Pagan holdovers in Christianity
In the early days of Christianity, church leaders faced considerable hardship in establishing themselves among the largely Pagan populations of the day. Many of the holidays, celebrations, and customs of today's Christians were designed to make it easier and more comfortable for Pagans to adopt the new religion. Many of today's Christians have no idea that their sacred and traditional customs and symbols actually have Pagan origins. In other cases, customs were specifically adopted to destroy or deface Pagan customs and beliefs, Goddess worship in particular.
- The Serpent
- Before Christianity, The snake or serpent was almost universally recognized as a positive symbol. The Greeks used the snake wrapped around a winged staff (the "caduceus") for a number of respectable purposes and it later became used as a symbol of medicine (as it is still used today). Snakes were also a well known symbol of the Goddess in goddess-worshipping cultures. The Christian story of the evil serpent in the Garden of Eden set up an until-then-unprecedented connection between snakes/serpents and evil, which is still largely held in the Christian world. Modern scholars believe this was most likely an attempt by early church leaders to deface the Goddess.
- Easter symbols
- The egg, chick, and rabbit enjoyed by countless Christians every spring are all symbols of the Goddess.
- The Cross
- Even the christian cross is a perversion of an old Pagan symbol, the equal sided cross, which represented balance, particularly between masculinity and femininity. The equals sided cross can still be seen in some Christian churches today.
- Christmas herbs
- Holly and Mistletoe are both very important plants in many Celtic Pagan beliefs, and were (are?) often used by Druids.
- For Christians, December 25th represents the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the promise of eternal life. For a number of pre-Christian Sun-worshipping Pagan groups, the same day of the year represented the rebirth of the Sun as the days began to get longer following the Winter Solstice. It also represented the renewel of the cycle of life and the promise of new life in the coming Spring.