The Reason for the Season

Happy Solstice, cultists!

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the time when the sun appears to “die” in the sky.  On the longest night of the year, the sun would hover above the frozen hills of the north, by Kadath in the Cold Waste, before beginning its upward trek toward the promise of summer.

Now, of course, we celebrate the Solstice by getting tanked on eggnog and fighting with relatives, but once, the judgment of the Red Lord wasn’t who got presents and who got coal, it was whether the ice would melt and we would live to see another season.

In the modern world, we know that the seasons are caused by the Earth’s axial tilt:

jGEOA

In the summer, our off-balance planet presents more of its northern surface to the sun; in the winter, less.  As we move from winter to summer, an observer on Earth (i.e., everybody) will see the sun rise higher and higher in the sky, until on the summer solstice (Jun 21), it will appear at its highest point.

Equinox

(When I say it “climbs higher” I mean day-by-day.  It still rises and sets every day, but on Jun. 22, the highest point the sun reaches in the sky is a little bit lower than on Jun 21.  The sun doesn’t just “stop” in the sky on the winter solstice …

… or does it?

On the Winster Solstice, the sun stands still in the sky before weakly setting beneath the ice, heralding the longest night of the year.

When else would “the stars be right?”

Is it not written in the Kitab Al-Azif, that “after summer comes winter, then summer no more …”1?

When the Old Ones return, it will be on the Winter Solstice.  The sun will sink lower and lower, until at last in hovers unmoving in the sky … and never moves again.

Could this have already happened?

Could Christmas be an ancestral memory of the time the Old Ones rose, and the miracle that saved us?  What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Consider the tauroctony:

"Tauroctony" - Mithras slaying a bull
“Tauroctony” – Mithras slaying a bull. Pio Clementino Museum; Hall of Animals. Vatican Museums.

The tauroctony symbolism was as important to the Mithraic Mysteries as the crucifix is to Christianity.  In addition to Mithra slaying the bull, various other animals are often depicted, including snakes, dogs, and ravens.

No one knows why – Mithraism revealed its secrets only to initiates, and they died out when Constantine chose Christianity instead of Mithraism as the state religion of Rome.

The reason why he did that will be revealed in a later post; what is important is that many scholars believe the animals have a connection to the constellations: the snake is Hydra2, the raven Corvus, and the dog Canis. It is also possible that the bull represented Taurus and Mithra Perseus, who are together in the night sky.

Some, particularly Dr. David Ulansey, have taken this further and suggested that the secret of Mithraism may have been that it represented the precession of the equinoxes3. Due to the Earth’s tilt, the position of the stars in the sky appear to change over time:

670px-Earth_precession.svg

“Earth precession” by NASA, Mysid – Vectorized by Mysid in Inkscape after a NASA Earth Observatory image in Milutin Milankovitch Precession.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earth_precession.svg#/media/File:Earth_precession.svg

To an observer on Earth (i.e., everybody) where the band of the zodiac crosses the celestial equator will change; most recently, it moved out of Aries and into Pisces; during the possible founding of Mithraism, it had moved into Aries from Taurus.

Was this astonishing enough to spark a religion?  To encode the decline of Taurus as “the slaying of the bull?”  To know that we couldn’t trust the sky.  Dr. Ulansey believes so.

However, the precession of the equinox takes thousands of years; even though early astronomers knew about it, it can’t birth the kind of terror and awe and humility that a religion does.

But what if it happened in one night?

What if that is the true secret of Mithraism – that on the darkest night of the year, as the sun died and bled in the winter sky and the screams of madness echoed across the ice as the Old Ones woke and ravened across the world, our ancestors looked up and saw Mithra eclipsing the sky as He shifted the axis of the world.  As they watched, the stars began to move once more, and the Old Ones were banished back into the nightmare corpse city of R’lYeh.

It’s no coincidence that Mithra was said to have been born on Dec. 25.

Nor is it coincidence that his cult flourished in the East, the same direction from which the Magi came.  Two millennia after Mithra, the Stars were right once more – in the skies above Bethlehem, where the Herald of the Old Ones was born.  The Anointed One was born to stop the sun from rising again, and the Magi were sent to stop Him.  They weren’t Wise Men; they were assassins.

They failed.

But the Romans, who still preserved a remnant of that memory in their Mithraic Mystery cults, crucified the Anointed One before He could fulfill His ultimate plan – but like Mithra, He will Rise Again, and on that day all the world will revel in an orgy of destruction, unless we can stop Him.

 

Ftaghn, cultists. And Happy Solstice.

  1. The Dee translation (used by Lovecraft) contained a transcription error.
  2. Not the Avengers one; the astronomy one.
  3. Notice how we keep coming back to the stars?
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