class=GramE>( which</span> is wrong) in all passages but this. <i>See </i>Passover. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>The word Easter is of Saxon origin, <span class=SpellE>Eastra</span>, <b><u>the goddess of spring, in whose honor sacrifices were offered about Passover time each year</u>.</b> By the 8th century Anglo-Saxons had adopted the name to designate the celebration of Christ s resurrection.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>I</span></b>t is a fully documented historical fact that the day which was chosen by the Christian Church to celebrate this resurrection, was a day which had been celebrated by pagans from antiquity! Yes, the only difference between these two <span class=GramE>celebrations,</span> is the fact that its name was changed to veneer it with Christian Respectability! </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>I</span></b>t is simply no secret that <b>EASTER</b> originated with the <b>WORSHIP OF A PAGAN GODDESS</b>! This fact is presented almost every time one researches the word Easter. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>Compton s Encyclopedia</i>, 1956, Volume 4, says this about Easter: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>  Many Easter customs come from the Old World...colored eggs and rabbits have come from pagan antiquity as symbols of new life...<b><u>our name  Easter comes from  <span class=SpellE>Eostre</span> , an ancient Anglo Saxon goddess, originally of the dawn</u>.</b> In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor. Some Easter customs have <b><u>come from this and other pre-<span class=SpellE>christian</span> spring festivals</u>.</b>  </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'>&nbsp;</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>R</span></b>eading about this Pre-Christian spring festival from <i>Funk &amp; Wagnall s Standard Reference Encyclopedia</i>, 1962, Volume 8, page 2940, we learn: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>Although Easter is a Christian festival, <b><u>it embodies traditions of an ancient time antedating the rise of Christianity. The origin of its name is lost in the dim past</u></b>; some scholars believe it probably is derived from <span class=SpellE><b><i>Eastre</i></b></span><b><u>, Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility</u></b>, to whom was dedicated <span class=SpellE><i>Eastre</i></span><i> <span class=SpellE>monath</span></i>, corresponding to April. <b><u>Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, and traditions associated with the festival survive in the familiar Easter bunny, symbol of the fertile rabbit, and in the equally familiar colored Easter eggs originally painted with gay hues to represent the sunlight of spring</u>.</b> </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>Such festivals, and the myths and legends which explain their origin, abounded in ancient religions. The Greek myth of the return of the earth-goddess Demeter from the underworld to the light of day, symbolizing the <b><u>resurrection of life in the spring</u></b> after the long hibernation of winter, had its counterpart, among many others, in the Latin legend of Ceres and Persephone. The Phrygians believed that their all-powerful deity went to sleep at the time of the <b><u>winter solstice</u></b>, and they performed ceremonies at the <b><u>spring equinox</u></b> to awaken him with music and dancing. The universality of such festivals and myths among ancient peoples has led some scholars to interpret the resurrection of Christ as a mystical and exalted variant of fertility myths.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>The Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore, and Symbols, </i>Part 1, page 487 tells us more about this Spring Festival:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>  It incorporates some of the <b><u>ancient Spring Equinox ceremonies of sun worship</u></b> in which there were phallic rites and spring fires, and in which the deity or offering to the deity was eaten...The festival is symbolized by an ascension Lily...a chick breaking its shell, the colors white and green, the egg, spring flowers, and the Rabbit. <b><u>The name is related to Astarte, Ashtoreth, <span class=SpellE>Eostre</span> and Ishtar, goddess who visited and rose from the underworld</u>.</b> Easter yields  Enduring Eos ... <span class=GramE> Enduring Dawn .  </span></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'>&nbsp;</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>P</span></b>art of this spring festival centered <span class=GramE>around</span> Phallic Rites. <i>Collier s Encyclopedia</i>, 1980, Volume 9, page 622, tells us of the <b>Babylonian Ishtar Festival Phallic Rites</b>: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>The <b><u>Ishtar Festivals</u></b> were symbolical of Ishtar as the goddess of love or generation. As the daughter of Sin, the moon god, she was the <b><u>Mother Goddess</u></b> who presided over child birth; and women, in her honor, sacrificed their virginity on the feast day or <b><u>became temple prostitutes</u></b>, their earnings being a source of revenue for the temple priests and servants.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>W</span></b>e learn about these Temple Prostitutes from <i>The Interpreter s Dictionary of <span class=GramE>The</span> Bible</i>, Volume 3, pages 933-934: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>a. The roll of the sacred prostitute in the fertility cult.</i> The prostitute who was an official of the cult in ancient Palestine and nearby lands of biblical times exercised an important function. This religion was predicated upon the belief that the processes of nature were controlled by the relations between gods and goddesses. <b><u>Projecting their understanding of their own sexual activities, the worshipers of these deities, through the use of imitative magic, engaged in sexual intercourse with devotees of the shrine, in the belief that this would encourage the gods and goddesses to do likewise. Only by sexual relations among the deities could man s desire for increase in herds and fields, as well as in his own family, be realized</u>.</b> In Palestine the gods Baal and <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> were especially prominent (see BAAL; ASHERAH; FERTILITY CULTS). These competed with Yahweh the God of Israel and, in some cases, may have produced hybrid Yahweh-Baal cults. Attached to the shrines of these cults were priests as well as prostitutes, both male and female. Their chief service was sexual in <span class=SpellE>nature<sup>__</sup>the</span> offering of their bodies for ritual purposes.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>S</span></b>exual relations for ritual purposes <span class=GramE>was</span> the ceremony for the Fertility Cults. <i>The Interpreter s Dictionary</i>, Volume 2, page 265 says: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE><b>FERTILITY CULTS</b>.</span> <b><u>The oldest common feature of the religions of the ancient Near East was the worship of a great mother-goddess, the personification of fertility. Associated with her, usually as a consort, was a young god who died and came to life again</u></b>, like the vegetation which quickly withers but blooms again. The manner of the young god s demise was variously conceived in the myths: he was slain by another god, by wild animals, by reapers, by self-emasculation, by burning, by drowning. In some variations of the theme, he simply absconded. <b><u>His absence produced infertility of the earth, of man, and of beast. His consort mourned and searched for him. His return brought renewed fertility and rejoicing</u>.</b> </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>In Mesopotamia the divine <span class=GramE>couple appear</span> as <b><u>Ishtar and Tammuz</u></b>, in Egypt as <b><u>Isis and Osiris</u></b>. Later in Asia Minor, the Magna Mater is<b> <u>Cybele and her young lover is <span class=SpellE>Attis</span></u>.</b> In Syria in the second millennium <span class=SpellE><span class=GramE>b.c</span></span>., as seen in the <span class=SpellE>Ugaritic</span> myths, the dying and rising god is <b><u>Baal-<span class=SpellE>Hadad</span>, who is slain by Mot</u></b> (Death) and mourned and avenged by his sister/consort, <b><u>the violent virgin <span class=SpellE>Anath</span></u>.</b> In the <span class=SpellE>Ugaritic</span> myths there is some confusion in the roles of the goddesses. <b><u>The great mother-goddess <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span>, the wife of the senescent chief god El</u></b>, seems on the way to becoming <b><u>the consort of the rising young god Baal</u></b>, with whom we find her associated in the O.T. <span class=SpellE>Ashtarte</span> also appears in the <span class=SpellE>Ugaritic</span> myths, but she has a minor and undistinguished role. