What does astrology have to say about the Christian religion and the Jesus story? Plenty! Explore the interdisciplinary field of Christian astrotheology as we answer these questions.
Introduction: What Is Astrotheology?
As it sounds, the word “astrotheology” is a hybrid word derived from the Greek root “astro”, meaning pertaining to the stars, and “theology”, which is the study of God and religion. In other words, what is the connection between astrology, or the study and reading of the stars, and theology, or the study of God and the Divine Will, and what is the common ground between the two disciplines? Just the very idea of astrology having anything to do with theology and religion would be considered as total blasphemy and anathema by most conservative Christians today, who would immediately trot out their Bibles and point to verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy forbidding the practice of astrology. Yet the Nineteenth Psalm opens with the line, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handywork.” Definitely, the Nineteenth Psalm is one of the most obviously astrologically oriented parts of the Bible.
To the eyes of a trained astrologer, the Bible is full of astrological allegory and symbolism, if you only know where to look, and how to read the symbolism involved. For example, the patriarch Jacob had twelve sons, who became the founding fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. It just so happens that there are also twelve signs of the zodiac. As a trained astrologer, I was able to go back to the biblical passage in which Jacob describes the traits and qualities of his twelve sons, and I was easily able to figure out, from their descriptions, which son corresponded to which sign of the zodiac. Yes, there are those dire prohibitions against the practice of astrology in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, but on the other hand, the Bible is full of astrological fable and symbolism. To the trained astrologer, this is a curious double standard. In more recent years, Max Heindl, who was a Rosicrucian as well as an Esoteric Christian, was also a practicing astrologer.
If you go way back – I mean way, way back to Neolithic times and beyond – it seems like the earliest priests, in Sumeria and Babylon, were also astrologers. They kept meticulous records of celestial events and how they corresponded with events here on earth. Celestial signs and portents also had great practical value in delineating the seasons of the year, and showing when to sow the seed, and when to harvest crops. To those who undertake a deeper study of the history and origins of Christianity, it becomes apparent that Christianity is actually a hybrid religion, born of the fusion or marriage of two streams or traditions of religion and spirituality, the Judaic and the Hellenistic. Although the prohibitions against astrology come from the Judaic tradition, the Hellenistic tradition had no such prohibitions. In fact, in the time of the apostle Paul, the ancient Greeks had developed the most advanced and sophisticated system of astrology in the world; they called it the System of Hermes, but modern astrologers call it Hellenistic Astrology. Along with the other Hellenistic elements that crept into Christianity with the apostle Paul, a lot of astrological lore and symbolism entered Christianity as well.
According to astrology, there are two primary lights in the heavens, the Sun and the Moon, which astrologers call the two luminaries; their simultaneous creation by God is mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The Neolithic astrologer / priests started to organize themselves into two camps: those who followed the night sky, with a lunar / stellar frame of reference, and those who followed the daytime sky, with a solar frame of reference. Even today, there are systems of astrology, such as Vedic Astrology, that follow the sidereal zodiac, which is oriented towards the Moon and the fixed stars that dominate the night sky, versus Western Astrology, with its tropical zodiac, which is based on the solstices and equinoxes of the solar year. In terms of religion and spirituality, the astrologer / priests who followed the night time sidereal zodiac were more oriented towards polytheism and goddess worship, whereas the astrologer / priests who followed the daytime sky and the tropical zodiac were more solar and monotheistic in their spiritual orientation.
Understanding the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Great Precessional Ages
As I stated above, there are two zodiacs used in astrology – the sidereal zodiac, which is based on the Moon and the fixed stars, and the tropical zodiac, which is based on the solar year, with its solstices and equinoxes. Because it is based on the fixed stars and constellations of the night sky, the sidereal zodiac is also fixed and unmoving. The solar based tropical zodiac, on the other hand, is not static, but is slowly moving; every 72 years, the Vernal Equinox Point, which is the starting point of the tropical zodiac at 0 degrees of the tropical sign Aries, moves backwards, or precesses, by one degree. By this metric, it takes some 2,160 years, which is 30 degrees per sign, times 72 years for the Vernal Equinox Pont to precess by one degree, for the Vernal Equinox Point to precess backwards through a whole sign of the sidereal zodiac. These are the Great Precessional Ages, which are due to a very slow wobble of the earth on its axis.
Vedic astrologers, who utilize the sidereal zodiac, have a certain factor called the Ayanamsha, which measures the exact number of degrees by which the tropical zodiac, with its Vernal Equinox Point, has precessed backwards from the 0 degrees Aries point of the sidereal zodiac. Currently, the Ayanamsha, or number of degrees that the tropical zodiac’s Vernal Equinox Point has precessed backwards from the 0 degrees Aries point of the sidereal zodiac, is about 24 degrees; it was about 23 degrees when I was born, which was almost 72 years ago. You see how this works? Because the Vernal Equinox Point precesses, or moves backwards, the Great Precessional Ages also move backwards through the zodiac. In the first century AD, in the time of Jesus and the apostle Paul, the Vernal Equinox Point of the tropical zodiac was in the early degrees of the sidereal sign of Aries, and was heading towards the final degrees of the sidereal sign of Pisces, the sign of the fishes. Accordingly, Jesus Christ, whose main disciples were fishermen, could be seen as the prophet or savior who heralded or ushered in the Piscean Age.
