Esoterism of the Great Drama on Golgotha, and Ancient Correspondences
(©Astrological Section Lesson -1925)
By Dr. George Winslow Plummer
In the last lesson we stated that the Cross of Matter would be further developed. In the present paper it is our purpose to indicate the parallels between ancient and Scriptural correspondences that led up to the culminating drama in the environs of Jerusalem.
By some authorities, the Jewish Era dates from the Vernal Equinox of B.C. 3761 and our Easter occurs on the Sunday of the New Moon nearest the Vernal Equinox. At this time the Sun is in Aries – the Ram, the symbol of offering or sacrifice, (the “Lamb that was slain”), and the esoteric connection between this symbol and the completion of the Divine Sacrifice may be easily seen.
Prior to the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews had been compelled to conform to the worship of the Bull – Taurus, under the name of the sacred Apis. This worship of the Bull had persisted for about 2,000 years prior to the actual Exodus and vestiges of the Bull worship are noted in the reversion thereto by the Jews when they set up the Golden Calf in their journeying through the Wilderness. Bas-reliefs show the same persistence of the Bull-worship among the Babylonians and the Assyrians.
Another 2,000 years backwards in time, takes us to Gemini – the Twins and at this time we find the Persians developing their two-fold theological system in the worship of Ormuzd or Good, and Ahriman, Evil.
Still further back in time, we find, when the Sun’s Vernal zodiacal sign fell in Cancer, the Brahman code operative in India.
Prior to the commencement of the Christian Era, the Sun’s vernal position was in Pisces, – the Fish, and as a result, the symbol of the fish is closely interwoven with all other elements of Christian symbolism. Jesus was the Avatar of the Piscean Age; his disciples were called to be “fishers” by His express designation; human souls were the fishes, and one of the Master’s greatest miracles was the multiplication of the fishes when feeding the thousands.
One notable persistence of the fish symbolism is found in the Papal Ring, known as the “Fisherman’s Ring.”
Despite considerable controversy that has arisen in the last two years, the consensus of opinion seems to be that we are now in the Aquarian Age. It is difficult to determine exact points of departure in time, but many competent astrologers consider that the vernal sign is now in Aquarius – the Water bearer, symbolizing fluidity. The chief characteristic of this period aside from any others which have been previously mentioned is the development of the Slavonic conditions that make for a greater unification or flowing together of the active elements of humanity and a more practical realization of the true import of what has been theoretically sought in the “Brotherhood of Man.” The Brotherhood of Man itself implies a closer association of the human units just as the ocean itself stands for the combination of the watery units of the planet.
When the vernal sign shall have entered Capricorn – the Goat, the 7th sub-race of the Aryan root race will have become developed in the American race as such, and the qualities of stubborn determination that have opened up a continent will have become tempered by the intellectual to such an extent that far greater progress along both intellectual and material lines will be manifest, while the spiritual qualities themselves will have evolved to an almost infinitely greater degree.
The previous lesson showed a chart bearing the names of the Twelve Apostles and their planetary and Tribal allocations. These Twelve Apostles also signify the twelve stages through which man has evolved from his original condition as hermaphroditic, back to an analogous condition when sex differentiations will be eliminated.
Humanity is as yet a long way from its highest manifestation. There are at least five further stages to human development. Twelve planets constitute our Solar System, these twelve revolving about our parent Sun. Seven of these planets are known, not counting the Moon as a specific planet. Five are unknown. Of the last five, one is just beginning to be known; Vulcan.
Among the Twelve Apostles, seven were most active, yet varying in importance. Five are little more than mentioned, although their work produced the results for which they were chosen. These Twelve Apostles correlate with the Twelve Tribes, for it is written, “Thou shalt sit upon twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel.” From the 49th chapter of Genesis, the student may easily work out the correspondences between the Twelve Tribes and the Signs; Gad to Aries; Judah to Leo; Dan to Scorpio; Napthali to Virgo; Reuben to Aquarius; Issachar to Cancer; Simeon and Levi to Pisces; etc.
