All posts by Mike Zonta

The ‘Star of Bethlehem’ was NOT a star

Researcher claims light in the sky was actually a unique planetary alignment

December 2, 2016 – Daily Mail

For hundreds of years, scientists and theologians alike have been perplexed by the origins of the Star of Bethlehem – the mysterious biblical symbol that guided the Magi to their newborn leader, Jesus.

It’s come to be known as the ‘Christmas Star,’ but researchers now say it may not have been a star at all.

A new study of historical, astronomical, and biblical records suggests the event in 6 BC was actually a rare planetary alignment, during which the sun, Jupiter, the moon, and Saturn all lay in the constellation Aries.

For hundreds of years, scientists and theologians alike have been perplexed by the Star of Bethlehem – the mysterious symbol that guided the Magi to their newborn leader. It’s come to be known as the ‘Christmas Star,’ but researchers now say it may not have been a star at all


New research suggests the event in 6 BC was actually a rare planetary alignment, during which the sun, Jupiter, the moon, and Saturn all lay in the constellation Aries.

For the Magi, the Zoroastrian priests of ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia – also known as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings – this alignment in Aries would have symbolized the birth of a newborn ruler in Judea.

Jupiter and the moon together represented the birth of a ruler with a special destiny, while Saturn was the symbol of giving life.

And, so was the presence of Aries in the vernal equinox, which marks the start of spring.

Grant Mathews, professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology in the Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame has studied the Star of Bethlehem for more than a decade.

‘Astronomers, historians, and theologians have pondered the question of the ‘Christmas Star’ for many years,’ said Mathews.

‘Where and when did it appear? What did it look like? If the billions of stars out there, which among them shone bright on that day so long ago?

‘Modern astrophysics is how we attempt to explain one of history’s greatest astronomical events.’

According to the researcher, the sun, Jupiter, the moon, and Saturn were aligned in Aries, while Venus was in the constellation Pisces, and Mercury and Mars were on the other side, in Taurus.

And, when this planetary alignment occurred in 6 BC, Aries was also the location of the vernal equinox.

Jupiter and the moon together represented the birth of a ruler with a special destiny, while Saturn was the symbol of giving life, according to Mathews.

A new study of historical, astronomical, and biblical records suggests the event in 6 BC was actually a rare planetary alignment, during which the sun, Jupiter, the moon, and Saturn all lay in the constellation Aries

‘The Magi would have seen this in the east and recognized that it symbolized a regal birth in Judea,’ ultimately leading them in search of the newborn ruler, Mathews said.

An event of this kind is extremely rare; a similar alignment won’t be seen again for another 16,000 years.

But even then, vernal equinox would not be in Aries.

Even calculating 500,000 years into the future, the researcher says no alignment like the one now known as the Christmas Star could be found.

The researcher could help to explain the true nature of the elusive star, and Mathews is working on a book about his findings.


According to Professor David Weintraub of Vanderbilt University, if Matthew’s wise men actually undertook a journey to search for a newborn king, the bright star didn’t guide them; it only told them when to set out.

And they wouldn’t have found an infant swaddled in a manger. After all, the baby was already eight months old by the time they decoded the astrological message they believed predicted the birth of a future king.

The portent began on April 17 of 6 B.C. with the heliacal rising of Jupiter that morning, followed, at noon, by its lunar occultation in the constellation Aries.

It lasted until December 19 of 6 B.C. when Jupiter stopped moving to the west, stood still briefly, and began moving to the east, as compared with the fixed background stars.

By the earliest time the men could have arrived in Bethlehem, the baby Jesus would likely have been at least a toddler.

He claims Matthew may have written to convince his readers that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah.

Given the astrological clues embedded in his gospel, he must have believed the story of the Star of Bethlehem would be convincing evidence for many in his audience.

(Thanks to Robert McEwen, H.W., M. for this.)

“Let The Light Shine” by Robert McEwen, H.W., M.


The Holiday season brings many different symbols in many cultures. All most all of them are based on the alignment of the stars during the period commonly call Solstice.  Christmas (and its timing) is based on astrology.  The three wise men were astrologers and found the Star of Bethlehem (the North Star), guided them to the holy being of Light: The Christ Self. They carried symbolic gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and gold. These represent compassion, understanding, and Truth.  We have created these myths (stories) to help explain our concept of a higher power be it called God, Buddha, or Truth. All of these myths around the 29 different holidays during this December and January winter season come from an astrological event. There are the same myths of the birth and death and resurrection in the ancient myth of Horus, Krishna, and Mithras, all declaring the three days of darkness and then resurrection. This can be tracked to the Winter Solstice, between Dec 20th and the 23rd, the 3 darkest days of the year, and the resurrection of the Sun God. 

