COLTON BURPO’S “REAL” HEAVEN, AKIANE’S JESUS AND NEW CHRIST IMAGES
It’s anticipated that more atheist-Christian culture wars will break out this Easter with the release of the film of Heaven is For Real. The film is based on the book of the alleged celestial experiences of the child Colton Burpo as recorded by his Wesleyan pastor father, Todd. Since however I believe there might be other issues to be writing about in April/May I shall get in ahead of a debate already partly begun. And with the film Son of God soon to be premiered (Feb 28th) I shall also cover regarding cinematic and other images of Christ: how fitting they are, who gets to play them and why – there are some rules here…
Atheists are displeased with what they think the Burpo film can do to beliefs and to children’s beliefs (a children’s version of the book now exists to persuade young minds). Many Christians are delighted at a new and perhaps today needed affirmation of a life beyond – Heaven is for Real has already proved a massive bestseller since publication in 2010. But I am going to suggest Christians shouldn’t be so delighted and recommending either book or film. The book offers some of the most misleading popular religious material since the novel The Shack (itself now due to become a film) misrepresented the Trinity which among other things the Burpo book does in another way.
These new misrepresentations are something perhaps especially conservative Christians stand to be sucked into because Colton’s statements contain just enough evangelical flavour (like creating a sudden flap about a deceased person needing to have had Jesus in his heart to get into heaven) to persuade them all the rest must be true, even if obviously it can’t be so.
Believers are supposed to love and pursue truth and there are disturbing aspects to the Burpo phenomenon. Christian critiques have already been written and I endorse some of them. But as author of Where From, Why Us and Where To?:Visiting Tahiti and Life Itself which includes about art, Gauguin and that artist’s various odd self-portraits as Christ (amzn.to/10Zysc6) I bring to the Burpo story a special objection. It’s one related to artistic portrayals of Christ because Colton has shown a clear preference in this area which I believe betrays the error of his claims. Dealing with this question is a pretext for me to present below some rather special illustrations helping to bring us closer to the right way of imagining and artistically imaging Jesus.
THE BURPO STORY
Colton (b. 1999) is now an adolescent, but when he was nearly four he suffered a burst appendix in the wake of a desperate run of bad health events affecting both father and son that landed them both in hospital clocking up huge bills and concomitant worries American style. (I belong to the world of what America despises as the Nanny states where health services are concerned!). Things went from bad to worse, and though there is no record Colton clinically died, for a few minutes while in hospital his life was endangered and he underwent an NDE. What happened during that time only emerged spontaneously months later and starting one day when out driving with his father Colton let odd things slip like saying the angels had sung to him and he’d sat on Jesus’ lap. He later casually mentioned John the Baptist is a real nice guy.
Gradually his parents found they could piece together a whole story of events and revelations in the Beyond where Colton met his deceased great grandfather and learned things, including how he had a sister in heaven due to his mother’s miscarriage – something it was virtually impossible he could know. (Some Christian critics have objected to Colton’s claiming to meet any souls in the Beyond on the basis believers “sleep” till the resurrection according to St Paul; but I think what is meant is that bodies sleep till the resurrection. Souls meanwhile live – Jesus tells the thief he will be with him in paradise not that he will just sleep in the ground. So that objection at least seems invalid).
Todd Burpo was finally convinced of the truth of his son’s story when Colton said he’d seen him in an adjoining hospital room railing against God and also when he childishly referred to Jesus as having red “markers” in his hands and feet. These turned out to mean nail prints.
It can be argued either way that what Colton claimed to experience owes more to a genuine OBE (Out of Body Experience) as when he saw the hospital room with the doctors below him and his father in the next room, or more to details he would naturally absorb as a pastor’s son like saying God was so big he had the world in his hands. (This sounds like memories of “He’s got the whole wide world in his hands” which Colton likely heard at home).There could be six of one and half a dozen of the other.
What’s certain is that whether father and son purvey an unconsciously invented tale or a genuine dream/revelation of something, either way there look to be errors from any strictly biblical standpoint – which is the one the family wants to represent and imagines it is doing. Yet these same errors, to the extent the biblically literate but mesmerized father records them without suitable explanation or comment (he has been criticized for never consulting religious persons or groups for assessment of the information) are themselves witness to the fact something authentic is being told. It’s genuine, even if it’s a true record of the sort of thing the bible would call “a lying vision” (Jer 14:13, Ez 13:7) permitted for our testing. And perhaps especially the testing of precisely conservative Christians. They regularly deceive themselves that they don’t read their bibles selectively. Some selective reading has to be going on to make Colton’s witness sound possible!
