STAR OF BETHLEHEM – An Astrological Configuration


The story of the three ‘wise men’ has captivated people for centuries but many have questioned how could the kings  who travelled  hundreds of miles ‘from the East’ have arrived within days of  the birth of Jesus. The Magi, or Mage, were Masters of the esoteric arts with a deep understanding of the celestial heavens and the significance of planetary configurations.  Astrology, as a cornerstone of the divine sciences had amassed a vast wealth of data throughout antiquity.  The birth of a Messiah or Saviour had long been foretold by the prophets and was awaited impatiently by the Jewish people,  An event of such magnitude as the birth of an Avatar, or World Teacher, would certainly have been expected to be heralded in the heavens. It would be reasonable to expect the unfolding of not one but a series of unusual planetary configurations. The Magi who had been scanning the heavens awaiting the sign that the birth of a king was imminent were alerted by a series of rare planetary conjunctions which combined to create the Star of Bethlehem. At this point they began their long journey to Palestine which would indeed take many months. Through their ability to read the astrological signs they were led by the Star of Bethlehem ensuring  that their arrival in the region coincided with the birth of Jesus.


Astrologers and astronomers have pondered on the mystery of the Star for centuries and many possible explanations and have been put forward.  The Star has never been explained satisfactorily because we begin with preconceived ideas and assumptions, seeking physical answers to metaphysical concepts.  Assuming the validity of the story, we must first decide whether the Star was the result of natural phenomena, a miraculous event, or perhaps a combination of both.  We can turn to Johannes Kepler for assistance. Kepler, a German astronomer born in 1571, is credited with the discovery of the laws of planetary motion; he was also a brilliant astrologer.

In December 1603 as Christmas approached, Kepler intrigued by the mysteries of the Star of Bethlehem, sought an answer and through his calculations found there had been a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Pisces in both 7 and 6 BC.

Fifteen centuries after the life of Jesus, Kepler identified the triple conjunction, which lasted for a period of ten months, as the Star of Bethlehem foretold by Old Testament prophecy as the coming of the King of Kings, the Messiah.

Jupiter,  was acknowledged by ancient peoples as the King’s planet, the highest authority and ruler of the solar system and known by many names.  To the Babylonians it was Marduk, to the Greeks, Zeus and to the Romans, Jupiter.  Kepler referred to the writing of a medieval scholar Rabbi Abarbonel to learn the particular significance of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction for the Jewish people.  Saturn, the ringed planet, was accorded the role of Shield of Palestine, while the constellation Pisces, associated with Syria and Palestine, represented epochal events.  The planetary configuration of Jupiter encountering Saturn in Pisces, occurring at the time of the birth of Jesus, would certainly have indicated to the astrologers of the day, the imminent arrival of a divine cosmic ruler to appear in Palestine.

Jewish prophecies had predicted that the arrival of the Messiah would be heralded by a celestial event as a sign from God.  In Jewish tradition when the King’s Star Jupiter lined up with Saturn, the star of ultimate authority, this was referred to as the Star of David.  Jesus, was of the royal line of David.  Christ, or Christos, is not a name but a title, translated as ‘anointed of God’.  Small wonder that the star would be seen as the celestial signature for the birth of Christ the King.

Astrological calculations are exact and therefore the date for the birth of Jesus is critical in proposing that these celestial configurations in any way heralded his mission.

Controversy over this date has continued to vex theologians and strengthened the argument for sceptics.  We know that in the sixth century, the monk Dionysus Exiguus was appointed by Pope John the First to create a new calendar, in an attempt to reconcile the Roman and the Celtic calendars, which did not agree.  This he did, taking the birth of Jesus as the new reference point for its commencement.  After some reluctance and debate this was formally adopted by the Synod of Whitby, England in 664 AD and from then on chronological time has been measured from the birth and death of Jesus as BC or AD.  Centuries later it had become apparent that Dionysus had miscalculated.  Jesus was known to have been born in the reign of Caesar Augustus, the commencement of whose reign was of course known.  However, Dionysus did not take into account that when proclaimed emperor, Augustus had already reigned in another name for some four years.  It is a historical fact that Dionysus miscalculated by a period of approximately 5 years.  By the time this was realised it was too late for the Church to concede their error, the masses were never informed and have continued to celebrate, oblivious to the fact that Jesus was born not in the first year of the first century but some years before.  For millions who approached the millennium celebrations in hope or even in fear of what this might bring this has some significance.  For those who study cycles and prophecy it is important to know that it is later than we think.

We can now consider the metaphysical aspects of the Star to decide whether this was simply natural phenomena, a scientifically recorded historical event or something more. While there is no doubting the triple conjunction which occurred over a ten month period in 7 and 6 BC as an actual physical event, we must also take into account the description given that the Star of Bethlehem appeared in the East and moved in a westerly direction coming to rest ‘over the place where Jesus lay’ in Bethlehem.  If we return to the principle that matter is light energy clothed in a denser vibration we might trace the emanation of light back to its origin, consciousness of such magnitude that it created a point of light within the night sky for all to see,heralding the long awaited birth.

Read also:

Christmas Day – A Festival of Light 

Epiphany – An Astrological Interpretation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *