Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Hobbit, the Journey, and the September Equinox

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

September 21, 1937 is the original publication date for the beloved book The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again, by J. R. R. Tolkien.

And, as most of the millions around the world know whose lives have been touched by that tale, and by the Lord of the Rings trilogy which followed it, the following day of September 22 is the shared birthday of both Bilbo Baggins and his nephew Frodo Baggins.

The date of September 22nd is of course very significant, as September 22nd is the day on which the autumnal equinox generally occurs (with some occasional "slippage" due to the fact that a complete orbit around the sun does not correspond to an even number of daily rotations of the earth upon its axis, causing the day-count to be slightly out of alignment with the annual circuit, and necessitating periodic adjustments, which we manage today using the "leap-year" system but which could also be adjusted by various other methods). This year, the earth will pass through the point of the September equinox on September 22nd at 1:02 pm Pacific time, which is 4:02 pm Eastern time (in North America) and 8:02 pm Greenwich time (also known as UTC).

Professor Tolkien almost certainly knew what he was doing in giving both Bilbo and Frodo a shared birthday on the date associated with the fall equinox (in the northern hemisphere). Both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings involve journeys of transformation and personal growth for the protagonists Bilbo and Frodo -- and in the ancient epics and mythologies of humanity, found around the world, there is a celestial "language" which describes the beginning of the soul's quest in imagery associated with the "crossing downward" point of fall equinox, on the way down to the lowest point of winter solstice, where there will be a sort of "second birth" and a turning-point in the journey of the soul's progress.

The action in The Hobbit gets to its lowest place in the very "roots" of the Misty Mountains, where Bilbo stumbles into the icy waters at the very bottom of the underground passages of the goblins, for his fateful encounter with Gollum. After that point, and his "victory" of sorts in a very difficult situation, Bilbo is a changed hobbit.

A parallel could be drawn to the action in the ancient epic of the Odyssey, in which Odysseus must descend to the very underworld of Hades before he can complete his own quest and return home. In Star Myths of the World, Volume Two (which focuses almost entirely on the myths of ancient Greece), I show that the celestial imagery in that ancient epic very much indicates that the long and arduous journey of Odysseus embodies the voyage of the soul's plunge down into this incarnate life (which the ancient celestial system envisions at the point of fall equinox) across the "lower half" of the Great Wheel of the year, with a resulting elevation of the spiritual nature by virtue of the challenges encountered and overcome during the difficult crossing.

The very same pattern can be found in countless other myth-systems from around the globe, including in the stories of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It can also be seen very strongly in the epic of Gilgamesh (also known as the "Gilgamesh cycle"), which is perhaps the oldest epic to which we still have access today in its original form, on clay tablets which were rediscovered in the nineteenth century. Here is a previous post which explores the theme of the difficult crossing through the "lower realm" of this incarnate life as it surfaces in the Gilgamesh cycle (particularly in the encounter with Uta-napishti).

Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880 - 1963) provides us with what I believe to be the clearest explanation of this ancient system of allegorizing the progress of the soul's plunge into incarnation and the "underworld crossing" in terms of the annual progress through the equinoxes and solstices. You can read an extended quotation from his essay Easter: The Birth-day of the Gods in which he explains the significance of each of the solstices and each of the equinoxes in this previous post

In other words, whether or not Tolkien consciously intended it, he was following a pattern which can be perceived in ancient myths from around the world (and, as an accomplished scholar of myth and folklore, it is quite likely that J. R. R. Tolkien knew just what he was doing -- especially since we can see that he also incorporates summer solstice aka "mid-summer's eve" at significant points in his epics as well). In those myths, according to Alvin Boyd Kuhn's interpretation, the story is not simply about the adventures which some external character undergoes -- the arduous plunge into a strange and perilous realm is actually a picture of the experience undertaken by each and every one of us as we enter into this incarnate life, a "plunge" which the world's ancient myth-system associated with the point of the fall equinox, when the sun's path "plunges" below the line of the celestial equator, crossing from the "upper" part of the year in which hours of daylight are longer than hours of darkness, down into the "lower part of the year in which hours of darkness are longer than hours of daylight. 