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>The O.T. furnishes abundant evidence as to the character of the religion of the land into which the Israelites came. Fertility <span class=SpellE>rites</span> were practiced at the numerous shrines which dotted the land, as well as at the major sanctuaries. The Israelites absorbed the Canaanite ways and learned to identify their god with Baal, whose rains brought fertility to the land. <b><u>A characteristic feature of the fertility cult was sacral sexual intercourse by priests and priestesses and other specially consecrated persons, sacred prostitutes of both sexes, intended to emulate and stimulate the deities who bestowed fertility</u>. </b>The agricultural cult stressed the sacrifice or common meal in which the gods, priests, and people partook. Wine was consumed in great quantity in thanksgiving to Baal for the fertility of the vineyards. The wine also helped induce ecstatic frenzy, which was <b><u>climaxed by self-laceration, and sometimes even by self-emasculation</u>. <u>Child-sacrifice was also a feature of the rites</u>.</b> It was not simply a cult of wine, women, and song, but a matter of life and death in which the dearest things of life, and life itself, were offered to ensure the ongoing of life.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>R</span></b>eading on page 103 of <i>The Two <span class=SpellE>Babylons</span>,</i> by Alexander <span class=SpellE>Hislop</span>, 1959, we find that Easter and Ishtar are the same: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>Then look at Easter. What means the term Easter itself? It bears its <b><u>Chaldean origin</u></b> on its very forehead.<b> <u>Easter is nothing else than   Astarte  </u></b><u>, one of the titles of <span class=SpellE>Beltis</span>,   The Queen of Heaven</u>  whose name, as   pronounced  by the people of Nineveh, was evidently <b><u>identical with that now in common use in this country</u>. </b>That  name , as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is   Ishtar  .</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>The Two <span class=SpellE>Babylons</span></i> by Alexander <span class=SpellE>Hislop</span> tells us of the doctrines of <span class=SpellE>Semiramis</span>:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>  She (<span class=SpellE>Semiramis</span>) taught that he (Nimrod the Babe) was a god-child; that he was Nimrod, <b><u>their leader reborn</u></b>; that she and her child were divine. This story was widely known in <b><u>ancient Babylon</u></b> and developed into a well established <span class=SpellE>worship<sup>__</sup><b><u>The</u></b></span><b><u> Worship of <span class=GramE>The</span> Mother and Child</u>!</b> </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>Numerous monuments of Babylon show the<b> <u>Goddess Mother <span class=SpellE>Semiramis</span> with her child Tammuz in her arms</u>.</b>  </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'>&nbsp;</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>I</span>SHTAR</b> (pronounced <b>EASTER</b>) of Assyria was worshiped in Pagan Antiquity during her spring festival! <i>Collier s Encyclopedia</i>, 1980, Volume 15, page 748, gives us this information: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE>Ishtar, <b><u>goddess of love and war</u></b>, the most important goddess of the <span class=SpellE>Sumero-Akkadian</span> pantheon.</span> Her name in Sumerian is <span class=SpellE>Inanna</span> (lady of heaven). She was sister of the sun god Shamash and daughter of the moon god Sin. Ishtar was equated with the planet Venus. Her symbol was <b><u>a star inscribed in a circle</u>.</b> As goddess of war, she was often <b><u>represented sitting upon a lion</u>.</b> As goddess of physical <b><u>love, she was patron of the temple prostitutes</u>.</b> She was also considered the <b><u>merciful mother who intercedes</u></b> with the gods on behalf of her worshipers. Throughout Mesopotamian history she was worshiped under various names in many cities; one of the chief centers of her cult was <span class=SpellE>Uruk</span>.