The Arian Age, within which Jesus and Paul lived and worked, was dominated by the awesome military power and might of the Roman Empire, since Aries is a sign ruled by Mars, the planetary god of war. Jesus and his fishermen disciples were the spiritual harbingers of the Age of Pisces, the age of faith and belief, since Pisces is a mystical sign ruled by Neptune, the planetary god of the sea, or the mystical ocean of consciousness, and the domain of faith and belief, in which only consciousness is real. As I said, the Vernal Equinox Point was precessing through the initial degrees of the sidereal sign of Aries in the time of Jesus and Paul; the final entry or ingress of the Vernal Equinox Point into the sidereal sign of Pisces coincided pretty closely with the formal ascension of the religion of Christianity to become the dominant or establishment religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine. After this happened, the Arian / Martian military might of Rome was pretty much on the wane, and the Roman Empire split in two halves – one for each of the two Piscean fishes.
The coming Age of Aquarius will be an age in which spiritual knowledge triumphs over mere faith and belief, since Aquarius is the sign of spiritual knowledge, ruled by the planet Uranus, the planet of the higher or divine mind. Although there are high hopes for the coming Age of Aquarius, with many New Age gurus declaring that the Age of Aquarius is already here, the true advent of the Age of Aquarius, in which the Vernal Equinox Point of the tropical zodiac enters into the sidereal sign of Aquarius, won’t come for another 430 years or so. That’s because, with the Ayanamsha currently being at about 24 degrees behind 0 degrees of the sidereal sign of Aries, the Vernal Equinox Point is now at about 6 degrees of the sign of Pisces. Do the math: six times seventy-two equals 432 years to the actual dawning of the Aquarian Age. Perhaps, within the next century or so, the prophet or harbinger of the Age of Aquarius will make his – or her – appearance on the world stage. Aquarius is also the sign of universal brotherhood, and hopefully, the Aquarian Age will usher in the true brotherhood of all mankind.
Jesus Christ as a Solar Savior Deity
It would be extremely hard to find a more fitting celestial symbol of God or divinity than the Sun; the Sun is the bringer of life giving light and heat to the earth, and all its life forms, human and otherwise. The sunrise ushers in the day, in which the myriad shadows of darkness flee, and truth and reality can be seen, plain as day. All the demons who were plotting to attack us by night have to flee with the coming of the Sun. In light of these core solar realities, the passage from the Christian Scriptures that is a most clear and direct reference to them is one that is attributed to Jesus, from the Gospel of John:
I am the Light of the World.
– John 8: 12
But the solar symbolism doesn’t stop there. Consider the following:
According to Christian tradition, Jesus Christ was born on December 25, the date of the old Roman winter solstice. The Emperor Constantine, who had been a devotee of the cult of Sol Invictus, or The Unconquerable Sun, prior to his conversion to Christianity, insisted that the official birthday of Jesus be moved to December 25th, which was Dies Natalis Solis Invictii, or the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. – 1.
Constantine also insisted that the Christian Sabbath day be moved from Saturday, which is the Jewish Sabbath day, to Sunday, which is, of course, the day of the Sun. Christians began to call Sunday Dominicus (Spanish Domingo), meaning “The Lord’s Day”. Astrologers consider the Sun to be King or Lord over all the other planets, which merely reflect the Sun’s light.
Jesus had twelve apostles – one for each sign of the zodiac. The gospels portray Jesus’ disciples as bumbling around, and unable to fathom the full extent of Jesus’ glorious divinity. Similarly, the Sun passes through each sign of the zodiac during the course of a solar year, but each of these signs only grasps or encompasses a limited aspect or perspective on the Sun and the full totality of the solar radiance and glory.
The birthday of Jesus Christ is December 25th, the date of the old Roman winter solstice; nowadays, we know that the actual winter solstice is on or around December 21st. That leaves about three days between the ancient and modern winter solstices. For those three days previous to the old winter solstice, the solar light is at its lowest ebb, and seems to go nowhere, as if the Sun is in a tomb; on the morning of December 25th, the days begin to get noticeably longer. And so, Jesus stayed in the tomb for three days after his crucifixion, after which he rose from the dead.
