The Solstice Lady

Seasonal Lore and History

 A collection of Winter Solstice traditions from around the world. This multi cultural compilation hopes to demonstrate the universality of the celebration of The Return of the Sun. Find myths and stories that were told by our ancestors to explain the loss of the light.  Discover the traditions that have fallen out of custom and the surprising origins of our annual Christmas past times.

Solstice: A Universal call to the Light

for the Training in Power Academy Blog  2016

BNW sun rise.png

Solstice is coming.

I get so very excited these days when the great wheel of time swings around to mid-winter’s eve. Let me preface by assuring you that I was once a tremendous humbug about Christmas time. I felt like there was magic happening but somehow the stories I was being told about the reasons for this magic fell short for me. So I started to research the origins of Christmas.

That’s when I discovered this amazing thing. This amazing truth that binds us all in an undercurrent so powerful that we are swept out of our routines by it. All the seasonal traditions – wreaths, candles, bells, bonfire, gift-giving, gathering with your loved ones – all of them are born of ancient rituals once used by our ancestors to call back the sun.

I do say ‘our’ ancestors, and I do not need to know who your ancestors are to say that. Look it up. I don’t care if you are Lebanese or Latvian, Irish or Icelandic, Japanese or Javanese…look into your myths for the story of the departure of the sun, for the waning of the light… and you will find it. Look into the history of your peoples and you will find that they did this.  Jewish folks may be thinking that Hannukah is a celebration of a historical event so does not fall into this category, but many scholars believe that this holiday of light replaced an older Solstice celebration in the Jewish calendar.

Sunwatchers or stargazers of ancient times saw the sun stand still. That’s what Solstice means: “Sun stands still”. Y’see, as the year goes along the sun can be seen rising and setting in a southerly trajectory along the horizon.  Ancient astrologers and sunwatchers marked that passage so they could predict when to plant and when to harvest. What they saw, all of them, in every country, was that during the 6 days around winter solstice, the sun stops travelling along the horizon. It stops in one place, rising and setting there for nearly a week. And every one of those days, the sun rises lower in the sky, making the daytime shorter.

Our ancestors worried that the sun was losing some celestial battle for its life, or that it had lost interest in caring for the people of the world. Every culture on the planet created a plan to call that sun back. Among many Aboriginal peoples,  the Raven was called upon to steal the sun back from the evil wizard Tupilak once again. Goddess Beiwe was summoned by the Saami to bring back the sun and the sanity and hope of light. Mesopotamians took to the streets to act out the eternal battle between their god of fertility and the dragon of the underworld. In Japan, Ameterasu had to be coaxed from the cave of her self-imposed exile. The Bushmen of Africa tossed their Sunman into the sky so that all could share his light. The Kachinas were called back from the sacred mountains to bring the magic of all life to the Hopi.  The Oak King rose to kill his brother, the Holly King, and take back the throne in their eternal cycle of rising and falling to each other at the solstices. The Incans tethered the sun to specific ceremonial stations to keep it from wandering off.

Think about it. Before there was even any contact between these ancient cultures, each one of them performed some kind of magic to call back the support of the sun. From isolated pockets of civilization, this magic of hope and renewal stretched up from all corners of the earth, in unknowing synchronicity, to pull the sun back from the brink.  This simple magic of Solstice united every human on the planet, at a time when some did not even know there were other people. I can get pretty verklempt about it when I really imagine that unified intention.

I often think, if only everyone knew this.

We really have an opportunity to take down some cultural walls here and join together knowingly in this old tradition.

That’s my Solstice wish for all… a sense of unity and belonging to something greater than your human self.

As the Romans used to say,

“Sol Invictus”

(Hail the Return of the Invincible Sun)

Talk "SOl A"

I was invited to Simon Fraser University to join a group of storytellers relating their holiday traditions. This did not go over well....

The word solstice comes from the Latin sol for sun and stice from sistot meaning stand . It literally means sun standing. It refers to that sensation of slowing like the upswing of a great pendulum reaching its apex and hanging for a moment before it begins moves again. There is an atmosphere of timelessness as days shorten and winter nights grow interminably long.

