Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Past and present beliefs or Index
Helios, Christos, the Sun: Ferrying the Archetypal Zodiac Disciples
The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.Thomas Paine
The Zodiac, therefore, is the Path or Way. When Christ spoke to His disciples as the Cosmic Christ, He told them "I am the Way," and to this it is possible to give an astrological significance, for all three types of lives tread this cosmic Way, the Cosmic Christ, the Planetary Spirit and the human being (Path of the Soul).
Christianity views Jesus as being the "light of the world," and indeed he is, but not in the way the story is told in the New Testament. If one has the courage to throw off religious fetters and abandon a blind acceptance of subjective "faith" dogma, and instead employ reason, abundant evidence can be examined that is the basis for an argument where the story of Christ is neither new, original, nor unique, but is instead the creation of the church, a powerful astrotheological archetypal symbol to solidify and consolidate power over the mind of culture. Christianity, and beginning with the Catholic Church in particular, has molded and transformed the figure of Christ into its own peculiar votive offering served up during the course of a year, but the majority of the influence is focused around Easter and Christmas, the vernal equinox and the winter solstice, for the one year story of Christ's ministry on earth is an allegory of the passing of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac, Christ as the symbol of the sun and the twelve disciples as corresponding allegorical symbols of the astrological progression of the zodiac through the seasons, the connection of the earth to the heavens--"As above, so below"--observation of natural phenomenon that has been of great interest to the race since time immemorial, the cycles of the heavens given a supernatural interpretation and overlay that to this day remains as a powerful crucible molded around the minds of countless millions of people. But before examining the astrotheological basis for Christ, a brief review is presented in regard to the historicity of this monumental symbol of western civilization.
An "Historical" Christ
The quest for an historical Christ is doomed to failure, much like the
quest for the Holy Grail. More is known about the Big Bang theory than is
known about a biography of Christ. The vast majority of all that is
"known" about probably the most famous figure in Western history is
contained in the New Testament, and to large extent the four Canonical
Gospels of the Bible. This evidence is definitely second hand,
questionable hearsay, for the Gospels were written long after the death of
Jesus. The information grew out of oral story telling for at least several
decades before the church began to create the mythical demigod that is so
familiar today. Walker affirms this point:
…[T]hese Gospels did not come into the Bible as original and authoritative from the authors themselves, but rather from the influence of early church fathers, especially the most influential of them all: Irenaeus of Lyon who lived in the middle of the second century. Many heretical gospels existed by that time, but Irenaeus considered only some of them for mystical reasons. He claimed only four in number; according to Romer, "like the four zones of the world, the four winds, the four divisions of man's estate, and the four forms of the first living creatures-- the lion of Mark, the calf of Luke, the man of Matthew, the eagle of John .The four gospels then became Church cannon for the orthodox faith. Most of the other claimed gospel writings were burned, destroyed, or lost." (Romer, qtd. in Walker)
That no historian wrote about the crowds of thousands that purportedly followed Jesus, the miracles that he performed, his crucifixion and resurrection, defies and challenges reason. Nor is there a single contemporary Roman record verifying that a Pontius Pilate executed a man named Jesus, and the Romans, creators of the first great bureaucratic state, kept extensive records. The non-Christian sources that are invariably used by Christian apologists in an attempt to establish the historicity of Christ were all written after the time when Christ was supposed to have lived and are hardly "eye witness" accounts. The most commonly referenced sources are Josephus Flavius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Suetonius.
Josephus lived from 37-100 C.E. In his Antiquities of the Jews written in 93 C.E. a famous reference is made to, "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah…" (qtd. in Goldberg). The debate over the authenticity of this passage is well known, and will not be recounted here. Suffice to say that the vast majority of biblical scholars since the nineteenth century hold that it is a later Christian interpolation, an assertion that can easily be verified if the reader cares to examine the matter further.
Of the remaining three references, Pliny the Younger (B 62 C.E.), Tacitus (B 64 C.E.), and Suetonius (B 69 C.E.), were all born well after the time of Jesus, and again, none are held to be reliable by most biblical scholars; there is no need to go into the matter further in this essay; the arguments questioning the authenticity of these passages are well known, and the historicity of Christ is not the major thesis. Robert Keable, in his work, The Great Galilean makes note of this strange history of silence:
No man knows sufficient of the early life of Jesus to write a biography of him. For that matter, no one knows enough for the normal Times obituary notice of a great man. If regard were had to what we should call, in correct speech, definitely historical facts, scarcely three lines could be filled. Moreover, if newspapers had been in existence, and if that obituary notice had had to be written in the year of his death, no editor could have found in the literature of his day so much as his name. Yet few periods of the ancient world were so well documented as the period of Augustus and Tiberius. But no contemporary knew of his existence. Even a generation later, a spurious passage in Josephus, a questionable reference in Suetonius, and the mention of a name that may be his by Tacitus-that is all. His first mention in any surviving document, secular or religious, is twenty years after. (qtd. in Jackson)
Earl Doherty in his provocative work The Jesus Puzzle also makes note of the strange silence of history, and in perhaps one of the greatest feats of twentieth century biblical scholarship, constructs a compelling argument that questions the very existence of a historical Jesus.
