Chapter 2 - Life, Death and Resurrection
Life, Death, and Resurrection
However satisfying any birthchart may be in its symbolism, and however descriptive of its subject, if it is a speculative chart it must be tested exhaustively against events and the people with whom the subject is most closely connected.
Testing the Chart
In the case of Jesus, the best material we have with which to test this chart for May 7th 5BC, is the history of the Christian Church itself, founded by him through his disciples - this is the subject for later chapters. I can also offer you the nativity of Mary, his mother, on August 4th 24 BC at 12h33 LMT (BC010) ; the story of how this chart was shown to me is told in The Draconic Chart (Flare, 2000, 2010). The life led by Jesus himself is only known through the canonical gospels, a number of other non-canonical writings, and an account by the early historian Josephus of the trial and crucifixion in "about 29 AD". The only timed event given to us is the family's visit to Jerusalem at Passover when Jesus was twelve years old; this is in Luke's Gospel, and it is Luke also who tells us that Jesus was "about thirty years old" when John baptised him and he began his ministry. John the Baptist was preaching in the Judaean desert in approximately 26-27 AD, and if the ministry of Jesus Christ began in 26 AD, according to this nativity he would have reached the age of thirty-one. The crucifixion of Jesus after a probable three years with the disciples could then have yaken place in AD 29 when he was nearly thirty-four years old, or even a year later in 30 AD.
However, Church tradition has it that Jesus was born in the year "0" and put to death at age thirty-three; this would date the crucifixion at 33 AD or thereabouts, rather than 29/30 AD. If this nativity of 5 BC is correct, then Jesus would have died and resurrected just over a month before his 37th birthday. So much of the chronology is open to question that it would seem fruitless to test the birthchart against events in Jesus' life.
Progressed Patterns and the Cross
I believe, though, that we have just enough to work with. Firstly, we can look at the progressions for his twelfth year, on his 11th birthday in May 7 AD; for we are told that when he was about twelve his parents and friends took him to Jerusalem in the spring, at Passover - only to lose him after they left for home. (BC011) . He was found eventually, deep in discussion of matters spiritual and philosophical with the Rabbis, the learned men of the Temple (a tradition still vigorously carried on at the Temple's remaining Western wall) and he rebuked his parents for failing to realise that he was "about his Father's business", beginning to prepare himself for the unique work decreed by God for his adult life and final years.
Mapping the 7 AD progressions with Jesus’ radix, what we find is that Jupiter, angular with the Sun at birth, has come exactly to conjoin the Western horizon, opening him fully to the religious and intellectual life. At the same time, Mercury retrograde has begun to close with the Sidereal Sun at birth, in 17º24' Taurus, and is also consequently approaching both Sidereal and progressed Tropical Jupiter and the birth Descendant. His Sun, now in 24º Taurus and exactly at the p. Descendant, is also coming to its square with the natal Sidereal MC while rapidly closing on Sidereal Mercury radix. All this stimulus to key Sidereal positions amidst a blaze of solar power describes a pivotal year of development in his world role.
When you add in the eclipses at Jerusalem in 0007-0008 AD, the importance of this period cannot be underestimated. There were eight in total from February to February, and most of them hit Mary’s chart head-on, impacting her Leo Sun/Pluto, her Leo Moon/MC, and her Mercury/Saturn in Virgo. Most strikingly, the Lunar eclipse of August 17th at 05h36 (BC012) not only straddles the local horizon with Venus and Mercury, but also hits Jesus' Midheaven. Its composite with his chart (BC013) brings Sun to MC, Moon and Uranus to the Descendant, marking the sudden revelation to the 12-year-old of what his life's path must be. The Total Solar eclipse of the following year, on July 21st 0008 at 05h07, also rises at Jerusalem, with spiritually turbulent Pluto on the IC (BC014) . The composite again brings Sun to Midheaven in a full 10th house that contains a poignant Moon conjunct Saturn - emphasising that from now on he must continue to obey his heavenly Father at much emotional cost to his earthly mother.
Moving forward to 33 AD, first let me present its credentials as the year in which the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus actually took place. In the science journal Nature, dated 22/29 December 1983 (Christmas issue) Colin J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington published a paper entitled "Dating The Crucifixion". Their careful research into the dates of Spring new moons in the years 26 - 36 AD showed that in only two of the years during which Pontius Pilate ruled in Israel as Roman Procurator, did 14th Nisan (Passover) fall on a Friday. Those years were 30 and 33 AD, and on Friday April 3rd (Julian) 33 AD a lunar eclipse was visible at sunset, when "the Moon appeared like blood" on the Eastern horizon, opposite the setting Sun.