Imagine our ancestors - really far back. They feared that the sun would not return. They developed myth and ritual to explain forces beyond their control. Their shaman designed ways to decipher the universe and rituals were born, performed to aid the side of light against the forces of night threatening to consume it.

And so the people went to the evergreens which still showed vibrancy and could obviously resist the dark forces and they brought the branches inside. The ones we are most familiar with are holly and fir tree. They lit fires to add their heat to the sun’s, the yule log is a custom from Northern Europe where a huge log is cut down and dragged home by a father and son to be burned by the family for luck. Strict rules had to be followed pertaining to the yule log. It was kept burning for at least twelve hours, could not be purchased: it had to be received as a gift, be part of a tree grown on one’s own property or just be picked up. It had to be kindled with a fragment of the previous year’s log, specially preserved for this purpose and its fire was never permitted to go out by itself. Each spark was a calf or foal to be born next spring. The custom was far removed from its original purpose but still maintained faithfully. Does anyone’s family do anything like that? Do you feel a need for fire at this time of year?

So, our ancestors peered out at the dwindling day and asked themselves - what if the sun isn’t coming back? What will we do? How will we grow our food?

It was a matter of grave concern, let me assure you.

The Mesopotamians have their winter solstice in a hot dry place. For them winter is please, please please, let the river overflow and enrich the soil so I can grow food this year please please. They realized that their god of all growing things, Tammuz, must be in trouble. It was discerned somehow, the that Tammuz had been captured and taken captive by the dragon Tiamat. Tiamat was holding Tammuz in a cage in the underworld and he was struggling for his very life.

At the beginning of the twelve day festival, things are tense. The people take to the streets to search for their missing god, groups of men fight mock battles in the streets, bonfires are lit for the burning of dragon effigies. It has the air of a festival but it is of the utmost importance to them that they show their support for their god in his struggle. If Tammuz were not freed, the land would have no life.

Their king would retire to the temples and make serious appeasements to the god. Assuring him that he had done well by the land. In the streets outside the temple the people held a festival to shed their light on the seeming ly hopeless situation.

On the 6th day, Tammuz is rescued some say by his son and some say by his wife to be. He rises victorious returns to earth to marry Ishtar, the goddess of battles.

Hoorah!! The king emerges from the temple in the guise of the god returned and there is wild revelry in the streets. Brightly painted wagons with figures of Ishtar and Tammuz are wheeled through the streets . All night, the Babylonians gathered at the bonfires to drink and dance, during the day they visited their friends and gave gifts. There were six days of raucous festival and on the twelfth day of the whole affair ..... the statues were returned to the temple. The holy days were over. Good had triumphed over evil - you can tell because the days are getting longer. The future was guaranteed for another year.

Not long after on the Mesopotamian calendar came a holiday called Sacaea. Sacaea was also practiced by the nearby Persians. I mention it mostly because the trimmings and the traditions of it carry through to affect later cultures.

Sacaea was a time when masters and slaves changed places. The tradition was followed even in the palace where a mock king was decided upon. We shall see its influence as the traditions of solstice move westward with civilization as we knew it then.

The mock king is a tradition that reoccurs in the winter solstice celebration. There is presently, I believe in Britain, the tradition of baking a prize into the Christmas cake. This tradition goes back to the choosing of the mock king. Whoever found the prize would have the honour.

It will come up again but let me point out that Tammuz was the god of the harvest and is known to have been sacrificed yearly to ensure its success. There was a time when the king himself was considered the representative of the kingdom. If he weakened or became ill, the land would falter. He was, in a sense, held responsible if there were droughts or plagues of locusts or whatever. In ancient times he, as a representative of the god, would have himself killed to shed his blood for the enrichment of his land.

This is probably why we see the Babylonian king retiring to the temples to make appearances to Tammuz about how well he’d done his job. In all probability, there was a time when he retired to the temple to prepare to be sacrificed.

