The Truth Behind the Christ Myth: Ancient Origins of the Often Used Legend – Part I
What is the origin of the legend of the Christed Son who was born of a virgin on December 25th? I am sure you are familiar with his legend which states that he was born in a manger surrounded by shepherds and then grew up to be One with his Father in Heaven. And most certainly you recall the sequence of events when this Christed Son gathered together his important disciples before enduring his death by torture and his subsequent resurrection. And, finally, there is the scene at the end of his time on Earth when he prophesied his return and then ascended into Heaven.
Now for my question to you: Who amongst you is now mumbling under his or her breath “This can only be the legend of the Christians’ Jesus Christ”? Well…to the rest of you, I would like to inform you that many years before the birth of Jesus a legend identical to his was the accepted life story of the Persian Son of God, Mithras. And before Mithras, a very similar legend was ascribed to various other Sons of God worldwide, including the Greek Dionysus, the Egyptian Osiris, the Sumerian Dammuzi, and the Hindu Murugan. In fact, if we keep going back in time many thousands of years earlier we will discover that this universal legend actually began with the Green Man, the Son of a virgin Goddess who was born, died, and finally resurrected each and every year.
So how did this oft-used legend eventually become chosen to be the legend of Jesus? Let us begin when it was the life story of the ancient Green Man and work forward to the time of the Christian Son of God.
The Ancient Green Man
During the Neolithic Age, which was the era when, as some say, “God was a Woman,” the Goddess and Her Son, the Green Man, were venerated by people worldwide for annually bringing forth the Earth’s material abundance. A universal legend about them arose that began with the annual impregnation of the “virgin” Earth Goddess by the Sun, the “Father in Heaven,” and the subsequent birth of Her Son, the Green Man. This important event occurred annually at the time of the Winter Solstice, when the spirit of the Green Man that had been slumbering underground in the underworld was shaken back to life. But although his dormant spirit had been stirred, it was not yet fully awake. This did not occur until a few days later, on December 25th, when the Sun or Solar Spirit completely reversed its downward path and took measurable steps along a northerly route.
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This was an important “As Above, So Below” event. It was believed the renewed and revitalized Solar Spirit above in the Heavens had re-awakened and revitalized the spirit of his Son below and inside the Earth. And now the future Green Man could begin his annual gestation period with the womb of his mother, the virginal Earth, in anticipation of receiving a new, resurrected body in the spring.
Sculpture of Green Man at festival. ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )
The legend of the Goddess and Green Man then skips to the Vernal Equinox, when the Green Man is ready to finally emerge from the womb of his mother. This is the time when the “male” light equals the “female” darkness, and their male-female polarity fully unites to produce a fresh infusion of life force to cover and fertilize the land. The fetal body of the Green Man is now ready to push out of the womb of his mother Earth in the form of the new tender sprouts of spring. Soon, his annual resurrection will be complete. This will occur on or around the same day as our Easter, a modern holiday associated with the much more recent resurrection of another Son of a virgin.
The legend of the Green Man then covers the hot summer months, when the Son rapidly matures as the rapidly maturing vegetative growth of nature. He matures so fast, in fact, that the Green Man not only becomes One with his Father in Heaven, but he even mates with and inseminates his own mother. Their co-habitation produces a second infusion of the fructifying life force on Earth and manifests as a second proliferation of vegetation and accompanying harvest. Ultimately, this event would serve to hasten the Green Man’s demise, and soon he would die again with the decaying vegetation and the falling of leaves of autumn. The cause of his death? The sacerdotal interpreters of his legend would later assert that it occurred because of the sins of humanity. It was believed through original sin humanity had given up not only its own right, but the right of all life on Earth, to achieve eternal life.
At the close of the Neolithic Age, when civilizations arose in place of a purely agrarian culture, the ancient legend of the Goddess and Green Man expanded and took on religious overtones. It became a standard myth that was annually recited and dramatically staged in the temples and the mystery schools of the new fledgling cities, nations and empires. A feature of its evolving storyline was that the Green Man now took on the additional role of King of the World, which he governed under the authority of his Earth mother. And in some renditions of the legend the Son was said to have met his death in the fall at the hands of his unscrupulous brother or a dark, evil lord.
Ishtar and Tammuz
In the cities of Meopotamia the Neolithic legend transformed into the story of the Goddess as Inanna or Ishtar who annually gave birth to a Green Man Son and future king under the name of Dammuzi or Tammuz. It was said that Dammuzi/Tammuz grew up to mate with his own mother while also governing the Earth for her. In order that this ancient legend be reflected in their culture, the inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent enthroned rulers of their city-states who were acknowledged to be the embodiments of Dammuzi/Tammuz and the royal servants of Goddess Inanna/Ishtar.
“Unearthed in the main room of the palace of Arad. It depicts two almost identical images of a man with a branch- or sheaf shaped head, one lying down and the other standing. It may represent the fertility god Tammuz or a similar deity, who died in summer and was resurrected in spring, Museum of Israel.” ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )
This was also true in Egypt, where the ruling pharaohs were regarded to be incarnations of Horus, the Son of Goddess Isis, and governed under her authority. But in the land of Khemit, although the spirit of the incumbent pharaoh was Horus, his physical body was formed by Seth, the god who governed the crystallization of energy into physical flesh. Together, Horus and Seth as the “Twins” created and comprised the physical body of the pharaoh, thus making the Egyptian monarchs modern representatives of the first and greatest king, Green Man Osiris.
Egyptian deity, Osiris as Green Man. (Public Domain)
Like the ancient Green Man, Osiris was similarly said to die and become resurrected annually in concert with the life and death of nature’s vegetation. Osiris’s annual resurrection ceremony took place during the annual flood of the Nile River, when the first tender sprouts of nature initially stuck their fragile heads above the surface of the Earth.
Semele and Dionysus
One version of Osiris’s popular Egyptian myth had him annually murdered by his jealous and evil brother Set each fall. This event was reflected in the legend of Osiris’s counterpart in Greece, Green Man Dionysus, who was annually slain by his relatives, the evil Titans, but later resurrected. Similar to Green Man Osiris, the mother of Dionysus was an Earth Goddess named Semele, meaning “Earth,” and his father was Zeus, the Father in Heaven.
Dionysus as the Green Man (Public Domain)
In order to awaken Dionysus from his slumber at the time of the Winter Solstice, female representatives of the Goddess would loudly bang pots and pans as they danced their way in ritual procession to the snowy summit of Mount Parnassus. And then after receiving his new set of clothes at the following spring equinox, the Divine Son would cavort in nature along with his own reflection and alter-ego, Pan, a name meaning “the All,” as in “All of Nature.”
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Like Osiris, Dionysus became the King of the World, and like his Egyptian counterpart, Dionysus was reputed to have once completely covered the globe while teaching his diverse subjects the art of making and ritually consuming wine.
Modern interpretation of a plate from ancient Greece featuring Dionysus. (Aleph500Adam/ CC BY-SA 4.0 )
Wine made from grapes was recognized as the blood of nature, and since Dionysus was all of nature, it was his blood. Thus began the ritual of a holy communion through consuming the body and blood of the Divine Son.
Mark Amaru Pinkham is the author of six books that cover any of the world’s mysteries. They include: The Return of the Serpents of Wisdom, The Truth Behind the Christ Myth, Guardians of the Holy Grail, World Gnosis: The Coming Gnostic Civilization , and his most recent book , Sedona: City of the Star People . See the entire catalogue at: http://store.gnostictemplars.org/catalog/
Top Image: Green Man painted on a ceiling ( CC BY-NC 2.0 )