In regard to the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, no one knows who wrote them. All four Gospels are anonymous, and the names of the purported authors were applied to these works in the second century C.E. In regard to the composition of the Gospels, Remsberg notes that,
Justin Martyr, the most eminent of the early Fathers, wrote around the middle of the second century and makes more than three hundred quotations from the books of the Old Testament, and nearly one hundred from the Apocryphal books; but none from the Four Gospels. -- In the latter half of the second century, between the time of Justin and Papias, and the time of Theophilus and Irenaeus, the Four Gospels were undoubtedly written or compiled. (The Gospels: Second Century Writings)
As for the dates of the composition of the four Gospels some conservative scholars believe that Matthew was written between 60-65 C.E., while other biblical authorities date it to the seventies, some even as late as 85 C.E. In regard to Mark, most scholars assign a date no later than 70-73 C.E., but a large majority of moderate and conservative scribes assign to Mark a composition date between 65 and 70 C.E., while Luke's composition date is assigned between 60-64 C.E. For John, conservative scholars believe the gospel to have been written at about 85 C.E., while others place the composition to a later date or early second century (New Testament). This evidence is presented in establishing that so little is known about the "authorship" of the Gospels, and the "historicity" of Christ, that an alternative hypothesis can be advanced, namely that the story of Jesus can be interpreted as being a mythologized allegory of the progression of the sun through the yearly zodiac, an astronomical phenomenon that was well known and extremely important to the ancient world.
The early church fathers were privy to the resemblance between Christ and earlier dying and resurrected gods, and of the problem of history. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Irenaeus, for example, explained away the resemblance of the Christ mythos to earlier pagan gods by asserting that Satan had previously created these "imitators" in order to confuse and deceive when Christ incarnated, and Pope Leo X said, "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!" (qtd. in Acharya S). And Justin Martyr writing to a pagan in the second century C.E. also had these words to relate: "When we say that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter" (Savior Myth). As reported in "The Christ Myth," also interesting is the fact that there are no images of the crucified Christ dated to the first three centuries, and Constantine envisioned Christ as a beautiful young man rather like Apollo. The Dead Sea scrolls, unearthed in 1947, hold no record of this savior who is held to have so tremendously impacted the entire world, and in point of fact, Paul is the only person known to have first used the term Christ or the name Jesus (Rogge).
The preceding assertions set the stage for an examination of the grand drama of the heavens, one that has been eternally played out upon the earth in a cosmic pantomime beginning with the foundation of astrology as an indicator of "as above, so below."
Astrology, Mythology-Heavens and Earth-Origin of the Zodiac
Sometime between 3000-2000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia the earliest evidence is found for the emergent disciplines of astronomy, mathematics and mythology, a triplicate that together would become the basis of astrology and the linkage between the heavens and the earth. Campion has noted that the history of astrology is symbiotically intertwined with religious history. Notwithstanding the practical importance of correlations between such occurrences as the sun's annual rhythm through the heavens and the corresponding seasons, symbolic linkages also began to develop: the human life cycle progressing through birth to death was interlinked with the sun's "birth" in the east each morning and "death" in the west each evening, "bringing with it the transition from darkness to light, and the annual cycle of vegetation throughout the seasons. Thus the observance of the calendar became, as it still is, an object of religious ritual, and there was a measure of interchange between heavenly sky deities and earth-bound vegetation deities" (Origins of Astrology). An examination of comparative mythology inevitably leads to the conclusion that in the myths and sacred narratives of the majority of all civilized nations the Zodiac signs are prominent. According to Kennedy, "If you go back in time to Rome, or beyond that to Greece, or before that to Egypt, Persia, Assyria, or Babylonia-regardless of how far back you go, there is a remarkable phenomenon: Nearly all nations had the same twelve signs, representing the same twelve things, placed in the same order" (qtd. in Horn).
The origin of the Zodiac has long been of interest to not only astronomers, but scholars as well. Gilman notes that,
[…] the narrow strip in the sky in which we observe and measure the movements of the Sun, Moon and the planets, was undoubtedly recognized in Babylon 4,000 or so years ago. It was not apparently until about 520 B.C. that the twelve Signs were actually defined. This seems to have been done by Cleostratos of Tenedos, […] who divided the ecliptic into twelve equal parts and is said to have "recognized the Signs of the Zodiac." He reputedly described them in a now-lost poem, Astrologia. (Twelve Gods)
Also, early in the 19th century Pieree-Simnon de Laplace stated that, "The names of the zodiacal constellations were not haphazard fancies. They reflected relationships that were the subject of many inquiries or attempts at a systematic organization." Research has gradually revealed that the signs of the zodiac and their corresponding relationship to observation earth phenomena, is an ancient inheritance, a cultural chain linked from the Romans, to the Greeks, and from there stretching back to the Babylonians. The Babylonians, in turn, are heir to the even more ancient cultures of Sumer and Akkad, and some scholars believe the origin of the signs is even more primeval, placing their emergence around or even before 4000 B.C.E. Even more surprising than this antiquity is the stability of the constellations over the centuries, even with the attempt by Christian authors to reshape the stars to fit their particular interest in biblical stories, the original names and shapes have survived (Johnson and van Berkel 6-7).