Eventually some fellow decided kings were too important to be offing them every few years so hit on the idea of the mock king who was chosen and then enjoyed for a time a life with no restrictions until it came his time to be sacrificed to the harvest.

Not far from Mesopotamia, the Egyptians were in a similar relationship with their river. They depended on the Nile to overflow and enrich their land and the river obliged them regularly which benefitted the stability of the culture. So regular it was that eventually one of their astronomers noticed the rise of the Nile seemed to coincide with the appearance of the star Sothis in the sky. We know Sothis as Sirius, the dog star - the brightest star in their sky. They watched and discovered that not only did the Nile rise as soon as Sothis came over the horizon but they also noted that Sothis came over the horizon exactly every 365 days.

They theorized that the year was actually 365 days long. Their lunar calender worked on a cycle of 29 or 30 day months. They set those extra 5 days aside for their midsummer festival, to await the rise of Sothis.

I have personally always resented having to work the days between Christmas and New Years. I feel like they’re sort of set apart__ holi-days.

The first of the five extra days were spent in preparation. Fire was kindled anew and torchlit processions left the temples to make their way through the streets.

The next day there was feasting in abundance and people got their best clothes on. They exchanged gifts like small bottles and amulets inscribed au ab nab (which means “all good luck”). The poor gifted their benefactors. The final night saw the last of the torchlight processions and they partied until they dropped.


If you will permit an aside, I have been a humbug about Christmas a long time. I felt disconnected from its roots - as if I were going through the motions of some labyrinth of rituals/ that everyone called tradition. It wasn’t until I went and looked this stuff up that I started to have a real appreciation for this time of year. The festival. It rose to its height in the hands of the Romans.

Saturnalia. It started on December 17. Saturnalia is characterized thus “people drinking and drunk, games, noise and dice, appointing of kings and the feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping of tremulous hands and the occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water.”

On December 17th the priests would come out from the temple of Saturn, Rome’s god of agriculture and they would shout “Io Saturnalia!” and it would begin.

At first Saturnalia only lasted this one day. A feast to celebrate the fertility of the earth and the gifts of the god of agriculture. The feast on the 17th was strictly religious in nature, even reverent// long after the festival was stretched to three days and eventually it lasted a full week, and one source says eventually - a month of feasting and celebration. It became one long orgy of food, drink and merriment.

The rich were encouraged to share their wealth and the poor to share their knowledge and their humor// or a bit of frankincense. The most remarkable feature of the Saturnalia was that all the classes mingled in good cheer. A writer of the time says of the revelry that the only business that can be pursued are sport, solace and delight. Only bakers and cooks can work. All men are equal, slave and free - rich and poor. Violence of any kind is illegal and only witty and jolly converse was allowed.

It was meant to harken back to a mythological time, to recreate a golden age in the distant past where Saturn, a benevolent and fatherly ruler, sat throne on a land where all men were good and all men were happy.

Here again, the mock king returns. His word is law and his ridiculous commands had to be obeyed. They could consist of picking up the flute girl and carrying her about the house three times, or dancing naked. Some scholars believe the mock king may represent Saturn himself but we’ve seen this mock king behavior long before there was a Saturn back in Mesopotamia at Sacaea - when the slaves were set free for a time.

The mock king presided over/ a time out of time/ where order was turned on its head.

But Rome was a land of many cults and religions, gods and goddesses - not to mention the influence of surrounding cultures upon their own pantheon as they conquered land after land and tried to incorporate new pantheon structures into their own as they had always done.

Other influences were bound to slip in and one such was the worship of the god, Mithras which radiated out from Egypt. Mithras was part of the Hindu pantheon where he was the god of the airy light between heaven and earth//born to save humanity from evil. To the Romans he had come from Persia as a sun god, born of a virgin in a cave. He was destined to die so he could act as an intermediary between man and the god of good and light. (Ahura Mazda) He was worshiped on Sunday by congregations of men (and only men) that choose a calling of self control, temperance and compassion in victory.

