DO YOU KNOW THE REAL STORY OF THE CHRISTMAS STAR?

December 22, 201210 Comments

“Astrology for the Astrologically Challenged,” by Deborah Smith Parker

Do you ever wonder about the “Star of Wonder,” that there just might be a back story to it? Well there is, and when you get to it you’ll see it isn’t really a back story. It was right up front the whole time–if you are an astrologer.

However, if you grew up in a Christian culture you couldn’t help but drink the Kool-Aid about the Star of Bethlehem, swallowing a goodly dose of what astrologer Don Jacobs called “the Gospel according to Hallmark.”

Every year we are bombarded with songs, cards, commercials and wrapping paper filled with images of the Christmas star. In my childhood home we even baked cookies shaped as stars, angels and trumpets.

Thousands of children, wrapped in bathrobes and out of date formal evening wear scavenged from parents and older siblings, continue to stumble up church aisles to re-enact the story of the parade of wise men, angels shepherds, sheep and townspeople, all following the brilliant star in the heavens leading them to the baby Jesus.

That’s the tradition. That’s what it says in the Bible. Or does it?

Let’s see how you do on this quiz on how the story was actually recorded in scripture:

  1. Which books in the Bible reference the star?
  2. Which books in the Bible talk about the wise men?
  3. How many people reported seeing the star and who were they?
  4. What was the first stop the wise men made once they got in the “neighborhood?”
  5. What was King Herod’s response to the star?
  6. Who first determined that Jesus was born in Bethlehem?

And for extra credit:

7.  How old was Jesus (approximate age) by the time the wise men found him?

You might want to dust off your Bible or consult one on-line—no dust there. I’ll help you out in my next post.

  Deborah Smith Parker is the author of “Humanus Astrologicus” available in soft cover on this site and now on Kindle. To sign up to receive her blog or follow her on Twitter @astro_logicus and Facebook click to the right of this post.

 

 

About author:

Deborah Smith Parker is re-writing the often impenetrable language of astrology into a much friendlier form. She has spent her 30 plus years as an astrological consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer freeing the rich astrological images and their descriptions increasingly buried under modern clinical and technological descriptions. Her additional work in public policy has provided many outlets for demonstrating her ability to break down highly complex systems into information that’s easily understood.

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10 Responses to “DO YOU KNOW THE REAL STORY OF THE CHRISTMAS STAR?”

  1. Jill Estensen says:

    I wasn’t raised with any religion. My friends were, they seemed injured by their training. I heard the stories. I loved the thought of a star being available to guide people at night. THAT made me feel good.
    Can’t wait to hear the follow up!!!

  2. Oh. So we have to work or wait for the answers? What a good teacher you are! I don’t know the answer to any of the questions unless I work – or wait. It will be fun to see what I can find out. Thanks. You are so crispy and bright.

  3. laurie babb says:

    Very cool that you are discussing this. I was just thinking tonight: I would like to get more of the straight dope on all of this mythology around Christmas and the birth of Jesus, and the angels, the star, these wise guys… Though I don’t have a “Christian” identity, or even really much Christian knowledge, I believe Jesus was an incredible, evolved, awakened, pure light being. And I really would like to get a sense of what all really “went down” with him and his times, in a way that isn’t distorted, polished, altered for propaganda. I really am curious and interested to connect with those times in a way that I rarely feel is available to me. Maybe what you have to say will help with that.

  4. Deborah:

    I confess to being remarkably ignorant about the details of the bible. I actually have a better memory of Bernadette Brady’s remarkable work on this subject where I learned many of the answers to these questions. If you don’t mind, I’ll include the link to the article in her Visual Astrology Newsletter: http://zyntara.com/VisualAstrologyNewsletters/van_dec2005/dec2005.htm
    This remarkable work made me think and study more Visual Astrology. Of course, we still have no final answers, since we can’t really think exactly like Babylonian and Hebrew astrologers. But I loved what she put together. I studied the year 0007 BCE that she was working with trying to think like a Babylonian astrologer – one of the 3 Wise Men of the East – watching for eclipses, crescent moons, etc. and came up with this article and their journey from the east to Jerusalem etc.: http://www.astrologykansascity.com/Pages/articles.htm – “What Did the Sky Look Like to the Three Wise Men/Astrologers and on the Day Christ Was Born?” You have to scroll down past my articles on Lucy Lawless/Xena/Eris and the Venus-Jupiter conjunction to find it – sorry. It was lots of fun considering the Crescent Moons, eclipses, etc. in relation to that Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. Re: Laurie’s wish to know the life of Jesus, what a fascinating study that would be, too. I am aware of the claims that he studied in India for those “missing” years and that his mother was an Essene Priestess. All are fascinating…So my dear brilliant friend Deborah, I can’t wait to see what you’ve discovered!

    • I happen to love this kind of “hunt” since I’m an etymology (history of word origins) buff and particularly interested in peeling back layers of historical and cultural distortion layered over most important events from ancient times that are told as magical or mythical events. I became particularly interested in biblical stories during my more than 35 years studying astrology in my 22 years of study of Qabalah.

      However, why I particularly enjoy these types of exercises is because I find tremendous value in what I wish was a major part of school curriculum which is “Doing Your Own Work.” Once I realize I’ve been given the classic Kool-Aid (why isn’t it “ade” like lemonade –I’ll have to track that one down) I start down the trail of breadcrumbs hidden in plain view in the history of the various languages used from the cultures in which the story originates. But I digress.

      Yes, I’ll give the answers (according to the results of my “doing my own work”) by New Year’s Day, unless I’m too depressed if my alma mater (Wisconsin) again gets slaughtered in the Rose Bowl.

      If anyone wants a preview—and pardon the blatant self promotion here—I discuss this in some detail in the Introduction chapter in my book, Humanus Astrologicus, which is conveniently now available on Kindle and other eBook formats at quite an affordable price.

  5. Barry Ira Geller says:

    Very good Questions! Growing up Hebrew but also having the need to find Christ within me, the mythology of the Star settled into a great kind of faith with me personally. Just the vision of a beam of Light coming out of the dark clouds pointing the location of the christ-child’s manger — minutes before King Herod’s troups came to kill but found the manger empty — well, to me this vision is more important than the reality (or not) of the normal kool-aid idea shared by and fed by the many blind ideas over the centuries — as I can feel it alive with the Christos’ Life Power, to do speak. I think the Star’s importance to our lives is not religious but instead is indicative to our personal consciousness and growth.

  6. Rafi Simonton says:

    If you read the synoptic gospels, you will find that they don’t agree about the details of Jesus’s birth, or even about the location. Clearly the themes evoked were more important to ancient people than what we would now consider the precision of historical or scientific detail. If those who assembled the texts had wanted to deceive later readers, surely they would have edited the material so that the contradictions were eliminated.

    In addition, the oldest of the Christian faith traditions, there from earliest times and independent of one another, are Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Both have traditions prior to and apart from the Bible itself. Which was not in its final canonical form until approximately 800 AD.

    Why not consider that the star was a psycho-spiritual event, symbolic of new path to navigate? Or that some ancient astrologers were astute enough to pick up on the implications of certain alignments. Many have written about this, including contemporary astrologers and writers like Toni Thomas and Adrian Gilbert. Or the earlier occultists like Rudolf Steiner and Valentin Tomberg. Interestingly, none of them exactly agrees with the others, yet each makes a good case. Perhaps in a way vindication of the different approaches of the early gospel writers and compilers.

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