9 REASONS BILLY GRAHAM IS WRONG ABOUT “HOROSCOPES”
A recent article in The Christian Post (June 8th) had the now elderly Billy Graham (or perhaps it was his staff or his son Franklin) declaring God to be opposed to “horoscopes” (i.e. astrology). Here are 9 reasons why the Bible, still less God, is not opposed to the subject.
1) According to Billy Graham who regards “horoscopes” as a mystical/magical proceedure belonging with the forbidden “divination” of Deut 18:10, for Christians to seek guidance from astrologers is akin to King Saul visiting the witch of Endor. However, if that understanding of the matter were valid, astrology would never feature so strongly in the Jewish Talmud, nor would the highly observant Essenes have sought signs of the Messiah in the heavens.
2) Astrology as we know it from especially the Greeks is not “divination”. It did not even exist in the times of the Old Testament and its prophets who do condemn forecasting from new moons. The latter however refers to what is called “omen astrology” which involved gazing at the sky and uttering oracles. “Divination” is precisely what depends upon chance (as in reading tea leaves of shuffling cards), and/or just intuition with perhaps assistance from familiar spirits.
3) Standard astrology is about as occult as reading a train timetable. It is empirical, mathematical and depends chiefly upon a study of cycles of the planets and general symbolism. The kind of events and issues observed to feature under one set of positions are assumed to occur under similar or same positions – it is the principle indicated biblically by Eccl 1:9 that declares what has been will be so that there is nothing (fully) new under the sun but only “a time to be born and die” etc.as in the famous poem of time in Chapter 3..
4) The fact that magi (astrologers) came to Christ’s birth should give Christians pause to consider that astrology might have something to teach and contribute to belief..
5) Billy Graham assumes the stars exist simply to the glory of God. They exist for more. The Bible declares they exist for signs (Gen 14 :1) and Ps 19 maintains that the night skies utter knowledge (Ps 19:2). What speech, what knowledge? Do Christians even bother to ask?
6) The Psalms also maintain that God both names the stars (Ps 147:4) and knows in advance every day of our lives (Ps 139: 16). While the latter statement can be taken by faith, the closest to any objective proof for the idea lies in astrological patterns like diurnals and the various transits of planets across the natal chart which can indicate active and stay-at-home days, excitement and nothing much happening, sometimes a turning point.
7) The previous point bespeaks fate. Evangelicals stubbornly maintain like Graham that if astrology were true there would be no free will. This is misleading and false. There is fate and fate. There are birth patterns which indicate active and prominent lives, others lives more hidden and withdrawn; but within the basic natal outline there are always choices. Attitudes and actions under certain patterns can affect the immediate situation and even the positive or negative experience of subsequent situations. People do not so much go to (or at least don’t obtain from) astrologers the “guidance” such as Graham wants believers go to bible and God for, as simple insight into their character and the nature of events they encounter.
8) Astrology is a symbol system that helps us to read and understand the hidden order of reality – the sort of order that scripture points to. Any doubt that the main impulses and lines of history follow celestial cycles should be dispelled by the work of an academic like Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche (2006). It is lamentable that there are Christians, (like Billy Graham’s daughter Ann Lotz) who presume to speak about “the end times” without even knowing or including such perspectives as the fact we are living at the end of the age (aion) of Pisces, the fishes, to whose beginning the birth of Christ approximately corresponded. Everything from flood and tsunami to fish everywhere dying along coastlines bespeaks the extremes, mostly negative, of the water and seas sign of Pisces arrived in era terms at the equivalent of the last degree of its sign. (The last degrees of any sign are notably extreme and 29 Pisces is traditionally very unfortunate, associated with violence, drowning, suicides and addiction, all the sort of issues presently concerning us).
9) Just as magi came to the birth of the messiah that prophets had foretold, so astrology can and should complement religion, at any rate its more prophetic/charismatic side. Astrology can predict or at least project various situations. The wilder claims of some would-be prophets could be questioned or modified as regards timing and likelihood if astrology were considered and in conclusion I will mention a couple of instances.
Claiming as I exceptionally do to know when Christ was born, I have been able to forecast when Jesus would likely be notably in the news as for example when in 2002 news came from Jerusalem that the so-called James ossuary box with the inscription, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus had been discovered. This if authentic (which it has belatedly been declared to be) would be the only artefact as opposed to text witnessing to Jesus.
I write this on the verge of Britan’s Brexit referendum. Astrologers have been unusually and extremely divided about the final result for reasons I needn’t detail but which suggest a rather neck and neck issue. But apart from the fact astrology can always describe a situation even if and when it cannot precisely predict its outcome, this much is plain. On the standard chart for Britain, among other things a full moon has fallen ahead of the vote conjunct a natal Uranus (rebellion, revolution, separation) opposite the natal Europa asteroid. Just by itself this marks an opposition reflective of Britain’s perennially awkward relation to the continent and even a promise as early as 1066 that there would be a Europe-separative Reformation in religion since the Uranus is in the ninth house not only of the foreign but of any religious issues. The asteroids, not even known or seen back in 1066 or at the birth of Christ, nonetheless prove eloquent today of many things. In some sense all time and language between the stars are one.
