But still a question was to be determined, What was to be the name of this Pagan festival, when it was baptized, and admitted into the ritual of Roman Christianity? To call it by its old name of Bel or Tammuz, at the early period when it seems to have been adopted, would have been too bold. To call it by the name of Christ was difficult, inasmuch as there was nothing special in His history at that period to commemorate. But the subtlety of the agents of the Mystery of Iniquity was not to be baffled. If the name of Christ could not be conveniently tacked to it, what should hinder its being called by the name of His forerunner, John the Baptist? John the Baptist was born six months before our Lord. When, therefore, the Pagan festival of the winter solstice had once been consecrated as the birthday of the Savior, it followed, as a matter of course, that if His forerunner was to have a festival at all, his festival must be at this very season; for between the 24th of June and the 25th of December--that is, between the summer and the winter solstice--there are just six months. Now, for the purposes of the Papacy, nothing could be more opportune than this. One of the many sacred names by which Tammuz or Nimrod was called, when he reappeared in the Mysteries, after being slain, was Oannes. *
* BEROSUS, BUNSEN'S Egypt. To identify Nimrod with Oannes, mentioned by Berosus as appearing out of the sea, it will be remembered that Nimrod has been proved to be Bacchus. Then, for proof that Nimrod or Bacchus, on being overcome by his enemies, was fabled to have taken refuge in the sea, see chapter 4, section i. When, therefore, he was represented as reappearing, it was natural that he should reappear in the very character of Oannes as a Fish-god. Now, Jerome calls Dagon, the well known Fish-god Piscem moeroris (BRYANT), "the fish of sorrow," which goes far to identify that Fish-god with Bacchus, the "Lamented one"; and the identification is complete when Hesychius tells us that some called Bacchus Ichthys, or "The fish."
Another name for John the Baptist
The name of John the Baptist, on the other hand, in the sacred language adopted by the Roman Church, was Joannes. To make the festival of the 24th of June, then, suit Christians and Pagans alike, all that was needful was just to call it the festival of Joannes; and thus the Christians would suppose that they were honoring John the Baptist, while the Pagans were still worshipping their old god Oannes, or Tammuz. Thus, the very period at which the great summer festival of Tammuz was celebrated in ancient Babylon, is at this very hour observed in the Papal Church as the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. And the fete of St. John begins exactly as the festal day began in Chaldea. It is well known that, in the East, the day began in the evening. So, though the 24th be set down as the nativity, yet it is on St. John's EVE--that is, on the evening of the 23rd--that the festivities and solemnities of that period begin.
Now, if we examine the festivities themselves, we shall see how purely Pagan they are, and how decisively they prove their real descent. The grand distinguishing solemnities of St. John's Eve are the Midsummer fires. These are lighted in France, in Switzerland, in Roman Catholic Ireland, and in some of the Scottish isles of the West, where Popery still lingers. They are kindled throughout all the grounds of the adherents of Rome, and flaming brands are carried about their corn-fields. Thus does Bell, in his Wayside Pictures, describe the St. John's fires of Brittany, in France: "Every fete is marked by distinct features peculiar to itself. That of St. John is perhaps, on the whole, the most striking. Throughout the day the poor children go about begging contributions for lighting the fires of Monsieur St. Jean, and towards evening one fire is gradually followed by two, three, four; then a thousand gleam out from the hill-tops, till the whole country glows under the conflagration. Sometimes the priests light the first fire in the market place; and sometimes it is lighted by an angel, who is made to descend by a mechanical device from the top of the church, with a flambeau in her hand, setting the pile in a blaze, and flying back again. The young people dance with a bewildering activity about the fires; for there is a superstition among them that, if they dance round nine fires before midnight, they will be married in the ensuing year. Seats are placed close to the flaming piles for the dead, whose spirits are supposed to come there for the melancholy pleasure of listening once more to their native songs, and contemplating the lively measures of their youth. Fragments of the torches on those occasions are preserved as spells against thunder and nervous diseases; and the crown of flowers which surmounted the principal fire is in such request as to produce tumultuous jealousy for its possession." Thus is it in France.
