The ongoing redefining of history and context is best epitomized by a recent editing project being conducted by WikiProject Christianity. According to Wikipedia itself, many entries pertaining to ancient history, spirituality and myth have become part of ‘WikiProject Christianity’ which is a “collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia.”
One particular example which has fallen victim to this revisionism is the Wiki entry for the history of the Chi-Ro symbol. (1.)
The Christian interpretation of the Chi-Ro is well described in the Wiki piece and we will not go into it here except to say that throughout his life Constantine was not a Christian so to say he used the symbol in any evangelical sense is contradictory to the facts. Most scholars agree that there is little to no evidence that Constantine even converted on his death bed. The only account of this comes from Eusebius who being a bishop and known as the “historian of the church” makes his bias hard to ignore. Unfortunately, much of the original and authentic Chi-Ro history has been selectively ignored in order to propagate a Christian bias, some of which we will look at here.
This symbol is mentioned in Plato’s Timaeus where he describes the Chi-Ro cross as being indicative of the world soul or Anima Mundi. This idea is reflected in the Hindu notion of Brahman and Atman as well as other ancient systems such as Taoism and Buddhism. (2.) The combination of the Chi and Ro stood for Chreston which means ‘good’ or ‘anointed’. Another example of pre-Christian usage is on coins dated to that of Ptolemy III (fl. 246-220 BCE), in which the Chi-Rho symbol is shown between the eagle’s legs on the reverse side.
Chrestos was also used in conjunction with the Greek god and goddess Hades and Persephone as oracles of the underworld as well as, and potentially more intriguing used to describe Hermes as a guide to the afterlife. (3.) (4.)
A prototype of the Chi Ro also occurs in a Neolithic pictograph dating thousands of years before the advent of Christianity and was documented by Dr. Walter O. Moeller in 1978.
Moeller writes, “The stick-man, which is also a Chi-Rho of sorts…has fingers at the ends of both arms, a line slanting down through the upright and a leg extending down from the upright to the right. The slanting line has been correctly identified as a spear and the whole figure, therefore, as a representation of a savior-god. But in this case, the deity cannot be the Christ but must be instead Odin-Wotan who hanged himself on a tree for nine days and nine nights with a spear in his side as a sacrifice to himself. The slanting line makes the stickman also a prototypal St Stephan’s Cross. Somewhat similar to this Neolithic symbol from Northern Europe is a stick-man figure from predynastic Egypt.” (5.)
Regular readers and students of world mythology will immediately spot the parallels between the Anima Mundi, as Plato describes the Chi-Ro and the figure of Odin and the world tree. We can continue this parallel of the primordial man on the world tree through Kabbalistic descriptions of Adam Kadmon.
Another pre-Christian deity associated with the Chi-Ro was Chronos who was the god of astronomical time among other attributes and identifications. This horizontal and vertical association again brings us neatly back to the axial properties of the Anima Mundi. (6.)
Unfortunately, this Christian revisionism project has potentially thousands of participants and is very difficult to correct; legitimate history is being whitewashed to fit the views and dogma of a relatively recent faith. In this context, we are all the poorer for the loss and corruption of our shared myths, art, and cultural traditions.
Other Wiki entries to suffer the same revisionist fate are those of Easter and the Solstice among many others. In these particular examples, the astronomical and ancient Pagan origins have been excluded and refuted by biased sources. Hopefully, by bringing attention to this revisionist project, historians, scientists and students and practitioners of other non-Christian faiths, as well as those of none, can try to counteract this.
David Halpin (c) 2016
(2.) Plato. Timaeus, 8.36b and 8.36c
(3.) Chrestos: a religious epithet; its import and influence : J. B. Mitchell. Williams and Norgate, 1880
(4.) Ancient Angels: Conceptualizing Angeloi in the Roman Empire by Rangar Cline. P. 94.
(5.) Hommages à Maarten J. Vermaseren (v. 2; Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1978) “Marks, Names and Numbers.”
David has also worked as a sound engineer and museum researcher.
In his spare time David compiles local folklore and documents alignments between ancient monuments near his home in Ireland.
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