I left his post at the Traditional Stregheria forum at Yahoo Groups a couple of days ago.
Strege/native pagan values/symbols incorporated into early Catholicism
There are a lot of examples from mostly Odinic or other northern European traditions, and a lot of other places, which are well documented, but I wanted to focus on ancient central Italy and outward.
1) "Mary as a Goddess" - Clearly, many Catholics wish her to be a goddess. So
many are very devoted to this idea. She is referred to as the "Queen of Heaven," I think, pretty obviously, based mainly upon the Goddess Diana. They were so spiritually imbalanced that it's not so difficult to see how this developed over time.
2) "Law and Justice" - I believe that the idea of--within a family--the Father
symbolizing "Law" and the Mother symbolizing "Justice," is a pagan-value which was adopted into the social fabric of the early Christian Church. That concept was, however, cut short beyond the family (Man=Law/Woman=Justice). I once even heard a Protestant gloat about how wonderful that "Christian value" is.
3) "Solar Cross" - This is another obvious one, with the early church adopting
pagan solar wheels as crosses to aid in religious conversions.
4) "Trinity symbols" - There are numerous examples of this, too many to regress off hand...usually variations of the triquetra and triskelion... and also aiding in religious conversions.
5) Misc symbols - The common six-pointed cross is possibly based on the
rosette/sun of the Alps symbol and a lot of other regional hexagram styles (aka "hex signs"). The eight-pointed cross is pretty clearly based on the wheel of the year. The Vatican sun symbol is a no-brainer, and there's even one with a standard Christian cross with an upward-pointing crescent moon under it.
6) Science - There were five-pointed symbols in ancient Europe, just not as
stylish as the Sumerian hexagram (aka Pentagram). The five points ARE science itself! So we have today the Hegelian Dialect of closed-minded religion (anti-nature/knowledge) and closed-minded science (anti-spirit) driving us into the future. Certainly the church feared knowledge as evil for so long and still maintain a "block" to spiritual knowledge, and modern science denies the metaphysical "fifth point" of the Vehme.
Some of these concepts were a deliberate attempt to convert the pagans, while others were crossed over in a cultural manner by officials and concerns lower down in the organization it appears.