Faced with this are we to say as would Evangelicals (or the Catholic catechism which also opposes astrology) that none of what we read in the heavens reflects a divine mind or purpose, is not a case of the night skies uttering knowledge? Evangelicals especially have made a paper Pope of their bible (often the faulty KJV). Frequently read without attention to historical and cultural factors they have used scripture to make knockdown arguments where a range of sensitive issues are concerned, arguments of the kind Franklin Graham (whom many regard as undoing his father’s heritage) increasingly specializes in.
Typically, Graham cites the condemnation of Is. 47:13 as saying “ Let their astrologers stand forth….” A modern translation like the NRSV places a note to indicate it is not certain what the word is, which of course it isn’t certain because astrologers as we know them did not exist for Isaiah to condemn. But the same translation does include, as Graham doesn’t, the vital point that whoever is involved makes forecasts at new moons, which tells us this is not regular astrology which is far from reserving its kind of forecasts to such times.
It would be little short of a needed revolution of spiritual consciousness if the churches could admit elements of astrology to its understanding of existence, its theologies and the character of its leaders – even within the limited realm of sun signism it actually means something for their theology, politics and attitudes to money that Luther was born under Scorpio and Calvin under Cancer (as are Billy and Franklin Graham respectively). However I am not exactly optimistic that notable revolution is going to occur. I have not written to the Billy Graham org to express my radical divergence of view as regards astrology. I know I wouldn’t get an answer. Like American businesses and self-help theories negative responses stand to be ignored, and won’t get past the minders. In fact I know of an astrologer who years ago tried to plead the case of astrology, but never received an acknowledgement from the Graham org. So….that is the point of putting the above thoughts within the humble format of a blog.
Lucifer, the Prince of Air, descends to the lower hells to teach his minions how to launch a great deceit upon a sophisticated but unsuspecting humanity. Elsewhere the foreseeing Archangel Raphael explains and reveals what this will be, but will his warnings be heeded?
RAPHAEL AND LUCIFER and OTHER VISIONARY POEMS is unusual as poetry today and definitely different in its ideas.
A VIDEO recording from WildSound of Part One of the four part Raphael and Lucifer mini-epic is available at this address: https://goo.gl/SkBFL1
THE BOOK with essay and notes is available on Amazon at http://goo.gl/C32i3H\ and The Book Depository at http://goo.gl/YOyEB0
KINDLE version later as advised
(The book’s brief INTRODUCTION is reproduced below).
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING – THE PROMOTION QUESTION
It’s not because Raphael is “just” poetry, and certainly not any kind of “bad” poetry that this published author’s rather ambitious project doesn’t come with the imprimatur of standard publication and promotion. One of the few UK publishers who accepts both religion and poetry today, acknowledged this is poetry to the highest standard; but since I am not known for a performance poet nor am resident in UK for promotion purposes (so vital in publishing today), they couldn’t afford the risk of taking me on.
Actually they suggested a certain Australian publisher might oblige. Of that story perhaps another time, but sufficient to say any religion/poetry combination is seriously hard to get through any hoops anywhere today. Agents don’t normally reckon to represent verse of any sort. Also I am not living in a metropolitan area to be in contact with the club of “right” literary persons and circles – who probably wouldn’t be interested anyway. Years ago a leading Australian poet refused me for Penguin New Poets for presuming to include – despite what they admitted was some superior “Virgilan” writing – “such hopelessly archaic words as ‘conduct’ and ‘bestow'”. …..
With almost everyone and everything to hinder – the reason I abandoned anything poetic as a waste of time for over two decades – all the more reason if you appreciate this project, that in the interests of supporting a wider range for poetry today (not to say freedom of thought more generally) you care sufficiently to “like” it, review it, buy it, share it but essentially do whatever helps spread the word in a world of social media.
RAPHAEL AND LUCIFER: THE INTRODUCTION (REPRODUCED)
All the poems in this collection are to a lesser or greater extent visionary or metaphysical in a way poetry today doesn’t tend to be. Even so, they are still much involved with contemporary issues, persons or feelings. In theme and style however, Raphael and Lucifer stands apart from the rest of the collection as being a mini-epic.
Raphael is a deliberate experiment on two levels. First and obviously it is an exercise in poetic composition, specifically an adaptation, or at least evocation of, the now half lost traditions of epic and the Miltonics of especially Paradise Lost. (Mini-epic looks back to Catullus).
Second, there is an exercise in presenting and representing some often ignored, virtually censored but still developing ideas with regard to human origins. My own views as a doctor of religious studies are more fluid and liberal than those of any true blue creationist would ever be, but broadly I accept notions of theistic creation and ID (intelligent design which last, incidentally, is not the province of specifically Christian thinkers only). Given my bias, I have become increasingly aware how such belief can too easily finish treated in ways which leave meaningful argument, new facts and simple logic out of the picture. The situation can be unhelpful to the cause of truth generally and the spiritual life more particularly (even the question of divine existence and speaking of it in schools may now be involved) and we need to consider this.
