Adonis

Adonis as the Spiritual Sun

“The Mysteries of Adonis, or Adoni, were celebrated annually in many parts of Egypt, Phoenicia, and Biblos. The name Adonis, or Adoni, means ‘Lord’ and was a designation applied to the sun and later borrowed by the Jews as the exoteric name of their God. Smyrna, mother of Adonis, was turned into a tree by by the gods and after a time the bark burst open and the infant savior came forth. According to one account, he was liberated by a wild boar which split the wood of the maternal tree with its tusks. Adonis was born at midnight of the 24th of December, and through his unhappy death a Mystery rite was established that wrought the salvation of his people. In the Jewish month of Tammuz (another name for this deity) he was gored to death by a wild boar sent by the god Ars (Mars). The Adoniasmos was the cerimony of lamenting the premature death of the murdered god. …

“Adonis was originally an androgynous deity who represented the solar power which in the winter was destroyed by the evil principle of cold – the boar. After three days (months) in the tomb, Adonis rose triumphant on the 25th day of March, amidst the acclimation of his priests and followers. …

“In the Mysterie of Adonis trhe neophyte passed through the symbolic death of the god and, ‘raised’ by the priests, entered into the blessed state of redemption.” ~Manly P. Hall

Birth of Adonis

I have known for some time that the Greek god Adonis represented the Spiritual Sun, but this story of his being born from Smyrna after she had been turned into a tree is new to me. It is a strange tale that is undoubtedly symbolic rather than literal. So let’s look at some of the symbols involved in the tale.

Birth of Adonis

The Tree

A tree can symbolize a number of things. I think in the case of Adonis, we can say that this tree is none other than the Tree of Life. After being thrown out of Heaven by our own actions, humanity has no direct access to this spiritual “tree”. We can access it only through an intermediary. The primary intermedia between man and the Tree of Life is the Spiritual Sun, which Adonis represented.

The Birth

God was never born. Spirits and souls are not born. They exist outside the limitations of time and space, so the very idea of birth is meaningless to them. So why would Adonis, who represents the Spiritual Sun, have a birth? The idea is that while the spirit of the sun is immortal, it doesn’t always shine down on us from within (or around) the physical sun. And when it does, it isn’t always with the same energy, the same vigor. So you could say that when the spiritual sun is not shining on us at all or is very weak, it is, from our point-of-view, dead. When it starts shining on us again, it can seem to be  birth from our perspective. So much as birth in a dream is symbolic of a major change coming, the birth of Adonis represented a return of the Spiritual Sun to full vigor. Birth in general represents a renewal. So being born from the Tree of Life is instruction for us to do the same.

Androgynous Deity

It seems surprising that Adonis was originally an androgynous god since he is generally depicted as very masculine and muscular. A very handsome man is still sometimes called an Adonis. But it actually makes perfect sense that a god should be androgynous or asexual. First, a god has to serve both men and women, so the god should have aspects of both male and female. Second, a creator god can only create from some aspect of himself, so there must be both aspects within him. Third, a god creates without sex so while he may mentally have an androgenous mental attitude, he is probably more asexual. In other words, there is no reason for a god to have sex, so being male or female doesn’t really apply to a god. This is especially true of the One true God, the God of Spirit and Light.

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The Mysteries of Adonis

“The Mysteries of Adonis, or Adoni, were celebrated annually in many parts of Egypt. Phoenicia, and Biblos. … Adonis was born at midnight of the 24th of December, and through his unhappy death, a Mystery rite was established that wrought the salvation of his people. …
“Adonis was originally an androgynous deity who represented the solar power which in the winter was destroyed by the evil principle of cold—the boar. After three days (months) in the tomb, Adonis rose triumphant on the 25th day of march, amidst the acclimation of his priests and followers, ‘He is risen!’ …In the Mysteries of Adonis the neophyte passed through the symbolic death of the god and, ‘raised’ by the priests, entered into the blessed state of redemption made possible by the suffering of Adonis.” ~Manly P. Hall

apolloIf you are reading this description of the rites of Adonis for the first time, you are probably shocked by the many resemblances to the ceremonies and teachings about Jesus. It is not that Paul and the founders of his church (not to be confused with the one actually founded by Jesus) copied the stories of Adonis. Rather they copied much from the tales of a popular Roman god of the time, Mithros, and Mithros was somewhat copied from Adonis, but twisted in a materialistic direction while Adonis was a truly spiritual god. The followers of Paul copied rites and teachings from other religions also in an effort to make their new church popular.

I also don’t think that the followers of Adonis believed that he literally died at the beginning of winter and was reborn at the end of that season. I think this death and rebirth was intended to be allegorical, as is most spiritual mythology. Continue reading “The Mysteries of Adonis”

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