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By Robert Powell

www.astrogeographia.org/
Index

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Introduction: The Zodiac
A true understanding of the zodiac lies at the foundation of
Astrogeographia. As Professor Otto Neugebauer (1899-1990) wrote in
his great work A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy: "The
natural reference system for the motion of the planets, moon and sun,
are the fixed stars..." Once having grasped - through the application of
"as above, so below" - that there is a one-to-one correspondence
between the celestial sphere and the terrrestrial sphere, such that
each place on the Earth corresponds to a star in the heavens, there is
no other possibility for understanding the zodiac than in terms of the
stars making up the signs of the zodiac. By way of illustration,
returning again to the correspondence between Vienna and
Aldebaran, there was a time when Vienna, under the Hapsburg
dynasty, was the center of Europe. This perfectly mirrored the central
position of Aldebaran in Taurus.

As shown in Robert Powell's Ph.D. thesis, published in book form


under the title History of the Zodiac, the original definition of the
zodiac made by the Babylonians early in the fifth century BC was
specified by the two first magnitude stars Aldebaran at the center of
Taurus and Antares in the middle of Scorpio such that the zodiacal
locations of Aldebaran and Antares were defined to be 15 degrees
Taurus and 15 degrees Scorpio. Once this central axis running
through the middle of the signs of Taurus and Scorpio was defined by
these two stars, the longitudes in the 30 degree divisions known as
signs of other bright stars in the twelve zodiacal constellations could
be ascertained. For example, the bright star Regulus marking the
heart of the Lion was found to have a longitude of 5 degrees in the
sign of Leo, the first magnitude star Spica marking the tip of the
sheath of wheat held by the Virgin was determined to have a
longitude of 29 degrees Virgo. In this way the original signs of the
zodiac, coinciding more or less with the zodiacal constellations of the
same name, were clearly defined. This original zodiac was used in
antiquity not only in Babylonia but also in Egypt, Greece, Rome, and
India, where it is still in use - in a modified form - to the present day.
Now it is known as the sidereal zodiac (Latin sideris, "starry") in order
to distinguish it from the tropical zodiac used by most present day
astrologers (excluding India, where the sidereal zodiac is still used).
In light of Astrogeographia the signs of the sidereal zodiac, since they

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are defined in relation to the stars, are also mirrored in specific
regions on the Earth. For example, the earthly projection of the sign of
Taurus coincides by and large with Europe. There is a symbolic
significance to the alignment of Europe with the sign/constellation of
Taurus. According to Greek mythology, Europe (Europa) is connected
with Taurus. Europa was a daughter of King Agenor of Tyre. One day,
while she played at Sidon's sea shore, Zeus, who was strongly
attracted to the beautiful girl, appeared to her from the waves of the
Mediterranean Sea in the shape of a magnificent white bull.
Fascinated by the extraordinary creature, Europa mounted upon the
bull's back. Instantly the bull plunged into the sea and eloped with her
to the island of Crete. From this union the first king of Crete, Minos,
was born, and the bull was set in the heavens as the
sign/constellation of Taurus.

The research of Astrogeographia confirms Greek mythology. The


earthly projection of the star Aldebaran at the center of the Bull (15
degrees Taurus) coincides with the city of Vienna, which for centuries
was the center of the European Hapsburg empire. Now, with the
expansion of the European Union to include a number of East
European countries, Vienna is once again at (or near) the center of
Europe. Already with the collapse of the iron curtain in 1989 -
coincidentally the year in which the last ruling Hapsburg passed away
- Vienna acquired a new sense of purpose as a gateway city to
Central and Eastern Europe.

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About Robert Powell, PhD
Robert Powell was born in Reading, England in 1947.

At school he discovered a love of mathematics, and went on to


study at the University of Sussex, located near Brighton, England,
where he was awarded a Master's degree in mathematics (statistics)
in 1970.

Already in October 1969 he began a full-time teaching post as a


lecturer at Brighton University (at that time called Brighton
Polytechnic) in the Department of Computing and Cybernetics. He
was a lecturer there from 1969 to 1976 in Mathematics and Statistics
for undergraduate students taking their B.Sc. Degree in Computer
Science.

In 1971 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

From its inception in 1971 until 1974 he was a tutor in mathematics for
the Open University of the United Kingdom, teaching (during vacation
time from Brighton University) courses in mathematics to
undergraduate students.

During this time (in 1970/1971) he began to do research in the history


of astronomy. For this research he used the library at the British
Museum in London and also the library of the Warburg Institute, which
is part of the University of London. While researching at the Warburg
Institute he first discussed the possibility of doing a PhD thesis on the
history of the zodiac with Dr. Charles Schmitt from the Warburg
Institute. He left his post as lecturer in mathematics and statistics at
Brighton University in July 1976 in order to pursue his research into
the history of astronomy in London.

During the years 1976 and 1977 he became interested in Isaac


Newton's research into astronomical chronology, a summary of which
is included as Appendix II in his PhD thesis History of the Zodiac. On
account of his research into Newton's chronology, later in 1977 he
received an invitation from Georg Ungar to spend some time doing
research at Dr. Ungar's Mathematisch-Physikalisches Institut in

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Dornach, near Basel, Switzerland, where he spent the next four years
of his life (1978-1982). It was here that he met Konrad Rudnički, a
professor of galactic astronomy, who expressed interest in his thesis
on the history of the zodiac and suggested that he could submit it to
an academic institution in Poland under his supervision.

After moving to Stuttgart, Germany, in 1983, he continued his


research and studies, and began to investigate chronological aspects
of Kepler's work, in particular his ideas presented in De stella nova
concerning the star of Bethlehem. He studied the chronology of the
Hebrew calendar at the time of Christ and found confirmation of
Kepler's dating of the birth of Jesus to March 6 BC through applying
astronomical chronology. The results of this research, which was
carried out for more than a decade, were published in 1996 in his
book Chronicle of the Living Christ.

His research on the history of the zodiac, Newton's chronology, and


the application of astronomical chronology to dating the life of Christ,
also became extended to the field of astrology, which is of interest in
connection with the history of the zodiac. Like the astronomers Tycho
Brahe and Kepler, he investigated the astronomical principles
underlying astrology. On the basis of his research into the history of
the zodiac he discovered that contemporary astrology has a
completely different basis from the ancient astrology of the
Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Hindus.

Through Professor Rudnički the possibility later came about that he


could submit his PhD thesis to the Institute for the History of Science
of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. This entailed writing a
new, updated version of this thesis on the history of the zodiac,
incorporating new research findings.

Obtaining his PhD was a thirty year odyssey, which had started in
1974 when he began writing down the results of the initial research on
the history of the zodiac at the libraries of the British Museum and the
Warburg Institute in London. It was finally submitted to the Polish
Academy of Sciences in 2004 with the title The Definition of the
Babylonian Zodiac and the Influence of Babylonian Astronomy on the
Subsequent Defining of the Zodiac. After publicly defending his thesis
in Warsaw, he was awarded a PhD for his original contribution to the
history of science - or rather to the history of astronomy. The degree
was conferred in March 2005. A revised and updated version of the
PhD thesis was published by Sophia Academic Press in 2007 as a
book under the title of History of the Zodiac.

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Aside from his academic career, Robert Powell has also written books
on a variety of other subjects, including the works written together with
his wife, Lacquanna Paul. They are co-authors of the books Cosmic
Dances of the Planets and Cosmic Dances of the Zodiac, which
describe the work that Robert has been doing since he founded the
Choreocosmos School of Cosmic and Sacred Dance in the year 2000.
In turn, the work of the Choreocosmos School was made possible
through the founding of the Sophia Foundation of North America in
San Rafael in 1995 by Karen Rivers and Robert Powell. The
Choreocosmos School offers a training in cosmic and sacred dance.
A substantial number of people have graduated from the training and
are now qualified to teach cosmic and sacred dance along the lines
outlined in Cosmic Dances of the Planets and Cosmic Dances of the
Zodiac. Currently Robert teaches courses in cosmic and sacred
dance in six different countries.

The courses in cosmic and sacred dance are taught as a training in


subtle eurythmic movement to classical music. (Rudolf Steiner was
the inaugurator of eurythmy, which provides the foundation for cosmic
and sacred dance). There are various levels of activity of the
Choreocosmos School of Cosmic and Sacred Dance. Some of the
courses are introductory in nature, teaching the cosmic dances of the
four elements, the seven planets, and the twelve signs of the zodiac.
These twenty-three cosmic dances embody a path following the
archetype taught in the Middle Ages at the School of Chartres
(Chartres Cathedral) in France. There the pupils were instructed in the
mysteries of the elements relating to Mother Earth, then the mysteries
of the planets having to do with the Cosmic Soul, and finally the
mysteries of the zodiac pertaining to the World Spirit. The introductory
courses of the School of Cosmic and Sacred Dance are concerned
with outlining a path of experience - through music and movement - to
these three levels. At the same time, supplementing the movement
aspects of the courses, it is possible to engage in conversation and
study activity focusing upon acquiring a deeper understanding of the
elements, planets, and zodiacal signs in relation to the different levels
of the human being. The whole is intended to lead to experience of
the higher levels of Nature (four elements) and the cosmos (planets
and zodiac). For more information about Choreocosmos, click here.

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Books by Robert Powell
Hermetic Astrology
A TRILOGY DEDICATED TO A NEW STAR WISDOM
(ASTROSOPHY)

***

1. HERMETIC ASTROLOGY VOLUME I


Astrology and Reincarnation
(1987; second edition 2007)
2. HERMETIC ASTROLOGY VOLUME II
Astrological Biography
(1989; second edition 2007)

These two volumes on Hermetic Astrology are described below.


To order either of these volumes click here or here.

3. CHRISTIAN HERMETIC ASTROLOGY


The Star of the Magi and the Life of Christ
(1991; second edition 1998)

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Origins of Star Wisdom
Unearthed in the mid-nineteenth century from ancient Ninevah,
capital of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia, by British Museum
archaeologists Austen Henry Layard and Hormuzd Rassam, the Mul
Apin - two clay tablets, named from the first line of a text describing
the stars - was just one of some 10,000 cuneiform texts collected in
the seventh century BC into the world's first library by Ashurbanipal,
the last great king of ancient Assyria. The Enuma Elish creation
account, which reached back to the dawn of time, also came from the
excavations in the long undisturbed mounds on the eastern bank of
the river Tigris, near the modern city of Mosul. In these broken, worn
clay bricks fashioned twenty-five centuries ago, there were
extraordinary tales of gods and goddesses, and of stars and planets.
Indeed, as in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the Babylonian gods
were always associated with the stars, including the "wandering
stars," or planets (Greek planetos). The cuneiform tablets clearly
showed that the Babylonian astronomers noticed five stars that
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moved in relation to the background of the fixed stars. They
connected these five stars with the five gods belonging to the
Babylonian pantheon: Ninib, Marduk, Nergal, Nebo and Ishtar.

From Babylonian cuneiform texts we know the characteristics of these


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five gods: Ninib, the god of justice; Marduk, the lord of wisdom;
Nergal, the god of war; Nebo, the divine scribe; and Ishtar, the
goddess of love. In addition to the five wandering stars visible to the
naked eye, the movements of the Sun (Shamash) and Moon (Sin)
were also observed against the background of the fixed stars (in the
case of the Sun, this movement was deduced), making a total of
seven planets.

Characteristics Babylonian Greek Roman

Characteristics Babylonian Greek Roman

"god of justice" Ninib Chronos Saturn

"lord of wisdom" Marduk Zeus Jupiter

"god of war" Nergal Ares Mars

"divine scribe" Nebo Hermes Mercury

"goddess of love" Ishtar Aphrodite Venus

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The Mul Apin tablets showed that the Babylonian astronomers
observed that these seven planets always move within a belt through
the same groupings of fixed stars, and that there were seventeen
such groupings (constellations). Twelve of those constellations make
up what we know today as the zodiac, or "circle of animals":

Mul Apin text name Translation Greek Zodiac Name


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Mul Lu Hung Ga The "Hired Man" Aries (the Ram)
Mul Gud An Na The "Bull of Heaven" Taurus (the Bull)
Mul Mash Tab Ba
The "Great Twins" Gemini (the Twins)
Gal Ga
Mul Al Lul The "Crab" Cancer (the Crab)
Mul Ur Gu La The "Lion" Leo (the Lion)
Mul Ab Sin The "Furrow" Virgo (the Virgin)
The "Scales of
Mul Zi Ba Ni Tum Libra (the Scales)
Heaven"
Mul Gir Tab The "Scorpion" Scorpio (the Scorpion)
Mul Pa Bil Sag The "Grandfather" Sagittarius (the Archer)
Mul Suhur Mashû The "Goat Fish" Capricorn (the Goat)
Aquarius (the Water-
Mul Gu La The "Great One"
Carrier)
Mul Sim Mah The "Swallow" Pisces (the Fish)

The Mul Apin text included two other star paths - the "path of Anu,"
and the "path of Ea." As Anu was the Babylonian "God of the Sky," Ea
was the "God of the Ocean," and Enlil was "Lord of the Wind," the
fixed stars (forming the paths of Enlil, Anu, and Ea) were first and
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foremost seen by the Babylonians as the abode of divine beings. It is
quite normal for the modern person to assume that - as with
contemporaneous Egyptian, Australian, African, Oceanic, Asian, or
later Greek and Roman mythology - the identification of the
Babylonian pantheon with objects in the sky is a kind of innocent but
erroneous imagination. This would be the gravest of errors, for both
the mythic texts and the records of the Babylonian astronomers are
testaments to an entirely different mode of consciousness and
perception. These texts were made by individuals who possessed
clairvoyance for the spiritual world. Though faded and continuing to

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fade amongst their peers at the moment when the scribes created
these cuneiform tablets, the ancient clairvoyance allowed Babylonian
priest-astronomers (for indeed, the inseparability of the divine deeds
from the doings of the stars meant that the official Babylonian
stargazers were simultaneously priests and astronomers) to see far
beyond the physical realm, into the invisible world of the gods. Like
the Orphic Hymns, the Enuma Elish is a cosmogony and cosmology,
detailing the sequence of events involved in the creation of the
cosmos - including the star path of the zodiac and the planetary
wanderers upon that path.

Looking at the table above, it is striking how the ancient Babylonians


gave almost exactly the same names to the zodiacal constellations as
did the Greeks. One must refrain from assuming that the Babylonian
priest-astronomers imposed these patterns and their associated
myths upon the heavens. Although when we look to the night sky we
see only the constellational patterns that we have learned from years
of seeing "connect-the-dots" drawings, this in no way can be thought
of as similar to what the ancient Babylonians experienced. Their
clairvoyance afforded them an actual supersensory experience of the
intrinsic essence or "beings" of the stars, with all of their variegated
qualities, capacities, and "physiognomies."

Some twenty-five centuries ago, the Babylonian stargazers became


the world's first real astronomers, in the sense that their stargazing
shifted from a strictly devotional activity to one whose systematic
practice allowed them to make empirical descriptions - detailing the
motion of the planets and the composition of the zodiacal path
traveled by those planets - that would serve as the foundation for all
subsequent astronomical science. The Mul Apin clay tablets from
Ashurbanipal's great seventh century BC library were permanent
remembrances of a vast accumulation of astronomical knowledge
from many centuries before 700 BC, while also, in their transition to a
mathematical/empirical astronomy, already representing an unfolding
"forgetting" of the stars and planets as actual "gods" or beings.

The Zodiac and the World's First Horoscope

Within two centuries after King Ashurbanipal collected the Enuma


Elish, Enuma Anu Enlil, Mul Apin, and other cuneiform texts into his
great library, the Babylonian priest-astronomers had made a further
refinement of their picture of the "Paths of the Gods." In two cuneiform
texts dating from 475 BC and excavated from Babylon, the zodiacal
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constellations are divided into twelve 30-degree signs. This is the

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original or sidereal zodiac (sidereal means "pertaining to the stars").
The sidereal zodiac is defined in such a way that: the star Aldebaran
("Bull's eye"), at the center (15 degrees) of the constellation of Taurus,
is in the middle of the sign of Taurus; and the star Antares
("Scorpion's heart"), at the heart of the constellation of Scorpio, is at
15 degrees Scorpio, in the middle of the sign of Scorpio (see Figure
below).

These two stars comprise the fiducial axis, the defining axis of the
sidereal zodiac given by the remarkable fact that Aldebaran and
Antares lie diametrically opposite one another in the zodiac and are
located at the center of their respective zodiacal signs. The stellar
longitudes of other zodiacal fixed stars are determined in relation to
this axis. For example, the beautiful star cluster in the neck of the Bull,
the Pleiades, is at 5 degrees Taurus; the two bright stars marking the
heads of the twins, Castor and Pollux, are at 25½ degrees and 28½
degrees Gemini; the first magnitude star Regulus, marking the heart
of the Lion, is at 5 degrees Leo; the first magnitude star Spica,
marking the tip of the sheath of wheat held by the Virgin, is at 29
degrees Virgo, etc. A Babylonian star catalog thought to date from the
fourth century BC lists the bright zodiacal stars in terms of the twelve
signs of the sidereal zodiac.

This refinement of the zodiac into twelve equal signs might seem at
first glance to be a convenient and arbitrary scheme, but the sidereal
zodiac that they codified is anything but arbitrary. The 30-degree
divisions reflect the clairvoyant perception of the exact extent of the
influence of the spiritual beings underlying the twelve constellations of
the zodiac. The Babylonian stargazers learned this arrangement not
in abstract, geometrical terms, but as living pictures of the cosmic
beings standing behind the stars. Those pictures were originally
imparted to them by their teacher Zaratas (Greek: Zoroaster). The
Persian-born Zaratas was a relative of King Cyrus the Great (sixth
century BC) and came to Babylon in the wake of Cyrus' conquest of
the city in 539 BC. He was soon acknowledged as a great teacher by
the Babylonian priesthood. His fame was such that Pythagoras came
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to Babylon to receive initiation from him.

Initiated by the sublime Being of the Sun, Ahura Mazdao, so that his
clairvoyance extended beyond the Sun to the mighty beings of the
zodiac, Zaratas spoke of four "royal stars" - Aldeberan, the Bull's Eye,
the central star of Mul Gud An Na, the "Bull of Heaven"; Regulus, the
Lion's Heart, shining from Mul Ur Gu La, the Lion; Antares, the
glowing red ember of Mul Gir Tab's (Scorpio's) heart; and Fomalhaut,
beneath the stream of water spilling from the urn of Mul Gu La, "The

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Great One" (Aquarius). To his clairvoyant perception, raised up from
the shifting seasonal zodiacal patterns as seen from the earth, the
four royal stars and their enveloping constellations marked for Zaratas
the cosmic directions of space. Aldeberan he knew as the "watcher in
the East"; Antares the "watcher in the West"; Regulus, the "watcher in
the North"; and Fomalhaut was the "watcher in the South." Thus,
Taurus - Scorpio marked the East-West (fiducial) axis, while Leo -
Aquarius marked the North-South. Each of these Holy Beings was
flanked on either side by other majestic spiritual beings, embodied in
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the zodiacal images of the Crab, the Twins, and so on.

