posted on Dec, 5 2005 @ 11:51 AM
The Jewish Historian Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews, in book 17 chapter 6 writes that there was an eclipse very near the end of Herod’s life.
Josephus sees this as God's seal, condemning Herod's interference with the Temple priesthood, as well as his purchase of the Judean throne from
Antony. The fact that Josephus describes Herod as dying from and infestation of "maggots in the testicles," indicates metaphorically the end of
Herod's dream of a truly Herodian dynasty.
There was an extremely rare “sunrise eclipse” in 2 BC, which was visible in the Parthian and Eastern Roman Empires.
Looking at the account in Matthew 2 (the only reference to the “star of Bethlehem” in scripture) I notice the following:
“wise men from the east” ( lit. “magioi” in Greek; i.e. magicians) are the only persons who can see the star in question. The implication
for first century audiences would be that the wise ones were from Chaldaea/Babylon, the ancient seat of astrology. Until the Middle Ages, the Jewish
epithet for astrology was “the Chaldean Science.” This was also the location of the Jewish captivity under Cyrus the Great, known for his
patronage of astrology.
Herod cannot see the star, and asks the wise ones when it first appeared.
The eclipse of 2 BC took place at the beginning of Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year. This would be a logical calendrical moment for the Messiah to
Ancient sky-watchers had seen Venus “disappear” in the sunset earlier in the Spring. One can imagine that they would use the sunrise eclipse of 2
BC to attempt to track Venus’ progress in its motion near the sun. The darkness would allow naked-eye astronomers a rare glimpse of Venus during
its invisible period.
Imagine the amazement of astrologers during the eclipse, when they looked up, and saw that venus was conjucted with Jupiter, the planet of royalty, as
well as with Mars, the god of revolution and overthrow.
Even more surprising from an astrological viewpoint, this conjunction occurred with the Star Regulus, in the Constellation of Leo. Leo is of course,
the patron constellation of the tribe of Judah, traditional kings of Israel. Regulus (Latin, “King star) is located in front of the lion in the
constellation, and was known as The Paw of the Lion of Judah
The possibility of an astrological event explains why ordinary viewers couldn’t “see the star.” It also offers insight into Matthew’s
account, where the Magi say “for we have seen his star in the east.” The Greek word for “east” is actually “anatolonay,” which literally
means sunrise. The word implied the direction of sunrise, (giving it’s name to the Turkish peninsula-Anatolia), but could also be taken literally,
so that Matthew 2: could be translated, “Because we have seen his star in the sunrise.”
After the eclipse of 2 BC, Jupiter began a retrograde motion (backwards) into the preceding Zodiacal sign, Virgo. Jupiter continued to move deeper
into Virgo for more than a year as it passed through the Virgin’s midsection, i.e., the “Virgin’s Womb.”
The date at which this retrograde motion ceased, the day on which Jupiter would have begun its normal motion would have been of critical
They date on the Julian calendar, when Jupiter halted its backward motion, was December 25, 1 BC.
“The star which they had seen in the east (sunrise) went before them, until it came and stood/stopped over the house where the child was.”
If Virgo was seen as a celestial map of ancient Israel, the perhaps the geographical analogue to the completion of Jupiter’s retrograde motion would
be Bethlehem, ~ 10 km south of Jerusalem, the virgin’s heart????
No ancient religion celebrated December 25 as a Holy Day until 300 years after the alleged birth of Christ. As pointed out in another thread,
December 17 was Saturnalia, and the Mithraic birth of the Sun was not acknowledged until after what is the modern new year.
The idea that “Christmas was moved to December 25 to compete with pagan festivals” comes solely from Edward Gibbon, the anti-Christian author of
“The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire,” a romanophile who blamed the collapse of Rome upon the decadent pacifism of Christianity.
The religion of “Sol Invictus” was invented in the 3rd century AD by the priestly classes in Rome, who were threatened by the popularity of
Christianity. Julian (“the Apostate”) the successor to Constantine, tried to make the worship of Sol Invictus an official religion of the Empire,
and set it up to mimic the practices of Christianity. “Sol” was never seen as a Roman god during the classical age; Sol was merely the physical
manifestation of Helios, the sun's disc. While this certainly does not “prove” that Christmas has historical roots on Dec. 25, it certainly
explains the meager evidence as well as Edward Gibbon did.
In this view, the Magi would not have visited Jesus until he was more than a year old, again consonant with the Matthean account.
Interestingly, Mithraism, the main competitor-faith in the western empire was a religion filled with astrological imagery. Mithra was not a god of
physical phenomena, but was the god behind reality. His attributes were a starry cape, and the scorpion (scorpio), ram (aries), crow (Corvus) and
lion (Leo). Mithraists believed he was invisible, but his guiding hand could be seen in the movements of the stars. One of the unexplained facets of
the rise of Christianity is the degree to which followers of Mithra seem to have deserted en masse in favor of Christianity. Perhaps, the early
church offered a more compelling cosmology--perhaps even giving a better explanation of the meaning "behind" recent astrological events. Certainly,
Christianity rapidly replaced Mithraism in the West. Paul's sermon at the Areopagus on the "altar to an unknown god" certainly reflects an
intellectual climate where Christians believed that other religions were "on the right track," but who lacked the "special insight" that the early
I used “Starry Night” software to study the positions of the eclipse as seen from Jerusalem in 2 BC. That software was originally freeware, but
is now proprietary; nonetheless, interested persons can use any good planetarium software and check the above dates for themselves.
Footnote: there are definite parallels between the astrological imagery of the eclipse of 2 BC, and the final degree of blue loge masonry. Interested
masons are welcome to u2u me.