In astrology, the Sun is the planetary ruler of the sign Leo, the sign of the lion, who is the king of beasts. Similarly, the Sun is the Lord of the Heavens, the king of all the planets, as no other planet eclipses or exceeds the Sun in its light and glory. Indeed, the Sun is the center of our solar system, around which all the other planets revolve, like courtiers in waiting. In keeping with this solar, leonine and regal symbolism, Jesus Christ has been called the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, etc…
Get the picture? I have merely scratched the surface here, but I hope you get the point. I would like to leave you with an interesting and thought provoking quote from Thomas Paine, the eighteenth century philosopher of the Enlightenment and the author of the revolutionary pamphlet Common Sense:
The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun. – 2.
The word “parody” may appear to be too pejorative of a word here, but it must be remembered that the eighteenth century Enlightenment was a period that was marked by great advances in science, and a corresponding rational skepticism regarding traditional religion and its claims.
The Jesus Story through the Eyes of Astrology
We now turn our attention to the Jesus story and its many correlations with astrology, especially its solar symbolism and allegory. We also find that these underlying astrological themes are not unique to the Jesus story, but are shared by the life stories of other solar saviors, like Krishna, who has been called the Christ of India. It must also be remembered that reverence for the Sun was central in the Hellenistic tradition, in which the Sun god Apollo and his son Asclepius, the god of medicine, embodied solar archetypes. We will go through the Jesus story, from beginning to end, as recorded in the Christian gospels, showing the astrological symbolism and correspondences for each crucial milestone or life event. The sheer extent to which the Jesus story insinuates itself with astrological symbolism and allegory may well astound you, especially if you are new to astrology, or are not a trained astrologer.
The Nativity of Jesus Christ
According to Christian tradition, Jesus was born on December 25th, which was the date of the old Roman winter solstice. We now know that the actual winter solstice occurs on or around December 21st, but for three days and nights, the Sun seems to stand still, and it isn’t until the morning of December 25th that the days finally start to get longer, indicating the birth, or rebirth, of the solar light. As the Prologue to John’s gospel states, “The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.” Christmas Eve, or the night of December 24th, is traditionally held to be the longest night of the year, and in German, it is called Heiligenacht, or the Holy Night, because within its deep darkness, the solar light is reborn. In Roman times, the winter solstice marked the festival of the Saturnalia, so called because of the Sun’s ingress into the Saturn-ruled sign of Capricorn. The Emperor Constantine had the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday officially proclaimed to be December 25th, which was known as Dies Natalis Solis Invictii, or The Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun, because, prior to his conversion to Christianity, he had been an adherent of the Sol Invictus cult. Modern Christians call Jesus Christ the “reason for the season”, but the real reason for the season, which long preceded the advent of Christianity, was the winter solstice and the return of the solar light.
The Gospel of Luke has Jesus being born in a manger; this earthy, rustic setting is appropriate for the Sun’s entry into the Earth sign of Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn, a planet that was traditionally associated with conditions of poverty and lack. Luke tells us that shepherds who were watching their flocks by night came in to pay reverence to the Christ child, but others have said that shepherds would not have been taking their flocks out to graze up in the mountains in the deep of winter; this lends credence to the fact that the official placement of Christ’s birth at the old Roman winter solstice was something that wasn’t done until the Emperor Constantine commanded it. Mithraism also celebrated the birthday of their savior deity, Mithras, on December 25th as well; instead of being born in a manger, Mithras was born in a cave, which can be seen as the womb of Mother Earth. From out of the depths of the earth, when the Sun moves into the Earth sign of Capricorn, again in humble circumstances, the solar light is reborn.
Christianity sees the nativity of Jesus Christ as the descent of divinity into human flesh, or the Incarnation. Astrologers see the nativity of any person as a sacred or divine event as well, as the descent of the divine Soul into the body, of unlimited divinity taking on the fleshly limitations of time and space, and the particular family situation and karmic circumstances into which they are born. The Book of Genesis tells us that man was made in the image of God, and the Prologue of John’s gospel tells us that the same divine Logos or Word that Jesus Christ embodied is the same divine spark that lights up the heart of every man. Every Soul comes into the world as a gift from God, full of divine promise and potential. Aware that the official birthday of Jesus was something that was ordained by imperial decree, many astrologers have suggested alternative birth dates for Jesus, with their corresponding natal charts, as what they feel to have been the true birthday of Jesus. Most of these charts center on some great or auspicious planetary event or configuration. Although there is a lot of astrological speculation going on about Jesus’ true birthday, I have yet to see any alternative birthday and chart for Jesus that is conclusive.