Poetry is one medium that has always supported wide and sometimes unusual perspectives on things. Also, from the mythical Orpheus on through the Roman Lucretius and the English Milton and numerous tribal bards around the world, poets have been concerned with the nature of things, the mystery, spectacle and origins of life. Modern poetry has largely abandoned the theme although Ted Hughes stirringly translated Ovid’s curiously biblical evocation of a creation in the celebrated Metamorphoses. In my own case it has been appropriation of the mysteries of existence (and effectively the popularization of unbelief too) by media gurus like David Attenborough and Brian Cox, spurred me towards some poetic reaction.
Though both creationists and evolutionists can be charged with a literalism that insufficiently appreciates Genesis as poetry, it could be objected no one not a scientist, whether evolutionist or creationist, can really enter their arena of contention today with much authority. I disagree. It is well known and notoriously so, that the greater part of the educated public that bought Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was not able to understand it. The smallest minority of us are qualified scientists (or theologians) but this need not preclude us from drawing a few general conclusions about life and our place in the universe. Sometimes the issues science presents to laypersons invite almost more the application of some logical and philosophical thinking than negotiation of the most rarefied physics and mathematical theory. If Richard Dawkins openly disdains even to reply to dissenters, it is maybe time for dissenters to dismiss the blizzard of scientific data thrown at them in favour of more insistence upon examination of the basic reasoning involved with it.
Apart from the fact – a generalization but not unfair – that the operation of evolution is extrapolated from evidence for examples of micro-evolution not notably demonstrated at the macro level (which instead reveals sudden changes), essentially we are faced with two parties who claim a guiding authority for whatever declarations they make. In one case the authority is the bible and on the other “science” with its methodology. But just as biblical studies can open upon considerable divergences of opinion over sources and the interpretation of texts, so the empirical science which gets packaged for popular consumption makes claims which often conceal the range of speculation, theory and disagreement behind them. It is not unreasonable for example, to stress, as would especially creationists, that there can be quite a gap between “observational” science which treats of data reliant on tests that can be repeated, and “historical” science which offers data not directly testable and observable.
Since moreover even evolutionists are compelled to concede the limits to any account of origins via natural selection and genetic mutation alone, practically much of the argument beyond the welter of facts boils down to two differing treatments of a time factor. There is the story of a development across a time span necessarily assumed rather than absolutely proved to be almost infinite in order to cover for observed changes in the absence of a Creator to guide them. Then there is the narrative of a more designed creation over a short, or at least shorter, time span by a Creator who wouldn’t need time on an extreme scale for the often statistically improbable accidents and transitions of evolution to arrive at present human life. For both parties so much is involved with just interpretation of their facts and a species of faith that there can never be too much agreement. At most one can hope for the open discussion by no means always in evidence.
We hear much of the prejudices of creationists because they can seem obvious – almost everyone knows at least a little about Genesis which can then be dismissed as mere myth as against recently made scientific discoveries whose authority will go unquestioned. We hear less of the insufficiently examined a prioris, prejudices, even eccentricities of atheist evolutionists. These are well symbolized by the way in which the distinguished Genome Project scientist, Francis Collins, an evangelical but one who nonetheless accepts evolution, is still dismissed as a clown by most fellow scientists simply because their position is effectively that today no one but an atheist can be a true scientist. This is unacceptable and absurd, especially now there are some scientists in the style of Francis Crick, the pioneer in DNA research, prepared to attribute life on earth to extraterrestrials because of the difficulty of letting evolution account for just everything.
No more need be said in introduction. Any further points can be referred to the notes and the postscript since otherwise there is a danger the reader will not open themselves to the spirit of the poem and will approach it with already too many arguments to absorb it for what it is on its own level.
I wrote the article below before seeing the film (a risk!). Some of what I wrote remains true enough, perhaps especially as regards the choice for the role of Christ while perhaps for those in certain cultural frames of reference and age groups the film would seem as significant as I speculated it could be at this time. Personally however I did not appreciate and can’t recommend the film and only sat through two thirds of it because irritation and boredom had taken over. My questions and objections came to be many.
Yes, the film gives its subject the desired noir story treatment (even to the point of having too many half whispered conversations) but the much touted objectivity and fidelity to bare fact seemed either absent or undermined not least by the portrayal of the disciples some of whom, especially the interrogated Bartholomew who cackles and giggles and says silly things, would do for a stoned hippie. You have the impression despite all and any facts, that the Roman soldier, Clavius, has got caught in a collective hallucination shared by half daft disciples. Bartholomew is thrilled to assert Yahweh would be “crazy enough” to resurrect someone, and he declares like a triumphant naughty child that Jesus is “everywhere” as though Paul’s doctrine of the Cosmic Christ was well established and known within hours of the resurrection.