Turn now to Ireland. "On that great festival of the Irish peasantry, St. John's Eve," says Charlotte Elizabeth, describing a particular festival which she had witnessed,
"it is the custom, at sunset on that evening, to kindle immense fires throughout the country, built, like our bonfires, to a great height, the pile being composed of turf, bogwood, and such other combustible substances as they can gather. The turf yields a steady, substantial body of fire, the bogwood a most brilliant flame, and the effect of these great beacons blazing on every hill, sending up volumes of smoke from every point of the horizon, is very remarkable. Early in the evening the peasants began to assemble, all habited in their best array, glowing with health, every countenance full of that sparkling animation and excess of enjoyment that characterise the enthusiastic people of the land. I had never seen anything resembling it; and was exceedingly delighted with their handsome, intelligent, merry faces; the bold bearing of the men, and the playful but really modest deportment of the maidens; the vivacity of the aged people, and the wild glee of the children. The fire being kindled, a splendid blaze shot up; and for a while they stood contemplating it with faces strangely disfigured by the peculiar light first emitted when the bogwood was thrown on it. After a short pause, the ground was cleared in front of an old blind piper, the very beau ideal of energy, drollery, and shrewdness, who, seated on a low chair, with a well-plenished jug within his reach, screwed his pipes to the liveliest tunes, and the endless jig began. But something was to follow that puzzled me not a little.
"When the fire burned for some hours and got low, an indispensable part of the ceremony commenced. Every one present of the peasantry passed through it, and several children were thrown across the sparkling embers; while a wooden frame of some eight feet long, with a horse's head fixed to one end, and a large white sheet thrown over it, concealing the wood and the man on whose head it was carried, made its appearance. This was greeted with loud shouts as the 'white horse'; and having been safely carried, by the skill of its bearer, several times through the fire with a bold leap, it pursued the people, who ran screaming in every direction.
"I asked what the horse was meant for, and was told it represented 'all cattle.' Here was the old Pagan worship of Baal, if not of Moloch too, carried on openly and universally in the heart of a nominally Christian country, and by millions professing the Christian name! I was confounded, for I did not then know that Popery is only a crafty adaptation of Pagan idolatries to its own scheme."
Such is the festival of St. John's Eve, as celebrated at this day in France and in Popish Ireland. Such is the way in which the votaries of Rome pretend to commemorate the birth of him who came to prepare the way of the Lord, by turning away His ancient people from all their refuges of lies, and shutting them up to the necessity of embracing that kingdom of God that consists not in any mere external thing, but in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." We have seen that the very sight of the rites with which that festival is celebrated, led the authoress just quoted at once to the conclusion that what she saw before her was truly a relic of the Pagan worship of Baal.
The history of the festival, and the way in which it is observed, reflect mutual light upon each other. Before Christianity entered the British Isles, the Pagan festival of the 24th of June was celebrated among the Druids by blazing fires in honor of their great divinity, who, as we have already seen, was Baal. "These Midsummer fires and sacrifices," says Toland, in his Account of the Druids,
"were [intended] to obtain a blessing on the fruits of the earth, now becoming ready for gathering; as those of the first of May, that they might prosperously grow; and those of the last of October were a thanksgiving for finishing the harvest."
Again, speaking of the Druidical fires at Midsummer, he thus proceeds:
"To return to our carn-fires, it was customary for the lord of the place, or his son, or some other person of distinction, to take the entrails of the sacrificed animals in his hands, and, walking barefoot over the coals thrice after the flames had ceased, to carry them straight to the Druid, who waited in a whole skin at the altar. If the nobleman escaped harmless, it was reckoned a good omen, welcomed with loud acclamations; but if he received any hurt, it was deemed unlucky both to the community and himself. Thus, I have seen the people running and leaping through the St. John's fires in Ireland; and not only proud of passing unsinged, but, as if it were some kind of lustration, thinking themselves in an especial manner blest by the ceremony, of whose original, nevertheless, they were wholly ignorant, in their imperfect imitation of it."