The Twelve Stones in the Breastplate of the High Priest, described in the last lesson were true astrological symbols and correlate with the precious stones of the Holy City as given in the Book of Revelation. The New Jerusalem visualized by St. John the Seer is described as a cube with 12 gates and 12 angels at the gates. The names of the Twelve Tribes were written over the gates. Furthermore, there were Twelve Foundations to the city walls, and the Twelve Gates were ornamented with 12 Precious Stones, representing the 12 Patriarchs. These Twelve Precious Stones correlated in order with the 12 Precious Stones in the Jewish High Priest’s Breastplate.
If we consider Vulcan as being now a somewhat known planet, then we may say we have eight planets operative to our consciousness. The Twelve Foundation Stones represent the Church. Eight of them therefore represent the Church in its two manifested phases; i.e. the Church Militant and the Church Expectant, while the four remaining but unknown planets represent the third phase of the Church, the Church Triumphant.
The New Jerusalem was described as a cube. If any student will make a hollow cube out of paper, he will find that on opening it out, it forms a perfect Cross. In one of its aspects therefore, the Cross represents Man in his unredeemed or unregenerate state. The folded Cross or Cube represents Man in his completed state with the Divine Spirit fully enfolded and incorporated. If we keep this concept of the Cross in mind as we use the symbols of the planets we shall gain a new idea as to the inner, spiritual significance of the influence of each planet in its action upon and for a given individual.
The Holy City then, is really Man. The New Jerusalem is the new or regenerate Man. The 12 Gates of the City are the Twelve orifices in the body through which cosmic forces find ingress. The Street in the Center of the City, through which the River of Life runs, is the Spinal Cord, the trunk of the Tree of Life with its Twelve Branches or twelve pairs of brain-nerves. The twenty-Four Elders seated on the thrones are claimed by one writer to be the mediators between the “Seven Angels” and the 144,000. However, this number, 24, comes to us from the Chaldean concept of astrology.
The Fixed Cross of the Zodiac, the Cross on which the native is crucified for the immediate life expression, is symbolized by the Lion, (Leo); the Bull (Taurus); the Eagle (Scorpio); and the Man (Aquarius).
The two outstanding figures in the Drama of the Cross are John the Baptist and Jesus. The former prepared the way for the latter; in other words, went before him. Note the Sun positions. On St. John’s Day, June 24th, the Sun has just entered Cancer at the Summer Solstice. At this time the physical Sun was at its zenith and John’s mission and message was distinctly related to physical conditions. For this reason he could baptize only with Water, but he professed of One to come who should baptize with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE.
On Christmas Night, the Sun, in Capricorn, had passed its Meridian and the New Light that was to enlighten the whole world appeared. Now the days begin to lengthen whereas after the birth of John they began to shorten. So it was that John said, “I must decrease, but he shall increase.”
The Three Magi (Wise Men) are, astronomically, the three stars that form the so-called “belt” of Orion (Cingula Orionis). By simile, these three stars, rising, symbolized the Magi “traveling” from the East, toward the great star “Spica” (Arista) in Virginis, (Virgo, the Virgin) which stood over Bethlehem, (the “House of Bread”). Virginis, with her companion Joseppe, (Joseph) of the constellation Bootes moved to positions in the firmament, corresponding to the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, just below Jerusalem. The new-born King is metaphorically laid in the Manger “because there was no room in the inn,” (literally, no position in the Zodiac) between the Ox (Bull – Taurus) and the Ass; (Issachar, one of the Twelve Tribes designated as an ass between two burdens). The Shepherds or Goatherds (Capricorns) tending their flocks, (members of their constellations) witnessed the message of “Peace, Good Will to Men”; (aspects of the Heavenly bodies favorable to the inauguration of the New Dispensation) in the starry firmament on that memorable night.