Bethlehem as the Birthplace of Jesus
Several years back, I took a trip to the Holy Land, and decided to pay a visit to Bethlehem, which was not far from Jerusalem, where I was staying. “How do I get to the Church of the Nativity?” I asked the bus driver, and he pointed to a road that lay straight ahead of us. “Just follow that road, turn the corner, and keep on walking,” he said. Well, I walked and walked and walked, and started to get rather angry and impatient – then I recalled that Luke said that Joseph and Mary had to ride on their donkey a considerable distance from the center of town to get to their manger. Along the way, I stopped by at a bakery, where they were making the most delicious whole wheat pita bread imaginable, and bought a loaf to eat – and then I remembered that the name “Bethlehem” means, “House of Bread” in Hebrew – which is an obvious allusion to the astrological sign Virgo, who is often shown holding a shaft of wheat in her hand. Virgo is a Mutable, or changeable, Earth sign, that is intimately involved with the production or changing of the raw nutrient substances from the Earth into forms we can eat, like wheat into bread. The sign Virgo also alludes to the virgin birth of Jesus. Jesus, the Lord of the fishermen, is the Piscean savior, and Pisces, the sign of the fishes, is directly opposed to the sign of Virgo. The whole Virgo / Pisces axis is intimately involved with the theme of sacrifice in astrology. Imagine the spiritual anguish and heartbreak of the Virgin Mary at having to relinquish the fruit of her own womb, Jesus, when he went through his redemptive atonement on the cross!
Bethlehem was also known as King David’s City from the tradition that King David was born there, and it was said that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. Matthew just has the holy family living in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth, but Luke invents the historically questionable plot device of a Roman census to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth. This is a measure of just how important being born in Bethlehem was to anyone claiming to be the Messiah in the Holy Land in the first century.
The Three Wise Men and the Star of Bethlehem
One of the most memorable and distinctive features of the nativity narrative from the Gospel of Matthew is the episode of the three wise men and their following of the Star of Bethlehem to the birthplace of Jesus. But what exactly was the Star of Bethlehem? Some speculate that it was a supernova, or maybe some auspicious planetary conjunction that wouldn’t be apparent to the untrained eye, but which the three wise men, who were astrologers, had observed in the heavens. Many theories abound. Some astrotheologists say that on the morning of the first Christmas Day, the three stars of Orion’s belt were in direct alignment with the fixed star Sirius, which was rising on the Ascendant, or the eastern horizon – hence the story of the three wise men following the star in the east. That’s a plausible allegorical explanation. But the great Christo-Hindu sage Paramahansa Yogananda said that the Star of Bethlehem was, in reality, the blue star of the Christ Consciousness that appears to the devotee while in deep meditation, in the Third Eye, which is that point behind and between the two eyebrows, in the center of the forehead. The third eye is directly referred to in the King James translation of Matthew 6: 22: If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. All other translations of the Bible into English get this verse wrong, and are third eye blind.
Perhaps many rank and file Christian believers have not even considered this, but the question remains: How on earth did the three wise men get to Bethlehem from the east by following a star in the east? What were they doing – were they facing backwards on their camels all the way from Persia, or India, or wherever else in the east that they could have come from? It turns out that Yogananda has a spiritual explanation for that; to him, the star in the east is not east in any external, geographical sense, but rather, it is a referral to the area of the forehead, a part of the body that is ruled by the sign Aries in astrology. Aries is an eastern sign in that it is associated with the Spring Equinox, and the rising sun, which rises in the east. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and leads all the other signs, just as the forehead leads the rest of the body. If you are persistent and spiritually awake and aware, you can see the beautiful blue star of the Christ Consciousness appearing in the screen of your inner vision, in the third eye, in deep meditation. But don’t take my word for it; this is something you can see and experience for yourself. Just gaze sweetly and patiently into the spiritual eye, and the Blue Star will appear.
Candlemas: The Presentation of the Baby Jesus at the Temple
On February 2nd comes the Christian feast of Candlemas, which is also called the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day, exactly forty days after Jesus’ birth and 31 days after his circumcision on the eighth day of his life, the days of Mary’s purification period were over, and she went to present the baby Jesus at the temple. This episode is covered in Luke 2: 22 – 40. In the course of the ceremony, according to Luke’s account, Mary makes the offering of two turtle doves, and the baby Jesus is blessed by two people: the old man Simeon, who has vowed not to die until he has seen the salvation of Israel; and the old prophetess Anna, who intensively fasts and prays at the temple. In Mexico and other Latin American countries where this feast is celebrated, the Virgin of Candelaria is the patron deity of Candlemas. It just so turns out that Candlemas falls exactly midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, when the Sun is transiting the middle degrees of the fixed sign of Aquarius. In the pagan tradition, this feast is called Imbolc, and its patron goddess is the Celtic goddess Brigitte. Candlemas, or Imbolc, marks the increasingly waxing light of the young Sun, and its promise for the future; in the Jesus story, there are great hopes expressed for the infant Jesus. – 3.
Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents and the Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt
In the Gospel of Matthew, there is the episode of King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents and the flight of the holy family into Egypt in order to escape Herod’s dragnet. Herod, who has heard about the birth of a great king from the three wise men, goes into a jealous fit of rage and orders his soldiers to kill all young babies two years of age or younger. The age of two years is an interesting one, because Mars, the planet of war and aggression, which amply depicts this slaughter, has an orbital cycle of two years. Jesus’ father Joseph receives advance warning of Herod’s impending slaughter from an angel in a dream, and is told to flee into Egypt with Mary and Jesus in tow, which he promptly does, thus evading Herod’s dragnet and securing Jesus’ future. After the Sun, with its young and delicate, yet growing, light, transits through Capricorn, it transits through Aquarius, which opposes the royal sign of Leo, symbolizing the jealous rivalry with an opposing tyrant king, who seeks to kill the young solar savior. It is interesting that the Hindu god Krishna, himself also a solar savior deity, is also taken to safety by his parents to escape the dragnet of a jealous tyrant who seeks to kill him.
