Beyism: An Old Religion in a New Age

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The first time I learnt of the Atlanta-based National Church of Bey (or “Beyism”); I figured it was more than just a celebrity obsession gone awry. Some have dismissed the group as a joke, but if history is a reliable witness, new religions founded by self-styled gurus whom many thought were comical farce have gained much influence and spread across nations.

While Beyism was greeted with widespread criticism and public outcry in 2014 for mimicking some elements of Christianity, one of its members Taniya Hattersfield, committed suicide beside an altar erected to Beyoncé in her basement. In her suicide note, she offered herself to Beyoncé whom she addressed as her “lord and savior”.

Cults usually revolve around a false deity, false scripture and a worship structure that diverges from the general, orthodox expression, and Beyism meets up with this criteria. Ergo, it’s more than a satirical fringe group.

Cults and new religions don’t just spring up from the blues; they are built on the foundation of pre-existing ones.

For instance, the origins of Freemasonry, Wicca, Eckankar, Grail Message and New Age spirituality demonstrate that they have their roots in ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Indian, Celtic, and Native American religions.

Similarly, Beyism has its spiritual dynamics. The founder of the group, “Diva” Pauline John Andrews said:

Deity’s [sic] often walk the Earth in their flesh form. Beyoncé will transcend back to the spirit once her work here on Mother Earth has been completed. As our congregation continues to swell, we ask that you consider what is more real; an invisible spirit on high, or a walking, talking breathing Goddess who shows you her true form daily? Beyoncé spirit is entrancing. We know that she was sent to this place to spread love, peace, and joy. While we do not believe Beyoncé to be the Creator, we recognize that she still sits among the throne of Gods.

Four years after this statement was made, a church in San Francisco, Grace Cathedral held a mass to honour Beyoncé on April 25, 2018.

The service featured “hymns” of Beyoncé music, Bible readings, prayer and communion. Rev. Yolanda Norton, a black feminist theologian, says that the service “uses Beyoncé music as a tool to engender positive, empowering conversations about black women.”

These folks are simply repeating old concepts with new words. The worship of “the divine feminine” is not novel; it’s a concept crystallized into various cultures for centuries.

Bey devotees may couch their version with modern feminist clichés but the weight of cultural signification attached to feminity underlies it:

(1) Pagan cultures viewed women as a metaphor for life and were believed to uphold social balances with physical activities. They are considered to have an intuitive knowledge of how physical and metaphysical energy can be manipulated to change things in the world [1].

Thus, supernatural connotations were attached to women’s bodies. Their womb was believed to symbolize creation of life and the breasts, motherhood.

Artemis of Ephesus is pictured having many breasts symbolizing the regenerative power of nature. Asherah, often depicted nude, was said to nourish kings “from her breasts as they had been by the goddess in Sumeria and Egypt.” [2]

Most images of African goddesses like Oshun, Idemili, Onishe etc. are also shown with accentuated breasts. In some traditional occult mysteries, like the Ogboni society, members ritually suck the breasts of the brass images (edan) of their mother goddess to receive “blessings.”

(2) Women’s bodies were deemed symbolic of the cosmos hence women’s fertility was also linked to fruitfulness of the land. Ritual sex with women was presumed to stimulate the gods to favour the people with fertility.

From this delusion emerged fertility cults with ritual prostitution and wild orgies which made ancient and modern goddess worship appeal to many.

According to a reference work, “By joining in the activities of the cultic sexuality, common people could participate in ‘stockpiling’ fertility energy, which ensured the continuing stability of agricultural as well as human and animal productivity. Archaeological excavations in Canaanite locations have uncovered temples with chambers where sexual activity took place.” [3]

It must be noted however, that Beyoncé stage persona has already presented the triple forms of the great goddess to her audience: as maiden, mother and crone. That isn’t a coincidence.

Her sensual lyrics, erotic dances and flagrant display of her voluptuous (“bootylicious”) body convey the image of a wanton, seductive maiden.  Her identification as the “queen bee” which feeds and rules over all bees in the hive gives off a motherhood mien. Her introduction of “Sasha fierce” – her alter ego – to the public reveals the dark form of the goddess.

Carl G. Jung, an occult psychologist postulated that there are archetypal images or formularies which existed deep in the subterranean unconsciousness of people – “the Collective Unconscious” – from which humans derive their images of deities. Thus, the Goddess archetype can emerge in any form in the minds of the devotees if it exists in humanity’s consciousness. [4]

He also believed that myths have a life of their own and that even if they weren’t literally true, if enough people believed in them, they were invested with a formidable, archetypal power of their own.