Now the Snake, Serpent or Dragon of the skies, rises above the horizon; (Ophiucus). This is Herod, who, like Typhon seeking the Egyptian Osiris, seeks the life of the young child Jesus. But Aries (the Ram, i.e. the Lamb, or young child) flees before him, and sinks below the horizon, which, astronomically and geographically, is Egypt. This is the “Flight into Egypt.”
Jesus has passed his trials, for the present. So he comes to Jordan. This is the Via Lactea – the White or Milky Way. The waters part and the Heavens open unto him. Here the Milky Way opens or rifts. He beholds the Spirit of God descending as the Holy Ghost upon his head. This is Cygnus, the Swan or Dove, directly above him.
His preparations for his ministry begin. He gathers his Disciples. Walking by the sea he notes the two brothers, Simon and Andrew, (Gemini, the Twins on the horizon, or shore of the celestial sea). Now he comes to James, son of Zebedee and John his brother; fishers, mending their nets in the ship (Argo, the southern constellation). Then comes Levi at the toll, (Libra, the Scales) and he too, followed Jesus.
Jesus and his Disciples walk “through the Corn.” The Sun passes through Virgo, the Virgin bearing the sheaf of corn. The light and heat of the Sun convert the corn into the substance of bread. The pure sunlight develops in the juice of the grape the forces that convert it from vegetable fluid to Spirit, – wine. Hence we have the statement by the King, “this is my Body” and “this is my Blood,” the life fluid of the Spirit.
Herein is the secret truth of Atonement, or At-One-Ment, for by receiving into ourselves this spiritual Bread and Wine, we receive the Christ Spirit or celestial forces and become in very substance, at-one with them. Their (or His) power becomes thenceforth our power. “My power give I unto you.” And again, “All power is given unto me, both in Heaven and in Earth.”
Looking again skyward, we find that the time has come when Aries, the Vernal Equinox, has passed the Nadir and now the celestial warriors (the Priests) prepare to seize Jesus, the Son (Sun) of Righteousness. Judas betrays him for 30 pieces of silver. (Leo, the Lion, a cowardly animal under certain conditions, synonymous with Judah of the Twelve Tribes, is in 30 degrees). After his action, Judas goes out and kills himself or disappears. Leo-Judah, disappears below the horizon.
Jesus is taken by the captain of the Governor’s soldiery. (Hercules, of that constellation). A crown of thorns is placed upon his head (Corona Australis). Next morning, Jesus is decked in purple raiment. (Invested with the radiance of the rose and purple glow of the rising sun). Simon of Cyrene (from Bootes) bears the Cross (intersection of the Equator and the Ecliptic). In the place of the Skull. At the Cross was Mary Magdalene, the hair plaiter. Consequently, we find in the heavenly position, Berenice’s Hair. (Coma Berenices).
“They parted His raiment among them.” His raiment was without seam. It was a pure raiment of white Light, which, refracted, gives us the spectrum or Joseph’s Coat of “many colors.”
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land…the veil of the temple was rent in twain…the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.” The veil of daylight was rent when the Sun sank below the horizon; the stone of the Sun’s radiance and brilliance was rolled back and darkness covered the land. Then the saints that slept, – the stars – arose, and come forth.
The astronomical parallels to all the acts and miracles of Jesus or the Christ can be given in a similar manner, but those already given will suffice to show how the Astronomical Religion of the Stars not only prefigured the actual occurrence on Golgotha, but also enacted a drama that is being repeated, even “until the end of the world.”
This is the Drama of the Skies, the Macrocosm. We are individual Microcosms and the same Drama is re-enacted in and through each of us as we journey through a given life expression, and all the forces of the celestial cast play their parts in us through the several divisions of the human body, physically, mentally and spiritually, to which they are assigned and over which they exercise, each specific potential influence.
The study of the Life of Jesus is essentially the study of one’s own Self, and Astrology not only points the way but further shows us the way to salvation and redemption from the conditions into which we individually and as a race have fallen through individual and mass karma.
