Monday, October 5, 2015

Astrology and the Star of Bethlehem

When I was 19 years old one of my neighbors, who was about 35 and a self-taught astrologer, decided to do my horoscope. She told me I would die mysteriously and my body would never be found. I rolled my eyes and blew off her predictions as nonsense - because they were. How can anyone predict something and that and take herself seriously?

Years later, another self-taught female astrologer also did my horoscope. This time it was vaguely correct in a minor way, but not anywhere near enough to impress me. I promptly forgot it.

Then a third woman did mine. She was taught by an older woman who was a professional astrologer.

This time she was right on the money, scarily so. What she said had nothing in common with what the first two told me. And all I did was give her my birthdate, time, and location of birth.

Obviously, there is something to this stuff, when my horoscope can be so extraordinarily accurate that it very much surprised me.

Now as to why so many women are interested in astrology I have no explanation. I do know the whole thing can out get of hand (and has has in the past) with people running to astrologers (and other soothsayers) in an attempt to control their lives, avoid unpleasant things and predict the future. People are fools that way, always have been and probably always will be. There's a sucker born every minute.

Soon after the third woman did my horoscope I ran across an article about the Star of Bethlehem. The only thing I remembered about the Biblical account is that the magi (who years later I discovered were probably Babylonian astrologers), saw Jesus' "star" in the sky and so went to find him.

The article suggested his "star" was really the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, which at that time were less than a moon's width apart when viewed from the earth. The average person might think nothing of this or not even notice it (most of them probably being asleep) but the astrologers of that time knew it meant something.

Incidentally, I find it surpassingly interesting that such men probably lived at night to study the stars and slept during the day.

The only New Testament account of the Star of Bethlehem occurs in the Gospel of Matthew, where the magi arrive in Jerusalem during the reign of Herod the Great, asking about a newborn king of the Jews, having seen "the rising of his star."

During that time the conjunction happened on Aug. 12, 3 B.C. and Oct. 14, 2 B.C. And in September of 3 B.C., Jupiter came into conjunction with Regulus, the star of kingship, the brightest star in the Leo constellation. Leo was the constellation of kings (I am a Leo myself and far more sympathetic to monarchy than democracy)) and associated with the Lion of Judah. So the royal planet approached the royal star in the royal constellation representing Israel - the kind of astrological symbol that would arouse the interest of the magi.

Just the month before, Jupiter and Venus almost seemed to touch. The conjunction between Jupiter and Regulus repeated twice in February and May of 2 B.C. Then in June, Jupiter and Venus, the two brightest planets, appeared to touch; to the naked eye they became a single object above the setting sun.

Just as odd, Jesus was born at the end of the Age of Pisces, whose symbol is the fish (the fish was the original Christian symbol, not the cross). And what are the Gospels full of? Fishermen, fishers of men, water, baptism.

I have no idea how all this happened or even what it means. But it does appear to be more than a coincidence. But whatever the cause, it certainly is interesting to ponder these things.

Is this "science" or not? According to the current definition of it, no, but "current definitions" will change, as they always do.

For that matter, of what practical value is astrology? Babylon no longer exists and in fact was considered a degraded culture. Its astrologers apparently didn't see that coming and couldn't stop it. They predicted the birth of Jesus and went to give him gifts. Anything else?

The late James P. Hogan, who was a well-known science-fact and science-fiction writer, once told me that all true science automatically turns itself into technology.

If astrology is a "science," what useful, practical "techology" has it turned itself into?

"As above, so below"? That's a very old observation, and I don't even know exactly what it means. The macrocosm (the universe, whatever that is) influences the microcosm (us)? What's so strange about that? It just might be in ways we don't yet understand.

We're always trying to understand and influence the macrocosm. We understand a vanishingly small part of it so far.

The universe is vast, perhaps infinite, and time and space are beyond our comprehension except in tiny way. And just because we aren't able to understand something, and so dismiss it, is the height of ignorance and arrogance.

We're just at the beginning of understanding things, and humility and an open mind is is far more useful than hubris and a closed mind.