We have seen reason already to conclude that Phoroneus, "the first of mortals that reigned"--i.e., Nimrod and the Roman goddess Feronia--bore a relation to one another. In connection with the firs of "St. John," that relation is still further established by what has been handed down from antiquity in regard to these two divinities; and, at the same time, the origin of these fires is elucidated. Phoroneus is described in such a way as shows that he was known as having been connected with the origin of fire-worship. Thus does Pausanias refer to him:
"Near this image [the image of Biton] they [the Argives] enkindle a fire, for they do not admit that fire was given by Prometheus, to men, but ascribe the invention of it to Phoroneus."
There must have been something tragic about the death of this fire-inventing Phoroneus, who "first gathered mankind into communities"; for, after describing the position of his sepulchre, Pausanias adds: "Indeed, even at present they perform funeral obsequies to Phoroneus"; language which shows that his death must have been celebrated in some such way as that of Bacchus. Then the character of the worship of Feronia, as coincident with fire-worship, is evident from the rites practiced by the priests at the city lying at the foot of Mount Socracte, called by her name. "The priests," says Bryant, referring both to Pliny and Strabo as his authorities, "with their feet naked, walked over a large quantity of live coals and cinders." To this same practice we find Aruns in Virgil referring, when addressing Apollo, the sun-god, who had his shrine at Soracte, where Feronia was worshipped, and who therefore must have been the same as Jupiter Anxur, her contemplar divinity, who was regarded as a "youthful Jupiter," even as Apollo was often called the "young Apollo":
"O patron of Soracte's high abodes,
Phoebus, the ruling power among the gods,
Whom first we serve; whole woods of unctuous pine
Are felled for thee, and to thy glory shine.
By thee protected, with our naked soles,
Through flames unsinged we march and tread the kindled coals." *
* DRYDEN'S Virgil Aeneid. "The young Apollo," when "born to introduce law and order among the Greeks," was said to have made his appearance at Delphi "exactly in the middle of summer." (MULLER'S Dorians)
Thus the St. John's fires, over whose cinders old and young are made to pass, are traced up to "the first of mortals that reigned."
Fire-worship around the world
It is remarkable, that a festival attended with all the essential rites of the fire-worship of Baal, is found among Pagan nations, in regions most remote from one another, about the very period of the month of Tammuz, when the Babylonian god was anciently celebrated. Among the Turks, the fast of Ramazan, which, says Hurd, begins on the 12th of June, is attended by an illumination of burning lamps. *
* HURD'S Rites and Ceremonies. The time here given by Hurd would not in itself be decisive as a proof of agreement with the period of the original festival of Tammuz; for a friend who has lived for three years in Constantinople informs me that, in consequence of the disagreement between the Turkish and the solar year, the fast of Ramazan ranges in succession through all the different months in the year. The fact of a yearly illumination in connection with religious observances, however, is undoubted.
In China where the Dragon boat festival is celebrated in such a way as vividly to recall to those who have witnessed it, the weeping for Adonis, the solemnity begins at Midsummer. In Peru, during the reign of the Incas, the feast of Raymi, the most magnificent feast of the Peruvians, when the sacred fire every year used to be kindled anew from the sun, by means of a concave mirror of polished metal, took place at the very same period. Regularly as Midsummer came round, there was first, in token of mourning, "for three days, a general fast, and no fire was allowed to be lighted in their dwellings," and then, on the fourth day, the mourning was turned into joy, when the Inca, and his court, followed by the whole population of Cuzco, assembled at early dawn in the great square to greet the rising of the sun. "Eagerly," says Prescott,
"they watched the coming of the deity, and no sooner did his first yellow rays strike the turrets and loftiest buildings of the capital, than a shout of gratulation broke forth from the assembled multitude, accompanied by songs of triumph, and the wild melody of barbaric instruments, that swelled louder and louder as his bright orb, rising above the mountain range towards the east, shone in full splendor on his votaries."
Could this alternate mourning and rejoicing, at the very time when the Babylonians mourned and rejoiced over Tammuz, be accidental? As Tammuz was the Sun-divinity incarnate, it is easy to see how such mourning and rejoicing should be connected with the worship of the sun.
