Anthroposophy NYC Blog
MEETING OUR TIMES
The Zoro-Aster of 2020 and the Star of the Magi
Author: Jonathan Hilton
This article was planned for January 6th, but due to technology problems (thank you Ahriman!) it is a day late.
After these most special 12 holy days of cosmic listening, we arrive at January 6th, which marks the visit of the Magi to the Matthew gospel child, as well as Epiphany, the incarnation of the Christ Logos into the prepared vessel of Jesus at 30 years of age at the baptism in the Jordan River. In this article, we will look more deeply at this event surrounding the visit of the Magi, the so-called Star of Bethlehem.
Over the past weeks, there have been many articles about the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter at winter solstice, pointing out the historically highly unusual close proximity of 0.1 degree of the two planets meeting. Though this spatial rarity certainly draws our attention to the planetary world and has caused many to “look up” to the heavens and pay attention to the stars, which is good, it is typical of modern astronomy to focus only on such spatial measurements of the planetary bodies. This may indeed have some special meaning, even in the fact that the spatial proximity has garnered such attention to the heavens. But I have yet to find any particular spiritual theme in relation to the sequencing of these close conjunctions, though it may certainly exist beyond my own understanding. As has been pointed out in these many astronomical articles, this close physical conjunction has not occurred since July 16, 1623, though at that time it was not visible due to its proximity to the Sun. March 5, 1226, was the last time these two planets were again so near each other and visible in the night sky. They were then, as now, also in the stars of Capricorn. The next time they will come together so closely will again be in Capricorn on March 15th, 2080. (Please note that throughout this article, and my work in general, the actual fixed star constellations of the zodiac are the reference, not the tropical signs used in astrology.) This close conjunction will be the next conjunction in the triplicty of the lineage of the current conjunction. But what do we mean by “lineage”? For this, we must leave space and enter into time in order to more deeply understand the spiritual significance of these Great Conjunctions. It is in rhythms of time that the planets reveal their message.
Saturn and Jupiter meet in conjunction every 20 years, marking a new theme, or one could say a new “question” to humanity from these spheres of being. After 60 years, or on the third of their conjunctions, these planets meet again almost in the same position as the conjunction 60 years prior, though about 8-10 degrees further forward along the zodiac. Thus, every 20 years they re-occur in three distinct regions of the stars, forming in the heavens a great equilateral triangle, which has since ancient times been recognized out of esoteric schools, as the Golden Star or Golden Triangle. It is the archetypal form of the “three-ness” that we see in early imaginations, as well as in Rosicrucian and Freemason symbology, to mean the “eye of God” or the Trinity. We even have it on our dollar bill in the USA as the triangle top of the pyramid with the eye inside. This Great Conjunction Golden Triangle form in the heavens is the cosmological origin of this image, the cosmic geometry underlying what we experience as triangle. I once read, “God speaks in threes.” We can see this truth in many forms: body, soul, spirit; thinking, feeling, willing; manas, budhi, atman; to mention a few. In fact, I would assert that one of the great challenges of our times is to overcome dualism and achieve a deeper understanding of three-foldness or the trinity in all aspects of human life. One might say that this evolution into dualism began in 869, at the Council of Constantinople, when the Catholic Church essentially abolished the spirit and defined the human being as consisting of body and soul. I bring this up because I think it is an essential “message” to humanity during 2020 as Jupiter and Saturn were very close together approaching this Great Conjunction, and particularly their meetings with Pluto, all in the stars of the Archer (Sagittarius). The Archer shares the axis of solstices with the stars of Gemini, the Twins. This is the world “vertical” axis of our age, or one could say, that axis deeply connected with egoity, which the solstices each represent in different ways. Rudolf Steiner connects the stars of the Archer with the human ego. So we must consider that this Great Conjunction has been preparing, and in fact happening for all of 2020, since they have been in close relationship and in meetings with Pluto for most of the year. Already by April they were only 6 degrees apart, in the so-called “orb” of conjunction, and all of this in the stars of Archer along the axis of Twins/Archer. They will continue to be in the orb of conjunction into February 2021.
