1. Virgo & Libra
The Heavens Declare: constellations as prophecy
1. Virgo & Libra
2. Scorpio & Sagittarius
3. Capricorn & Aquarius
4. Pisces & Aries
5. Taurus & Gemini
6. Cancer & Leo
Zebulun / Virgo (Gen 49:13, Deut 33:18)
The first ‘chapter’ of the first ‘book’ of the Mazzaroth is what we would call Virgo. The famous prophecy of Gen 3:15, of the Seed of the woman, is a direct and explicit reference to the virgin birth. The phrase is used only once, because women do not have "seed" — only men do (‘sperm’ means ‘seed’). This prophecy is affirmed by Isaiah (): “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”, "God with us". Isaiah (9:6) recognizes this child as the true Ruler of the world: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder” — and He is "Mighty God", ruling over an eternal kingdom. Paganism dimly remembered the virgin birth variously, as with
The sign is called Bethulah, "a virgin" in Hebrew (and "a branch" in Arabic; in Latin, virgo is ‘virgin’ and virga is ‘branch’). In Arabic, the sign is called Sunbul, "an ear of grain". Thus, the woman holds a branch in her right hand, and ears of wheat in her left; she is usually depicted as reclining or fallen. The pagans corrupted this sign as
The major star of Virgo is in the left hand, contained among the grains of wheat, and is called Spica, "ear of wheat"; it is Tsemech in Hebrew (H.) — one of many Hebrew words meaning "branch". But this "branch" is used in only four contexts in the Old Testament, always in reference to the Messiah. In Jer 23:5‑6 (repeated in 33:15) the Branch is King (the theme of Matthew), in Zech 3:8 the Branch is Servant (the theme of Mark), in Zech the Branch is Man (the theme of Luke), and in Is 4:2 the Branch is Jehovah (the theme of John). Other names associated with Virgo are al Azal and Subilon, meaning "branch" or "ear of wheat". The second brightest star is in the left shoulder, called Zavijaveh, "the gloriously beautiful" (cf. Is 4:2). The star named Al Mureddin, in the right arm, means "who shall come down" (cf. Ps 72:8); it is called Vindemiatrix in Aramaic, meaning "the Coming Son". If we connect the names of these stars by brightness, in the context of the constellation, we get a story something like: "Through the virgin, the Branch, gloriously beautiful, shall descend."
The first of Virgo's three decans (associated constellations) is Coma, from Comah, "the desired" (cf. Ps 63:1, Hag 2:7). The pagans corrupted this constellation by making it represent a wig — ‘coma’ meaning "hair", hence "comet". But its ancient image is a seated young woman (a virgin according to the Persian name) nursing a male child. The Egyptian name from Dendera of this decan was Shesnu, "the Desired Son". Albumazar, an Arabian astronomer of the ninth century, says the woman is “nourishing an infant boy [with] a Hebrew name, by some nations called IHESU, with the signification IEZA, which in Greek is called CHRISTOS.” When the constellation was composed, it had only 10 dim stars; now it has 43.
The second decan of Virgo is Centaurus the centaur - that double natured being anciently were often represented not exclusively as part horse, but alternatively as part goat, the animal of the sin-offering. The Hebrew name is Bezeh ("the despised" — cf. Is 53:3, "He is despised and rejected of men"). The sign surrounds the four bright stars of the Southern Cross, which together are the lowest but one of the constellations (lowest is Ara the altar or pyre). Centaurus is shown thrusting a fatal lance into the decan, Victima, which we will consider shortly. The pagan Greeks named this centaur (and others) Cheiron, "the pierced", or "who pierces". Myths represent him as a teacher who voluntarily laid down his life, pierced by an envenomed dart of Hercules as he sought the Erymanthean boar; the arrow struck Cheiron in the leg and caused excruciating pain, but because he was divine he could die only after he had transferred his immortality to Prometheus, that type of Adam. The similarity of this myth to the Passion is too obvious to need explanation. The brightest of these stars (in the foremost-hoof) varies in brightness, and was also called Cheiron, and also Toliman ("the past and the future" — consider Rev 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending . . . which is, and which was, and which is to come — the Almighty” (cf. also Rev 21:6, 22:13); this star was also known as Asmeath ("sin-offering", cf. Is 53:10), as well as Pholas, from the Hebrew root meaning "mediation". Thus we have, in the same object, God Almighty and a mediator who acts as a sin-offering. The decan originally had 18 stars, but now it has 35.
The third and final decan of Virgo is Arcturus, meaning "He cometh" (cf. Job 9:9): a striding man carrying a shepherd's crook (or a spear) in his right hand and a sickle in his left; Arcturus has his back to Arktos, the Greater-Fold (Ursa Major), standing as protector against the advance of the Serpent — sickle raised to lop off its head. That Jesus is the Shepherd of the saved is too well known to mention, but consider ,16, describing Christ who reaps with a sickle. Another name was Arctophylax, "the guardian of the greater flock" (Ursa Major, as we will see; cf. Jn ). The Egyptians called him Smat ("one who rules"), and also Bau ("the coming one"). We know him by the Greek name of Boötes (derived from H. bo, "the coming", rather than the word for "plow"). The primary star, Arcturus — in the left knee — gave its name to the entire constellation. The next brightest star — in the sickle — is called Nekkar ("the pierced", cf. Zech ), and also Merga ("who bruises"). In the right hip is Mirac ("coming forth like an arrow"), also called Mizar ("the preserver, guarding"). Lower, in the left calf, we find Muphride ("who separates"). Finally, in the crook is Al Katurops ("the branch, treading under foot"). Thus we have the Coming One, the protecting Guardian with staff and sickle — Shepherd of the larger flock — pierced yet bruising, coming swift as an arrow, to preserve his own, and separate out the rest, treading them under foot. These are the very images Jesus uses of Himself, in Mt 24 & 25. It formerly had 18, and now has 54 stars.
