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tween the doctrines of Sabæism and Christianity, and in and near Armenia a sect of Sun-worshippers have lasted on into modern times under the profession of Jacobite Christians ;? a parallel case within the limits of Mohammedanism being that of Beduin Arabs who still continue the old adoration of the rising sun, in spite of the Prophet's expressed command not to bow before the sun or moon, and in spite of the good Moslem's dictum, that “the sun rises between the devil's horns." 2 Actual worship of the sun in Christendom soon shrank to the stage of survival. In Lucian's time the Greeks kissed their hands as an act of worship to the rising sun ; and Tertullian had still to complain of many Christians that with an affectation of adoring the heavenly bodies they would move their lips toward the sunrise (Sed et plerique vestrum affectatione aliquando et cælestia adorandi ad solis ortum labia vibratis). In the 5th century, Leo the Great complains of certain Christians who, before entering the Basilica of St. Peter, or from the top of a hill, would turn and bow to the rising sun; this comes,
says, partly of ignorance and partly of the spirit of paganism.+ To this day, in the Upper Palatinate, the peasant takes off his hat to the rising sun; and in Pomerania, the feverstricken patient is to pray thrice turning toward the sun at sunrise, “Dear Sun, come soon down, and take the seventy-seven fevers from me. In the name of God the Father, etc.” 5
For the most part, the ancient rites of solar worship are represented in modern Christendom in two ways; by the ceremonies connected with turning to the east, of which an account is given in an ensuing chapter under the heading of Orientation; and in the continuance of the great sun
* Neander, 'Church History,' vol. vi. p. 341. Carsten Niebuhr, ‘Reisebeschr.' vol. ii. p. 396. ;
2 Palgrave, ' Arabia,' vol. i. p. 9; vol. ii. p. 258. See Koran, xli. 37.
3 Tertullian. Apolog. adv. Gentes, xvi. See Lucian de Saltat. xvii. ; compare Job xxxi. 26.
4 Leo. I, Serm. viii. in Natal. Dom.
festivals, countenanced by or incorporated in Christianity. Spring-tide, reckoned by so many peoples as New-Year, has in great measure had its solar characteristics transferred to the Paschal festival. The Easter bonfires with which the North German hills used to be ablaze mile after mile, are not altogether given up by local custom. On Easter morning in Saxony and Brandenburg, the peasants still climb the hill-tops before dawn, to see the rising sun give his three joyful leaps, as our forefathers used to do in England in the days when Sir Thomas Browne so quaintly apologized for declaring that “the sun doth not dance on Easter Day.' The solar rite of the New Fire, adopted by the Roman Church as a Paschal ceremony, may still be witnessed in Europe, with its solemn curfew on Easter Eve, and the ceremonial striking of the new holy fire. On Easter Eve, under the solemn auspices of the Greek Church, a mob of howling fanatics crush and trample to death the victims who faint and fall in their struggles to approach the most shameless imposture of modern Christendom, the miraculous fire from heaven which descends into the Holy Sepulchre. Two other Christian festivals have not merely had solar rites transferred to them, but seem distinctly themselves of solar origin. The Roman winter-solstice festival, as celebrated on December 25 (VIII. Kal. Jan.) in connexion with the worship of the Sun-god Mithra, appears to have been instituted in this special form by Aurelian about A.D. 273, and to this festival the day owes its apposite name of Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, “ Dies Natalis Solis invicti.” With full symbolic appropriateness, though not with historical justification, the day was adopted in the Western Church, where it appears to have been generally introduced by the 4th century, and whence in time it passed to the Eastern Church, as the solemn anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Christian Dies Natalis, Christmas Day.
i Grimm, Deutsche Myth. p. 581, etc. Wuttke, pp. 17, 93. Brand, • Pop. Ant.' vol. i. p. 157, etc. 'Early Hist. of Mankind,' p. 260. Murray's • Handbook for Syria and Palestine,' 1868, p. 162.
Attempts have been made to ratify this date as matter of history, but no valid nor even consistent early Christian tradition vouches for it. The real solar origin of the festival is clear from the writings of the Fathers after its institution. In religious symbolism of the material and spiritual sun, Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa discourse on the glowing light and dwindling darkness that follow the Nativity, while Leo the Great, among whose people the earlier solar meaning of the festival evidently remained in strong remembrance, rebukes in a sermon the pestiferous persuasion, as he calls it, that this solemn day is to be honoured not for the birth of Christ, but for the rising, as they say, of the new sun. As for modern memory of the sun-rites of mid-winter, Europe recognizes Christmas as a primitive solar festival by bonfires which our " yule-log,” the “souche de Noël,” still keeps in mind; while the adaptation of ancient solar thought to Christian allegory is as plain as ever in the Christmas service chant, “Sol novus oritur."2 The solar Christmas festival has its pendant at Midsummer. The summer solstice was the great season of fire-festivals throughout Europe, of bonfires on the heights, of dancing round and leaping through the fires, of sending blazing fire-wheels to roll down from the hills into the valleys in sign of the sun's descending course. These ancient rites attached themselves in Christendom to St. John's Eve. It seems as though the same train of symbolism which had adapted the midwinter festival to the Nativity, may have suggested the dedication of the midsummer festival to John the Baptist, in clear allusion to his words, “ He must increase, but I must decrease.'