This "lower journey" keeps getting darker and colder and more difficult until the absolute "low-point" is reached. In many of the ancient myths, this lowest point is represented by a journey to the land of the dead (as in the Odyssey of ancient Greece). In Tolkien's The Hobbit, I would argue that this "low-point" takes place in the roots of the mountains, in the encounter with Gollum -- after which Bilbo finds a new confidence and begins to really grow into becoming a completely new person (or new hobbit).

Alvin Boyd Kuhn called these two points on the annual cycle (the fall equinox and the winter solstice) the "two births," which are also found in many ancient myths and scriptures. In many cases, a figure in the myths will actually have "two mothers" in order to illustrate this concept, as discussed in this previous post on that subject. Sometimes these "two mothers" would be associated with the signs just prior to the fall and the spring equinoxes, as discussed in that post, but as I demonstrate with abundant evidence in many of the episodes discussed in my Star Myths of the World series (particularly in Volumes Two and Three), the ancient myths use the point of winter solstice as the point of the "second birth" (or spiritual birth) just as frequently -- if not more frequently.

Thus, to put it back into "Hobbit" terms, we can see that Bilbo's "physical" or "natural" or "first" birthday is indeed September 22nd -- but that his "second birthday," when he stops "descending" and begins "ascending," takes place during his adventures when he reaches a sort of "lowest point," and begins to "find himself" and develop into someone with an entirely new dimension, a dimension that perhaps was present (but dormant) before, perhaps held back by doubts or fears or hesitation (as in the powerful story of Doubting Thomas in the New Testament gospel according to John).

Thus, in one sense, we can say that we all have a "birthday" that corresponds to September 22, and that we all follow a journey that is akin to the journey undertaken by the Hobbit, as we wind our way through the "lower crossing" of this incarnate life.

For previous posts which mention other illuminating aspects of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, see also:
For previous posts discussing the celestial mechanics involved in the point of equinox, and the use of the solstices and equinoxes in the worldwide system underlying the ancient Star Myths, see also:
As we pass through another significant crossing-point in the annual cycle -- as well as a significant anniversary of the publication of J. R. R. Tolkien's first full-length book, eighty years ago -- it seems appropriate to pause and consider our own progress in this arduous journey of "There and Back Again."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The entire Revelation 12 / September 23 flap points to the truth that all of ancient scripture and myth is built upon celestial metaphor

I continue to receive questions regarding the "Revelation 12 prophecy," which is a phrase some associate with the sensational arguments being circulated online and elsewhere which claim that the lineup of sun, moon, stars and planets on September 23rd of this year (which is to say, this coming Saturday) fulfill the description found in Revelation 12, heralding (some say) the arrival of apocalyptic events such as those described in the book of Revelation.

Regular visitors to this blog or to my main website at Star Myth World (dot com) know that I have already written two different blog posts discussing these sensational claims by those who want to force Revelation 12 to correspond to the celestial lineup of September 23, 2017. Those posts are linked again here:
In addition, I created a video discussing this so-called "Revelation 12 prophecy" which you can view by following the link in this sentence (and it is also embedded in the first of the blog posts linked above). 

I also created a sort of "infographic," which you can see by following the link in this sentence (and it is also included in the second of the blog posts linked above).

The fact that I am still receiving questions asking me if I have heard of the "Revelation 12 prophecy" and what I think of this "prophecy," even after publishing all of that, indicates to me that the sensational videos and articles describing September 23 of this month as the fulfillment of the text of Revelation 12 (and promising various extraordinary events based on a literal interpretation of events described in the book of the Revelation which is found in the "canonical" New Testament) are reaching huge numbers of people, some of whom are somehow finding their way to my website and asking what I think about all of this (even though they are probably not regular visitors to my site).

