To continue--Granny told me a lot about history-but what was so interesting for me is that Granny never went beyond a 3rd grade education.
She was born in 1880 on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands of Portugues parents who had immigrated there from the Azorian Islands off of Portugal and Maderia, and their grandparents were from Lisbon and the Algarve of Mainland Portugal.
The history that she knew was told to her orally, not by reading, nor by blind acceptance. She had just enough education to do sums make change, compare amounts of foods to price value, determine enough material to make clothes, cooking weights and measures,write a little and do a bit of reading so that she could read the newspaper, but back then a 3rd grade education was equal to a 6th grade education today.
She was lucky to go to school back then because serious education beyond the basics was not considered important for most women because they were going to be married. Even today I marvel at what my Grandmother could do because of her determination to over come these barriers.
Now at this point it gets a bit fragmented on the history, because part of what she told me was of the persecution and part was of one family member who had some education and managed to communicate to distant family members some events that were happening to a religious order that he entered into.
Granny once told me of a maxim of a Roman General whose name she couldn't remember. She said that this General said that if you want to conquer a country you convert that conquered country's Gods into devils and make your Gods as The Gods.
She told me that after the birth of Jesus, several hundred years later, the early Christian church started assimilating much of the aspects of the pagan Goddesses into their teachings of Jesus and eventually Mary.
In the early days of Christianity--the cult of Jesus was not really persecuted by Rome, they were willing to let the Christians do their thing as long as it did not cause any uprising against the government, but it was the Sanheadrin or leaders of the Jewish community that did not like the new teachings of the Christian cult. They feared that these teachings would cause problems
So much of the persecution of these early followers of Christ was done by the Jewish leaders by making claims to the roman officials that some of the teachings could become rebellious actions against Caesar. So the Romans would come in throw them in jail and keep the Jewish leaders, who were trying to prevent destruction within their community, quiet.
The one person who really started getting things out of hand was the Apostle Paul formerly Saul of Tarsus as he was originally known.
Paul was a supposed late convert to the teachings, he never knew Jesus but he did come to know the remaining Apostles. Originally he was persecuting the Apostles and their followers under the orders of Caliphias.
But, as it came down through my Craft's teachings, Paul had a better idea. He thought if he joined the Apostles he could bring them back into the fold of the Jewish community. But something within himself, changed him. Perhaps it was a sense of power.
Much of the time the reason why he was thrown into jail was because he was a former roman solider and therefor thought to be a traitor to the Roman government. Not because he was doing any kind of seditioniest activities.
Paul had one other advantage that the original Apostles didn't have, he could organize things, he was the real reason that the early Christian church got it's start and he was the one who laid down the rules for the newly formed group.
The original Apostles only wanted to get the word out, their focus really was to improve the Jewish religion and have women looked upon as equals not as property, and also to bring back into the Jewish beliefs the focus of the goddess as she was known in the ancient Jewish beliefs as Sophia or Widom.
But Paul eliminated that. And changed things so much that it was Paul who created a new religious belief.
The serious persecution of the Christians started after the Jewish rebellion in 63 or 68 C.E. and because Christians were former Jews they were persecuted by the Romans for possible rebellion against the government.
Years later the early Christian Church showed that it learned it's lesson very well about persecution from the old Jewish leaders and the Roman government and the Church did the same thing. In Europe almost every single Christian church is built on an ancient Goddess site. The name of the Goddess was assimulated and made a saint and some mythical story was created about the saint, how this saint and that saint endured untold tortures in the name of God, with certain nominal mention of the attributes of the original Goddess that was hidden within the myth.
Good PR as one would say, and a built in Boogy man as well.
Pope Gregory was the one who truly observed this. He discovered that the city folk would be more willing to accept a Father God because they were distanced from the land, but the country folk would not, because they lived close to the land and understood how important fertility, new life and re-birth of the earth, being close to the earth and in tune with all her wonders were so important.
So it would be very difficult to have a father God without a mother Goddess because the Country folk (also known as pagans) would not believe or accept just a father god for they understood the duality and need of Female and Male. The need for such balance.
Gregory realized that this was a built in loophole to help aid in converting the country folk and so instructed his priests that if a pagan custom or belief was too deep rooted, to turn it around and make it look like a Christian one. So for centuries it would not have been unusual for a country dweller to not only make mouthing words to the Christian god but also do serious worship to the Goddess and her ways and have it accepted by the church
But it was even more complicated than this --- so let us retrace some steps~~~~
The so-called birthday of Jesus was placed deliberately right near the winter solstice and as a matter of fact Dec. 25 is the birthday of a Sun God called Mithras, who sacrified himself to take on the problems of the world and is reborn near the winter solstice. (sound familiar??)
According to reaseach Jesus most likely was born near the end of March or early part of April and probably about 4 years before the beginning of Common Era. Even Granny told me that there was no way Shepherds would be out in the cold watching a flock of sheep because most likely in the winter the sheep herd would have been culled and kept in pens and fed from stored food sources. Not bad for a 3rd grade education if she could figure that out.
Now Mithras was a hot god with the Roman soldiers since it was a male only religion and was of Middle Eastern origins, most likely a small remenate from the much older Ishtar/Inanna beliefs of what is now present day Iran and Iraq-- he sacrified himself both as a man and as a bull.
In my Granny's beliefs the God image of him being both a man and an animal--a bull--is very predominate.
Now some of the Mithras origins say that he emerged whole from a rock, but I was able to look more closely to the texts and really he emerged from the earth which is the mother of us all aka the Goddess.
So the early Christian church simply dangled another choice among the Mithras followers by assimilating the Mithras beliefs. And it most likely that Paul was very familiar with this very powerful belief among the men of Rome (aka soldiers) and he most likely started combining these two ideas of Jesus and Mithras to gain more converts--Paul knew that eventually one would need to get the Roman solidery on the Christians side.
Granny told me that there was a tale that continued to be talked about by my ancestors, in which Paul, by using the Jesus/Mithras combination to gain converts, was able to have spies within the Roman government and he used that to certain advantage over the other apostles.
But the Christian church had a problem trying to get real converts, they were not really a very big item, among the pagan community that preferred to celebrate the other pagan religions celebrating fertility and the mysteries of fertility, these Christians were looked upon as a pretty dull and boring lot.
You see if it was left up to the original apostles they would have remained a very minor group that were working hard to bring back the balance of the Goddess as represented by Sophia/Wisdom into the Jewish faith.
But it was Paul who supposedly converted after Jesus "rose into heaven", who was the real rebel rouser and with him being a soldier and campaigner he knew what to do to get converts to his type of religious belief. And through his own personal force of will, or his type of control that he manipulated the other Apostles.
It was believed that he may have also slowly put the Apostles into harms way, to get rid of them, but in a manner that they would become Maryted Heros.
But his greatest task was to get Jesus's wife, out of the way and out of the picture.
Yes Jesus was married.