When the chart is set up for a moment that the eclipsed Moon had just risen, Jesus cried out on the cross and his human body died, (BC015) , we find that on the Jerusalem horizon this eclipse fell square to a culminating Saturn in the Tropical and Sidereal degrees conjoining, opposing and squaring Tropical/Draconic and Sidereal Saturn in the chart of Jesus, and at that same moment the dwad Saturn was right on the IC, forming a perfect Cardinal Grand Cross. This dwad (BC016) with its dramatic fixed Grand Cross adds even more power and pain: its MC lines up with the radix Pluto/Jupiter opposition, while Uranus ‘rises' and Mars ‘sets'. The dwad Sun-Chiron axis joins transiting Uranus in Leo - right on Mary’s Moon/Meridian. The dwad Uranus/Asc/Desc hits her Saturn at the beginning of Virgo. Here is a mother in total shock. In the dwad’s 12th house we see not only Jesus’ followers' distress but also in that conjunction of Moon and Chiron in Aquarius the gift of suffering that offers to redeem the world. Fittingly, 33 AD was the year of Jesus' second, all-important Nodal Return.
If we progress and daily progress Jesus’ nativity to 32/33 AD we find striking support for the events of April 3rd and 5th: by secondary progression (BC017) , the MC had come to conjoin that epochal South Node at Tropical 0º Libra, heralding the total surrender of worldly identity to the purpose for which the Soul had come into being, the great gift of his life. The progressed Ascendant in 16º Sagittarius, with setting Sun/Venus, carried the transiting Pluto-Jupiter opposition - and just such a passage of Pluto over Ascendant always brings in one form or another a death and a rebirth. Sidereal Pluto was nearly opposite the progressed Sun. To emphasise the totality of that massive transformation, on the 5th, the day of Christ’s Resurrection, the dwad position of the daily progressed IC/MC (BC018) was 15º Gemini-Sagittarius, right on that Jupiter-Pluto axis!(This suggests that with the dwads we are, amongst other things, dealing with the subtle body rather than with the dense material form.)
At the time of the Crucifixion the dwad of Jesus’ progressed pattern is very explicit: by direct progression (BC019) the dwad DPASC, which moved about 12º over the course of the day, was itself in 11+º Gemini, about to conjoin the 0º4' opposition of transiting Pluto to fully progressed Venus, his Sun-ruler, the Evening Star, while closing on the transformative squares to progressed Uranus and Pluto. It was still carrying the piercing agony of transiting Mars in 7 Gemini and the grief of his bereaved mother - progressed Ceres in Gemini 9. Symbolically, in this daily progressed dwad, Jesus’ ruling Venus meets the IC, the end of incarnate life.
It took a fresh look at my own life to prompt the next, even more important step. In 1992 and 1993 both my parents died. During the course of 1994, a number of fellow-astrologers spoke or wrote to me about their use of Converse progressed patterns and I realised how long it was since I really took a good look at these. I was shocked to see what I had been neglecting - my double bereavement happened over the active period of a Converse Sun-Saturn opposition.
Let us now together go back to the chart of Jesus at the time of his crucifixion and its one disquieting mystery: after all that hard work, why was only his Saturn apparently hit by the massed forces of that eclipse? In the progressed Converse pattern (BC020) lies the answer - for here at last we find what we should have hoped to find at the hardest time of his life, the Sun-Saturn conjunction. Tropically, this fell in 9º Aries - but even more importantly, the Sidereal Converse Sun-Saturn was at 11º55'/12º09' Aries on the day of the Crucifixion, so much closer to the tropical axis of the sunset Lunar Eclipse that it is almost exact. In Jesus' tropical converse, this lethal conjunction is fatefully joined by the converse dwad ASC and N.Node in 11º and 9º Aries respectively; the tropical converse ASC at 15º26' Libra is hit directly by the Sidereal eclipse pattern, and squared by converse MC in Cancer with dwads of converse Uranus and Saturn, plus the transiting, culminating Saturn of Christ’s Crucifixion. In this same dwad, the Sun is symbolically at the end of life, conjunct the IC - and opposite natal dwad Pluto.