Carl Jung is regarded as a “patron” scholar of Neo-Pagan/New Age movements, because his writings provided much of the philosophical underpinning for modern occultism.

So, it’s common to find initiates of goddess religions claiming to have initially encountered an archetype of the goddess in someone they knew at some point in their lives: a mother, teacher, mentor or a celebrity they loved.

That’s why persons can evolve from their devotion to the Roman Catholic “Virgin Mary” to that of the Yoruba Yemoja or Voodoo Erzulie or vice versa – and in some cases, combine them in syncretic adoration. One archetype makes way for the other.

Thus, it can be deduced that Bey’s devotees worship an archetype of the old pagan goddess.

Beyoncé herself has poetically talked of crowning three goddess forms: Yemoja, Oshun and Nefertiti. In other words, she offers them her devotion, dedication and loyalty.

In some pagan systems, “Few goddesses and gods were confined to a single mode of manifestation, since they were immanent [present and involved in all of nature] divinities and could appear in any context that called them forth.” [5]

Since these deities are believed to symbolize universal principles, processes or life forces, ten different god or goddess forms can emerge from a single one.

This is why no limit can be set to the forms of expression the occult takes. It is like “the adulterous woman” in the book of Proverbs, “her ways her unstable, that you cannot know them” (Prov. 5:5).

As you are pinning it down at one point, it morphs into another one. In a bid to trap more souls, Satan keeps creating newer versions of false worship suited for each generation. Talk about old religions for the new age!

They have been here and they will emerge again in another form. The names their objects of worship will take is immaterial, the real deal, as Pauline Andrews puts it, is that “invisible spirit on high” that “walking, talking and breathing” demon goddess that turns many souls away from the Living God and drags them into eternal perdition.

Notes

[1] Abimbola Adelakun, The Ghost of Performance Past:  Theatre, Gender and Cultural Memory, Religion and Gender Vol. 7, no. 2, (2017), p. 13.

[2] Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess, Penguin Books, 1991, 454.

[3] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Vol. 4, p. 100.

[4] Janet and Stewart Farrar, The Witches’ Goddess, Phoenix Publishing, 1987, 57.

[5] The Myth of the Goddess, 254.

Is Easter a Pagan Holiday?

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The answer to the question, ‘Is Easter a pagan holiday?’ would depend on the church tradition or religious background of whom you ask, but the reasons given are often uniform.

What I find rather frustrating is when a one-line answer is given: “We don’t celebrate Easter because it’s a pagan holiday.”

Such a dogmatic disposition helps no one. Regardless of one’s position about Easter, having a good knowledge of its history and essence is vital.

We can’t claim to be intelligent and broad-minded if we don’t investigate issues diligently to sift out fact from fiction.

Here, I will be using this article to briefly respond to some claims made in an article, “Christians Should not Celebrate Easter,” written by Femi Aribisala, the self-acclaimed religious scholar. His words will appear in blue:

Easter was smuggled into the King James Bible in Acts 12:4 where it was substituted for the original word, “Passover”

The word translated as “Easter” in the KJV in Greek (as well as Latin) is “Paschal.” It’s a derivative of the Hebrew word for “Passover.”

Although the KJV mistranslated and anachronistically employed the term “Easter,” modern translations used the proper rendering: Passover.

The Passover commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt in which a spotless lamb was killed (Ex. 12:3-6). Fittingly, Jesus the sinless Lamb of God, came to Jerusalem to be crucified at the time of the Passover.

Just as Passover lambs were inspected for four days by the people for any defect, Jesus was inspected for four days and the people couldn’t find any defect in Him (Matt. 21:16-22:46, Mark 11:18-12:34).

Jesus’ last supper with the disciples was the Passover meal, so His death and resurrection was tied to the timeline of this Jewish celebration.

The early Jewish Christians celebrated the Passover along with the death and resurrection of Christ which later became known as “Easter.”

In the late second century, the date for observing Easter/Passover led to “the Quartodeciman controversy” between the Alexandrian churches and those in the Roman province of Asia. This issue was later addressed at the Council of Nicea.

Easter is a pagan festival surreptitiously merged with Christianity. Noah’s son Ham, married a woman called Ashtoreth. In some cultures, Ashtoreth is called Ishtar, which is transliterated in English as Easter

These claims can make even the Easter bunnies laugh.