Zaratas's clairvoyance allowed him a panoramic vision of Time as well


as Space, and he saw the imminent arrival of a period when humanity
would no longer see these Holy Beings of the cosmos, nor even
accept that such Beings existed. He understood that in this
approaching period of spiritual darkness, humanity would need a
science of the cosmos that would in veiled form express the cosmic
mysteries, since the spiritual reality standing behind them would be
lost. The mathematical exactitude that emerges from the astronomical
texts of this period of ancient Babylon shows that Zaratas succeeded
in this, the heart of his task as a teacher of the Babylonian
astronomer-priests.

For many centuries before Zaratas's time, the Babylonian


astronomers had concerned themselves with reading omens in the
sky for the benefit of royalty. Inspired by his knowledge of the future
unfolding of human history, into an age of increasing individualism
and materialism, Zaratas introduced an entirely new art of prophecy,
one that sought to describe the destiny of every individual human
being. His clairvoyance permitted him to see the descent of the soul
from cosmic heights, down through the planetary spheres, to Earth.
Zaratas could also see that the planetary configurations at birth held
the secret of the soul's destiny. Through a divinely inspired suite of
initiation practices, he taught the Babylonian stargazers this faculty of
beholding the voyage of the soul into incarnation.

Especially significant for the Babylonian astronomer-priests was the


passage of the Moon around the zodiac. They regarded the Moon as
the gateway for the soul on its voyage into incarnation, and they could
behold the "descent of the stork" at the moment of conception,
descending from the Moon to unite with the seed of the quickened
embryo. By focusing their spiritual gaze on the Moon they could gain
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awareness of the moment of birth of the incarnating soul. With this
threefold knowledge of the sidereal zodiac of twelve equal signs, the
moment of conception, and the planetary configurations at birth, the

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Babylonian astronomer-priests could read the "omens" for an
individual's birth. Thus originated the world's first horoscopes. The
oldest known horoscope - preserved on another clay tablet dug up
from Babylon by British archaeologists in the middle of the nineteenth
century - has been dated to April 29, 410 BC, and is cast in terms of
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the geocentric planetary positions in the sidereal zodiac.

Ancient Astrology in a New Form

The modern continuation of the ancient Babylonian astrological


practices - but now including modern astronomical knowledge -
constitutes what could be called The Astrological Revolution, which is
the title of the book by Kevin Dann and Robert Powell from which the
foregoing sections The Origin of Star Wisdom and The Zodiac and
the World's First Horoscope are drawn. This website is intended to
give an expanded perception of the deeper significance of this new
approach to the stars, and to enable interested readers to follow up on
this new approach with horoscopes, as outlined in the the section
Horoscopes Old and New. By way of a summary, the present-day
dates of passage of the Sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac
originally defined by the Babylonians are as follows:

View Zodiac Dates


The term "fixed stars" was used because they believed these stars never
change their position in relation to one another, therefore appearing to be
fixed upon the globe of the heavens. Modern astronomy has shown that the
fixed stars are subject to minute shifts in position over tens of thousands of
years. But this movement is so slight that during the course of the last five
thousand years there has been very little change from the patterns of the
constellations as they were at the time of the Babylonians.

Robert Powell, History of the Planets.

The convention in reproducing the cuneiform character translation from the


ancient Akkadian is to use upper-case letters, separated by a period. The
"Bull of Heaven," (Taurus) for example, is written: MUL.GUD.AN.NA. For

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ease of reading, we have dropped the period notations, and italicized the
letters: Mul Gud An Na.

Babylonian mythology largely derived from the older Sumerian mythology,


and was written in Akkadian, a Semitic language using the cuneiform script.

The reader is referred to the foundational work by Robert Powell, History of


the Zodiac for all references to the history of the zodiac.

In his The Life of Pythagoras, Porphyry says: "In Babylon [Pythagoras]


associated with the other Chaldeans, especially attaching himself to Zaratas
[=Zoroaster], by whom he was purified from the pollutions of his past life." The
Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, p. 125.

Robert Powell, Christian Hermetic Astrology: The Star of the Magi and the
Life of Christ, pp. 15-24.

Robert Powell, Christian Hermetic Astrology, pp. 22-23.

Abraham Sachs, "Babylonian Horoscopes," Journal of Cuneiform Studies 6,


1952, pp. 49-65.

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Conception (Epoch) Chart
The incarnating human being influences (inspires) the future parents
to come together to provide the physical body needed for the
approaching incarnation. When the egg is fertilized in the mother's
womb, the human being sends down the spirit seed to unite with the
fertilized egg. "The spiritual germ woven by ourselves is lost at the
moment when the physical germ, which we shall have to assume on
Earth, is engendered through the act of conception" (Rudolf Steiner).
In ancient times the sending down of the spirit seed to unite with the
fertilized egg was seen clairvoyantly as the "descent of the stork,"
since the spirit seed appears to clairvoyant perception like a stork.
When the stork was seen, it was known that a child was on its way.

In terms of the epoch (conception) chart, the moment of the sending


down of the spirit seed is computed using the hermetic rule
retrogressively from the birth chart, utilizing the interchange of the
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position of the Moon and the Ascendant or its opposite. Hermetic
astrology, so-called because it is based on the application of the
ancient Egyptian hermetic rule for determining the horoscope of
conception, consciously includes - in addition to the birth - the
moment of conception (epoch) as an important part of the process of
incarnation. At this moment there begins the building up of the etheric
body from the cosmic ether, and the weaving of the "karmic cross"
into the etheric body, as described in detail in Hermetic Astrology,
volume II.

The epoch chart gives a picture of the structure of the etheric body,
containing the basic life force. Research shows that the moment of
death is often indicated by transits to the epoch chart. This discovery
highlights the significance of the epoch chart in hermetic astrology.
For example, in the case of the German Romantic poet Novalis (1772-
1801):

Death g-Saturn (25½º Cancer) - conjunct - Epoch Sun (25½º Cancer)

And in the case of the Austrian spiritual teacher Rudolf Steiner (1861-
1925);

2
Death g-Saturn (19½º Libra) - conjunct - Epoch Moon (19½º Libra)

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These are just two examples illustrating the research finding that the
moment of death is often indicated by transits to the epoch/conception
chart.

All this goes to show that the conception (epoch) chart, which is
central to hermetic astrology, is highly significant. It has been largely
neglected in the history of astrology, although working with the
conception chart was a part of ancient Egyptian and Babylonian
astrology. As Ptolemy states in the Tetrabiblos:

Since the chronological starting-point of human nativities is naturally


the very time of conception, but potentially and accidentally the
moment of birth, in cases in which the very time of conception is
known either by chance or by observation, it is more fitting that we
should follow it in determining the special nature of body and soul,
examining the effective power of the configuration of the stars at that
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time.

One of the reasons for the neglect of the conception horoscope in


astrology is that the application of the hermetic rule to find the epoch
from the birth chart is complex and open-ended. Now, through the
Astrofire computer program developed by Peter Treadgold, the
various possibilities for the epoch can be seen at a glance, and with a
little practice and experience it is relatively easy to determine the
4
actual conception horoscope. This opens - or rather re-opens - a vast
new realm of research intrinsic to the roots of astrology.

To summarize: the moment of the epoch is the time when the


archetype of the physical body known as the spirit seed is sent down
to unite with the fertilized egg in the mother's womb. At this moment
the soul feels a great sense of loss, amounting to bereavement.

The spiritual germ of the physical body has already descended to


Earth, whereas we still dwell in the spiritual world. And now a
vehement feeling of bereavement sets in. We have lost the spiritual
germ of the physical body. This has already arrived below and united
itself with the last of those successive generations, which we have
watched. We ourselves, however, are still above. The feeling of
bereavement becomes violent. And now this feeling of bereavement
draws out of the universe the needful ingredients of the world ether.
Having sent the spiritual germ of the physical body down to Earth and
remained behind?we draw etheric substance out of the world ether
5
and form our own etheric body.

18
Out of this sense of loss begins the weaving of the etheric body from
the cosmic ether, parallel to the formation of the physical body
(embryo) in the mother's womb. This is the key significance of the
epoch chart: it indicates the start of life, the beginning of the formation
of both the physical body (through the spirit seed) and the etheric
body (in relation to the Moon's orbit of the sidereal zodiac). Against
this background it can be understood why transits to the epoch chart
might be significant at the moment of death, which is the moment the
etheric body withdraws from the physical body. In the course of further
research into these hitherto hidden and mysterious connections, it
became evident that the two epoch charts (hermetic and geocentric)
relate to the physical and etheric bodies, respectively. At conception
the hermetic chart - related to the level of the Sun - gives a picture of
the spirit seed of the physical body, and the geocentric chart gives a
picture of the primary impulse from the surrounding etheric cosmos on
the building up of the etheric body.

Similarly the two birth charts (hermetic and geocentric) relate to the "I"
and astral body of the human being. At birth the hermetic chart, which
is connected with the level of the Sun, reveals the goal of the
incarnating human being as an "I" coming into a new incarnation upon
the Earth in order to fulfill a destiny. And the geocentric chart at birth,
which is the traditional astrological chart, has always been called the
"map of the soul" - this clearly relating to the level of the astral body,
which is the bearer of the soul (sometimes called the soul body).

Against this background it is evident that every human being has four
horoscopes, relating to the four levels of the human being:

hermetic conception horoscope physical body

geocentric conception horoscope etheric body

geocentric birth horoscope astral body

hermetic birth horoscope "I"

The hermetic horoscope, also known as the Tychonic chart (after the
Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, 1546-1601), is the same as the
geocentric horoscope except that the planetary positions are
heliocentric rather than geocentric - click here to order, and see the
section Horoscopes Old and New (click here) for further clarification
and for instructions as to how these four horoscopes relate to the four
levels of the human being.

19
1
Robert Powell, Hermetic Astrology, volume I, Appendix 1, describes
the hermetic rule and its historical background.

2
According to the hermetic rule, the Moon at epoch is the same as
the Ascendant at birth, which in the case of Rudolf Steiner was 19½°
Libra.

3
Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos III. 1 (trsl. F.E. Robbins, pp. 223-225).

4
See details of the Astrofire program in the Astrofire section of this
website.

5
Rudolf Steiner, Man's Being, His Destiny, and World Evolution, p.
32.

20
Hermetic Rule Applied
Shortly before midnight -- under a nearly full Moon on the tail of the
Lion, which was opposite the Sun in the middle of Aquarius-- on
February 25, 1861, in the tiny Austro-Hungarian village of Kraljevec,
attended by a midwife, Franziska Steiner gave birth to her first child.
Two days later, on February 27, the baby boy was taken a couple of
miles to the St. Michael church in the neighboring village of Draskovec
to be baptized. Perhaps Frau Steiner and her husband Johannes - a
telegraph operator at the little out-of-the-way Kraljevec railroad station
on the Puszta plain near the border of what is today Croatia and
Hungary - along with giving thanks to St. Michael for their son's
recovery (he had been bleeding at birth), also gave thanks to
Boldogasszony, the "blessed lady" of Hungarian folk legend, who
helped women during childbirth. It is very likely that around the time of
conception of their son Rudolf they had spoken of the "arrival of the
stork" -- referring to the widespread folk notion that the stork "brought"
children to their parents. Such beliefs about the stork that help to
make sense of the mystery of birth have their origins in an even
deeper mystery -- the mystery of conception.

In earlier times - for example, in ancient Egypt - there existed a subtle


differentiation between two different conceptions -- physical
conception and conception of the ka. Translating the subtle
knowledge of the ancient Egyptians into modern terms, we can affirm
that physical conception consists of the fertilization of the egg by the
sperm, which is then embedded in the wall of the womb. On the other
hand, what was the conception of the ka? The ka was perceived not
only as the source of a person's vital force, corresponding
approximately to the Chinese chi, the Hindu prana, and the ether of
the alchemists, but as an actual "body" attached to the human being.
In the language of the alchemical tradition, the conception of the ka
would be called etheric conception - the coming into existence of the
etheric body (ka) thought of as a subtle body of life energy
surrounding and interpenetrating the physical body. Clearly the
moment of origin of the physical body is physical conception.
Similarly, the moment of origin of the ka or etheric body is the etheric
conception, which for the ancient Egyptians was identical with the
descent of the stork.

21
The ancient Egyptians, as we shall see below, even had a cosmic rule
specifying when the etheric conception takes place, a rule which has
to do with the Moon, thus indicating that whereas the physical
conception is an earthly event, etheric conception is an event
belonging to the Moon sphere, thought of as the cosmic realm
bounded by the orbit of the Moon. Modern scientific knowledge is not
accustomed to thinking of the pre-existence (prior to conception and
birth) of the soul, but this was almost universally accepted in antiquity,
where the soul was said to exist in cosmic realms - in the so-called
"planetary spheres" - prior to coming into earthly incarnation.

According to Professor B.L. van der Waerden in his excellent survey


of the origins of horoscopic astrology, "The soul comes from the
heavens, where it partook of the circulation of the stars. It unites itself
with a body and forms with it a living being. This explains how human
1
character comes to be determined by the heavens." This notion
underlying horoscopic astrology can be traced back to the
Babylonians, stemming from the teachings of Zaratas:

The notion that the soul descending from heaven takes on the
characteristics of the planetary spheres through which it passes,
before it enters into corporeal existence, and that after death it makes
its journey through the heavens in reverse direction and with opposite
effect - this derives from the same religious circles as those in which
the doctrine of the voyage of the soul through the spheres had
2
developed: the later Babylonian astral theology.

According to the ancient Babylonian tradition of horoscopic astrology


inaugurated by Zaratas, the Moon sphere was the last stage of the
descent of the soul, the region where the incarnating human being
dwells at the moment of conception, having descended there from the
fixed-star realm through the seven planetary spheres. It is interesting
to consider this tradition insofar as it helps us to understand the
mystery of conception and, indeed, the whole cosmological
background of astrology, which originated with the Babylonians.
According to the teaching of this tradition, either simultaneously with
or shortly after the occurrence of the physical conception, the soul
released something known as a spirit seed, which then descended
from above. The moment when the spirit seed descends from the
Moon sphere to unite with the fertilized egg is the image that was
clairvoyantly perceived in ancient times as the "descent of the stork" -
depicted widely in Egyptian hieroglyphs. The modern folk belief about
the stork bringing the child was a dim memory of the ancient
clairvoyant image of the "spirit seed" - the spiritual archetype of the
physical body that is built up in the highest cosmic realm, the zodiacal

22
sphere, prior to the soul's descent through the seven planetary
spheres. Approaching the end of its descent into incarnation, with the
inspiration of the soul from its cosmic vantage point in the Moon
sphere, etheric conception occurs close to the time of the physical
conception. Modern astrological research into the Egypian cosmic rule
for specifying the moment of etheric conception shows that it usually
takes place shortly after fertilization. For the Egyptians, the
appropriate cosmic moment of conception was specified by a principle
known as the hermetic rule. Although ascribed to the great teacher of
the ancient Egyptians, Hermes Trismegistus, the hermetic rule was
known also to the Babylonians, as there are examples of Babylonian
horoscopes in which the horoscope of conception is presented
alongside the horoscope of birth. The conception horoscope belonged
very much to the original astrology of the Egyptians and Babylonians,
as an expression of the mystery of the soul's descent into incarnation.

The Hermetic Rule

The hermetic rule or rule of Hermes is an ancient astrological law for


determining the horoscope of conception retrogressively from the day
and hour of birth. It stems from the ancient hermetic astrological
corpus that was a sort of "bible" for Greek and Egyptian astrologers in
3
the early centuries of their practice.

Relating the moment of conception to the moment of birth, the


hermetic rule holds the key-astrologically speaking-to the building up
of the physical body in the womb during the embryonic period of
development. It states that:

The zodiacal location of the Moon at the moment of conception is in


line with the Ascendant-Descendant axis at the moment of birth.

In order to grasp the astrological significance of the moment of


conception, we shall take a look "behind the scenes" at the events
leading up to conception. This entails a leap of consciousness to
grasp the esoteric reality underlying the incarnation of the human
being which, of course, was known to the Egyptians and Babylonians.
The Egyptians, from whom the hermetic rule derives, had a highly
developed esoteric cosmology in which subtle aspects of the human
being were cognized beyond the level of the physical body. The
Ascendant-Descendant axis is the position of orientation taken up by
the human being while in the zodiacal sphere of fixed stars during the
formation of the "spirit seed" - the spiritual archetype of the physical
body. Then follows the descent of the human being from the zodiacal

23
sphere through the seven planetary spheres bearing with him or her
the spirit seed-diminishing in size from sphere to sphere from its initial
expansion in the zodiacal realm of fixed stars. During this descent
through the planetary spheres a "vehicle of consciousness" for the
individuality is built up. The Egyptians called this the ba, often
depicted as a human-headed falcon. In the alchemical tradition it is
called the astral body. As the name indicates - astral ("of the stars") -
this "body" is built up from the planetary spheres, the planets being
considered as moving stars (Greek: planetai). Just as the spirit seed
is formed in the zodiacal sphere as the archetype of the physical body
from the circle of the twelve sidereal signs of the zodiac, so - in light of
the Babylonian tradition - the astral body is shaped as a vehicle of
consciousness appropriate for the incarnating individual from the
seven planetary spheres in the descent through the planetary
spheres.

From this brief survey of the ancient tradition, it is evident that the
spirit seed and the astral body are two primary astrological realities or
aspects of the human being. Both exist as spiritual archetypes, which
become individualized in the process of incarnation. That which
individualizes the spirit seed is the choice of Ascendant, which then
acts as a focal point for the building up of the spiritual archetype of the
physical body according to the zodiacal signs. That which
individualizes the astral body is the choice of planetary positions for
the horoscope at birth, by means of which a suitable vehicle is formed
for the individuality to bring its talents and faculties to expression.
Here the composition of this vehicle (astral body) becomes
differentiated by way of the background zodiacal influence of the Sun,
Moon, and five planets.

