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.”
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!