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Velikovsky, Saturn and the Story of Jesus
Author Lewis Greenberg?    1981(?)

In 1950, Worlds in Collision was published. Written by a psychologist, Immanuel Velikovsky, it was the product of over a decade of research. In the next five years Velikovsky brought forward Ages in Chaos, and Earth in Upheaval. Together these books document a series of worldwide catastrophes caused by planetary objects.

There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky. Many respected scientists and academics consider his work of revolutionary import and worthy of serious investigation. Vine Deloria, for instance, has written: "Immanuel Velikovsky, in my opinion, will be seen by civilized people a century from now as the truly great thinker in human history dwarfing both his contemporaries and all but a select few of the now-honoured giants of the human intellect. His classic work, Worlds in Collision, will be regarded as the watershed in the development of our knowledge about the universe and about ourselves and will be seen as the first effort to present a truly cosmic history of our species." [Deloria, 1980, p. 78] Equally respected scientists, however, consider Velikovsky's work pseudoscience bordering on quackery. Thus, Carl Sagan has viciously attacked Velikovsky's theories in his last three books, charging Velikovsky with gross errors of fact and logic, non-originality, lucky guesses, and an attempted rescue and validation of old-time religion. [Sagan, 1977] Although this essay can never hope to solve this debate of thirty years duration, a purpose will be served if it raises some questions of concern to all students of mind, man, and evolution. 

Anthropology of Velikovsky

Velikovsky's work can perhaps be seen as an extension of Freud's historical-anthropological speculations in Totem and Taboo, and in Moses and Monotheism. While researching a book on the heroes of Freud, Velikovsky stumbled across the idea that maybe the biblical story of the Exodus described real events of catastrophic proportions. Reasoning that if there was any historicity to the Jewish account, perhaps some Egyptian account exists; Velikovsky began a search of the world's libraries. In Holland, Velikovsky found what he was looking for in the Ipuwer Papyrus, and the close similarities of the two accounts confirmed his suspicion that there had been a natural catastrophe at the time of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. Velikovsky supplemented this thesis with myths and legends from around the world, and Worlds in Collision resulted.

Even before it was published, however, Worlds in Collision caused quite a stir. A group of prominent scientists, including Harvard astronomer Harlow Shapley, led a campaign to suppress the book. Later, threatened with the loss of their textbook sales, Macmillan was forced to drop Worlds in Collision even though it had topped the bestseller lists for twenty straight weeks. One can only wonder what caused the scientists such anguish. [de Grazia, 1966]

Velikovsky major claims

In Worlds in Collision Velikovsky made the following claims:(1) that there were physical upheavals of a global character in historical times;(2) these catastrophes were caused by extra-terrestrial agents;(3) these agents can be identified (i.e. in the most recent events Venus and Mars played the major roles). Velikovsky placed the Exodus at 1450 BCE and ascribed the catastrophic elements to the near passby of Venus, then on a comet-like course after its recent expulsion from Jupiter. Like Halley's comet, Venus was to periodically return to the Earth, wreaking havoc for the next 700 years. During this span of time, Velikovsky argues, Venus was an awesome and terrifying fireball in the sky, and its presence and memory gave rise to many myths and legends. (Homer's Iliad is one example). [Velikovsky, 1950]

Predictions of Velikovsky

As possible tests of his thesis Velikovsky put forward a series of predictions. If Venus was recently ejected from Jupiter, and if as a comet it had passed close to the sun and disturbed both Mars and the Earth, it must be hot, hotter than anyone then imagined. Indeed, Venus' outer cloud layer had been measured at -25C. Nevertheless, in 1961 the Mariner probe found Venus' temperature to be in excess of 600k. [de Grazia, 1966] Velikovsky also suggested that because of its repeated contacts with other planets Venus may be disturbed in its rotation. Over a decade later Mariner found that Venus did in fact spin slowly and in retrograde direction. The scientists who reported the find announced: "maybe Venus was created apart from the other planets, perhaps as a secondary solar explosion, or perhaps in a collision of planets." [Velikovsky, 1979, p. 66]

To account for all the complex physical phenomena involved in such a scenario (such as the thunderbolts described as having been thrown by Venus and Jupiter, Venus' ejection and circularization of orbit, disturbances in the Earth's rotation, etc.), Velikovsky imagined a solar system permeated by electro-magnetic fields, then a novel idea and one which drew a lot of ridicule. Thus, he predicted that the sun was charged, that Jupiter had a massive magnetosphere, and Venus a minimal magnetosphere as compared with the one he envisaged for the Earth. All of these far-fetched "predictions" of 1950 are scientific facts of 1980. [Ransom, 1976]

Two final predictions are of interest here, although I could point to many more that have been confirmed. Since Velikovsky pointed to Mayan sources which described the comet Venus and the associated cataclysms, he argued that the Mayan civilization must be far older than was believed in 1950 (at least seventh century BCE). In1950 George Kubler of Yale argued that here Velikovsky was off by perhaps 1000 years: "the Mesoamerican cosmology to which Velikovsky repeatedly appeals for proof did not originate and could not originate until about the beginning of our era." [de Grazia, 1966, p. 222] Yet here as so often in the Velikovsky chronicles the impossible became possible. Thus, in 1956 the National Geographic would report: "Atomic science has proved the ancient civilization of Mexico to be some 1000 years older than had been believed. The findings basic to Middle American archeology, artifacts dug up in La Venta, Mexico, have been proved to come from a period 800 to 400 years before the Christian era... Dr. Matthew W. Sterling, Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution, declared the new dating the most important archaeological discovery in recent history. "[de Grazia, 1966, p. 222]

Finally, the Mayans as well as many other ancient peoples had stories which described heavenly bread as literally falling from the sky. This was the manna of the Jews which Velikovsky ascribed to bacterial reaction upon the hydrocarbonous tail of the comet Venus. Velikovsky argued that under certain conditions hydrocarbons could be formed by electrical discharges acting upon the appropriate gases (for example, the ammonia and methane of Jupiter), and that these hydrocarbons could in turn be changed into edible carbohydrates by bacterial action. Recently, both of these suggestions have been experimentally confirmed. [Ransom,1976]

Origin of religions

Near the end of Worlds in Collision, Velikovsky discussed the possibility of a racial memory of these catastrophic events, citing Freud and Jung. Velikovsky also made clear his belief that the world's religions were of astral origin. Velikovsky promised to return to psychology and the question of the origins of religion in a later work, but, despite occasional references to this project in scattered papers, it remained unpublished at the time of his death in 1979. With Velikovsky's writing being edited for a posthumous publication, scholars from around the world are concerning themselves with this very problem of religious origins and its relation to catastrophism. My intention here is to explore the possible role racial memories of catastrophic events play in the origins and forms of religious belief and ritual.

Age of Saturn

In Worlds in Collision Velikovsky stated that the earliest remembered and most traumatic catastrophes involved the planets Saturn and Jupiter. Velikovsky has claimed that one of these events, the Deluge, was caused by the nova-like explosion of Saturn some time in the last 5,000 - 10,000 years. Velikovsky has also referred briefly to the Golden Age, a time of peace and plenty, and a time in which he suggests the Earth may have been a satellite of Saturn. [Velikovsky, 1979] Velikovsky argues that Saturn was once the major and most impressive object in the sky, thus its epithet the `Father of the Gods.' Velikovsky claims that before its disruption Saturn was considerably larger than it is today—much of its material later being absorbed by Jupiter—and although it was not as large as the sun, because it was so close to the Earth it presented an awesome celestial picture. Velikovsky believed that the explosion of Saturn was caused by the close conjunction of it with Jupiter, both planets being disrupted in their orbits and rotational stability. Velikovsky states that it was during this series of events that Saturn's rings were formed. Velikovsky claims that the nova-like explosion of Saturn blinded the Earth with light: "The memory of these stupendous events survived for millennia and vestiges of the cult of Saturn persist even till today. One of these memorials is the feast of light, celebrated in mid-winter: Hannukah or Christmas, both stemming from the Roman Saturnalia. These are all festivals of light, of seven days duration, and they commemorate the dazzling light in which the world was bathed for the seven days preceding the Deluge; in their original form these festivals were a remembrance and a symbolic re-enactment of the Age of Saturn." [Velikovsky,1979, p. 9]

Velikovsky suggested that the deluge was brought to the Earth by cometary matter ejected from Saturn, and that it greatly increased the volume of the water on Earth. Velikovsky argues that a major portion of the Atlantic ocean (called by the ancients the sea or tear of Kronos) probably owes its deposition to this event. Finally, Velikovsky claims that a major proportion of the ocean's salt is due to the cometary matter from Saturn.

On the basis of his research, Velikovsky was led to make several `predictions' concerning the planet Saturn. Because of its star-like nature, Velikovsky claimed it would be found to emit cosmic rays. For obvious reasons, Velikovsky imagined that Saturn must contain large quantities of water or ice. Finally, because of its association with salt, Velikovsky suggested that Saturn was rich in chlorine. Several of these predictions have already received support from the recent space probes. Thus, Saturn's star-like nature is largely taken for granted, and it is known to be composed of ice.

Evolution theory impact

Needless to say, Velikovsky's thesis regarding Saturn has profound implications for any theory of evolution. Velikovsky has pointed out that the worship of Saturn was usually associated with vegetation, and he claims that the radiation emitted in Saturn's flare-up caused massive mutations among the Earth's vegetation. Velikovsky has also suggested that primitive forms of plant life may be found on Saturn, and presumably this means that the Earth may have been seeded in the near past with extra-terrestrial vegetation. [Velikovsky, 1979] Obviously, a flood of the proportions imagined by Velikovsky would have a major effect on animal life, allowing some to prosper but bringing destruction to many others. Indeed, Velikovsky argues that many of the dinosaurs met their fate at this time, not only because of the flood and radiation, but primarily because of gravitational effects associated with the Earth's new position, charge, and magnetosphere. Thus, Velikovsky claims that all objects became heavier at this time, and the dinosaurs huge bulk doomed them to extinction. Here Velikovsky clips 70 million years off the standard timetables with regard to the dinosaurs, and that itself should give an idea of the importance of his theories for biology if they have any basis in fact.

These are the essentials of Velikovsky's thesis in regard to Saturn and planetary history. Several other scholars are also working on these and related problems, most notably Talbott, Rose, Cardona, Greenberg, Sizemore, Mullen, and Wolfe. I will have occasion to refer to the work of these men repeatedly throughout the course of this essay. In researching the subject of the religious importance of Saturn, I have been aided by four major works of scholarship, produced by four researchers of widely separate backgrounds. Carl Jung devoted the latter part of his life to the investigation and understanding of the world's myths, symbols, and religious systems. A renowned expert in this area, Jung wrote extensively on the subject and obtained a library of rare and valuable literature in the field, including the famous Nag Hammidic texts.

Alchemy, symbology and psychology

Jung's last major work, Mysterium Coniunctionis, was concerned with an exploration of the symbology and psychology behind alchemy, a science in which ancient traditions played a prominent role long after they had disappeared elsewhere. Jung believed that the study of religion could uncover the past history of the race, due in part to its saturation with racial memories: "The importance of hermeneutics should not be under-estimated: it has a beneficial effect on the psyche by consciously linking the distant past, the ancestral heritage which is still alive in the unconscious, with the present, thus establishing the vitally important connection between a consciousness oriented to the present moment only and the historical psyche which extends over infinitely long periods of time. As the most conservative of all products of the human mind, religions are in themselves the bridges to the ever-living past, which they make alive and present for us." [Jung, 1977, p.336]

Hamlet's Mill

In 1969, a major work on myth appeared, Hamlet's Mill, written by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. This fascinating book centres around an unusual story of a giant mill, which the authors trace from country to country, showing it to be part of a universal tradition relating to the Golden Age and the glorious reign of Saturn.  Santillana claims that myth is essentially cosmological, and that "archaic thought is cosmological first and last." [Santillana, 1969, p. 56] Adhering to a rigid uniformitarian viewpoint, Santillana and Dechend can hardly be accused of being partial to Velikovsky. Yet the universal religious prominence of Saturn emerges nevertheless, amidst great floods and cosmic battles. Santillana concludes that, "The most `ancient treasure'—in Aristotle's word—that was left to us by our predecessors of the High and Far-off Times was the idea that the gods are really stars, and that there are no others. The forces reside in the starry heavens, and all the stories, characters, and adventures narrated by mythology concentrate on the active powers among the stars, who are the planets." [Santillana, 1969, p. 177]

The Saturn Myth

It remains to be seen whether all the stories involving Kronos-Saturn can be explained by appeal to the precession of the equinoxes as Santillana and Dechend would have us believe. The most recent contribution to the Saturnian puzzle is that of David Talbott, past editor of the Pensee journal devoted to a scholarly discussion of the work of Velikovsky. Published in 1980, The Saturn Myth attempts to reconstruct the events and celestial picture associated with Saturn. The major undertaking of The Saturn Myth is the re-translation and reinterpretation of the ancient Egyptian writings. Talbott shows conclusively that myths traditionally regarded as solar in nature properly belong to Saturn. Thus, Re, Atum, Ptah, and Osiris are not synonyms of the supreme solar deity (our sun), but synonyms of Saturn. 