During the process of incarnation the spirit seed and the astral body
work into the formation of the physical body and the vehicle of
consciousness of the individuality. The whole descent into incarnation
is made with a view to arriving on the Earth at the cosmic moment
when the planetary configuration (hermetic and geocentric) of the
chosen birth chart becomes actualized. The moment of birth is thus
the goal of the incarnating human being. Essential to arriving at this
goal is the moment of conception, occuring (on average) some nine
months prior to the moment of birth.

Given the choice of zodiacal location of the Sun at the moment of


birth, the period of embryonic development determines more or less
when the moment of conception should take place. In the course of
nine months the Sun-on its apparent path around the zodiac-moves
through three-quarters of the zodiacal circle, i.e., through nine of the

24
twelve zodiacal signs. Thus, during an average gestation period of
nine months, the zodiacal location of the Sun at the moment of birth is
nine signs advanced from its position in the zodiac at the moment of
conception. Once the Sun's position at birth is chosen, its
approximate zodiacal location at the conception is specified, the
element of variation being dependent on whether the embryonic
period turns out to be longer or shorter than nine months.

The hermetic rule specifies the moment of conception more exactly.


Going back from the moment of birth to the beginning of the
embryonic period of development, the Moon's location in the zodiac at
the moment of conception is the same either as that of the Ascendant
chosen for the moment of birth, or as that of its opposite, the
Descendant. Thus, given the choice of Ascendant for the moment of
birth, chosen already long in advance in the zodiacal sphere of fixed
stars, the zodiacal location of the Moon at conception is also specified
in advance to be one of two possibilities. As we shall see in the next
example of an application of the hermetic rule, karmic considerations
can also play into the predetermination of the planetary configuration
at the moment of conception, just as they play a role in the choice of
planetary configuration at the moment of birth.

An Application of the Hermetic Rule

Because Rudolf Steiner always celebrated his birthday on February


27 (his date of baptism), hardly anyone knew that his birthday was
4
actually on February 25. Taking the stated time and date of Rudolf
Steiner's birth as 11:15 PM on February 25, 1861 at Kraljevec, the
zodiacal longitude of the Ascendant and the Moon are computed to be
17º25' Libra and 24º43' Leo, respectively. Applying the hermetic rule,
this means that the Moon's zodiacal longitude at etheric conception
must have been about 17º or 18º Aries or Libra, with an Ascendant of
24º43' Leo or Aquarius. Returning nine calendar months from
February 25, 1861 leads back to May 25, 1860, and referring to an
ephemeris for this time it is evident that the Moon was at about 18º
Libra around midday on June 1, 1860. This date appears, at first sight,
to be a possible date for the etheric conception, as calculated by the
hermetic rule, and bearing in mind that his parents married on May
16, 1861. In fact, at 12:12 PM on June 1, 1860 the Ascendant at
Kraljevec was 24º48' Leo and the Moon was at 19º48' Libra in the
sidereal zodiac. Applying the hermetic rule, this fits well with the
computed birth data, and could have been the moment of etheric
conception. If indeed it was, then the birth time has to be corrected
from 11:15 PM, to 11:25 PM, to yield for this moment (considered as
the planned moment of birth) an Ascendant at 19º34' Libra and the

25
Moon's position at 24º48' Leo in the sidereal zodiac, exactly fitting the
hermetic rule.

Given the open-endedness of the hermetic rule (e.g., in the case of


Rudolf Steiner the Moon was at 18º Aries two weeks earlier on May
19, and was again at 18º Aries two weeks after June 1, on June 15,
1860), where several alternative dates of etheric conception are
possible, how may we be certain that the correct date has been
found?

There are several viewpoints to be considered. First, it can happen


that there is some indication of the approximate length of the
embryonic period. It is rare that the parents know the exact date of the
physical conception, but if it is known the etheric conception as
determined by the hermetic rule must lie close to it in time. Sometimes
there is an approximate indication, e.g., "the child was born one week
premature". Such indications, when stemming from medical sources,
usually reckon with a pregnancy of ca. 270 days, which means-if one
week premature-an embryonic period of ca. 263 days. Here again the
hermetic rule is given an approximate date around which the etheric
conception must have taken place, in which case it is no longer a
completely open-ended rule.

Second, failing any indication whatsoever as to the length of the


embryonic period, there is the argument of probability-approximately
270 days being the mean duration of a human pregnancy. In the
example under consideration the interval from June 1 to February 25
amounts to 269 days, which is more probable than an interval of 255
days leading back to the date June 15 as a possible date of etheric
conception. Likewise, 269 days is more probable than an interval of
283 days leading back to a possible date of etheric conception on
May 19. Therefore the intervals of 255 days and 283 days yield the
two next most probable dates of etheric conception after the most
probable date of June 1, given by the hermetic rule-in this particular
example-as dates when the Moon was at 18º Aries in the sidereal
zodiac. The probability diminishes still further for an interval of 242
days (27 days less than 269) or 296 days (27 days more than 269)
where, since the Moon makes an orbit of the sidereal zodiac in 27.32
days, the Moon was again at 18º Libra in the sidereal zodiac as it was
on June 1, 269 days before the birthdate. According to the argument
of probability then, June 1, 1860 was the most probable date for
etheric conception in Rudolf Steiner's incarnation.

26
Probability is not the only consideration, however, as premature and
overdue births do occur. If other indications are not present, then the
third consideration-in order to decide between several possible dates
of etheric conception-is the astrological validity of the planetary
configuration at the moment of etheric conception. Thus the several
possible planetary configurations at etheric conception yielded by the
hermetic rule may be compared with the birth configuration for
similarities. This comparison may be extended to include the death
configuration in the case of the conception chart of a historical
personality (assuming the date of death is known). Finally, if the
previous incarnation is known through karmic research, then just as
the birth chart can be compared with the hermetic and geocentric
birth/death charts of the previous incarnation, so the conception chart
may also be compared with them for similar aspects or planetary
alignments in the sidereal zodiac.

As an example of these considerations, let us look at the conception


chart of Rudolf Steiner computed for June 1, 1860 from the point of
view of its astrological validity.

View

Note that the word epoch denotes the horoscope for the moment of
etheric conception.

Here with the birth horoscope of Rudolf Steiner, for the sake of
comparison with the epoch (conception) horoscope, where the
fulfillment of the hermetic rule (interchange of Moon and Ascendant)
can be seen between the two horoscopes:

View [pdf "Rudolf Steiner B"]

Most remarkable in the conception chart computed for June 1, 1860 is


the exact geocentric conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. This striking
relationship between Venus and Jupiter is taken up again in Rudolf
Steiner's geocentric birth chart, where these two planets are more or
less in exact opposition. This lends support to the astrological validity
of the conception chart computed for June 1, 1860.

Further, if the conception chart computed for June 1, 1860 is correct,


then the Ascendant at Rudolf Steiner's birth has to be corrected from
17º25' Libra (computed for the stated birth time of 11:15 PM) to 19º35'
Libra (computed as the birth time of 11:25 PM according to the
hermetic rule). Now, the geocentric sidereal longitude of Saturn at

27
Rudolf Steiner's death was 19º33' Libra, so Saturn was exactly
transiting (orb 0°02') the degree of the zodiac computed to b e the
Ascendant according to the hermetic rule. This lends considerable
weight to the astrological validity of the Ascendant of 19º 35' Libra,
which is the authentic Ascendant according to the hermetic rule if
June 1, 1860 was the date of conception. This confirmation of a birth
time of 11:25 PM with an Ascendant of 19º35' Libra is based on the
concept of a transit, i.e., that at the moment of Rudolf Steiner's death
there was an exact transit of Saturn over the position of the
Ascendant at his birth.

View [insert pdf "Rudolf Steiner b-d geo"]

1
B.L. van der Waerden, Science Awakening, volume II, p. 147.

2
Hans Lewy, Chaldean Oracles and Theurgy, p. 146.

3
Wilhelm und Hans Georg Gundel, Astrologumena, p. 147. This
corpus consisted of Greek astrological writings composed in
Hellenistic Egypt-primarily in Alexandria-during the first two centuries
B.C. Fragments of these writings were preserved and transmitted to
later Greek astrologers. Common to the writings of the hermetic
astrological corpus is that they are invariably attributed to the "ancient
Egyptians"-including Hermes and also Nechepso and Petosiris among
these venerable founding fathers of astrology. In the fragments
attributed to Nechepso and Petosiris-written in the form of instructions
from the priest Petosiris to the king Nechepso-there are some
references to the hermetic rule. (See Robert Powell, Hermetic
Astrology, volume I, Appendix I for an English translation of these
fragments.) You may wonder why the astrological rule for calculating
the horoscope of conception is referred to as the hermetic rule and
not the rule of Petosiris, the named authority for this rule in each of
the fragments stating this ancient astrological tenet. The reason for
this appears to be the fact that Nechepso and Petosiris were regarded
simply as mediators of the teachings of Hermes. Thus Hermes was
recognized as the originator of this astrological rule, which then was
entrusted to the "divine men" Nechepso and Petosiris. For example,
Firmicus Maternus (4th Century AD) in his great work on astrology-the
eight books of the mathesis-speaks of "most powerful Hermes"
entrusting his secret to these "divine men". Similarly, a papyrus of AD
138 states that Nechepso and Petosiris "established" their teachings
upon Hermes. Nechepso and Petosiris composed their astrological
works in Egypt during the second century BC and fragments of these
works-transmitted to later Greek astrologers-were collected by Ernst

28
Riess. Rudolf Steiner's collaborator Elisabeth Vreede (1879-1943)
translated the hermetic rule from Greek into German. She encouraged
my teacher Willie Sucher (1902-1985) to apply this rule in his
astrological research.

4
A letter dated February 25, 1921, from Eugenie von Bredow, one of
Rudolf Steiner's pupils in the Esoteric School, shows that she knew
this:

My revered Master: Today, on the day which is actually the day of


birth of your Individuality in this incarnation (whilst hitherto we always
held it to be February 27), I would like to express to you in true
commemoration my warmest good wishes for your well-being . . .

The time of Rudolf Steiner's birth (11:15 PM) was communicated to


the theosophical astrologer Alan Leo by Rudolf Steiner himself. Alan
Leo utilized this time and the date February 27, 1861, generally
acknowledged as Rudolf Steiner's birthday, to cast a horoscope. Here
it is not known whether Rudolf Steiner communicated this time as
being exact, or whether he stated it as "less than an hour before
midnight." (If the latter holds true, clearly Alan Leo interpreted it to be
11:15 PM local time.)

The original horoscope cast in 1909 by Alan Leo for the incorrect date
of February 27 was reprinted repeatedly until in 1980 the Dutch
astrologer Jan Kampherbeek eventually published a correct
horoscope, cast for February 25, 1861 at 11:15 PM.

29
Your zodiac sign is not what you
think it is
One of the reasons for offering the chart calculation service is to help
clear up one of the most widespread scientific misconceptions of our
time - concerning the definition of the signs of the zodiac. Apart from
India, where the tradition of Vedic astrology still holds to the original
definition from ancient Babylon of the signs of the zodiac (nowadays
known as the sidereal zodiac), the rest of the world has adopted the
tropical zodiac of Greek astronomers in place of the original sidereal
zodiac. The historical background to this is discussed at length in
History of the Zodiac - click here. The consequence of the adoption by
western astrologers of the tropical zodiac, which originally was not a
zodiac but a calendar, is that a mistaken conception of the zodiacal
signs has become widespread in the whole world (with the exception
of India). Now millions of people believe that they are born in a
particular zodiacal sign, whereas in fact they were not born in that
sign.

To give an example: someone born on March 25 generally believes


that they are an "Aries", whereas the Sun on March 25 is actually in
Pisces - click here to view the Sun's location in the signs of the
sidereal zodiac throughout the yearly calendar cycle. It is correct to
say that someone born on March 25 in the northern hemisphere was
born in the month of Aries in the tropical calendar, which was the
predecessor of the tropical zodiac. However, in terms of the sidereal
zodiac, they were born with the Sun in Pisces. For someone born on
March 25 in the southern hemisphere it is accurate to say that they
were born in the month of Libra in the tropical calendar - with the Sun
in Pisces in the sidereal zodiac. The Sun's location in the sidereal
zodiac - in this example in the sign of Pisces for someone born on
March 25 - remains the same whatever the location on the Earth
might be. From everywhere on the Earth, looking up to the Sun it is
located against the background of the same fixed star for everyone on
the Earth at that moment in time. However, as the cycle of the
seasons (tropical calendar) is the reverse in the southern hemisphere
of that in the northern hemisphere, the date March 25, which falls in
the month of Aries at the beginning of spring in the northern

30
hemisphere, falls in the month of Libra (opposite Aries) at the
beginning of autumn in the southern hemisphere.

From a consideration of the basic finding of Astrogeographia that


there is a one-to-one correspondence between the starry heavens
and the earthly globe, it should be evident that also the horoscope is
based on the relationship of our solar system to the background of the
starry heavens - in other words: sidereal, which means "of the stars".
Moreover, as shown conclusively by the research presented in
Hermetic Astrology, volume I click here, it is the location of the Sun,
Moon and planets in the sidereal zodiac, which comprises the birth
horoscope. Since most people (with the exception of those living in
India) have a mistaken conception of their zodiacal sign and their
entire horoscope, the chart calculation service is provided to enable
one to know one?s true sign and horoscope. People using this chart
calculation service are generally interested in knowing their sidereal
sign and horoscope. However, it is also possible to request one's
tropical sign and horoscope. And moreover, one can specify "tropical"
or "sidereal" for all the variety of horoscopes offered - horoscopes of
conception and birth: geocentric, heliocentric, Tychonic (hermetic),
etc.

31
Astrogeographia
"As above, so below"

(The law of correspondences attributed to the Egyptian initiate


Hermes Trismegistus)

Astrogeographia is a new science concerning the


correspondence between stars in the heavens and earthly
geographical locations such that each star is mirrored at a
specific location on the Earth.

Alnitak and the Great Pyramid at Giza

"The pyramids exhibit stellar alignments: the bases are aligned


meridionally (north to south) with the stars. The Great Pyramid has
four shafts pointing meridionally towards important stars relating to the
rebirth cult. One points directly to Orion's Belt - more specifically to Al
Nitak, the lower star in Orion's Belt. Correlating this star to the Great
Pyramid, we can see the same pattern of layout between the three
pyramids of Giza with the three stars of Orion's Belt..." (Robert
Bauval-Adrian Gilbert, The Orion Mystery).

In light of Astrogeographia, just as the Great Pyramid at Giya


corresponds to the star Alnitak, so the city of Alexandria corresponds
to the star Alnilam - Alnitak and Alnilam being two of the three stars in
the belt of Orion. Moreover, the ancient city of Ephesus (on the west
coast of present-day Turkey) corresponds to the star Bellatrix marking
the left shoulder of Orion. [click here]

HERMETIC ASTROLOGY

Astrogeographia is applicable not only to places on the Earth but also


to individual horoscopes. The method of casting horoscopes in
hermetic astrology is based on the teachings of Hermes from ancient
Egypt, and also upon the ancient star wisdom of the Babylonians and
Greeks. This means that your horoscope - based on hermetic
astrology - is different from the usual horoscope drawn up by
contemporary western astrology. In fact, four horoscopes are
generally drawn up for each person in hermetic astrology. To learn

32
more about this unique and comprehensive approach to
understanding yourself, consult the various entries on this website
and make use of the chart calculation service or the Astrofire
program, which enables the application of the law of Hermes to find
the conception (epoch) horoscope that, when computed from both the
geocentric and the heliocentric/hermetic/Tychonic standpoint yields
two of the four horoscopes mentioned above - the other two being the
geocentric and the heliocentric/hermetic/Tychonic horoscopes of birth.

33
Horoscopes Old and New
Traditional astrology works solely with the geocentric birth chart.
Hermetic astrology, based on a deeper understanding of the different
levels of the human being, works with four birth charts for each person
- each horoscope relating to one of the four aspects of the human
being. These four aspects are: the physical body, the etheric body,
the astral body, and the "I" (self) of the human being (as comes to
expression, for example, if one says: "I myself believe?"). In contrast
to the physical body, which is clearly identifiable and can be
objectively described, the nature of the "I" is spiritual and less easy to
characterize - and this is where hermetic astrology is helpful, as it can
come to a characterization of something that is otherwise intangible.
Hermetic astrology takes into account not only the "I" and the physical
body, but also that which mediates between them and which is also of
a subtle (invisible) nature: the etheric body, also known as the life
body, and the astral body, which is the bearer of the human being's
instincts and passions, as well as the soul activities of thinking,
feeling, and the will.

What are the horoscopes relating to these four aspects of the human
being? The next section of this website describes the significance of
the two perspectives: heliocentric and geocentric. The heliocentric
perspective relates to the level of the Sun (Helios) and the geocentric
to the level of the Earth (Ge or Gaia). In addition there is the helio-
geocentric viewpoint of the Tychonic (hermetic) perspective based on
the astrological system of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe
(1546-1601). This Tychonic perspective includes the heliocentric
perspective and yet at the same time maintains the Earth at the
center, which is the case for the incarnated human being. The
Tychonic viewpoint is also called hermetic, because it was the
perspective of the ancient Egyptians, as described in Robert Powell's
books Hermetic Astrology, volumes I and II. Hermetic astrology
includes the hermetic perspective of the ancient Egyptians in addition
to the geocentric viewpoint that was the astrological perspective of the
Babylonians. Therefore, each human being has a hermetic horoscope
of birth as well as a geocentric birth chart, whereby the hermetic
horoscope - because it is helio-geocentric - includes the heliocentric
horoscope.

34
In addition, hermetic astrology applies the ancient Egyptian hermetic
rule to determine the human being's conception chart, also known as
the epoch chart. The conception (epoch) chart can also be cast from
both the hermetic and the geocentric standpoints.

In the course of research into the hidden and mysterious connections


relating to the incarnation of the human being, it has become evident
that the two epoch charts (hermetic and geocentric) relate to the
physical and etheric bodies, respectively. At conception the hermetic
chart - related to the level of the Sun - gives a picture of the spirit seed
of the physical body, and the geocentric chart gives a picture of the
primary impulse from the surrounding etheric cosmos on the building
up of the etheric body.

Similarly the two birth charts (hermetic and geocentric) relate to the
"I" and astral body of the human being. At birth the hermetic chart,
which is connected with the level of the Sun, reveals the goal of the
incarnating human being as an "I" coming into a new incarnation upon
the Earth in order to fulfill a destiny - a destiny that has been
elaborated upon the descent through cosmic spheres on the way into
incarnation. And the geocentric chart at birth, which is the traditional
astrological chart, has always been called the map of the soul - this
clearly relating to the level of the astral body, which is the bearer of
the soul (sometimes called the soul body).

