Weeping For Tammuz
A great deal that Christians (a term used in the widest possible way) have incorporated into their worship and liturgical calendars originate from paganism. Paganism is often said to be in the eye of the beholder: one religious group considers all other beliefs to be pagan, on one level or another. The paganism in question, here, is the of the worst sort: having arisen against the worship of The One True God of Heaven, very soon after The Great Flood.
History reveals an ancient people-group, dwelling in Mesopotamia [the land between the rivers], which lies in contemporary Iraq, known as the Babylonians. They were a Semitic group, often referred to as Chaldeans [because of their language] and the progenitors of what we know, today, as religious mythology: the elaborate ‘family’ of gods who are said to rule every aspect of human and earthly life.
Any study of mythology will reveal the commonalities between the various gods of every major ancient civilization: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chaldean, Minoan, Sumerian, Chinese. The names differ, but their role in the pantheon as well as the exploits that define them are amazingly similar. The only conclusion scholars can make is that these stories have a common origin.
From Persian records we learn of a man, named Nimrod [Kronos, Bel or Baal]. The Bible names him in connection with the famed Tower of Babel [Gen. 11]. It is from this that we learn of ‘Table of Nations’ — the origin of every major people-group in the world. This Nimrod was deified after his death by the name Orion, and placed among the stars.
Drawing from a wide array of classical and non-classical writings, Bill Cooper is author of the book entitled: After The Flood [New Wine Press, UK, 1995] showing how European histsory can be traced back to the flood. It’s an amazing chronicle of how the earliest Europeans recorded their descent from Noah, through Japheth, in meticulous detail.
In other records we learn of his wife, Semeramis, who was worshipped as ‘Queen of Heaven,’ often pictured with a baby in her arms. There is large and consenting evidence that the death of Nimrod, as well as the child worshipped in the arms of this goddess-mother of Bablyon, was a death of violence. Babylonian history says he was gored by a bull.
Through the annals of antiquity as well as the literature of the world, from ‘Ultima Thule’ (farthest northern reaches) to Japan, we learn the details of this early family. The Bible sets the stage with a Great Flood, the memory of which seems to be the backdrop for Nimrod’s rise to power as “A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord.” [Gen. 10:9] He is a grandson of Ham, through Cush, nephew of Canaan.
Under his leadership a city and a tower are built, using kiln-dried bricks, in order to protect themselves from another flood (?). The stated purpose seems to be one of keeping everyone together and united against God, with Nimrod The Leader. It was the city and the tower that attracted God’s attention [Gen. 11:5].
God had ordered Noah and his sons to ‘replenish’ the Earth [Gen. 9]. They were to ‘go forth abundantly in the earth’ not gather themselves in one place and establish a ‘Human Headquarters.’ Additionally, God instituted capital punishment for murder [v. 6].
There has been much speculation as to what the Tower was and why it was built. The scriputures tell us Nimrod’s purpose was to ‘make a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’ [11:4]. This seems to fly in the face of God’s declaration, making the tower which was to ‘reach unto heaven’ appear a religious object, not simply protection against another flood.
According to Eastern tradition, the appelation of ‘mighty hunter before the Lord,’ signifies a Lurking Enemy, or a Hunter of men, rather than of beasts. This sets Nimrod apart from the Protector and Provider, to the Powerful and Predator. History records a Tower on the Plains of Shinar that was religious: it is said that Astrology originated there and that the signs of the zodiac were found there. The biblical phrase, “whose top may reach unto heaven,’ may actually be a reference to an alternate religious expression.
Ancient history speaks of this Nimrod in the guise of the Egyptian Osiris. His wife, Isis, is Queen of Heaven and is pictured by Michelangelo’s Pieta holding her dead son in her arms. As Christians, we would naturally think of Mary and Jesus. However, the oldest story of these pietas [lamentations] is of Isis weeping over the broken pieces of her husband Osiris, whose subsequent rebirth from death was aided by her reassembly of the pieces of his corpse and whose presence in the afterlife helped assure Egyptians that they too would live beyond the grave.
It is a complex picture, complicated by time. Time which warps realities into mythologies. We are aware of the mythical hero: Hercules. Hercules is a Greek man-god with tremendous strength / power. History records the first ‘Hercules’ as Egyptian. He rises up to kill the arch-enemy of God by dismembering him, scattering body parts to the four corners of the Earth.
Ancient history records Noah’s son, Shem, being in Egypt when Nimrod shows up with his heresies and open rebellion against The One True God of Heaven. A powerful man is pictured rousing the leaders of ancient Egypt against this heresy, destroying Nimrod and sending pieces of his body to the major people-groups in the Region. It is a bloody and gruesome picture, but The Bible pictures it with the Levites concubine whom the men of Gibeah killed. The Levite then cut her body into 12 peices and sent a peice to each of the 12 tribes of Israel, as a message. Apparently this was not an uncommon technique.