THE BURPO ERRORS
Here are some of the glaring errors.
- Biblically the angel Gabriel (an archangel) declares to the priest Zacharias that he stands in God’s presence (Luk 1:19). Colton has it this angel sits on the other side of God from Jesus as though he were not a member of the order of archangels but of the Trinity itself. The Bible may or may not intend us to understand literally its claim that Jesus is seated “at God’s right hand” (it could be an expression indicating the sharing of power, especially as Revelation has Jesus “in the midst” of the divine throne), but if Christ was thus seated it would have to be that on the other side would be the Holy Spirit.
- Colton is somewhat taken up with the subject of impending apocalypse – he even tells his father (in imagery that could owe something to reading or hearing C.S. Lewis’s Narnia fiction) he will be fighting the forces of evil with a sword (i.e. at the post Rapture end of the Tribulation period when Jesus returns to establish the Millennium on earth). However Colton sees Jesus’ horse, only ever biblically referred to in the context of apocalypse, as rainbow coloured. Revelation portrays the returned, openly revealed apocalyptic Jesus as riding a white horse (Rev 19:11).
- The Holy Spirit, though bibically sometimes seen as a dove or a fire, is not traditionally portrayed as a person, albeit Jesus’ personalising “he” suggests that theoretically he could be so portrayed despite many today favouring ideas that the Spirit is feminine. “He” would certainly seem more appropriate if the Spirit impregnates Mary. Anyway I have read at least one plausible description of the Spirit as a kind of almost “electrical” Jesus twin ( bit.ly/JEs9ZN). But Colton reduces the Spirit (rather as in Mormon theology) to pure substance which he sees as blue and which sends down energies from this blueness (itself surely the opposite of anything fire associated).
- The Bible has it that “no one shall see God and live” (Ex 33:20). Biblically no one ever sees God the Father/Creator unless it’s his shadow representative, the Hebrew Bible’s “Angel of the Lord” that early Christians identified with the pre-incarnate Christ. Seeing God is a post-resurrection, Last Judgement possibility. The single exception is perhaps the author of Revelation seeing the God of Last Judgement – not directly but in prophetic vision only. One might still argue Colton could see God because (like Crystal McVey, author of Waking Up in Heaven who sort of saw the Trinity as blinding light) he died and was therefore free to behold God; but there’s no record Colton actually died. Moreover his description in a TV interview of the Creator as just a bigger Gabriel with golden hair and wings is problematic for a number of reasons. So despite Colton’s repeated insistence Jesus declares he loves children, there is no likelihood Colton would sit on a stool before the throne or on Jesus’ lap and talk to a Trinity manifested directly in front of him.
- Colton affirms everyone in heaven has wings except Jesus who just goes up and down like a lift when he wants to move. There is no support whether biblically or in other reported visions of the Christian heaven of a universally winged heavenly society; but the idea that the angels set Colton something like homework and sing to him belongs less with Christian notions of the afterlife than Spiritualist accounts of Summerlands where people are put in classes and set to learn things.
[May 5th…I see that in the wake of the film’s release and popularity Todd is now accusing those Christians who criticize Colton’s vision as “Pharisees” who need to read their bibles. That’s controversial. In view of the above points perhaps Todd should read it himself and himself suffer the charge of being an opportunist. Even Colton saw him originally railing against God in the hospital!]
I won’t continue with this line of critique because it’s something concerning Jesus’ image which should interest us regardless of anyone’s precise view of the Burpo phenomenon. Having been shown numerous images of Jesus and asked which if any corresponded to the Jesus he knew, young Colton had no hesitation about one picture and one only: a portrait of Jesus called The Prince of Peace: Resurrection from the American child prodigy of painting, Akiane Kramarik (b.1994).
This “portrait” is based on Akiane’s reported encounters with Jesus (she repeatedly kept seeing his face in vision when she was four), whose features she felt were closely reflected in a seven foot local carpenter who reluctantly consented to sit for her. According to the July 2011 edition of Share International, the magazine of the Maitreya cult which awaits the manifestation of Maitreya/Christ (a theosophical figure associated with the expected Muslim Mahdi and other figures of the world faiths all in one) this is a true portrait. Through his personal Master, cult leader Benjamin Creme confirmed Akiane has been visited by “The Master Jesus”, the companion of Christ/Maitreya. (“The Master Jesus” regularly manifests in various roles and guises to devotees round the world). This kind of recommendation should in itself send a few warning signals to uncritically enthusiastic Christians.