Against this background it is evident that every human being has four
horoscopes, relating to the four levels of the human being:

hermetic conception horoscope physical body

geocentric conception horoscope etheric body

geocentric birth horoscope astral body

hermetic birth horoscope "I"

Upon request, our chart calculation service is able to compute all four
of these charts -

35
Features - Tychonic (Hermetic)
Charts
Geocentric, Heliocentric, and Tychonic (Hermetic) Charts

Geocentric: Planetary positions as seen from the Earth

Each day the positions of the Sun, Moon, Moon's Node, Mercury,
Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto change as
they move through the zodiacal signs. Sometimes a planet moves
retrograde, where it is seen to move backward through the zodiacal
signs, and then it moves direct (forward) again through the signs. In
the Astrofire chart service it is - with regard to position of the Moon's
Node in the chart - the Moon's Ascending (North) Node that is given,
this being the point of intersection of the Moon's orbit with the
Sun/Earth plane as it rises north of this plane. Moreover, the true
zodiacal longitude of the Moon's Node is given in the charts computed
by Astrofire, rather than its mean position. The Descending (South)
Node is exactly opposite in the zodiac.

The planets also form geocentric aspects with one another - aspects
being significant angles between planets, such as 180° (opposition),
120° (trine), 90° (square), etc. In the writings of the German
astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) he puts forward that the
aspects are perceived by the Earth soul, which responds in the
phenomena of nature such as the weather. In the same way, the
human soul responds to the aspects imprinted into it at birth.

Conjunction (0˚) and opposition (180˚) between two planets are the
most important aspects, since these two aspects signify that an
alignment of the two planets takes place. In the case of a geocentric
conjunction between Planet A and Planet B, the alignment is Earth-
Planet A-Planet B; and in the case of a geocentric opposition the
alignment is Planet A-Earth-Planet B. The next most important aspect
is the square (90°), which takes place midway betwe en these two
alignments.

In making use of the Astrofire chart calculation service (click here),


one is requested to specify which aspects one would like to include in

36
one's geocentric chart, and the Aspect Set "Conjunction, Opposition,
Square" is the default set. The geocentric birth chart is a map of the
soul and relates to the human being's astral body, whereas the
geocentric conception (epoch) chart reflects the etheric body - see
previous section (click here) for further explanation.

Heliocentric: Planetary positions as seen from the Sun

Each day the positions of Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto change in relation to the Sun.
These heliocentric planetary positions are just as important for the
incarnating human being as the geocentric planetary positions.
Whereas the geocentric planetary positions relate to the level of the
human being's astral and etheric bodies, the heliocentric planetary
positions have to do with the "I" or self of the human being and how
the "I" participates in the building up of the physical body through the
spirit seed (for further elucidation regarding this, click here.).

The relationship of the "I" to the Sun is intrinsic to the whole


astrological tradition. However, it is only since the birth of heliocentric
astrology in the twentieth century that some - actually only very few -
astrologers have begun to cast the heliocentric birth horoscope. This
is the horoscope of the "I" or self. The Astrofire chart calculation
service enables also the heliocentric horoscope of conception (epoch)
to be computed - this is the horoscope of the spirit seed underlying
the formation of the physical body.

The planets in their movements around the Sun also form heliocentric
aspects with one another - significant angles between the planets as
seen from the Sun, such as 180° (opposition), 120° (trine), 90°
(square), etc. The human "I" responds to the heliocentric aspects
imprinted into it at birth. In the case of a heliocentric conjunction
between Planet A and Planet B, the alignment is Sun-Planet A-Planet
B; and in the case of a heliocentric opposition the alignment is Planet
A-Sun-Planet B. The next most important aspect is the square (90°),
which takes place midway between these two alignments.

In making use of the Astrofire chart calculation service (click here),


one is requested to specify which aspects one would like to include in
one's heliocentric chart, and the Aspect Set "Conjunction, Opposition,
Square" is the default set. The heliocentric birth chart relates to the
human being's "I", whereas the heliocentric conception (epoch) chart
reflects the spirit seed - see previous section (click here) for further
explanation of this.

37
Tychonic (Hermetic): Planetary positions are heliocentric, as seen
from the Sun; at the same time, however, the Tychonic (hermetic)
horoscope treats the Earth as the center, since this is the perspective
of the incarnated human being

The Tychonic system - named after the Danish astronomer Tycho


Brahe (1546-1601) who introduced it - is a helio-geocentric system. It
is described at length in Robert Powell's Hermetic Astrology, volume I.
In the Tychonic horoscope, which is also called the hermetic chart, the
planetary positions are heliocentric, but the entire framework of the
horoscope is geocentric, since the horoscope includes the positions of
the Sun, the Moon, the Ascendant, and also the other House Cusps,
which are all geocentric.

One important feature is that additional aspects arise in the Tychonic


(hermetic) chart which are not found either in the geocentric or in the
heliocentric horoscopes - for example, the hermetic aspects involving
the Moon. For instance, there is an exact hermetic conjunction of the
Moon and Venus in the hermetic horoscope of Marilyn Monroe,
whereas Venus is otherwise unaspected in her birth horoscope, and
there is an exact hermetic conjunction of the Moon and Mars in the
hermetic horoscope of Andy Warhol, in whose geocentric horoscope
there is no relationship between the Moon and Mars.

Hermetic means "hidden" and the aspects of conjunction and


opposition of the Moon to these heliocentric positions of the planets
are indeed hidden for us. Nevertheless they are intrinsic to the helio-
geocentric astronomical system of Tycho Brahe used in modern
hermetic astrology, which is thus called the hermetic system. Years of
research show that the Tychonic (hermetic) chart is highly significant
for an understanding of the human "I" or self. In the Tychonic
(hermetic) system, where the heliocentric movements of the planets
are retained, but instead of the Sun, the Earth is regarded as central,
the aspects involving the Earth become modified to aspects involving
the Sun, according to the change of perspective from the Sun to the
Earth. If the hermetic viewpoint is adopted, as in the Tychonic system,
this viewpoint is essentially Christocentric, recognizing that - through
Christ's sacrifice - the Earth has become the center in a moral and
spiritual sense. And it is striking that at the transfiguration of Christ on
Mt. Tabor there was a hermetic opposition between the Moon and
Venus, and at the descent of Christ into the underworld after his
crucifixion there was a hermetic conjunction of these two planets.
Click here to read more about the Star of the Magi and the life of
Christ in relation to the stars.

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Astrological Biography
In this section of the website on the features of hermetic astrology,
several important new tools for the astrologer are discussed: relating
to the calculation of Tychonic (hermetic) charts and also to the casting
of horoscopes not only of birth but also of conception. Following upon
this and directly connected with it, the astrological biography is now
described briefly. For, having found the conception (epoch) chart, it is
possible to look at the astrological significance of the entire embryonic
period between conception and birth. Astrological biography is based
on the discovery that there is a direct correspondence between the
planetary configurations taking place during the embryonic period and
the events that subsequently take place during the course of life
between birth and death. In order to apply this correspondence,
however, one needs to know that the biography or spiral of life unfolds
in a basic rhythm of seven-year periods during the course of a
person's life. Knowledge of this rhythm reveals profound and
fascinating regularities-among them the discovery that stellar
configurations during the embryonic period are reflected in the
subsequent periods of life according to the basic rule that one lunar
sidereal orbit during the embryonic period corresponds to one seven-
year period in life. This correspondence, which was discovered by
Willi Sucher (1902-1985) in the 1930's, is the key to applying
astrological biography as a science of destiny - as described, with
examples, in Robert Powell's book Hermetic Astrology, volume II:
Astrological Biography. Up until recently, one hindrance to applying
astrological biography has been that it is too complex computationally.
Now, with the Astrofire chart calculation program, it is relatively easy
to compute the astrological biography - this being a primary and
unique feature of Astrofire not offered by any other astrological
software.

Just as it is not possible to guarantee that the correct conception


(epoch) chart has been found, since the epoch is the starting point of
the astrological biography, it also not possible to guarantee finding the
correct astrological biography. However, anyone who applies
astrological biography to their own life will discover - provided that the
correct astrological biography is found - that it gives an amazing
overview of the events of destiny in one's life. Astrofire produces a
clear, tabular printout of the astrological biography showing which
dates in life the planetary configurations during the embryonic period
apply to. The printout of the astrological biography also indicates the

39
changing zodiacal periods in life: solar, lunar, and planetary. For
example, the lunar zodiacal periods change every seven months,
whereas the solar zodiacal periods in one's life change about every
7½ years. Upon request, the Astrofire chart calculation service will
provide you with your astrological biography - click here. The
indication that the astrological biography extends from birth to age 70
is an average value, which varies from person to person, depending
upon the actual length of the embryonic period. Note that generally
speaking life does continue beyond the cut-off (average: age 70) of
the astrological biography. If one is able to provide information
regarding the length of one's embryonic period, whether one was born
on time (9 months, full term) or premature or overdue (and by how
much), this is a considerable help in finding the correct conception
(epoch) chart and therewith the correct astrological biography.

If requested, Astrofire can also provide you with a graphic display of


your astrological biography showing the planetary movements that
took place between conception and birth - displayed around a circular
image of the embryo. This is a wonderful mandala with which to
contemplate how, during one's embryonic period, the cosmos was at
work shaping one on various levels, including shaping the path of
one's destiny.

Lastly, if requested, Astrofire can provide a rectangular chart of the


planetary movements from conception to birth projected onto the time-
line (seven-year periods) of the astrological biography. With this
rectangular chart, which is available not only for the geocentric
planetary movements but also for the heliocentric orbits of the planets
between conception (epoch) and birth, one can see at a glance the
nodal points in one's life - where planets come into conjunction with
one another and then separate again (in terms of the astrological
biography).

40
Solar Returns
Each year one celebrates one's birthday. The cosmic background to
the celebration of the birthday is the fact that on or around one's
birthday the Sun returns to the same position as where it was located
at one's birth. On this account it is customary to wish someone many
happy returns, that is, "May you experience many more happy
birthdays (when the Sun returns, having made one orbit of the zodiac
between birthdays)." The Sun represents the "I" (self) - hence the
significance of the heliocentric or hermetic horoscope. Moreover, the
Sun, representing this higher spiritual perspective, is able to ray in
around the time of the birthday, often enabling new insights into the
future unfolding of one's destiny. The birthday, or the time around the
birthday, is thus often a propitious time for making decisions about
one's destiny. The higher perspective offered by the Sun at this
moment in time is, of course, embedded in the entire planetary
configuration of the moment of the Sun's return, and the horoscope
cast for this moment is known as the solar return.

As an example, let us consider the solar return around the time of


th
Rudolf Steiner's 64 birthday, which was the last solar return on his
life, since he died at the age of 64 years and one month. (plus five
days) - click here to view this solar return. The planetary
configuration of the solar return is shown in the outer circle and the
birth horoscope is in the inner circle. The solar return is shown by the
identical positions of the Sun in the two circles - that is, the Sun at the
solar return is transiting the Sun at birth (this is the definition of the
solar return). The intensity of this solar return is evident in the transit
of Saturn (20½° Libra) to his birth Ascendant (19½° Libra) in
opposition to Mars (20½° Aries) transiting his Desc endant (19½
Aries). At the same time Neptune (27° Cancer) is tr ansiting the birth
position of Jupiter (27° Cancer). All in all, the c onfiguration of this
solar return is extremely potent. At the time Rudolf Steiner was ill. He
never recovered from his illness, and death ensued on March 30,
1925.

Astrofire, if requested, can provide you with solar returns for any
birthday(s) you request - click here if you would like to avail yourself
of this service. The configuration of the solar return at (or around) the
time of one's birthday can be a source of inspiration in coming to

41
know one's destiny intentions on the level of the "I" (self) for the
coming year.

The Stars New Perspectives


Finding one's birth star

Astrogeographia and also the discovery of the significance of mega


stars [click here] show that true star wisdom is a science that takes
into account the entire celestial sphere and not just the stars
comprising the signs of the zodiac. This signifies an enormous
expansion upon the astrology of the Babylonians, who were focused
primarily upon the passage of the Sun, Moon, and five visible planets
against the background of the fixed stars making up the twelve signs
of the zodiac. Similarly, mega stars represent an extension from the
exaltations discovered by the Babylonians. Whereas the exaltations
were discovered to be stars or stellar clusters lying within the zodiacal
belt - for example, the beautiful star cluster of the Pleiades at 5°
Taurus was seen by the Babylonians to be the place of exaltation of
the Moon - the meridians which run through the mega stars circle
around the entire celestial globe. For the use of mega stars in the
context of a new star wisdom all that needs to be known, essentially,
are the mega stars' longitudes in the sidereal zodiac. These are
known thanks to the star catalog included in Peter Treadgold's
program Astrofire, which lists the longitude, latitude, apparent
magnitude, absolute magnitude, type, class, distance and luminosity
of more than 4000 stars. Thus, information about the mega stars can
be derived from Astrofire. The Astrofire star catalog, in turn, is based
on the Hipparcos catalog, which is the most accurate of all star
catalogs, whose measurements were made by the Hipparcos satellite
between 1989 and 1993. For further information about Astrofire, click
here.

Hitherto the modus operandi as to how the stars of the entire celestial
sphere (and not just the zodiacal stars) send their influences into our
solar system has remained hidden. Now, through the knowledge of
the stellar meridians, it is at last possible to know why every star in the
heavens exerts an influence, and that this influence proceeds along
the star's meridian into our solar system via the point of intersection of
that meridian with the ecliptic running through the center of the zodiac.
For example, the meridian of the mega star Deneb, whose luminosity
is 270,000 times that or our Sun, intersects the ecliptic at 10½°
Aquarius. Although Deneb is located 60° north of th e ecliptic,

42
whenever the Sun or Moon or any planet is located at 10½° Aquarius,
it is in conjunction with the Deneb meridian and is thus conjoined with
the influence of Deneb, with its stellar energy flowing through that
meridian. In this sense one can speak of a conjunction. For example,
at the miracle performed by Christ of the feeding of the 5000, the Sun
was located at 10½° Aquarius and was therefore in c onjunction with
the mega star Deneb even though the Sun and Deneb were 60° apart
at this miraculous event.

In this way a person's birth star can be found - the birth star lying on
the meridian passing through the Sun at the moment of a person's
birth. The birth star may be at a considerable distance above (north
of) the ecliptic, or it can be far below (south of) the ecliptic. For
example, the birth star of the child Jesus whose birth is described in
the Gospel of St. Matthew is the famous Garnet Star, so called
because of its deep red color. Located in the crown of Cepheus the
Crowned King, husband of Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda, this
red supergiant is one of the largest and most luminous stars that can
be seen with the naked eye. It is a mega star many thousands of
times more luminous than our Sun (estimates of its luminosity vary;
according to the Hipparcos catalog its luminosity is 46,000) and is
located 64° north of the ecliptic. The meridian of the Garnet Star
intersects the ecliptic at 15½° Pisces, which was t he exact location of
the Sun at the birth of the child Jesus who was visited by the three
magi. The Garnet Star was the birth star of this Jesus child, and one
of the exciting possibilities of the Astrofire program and the chart
calculation service based on Astrofire is its use to determine one's
birth star.

43
Zodiacal Signs (Babylonian)
The purpose of working with one's sidereal charts of conception and
birth is to arrive at self knowledge and also to come to an experience
of the living cosmos, which is possible through the sidereal frame of
reference. Therefore all references to the zodiac in the following are in
1
terms of the sidereal zodiac. It is called the sidereal zodiac because it
is based on the stars (Latin for star: sidus, sideris) as they actually
appear in the night sky. In the sidereal zodiac the twelve signs are
defined in relation to the stars comprising the corresponding zodiacal
constellations. The scientific definition of the zodiacal signs originated
with the Babylonians who, in the world's first star catalog, specified
the locations of the stars in each of the signs (Aldebaran at 15°
Taurus, Antares at 15° Scorpio, etc.).

The signs are literally embedded in the zodiacal constellations. And


the symbol (glyph) for any sign of the zodiac is based directly on the
stars belonging to that zodiacal constellation. For example, let us
consider how the zodiacal sign of Taurus is embedded in the
constellation of the Bull. The midpoint of the sign, where the circle
meets the crescent in the glyph, is marked by the star Aldebaran at
15° Taurus, which is the exact middle of the sign, since each sign is
thirty degrees long. Thus, Aldebaran, marking the Bull's eye at 15˚
Taurus, is at the center of the sign and the constellation of Taurus.

Looking at the constellation of Taurus, it can be seen that the star


cluster of the Pleiades is located on the upper part of the neck of the
Bull. Correspondingly, the circle passing through Aldebaran and the
Pleiades in the region of the neck of the Bull is represented by the
circular part of the glyph. In the sidereal zodiac the Pleiades are
located at 5° Taurus. Further, the two horns of the Bull are marked by
the stars Elnath (28° Taurus) and Alhecka (30° Taur us), which
correspond to the tips of the crescent surmounting the sign of Taurus
- this crescent representing the horns of the Bull.

What is not generally realized is that all twelve signs of the zodiac -
represented by their glyphs - originated directly from a perception of
2
the flow of spiritual forces within the corresponding constellations. In
this sense, the signs truly are embedded in the constellations of the
zodiac. Looking up at the signs embedded in the constellations - in

44
star-gazing fashion - enables one to enter into the flow of spiritual
forces comprising a sign as represented by its glyph. In this way a
direct experience of the being of a zodiacal sign is made possible.
This experience is then intensified in the course of time through the
continued practice of star-gazing. A "conversation" with the stars of a
zodiacal constellation begins, thus attracting the essence of that sign -
creating a resonance with the sign in the heavens. The creation of this
resonance with a cosmic archetype is a matter of direct experience
that grows in profundity in the course of time, so that repeated star-
gazing enables one to come to ever deeper levels of comprehension
of the spiritual nature of the zodiacal signs. Here it is a matter of
entering into a "heart relationship" with the stars, in order for the
heavenly conversation to take place.

Volumes have been written about the signs of the zodiac. Here it is a
matter of considering the true origin of the zodiacal signs and how,
through star-gazing, one can come into a living connection with the
signs. Further material on the twelve signs of the zodiac is offered in
the book Cosmic Dances of the Zodiac by Lacquanna Paul and
Robert Powell.

1
The sidereal zodiac is the original zodiac of the Babylonians,
Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Hindus. The sidereal zodiac was
used by astronomers and astrologers for almost one thousand years
before it became replaced by the tropical zodiac used in Arabic
astrology, which was then introduced into Europe in the twelfth
century AD. By and large it is the tropical zodiac that is used in
modern astrology, with the exception of Hindu (Vedic) astrology that
continues to use the sidereal zodiac. See Robert Powell's PhD thesis,
History of the Zodiac (San Rafael: Sophia Academic Press, 2007).