Priests don’t enter tombs, it’s the reason John didn’t enter the tomb when Peter did on the Easter morning. So why do we have the high priest checking out Jesus’s tomb? In fact why do we have Clavius discovering a form of Turin shroud showing Jesus’ face at the tomb? It’s all too ridiculous. Despite pretty well universal agreement that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute (an idea introduced in the sixth century by Pope Gregory the Great to find a patron saint for sinners) the film’s implication is that all men have known her and she was a whore. She speaks unlike the disciples in some foreign (Italian?) accent.
I think this could be the year of Jesus material that distorts, at least on film. Soon appearing and in time for Easter is The Young Messiah based on Anne Rice’s novel Christ the Lord. Although praised in advance for orthodoxy as Risen was for factualism, the reality is this young Jesus is the apocryphal one. He is performing miracles in childhood though the gospels don’t have Jesus performing any before the Spirit descends on him in adulthood, and (it’s a traditional Catholic idea) Jesus’ brothers according to the gospels are offspring of a previous marriage of Joseph because Mary has to perpetually virgin. So the “orthodoxy” is Catholic/apocryphal and based on the writings of an author who was formerly an atheist, who returned to Catholicism and has now left it again. It all gets quite confusing. Rice is supposed to have given us insights into Jesus’ mind and psychology. There are limits to how much we can know of this, but my own work on Jesus has more to offer and should be more known and hopefully this year will be.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF FILM LONG IN THE MAKING
10 years since the idea and scripting for it began the film Risen, nationally released in America from 19th Feb (here in Australia from February 18th), is not any standard cinematic religious fare. Its subject is a theme untreated by Hollywood biblical epics, the mystery surrounding the resurrection and what happened in the immediate aftermath. The mystery is seen through the eyes of Clavius, a sceptical Roman played by Joseph Fiennes, who is set to inquire into the matter.
It’s just one more of the surprising features of what some deem a film cum phenomenon, that its Jesus is played by the 47 year old New Zealand actor of Maori descent, Cliff Curtis. Curtis took his unexpected role so seriously he locked himself away for 20 days before filming to attain something like the right mystical and spiritual mood. The part itself is relatively small within the whole film though from report still compelling.
The significance of the film is at one level easy enough to define and account for. The treatment of its subject, its basically unsentimental would-be neutral examination of the facts (for Fiennes it is like a noir detective tale), if anything belongs to a new trend represented by a book published around the time ideas towards the film first emerged, Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2006). This study, something of a scholarly revolution in itself, challenged around a century of “historical Jesus” inquiry whose default position was a basic scepticism towards the scriptural record, especially anything miraculous or mysterious. The man “behind the myth” was someone to be discovered from within existing records, assumed to be late written and/or much edited and not usually allowed to be from eyewitnesses. Bauckham supplies detailed arguments for the claim that eyewitnesses are behind the accounts. It follows that mystery can now be part of the record to absorb or confront and the film’s Clavius does this.
EXTENDING THE MYSTERY
I should however wish to extend the scope of mystery here, not least because I am now asking myself whether this film is part of what could be a larger year of Jesus issues, one in which we shall have to confront more facts and some new ones. (In the last blog I also wondered whether culturally this mightn’t be a bit of a year of Lucifer but perhaps both will be highlighted ). Here are just a few details of a pattern I would take into consideration.
The film was originally slated for release in January but has shifted to February…..I suggest this was fate taking over because some things are only meant to happen and can only happen at certain times…. Accept for one moment that I know quite a few things about Jesus that have so far been ignored or suppressed, facts that also, like the film itself, reach beyond the events of the first Easter day to that other point of contention the departure and/or ascension. I have plenty and rather sensational to report on that. Regardless….
On 19th February the religion planet Jupiter is suitably conjunct Jesus’ natal sun to the degree by transit as it would not have been on any January release. This is not the only contact to Jesus’ sun that the film engages as I mention presently.
On what I can know and demonstrate mark the events of the first Easter morning, a recently named asteroid RISE happened to stand at 15 Sagittarius, the (organized) religion sign. It was conjunct there with RARA (rare, exceptional) at 16 degrees . The latter was also fortunately trine the sun of the Easter day to within minutes of a degree – a rare day and event.
But on February 19th as Risen is released, transiting Saturn will be on 15 Sagittarius in agreement with that first Easter pattern. Granted one might have expected faith-related Jupiter to be there, but since Jupiter will anyway be conjunct Jesus’ sun and can’t be just everywhere, symbolically the message is that the film is what its promoters seem to regard it as being: something more Saturnian i.e. forensic, an inquiry, an examination of the facts enacted from a sceptic’s view. Saturn doubts as easily as Jupiter believes.
And of course anything associated with resurrection (the original title of the film) is controversial. At the first Easter Anastasia (Resurrection) was at 17 Capricorn. On February 19th that point is caught in the explosive and surprising “square” formation of Uranus at 17 Aries and Pluto at 16 Capricorn. Uranus will surprise, Pluto will transform – the film evidently aims to do something of the kind.
As though it was always inscribed there would be such a film as Risen to take the line it does and because the naming and function of asteroids seems to be time transcendent – they will work appropriately before they are seen and named – there looks to be something special about even the main character’s name, Clavius.
A KEY TO MANY THINGS?