El as Saturn

Finally, there is the recent work in biblical scholarship by Frank Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. As this book provides a good jumping off point for my conclusions, it would be best to start here. The first third of Cross' book is devoted to tracing the historical-religious significance of El, the god whose name appears the most frequently in the Old Testament (over 2500 times). Cross points out that El was the chief divinity of the Mesopotamian Semites. Furthermore, Cross believes there can be no doubt that El was common to the old Arabic and Canaanite pantheons as well. Attesting to the widespread nature of El, Cross cites evidence equating El with the Egyptian Ptah, and with Baal of the Punic colonies. Cross shows that El was regarded as the God of the fathers, the Creator, the One of the mountain, the divine warrior, and as the Ancient One. Cross also regards El as being synonymous with Yahweh, or Jehovah. [Cross, 1973, p. 71]

Finally, cross concludes that El was synonymous with Saturn: "Philo Byblius, and other classical sources, and inscriptions in Greek and Latin all establish the formula that B'l Hmn on the one hand, and El on the other, are Greek Kronos, Latin Saturnus. These equations have long been known, and all new data confirm the ancient." [Cross, 1973,p. 25] 

Saturn, God of the Jews

One has to agree with Cross that these identifications have long been known; thus St. Augustine came right out and declared that the ancients considered the planet Saturn the god of the Jews. [Cardona, 1978, p. 35] Surely it must come as a surprise to find that the revered god of the Old Testament was originally Saturn. How is this strange fact to be explained? In what sense could an obscure speck in the sky have been the subject of the epithets the Creator, or the God of the fathers (an object which modern spaceships are just now exploring)? 

Sol/Helios/Sun confusion

At this point I'll attempt to reconstruct the celestial picture presented by Saturn; this will answer these questions as well as demonstrate the reasons for its prominence in the myths and religious systems of the ancients. As I said earlier, there is a great deal of evidence proving that many of the myths and stories attributed to the sun (Helios) were actually the product of after-the-fact distortions of scholars.

But the confusion is not only a recent one. Talbott informs us that, "many scholars notice that among the Greeks and Latins there prevailed a mysterious confusion of the sun (Greek helios, Latin sol) with the outermost planet. Thus, the expression `star of Helios' or `star of sol' was applied to Saturn." [Talbott, 1980, p. 38]  Talbott notes that even Plato called Saturn Helios. Talbott states that later copyists changed the word Helios to Kronos in Plato's Epinomis, and cites Boll to the effect that this was a common practice among the later copyists. Boll concluded that Helios and Saturn were originally one and the same god. [Talbott, 1980, p. 39]

Santillana came to the same conclusion quite independently. It seems that the scribes of Plato's time, like the scholars of our time, found it hard to believe that Saturn was once the major mythological figure. Talbott shows that among the Sumero-Babylonians, Saturn was typically called a sun. Talbott cites Diodorus to the effect that, "the one we call Saturn they give a special name, `Sun-Star'."[Talbott, 1980, p. 39] Talbott concludes: "Among the Babylonians the sun-god par excellence was Shamash, the `light of the gods, 'whom scholars uniformly identify with the solar orb. But M. Jastrow ... reports that in the Babylonian astronomical texts the identification of Shamash with Saturn is unequivocal: `the planet Saturn is Shamash,' they boldly declare." [Talbott, 1980, p. 39] The noted scholar, Stephen Langdon, likewise concludes that the Sumerian creator god Ninurta was both a sun and Saturn. [Langdon, 1964]

Sun of night

I could go on and on with this line of evidence, but perhaps the point has been made. The simple fact of the matter seems to be that Saturn was once regarded as a sun, a sun that came forth at night. Thus, Jastrow wrote: "Strange as it may seem to us, the Planet Saturn appears to have been regarded as the `sun of night' corresponding to Samas as `the sun of the day time' and the cause of such light as the night furnishes." [Cardona, 1977, p. 34] E. A. Budge, renowned authority on Egyptian mythology, found that Atum, the Egyptian creator-god, was also a sun of night. [Cardona, 1977,p. 35] Jung too found mythological references to the sun of night; "there is ... also a Sol niger, who, significantly enough, is contrasted with the day-time sun and clearly distinguished from it." [Jung, 1977, p. 148] 

Greater and lesser Lights

In an article entitled "Sun of Night", Dwardu Cardona suggests that Saturn appeared larger in the night sky than the sun did during the day. Cardona also noted that a colleague of Jastrow's, Prof. J.A. Montgomery, raised the question as to whether in Genesis 1:16 the two `lights' may not at one time have referred to the sun and Saturn? Of course, if Saturn was nearer and larger in a former age (as Velikovsky suggests), then its light would perhaps warrant the sun-appellation. Talbott concludes: "Saturn was an immense and terrifying body in the sky, but it was not called the sun because it outshone the solar orb ... No other stable body could compete with the light of our sun. It was within the frame of a darkened sky that Saturn shone most brightly, and in this setting its light had an incomparably greater impact than the largely uninteresting light of the sun. A fireworks display would appear innocuous in the light of day—but spectacular at night. And you have to imagine Saturn as a glowing or incandescent globe of gargantuan size putting on its own fireworks display after each sunset. [Talbott, 1977, p. 2] 

Axis mundi, pillar of fire, celestial pole, phallus of god

One of the most important characteristics of the Saturnian god is that it was presented as being perched atop a pole connecting it to the earth. This pole was seen by the people of the earth as a great pillar of light, as the god's leg or phallus, and as a cosmic tree. Talbott asks, "Why do so many records say that Saturn stood at the centre of the cosmic revolutions—or at the summit of the world axis? Saturn's orbit today could hardly be further removed from the Pole. Now this placement of Saturn at the Pole is not some frivolous choice of one nation alone. The polar Saturn or polar sun is a global tradition. The Egyptian Ra, Osiris, ... the Mesopotamian Ninurta, Enki, Anu, Shamash, ... the Hebrew, or Ugaritic El, ... the Hindu Brahma, Vishnu, Varuna, Surya, ... the Chinese Huang-ti or Shang-ti, ... the Greek Kronos—all appear as stationary suns. That is they do not rise and set in the fashion of our solar orb. They are described as fixed at the polar summit." [Talbott, 1977, pp. 2-3] 

Lynn Rose has written on the physics of such a pole, and suggests that it be compared to the recently discovered flux tube joining Jupiter and Io. [Rose, 1979] Talbott, after an exhaustive survey of the Egyptian material, concludes: "The pillar of Shu is said to have been formed from the same khu or primeval matter as the celestial enclosure at the summit. The khu erupts from the creator and comes eventually to form a pillar of light stretching along the world axis. The clear implication is that the cosmic debris which had exploded from Saturn not only congealed into the Saturnian band, but gathered into a stream between Saturn and Earth, creating a visual appearance of a light pillar ... It is mythically conceived as the luminous breath of the creator, and this in turn passes into the mythical North Wind, which Egyptian texts describe issuing from Atum or Ra but also holding him aloft as a cosmic pillar." [Talbott, 1977, p. 5] 

Santillana also notes the association of Saturn with a pole or pillar, the title of their book being derived from yet another interpretation of the pole (Hamlet's Mill). Another interpretation was that of the cosmic tree: "One of the great motifs of myth is the wondrous tree so often described as reaching up to heaven. There are many of them ... The tree is often cut down too. The other motif is the foundation stone, which sometimes becomes a cubic ark." [Santillana, 1969, p. 223]

Ark as Saturn

The foundation stone or ark is Saturn, resting atop the cosmic tree or floating in the cosmic ocean. Saturn was also represented as standing on one foot, or as one-legged. Santillana notes that, "The One-legged Being, ... can be followed through many appearances beginning with the Hunrakan of the Mayas, whose very name means `one-leg.' From it comes our hurricane, so there is no wonder that he disposes of wind, rain, thunder and lightning in lavish amounts." [Santillana, 1969, p.126] That the pillar dispensed with or produced the wind is an important symbolic motif to which we will return in a moment. Talbott traced the one-legged god around the world, and suggested that the most important evidence comes from Egypt. He points out that Osiris is said to shine above the leg of heaven. Talbott cites Massey to the effect that, "the leg or thigh was an Egyptian figure of the pole. as we find it in `the leg of Ptah'." [Talbott,1980, p. 211] Talbott concludes that, "almost all of the primeval sun gods, at one time or another, are depicted as one-legged gods. The Egyptians called the cosmic column `the Leg of Fire', which is clearly the same thing as the one leg of Ptah." [Talbott, 1977, p.5] 

In Hindu mythology these leg-tree motifs stand out clearly. Thus, the Upanishads state that the, "Brahman is only one-footed." [Jung, 1977, p. 134] Jung also cites the following passage from the Upanishads in his discussion of the importance of the cosmic tree: "There is that ancient tree, whose roots grow upward and whose branches grow downward—that indeed is called the Bright, that is called Brahman, that alone is called immortal." [Jung,1977, p. 135] Talbott suggests that our Christmas tree, with the star placed on top, is a reminiscence of the cosmic tree topped by Saturn. 

Jung traces the prevalence of one-footed gods around the globe, and notes that the foot has a phallic significance. This is obvious at first glance of the Egyptian symbolism. Thus, the pillar of Shu is the same as the leg of fire, and represents the male organ of Atum. [Talbott, 1980] The Hebrews equipped their god El with a long penis as Cross relates, [Cross, 1973, p. 23] The phallic significance of the fiery pole descending from Saturn cannot be overestimated for an understanding of myth, ancient symbols, and religious ritual. Indeed, it even has ramifications for modern psychology.

For example, keeping in mind that our word hurricane comes from the one-legged Mayan god who produces the wind, a clinical case described by Jung has relevance here. In Symbols of Transformation, Jung reports the following hallucination of a schizophrenic patient: "He told me he could see an erect phallus on the sun. When he moved his head from side to side, he said, the sun's phallus moved with it, and that was where the wind came from." [Jung, 1976, p. 101] Jung states that he was thoroughly baffled by this hallucination until he stumbled across a similar vision in a Mithraic liturgy: "And likewise the so-called tube, the origin of the ministering wind. For you will see hanging down from the disc of the sun something that looks like a tube." [Jung, 1976, p. 100]

Thus, we see that the tube, like the phallus and the single leg, are all responsible for the wind. Jung points out the obvious phallic significance of the tube, and states that the schizophrenic's hallucination is a perfect example of an archetype, a universally present psychic characteristic. I would agree with Jung as far as he goes; however, I would suggest that the tube or phallus properly belongs to Saturn. Thus, the patient sees or envisions a brightly shining orb with a phallus, and either the patient or Jung naturally assumed that it must be the sun because of our present skies. But the sun does not present the image of a protruding phallus. However, as we have seen from the Egyptian material cited by Talbott, the planet Saturn presented just such an image in the skies of thousands of years ago.

