The Flight into Egypt, 1609 (oil on copper) by Elsheimer, Adam

Were the Magi actually humans? Or is Magi / 3 Wise Men a symbol that refers to celestial phenomena?

Discussion about the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of December 2020 was ubiquitous. Among the astronomers and news outlets and amateur photographers, you may have noticed that there was a lot of discussion about the Jupiter Saturn conjunction actually being the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi to the birth of the Christ child.

I even mentioned it in my e-mail about the conjunction to you last week. After I sent that e-mail I watched a presentation by astrologer Bernadette Brady, who specializes in visual astrology of ancient times and has written such books as Predictive Astrology – The Eagle and the Lark.

Her presentation was very engaging. She uses astronomical visualization software to show the sky events and planetary alignments in the sky in those early years of Jesus’ birth (or years of his purported birth – if you don’t believe he was an actual historical figure). I’m used to using planetwatcher to look at alignments in the 20th century, but looking at alignments from the BCE times just got me excited on a totally different level. It really makes you grapple with how long the planets have been around, and how long people have been watching them and joining them with events on earth. That is such a rich legacy!

Using the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Bernadette Brady constructs an argument for seriously considering that the Magi were not actual humans, but were stars (read: planets) in the sky. This is her argument in a nutshell:

  • · First of all the Jupiter Saturn conjunction was predictable, it happens every 20 years. So the astrologers of the day would not have considered it something singular, and they would have known it was coming.
  • · Beyond that, while it would have been a beautiful and unusual sight to behold, Brady says that it wouldn’t have been visually particularly spectacular.
  • · Something that would have been much more rare and more visually spectacular is the Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn conjunction that happened around the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. This happens about every 800 years.
  • · On top of that, at around that same time, Venus was retrograde. Again, this is fairly regular, it happens every 18 months (we’ll have one in Capricorn in December 2021). But at this time it was performing one of its more unusual patterns of movements in the sky, where night after night it appears to move higher and higher in the sky, stands still for a few nights, then gradually makes its way down in a vertical line.
  • · These two planetary events, the triple conjunction of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter paired with the rare Venus retrograde pattern started to set and respectively, with the Sun, straddling it on either side.
  • · In ancient astrology the planets that form the Sun’s entourage in this way, are said to be in the house of the Sun (the same sign as the Sun – and this is the language used in Matthew’s gospel)
  • · And when the planets accompany the Sun in this way, they give the Sun their gifts – which Brady links with the gifts of the Magi, the gifts given to a King – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

So I found this very interesting. Looking at the language of the gospels as symbolic references to a sky event is an out-of-the-box way of understanding a story that is lodged in popular memory as having happened only one particular kind of way. And there is a lot that has happened in the early days of the time of Jesus Christ that omitted certain features of his story and teachings. One example of this is the Catholic Church in 2016 apologizing for millenia of calling Mary Magdalene the penitent prostitute and elevating her with the name of Apostle to the Apostles. That is a confirmation of the rightness of questioning early church history and narrative.

So this is another understanding of the Jupiter Saturn conjunction that challenges the popular narrative of it being the Star of Bethlehem, and opens up questions about other popular narratives about it being the entry way into the Age of Aquarius, etc. While it does represent an important, 200 year elemental shift, I just want to simply present a deeper investigation into the stories that grab hold of popular imagination.

With that, said, the Jupiter Saturn conjunction of 2020 did occur in every individual’s chart, sowing a beautiful Aquarian seed in some part of our lives. Something new wants us to believe in it, but also give it the structure and support it needs to live and thrive. This is a completely new quality of experience that is asking us to cooperate with it as we give it the expression it wants to birth through us. Do you have a sense of what new expression or quality of experience is coming through for you with the Jupiter Saturn conjunction?

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