He was called the god of the invincible sun. And the greeting of the day was “Sol Invictus” which hailed the invincible sun. This celebration was added to Saturnalia in 274 by the Emperor Aurelian, whose mother had been a prestress of the Syrian sun god Baal. There was a time when Mithras was a serious rival to Christ for the hearts of men in ancient Rome. The dinner of the return of the invincible sun was held on the birthday of Mithras, Dec 25.

Does it sound like the church simply co-opted the birthday of Mithras and made the birth of the invincible sun into the birth of the invincible son?

One thing is for sure, Christ was not born in December. The scriptures, written some 200 years after the fact, clearly state that shepherds are out watching their sheep. I believe it says so in Luke. But the weather in the area is miserable in December and the sheep aren’t out in the fields. They’re warm and safe under cover somewhere so there are no shepherds in the fields in December. So we know that the Christian holi-day was transplanted onto the ancient sun god holiday.

The fact is, there was a lot of turmoil amongst the early Christians because they weren’t all that sure they should be celebrating his birthday at all. It seemed irreverent to some. One of the church leaders in 245ad declared it a sin to celebrate Christ’s birthday as if he were a king or a pharaoh. Mostly, the ecclesiastical debate was about whether or not Christ was born holy or whether his holiness came to him in Epiphany when he was baptized by John the Baptist in his thirties when he started his ministry.

That’s why some older cultures, like Armenian Orthodox and Ukrainian still celebrate their Christmas on the Day of Epiphany which is January 6th. ( Some folks say Jan the 6th was also the day Christ was circumcised but why anyone would want to celebrate that, I do not know.) For them the date of Jesus’ birth is irrelevant. To these followers the important moment was that when he was inhabited by the holy ghost and started to fulfill his destiny on the plane.

The church finally decided he’d become divine upon his birth, but not before many years of struggle amongst the varying camps of believers.

In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, debate raged on about how old about a good many things in Christian dogma. One of these things was the age a person should be upon baptism. For a long time it was believed a person had to be a consenting adult to be baptized. Eventually the rule was stretched to include infants that they too can have their chance at a place in heaven. It was then that the church decided Christ had been born divine.--not become divine upon the day of epiphany/ as an adult/ but upon birth he had been divine. The acknowledgment of the divinity of the innocence of a newborn.

For a time things stayed fairly standard in the Roman Empire regarding the year end celebrations but as we see, the empire continued to expand northwards and there new traditions were adopted from old rituals of the northern cultures and the Romans co-opted them into their own.

As the traditions migrate we find the recurrence again of the lord of misrule in jolly old England. Pre 1800's the celebration of Christ’s Mass was a solemn church event and an all out carnival in the streets. Raucous, bawdy - fighting and fooling around in the streets, and the peasantry went to the homes of the wealthy and there were offered the finest of foods and beer. Sometimes the adults did not deign to stoop to serving food, they left their children to do the duty. If the guests were displeased with their hospitality they could play a “trick” on their hosts. I throw this in particularly because I have always wondered where the Hallowe’en trick or treat ritual comes from and this may be where its derived from.

In 1645 Oliver Cornwall and the puritans overthrew the monarchy and swore to rid England of decadence. Christmas was one of the first things to go. In the early 1650's the puritans outlawed Christmas entirely. Shops were ordered to stay open, business as usual. The churches were ordered to stay closed. So the rituals went underground. Illegal Christmas pie was called mince pie and all of a sudden it was alright again.

A scant four years later the men of Canterbury and Kent declared they’d rather have the king back on the throne and Christmas with him, with its rituals, traditions and carousing. So Charles the second returned to the throne not for political reasons but because his people wanted the traditions he represented..