When I first read of Saturn's pole several years ago in a paper by Rose, I wrote to him and presented him with Jung's account of the schizophrenic. I suggested then that this patient's hallucination was a great example of a racial memory. Later, Rose referred me to Talbott's book, where the phallic significance of Saturn's pole is clearly recognized. In regard to the liturgy cited by Jung, it is of significance that Mithra was originally Saturn. [Talbott, 1980]

We will keep returning to this question of racial memory throughout the remainder of this essay. Jung's case of the schizophrenic is a prime example of a faulty interpretation because of uniformitarian premises. Here, (as elsewhere in his writings) Jung attributes qualities or characters to the sun which it does not possess. Nevertheless, Jung's analysis, combined with the Saturnian mythological material, goes a long way towards accounting for the primitive superstition that wind may impregnate. Elsewhere, Jung refers to "all those sun, fire, flame, wind, breath similes that from time immemorial have been symbols of the procreative and creative power that moves the world." [Jung, 1971, p. 202]

These symbols have their origin and explanation in the visual appearance of Saturn, not from any metaphorical process imagined by the ancients. These symbols are too universal to be adequately accounted for by any creative act. Saturn's wind-producing nature may also give us a clue to the original meaning of spirit, for "pneuma, like spirit, originally meant air in motion." [Jung, 1977, p. 136]

Phallic worship

Finally, I need hardly mention the importance of the celestial phallus of Saturn for an understanding of the origin and prevalence of ancient systems of phallic worship. At this point, one may well wonder whether Nietzsche was right after all when he suggested that, "In the outbreaks of passion and in the fantasies of dreams and madness man rediscovers his own and mankind's prehistory." [Kaufmann, 1968, p. 182] I can hardly convey to the reader my feeling of the profundity of this insight of Nietzsche's. Taken in this light, the hallucination of Jung's patient may not only be an example of racial memory, but an example for all students of the mind. For the simple fact seems to be that, in this phylogenetic sense, the hallucination makes sense.

The Primordial man

What does this mean to all of us who brand as nonsensical and crazy the bizarre statements of those considered mentally ill? Of course, I am far from being the first to express the opinion that there may be method and meaning behind the expressions of madness. Moving on with the symbolism associated with Saturn, as we've seen the planet presented with leg and phallus, it will come as no surprise to find that Saturn and its pillar was personified as the Primordial Man.

As Talbott shows, the first man was represented as holding up the heavens a la Atlas. Talbott states that, "Legends around the world speak of a primal, cosmic man. The point which the commentators usually miss is that this first man is the same figure as the creator. It is incredible the extent to which ancient testimony confirms that identity." [Talbott, 1977, p. 4] As such creator/first-man types, Talbott includes Atum of the Egyptians and Yama and Manu of the Hindus.

Adam and Anthropos

These identifications also impressed Jung and Santillana. The most important identification for our purposes, however, is that Adam too was Saturn. Again and again Jung equates the Primordial Man/Adam with Saturn. Jung states that usually, "Adam is a `light' figure whose splendour even outshines that of the sun. He lost his radiance owing to the Fall." [Jung, 1977, p. 406]  Jung refers to the traditions describing Adam as the `perfect man' and as a `pillar of light.' Jung notes that, "the pillar has affinities with the tree of life and the tree of fire, as well as with the world's axis." [Jung, 1977, p. 76] Jung concludes that, "it is clear ...that the statue or pillar is either the perfect Primordial Man or at least his body, both at the beginning of creation and at the end of time." [Jung, 1977, p. 395] 

Talbott cites Hebrew legends which state that, "Adam's stature was so great that his head reached the centre of heaven. His countenance obscured the sun, and the creatures of the world came to worship him as the creator." [Talbott, 1977, p. 4] Talbott also states his opinion that earlier scholars were right when they insisted on a relationship between Atum and Adam, for each was Saturn, the Primordial Man. It is here that the origin of the concept of a heavenly Anthropos is most likely to be found, a concept which plays a crucial role in Christian symbology. As Jung states it: "As the first man, Adam is the homo maximus, the Anthropos from whom the macrocosm arose, or who is the macrocosm."[Jung, 1977, p. 409] Jung believed that the archetype of the Anthropos formed the essential core of the great religions. 

Cosmic Egg, Eye, Wheel

To go on listing the numerous epitaphs or names of Saturn would lead us too far astray. Suffice it to say that he was also known as the One of the mountain (Olympus, Zion, Meru, etc.), and as the one who lives upon the seas. Thus, Cross cites ancient traditions referring to `El the one of the mountain,' and, "I am El, in the seat of Elohim. I am enthroned in the midst of the seas." [Cross,1973, p. 45] Saturn was also the original cosmic egg, eye of heaven, and cosmic wheel. Jung comes right out and declares that, "the world-egg is the ancient Saturn." [Jung, 1977, p. 47]

Talbott shows all of these traditions to be virtually universal. Many of the epitaphs of Saturn become obvious once one is presented with the ancient pictographs of the Creator or First Man.**[6 graphic images: enclosure, orb-in-enclosure, orb-in-cross, orb-in-cross-inside-enclosure, orb-in-enclosure-atop-column, orb- in-cross-inside-enclosure-atop-column ]** Several of the more common symbols or pictographs are pictured above. The crowning achievement of Talbott is his masterly analysis of these symbols. Talbott claims that the three most common symbols are **[graphic: orb-in-enclosure ]**, **[graphic: orb-in-cross ]**, and **[graphic: orb-in-cross-inside-enclosure]**. Talbott argues that, "literally the dot in the circle means the `enclosed sun.' The enclosed sun is Saturn.

Universal Sun symbol

If I asked you to draw a simple picture of our sun, would you draw it as a dot within a circle? I think that's very unlikely. Yet it is the universal, unquestioned assumption today that the dot in circle means the solar orb. The sign dates to pre-history. It occurs in rock drawings on every continent. You'll find it in the hieroglyphs or pictographs of every ancient race—and it is always given special prominence. Now would all the ancient races have hit upon the same, inexplicable means of representing the solar orb? The orb within a circle is a ... literal, completely straightforward picture of Saturn within the cosmic band." [Talbott, 1977, p. 4] 

Stephen Langdon found the star-cross **[graphic: orb-in-cross ]**on many ancient tablets and pots, some of which are believed to date to the prehistoric period. Langdon claims that this star-cross is virtually the only religious symbol of the primitive period, and in the early Sumerian language this star sign is the pictograph for writing god, high, heaven, and bright. Langdon alsonotes that it is the ideogram for An, the oldest and loftiest ofthe Sumerian gods. Significantly, both Langdon and Talbott have equated An with the planet Saturn. [Talbott, 1980, pp. 10 and 32] Talbott claims that when Saturn emerged from the celestial waters, a brilliant band of emitted material formed around the planet.

The Cosmos

Talbott argues that this band was the original Cosmos, commonly portrayed as a revolving island or wheel, a coil of rope, an encoiled snake or dragon, or as a belt enclosing the central god. In fact, the band or circle represented the female aspect of the original hermaphroditic god, the dot representing the male aspect. Talbott points out that, "Egyptian texts are quite explicit in identifying the goddess with the band of the Aten, the Aten being the dwelling of the Ra. Ra shines in the womb of Nut, ... just as Osiris shines in the womb of Isis. The idea is the same wherever you look." [Talbott, 1977, p. 4) 

Talbott shows that most of the great gods of antiquity have a female aspect or are hermaphroditics: Kronos, El, An, Brahma, Shiva, and Quetzalcoatl. Jung is forever referring to the hermaphroditic nature of Adam-Saturn, and he shows that the dot within a circle was an age-old mystical symbol for Adam. [Jung,1977, p. 373] With respect to the foregoing symbolism, it is wise to remember Albright's observation that, "we have only to glance at the litanies to see that Near-Eastern gods shifted in disconcerting fashion from astral form to zoomorphic, dendromorphic, and composite manifestations." [Greenberg and Sizemore, 1975, p. 37] 

Cosmos as serpent or dragon

As I stated earlier, the ancients perceived the band around Saturn as a giant serpent or dragon. Talbott reports that, "all of the great Saturnian gods—Atum, Ra, An, Yama, Huang-ti, Quetzalcoatl, Kronos—reside within the fold of a serpent (dragon, fish, crocodile, etc.). Talbott also shows that the Egyptians regarded the circular serpent as a symbol of the Great Mother. This, of course, agrees with our earlier finding that the band or circle around Saturn was the female aspect of the hermaphroditic god. Albright showed that the Babylonians called their great goddess `the mother python of heaven.' [Talbott, 1980, p. 166] Cross points out the fact that El's virgin bride, the great mother goddess Tanit, was known as `the Dragon Lady,' and `the One of the serpent.' [Cross, 1973, p. 32]

Surely it must strike the reader as odd that ancients the world over would describe the great female divinity in such terms. What qualities does a serpent possess that would qualify it as a symbol for the great mother? Rather, it would seem that the serpent is preeminently qualified as a symbol of the male divinity. 

Cross symbol

The final symbol which I will discuss here is that of the cross, as it bears a special significance for the rest of the essay. The cross is undoubtedly one of the most ancient and universal of all symbols. Obviously it seems related to the sun-cross met with earlier. As one author states: "Its undoubted antiquity, no less than its extraordinary diffusion, evidences that it must have been, as it may be said to be still in unchristianized lands, emblematical of some fundamental doctrine or mystery ... it is most usually associated with water; ... it was the emblem of the water-deities of the Babylonians in the East and of the Gothic nations in the West, as well as that of the rain deities respectively of the mixed populations in America. ... In Egypt, Assyria, and Britain it was emblematical of creative power and eternity; in India, China, and Scandinavia, of heaven and immortality; in the two Americas, of rejuvenescence ...; while in both hemispheres it was the common symbol of the resurrection, or `the sign of life to come'." [Donnelly, 1882, p. 321] 

Four rivers, four winds

After what we have found with regard to the sun-cross, it will be no great surprise to learn that Saturnian gods from around the world were associated with the sign of the cross. Talbott explains how this is so: "From Saturn, the central sun, flowed four primary paths of light. In the myths these appear as four rivers, four winds, four streams of arrows, etc. ... The sun-cross and the enclosed sun-cross depicting the four life-bearing streams, thus serve as universal signs of the Holy Land." [Talbott, 1980, p.122] 

Flood myth

We can trace traditions of a land of four-waters to the Americas as well as the Near East. In the American myths, Saturn's association with the waters of the flood is explicit. Thus the Aztecs knew their great god Nahui-atl (Saturn) as the sun of four-waters. [Bailey, 1973] The Aztecs had a tradition of a great flood in which only one couple survived. The Codex Vaticanus preserves a similar tradition among the Indians of Mexico, in which a world age governed by Atonatiuh (or `Sun of Water') was destroyed by a deluge in which only one couple survived. The largest pyramid ever constructed, that of the Toltecs at Cholula, was said to gave been constructed, "as a means of escaping from a second flood, should one occur." [Donnelly, 1882, pp. 98-128]

Tower of Babel

Ignatius Donnelly has exhaustively traced flood legends from around the globe, comparing those of the Mexican Indians with those of the Middle East. Donnelly shows that these traditions agree almost to the point of identity. Donnelly notes that the Tower of Babel legend was prominent among the Indians, and that the pyramids were their towers.

One look at the symbolism presented by Talbott will show quite clearly the similarity between the pillar or mount supporting Saturn, and the pyramid. Indeed, Rose has suggested that the Tower of Babel was erected in imitation of the pillar of Saturn, and Velikovsky has suggested that it acted as a giant lightning-rod, thus calling upon itself the wrath of the great deity above. [Rose, 1979] Here one is also reminded of Ezekial's vision of the ladder to heaven. 

I have now laid out the basics of the traditions and legends regarding the Golden Age of Saturn. We have seen that in Saturn many of the most treasured symbols seem to be united, and that Saturn under the name of El was regarded as the original god of the Jews. We have seen that El-Saturn, far from being the boring god described by some of the greatest biblical scholars (Albright went so far as to describe El as otiose), was actually the most revered god of ancient times, as Velikovsky claimed (and Cross concurs. [Cross, 1973, p. 22]) I would now like to deal briefly with some of the mystery cults of the Near-East, as this will not only fill in some of the details of Velikovsky's thesis, but it will serve as a connecting bridge between the traditions of Saturn and those of Christianity.