In Egypt, the festival of the burning lamps, in which many have already been constrained to see the counterpart of the festival of St. John, was avowedly connected with the mourning and rejoicing for Osiris. "At Sais," says Herodotus, "they show the sepulchre of him whom I do not think it right to mention on this occasion." This is the invariable way in which the historian refers to Osiris, into whose mysteries he had been initiated, when giving accounts of any of the rites of his worship.
Wilkinson, in quoting this passage of Herodotus, expressly identifies this festival with the lamentation for Osiris, and assures us that "it was considered of the greatest consequence to do honor to the deity by the proper performance of this rite."
"It is in the sacred enclosure behind the temple of Minerva, and close to the wall of this temple, whose whole length it occupies. They also meet at Sais, to offer sacrifice during a certain night, when every one lights, in the open air, a number of lamps around his house. The lamps consist of small cups filled with salt and oil, having a wick floating in it which burns all night. This festival is called the festival of burning lamps. The Egyptians who are unable to attend also observe the sacrifice, and burn lamps at home, so that not only at Sais, but throughout Egypt, the same illumination takes place. They assign a sacred reason for the festival celebrated on this night, and for the respect they have for it."
Among the Yezidis, or Devil-worshippers of Modern Chaldea, the same festival is celebrated at this day, with rites probably almost the same, so far as circumstances will allow, as thousands of years ago, when in the same regions the worship of Tammuz was in all its glory. Thus graphically does Mr. Layard describe a festival of this kind at which he himself had been present:
"As the twilight faded, the Fakirs, or lower orders of priests, dressed in brown garments of coarse cloth, closely fitting to their bodies, and wearing black turbans on their heads, issued from the tomb, each bearing a light in one hand, and a pot of oil, with a bundle of cotton wick in the other. They filled and trimmed lamps placed in niches in the walls of the courtyard and scattered over the buildings on the sides of the valley, and even on isolated rocks, and in the hollow trunks of trees. Innumerable stars appeared to glitter on the black sides of the mountain and in the dark recesses of the forest. As the priests made their way through the crowd to perform their task, men and women passed their right hands through the flame; and after rubbing the right eyebrow with the part which had been purified by the sacred element, they devoutly carried it to their lips.
"Some who bore children in their arms anointed them in like manner, whilst others held out their hands to be touched by those who, less fortunate than themselves, could not reach the flame...As night advanced, those who had assembled--they must now have amounted to nearly five thousand persons--lighted torches, which they carried with them as they wandered through the forest. The effect was magical: the varied groups could be faintly distinguished through the darkness--men hurrying to and fro--women with their children seated on the house-tops--and crowds gathering round the pedlars, who exposed their wares for sale in the courtyard. Thousands of lights were reflected in the fountains and streams, glimmered amongst the foliage of the trees, and danced in the distance.
"As I was gazing on this extraordinary scene, the hum of human voices was suddenly hushed, and a strain, solemn and melancholy, arose from the valley. It resembled some majestic chant which years before I had listened to in the cathedral of a distant land. Music so pathetic and so sweet I never before heard in the East. The voices of men and women were blended in harmony with the soft notes of many flutes. At measured intervals the song was broken by the loud clash of cymbals and tambourines; and those who were within the precincts of the tomb then joined in the melody...The tambourines, which were struck simultaneously, only interrupted at intervals the song of the priests. As the time quickened they broke in more frequently. The chant gradually gave way to a lively melody, which, increasing in measure, was finally lost in a confusion of sounds. The tambourines were beaten with extraordinary energy--the flutes poured forth a rapid flood of notes--the voices were raised to the highest pitch--the men outside joined in the cry--whilst the women made the rocks resound with the shrill tahlehl.
"The musicians, giving way to the excitement, threw their instruments into the air, and strained their limbs into every contortion, until they fell exhausted to the ground. I never heard a more frightful yell than that which rose in the valley. It was midnight. I gazed with wonder upon the extraordinary scene around me. Thus were probably celebrated ages ago the mysterious rites of the Corybantes, when they met in some consecrated grove."
