from TheZeirgeistMovement Website
The further one regresses in time, the more obvious it becomes that the principal and singular religious worship found around the globe has revolved around nature.
This nature worship has included reverence not only for the earth, its creatures and their fecundity, but also for the sun, moon, planets and stars. For many thousands of years, man has looked to the skies and become awestruck by what he has observed. This awe has led to the reverence and worship both of the night and day skies, an adoration called "astro-theology."
While fertility worship has constituted an important and prevalent part of the human religion, little has astonished humankind more than the sky, with its enormous, blazing, white day orb in the azure expanse, and with its infinite, twinkling, black night dome. So fascinated by the sky, or heavens, has been man that he has created entire religions, with organized priesthoods, complex rituals and massive edifices, in order to tell its story.
The story begins, as far back as the current evidence reveals, with the night sky as the primary focus of pre-agricultural, nomadic peoples.
The night sky held particular importance in the lives of desert nomads, because the fiery sun was a hindrance to them, while the cool night allowed them to travel. In traveling by night, these desert nomads became keenly aware of the night sky's various landmarks, including the stars, planets and moon.
The nomads noticed regularity and began to chart the skies, hoping to divine omens, portents and signs. Others who developed this astronomical science included ancient mariners who journeyed thousands of miles through the open seas, such as the Polynesians, whose long, Pacific voyages have been estimated to have begun at least 30,000 years ago.
The astronomical science allowed the
ancients to predict weather patterns, the turn of seasons and
attendant climate changes, as well as comets, asteroids and meteors
menacing the earth. This archeo-astronomy was an accurate
prognosticator for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly events. Indeed,
it was an augur for the changes of entire ages, some of which, as in
the chronologies of the Maya, Babylonians and Hindus, extend back
hundreds of thousands or millions of years.
Cultural remains and ruins globally demonstrate the ancients' interest in and knowledge of,
That ancient peoples, including those thought to be "primitive," possessed this impressive knowledge, which required precise geometrical capacity as well as astronomical expertise, is a fact. That they went to extraordinary lengths to encapsulate and memorialize it is also a fact.
Another fact is that
the depth of inspiration and passion reflected by these remains is
indicative of the ancients’ astro-theological religious tendencies.
This regression and loss of knowledge is due to cataclysm and destruction of human culture.
Yet, the basics of this important knowledge were preserved because the ancients used myths as mnemonic devices passed along from generation to generation. This tradition was especially important during the thousands of years when writing was either non-existent or limited.
Unfortunately, the key to this knowledge was nevertheless often lost, as the myths became believed as "historical fact"... (28)
Astronomical or astro-theological knowledge reaches back to the dawn of humanity, appearing widespread and becoming highly developed over a period of millennia.
In its entry on "Astrology," the Catholic Encyclopedia describes the development of this archaic science in the ancient world:
Thus, astrology - a "godlike science" - dates back thousands of years and has been an important part of human civilization.
According to mainstream archaeology, the oldest extant text specifically addressing "astrology" dates from the 3rd millennium BCE; yet, the astrological religion or astro-theology is recorded abundantly in Indian, Egyptian and Sumerian sacred literature as well, some of which represents traditions much older than the third millennium.
Also, as noted, megalithic ruins push astronomical knowledge back at least 6,000 to 6,500 years ago, while ancient mariners reveal such knowledge dating to 30,000 or more years ago.... (29-30)
In The Roots of Civilization, archaeologist Alexander Marshack discusses "calendar sticks," or ancient bones with markings that Marshack determined represented lunar calendars, dating to at least 25,000 or 35,000 years ago.
One of these artifacts is the "Ishango bone" discovered at Lake Edward in Zaire, and possibly dating to 18,000-23,000 BCE. Marshack found other such bones, from the Upper Paleolithic (30,000-10,000 BCE) or Aurignacian culture.
Marshack’s contention that they are lunar calendars is not "set in stone," but there is more than good reason to assume it to be accurate.
In his book In Search of Ancient Astronomies, astronomer and past-director of Los Angeles's Griffith Observatory, Dr. Edwin Krupp, relates:
At the very least, these bones demonstrate that the ancients knew how to count, to a certain point.
The thesis that these bone markings also reflect the "moons" or menstrual periods of women is likewise sound; hence, it has been suggested, women were the "first mathematicians."
One of these women is represented on an 18-inch bas-relief called the "Venus of Laussel" (above image), an image dating to the Aurignacian era, some 21,000 years ago. Originally painted in red ochre, suggesting menstrual blood, the Venus holds a curved bison horn with 13 notches, which represent the crescent moon and, apparently, the "Universal Vulva," along with the annual lunar months and women's menses.
Significantly, the average menstrual cycle is 29.5 days, the same as the lunar month; hence, the two are intimately connected. In all probability, it was women's observations of their menses that led to timekeeping. Another factor in the development of astronomy was the need for hunters to know the lunar cycle, so they could plan their hunt, based on the waxing or waning of the moon.
In the famous caves of Lascaux in France have been discovered star maps that date to 16,500 years ago and, according to Dr. Michael Rappenglueck of the University of Munich, record the Pleiades, or "Seven Sisters," as well as the "Summer Triangle," composed of the three stars Vega, Deneb and Altair.