The Mystery Cults

Of all the mystery cults, that of Osiris is certainly the most famous, and probably the most ancient. Yet the identity of Osiris has been the subject of great speculation. Who was this mysterious figure that so dominated the religious thought of Egypt for thousands of years? Sir James Frazer regarded Osiris as the personification of vegetation, a vegetation-god, while recent scholarship suggest that Osiris was a mythic representation of the kingship. [Frazer, 1959, pp. 462-463] Velikovsky, however, expressed the opinion that Osiris was the planet Saturn (although he has yet to present fully his reasons for this identification). 

Osiris myth

Osiris presents us with the story of a god-man who dies tragically, only to be resurrected. Frazer notes that Osiris was the most popular of all Egyptian deities. The myth of Osiris was preserved on the walls of the pyramids—hence the name Pyramid texts—and appears to date from the fifth and sixth dynasties. Frazer suggests the date 2600 BC as the probable time of their carving. As they stand, the Pyramid texts are probably the oldest religious literature yet around. Frazer notes that in these pyramids the myth of Osiris is presented as common knowledge, once again attesting to their great antiquity. The myth of Osiris was also preserved by Plutarch. 

Here I can only present the major details of the myth of Osiris. It seems that Osiris was born in tumultuous fashion. Thus, Frazer states that, "at his nativity a voice rang out proclaiming that the Lord of All had come into the world." [Frazer, 1919, p. 6] Mullen states that the Pyramid texts make no mention of Osiris' existence before his dismemberment, except for his birth like that of the other gods. Mullen speculates that Osiris was another name, or later manifestation, of Atum, whom he equated with Saturn. [Mullen, 1973] 

In Plutarch's version, Osiris' reign was associated with great prosperity and culture. Indeed it was said that Osiris taught the people agriculture, and raised Egypt from barbarism. The major portion of the Osiris myth, however, deals with his death and resurrection. In short, Osiris was attacked by his brother Set. Set locked Osiris in a coffin, and sent it down the Nile where it became lodged within the branches of a pine-tree.

Jubilee of 30 years

The festivals associated with Osiris provide a powerful clue to the god's identity. Breasted claims that the Sed festival was probably the oldest Egyptian feast of which we have a trace. [Frazer, 1919, p. 156] Frazer suggests that it was as old as Egypt, and shows that it was continued until the end of the Roman period. Celebrated every thirty years, the Sed festival was apparently designed to commemorate the resurrection of Osiris. Significantly, thirty years is the period of Saturn's revolution around the sun. Frazer states that several scholars have noticed this correlation of the festival with the planet's revolution. Santillana also comments on this relationship, comparing it to a similar jubilee celebrated in Persia every thirty years. [Santillana, 1969] 

Tet festival

Frazer also describes another festival or mystery performed annually for Osiris throughout the whole of Egypt. A kind of All Souls festival, here the passion of the dying god was acted out at night, near or upon a lake. Frazer notes that, "A great feature of the festival was the nocturnal illumination." [Frazer, 1919, pp.50-51] Another All Soul-like festival was that of Tet, in which a tall pole was set up in front of every house where it remained for seven days. Usually a face was painted on the top of the pole a la a totem pole. Frazer observes that in Egyptian theology, the pole or pillar was regarded as the backbone of Osiris, "and whatever its meaning may have been, it was one of the holiest symbols of the national religion." [Frazer, 1919, p. 108] Besides representing the backbone of Osiris, the pillar was also believed to hold up the sky. [Talbott, 1980, p. 180]

At this point the symbolism of Osiris and his festivals begins to make sense from a Velikovskian perspective. The pillar was a holy symbol precisely because it held up the revered god Osiris, and when it collapsed Osiris floated away. The Golden Age vanished with the collapse of the pillar. The pillar is synonymous with the Cosmic Tree met with earlier, thus Osiris' close connection with, and enlodgement within, the tree. The pillar may also bear some symbolic meaning in regard to Osiris' lost phallus. The illumination at night, like the festivals of light in later times, almost certainly commemorates the illumination of the heavens by Osiris-Saturn. Here I refer especially to the nova-like phase spoken of by Velikovsky, but the illumination present at the god's dismemberment would also be a factor in strengthening the people's memory of the lighted skies. Thus, Budge states that, "the Egyptian texts suggest that ... the Sun-god of night may have been regarded as a form of Osiris." [Cardona, 1977, p. 36] 

Lord of the Mill

The allusions to the wrappings of Osiris probably correspond to the rings that formed around Saturn during the celestial catastrophes. This is almost certainly the origin of the practice of mummification by wrapping, a tradition which extended to the Meso-American Indians as well. [Donnelly, 1882] In the Egyptian myth, Osiris is wrapped by Isis (identified by Velikovsky with Jupiter), whereas in the Greek myth, Zeus ties up his father Kronos. As Santillana tells it: "The Lord of the Mill is declared to be Saturn/Kronos, ... banished in chains to a blissful island, where he dwells in sleep, for being immortal he cannot die, but is thought to live a life-in-death, wrapped in funerary linen, until his time, say some, shall come to awaken again, and he will be reborn to us as a child." [Santillana, 1969, p. 148) 

This statement of Santillana's has undoubtedly made clear to the reader the importance of Saturnian motifs in regard to Christianity. Thus, throughout his writings Jung is forever pointing out the parallels between Osiris and Jesus, and those between Osiris and Saturn. Thus, Osiris "is the dying and resurgent God-man and hence a parallel to Christ." [Jung, 1977, p.509] Likewise, Jung cites the mystical tradition that, "the king is buried in Saturn, an analogy of the buried Osiris." [Jung,1977, p. 64]

Resurrection of Christ, Osiris

Frazer concludes his discussion of the Osiris myth with the observation: "In the faith of the Egyptians the cruel death and blessed resurrection of Osiris occupied the same place as the death and resurrection of Christ holds in the faith of the Christians. As Osiris died and rose again from the dead, so they hoped through him ... to wake ... to a blissful eternity. ... That was the hope which supported and consoled millions of Egyptian men and women for a period of time far longer than that during which Christianity has now existed on earth. In the long history of religion no two divine figures resemble each other more closely in the fervour of personal devotion which they have kindled, and in the high hopes which they have inspired than Osiris and Christ. "[Frazer, 1919, p. 159] 

I think more sense can be made of the Osiris myth by comparing it with the similar myths of the other mystery cults. This I will now attempt to do. Being closer in time to the life of Jesus, these cults may well have provided a crucial link between the ancient cults of Egypt and those stories and cults that appeared around the time of the composition of the gospels. In the classic Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer groups together the myths and worship of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, and several others. Most of these myths relate the premature disappearance and tragic death of a hero, who is subsequently resurrected. These heroes were the subjects of the great mystery cults that dominated the religious life of the Near East from the time of the construction of the pyramids, to the fall of Rome.

Cult influence on Christianity

It can be shown that these cults had a profound influence upon the origin and character of Christianity. It is my belief that these heroes represent in mythical form the planet Saturn, and by comparing their rituals and belief systems it may be possible to come to some understanding regarding the history of the solar system. My position is that of Jung: "The collective unconscious expresses itself in the mythological teachings, characteristic of most mystery religions, which reveal the secret knowledge concerning the origin of all things and the way to salvation." [Jung, 1977, pp. 199-200] 

Frazer prefaces his study of these mystery cults with the observation: "in name and detail the rites varied from place to place: in substance they were the same." [Frazer, 1959, p. 341] Tammuz, the `true son of the deep water,' was the youthful husband and/or lover of Ishtar, the great mother goddess of Babylon. Tammuz seems to have met his fate by being ground up in a giant mill: "The women bewail him, because his lord slew him so cruelly, ground his bones in a mill, and then scattered them to the wind. "[Frazer, 1959, p. 348]

Tammuz's death was annually mourned amidst great ceremony, the shrill music of flutes, and much lamentation. Ezekial 8:14 contains a reference to the lamentations for Tammuz. Santillana states that the cult lasted into the thirteenth century in Harran. There seems to have been an All Souls festival associated with the mourning for Tammuz, and T.H. Gaster has traced similar practices all around the globe. [Frazer, 1959] Both Frazer and Gaster maintain that this festival survives in our Halloween, first sanctioned for the entire Church by Pope John XIX in 1006. The festival seems to involve not only the return of the spirits of the dead, but a general spirit of the rejuvenation of nature as well. Who was this Tammuz? Alfred Jeremias, the noted scholar of Mesopotamian mythology, believed Tammuz represented Saturn, and Talbott agrees. [Talbott, 1980, p. 32]

Adonis cult

A closely analogous cult to that of Tammuz, is that of Adonis. Adonis was the handsome and youthful love of Aphrodite. Adonis is said to have been born from a myrrh-tree. Like Osiris, Adonis appears to have served a brief sentence in a chest, but he met his death at the tusks of a wild boar (said to have been the jealous Ares in disguise). Aphrodite is the lamenting Isis-figure here. The chief ceremony seems to have involved tossing an image of Adonis into the ocean. The shrill notes of the flutes and the cries of women were also common here. Frazer devotes a brief discussion to a communal procession involving the worshippers of Adonis, and notes its close agreement with similar rites held in Italy on Good Friday on behalf of Christ. Frazer remarks: "When we reflect how often the Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and arisen Adonis, which ... was celebrated in Syria at the same season." [Frazer, 1959, p. 356] 

Attis cult

A more interesting cult is that of Attis, said to be the Phrygian Adonis. Attis was a handsome young shepherd cherished by Cybele, the Mother of the gods. Some say Cybele was his mother, and that his was a virgin birth. Frazer gives two accounts of the tragic death of Attis. In one, he was speared by a boar. In the other, Attis castrated himself beneath a pine tree and bled to death. The celebration of Attis' mystery is dominated by tree worship. As Frazer describes it, a pine tree was cut and brought into the sanctuary of Cybele, "where it was treated as a great divinity." [Frazer, 1959, p. 370] The tree was wrapped with woolen bands, and an effigy of Attis was hung upon it. The festival proceeded amongst great trumpeting, and was marked for its frenzied dancing, wild abandon, and outbursts of bloodletting. There also seems to have been a sacramental meal, and a baptism of blood. At the height of the celebration, the men offered the ultimate sacrifice: "Wrought up to the highest pitch of religious excitement they dashed the severed portions of themselves against the image of the cruel goddess. These broken instruments of fertility were afterwards reverently wrapped up and buried in the earth ...where, like the offering of blood, they may have been deemed instrumental in recalling Attis to life." [Frazer, 1959, p. 371] 

Frazer points out how common it was to find the great Mother goddesses served by eunuch priests. Thus, the custom was found among the Mexican Indians as well. [Bailey, 1973, p. 48] Frazer quotes one author to the effect that, "the mad worshipper endeavoured thus against nature to assimilate himself more closely to his goddess." [Frazer, 1919, p. 258] Without disagreeing with this hypothesis, could it not be that the worshippers also identified with the great god-son who had lost his life and phallus in preparing the way for salvation? Perhaps their offering was a symbolic act intended to provide Attis with the missing part necessary for his return. It seems likely that in later times the celibacy of Christian priests replaced these rather drastic acts of devotion. 