The Clavius name was quite obviously chosen to suggest Key from the Latin, Clavis. There is no asteroid for Clavis but medieval French Clavel, little key, derives directly from the Latin. Coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, within the original Easter pattern (where moreover it is in the place of any grave, the point of Clavius’ contention), asteroid Clavel is found challengingly on an axis with RISE from 15 Gemini.
Clavel is also found on the degree in Jesus’ natus that will be the same degree of the sun at the relevant Easter. This however doesn’t have to refer prophetically to the film but perhaps something beyond it. Resurrection will always need explanation, a key of some sort (everywhere from personal witness to books to films) and could even be thought of as a key to everything, certainly to who and what Jesus most represents. Even so, and whatever it does or does not signify, the position of Clavel is still only minor within the larger patterns…..
Under the rules the person acting Jesus could only be chosen for that part because he had some kind of relation however remote to the subject. Just as I expected to find, Cliff Curtis does have connection. Actually there’s nothing particularly remote about his natal Pluto, the transformations planet, the planet that helps relate to the masses – it’s exactly conjunct Jesus’ natal sun. Jim Caviezel who played a convincing Jesus in an unconvincing film (The Passion of the Christ was built more on Stations of the Cross and saintly visions than scripture) had his Jupiter conjunct Jesus’ sun. But such connections there must be if and when the true data of Christ are in question.
TOWARDS A YEAR OF JESUS ISSUES?
Solar eclipses define major trends with effects for persons and peoples across a year, not necessarily producing their promises immediately. Accordingly last year’s northern autumn eclipse conjunct Jesus’ sun (and this year’s conjunct the position of what I know is the era conjunction and Bethlehem Star of Jesus’ birth) seemed like a promise Jesus would be highlighted or things about him come to light in some way during 2016 and beyond.
I said just this as early as last June to the publisher who prior to the last eclipse (but under that notorious tricky, mind changing factor Mercury in its apparent retrograde!), invited me out to a London hotel to inform me my book on the life and astrology of Jesus had been accepted and then changed his mind almost as soon as I was back in Australia.
Dealing with important Jesus issues is never easy, the opposition level can be tremendous and I have suffered for years under it not least last year from the Australian press, not one of whose leading papers granted me the space for an author and doctor of religion’s opinion piece to speak about the discoveries I have made and which are hardly arbitrary and by chance – they radically develop the claims of two noted astronomers.
Regardless, one is up against just about everything from the intellectual snobbery to the moral cowardice of many if the very word “astrology” is even mentioned. It couldn’t be true, it couldn’t reveal anything (despite the fact the gospels leave us with the mystery of the Magi and whatever they were dealing in). You must be eccentric or a madman not worth dealing with.
And the Christians are no better. Church Times, Christianity Today, The Christian Post etc you name it, they’ll ignore you if they don’t refuse or even insult you, buoyed I suppose by their ignorance that Talmudic rabbis and the Essenes didn’t consider astrology verboten as divination under Jewish law. Ignorance also that the prophetic condemnation of forecasting events from full moons came from pre-astrological times when in effect stars were used as omens for reading like tea leaves in a cup but ignoring all measurement and empirical testing. The fact that I have only ever radically developed well established claims from a couple of notable astronomers will count for nothing.
Not even the astrologers are that much better although those I have personally dealt with or lectured to have agreed on the findings beginning with Australia’s late Gwen Stoney, an expert in German techniques of timing who was immediately impressed by the suitability and accuracy of the data for a particularly painful death. These persons apart, the astrology establishment response you are likely to obtain is that is that you shouldn’t rectify (time) data for unknown birth times (albeit most astrologers do in fact do that – I successfully timed the poet Shelley’s birth long before I was aware there is a certified time to work from). If not that you will be told the mystery was cleared up long ago by the overwhelmingly Piscean and so-called “Moby Dick” chart from Hawaii’s Don Jacobs who provided a pattern which if true would make Jesus more like a travelling scholar than a worker with his hands and a healer.
Anyway, given the extreme difficulties one can have with church and world alike, I was hardly surprised to read that a Hollywood company had tried to buy up Risen with, it was suspected, the aim of insuring it wouldn’t get to audiences. I imagine that between the doubts and denials of just everyone from scientists to liberal theologians of the Spock and Crossan variety to Muslims (who deny Jesus died on the cross) and Hollywood moguls, resurrection is hardly a favoured subject today but rather deemed just divisive…..as indeed any authentic Jesus issue perennially tends to be.
THE FATED AQUARIAN MONTH
I hadn’t previously heard of Risen, but during the first week of February I had been musing whether this month’s lunation on Feb 8th on a degree of what I know to be Jesus’ birth Midheaven angle of destiny, career and reputation in the world – itself almost inevitably in revolutionary, forward looking Aquarius – would release something over the month from the 8th of what I suspected was more generally pending. (The previous lunation had been distinctly less positive – it had overseen everything from the Lucifer TV series to publication of leading America atheist Dan Barker’s God: The Most Unpleasant Character in all Fiction). Then accidentally I came across net information about Risen and so I am now inclined to suspect this could belong as the first major push to the sometimes surprising Jesus scenarios and/or information of this year and into next.