6 comments:

Brian said...

You have stumbled upon a science called astrotheology. You can look up the details, but I'll make it brief. Each age of the zodiac (roughly 2000 years, and it goes backward) has its own god. Moses was the god of Ares, Jesus of Pisces, and we're not quite yet in Aquarius. Hence Jesus is a fish, Moses is a ram, and why Moses blasts those who worship the bull, which is Taurus, because they are worshiping the old god from the last age and not the new one.

The story of Jesus' birth is astrological as well. The star in the east is Sirius, which has always been referred to as the great eastern star (all the stars and constellations move, except Sirius, which is why it's called the dog star. It dogs us through the universe). The three wise men are Orion's belt, which point to Sirius at sunrise on Christmas morning. There's a lot more to it than that, and many other stories are explained using astrology, but that ought to get you started.

ray said...

'Leo was the constellation of kings (I am a Leo myself and far more sympathetic to monarchy than democracy)) and associated with the Lion of Judah. So the royal planet approached the royal star in the royal constellation representing Israel - the kind of astrological symbol that would arouse the interest of the magi.'



That's a good summary, particularly from perspective of these court magicians. A wise-man in the pagan empiric traditions of those days studied astronomy, math, chemistry and pharmacology, botany, literate traditions such as medicine and 'astrology', proto-technology, and much more. In the ancient Egyptian royal court, for example, Jannes and Jambres were wise-men or magicians, and had limited power over all kinds of visual and experiential phenomena.

The Babylonian magi-cians probably were closely connected to royalty at home. Three 'kings' matching the three celestial events. Having lived with the Hebrews, the late first-century BC magi knew the characteristics of the various tribes, and that the astonomy/astrology indicated that the King of Judah would incarnate. Judah's king happens also to be King of the Universe. So, apparently they weren't gonna miss that. And, after Eastern customs, brought gifts appropriate to royalty.

Mindstorm said...

These days there wasn't chemistry at all (it was alchemy in its place) and most of botany amounted to an oral tradition with silly rules like medicinal plants affecting a certain organ having parts shaped in the likeness of that organ.

Bob Wallace said...

"You have stumbled upon a science called astrotheology. You can look up the details, but I'll make it brief. Each age of the zodiac (roughly 2000 years, and it goes backward) has its own god. Moses was the god of Ares, Jesus of Pisces, and we're not quite yet in Aquarius. Hence Jesus is a fish, Moses is a ram, and why Moses blasts those who worship the bull,"

An old girlfriend once gave me a book of prophecies, 90% of which were crap, but it did mention what you wrote. I thought, you know, that does make sense.

ray said...

Empires (and certain nations) in the ancient world had advanced chemistry, botany, math, engineering, and other aptitudes. No, they didn't use modern taxonomies and periodic tables. Typically pagan 'priests' or a select subgroup would practice and further arcane knowledge.

Alchemy was mostly a medieval European phenomenon, but sourced elsewhere including araby and Egypt. Alchemists were often multi-disciplinary, and mixed chemistry, occultism (especially Gnosticism), proto-psychology, and related methods. Jung re-introduced some of them to the twentieth century, illustrating that their interests and intent went far beyond chemistry, as their treatises attempt to codify, and sometimes manipulate, collective human states and conditions. It's been a long time, but I recall that 'Psychology and Alchemy' and 'Mysterium Conuinctionis', both written late in Jung's life during his obsession with alchemy, dug around in these areas.

Those texts, and the alchemical manuscripts and illustrations replicated, seek to describe the psychologies, or beliefs/spirituality, in the human species. These proclivities are gradually made available or known to kings, corporations, governments, etc. More than a chemistry lab, the alchemists are precursors of modern (statist) Intelligence orgs, ad agencies, so forth.

Mindstorm said...

Alchemy relied heavily on numerology and astrological references, for some reasons (as above, as below, I guess). Speaks a lot, isn't it? Name one 'advanced chemistry' advancement of the times. The Greek fire, perhaps?