In 2016, then President-Elect Trump claimed that he had unearthed a sinister cabal of intellectuals and the elite to assassinate Christmas. The cunning Fox jumped on the novel idea and Bill O'Reilly, who since then left the Fox disgracefully, found merit in Trump's crusade of holy folly and provided a platform to propagate the unhinged claims. "War on Christmas" they cried, and what started it all? The fact that some people in the US and Europe opted to greet each other with the blessing "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." It is the first time in history that a so called war was declared on a...blessing?
Anyways, fast forward 4 years, and now President-Unelected Trump, once again, in one of his rants declared that the Stay-at-Home orders constitute as another assault on Christmas. Since Christ-mass is supposed to be the birthday of Christ, what would you think Jesus of Nazareth would have feel about his followers using his pseudo-birthday as a battlefield? I know, the first thing he would say, being Jewish would be something like: "Hey, what Christmas? I celebrate Hanukah." The second thing he would probably say, might be something in the line of: "Wait, I'm not a Capricorn. So what's the fuss about?"
In my book Cosmic Navigator, which combines Astrology and Kabbalah, I placed Jesus under the sign Aries (you can read the astro-logic argument in the book) but I was very happy to get my hands on a book called "The Star of Bethlehem," written by Michael R. Molnar, an astronomer and former manager of the Physics Instructional Labs at Rutgers University. By combining astrology, astronomy, archeology, and history he analyzed the gospel of Matthew and other sources to suggest that Jesus was most likely born on an eclipse of Jupiter on April 17, 6BCE, which makes him a proud Aries. In my class on The Grand Conjunction (Star of Bethlehem) Dec 21, I will be explaining the conclusion in more details.
So there you have it, with my humble Aries contribution to the war effort, now we have 3 battles waging on Christmas:
1. The "Happy Holidays" bombs.
2. "Stay-at-Home Order" air strike.
3. "Jesus wasn't even born in Christmas" commando attack.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas and I proudly greet my neighbors with Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad, and will continue doing so regardless of the terrible war being waged every December. Bombs and fire arms are, after all, also in the business of lighting things up, right? Since my sister in law is Colombian and lives with my brother in Israel, we have been celebrating Christmas in our family for the last decade, with the evergreen tree of gifts, and formal greetings of "Merry Christmas."
First thing first, just to put things in order. It was Christmas who started the war to begin with. The Church attached the Nativity to the Winter Solstice about 350 years after Christ was born. Imagine you, with the help of internet, halls of records etc trying to determine the date of birth of your ancestor that lived 10 generations ago. Would be hard, no? Now think of people 2000 years ago trying to do the same impossible task.
Some might say, well, it is written in the gospel! Well, it is not. It is never mentioned when Jesus was born. In fact the nativity is shrouded in mystery. While the synoptic gospel of Luke and Matthew claim it was a Virgin Birth, Mark, the oldest gospel (written "only" 40 years after Christ died) does not mention anything about Maria being a virgin. The gospel of Matthew was written about 50-60 years after the crucifixion and only mention the fact that a star led the 3 Magi to Judea. The gospel of Luke (2:8) written a bit after Matthew states that (Luke 2:8) shepherds were tending flocs at night when Jesus was born. This would not happen in winter but possible in spring. In fact the Church Father Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) mocks Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan.” So as you can see, a short trip down history-lane would have proven to Foxes and Trumps that the War on Christmas started before Christmas was born and by the very people who fathered Christianity.
But, that is not what I wanted to say. Sorry, I actually wished to convey another issue and that is the case for antiquity. The Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has always been a myth generating event. Astrologers call the Winter Solstice, the Gateway of the Gods and indeed many of the gods and goddesses of light were said to have been "born" on the Winter Solstice. That includes Attis, Mithra, Apollo, Artemis, and Horus just to name a few.
The ancient Persian celebration of Yalda Night, traces its roots to Zoroastrian celebration of Winter Solstice when it was believed the evil forces of darkens rule. Yalda means "birth," and also in Hebrew Yalda means both "to give birth" as well as "a girl." It is believed that the goddess, representing night, gives birth on the Winter Solstice to her child of light and that is why from Dec 21 the days begin to grow while the night diminishes.
Yule (Juul) is a Germanic 12 days festivity connected to the long bearded All-Father Odin, who rode his chariot in the sky tied to his eight-footed steed Sleipnir (Rudolf?) visiting people and bestowing gifts. In ancient Rome, the feast of Saturnalia took place around the Winter Solstice. The celebration included gift exchanging. Once Constantine converted to Christianity in the 4th century CE, along with him did the majority of the empire as its holidays. In addition, in the beginning of the first millennia the Roman empire was experiencing a religious tug of war between the emerging worship of Christ favored by women and the poor versus the cult of the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus), which was the preferred religion of the military and ruling class. In 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus, you guessed it, smack on December 25, which was at the time the Winter Solstice.
Hanukah, which would have been Jesus' preferred celebration of light, commemorates the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of a small quantity of oil that managed to light the Temple's menorah for eight days. Hanukah is also celebrated around the Winter Solstice and its ritual of lighting another candle every night for 8 days (8 is the symbol of infinity), is viewed as sympathetic magic - a way to help bring light to a tipping point that would banish darkness.
All these myths, rituals, feasts, and holidays of light are trying their best to address the panhuman fear of the dark and what psychologists dub SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a malady better know as "Winter Blues." These celebrations of light have one purpose: to brighten up the short days and exchange gifts and blessings designed to cheer up our winter sadness. These holidays of light came before Christmas, and the Church, as we saw, incorporated these holidays into the canon since they couldn't stop people from celebrating these beloved festivities. That is why I suggested that Christmas was the one who shot the first bullet in the infamous War on Christmas.
That being said, I would like to end this time travel in the speed of light with a few blessings: Merry Christmas! Happy Yalda! Happy Hanukah, Happy Yule, Happy Dia de las Velitas, Happy Dong Zhi, Happy Soyal, Happy Shalako, blessed Toji and in conclusion: Happy Holidays!
Before we bid farewell, here is a reminder of what is so great about diversity and the American Dream. Tony and Grammy award-winner Daveed Diggs, (he played Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, in the Broadway musical “Hamilton”) released a new Hanukkah song that combines Klezmer melodies with hip hop. Daveed and his music is a product of the well mixed pool of genes and cultures which he absorbed from his African American dad and Jewish mom:
Happy End of the Year! Below is the recording of the weekly Sunday Astro Check-Up
Check Up Recording Dec 6
Hello guys, here is the article I mentioned from Science Today:
Above are the classes I am leading in Dec/Jan. Hope to see you there