The puritans had better luck in the new world, they outlawed Christmas in 1659 in Boston and issued fines to those exhibiting the Christmas spirit. But again, the instinct to celebrate was inexorable and people continued in a more subdued fashion to do as had always been done in one way or another. --Acknowledge a marker in time,// be it the return of the sun heralding the change of season// or the birth of the divine onto earth// to intercede on our behalf with the father god.( That last was a description of the god Mithra)

Though there were no official celebrations at this time the Boston almanac for 1719 warns not to let your children or servants run too much abroad at night in late December. Birth records indicate an increase of conception around this time. ((6 of one half a dozen of the other - its pretty cold in Boston in late December)).

Not all the cities in the new world adopted this severe outlook. By all accounts the Virginians had very merry Christmases. We have the Virginians to thank for eggnog - nog derived from grog meaning a drink mixed with rum.

After the war of independence the celebration of Christmas fell out of fashion, out of custom in the states. The tradition was associated with the royalty and for a time was eschewed by the settlers. And for most of the following 67 years the US congress sat in session on Dec 25.

It wasn’t long before they realized by giving up their ties to the crown they’d thrown away their holi-days. The people sought a time and a reason for holi-days and they arrived inevitably at the year-end celebration. In the 1800's, the US finally began to have its effect on the mythology of Christmas.

In 1828, New York hired a police force for the city in response to a particularly nasty Christmas riot the year previous. Much in the way that Saturnalia was meant to reinvest in a golden age when Saturn was benevolent ruler of all - the upper classes of New York aimed the celebration toward a series of stories by Washington Irving about an English Manor house where all the classes intermingle in good cheer. As it had been in the Saturnalia’s golden age of the god Saturn where all men were good and happy.

Dickens “Christmas Carol” had tremendous effect on conscience of a people confronted with the industrial revolution. Scrooge’s rebirth to the holy- day spirit impacted not only the Brits but Americans too and they began to rediscover Christmas. A Christmas without the mayhem and public spectacle of the sun celebrations. A Christmas devoted to gathering the family together and devoted to charming the children with the magic of the holi- day.

They brought back the custom of the evergreen in the form of the decorated tree, which came from Germany with Prince Albert when he married Queen Victoria. Within a few short years of an engraving appearing in British papers of the royal couple and their tree. Within a few short years it was done as matter of factly// as a Christmas tradition// that it seemed as if it had always been done.

I’d like to point out that the tradition of hanging ornaments on the tree claims a number of possible origins. During the feast of Bacchus in Greece they would hang small masks from tree branches to evoke fertility.

There was a time in Northern Europe when the Xmas tree was associated with the tree from the garden of Eden. December 24th, in the early church calender was the feast of Adam and Eve. The Christmas tree was decorated then with apples and instead of the little nativity scene we’re so familiar with one placed images of Adam, Eve and the snake under their tree.

Christmas cards--first printed in England in 1843 JC Horsely at the request of a friend. Horsely published illustrated children’s books. Christmas cards were an overnight sensation drawing on the popularity of the picture postcard in the late 1800's. Early images were candles and bells. (It is believed that bells drive evil spirits away)

Mistletoe serves the double purpose of being an evergreen and thus representing life’s ability to withstand entropy but with the vestige of the bawdy Christmas of old. No fashionable Victorian parlour would entertain for Christmas without it.


The United States also found the resting place of the Santa Claus myth. An amalgam of a number of myths he settled to the Santa we know and lie to our children about in the United States. He was derived from a Turkish bishop, Saint Nicolas who had once had his own day, Dec 6 when he dropped off presents to good children. The Dutch called him Sinter Klaus and brought their tales of him to the new world with them. The stories caught the fancy of an Episcopalian minister in New York. In 1822, Clement Clark Moore wrote “Night Before Christmas” for his kids. He was actually kind of embarrassed of the whimsy which he might seem unworthy of a minister. It caught on so that soon all the kids were waiting for the reindeer and the sleigh. Moore made up the reindeer and their names. To him, we owe the idea that Santa comes down the chimney. Previous to this poem Santa had come in many guises, pagan sorcerer, frightening gnome or a merry drunkard in a sleigh drawn by turkeys. Interpretation was wide right up til 1863 when the cherub cheeked, merry elf was first penned by a cartoonist named Thomas Nast.