From the earliest written records, the Sumerian/Babylonian Epic of
Gilgamesh, (whose history may have been transmitted to the Greeks by
the Phoenicians) where this ancient demigod of Uruk passes through twelve
stages on his underground journey to Dilmun, to the civilizations of the
Greek and Roman, an ancient astronomical religion is clearly in evidence,
one that developed geographically over the entire Mediterranean region. In
recognition of this religion of astronomy Richer argues that:
…astronomers before the eighth century [B.C.E.] used stars of first magnitude as the principal celestial markers. In the ancient Egyptian calendar, for example, "the beginning of the year was related to the heliacal rising of Spica. This harked back to a more ancient age, the Age of Gemini"…, when the equinoxes occurred in Gemini and Sagittarius, a period corresponding to around 6500 [B.C.E.]. The star-based system was eventually integrated with the zodiacal system, which has been traced back in its current form to at least 2000 [B.C.E.] in the ancient Near East. Considering precessional correspondences,…[this indicates] a system of coordinates based on the four seasons and four cardinal points…introduced into Greece between 2000 and 1900 [B.C.E.]….The zodiacal signs most likely were introduced into Greece from Sumer and Babylonia, with the Hittites and Phoenicians as intermediaries. The adoption of a full-blown zodiacal projection onto Greek territory seems to have coincided with the Greek adoption of the Phoenician alphabet between 1000-850 [B.C.E]. (qtd. in Dougherty)
Dougherty also notes that ancient myths of gods, demigods, and heroes are connected to this primal astronomical religion, and that the adoration and worship of Greek heroes like Hercules, Theseus, Perseus, and Bellerophon predated the worship of the Olympian gods and their narratives at a later date were merged with the stories of the twelve zodiacal deities. Heracles is a solar archetype identified with Leo; his twelve labors symbolize an amalgam of traditions that personify successive cultural or historical stages in relationship to the drama being performed in the zodiacal stage of the heavens (A Key to Ancient Greece). In addition:
Many deities have been associated with the sun. The Greeks believed that Apollo, Bacchus, Dionysos, Sabazius, Hercules, Jason, Ulysses, Zeus, Uranus, and Vulcan partook of either the visible or invisible attributes of the sun. The Norwegians regarded Balder the Beautiful as a solar deity, and Odin is often connected with the celestial orb, especially because of his one eye. Among the Egyptians, Osiris, Ra, Anubis, Hermes, and even the mysterious Ammon himself had points of resemblance with the solar disc. Isis was the mother of the sun, and even Typhon, the Destroyer, was supposed to be a form of solar energy. The Egyptian sun myth finally centered around the person of a mysterious deity called Serapis. The two Central American deities, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl, while often associated with the winds, were also undoubtedly solar gods. (The Sun, A Universal Deity)
The connection of deity to the sun is obvious for anyone who has even a minute amount of analytical skill. The observation is nothing new, but it is one that has only begun to filter into the masses in western culture, for Fiske noted over a century ago that,
Countless other examples, when similarly analyzed, show that the earliest […] conception of a Divine Power, nourishing man and sustaining the universe, was suggested by the light of the mighty Sun; who, as modern science has shown, is the originator of all life and motion upon the globe, and whom the ancients delighted to believe the source, not only of "the golden light," but of everything that is bright, joy-giving, and pure. (Myths and Myth-makers 109)
This all, of course, means that:
The ancients believed that the sun, the moon, "wandering" stars (planets), comets, and other celestial bodies were heavenly gods who were in motion about a stationary earth. Since the sun (Sol invictus) seemed to be the most influential of the celestial gods, it was especially worshipped and regarded as annually "reborn" at its lowest point in the sky during the winter solstice of December 25th. Since the plane of the ecliptic--the path that the sun travels in the sky--traces out the band of the twelve star-patterns that make up the zodiac, the sun was considered a god that gave "birth" to, or was a father of, the twelve zodiacal gods. [However], [t]he Greek astronomer Hipparchus made the astounding discovery in 128 BCE that the zodiac of constellations slowly drifted backward over time so that they appeared, with respect to the sun's position at winter solstice, in a new location in the heavens. Every 25 thousand years these constellations slowly moved; a phenomenon we know today to be the precession of the equinoxes which is caused by the "wobble" of the earth on its axis. To the ancients, it was a frightening and astounding event[.]
(Still) Hipparchus lived from 190-120 B.C.E. and Still also notes that his discovery of the precession of the equinoxes shattered the geocentric theory of the immovable earth, and that the precession could only mean that the whole cosmic sphere was in motion, and for the ancients this was a revelation that they interpreted as being the result of a powerful new god, so incredible in its force that it was fully possible for moving the entire universe. At that time the spring equinox took place in Aries the Ram, and preceding that Taurus the Bull heralded in the rebirth of the earth in spring, and it was believed that Mithras was the cosmic power whose force was so formidable that the Bull was killed (The Virgin Birth). In the great cosmic war between dark and light, Christ replaced Mithras as this force strong enough to bend the very cosmos to his will, and as the parallels between Mithrass and Christ are well known, there is no point in discussing them here, for I have dealt with this topic at length in another essay, and the present work will focus in specific content on only one of these solar deities: Christ in order to provide support for the illuminating archetypal pattern that this example provides in the context of the solar deity and the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Christ and the Twelve Zodiac Disciples
Modernity, and now extending into the Postmodern world, has long questioned the Christ story as authentic history. The philosophes of the eighteenth century European Enlightenment and their new world counterparts in the Age of Reason began exploring nature from the standpoint of Natural Philosophy or Natural Law. This was the genesis of modern science, and from that point forward supernatural explanations of natural phenomena have been stripped away one by one, laid bare by the scrutiny of the scientific method, so that a reign of supernaturalism lasting more than six thousand years has been virtually eliminated as a satisfactory cause of human experience in just over two hundred years.