Layard does not state at what period of the year this festival occurred; but his language leaves little doubt that he regarded it as a festival of Bacchus; in other words, of the Babylonian Messiah, whose tragic death, and subsequent restoration to life and glory, formed the cornerstone of ancient Paganism. The festival was avowedly held in honor at once of Sheikh Shems, or the Sun, and of the Sheik Adi, or "Prince of Eternity," around whose tomb nevertheless the solemnity took place, just as the lamp festival in Egypt, in honor of the sun-god Osiris, was celebrated in the precincts of the tomb of that god at Sais.
Now, the reader cannot fail to have observed that in this Yezidi festival, men, women, and children were "PURIFIED" by coming in contact with "the sacred element" of fire. In the rites of Zoroaster, the great Chaldean god, fire occupied precisely the same place. It was laid down as an essential principle in his system, that "he who approached to fire would receive a light from divinity," (TAYLOR'S Jamblichus) and that "through divine fire all the stains produced by generation would be purged away" (PROCLUS, Timaeo). Therefore it was that "children were made to pass through the fire to Moloch" (Jeremiah 32:35), to purge them from original sin, and through this purgation many a helpless babe became a victim to the bloody divinity.
Among the Pagan Romans, this purifying by passing through the fire was equally observed; "for," says Ovid, enforcing the practice, "Fire purifies both the shepherd and the sheep." Among the Hindoos, from time immemorial, fire has been worshipped for its purifying efficacy. Thus a worshipper is represented by Colebrooke, according to the sacred books, as addressing the fire: "Salutation to thee [O fire!], who dost seize oblations, to thee who dost shine, to thee who dost scintillate, may thy auspicious flame burn our foes; mayest thou, the PURIFIER, be auspicious unto us." There are some who maintain a "perpetual fire," and perform daily devotions to it, and in "concluding the sacraments of the gods," thus every day present their supplications to it:
"Fire, thou dost expiate a sin against the gods; may this oblation be efficacious. Thou dost expiate a sin against man; thou dost expiate a sin against the manes [departed spirits]; thou dost expiate a sin against my own soul; thou dost expiate repeated sins; thou dost expiate every sin which I have committed, whether wilfully or unintentionally; may this oblation be efficacious."
Among the Druids, also, fire was celebrated as the purifier. Thus, in a Druidic song, we read, "They celebrated the praise of the holy ones in the presence of the purifying fire, which was made to ascend on high" (DAVIES'S Druids, "Song to the Sun"). If, indeed, a blessing was expected in Druidical times from lighting the carn-fires, and making either young or old, either human beings or cattle, pass through the fire, it was simply in consequence of the purgation from sin that attached to human beings and all things connected with them, that was believed to be derived from this passing through the fire. It is evident that this very same belief about the "purifying" efficacy of fire is held by the Roman Catholics of Ireland, when they are so zealous to pass both themselves and their children through the fires of St. John. * Toland testifies that it is as a "lustration" that these fires are kindled; and all who have carefully examined the subject must come to the same conclusion.
* "I have seen parents," said the late Lord J. Scott in a letter to me, "force their children to go through the Baal-fires."
Now, if Tammuz was, as we have seen,the same as Zoroaster, the god of the ancient "fire-worshippers," and if his festival in Babylon so exactly synchronised with the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, what wonder that that feast is still celebrated by the blazing "Baal-fires," and that it presents so faithful a copy of what was condemned by Jehovah of old in His ancient people when they "made their children pass through the fire to Moloch"? But who that knows anything of the Gospel would call such a festival as this a Christian festival? The Popish priests, if they do not openly teach, at least allow their deluded votaries to believe, as firmly s ever ancient fire worshipper did, that material fire can purge away the guilt and stain of sin. How that tends to rivet upon the minds of their benighted vassals one of the most monstrous but profitable fables of their system, will come to be afterwards considered.