As anyone who does a simple search of YouTube can verify, many of the videos discussing September 23rd as the "fulfillment" of Revelation 12 indicate that they have received multiple millions of views (it is of course possible that those "view counts" are somehow being inflated by those who wish to boost the awareness of this "September 23rd" argument, and to add to the credibility or stature of the videos declaring September 23rd to be the advent of various literal events supposedly described in the Revelation text -- but since we don't have any way of verifying whether or not view counts are being inflated, let's assume that the view counts shown on these videos are accurate). 

A few examples of these videos with counts in the millions or in the several hundreds of thousands include this one (presently showing over 7.9 million views), this one (presently showing over 1.6 million views), and this one (presently showing over 5.2 million views) -- among many other possible examples. 

Additionally, many major newspapers have picked up on this same theme, and are running articles which discuss the sensational claims being circulated regarding September 23 and Revelation 12, including this one in today's Washington Post, or this one from this past Thursday's Daily Express (a tabloid of the type that gravitate towards the sensational, and one of the oldest, first printed in 1900), or this one from Fox News online also published this past week (Fox News could be categorized as a different sort of tabloid also gravitating towards the sensational). 

Most of those stories appearing in "mainstream" media sources are careful to criticize those claiming a connection between Revelation 12 and September 23, sometimes calling the alleged connection a "conspiracy theory." The seemingly inappropriate use of this term in this context could be the topic of a whole new discussion, but its frequent appearance in mainstream media sources this week regarding the Revelation 12 text suggests the possibility that someone is deliberately trying to lump together two completely unrelated groups:
a) those who are suspicious of the completely bankrupt official explanations put forward to explain events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, or the collapse of three modern steel-reinforced buildings on September 11, 2001 into their own footprints at freefall speeds
b) those who interpret Biblical texts literally and make sensational videos arguing that September 23, 2017 "fulfills" the descriptions in Revelation 12, and will thus usher in literal versions of the visions described in the Revelation text.
I personally would see this consistent use of the phrase "conspiracy theory" as a possible attempt by several media sources to smear those in group "a" by trying to lump them together with those in group "b," but setting aside that entire discussion, it is clear that the appearance this week in multiple media outlets, each with large audiences, of stories about the "Revelation 12 prophecy" and a supposed connection to September 23, 2017, will have the effect of greatly increasing popular awareness of this sensational idea, whether or not those media outlets take care to point out that these "prophecies" have been dismissed by NASA and should be considered "conspiracy theories."

Obviously, based on the arguments I've already published in the blog posts, video, and infographic linked above, I believe that the claims of a connection between September 23 of this year and the events described in the text of Revelation 12 are completely misguided and probably in some cases deliberately manipulative. 

Thus, it should be equally obvious that I do not in any way endorse or accept the idea that literal events based on the visions described in Revelation 12 are foretold to begin manifesting in the world around us beginning this coming Saturday.

In fact, as I have explained in numerous previous blog posts as well as at greater length in my 2016 book Star Myths of the Bible, there is overwhelming evidence that all of the visions described in the book of Revelation included in the "canonical" New Testament are based on celestial metaphor. 

The vision of the smoke that arises from the bottomless pit, for example, along with locusts which come out of the smoke as well as the "tails like unto scorpions" which the locusts also possess, and even the crowns like gold upon their heads, all of which are described in Revelation chapter 9, can be shown to be cogent descriptions of the region of the brightest portion of the Milky Way galaxy (which represents the smoke that arises from the bottomless pit), including the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpio, which flank that brightest portion of the Milky Way, along with the Southern Crown or Corona Australis which is between Sagittarius and Scorpio. 

These connections between the visions described in Revelation 9 and the region of Sagittarius and Scorpio were discussed in Appendix 36 of Hamlet's Mill (published in 1969), and in that appendix, the authors also credit the work of the German philologist Professor Franz Boll (1867 - 1924), who perceived the same connection. Nevertheless, many decades later, you can still find literalists who believe that Revelation 9 is somehow describing literal helicopters and other modern military vehicles or weapons (as you can readily verify for yourself by searching for "revelation helicopters" and visiting the multiple articles and videos that will be suggested as a result). 