Dionysus cult

The final great god of antiquity who belongs in this tradition, is Nietzsche's soul-mate, the Greek Dionysus. The Dionysian rites were, of course, notorious for their orgiastic nature. Dionysus is usually presented as a personification of the vine, but, as Frazer points out, it is clear he was also a god of trees in general. Thus the Greeks sacrificed to `Dionysus of the tree.' He was also known as `Dionysus in the tree.' Frazer notes that his image was usually an upright post draped in a mantle, and sporting a bearded mask. Dionysus also died a tragic death—he was torn to pieces by the Titans during an attempt to occupy the throne of Zeus. [Frazer,1959] In the passion of Dionysus, the god was represented by a bull (as was Osiris, the Apis bull). Frazer reports that the Cretans, when they acted out the sufferings and death of Dionysus, tore a live bull to pieces with their teeth. The slaughter and meal of a bull seems to have been a regular part of the Dionysian ritual. In fact, Frazer suggests that the Greeks probably offered human sacrifices to Dionysus, as the Egyptians once had to Osiris: "These Greek traditions may well be distorted reminiscences of a custom of sacrificing human beings, and especially divine kings, in the character of Dionysus, a god who resembled Osiris in many points." [Frazer, 1959, p. 406]

Frazer also cites the testimony of Euripedes that the human victim was first tied or hung from a pine tree before being torn to pieces. [Frazer, 1919] There are several other gods and goddesses of less renown who properly belong in the tradition of the dying and reviving god: Pan, Demeter, Mithra, Odin, Artemis, and Quetzalcoatl. With Demeter and Artemis, the passion is enacted in the name of the great Mother goddess. Thus, Demeter searches for the lost Persephone (Saturn). Artemis was annually hanged upon a tree in effigy, and was known by the name of the `Hanged One.' Odin, the great god of the Scandinavians, was known as the `Lord of the Gallows,' or as the `God of the Hanged.'

Frazer records that human beings were sacrificed to Odin by being hung upon a tree and then stabbed in the side with a spear. Frazer even cites the Bagabos of the Philippine Islands as offering a curiously analogous example: they annually sacrificed human victims by hanging them from a tree and thrusting them through with a spear in the side. [Frazer,1959] The numerous points of resemblance between these gods and their mysteries is obvious to everyone, but who or what they represented is a different matter. Frazer argued that they were all vegetation gods, commemorating the seasonal growth and harvest of the crops. This opinion has been criticized on numerous grounds, and Gaster gives the modern opinion that the purpose of the god's passion is to provide a mythological explanation or "reason for the god's absence: he has met with an accident." [Frazer, 1959, p. 462]

Who, we might ask, is the god who met with an accident? Gaster suggests that each was a local god, symbolizing the annual or periodic passion and revival of some form of communal or corporate life. But how then is one to account for the amazing resemblances between the numerous local gods? In Velikovsky's theory, the gods are planets, and to discover the identity of Osiris and the rest, we need to ask: Who is the planet that fell, died, or met with an accident? As Velikovsky informs us, it was Saturn who met with an accident leading to the end of the Golden Age of antiquity. It was Saturn who, as Osiris, was perched upon the sacred tree and suffered dismemberment. It was Saturn-Osiris who met his fate at the tusks of a boar, losing his perch and phallus in the process, and exiting upon his resurrection to the netherworld. Suffice it to say, if Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, and the rest closely resemble Osiris, they too must be identified with the planet-god Saturn. 

Scholars apart from Velikovsky have noticed some of these correlations, and some have identified the gods of the mystery cults with this or that planet, but no one seems to be able to account for these relationships satisfactorily. Thus, we are back at the beginning: why is Saturn associated with the Creation or with a sun of night? (and Dionysus and Tammuz were regarded as suns of the night. [Talbott, 1980, p. 340])


For example, Jung is continually equating the gods of the various mystery cults, but whether he relates them to the sun or Saturn, he is unable to provide any plausible reason why they are hung upon a tree, dismembered, or bandaged. In what sense can the sun be said to be torn apart or attacked by a boar? Jung cites the important mystical tradition that Adam too is represented as having been pierced in the side with a spear, but again, why is this such a persistent tradition? [Jung, 1977, p. 31] Now the mysteries of the early Church were deeply influenced by the mystery cults we are now considering. [Hislop, 1959] As Jung states, "it is very significant that the mysteries of the early Church turned soon enough into sacraments." [Jung, 1977, p. 232]

Saturnalia festival

Thus, in the Greek Orthodox rite the loaf of bread is pierced by as mall silver lance (the bread symbolizing Christ's body). Could it be that just beneath the surface of all this there is a golden thread that will tie it all together, uniting, and in effect equating, the worship of the fifth dynasty of Egypt with that of St. John? Like Jung, Frazer had the correct answer at his fingertips, but seemed unable to grasp it fully. In Frazer's description of the Saturnalia the thread is laid bare: "Of such periods of license the one which is best known ... is the Saturnalia. This famous festival fell in December, the last month of the Roman year, and was popularly supposed to commemorate the merry reign of Saturn, god of sowing and husbandry, who lived on earth long ago as a righteous and beneficient king of Italy.. ... His reign was the fabled Golden Age. At last the good god, the kindly king, vanished suddenly; but his memory was cherished to distant ages. ... Yet the bright tradition of his reign was crossed by a dark shadow: his altars are said to have been stained with the blood of human victims, for whom a more merciful age afterwards substituted effigies. ... Feasting and revelry ... are the features that seem to have especially marked this carnival of antiquity, as it went on for seven days in the streets." [Frazer, 1959, pp. 641-642] 

The Saturnalia was celebrated from Rome to Mexico and China. [Santillana, 1969] Frazer points out that a central feature of the festival was the selection of a mock king, who, for thirty days was allowed complete freedom in satisfying his cravings and lusts. At the end of his brief reign, however, the man was required to slit his own throat, or was led to a tree and hung. After the indulgence and pleasures of the feast, it was followed by a period of abstinence (in modern times at least).

Frazer notes that, "ecclesiastical historians have been puzzled to say why after much hesitation and great diversity of usage in different places the Christian church finally adopted forty days as the proper period for the mournful celebration of Lent." [Frazer,1959, p. 655] Of course,  the number forty is considered sacred, like the number seven (the number of days in the Saturnalia). But why are these numbers any more sacred than others? Frazer suggest that the forty day Lent period was borrowed from the forty day period of mourning in the Greek Demeter mystery. Now, as I've shown, Demeter has Saturnian connections, but again, why the number forty? What else is Saturn universally associated with? With the Deluge, of course; thus, seven days of glorious light were said to have preceded the traumatic flood of forty days duration.

The Symbols and Legends of Jesus

As we move on to the traditions surrounding Jesus, the points I have made regarding Saturn-El of the Old Testament, and Saturn-Osiris of the mystery cults, take on an almost overwhelming significance. For the dramatic conclusion, I'd better set the stage first. Originally this essay arose out of an attempt to understand the symbology of the story of Jesus, particularly that found in the fourth gospel. For example, John refers to Jesus as Word. What, I wondered, did this actually signify? As an aid to the sought-for understanding, I read C.H. Dodd's The Fourth Gospel, somewhat of a classic in the field. It soon became apparent that many of the traditional symbols of Jesus—Word, bread, water, shepherd, etc.—had celestial ramifications, if not a celestial origin. With the aid of Velikovsky's thesis, I detected the following mystery. Like many of the Jews of Jeremiah's time, who, try as they may to escape the lure and charms of the stars and astrologers, I too it seems must eventually return and pay homage to the planet known as Baal.

If the past two sections have been surprising or controversial, this one is only more so. Goethe once said that there are only a few basic themes of art which underlie all stories and literature. I think there is a lot of truth to this view, not only in regard to literature, but in myth and religion as well. I believe that the story of Jesus is no exception to Goethe's dictum, that it too has its origins and parallels in ancient beliefs, some of which stem from the earliest traditions of mankind. If there is such a thing as racial memory, it seems certain that the gospels would draw upon this powerful source of imagery as well. Dodd provides a good background with which to view early Christianity, and considers in some detail the many religious influences that may have acted upon the author of the fourth gospel.

Particularly valuable are Dodd's discussion of Gnosticism, Rabbinic Judaism, and Hermetic literature. All of these traditions, it appears, had their share of influence on John and the story of Jesus. For example, Dodd concludes that the statements made in the fourth gospel about the Son of Man "recall the figure of the heavenly anthropos as we have met it in the Hellenic conceptions." [Dodd, 1965, p. 243] We met it as well in the discussion of the ancient conceptions of Saturn.

Messianic titles

The gospel of John is famous for its extensive use of these Messianic titles, using them more than any other New Testament writer. The Son of Man is one of Jesus' better known titles, yet its meaning is probably obscure to most Christians. Dodd point out that for John, the Son of Man is the Son of God, represented symbolically by light, bread, and vine. Dodd also alludes to the fact that, for Philo, the first-born Son of God is the Logos. Now it can be shown that Philo exerted a profound influence over the author of the fourth gospel. A distinguished Jewish scholar and philosopher located in Alexandria, Philo had the unique opportunity to study at close-hand the ancient traditions of three great civilizations: the Egyptian, Greek, and Hebrew. Philo's cultural heritage has an added significance in the wake of Dodd's conclusion that, "the substance of a Logos-doctrine similar to Philo's is present all through the gospel" of John. [Dodd, 1965,p. 279] 

Logos concept

One of the most interesting features of the fourth gospel is the author's use of the logos concept. In his recent An Introduction to New Testament Literature, Juel emphasizes the significance of the Logos and the Prologue for the rest of the gospel, and points out that only in the Prologue is Jesus called the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1] The author of John emphasizes the Word's role in Creation: "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." [John 1:3] Only in the prologue does the author use the Logos in a cosmological sense. Juel points out the parallels between Genesis and the Prologue, and one may well wonder in what sense Word could be responsible for the creation of light and the planets. Perhaps Psalms 33:6 can give us a clue: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth."

Another crucial clue is that the ancient Jews believed that words not only had a causal efficacy of their own, but a physical substantive nature as well. Thus, we remember the Old Testament story of the blessing of Jacob. How could such a belief arise? In any event, it is clear that in the eyes of the author of the fourth gospel Jesus is the Logos become incarnate. Thus, Dodd states that, "the life of Jesus is the history of the Logos." [Dodd, 1965, p. 284] 

Shepherd as symbol

Several other symbols or images play a central role in the artistry and impact of the fourth gospel. For example, Jesus is compared to a shepherd: "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." [John 10:11] Dodd refers to some of the Jewish history of this symbol, adding that many ancient peoples regarded their deities as shepherds. Thus, in Plato's Statesman God equals Shepherd. In the last section we saw that several other deities were also shepherds. In Philo, the Logos is described as a shepherd of the cosmos. [Dodd, 1965]

Bread as symbol

Bread likewise plays an important role in the symbology of John. Juel points out the fact that bread was an ancient symbol for Wisdom or the words of the Torah. Furthermore, and especially significant in light of Velikovsky's discussion in Worlds in Collision, there is the fact that, "manna, the bread from heaven, is not only in Jewish Apocalyptic one of the blessings of the Messianic age, but in Philo it's a symbol of the Logos." [Dodd,1965, p. 137]

Water as symbol

Water is also of importance in regard to the symbolism of the fourth gospel. As we have already seen, water is an ancient and continually recurring religious symbol. Indeed, "the Lord sitteth upon a flood." [Psalms 29:10] Usually considered symbolic because of its cleansing nature, water was important to the ancients for cosmological reasons. They believed that water literally spanned the heavens, and that it played a central role in the Creation (the waters of the firmament, etc.). Dodd cites the interesting Jewish tradition that, "water that comes down from above is Torah, Wisdom, or Holy Spirit." [Dodd, 1965, p. 138] We may be relatively certain that this is not a reference to spring showers. Elsewhere, Dodd points out that Philo placed great emphasis on the passage in Jeremiah where God is described as the fountain of living waters .[Jeremiah 2:13] Finally, in the Apocryphon of John God is referred to both as a celestial being, and as, "the spring of the water of life." [Robinson, 1977, p. 101]

Light as symbol

The last of the symbols of Jesus which I'll consider here, is that of light. It would be hard to over-emphasize the significance of the symbolic role played by light in most religious systems. Dodd observes that, "Light seems to be a natural symbol for deity." [Dodd, 1965, p. 201] But why should this be? In Philo's writings, God is referred to as the archetype of light. In the First Epistle of John, God is light. [1:15] In the Apocryphon of John, God is pure light. [Robinson, 1977, p. 104] In the Prologue to the fourth gospel, this archetypal light is somehow connected with or within the Logos. Thus, light is directly associated with the Creation. Dodd points out that for the Jews of the Christian era, the dwelling place of God was believed to be light. In fact, God's very being was described in terms of radiance, splendour, and dazzling light. It almost seems as if the ancient traditions are trying to tell us something specific about God, light, and the Creation, apart from their symbolic relation.