First, a brief summary of the archetype of the dying and resurrected god is presented, a common motif that existed in the Mediterranean world centuries before the church adopted this primal story and grafted the narrative into its own peculiar hierarchy for the purpose of control and power. The ancient Greek and Roman cultures from which much of Postmodern Western culture is descended, adopted gods from Asia Minor: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Phrygia, Persia, etc. These gods were often symbolic of vegetation myths tied to the seasons and shared the following characteristics, an archetypal pattern similar to Joseph Campbell's hero's journey, for the day god, the Sun god, was the ancient world's great deity, one that has been worshipped all over the planet, personified in every sacred allegory, and mythopoetically associated with mortal suffering, for, "everywhere we read of the birth, death, and resurrection of the Sun; he had his cradle and his tomb, whether called Adonis, Osiris, Hercules, Bacchus, Attis, Krishna, Mithra, or Christ" (Existence of Christ Disproved). According to Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth these dying and resurrected gods were born of a Virgin Mother on or near the date of modern Christmas in a Cave or Underground Chamber; they held such titles as Light-bringer, Mediator, Healer, Deliverer, Savior and led a life of toil and service for humanity; eventually all were defeated by the Powers of Darkness and descended into Hell or the Underworld, then rose from the dead, and became the archetypal connector of humanity to the Heavenly world; they triumphantly went on to have disciples, found Communions of Saints Churches where acolytes were received into the mysteries by Baptism, and their memory was commemorated by Eucharistic meals (Pagan Christs). Edward Carpenter in 1919 likewise stated the same assertion in his Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning. The idea of Christ being interpreted as a solar god is not new. Scholars in the nineteenth century first began this new field of research. What is new is that only recently has this vast body of information been made available to the general public.
Christ as Zodiac Sun Myth
The ruling deity of day, Helios or the sun as God, was the supreme god of the ancient world universally worshipped in both continents, the old and the new world, and this god was allegorically personified in the mythos of every culture. The daily and annual passage of the sun, in myth, became the poetic interpretation of the destiny of all. The birth, death, and resurrection of the sun is a continually reoccurring archetypal image, cradle to tomb, whether the name of the sun god was Hercules, Osiris, Adonis, Bacchus, Mithra, Chrishna, or Christ. Mangasarian points out that,
The fact that Jesus' death was accompanied with the darkening of the Sun, and that the date of his resurrection is also associated with the position of the Sun at the time of the vernal equinox, is a further intimation that we have in the story of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, an ancient and nearly universal Sun-myth, instead of verifiable historical events. (Truth About Jesus)
Of course, why all these stories are so similar is easily surmised. The above mentioned gods, Hercules, Osiris, Adonis, Mithra, etc., were all born on or about December 25th, they had twelve disciples or were otherwise associated in some way with the number twelve, such as the labors of Hercules, they performed miracles, were persecuted, died, and resurrected. This archetypal pattern is common because it is based on the sun's movements through the constellations which according to Acharya S is […] "an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the twelve zodiac signs can be observed around the globe.[…] Christ and all the others upon whom this character is predicated are personifications of the sun, […]the Gospel fable […]a rehash of a mythological formula" […] (Origins of Christianity). And these mythological characters share the following characteristics in relationship to the sun: on December twenty-second the sun apparently dies for three days because it appears to stop in its movement south, and then is resurrected or "born again" on December twenty-fifth when it begins moving north once again, the light coming forth into the world; at some locations in the ancient world the new year began in the constellation of Virgo where the sun was born of a virgin; when the sun rises in the morning it is the Savior of mankind, and wears a crown of thorns which is the corona or halo, and the sun can also walk on water, its reflection passing across the surface; the disciples are the twelve months and twelve signs of the zodiac that the sun must journey through; at twelve noon the sun is in the house or temple of the Most High and Jesus began his work at twelve years of age; the sun enters at thirty degrees into each sign of the zodiac, and Jesus began his ministry at age thirty; the sun is crucified when it is hung on the cross of the equator and the polar axis at the vernal equinox, or Easter, and at that time the sun is resurrected (Origins of Christianity).
Another interesting facet in regard to the "virgin birth" is that,
The Virgin Mary is the Constellation of Virgo and the story of virgin births is the timeless allegory of Virgo giving birth to the Sun on the darkest night of the year, the 24th of December. If we follow the path of the sun we discover that towards the end of August the radiant Sun enters the celestial Virgo and places the seed of the new Sun in her to germinate the embryo of the new Sun, Horus, Apollo or Christ. This phenomenon, which takes place every year in August, gave rise to Christmas, a festival which still exists, and in which it is supposed that the Mother of Christ, disregarding her earthly life, is associated with the glory of her son, and is placed by his side in the heavens. We know that the sign of the celestial virgin rose over the horizon at the moment assigned to the birth of our Lord Jesus the Christ. Christians may be reluctant to recognize Virgo as the Blessed Virgin. Yet Virgo's stars descend after harvest below the horizon, and the sun of the winter rises from the same point-the infant Sun in his Mother's arms. It is the birthday of the Christos who represents the Sun that is born in each and every one of us. (The Immaculate Conception)
The church was well aware of the astrological significance of the constellation of Virgo for as Carpenter has stated:
But it is well known as a matter of history that the worship of Isis and Horus descended in the early Christian centuries to Alexandria, where it took the form of the worship of the Virgin Mary and the infant saviour, and so passed into the European ceremonial. We have therefore the Virgin Mary connected by linear succession and descent with that remote Zodiacal cluster in the sky! A curious confirmation of the same astrological connection is afforded by the Roman Catholic Calendar. For if this be consulted, it will be found that the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin is placed on the 15 August, while the festival of the birth of the Virgin is dated the 8 September… At the present day, the Zodiacal signs- owing to the precession of the Equinoxes-have shifted some distance from the constellations of the same name. But at the time when the Zodiac was constituted and these names were given, the first date obviously would signalise the actual disappearance of the cluster Virgo in the sun's rays, i.e. the Assumption of the Virgin into the glory of the god, while the second date would signalise the reappearance of the constellation-or the birth of the Virgin. (Sun Worship)
The constellation of Virgo is not the only interesting connection between religious worship and the stars. Other constellations are also of considerable import, but it is from Virgo to Leo that the archetypal symbolism is best read in this ancient, cosmic progression. In order to understand this assertion it is necessary to know that the sun in its yearly progression moves through the constellations (the plane of the ecliptic, an imaginary line drawn from the earth's equator to the sun's equator) to the left, and these constellations have always been thought to have a great influence on the character of the sun. The other important point to remember is that the earth's axis is tilted twenty-three and one quarter degrees from the plane of the ecliptic, called the precession of the axis, the earth slowly wobbles at the north polar axis like a spinning top, and the sun moves below the equator at the autumnal equinox and rises above the equator at the vernal equinox, thus forming the image of a cross. Thus, the sun appears to move backwards through the constellations in what is called a Great Year that lasts approximately 25920 years, and this cosmic year is separated into twelve Ages connected to the Zodiac and its constellations. Each of these ages endures for about 2160 years.
