The Christian holiday of Easter was based upon the earlier pagan festival of Eostre, dedicated to the Great Phrygian Goddess. Her festival each Spring was held on Quail Mountain–in Ephesus, now in modern Turkey–where people once hunted for red-dyed “Eostre Eggs” sacred to the goddess as marks of fertility and renewal–as described in my book, The Magic Circle. The goddess was sometimes called “Car,” for the chariot of the moon that she drove across the sky–as she appears in my book, The Eight, vividly depicted driving her lunar chariot across the side of a cliff in the depths of the Sahara. This was the goddess who so irritated Saint Paul that he smashed her idols. However, her rites were still celebrated during the late Roman Empire, at the festival of Carmentia, always held on April 4th in honor of the goddess whose image had once been brought from Turkey to rescue Rome in their war against the Carthaginians. Today, the date for our Easter is still calculated based upon her lunar calendar: it is the first “Sun-Day” after the first Full Moon, following the Spring Equinox. This year, Easter falls on the “fourth day of the fourth month” both my birthday, and a key to the plot of my book, The Eight.
April in Paris: at Notre Dame de Paris!
On April 4 last year, I was in Paris on French book tour for my new book, The Fire–the sequel to The Eight. The day after my birthday, April 5, 2009, was Palm Sunday. Karl and I trotted across the cobblestones of Paris to pay a visit to that other revered Grand Dame–the cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary (whose ancient house, coincidentally still stands today on Quail Mountain in Ephesus, Turkey, on the side of the hill that was the birthplace of the Great Goddess.) While visiting Notre Dame de Paris, Karl and I were accidentally swept into the Palm Sunday High Mass along with all the archbishops and the cardinal of Paris! More about this historic event will appear on my website soon.
Photo of Notre Dame by Katherine Neville.
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