At this point it appears that we have a situation which may be described by the following symbolic equation: Jesus= Word= God=Son of God= Son of Man= Light= Shepherd= Water= Bread= the Creator. Most of these titles or symbols of Jesus appear to have some relation to the Creation, and all have celestial origins. In a sense, this is obvious and perhaps trivial; but then again how does bread, Word, or Shepherd relate to the heavens? I believe we can tie all this together and explain the probable origins of all of these symbols by returning to the myths surrounding Saturn.

We have seen that El-Saturn was regarded as the God of the Jews, and as the Creator. Thus, if John speaks of Jesus as bearing a relation to the god of the Old Testament, it would seem to follow that Jesus bears some relation to Saturn. We have found that several scholars equated the ancient idea of a heavenly Anthropos with Saturn, and Dodd implies the equation of the Anthropos with the Son of Man concept. The Anthropos also has a direct relation to Adam and the Creation. Thus, Jung states that, "As the first man, Adam is the homo maximus, the Anthropos from whom the macrocosm arose." [Jung, 1977, p. 409] Adam was the planet Saturn, and as the second Adam, Jesus must in some way be related to a return or reminiscence of Saturn. Talbott notes the belief of the Hebrews that every king was a potential Messiah, "and at times the hope is expressed that the king will introduce a new Golden Age." [Talbott, 1980, p. 21]

The traditions surrounding the life of Jesus express the same general ideas and hopes. People the world over long to return to a time of innocence and plenty, a Garden of Eden presided over by the beneficent God-King Saturn. Messiahs were common in Jesus' time and culture, and all of the various titles used to describe Jesus predate him. A crucial clue is provided by Talbott: "Among numerous races, including the Egyptians, the solitary god of beginnings is recalled as the Voice of Heaven—or the Word. And this aspect of the creator is charged with concrete meanings. The texts say that from his central location in the heavens the creator emitted radiant streams of speech and it was through this visible speech that he created his celestial dwelling. It is not an abstract notion, but a record of a very tumultuous event involving the eruption of massive quantities of matter from a visible celestial body." [Talbott, 1977, p. 3]

Talbott claims that this celestial body was Saturn. Thus, it appears that the Word was Saturn. When Saturn periodically erupted, its gases, radiations, thunderbolts, and fires presented an easily observable and awesome display of fireworks to all earthlings. These eruptions caused planets and comets to be born, animal species to mutate, and vegetation to flourish. The massive eruptions probably caused a great deal of noise, presumably similar in nature to the sound of a volcano or earthquake, and thus the planet-god appeared to speak—with words of fire. This is probably the origin of the equation of Holy Spirit with fire, and of breath and soul with pneuma and ether: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth." Thus Jung points out that the Holy Ghost is breathed by Father and Son. [Jung, 1977, p. 216]

Creation or Re-Creation

When Saturn exploded into the night thousands of years ago, the ancients described it as the Creation. Many of the paradoxes of the account preserved in Genesis are erased (or at least eased) once one understands the events described there as re-creation. For example, the light of the nova actually preceded the `birth' of many of the lights of heaven, including Venus (and probably Mars and Mercury as well). As Velikovsky pointed out in the quote at the beginning of this essay, the intense and dazzling light of the flaring Saturn has never been forgotten, and is still unconsciously reenacted in the annual festivals of light by peoples from all around the globe. Saturn's inundation of the world with light is the reason light seems `a natural symbol for the deity.'

As a shepherd, Jesus is following a long tradition of shepherds, the original of which was the celestial shepherd Saturn. [Talbott,1980] Similarly, Jesus follows Saturn as a god who existed on earth. Santillana notes that, "No one but Saturn dwelt among men." [Santillana, 1969, p. 222] Santillana cites ancient Egyptian and Orphic fragments to the same effect, and Talbott cites Herodotus and Plutarch. As Atum-Saturn bore Osiris-Saturn, and Ninurta-Saturn bore Tammuz-Saturn, so too was Jesus believed to embody both Father and Son. But this startling list of concordances is by no means all of the characteristics that Jesus has in common with Saturn.

Sabbath Day

As we have seen, they share many of the same festivals. Frazer's Golden Bough documents this fact quite explicitly. In regard to other observances, some Christians follow the Jews in holding Saturday sacred, it being the Sabbath. To the Hebrews the seventh day was always held sacred, it being Saturn's day.

Baptism by water

And what of baptism? Baptism, of course, is an ancient rite dating back at least to early Egyptian times. The American Indians practiced many forms of baptism as well. [Donnelly, 1882] The rites of baptism probably correspond to a repetition and imitation of the holy and life-giving waters that fell from Saturn. Jung cites mystical traditions relating the water of baptism to the waters that flowed from the `good god El.' Jung also refers to St. Augustine's statement that, "the Red Sea signifies baptism." [Jung, 1977, p. 199]

Red Sea and Salt

But the Red Sea spoken of here has a dual meaning, one being the sea of fire and water in the sky. Thus, Jung cites the tradition that the crossing of the Red Sea is the crossing of the waters of Kronos, and on the other side of the sea is the other side of Creation. But the most interesting point in support of this interpretation is that in the Roman rite of baptism, blessed salt is added to the consecrated water. Jung records that a few grains of salt are also placed in the neophyte's mouth with the words: "Receive the salt of wisdom: may it be a propitiation for thee unto eternal life." [Jung, 1977, p.238]

A Velikovskian interpretation can perhaps make some sense of all the curious allusions in religious literature to salt, or to the baptisms of salt, water, and fire. Thus, John the Baptist declares that the Messiah will baptise with the Holy Ghost and fire. [Matthew 3:11] Mark warns of the day when everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice salted with salt. [Mark 9:49] Jesus proclaims to his followers: "Ye are the salt of the earth." [Matthew 5:13] Many more examples of the symbolic importance of salt in religious thought could be produced. Jung stresses the metaphorical significance of salt in relation to wisdom and understanding. Jung also documents the immense importance that salt held for the alchemists, citing the mystical tradition that, "Christ is the salt of wisdom which is given at baptism." [Jung, 1977, p. 241] Indeed, the alchemists claimed that, "Whoever knows the salt knows the secret of the old sages." [Jung, 1977, p. 189]

Wisdom symbols

Now I ask, what possible relation to wisdom does salt possess which could give rise to such widespread traditions? The same query could be directed at the similar symbolism involving snakes. Thus, Jesus tells his followers, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents." [Matthew 10:16] As I've come to understand it, the answer lies with respect to their relation to Saturn and the Cosmic Tree. In Jewish tradition, this cosmic tree was called the Tree of Knowledge, and it was guarded by a serpent. Earlier we saw that ancients the world over described Saturn—the top of the tree—as being surrounded by a dragon or serpent. The relation of the serpent to the Tree of Knowledge probably accounts for its mysterious symbolism with respect to wisdom. Likewise, it is probable that during both the original flood, and during the later fall of the celestial pole, the Cosmic Tree rained down salt from above (as Velikovsky suggested). Coming from God and Heaven it was regarded as holy, coming from the Tree of Knowledge as a symbol of Torah and Wisdom. As Dodd showed, the same symbolism applies to heavenly water. This interpretation is strengthened by Juel's observation that bread was also an ancient symbol for Wisdom. For, as several scholars have noted, Saturn was known to have been a source of manna, the heavenly bread. [Cardona, 1978] Finally, as Dodd noted, the fall of manna came to be associated with, and considered a symbol of, the Messianic Age.

Turning now to the life of Jesus as preserved in the gospels, it is significant that, like Osiris, little was written of his life except regarding his birth and the events leading up to his death. As with several of the other Saturnian figures, Jesus' birth was a miraculous one. As in the case of Osiris, a voice rang out at his nativity announcing his appearance on earth. [Luke 2:9-15] As in the myth of Kronos, there is a slaughter of infants, although the details are different. [Matthew 2:16] It is also interesting to find that Jerome stated that the cave in which Jesus was born, was once the sanctuary of Adonis. [Greenberg and Sizemore, 1978, p.76] As Santillana relates, the age of Jesus' birth was one waiting in ready for the birth of a Messiah. Thus, the famous poet Virgil prophesied the return of the Golden Age: "Now the Virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns, now a new generation descends from heaven on high. Only do thou, pure Lucina, smile on the birth of a child, under whom the iron brood shall first cease, and a golden race spring up throughout the world." [Santillana, 1969, p. 244]

What gave rise to these expectations? Santillana and Jung both claim that it was the long-awaited conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Pisces that gave rise to these hopes (6 or 7 BC). This is more than interesting in light of the fact that Velikovsky suggested that a catastrophic conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter led to the events described as the Creation. This leads us to the important question as to the identity of the star of Bethlehem, the star said to herald Jesus' birth. [Matthew2:2] Almost certainly, in the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter the people of Judea saw the return of their patron star. Thus, Amos mentions Saturn (Chiun) as the `star of your god.' [Amos5:26] Jung also states that Saturn, as the "second sun ... was the star of Israel and therefore to some extent identical with Yahweh." [Jung, 1976]

Star of David

I would also suggest that the star of David was originally Saturn, and thus the attempt of the biographers to trace Jesus' lineage to David has a dual meaning and purpose. It appears that Dod or Dodo was an old title for the central god of Jebusite Jerusalem, and it has been pointed out that Isaiah addressed the Lord as Dodi (my beloved). [Isaiah 5:1] Now Dod, Dodo, and Daud are all believed to be alternatives of David, and all are other names for Adonis of the mystery cult. [Greenberg and Sizemore, 1978, pp. 64-65] Thus it seems almost beyond a doubt that the biblical hero known to Sunday school children as the slayer of Goliath, took or received the name of the revered star-god David.

Moving to the Passion of Christ, several Saturnian motifs standout clearly. Of crucial significance is Jesus' death on the Cross. Referring to the hanging deaths of Attis, Odin, and others throughout mythology, Jung remarks that this should, "teach us that the hanging of Christ on the Cross is nothing unique in religious mythology." [Jung, 1976, p. 233] Jung argues that the Cross symbolizes at one time both the Tree of Life and a Tree of Death (a coffin). We remember the lodging of Osiris' coffin within or upon the tree. Jung points out that the imagery of Osiris and Jesus upon the tree has symbolic reference with regard to their resurrection; thus the "dead are delivered back to their mother for rebirth." [Jung, 1976, p. 233]

This almost sounds like gobbledegook; yet the traditions are persistent. Thus, a rather unusual statement of St. Augustine is of interest here: "Like a bridegroom Christ went forth from his chamber, he went out with a presage of his nuptials into the field of the world. ... He came to the marriage-bed of the cross, and there, in mounting it, he consummated his marriage. And when he perceived the sighs of the creature, he lovingly gave himself to the woman for ever." [Jung,1976, p. 433]

There is also a good deal of snake symbolism in regard to Christ on the Cross. For example, Jung points to several paintings where a serpent is substituted for Christ of the Cross. This recalls to mind the passage in John: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." [John3:14] Jung claims that the Cross with a snake on it is often found in medieval art, but also in the dreams and fantasies of modern people completely ignorant of these traditions. [Jung, 1959, p.78]

Tree of Knowledge

Jung also shows that in Manichaean tradition, Jesus is believed synonymous with the Tree of Knowledge in paradise. Recalling the serpent's connection with Saturn and the Cosmic Tree, Jesus' serpentine character is perhaps somewhat understandable: "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." [Luke23:43] Jesus' connection with the serpent is a good example of what Jung calls an archetypal image. Thus, although Jesus has little if any conceivable relation to snakes, he is often represented as one, just as many other gods have been, and as others will be in the future.

