A Christian holiday
Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of the Savior in the meridian of time. Mormons, like the rest of Christianity, see the holiday as a time to remember and reverence that most sacred and remarkable event in all of history.
The entire philosophy of Christianity hinges on the resurrection. Without it, Christianity — and by inference, Mormonism as well — is just another religious philosophy among many. With the resurrection comes the promise that all will rise from the grave, Christ being the first fruits. This concept is at the heart of our religion.
The Passover connection
Easter’s connection with the Passover stems from the fact that the Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem took place during the annual Jewish Passover celebration, a juxtaposition that was not lost on the Savior since he clearly chose the time and the place of his own expiation.
Seen from the catastrophist’s point of view, the Passover was a celebration of Israelite deliverance — not just from Egyptian bondage, but the entire planet from planetary catastrophe. Passover was the moment of closest approach between Earth and the comet Venus, hence the term “pass over.” It was the culmination of a series of plagues that afflicted not only Egypt, but also the entire world, according to Velikovsky.
So, too, in Christian eyes, Easter is a celebration of the deliverance of the human race from the bonds of death.
Both Easter and Passover involve the consumption of a ritual meal in remembrance of their deliverance. The Jewish Seder reflects the Lord’s directive that the Israelites eat roast lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. (Exodus 12:8-10.) They do so to remember how they were saved from the plague that took so many Egyptians during the Exodus. The Christian sacrament reflects Christ’s instruction that they partake of bread and wine to remember him and the deliverance from death he has provided. (Luke 22:19, 20.)
A note, in passing
Incidentally, it may be noteworthy, in passing, that there may have been a very practical purpose for the consumption of the Passover meal. If, as Velikovsky suggests, Earth’s atmosphere was supercharged with elements from the tail of the passing comet Venus, then eating bread without yeast and bitter herbs may have served to offset the debilitating physical effects on the human body of those pollutants. If, as this author suggests, the compounds that turned the water red in Egypt were acidic, causing sickness and death in animals and humans, then the basic, alkaline nature of bitter herbs would serve to chemically offset the elevated levels of acid in the body (acidosis).
Additionally, it is well known that certain types of yeast (Candida albicans, for example) in the gut can release toxins that can severely debilitate the immune system. Other types of yeast produce compounds that can cause humans to hallucinate. In this instance, the instructions to eat bread without yeast (unleavened) may have been designed to help the Israelites better cope physically with the temporarily hostile environment created by the extraterrestrial pollutants — eminently practical advice given through revelation from God to Moses. The idea of food as medicine is one that modern science has recently come to recognize, a philosophy that has been at the heart of herbal use and practices since time immemorial.
Eating is a religious experience?
Such ritual meals as Seder, the Eucharist and the Sacrament are also practiced in most pagan cultures. They range, on one end of the spectrum, from consumption of simple foods to cannibalism on the other extreme.
Most animal sacrifice did not consist of cremation, as most moderns believe. Rather, it was, in most cases, a ritual method of cooking and preparing the animal for eating. Our modern, seemingly innocuous and strictly culinary practice of barbequing actually has its roots in cultural traditions of sacrifice. So remember, next time you throw something on the ‘barbie,’ you are practicing the time-honored, ritualistic tradition of sacrifice with its roots deep in antiquity.
Recidivist Israelites, too, adopted pagan eating rituals. "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." (Jeremiah 7:18.)
Note the similarity between the elements of this ritual and the Christian sacrament. They consumed bread and drink in honor of the goddess. It was a ritual meal. These backsliding Israelites prepared cakes and drink to honor their pagan gods, just as we take bread and water today. Such similarities are not coincidental. Christ, on the eve of his crucifixion, obviously turned to a well-established, ancient practice in the Hebrew culture as the basis for his new eating ritual, the Sacrament.
Hot cross buns
Just such a ritual meal is connected with the Christian’s celebration of Easter. Hot cross buns are a lesser, but well established part of this holiday that, doubtlessly, have their origins in pagan antiquity. These loaves were originally marked with horns, the crescent symbol for ancient Saturn, or the cross, the cruciform symbol for the Queen of Heaven, Astarte or Venus. The ancient Greeks also consumed these types of buns in their celebrations of Artemis, Goddess of the hunt (known as Diana to the Romans). And the Egyptians ate a similar cake in their worship of the Goddess Isis. Later, Saxons ate buns that were marked with a cross in honor of Eastre (Astarte). These customs of creating a ceremonial bread or loaf, marking it with the symbol of the goddess, then eating it as part of a festival in honor of that same goddess is an echo of the Israelite practice of making cakes to their Queen of Heaven.
Such universal practices beg the question, where did the human race get the idea that eating something was a sacred practice? The idea that eating should be part of religious ritual may have begun in Earth’s ancient heavens when one planet ‘consumed’ other, smaller satellites. In a later monograph, we will discuss more about sacrificial rituals around the world and the events and beliefs that may have inspired the practice.
A Christian or pagan holiday?
Returning to our Easter theme, it seems rather ironic that this ostensibly Christian holiday is burdened with much of the celebration and ceremony that once attached itself to the ancient cults that worshipped astral goddesses.
We discover, for instance, that the very name of the holiday has its roots in idolatry. Easter is a corruption of the name of the goddess who leant her name to the holiday, Aster or Astarte, as the Greeks knew her. Her Syro-Phoenician counterpart was the goddess Ashtoreth. The Babylonians called her Ishtar and the Romans called her Venus. She was also the great mother goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe, who knew her as Eastre, from whence we get the name Easter today.