It cannot be said, even if one likes the portrait (and the Burpo phenomenon is making it popular), that it conveys any notable sense of peace. It shows rather nerviosity and tension while the association with resurrection is hard to understand because the resurrection body of Jesus is necessarily perfect, more obviously divine than the human historical Jesus. And this is no perfect image. People praise the searching compassionate eyes, but overall the figure is human, all too human, almost untidy, needing a trim of both hair and the too bushy eyebrows. And Jesus’ eyes should be knowing, not merely searching, however generously.
Akiane was born to atheist parents who converted to Christianity after their daughter started reporting strange heavenly visits from the age of four onwards. Akiane reports meeting Jesus and she is clearly a very spiritual person, but today her approach to Christianity seems cloudy. Members of Akiane’s family have been involved in various spiritual exercises and traditions including Buddhism and. Akiane herself nowadays maintains she belongs to no religion or denomination but just God. The claim makes little sense in that God is a Judaeo-Christian belief – some religions like Buddhism have no belief in any Creator God so that a would-be universalism through God belief is not strictly possible. Akiane’s faith raises questions in the way they are perennially raised around the poetry and art of such as the extremely visionary William Blake under the influence of such as Swedenborgianism and Gnosticism.
If popular Christianity is going to be drawn, as I believe it shouldn’t be, towards Prince of Peace as the new classic Jesus image, it will need to take stock of the fact that also reported to be based on vision vouchsafed to someone more conventionally Christian, is the famous Warner Sallman Head of Christ which isn’t at all like
Colton’s favourite image. It is nonetheless true that the Akiane image is taking over in public estimation at a time when Americans are going off Sallman’s picture as being everything from too pretty and effeminate (though ironically Sallman and his admirers originally thought he was portraying a new “muscular Christianity” image!) to being too perfect or too “white” in the style of its recorder’s Swedish background. In the era of equality, popular opinion is shifting to the idea Jesus should be more ordinary and more obviously Semitic. Akiane’s image can speak to that. But if so, that opens to the possibility that what differing painters call “vision” of Jesus might be no more than clear-sighted awareness of cultural and archetypal shifts in the mind of the collective.
Proponents of the “ordinary” Jesus of Akiane’s rendering find support in the prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah’s declaration which has it that there would be “nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Is 53:2), words immediately preceded by “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him”. The previous chapter of Isaiah even speaks of the suffering Servant as being “marred….beyond human semblance (Is 52:14), though this is traditionally understood to refer prophetically to the ruin of Jesus’ appearance through crucifixion. It is of course possible to take these negatives further as did the Gnostics and simply suggest Jesus was short and ugly if not deformed. On what do traditional notions of a beautiful, handsome or perfect Jesus rest beyond the expectation a divine figure should be somehow outstanding?
We know that Jesus could not have been the stunted, physically imperfect figure of the Gnostics or this would have run against requirements that priests, let alone the priestly figure of a Messiah, be without physical blemish. If we retain this thought and recall anything like Christian doctrines of original sin, Jesus the Second Adam free of sin, must be somehow physically perfect, hence he should be in some fashion desirable, as attractive let’s say as people imagine a first Adam to have been.
I think Isaiah’s “undesirable” figure is linked to what he means when writing within the context of an aniconic society he says: “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him: (Is 53: 2). Even if Jesus looked “perfect” as a specimen of humanity, if as Messiah he could not suggest to his Jewish contemporaries an all-conquering kingship, or if his face didn’t shine like Moses descended from the Mount, then he could not be “desirable” to an Israel which expected a world political Deliverer. Rabbinic thought was diverse, but various strains of Jewish thought had come to expect two Messiahs, one ben Joseph, a suffering figure along the lines Isaiah represents, and a Messiah ben David, a political conquering one. They did not reckon any Messiah would combine the roles or, as Jesus did, envisage a division of the dispensations for their realization, with his apocalyptic self fulfilling the conquering ben David.
SO…WHAT DID JESUS REALLY LOOK LIKE?