Egyptians revere Osiris. He is said to have ascended to heaven where his belt can be seen in the constellation of Orion. The Great Pyramid of Giza has a tunnel that points to that constellation. The three stars in that constellation are mimicked by the pyramids which accompany the Great Pyramid. The relative size and placement of these three pyramids match the relative size and placemen to of the three stars in Orion’s belt.
The story is: Nimrod was exporting his heresy to the known world, seeking to stir up everyone against God. Shem, being God’s anointed, stood up against him, executing him for his Treason. The story continues, however, with Nimrod’s wife, Semeramis. She declared her husband would be resurrected and over time, she gave birth to a son: Tammuz, whom she declared to be Nimrod, reincarnate. When you read ancient history, the two are often intertwined so as to confuse you as to which is being discussed.
Tammuz was exalted as ‘the son of god.’ He continued in his [so-called] father’s footsteps, even to the point of an early death. It is here the mythologies collide and get confusing. Various mythologies [mystery religions] feature one god/goddess or other trapped in hades for 6 months of the year. It was a way to explain the seasons. Spring is the time when flowers bloom and crops grow. Spring, therefore, exists because one of the god / goddessess was able to leave hades for a time.
The Greeks used Persephone (a goddess) who had been kidnapped by Hades, the god of the dead. Olympus intervenes and Persephone is permitted 6 months above ground, each year; hence Spring! The Greeks prayed for Persephone, as did her mother, Demeter. There are other stories of this sort.
Where Tammuz is concerned, he is no doubt the illegitimate child of Nimrod, born well after his death. His mother, Semiramis elevated Nimrod to Sun god, after his death, and Tammuz is alternately seen as ‘Son of the Sun God’ and the Reincarnation of the Sun God. In ancient lore, the Sun God gives life.
Poor Tammuz, however, suffers the same fate as his so-called father: he is killed while still a young man. Devotees had begun the practice of ‘weeping’ for Nimrod, and now they weep for Tammuz. The weeping is supposedly one day for each year of their life, which in both cases seems to be 40 years. This weeping occurs in the Spring.
In the days of Ezekiel, the prophet, God showed him the women of Israel who were ‘weeping for Tammuz.’ [Ezek. 8:12-14] He called it an abomination. He had showed Ezekiel several other abominable things, but called this one the worst! Women of Israel engaged in idolatry, as they observed these 40-days of weeping over the counterfeit Christ.
Tammuz is a picture of Jesus. Initially shown as a babe in his mother’s arms. His mother stylized as ‘The Queen of Heaven.’ This ‘Madonna And Child’ motif is found in art work throughout the world, not all of it Christian [i.e. Japan]. Later he is worshipped as a god and the son of a god. Finally he is mourned over, as one who is able to bring blessing, even in death.
In Christian countries, throughout the world, this observance is held each Spring. It was borrowed from the pagans, ostensibly to make them more comfortable embracing Christianity in the days of Constantine. Today we simply call it Lent!
Forty days of self-denial in preparation for the High Holy Days of Easter [Ishtar], when we must give up what we like in favor of what pleases God. It comes with Christian symbolism and observance, but it comes with all the trappings of Necromancy. It comes looking like worship of God, but is steeped in paganism, the very heart of Christianity being equated with the heart of idolatry.
And what do we have going on, around the world, just before Lent? Mardi Gras! Two weeks [or more] of sensual exaltation, culminating with mardi gras = Fat Tuesday. Afterwhich we serve God?
The contemporary celebrations of Mardi Gras, Carnivale and more, around the world, are linked to both ancient history and the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church. I do not speak of how we consider Roman Catholicism today, but of the earliest origins of that sect of Christianity which grew up under Emperor Constantine, in the mid 4th Century, A.D.
There is no evidence that Constantine embraced Christianity, even though it is recorded that his mother was. A “sign” is supposed to have appeared to him in the form of the symbol of a Cross, with the message: In This Sign Conquer. Adopting that symbol for himself and for his army, conquer he did, becoming Head of the Roman Empire.
He is then credited [blamed] for ‘christianizing’ the pagans under his charge, by taking their feasts, celebrations and religious observances, and combining them with the rituals and Holy Days of the Christian Religion. The list is long, including major holidays: Easter [Ishtar], Christmas [Baccahnalian Festival], Lent [Weeping for Tammuz] with a host of lessor know annual events. Mardi Gras is but one.
Mardi Gras is celebrated around the world under a number of names, but always at the same time of year and with the same intent. The terms means “Fat Tuesday,” so named because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day prior to Lent…a 40-day season of prayer and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church (and many other Christian denominations) which ends on Easter Sunday. The origin of “Fat Tuesday” is believed to have come from the ancient Pagan custom of parading a fat ox through the town streets. Such Pagan holidays were filled with excessive eating, drinking and general bawdiness prior to a period of fasting. [http://www. novareinna.com/festive/mardi.html]
Ancient Romans would observe what they called the Lupercalia, a circus-type festival which was, in many respects, quite similar to the present day Mardi Gras. This festival honored the Roman deity, Lupercus, a pastoral God associated with Faunus or the Satyr. Although Lupercus is derived from the Latin Lupus (meaning “wolf”), the original meaning of the word as it applies to Roman religion has become obscured over the passage of time.
