Author Topic: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah  (Read 2933 times)

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« on: April 23, 2012, 12:39:23 AM »
On Pascha my insane Orthodox friend started raving about occult symbols in Orthodoxy, and one actually caught my ear. He mentioned that the stars of perpetual virginity on icons of the Theotokos are eight-pointed, and that they are the stars of Astarte, the "Queen of the Sky" or "Queen of the Heavens". Having some familiarity with religions of the Ancient Near-East, this actually didn't seem just to be the usual occult symbolism black hole type stuff I usually encounter.

After hunting around the internet I couldn't really find any definitive primary source material on this eight pointed star in antiquity. Also, I have no knowledge of the ancient languages that might be useful in understanding the connections. Are these superficial connections, or are they more substantial and legitimate?

I think that our iconography is influenced by pagan predecessors, such as the haloes which feature crosses when they are depicting solar deities, like Helios or Apollos. So I suppose that would just fit in with all of that. I'm just curious if any of this is legit, or if it's all tenuous and speculative.

Ishtar/Astarte star:

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 12:40:15 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Aindriú

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 08:26:03 AM »
Does it matter? There are symbolisms in the west that arose from paganism in Europe. They are used because they have cultural meaning. That does not mean they have changed the faith, but it does allow for a deeper connection than say come to the church and learn another culture... Lol the irony.

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Offline WeldeMikael

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2012, 08:32:44 AM »
Does it matter? There are symbolisms in the west that arose from paganism in Europe. They are used because they have cultural meaning. That does not mean they have changed the faith, but it does allow for a deeper connection than say come to the church and learn another culture... Lol the irony.

I agree.

Offline LBK

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 09:09:17 AM »
Quote
He mentioned that the stars of perpetual virginity on icons of the Theotokos are eight-pointed

A good number of icons of the Mother of God do not have eight-pointed stars. The number of points varies considerably, and, in some instances, the motifs are round, filigree medallions, with no points on them at all.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline WeldeMikael

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 09:18:36 AM »
I think it's 12 stars.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 09:32:25 AM »

Ishtar/Astarte star:


Circumscribe this star with a circle, and you have the symbol of the eightfold path in Buddhism.

If you will, you can become all flame.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 09:33:07 AM »
Does it matter? There are symbolisms in the west that arose from paganism in Europe. They are used because they have cultural meaning. That does not mean they have changed the faith, but it does allow for a deeper connection than say come to the church and learn another culture... Lol the irony.

One of the ingenious ideas that those who spread Christianity in the post-Apostolic era was to take existing symbology and adapt it to the new faith - it gave the newly converted a certain 'comfort' zone. Not unlike American 'megachurch' pastors taking old theaters or sports arenas and adapting them for their versions of 'bread and circuses' familiar to the secular Americans. double duh

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 10:18:23 AM »
ya i think this has been explained really well. nothing new here..

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 11:30:29 AM »
Guys, I am just wondering if there is any legitimate connection, not having some personal crisis over it. Just wondering if the connection is real or more pseudo-scholarship by New Age hobbiests. I just thought that there were some seemingly legitimate points where the symbols lined up.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 11:31:02 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 11:34:49 AM »
Guys, I am just wondering if there is any legitimate connection, not having some personal crisis over it. Just wondering if the connection is real or more pseudo-scholarship by New Age hobbiests. I just thought that there were some seemingly legitimate points where the symbols lined up.

Even if there are points lined up - what does that prove beyond what we've already said about Christianity 'borrowing' existing symbology. The Ukrainians decorate pisanky with symbols which once stood for various pagan dieties - including the goddess and Perun. so what? If you go down that rabbit hole of illogic you become a Unitarian or a bare-bones Congregationalist of the old time Puritan persuasion.

Offline witega

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 12:04:29 PM »
Guys, I am just wondering if there is any legitimate connection, not having some personal crisis over it. Just wondering if the connection is real or more pseudo-scholarship by New Age hobbiests. I just thought that there were some seemingly legitimate points where the symbols lined up.

The problem is that a 'star' is a very generic level of symbol, so generic and basic that it's kind of ridiculous to even talk about 'borrowing'. When you add a specific number of points then you do have something you can test. But LBK just said there is nothing canonica' about the 8 points in the Christian iconographic tradition. If that's the case, then it really leans to the 'New Age pseudo-scholarship' answer, because the number of points is a personal taste thing by the iconographer--and that this iconographer liked 8-pointed stars and that one 6, doesn't give you any tie outside the religion--unless there's evidence the iconographer had a specific knowledge or tie to the eternal source.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 01:01:27 PM »
On Pascha my insane Orthodox friend started raving about occult symbols in Orthodoxy, and one actually caught my ear....
The early Sumerian cuneiform for "god, divinity" was an eight-pointed star.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 01:01:44 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 01:04:00 PM »
Guys, I am just wondering if there is any legitimate connection, not having some personal crisis over it. Just wondering if the connection is real or more pseudo-scholarship by New Age hobbiests. I just thought that there were some seemingly legitimate points where the symbols lined up.

Even if there are points lined up - what does that prove beyond what we've already said about Christianity 'borrowing' existing symbology. The Ukrainians decorate pisanky with symbols which once stood for various pagan dieties - including the goddess and Perun. so what? If you go down that rabbit hole of illogic you become a Unitarian or a bare-bones Congregationalist of the old time Puritan persuasion.

Ummm, cause he is curious? I don't think this is going to send Alveus out with Coexist and Rainbow bumper sticker clad Subaru crowd.



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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 01:06:03 PM »
Guys, I am just wondering if there is any legitimate connection, not having some personal crisis over it. Just wondering if the connection is real or more pseudo-scholarship by New Age hobbiests. I just thought that there were some seemingly legitimate points where the symbols lined up.