We of Earth, are, truly reflections of the activities in progress in the greater sphere above us. The works that Jesus did, we may do too, according to His own assurance, if we make possible the requisite conditions as to right living, consisting of right thought, right action and right speech.
It is the primary purpose of Astrology to make clear to us the conditions just mentioned, and it gives us the key by which we may open up the greater knowledge of the celestial arcana for the purpose of applying it to ourselves; not for materialistic aggrandizement, but for the far more noble purpose of serving humanity even as the Master served humanity.
In the Crucifixion Drama the Cross was the cardinal cross of the zodiac. Aries is the sign of the Lamb or Christ, and in the Drama, Aries was on the Cross of the Meridian and the Equator. The foot of the cross is Libra. The Crucifixion occurs on the Equinox, in the sixth hour, the actual time when the Sun (Son) dies. The veil in the Temple was rent in two equal parts. Hence, on the Equinox day and night were equal. Two thieves were also crucified on either side of Jesus – Cancer and Capricorn. One thief went to Paradise with Jesus. Cancer rose. Capricorn sank, below the horizon, i.e., the netherworld which is Kingdom of Satan or Saturn.
Esoterically, the Crucifixion symbolizes the lowest point of attainment in the descent of the Logos into Matter. In other words, the Sun reached the lowest meridian for the northern hemisphere at the time of the culminating act of the Drama. Then it ascends. After Spirit has become involved in Matter to the extent required, evolution begins and the spiritual powers become in the ascendant. It is only after man has reached his lowest point in matter or world experience that he truly begins to ascend in permanent progress toward the higher planes or spheres of being.
All the elements in the celestial Drama are peculiarly our own individual elements of progress and experience. Every man and every woman meets a nadir or lowest point in human existence at some time or other before passing beyond, and everyone is destined to personal crucifixion on a cross of his own construction, before he can lawfully expect to rise in spiritual power. In fact, the personal crucifixion is absolutely necessary to develop the desire and stimulus to rise, otherwise, it is inherent in humanity to be more or less content or at least passively acceptant of “things as they are” as long as they can stand them.
All life on this planet and elsewhere as we may be able to conceive it, must be and is, a part of the One Life, whether it be in Mineral, Vegetable, Animal or Human Kingdom. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” We cannot become separated from this One Life, do what we will. And because we are a part of the One Life, we are obliged to be partakers of all the conditions pertinent to that One Life, whatever our individual placement may be. Some of these conditions are punitive, others admonitive, still others approbative, and the “still small voice” within, is that of the Silent Watcher who is both Monitor and an integral part of the individualized aspect of that One Life.
The Two Thieves of the Celestial and the Palestinian Dramas are constantly with each one of us. They are our Lusts and our Desires. Lusts will always remain – lusts, and are therefore doomed to destruction. The other thief – desire – may in some aspects be a robber of our higher selves, but desire may always be possible of purification – or salvation, and therefore justified and ultimately redeemed and go with us into Paradise.
The veil that must be rent is the veil of ignorance; not necessarily academic ignorance, but spiritual ignorance. Many, placed in the lowest positions in human life, with little, apparently, to give cheer or encouragement, have nevertheless a wonderful vision of life, and as they live up to it to the best that in them lies, they are happy in the possession of an inner light denied to many who may enjoy all the obvious blessings, blessings which, alas, are often most transitory and evanescent.
When we rend our individual veils of ignorance, then shall the saints that sleep, i.e., our spiritual faculties, awake into new life and function for our personal illumination, enabling us to discern spiritually, the things of the Spirit.
Every star in the firmament has its direct or indirect influence upon human life individually and collectively, passively when not in aspect; actively when in aspect. And the more the student studies available data regarding the Fixed Stars, the more he will amplify his knowledge and understanding of the vast forces continually at work upon his destiny, for as the foregoing sketch of the Great Drama has shown, they play most important parts in the cast, sometimes becoming more truly the principals than the planets of our Solar System in the natal horoscope.