The history of the Christian fish symbol:
The pre-Christian history of the fish symbol: The fish symbol has been used for millennia worldwide as a religious symbol associated with the Pagan Great Mother Goddess. It is the outline of her vulva. The fish symbol was often drawn by overlapping two very thin crescent moons. One represented the crescent shortly before the new moon; the other shortly after, when the moon is just visible. The Moon is the heavenly body that has long been associated with the Goddess, just as the sun is a symbol of the God. The link between the Goddess and fish was found in various areas of the ancient world:
In China, Great Mother Kwan-yin often portrayed in the shape of a fish
In India, the Goddess Kali was called the fish-eyed one
In Egypt, Isis was called the Great Fish of the Abyss
In Greece the Greek word delphos meant both fish and womb. The word is derived from the location of the ancient Oracle at Delphi who worshipped the original fish goddess, Themis. The later fish Goddess, Aphrodite Salacia, was worshipped by her followers on her sacred day, Friday. They ate fish and engaging in orgies. From her name comes the English word salacious which means lustful or obscene.
Also from her name comes the name of our fourth month, April. In later centuries, the Christian church adsorbed this tradition by requiring the faithful to eat fish on Friday - a tradition that was only recently abandoned.
In ancient Rome Friday is called dies veneris or Day of Venus, the Pagan Goddess of Love.
Throughout the Mediterranean, mystery religions used fish, wine and bread for their sacramental meal.
In Scandinavia, the Great Goddess was named Freya; fish were eaten in her honor. The 6th day of the week was named Friday after her.
In the Middle East, the Great Goddess of Ephesus was portrayed as a woman with a fish amulet over her genitals. The fish symbol was so revered throughout the Roman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings...Sometimes the Christ child was portrayed inside the vesica, which was superimposed on Mary's belly and obviously represented her womb, just as in the ancient symbolism of the Goddess. 4 Another author writes: The fish headdress of the priests of Ea [a Sumero-Semitic God] later became the miter of the Christian bishops. 5 The symbol itself, the eating of fish on Friday and the association of the symbol with deity were all taken over by the early Church from Pagan sources. Only the sexual component was deleted.
The fish is used by many followers of Christ to signify their devotion. The symbol, however, is not originally of Christian origin. The symbol has been used for millennia as a representation of the Great Mother Goddess of the many pagan faiths. The two crescents used to draw the symbol are identified with the moon - another symbol of the primordial goddess. The outline of the 'fish' is, in some instances, seen as the outline of the Goddess' vulva.
The early Christian community did adopt the fish symbol as a logical sign of their faith - the Bible is, after all, rife with stories and allegorical asides related to fish and fishermen. One report credits the simplicity and inconspicuous nature of the symbol for it's adoption by early Christian adherents: when a member of the faith would encounter another, they would draw an arc in the dust. If the other person was also a Christian, they would complete the symbol. The fish has made a comeback as a symbol of the Christian faith, especially on cars. It has also spawned a host of 'spin-off' fishes symbolizing everything from Evolution and free love to harmony and lawyers.
The history of the cross symbol in Christianity
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness
1 Corinthians 1:23
Early depictions on Jesus usually showed him as a shepherd carrying a lamb. Tertullian (140-230 CE), a Montanist heretic, commented in his essay De Corona: At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign. This might be an early reference to individuals tracing the sign of the cross on their body. The use of the cross as a symbol was condemned by at least one church father of the 3rd century CE because of its Pagan origins. The first appearance of a cross in Christian art is on a Vatican sarcophagus from the mid-5th Century. 11 It was a Greek cross with equal-length arms. Jesus' body was not shown. The first crucifixion scenes didn't appear in Christian art until the 7th century CE. The original cross symbol was in the form of a Tau Cross. It was so named because it looked like the letter tau, or our letter T. One author speculates that the Church may have copied the symbol from the Pagan Druids who made crosses in this form to represent the Thau (god). 7 They joined two limbs from oak trees. The Tau cross became associated with St. Philip who was allegedly crucified on such a cross in Phrygia. May Day, a major Druidic seasonal day of celebration, became St. Philip's Day. Later in Christian history, the Tau Cross became the Roman Cross that we are familiar with today. The shape of the original crucifixion device is a matter for speculation. Sometimes, the Romans executed people on a Tau cross, sometimes on a Roman cross and sometimes on a simple stake. The gospels were originally written in Greek. They state that Jesus was crucified on a stauros (Mark 18:21, Matthew 27:32, Luke 23:26, John 19:17). This appears as the word cross in all but one of the English versions that we have examined. But in reality, the Greek word usually means a vertical pole without a crossbar. The New World Translation, sponsored by the translates the word as torture stake. 8 Hermann Fulda, author of The Cross and Crucifixion is commented that: the description of Jesus' suffering during the last hours of life indicates that he was crucified on a stake rather than a cross. that some of the writings of the early church fathers confirms the use of a pole.