In Virgo, then, we have the virgin-mother through whom the beautiful Branch descends, and we have the Desired child (Coma), the Despised dual-natured God who is a sin-offering (Cheiron), and the swift Shepherd and King who comes in judgment (Arcturus). A link between the tribe of Zebulun ("dwelling") and the sign of Virgo is in the "going out" of Deut 33:18, which is the "coming" of Arcturus; He went out from the Father, dwelt among us, and will return. An even more symbolic link is found in comparing the "haven of the sea" (Gen 49:13) with the womb (haven) of Mary (whose name derives from another word for "sea")
Levi / Libra (Deut 33:10)
The second ‘chapter’ in the Book of the First Coming, is Libra, the Scales. (Because of the close association with the claws of Scorpio, the bowls of the Scales have sometimes been called Chelae, "the Claws.") Libra develops the theme of the sacrificial death which leads to the glory of heaven. The sign's semitic name is Mozanaim (H. "the scales"), or Al Zuibena (A. "redemption"); the Coptic name is Lambadia ("station of propitiation"; in Arabic, lam means "graciousness", and badia means "branch"); the Greek name is Zugos, "yoke" or "cross-beam". It is represented by the well-known image of the balances, one side lower than the other. The Persian image includes a human figure which holds in one hand the scales, and in the other a lamb, as the thing to be weighed. The most ancient image, however, is of a circle. In
The foremost star is in the outer scale, and called Zuben al Genubi ("the price which is deficient"). Ps 49:7-8 gives the image: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him — for the redemption of their souls is costly . . .” Ps 62:9 states of men of all stations of life, that if “they are weighed in the balances, they are altogether lighter than vapor.” Even the most powerful of men, Belshazzar, Emperor of Babylon, was (Dn ) “weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” The scale is light, because neither wealth nor character can meet the price. The next brightest star is grasped by the claw of Scorpio, in the inner, lower scale — Zuben al Chemali ("the price which covers"): “for You were slain, and have redeemed us” (Rev 5:9); the Hebrew denoted this star with the ancient cross-shaped letter Tau, last of the alphabet, signifying a completion; yet another name is al Gubi ("heaped up"). The third brightest star is Zuben Akrabi ("the price of conflict"). We see that the valued price, the one deemed to be sufficient, is the one claimed by the Adversary.
The first decan of Libra is the Southern Cross, by far the brightest constellation of the Southern Hemisphere. Its Hebrew name, appropriately, was Adom ("cutting off", cf. Dn , where Messiah is cut off); this name is justified by the fact, as we just saw, that the cross-shaped Tau "cuts off" the Hebrew alphabet. The ancient Dendera zodiac of
Obviously the ancients knew the Southern Cross, which was reportedly once visible at latitude 40°N, and by the time of the Crucifixion had sunk so low that only its highest star could be seen in
The fact that the Cross is now below the horizon of the Northern Hemisphere has caused scholars to assume that the zodiac was formulated over 5000 years ago. While we agree that the constellations are of greatest antiquity, we dismiss the conventional reasoning, which is based on the uniformitarian belief that all things continue as they always have. In fact, the rotation of Earth has been catastrophically disrupted — as we know from the Bible, with its account of the long day of Joshua, and the backwards movement of the sun in Hezekiah's day. All conclusions regarding chronology which depend on astronomical calculations are, then, rendered invalid. I address these matters in depth in Most Ancient Days and The Days of Brass and Iron.
The second decan is Asedah (H. "to be slain"), Victima in Latin, Thera ("a beast") in Greek — its image is of an animal (by modern convention, a wolf), falling down dead, slain by the benevolent Centaur, Cheiron. The Egyptian image is of a naked child holding a finger to his lips; the name is Sura, "a lamb". This very image is found in Is 53:7: “He opened not his mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth.” The stripped child is the mythological Harpocrates, victim of justice, god of silence and acquiescence; sometimes this character is shown with a goat's horn, either on his head or as the bountiful cornucopia. Notice that it is the Centaur, a type of dual-natured Jesus Christ, which slays the sacrificial Victim, another type of Christ: and Jesus said (Jn -), “I lay down my life for the sheep . . . . No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” He (Heb ) “offered Himself without spot to God”. In the pre-Flood heavens, 9 of the now over 22 dim stars were seen.
The final decan of Libra is
And so we conclude our examination of the sacred altar, the place of propitiation and redemption — of the scales which find one price deficient but another, the price of conflict, heaped high (Libra). We find the Lion on the cross (Southern Cross), the child as victim (Victima), and the glorious crown of reward (
.Seiss, p. 28.
.From a Latin translation in the
.According to Seiss, p. 32, Arctos is “a word which in its Oriental elements connects with the idea of enclosure, the ascending, the happy, the going up upon the mountains.”
.See Seiss, p. 171.