VIRGO IS THE SIGN THE SUN ENTERS IN AUGUST, AND WAS DEPICTED IN THE ZODIAC HOLDING IN HER HANDS THE EMBLEMS OF THE HARVEST. THE IDENTITY OF CERES, THE GODDESS OF THE HARVEST, WITH THE CONSTELLATION VIRGO, IS QUITE PLAIN. THIS FIGURE OF THE FRUITFUL VIRGIN WAS PLACED IN THE ZODIAC AS EMBLEMATIC OF THE HARVEST SEASON, BECAUSE THE SUN IS IN THOSE STARS AT THAT TIME. THE WORD "VIRGO" ORIGINALLY IMPLIED NOT ONLY A VIRGIN, BUT ANY VIRTUOUS MATRON. BY AN ASTRONOMICAL ALLEGORY THIS VIRGIN OF AUGUST BECAME A GODDESS, WHO DESCENDED TO THE EARTH, PRESIDED OVER THE HARVEST, TAUGHT MANKIND AGRICULTURE, AND WAS WORSHIPPED UNDER VARIOUS NAMES.
The Mysteries of Dionysus were the same as the Eleusinian and those of Bacchus, Dionysus being but one of the names of Bacchus.
The Dionysiac Mysteries and those of the Kabiri prevailed in Asia Minor, and spread through all the cities of Syria. Hiram, King of Tyre, was undoubtedly the high-priest of these Mysteries at Tyre, and the institution continued to exist in Judea as late as the time of Christ, as a secret society known as the Essenes. ("History of Secret Societies," by Rev. Augustus C. Arnold.
From the foregoing descriptions of the different Mysteries, it clearly appears that the main facts of the legend of the death of the sun-god and his return to life, as illustrated and celebrated in them all, are substantially the same, having been derived from the same source—the Mysteries of Osiris and Isis. The death of the sun-god, whom the "aspirant," dramatically represented, was the main characteristic of them all. So intimately were the ideas of death and initiation connected, that in the Greek language the same word expressed both ideas, reXevxav is to die, and releiodai to be initiated.
(Warburton, "Div.Lg.," Book II, s. 4.) The names, however, by which the personified sun-god was known, varied with the language of the people:
"Ogygia me Bacchum vocat;
Osirin Egyptus putat;
Mysi Phanacerp nominant;
Dionuson Indi existimant;
Romana sacra Liberum;
Aribica gens Adoneum."
—AUSONIUS, Epigram 30.
But, although the legend of initiation was thus substantially the same in all the civilized nations of antiquity, yet it must be borne in mind that the allegory of the death and return to life of the sun-god was naturally and necessarily modified in its minor details so as to conform to the different conditions of climate and order of the seasons, which prevailed in the various countries, into which it was adopted from Egypt. The Egyptians divided the year into seasons peculiar to themselves, consequent upon the exceptional nature of their country, where all agricultural pursuits were dependent upon and regulated by the yearly inundation of the Nile. They divided the year into three seasons of four months each: the first was called the season of "Planets, " and originally included November, December, January, and February; the second was termed the season of "Flowering, " or "Harvest, " and included March, April, May, and June; the third was known as the season of "Waters, " or "Inundation, " alluding to the overflow of the Nile, and originally consisted of July, August, September, and October. (Rawlinson's "Herodotus," vol. ii, page 238.) If we inscribe an equilateral triangle within the circle of the zodiac, placing Taurus on the vernal equinox, and Leo at the summer solstice, as was the case when the Egyptian seasons were first divided, we will have a correct representation of the ancient Egyptian year.
But, in the course of time, owing to the want of a correct knowledge of the true length of the solar year, these seasons
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