We can truly say that this Great Conjunction lives in humanity consciousness (or perhaps unconsciousness) for many months before and after the exact moment of conjunction. The challenge of overcoming world dualism in coming to a recognition of the third element has been the challenge of this year. The cosmic planetary question of 2020 has to do chiefly with human identity and the true nature of the self (or Self). I have written about this more fully almost one year ago in my article in January 2020. I recently received a note from a friend, who is quite the sports/outdoors enthusiast, and not particularly interested in spiritual subjects, who shared that due to the shutdowns of this year (he lives in Europe), he has had time to think about himself. He is in a crisis of self. He wrote, “I wonder if I am who I am or simply the shadow of the things I like to do.” This is a statement of recognition, which I think perhaps is, or can be, the question of 2020 for many people over the past year. The challenge of course is: What answer does one come to in a world that essentially denies the reality of the spiritual self? It is this third element, the spiritual I AM, the higher self, which is so urgently being called for by this Great Conjunction, if humanity is to survive and transform the current world crises. Now Saturn and Jupiter have crossed into the stars of Capricorn for the actual exact conjunction at winter solstice. Even this timing of winter solstice for this conjunction with its question of the birth of the spiritual I AM is a significant cosmic statement. The preparatory call of 2020 will now be put to the test. We shall go into this later.
Let us continue to look at this Golden Triangle, which is also known as the Star of Zarathustra, or the Zoro-Aster (meaning Golden Star). If one truly thinks into the planetary spheres of Saturn and Jupiter, one can know the mighty impulses that they hold for humanity and call to our attention every 20 years. Each corner of the triangle expresses a different quality, which is also colored by its movement through different zodiacal constellations. From one view, one can say that Saturn carries the Will of the Father and the memory of our origins out of the substance of warmth/will offered as a sacrifice by the Thrones. So, Saturn bears the entire divine plan of evolution of humanity as conceived by the Father realm. Jupiter carries the creative life of the Son and the memory of the creation of life and light, taking the substance of the Father realm and elaborating it and developing it out of cosmic wisdom. In Saturn, we have those beings who hold the plan, the memory of our origins and our entire evolution, and in Jupiter, we have those beings who hold the expansive creative unfolding into the future, out of the highest sources of wisdom.
If we look now at the current “corner” of the Golden Triangle of this 2020 Great Conjunction, how can we understand what it is asking from humanity? From my 45 years of study of the work of Willi Sucher, I find that his research into this Golden Triangle in relation to the Christ incarnation is the key to a new understanding of these conjunctions and our tasks in relation to them. This great triangle keeps its form, but rotates through the zodiac. One can trace its history back and forward in time. Each corner, carrying a specific impulse, travels through history, repeating every 60 years. Though so much could be written about these Great Conjunctions and the Golden Triangle through history, for this article, I will only focus on this one corner’s christic impulse and its relation the present conjunction of 2020 and moving forward. A second article will follow exploring another of these significant conjunctions in this same corner lineage, which occurred in 1603.
As I have written about previously, the archetype of meaning for this Triangle has been given by the events related to the incarnation of the Christ, the Sun Logos, as the central turning point in human evolution and the new impulse of transformation into the future. If we trace back the Triangle to the time of the incarnation, we come to three dates that carry three archetypal themes or impulses, which now can unfold over time, but only if humanity consciously chooses to do so. The first is the Great Conjunction of 6 BC (7 BC calendar year) in the stars of Pisces. The second is the Great Conjunction of 14 AD in the stars of the Archer. The third is the Great Conjunction of 34 AD in the stars of Leo. The current conjunction of 2020 can be traced back in time to the corner of the 6 BC conjunction. This conjunction, according to the in-depth research of Willi Sucher, is the Star of Bethlehem, which the Magi followed to find the birth of the King of the Jews, but who they also knew to be the reincarnation of their great teacher, the Sun initiate, Zarathustra. The challenge we need to resolve here is that the child in the Matthew gospel was not born in 6 BC, as some historians may assert based on using this Great Conjunction to identify the star of Bethlehem. In fact, the true date of the birth of this Matthew Jesus child, as well as the Luke Jesus child, has never been determined by external history. Part of the mystery and challenge altogether of the events of the life of Jesus is that they cannot be “proved” or “disproved” by traditional external historical methods, as it should be. The truth of the events of the life of Jesus Christ can only be found in the spiritual historical archives, the akasha chronicle, which only opens its book to those who have the eyes to read it, as Rudolf Steiner has done. Given this, however, Rudolf Steiner did indicate that the child in the Matthew gospel was born “several months” before the child in the Luke Gospel, which would be one reason John the Baptist, who was born 6 months before Jesus, would not yet have been born at the time of what is called the massacre of the innocents, under Herod’s command. So when might this child have been born? There is some excellent research into the life of Jesus in a book by Ormond Edwards, called The Time of Christ: A Chronology of the Incarnation that I recommend. Based on his research, he concluded that the Matthew Jesus was born on January 6, 1 BC, just under a year before the birth of the Luke child on December 25, 1 BC. So, how does the Great Conjunction of 6 BC then become the Star of the Magi?