However, the connections between the descriptions in the Revelation 9 text itself and the constellations in the vicinity of the brightest portion of the Milky Way are extremely compelling -- and what is more, it can be shown that other Biblical passages involving a description of "locusts" point us towards the very same part of the night sky (including the famous events described in the Exodus account, in which a plague of locusts is one of the plagues preceding the crossing of the Red Sea, the Red Sea in this case also being portrayed in the heavens by the shining band of the Milky Way galaxy).

Similar connections between specific constellations and the "events" described in all the other chapters of Revelation could also be demonstrated -- which should indicate to anyone who perceives these connections that Revelation is describing the cycles of the heavens, and not any supposed literal events that are slated to take place in terrestrial history.

And this point should give pause to all those creating or promoting videos declaring that Revelation 12 matches up with September 23, 2017 -- because those connections to September 23rd are themselves based upon the perception that Revelation 12 is not talking about a literal woman in the process of giving birth, but rather that it is talking about the constellation Virgo!

The very connection that they are trumpeting with their multi-million-view videos demonstrates that they understand that the figures in Revelation are celestial figures.

If they can see that for Revelation 12, do they admit it for Revelation 9 and for the rest of the "events" described in Revelation? 

Because all of the events described in Revelation are celestial events, based upon celestial metaphor. Revelation 9 does not describe Apache helicopters -- it describes Sagittarius and Scorpio on either side of the brightest portion of the Milky Way galaxy (and it includes references to Corona Australis, the Southern Crown, as well).

Thus, if Apache helicopters begin terrorizing people around the globe, it is not a literal or inevitable fulfillment of Biblical prophecy foreseen by the author of Revelation 9 (although it is possible that someone desiring to manipulate public opinion could try to put that idea in people's minds). It is a scriptural passage describing a certain portion of the night sky (and a certain place on the annual cycle of earth's orbit, described on the Great Wheel of the zodiac, each portion of which had spiritual significance in the ancient language spoken by the world's myths, scriptures and sacred stories).

And, as overwhelming evidence indicates, not only are all of the events described in Revelation based upon celestial metaphor (rather than on literal terrestrial history), but so are all the other events and figures described in the rest of the ancient scriptures which some call the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

So, those making these videos about Revelation 12 and the supposed connection to September 23 should realize that their claims that the woman who is in the act of giving birth actually corresponds to the constellation Virgo open up the very real possibility that all the supposedly literal events of a literal "rapture" and "tribulation period" are actually based upon celestial metaphor as well. 

In other words, if they perceive that the woman with the crown of stars described in Revelation 12 and verses 1 and 2 is actually a woman in the heavens who corresponds to the constellation Virgo, then they should not stop there: they should go on to realize that the great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns found in verse 3 is actually Scorpio (crouching below the upraised feet of Virgo in the night sky), and that the man child who is caught up unto God and his throne described in verse 5 is also a constellation (in this case, the Northern Crown, caught up to the constellation Hercules, as I describe in my video). This would suggest that the "rapture" that some are connecting with the Revelation 12 text is not a literal event that will happen in terrestrial history (any more than the scorpion-tailed locusts of Revelation 9 represent literal helicopters or other war-machines). 

If they perceive the celestial metaphor for the first two verses of Revelation 12, why don't they perceive celestial metaphor in the rest of the verses of the chapter? And then, why don't they perceive the same celestial metaphor in the rest of the book of Revelation (after all, Professor Franz Boll was writing about it back in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century)? And then, why don't they consider the possibility that if the "events" in Revelation are based upon celestial metaphor, the same might hold true for the stories found in the rest of the ancient scriptures collected into the Old and New Testaments?

The evidence is in fact overwhelming that all of the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories are based upon celestial metaphor. These ancient stories contain profound wisdom for our lives -- but that message is completely obscured, and in fact inverted, when we take them literally. 

They are not speaking a "literal language" -- they are speaking an esoteric, a metaphorical, and a celestial language. If we learn to listen to them in the language that they are actually speaking, we have a much higher likelihood of hearing what they are trying to tell us. If we insist on pretending they are speaking a language which they are not actually speaking, we have a much higher likelihood of distorting their message. 

Those who are making videos declaring that the description in Revelation 12: 1 and 2 corresponds to the constellation Virgo have caught a tiny syllable of the language that the text is speaking. They are correct in their assertion that the woman in Revelation 12 is actually a personification of the constellation Virgo (although they are probably completely incorrect in their assertion that her "crown of twelve stars," also described in Revelation 12:1, corresponds to the stars of the constellation Leo plus an additional three planets, which is essential to their argument connecting Revelation 12 to September 23, 2017). 

Nevertheless, setting aside their colossal manipulation of the identity of the crown of twelve stars, their connection of the woman to Virgo is correct -- and should open their eyes to the fact that the other figures in Revelation 12, as well as the rest of Revelation and indeed the rest of the Bible (and the rest of world myth, for that matter) may also be based upon the constellations and other heavenly figures that travel through our night sky.

In the end, perhaps it is not the people claiming that September 23 will mark the beginning of literal events fulfilling visions described in Revelation who are the "conspiracy theorists." Perhaps it is those who perceive that attempts to use literal interpretations of ancient scriptures (specifically those in what we call the Bible) to manipulate the minds of hundreds of millions of people might be a sort of "conspiracy" -- and a very old one at that. 

Let us all hope that no one is attempting to use the supposed connection between Revelation 12 and September 23 of this year to manipulate people's perception of any extraordinary geopolitical events that they might also have a hand in manipulating. That would be more than just a conspiracy -- it would be a criminal conspiracy, and one that would be a betrayal of humanity, and of the ancient wisdom contained in the myths themselves.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Some important changes to the New Academy of Celestial Mythology!

Above is a new video that I just published to help reach those who may be interested in participating in an upcoming course in the New Academy of Celestial Mythology and Ancient Wisdom.

In addition, I'm making a few significant changes to the curriculum, in order to help make it more affordable. 

I've found a web conferencing tool which enables me to offer each course to forty-nine participants instead of only twenty-four. This will enable me to lower the price of each course to $36 (USD) instead of $72 (USD). 

Additionally, while cutting the price in half, I am also reducing the "footprint" of each course, in order to help with scheduling issues. Instead of making each course consist of three two-hour sessions on three successive Saturdays, each course will now consist of a single three-hour session on just one Saturday. That way, there is less likelihood that a course will conflict with other commitments that you already have on your calendar.

Finally, if referring to these courses as the "New Academy of Celestial Mythology and Ancient Wisdom" is too much of a mouthful, you are also welcome to think of them as being part of a "Department of Astrotheology" at a delightful college or university.

As far as I am aware, there are no colleges or universities anywhere which offer courses in the ancient language of the stars which underlies the world's myths, scriptures and sacred stories. That's one of the reasons I am creating this New Academy of Celestial Mythology and Ancient Wisdom

Or "Department of Astrotheology" if you prefer.

Here is the link to the page listing the three different courses currently available, as well as PayPal "buttons" which you can use to reserve your space in any one of them (note that you do not need to use PayPal in order to reserve a space in a course -- there is also an option to use any major credit or debit card when you hit the "Buy Now" button: just look below the brighter and more colorful "PayPal" option on the page after you hit the "Buy Now" button).

I hope that you can join me in an upcoming course!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The immortal Peter Tosh

September 11 is of course the notorious date of the criminal murder of thousands of men and women by  unknown perpetrators, the full details of which have thus far been obfuscated rather than investigated by the so-called official commission appointed by the government which supposedly represents the people, as well as by all of the mainstream media outlets which are supposed to be free to practice unimpeded journalism and reporting according to the human right described as "freedom of speech."