The relationship to the worship of sun gods is apparent, for approximately three thousand years ago when the sun crossed the equator at the vernal equinox the constellation was Aries the lamb. Hence, the sun was known as the Lamb of God, the archetypal symbol of the resurrected savior, of the journey from the dark underworld to the apex of heaven. Christ is still identified in this way, but what of the fish? The sun entered the constellation of Pisces at approximately 6 B.C.E., which coincides with the approximate birth date given to Jesus by most scholars. Pisces is the sign of the fish, and Jesus was the fisher of men. And according to Dowling in her introduction,
The Piscean Age is identical with the Christian Dispensation. The word Pisces means fish. The sign is known as a water sign, and the Piscean Age has been distinctly the age of the fish and its element, water. In the establishment of their great institutions John the Harbinger and Jesus both introduced the rite of water baptism, which has been used in some form in all the so-called Christian Churches and cults, even to the present time. Water is the true symbol of purification. Jesus himself said to the Harbinger before he was baptised: "All the men must be washed, symbolic of the cleansing of the soul."(Aquarian Gospel 64: 7.) Fish was a Christian Symbol. In the earlier centuries of the Christian Dispensation the fish was everywhere used as a symbol. In his remarkable book, Christian Iconography, Didron says: "The fish, in the opinion of antiquarians generally, is the symbol of Jesus Christ. The fish is sculptured upon a number of Christian monuments, and more particularly upon the ancient sarcophagi. (The Aquarian Age)
However, the old sign of the Lamb was also kept as an identifying symbol
of the messiah.
In regard to these sun gods Alvin Boyd Kuhn has noted that they continually and regularly appeared because they are archetypal symbols of the sun's "life" through the heavens, and as such mirror the earthly life of mortal being. Because, "[t]o follow the yearly round of the zodiac was to epitomize graphically the whole history of human experience" Moreover, in Psalms the book says that, "Our God is a living fire, a consuming fire, the Lord God is a sun," and Jesus said "I am come to send fire on earth," (Great Myth of Sun-Gods) a clear connection to deity and the light and fire of the sun.
I am indebted to David W. Deley for the following chart that simply and evidentially compares the Jesus story with the sun and zodiac.
The Story of Jesus is the story of the Sun passing through the Zodiac during the year. Note the following:
|Jesus goes on a journey during his ministry.||The Sun goes on a jouney through the Zodiac during the year. The journey of the Sun matches up the journey Jesus takes during his ministry.|
|Jesus' ministry is said to havelasted a year.||The Sun completes its circuit of the Zodiac in a year.|
|Jesus is said to have twelve disciples.||The year has twelve months. The Zodiac is divided into twelve 'houses" representing the twelve divisions of the year(Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius.) There are twelve cycles of the moon in a year. The Jewwish calender is actually a Lunar calendar, with the twelve months following the twelve cycles of the moon (Nisan, Iyyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Ab, Elul, Tishri, Cheshvan, Kislev, Tebeth, Shebat, Adar.) Occasionally to throw in the extra month Adar2, to keep the Jewish Lunar calendar in sync with the solar year, just as we occasionally throwin the extra day (Feb. 29) to keep our calendar in sync with the solar year. The prominence of the number 12 is always a strong sign that the story is an astrological allegory for the passage of the year.|
|The story of Jesus is circular. He originally was said to have been born in a cave--the same cave he is placed in at the end of the story when he dies, to be resurrected three days later.||The year is circular. A new year begins immediately after the old year ends. On New Years Eve we celebrate the end of the old year, personified as an old man, and the "birth" of the new year, personified as 'Baby New Year." We don't actually think "Baby New Year" and "Father Time" are real people, we understand they are just personifications of abstract concepts.|
|Jesus is said to be resurrected after 3 days in the cave. We celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25, three days after the Winter Solstice of December 22.||The Sun "dies" on December 22, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Three days later the Sun rises 1/10 of a degree further North, just barely detectable by observing shadows (I've observed the Sun's shadows and taken measurements and have determined it is possible to determine the possition of the Sun to this accuracy.) The Sun has been resurrected, a new year has begun.|
The parallels demonstrated in the above chart graphically illustrate the connection and most probable overlay of the significance of the twelve signs of the zodiac by the church in order to enable the masses an easier conversion to Christianity. For example, in the above chart the reference is made to Jesus being born and buried in a cave. This corresponds to the ancient geocentric world cosmology where the sun was thought to literally rise from the underworld (a cave) and set/return to the underworld each evening, a story that was allegorized as the sun being in a literal battle with the darkness (evil), and the rising sun portrayed the triumph over death (evil) and a resurrection that was greeted each day by humanity. However, the evidence doesn't just conclude here. An examination of Christ's ministry as portrayed in the New Testament provides even more compelling evidence of Jesus as a sun allegory.
