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  Home   |   Articles   |   Book Reviews   |   Star Gazing   |   Astro*Weather   |   Everyday Astrology    




Archive


Astrology Articles
Article Title: Astrology and the Star of Bethlehem
Date Published:
- by David  Perkins
What was in the sky during the birth of Christ?
Although it was an astrological event that announced the birth of Christ, for hundreds of years the official Christian church would not recognize, and would even suppress, the significance astrology played on one of Christianity's most sacred moments. How could the church condemn the study of the stars, when the Holy Spirit itself had used a star to announce Christ's arrival? The reason of the Church's position can actually be traced back to the result of Rome's conquering of the known world at that time.

Before the rise of Rome, astrology under the Greeks (and other cultures), was treated as a science and even taught in universities. The philosophy of the Greeks, for example, followed the thought that everything in the universe is related to each other, so therefore the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets would relate to events on earth. When Rome's power spread throughout the known world, so did it's influence - politically and religiously. Since Rome's religious beliefs were that man was only fulfilling the wishes of the gods - living out one's fate - those who practiced astrology then adapted this belief as well. (Throughout history astrology had to adapt to the local culture's religious belief, in order to be tolerated - if even that).

After the fall of Rome, astrology continued using the concept of fate, which naturally conflicted with the ideas of free will, which evolved in the Christian belief. One of the early Christian leaders, Saint Augustine (354 - 430) decided astrological thinking deprives one of their free will - so they could not then choose between good and evil. He became one of the first to condemn astrology formally within the church. This also led, unfortunately, to the destruction of many of the astrological writings that were produced then, and from previous times. It was also at this time the church began to seriously cover up the role that astrology had saving the life of Christ, and in announcing his birth.

The first alteration came by changing the description of those we now know as the "three Wise Men". In the original Greek writings, these three were called astrologers, and all signs of their visit show logically that they were. First, when they saw the star in their native lands, each one of them interpreted the symbolism of this heavenly event. This, after all, is the very practice of astrology! Second, even before they conferred with each other, they independently reached the same conclusion as to the meaning of the 'star'. This shows that a standard, methodical procedure, was in use for them to determine their interpretations.

The first alterations where the "three astrologers" were changed, can be traced back to the theologian Tertullian (160? - 230). This early Christian writer was suspicious of astrology due to his belief that it was rooted in pagan ritual. His writings changed the identity of the three astrologer's to titles closely related to the word 'King', which is why some later writings actually called them "Kings". There are no written records, however, that indicate they were kings - and their meeting with King Herod was not described with the celebration of royalty meeting other royalty. Besides being very wise in the subject of astrology, they also believed in it strong enough to walk over 1,000 miles to see the event they predicted.

It is not known where exactly the three astrologer's originated from, except that each were from kingdoms in ancient Persia, which is now present day Iran and Afghanistan. The question arises as to how the 'star' lead them to Bethlehem, and several facts put together offer a fairly good explanation. During this time in history, each country was associated to a certain starsign of the zodiac (unfortunately there are no written records that survived to show actually how these representations were created). There are accounts, however, that show many kingdoms used this system, and all of the countries involved were in agreement as to which sign represented their particular country. The sign of the zodiac representing Palestine was Pisces - and it was in this sign of the zodiac that the 'star' was said to have appeared, and moved 'strange' manner.

Between the years of 6 and 7 BC. (around the time Christ was estimated to have been born) there were three exceptional phenomenon occurring in the sign of Pisces with the planets Jupiter and Saturn. Since planets all travel across the sky at different speeds, there is a time when one planet passes another, which is called a conjunction. During this time both Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction, (which is not an exceptionally rare event by itself, for it happens approximately once every 20 years).

However, this particular conjunction occurred when both planets were approximately on the same declination, making them appear very close to one another in the sky. Since these both are the largest planets in our solar system - having them in conjunction, AND on nearly the same plane, would give the appearance of being one 'super star'.

Also, both of these planets during this period had similar movements of retrograde motion, that is, each planet appeared to move backwards over several periods of time. Of course a planet does not ever really move backwards, but there are times they appear to. This would explain the 'strange movements' the Star of Bethlehem was reported to have made, for retrograde motion was not fully understood until later in history when it was finally realized that the earth also is moving. By the way, 'strange', 'erratic', and 'possessed', were the three most common terms used to describe retrograde planets in ancient times.