It is this repeated agreement of Jesus’ birth data with Jesus events and issues past and present that makes it impossible to believe that finally the true data have not been found, and found perhaps because at the end of the era Jesus’ birth heralded the truth about the Magi and their knowledge must be known – whether wanted or not. (Many people say they want more exact information about Jesus and theologians and historians endlessly debate, but do they truly want the facts? To establish very provably when Jesus was born and all the rest that develops from that, is nothing short of a or the grail of astrology and some bible studies, a kind of belated fifth gospel itself, but whether people really want to get up this close to the truth I am not so sure.
AS TO THE READER
If all goes well (because within even astrology’s patterns of fate there is a dimension of free will), hopefully and probably before year’s end people will be able to have the information too long ignored, suppressed or opposed which I own. You, the reader of this article, are of course not obliged to read this article passively. You could play your part as people do for matters of much less importance, you could for example be sure to share this article.
Since, as said, there is freewill there have been other if lesser moments of opportunity for this subject in the many years since I first made discovery. If at those times concerned persons had been more energetic to pick up a phone, write something to media, press, publishers, spread news via social media,at least some of the information pertaining to this subject might have got out before now instead of leaving this writer the burden of moral and spiritual courage in this exceptional project.
And if the truth were told, what has been involved amounts to one of the more scandalous cases in the chequered history of media and publishing. I have detailed some of it as it deserves to be detailed in my memoir. It is a story which allows me to say with the poet Shelley (if for rather different reasons but, yes, he does rise on the horizon at my birth) “I have suffered the tyranny of neglect”. Or as the Messiah himself according to Isaiah would put it in condemnation of his generation: “I have trodden the winepress alone” (Is 63.3). It was Isaiah who also recorded the words quoted by Jesus, “Keep listening, but do not comprehend, Keep looking but do not understand”. For your own sake as much as mine, please don’t fall into that kind of condemnation.
ACTOR TOM ELLIS
A NEW FACE FOR AN OLD DEVIL?
Though here in Australia we won’t be viewing it – yet anyway – I see that some Christians (thousands) are upset about and have had a petition going against a Fox channel TV series called Lucifer being premiered in the US on Jan 25th.
In this series a bored devil abandons the hell regions for earth and shows his charming side to persons in California’s LA, City of Angels. Named Lucifer Morningstar he opens a nightclub called Lux (light) and makes people admit the truth about themselves. He even assists the LA police dept in a way that insures some people get punished for their deeds. If as intended the drama extends into series 2 and 3 the devil may even finish reformed and redeemed in variation upon the set text.
The origins of the present story lie in a comic book, Sandman by Neil Gaiman, an English author with a background in Judaism and Scientology, who introduced a Lucifer figure (who stayed first in Perth, Australia rather than LA) and whose image was influenced by the late David Bowie. The series stars someone of very different appearance, the Welsh born actor Tom Ellis who, to judge from the trailer, very much acts his role as the seductive English gentleman with plum Brit accent.
It will be disputed whether this kind of small screen entertainment really matters. Some believers, fearing via comedy a trivialization of evil with some mockery of scriptures and perhaps influenced by the old saying “speak of the devil and he appears”, want the series pulled. Still more protests, and if reports are true with possibly more reason, are already swirling around a comedy series of similar kind, Angel from Hell which premiered in America on Jan 7th.
In fairness, trivialization of evil is a risk anytime, anywhere. Currently there’s plenty of it around and without assistance from any charming L. Morningstars. A notable example might be offerings from Ireland’s rising star of fiction, Rob Doyle, whose first novel Here are the Young Men revels in drug orgies, mindless violence, sadistic porn and deliberate evil for its own sake. The personable Doyle, a philosophy graduate with a half repressed punkish side, apparently found his subject matter for the most part screamingly funny to write and some readers (but far from all) also found it amusing. (One youth fainted out at a Dublin reading which Mephistopheles Doyle, whose next book – out Jan 27th – is This is the Ritual, took to be a good sign of something). Doyle feels we must acknowledge, release and examine our subconscious. He is more certain than some it is chock-a-block full with rape, violence, the ugly and obscene. The trailer for Lucifer, albeit in a lighter vein, suggests a somewhat similar call to “honesty” from everyone.
WHAT THE HEAVENS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE NEW LUCIFER
From curiosity I decided I would look up the position of the asteroid Lucifer on the 25th January. Suitably for a devil come to earth and speaking and acting in quasi-idealistic fashion, Lucifer is at 8 of earth sign Virgo. By itself this might not seem too significant even with the hell asteroid suggestively on a world point (0 degrees of earthy Capricorn). More strikingly however Lucifer’s 8 degrees of Virgo is exactly opposed by Neptune strong in its natural sign of Pisces. Not only is Neptune (negatively) the planetary symbol of deception and false glamour so that the series arrives at a time that can challenge images of evil by fantastically playing around with them and via the mode of film that Neptune rules, but this same Pisces-Virgo axis is the axis of the era we still inhabit on the cusp of the new age.