This is astrological and astronomical in nature.  The tradition of bonfires, candles came because those days were so dark.  Now we have the tradition of Christmas lights, trees, and candles and a burning fireplace fire from that Northern European tradition.

Another tradition, the holy cross, is the division of the four equinoxes and in the annual calendar being divided into quarters. The cross symbol combines the 4 different times astrologically. This symbol of rebirth of the Sun is as the Sun of the Universe the Bible chooses to name  “the Son of God!”

Frazer’s Golden Bough declares the time of light returning (Solstice, Winter Equinox) when the Kings were born. They were conceived on the Spring Equinox.

The Sun is in Capricorn traditionally during Solstice, and so we see ourselves replaying the traditions that gives us meaning and purpose to those dark times. We as consciousness are able to cross out the old and become renewed with hope and joy. The advent, the coming of the light, plays out in all religions and cultures.

Mercury the planet of communication is now in Capricorn. You will see and feel that the traditions are a natural way of communicating with those around you.

Happy solstice and happy holiday no matter what your tradition.

Robert McEwen is an astrologer and has been practicing as a professional since 1977 around the planet and has settled here in Portland.  Contact information for an appointment for your personal astrological consultation is: Phone 503-706-0396, gift certificates available”

“Musee des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden


About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Greek words for love

The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words when used outside of their respective contexts. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are as follows:

  • Agápe means “love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast. Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”
  • Éros means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.” Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.
  • Philia means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends (specifically, “brotherly love”), family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
  • Storge means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children.” It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. This is also used when referencing the love for ones country or a favorite sports team.


Lords Prayer, from the original Aramaic (provided by Suzanne Deakins, H.W., M.)

Translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz in Prayers of the Cosmos

O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos

Focus your light within us – make it useful.

Create your reign of unity now-

through our fiery hearts and willing hands

Help us love beyond our ideals

and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.

Animate the earth within us: we then

feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.

Untangle the knots within

so that we can mend our hearts’ simple ties to each other.

Don’t let surface things delude us,

But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.

Out of you, the astonishing fire,

Returning light and sound to the cosmos.


It’s all Bishop Irenaeus’s fault…


Bishop Irenaeus (late 2nd century – died c. AD 202), also referred to as Saint Irenaeus, was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyon, France). He was an early Church Father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. A resident of Smyrna, he heard the preaching of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist.

Irenaeus’ best-known book, Adversus Haereses or Against Heresies (c. 180), is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which he considered a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus. As one of the first great Christian theologians, he emphasized the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition. Against the Gnostics, who said that they possessed a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of Scripture. His polemical work is credited for laying out the “orthodoxies of the Christian church, its faith, its preaching and the books that it held as sacred authority.” His writings, with those of Clement and Ignatius, are taken as among the earliest signs of the doctrine of the primacy of the Roman see. Irenaeus is the earliest witness to recognition of the canonical character of all four gospels.

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“Is God in cyberspace?” by Thomas Friedman


Thomas Friedman on Global Economy and Trade New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman spoke to a forum of global business leaders and innovators about advancements in technology and how humans can adapt to such changes, the subject of his new book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.”

This was a “Leading Thoughts” segment of the Global Leaders’ Collective inaugural meeting on new challenges in the key global luxury market.

Link to video:

(Thanks to Janet Cornwell for  this.)

Was Jesus circumcised? Just asking.


Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The circumcision of Jesus is an event from the life of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke, which states in verse 2:21 that Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth(traditionally January 1). This is in keeping with the Jewish law which holds that males should be circumcised eight days after birth during a Brit milah ceremony, at which they are also given their name. The circumcision of Christ became a very common subject in Christian artfrom the 10th century onwards, one of numerous events in the Life of Christ to be frequently depicted by artists. It was initially seen only as a scene in larger cycles, but by the Renaissance might be treated as an individual subject for a painting, or form the main subject in an altarpiece.

The event is celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision in the Eastern Orthodox Church on January 1 in whichever calendar is used, and is also celebrated on the same day by many Anglicans. It is celebrated by Roman Catholics as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, in recent years on January 3 as an Optional Memorial, though it was for long celebrated on January 1, as some other churches still do. A number of relics claiming to be the Holy Prepuce, the foreskin of Jesus, have surfaced.

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