The daily converse dwad (BC021) is extraordinary. Bear in mind, again, that its Sun and Angles move 12º over the course of a day. Here is a mighty conjunction in Cancer of converse dwad Sun, Ceres, Uranus, Saturn lined up with - again - the transiting, culminating Saturn and squared by Jesus’ natal Saturn and the Crucifixion eclipse. The daily converse radix meridian has lined up with transiting Uranus and DCdwad Mars. The Judas-pattern of the natal 12th-house Mars-Neptune has come to fruition in the almost exact conjunction of the two converse planets (quincunx the Sun/Ceres/Uranus/Saturn) combining in the dwad with dwad converse Venus at his natal IC, aligned with the dwad eclipse. In the Sidereal converse chart, the dwad cluster of Sun, Uranus, Saturn, IC moves cataclysmically onto Jesus' radix sidereal MC in 23º -25º Leo. For good measure the dwad Uranus/ASC - Mars/DESC found at the Sidereal Crucifixion (BC022) (whose IC is yet again on that transit of Saturn) falls across his nodal axis.
It all adds up to the picture of a man betrayed, in pain, going through the toughest trial of his life since converse Sun on radix Saturn five years earlier in 27/28 AD is likely to have brought him news of the Baptist's murder by Herod. (Remember that not only did John baptise Jesus - probably as the converse Sun began the approach to Saturn - settling on his shoulders the conscious burden of his ministry, but was his second cousin and may have been close to him since childhood as Mary and Elizabeth were such good friends.) It is a picture of heavy destiny, a mission completed, an agonising physical, mental and spiritual ordeal before the joy of transformation.
We have no exact time for Christ’s Resurrection on the Sunday morning; we can only surmise that it may have happened symbolically at or around the rising of the Sun. There are, therefore, four good symbolic moments that suggest themselves: sunrise itself in Jerusalem at 05h49m45s am Local Time, (BC023) , Sun at the IC at 00h02m45 (BC024), earlier at 04h08m06s when Pluto and Jupiter dominated the meridian, (BC025), and later at 04h22m30s at Moonset, (BC026), perhaps bringing the women - and specifically Mary - to the empty tomb. The sunrise chart is unexceptional, but the Sun at the IC a couple of minutes past midnight is definitely worth considering as in the dwad we find Moon and Mars at the IC with the Sun, all opposite a Uranus/MC conjunction. The radix Sun is angular again, on the dwad 7th. The Pluto-Jupiter/meridian moment is another that throws up an interesting dwad of Uranus-Sun, this time sparking life across the radix horizon. And just after the Moon has set there is yet another moment which is even more electric: Sun, Mars and Midheaven conjoin in the dwad opposite Uranus and IC, while across the dwad horizon stretches the Pluto/N.Node-Jupiter/S.Node opposition. Every one of these last three charts contains the powerful shock of energy that must have occurred at the instant of Resurrection, and left the image of Jesus on his abandoned shroud.
We have already mentioned Jesus’ daily progressions for the day of his Resurrection (BC018); look again at the centre of this triwheel - did you ever see anything to match that amazing collection of N.Node/ Jupiter/ Sun/ Neptune/ Pluto all within three degrees? Again, what an extraordinary burst of joyous supernatural energy occurs on this holiest of days! Opposite is the Moon in her South Node, and all are square Mercury-Saturn, though sextile Venus. This is the Cross of the Risen Christ, the phenomenal world and its burdens all let go. But what does the converse (BC027) show us? Curiously, it is poignant. Dwad Ascendant is with radix converse N.Node, dwad N.Node is with radix converse Sun/Saturn; another quartet, of dwad converse Sun/Ceres/Uranus/Saturn in Cancer carries the weight of the Saturn transit. It shows that in accomplishing the work for which he was born, Jesus had come to a point where his human self had to go through the wrench and the sadness of leaving behind a world and people to whom he was dearly attached.
It would be difficult to imagine a set of patterns better fitted to the death and resurrection of Jesus - and even harder to find them.
But if you want further proof, I can offer you more.
The Composite Pattern
Most of us have discovered the value of composite charts in clarifying the dynamics and viability of relationship - but have you made composites of people with events? There is every good reason to do this, as the most significant function of a composite is to show that the planetary energies of one space-time event (which may or may not be the incarnation of a person) are mirroring those of another, and therefore they mean something to each other. So you would expect the composites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection with Jesus to show us the same trauma, the same pain, the same sacrifice, the same transformation as the forgoing patterns have done.