The very earliest depictions of Jesus' crucifixion in Christian art show him on a stake. Acts 5:30 refers to hanging him on a tree. 1 Peter 2:24 says He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree. Deuteronomy 21:23 stated that a person hung on a tree was be cursed by God. This verse was a major stumbling block that prevented many Jews from accepting Jesus as Messiah.
The pre-Christian history of the cross symbol From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man's civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. 9 The cross symbol was found in: 10
Long a symbol of the Christian faith, has origins in Pagan history. Assyrians used the cross to represent the four directions in which the sun shone. The Egyptian ankh, a cross with a tear shape as the upper leg, was a strong symbol of Truth and is associated with the God Osiris, and the Goddesses Isis and Maat. And in ancient Europe, according to the OCRT, The use of a human effigy on a cross in the form of a scarecrow has been used from ancient times. In prehistoric times, a human would be sacrificed and hung on a cross. The sacrifice would later be chopped to pieces; his blood and pieces of flesh were widely distributed and buried to encourage the crop fertility. The first use of the Latin or Christian cross symbol (seen above) may have been as the staff of Apollo. Greeks used the symbol on coins and buildings to represent the wisdom, light and love of the Sun god.
Christians adopted the symbol sometime around the 3rd to 5th century C.E., although it's current state was not adopted immediately. Early Christian art includes not only the Latin cross, but equal-armed and Tau (shaped like a T) crosses as well.
Scandanavia: The Tau cross symbolized the hammer of the God Thor.
Babylon: the cross with a crescent moon was the symbol of their moon deity.
Assyria: the corners of the cross represented the four directions in which the sun shines.
India: In Hinduism, the vertical shaft represents the higher, celestial states of being; the horizontal bar represents the lower, earthly states.
Egypt: The ankh cross (a Tau cross topped by an inverted tear shape) is associated with Maat, their Goddess of Truth. It also represents the sexual union of Isis and Osiris.
Europe: The use of a human effigy on a cross in the form of a scarecrow has been used from ancient times. In prehistoric times, a human would be sacrificed and hung on a cross. The sacrifice would later be chopped to pieces; his blood and pieces of flesh were widely distributed and buried to encourage the crop fertility.
The pentagram has experienced a long history within Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity. Today, it is primarily associated with Wicca, the reconstructed religion of the ancient Celtic people. In its inverted form, it is often associated with Satanism. However, it had many interpretations within Christianity in the past.
Pentacle , considered by many Christians as signs of 'the devil', also have a benign history. One of the earliest use of the pentagram was as a symbol of the goddess Kore, also known as Ceres. The Greek Pythagoreans considered its geometric symmetry to be a sign of perfection. Hebrews viewed the sign as a symbol of the five books of the Pentateuch, and viewed it as a symbol of Truth. Even the early Christians viewed it as a holy symbol, equating the five points of the star with the five wounds suffered by Christ on the cross. The pentagram began to get a bad reputation during the Middle Ages. Christians, in the heat of the Inquisition, began to equate the pentagram with the sign of ancient gods, now viewed as representations of the devil. For the first time in history, the benign symbol of security was viewed as a symbol of evil. In the 19th century, Eliphas Levi, a magician and magical philosopher, used an inverted pentacle to signify the god Baphomet, a goat-headed god of Evil. The ensuing symbol, known as the sign of Baphomet, has been adopted to signify the Church of Satan and other Left Hand Path religions.
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