Late in watery Pisces we are being appropriately “flooded” if not drowned by all manner of desires, addictions, pollutions, hopeless political situations and human disasters – not least at sea – signs of the era’s last gasp or flame burst. A relativisation of good and evil very much belongs to the late era mutability and, however mildly compared with some expressions of the problem, our notions of the devil and the demonic are liable to partake in all this.
Fascinatingly, I also find that on the 25th Jan the devil as light, the mentioned Lucifer at 8 Virgo, is conjunct asteroid Malin (French for devil and the devil as darkness) at 10 Virgo which also means Malin relevantly opposes Morgenstern (Morning Star) at 11 Pisces, an asteroid itself loosely conjunct Neptune. The coincidence is suggestive of an element of darkness behind the light with consequent misunderstanding, confusion and glamourization as regards the real character of Lucifer.
The choice of Tom Ellis for the role of the fallen angel is peculiar in context. If I look at his birth date, (given on the Net as 17th November 1978), we find this oddity as it affects four planets, three of them the outer planets, deemed generational, trend setting and spiritual in meaning. Uranus is at 17 Scorpio, Neptune is at 17 Sagittarius, Pluto has just left 17 Libra by a minute of a degree but Mercury is at 17 Sagittarius conjunct Neptune. Checking the birth of Neil Gaiman, Lucifer’s modern originator, (born Nov 1, 1960) we find Sun at 17 Scorpio and Mars at 17 Cancer while David Bowie was born with sun at 17 Capricorn. What if anything might this signify?
For this writer at least, the interesting thing is that in the birth data for Christ (which I claim to possess and which work for Jesus issues to this day – see below), Lucifer is at 17 degrees of Leo (i.e. trine Sagittarius) surrounded by and aspected from there by plainly relevant, eloquent factors. For the star of the series there is accordingly a spiritual connection of sorts, however ironic or eccentric, to the original Luciferian subject. Speak of the devil and he does appear, if need be through TV screens or a comic images!
None of this means that the forthcoming Lucifer series is automatically the most evil of small screen shows, but it does suggest affinities for the wrong thinking of late era society. There is also the implication that everything is ultimately connected and fated or permitted within an overarching, defining pattern. Thus we can say that Ellis, who was born with Lucifer at 7 of shocking Aquarius opposite Jupiter the religion planet at 8 Leo (a guarantee his work can engage petitions and protests from the religious!), though he’s hardly wickedness incarnate, has been able to land himself a role that not just anyone could. There always have to be these hidden connections to other relevant factors and persons.
REVISIONING AND PUBLISHING LUCIFER THIS YEAR.
As to what the devil is really like, I will be offering – almost trendily it may seem if this is to be a year of the devil – my own portrait in a mini epic Raphael and Lucifer . It will be published later this year in America along with some other visionary/metaphysical poems. My depiction of the fallen angel will actually be a bit more theologically correct than Milton’s – oddly Milton makes Beelzebub a separate spirit rather than a name/aspect of Satan himself – and I should say I render the famed Accuser both more crafty and self-deceived. No one can of course hope to get it all right about such a figure. Still, born as I was with Milton and Shelley, the two poets most concerned with literary portrayal and understanding of Satan, rising conjunct at my birth, I am within my rights to add a few new perspectives after what will have been a strangely long pause in English language writing, poetically at least, in this area.
As regards my claims about Christ’s birth, their proofs must await till probably September for publication and what then ought to be the needed last word on that too long contested issue. The evidence will be harder to critique and oppose than a television series, though doubtless some will try…if they don’t decide it would be safer and better to ignore the whole subject.
“Art is long, life is short” is a saying from Goethe’s Faust. It’s true enough. Unless you are writing ditties or making sketches most art requires your time, researches, even leisure. Life certainly seems to crowd in if you have plans for poetry composition, especially anything epic, even if only mini epics such as I gave example of on this blog with Coming to Syracuse.
Currently I have two mini epics or long poems in mind, one in relation to Dante and another about Europe at this time of migration crisis – the latter stands to change the face of Europe for ever. I am not however sure if I will get round to my subjects soon and therefore at all because so often delay can destroy the force of inspiration…..Be that as it may, for creative purposes too many things are involving or distracting me right now including that finally and happily I have had two books accepted for publication in America later this year: the long delayed Testament of the Magi and a collection of my poetry.
The collection will include some of the poems (the more visionary and metaphysical ones) published on this blog but it will begin with a whole new mini epic, Raphael and Lucifer written last year and not issued here or anywhere before. In style and ideas it is distinctly original and for now not much more need be said except that for promotional purposes I am thinking about having the first section of the epic videoed but using my own voice as isn’t the case with Coming to Syracuse.
All this is to say that I do not reckon for the time being to be posting poems on this blog which can itself take a little rest unless something in the world and current events strikes me as specially demanding a response. By and large I have tended to put passing comments or minor, more vers de circonstance type poems on McCleary’s Additions https://mcclearysadditions.wordpress.com/ rather than here.