The holy family flees on a donkey into Egypt, and in all probability, they went to the port city of Alexandria, where they could live in relative anonymity amidst a large community of expatriate Jews. This flight into Egypt corresponds to the Mutable Water sign of Pisces, traditionally ruled by Jupiter, the planet of foreign travel. Alexandria, where the holy family probably went, is a port city, indicating a connection with the sea and the Water element. Flexibility and adaptability are the key virtues of the Mutable signs, and the holy family made a little detour or a change of plans in order to evade the murderous King Herod. There is no actual historical record of King Herod’s supposed slaughter of the innocents, but never mind – it fits in very well with the allegorical narrative of the solar savior.
Jesus’ Bar Mitzvah: Teaching and Questioning the Elders in the Jerusalem Temple
At around the age of twelve years in the life of every person, the planet Jupiter, which has a twelve year orbital cycle, makes its first return to its natal position. With Jupiter, the planet of expansion, philosophy and world view, returning to its natal position, the period of adolescence begins, with a milestone indicating that the young man is now ready to step out of the sheltered environment of his immediate family and take on a larger role within the local community. This is traditionally the age at which young Jewish men celebrate their Bar Mitzvah, a rite in which the young lad is expected to read from the Torah, or the Jewish Scriptures, and to deliver a brief sermon or commentary upon them. Since it happens at age twelve, we can take the story of Jesus getting left behind at the Jerusalem Temple to lecture to and question the elders and doctors of theology there as being Jesus’ Bar Mitzvah. And, judging from Luke’s glowing account of it, we can assume that the young Jesus passed his Bar Mitzvah with flying colors.
The Mysterious Lost Years of Jesus: The Journeyman Phase of Jesus’ Spiritual Education
Between Jesus’ Bar Mitzvah experience at age twelve and his baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan at age thirty, nothing much is said about these years except Luke’s assertion that Jesus continued to grow in favor with both God and man. These are the mysterious lost years of Jesus, about which there has been much speculation. At around age twelve, as we have seen, the planet Jupiter makes its first return to its natal position, marking the beginning of adolescence, and the youth’s embarking on a period of higher education and preparation for one’s life’s work. Jesus’ Bar Mitzvah experience at his first Jupiter return probably initiated the journeyman phase of Jesus’ spiritual education, which, astrologically speaking, corresponds to the sign of Sagittarius, which is ruled by Jupiter, and its corresponding house, the Ninth House, which is the house of long journeys and foreign travel. The travel does not have to be physical or geographical; it can also be mental travel, in the sense of higher education and exposure to other ways of approaching one’s chosen craft or specialty with other masters. And Jesus could have received this higher education in his chosen life’s path without leaving the Holy Land.
Just before age thirty in the life of every man and woman, the planet Saturn, which is the planet of maturity, discipline, definition and commitment, makes its first return to its natal position. This usually is the point at which most people make their final commitment to their chosen profession or vocation in life. And Jesus made that commitment when he got baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. According to the gospel accounts, Jesus’ spiritual mission begins with his baptism by John, whereupon John sends him his first disciples. The heavens open, and Jesus receives the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and this seems to act like a spiritual catalyst that leads inevitably towards his final crucifixion and resurrection. It is conventionally assumed that the gospel writers did not write about the lost years of Jesus because it was merely a preparatory phase for his life’s mission, and it was Jesus’ actual mission, his public ministry, that was the main concern of the canonical gospels. Alternative explanations for the lost years opine that, for one reason or another, the gospel writers didn’t want you to know about where Jesus went, and who he studied with; the whole thing had to be kept under wraps.
Jesus is Baptized by John in the River Jordan
There was definitely a special relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist that the canonical gospels always want to play down, especially when it comes to the episode of Jesus’ baptism. Nevertheless, certain of the canonical gospels, like the Gospel of Luke, seem to acknowledge the depth and intimacy of this relationship in many ways. For example, Luke tells of the prenatal visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth’s house, at which the fetus of John the Baptist, then in Elizabeth’s womb, jumps for joy at the announcement of Mary – and Jesus’ – arrival. The esoteric explanation is that John the Baptist had been the prophet Elijah in his previous incarnation, and Jesus had been Elijah’s disciple Elisha. The gospel of Luke also tells the story of the annunciation and expectancy of John the Baptist and their parents, Zachariah and Elizabeth. Some biblical scholars have even speculated that John the Baptist was Jesus’ spiritual teacher or guru, but scriptural evidence for this in the gospels is far from conclusive.