Following are several passages from the New Testament (all quotations are
taken from the New International Version) that clearly demonstrate the
linkage between Christ and the sun for he is continually portrayed as sun
Ephesians 5:14: for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
John 8:12: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
John 9:5: While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Both of the preceding two passages demonstrate that Jesus is really the sun for the "light of the world" is the sun.
Matthew 17:12: There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
John 12:35-36: Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. Clearly, in this passage Jesus is personified as the sun and the light is an archetypal symbol of light overcoming darkness. Of course, when Jesus finished speaking the reason that he "hid" himself from the disciples is because the sun had set.
John 3:19-20: This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. Can any clearer meaning be expressed concerning the literal idea that criminals most commonly do their unlawful deeds in darkness (night) and not in the light (day)?
John 1:3-8: Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Of course, and this passage is scientifically accurate in that the sun formed first in stellar evolution and then the earth and other planets came together through the attraction of gravitational mass. Further, the sun is the source of all life for everything, plants and animals are dependent upon the energy of the sun for life. When we eat food or drink, we are literally consuming the energy of the sun; this symbolism is also obvious in the Catholic Eucharist where the bread and the wine are thought to literally change into the body and blood of Jesus, which they do, but not in the Catholic sense for what is really occurring is that people are consuming the transformed energy of the sun.
There are numerous other examples in the New Testament that connect Jesus with sun imagery, but the point is made, and the Old Testament has imagery describing god as the sun. Next, we will explore the story of Christ specifically as an allegory of the passage of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Christ as an allegory of the sun
Let us now examine how the story of the life of Jesus corresponds with the progression of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac. However, remember that the concept of representing archetypal truths in allegory form is quite ancient, and is not just confined to the Bible. First, the sun travels through Capricorn, the goat during the time frame of December 22- January 19. December 22 is the winter solstice; this is the shortest day of the year and after December 22 the sun begins to move back toward the northern hemisphere, the savior sun is born and the light of the world is at hand, which is apparent by December 25 the official church sanctioned birth date of Jesus, though no one knows when he was supposed to have been born. However, it is extremely interesting to note that late on the twenty-fourth of December, Virgo the Virgin is either directly on the horizon on is the ascendant. Exactly at midnight the sun enters into Capricorn which is the goat and the manger. Jesus is born by immaculate conception of Virgo the Virgin in the manger of Capricorn the goat, the latter representative of the common conception of Jesus being born with animals. He is born in the darkness and now he is the light of the world.
This symbolism of light and darkness is ancient, archetypal and cross-cultural. It has many rich resonances of meaning. Darkness is associated with blindness, night, sleep, cold, gloom, despair, lostness, chaos, death, danger and yearning for the dawn. It is a striking image of the human condition. Light is seen as the antidote to the above, and is thus an image of salvation. In the light, one is awake, able to see and find one's way; it is associated with relief and rejoicing that the night is over; in the light one is safe and warm. In the light there is life….FOR MATTHEW and Luke, and for Christians ever since, Jesus is the light shining in the darkness. The author of John's Gospel makes the same affirmation with compact perfection: "The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world." Jesus is the light who brings enlightenment; indeed, he is "the light of the world." This is the truth of this theme of the birth stories. And it is true independently of their historical factuality (Borg 1218).
Now, continuing with Christ personified archetypally as the sun moving yearly through the twelve signs of the zodiac, note that Christ was baptized thirty years after birth, and thirty days after the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice the sun enters Aquarius the water bearer (January 20-February 18), the pouring out of water a symbolic baptism, and Christ is baptized by John, the Baptist, a "pouring out of water:" "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). The fire is the flame of the sun, and what of John? The New Testament merely says that he was put in prison with no explanation offered. In the allegory, this is the constellation Aquarius moving lower and lower into the sky at sunset until it can no longer be seen, because it has been put "in prison" as the sun moves into the next sign of the zodiac, where each sign of the zodiac is divided into thirty degrees and there are twelve signs, as Christ had twelve disciples, and twelve times thirty equals three hundred sixty, the total number of degrees in the zodiac. Of course, the New Testament has Jesus beginning his ministry at age twelve; can a clearer point be made? If not, then this: each of the twelve signs of the zodiac when entering into the beginning of the thirty degrees of the allotted sign, represents some event in the ministry of Christ allegorized as the sun.
After the Baptism of Christ he continues on his journey into Galilee which literally means circuit, and this is the closed elliptical path of the sun on its circuit through the constellations. Here Christ selected his first disciples from fishermen, Simon and Andrew: "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen" (Matthew 4:18). The sign following Aquarius is Pisces, the Fish (February 19-March 20). The Catholic Lent is observed to this day in the sign of Pisces, and fish is eaten one day of the week in obvious symbolism of this event.
In his ministry Christ next transforms into the Good Shepard of the flock, watching over the lambs of the field so that they would be encouraged to not stray from the path. This corresponds to the sun entering the sign of Aries the Ram (March 21-April 19), and a ram of course, is a lamb before growing into a Ram, just as Christ must grow in power before becoming truly recognized as the Lamb of God, and the Jews still celebrate the Paschal Lamb during the same time frame, a sacrifice to God as Jesus was the sacrificial lamb. Christ as lamb means that the sun is young in the sign of Aries, and will grow into the full power of the Ram, just as the sun grows in power as it passes through this sign, which is also the sign of spring, rebirth, resurrection. Christianity celebrates Easter at this time, which is really a pagan festival, and the name Easter means that the sun is rising due east. Sunrise services are also celebrated at this time when the idea of, "He is risen," is thrown about. Of course, the sun has risen.