First, we must understand that these Magi (or Kings) were the last of those who still carried the ancient initiation wisdom. They came “from the East,” the region of the Tigris and Euphrates, the region of Chaldea and ancient Persia. They were temple priests who read the stars, not as astronomers read the stars, but out of spiritual perception. Though the actual movements of the planets were by that time observed and followed, their meaning arose from a deeper initiation knowledge. The Great Conjunction in the stars of Pisces, pointed them to the Hebrew people, with which these stars were associated. Also, the stars of Pisces are connected to the physical body, thus to “in carne,” becoming flesh. Rudolf Steiner correlates Pisces with the physical body in his lecture on the Mystic Lamb. (Lecture II in The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man). These can be just some small clues to perhaps the profound “spiritual reading” of these Magi regarding the incarnation of Zarathustra among the Hebrew people. Of course they would go to Jerusalem, to the spiritual center of the Temple of the Jews to seek their “king.” Herod heard of this and called the Chief Priests of the Jews to him to find out where this “king” was to be born. When the priests told him Bethlehem, he then called the Magi to him to ask that they come to him when they found the child.
Willi Sucher researched the connection of the Great Conjunction to the actual physical birth of Jesus, and discovered its relationship to an event, which is something that occurs in every human biography, called the Spiritual Nativity, as opposed to the physical nativity. In this, he found a hidden key to the Great Conjunction and the knowledge of the Magi. His working out of the Spiritual Nativity was based from the lecture cycle by Rudolf Steiner, titled Human and Cosmic Thought. Willi describes this “nativity” as connected to the higher impulses from the Sun sphere entering into the human being, either before or after birth, and laying the foundation for the orientation to the “cosmic thought” realm of the Sun. In these lectures, Steiner characterizes this as follows: “I remark expressly, so that no misunderstanding may arise, that these constellations are of much greater importance in the life of the person than the constellations of the external horoscope, and do not necessarily coincide with the “nativity” – the external horoscope.”
If we think now of the high initiate Zarathustra, who was the first to teach the mysteries of the Sun sphere, or the great Sun Aura, Ahura Mazdao, then this “solar or spiritual nativity” would be of greater significance, especially for a Sun Initiate, than the Earth and Lunar birth indications. Willi Sucher worked for years to discover how this “solar nativity” can be calculated, which is connected to the ancient Hermetic Rule, carried over from Hermes Trismegistus, and brings this higher nativity in relation to the moon at birth and its relation to the moving Lunar Nodes as portal moments to the Solar sphere. To go fully into this would take us very deep “into the weeds” of calculation and astrosophy, which would be more complex than the intentions of this article. However, for those interested, there are resources on astrosophy.com in my online videos: Course IV, Chart Construction, Session 8: The Spiritual Nativity. Also on the site is an excellent article by Willi Sucher, The Constellation of Cosmic Thought – Spiritual Nativity. And for a more mathematical and complex explanation, see Willi Sucher’s Practical Approach III, Letter August, 1971, also available on astrosophy.com.
One should of course take this relation of the Great Conjunction to the birth of the Matthew child as one perspective on the Star of Bethlehem, and of course, not fix it as the “law,” but as a way to understand the grandeur of the star wisdom of these Magi and the significance of the Great Conjunction in relation to the birth of the Matthew child. There are very likely additional supersensible star events accompanying this Great Conjunction that were “seen” by the Magi Seers. These are part of the great mystery of the incarnation as a whole, but can certainly serve as a help, particularly with regard to the return of Zarathustra, their great initiate.
With this as a background, we return to the Great Conjunction of 2020 as an ancestor of the Star of the Magi, which is the original or foundational meaning of the Golden Triangle since the incarnation of the Christ. In 6 BC, this was a threefold Great Conjunction in Pisces. This then carries throughout history, anno domini, the announcement of a New Birth, an Annunciation into the world of a new spiritual impulse related to the revelation of the Christ in the Earth. I would say that it can even point more directly to the further revelation of Zarathustra, who Steiner describes as the “first personality who is initiated with Post Atlantean knowledge,” who is that spiritual Master, since Christ, known as the Master Jesus. Rudolf Steiner says about this Master: “None of the leading teachers of esoteric Christianity did as much for the incarnation on Earth of the Sun Logos, the Christ, as Zarathustra. Hence, the individuality of this exalted Master warrants the highest veneration of all pupils of esoteric Christianity” (GA 264).