Another example of archetypal material is that surrounding the androgyny of Christ. In reference to the androgyny of Adam, Jung remarks: "Since Adam was the prototype of Christ, ... it is understandable that a picture of Christ should develop showing distinctly feminine features. In religious art the Christ-image has retained this character to the present day. [Jung, 1977, p.373] Having already established the original androgyny of El-Saturn, it is no surprise that Christ's androgyny is well established in ecclesiastical tradition. [Jung, 1977]

Piercing in side symbolism

Perhaps the most startling example of archetypal material, or at least of a very persistent tradition, is that of the piercing of Jesus in the side with a spear. [John 19:34] We ran across this practice earlier in the discussion of the mystery cults. Osiris, Attis, Adonis, Odin, and Adam were all represented as being the victims of an attack to their chest (being speared either by a boar or knife). Frazer has shown that this same mode of human sacrifice (hanging and being speared in the side) also occurs among primitive islanders. This method of sacrifice was employed by the Aztecs in their mock-murder of the god Huitzilopochtli.

To what trait or characteristic of the human psyche could this bizarre practice or tradition be due? Following Velikovsky's lead, we should perhaps look first to the heavens for such a bizarre and widespread tradition. This practice is obviously irrational, and it may actually be closely akin to instinct. As I attempted to understand or reconstruct the celestial events which gave rise to this practice, it became obvious that all these traditions had reference to the fall of the heavenly pole of Saturn. The fall of the pole caused a second major deluge. Thus, there is the interesting ecclesiastical tradition that from the spear wound flowed `rivers from the belly of Christ.' This is probably a play on John 7:38 where it is said of the believer that, "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

Jung notes that this idea played a great role in both ecclesiastical metaphor and alchemy. After what we have already seen, it is no cause for wonder that alchemical traditions also held that, "from the belly of Saturn's salt flow living waters leaping up to blessed life." [Jung, 1977, p. 277] The fall of the pole, and the death or removal of Saturn, was the greatest of all catastrophes, and as such it was never to be forgotten by the human race. Neither was the identity of the culprit forgotten, the celestial boar that slew the revered King-Primordial Man with a thrust to the side (though it must be admitted that his identity has not been well-preserved; thus, Egyptian scholars still have no idea as to who or what Seth represented) [Griffiths, 1980]

Although I briefly toyed with the idea that Mercury might have been the assailant, I came to the conclusion that Mars must have been responsible for the tragedy that befell Saturn. As I understand it, Mars was probably on a comet-like course when it passed between the Earth and Saturn and struck the pole. The pole being the body of the god, this gave rise to the image of a boar spearing the side of the god with its tusks (See Worlds in Collision for the various shapes that comets have been known to assume). I imagine the effects would have been similar to the near contact of the like poles of two giant magnets. Mars suffered the greatest destruction, probably from the effects of fire caused by a giant thunderbolt said to have been thrown by Jupiter (Horus' revenge over Set). However, Saturn and Mars must have exchanged charges, with Mars receiving the worst end of the deal. Thus, Saturn must have suffered a substantial loss of charge, and it was propelled along its way to `death's dark country,' perhaps with the aid of a push from Jupiter and its massive charge. Mars having been sent its own way by the blast of Jupiter, Zeus now took over reign as the King of the Gods.

As I understand it (aided by a suggestion of Cardona, 1977), Saturn's fall released not only whatever waters may have been held in the polar configuration, but those previously held in abeyance by the close proximity and massive charge of Saturn. Thus, a second major deluge must have followed the death of Osiris, and so it is that in some traditions Osiris was drowned. [Griffiths, 1980]

Secret Knowledge

At this point I am sure everyone is wondering, how could a college kid get so screwed up? But this appears to be the scenario that the myths describe. Thus, we saw earlier that the boar that attacked Adonis was believed to be the jealous Ares in disguise. Ares, of course, is the Greek name for the planet Mars. In remembrance of these events the great mystery cults originated, and that is their meaning. Thus, when the great Greek philosophers were initiated into the mysteries, Velikovsky suggests that some of the secret knowledge obtained was of the history of the solar system. What importance the testimony of the ancients assumes if Velikovsky is right.

For example, take the following paragraph from Plato's Timaeus relating a conversation between an Egyptian sage and Plato's ancestor, Solon: "O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are but children ... I mean to say that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you the reason of this: there have been, there will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes. There is a story which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Phaethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt.

Now, this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving around the earth and in the heavens, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth recurring at long intervals of time." [Donnelly, 1882, p. 8] It seems that the aged Egyptian sage must have been a Neo-Darwinian, for he forgot the ancient traditions preserved in the blood and genes of all mankind. Thus, it's Velikovsky's belief that although man's conscious mind represses these catastrophic memories (his theory of collective amnesia), they remain alive and well preserved in the unconscious strata of the mind, where every now and then their voice is heard, and their will be done. As Velikovsky put it: "The memory of the cataclysms was erased, not because of lack of written traditions, but because of some characteristic process that later caused entire nations, together with their literate men, to read into these traditions allegories or metaphors where actually cosmic disturbances were clearly described. ... To uncover their vestiges and their distorted equivalents in the psychical life of peoples is a task not unlike that of overcoming amnesia in a single person." [Velikovsky, 1950,p. 300]

If I might be allowed to intrude upon the reader's time just a few more moments, I think it might be possible to establish the overwhelming influence these catastrophes have had over the minds and actions of men. Thus, it's my opinion that several other widespread customs or rituals have their explanation in the catastrophe that befell Saturn. Under the circumstances described above, it is perhaps understandable that the ancients would both fear and revere the great celestial boar. Some peoples identified themselves with the bright red burning planet, while others abhorred it. Thus, we see that the Syrian followers of Adonis abstained from boar meat. Frazer makes this point clearly;" The worshippers of Adonis abstained from pork, because a boar had killed their god." [Frazer, 1959, p. 369] The members of the Attis cult refrained from eating pork as well, and here perhaps we have the origin of the Jewish prohibition of pork.

An important point may perhaps be made here, and that is that Frazer suggests that these and other myths were invented by the peoples to give credence or meaning to a practice already engaged in. Thus, the story of Attis' death by a boar was told to account for their abstention from pork throughout their history. Here I think Frazer has got the sequence of events backwards. Thus, I believe that the celestial events were interpreted in some way, `a boar has attacked our god,' and that afterwards the customs and rituals were shaped to fit those events and their interpretation. From this viewpoint, most rituals and customs are probably attempts at a symbolic reenactment of the events in question, for it must be remembered that these events always had a moral and religious significance as well. Thus, the Deluge occurred because of the decadence of mankind, and reenacting it through baptism serves as a reminder to stay in line and do the god's will.

Self mutilation

I think the problem inherent in Frazer's theory is apparent in the following interpretation: "The story of the self-mutilation of Attis is clearly an attempt to account for the self-mutilation of his priests, who regularly castrated themselves on entering the service of the goddess." [Frazer, 1959,p. 369] I would suggest instead that the castration of the priests results from the fact that the ancients actually witnessed their god's castration. (Saturn's loss of the pillar-phallus, or Mars' loss of its moons for example). Here there is no need to postulate some kind of urge to self-mutilation, as there appears to be in Frazer's interpretation. Of course, the process works both ways in the sense that the people interpret the events in their own peculiar way. Thus, when Mars lost its moons, this was interpreted by some myth-makers as castration, and by others as the loss of eyes. 

Across the peninsula in Egypt, we meet with analogous practices to those of the Syrians and Jews. They too abhorred the pig, but once a year they held a cannibalistic pig-sacrifice. As Frazer describes it: "In ancient Egypt ... the pig occupied the same dubious position as in Syria and Palestine, though at first sight its uncleanness is more prominent than its sanctity. ... If a man so much as touched a pig in passing, he stepped into the river with all his clothes on, to wash off the taint. To drink pig's milk was believed to cause leprosy to the drinker. ... Yet once a year the Egyptians sacrificed pigs to the moon and Osiris, and not only sacrificed them, but ate of their flesh, though on any other day of the year they would neither sacrifice them nor taste of their flesh." [Frazer, 1959, p. 528] 

Set, the Egyptian devil

Now I ask the reader, can these bizarre practices be supposed due to an imagined fear of trichinosis? Frazer, believing that all Saturnian gods were vegetation gods, suggests these practices have their explanation in the havoc caused among the crops by a grazing boar. Although I obviously disagree with Frazer here, I think he was on the right track when he suggested that the rites were accomplished in a spirit of revenge. In reference to the pig, Frazer wrote: "He came to be looked on as an embodiment of Set, the Egyptian devil and enemy of Osiris. For it was in the shape of a black pig that Set injured the eye of the god Horus, who burned him and instituted the sacrifice of the pig. ... Thus, the annual sacrifice of a pig to Osiris might naturally be interpreted as vengeance inflicted on the hostile animal that had slain or mangled the god." [Frazer, 1959, p. 529] The Aztecs provided a unique twist to their ritual reenactment of the celestial tragedy, for they had Saturn get his revenge in the exact manner in which he was struck down.

Child sacrifice

Thus, the Saturnian representative (a priest acting out the part of the god Quetzalcoatl) slew the Mars effigy by driving a spear into his side, and then ate him in a sacrificial meal (Mars= Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war). Frazer reports that the ceremony was called teoqualo, or `the god is eaten.' [Frazer,1959, p. 531] Within this same cosmic tradition, I would place several other rites even more bizarre. Here I refer to the ancient customs of child sacrifice, the ritual murder of certain scapegoats, and self-immolation by fire. To understand these practices it must be realized that the ancients considered Mars a son of Saturn's. Whether this should be interpreted as plausible proof that Mars sprang from the head of Saturn (as Velikovsky claims Venus did from Jupiter), I am not prepared to say. I would be willing to bet that it does, but it should be remembered that in Egyptian mythology Set-Mars was a brother of Osiris. Quite frankly, a definitive answer to this question will have to wait for a more adequate translation of the relevant Egyptian material.

One Velikovsky scholar, William Mullen, (a classics professor at the University of California) has recently received a grant to do just that. It is suggestive, perhaps, that Seth's birth from Nut was describes as being a violent one in the Pyramid texts (literally spat out). [Griffiths, 1980, pp. 117-118] But to give an indication of the difficulty of interpreting these texts, it should be mentioned that in later times Seth came to be identified with Venus, so the above reference could conceivably relate to her violent birth from Jupiter. Thus, just as Jupiter took over the role and name of the King of Gods with the removal of Saturn, so too did Venus take over the role of devil from Mars when she became the dominant object in the skies. This is no more surprising in the world of mythology than when in religion Jesus is given many of the same legends and characteristics of the heroes of the mystery cults, but it makes myth-divining tricky nonetheless. In any event I'd like to note that Nut is almost certainly Saturn, and the recent space probes found that Saturn too had a gaping hole on its surface, not unlike the red eye of Jupiter from whence sprang Venus according to Velikovsky. The facts of the birth aside, what is important is that the ancients spoke of Mars as a son or child of Saturn.

Thus, we turn our attention to Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac, where, I think, an interesting picture unfolds. The vision of Abraham leading his son to the altar is revolting to many of us, but the ancients seem to have regarded child sacrifice as a solemn duty. Here I am only referring to child sacrifice by burning, as in the infamous rites of Molech. For Mars too was burnt, if not only by his father, Saturn, at least on the part of his father (Horus-Jupiter's revenge of Osiris). Frazer cites the numerous references in the Old Testament to the practice of child sacrifice, quoting one scholar to the effect that the sacrifice was intended to, "make pass over by means of fire to Molech." Frazer notes that the practice was probably very ancient at Jerusalem.

Modern scholarship seems to support Frazer's contention, and Cross cites Albright and others as having demonstrated the prevalence of child sacrifice throughout the whole of the Punic world. Cross sums up the recent research nicely: "Diodorus Siculus specifically observes that the cult of human sacrifice was limited to worship of Kronos, that is, of El, and alludes to the myth of El's sacrifice of his own children. Sakkunyaton preserves the myth of El's sacrifice of Yadid and Mot, a theme repeated thrice by the hierophant. An echo of this aspect of the El cult is probably heard in biblical tradition that the first-born belonged to the deity, and in the background of the story of Isaac's sacrifice. ... As Albright has emphasized, there is no longer any basis to doubt Diodorus' accuracy both in describing the cultus itself or in his assertion that the cult was linked to Kronos." [Cross, 1973, p. 26] 

A crucial test of the hypothesis presented here, would be whether either Yadid or Mot is Mars. I would guess that it is probable that one is, as the tradition is not likely to have been lost or placed third behind others. In this same tradition of burnt sacrifices, belongs the ancient rite of suicide by fire. Frazer devotes a chapter to this strange practice in The Golden Bough. This form of ritual death appears to have been rather common among the colonies of Phoenicia. It seems that in dying by fire the Phoenicians believed themselves to be identifying with their god Melquarth/Hercules.