Nevertheless, a case could be made, even from the gospel accounts, that John and Jesus started out as being the twin spiritual deliverers of Israel. Some Jews believe that there were intended to be two Messiahs – one kingly, from the royal lineage of David, and the other priestly, from the priestly lineage of Aaron. Jesus, as Matthew and Luke’s genealogies tell us, was from the royal lineage of David, but what is not so well known is that John the Baptist was from the priestly lineage of Aaron. If John had really been Jesus’ spiritual teacher or guru, it would have been much more fitting if he had been considerably older than Jesus, but as it is within the Christian tradition, John is said to have been only six months older than Jesus. Whereas Jesus’ birthday is held to be December 25th, John’s birthday, and his feast day, is June 24th – exactly six months before that of Jesus. There is an astrological reason for this, as we shall see. Even though John and Jesus weren’t literal biological twins, they did act, at least for a time, as spiritual twins engaged in the deliverance of the nation of Israel – and that fits right in with the astrological sign of Gemini. An untimely and tragic end to this spiritual twinship came with the assassination and beheading of John the Baptist; after that, Jesus had to continue on his own.
Astrologically speaking, the episode of Jesus’ baptism by John in the River Jordan takes place at the summer solstice, which is the full zenith and flowering of the solar light. It is here that the heavens open up and the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus, initiating his public ministry. You also have the transition from the spiritual twinship (Gemini) of John and Jesus and Jesus’ entering into the water at his baptism, which corresponds to the Cardinal or initiatory Water sign of Cancer, which begins with the summer solstice. The spiritual twinship of John and Jesus is portrayed in Jesus’ line to John that “it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness”. The summer solstice also marks that critical turning point of the year at which the force of the solar light’s waxing is eclipsed by that of the solar light’s waning. In paganism, there is the myth of the dueling Oak and Holly Kings, with the Oak King ruling over the waxing half of the solar year, and the Holly King ruling over its waning half. At the summer solstice, the Holly King defeats or kills the Oak King. Hence, you have John’s wistful observation that “he must increase, while I must decrease”; John is, of course, playing the role of the Oak King, and Jesus that of the Holly King.
Jesus Is Tested by Satan in the Wilderness
Not everyone who is a self styled or self proclaimed spiritual teacher should be trusted; false teachers abound. And so, immediately after getting baptized by John in the River Jordan, Jesus goes off into the wilderness, for forty days and nights of intensive prayer and fasting, and also to be tempted and tested by Satan, the devil himself. In astrology, the planet Saturn takes the place of Satan as the great tester; Saturn tests the individual to make sure that he or she has truly mastered their spiritual lessons before moving on to the next step in their life’s mission. Without this rigorous testing, we cannot be sure of or have any confidence in the progress we have made, and the lessons we have learned. Only after Jesus has successfully passed and mastered these difficult tests that Satan puts before him is he truly ready to start his public ministry. Astrologically speaking, with his baptism, Jesus has crossed over from Gemini into Cancer at the summer solstice, and the opposing sign to Cancer is Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn, the great tester.
Jesus and His Twelve Disciples
As soon as he starts his public ministry, Jesus begins to attract disciples; soon he winds up with an inner circle of twelve disciples. Although conservative Christians would beg to differ, asserting that Jesus’ twelve disciples represent the twelve tribes of Israel, among esoteric Christians, the twelve disciples plainly represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. If we take Jesus as representing the Sun, his twelve disciples stand for the twelve signs of the zodiac that the Sun passes through in the course of a solar year. In the canonical gospels as they have come down to us today, Jesus’ disciples are portrayed as somewhat dull or limited in their perspective on Jesus and his teachings; they never seem to fully grasp the totality of Jesus and his message. Likewise, each of the twelve signs of the zodiac has a certain perspective on the solar light and its radiance and glory, but none of them is able to encompass the totality of the solar light and what it means. In the gospels, Jesus’ twelve disciples are often used as handy teaching tools against certain defects of personality and character; likewise, each of the signs of the zodiac represents certain traits or tendencies of personality and character, with their virtues as well as their shortcomings.
The question is: Which disciples correspond to which signs of the zodiac? In my researches on this question, I have come across various different schemes of correspondences, but in my opinion, none of them are perfect. Certain ones are much clearer and much more obvious than others, however. For example, take the apostle Peter; he clearly corresponds with the sign Aries. Peter has certain impulsive and aggressive tendencies that fit in well with this Mars ruled sign, which is shown by certain things like cutting off the ear of a Roman soldier. Jesus tells Peter that by the time the cock crows at dawn, he will have denied Jesus three times. The cock, as a bird that is very aggressive and macho by nature, has a definite affinity with the sign of Aries. The dawn, which is analogous to the spring equinox of the solar year, also has an affinity with the sign of Aries, which is the first sign of spring. When confronted about his relationship with Jesus, Peter has an acute crisis or test of courage, which is also governed by Mars, but each time, he fails the test. Aries was one Mars ruled sign in classical astrology; the other was Scorpio, which was the more covert and underhanded side of Mars. Into the Scorpio category could fit Simon the Zealot, who was presumably a clandestine warrior against the Roman occupation of Judea, and also possibly Judas. Many have assigned materialistic Earth signs like Taurus or Capricorn to the tax collector Matthew. See how this works?
