Tag Archives: Epiphany

Proposal for a new holiday: Astrology Day!

Happy Epiphany! Or, if you are a member of one of the Orthodox Churches, or are reading this in Africa, Merry Christmas! This post is a follow-up to my previous Epiphany-themed post, Jesus Christ: Pagan Messiah.

Astrologers are mentioned with high-praise in the Bible! All you Christian Fundamentalists who say that Astrology is evil, are ignoring the literal word of the good book, for the Gospel of St Matthew clearly says that the first foreigners to recognise Jesus as Christ were Astrologers. In fact, the Churches have instituted a day to honour the fact – today, the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th.

Yes indeed. The Magi who came to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh were astrologers, who used their powers of casting horoscopes to predict the birth of the Messiah. The key to understanding this is the passage:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”

Matthew 2:1-2

The phrase at its rising has been also been translated as “in the East.” This has given rise to an erroneous belief that there was an actual Star of Bethlehem, moving comet like through the sky to guide the Magi to the place of Jesus’ birth. Some have also speculated, also erroneously, that the passage refers to a planetary conjunction which occurred in 6BC. (NB: all stars rise in the East, simply because of the Earth’s rotation).

However, to an Astrologer, the passage takes on a completely different meaning. It refers to Jesus’ “rising sign” or Ascendant. Hence the Magi computed Jesus’ Horoscope. Incidentally, the Rising Sign is the literal “Horoscope” – the word means “house marker,” hence the Ascendant is the point from which the Houses of the chart are measured. Likewise they used the power of Astrology to identify the specific house in Bethlehem (it so happens that there is a method in Horary Astrology where the geographical location of a thing may be determined by the position of the ruler of the house under which it falls in the Horary chart – see, e.g. here).

This has given me a brilliant idea – the Christian Church should celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany as Astrology Day, precisely because it is the day when a group of Astrologers came to visit Baby Jesus. Given that every other Christian holiday inevitably becomes secularized soon enough, we may rely on the power of big business to soon open it up to people of all religions and none! Heck, if this idea takes off and finds widespread popular appeal, we shall soon have internet memes going round saying it was a pagan feast day all along!

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Jesus Christ: Pagan Messiah

Updated version of a post from 2011

The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated by Christians on January 6th. It is thought to be the date upon which Jesus was visited by the Wise men, and in many non-English speaking countries (e.g. most of Africa) is regarded as the actual date that Santa Claus comes to visit (Europeans – though not those in the UK –  believe he comes a month earlier on December 6th – the feast of St Nicholas). However all this is by the by as in this blog post I intend to analyse the symbolism of the feast of the Epiphany from a Qabalistic perspective.

It is widely thought that there were three Wise Men i.e. Magi, however this is a misconception – the number three only arises because of the number of gifts specified. There could in actual fact have been any number of Magi – they might for example have decided to ignore a literal reading of the constitution and quietly re-elect one on the sly! The actual wording of Matthew’s Gospel in fact seems to indicate that there were many so-called Magi living in Jerusalem – perhaps making up an actual cult or secret society.

Nevertheless, let’s examine the symbolism of the three gifts: Gold, Frankincence and Myrrh. It has been said many times in the past that they are symbols of Jesus’ ministry: Gold – because it symbolises his Kingly role; Frankincense – His Priestly role; and Myrrh – the mastery over Death. Now let’s compare this with the Tarot. Although there is a rather obvious card associated with “Death,” there is at least one less obvious one as well – “The Empress” – because in Rosicrucian terms, Daleth / Venus is “the Door” to the Tomb.  The Kingly role is most obviously associated with “The Emperor” and the Priestly role with “The Hierophant.”

Gold Heh The Emperor
Frankincense Vav The Hierophant
Myrrh Daleth The Empress

Now you see the pattern emerging? The three gifts represent paths leading to the sephirah Chokmah. And, in the Rosicrucian tradition, an initiate of the grade of Chokmah is called a Magus. What actually makes this most remarkable is that the name of the Rosicrucian grade of Magus pre-dates the assignment of Tarot trumps to the Tree of Life by over a hundred years or so, coming as it does from the Gold + Rosy Cross.

What we have in effect in Matthew’s Gospel is Jesus, whilst still a small child, effectively being advanced to the grade of 9=2 Magus. I say with no intended irony that it is the very model of a modern Magus ritual. Seriously though, the fact is that thereafter, “being warned in a dream they returned to their own country by another route.” In other words, these Magi were not Jews at all but foreigners – i.e. Pagans! Moreover there is at least one Gnostic gospel that claims that Jesus’ coming was foretold by “Zeredusht” (i.e. Zoroaster). What this means is that Matthew – and indeed perhaps the early Church itself – intended Jesus not just to be the Messiah of the Jews, but of the Pagans as well.

If this is true, then it represents a notion which would have proved far too radical for later and more modern Christians, if indeed they even dared to conceive it all. For example – how many times have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to the Old Testament? A lot. How many times, however, have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to Pagan scriptures in the same manner? I am keen to wager it is somewhat less. Yet the implication of Jesus being initiated as a Magus by Pagans would seem to imply, to my mind at least, that it would be appropriate to do so.


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