We’ll start with the composite of Jesus with his Crucifixion (BC028). At the Tropical (personal) level we have a triple conjunction of Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus in the 8th very close to his natal Moon; the Moon is very publically on the MC square Pluto/Asc and Sun/Desc with dwad Saturn and the Nodes (at 28 Aries-Libra) all aligned tightly with natal 12th-house Mars. When you create a dwad of this Tropical Composite (NOT a composite of Jesus' and the Crucifixion dwads***) you also find Sun conjunct Mars and opposite Pluto on the IC/MC in early Pisces-Virgo. The dwad of the Sidereal composite (historic, collective) (BC029) puts Sun with radix composite Venus in Taurus to identify the Prince of Peace, the Dragon's Head joins the Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus trio in Gemini 3to mark an epochal event and MC conjoins the radix composite S.Node. Yes, this moment does mean destiny, sacrifice, agony and death. Here is our Jesus graphically crucified across the inner and outer sky. (*** Unfortunately Solar Fire, which will happily make composites of dwads, draws the line at dwads of composites, so I am unable to display these eloquent charts, only describe them.)
We have a choice of possible times for Christ’s Resurrection on the Sunday morning, examined earlier; interestingly, the sunrise chart - which is otherwise less dramatic than the others - gives us a composite (BC030) where the Sun-Pluto opposition realigns with the meridian; the man is no longer stretched across the sky, but becomes a surge of mighty energy rising upwards from the tomb of Sun/IC/dwad Saturn. However, the dwad of the SunIC chart presents us with the very same alignment! (BC031). And this is very close to Jesus’ nodal axis. A little while after dawn the composite horizon would collect Draconic dwad Sun/Mars (exact) opposite a Moon-Mars-Draco dwad Pluto conjunction; this also could be a moment when "very early on the Sunday morning, just after sunrise" Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of James went to the sepulchre, and when they discovered it empty, were told by an angel in white robes that Jesus had risen, and " hurried away from the tomb in awe and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples". On their way back, Jesus himself appeared to them to tell them that they would see him again later in Galilee. The composite of the dwad of this event with the dwad of Jesus (BC032) is terrific! Uranus on the Ascendant with his radix Ceres/Mercury squares a Leo Moon right on Jesus’ radix MC. If that isn’t an unscheduled meeting with possibly two astonished women, I’ll eat my hat!
One of these vivid, eloquent moments surely saw Christ rising through the power of God, and the imminent transformation of his companions' lives.
The Solar Return
It would be a surprise if after such remarkable patterns Jesus' Solar Return preceding this Passover had nothing notable to tell us. And we are not disappointed (BC033). Again Uranus rises, Mars sets, and the ASC/DESC closely squares their violent midpoints. The rising Uranus also tightly squares the MC and culminating Sun, whose dwad (BC034) is in the S.Node opposite dwad Pluto at the Dragon's Head. The sidereal MC closes up with the tropical Sun, and the draconic Sun conjoins the N.Node and that critical natal pattern across 21º-23º Libra-Aries. Draconic Pluto opposes Sun and Jupiter, draconic Saturn lies opposite draconic dwad Sun, and draconic Venus is on radix Saturn. Jupiter conjoins natal Mercury; the tropical Moon is conjunct his sidereal Midheaven opposite Mars, even closer to his sidereal IC.
The sidereal Solar Return half a day later again (BC035) has the Sun angular - in the 3rd at the IC - as sacrificial Neptune rises with dwad Uranus right on that Ascendant; the spiritually-powerful and dramatic Sun-Pluto opposition across the dwad is close to exact in this the Collective chart. In both patterns, with active 9th and 3rd houses, travelling and teaching are strong. Most telling of all, the draconic Descendant in the Sidereal Return (BC036) joins Saturn in 8º Cancer as its Pluto opposes the sidereal SR Sun and the draconic N.Node points to the end of incarnation on the 4th cusp. This is emphatically to be a year of shock, of change, of much publicity and glory, of trauma, sacrifice, pain and victory. AD 32-33 was the year of fulfilled destiny in which this soul was to achieve everything he came for.
Degrees in the Nativity
Bearing all the fore-going in mind, it would be interesting to see if any of the several books devoted to degree-meanings have anything significant to add to this chart for Jesus. Two of these seem to me to be more than usually reliable in such a deeply subjective field: one is the fine synthesis achieved by Esther Leinbach after long study of the available sources, and the other is the series produced in 1917 by Isidore Kozminsky. And further support does appear from this quarter:-
For Taurus 14+º Kozminsky offers the image of "A student with lamp in hand, standing at the entrance of a cavern from which issue clouds of soft, light, rosy vapour" to which he adds his own understanding of the degree - "Denotes a person whose tastes and desires are directed to the understanding of the secrets which rest beneath the veil. He has brought to earth from other sources the knowledge which enables him to find the entrance to the cavern of hidden jewels ... the gateway is guarded by sublime and intense colours caused by more excessive vibrations than can be endured by the human body ... it is a symbol of initiation."