Ashtoreth is the pluralised name of Astarte, a Phoenician pagan goddess. Ham didn’t marry a goddess.

While Ishtar is a Babylonian form of Astarte, it has no phonetic link with the word “Easter.”

Others who seek to tie Easter to ancient paganism argue that the word “Easter” is the name of an Anglo-Saxon spring goddess, Eostre.

The only source for this claim is a work by Bede, an 8th century monk, who said that the old English word “month of Eostre” (or Paschal month) was “once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month” (Faith Wallis, Bede: The Reckoning of Time, Liverpool University, 1999, p. 54)

Historians have stated that no firm evidence for such a goddess existed. Bede’s claim could have been conjecture on his part since recent scholars cannot locate any reference to such a goddess in northern mythology.

Ronald Hutton notes that “the Anglo-Saxon ‘Estor-monath’ simply meant ‘the month of opening’ or ‘the month of beginnings’ and that Bede mistakenly connected it with a goddess who either never existed at all, or was never associated with a particular season but merely, like Eos and Aurora, with the dawn itself” (The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain, Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 181).

The term “Eostre” most likely refers to a month rather than a goddess.

Ham and Ashtoreth gave birth to a son called Nimrod. After Ham’s death, Nimrod married Ashtoreth, his own mother and became a powerful king of ancient Babylon. When Nimrod was also killed, Ashtoreth deified him as sun-god or life giver. Indeed, Easter means “movement towards the sun”

This is a drivel straight from the stables of Chick Publications and it can only fool simple minds that crave for old wives’ tales.

Ham was already married before entering Noah’s ark and he’s called “the father of Canaan,” so he couldn’t have been the father of Nimrod, the king of Babylon (see Gen. 6:18; 9:18).

Ham and Nimrod didn’t even live in the same century! There’s no historical record of Nimrod let alone of him being deified.

Mr. Aribisala is here presenting a version of the old, disproved Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz hypothesis which no modern scholar takes with any level of seriousness.

Earlier, he claimed “Easter” was a goddess’ name, now he links it with a sun god. He couldn’t even convince himself.

Because of their prolific nature in reproduction, rabbits were associated with Ishtar, the goddess of fertility

This is false. Ishtar’s emblems are lions, dragons, gates and an 8-pointed star.

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, says this about Ishtar:

“Sometimes she is shown holding her symbol, the eight pointed star… The lion, bull, and dragon are Ishtar’s emblems” (Russell Coulter and Patricia Turner, Fitzroy Dearborn: London, 2000 p. 242).

Occult/New Age researcher, Deanna Conway noted that:

“lshtar had a lion throne and double serpent scepter; some times, She was pictured accompanied by dragons” (Maiden, Mother and Crone: The Myth and Reality of the Triple Goddess, Llewellyn: MN, 1997, p. 60)

Easter eggs and rabbits have no link with Ishtar and they have no link with Christ’s death and resurrection either. These are obviously folk traditions integrated into the celebration.

I need to ask those peddling these groundless claims about Easter, who is it that worships a goddess on Easter? I know about many Christians who at Easter worship “the MAN Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5), who rose from the dead—but I don’t know of any who worship a goddess.

Even with the unbiblical emphasis that many Roman Catholics place on Mary, it’s intriguing to note that Easter is not Mary’s day!

Aside this, when it comes to issues not explicitly stated in Scripture, “Every person must make his own decisions” (Rom. 14:5). Christians who don’t celebrate Easter should not condemn those who do and vice versa.

Whether or not a Christian observes a certain day has no bearing on his/her salvation. We “don’t receive God’s approval because of [our] own efforts to live according to a set of standards, but only by believing in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2:16).

The Goddess Delusion

Over the last few decades, there has been a fast-spreading paradigm shift from Christianity to paganism. This trend ranges from attempts to promote a feminized version of God to cults centered around a female divinity.

“For the first time in two millennia,” wrote Caitlin Matthews in Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, “the idea of a Goddess as a central pivot of creation is finding a welcome response.”

With the surge of feminism, earth-centred beliefs and New Age spirituality, conceptual social and religious barriers are being broken down, with many adopting a form of female principle – whether by literal goddess worship or a mystical tap into the “feminine energy.”