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>A</span></b>starte of Phoenicia was the offshoot of<i> </i>Ishtar of Assyria. To the Hebrews, this abomination was known as <span class=SpellE>Ashtoreth<sup>__</sup>Ashtoroth</span>. From <i>Collier s Encyclopedia</i>, Volume 3, page 13, we read: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><b>ASHTAROTH</b> [<span class=GramE>(</span><span class=SpellE>terath</span>] <b><u>the plural of the Hebrew  <span class=SpellE>Ashto-reth</span></u></b>, the <b><u>Phoenician-Canaanite goddess Astarte</u></b>, deity of <b><u>fertility</u></b>, <b><u>reproduction</u></b>, and <b><u>war</u></b><u> </u>. The use of the plural form probably indicates a general designation for the collective female deities of the Canaanites, just as the plural <span class=SpellE>Baalim</span> refer to the male deities.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>Watson s Biblical and Archaeological Dictionary,</i> 1833, tells us more about this mother goddess, <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span>:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE><b>ASHTAROTH</b>, or <b>ASTARTE</b>, a goddess of the <span class=SpellE>Zidonians</span>.</span> The word <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span> properly signifies flocks of sheep, or goats; and sometimes the <span class=GramE>grove, or woods, because she was goddess of woods, and groves were</span> her temples. In groves consecrated to her, such lasciviousness was committed as rendered her worship infamous.<b> <u>She was also called the queen of heaven; and sometimes her worship is said to be that of   the host of heaven</u>.</b>  She was certainly represented in the same manner as <b><u>Isis, with cow s horns on her head, to denote the increase and decrease of the moon</u>.</b> Cicero calls her the fourth Venus of the Syrians. She is almost always joined with Baal, and is called a god, the scriptures having no particular word to express a goddess. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>It is believed that the moon was adored in this idol. Her temples generally accompanied those of the sun; and while bloody sacrifices or human victims were offered to Baal, bread, liquors, and perfumes were presented to Astarte. For her, tables were prepared upon the flat terrace-roofs of houses, near gates, in porches, and at crossways, on the first day of every month; and this was called by the Greeks, Hecate s supper. Solomon, seduced by his foreign wives, introduced the worship of <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span> into Israel; but Jezebel, daughter of the king of <span class=SpellE>Tyre</span>, and wife to Ahab, principally established her worship. She caused altars to be erected to this idol in every part of Israel; and at one time four hundred priests attended the worship of <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span>, I Kings xviii. 7.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>The Interpreter s Dictionary,</i> Volume 3, page 975, tells us of Ishtar s role as The Queen of Heaven:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE><b><u>Ishtar, the goddess of love and fertility</u></b>, who was identified with the Venus Star and is actually entitled   <b><u>Mistress of Heaven</u></b>  in the <span class=SpellE>Amarna</span> tablets.</span> The difficulty is that the Venus Star was regarded in Palestine as a male deity (<i>see</i> DAY STAR), though the cult of the goddess Ishtar may have been introduced from Mesopotamia under Manasseh. It is possible that Astarte, or ASHTORETH, the Canaanite fertility-goddess, whose cult was well established in Palestine, had preserved more traces of her astral character as the female counterpart of <span class=SpellE>Athtar</span> than the evidence of the O.T. or the <span class=SpellE>Ras</span> <span class=SpellE>Shamra</span> texts indicates. The title   Queen of Heaven  is applied in an Egyptian inscription from the Nineteenth Dynasty at Beth-<span class=SpellE>shan</span> to   <span class=SpellE>Antit</span>,  the Canaanite fertility-goddess <span class=SpellE>Anat</span>, who is termed   <b><u>Queen of Heaven and Mistress of the Gods</u></b>.  This is the most active goddess in the <span class=SpellE>Ras</span> <span class=SpellE>Shamra</span> Texts, but in Palestine her functions seem to have been taken over largely by <u>Ashtoreth</u>.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>W</span></b>e find this information about Ashtoreth from<i> The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia</i>, 1979, Volume 1, pages 319-320: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE><b>ASHTORETH</b> <span class=SpellE>ash<i> </i>te-reth</span> [Heb.  <span class=SpellE><i>astoret</i></span>. pl.  <span class=SpellE><i>astart</i></span>; Gk. <i>Astarte</i>].</span> <b><u>A goddess of Canaan and Phoenicia whose name and cult were derived from Babylonia</u></b>, where Ishtar represented the evening and morning stars and was accordingly androgynous in origin. Under Semitic influence, however, she became solely female, although retaining a trace of her original character by standing on equal footing with the male divinities. <b><u>From Babylonia</u></b> the worship of the goddess was carried to the Semites of the West, and in most instances the feminine suffix was attached to her name; where this was not the case the deity was regarded as a male. On the Moabite Stone, for example,  <span class=SpellE>Ashtar</span> is identified with <span class=SpellE><span class=GramE>Chemosh</span></span><span class=GramE>,</span> and in the inscriptions of southern Arabia  <span class=SpellE>Athtar</span> is a god. On the other hand, in the name <span class=SpellE>Atargatis</span> (2 Macc. 12:26),  <span class=SpellE>Atar</span>, without the feminine suffix, is identified with the goddess  <span class=SpellE>Athah</span> or  <span class=SpellE>Athi</span> (Gk. <span class=SpellE><i>Gatis</i></span>). <b><u>The cult of the Greek Aphrodite in Cyprus was borrowed from that of Ashtoreth</u></b>; that the Greek name also is a modification of Ashtoreth is doubtful. It is maintained, however, that the vowels of Heb. <i> <span class=SpellE>astoret</span></i> were borrowed from <span class=SpellE><i>boset</i></span> (  shame  ) in order to indicate the abhorrence the Hebrew scribes felt toward <b><u>paganism and idolatry</u></b>. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>In<b> <u>Babylonia and Assyria Ishtar was the goddess of love and war</u>.</b> An old Babylonian legend relates how the <b><u>descent of Ishtar into Hades in search of her dead husband Tammuz was followed by the cessation of marriage and birth in both earth and heaven</u></b>; and the temples of the goddess at Nineveh and Arbela, around which the two cities afterward grew, were dedicated to her as the goddess of war. As such she appeared to one of Ashurbanipal s seers and encouraged the Assyrian king to march against Elam. The other goddesses of Babylonia, who were little more than reflections of a god, tended to merge into Ishtar, who thus became a type of the female divinity, <b><u>a personification of the productive principle in nature, and more especially the mother and <span class=SpellE>creatress</span> of mankind</u>.</b> </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>In Babylonia Ishtar was identified with Venus. Like Venus, <b><u>Ishtar was the goddess of erotic love and fertility</u>.</b> Her chief seat of worship was <span class=SpellE>Uruk</span> (<span class=SpellE>Erech</span>), <b><u>where prostitution was practiced in her name and she was served with immoral rites by bands of men and women</u>.</b> In Assyria, where the warlike side of the goddess was predominant, no such rites seem to have been practiced, and instead prophetesses to whom she delivered oracles were attached to her temples. </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>From various Egyptian sources it appears that Astarte or Ashtoreth was highly regarded in the Late Bronze Age.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>R</span></b>eading on pages 412-413 of <i>Unger s Bible Dictionary</i>, we find this information about Ashtoreth-Astarte: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=SpellE>Ash<i>'</i>toreth</span> (<span class=SpellE>ash<i> </i>to-reth</span>), <u>Astarte</u>, a Canaanite goddess. In south Arabic the name is found as  <span class=SpellE>Athtar</span> (apparently from  <span class=SpellE><i>athara</i></span><i>, to be fertile, to irrigate</i>), a god identified with the planet Venus. The name is cognate with Babylonian <u>Ishtar, the goddess of sensual love, maternity and fertility</u>. Licentious worship was conducted in honor of her. As <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> and <span class=SpellE>Anat</span> of <span class=SpellE>Ras</span> <span class=SpellE>Shamra</span> <u>she was the patroness of war as well as sex</u> and is sometimes identified with these goddesses. The <span class=SpellE>Amarna</span> Letters present Ashtoreth as <span