What gets read on this blog and who reads it can be rather intriguing at times. I have never understood – and now after 2 years – quite how and why my article Colton Burpo’s Real Heaven, Akiane’s Jesus and New Christ Images, remains quite so popular in so many places. At the same time I can’t understand how and why even for Irish associated material (material that may get read anywhere from France to India) almost no one from Ireland comes in to read it. Ireland is not a land of the thousand welcomes where this citizen is concerned. I have never had a feature or interview there nor has any poem of mine been published in the nation.
Something else I have found most odd is that despite all the advice given out these days about how to self-advertise and increase traffic, traffic is very little determined by whether I promote the blog and its latest article or not. What the pattern might be when I am published overseas will be interesting to see.
Quite recently and very little promoted by myself ( but of course you can always spread the word), I now have a third blog, called gaythoughtsblog. It exists – so far and because I don’t have big plans for it – simply to be a home space for a substantial essay that has been on my mind for a while now.. The essay is called Beyond Marriage Equality, Queer Fantasy and Christian Disinformation, what does being gay today mean? I have today published its second half which covers a wide range of themes from relationships to tantra and the esoterics of the gay body (see http://wp.me/p6Zhz7-1f, ) thus extending some ideas broached in my poem Jeremiah’s Loincloth on the present blog.
Although any astrologer or even just calculator of economic and climate trends would advise you to expect a rocky year, I wish all readers a good one despite. “It’s an ill wind blows no one any good” as the saying goes, and there will still be opportunities for many. And where poetry is concerned it will even be the year in which publishing will let you know what poems make grown women cry, while yours truly will hopefully be providing a new poetic vademecum towards poetry more metaphysical and visionary. Today it’s in short supply. It has yet to be decided if the title of the collection will be Raphael and Lucifer and Other Metaphysical Poems or Other Visionary Poems. It may finish depending upon what kind of art work will grace the cover.
But most important of all we shouldn’t come to next Christmas and year’s end (and quite likely next September) without the Magi of my writings arriving at their destination and letting their long kept secrets known. If anyone will care to dispute the findings I offer, I think they will have a very hard time.
(The impressions in this poem are a composite of several experiences; no single baroque church is described and I am aware that not all baroque churches are dark and shadowy but sometimes quite light)
Below weighty pillars and arches
Unpraying eyes in silence observe them:
Donors all richly attired attending the Virgin,
St Helen in triumph for tomb find and cross piece
Alexandria’s Catherine presenting her wheel.
They, like Jerome in wilderness tatters nursing
A lion, all once shone in their frames now
Much lost to high gloom, their oils half rotted
And bled into canvas that age, incense
And candle smoke darken. The coloured remains
Bear witness, fixed by grand gestures, to
Saints’ tales, pious half truths dependent
For meaning and standing on rivers and fires
Of God’s story otherwise lost to shadows or absent,
A stranger to even side altar themes.
If faith should be seen, of divine source
There’s nothing to view save the host, “he”
As wafer behind a cabinet’s doors (1)
And hidden entirely if no monstrance (2)
Bears him about in brief sunburst of gold gleam
Or above a high altar no agony’s glimpsed. There
A figure more darkened, the crucified
Hangs nailed as though it might be forever,
Sad eyes directed to heaven, limbs strained
To pure immolation. He, less Lord than an
Ever sacrificed lamb, is still caught in a
Hell world scarce overcoming earth’s ills and
The curse, unless by whatever it’s trusted
Can be re-enacted by priest’s hands amid
This scented but mouldering pomp. There
Celestial power must be drawn through
The shadows, upheld and furthered by prayers
Of the many but lessening faithful… (3)
There’s a life I am drawn to outside.
No dome to enclose nor candles to soothe me
Air, sunlight, earth and luminous sea
Let these meet and surround me. With these
Rising Godward I’ll speak into heaven
For miraculous change having chosen
Self within light, promise taken from (4)
Dawn Star and bright noon of sure resurrection. (5)
Without you, pure elements sensed and
Desired I cannot own fullness of Truth,
Cannot obtain what soul should acquire
With strength of corporeal feeling and
Nature, holding thoughts and images naked
As Francis in quest of meaning and grace. (6)
The point of reception is here, now, even
This temple, the body; with this I greet change.
1) cabinet i.e. the tabernacle where the host is reserved
2) An implicit critique of the transubstantiation miracle whereby Christ is not a sacrifice once offered (Heb 9:28) but repeatedly offered when the priest transforms the bread and wine.
3) A monstrance is a vessel that carries the host in processions behind glass typically surrounded by a sunburst design in gold with a cross above it.
4) Miraculous.change i.e. of soul preceding and leading to change of body (resurrection) rather than trans-elementation of bread.
5) Christ is the Morning Star (2 Pet 1:19, Rev 22:16) though Lucifer can be called that but not the Sun in full strength (Rev 1:16) i.e. noonday. A new dawn promises the various fulfilments of noonday.
6) Francis is St Francis who divested himself of his clothes to return them to his father. He also preached a sermon in the nude.