While obviously I nor anyone can answer that precisely, I can give grounds both to dismiss the Akiane/Colton image and supply a meaningful guide – almost an identikit mock up – for the curious, the devout and artists. I also think that in doing so I can explain why the Warner Sallman image, however imperfect and limited, has been powerful for many and even actually has some truth to it.
The same Isaiah that I have cited about the undesirable Messiah of marred feature also describes God’s “Servant” as growing up before him “like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground”. Supposing we look first not for any regal or commanding beauty (which Jesus arguably dismisses when he prefers the lily of the valley to his ancestor Solomon in all his glory), but a plant-like and natural beauty with some connection to service and servants.
Given what I claim to know and even prove (see December blog bit.ly/18LQOad ) the chief quality of Jesus’ appearance would need to be referred to a combination of his sun sign of birth, Virgo (itself traditionally denominated a servant sign) and his rising sign at birth which is Gemini (the urbane, communicating sign). These are both signs mythically associated with and astrologically “ruled” by Mercury, the go-between god and Jesus is the mediator – the theosophist Mme Blavatsky even went so far as to observe “Jesus is Mercury”. I won’t get technical and consider all rules and exceptions, but sufficient to say that features of the sun sign, unless the person was born around dawn which Jesus wasn’t, stand to be modified by qualities of the sign rising over the horizon at birth and sometimes to the extent the person may be thought to belong to that sign rather than their sun sign. )
We have assumed that Jesus was ideal of his kind. Here are two pictures of a good looking Virgo male (birth time unknown), the late screen actor Paul Walker, a model since youth.
The appearance is somehow neat, the features in the usual Virgoan way are not particularly large, the charm is rural, plant-like (Virgo is an earth sign!) and we remember Jesus even says things like he is the vine and his father is the gardener. The appearance here is attractive without being dramatic, super-erotic or regally imposing. It’s just agreeable, in some respects this is just the ideal of a healthy, good looking country boy. The similarity to at least one portrait of Christ, artist Richard Hook’s, is fairly apparent.
Next we have the picture of an adolescent Virgo male, a Monaco prince, Pierre Casiraghi (b.1987). This image
is almost the complete text book epitome of Virgo. Again a sort of plant-like, understated, modest charm, elegant but not flamboyantly aristocratic with it. There is an almost hesitant expression in line with the Virgoan will to stand back, observe and analyse everything rather than to impose the self, yet not unwilling to assist in harmony with the service theme of the sign. The eyes are intelligent and gentle. This might do for an attractive adolescent Jesus absorbing everything and “increasing in favour” with God and man ( Luk 2:53 ) but not looking ready to conquer the world…This type may, as in the accompanying image and a bit older, assume something of classic art’s ephebe look, but even the ephebe was supposed to be if not the servant, the learner.
It may be immediately protested, why use as any kind of example a person with fairish hair and blue eyes? Answer: because it’s quite possible it suits. We know Jesus’ ancestor David was fair and the Davidic line is known to this day for a genetic tendency to fair hair and blue eyes. For that matter, to Israel’s north in Syria one finds people of almost more European, i.e.Latin, than Arabic/Semitic appearance. The objection to Sallman’s “too white” Jesus, though understandable, could be exaggerated in terms of the historic reality. It was nonetheless held against Jeffrey Hunter’s Christ in King of Kings precisely that his eyes were blue. (Hunter was not born under Virgo, I mention regarding him later)
We can turn next to two pictures of Pierre’s brother Andrea (b.1984) who is a good example of a type of Gemini male. Gemini, like all the air signs somewhat, is the epitome of things human – it’s the sign of democracy, not royalty – of the social, even the worldly though I find significance in the Jesus of the “two natures” having Gemini the twins and division sign rising. As with the other Mercurial sign Virgo and as in this instance, there is often something androgynous or ambiguous. But the expression is thoughtful and more set with it than Virgo. Geminis cheerfully argue for their ideas where Virgo is more prone to withdraw; so the Geminian look is more determined, the face overseen by a full almost domed forehead frequently found in the sign and like a symbol of the sign’s connection to things intellectual and cerebral. A prominent forehead is found in the self portrait of the Gemini artist Dürer – in fact a portrait of the artist as Christ. The face is longer than would be typical for Virgo.