The name Oannes could be known only to the initiated as the name of the Pagan Messiah; and at first, some measure of circumspection was necessary in introducing Paganism into the Church. But, as time went on, as the Gospel became obscured, and the darkness became more intense, the same caution was by no means so necessary. Accordingly, we find that, in the dark ages, the Pagan Messiah has not been brought into the Church in a mere clandestine manner. Openly and avowedly under his well known classic names of Bacchus and Dionysus, has he been canonized, and set up for the worship of the "faithful." Yes, Rome, that professes to be pre-eminently the Bride of Christ, the only Church in which salvation is to be found, has had the unblushing effrontery to give the grand Pagan adversary of the Son of God, UNDER HIS OWN PROPER NAME, a place in her calendar. The reader has only to turn to the Roman calendar, and he will find that this is a literal fact; he will find that October the 7th is set apart to be observed in honor of "St. Bacchus the Martyr."
Now, no doubt, Bacchus was a "martyr"; he died a violent death; he lost his life for religion; but the religion for which he died was the religion of the fire-worshippers; for he was put to death, as we have seen from Maimonides, for maintaining the worship of the host of heaven. This patron of the heavenly host, and of fire worship (for the two went always hand in hand together), has Rome canonized; for that this "St. Bacchus the Martyr" was the identical Bacchus of the Pagans, the god of drunkenness and debauchery, is evident from the time of his festival; for October the 7th follows soon after the end of the vintage. At the end of the vintage in autumn, the old Pagan Romans used to celebrate what was called the "Rustic Festival" of Bacchus; and about that very time does the Papal festival of "St Bacchus the Martyr" occur.
Same god, differenent names
As the Chalden god has been admitted into the Roman calendar under the name of Bacchus, so also is he canonized under his other name of Dionysus. The Pagans were in the habit of worshipping the same god under different names; and, accordingly, not content with the festival to Bacchus, under the name by which he was most commonly known at Rome, the Romans, no doubt to please the Greeks, celebrated a rustic festival to him, two days afterwards, under the name of Dionysus Eleuthereus, the name by which he was worshipped in Greece. That "rustic" festival was briefly called by the name of Dionysia; or, expressing its object more fully, the name became "Festum Dionysi Eleutherei rusticum"--i.e., the "rustic festival of Dionysus Eleuthereus." (BEGG'S Handbook of Popery) Now, the Papacy in its excess of zeal for saints and saint-worship, has actually split Dionysus Eleuthereus into two, has made two several saints out of the double name of one Pagan divinity; and more than that, has made the innocent epithet "Rusticum," which, even among the heathen, had no pretension to divinity at all, a third; and so it comes to pass that, under date of October the 9th, we read this entry in the calendar: "The festival of St. Dionysius, * and of his companions, St. Eleuther and St. Rustic."
* Though Dionysus was the proper classic name of the god, yet in Post-classical, or Low Latin, his name is found Dionysius, just as in the case of the Romish saint.
Now this Dionysius, whom Popery has so marvellously furnished with two companions, is the famed St. Denys, the patron saint of Paris; and a comparison of the history of the Popish saint and the Pagan god will cast no little light on the subject. St. Denys, on being beheaded and cast into the Seine, so runs the legend, after floating a space on its waters, to the amazement of the spectators, took up his head in his hand, and so marched away with it to the place of burial. In commemoration of so stupendous a miracle, a hymn was duly chanted for many a century in the Cathedral of St. Denys, at Paris, containing the following verse:
"The corpse immediately arose;
The trunk bore away the dissevered head,
Guided on its way by a legion of angels."