You can experience an example of retrograde motion here on earth the next time you are on train passing a slower moving one. Even though both trains are moving forward, the slower one has the illusion to be moving backwards by those passengers on the faster one. The same thing happens in the sky, from our perspective, since the earth is a faster moving planet than Jupiter and Saturn. It only takes the earth about 1 year to circle the Sun, while it takes Jupiter about 12 years, and Saturn approximately 29 years.

When the three astrologers arrived in Palestine, they met with King Herod to ask permission to see the new 'King of Kings' - since they assumed one of such stature would have to be born of a king. Of course when King Herod had no idea what these three were referring to, the three wisely left. This did, however, arouse the King's suspicions, who then called for interpretations of several local astrologers. By their method of practice, none of these astrologers would have seen anything to forecast a new ruler. For astrology in Palestine at this time was a variation of practice taken from the ancient Babylonians, who used comets to announce the coming of a new ruler, or state.

During the reign of King Herod, the major forms of fortune telling in the Middle East were fortune cards, astrology, dream interpretation, and the reading of sheep's livers. It was believed that King Herod preferred dream interpreters, so had little experience in dealing with astrologers. This circumstance may have also influenced the forecast given by the Palestine astrologers - for since it was their first "big job", they certainly would not want to say anything that would anger the king. So, King Herod was told by his newly acquired astrologers that the three strangers were mistaken, and that he had nothing to worry about.

In the meantime, the three astrologers had found Christ, and gave the warning that trouble was on the way. This advice could very well have been the result of observing the planet Mars just about to enter Pisces. Mars in ancient times represented many of the characteristics it does today: aggression, war, soldiers, anger - trouble. It was this warning, and a vision in a dream which would save Christ. This is because back at the palace of King Herod, several events occurred which would change his mind concerning this new "King of Kings."

Interestingly enough, it was through dreams - or his dream interpreter - that convinced King Herod there was something to the previous visit by the three strangers from Persia. He then ordered all the archives to be searched for prophecies to see if anyone foresaw a new "King of Kings" being born in his kingdom, and where. From one library an account (which was predicted seven years earlier) was found. This was made by an old woman who read sheep's livers in Jerusalem. Just before she died, she described the coming of one, "who would change the spirit of the people, and lead not only Palestine, but those beyond her borders into a new kingdom."

Actually the prediction is very general in nature, for it could fit the pattern to anyone who starts any kind of a revolution. However, it was probably enough to change King Herod's mind, and have him send his soldiers throughout Palestine to eliminate his competition. There is one point about the woman that may be of interest now. Perhaps then it seemed so insignificant, that the library clerk didn't even bother to mention it to the King when he made his report. For while the old woman who read sheep's livers spent most of her life and died in Jerusalem, she originally was from Bethlehem.…


Copyright: David Perkins

Bio: David  Perkins

David Perkins arrived Dec.17, 1953, 97 degrees 20 minutes west longitude, 32 degrees 45 minutes north lattitude, around the time when local banks and government offices were about to close. Growing up on B-52 bases across America, David became an All American swimmer and serious student, with interests in science, history, people, art and the "unknown."

David graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1977 with a degree in Psychology, teaching credenticals, and a desire to help others. His interest with metaphysics began as a child often gazing at the stars, and in high school when taught how to read tarot cards.

Interest in astrology began while working on an assigned behavioral statistics lab project (the results of which showed this ancient art of describing and predicting behavior outperformed the other standard methods used in psychology. David has since been on four different continents studying astrology's history, philosophy, methods, and uses within many cultures.

Since 1983, David's astrological / metaphysical work has been published throughout Europe, from technical articles in journals - to magazine entertainment pieces and weekly forecasts. In 1985 he completed the first ever instructional and certification course ever given for Astro*Carto*Graphy in San Francisco under it's developer, the late Jim Lewis.

For 10 years he was the featured astrologer in Germany's largest weekly woman's magazine, "Bild der Frau", and currently has a weekly question & answer metaphysical column appearing in Kurier Szczecinski (Szczecin, Poland).

Combining psychology and astrology in his writings to assist people find solutions and direction is David's main calling and scientific side. On the artistic side David has founded FUTURE CIRCUS, a traveling educational program giving students in poorer regions the opportunity to create various forms of music, imagery, and perfomace art using computer technology as well as assisting Szczecin's Teatr Wspolczesny (The Modern Theater of Szczecin).with the creation of video, music, and animation effects.



Other articles by David Perkins:

Locational Astrology   
Nostradamus   
Religion Through the Astrological Ages   
Socrates: The Man, His Ideas, and His Horoscope   

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