2
Robert Powell, Hermetic Astrology, volume I, pages 230-237 depicts
the zodiacal signs - the glyph being a portrayal thereof - embedded in
the corresponding zodiacal constellations. See also Robert's works
The Sidereal Zodiac (co-authored with Peter Treadgold) and The
Zodiac: A Historical Survey.

45
The Stars New Perspectives -
Decans (Egyptian)
The Decans

In the contemplation of the constellations/signs of the zodiac, a further


defining which describes the interiority or inner qualities of each of
these vast regions proves to be helpful. This is offered by the
subdivisions of the zodiacal signs which are called decans. The 36
decans are 10° subdivisions of the zodiac, three de cans in each sign
of thirty degrees.

The decans originated with the Egyptians and are referred to in an


ancient text ascribed to the legendary teacher of the Egyptians,
1
Hermes Trismegistus. In this text the planetary rulers of the decans
are indicated (Saturn ruling the first decan of Pisces, Jupiter ruling the
second decan of Pisces, Mars ruling the third decan of Pisces, etc.).
The planetary rulerships describe the quality or mood of the
subdivisions. These planetary rulerships assigned to the decans by
2
Hermes were confirmed as valid by Rudolf Steiner. These same
planetary rulerships are used in hermetic astrology, with the exception
of the interchange of Mercury and Venus.

To understand this, let us consider the example of the sign of Taurus.


Mercury, the Moon, and Saturn are indicated as the rulers of the three
decans of Taurus. For Hermes, and also for Rudolf Steiner, esoteric
Mercury was understood to be the ruler of the first decan of Taurus
(having to do with the cosmic unfoldment of planetary evolution).

However, in astronomical science Venus and Mercury are


interchanged. This signifies that the planet called Venus in
astronomical science is considered - from a modern standpoint - as
the ruler of the first decan of Taurus. On this account, Mercury and
Venus are interchanged throughout the decanal descriptions used in
hermetic astrology and indicated below, as we seek to discover the
relational qualities of the inner work of the decans. Therefore
references to these planetary names are the same as those assigned
3
to Mercury and Venus by modern astronomy.

46
Careful study of the mythology associated with the stars in each
decan reveals the accurancy of this interchange. For example, as we
have seen, Aldebaran (15 Taurus) is at the center of the second
Taurus decan ruled by the Moon, and the star cluster of the Pleiades
(5 Taurus) is located at the center of the first Taurus decan ruled by
Venus (esoteric Mercury). Since the Pleiades are called the Seven
Sisters, the rulership (influence) of this Pleiades decan by Venus can
be felt as an experiential reality.

Apart from this detail of the interchange of Venus and Mercury, the
planetary rulerships of the decans referred to in hermetic astrology
are the same as those indicated by Hermes and confirmed by Rudolf
Steiner.

As we come into a greater awareness of the cosmic realm as a


relational field, we can begin to have an understanding of the
relationship of the constellations which inhabit the region that
surrounds the zodiacal belt as an expression of the subtle body of the
zodiac. Just as the human being has a subtle body of life energy
which extends beyond the physical form, the images which present
themselves as constellations surrounding the zodiac bring to
expression the qualities of the inner work of the decans.

According to an ancient tradition researched by Frances Rolleston in


her work Mazzaroth, each of the 36 decans is associated with one or
other of the 36 extra-zodiacal constellations as recorded in Ptolemy's
4
star catalogue in the Almagest. The association is given by virtue of
the constellation being located above or below the corresponding ten
degree division (decan) of the sidereal zodiacal sign. However, it is
only now, with the application of modern astronomy in determining the
longitudes in the sidereal zodiac of the stars in our cosmos that the
precise determination of an association of each decan with an extra-
zodiacal constellation is possible. The methodology underlying the
alignment of each star in the heavens with a particular location or
meridian - given by the star's longitude in the sidereal zodiac - is
described in detail in the section on mega stars (click here). Applying
this method, it is evident that the decan associations with extra-
zodiacal constellations given by the ancient tradition referred to by
Frances Rolleston are by and large correct. Only in a few instances is
it necessary to refine and update the ancient tradition of decanal
associations with extra-zodiacal constellations. The updated
associations are listed below, as far as it is possible to assign only
one decan to an extra-zodiacal constellation, given that it often
occupies an area (longitudinally in the sidereal zodiac) much larger
than simply one decan (10˚) of the zodiac.

47
Thus, as the outer body of some constellations often comprises such
a vast expanse in the heavens, their regions sometimes expand
beyond a single decan. In several cases there are shared regions of
influence - for example Auriga the Shepherd extends above the third
decan of Taurus and the first decan of Gemini. Likewise, Orion the
Hunter extends below the third decan of Taurus and the first decan of
Gemini. Therefore, these two decans are associated with both Auriga
and Orion. In the light of cosmic correspondences, however, Auriga is
associated primarily with the third decan of Taurus and Orion is
associated primarily with the first decan of Gemini, because these are
the regions whose cosmic stories most magnify their unique
influences.

Modern astronomy has made it possible to more accurately define this


relational aspect through recording the light emanations from the
individual stars. Recent research findings concern the relationship of
the greater cosmos to the signs of the sidereal zodiac. This research
reveals the reality of the greater cosmos as a living productive
working body of spiritual significance, and this comes to expression in
the connection of the extra-zodiacal constellations with the decans.

For example, if we read the starry script that supports the region of
the heavens identified as the central ten degrees of Aries, i.e. the
middle decan of the Ram, which is said to be ruled by the Sun, we
5
find an amazing correspondence. For Cassiopeia, "The Enthroned
Woman" stretches her starry body out as protectress of this region.
Known in antiquity as the "queenly woman, matchless in beauty and
exalted in dignity", Cassiopeia is revealed as a symbol for Sophia,
"the woman clothed with the Sun", described in chapter 12 of the
Book of Revelation.

The following - including the above example of the relationship


between the second decan of Aries, the Sun, and Cassiopeia - is a
complete list of the decans and their planetary rulers (allowing for the
interchange of Mercury and Venus), and also the extra-zodiacal
constellations they are associated with, which are above or below the
6
respective decans in terms of sidereal longitude.

Aries, the Ram

first decan - Mars - the Girdle of Andromeda

second decan - Sun - Cassiopeia

48
third decan - Mercury - the Throne of Cassiopeia

Taurus, the Bull

first decan - Venus - Perseus

second decan - Moon - Eridanus (the River)

third decan - Saturn - Auriga (the Shepherd, also called the


Charioteer)

Gemini, the Twins

first decan - Jupiter - Orion

second decan - Mars - Canis Major (the Greater Dog)

third decan - Sun - Canis Minor (the Lesser Dog)

Cancer, the Crab

first decan - Mercury - Argo Navis ( the Ship Argo - Puppis, the Stern)

second decan - Venus - Ursa Minor (the Lesser Bear - the Neck of the
Bear)

third decan - Moon - Ursa Major (the Greater Bear - the Flank of the
Bear)

Leo, the Lion

first decan - Saturn - Leo Minor (the Lesser Lion)

second decan - Jupiter - Ursa Major (the Tail of the Great Bear)

third decan - Mars - Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs)

Virgo, the Virgin

first decan - Sun - Crater (the Cup)

49
second decan - Mercury - Corvus (the Raven)

third decan - Venus - Hydra (the Serpent - Tail of the Serpent)

Libra, the Scales

first decan - Moon - Boötes (the Ploughman)

second decan - Saturn - Corona (Northern Crown) and Crux


(Southern Cross)

third decan - Jupiter - Centaurus (the Centaur)

Scorpio, the Scorpion

first decan - Mars - Lupus (the Wolf - the Sacrifice)

second decan - Sun - Hercules

third decan - Mercury - Ophiucus (the Serpent Bearer)

Sagittarius, the Archer

first decan - Venus - Ara (the Altar)

second decan - Moon - Corona Australis (the Southern Crown)

third decan - Saturn - Lyra (the Lyre)

Capricorn, the Goat

first decan - Jupiter - Aquila (the Eagle)

second decan - Mars - Sagitta (the Arrow)

third decan - Sun - Delphinus (the Dolphin)

Aquarius, the Waterman

first decan - Mercury - Piscis Australis (the Southern Fish)

50
second decan - Venus - Cygnus (the Swan)

third decan - Moon - Pegasus (the Winged Horse)

Pisces, the Fishes

first decan - Saturn - the Square of Pegasus (the Body of the Winged
Horse)

second decan - Jupiter - Cepheus (the Crowned King)

third decan - Mars - Andromeda

1
Wilhelm Gundel, Neue astrologische Texte des Hermes
Trismegistos ("New Astrological Texts of Hermes Trismegistus")
(Gerstenberg Verlag: Hildesheim, 1978).

2
Rudolf Steiner, Ancient Myths, (Rudolf Steiner Press: London,
1971), pages 57-58.

3
Robert Powell, Hermetic Astrology, volume I (Sophia Foundation
Press: San Rafael, CA, 2007), pages 103-112, discusses the
interchange of Venus and Mercury, and pages 238-261 elaborates
upon the decans and their planetary rulers.

4
Frances Rolleston, Mazzaroth (Weiser Books: York Beach / ME,
2001). The tradition of decans associated with extra-zodiacal
constellations referred to by Frances Rolleston, who first published
her work in 1865, has been expanded upon by the following authors:
Alice A. Bailey, The Labours of Hercules (Lucis Press: New York and
London, 1974), and Ethelbert W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars
and Joseph A. Seiss, The Gospel of the Stars both published by
Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids / MI, 1967, 1972.

5
Cassiopeia's main stars create a large "W" in the night sky or an "M"
according to one's viewing perspective (location) on the earth.

6
Cosmic Dances of the Zodiac by Lacquanna Paul & Robert Powell
(Sophia Foundation Press: San Rafael, CA, 2007) offers further
material relating to the decans and the mythologies of the
corresponding extra-zodiacal constellations, and also gives
indications of historical personalities born in the various decans.

51
The Stars New Perspectives -
Nakshatras (Indian)
The Nakshatras (Lunar Mansions)

. . .practically all fundamental concepts and methods of ancient


astronomy, for the better or the worse, can be traced back either to
Babylonian or to Greek astronomy. In other words, none of the other
civilizations of antiquity, which have otherwise contributed so much to
the material and artistic culture of the world, have ever reached an
independent level of scientific thought. Only into astrology were
incorporated two remnants of pre-scientific astronomical lore from
other than Mesopotamian or Greek background: the 36 Egyptian
1
"Decans" and the 28 Indian "Lunar Mansions" (nakshatras).

Three divisions of the twelve zodiacal constellations originated


independently of one another: the sidereal zodiac (12 equal signs
each 30° in length) in Babylon, the 36 decans (10° divisions) in Egypt,
and the 28 nakshatras in India. In the course of time, both the decans
and the nakshatras were assimilated into the sidereal zodiac.

After the introduction of the zodiac from Mesopotamia into Egypt not
long after the founding of Alexandria in 332 BC, the 36 Egyptian
decans became assimilated into the zodiac, three decans to a
zodiacal sign, each decan corresponding to 10° in a given sign. The
Egyptian decans are of considerable antiquity, first appearing on
coffin lids around 2150 BC. Similarly, the 28 Indian lunar mansions
have a history dating back to around the beginning of the last
millennium BC. The 28 nakshatras, as the Indian lunar mansions are
called, comprise a lunar zodiac marking the passage of the Moon
2
around the night sky. The nakshatras are alluded to in the Vedas.

Seeking favour of the twenty-eight-fold wondrous ones, shining in the


sky together, ever-moving, hasting in the creation, I worship with
3
songs the days, the firmament.

As in the Egyptian decan lists, the earliest nakshatra lists associate


each lunar mansion with a presiding deity (seeTable below) - for
example, the deity of Krittika, the first nakshatra in the Vedic lists, is
Agni. The Pleiades are the stellar determinants of Krittika. This fact
alone, that the Pleiades are associated with the beginning of the lunar
4
zodiac (of 28 nakshatras), suffices to distinguish it from the

52
Babylonian sidereal zodiac, whose premier sign is marked by the
stars of Aries. Interestingly, the Babylonian astronomers did draw an
association between the Pleiades and the Moon, ascribing the
"exaltation" of the Moon to this star cluster.

An exact definition of the lunar zodiac of nakshatras in relation to the


Babylonian sidereal zodiac is not known, and therefore the above
Figure represents a schematic relationship of the 28 nakshatras in
connection with the twelve signs of the Babylonian sidereal zodiac. In
the Vedas the 28 nakshatras are not defined precisely in relation to
the fixed stars, nor are the nakshatras necessarily of equal length. In
order that the stellar determinants of each nakshatra may be readily
found, however, the 28 nakshatras are assumed to be of equal length,

53
st
each 12°51'26" long, with the 1 nakshatra, Krittika, beginning at 0°
Taurus in the Babylonian zodiac. The zero point of the lunar zodiac is
here defined to coincide with 0° Taurus not only fo r the sake of
convenience but also because this choice yields a close agreement
with the known stellar determinants of nakshatras (see Table below).
Using the above Figure in conjunction with the reconstructed
Babylonian star catalogue (Appendix 1 in Robert Powell's History of
the Zodiac), the fixed stars belonging to each nakshatra are easily
found.

The Moon passes through the zodiac of 28 nakshatras in one


(sidereal) month of approximately 27 and one-third days, spending
approximately 24 hours in each nakshatra. In the course of this
"nakshatra month" the Moon becomes full in a particular nakshatra.
Generally the lunar synodic months in ancient Hindu culture were
named after the nakshatra (or its neighbour) in which the Moon
became full - for example, according to tradition Gautama Buddha
was born at the full Moon in the (lunar) month of Vaisakka, that is,
th
when the full Moon stood in the 14 nakshatra, Visakha, whose stellar
determinants are the "balance pans" Alpha and Beta Librae.

The use of lunar asterisms in astronomy and astrology is evident not


only in India but also in China, Persia, Greece, and Egypt. They were
named manzils, by Islamic astronomers. Arabic verses in which
weather lore is related to the full Moon in a given manzil reflect a
similar usage of the manzils by the Muslims to that of the nakshatras
by the Hindus, although in Indian culture it was especially the
ceremonial aspect of the nakshatras, with each nakshatra being
sacred to some deity, that was important (see Table).

Table

The 28 Nakshatras and Their Deities

Ecliptic Nakshatra Vedic Deity Zodiac Sign


Longitude Abbreviations
1 00°00' TA- Krittika Agni Aries AR
12°51' TA
2 12°51' TA- Rohini Prajapati (Ram)
25°43' TA
3 25°43' TA- Mrigasiras Soma Taurus TA
08°34'GE

54
Ecliptic Nakshatra Vedic Deity Zodiac Sign
Longitude Abbreviations
4 08°34' GE- Ardra Rudra (Bull)
21°26' GE
5 21°26' GE- Punarvasu Aditi Gemini GE
04°17' CN
6 04°17' CN- Pushya Brhaspati (Twins)
17°09' CN
7 17°09' CN- Aslesha Sarpah (the Cancer CN
00°00' LE Serpents)
8 00°00' LE- Magha Pitarah (the (Crab)
12°51' LE Fathers)
9 12°51' LE- Purvaphalguni Aryaman Leo LE
25°43' LE
10 25°43' LE- Uttaraphalguni Bhaga (Lion)
08°34' VI
11 08°34' VI- Hasta Savitar Virgo VI
21°26' VI
12 21°26' VI- Chitra Tvastar* (Virgin)
04°17' LI
13 04°17' LI- Svati Vayu Libra LI
17°09' LI
14 17°09' LI- Visakha Indra and (Scales)
00°00' SC Agni
15 00°00' SC- Anuradha Mitra Scorpio SC
12°51' SC
16 12°51' SC- Jyestha Indra (Scorpion)
25°43' SC
17 25°43' SC- Mula Nirrti* Sagittarius SG
08°34' SG
18 08°34' SG- Purvashadha Apah (the (Archer)
21°26' SG Waters)
19 21°26' SG- Uttarashadha Vishve- Capricorn CP
04°17' CP Devah
20 04°17' CP- Abhijit Brahma (Goat)
17°09' CP
21 17°09' CP- Sravana Vishnu Aquarius AQ
00°00' AQ
22 00°00'AQ- Dhanistha Vasavah (Water-Bearer)

55
Ecliptic Nakshatra Vedic Deity Zodiac Sign
Longitude Abbreviations
12°51'AQ (the Vasus)
23 12°51' AQ- Satabhisaj Varuna* Pisces PI
25°43' AQ
24 25°43' AQ- Purvabhadrapada Aja Ekapad (Fishes)
08°34' PI
25 08°34' PI- Uttarabhadrapada Ahi
21°26' PI Budhniya
26 21°26' PI- Revati Pusan
04°17' AR
27 04°17' AR- Asvini Asvinau (the
17°09' AR 2 Asvins)
28 17°09' AR- Bharani Yama
00°00' TA

See the above Figure for the schematic definition of the lunar
nakshatras in relation to the Babylonian zodiac as indicated in this
Table. It is assumed that the nakshatras are of equal length, each
12°51'26" long, with the first nakshatra, Krittika, beginning at 0°
Taurus in the Babylonian sidereal zodiac. This definition conforms
well with the stellar determinants of the nakshatras, and with the
stellar determinants of the corresponding manzils. The Vedic deities
are those given by P.V. Kane, History of Dharmasāstra (1962),
volume V, 1, pp. 501-504, except those marked with an asterisk (*),
which are duplicates in Kane's list and are therefore replaced by the
deities listed by Paul-Emile Dumont in his article "The Istis to the
Nakshatras," in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 98
(1954), p. 205. Otherwise the two lists are identical, with the exception
of certain of Dumont's renderings (given in parentheses).

1
Otto Neugebauer, History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy,
volume I, p. 6.

2
There is some controversy over the dating of the Vedas, but it is
possible that their date of composition lies anterior to 800 BC.

3
Arthava-veda Samhita XIX.7.i (translated by Whitney, p. 906).

4
After the introduction of the zodiac into India, probably in the second
century AD, the nakshatras became redefined. Asvini, with marking

56
stars Beta and Gamma Arietis, became the premier nakshatra, and
one of the nakshatras became discarded, leaving 27 nakshatras in the
later Indian astronomy from around the second century AD onwards.

