Steve Hollinghurst, my colleague with the Lausanne issue group on postmodern spiritualities has written an interesting piece at the ReJesus site connecting Christ to the zodiac. The introduction to the idea is reproduced below:
Jesus is the model for all kinds of people to look to as they seek to become fully themselves and reach their potential. It could then be said that if we can speak of the star signs as representing different personality types, we can speak of Jesus as possessing the best traits of each. ‘Zodiac Jesus’ explores this each month showing how Jesus embodies the best of each type.
Wise men from the East
The Christmas story as told by St Matthew tells us about wise men in the East who saw a star that made them seek out the birth of Jesus. We don’t know what they saw, where exactly they came from or how they found Jesus from this sign in the stars. But we do know that the ancient Babylonians used stars as omens to understand earthly events, and what we call astrology probably has its roots in the development of this tradition within the Empire of Alexander the Great under Greek and Egyptian influence. Matthew’s wise men seem likely to be such early astrologers.
Written in the stars
The idea that events in the stars might reveal events on earth made sense to the ancients because of an understanding that all things where connected. Therefore divine or earthly events would be seen in corresponding changes in the stars. As astrology developed this lead to the idea that the position of the stars at the time of someone’s birth or at specific times in history could tell the astrology about what that person was like or suggest courses of action to follow. This lead to the classic horoscope, mapping stars at such a time and also to the idea of people being born under a specific star sign that showed what their personality was like.
However, the astrology that developed from those early ‘wise men’ divided into two branches that viewed this quite differently. In India Vedic Astrology saw the link between the actual position of constellations in the heavens and the time of birth as essential. This has not been so in the western tradition those of us who live in the West are used to. This is important because of a natural phenomenon by which slow movements of the earth’s axis mean that over time the stars occupy different positions in the sky. The Vedic system is thus over time changing the dates ruled by each star sign whereas the western system has kept the twelve signs fixed to particular dates. This means that in western astrology the star sign one is ‘born under’ no longer relates to the actual position of that constellation in the sky.
Astrology and personality
Psychologist Carl Jung didn’t believe the stars foretold our personalities, but did think the twelve star signs revealed good ideas of the way different personality types worked. This observation and other ‘archetypes’ he observed in different personality systems was used by others to formulate the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, this time with 16 personality types and drawing on the observations of psychologists. If the connection between when a person is born and the stars seems difficult, it may be that the personality types represented by the 12 signs of the Zodiac relate to some extent to the kind of personalities we have.
Even if we wanted to we couldn’t cast Jesus Horoscope because we don’t know exactly when he was born. Astrologers have often associated Christianity with the ‘age of Pisces’ and now say we have entered the ‘age of Aquarius’ due to that movement of the stars in relation to the earth. But they aren’t claiming Jesus was born in March!
The writers of the early church letters we have in the bible describe Jesus as the pattern from which humanity was copied. In this sense it would be sensible to see all the varieties of human personality types as present in Jesus. He is also the model for all kinds of people to look to as they seek to become fully themselves and reach their potential. It could then be said that if we can speak of the star signs as representing different personality types, we can speak of Jesus as possessing the best traits of each. ‘Zodiac Jesus’ explores this each month showing how Jesus embodies the best of each type.
In describing the traits of particular star signs each has positive elements and also those which can be negative. This is true of other personality systems too, and the point is to help people develop; drawing out good traits and growing out of bad ones. The aim of ‘Zodiac Jesus’ is to help people do the same. As well as growing within the personality we have inherited, this can also involve nurturing complimentary traits from other personality types.
The Zodiac as well as having 12 types divides these between 4 underlying elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. These relate to different ways of relating to the world, through physical sense under the Earth element; through the mind in the Air element; emotion in the Fire element and spiritual awareness in the Water element. Jesus spoke of the need for us to worship God with all our strength, all our mind, all our heart and all our spirit. These four ways of relating to God are drawn together in a holistic approach that calls us to learn to relate to God with all of our being. These four ways of relating to God are like the four elements in astrology; in astrological terms Jesus calls us to explore the traits of elements other than our own as part of how we grow into Jesus likeness as women and men made in God’s image. This too is a way we can as individuals use ‘Astrology Jesus’ as part of our spiritual growth.
Steve's recent post on this can be found here. Before Christians shout heresy, we might reflect on what merits there might be in contextuaizing Christ within this framework. I turn it to my readers: what do you think about Steve's proposal?