Again I don’t think, and I’m sure Dürer didn’t think, he looked exactly like Jesus, but I believe he worked from an intuition of some similarity and that we are given a further clue by it. I have pointed out (bit.ly/1eDMgRf), and as further proof that I have the true data for Christ, that people who write about Jesus must have natal patterns closely linked to his and the same applies to artists keen to do portraits. In my mentioned Tahiti book I point out how features of Dürer’s chart and their very exact relation to Jesus’ pattern would draw him to make the kind of close identification he did and likewise certain patterns show why the Gemini Gauguin would be drawn in a much more perverse way to Christ portraiture.
One Gemini actor who corresponds to widespread popular images of Jesus is Robert Powell (b. 1. 6. 1944) and see the images below. Ordinarily Powell doesn’t look Christ-like at all. He was even originally chosen to act Judas in the Zeffirelli Jesus of Nazareth film! But given long hair and the right costumes he was somehow able to enter the image. Astrology alone can make sense of it. Powell was born with Uranus and Sun conjunct on 9 and 10 degrees respectively of the Gemini that affects Jesus’ appearance. In other words especially Powell’s surprising Uranus at 9.1 was conjunct Jesus’ 8.50 degrees of Gemini rising thus marking the sheer surprise of how the person is suddenly made to appear like Jesus. And then too the actor’s Jupiter (Jupiter is crucial for actors) at 20 Leo conjuncts Jesus’ Nadir angle. It’s an important contact on an axis with Jesus’ 20 Aquarius destiny/reputation Midheaven. Jeffrey Hunter whom many regarded as a matinee idol Jesus but still appreciated (except for the blue eyes!) for his role in King of Kings was a Sagittarian (b. 25.11.1926) but with his Jupiter connectively on Jesus’ 20 Aquarius Midheaven.
Compare this with the way James Caviezel (b.26.9.1968) who made a quite effective Jesus in The Passion of the Christ – also see below - has his own Jupiter degree exact Jesus’ sun in Virgo – there must be such contacts for strong involvement and major effects. Then more recently in Son of God, Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado (b. 17.1.1981) – also image below – has his Jupiter fortunately trine Jesus’ appearance-defining ascendant while his transformative and God-associated Pluto is conjunct Jesus’ natal Isa (if he was born in 1981, I find both 1980 and 1980 given as birth dates. If he was born in 1980 then his Jupiter conjuncts the God associated Pluto of the Christ’s birth, a “Son of God” connection for acting if not for features). And in connection with Isa I note how Powell’s Saturn near to conjunction with Jesus’ natal Isa (Jesus) reflects how uncomfortable the actor was and remains about ever assuming the role.
When we come to the Cancerian Akiane we find no such close chart contacts. (She has nothing natally in Virgo and her own late Gemini ascendant is not near to contacting Jesus’ earlier Gemini ascendant). Anything absent in a chart can suffer over-compensations at some point and it looks like her Prince of Peace Jesus is a sort of strained, exaggerated vision of something Virgo – to be frank, negatively so; it looks like Virgo become nervy on a bad hair or poor health day! Though Jesus the healer may be assumed to have been healthy, the sign generally inclines to many ailments and down days. Here is an older Pierre on what looks a Virgoan off day if not flu day!
In fact it is interesting in view of the “mutable” categorization which attaches to the Mercurial signs of Virgo and Gemini, just how varied and unlike themselves both Pierre and Andrea can manage to appear across a whole range of shots. Is something of the historic difficulty artists have had in capturing Jesus linked to the fact that at the best of times his Mercurial image would always have been hard to capture?! Even the disciples on more than one occasion fail to recognize him. And perhaps he always will be elusive in this way.
One afterlife experience I find more convincing than Colton’s (Dean Braxton’s In Heaven) describes meeting a sublime Jesus from whose form colours constantly radiate and whose visage is always slightly changing as you look at it – a total, cosmic mutability?!) But let’s return to the Sallman picture. Though I can understand the criticism of it, I also recognize this. I think the unparalleled popular response it has obtained right from first publication (until Coltron’s and Akiane’s intervention has caused a re-think), is simply this. Jesus really was born under Virgo and when Gemini rose. And together these two signs went to make up what Jesus looked like. Sallman’s face has caught the something of Gemini it necessarily had, the well cut features, the sharp outline (even if the lips seem too ungenerously thin in this rendering), the longer face and full forehead, at the same time as especially the expression captures a certain underlying, Virgoan mildness and modesty in the ‘servant” Messiah as this was directed towards God. Jesus’ character was most essentially Virgoan; his outer appearance, though it too inevitably had something of Virgo, had as much and more of Gemini, not least in its extreme changefulness.