57
Mega Stars
With the inclusion of the decans and the extra-zodiacal constellations
corresponding to them, the whole celestial sphere is opened up as a
field of research. Recent research reveals the significance of the most
luminous stars (mega stars) in our cosmos. Here the word cosmos is
used in the Greek sense of the word to encompass the entire visible
universe. This includes all stars visible to the naked eye.

The famous Bayer catalog of stars was compiled in 1603 by Johann


Bayer, who assigned Greek letters to the brightest stars visible in
each constellation, usually in descending order of apparent brightness
(but he was not always consistent in this). In the early 1700s John
Flamsteed assigned numbers to the bright stars in each constellation,
in order of right ascension. The Flamsteed numbers proved useful,
because one eventually runs out of Greek letters, but there is no limit
to the number of stars that can be assigned a number. The Flamsteed
catalog (which includes the stars in the Bayer catalog) is more or less
sufficient in terms of exploring the visible cosmos. Of course, with the
development of more and more powerful telescopes, more and more
stars in our galaxy have now been catalogued. But for the purpose of
exploring the sidereal influences at work in our cosmos (our local
region of the galaxy) the combined Bayer-Flamsteed catalog is more
or less sufficient - "more or less" because there is an interesting group
of stars, which can be referred to as mega stars, that also need to be
taken into consideration. The mega stars are exceedingly bright stars
and, as recent research indicates, they are of extraordinary
importance.

In order to illustrate the notion of mega stars, let us consider the star
Deneb, which marks the tail of the Swan (or the head of the Northern
Cross) and which can be seen on high during summer nights in the
middle of the Milky Way. Deneb is a first magnitude star (apparent
magnitude 1.25), which appears less bright than its neighbor Vega in
the constellation of the Lyre. Both the Swan and the Lyre were sacred
to Apollo, and both Deneb and Vega are of great significance in
relation to our solar system. Deneb and Vega mark two points of the
summer triangle, whose third point is marked by Altair in the
constellation of the Eagle. Whereas Vega is the fifth brightest star that
we can see in our cosmos, Deneb is the nineteenth brightest in terms

58
of apparent magnitude. Sirius, of course, is the brightest star we can
see. However, neither Vega nor Sirius is a mega star, whereas Deneb
is. How may this be understood?

Our grasp of the surrounding cosmos is changed immediately when


we consider the distance of stars from our solar system. These
distances are so vast that a special cosmic unit for measuring them
has been devised: light years, where one light year is the distance
travelled by light during the course of one year. To gain an
understanding of the enormous distances involved, we need only
consider that Sirius - 8½ light years away (amounting to some fifty
trillion miles) - is a close neighbor. It is because Sirius is so close, in
comparison with other stars, that it appears so bright. We can ask the
question: How bright is Sirius objectively? In other words, if we were
to place Sirius alongside our Sun, how bright would it appear in
comparison with our Sun?

This leads us to the concept of luminosity, which measures a star's


intrinsic brightness. If the luminosity of our Sun is set at the value one
(L=1), then the luminosity of Sirius is 24 (L=24). In other words Sirius,
if it were to be placed alongside our Sun, would appear 24 times
brighter. From our perspective our Sun is an extremely bright star.
However, if the Earth were revolving around Sirius - in other words, if
Sirius were our Sun - it would be seen by us to be 24 times brighter. If
we imagine a second Sun alongside our Sun, then a third Sun, a
rd
fourth Sun, a fifth Sun, up to a 23 Sun, all bunched together as 24
Suns, we gain a conception of the luminosity of Sirius, which would
blaze down upon us with the light of 24 of our Suns.

Vega at 25 light years is three times the distance of Sirius. If Vega


would appear to us to be just as bright as Sirius then, because the
intensity of light decreases proportionately to the square of the
distance, it would follow that the intrinsic brightness (luminosity) of
Vega would be nine times (3x3) that of Sirius. However, Vega - as the
fifth brightest star - appears a lot less bright to us than Sirius. In fact,
the luminosity of Vega (L=51) is a little more than twice that of Sirius.
Vega's luminosity is 51, so that if the Earth were revolving around the
star Vega as our Sun, Vega would blaze down upon us with a light
over fifty times brighter than that of our Sun.

Having specified luminosity, we are now in a position to understand


why Deneb is a mega star. Deneb is over 3200 light years distant
from our solar system and its luminosity L=270,000. In other words,
Deneb is shining with a light 270,000 times more powerful than our

59
Sun. Thus, a mega star is a star that is many thousands of times more
luminous than our Sun.

Deneb well illustrates the significance of mega stars. Looking up at


Deneb, we see that it is 60° North of the zodiac - this is its latitude. If
we trace an arc down from the ecliptic pole through Deneb, it
intersects the sidereal zodiac at 10½° Aquarius - t his is Deneb's
longitude. According to the research presented in Robert Powell's
book Chronicle of the Living Christ, at the feeding of the 5000 the Sun
1
was at 10½° Aquarius. Let us consider this in the light of Rudolf
Steiner's indication that, "It was always in accordance with the
collective Being of the whole Universe with whom the Earth is in
2
harmony, that all which Christ Jesus did took place."

From these words it is clear that it was not mere coincidence that
there was a conjunction between the Sun and the mega star Deneb at
the feeding of the 5000, but that the cosmic forces streaming from
Deneb were received by our Sun and transmitted to Christ at the time
of the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish. Here the word
"conjunction" means a conjunction in longitude, both at 10½°
Aquarius. Even though the Sun and Deneb were 60° ap art in terms of
latitude, there was still a conjunction in longitude, with the Sun
crossing the Deneb meridian at the time of the miracle.

Just as there are meridians - lines of energy flow - in the human


being, these meridians exist also in the greater cosmos of the
macrocosm. As may be understood from the law of correspondences
"as above, so below", if there are meridians in the human being, they
must exist also "above" in the cosmos. Thus, we can picture an
energy flow streaming from each star and intersecting the zodiac, the
place of intersection indicating the point of influx of the energy flow
from our cosmos into our solar system. For Deneb this point of influx
is 10½° Aquarius, and so whenever the Sun or any pl anet in our solar
system crosses the Deneb meridian at 10½° Aquarius, the Deneb
energy flows in to unite with that planet or with our Sun. (Here energy
is to be understood as the Divine Energy or Divine Love radiating from
the stars.)

Astrosophically speaking, there was a conjunction of the Sun with


Deneb at Christ's feeding of the 5000. In this and other examples,
seen in the light of astrosophy, stellar latitude is disregarded, although
of course latitude is important in order to physically locate a star.
Focussing upon the meridians as energy lines flowing through every
star, the entire celestial sphere becomes astrosophically significant.

60
Astrosophy signifies a broadening - in relation to the original
Babylonian and Egyptian astronomy/astrology based on the ancient
sidereal zodiac - to include the entire celestial sphere. For the
Egyptians and the Babylonians the sidereal zodiac provided the
natural frame of reference for observing the passage of the planets
(meaning "wandering stars") against the background of the fixed
stars. It is thanks to the clairvoyance of the Babylonian
astronomer/priests, through the guidance in the sixth century BC of
the great Persian initiate Zaratas (Greek: Zoroaster), that the
background of the fixed stars was divided into twelve equal
constellations/signs of the zodiac, each 30° long, with Aldebaran at
15° Taurus and Antares at 15° Scorpio - this being the original
definition of the zodiac. Each of the fixed stars in the twelve signs was
assigned a degree in longitude in the zodiac - Spica, for example,
near the end of Virgo, was found to have a zodiacal longitude of 29°
Virgo.

Thanks to the star-gazing Babylonians the exaltations of the planets


were discovered, these being generally identified with stars or star
3
clusters in the zodiac. For example, the Babylonians found that the
Moon's most powerful location (exaltation) in the entire zodiac was
when the Moon was in conjunction with the star cluster of the Pleiades
in the neck of the Bull (5° Taurus). However, the B abylonian tradition
which located the positions of the planetary exaltations was not so
exact, and so in modern astrology the Moon's exaltation is said to be
3° Taurus when in fact, it is 5° Taurus, in conjunc tion with the
Pleiades (the Seven Sisters). Cuneiform tablet VAT 7851 shows the
Moon at exaltation in conjunction with the Pleiades in Taurus.
Likewise, the Babylonians discovered Jupiter's exaltation to be in
conjunction with the star cluster of Praesepe in Cancer (12½°
Cancer). Again, the astrological tradition that Jupiter's exaltation is 15°
Cancer is erroneous, because Jupiter's exaltation point is 12½°
Cancer, in conjunction with Praesepe (the Beehive).

The clairvoyance of the Babylonians, focussed upon the passage of


the planets against the background of the fixed stars, led to the
discovery of the exaltations as the most potent stellar locations of the
planets in the zodiac. The teaching of the exaltations has been
fundamental in the history of astrology. Now, with the development
toward a new star wisdom or astrosophy, our consciousness is
expanded to see the Sun, Moon and planets not just in relation to the
constellational background of the signs of the sidereal zodiac, but to
include all the stars in the heavens, the entire celestial sphere.

61
Research into the planetary configurations during the life of Christ -
inspired by the words from Rudolf Steiner quoted earlier that, "It was
always in accordance with the collective Being of the whole Universe
with whom the Earth is in harmony, that all which Christ Jesus did
took place" - reveals that the most important heavenly meridians are
those running through the mega stars. Mega stars thus represent an
extension from the exaltations discovered by the Babylonians.
Whereas the exaltations were discovered to be stars or stellar clusters
lying within the zodiacal belt, the meridians which run through the
mega stars circle around the entire celestial globe. For astrosophy all
that needs to be known, essentially, is the mega stars' longitudes in
the sidereal zodiac. These are known thanks to the star catalog
included in Peter Treadgold's new program Astrofire, which lists the
longitude, latitude, apparent magnitude, absolute magnitude, type,
class, distance and luminosity of more than 4000 stars. Thus,
information about the mega stars can be derived from Astrofire - click
here if you are interested in learning more about Astrofire.

At the moment of the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, when


Christ descended into incarnation in Jesus, the Sun at 0°50' Libra was
4
located on the meridian of 1 Mega. Thus, there was a conjunction of
the Sun with 1 Mega at the baptism in the Jordan, where the Divine
Energy flowing from the extraordinarily luminous star 1 Mega was
transmitted to our Sun and from our Sun to Christ - remembering
Rudolf Steiner's words quoted above. From this and other examples,
the significance of the mega stars becomes evident. There are
numerous other examples of conjunctions of the Sun with mega stars
at the Christ events indicating the remarkable significance of mega
stars. Of course, there still remains much research to be done to
investigate the individual nature and influence of these most luminous
stars.

The research that has been carried out thus far indicates that the
mega stars are even more significant than the stars or star clusters
marking the zodiacal locations of the astrological exaltations. The
mega stars could be thought of as indicating astrosophical exaltation
points. For this reason, with Robert Powell's discovery of the mega
stars in the year 2003, the Christian Star Calendar now refers to mega
stars, drawing attention to their significance in relation to the Christ
events. To read more about mega stars, click here

1
Robert Powell, Chronicle of the Living Christ, (Anthroposophic
Press: Gt. Barrington / MA, 1996), page 170.

62
2
Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity
(Anthroposophic Press: Gt. Barrington / MA, 1992), page 28.

3
Robert Powell, Hermetic Astrology, volume I, pp. 225-230 discusses
the astrological tradition of planetary exaltations originally called
qaqqar nisirti ("places of secret revelation") by the Babylonians.

4
This is the designation of this star in the Astrofire program. 1 Mega
is located in the southern hemisphere constellation of Centaurus the
Centaur. It is 56° South of the zodiac and has a lo ngitude in the
sidereal zodiac of 0°24' Libra. It is just under 60 00 light years away
and has a luminosity of over 77,000.

63
Aquarian Age and New Age
Son of Man is a new designation for Christ in the Gospels. As is
evident from the definition of the original zodiac, that of the
Babylonians, given in History of the Zodiac, the Age of Pisces will
come to a conclusion in the year 2375, which is when the vernal point
will pass into Aquarius from Pisces. This is the closing of the age. As
described in the Gospel of St. Matthew, the disciples asked, "What will
be the signs of the close of the age?" In this connection Christ speaks
about the appearance of the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. This
refers to the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. The sign of the Son of
Man in heaven points to the working of Christ as the Aquarian
Waterman. The Waterman can be looked upon as a cosmic symbol of
the etheric body in the human being. The etheric organism is that
which lives in the watery element within us. Thus the Waterman in the
human being is the etheric body. So the sign of the Son of Man in
heaven is the Waterman; it has to do with the entrance of the vernal
point into Aquarius, when the guiding forces of civilisation will work
from the sidereal sign of Aquarius just as they now work from Pisces.

From the exact definition of the zodiac given in History of the Zodiac,
it is possible to calculate precisely the start of the Age of Aquarius to
the year 2375. (The date given in the American Sidereal Ephemeris is
2376.) This means that the present New Age is not to be identified
with the Age of Aquarius, as many people believe. That there is,
however, a relationship between the New Age and the Age of
Aquarius emerges from the following considerations.

Rudolf Steiner was one of the first people to use the expression New
Age, and for him it had a definite connotation - as the Age of Christ's
Second Coming. He indicated the date 1899 as the beginning of the
New Age and, after the lapse of one period of thirty-three-and-a-third
years (the length of the life of Christ), the onset for humanity in 1933
of a new working-in of Christ in his etheric body. Thus, the start of the
New Age in 1899 coincided with the beginning of the entry of Christ
into the earth's etheric aura and, after the lapse of one period of
Christ's life, in 1933 the presence (parousia) of Christ etherically
became tangible for earthly humanity. 1899 can be likened to the
dawn and 1933 to the sunrise of the Age of the Second Coming, the
New Age. We are now living in the period between the start of the

64
New Age in 1899 and the commencement of the Aquarian Age in
2375. Clearly, it is important to distinguish between the New Age and
the Age of Aquarius.

Here it would help to call to consciousness what the extent of the


New Age is. 1899 signified the end of the 5,000-year period of history
known as Kali Yuga, which started in the year -3101, or as historians
would say 3102 B.C. Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, was a time during
which human consciousness began to become increasingly cut off
from spiritual realms. According to Hindu chronology, Kali Yuga, also
known as the Iron Age, was the fourth Yuga, each Yuga or age being
characterised by a metal: gold, silver, bronze, and iron.

If one follows the Hindu chronology, Kali Yuga lasted 5,000 years and
the preceding Yuga lasted 10,000 years. Here there is a speeding-up
of time, because the following Yuga, the New Age, which started in
1899, lasts only 2,500 years. In other words, the present Yuga, which
started in 1899, will last until the year 4399. From 1899 to 4399 is a
2,500-year period. On the other hand, the Age of Aquarius will last
2,160 years, extending from 2375 to 4535. Therefore the Age of
Aquarius will last slightly longer (136 years) than the New Age. In
Hindu terminology the New Age is called Satya Yuga, which can be
simply translated as the Age of Light or Age of Truth.

However, it has to be borne in mind that the Yuga dates given here
are based on Rudolf Steiner's indications and are not those of the
Hindu tradition itself, in which the Kali Yuga is said to last for 432,000
years. The starting point taken by Rudolf Steiner - 3102 BC (written
astronomically as -3101) - agrees with the Hindu tradition for the start
of Kali Yuga. It is simply that Rudolf Steiner's statement concerning
the length of Kali Yuga (5,000 years) is very different from the period
of 432,000 years given by Hindu sources. The 2,500-year period for
the New Age, the Age of Light (Satya Yuga) is also Rudolf Steiner's
indication.

Following Steiner's indications, the close of the New Age (Satya


Yuga) coincides more or less with the end of the Aquarian Age,
differing only by 136 years, as noted above. To summarize:

New Age: 1899-4399 Aquarian Age: 2375-4535


Present period (up to the start of the Aquarian Age): 1899-2375.

Thus the New Age comprises the present period from 1899 up to the
start of the Aquarian Age plus the Aquarian Age, approximately.

65
Against this background it emerges that it is precisely the present
period which is referred to in the Gospel of St. Matthew as the period
of tribulation preceding the appearance of the sign of the Son of Man
in heaven.

What is the significance of this? At the start of the Age of Aquarius,


when new cosmic forces will begin to work here on the earth, there
will be a general awakening to the etheric realm. The etheric forces
will be stimulated during the Age of Aquarius, symbolised by the
Waterman, associated with the etheric body of the human being,
which in turn is connected with the etheric realm of nature. Thus we
are approaching the Age of Aquarius as a time of awakening to the
etheric, entailing an awakening to the Earth Mother and her kingdom,
designated in the orient as Shamballa, having to do with the elemental
realms.

In the time preceding this - the present period of tribulation - through


the renewed working of Christ's etheric body in the New Age, the
possibility exists, through connecting with the event of the Second
Coming, of awakening already to the etheric world. On the other hand
the power of materialism is growing stronger and stronger, working to
cut humanity off from the etheric world and to blot out any experience
of the Second Coming of Christ. This is the struggle that is taking
place at the present point in time. It is a struggle between materialism
working to bind consciousness to the physical, and an awakening
through Christ and Sophia to the etheric. All the trials and tribulations
of the present time are connected with this conflict. The signs of this
period of tribulation spoken of by Christ in the Gospel of St. Matthew
and in the Gospel of St. Luke are war, famine, epidemics,
earthquakes, and "great signs in heaven".

A positive development is the awakening in the ecology movement to


the realisation that everything within the human being, everything that
he or she does, has its effect upon nature. This means that the human
being's soul life works in such a way that if it is not harmonious,
natural catastrophes will be called forth. Thus, there is a reality to the
predictions for natural catastrophes - earthquakes, and so on - that
are being made. The reality is that, through humanity's misdeeds,
through humanity's separation from nature, natural catastrophes will
take place. At the same time there will be extraordinary blessing
coming through nature toward human beings who open themselves to
receive the grace of the Etheric Christ.

66
The possibility exists everywhere where there are people who are
seeking to awaken to a new consciousness of nature, and who are
endeavouring to bring their own soul life into inner harmony, to
counteract the influences of chaos arising in the world. This possibility
is given by Christ, who is working for those who are striving to
become spiritually conscious in this age of tribulation. As it is
expressed in the Gospel of St. Matthew: "When the sign of the Son of
Man appears in heaven, all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they
will behold him." And as it says in the first chapter of the Book of
Revelations: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will
see him, and all peoples of the earth will lament on account of him."
This indicates the general awakening to the Second Coming of Christ
in the Age of Aquarius. Yet there is the possibility of awakening to this
already now, and through this event, to awaken to Mother Earth. This
outline of a new Christian wisdom of the stars can help to give some
understanding of the task for the future, the task of a healthy evolution
for the earth, and the task of humanity to find the right path together
with Christ.