Following this Christ begins his salvation of humanity. How is this accomplished? By the Eucharist, of course. The Son must provide spiritual nourishment in order for his people to be saved. The sun, entering the sign of Taurus the Bull (April 20-May 20), is the time of plowing the fields to grow crops that are nourished by the energy of the sun, and thus though food energy the "salvation" is at hand.
After Taurus the next sign of the zodiac is Gemini the Twins (May 21-June 20); we are getting close now to the height of summer, when the sun's energy is at its most abundant and the crops grow and increase, doubling, like the twins, the process of salvation. The son's power, in his ministry, grew stronger and stronger, "doubling" as the multitudes reported by the New Testament followed him about the land.
Following Gemini the sun enters Cancer the Crab (June 21-July 22). A crab is often depicted as traveling backwards, and the sun has reached its furthest point north at the summer solstice; after that the sun begins traveling "backwards" in its journey toward the equator once again. Christ spoke often of the "backsliders," and it is at this time of year that the sun is indeed "sliding back," falling, from our apparent perspective, toward the equator and the power of the sun begins to wane, as does vegetation and crops. Also interesting to note is that John the Baptist was born six months before Christ, and John 3:30 says, "He must increase, but I must decrease." One power is waning, the other waxing, the story of the sun in its annual pilgrimage through the heavens, the cycle of the seasons. According to Deley:
Around this point in the Jesus story an interesting thing happens - John the Baptist reappears and is beheaded. According to the Bible, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead," (Mark 6:14), or "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead!" (Matthew 14:2). Recall at the beginning of the allegory how Aquarius moved below the western horizon at sunset as the year went from January to February and the Sun traveled from Aquarius to Pisces. Each Zodiac constellation in turn goes below the horizon at sunset as each month passes. After six months the constellation of Aquarius begins to rise on the eastern horizon at sunset, and it appears that the head of Aquarius is cut off by the horizon. This is John the Baptist rising from the dead, the dead being those who are below the earth. This is the beheading of John the Baptist by King Herod, a personification of darkness, which reigns supreme at night (See Matthew Chapter 2-The Birth of Jesus for more on King Herod). (Solar Mythology and the Jesus Story)
After Cancer comes Leo the Lion. Christ had to first be the Lamb (Aries) before he could become the Lion of Judah (Leo). The lion is a symbol of majestic royalty, power, awe inspiring majesty, and it is at this time of year (July 22-August 23) that the sun is at its most royal incarnation as it travels through the zodiac. It is in Revelation 5:5 that Christ is called "Lion of the Tribe of Judah." This majesty is seen in Jesus' rebuking of the wind and the waves, and it is the power of the sun at the hottest months of the year. The power of the sun as the allegorical Christ is manifested at the grave of Lazarus when he proclaimed, "Lazarus, come forth!" (John 11:43). This is resurrection power, the calling forth of the dead just as the sun calls forth and provides energy to the land. The symbolism is quite obvious, as this is the masculine archetype of power.
We come now to Virgo the Virgin (August 23-September 23). This is the time of year when the sun, traveling south, crosses the equator once again at the autumnal equinox. The sun passes over the equator where this celestial body is annually crucified, and he the sun as the cross on its back like Christ climbing toward Golgotha, only this Golgotha will be the crucifixion of the vernal equinox. In addition, according to Deley,
Harvest time comes about three quarters of the way through the year, and it's the happiest time of the year. And about three quarters of the way through the Jesus story is his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which is the happiest part of the story (Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-16). Everyone knows him and is happy to see him. Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem is an allegory for the Sun's triumphant entry into Virgo, because that means it is harvest time, the best time of year. Harvest time is "The Kingdom of Heaven" time which Jesus refers to in earnest as coming soon throughout the story up to here. (Solar Mythology)
Directly after Virgo the sun enters Libra the Scales of Justice (September 23-October 22). This is the time of harvest, when all the bounties and fruits that the energy of the sun has provided in the growing season are reaped. At this point Deley notes that it is time to sell the harvest. So the harvest is weighed out in the buying and selling process, and it is at this time that Jesus, "On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves…" (Mark 11:15). Jesus, as the sun, is leaving the sign of Libra for the harvest is over, just as the money changers packed up and left. Directly preceding this event from the New Testament, Jesus curses the fig tree: "The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again" (Mark 11: 12-14). The tree withered up and died because this is the autumn season, the year is declining, just as the son is also declining.
Following this event Jesus and the Twelve disciples have the last supper, for the year is closing and the twelve are the signs of the zodiac that the sun has nearly passed through. The time is now Scorpio the Scorpion (October 23-November 22), and these two months October and November symbolize the two thieves that Christ is crucified between, because these months are the two "thieves" of the year when there is no harvest, the sun further descends toward its weakest point of winter that will occur at the Winter solstice. Jesus is betrayed now by Judas, the sign of Scorpio, and he betrays Christ for thirty pieces of silver, this event symbolizing the thirty days of a month. The sun is "betrayed" at this point, for it will soon be at its weakest, and Sagittarius the Archer (November 22-December 21) is the culmination of the death story of the sun, that will soon be reborn on December 21 at the Winter solstice, and thus the cycle of the year is complete, as is the story of Jesus as an archetypal allegory of the sun.
Comments and questions may be sent to the author at [email protected]
"Astronomical Origin." Sun Worship. 18 Dec. 2005. <http://smithbrad.nventure.com/sunworship.htm>.
Borg, Marcus. "Light in the Darkness (the Christmas Myth and Bible as Literature)." The Christian Century Dec. 16 1998: 1218.
Campion, Nick. "The Origins of Astrology." Nick Campion's Online Astrology Resource. 09 Oct. 2005 <http://www.nickcampion.com/nc/history/origins.htm>.