The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ Atop Mount Tabor
In all the synoptic gospels, Jesus takes three of his closest disciples up with him to the top of Mount Tabor to witness his transfiguration. Jesus is joined by the spiritual presence of the prophets Moses and Elijah, and he shines as radiantly as the Sun. On the way down from the mountaintop, Jesus cautions his disciples not to divulge this to anyone, but he foretells of his tragic crucifixion. The Feast of the Transfiguration is traditionally celebrated in early August – the usual date is the ninth of August – when the Sun is transiting through the middle degrees of the tropical sign Leo, which is ruled by the Sun. The astrological symbolism here is that we are looking straight into the heart of the Sun, which is the essence of the Transfiguration, when Jesus reveals himself to his closest disciples in all his resplendent solar glory. It is interesting to note here that, in the Bhagavad Gita, which is often called the New Testament of Hinduism, Lord Krishna, who is another solar savior deity, transfigures himself for his disciple Arjuna before the battle of Kurukshetra.
The Last Supper: The Selfless Generosity of the Solar Vegetation Deity
Right before his crucifixion, Jesus shares a ritual meal with his closest disciples. He breaks the loaf of bread and passes it around, saying, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” He then pours some wine into a chalice and says, “This is my blood, which is shed for you in the New Covenant”. Let’s face it – the Christian Eucharist is spiritual cannibalism in symbolic form, which is blasphemous and repugnant to the average Jew. If the ritual of the Eucharist did not come into Christianity from Judaism, then where did it come from? It came into Christianity from the apostle Paul, who was the first Christian writer to write about it. Paul came from the city of Tarsus, which was a big center for the pagan cult of Mithras, which celebrated a similar Eucharistic meal of bread and wine. – 4.
In a broader sense, the Eucharist has its origins in the pagan concept of a solar vegetation god. Throughout the growing season, the solar vegetation god selflessly pours forth of his life giving heat and light to ripen the crops, so they can be made and transformed into bread and wine. Like the solar vegetation god, Jesus Christ is selflessly pouring forth his very being to his closest disciples, who partake of his spiritual nourishment. The Last Supper precedes and presages the crucifixion of Jesus and his ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. With the spring equinox, the Sun emerges triumphant over the forces of darkness that have ruled the dark half of the solar year, and begins shedding his light and heat selflessly over the crops, to bring life and sustenance to all. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
Easter Sunday: The Risen Christ Emerges Triumphant
Everyone loves a good spring festival; the core idea is to celebrate the return of Nature to life in the spring – and this has been happening since long before the advent of Jesus. It is at this time of year that the Jews celebrate the Passover, which commemorates their escape from captivity in Egypt and their being led to freedom by the prophet and lawgiver Moses. The Greeks also revered the first Full Moon after the spring equinox, and considered it to be special. The Eleusinian Mysteries, which were based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone, celebrated the return of Persephone from the underworld in the spring. In Western Christianity, the formula for the date of Easter is clearly astrological: Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the spring equinox. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the setting of the date for Easter is a bit more complex, and adheres more closely to the date of the Jewish Passover. Eastern Orthodox Easter can happen anywhere from the same day as Easter in the Western church to up to a whole month after the celebration of Easter in Western Christianity.
Let’s take a closer look at the astrological formula for determining the date of Easter used in Western Christianity: Easter falls after the spring equinox – that is, after the Sun and its life giving light and heat have attained a position of ascendancy over the forces of darkness, which had held the Sun in check during the dark half of the year. Easter also happens on Sunday, which is the day of the Sun, which reinforces the solar dominance. And Easter also happens right after the Full Moon. Astrologically speaking, the Moon phase that immediately follows the Full Moon is called the Disseminating Moon; think of it as the Moon scattering seeds of its light all over the earth – mirroring, in a lunar sense, the selfless, life giving generosity of the solar vegetation god, who brings life and sustenance to all. Many Christians like to celebrate Easter at sunrise on Easter Sunday – and the sunrise is analogous to the spring equinox of the solar year, as well as symbolizing Jesus Christ, the risen solar savior.
In the Gospel of John, John the Baptist says, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world!” The Christian meaning of this passage is clear: Jesus Christ is to undergo a sacrifice on the cross for the spiritual redemption of all humanity. But what is a lamb but a baby ram? And the ram is the symbolic animal of the sign Aries, the sign of the spring equinox, within which Easter usually occurs. Implicit in this saying of John the Baptist is the idea of offering the lamb / Jesus Christ up on a high altar to God – and astrologically, the Sun is exalted, or especially elevated and powerful, in the sign of Aries. In terms of the great Precessional Ages, when Christ was crucified in or around 30 AD, the Vernal Equinox Point was passing through the final degrees of the sign Aries, and the sacrificing of the lamb on the high altar also symbolized the imminent passing of the Age of Aries into the Age of Pisces.
