At the risk of posting controversial statements and religious commentary on my blog, I cannot help but make mention of my latest novel-in-progress in these days leading up to the Easter holiday.
Let me preface this by stating that I believe strongly in tolerance and acceptance. I will not discuss my personal spiritual beliefs other than to state charity for my fellow man. Whew! Now, having that out of the way…
Some many years ago, I stumbled across a gorgeous sculpture while hosting a student tour of the Dallas Museum of Art. It was there the artist’s siren song sang a name to me, a name that inspired countless hours of research. The likeness was attributed to that of a Babylonian queen—Semiramis.
She’s been called many things—Mother of Harlots, Queen of Heaven…and like much of my work, I believe the truth may lie somewhere in the human story of the woman who brought adulation (and horror) to the entire known world. She has been called many names- Sammuramat, Shamiram, Astarte, Ishtar, …and as she lived in the time of Genesis, it stands to reason that the same legends would be told and retold in many (confounded?) tongues.
The book is only half-begun, and I feel like I’m wrestling crocodiles on most days—just trying to sift through conflicting legends, stories and embellished historical and biblical accounts. Only time will tell if I can do the story justice.
So, why bring it up now?
Because Semiramis, for anyone who has made a study of religions, is considered by many to be the origins of Easter.
Her name is everywhere at this time of year.
Don’t believe me? Try googling “Pagan origins of Easter” and read the first page (and there are many, many pages) of listings for what comes up. And while I’m not a big fan of using internet resources as gospel, the fact is that many of them cite gospel, when stating these claims.
As a historical author, I’m wary of anything proclaimed as “fact”. But the fact (tongue-in-cheek aside) remains that there may be an interesting parallel between life in Mesopotamia and what is documented in Biblical history.
I actually loved the write up from UK author Heather McDougall who said
“… early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter….In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.”