As just another of Andrea’s Geminian many styles and images and its odd link to the less well known and successful Sallman, Portrait of Christ, consider these two images.
There’s no lie so strong as a half truth and I fear that is what the Burpo phenomenon presents us with. I accept that father and son give every indication of being sincere. The account is likely true, but it’s the experience of a deception. How and why is hard to determine and one obviously hesitates to propose that there is something demonic here; yet as only one indication there might just be so, Colton goes silent and gets fearful when Satan (whom he claims to have seen) is mentioned. If Colton had really been in the presence of the Trinity he would necessarily be bolder and unafraid of Satan and the forces of evil.
Obviously Colton’s story could be a fantasy born of a father’s eager embroidery upon or sincere misunderstanding of a child’s piecemeal report. But it could be something more spiritual. Colton is nearly four when he goes to heaven, and it’s at four that Akiane, (whose heavenly scenes Todd Burpo says are very similar to Colton’s), started seeing other worlds. If one accepts at all that spiritual realms exist, then one must allow their inhabitants a capacity for deception (the devil is even called “father of lies”). Of those who report NDEs which include hell, one can even read – it’s like the myth of Tantalus – of corners of the inferno where a soul witnesses radiant visions tempting them with oases only to disappoint them. Some even report a Jesus-like figure in hell who it seems might be St Paul’s devil as an angel of light. Anything seems possible.
I have written elsewhere concerning people who write and talk about Jesus and why (bit.ly/1eDMgRf). The evidence does not differ here. The same kind of exact aspects and tie-ins we might expect are present and I shall make brief summary of main points. Colton was born on 19th May 1999 in Imperial, Nebraska USA, birth time unknown. Though one might allow one or two, these features, at least cumulatively, are eloquent for misrepresentation or distortion however unintended.
- Sun 28 Taurus in stress square to asteroid Isa (Jesus) at 27 Leo
- Saturn the devil planet, strong on a critical degree at 9 Taurus conjunct Lucifer at 10 Taurus (reflecting Colton’s mentioned fear of the devil?)
- Asteroid Lie at 16 Gemini (sign of reading and writing) exact easy trine to Uranus (symbol of the Spirit in any religious context) strong in its own sign of Aquarius (i.e. it is easy to distort regarding the Spirit). (And 16 Aquarius is the solar degree of the Antichrist if the seeress Jeane Dixon happened to be right about his birthdate).
- Mars at 27 Libra conjuncts Isa (Jesus) and the super-conjunction of Jesus’ names and titles at Jesus’ birth which I am dogmatic can now be verifiably known (see bit.ly/18LQOad). This is a potentially hostile position – I recall Mars was here when Pakistan resolved to list the Jesus name with forbidden names and words for text messages.In some cases it can however make for aggressive advocacy, and in some respects Colton is into that via his family – the organization promoting Colton’s vision bears the only-in-America name of Shout It.
- Mercury at 19+ Taurus in stress square to Jesus’ 20 degree Aquarius Midheaven. This is not helpful to right description of Jesus and I have found critics of Jesus frequently having this square to this point.
- Natal Neptune at 4 Aquarius is square (affliction aspect) to Jesus’s natal 3 Scorpio Neptune. Afflicted Neptune inclines to confusion, which would agree with not seeing Jesus clearly, especially as for many astrologers Neptune is the Jesus symbol. Significantly too…….Akiane’s Neptune is at 4 Scorpio which could be thought a really strong contact to Jesus’ pattern the artist otherwise lacks, but the fact her Neptune is degree exact opposite Black Moon Lilith, exquisitely fits her half darkened image of Jesus and its ultimately misleading nature.
. (BML is a point taken very seriously by continental astrologers for its negative indications and I was not surprised to find it prominent at Jesus’ crucifixion).
I have no idea what purpose a possible spiritual deception Burpo style could serve and mean, but I do feel if it persuades people towards odd notions of the Trinity and New Age images of Jesus like Akiane’s where the half concealed face of Jesus is like the half truth of what’s being attested to, it cannot have been helpful.
[ Issues around the birth and astrology of Christ are explored in detail in my Testament of the Magi: Mysteries of the Birth and Life of Christ at http://amzn.to/12eP5S8 ]