Elmer Towns was apt to observe that:

“Many women turn to a female deity because they have been hurt by men. They may have been abused, raped, abandoned, or in some way violated by males in their lives. As a result, they may blame the heavenly Father, who is male. Notice, when people ask why God would allow starvation, cancer, or other problems in the world, they never ask why ‘Mother Earth’ or a female deity has caused the problems. It’s always a male deity that they blame. [1]

Ex-Wiccan High Priest, Bill Schnoebelen, reflected on the deceptive ideas that led him into goddess worship:

“While the Biblical Jehovah is striking people with thunderbolts as they step out of line, their Goddess plays and frolics with her hidden children … She is everyone’s fantasy idea of a mother or lover: a gorgeous, compassionate woman who loves unconditionally, does not chide or require much of you, and who is totally available for both service and sexual intimacy. I fell in love with this image of the Goddess immediately.” [2]

Many Wiccans and Neo-pagans freely acknowledge that their Goddess is universally worshipped in countless cultures, traditions and rites worldwide; that their goddess has emerged in different forms, with different names at various periods of history.

This global catholicity of the “great goddess,” however, exposes the diabolic veneer, because a historical overview of many ancient goddesses reveal them to be evil, savage and destructive. For example:

Kali – she is the major Hindu goddess of death, power and destruction. A Hindu text, Devi Mahatmyam, describes Kali as “armed with a sword and noose.”

“Bearing the strange Khatvanga (skull-topped staff), decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger’s skin, very appalling owing to her emaciated flesh, with gaping mouth, fearful with her tongue lolling out [and] having deep reddish eyes…”

She is also depicted wearing a skirt of human arms and accompanied by serpents. Kali has been worshipped for centuries, perhaps millennia, by human sacrifice.

The infamous Thuggee cult of India and Nepal were followers of Kali who strangled their victims as an act of worship to her. Although the British tried to wipe out Kali’s cult when they colonized India, their efforts failed.

Much has been reported about the numerous human sacrifices to her in the last decade. As recently as 2015, a boy was sacrificed to Kali by a devotee in Kolkata.

If all goddesses are one, then they are by no means benign.

Lilitu/Lilith – the Sumerian goddess Lilitu was depicted as having both the wings and claws of a bird.

Some reliefs show her lower half as a serpent’s body or as a serpent with the head and breasts of a woman. Her visual representation closely resembles that of Maleficent in the 2014 Disney movie.

This goddess, under a slightly modified name, Lilith, is also worshipped in the West.

Lilith is a figure out of Hebrew cabalistic folklore. She was believed to be Adam’s first wife who refused to submit to him and left the Garden of Eden while she was with child. She later gave birth to the baby and bashed its brains out on the rocks by the Euphrates River.

Lilith is worshipped in witchcraft covens and satanic groups today as the ‘Dark Mother’ or demon goddess presiding over feminism, infanticide, abortion and sexual defilement. She also relishes blood sacrifices.

Tanit – the BerberPunic and Phoenician goddess and chief deity of Carthage (modern Tunisia). She was associated with the heavenly bodies, war and fertility and regarded as a consort of Baal Hammon.

She was often depicted having a lion’s head. Archaeological and ancient writings points to animal and human sacrifices as part of her cult worship.

Excavations at ancient sites of her temple showed charred bones of newborns, and in some cases, the bones of fetuses and two year olds.[3]

Artemis – Greek goddess of the hunt, moon and childbirth. She is also called “the thrower of the dart or shooter” of death. A Wiccan writer says:

“Artemis had a reputation for liking bloody sacrifices, including human ones … Artemis who personified respect for animal life, accepts the necessity of the hunt, but only if the rules and the absolving rituals are observed. In most Goddess religions, a similar reasoning is applied to the fetus and the newborn. It is morally acceptable that a woman who gives life may also destroy life under certain circumstances.”[4]

Notice the strong link between goddess worship, feminism, sexual immorality and infant destruction.

Oya – also known as Yansa or Iansa, this Yoruba warrior goddess is worshipped in West Africa as well as in the Americas. She is the “patron” goddess of death, destruction, lightning and violent storms.

The name Oya literally means “She tore [asunder]”. She is associated with cemeteries, marketplace and said to be queen over river Niger and the Amazon river.

Oya’s symbols are swords (or machetes), flywhisk and water buffalo. Her nine children are emblematic of the moon. She is a huntress (murderer) who presides over magick and evil wisdom.[5]

She is also believed to be the mother of the Egunguns – embodiment of the spirits of the ancestral dead in Africa.

Coatlicue – Aztec goddess of the earth, moon, fertility, sexual pleasure and gambling. She is said to be one of the nine Lords of the Night Hours and the power behind all magic in the Aztec world. Her name literally means “skirt of snakes”.