When one understands the Mystery of Golgotha, that is the only thing
that enables us to experience the whole of nature morally. If one then
gazes up at the clouds and sees the lightning flashing from them, one
will then be able to behold Christ in his etheric form - with the
"clouds," that is to say, with the elements. He will appear in spirit form.
This vision will one day appear to every human being, whether it is
sooner or later, only the Father knows the day and the hour - as it
says in the Gospel.

(Rudolf Steiner, Concerning the History and Content of the Higher


Degrees of the Esoteric School, 1904-1914, Argyll, Scotland: Etheric
Dimensions Press, 2005, pp. 369=370.)

67
Astrology and Reincarnation
There exists a star wisdom-a "science of the stars"-which one needs
to understand karma, and that linked to this is a "science of karma".
For more than a quarter of a century I have occupied myself with the
science of the stars as a science of reincarnation and karma. After a
six-year teaching career in mathematics at England's Brighton
University (formerly Brighton Polytechnic), I embarked upon a thirty-
year odyssey of research into the origins of astrology. Resulting from
this research, I wrote my thesis on the "History of the Zodiac" for
submission to the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. There I
was awarded the title of Ph.D. on March 3, 2005, and in the year 2007
my thesis was published under the title of History of the Zodiac.

In my two volumes on Hermetic Astrology [click here] the first two


"rules" of astrological-reincarnation research were initially published.
Heinz Herbert Schöffler referred to the first rule in his book Rudolf
Steiner und die Astrologie ("Rudolf Steiner and Astrology").

The mathematician, eurythmy therapist, and astrologer Robert Powell


has discovered a rule which stands out significantly from various
positions in so far as this discovery can be reconstructed . . . let us
1
call this rule "Powell's rule...

The first rule relates to the angular relationship between the Sun and
Saturn at death in one incarnation and how this angle-sometimes in a
metamorphosed form-repeats itself at birth in the following
incarnation. This rule is discussed in detail in Chapter 6 of Hermetic
Astrology, volume I.

The second rule is extremely important for grasping the new science
of the stars as a science of reincarnation and karma, calling for an in-
depth look that we will begin here. What does the second astrological-
reincarnation rule state?

The sidereal zodiacal position(s) of h-Mercury and/or h-Venus at birth


in one incarnation tend(s) to align with the sidereal zodiacal
position(s) of h-Mercury and/or h-Venus at death in the preceding
incarnation.

68
The designation "h" signifies heliocentric (hermetic/Tychonic), so the
second rule refers to the heliocentric (hermetic/Tychonic) positions of
Mercury and Venus in the sidereal zodiac. And an alignment occurs
either on the same side of the zodiac (conjunction) or on the opposite
side (opposition). There are two major implications of this second rule
of astrological reincarnation:

1. that the heliocentric (hermetic) planetary positions are


significant, and therefore the heliocentric (hermetic/Tychonic)
horoscope is an astrological reality needing to be taken into
consideration along with the traditional geocentric horoscope;
and
2. the sidereal zodiac is the authentic astrological zodiac.

See Hermetic Astrology, volume I, Appendix IV [click here] for


examples of the application of the two rules of astrological
reincarnation.

1
Heinz H. Schöffler, Rudolf Steiner und die Astrologie, pp. 106-107.

69
The Star of the Magi
As I have described in Chronicle of the Living Christ and also in
Christian Hermetic Astrology: The Star of the Magi and the Life of
Christ, the background to the Star of the Magi we find in Babylonian
astrology and astronomy. Already the German astronomer Kepler
tried to identify what the Star of the Magi was. What was it that the
Magi saw in the heavens? He came to the conclusion that the Star of
the Magi was connected with the threefold conjunction between the
planets Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces in the year 7
B.C. These two planets Jupiter and Saturn met three times during the
course of the year 7 B.C. Kepler computed that they were joined by
the planet Mars, so the three planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were
very close together in the month of March, 6 B.C., which is the date
he arrived at for the birth of Jesus. If one follows this up, one can even
identify the day or rather the evening of his birth. It was the evening of
the Full Moon in Virgo, which took place on the evening of March 5 in
the year 6 B.C. The Full Moon in the middle of the Virgin was the sign
of the birth. On that evening the three Magi were gazing up to the
heavens and saw the shining orb of the Full Moon in the Virgin. On
the one side of the Virgin they saw her holding the bread symbolised
by the ear of corn, and on the other side the grapes symbolising the
wine. They beheld the disc of the Moon and saw the radiant soul of
the child descending toward them, coming down to the Earth. It was
this great vision that led them to know that on this night Jesus was
born on Earth. And they also knew from the Babylonian tradition that
the Persian king Cyrus the Great had freed the people of Israel in
order that they could go back and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

The three kings believed that he must have been born in Jerusalem.
So they set off to seek the newborn king there. As we know, they
made the mistake of going to King Herod and asking him the
whereabouts of the newborn king. This led to the massacre of the
Innocents. It is a remarkable thing that a tablet has been excavated
from Babylon which shows that the Babylonian priesthood had
actually computed this particular day, March 5 in the year 6 B.C. On
that very day there took place the conjunction between Mars and
Jupiter. And they had computed in advance the meeting of Mars and
Jupiter on March 5, 6 B.C. This was the computational side of what

70
the Magi experienced on an inner plane of vision through spiritual
beholding of the starry heavens.

Click here to see the horoscope of the Star of the Magi - this being the
birth horoscope of the child Jesus whose birth is described in the
Gospel of St. Matthew.

71
Horoscopes of the Birth of
Jesus
It was during the last part of the Age of Aries, which lasted for 2,160
years from 1946 B.C. to A.D. 215, that the incarnation of Christ took
place. Having come down to the Earth in the Age of Aries, the
incarnation of Christ had been prepared for by the tradition of the
Magi, inaugurated by Zoroaster in Babylon in the sixth century B.C.
The three Magi were the fulfillers of this tradition, as I have described
in detail in Christian Hermetic Astrology: The Star of the Magi and the
Life of Christ. This is one aspect of Christ's incarnation. Another,
obviously, is that it was also prepared for by the people of Israel. In
the Age of Aries the incarnation of Christ on the Earth took place, and
John the Baptist heralded him with the words, "Behold the Lamb of
God who bears the sins of the world." The Lamb relates to Aries, the
sign of the Ram, who became sacrificed for humanity. This is the
deeper significance of the coming of Christ in the Age of Aries.

At the same time, in his life's teaching and work Christ prepared the
way for the approaching Age of Pisces. During the life of Christ the
vernal point was at 2½ degrees Aries; it was right at the beginning of
Aries and about to pass over into Pisces. In this connection it is
significant that Christ gathered his disciples from fishermen. And there
are further indications that point to the coming age of Pisces. For
example, at the start of the Age of Pisces, around the year 215, in the
catacombs the symbol of Christ was used, which is also a symbol
meaning fish. Here Christ is designated as the fish. Ichthys (I-Ch-Th-
Y-S) - Ichthys is a Greek word meaning fish - was understood to
mean Ich for Ießoûs Christòs (Jesus Christ), then Th Y for Theoû (h)
Yiòs (God's son) and S for Ssotér (Saviour). "Ießoûs Christòs Theoû
(h) Yiòs Ssotér -- Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour," this was the
word Ichthys (fish). In the event of the walking on the water, we see a
manifestation of Christ in the power of the Divine Fish. Thus, in the
Age of Aries Christ took on flesh and was named the Lamb of God. In
the Age of Pisces the symbolism for Christ is connected with the Fish.
The symbol for Christ among the early Christians was simply the
vertical line connecting heaven and earth, and the symbol for Jesus
was the cross. | = Christ; X = Jesus; = Jesus Christ. This sign was

72
seen as the symbol of Jesus Christ. This is also the hieroglyph for fish
( = fish).

Let us dwell upon an important aspect of the new wisdom of the stars,
which is that the Magi were prepared through their star knowledge for
the coming birth of Jesus. As discussed in my book Christian
Hermetic Astrology: the Star of the Magi and the Life of Christ, his
birth took place in the evening of March 5 in the year 6 B.C. [Click
here to see the horoscope.] It was the night of the Full Moon in Virgo.
Where was the Sun in the zodiac at this birth of Jesus as described in
the Gospel of St. Matthew, who was visited by the three Magi? It was
in Pisces. The Full Moon was more or less in the middle of Virgo; the
Sun was opposite in Pisces. Here we see this incarnation of Jesus, in
the light of the Gospel of St. Matthew, in the sign of Pisces. Against
this background we can understand why Jesus Christ gathered his
disciples from fishermen and taught in terms of such sayings as, "You
shall be fishers of men."

With regard to the life of Christ as discussed in Chronicle of the Living


Christ, there took place the births of two Jesus children: one birth is
described in the Gospel of St. Matthew. He was visited by the three
kings, and his birth took place on March 5, 6 B.C., when the Sun was
in the middle of sidereal Pisces. The birth of the other Jesus child is
described in the Gospel of St. Luke. This child was visited by the
shepherds. He was born shortly before midnight on the evening of
December 6 in the year 2 B.C., when the Sun was in the middle of
sidereal Sagittarius. [Click here to see the horoscope.] This latter
1
figure is the human being who lived 33 /3 years and passed through
death on the Cross. His whole life was a living out of the higher image
of Sagittarius as the teacher and healer.

Thus the divine birth of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the Gospel


of St. Luke took place when the Sun was in the middle of sidereal
Sagittarius. This birth has to be distinguished from the birth of Jesus
as described in the Gospel of St Matthew, who was visited by the
three Magi from the East and who could be called Jesus of
Bethlehem. Here it is a matter of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth as
described in the Gospel of St. Luke, who was visited by the
shepherds. This birth took place on the night after the Sabbath, the
night of December 6/7 in the year 2 B.C., toward midnight, as the Sun
was in the middle of Sagittarius. [Click here to see the horoscope.]
This divine birth took place when the Sun was in Sagittarius, whereas
the other birth, that of Jesus of Bethlehem connected with the visit of
the Magi, took place when the Sun was in Pisces. Contemplating this
birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Sagittarius, we may think of the image for

73
Sagittarius, that of the centaur. In Greek mythology this is connected
with the figure of Cheiron, who was the wise teacher of the Argonauts,
instructor of the great Greek heroes. He was the wise teacher and
healer. This archetype was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, who became
called the Saviour. Saviour actually means healer. Just as John the
Baptist is so called because he baptised, Jesus is called the Saviour
because he healed. Everywhere he went, he laid his hands on the
sick. In almost every town he visited, he healed the sick and also he
taught the people of Israel. So we find this archetype of the centaur,
the wise being of Cheiron, the teacher and healer, as depicted in
Greek mythology, actually finding its fulfillment in the life of Jesus of
Nazareth.

Each year when the Sun returns to the same position in the middle of
Sagittarius, we have a commemoration of the birthday of Jesus. In
this event we can recall each year something of his divine mission.
Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the Sun returns to the
middle of sidereal Sagittarius a little later each year. Now it is no
longer on the evening of December 6 that the Sun returns to the
middle of Sagittarius. At the present point in time it is on January 1
each year. We can contemplate each New Year's Eve, when at
midnight the church bells ring to herald the New Year, the hidden or
deeper significance to this celebration. It is a celebration of the birth of
Jesus of Nazareth in a cosmic sense, when the Sun returns to the
same position in the zodiac as at his birth. And on January 1 in the
year 2000 the Sun returned for the 2000th time to the same position
where it had been at his birth. Therefore the transition to the new
millennium was also the 2000th birthday anniversary of the birth of
Jesus of Nazareth.

74
Chronicle of the Life of Christ
The purpose of the presentation of the material on this part of the
website is on the one hand to stimulate a deepening into the mystery
of Christ's second coming and on the other hand to extend the
foundation of Cosmic Christianity provided in my book Chronicle of
the Living Christ. It was the pioneer of Astrosophy, Willi Sucher (1902-
1985) [click here], who encouraged me to research into the foundation
of Cosmic Christianity, to develop Astrosophy as a science of Cosmic
Christianity, and a small group of astrosophers meets yearly in
1
Boulder, Colorado to explore this and other astrosophical themes.
Willi Sucher was supported in his astrosophical research by Elisabeth
Vreede (1879-1943), who was a co-worker of Rudolf Steiner (1861-
1925). She was the first leader of the Mathematical-Astronomical
Section at the Goetheanum University, near Basel, Switzerland. I
mentioned this line on purpose in order to indicate the context of the
research work presented here. It has to be emphasized - in relation to
this line - that it is a matter, first and foremost, of the coming into
being and development of a new wisdom of the stars (Astrosophy) on
the basis of serious research. There are numerous individuals who
are researching and working on the development of Astrosophy, and it
is quite natural that there are differences of opinion and a variety of
approaches and ways of working. It is in a spirit of research, coupled
with tolerance and respect for various perspectives, that the material
on this website is presented as a contribution to spiritual-scientific
research on the basis of Astrosophy.

As a mathematician and astronomer I have been trained in the


methods of the exact sciences and have also studied the history of
2
astronomy. In the context of spiritual research, as far as possible I
apply the same principles underlying the scientific method of
research. One obvious principle is not to simply believe or disbelieve
something before having investigated it thoroughly. In this connection
the principle of making hypotheses, which is central to the scientific
method, can be helpful. For example, the reader of the material
offered on this website could take what is presented here as a
hypothesis (or series of hypotheses) to be tested.

However, there is a fine distinction between two different attitudes: (i)


to consider something as a hypothesis, and (ii) to believe in it. In true

75
scientific research one always observes the boundary between (i) and
(ii). The moment one steps across the boundary and starts to believe
in something without really knowing if it is true, one enters the realm
of superstition. A true scientist guards against this, as far as possible,
so as not to fall prey to superstition. For a true scientist there are three
possibilities with respect to testing a hypothesis:

a. to reach certainty that the hypothesis is true;


b. to reach certainty that the hypothesis is not true;
c. not being certain in either direction, it remains a hypothesis.

Regarding (c), this requires patience in order not to make the mistake
of making a "leap of faith" - in the course of time, often without
noticing, to come to believe in a hypothesis without really knowing if it
is true or not.

The reason for considering this is that as a matter of principle I would


not want any reader to simply believe in the content of the research I
have presented on the chronicle of the life of Christ - or, for that
matter, on any other aspect of my research. The method of
formulating hypotheses offers the possibility for the reader to remain
objective in relation to the content. Everyone who is able to think
logically is able to critically test the content for themselves, to decide
whether the ideas and the results of research presented, regarded
purely hypothetically, hold water or not.

By way of testing a central finding of my research into Christ's life, let


us consider the finding that the life of Christ Jesus lasted exactly
thirty-three-and-a-third years from the birth shortly before midnight on
December 6, 2 BC [-1] to the resurrection at sunrise on April 5, AD 33.
This date of the resurrection is now widely accepted, however, one
can rightly ask: How is it possible to know with certainty that this birth
date of Jesus is accurate?

As with other dates in Christ's life, I was able to determine Jesus' birth
date from Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions, as I have described in
my book Chronicle of the Living Christ. She communicated the day of
the week and the date in the Hebrew calendar of various events in the
life of Christ. Mathematically, through probability theory, I and two
other mathematicians investigated the dates she communicated. We
discovered - independently of one another - that the probability of
these weekdays coinciding by chance with the right dates in the
3
Hebrew calendar is 1:435 billion. One does not need to be a
mathematician to see that it would have been impossible for Anne

76
Catherine Emmerich to have simply made up the dates. In other
words, her dates are authentic.

When she says that Jesus was born on the twelfth day of the Hebrew
month of Kislev at around midnight on the evening after the Sabbath,
then this date is in all probability accurate - in other words, Jesus was
born around midnight from Saturday to Sunday on the twelfth day of
Kislev. This date in the Hebrew calendar corresponds to
Saturday/Sunday, December 6/7, 2 BC [-1]. From this point in time
until the resurrection on April 5, AD 33 is exactly thirty-three-and-a-
third years (minus 1½ days).

There is a communication made by Rudolf Steiner which confirms this


period of thirty-three-and-a-third years:

In the historical process everything arises after 33 years in a


transformed state - arises from the grave through a power which has
4
to do with the most holy redemption that humanity has received...

And then, when such a seed that has been laid, ripens, it works
further. A "thought seed" ripens through one generation of 33 years to
become a "deed seed". Once ripened, it works further in the unfolding
of history through 66 years. One can recognize the intensity of an
impulse which someone implants into the historical process also in its
5
effect through three generations, through a whole century.

A whole century is one hundred years = 3 x thirty-three-and-a-third


years. Here Rudolf Steiner's indication of thirty-three-and-a-third years
is confirmed. In the lecture, for the sake of simplicity, he says simply
33 years - that this rhythm works further in the unfolding of history.

The reader can imagine how encouraging it was to discover that the
statement by the clairvoyant Anne Catherine Emmerich regarding
Jesus' birth date was confirmed in this (indirect) way by Rudolf
Steiner. In this way I arrived at certainty with respect to the truth of
this thirty-three-and-a-third-year rhythm and also that one can follow
the rhythm of thirty-three-and-a-third years through history. This is all
the more exciting, since Rudolf Steiner speaks of a "new astrology" in
this connection:

This is an introduction, my dear friends, in order to read the new


astrology - that astrology which leads our attention to the stars which
6
shine in the history of humankind's evolution.

77
It was a special joy to be able to confirm the discovery of the thirty-
three-and-a-third-year rhythm as the basis for a new star wisdom -
emerging as the "crown" of astrosophical research. The next step was
7
then to follow this rhythm through history.

In conclusion: Anne Catherine Emmerich's calendar indications


provide a scientifically verifiable foundation upon which the chronicle
of Christ's life presented in my book Chronicle of the Living Christ
rests - and this is confirmed by the spiritual research of Rudolf
Steiner.

1
David Tresemer with Robert Schiappacasse, Star Wisdom and
Rudolf Steiner (Gt. Barrington/MA: Steiner Books, 2007) is a fruit of
the work of the Boulder astrosophical research group, especially of
David Tresemer's research into the significance of each degree of the
zodiac expressed in images. Another fruit is the book Signs in the
Heaven: A Message for Our Times by William Bento, David Tresemer,
and Robert Schiappacasse (Boulder/CO: StarHouse, 2000).

2
My PhD thesis was published under the title History of the Zodiac
(San Rafael/CA: Sophia Academic Press, 2007).

3
Robert Powell, Chronicle of the Living Christ (Gt. Barrington/MA:
Steiner Books, 1996), 455. In the English edition this figure is given
incorrectly as 1:53 trillion, which has been corrected to 1:435 billion in
the German and Italian editions.

