162 In addition to the “pisciculi Christianorum,” the shepherd and the lamb play, as we know only too well, an almost greater role in Christian allegory, and Herrnes Kriophoros (the “rambearer”) became the prototype of the “good shepherd/’ the tutelary god of flocks. Another prototype, in his capacity as shepherd, was Orpheus.1 This aspect of the Poimen gave rise to a figure of similar name in the mystery cults, who was popularized in the “Shepherd” of Hermas (snd century). Like the “giant fish” mentioned in the Abercius inscription, 2 the shepherd probably has connections with Attis, both temporally and regionally. Reitzenstein even conjectures that the “Shepherd” of Hermas derives from the Poimandres writings, which are of purely pagan origin. 3 Shepherd, ram, and lamb symbolism coincides with the expiring aeon of Aries. In the first century of our era the two aeons overlap, and the two most important mystery gods of this period, Attis and Christ, are both characterized as shepherds, rams, and fishes. The Poimen symbolism has undergone such thorough elaboration at the hands of Reitzenstein that I am in no position to add anything illuminating in this respect. The case is somewhat different with the fish symbol. Not only are the sources more copious, but the very nature of the symbol, and in particular its dual aspects, give rise to definite psychological questions which I should like to go into more closely.
163 Like every hero, Christ had a childhood that was threatened (massacre of the innocents, flight into Egypt). The astrological “interpretation” of this can be found in Revelation 12 : i: “A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” She is in the pangs of birth and is pursued by a dragon. She will give birth to a man-child who shall “rule the nations with a rod of iron.” This story carries echoes of numerous kindred motifs in East and West, for instance that of Leto and Python, of Aphrodite and her son, who, when pursued, leapt into the Euphrates and were changed into fishes, 4 and of Isis and Horus in Egypt. The Syrian Greeks identified Derceto-Atargatis and her son Ichthys with the constellation of the Fishes. 5