See Pauly, 'Real-Encyclop.'s. v. 'Sol;' Bingham, ‘Antiquities of Christian Church,' book xx. ch.iv. ; Neander, 'Church Hist.' vol. iii. p. 437 ; Beausobre, * Hist. de Manichée,' vol. ii. p. 691 ; Gibbon, ch. xxii.; Creuzer, 'Symbolik,' vol. i. p. 761, etc.
2 Grimm, ‘D. M.' pp. 593, 1223. Brand, ‘Popular Antiquities,' vol. i. p. 467. Monnier, Traditions Populaires,' p. 188.
3 Grimm, 'D. M.'p. 583 ; Brand, vol. i. p. 298 ; Wuttke, pr. 14, 140. Beausobre, 1. c.
Moon-worship, naturally ranking below Sun-worship in importance, ranges through nearly the same district of culture. There are remarkable cases in which the Moon is recognized as a great deity by tribes who take less account, or none at all, of the Sun. The rude savages of Brazil seem especially to worship or respect the moon, by which they regulate their time and festivals, and draw their omens. They would hold up their hands to the moon with wonder-struck exclamations of teh! teh! they would have children smoked by the sorcerers to preserve them from moon-given sickness, or the women would hold up their babes to the luminary. The Botocudos are said to give the highest rank among the heavenly bodies to Taru the Moon, as causing thunder and lightning and the failure of vegetables and fruits, and as even sometimes falling to the earth, whereby many men die. An old account of the Caribs describes them as esteeming the Moon more than the Sun, and at new moon coming out of their houses crying “Behold the Moon !”The Ahts of Vancouver's Island, it is stated, worship the Sun and Moon, particularly the full moon and the sun ascending to the zenith. Regarding the Moon as husband and the Sun as wife, their prayers are more generally addressed to the Moon as the superior deity; he is the highest object of their worship, and they speak of
looking down upon the earth in answer to prayer, and seeing everybody.”3 With a somewhat different turn of mythic fancy, the Hurons seem to have considered Aataentsic the Moon as maker of the earth and man, and grandmother of Iouskeha the Sun, with whom she governs the world. In Africa, Moon-worship is prominent in an immense district where Sun-worship is unknown or insignificant. Among south-central tribes, men will watch for the
Spix and Martius, ‘Reise in Brasilien,' vol. i. pp. 377, 381 ; Martius, • Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 327 ; Pr. Max. v. Wied, vol. ii. p. 58 ; J. G. Müller, pp. 218, 254 ; also Musters, “ Patagonians,' pp. 58, 179. ? De la Borde, Caraibes,' p. 525.
Sproat, ‘Savage Life,' p. 206 ; 'Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol v. p. 253. * Brebeuf in 'Rel. des Jes.' 1535, p. 34.
first glimpse of the new Moon, which they hail with shouts of kua! and vociferate prayers to it; on such an occasion Dr. Livingstone's Makololo prayed, “Let our journey with the white man be prosperous !” etc. These people keep holiday at new-moon, as indeed in many countries her worship is connected with the settlement of periodic festivals. Negro tribes seem almost universally to greet the new Moon, whether in delight or disgust. The Guinea people fling themselves about with droll gestures, and pretend to throw firebrands at it; the Ashango men behold it with superstitious fear; the Fetu negroes jumped thrice into the air with hands together and gave thanks. The Congo people fell on their knees, or stood and clapped their hands, crying, “So may I renew my life as thou art renewed ! The Hottentots are described early in the last century as dancing and singing all night at new and full moon, calling the Moon the Great Captain, and crying to him “Be greeted!” “Let us get much honey!” “May our cattle get much to eat and give much milk!” With the same thought as that just noticed in the district north-west of them, the Hottentots connect the Moon in legend with that fatal message sent to Man, which ought to have promised to the human race a moon-like renewal of life, but which was perverted into a doom of death like that of the beast who brought it.
The more usual status of the Moon in the religions of the world is, as nature suggests, that of a subordinate companion deity to the Sun, such a position as is acknowledged in the precedence of Sunday to Monday. Their various mutual relations as brother and sister, husband and wife, have already been noticed here as matter of mythology. As wide-lying rude races who place them thus side by side in their theology, it is enough to mention the Delawares of
Livingstone, 'S. Afr.' p. 235 ; Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 175, 342.
Römer, 'Guinen,' p. 84; Du Chaillu, ‘Ashango-land,' p. 428 ; see Purchas, vol. v. p. 766. Müller, 'Fetu,' p. 47.
3 Merolla, 'Congo,’ in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 273.
* Kolbe, ‘Beschryving van de Kaap de Goede Hoop,' part i. xxix. See aute, vol. i. p. 355.