Starway to Heaven
Astrology, the Bible and the lore of the stars

Psalm 19 is probably the most poetically descriptive
of the direct Biblical references to ‘knowledge’ in the stars.

"No man should hold it to be incredible that out of the astrologers foolishness
and blasphemies some useful and sacred knowledge may come," Johannes Kepler.

By Keith Newman

Our distant ancestors were skilled at reading something more far reaching than personal horoscopes and navigational clues in the heavenly star map, they thought they could see the whole of history outlined.

Astrologers and those who have come to understand the messages in the stars from a mythical and Biblical perspective, believe each age or image in the heavens corresponds with new influences in the realms of religion and world affairs.

Astronomy and astrology "the sciences of the stars" were originally one and the same. It was not until the 18th century that astronomy became a separate science, dissociating itself from fortune telling.

There have been many versions of the zodiac down the centuries, often represented by different symbols, mythical deities or creation legends. Such star maps are found in Roman, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, Mayan and other cultures.

The common beginnings may well predate known history. Our earliest records however refer to Nimrod’s Babylon after the great flood of Noah’s time. Nimrod built a gigantic tower or ziggurat for observing and recording planetary movements which became known as the Tower of Babel.

Some researchers believe Nimrod gained his insights into the workings of the heavens from the other side of the flood as he was the grandson of Ham, one of Noah's sons.

Man-centred astrology

The Babylonians and Chaldeans resurrected the idea that the movement of the planets in the heavens could have an effect on human behaviour and began plotting the stars as if they began with Aries. The Babylonians had at their disposal tables which could predict eclipses more precisely than we could until the invention of the telescope. They have also given us a legacy of a man-centred astrology, pictured as if the stars revolved about the earth.

While Christians are warned not to worship the stars or get involved in fortune telling they can’t deny the numerous references to signs in the heavens and a God who named all the stars. In the old star map we can read the whole gospel story from the virgin birth (Virgo), the death of Christ on the cross (Scorpio) to the pouring out of God’s spirit like living waters on all humanity (Aquarius) and his Second Coming (Leo) to rule and reign as King of Kings.

Joseph A Seiss in his book The Gospel in the Stars (1882) credits Enoch, the son of Cain with "special wisdom and writing" skills "particularly as relating to astronomy and prophecy". Seiss claims the Babylonians and Jews attributed astronomy and other sciences to Enoch, a great scribe who wrote books of sacred wisdom. Ancient Persian and Arabian traditions give credit for astronomical discoveries to Adam, Seth and Enoch.

Seiss claims the names and figures in the stars "have been perpetuated in all the astronomical records of all the ages and nations since." He said the close relationship between the old constellations and the Gospel are well founded. 

"Instead of proving Christianity to be a mere revival of old mythologies, they give powerful impulse toward the conclusion that the constellations and their associated myths and traditions are themselves, in the original, from the same prophetic Spirit whence the sacred scriptures have come, and that they are a piece with the biblical records in the system of God’s universal enunciations of the Christ."

Something more ancient

E W Bullinger in his book Witness in the Stars (1893) says looking back through tradition and history it becomes evident the 12 signs of the zodiac are the same in their meaning and order in all the ancient nations of the world. "The Chinese, Chaldeans and Egyptian records go back more than 2000 years BC. Indeed the zodiacs in the temples of Dendereh and Esneh, in Egypt, are doubtless copies of zodiacs more ancient …".

The zodiac of Dendereh is different to later versions because it begins with Virgo and ends with Leo. Between the two signs sits the Sphinx with the head of a woman and the body of a Lion, suggestive of a zodiacal genesis point in antiquity. An astrologer friend Roy Gillet when shown a picture of the Denderah zodiac said it was actually presented upside down as if it was a God’s eye view of the world and its ages, as seen from space.

The earlier form of the Sphinx, according to ancient Coptic and Egyptian traditions, was that it had the front paws of a lion, the back paws and tail of a bull and the face of a human. Along its sides were incendiary boxes where fires were lit at night to give the appearance of wings of an eagle. The lion, bull, human and eagle are the same creatures described in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation and apparently relate to the four fixed signs of the Zodiac Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio.

Essentially the idea of a ‘new age’ should be embraced by Christians, because that’s what Jesus Christ promises in the Kingdom of God. These days most churches shun the term for fear it embraces all the fearful dark arts the church stands against. The Bible is not entirely condemnatory of the stars and in fact frequently uses terminology which is synonymous with the astrological perceptions.

Taurus not just bull

The rich history and symbolism of Christianity gives us pointers all the way back to the garden of our beginnings. It is claimed the old Egyptian priests knew and measured the precession back to the old kingdom, even to the dawning of the age of Gemini which is was symbolised by the twins, or Adam and Eve in the Garden. It is claimed Gemini ended around 6140BC.

During the age of Taurus the bull (4000-2000BC) cults had sprung up in India and Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia which worshipped the image of the bull. When Moses came down from the mountain after receiving the 10 commandments he was angry when they could wait for the new revelation, they were already back into their idolatry, specifically worshipping a golden calf.

Then came the age of Aries (2000-0BC) where the ram became an image of worship or of sacrifice. When Moses went to sacrifice his son in obedience to God as a shadow of things to come a ram caught in a thorn bush was provided instead. Christ born at the close of Aries was the "lamb that takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

It was in the Piscean age when Jesus the great ‘fisher of men’ was born. The sign of Pisces is two fish swimming in opposite directions. According to ancient wisdom Pisces is associated with compassion, forgiveness, fishing for souls, the rite of baptism, walking on the waters, and self sacrifice.

The ancient symbol used under harsh Roman oppression for Christians to identify themselves to each other was two intersected half circles, often drawn in the sand and representing the sign of ichthys the fish. The sign meant: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.

Jesus said "come I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19). One article I read suggested Christians have only been putting one fish on the bumper sticker instead of two.

At the centre of the zodiac and the Bible is Christ the divine man grappling with and overcoming that "old serpent …the Devil" (Rev 20:2) and offering his followers a drink from the Aquarian pitcher which contains water from the river of life: "if any man thirst let him come to me and drink" (John 7:37).

Instead of the earth-centred astrology with the world revolving around us, perhaps its time for a another Copernican revolution in which our egotistical notions are bought back into line with the natural order and the Creator again becomes our axis for viewing our place in the scheme of things.


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