4
Rudolf Steiner, Mysterienwahrheiten und Weihnachtsimpulse
("Mystery Truths and the Impulses of Christmas"), lecture of
December 23, 1917 (GA 180). This lecture is entitled "Et incarnatus
est". GA refers to the number in the Complete Works (German
edition) of Rudolf Steiner's works.

5
Ibid., lecture of December 26, 1917.

6
Ibid., lecture of December 23, 1917, entitled "Et incarnatus est".

7
See the diagram in my book The Christ Mystery (Fair Oaks/CA:
Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1999), iv.

78
A Modern Path of the Magi
At the culmination of the ancient tradition of star wisdom appeared the
three Magi, also known as the three kings, who came from Babylonia
across to Bethlehem to pay homage to the newborn child. What
stands behind this? Here we touch upon one of the deeper mysteries,
the significance of which is that the ancient star wisdom had to pass
through the "needle's eye" of Christianity. The three Magi hold the key
to this step because they were representatives of the ancient star
wisdom who came to visit the founder of Christianity. If we are
concerned with finding a modern path leading to a new wisdom of the
stars, we need to connect onto the spiritual tradition of the Magi. This
means connecting onto the sidereal zodiac, which was used by the
Babylonian priesthood up until about the year A.D. 75. Around this
time the last remnants of Babylonian culture disappeared altogether.
Its mission, bound up with the Magian spiritual stream, had been
fulfilled by the three Magi. With the disappearance of Babylonian
culture, the sidereal zodiac vanished in the West. However, it became
transmitted to India, where it is still used to the present time, albeit in
modified form. In the West it disappeared completely and only re-
emerged again toward the end of the nineteenth century. This came
about through the excavation of cuneiform texts from Babylon. The
work of translating the texts brought to light that the Babylonians had
used another zodiac, the sidereal zodiac. The ancient sidereal zodiac
is different from that which is used in present-day astrology, the
tropical zodiac, which became introduced by the Greeks. In seeking a
new star wisdom, we need to return to the original zodiac based on
spiritual perception of the reality of the spiritual beings of the cosmos.

To attain to this spiritual perception, it is important to start with


physical perception of the planets, stars, and constellations. Has
anyone seen Venus recently? Whether or not the planet of Aphrodite
is visible right now, this is something one can learn about from the
yearly Christian Star Calendar, in which the positions of the planets
are given day by day together with brief indications regarding viewing
of the planets in the night sky. In the Christian Star Calendar, in giving
degrees in the zodiac to the planets, it is in terms of the original
zodiac, the sidereal zodiac, which is defined in relation to the stars
themselves. For example, Regulus is at 5 degrees Leo, in the middle
of the first decan of Leo [click here concerning the Egyptian decans].

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The Babylonians determined where the planets were by observing
them in relation to the stars. They had specified the degrees of the
zodiacal stars by way of careful measurement and observation.
Knowing the degrees of the zodiacal stars, they were able through
observing the planets in relation to the zodiacal stars to determine the
zodiacal locations of the planets. It was a completely different way of
finding the positions of the planets than what is done now in modern
times, where observing the movements of the planets in relation to the
stars is hardly practiced at all. In modern times everything is done by
way of computation and there is not much star-gazing, which was the
foundation of the ancient star wisdom. Star-gazing, however, is just as
valid now - as a starting point toward star wisdom - as it was in
ancient Babylon down to the time of the three Magi.

For example, if one were to look at the night sky and see a planet in
conjunction with Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, one would know
that this planet's zodiacal degree is 15 degrees Scorpio. For the red
super giant Antares, located in the middle of the second decan of
Scorpio, is at 15 degrees Scorpio. Antares is called the heart of the
Scorpion. Seeing a planet in this position, near Antares, tells us that it
is at (or near) 15 degrees Scorpio. However a tropical astrologer,
upon consulting an ephemeris, would say that it is in Sagittarius. The
world of modern tropical astrology does not correspond with the real
world where the planets actually are in the night sky. It is a peculiar
thing to hear someone say that a planet is in Sagittarius when, at the
same time, upon looking at the night sky, one sees that this planet is
close to Antares marking the heart of the Scorpion.

Scorpio is a very striking constellation. The stars to the right of


Antares mark the claws of the Scorpion, and those to the left, arching
down, mark the tail. This is what one sees in contemplating the
brightest stars in this constellation [click here]. Connecting the stars,
this is how we see the sign of Scorpio, and the drawing of the
astrological glyph represents a mirror image of what we see [click
here]. The images seen clairvoyantly on the astral plane are the
reverse of how we see them physically in the night sky, and it is these
clairvoyant images that form the basis for the astrological glyphs
representing the signs of the zodiac.

Just above the tail of the Scorpion there is a region of space which no
prominent visible star actually marks - by "visible" I mean visible to the
naked eye. It is a place toward which the arrow of Sagittarius the
Archer points. Right at the location indicated by the tip of the Archer's
arrow and also by the upward-pointing tip of the tail of the Scorpion is
the direction of the Galactic Center, which is located much further

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away than the visible stars that define the constellations of Scorpio
and Sagittarius [click here]. The Galactic Center is approximately
25,000 light years away, so we cannot see it, as it is hidden by
interstellar clouds of dust. The Galactic Center is the great and
powerful center of our Milky Way galaxy. Our Sun revolves around
this center once in about 227 million years. All the stars in the Milky
Way galaxy - the current estimate is that there are approximately two
hundred billion stars - revolve slowly in a clockwise direction around
the Galactic Center [click here]. If we contemplate the power of our
Sun, with eight (or nine) planets and countless asteroids revolving
around it, we can begin to gain a sense for the power of the Galactic
Center which is holding some two hundred billion stars in their orbits.
The region of the Galactic Center is a very significant location in the
zodiac, at 2 degrees Sagittarius. Since the year 2006 Pluto has been
in Sagittarius in close proximity to the Galactic Center. Three
conjunctions of Pluto with the Galactic Center took place during the
year 2007 (the second, central one of the three was on July 17, 2007)
[click here]. Because Pluto moves so slowly it remains in the vicinity of
the Galactic Center for a long time.

In the spirit of a modern path of the Magi based on star-gazing, let us


turn to consider the constellation of Leo which, like Scorpio, is a
majestic gathering of stars in the night sky. Whereas Antares, the
heart of the Scorpion, is the brightest star in Scorpio, the brightest star
in Leo is Regulus, the Lion's heart. Above Regulus there is a less
bright star (Eta Leonis, which will be referred to simply as Eta), and
we see another two stars further above (Algieba and then, above
Algieba, Adhafera). These three stars (from above down: Adhafera,
Algieba, Eta) are in the region of the head/mane of the Lion, whereas
Regulus marks the heart. If we then look across to the left of these
four stars, we see a triangle of stars. Two stars in the triangle are
above one another. The upper one, Zosma, marks the back of the
Lion, and the lower one, Chort, marks the flank of the Lion. Further
across to the left of Chort is the star Denebola, the second brightest
star in Leo, marking the tail of the Lion [click here]. These seven stars
are important stars that form a whole system working upon the seven
chakras of the human being [click here]. Connecting these seven
stars, we see how the sign of Leo is imbedded in the constellation of
the Lion [click here], and how the astrological glyph for Leo is a mirror
image of the sign of Leo formed by these seven stars. Not only is it so
with the stars comprising Leo but also with each of the twelve zodiacal
signs that their stars are imprinted within us.

Leo is imprinted within us in the human heart and also in the


circulation of the blood which is streaming out from the heart to the

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periphery and then streaming back to the heart again. The sign of Leo
expresses this quality of life circulating within us. Moreover, in relation
to the seven chakras, the region of the human heart is connected to
the star Regulus, since the heart chakra corresponds to Regulus, and
the three stars above Regulus are connected with the upper three
chakras (throat, brow, crown) in the region of the head. The three
stars comprising the triangle to the left of these four correspond to the
three lower chakras (solar plexus, sacral, root), whereby the root
chakra corresponds to Denebola, the sacral chakra to Chort, and the
solar plexus chakra to Zosma. These seven prominent stars in Leo,
while working organically upon the heart and the circulation of the
blood, also work upon the seven chakras of the human astral body in
a harmonizing way.

Discoveries such as this one concerning these seven stars in Leo are
possible on the modern path of the Magi, which takes its point of
departure from star-gazing. What is the essence of this path? All one
has to do is to gaze at a star and receive that which is streaming from
that star. As Rudolf Steiner said in a lecture held on June 8, 1924:
"The stars are the expression of love in the cosmic ether... To see a
star means to feel a caress that has been prompted by love... To gaze
at the stars is to become aware of the love proceeding from divine
spiritual beings..." In gazing at the star, one connects on a heart level
with the love streaming from that star, and - inwardly addressing the
star - one can hold the question: What is your gift? What is your
blessing for humanity?

By "blessing" is meant an actual transmission of star energy, a divine-


cosmic stellar radiance that one can receive into oneself. After a few
minutes of lovingly focusing upon a star, one can begin to experience
the star's blessing, which is an expression of its divine purpose. A
further question that one can hold in addressing the star is: Which
chakra do you stream into most strongly?

In the case of gazing at the planets, the relationship between the


chakras and the planets is fairly tangible: Saturn-crown, Jupiter-brow,
Mars-throat, Sun-heart, Mercury-solar plexus, Venus-sacral, Moon-
root [click here]. With the fixed stars it takes a more subtle level of
inner experience to perceive the relationship of the chakras to a
particular fixed star - for example, as indicated above for the seven
main visible stars of Leo in relation to the seven chakras. In addition
to these seven prominent stars in Leo, another example of a complete
and balanced star system is the Big Dipper, whose seven stars also
work upon the seven chakras [click here].

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The Big Dipper, part of the Great Bear, extends above the zodiacal
constellations Cancer and Leo. When we look at Cancer, we see the
beautiful star cluster called Praesepe, the Bee Hive, so called
because (with binoculars) it has the appearance of hundreds of bees
[click here]. The star cluster Praesepe is close to the center of this
constellation, at 12½ degrees Cancer. Just as the Pleiades star
cluster was seen in ancient times as the most powerful location of the
Moon in the whole zodiac, so the most powerful location of Jupiter in
the zodiac was seen to be the star cluster Praesepe. This location is
known as the exaltation of Jupiter, just as the Pleiades is the
exaltation of the Moon. In fact, each of the planets has its place of
exaltation, generally marked by a star or star cluster in the zodiac.
The places of exaltation can also be chosen as the focus of attention
in a star meditation. To acknowledge the significance of the planetary
exaltations, one of the most ancient astrological teachings, is to
acknowledge the sidereal zodiac. For example, if the Moon's
exaltation is held to be 5 degrees Taurus in the tropical (rather than in
the sidereal) zodiac, this places the exaltation at about 10 degrees
Aries in the sidereal zodiac at the present time, far removed from the
Pleiades and thus eradicating the original meaning attached by the
Babylonians to the Moon's exaltation, which is precisely the fact of the
Moon being in conjunction with the Pleiades. (The same applies, of
course, to the exaltations of the other planets.)

To the left of Cancer and Leo we see the constellation of Virgo. In


Virgo the brightest star is Spica, located at 29 degrees Virgo. Before
considering the quality of Spica that is revealed to modern star-
gazing, there is something very important and significant to consider
about this constellation. When looking at this constellation, we can
consider the way in which modern astronomy depicts Virgo. The
Virgin is seen in modern astronomy as supine (lying down) and
stretching across a very large area of space.

The head is in this region here, with the legs extending all the way
here [click here]. This particular image was introduced by Ptolemy in
the second century AD. However, previous depictions of Virgo - for
example, those of the Egyptians - reveal her as a standing figure [click
here]. So there is quite a different between the image with which
modern astronomy depicts Virgo and the way the Egyptians and
Babylonians depicted this constellation. Everything has a symbolic
significance and the symbolism we see here is what we can describe
as the dethroning of the Virgin that happened at the time of the
flourishing of the Roman empire - in particular, through Ptolemy in the
second century AD. This dethroning is a reality that has continued to

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unfold in modern times. It is the impulse to devaluate the Feminine, to
drag the Feminine down.

In earlier times the constellation of Virgo was seen by the ancient


Greeks as Demeter, the Earth Mother, symbolized by the sheath of
wheat she holds in her right hand (left from the viewer's perspective).
The tip of the sheath of wheat is marked by the star Spica and thus
Spica is called the Ear of Wheat. For the Greeks the image of the ripe
harvest, with the golden sheaths of wheat in the fields gently flowing
in the wind, was that of the golden hair of Demeter wafting in the
breeze. With the devaluation of the Feminine it has come about more
and more that the Earth is no longer regarded as a living being, but as
something inanimate - and thus to be plundered. By the same token
womanhood has also became devalued. We see this, for example, in
Hollywood movies. In earlier times, however, the Virgin was seen in
relation to the quality that many women were known for in antiquity,
as wise women, sibyls, and priestesses. Long ago wise women,
sibyls, and women priests were greatly honored. It was this quality in
particular that was connected with Virgo, and Spica - as the brightest
star in Virgo - was seen as the star par excellence of feminine
wisdom: "When Spica is so found for female births it makes
priestesses of the goddesses Demeter, Persephone or Isis, or experts
1
in hierophantic matters, mysteries, or sacrifices..." . For modern star-
gazers, Spica is found to be a star of extraordinary purity and wisdom.
Gazing up at Spica and connecting on a heart level with this star
enables a powerful in-streaming of Sophianic wisdom and purity.
Once a heart connection with a star is established, one can always
call inwardly upon the radiant blessing of that star just by holding the
star in consciousness.

Astrogeographia, which is the study of the stars in relation to the earth


on the basis of knowledge of the one-to-one correspondence between
every point on the globe and a unique star in the heavens, opens up
the possibility of coming to an understanding of the spiritual influences
emanating from a star by way of studying the nature and culture
prevailing at the terrestrial location corresponding to that particular
star. The foundation of Astrogeographia is something that Rudolf
Steiner mentions briefly in his Astronomy Course: "We are led to the
center of the Earth as the polar opposite [of the sphere of the starry
heavens] ... The counterpart to this star is here, the counterpart to that
star is there, and so on. We arrive at a complete counter image in the
Earth itself to that which is outside [in the sphere of the starry
heavens] ... In other words, we can conceive of the active heavenly
sphere mirrored in the Earth. We can think of the Earth's mineral
2
realm as a result of this mirroring ... "

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Without elaborating on it any further, he says - essentially - that a
particular place on earth corresponds to a particular star, and another
place corresponds to another star. It was not until the year 2006, while
preparing for the Sophia Foundation pilgrimage to Egypt, that I was
able to solve the riddle of the one-to-one correspondence between the
celestial sphere and terrestrial globe.

The great pyramid was the starting point for my research concerning
Astrogeographia. The great pyramid corresponds to the star Alnitak,
which is the left, lower star of the three stars in the belt of Orion. (My
gratitude to the authors of The Orion Mystery, Robert Bauval and
Adrian Gilbert, who provided this key to what I believe to be the
solution to the problem of the one-to-one correspondence between
the starry sphere and the earthly globe.)

From this correspondence I was able to find out that various mystery
centers were aligned with certain stars. For example, the great
mystery center of Artemis of Ephesus was founded more than twelve
hundred years before Christ by a tribe of women called the Amazons.
The Amazons called their goddess Oupis, rather than Artemis. The
name Artemis derives from the Greeks, who came in the year 1087
BC and colonized Ephesus, drove the Amazons away, and then took
over the temple there and subsequently rebuilt it. The Greeks
introduced the name Artemis for the goddess of this temple, because
for them the goddess Oupis who was worshiped by the Amazons was
- according to their experience of her - most like their Greek goddess
Artemis. Thus it came about that they called what was originally the
temple of Oupis the temple of Artemis. However, the Greek goddess
Artemis - virginal goddess of the hunt, symbolized by the deer - does
not really correspond very much to Artemis of Ephesus. For Artemis
of Ephesus is more an aspect of the Mother goddess, like Demeter.

Coming back to the discoveries of the research of Astrogeographia,


this great temple at Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient
world, corresponds to the star Bellatrix, which marks the left shoulder
of Orion. Interestingly, Bellatrix is called the Amazon star, which is an
extraordinary parallel in relation to the tribe of Amazon women who
founded the great temple at Ephesus. This is a confirmation of the
fundamental research finding of Astrogeographia that there are
correspondences between the ancient mystery centers and certain
prominent stars.

As referred to on the home page of this website, another finding of


Astrogeographia is that the city of Vienna corresponds to the star

85
Aldebaran, which is one of the four royal stars of ancient Persia. This
prominent star is the central star in the constellation of Taurus, at 15
degrees of Taurus, and it is evidently a musical star. For the cosmic
influence that is present at this location of Vienna, linked to the star
Aldebaran, has given birth to a highly musical culture. To grasp this
we need only recall that Vienna was the city of the birth of classical
music (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven) and also of the waltz (Johann
Strauss senior, Johann Strauss junior). It is perhaps still one of the
most cultured cities on the planet with an extensive and ongoing high
quality cultural offering (and correspondingly very little crime). From
the cultural life of Vienna it is possible to gain insight into the nature of
the influence of the star Aldebaran in Taurus. Similarly, the impulse of
the Divine Feminine that flourished at Ephesus indicates the nature of
the influence of the star Bellatrix in the left shoulder of Orion, an
influence promoting the mysteries of the Divine Feminine such as
those celebrated in the temple of Artemis of Ephesus. Lastly, from the
Egyptian mysteries celebrated at the great pyramid at Giza it is
possible to grasp something of the nature of the influence of the star
Alnitak. Alnitak clearly emanates an influence promoting the
celebration of the mysteries of death and resurrection such as those
of the initiation rites performed in the hidden recesses of the great
pyramid.

From the foregoing examples the potential of Astrogeographia to


illumine the connections between the stars and humanity and the
earth is indicated. Astrogeographia can thus play a role in the
emergence of a new star wisdom, just as the modern path of the Magi
- founded on star-gazing - can also lead to a profound deepening of
humankind's relationship to the stars.

1
Anonymous of 379, Treatise on the Bright Fixed Stars (Berkeley
Springs/WV: Golden Hind Press, 1993), p. 5.

2
Rudolf Steiner, Das Verhältnis der verschiedenen
naturwissenschatlichen Gebiete zur Astronomie ["The Astronomy
Course"], Rudolf Steiner Verlag: Dornach/Switzerland, 1997, lecture
of January 10, 1921 (quote translated from the German by RP).

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