This anniversary marks the sixteenth year since the horrific attacks committed on that day, which were subsequently used as false justification for illegal wars of aggression which have continued without pause right up to the present moment, as well as for false justification for illegal abridgment of the individual rights both in the united states and in many other countries around the world, to violate the rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures without warrant and without probable cause -- including, as we have all seen, their cellphone data, their reading habits, their phone calls and phone contacts, their personal location and pattern of daily life, and many more details on a constant and ongoing basis.

This day also marks another notorious anniversary, also of a terrible crime by unknown perpetrators, the full details of which were similarly obfuscated rather than investigated by the so-called representatives of the law -- that crime being the murder of the artist, songwriter, poet and social activist Peter Tosh, who was killed on September the 11th thirty years ago this day, in 1987.

Of the three (or more) men who broke into the home of Peter Tosh and tortured and then murdered him along with Wilton Doc Brown, only one was even named and prosecuted. The other two were never even named and were basically ignored by the authorities, and it was later claimed that they had been killed in unrelated street violence -- a highly dubious claim since their names were never even released. This pattern of data regarding the murderers is extremely suspicious and raises the possibility of collusion at some level by the authorities. 

Peter Tosh was a brilliant musician and a hard-hitting songwriter on issues of social justice, economic oppression, and spiritual empowerment. Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, he formed the original Wailers in 1964 (they began playing together as a band in 1962), with Tosh playing guitar and keyboards and other instruments, as well as singing. 

All three of the Wailers contributed lead vocals to different Wailers songs. One of my all-time favorites which Peter Tosh sings is "One Foundation" from their Burnin' album, which declares the unity of all men and women despite the segregations and denominations which are used to divide them. Other well-known songs from the Wailers era on which Peter Tosh sings lead vocals include "400 Years" and "Stop That Train" (both from the Catch a Fire album). The unmistakeable voice of Peter Tosh can also be heard in the critical verses in the middle of "Get up, Stand up," which is also found on the Burnin' album (a song which Peter Tosh wrote, along with "400 Years" and many other hits for the Wailers).

After the Wailers disbanded in 1974, Peter Tosh went on to have a brilliant solo career in which he was seemingly unable to record a single bad song. All of his solo albums are worth owning.

Peter Tosh was also an outspoken opponent of the crime of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa, which was not officially ended until 1992. The crime of apartheid was declared to be a crime against humanity in 1972 by the UN's Apartheid Convention, which was approved in 1973 (with the US casting a vote, along with the Republic of South Africa, against the resolution of the Apartheid Convention).   

His final album, No Nuclear War, was released in 1987, and contains some of his hardest-hitting songs. The lineup on the first side of the album is particularly heavy, with "No Nuclear War," "Nah Goa Jail," "Fight Apartheid," and "Vampire" in that order.

It is certainly an awful possibility that the murder of Peter Tosh was perpetrated by those wishing to silence his powerful voice, especially since two of the perpetrators were essentially allowed to go free and unnamed.

But it should be equally clear that Peter Tosh's inspired message and soaring musical talent were flowing out of his inspiration from a source beyond the ordinary realm -- and that this message will continue working itself out through men and women despite the best efforts (or, more appropriately, the worst efforts) of those who would try to stop it.

As the ancient wisdom entrusted to humanity makes evident, the gods work out their will and their purposes through individual men and women (see for instance the discussions here, here and here).

The immortal Peter Tosh is certainly a powerful instrument of that divine will, against oppression and injustice and for uplifting and spiritual connection. His message lives on, thirty years later -- and is more relevant now than ever.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Manipulation of Revelation 12 and the supposed connection to September 23, 2017

Back in January of this year, I became aware (through participation in the Skeptiko discussion forums in conjunction with my interview on Skeptiko with Alex Tsakiris) of arguments by some literalist Christian teachers claiming that the text of Revelation chapter 12 points decisively to a date of September 23, 2017 as the date of a supposed literal "Rapture" (in which Christian believers are supposedly going to be "caught up" to heaven and leave the earth) and the beginning of the period of "Tribulation" described in certain other New Testament texts (note that I do not believe either of these literalist teachings, a literal Rapture or a literal Tribulation, are correct interpretations of the texts themselves).