Hercules as Mars

As Frazer concludes: "A custom of periodically burning the chief god of the city in effigy appears to have prevailed at Tyre and in the Tyrian colonies down to a late time, and the effigy may well have been a later substitute for a man. For Melquarth, the great god of Tyre, was identified by the Greeks with Hercules, who is said to have burned himself to death on a great pyre, ascending up to heaven in a cloud and a peal of thunder." [Frazer, 1959, p. 362] In Worlds in Collision Velikovsky clearly identifies Hercules withMars, and Hercules was known to be an ancient deity. [Donnelly,1882] Thus, the sacrifice of children, and the self-sacrifice of men, seem to be ritual reenactments of the passion of Mars.

Frazer concludes his discussion of suicide by fire with the following observation, with which I am in complete agreement: "These events and these traditions seem to prove that under certain circumstances Oriental monarchs deliberately chose to burn themselves to death. ... If the intention had merely been to escape from the hands of a conqueror, an easier mode of death would naturally have been chosen. There must have been a special reason for electing to die by fire. The legendary death of Hercules, the historical death of Hamilcar, and the gesture of Croesus enthroned in state on the pyre and pouring a libation, all combine to indicate that to be burnt alive was regarded as a solemn sacrifice, nay, more than that, as an apotheosis which raised the victim to the rank of a god." [Frazer, 1959, p. 367] 

Mars-god scapegoats

It is not without interest that in ancient Egypt, red-haired men used to be burnt alive, their ashes being strewn to the wind with winnowing fans. The red-haired men are probably sacrificial scapegoats for the evil red-god Mars. It is very significant that these sacrifices were offered by kings at the grave of Osiris. Here the phenomenon we encountered earlier presents itself, for the Phoenicians and Romans were famous for identifying with the war-god Mars, while the Egyptians regarded Seth-Mars as loathsome. Thus, one can hardly imagine suicide by fire as playing the same supreme symbolic role in Egypt that it did in Phoenicia.

Tammuz myth

One more interesting characteristic of myth may be mentioned before returning to the symbology of Jesus. Different myths tell the same basic story—describe the same celestial events—in different ways. Sometimes the times and characters are recast, but the same underlying motifs emerge just the same. Thus, Samson is the spitting image of Hercules, and must be identified in some way with Tammuz of the mystery cult. When the pole-pillar of Saturn fell, Samson-Mars was crushed beneath it. Hercules' death by fire comes later with the giant thunderbolts, and plays no part in the Samson myth (so far as I'm aware). Thus, the Tammuz myth is a conglomeration of mythical motifs, for Tammuz was originally Saturn. [Talbott, 1980]

It is significant that the Tammuz myth is the only one of those of the major cults that has the hero crushed (and not speared or dismembered in some manner). Both theVelikovsky scholars and Santillana and Dechend seem to agree that the motifs and characteristics of Mars and Saturn are deeply intertwined, and sometimes confused, by scholars and the ancients alike. It may be that I am joining a little cultus in this respect myself. But though the motifs may be blended in the Tammuz myth, they appear crystal clear with regard to the equation of Hercules and Samson with Mars. Thus, Seth-Mars loses his testicles in one scenario, while Samson-Mars lost his eyes in another. In returning to the legends and symbols of Christianity, I'd like to refer to the following footnote of Jung's: "Robertson ... makes an interesting contribution to the symbol of carrying the cross: Samson carried the gate-posts of the city of Gaza, and died between the pillars of the temple of the Philistines.

Simon the Cyrene

Heracles carried his pillars to Gades (Cadiz), where, according to the Syrian version of the legend, he died. "In ancient art," says Robertson, "he was actually represented carrying the two pillars in such a way under his arms that they form exactly a cross. Here, probably, we have the origin of the myth of Jesus carrying his own cross to the place of execution." [Jung, 1976, p. 302] As if this were not enough coincidences to account for, Robertson points out that in the three synoptic gospels a man of Cyrene, Simon, replaces Jesus as the cross-bearer. Robertson notes that Simon, or Sem, was actually the name of an old god representing Shamash or Baal, "from whose mythus that of Samson unquestionably arose." [Jung, 1976, pp. 302-303]

Alexander Hislop, in complete independence and on totally different grounds, shows that Sem is etymologically and mythologically identical to the Egyptian version of Hercules: "one of the names of the primitive Hercules in Egypt was Sem." [Hislop, 1959, p. 63]  Hislop goes on to equate the Egyptian Set, or Seth, with Sem. Hislop also states his belief that the ancient Hercules was responsible for the fall of Saturn. Quite naturally Hislop equates Osiris with Saturn. [Hislop, 1959,pp. 64-66] As my entire argument hinges on Velikovsky's identification of Hercules with Mars, it is of crucial importance that Santillana also equates Samson with the planet Mars, calling attention to the obvious similarities between Hercules and Samson at the same time. [Santillana, 1969, p. 176]

If I was more of a biblical scholar, I am certain the list of agreement between the myths involving Saturn and those involving Jesus would continue to grow. Jesus' transfiguration, the illumination at his birth, and the earthquake and darkness at his death all have astral implications. Thus we have seen that Hercules also ascended to heaven in a cloud and a peal of thunder.  All of these particular legends also belong to the traditions of Buddha (so too with the virgin birth, the slaughter of the infants, and many more). [Radhakrishnan, 1940]

Mary as Isis

Before concluding, however, there remains the place of Mary within the Saturnian connection. Obviously, Mary must have some spiritual bonds with the great Mother goddesses of old. Thus, Frazer notes that the resemblances between Mary and Isis have often impressed the scholars. In reference to the worship of Isis, Frazer concludes: "Her stately ritual, with its shaven and tonsured priests, its matins and vespers, its tinkling music, its baptisms and aspersions of holy water, its solemn processions, its jeweled images of the Mother of God, presented many points of similarity to the pomp and ceremonies of Catholicism. The resemblance need not be purely accidental. Ancient Egypt may have contributed its share to the gorgeous symbolism of the Catholic Church as well as to the pale abstractions of her theology. Certainly in art the figure of Isis suckling the infant Horus is so like that of the Madonna and child that it has sometimes received the adoration of ignorant Christians." [Frazer, 1919, pp. 118-119] 

It is ironic that the cult of Isis was perhaps Christianity's greatest rival in the early days of the Church. Jung also notes the many points of resemblance between Isis and Mary, and lays great psychological importance upon the newly declared divinity of Mary: "The Assumption of the Virgin ... is vouched for neither in scripture nor in the tradition of the first five centuries of the Christian Church. For a long time it was officially denied even, but, with the connivance of the whole medieval and modern Church, it gradually developed as a `pious opinion' and gained so much power and influence that it finally succeeded in thrusting aside the necessity for scriptural proof and for a tradition going back to primitive times, and in attaining definition in spite of the fact that the content of the dogma is not even definable. The papal declaration made a reality out of what had long been condoned.

Assumption doctrine

This irrevocable step beyond the confines of historical Christianity is the strongest proof of the autonomy of archetypal images." [Jung, 1977, p. 469] Jung notes that it was in 1950 that the doctrine of the Assumption was approved, about a century after the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In an almost Lamarckian sense, it was the religious `need' of the Catholic masses that prompted these declarations. Thus, Jung cites his approval of Victor White's observation: "Nor would it seem, is the underlying motif itself even peculiarly Christian; rather would it seem to be but one expression of a universal archetypal pattern, which somehow responds to some deep and widespread human need, and which finds other similar expressions in countless myths and rituals ... all over the globe." [Jung, 1977, pp. 186-187]

In conclusion, we have seen that, in one way or another, all of the major symbols and legends of Jesus were also common to the mythology surrounding Saturn.

This is to be expected from Velikovsky's fundamental thesis that celestial catastrophes involving the planet Saturn left a permanent mark on the human soul, something comparable to what Freud described as a tradition in flesh and blood. Thus, I am led to the conclusion that the legendary-symbolic life of Jesus as the Christ is simply and literally a reenactment and condensation of the life and death of the planet-god Saturn. Jesus is the Son of man—Anthropos come to earth to initiate another Golden Age. The hoped for kingdom to come is merely a projection into the future of the Golden Age of the primeval past, and Jesus' Messianic mission is to take us back to that time and place where `sin' was absent. The light brought and personified by Jesus is the life-giving light of the stars. Thus, I take literally Dodd's conclusion that, "the life of Jesus is the history of the Logos."


Bailey, 1973 - James Bailey, The God-Kings and the Titans, New York: St Martins Press. 

Cardona, 1977 - Dwardu Cardona, "Let There Be Light," KRONOS, Vol.III, No. 3, pp. 34-56. 
Cardona, 1978 - Dwardu Cardona, "The Mystery of the Pleiades," KRONOS, Vol. III, No. 4, pp. 24-45. 

Cross, 1973 - Frank Cross, Canaan Myth and Hebrew Epic, London: Harvard Univ. Press. 

Deloria, 1980 - Vine Deloria, "Tribute." S.I.S. REVIEW, Vol. IV, No.4, pp. 78-79. 

Dodd, 1965 - C. H. Dodd, The Fourth Gospel, London: CambridgeUniv. Press. 

Donnelly, 1882 - Ignatius Donnelly, Atlantis, New York: Harper & Row. 

Frazer, 1919 - James Frazer, Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, London: Macmillan & Co. 
Frazer, 1959 - James Frazer, The New Golden Bough, New York: New American Library. 

de Grazia, 1966 - Alfred de Grazia, The Velikovsky Affair, London: Sphere Books 

Greenberg, 1975 - L.M. Greenberg & W. Sizemore, "Cosmology and Psychology," KRONOS, Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 33-51. 
Greenberg , 1978 - L.M. Greenberg & W. Sizemore, "Jerusalem—City of Venus," KRONOS, Vol. III, No. 3, pp. 56-91. 

Griffiths, 1980 - J.G. Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and his Cult, Leiden: E.J. Brill. 

Hislop, 1959 - Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, Neptune, NewJersey: Loizeaux Bros. 

Jung, 1959 - Carl Jung, Aion, New York: Princeton Univ. Press.
Jung, 1971 - Carl Jung, Psychological Types, New York: Princeton Univ. Press. 
Jung, 1976 - Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, New York: Princeton Univ. Press. 
Jung, 1977 - Carl Jung, Mysterium Conjunctionis, New York: Princeton Univ. Press.

Kaufmann, 1968 - Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche, New York: Vintage Books. 

Langdon, 1964 - Stephen Langdon, Semitic Mythology, Boston: Marshall Jones & Co. 

Mullen, 1973 - William Mullen, "A Reading of the Pyramid Texts," PENSEE, Vol. 3, pp. 10-17.

Radhakrishnan, 1940 - S. Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions and Western Thought, London: Oxford Univ. Press. 

Ransom, 1976 - C.J. Ransom, The Age of Velikovsky, Glassboro, New Jersey: Kronos Press. 

Robinson, 1977 - James M. Robinson, ed. The Nag Hammadi Library, San Francisco: Harper & Row. 

Rose, 1979 - Lynn Rose, "Variations on a theme of Philolaos," KRONOS, Vol. V, No. 1, pp. 12-47. 

Sagan, 1977 - Carl Sagan, Scientists Confront Velikovsky, New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 

Santillana, 1969 - G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill, Boston: Gambit. 

Talbott, 1977 - David Talbott, "Saturns Age," Research Communications Network, Vol. 3, pp. 1-7. 
Talbott, 1980 - David Talbott, The Saturn Myth, New York: Doubleday. 

Velikovsky, 1950 - Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, NewYork: Doubleday. 
Velikovsky, 1979 - Immanuel Velikovsky, "On Saturn and the Flood," KRONOS, Vol. V, No. 1, pp. 3-12.

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