Leinbach agrees that "This degree seems to encompass some mystical tendencies. The native may either seek companionship or retire to some monastic situation where he meditates on seeing mystical truths. It would seem that the influences here are mewant to blend the two extremes ... he usually does all he can to benefit society."
Discipleship for Peter, James, John and the rest of the chosen few, was a constant series of initiations into the secret teachings Jesus brought with him from the Divine Life; on our journey through the holy places at Easter we came to a rocky cavern in the hillside where Jesus would retire with his close companions to initiate them secretly into the deeper mysteries that were denied to the crowd. It is my personal conviction that these would have included many of the teachings restored by the "New Age" - the truths of reincarnation and the evolutionary journey of the soul, the symbolism of astrology, enhancement of sensitivity, ways of spiritual and physical healing, meditation and prayer ... many things, cast out from the so-called Christian Churches. Jesus would only teach these things openly by using the symbolic imagery of the parables, so that "those that have ears to hear" would understand, and the developmentally unready would not. To the latter, only the exoteric meaning would be plain. One of the images Jesus used for the spiritual understanding yearned for by the seeker, is the pearl of great price. This is the hidden jewel which, once found, is purchased by the sacrifice of everything less valuable. At his physical death on the cross, "the veil of the Temple was rent" as a sign that in that act and from that moment, Heaven was offering freely to humanity the spiritual treasure hidden in the religious establishment. In Holman Hunt's famous painting "Behold, I stand at the door and knock" Jesus is shown with lamp in hand waiting for his knock to be answered, and another of us to journey with him, by the light of his love and his knowledge, into the caverns of our own initiation. For many years in my dreams I came upon hidden treasure - here it is. It is also for you.
Of Taurus 17+º, the degree of the Sidereal Sun, Leinbach says that "it seems there is a message here concerning violence and non-violence ... This degree has characterised individuals as swimming against the current ... the real power of non-violent action is active goodwill. There are few people who can live such a demonstration. When they succeed with their own lives we call them Saints." (My italics.) And bearing in mind the unique mission of the Christ in the person of Jesus, it is remarkable that Kozminsky adds this: "Within him is a continual war between good and evil, and victory depends on himself alone." Jesus spent forty days on his own in the Judaean desert in parching heat tussling with the voice of worldly temptation; he quelled it with all the scorn of his spiritual integrity and power. He had to do it alone. Non-violence and active goodwill are cornerstones of his exoteric and esoteric teaching - "Love thy neighbour as thyself" - "Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left. ... Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors" ... "Blessed are the peacemakers" - he was teaching the laws of the repayment and non-perpetuation of karma. Had he followed the current of his time, there would have been no Crucifixion, no Resurrection, and two thousand years void of the Christian drama. Jesus knew that his historic (Sidereal) impact on the world, challenging every convention, every value-system, every selfish, belligerent bone in our bodies, would polarise love and fear in the world. "I come not to bring peace, but a sword."
It is worth looking at the readings given by Kozminsky for the Tropical and Sidereal degrees of the Ascendant, surrounded as they are by degrees whose meanings seem to be quite negative and certainly not appropriate.
For Scorpio 16+º - "Denotes peculiar birth conditions, but a gifted person who, though threatened with danger, overcomes and produces worthy works. His powerful and energetic soul is blended with idealism, poetry and beauty. There is firmness in all he does, and a power which gives it penetrative force and excellence."
For Scorpio 19+º - the image is of "A handsome boy, climbing up a ladder, looking upwards to the heavens ... Denotes one especially favoured and of magnetic personality who raises himself by his own efforts and indomitable mind. He gains by right, scorning base and unworthy actions, and gains in spite of obstacles which are raised against him ..." ... even the world's mockery and the cross.
A further reference to degree-significance turned up among my papers, a translation by Mary Vohryzek of work by Elspeth and Reinhold Ebertin, detailing the anatomical correlations of the 360 degrees. To Taurus 14+º they assign "the true vocal chords" and to Scorpio 16+º the head of the cochlea in the inner ear. This again is remarkable, since Christ is identified as ‘the Word’, and he said to his followers "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." The act of correct listening was emphasised constantly in his teaching - "He that has ears to hear, let him hear!" ... "Heaven and earth shall pass away; my Words shall never pass away."
At 6h43m55s LMT on may 7th, 5BC in Bethlehem of Judaea Jesus Christ was born.
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