In response to a question posed to me on the Skeptiko discussion board, regarding my opinion of these  interpretations and predictions, I replied that those arguing in confident and authoritative tones that Revelation 12 points indisputably to September 2017 are deeply mistaken in their interpretation. They have correctly perceived that the figures and events described in Revelation 12 are celestial in nature -- but because their overall interpretation of the ancient scriptures (in this case, the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, so-called) is based upon a deeply flawed paradigm (the flawed literalistic paradigm), they have wrongly interpreted a celestial text based upon their literalistic paradigm, instead of seeing that the celestial nature of everything described in Revelation 12 should cause them to question the validity of their literalistic interpretation of the rest of scripture. 

If they were to take their insight that Revelation 12 is describing celestial figures and apply it to the rest of Biblical scripture, they might realize that all the other events and characters found in the Bible are  also based on the heavenly cycles, just as the characters and events in Revelation 12 can be seen to be based on the motions of the heavens.

My initial reply to the Revelation 12 question (and accompanying video from a literalist Christian teacher) submitted on the Skeptiko forum can be found in post #89 on page 5 of the discussion board related to my interview.

Later, I repeated most of my reply in a blog post here, as well as creating a video in which I refute the attempts to wrest the scripture of Revelation 12 into a prediction of a literal "Rapture" on September 23 of this year.

Above, I have created an "infographic" which attempts to present (with accompanying images and description, but contained in a single jpg file) some of the most important evidence and arguments refuting the manipulation of Revelation 12 as an argument for a literal Rapture and Tribulation beginning in September of 2017. Here is a link to the infographic file

The main points presented in that infographic include the following:

1. The literalist connection of Revelation 12 to September 23 of this year rests upon a perception that the figures described in Revelation 12 are heavenly figures -- namely, that the "great wonder in heaven"  describing a "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet" probably corresponds to the constellation Virgo (Revelation 12: 1).

2. This connection to Virgo is a good insight -- myths in which a woman is giving birth should always be suspected to have a connection to Virgo, because the outline of the constellation itself suggests a woman in the act of childbirth. Revelation 12 verse 2 and following makes it clear that the woman described in this text is in the act of giving birth. 

3. The connection to the specific date of September 23, 2017 comes from a speculative interpretation of the "crown of twelve stars" described in Revelation 12 and verse 1. In late September, the sun moves into the constellation Virgo (this is a function of earth's orbit around the sun -- the stars "behind the sun" change as we go through the year, because the "line" between the earth and the sun points to a different part of space depending on where we are in our orbit; for some visual discussion of this phenomenon, see an early video I made using the "metaphor of the dining-room table"). The Revelation passage says that the woman is "clothed with the sun," and that she has the "moon under her feet." The moon moves through the zodiac each month, because it makes an orbit around the earth each month, along roughly the same ecliptic plane (slightly offset), it makes its way through each zodiac sign in roughly two-and-a-half days (thirty divided by twelve). Thus, the conditions for the woman in childbirth being "clothed with the sun" and having the "moon at her feet" occur each year, during the time of year that the line between earth and the sun points towards Virgo (in late September through early October, in the current epoch). To try to force the passage into indicating 2017 specifically, interpreters need to come up with an explanation for the twelve stars in the crown upon her hear -- and this is where their interpretation becomes extremely manipulative, in my opinion.

