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Livre d’images de madame Marie Hainaut, vers 1285-1290 Paris, BnF, Naf 16251, fol. 22v. La naissance du Christ est annoncée aux bergers, aux humbles. “Et voici qu’un ange du seigneur leur apparut [.] Ils furent saisis d’une grande frayeur. Mais l’ange leur dit : “Ne craignez point, car je vous annonce une bonne nouvelle[.](The Birth of Christ announced to the Shepherds) (Photo credit: the National Library of France [BnF])

This image is delightful. The animals resemble speaking animals. One is seeking the attention of a shepherd in the same way a domestic cat or dog tries to attract the attention of its humans. It is not an anthropomorphic animal or a human in disguise. As for the angels, they look like human beings, but they have wings. They are zoomorphic. Zoomorphic beings combine the features of a human being with the features of an animal. In fact, they may combine the features of many animals. Zoomorphic creatures may be anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise, but I have yet to find a proper classification for Angels, except zoomorphism. They may be zootheistic, but they are not gods.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ. Jesus never founded a religion, but the Christian religion was founded in his name at the first council of Nicaea, by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325/CE 325. The Christian Church is the second Abrahamic religion. The first is Judaism and the third, Islam. The three Abrahamic religions overlap. The story begins with the fall of Man. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Forbidden Tree (the Tree of Knowledge) in Paradise. They were led out of Paradise. Christ is the Redeemer in the Christian Church. He was transubstantiated, or made into flesh, and died on the Cross redeeming Mankind. Islam chose Arab leader Muhammad (c. 570 – 8 June 632 CE) as its prophet, but Islam reveres Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew. (See Jesus, Wikipedia.)

The Winter Solstice

Christmas is also the feast celebrating the winter solstice, the day of the longest night. In this regard, Paganism entered Christianity very discreetly. In Ancient Rome, the longest night was celebrated by upending reality. During Saturnalia, the master was a slave. The world was upside down.

Ancient Greece had a god of festivity, named Comus or Komus. The Winter Solstice, the longest night, authorised drunken and disorderly festivities. In earlier times, an old King was killed and a young King, crowned. Comedy is associated with the Comus. The young couple overcomes the heavy father opposing their marriage, which is the basic plot of all comedies. In order to rehabilitate society, a pharmākos (scapegoat) was ousted. (See 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Comus). I wrote my PhD thesis on the pharmākos in Molière’s theatre. In Tartuffe, Tartuffe, a character, is a pharmākos, he is “neither innocent nor guilty” (See Northrop Frye‘s Anatomy of Criticism).[1] His relationship with Orgon, the father, is nearly symbiotic, but as the curtain falls on a comedy, it should include a family in its entirety.


Attached to Christmas is a wealth of information. The above is brief. More information can be found on a page entitled Feasts and Liturgy. My illness has turned into episodes of intense pain. My heart feels as though it will fail me (psasms and convulsions). Doctors suspect a musculoskeletal illness that could be related to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I will undergo a test on 6 January. 

[1] I am in Magog, where my friend John is looking after me. My copy of Anatomy of Criticism is in Sherbrooke. I cannot indicate the page containing this quotation. If I recover from my current illness and obtain some financial support, I will update and publish my thesis. I may write a summary in English.


Wishing all of you Happy Holidays 🎄💕

The end of this post differs from the end of the post I first published. Something went wrong. Apologies.
“The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel‘s Messiah
Evelyn De Morgan, Flora, 1894

© Micheline Walker
25 December 2021