ASTROLOGY in the BIBLE
In the last article, I mentioned that in one sequence the spring and summer subgroups of the tribal order had been interchanged. As the order established by the first two sequences is not consistent with circular movement, moving from the spring signs to the summer and then to winter and fall, this shifting of the third order served to place the groups of signs in a true circular arrangement. However, this true arrangement places them in reverse order from the way the seasons actually progress. With this new order, the seasons would progress from summer to spring to winter and then to fall.
The seasonal grouping of the first two orders, followed by the third "reversed" seasonal grouping, may have been used for two reasons. First, it established the direction we are to go first from the central seasonal tribe (counterclockwise). This may also be a hint as to the primary direction the planets move through the zodiac (when going forward as opposed to retrograde, they go counterclockwise). Second, it establishes the reason why the fixed signs were assigned their directions.
In the first case, we can see that the spring season of Gad, Reuben, and Simeon (Aries, Taurus, and Gemini) in the "south" shifting to summer's position in the "east" is a counterclockwise shift. Thus, it is logical that this shift is meant to show or emphasize the primary direction of movement, and that the side of the first tribe given after each central tribe in each seasonal subgroup is the counterclockwise side of the central tribe. So Simeon (Gemini) must be counterclockwise from Reuben (Taurus), Issachar (Virgo) counterclockwise from Judah (Leo), Manasseh (Pisces) counterclockwise from Ephraim (Aquarius), and Asher (Sagittarius) counterclockwise from Dan (Scorpio).
Following this line of reasoning, we see that the second tribe mentioned after each central tribe is the one clockwise of the central tribe. And we see in every sequence that the last two seasons are winter and fall in that order - which is also clockwise. This indicates that the clockwise direction is also important even though secondary. Indeed, the retrograde (clockwise) motion of the planets is secondary to the forward (couterclockwise) motion through the zodiac. And - the apparent direction of daily travel of the planets due to the rotation of the earth is clockwise.
So, in the second case, as we look at the "reversed" third grouping, Judah (Leo), ruled by the sun, was chosen to depict the direction of the sunrise. A modern astrology chart has directions based upon the sun's declinations. Maximum south declination for the sun occurs when the sun is at the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn (the winter solstice). Maximum north declination for the sun occurs when the sun is at the cusp of Gemini and Cancer (the summer solstice). This convention is a convenience based upon expediency in speech. It is upside-down with respect to both ancient and modern map-making conventions which have north up and south down. It is also upside-down with respect to ancient Hebrew convention (and slightly rotated). The Hebrew system placed the sign ruled by the sun in the direction of sunrise, the beginning of the waxing strength of the sun. The astrological planets, which include the sun and moon, maintain but one apparent direction of daily movement (from east to west - clockwise - due to the rotation of the earth) and only the sun is steadily moving this way (the moon has a varied pace). So with Judah (Leo) as the eastern tribe, the others followed naturally with Reuben (Taurus) in the south, Ephraim (Aquarius) in the west, and Dan (Scorpio) in the north. This probably served to relate the order of the sign groups to the direction of movement used in Hebrew ceremonies, from the east quarter clockwise around the circle, as travels the sun.
Before going farther into astrology in the Bible, we need to know a little more about ancient mathematics. No one knows if this ancient math originated with the Hebrews. Frankly, I believe it is from a much older source. However, the burning of the various libraries and the killing of learned men in ancient times has left Hebrew as the clearest remaining source of much of the old knowledge. So it is to Hebrew we again turn for answers. And it is the symbol of the pentagram that we must first examine. Particularly, we must examine the pentagram inscribed inside the circle.
The pentagram is the ancient symbol for humankind, the cultivator of nature, the mediator between God and nature. Ideal man can help nature to thrive. It is only crass, ignorant men who pollute the earth and rape Mother Nature. So the pentagram represents ideal man - not the undeveloped destroyer of nature. Many old diagrams show man within the pentagram with two legs, two arms, and his head as the points.
The ancient Greeks had a letter which was called phi (pronounced "fee") which looked like zero with a vertical line through it. It was chosen to represent the value of one plus the square root of five, all divided by two, which is equal to 1.6180339 when carried to only six decimal places. This number has been rediscovered many times and did not originate with the Greeks. It is the ratio of the Egytian Golden Mean and the secret of the proportions found in the pentagram. It is found throughout nature and is considered to be the number of life. Life was believed to culminate in mankind (or intelligent life), so the pentagram, constructed by means of phi, is man's symbol.
The circle is the zero symbol as well as a symbol for eternity or infinity because it has no beginning and no end. It is also the highest single symbol for the ancient Hebrew concept of God. The Hebrews had many names for God and His facets of Being but only one other symbol that stood for His eternal nature. The hebrews knew that everything in the universe constantly changes except the Founding Principle Itself. They knew this Principle to be eternal but they had no word for eternal because only the concept we call God could fit such a description. So the Hebrews used their verb meaning "to be" in three conjugations ("to have been", "to be now", and "to be in the future") by converting these conjugations into a symbol of four letters signifying that which was, is, and ever will be or the Eternal.