class=SpellE>Ashtartu</span>. In the <span class=SpellE>Ras</span> <span class=SpellE>Shamra</span> Tablets are found both the masculine form  <span class=SpellE>Athtar</span> and the feminine  <span class=SpellE>Athtart</span>. Ashtoreth worship was early entrenched at Sidon (I Kings 11:5, 33; II Kings 23:13). Her polluting cult even presented a danger to early Israel (Judg. 2:13; 10:6). Solomon succumbed to her voluptuous worship (I Kings 11:5; II Kings 23:13). The peculiar vocalization <u>Ashtoreth instead of the more primitive <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span> is evidently a deliberate alteration by the Hebrews to express their abhorrence for her cult by giving her the vowels of their word for   shame  (<span class=SpellE>bosheth</span>)</u>.<i> M. F. U.</i></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>The Interpreter s Dictionary,</i> Volume 1, page 252 says:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>The <b><u>antipathy</u></b> toward the <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> on the part of the Hebrew leaders was due to the fact that the<b> <u>goddess and the cult object of the same name were associated with the fertility religion of a foreign people and as such involved a mythology and a <span class=SpellE>cultus</span> which were obnoxious to the champions of Yahweh</u>.</b></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><i>Unger s Bible Dictionary,</i> page 412, gives us this information about <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span>:</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> (a-<span class=SpellE>she<i> </i>ra</span>), plural, <span class=SpellE>Asherim</span>, a pagan goddess, who is found in the <span class=SpellE>Ras</span> <span class=SpellE>Shamra</span> epic religious texts discovered at Ugarit in North Syria (1929-1937), as <span class=SpellE>Asherat</span>,   Lady of the Sea  and consort of El. She was the chief goddess of <span class=SpellE>Tyre</span> in the 15th century <span class=SpellE><span class=GramE>b.c</span></span>. with the appellation <span class=SpellE><i>Qudshu</i></span>,   <b><u>holiness</u></b>.  In the Old Testament <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> appears as a goddess by the side of Baal, whose consort she evidently came to be, at least among the Canaanites of the South. However, most Biblical references to the name point clearly to some cult object of wood, which might be worshiped or cut down and burned, and which was certainly <b><u>the goddess image (I Kings 15:13; II Kings 21:7). Her prophets are mentioned (I Kings <span class=GramE>l8:</span>19) and the vessels used in her service referred to (II Kings 23:4). Her cult object, whatever it was, was utterly detestable to faithful worshipers of Yahweh (I Kings 15:13) and was set up on the high places beside the   altars of incense  (<span class=SpellE>hammanim</span>) and the stone pillars (</u><span class=SpellE><i>masseboth</i></span><u>). Indeed, the stone pillars seem to have represented the male god Baal (cf. Judg. 6:28), while the cult object of <span class=SpellE>Ashera</span>, probably a tree or pole, constituted a symbol of this goddess</u></b> (See W. L. Reed s <i>The <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> in the Old Testament,</i> Texas Christian University Press). But <span class=SpellE>Asherah</span> was only one manifestation of a chief goddess of Western Asia, regarded <b><u>now as the wife, now as the sister of the principal Canaanite god El</u>. </b>Other names of this deity were Ashtoreth (Astarte) and <span class=SpellE>Anath</span>. Frequently represented as a <b><u>nude woman bestride a lion with a lily in one hand and a serpent in the other</u></b>, and styled <span class=SpellE><i>Qudshu</i></span>   the Holiness,  that is,   the Holy One  in a perverted moral sense, she was a divine courtesan. In the same sense the male prostitutes consecrated to the cult of the <span class=SpellE><i>Qudshu</i></span> and prostituting themselves to her honor were styled <span class=SpellE><i>qedishim</i></span><i>,</i>   sodomites  (Deut. 23:18; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46). <b><u>Characteristically Canaanite the lily symbolizes grace and sex appeal and the serpent fecundity</u></b> (W. F. Albright, <i>Archaeology and the Religion of Israel,</i> Baltimore, John Hopkins Press, 1942, pages 68-94). At Byblos (Biblical <span class=SpellE>Gebal</span>) on the Mediterranean, north of Sidon, a center dedicated to this goddess has been excavated. She and her colleagues specialized in sex and war and her shrines were temples of legalized vice. Her degraded cult offered a perpetual danger of pollution to Israel and must have sunk to sordid depths as lust and murder were glamorized in Canaanite religion.