The Saturn connection
Surely these ancient goddesses from a variety of ancient cultures all had their origins in the planet Venus that once stood near the Earth in the Polar Configuration because they all share common attributes, history, and iconography. Talbott wrote:
Wherever you find the Universal Monarch (Saturn) you will find close at hand the ancient mother goddess — the goddess whom the Sumerians called Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, and the Babylonians Ishtar, and the Egyptians Isis, Hathor, and Sekhmet, each with numerous counterparts in their own and in other lands, and virtually all of them viewed symbolically as daughter or spouse of the creator-king, and the mother of another, equally prominent figure.
The Mother Goddess is the planet Venus, the luminous, central orb seen squarely in the center of Saturn and from which radiating streams of material course outward. (Thoth, Vol. 2, No. 8.)
So, we see that the true origins of this most Christian of holidays actually owes its existence to events that transpired in Earth ancient heavens.
The Easter egg
Originally, the egg, now a cultural symbol of Easter, was closely related to the eye symbol — both symbols of this mother goddess, this goddess of fertility anciently. Mythical traditions say that she was born as/or in a celestial egg. Indeed, in the Polar Configuration, Venus’ transformation into the prototypical star — the archetype of all radiant star symbols — began when it took on an ovoid shape, thus forever connecting the goddess with the egg.
It is for this reason that the favored decoration for Easter eggs anciently was a star. Indeed, the very name of this goddess in several cultures, as well as our own, came to mean ‘star.’
Yet, in our culture, stars and the eggs have no discernable relationship. Like so much in mythology, the connection seems absurd to the modern mind. Yet, in ancient myth and tradition they are intimately connected. Only the theory of the Polar Configuration satisfactorily explains their symbolic ligature. Indeed, it not only explains it; it demands it. The star and the egg were two primary aspects or phases in the development of ancient Venus while in the Polar Configuration at the dawn of time.
Dyed eggs, originally colored to match the turquoise color of ancient Venus, were part of the rituals enacted in the Babylonian mystery religions. The variety of colors we see today was a natural, artistic elaboration of the original idea. Such colorfully dyed and decorated eggs were considered sacred because of their symbolic representation of the ancient goddess/planet Venus. They played an integral part of the religious ceremonies in Egypt and the Orient. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples. The egg was regarded as the emblem of regenerative life proceeding from the mouth of the great Egyptian god Atum because the actual planet Venus so presented itself in the Polar Configuration. Venus (Hathor) was centered on Saturn (Atum), assumed an egg shape that seemed to house the child, Mars (Horus) and then appeared to give birth to Mars.
The Easter rabbit
In addition to the egg symbol, the Norse goddess of fertility, Ostara, whose name was clearly a derivative of Aster or Astarte, was connected to the hare. This connection was a later one, unique to the Norse culture, which probably stems from the well-known fecundity of rabbits.
Three other seemingly disconnected traditions of Easter further connect the holiday to pagan practices and ultimately to the Polar Configuration: the woman’s Easter bonnet and special holiday dress as well as the Easter parade.
Easter bonnets and finery
Festivals that celebrated the ancient star goddess, Venus, were ideal occasions for women, who sought to emulate the goddess, to adorn themselves as the goddess herself. The bonnet worn today is a distant replication of the hat, hair dress or crown worn by the goddess in heaven.
Older, more customary variants of the bonnet draped a veil across the face, also a feature of the ancient sky goddess. LDS temple-goers will recognize the validity of this tradition and its connection to temple ritual and furnishings. The dress, usually white, was designed with symbolic significance relevant to the ancient appearance of Venus and her role as a fertility goddess. Thus, anything that enhanced the gender specific attributes of a woman was employed to demonstrate her procreative role. Indeed, the more elaborate, yet accurate, the duplication of the symbols/appearance — because the symbols of the goddess were representations of what she looked like in Earth’s ancient heavens — the greater the identification of the individual with the mother goddess, imitating her essential aspects. Thus, a practice that had deep religious significance in antiquity has come to be a mere fashion statement today. Such is the dilution of the original concepts and practices over time. Yet, the themes persist in our cultural traditions, outliving, by far, the knowledge and understanding they were meant to convey.
The Easter parade
Parading up and down the streets, carrying an effigy of the god or goddess upon their shoulders, the ancients moved from one strategically sited temple location to another to re-enact the mythical movements of their deity in the heavens anciently. In many cultures — especially the Egyptian — these portable shrines were set in replicas of boats, carried on long, stout poles that could be borne by several carriers. It is the image of the god or goddess, sitting in a celestial boat, that we commonly see in ancient Egyptian art. It is for this reason that we apply the term “float” to our modern version of these icons that move along city streets in modern parades. They were originally boats; so calling them floats is natural.
Additionally, it is the reason the term “ark” was applied to the most sacred object in Judaism, the Ark of the Covenant. It was applied to the conveyance that bore tablets containing the Ten Commandments and other artifacts of the Exodus.
Thus, the Easter parade is a modern counterpart of this ancient practice. Once again, our culture maintains the practices or traditions instigated in Earth’s ancient skies with no concept or grasp of their origins or original meanings.
Ironically, modern Christians, who seem so determined to avoid any suggestion of paganism or cultism in their religions, who vociferously denounce the paganism of Christmas and Mormons as cultists, have enthusiastically embraced the paganism of Easter.
Latter-day Saints, too, fail to recognize the astral traditions in our culture and religion, yet it should not be so. Joseph Smith and the prophets that succeeded him sought to connect us to our ancient past and the traditions handed down through cultural transmission. Sadly, we Saints discarded our understanding of these things in favor of the Christianized customs and practices of the American culture. Yet, like our Christian cousins, our traditions, our temples and our scriptures are filled with the evidence from the past of their true cosmological nature.
© Anthony E. Larson, 2002