Even if there are points lined up - what does that prove beyond what we've already said about Christianity 'borrowing' existing symbology. The Ukrainians decorate pisanky with symbols which once stood for various pagan dieties - including the goddess and Perun. so what? If you go down that rabbit hole of illogic you become a Unitarian or a bare-bones Congregationalist of the old time Puritan persuasion.

I don't care about the rabbit hole. Stop reading into my posts some kind of "pagan scare" nonsense. I'm just curious if the connection is legitimate, not in any grave implications. Geez.

Offline Punch

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2012, 02:42:23 PM »
Don't worry about it.  They make fun of my funny cross, too.  Something about a Hindu good luck symbol or what.

Guys, I am just wondering if there is any legitimate connection, not having some personal crisis over it. Just wondering if the connection is real or more pseudo-scholarship by New Age hobbiests. I just thought that there were some seemingly legitimate points where the symbols lined up.

Even if there are points lined up - what does that prove beyond what we've already said about Christianity 'borrowing' existing symbology. The Ukrainians decorate pisanky with symbols which once stood for various pagan dieties - including the goddess and Perun. so what? If you go down that rabbit hole of illogic you become a Unitarian or a bare-bones Congregationalist of the old time Puritan persuasion.

I don't care about the rabbit hole. Stop reading into my posts some kind of "pagan scare" nonsense. I'm just curious if the connection is legitimate, not in any grave implications. Geez.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline primuspilus

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2012, 04:02:18 PM »
Nothing is new under the sun.

Just because someone else used it does not mean God can't use it. Afterall, even the cross was used before Christianity.

If you want to only use symbols never used before, you'll have an extremely short list.

PP
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Offline witega

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2012, 04:04:26 PM »
Nothing is new under the sun.

Just because someone else used it does not mean God can't use it. Afterall, even the cross was used before Christianity.

If you want to only use symbols never used before, you'll have an extremely short list.

PP

Seriously? do people just not read? Alveus has explicitly stated multiple times that the answer has nothing to do with with him 'wanting to continue using the symbol or not". He was just curious.
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Offline primuspilus

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2012, 04:06:27 PM »
Nothing is new under the sun.

Just because someone else used it does not mean God can't use it. Afterall, even the cross was used before Christianity.

If you want to only use symbols never used before, you'll have an extremely short list.

PP

Seriously? do people just not read? Alveus has explicitly stated multiple times that the answer has nothing to do with with him 'wanting to continue using the symbol or not". He was just curious.
I  did read. Maybe I should have quoted this first:

Quote
Stop reading into my posts some kind of "pagan scare" nonsense. I'm just curious if the connection is legitimate, not in any grave implications

Better?

PP
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2012, 04:14:00 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Seriously? do people just not read? Alveus has explicitly stated multiple times that the answer has nothing to do with with him 'wanting to continue using the symbol or not". He was just curious.



stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 04:14:33 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Offline witega

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2012, 04:16:05 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Seriously? do people just not read? Alveus has explicitly stated multiple times that the answer has nothing to do with with him 'wanting to continue using the symbol or not". He was just curious.



stay blessed,
habte selassie

Sigh. Yes. Long day. Sorry to all for my outburst.
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2012, 04:19:58 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!




Sigh. Yes. Long day. Sorry to all for my outburst.
Like Jimi said at Woodstock.. "I know what you mean.."


stay blessed,
habte selassie
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2012, 04:20:18 PM »
Are these superficial connections, or are they more substantial and legitimate?
The former. Most of the "pagan parallels" are complete fictions invented in the 1800's.

I think that our iconography is influenced by pagan predecessors, such as the haloes
These were used across the area conquered by Alexander the Great (Egypt to India, and eventually further into China culturally) to depict holy people, deities and rulers. In that sense, there are as general as the word "god".

which feature crosses when they are depicting solar deities, like Helios or Apollos.
Can you give us an example of such a hellenistic icon?

So I suppose that would just fit in with all of that. I'm just curious if any of this is legit, or if it's all tenuous and speculative.
The latter.

Ishtar/Astarte star:


That symbol has nothing to do with Ishtar.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 04:29:05 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2012, 04:22:53 PM »
On Pascha my insane Orthodox friend started raving about occult symbols in Orthodoxy, and one actually caught my ear....
The early Sumerian cuneiform for "god, divinity" was an eight-pointed star.
That symbol is a late variant if it is applied to "god/divinity". The post-Akkadian Sumerian Ur III symbol from the so-called "Sumerian Renaissance" looks like this:



The chart posted on the site is a scan from one of Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer's sketches, and hardly constitutes early evidence. Besides, in early Sumerian, the symbol in question represented the Tin Firmament god (An) and was only applied to other deities who were Anu-nna (offspring of An/u).

In any case, in no way is this "Ishtar's symbol", any more than the Zodiac is "Mithras's symbol".
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 04:31:46 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline samkim

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Re: The Virgin Mary, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven" and Blah
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2012, 06:39:27 PM »
From a Roman Catholic source (http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2011/04/our-lady-star-of-evangelisation-by.html):

Quote
The style of the eight-pointed star, which is created by drawing two squares, is a common theme in the Western, Romanesque iconographic form (though not exclusive to it) and is seen, for example, in the geometric patterned art at the 12th century Capella Palatina. Eight-pointed stars symbolise, the 'eighth day' of creation, the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord. Sunday is simultaneously the first day of the next week and the eight day of the previous. The Octave of Easter, such a special time in the liturgical calendar, could be thought of perhaps, as eight consecutive days of eighth days.

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