So, in brief, here we are at the end of the year. The pendulum had swung to its apex and the sun is diminishing in stature daily. We know as citizens of the 21st century that it will return. Science has reassured us of that inevitability and history supports the theory. Yet some ancient part of us still responds to the sun standing still with an air of superstition or at least sacredness. It feels right to in some way commemorate or celebrate at this time. Knowing how our ancestors felt and what they did can help us to reframe the holy days away from the commercial nightmare and time of social obligation it has become. Instead we could each do our part to get out there and show the sun we’re on her side - we want her back and if that means raucously partying to make enough noise to get her attention - so be it.

The 3 Magi

I worked at BCIT with their Astonomy expert, Bill Burnyeat, to create informative planetarium shows to explain what is going on at this time of year



Let’s talk for a moment about the Wise men and the Star of Bethlehem.

There are two books in the Bible which mention the story of Jesus’ birth// one is Luke and the other is Matthew. The two stories do not agree on the details of the tale- but our ancestors chose the parts they liked and added the Magi to their Nativity scene.

Now Magi is the Latin plural for Magus- and a Magus was a Zoroastrian priest caste of the Persians. The Magi were famed astronomers and astrologers. The zodiac system that we use today is derived from the horoscopes of the Zoroastrians. So we’re talking about a caste of star watchers who observed the sky and divined the future form the passage of stars and planets. They saw something in the sky that told them a King was to be born and they set off to greet that king.


Bill is going to talk to you about the astronomical theories that modern star watchers share when they theorize about what the Star of Bethlehem might have been. Some believe that what they saw was astrological rather than astronomical. The planet Jupiter represents the power of kingship and the planet Saturn represented the passing of an old ruler. The constellation of Pisces was considered to represent Israel in celestial divination. In 7 BCE these two planets, Jupiter and Saturn conjuncted or met in the constellation of Pisces (which apparently happens rarely- once every 800 years or so) but in 7 BCE Saturn and Jupiter conjuncted three times in the constellation of Pisces. Is that what those Zoroastrian Astronomers saw that moved them to begin their journey?

According to Matthew… the wise men (he does not specify the number- that was done much later) arrive in Jerusalem- not for the birth of Christ but after he is born. They arrive and begin to ask for the King that has been predicted by the signs in the sky above. Word of their queries reached King Herod- the ACTUAL ruler of the Jews and he was deeply concerned by the rumours of these wise guys wandering around talking messiah. He calls his own astrologers and scribes and asks where the Messiah is to be born and is told Bethlehem. So Herod had the Magi brought to him and he pretended that he was curious about this child – he sends the Magi to Bethlehem to search diligently for the young child; and tells them when they have found him, bring word back to Herod, that he may come and worship the Messiah as well.

But the Magi receive word in a dream that Herod means to betray them and the Christ so after they have visited the child and given their gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh- they depart for home (presumably Persia) by another route.

The names, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, and their ethnic backgrounds were added to the story in the fifth to seventh centuries. Another piece of added folklore is the number of wise men - the Bible doesn't say that there were only three.







Gold was a medium of exchange more reliable than any country's money in those days. Frankincense and myrrh were sacred spices burned before the altar of the Lord. Myrrh was also associated with marriages and burials.

It is assumed (but little is actually known at all) that the three wise men were Zoroastrian. This was the official religion of Persia and its followers once numbered in the millions. This religion is still active- though less wide spread than it was in the time of Christ.






Regarding the Three Wise Men

Matthew 2

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 

2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 

3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 

4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 

5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 

6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 

7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 

14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 

15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. 

17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 

18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 

20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. 

21 And he arose, and












S- put this into Christmas Carols

in the eleventh century, three bodies, which were assumed to be those of the Three Wise Men, were disinterred in the Holy Land to be transported to Cologne, in Germany, each in its own ship, to be reburied there. This journey is the source of the lovely Christmas carol, "I Saw Three Ships Asailing." Of course we have no way of knowing whose bones were reburied.