The Astrological Symbolism of the Cross
The cross has four arms; many other things also come in fours. Not only are there four cardinal directions on the compass, but the solar year also has four cardinal turning points – the two solstices and the two equinoxes, with the equinoxes being represented by the horizontal arms of the cross, and the solstices by its vertical beams. These solstices and equinoxes in turn form the basis of the tropical zodiac of the twelve solar signs of the zodiac. When we switch from the signs, which are states of being and perspective, to the houses of the horoscope, which represent life areas, we find that the four arms of the cross represent the four angles of the birthchart, which are the cusps of the angular houses, which represent the four cardinal or most important life areas: oneself and one’s health and agenda in life (Ascendant / First House); one’s home and family life (Nadir / Fourth House); one’s mate or partner in life (Descendant / Seventh House); and one’s reputation and career path (Midheaven / Tenth House). These four cardinal life areas are so important that most people expend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to achieve simultaneous fulfillment in all four of these crucial houses or life areas.
In classical astrology and the worldview upon which it was based, the four arms of the cross also represent the Four Elements, which classical Greek scientists and natural philosophers believed constituted all matter, in varying proportions: Fire, Air, Earth and Water. In the gospels, the Romans put up a sign or placard at the head of Jesus’ cross that had the anagram INRI. The usual rendering of this anagram is that it stands for Iesu Nazareno Rex Iudaeorum, or “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, as a blatant warning against all who would plot against Rome to set themselves up as king. However, these four letters, INRI, also stand for the names of the Four Elements in Hebrew: Iam (Water); Noor (Light, or Fire); Ruach (Spirit, or Air); and Iabdeshah (Earth). These are the Four Elements of which all matter is made, including the matter that makes up our bodies. As we approach death, the body becomes increasingly a burden, just like Jesus carrying his heavy cross, until we are finally crucified upon it, lay it down, and give up the ghost. Similarly the arms of the cross as the four angles of the astrological birthchart are like cross hairs, which fix or anchor the free Spirit that is Soul down to a particular birth location and set of family and karmic circumstances – and all of this, which formed the basis for our lives, is finally given up at death.
In astrology, many of the planetary symbols or glyphs incorporate the cross, which is seen as the cross of matter, with its Four Elements. These include the planetary glyphs for Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury. Everyone has their cross to bear in life, which involves juggling the four crucial life areas of self versus partner, and home life versus career life. All relationships we encounter in life are either more partnership / peer based, in which responsibility is shared equally (the Ascendant / Descendant axis, the equinoxes, the horizontal arms of the cross), or those which are more hierarchical, in which one submits to authority (the vertical Midheaven / Nadir axis, the solstices , the vertical beam of the cross). In other words, the cross is a potent symbol that symbolizes the whole of life in a nutshell. We all have our crosses to bear, and we do our best in bearing them, and coping with the cards we were dealt in life. In a religious sense, the vertical beam of the cross represent Jesus Christ as the descent of divinity into human flesh, while the horizontal arms of the cross represent the boundless love and compassion of the Christ in giving to all Life.
Conclusion: Astrology Provides the Cosmic Background for the Jesus Story
One of the key objections put forth by the old Greco-Roman philosophers in the second and third centuries of the Common Era about the then emerging Christian religion was the philosophical objection of having a supposedly universal savior figure who was nevertheless limited in his incarnation within time and space. This drawback was a lot clearer way back then, when the Christian religion was still something that was relatively new. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3: 16). But what about those who lived and died before the advent of Jesus Christ? Did God simply not care about them? This is one of the most basic points upon which Christianity is philosophically vulnerable, which is still valid today, even though the passage of many centuries has made it less clear and obvious.
What astrology does is provide a cosmic background that supports a broader understanding of the universal cosmic principles behind the incarnation and the eventual manifestation of the Christian religion, and roots it in that which is eternal. Perhaps the best example of this is that the original “reason for the season” when it comes to the Christmas or Yuletide season was the rebirth of the solar light out of the depths of darkness at the winter solstice. Jesus Christ, when he finally incarnated, was simply a manifestation or embodiment of that eternal principle of the Invincible Sun in human form. Indeed, the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handywork. The universal and transcendent aspect of the Christian religion is even encoded in the stellar signs that God has placed in the heavens. For those who want to base their Christian faith in something that transcends the historical events that occurred within first century Palestine, Christian astrotheology is there for those who wish to partake of it. When Jesus said that he was Alpha and Omega, he was speaking from the perspective of the eternal Christ Consciousness within, and not from the ephemeral and limited human perspective.