Friday, April 10, 2015

Threshing Floors and Solar Symbols

Alice C. Linsley

This ancient sun circle was used as a threshing floor.

In the ancient world, daily activities like cooking, sowing, harvesting, and threshing grain had religious significance. Threshing floors were associated with the sun and with solar cycles. They had ritual use as well as practical use.

The threshing floor (Semitic: "guran") was a sacred place at a high level elevation where the wind could carry away the chaff. These were places of worship in the ancient world. The Jebusite ruler Araunah sold David a threshing floor upon which David constructed an altar.

There is some evidence that threshing floors were the sites of the hieros gamos or sacred marriage, during harvest times. Judah's intercourse with a shrine qadesh took place at Timna, which had a temple dedicated to Hathor. Timna was directly north of Abdullum in Jebusite territory. Judah went to Timna to visit with his friend from Abdullum and to help with the harvest. The hieros gamos may have been a ritual in which it was hoped that the Messiah would be conceived. Among the Horite Hebrew devotees of Hathor, this ritual likely did not involve sexual intercourse, but the expectation of solar overshadowing. It appears that the stories of Judah-Tamar and the Boaz-Ruth share narrative elements that should be considered in greater depth.

Threshing floors were located at high windy places where encounters with the Divine (theophanies) often occur in the Bible. They are not usually located on mountain peaks, but on highlands or in the hill country. The Horite Hebrew of Edom were known to prefer the "hill country" (Gen. 14:6; Gen. 36). They grew their grain in the valleys below, but they lived near their threshing floors and granaries.

Threshing floors were used to determine times and seasons. A center post served to cast a shadow, on the same principle as a sundial. The sowing and harvesting of grain reflects a widespread veneration of the Sun, which was regarded as the emblem of the Creator among many peoples.

The most common solar symbol was the 6-prong rosette which is found to this day on Irish Maslin bread (shown above). Some Maslin loaves are decorated with an oak leaf on top. Maslin bread is the oldest known bread eaten by the Celts. It was the bread of common folks, containing a blend of wheat and rye flours. The rosette is a solar symbol.

On this traditional Serbia cake (shown right) the solar rosette is surrounded by oak leaves. Hesus (fulfilling the primitive Horus archetype) was crucified on an oak tree. The hope of his third-day resurrection was enacted by the sowing of grain in the fields. In antiquity, this annual ritual was overseen by Horite priests who led the people in procession to the fields, much as Anglican priests officiate at Rogation Day ceremonies in late May.

Anglican priest blessing the fields in Hever, Kent

Among the Horites, the seed that was sown spoke of the long-expected Righteous Ruler who would trample the serpent under his feet (Gen. 3:15). Jesus referred to himself as the "Seed" when he foretold his death in Jerusalem. He explained to his disciples, "Unless a seed fall into the ground and die, it cannot give life." (John 12:24)

The Apostle Paul makes a reference to the Seed also. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ… And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:16, 29)

The rosette on the Maslin bread and the Serbian cake resembles the solar symbol found on the tombs and ossuaries of Hebrew Horites. The Horite priests were devotees of Horus who was regarded as the "son" of the Creator.

Tomb at Banais, Israel
Ossuary of Miriam, daughter of the priest Yeshua

The oak of Genesis 12 is called terebinth, believed to be related to the pistachio (Pistacia terebinthus). In the original telling, it is likely that the meaning was "tree of the daughter of Terah," that is, the tree of the priest's daughter. The Arabic word bint (بنت) means "daughter of" and tera is an archaic word for priest.

Rebecca's nurse, Deborah, was buried at Bethel under a tree known as the “Oak of Weeping" or the allon-bachuth (Gen. 35:8). Although allon is often translated "oak" the word can refer to any large tree. Here it probably refers to a sycamore fig. The sycamore fig was associated with Hathor, the mother of Horus, and graves were often placed beneath sycamore fig trees.

Hathor was said to conceive by the overshadowing of the Sun and she is shown on ancient monuments wearing the solar cradle: long cow horns in which the Sun rests as a sign of divine appointment. She was the patroness of the Horite metal workers of Edom.

Hebrews 4:2 states that the message concerning the risen Lord was preached to the Apostles' ancestors. From this we may assume that Abraham and Moses shared the faith of their ancestors to whom God first revealed the "Proto-Gospel" concerning the Seed of God who would be born of the Horite ruler-priest lines. He was expected to pass through death to life and lead his people from the grave to eternal life. He is often called "the Bread of Life."


  1. Fascinating and revealing thanks for this

  2. Thank you for haring these wonderful insights. I will use some of your thoughts in looking at biblical passages that speaks of threshing.


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