As Tlazoteutl, “she appears nude, riding on a broom. She wears a horned headdress with a crescent moon and she holds a red snake. She also has a crescent moon decorated on her nose …. represents the planet Venus. She is often depicted wearing a flayed human skin.” [6]

There is absolutely nothing gentle or good about these goddess figures. They are bloodthirsty fiends whose altars were drenched with blood of many souls.

Yet these same entities are being invoked in Wiccan/Neopagan circles today.

Astarte or Ashtoreth – the chief goddess of war and sexuality worshipped throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Astarte is the Greek form of her name.

Her symbols are the lion, horse, sphinx and a star within a circle indicating planet Venus (the morning/evening star).

She is associated with the crescent moon and depicted with a child on her laps. Figurines of Astarte have been found at various archaeological sites in Israel showing the goddess having two horns.

A feminist author admits that “infant sacrifices were regularly performed in honor of, certainly, some forms of the goddess. It is recorded, for instance, that around the sacred stone which represented the goddess Astarte, hundreds of skeletons of human infants have been found… first-born children and animals were sacrificed to her.” [7]

From the Bible, we can see the dark, downward spiral when people dabble into goddess worship which we observe today as ancient paganism is being revived.

After King Solomon was led astray by his pagan wives:

“He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD…” (1 Kgs. 11:5-6)

Centuries later, about 741 BC, King Ahaz “walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites” (2 Kgs. 16:3).

Then some decades later (about 721 BC), the Bible says this about the Israelites:

“The set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree… They bowed down to all the starry host, and they worshipped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD…” (2 Kgs. 17:10, 16-17).

God has revealed Himself as the only true God and there is no “heavenly queen” ruling together with him (Is. 45:5). He is the embodiment of love and the “father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (1 Jn. 4:8; 2 Cor. 1:3).

God desires all men to know and serve Him. Yet, many people are being led astray by another form of modern goddess delusion in a “Christian” garb: the cult of the Catholic Mary.

The “Virgin Mary” being worshipped in Roman Catholicism has become the “emergent” goddess archetype of our time, annually drawing millions of people from diverse churches and religions to her shrines and grottoes like the pied piper of Hamelin.

Many apparitions and miracles of this Lady have been documented. What is particularly striking is, this Catholic Queen of heaven is demanding that the Vatican define a final dogma to make her the Co-Redemptrix with Christ:

“When the dogma, the last dogma in Marian history, has been proclaimed, “the Lady of All Nations” will give peace, true peace to the world. The nations, however, must say My prayer in union with the Church. They must know that “the Lady of Nations” has come as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. So be it!” [8]

New Agers are also receiving messages from this counterfeit Mary calling for a one world religion:

“Each religion is worshipping, underneath the outer trappings, its Creator. It is the same Creator! Whether you pray facing the east or facing an altar or on Saturday or Sunday, it is all worship … All words which have been written in the Holy Books have been written by men in unity with the Creator.” [9]

Bible prophecy indicates that a diabolical female figure will gain universal prominence in the last days.

Prophet Zechariah was shown a woman sitting in a basket lifted between heaven and earth which an angel of God called “wickedness” (Zech. 5:7-9).

This could be Babylon the Great: the whore who rides on a beast in Revelation 17. This is the demonic religious force behind modern false worship and she will finally usher in the Antichrist in the Last days.

Notes

1. Elmer Towns, Bible Answers to all your Questions, Thomas Nelson, 2003, 139

2. Bill Schnoebelen, Wicca: Satan’s Little White Lie, Chick Pub., 1990, 113.

3. Lawrence Stager by Paolo Xella et al., Phoenician bones of Contention, Volume 87, no. 338; 1199-1207.

4. Ginette Paris, The Sacrament of Abortion, Spring Pub., 1992, 34, 53.

5. Adeoye C. L. Beliefs and Religion of Yorubas, Evans Bros, 1989, 303.

6. Patricia Turner and Coulter Russell, Dictionary of Ancient Deities, Oxford Univ. Press. 2000, 470.

7. Esther M. Harding, Woman’s Mysteries – Ancient and Modern, Harper and Row, 1971, 138.

8. Message to Ida Peerdeman in Josef Kunzli, The Messages of the Lady of All Nations, 1997, 85.

9. Annie Kirkwood, Mary’s Message to the World, New York, 1991, 145.