(SALVERTE, Des Sciences Occultes)
At last, even Papists began to be ashamed of such an absurdity being celebrated in the name of religion; and in 1789, "the office of St. Denys" was abolished. Behold, however, the march of events. The world has for some time past been progressing back again to the dark ages. The Romish Breviary, which had been given up in France, has, within the last six years, been reimposed by Papal authority on the Gallican Church, with all its lying legends, and this among the rest of them; the Cathedral of St. Denys is again being rebuilt, and the old worship bids fair to be restored in all its grossness. Now, how could it ever enter the minds of men to invent so monstrous a fable? The origin of it is not far to seek. The Church of Rome represented her canonized saints, who were said to have suffered martyrdom by the sword, as headless images or statues with the severed head borne in the hand. "I have seen," says Eusebe Salverte,
"in a church of Normandy, St. Clair; St. Mithra, at Arles, in Switzerland, all the soldiers of the Theban legion represented with their heads in their hands. St. Valerius is thus figured at Limoges, on the gates of the cathedral, and other monuments. The grand seal of the canton of Zurich represents, in the same attitude, St. Felix, St. Regula, and St. Exsuperantius. There certainly is the origin of the pious fable which is told of these martyrs, such as St. Denys and many others besides."
This was the immediate origin of the story of the dead saint rising up and marching away with his head in his hand. But it turns out that this very mode of representation was borrowed from Paganism, and borrowed in such a way as identifies the Papal St. Denys of Paris with the Pagan Dionysus, not only of Rome but of Babylon. Dionysus or Bacchus, in one of his transformations, was represented as Capricorn, the "goat-horned fish"; and there is reason to believe that it was in this very form that he had the name of Oannes. In this form in India, under the name "Souro," that is evidently "the seed," he is said to have done many marvellous things. (For Oannes and Souro, see note 1 ) Now, in the Persian Sphere he was not only represented mystically as Capricorn, but also in the human shape; and then exactly as St. Denys is represented by the Papacy. The words of the ancient writer who describes this figure in the Persian Sphere are these: "Capricorn, the third Decan. The half of the figure without a head, because its head is in its hand." Nimrod had his head cut off; and in commemoration of that fact, which his worshippers so piteously bewailed, his image in the Sphere was so represetned. That dissevered head, in some of the versions of his story, was fabled to have done as marvellous things as any that were done by the lifeless trunk of St. Denys. Bryant has proved, in this story of Orpheus, that it is just a slighty-colored variety of the story of Osiris. *
* BRYANT. The very name Orpheus is just a synonym for Bel, the name of the great Babylonian god, which, while originally given to Cush, became hereditary in the line of his deified descendants. Bel signifies "to mix," as well as "to confound," and "Orv" in Hebrew, which in Chaldee becomes Orph, signifies also "to mix." But "Orv," or "Orph," signifies besides "a willow-tree"; and therefore, in exact accordance with the mystic system, we find the symbol of Orpheus among the Greeks to have been a willow-tree. Thus, Pausanias, after referring to a representation of Actaeon, says, "If again you look to the lower parts of the picture, you will see after Patroclus, Orpheus sitting on a hill, with a harp in his left hand, and in his right hand the leaves of a willow-tree"; and again, a little furthe on, he says: "He is represented leaning on the trunk of this tree." The willow-leaves in the right hand of Orpheus, and the willow-tree on which he leans, sufficiently show the meaning of his name.
As Osiris was cut in pieces in Egypt, so Orpheus was torn in pieces in Thrace. Now, when the mangled limbs of the latter had been strewn about the field, his head, floating on the Hebrus, gave proof of the miraculous character of him that owned it. "Then," says Virgil:
"Then, when his head from his fair shoulders torn,
Washed by the waters, was on Hebrus borne,
Even then his trembling voice invoked his bride,
With his last voice, 'Eurydice,' he creid;
'Eurydice,' the rockes and river banks replied."
There is diversity here, but amidst that diversity there is an obvious unity. In both cases, thehead dissevered from the lifeless body occupies the foreground of the picture; in both cases, the miracle is in connection with a river. Now, when the festivals of "St. Bacchus the Martyr," and of "St. Dionysius and Eleuther," so remarkably agree with the time when the festivals of the Pagan god of wine were celbrated, whether by the name of Bacchus, or Dionysus, or Eleuthereus, and when the mode of representing the modern Dionysius and the ancient Dionysus are evidently the very same, while the legends of both so strikiingly harmonise, who can doubt the real character of those Romish festivals? They are not Christina. They are Pagan; they are unequivocally Babylonian.