A 14,000-year-old star map recording the Northern Constellation was also found in the Cueva de El Castillo in Spain.
The art of the ancients in such places as Lascaux and Alta Mira, Spain, dating to the Paleolithic (17,000+ Before Present), or Addaura, Sicily (15,000-10,000 BCE), shows a high degree of intelligence, comparable to that of humans today. In discussing the ancients it should be kept in mind that, despite the impression given by strict, linear-evolutionary thinking, humans at least 100,000 years ago (a number that keeps being pushed back) possessed the identical cranial capacity as they do today. Instead of a bunch of grunting ape-men, there were likely individuals among them with IQ's similar to modern geniuses.
It is probable that, as today, there were human beings living in varying states of "civilization," with some prehistoric humans wearing rough skins and living in caves, while other early humans created more advanced culture... (30-31)
Regarding possible rituals performed in these caves, some of which are very inaccessible and would therefore likely represent the place of a secret, esoteric initiation, Roy remarks that they would "necessarily be performed at a particular auspicious moment," upon which their potency would depend.
This auspicious moment would be dependent on the solar and lunar phases, as well as the seasons:
Such "auspicious moments" can be dated using these astronomical keys.
Roy posits that the antelope-headed "sorcerer" was "a figure marking the onset of a season." The reasons for this assertion include that the "remote traditions" in the Rig Veda and in Vedic astronomy relate that the Stag's head represents the star L-Orionis and the winter solstice at the new moon, as well as the summer solstice at the full moon.
Roy concludes that the sorcerer figure
"marked the winter solstice," which was "a great day in the Ice Age
of Europe." Based on the astronomy, the figure dates to 10,600 BCE.
Furthermore, this stag-headed sorcerer figure is similar to solar
images on seals from the Indus Valley city of Mohenjo-Daro dating to
the third millennium BCE.
Thus, the winter solstice was an important factor in human culture, particularly that of the cold, northern latitudes, at least 12,000 years ago.
The winter solstice celebration that developed throughout much of the inhabited world has been handed down as "Christmas," i.e., December 25th, the birthday of the sun of God.
Who Were The Ancient
The reality is that the ancient gods were mainly astro-theological and/or based on natural, earthly forces. This fact is attested by numerous authorities over the millennia, including ancient writers reflecting upon their own religions and those of other known cultures.
Another important factor in ancient astro-theology is the precession of the equinoxes, a phenomenon caused by the earth's off-axis tilt, whereby the sun at the vernal equinox (spring) is back-dropped by a different constellation every 2150 or so years, a period called an "age."
One cycle of the precession, through the 12 signs of the zodiacal ages is called a "Great Year," and is approximately 26,000 years long.
According to orthodox history, the precession was only "discovered" in the second century BCE by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus; however, it is clear from ancient texts, traditions, artifacts and monuments that more ancient peoples knew about it and attempted to compensate for it from age to age.
In Hamlet's Mill, Santillana and Dechend demonstrate knowledge of the precession at much earlier times, stating:
The Astrotheological Priesthood
After this development, the Chaldean occult science became less hidden and more known to the masses.
From ancient authorities it is evident that the term "Chaldean" ceased to be descriptive of an ethnicity but came to be considered an appellation for the astrological priestly order, from which the Hebrew priesthood, among others, was in large part derived, although the biblical imitators never reached the sublimity of the original.
Reflecting their widely held esteem, in On Mating with the Preliminary Studies (X, 50), the Jewish philosopher Philo Judaeus of Alexandria (c. 20 BCE-c. 50 CE) described the Chaldeans as understanding to an "eminent degree" what he called "astronomy" and further termed "the queen of all the sciences"... (42-43)
Naturally, when they did address it their comments were often condescending or disparaging.
For example, in Against the Heathen, theologian St. Athanasius (c. 293-373) attempted to raise the christian god above all the rest, establishing the ancient worship as astro-theological and relating that mankind,
Origin of Christianity
The christian assault on astrology was furious and motivated by a desire for dominance and the replacement of the Pagan astro-theology with that of christianity, with an eye to covering up the latter's own astro-theological roots.
The christian fathers eventually were responsible for vicious persecution of "astrologers," i.e., those Chaldeans and others who were priests of Pagan faiths.
Arabic and Jewish universities and scholars kept astrology alive throughout the Middle Ages, despite continued persecution by Christians. As time went on, this "false doctrine," which never disappeared from Europe but was condemned on the one hand and embraced on the other by Church authorities, began to resurface more overtly.
Indeed, numerous emperors and popes,
Popes Leo X and Clement VII retained the same court astrologer, Gauricus, who,
Moreover, during the Renaissance, CE further recounts,
As is also clear, the ancients were well aware that they were worshipping the sun, moon, stars and "all the host of heaven."
Entire cultures were based upon astro-theology, and numerous magnificent edifices were constructed for its glorification. Indeed, the proscription by biblical writers shows how important and widespread was this worship of the cosmic bodies and natural phenomena. The church fathers and other christian writers also acknowledged this astro-theology and its antiquity, but denigrated it as much as possible.
Why? What would a detailed investigation reveal about their own ideology?
As demonstrated in The Christ Conspiracy and here, the knowledge about astro-theology would reveal the christians' own religion to be Pagan in virtually every significant aspect, constituting a remake of the ancient religion.