Deley, David W. "The Story of Jesus is the Story of the Sun Passing Through the Zodiac During the Year."12 Jan. 2006 <http://members.cox.net/deleyd/religion/jesusoutline.html>.
Deley, David W. "Solar Mythology and the Jesus Story." 24 Feb. 2006 <http://members.cox.net/deleyd/religion/solarmyth/christ2002.htm>.
Dougherty, Sarah Belle. "A Key to Ancient Greece." Aug./Sep. 2000. 09 Oct. 2005 <http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/world/med/me-sbd2.htm>.
Dowling, Eva S. "The Aquarian Age Gospel of Jesus, the Christ of the Piscean Age." The Reluctant Messenger. 19 Dec. 2005 <http://reluctant-messenger.com/aquarian_gospel.htm>.
"Existence of Christ Disproved, The." Christianism.com. 04 Nov. 2005 <http://www.christianism.com/additions/3.html>.
Fiske, John. Myths and Myth-makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology. 1872. Electronic Text Center. University of Virginia Library. 16 Dec. 2005 >. s1-248.
Gillman, Ken. "Twelve Gods and Seven Planets." C.U.R.A. University Centre for Astrological Research. Jan. 1997. 19 Dec. 2005 <http://cura.free.fr/decem/10kengil.html>.
Goldberg, G.J. "Josephus' Account of Jesus The Testimonium Flavianum ." Flavius Josephus Home Page. 3 Sep. 2005. 07 Oct. 2005 <http://members.aol.com/FLJOSEPHUS/testimonium.htm>.
"Gospels: Second Century Writings,The." The Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies. 08 Oct. 2005 <http://www.thenazareneway.com/gospels_second_century_writings.htm>.
Horn, Thomas. "Ancient Israel, the Zodiac, and the Sun God." Christian News Service 2004. 15 Oct 2005 <http://www.raidersnewsupdate.com/helios.htm>.
"Immaculate Conception,The." Virgin Births. 28 March 2000. Crosscircle.com. 18 Dec. 2005 <http://www.crosscircle.com/CH_2m.htmVS
"Invention of Christendom." Theosophy March 1966: 140-146.
Jabbar, Malik H. "The Astrological Foundation of the Christ Myth." Rare
Distributors. 16 Dec. 2005 <hhttp://www.newagedatabase.com/booklist.htm>.
Jackson, John G. "Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth Part Two: The Christ Myth." The John G. Jackson Virtual Museum. 1941. 09 Oct. 2005 <http://www.nbufront.org/html/MastersMuseums/JGJackson/ChristMyth/ChristMythPart2.html>.
Johnson, Richard and Gregory van Berkel. "The Zodiac: Stellar Stories." Rhodes University Astronomy Society. 09 Oct. 2005 <http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:Uk0JZwNRzEUJ:astrosoc.soc.ru.ac.za/archive/docs/The%2520Zodiac.pdf+ancient+heroes+and+the+zodiac&hl=en>.
Kuhn, Alvin Boyd. "The Great Myth of the Sun-Gods." October 1934. 18 Dec. 2005 <http://www.tphta.ws/ABK_GMSG.HTM>.
Mangasarian, Mangasar Magurditch. The Truth About Jesus Is He a Myth?. The Project Gutenberg Ebook. 10 Oct. 2005 <http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/ttaji10.txt>.
Maxwell, Jordan. "Sun Worship." 04 Nov. 2005 .<http://smithbrad.nventure.com/sunworship.htm>.
"New Testament." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. 6 Oct. 2005. 08 Oct. 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Primary_Sources>.
"Pagan Christs." Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth. 09 Oct. 2005 <>http://home.earthlink.net/~pgwhacker/ChristianOrigins/PaganChrists.html>.
"Path of the Soul Through the Zodiac, The." 18 Dec. 2005 <http://www.steliart.com/path_of_the_soul_through_the_zod.htm>.
Remsberg, John E. "Sources of the Christ Myth:Pagan Divinities." The Christ. 2000. 16 Dec. 2005 <http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/rmsbrg11.htm>.
Rogge, Michael. "The Christ Myth." Man and the Unknown. 1 Dec. 2003. 19 Dec. 2005 <http://www.xs4all.nl/~wichm/christmyth.html>.
S, Acharya. "The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus." 2006. 17 Dec. 2005 <http://www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm>.
"Savior Myth." Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth. 17 Dec. 2005 <http://home.earthlink.net/~pgwhacker/ChristianOrigins/pagan_origins_savior_myth.html>.
"Solar Myths and Christian Festivals." Sacred Texts CD-Rom. 16 Dec. 2005 <http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/pcc/pcc03.htm>.
Still, James. "The Virgin Birth and Childhood Mysteries of Jesus." 2005. 23 Dec. 2005 <http www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/virgin_birth.html>.
"Sun, a Universal Deity, The." Secret Teachings of All Ages. Sacred Texts. 04 Nov. 2005 <http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta11.htm>.
"Sun God,The." Sun Worship. 20 Dec. 2005 <http://smithbrad.nventure.com/sunworship.htm>.
"Sun Worship." Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000 <http://smithbrad.nventure.com/sunworship.htm>. © 1997-2000 . CD_ROM. ed.
"Twelve Labours,The." Wikipedia. 31 Oct 2005. Wikipedia The Free
Nov. 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Labours>.
Walker, Jim. "Did a historical Jesus exist?." 12 June 1997. NoBeliefs.com. 07 Oct. 2005 <http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm>.
and witchcraft Great
and present Beliefs People
and sects Rituals
and texts Shamanism