When Christianity arrived in Rome, the dignitaries of the early Church decided it would be more prudent to incorporate certain aspects of such rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them altogether. This granted a Christian interpretation to the ancient custom and the Carnival became a time of abandon and merriment which peceded the Lenten period (a symbolic Christian pentinence of 40 days commencing on Ash Wednesday and ending at Easter). During this time, there would be feasting which lasted several days and participants would indulge in voluntary madness by donning masks, clothing themselves in the likeness of spectres and generally giving themselves up to Bacchus and Venus. All aspects of pleasure were considered to be allowable during the Carnival celebration and today’s modern festivites are thought by some to be more reminiscent of the Roman Saturnalia rather than Lupercalia, or be linked to even earlier Pagan festivals.
From Rome, the celebration spread to other European countries. In medieval times, the landed gentry would also ride through the countryside rewarding peasants with cakes (thought by some to be the origin of the King Cake), coins (perhaps the origin of present day gifts of Mardi Gras doubloons) and other trinkets. In Germany, there still remains a Carnival similar to that of the one held in New Orleans. Known as Fasching, the celebrations begin on Twelfth Night and continue until Shrove Tuesday. To a lesser degree, this festivity is still celebrated in France and Spain.
A Carnival season was also celebrated in England until the Nineteenth Century, originating as a type of “renewal” festival that incorporated fertility motifs and ball games which frequently turned into riots between opposing villages, followed by feasts of pancakes and the imbibing of alcohol. The preparing and consumption of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (also known as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday” and occurring annually between February 2 and March 9, depending upon the date of Easter) is a still a tradition in the United Kingdom, where pancake tossing and pancake races (during which a pancake must be tossed a certain number of times) are still popular. [“Shrove” is derived from the Old English word “shrive,” which means to “confess all sins.”]
It is generally accepted that Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer, Sieur d’Iberville. The festival had been celebrated as a major holiday in Paris since the Middle Ages. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and, from there, launched an expedition along the Mississippi River. By March 3, 1699, a camp had been set up on the West Bank of the River…about 60 miles South of the present day City of New Orleans in the State of Louisiana. Since that day was the very one on which Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras in honor of the festival.
According to some sources, however, the Mardi Gras of New Orleans began in 1827 when a group of students who had recently returned from school in Paris donned strange costumes and danced their way through the streets. The students had first experienced this revelry while taking part in celebrations they had witnessed in Paris. In this version, it is said that the inhabitants of New Orleans were swiftly captured by the enthusiasm of the youths and quickly followed suit.
Other sources maintain that the Mardi Gras celebration originated with the arrival of early French settlers to the State of Louisiana. Nevertheless, it is known that from 1827 to 1833, the New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations became more elaborate, culminating in an annual Mardi Gras Ball. Although the exact date of the first revelries cannot be determined, the Carnival was well-established by the middle of the Nineteenth Century when the Mystick Krewe of Comus presented its 1857 Torchlight Parade with a theme taken from “Paradise Lost” written by John Milton.
In French, “Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday,” so named because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day prior to Lent…a 40-day season of prayer and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church (and many other Christian denominations) which ends on Easter Sunday. The origin of “Fat Tuesday” is believed to have come from the ancient Pagan custom of parading a fat ox through the town streets. Such Pagan holidays were filled with excessive eating, drinking and general bawdiness prior to a period of fasting.
Since the modern day Carvinal Season is sandwiched between Christmas and Lent, with Christmas Day being December 25 on the Gregorian Calendar as set by the Roman Catholic Church, this means that other Holy Days are “floating” in nature. Easter always falls on a Sunday, but it can be any Sunday from March 23 through April 25, its actual date being the Sunday which follows the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox.
Mardi Gras is always 47 days prior to this alloted Sunday (the 40 days of Lent plus seven Sundays). The beginning of the Carnival Season itself, however, is also fixed…being January 6, which is the Feast of the Ephiphany, otherwise known as Little Christmas or Twelfth Night. Since the date of Mardi Gras thus varies, the length of the Carnival Season also varies accordingly from year-to-year.
The origin of the word “Carvinal” is from the Latin for “farewell to the flesh,” a time when one is expected to forego earthly pleasures prior to the restrictions of the Lenten Season, and is thought to be derived from the feasts of the Middle Ages known as carnis levamen or “solace of the flesh.”
Today, Louisiana’s Mardi Gras is celebrated not only in New Orleans, but also in numerous smaller cities and towns around the State and in the neighboring Gulf Coast Region. Similar celebrations are also held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro…arguably the world’s most elaborate Carnival location with its Samba Dromo parades, which annually attract a huge number of tourists from all corners of the globe. Regardless of where the festivals take place, however, all share a common party atmosphere inherently associated with the celebrations.