The symbol for the Eternal has no gender and could be referred to as IT without any intention of being derogatory. Though most, if not all, of the other Hebrew names for God do connote gender (both male and female), this symbol and the zero do not. There was no way to pronounce the symbol for the Eternal because this symbol that appeared to be a word was NOT a word. A series of mistakes on the part of the Christians through the ages has led to a modern "pronunciation" of "Jehovah" and another of "Yahweh" which are, of course, both presumptive and incorrect. The ancient Greeks called the four Hebrew letters signifying the Eternal the "Tetragrammaton", meaning "four-letter-write". Most of the time, I will refer to this symbol in the Greek fashion.
The letters of the Tetragrammaton are Yod ( I ), Heh ( H ), vau ( V ), and H ( H ) again. Yod is the letter/number of ten. Heh is the letter/number of five. And vau is the letter/number of six. I+H+V+H=10+5+6+5=26. Twenty-six was a very holy number to the ancient Hebrews. The Hebrew scholars could have chosen another number for this high symbol had they wished to do so. Why did they choose the number twenty-six? And now it is time to examine the pentagram inscribed within a circle - which means the life force inscribed within the universe at one level or humankind inscribed within the Eternal (God) at another level.
If we were to construct a perfect pentagram (a subject vast enough to take up another complete article), and if we could measure it very accurately, we would discover that it has almost perfect whole number proportions in many ways. If we assign the distance between the horizontal line and the center a value of 4, the distance from the topmost point to the horizontal line is 8.94, the distance from the center to the lines crossing beneath it is 4.94, and the distance from the two lines crossing to the bottom of the circle is 8. Its smallest angle is exactly 36 degrees, the next smallest is 72 degrees, and the largest is 108 degrees.
If we round off the almost numbers to whole numbers and circumscribe the pentagram with a circle, we have the numbers 9, 4, and 5, 8, and a circle with a radius of 13 and a diameter of 26. The area of each of the pentagram's triangles is 26 and the circumference of the circle is 81. Each line of the pentagram is 25 units long.
The numbers 4 and 9 have been discussed previously as the squares of 2 and 3. Four is also considered to be the number of order. Nine is so magical in its properties that it, too, could take up a separate article. Nine is the number with which we complete each numerical cycle in our decimal system if we start with zero. And it is the number we can closely equate to zero because in ancient numerical reduction, nine always disappears. For instance, if we take a number with nine in it like 795, we can reduce it thusly: 7+9+5=21 and 2+1=3. Or we could remove the nine and reduce it thusly: 7+5=12 and 1+2=3. So the nine was never really there as far as the reduction process is concerned. In this way, zero and nine are alike. Eight is the number of sabbats (total of the solstices, equinoxes, and midpoints between) celebrated by the older cultures, so it represents the wheel of life or manifestaton. Eight is also the number of the Hebrew verb "to love".
Four (order) plus nine (nothing or God) = thirteen (love). Thirteen is the number of the Hebrew spectrum for love (hate is at the other end of this spectrum). Love is merely a simplistic way of describing the force that results at all levels when the One Self (God) is separated into parts. Without this seeming separation, there would be no desire to unite. But with this separation, there is this desire to unite. So four (order in the universe) plus nine (an expression of the Primal Will or God) equals thirteen (love or the desire to unite) which reduces to four again (order).
Five (humankind) plus eight (manifestation) equals thirteen (desire to unite) which reduces to four (order). Two (male principle plus female principle) times thirteen (desire to unite) equals twenty-six (the number of the Eternal) which reduces again to eight ( 2+6=8 ). It is eight that allows humanity to connect to the circumference or to touch God. Eight is also the number of the Hebrew verb "to love" (thirteen being the noun "love"). The extension of 8 is 36 ( 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8=36). Thirty-six reduces to nine. Thirty-six is also the number of degrees in the smallest angle of the pentagram. The other two pentagram angles are 72 (twice 36) and 108 (thrice 36), and each also reduces to nine. And 36:72:108=1:2:3 which are the first three primes and the dimensions of manifestation.
One more thing should be noted. Pi is the "magic" number that converts circular measures to linear and square measures. Or we could say it converts "God" measures to our more easily understood measures. Pi times the actual circle diameter equals 81.3044 (the circumference) or almost 81 which is nine times nine and reduces to nine.
The circle, zero, or God symbol for infinity is also the origin of the wheel and approximate path of each of the planets. This fact was not lost upon the ancient Hebrews or their contemporaries.
Copyright (C) 1986