Of course, all the Masters are servants of the Christ in the Earth out of their own specific tasks. Rudolf Steiner also points out that the Master Jesus incarnates every 100 years to continue his impulse, which is synonymous with the great task of anthroposophy in “preparing human beings in such a way…that an ever greater number of people can receive a reflection of the Ego-nature of Christ Jesus” (GA 109). In his book Rudolf Steiner and the Masters of Esoteric Christianity, Sergei Prokofieff draws the parallel between the original mission of Zarathustra in Ancient Persia for the battle between the Great Sun Aura and Ahriman to his continued mission of overcoming the immense powers of Ahriman in our modern civilization through helping human beings become Christ Bearers or Christophori. Due to the special nature of this particular Great Conjunction in this year, its location and timing, it is a question I live with as to whether this is an indication of the renewed work of the Master Jesus on Earth in our time.
In this context, let us look at this Great Conjunction taking into account the events of the past year and the gradual “conjuncting” of Saturn and Jupiter along with many other planetary events, particularly the conjunctions of these planets with Pluto, all taking place in the Archer. We have the special call for the overcoming of dualism through the awakening of the spiritual I AM, as the healing “third” force moving forward. After all of this preparation, the actual conjunction takes place in the very start of the constellation of Capricorn. This again could be gone into in great depth, but to relate it to this article, it is first the constellation associated with Initiation. I would say that we are entering a kind of humanity initiation, which will not occur without great tribulation and crisis, for all initiation requires catharsis. Secondly, Capricorn is connected to two greater cycles of evolution coming from two directions. Moving forward, it carries already the pre-vision of the 7th Cultural Age, which is called the American Age, when the vernal point, now in Pisces, will have moved into Capricorn. This will be the last age of the greater 5th Post Atlantean Epoch, in which the great War of All Against All will occur. Looking backwards in evolution, Capricorn carries the memory of the 5th round of the Ancient Moon evolution, which was the time of Great War in Heaven, in which the Sun beings took up the battle of overcoming the separated fallen and hardening Moon nature of the human being in order to re-unite again the Sun with the Earth. This process over long periods of time culminated at the end of Ancient Moon evolution with the Cosmos of Wisdom. So, we have in Capricorn both of these imaginations of battle and the victory of the Sun spiritual forces over that which was hardened and fallen away. This Great Conjunction is the first of a triplicity or trinity of Great Conjunctions descending from this particular corner of the Golden Triangle that will occur in the stars of Capricorn. This will carry us to the end of the Michael Age into the Age of Oriphiel. These next three conjunctions will be in 2080 (which as mentioned earlier will be the next conjunction with such close physical proximity between these two planets as the current one), in 2140, and then in 2199 when it will be just at the transition from the stars of Capricorn to the stars of Aquarius. (This exact transition point is challenging to compute as one must also take into account the precession of the equinoxes, which will shift the constellations back slightly.) Then, after this series of this corner of the Golden Triangle, we have the next grouping of Great Conjunctions of this corner in Aquarius stars, which begins in 2259 (the Oriphiel Age begins in about 2234), and again in 2318 and in 2378. As mentioned earlier, this Golden Triangle moves forward along the zodiac, rotating once through the entire zodiac in about 2500 years. These Great Conjunctions will bring the Golden Triangle eventually in the 2438 or 2498 to its original position of 6 BC, which was also during the Age of Oriphiel. Oriphiel is that Archangel connected to Saturn, so it usually brings an age of great testing and karmic reckonings, though it was also in the previous Oriphiel Age that the Christ incarnated. I include these future conjunctions and this expanse of time just to put ourselves into the context of the great cycles of time in which we participate. This can give us a grander context of what the future will bring. One might think: Where will we each be in these cycles? Are we now laying the seeds, the foundational work to be prepared for our next incarnation during this time? We can see our tasks now, with the current question and call from this Great Conjunction and the challenges of our times with regard to a new birth, a new annunciation, in world evolution, as a beginning or a seed time for the future. We are in a critical time, yet, if seen in the context of our developing evolutionary tasks, I think we can gain courage and a higher motivation to serve the transformation of the Earth out of the awakening of the Christ I AM in us. There may be a tiny band of humans carrying this forward, yet, numbers are not the determining factor.
I will follow this article in the next days with a look at one more of these 6 BC lineage Great Conjunctions going back in history out of esoteric knowledge. (Click here to read.)
January 6, 2021
Jonathan Hilton was the President of the Council of New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He has been working with anthroposophy in various ways for over 40 years. His work includes a new approach to star wisdom, arising out of anthroposophy, as developed by Willi Sucher, with a particular focus on the cycle of the year as a path to the new Sun mysteries. astrosophy.com
This article is available in the PDF format for the followers of astrosophy.com.
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