</p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>O</span></b>n page 413 of <i>Unger s Bible Dictionary</i>, we have found that <b>Astarte</b> is the Greek name for the Hebrew <b>Ashtoreth</b>. From <i>Collier s Encyclopedia,</i> Volume 3, page 97, we find that Astarte-<span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span> is merely the Semitic <span class=SpellE><b>Ishtar</b><sup>__</sup>which</span> we have already learned is pronounced <b>Easter</b>: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><span class=GramE>ASTARTE [<span class=SpellE>aesta<i> </i>rti</span>], the Phoenician goddess of fertility and erotic love.</span> <b><u>The Greek name,   Astarte  was derived from Semitic,   Ishtar,    Ashtoreth</u>.</b>  Astarte was regarded in Classical antiquity as a moon goddess, perhaps in confusion with some other Semitic deity. In accordance with the literary traditions of the Greco-Romans, Astarte was identified with Selene and Artemis, and more often with Aphrodite. Among the Canaanites, Astarte, like her peer <span class=SpellE>Anath</span>, performed a major function as <b><u>goddess of fertility</u>.</b> </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>Egyptian iconography, however, portrayed Astarte in her role as a warlike goddess massacring mankind, young and old. She is represented on plaques (dated 1700-1100 <span class=SpellE>b.c</span>.) as naked, in striking contrast to the modestly garbed Egyptian goddesses. Edward J. <span class=SpellE>Jurji</span></p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>I</span></b>n Ephesus from primitive times, this <b>MOTHER GODDESS</b> had been called <b>DIANA</b>, who was worshiped as the Goddess of Virginity and Motherhood. She was said to represent the generative powers of nature, and so was pictured with many breasts. A tower shaped crown, symbolizing the Tower of Babylon, adorned her head: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: 0in'><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>R</span></b>eading from <i>Bible Manners <span class=GramE>And</span> Customs,</i> by James M. Freeman, 1972, page 451, we learn these facts about the <b>Mother of all things</b>: </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'>  The circle round her head denotes the nimbus (sin circle) of her glory, the griffins inside of which express its brilliancy. In her <b><u>breasts</u></b> are the twelve signs of the <b><u>zodiac</u></b>, of which those seen in front are the ram, bull, twins, crab, and lion; they are divided by the hours. Her necklace is composed of acorns, the primeval food of man. <b><u>Lions</u></b> are on her arms to denote her <b><u>power</u></b>, and her hands are stretched out to show that she is ready to receive all who come to her. <b><u>Her body is covered with various breasts and monsters,</u></b> as sirens, sphinxes, and griffins, to show that she is the <b><u>source of nature, the mother of all things</u>.</b> Her head, hands, and feet are of bronze while the rest of the statue is of alabaster to denote the ever-varying light and shade of the moon s figure... Like Rhea, <b><u>she was crowned with turrets, to denote her dominion over terrestrial objects</u>.</b>  </p> <p style='margin-top:4.95pt;margin-right:.25in;margin-bottom:4.95pt;margin-left: .25in'><b><span style='font-size:14.0pt'>The English word Easter is derived from the names &quot;<span class=SpellE>Eostre</span>&quot; - &quot;<span class=SpellE>Eastre</span>&quot; - &quot;Astarte&quot; or <span class=SpellE>Ashtaroth</span>. Astarte was introduced into the British Isles by the Druids and is just another name for <span class=SpellE>Beltis</span> or Ishtar of the Chaldeans and Babylonians</span></b></p> <h5 align=center style='text-align:center'><span style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"'><a href="javascript:print(document)"><span style='color: silver'>[Click Here to Print] </span></a><o:p></o:p></span></h5> <form> </form> <center><input type=button value=Back onClick="history.go(-1)"></center> </div> </body> </html>