4. The explanation you will see in a host of literalist videos which declare that Revelation 12 is being "fulfilled" in September of 2017 rests upon the identification of the stars in the crown as belonging to the zodiac constellation of Leo, which precedes Virgo in the annual rotation (and in the daily rotation across the sky). Without fail, those trying to force Revelation 12 to line up with September 2017 declare that the stars in Leo are nine in number -- and thus the passage will not be fulfilled until three additional "stars" appear in Leo. In September 2017, the planets Mercury, Mars and Venus pass beneath Leo in late September. Note that Mercury and Venus, being "interior" planets orbiting the sun inside of the orbit of the earth, are always seen in the proximity of the sun from our perspective on earth, because in order to "look towards" Mercury or Venus, we must "look towards" the sun -- and thus it is relatively common for Mercury and / or Venus to pass through the region of Leo when the sun is passing through Virgo. Because Mercury, Mars and Venus are all in Leo on September 23 of this year (when the sun is entering Virgo in the region of the constellation's head, and the moon is exiting Virgo and located "beneath her feet"), literalists who want to declare a correlation to 2017 have decided that Leo must have nine stars, and that the three planets thus bring the count to twelve -- and correspond to the "crown of twelve stars" described in Revelation 12: 1. There are several problems with this interpretation.

5. First, it is by no means conclusively proven that the "crown of twelve stars" on the head of the woman corresponds to the constellation Leo. There are other possibilities, including the stars in the head of the constellation Virgo itself (which has a rather elongated head). The close-up in the info-graphic which shows the stars of Leo and the head of Virgo should enable you to see that there are a number of stars in and around the head of Virgo, and that it is possible to count them up and make them add to twelve, if one so desires.

6. The confident declaration that Leo contains exactly nine stars is also extremely tenuous. Even if we grant that the stars of Leo somehow represent the "crown" described in Revelation 12: 1 (a somewhat dubious assertion), then the number of stars that we assign to the constellation will have a huge impact on any "date-setting" interpretation foisted upon the text. As you can see from the star-chart above, there are actually countless stars in just about any constellation, which means that the number of stars one settles upon as the number of stars belonging to that constellation is a completely subjective endeavor. There is one outline for Leo used in all the numerous literalist videos trying to match Revelation 12 to September 2017 -- and that outline conveniently counts nine stars for the constellation. However, that is not a very good outline for Leo (the outline for Leo envisioned by the brilliant H. A. Rey, presented above, is far superior), and even if we grant that outline for Leo, it is debatable as to how many stars it should have in it (that outline, for instance, conveniently does not count the star between the rear hip and the front shoulder of the Lion -- but you can see that there is a star between the Lion's hip and shoulder which is large enough to be included in the constellation outline as envisioned by H. A. Rey). If that star (between hip and shoulder) is included in the outline used by the literalist video-makers, then Leo would have ten stars, and their entire argument connecting Revelation 12 and September 2017 falls apart. If Leo has ten stars, then it would need two additional "stars" to get to twelve stars (and thus to fit the description in Rev 12: 1) and we'd have to find a completely different year, when two planets are in Leo instead of three during the month when the sun is in Virgo and the period when the moon moves to the point beneath Virgo's feet.

7. As noted in the infographic above, of course, we don't even need to use planets to get the number of stars in Leo to be twelve in number. Leo has plenty of stars (especially if we use the far better H. A. Rey outline shown above), and depending upon the way one decides to count, could have enough stars to sum to twelve without the use of any planets whatsoever. After all, planets are not really "stars" to begin with. In short, the entire argument of the literalists who want to connect Revelation 12 to September 23, 2017 is based upon a dubious assertion that Leo corresponds to the "crown of twelve stars," plus the extremely dubious assertion that Leo has exactly nine stars (no more, no less) and thus requires some planets to bring the total to twelve (even though planets are not stars). It should be quite evident at this point that the entire interpretation is ripe for manipulation. If we wanted to, we could argue that Revelation 12 will be fulfilled in a year in which only one planet is passing through Leo during the month that the sun is in Virgo and the day that the moon moves beneath Virgo's feet: all we would have to do is argue that Leo has eleven stars of its own, instead of nine. This is what rhetoricians in previous centuries called a "wax nose" -- meaning you can mold it into whatever shape you want, in order to suit your argument. In other words, it is an argument that is not based upon following the evidence and letting it dictate the conclusion you reach, but rather is based upon manipulating the evidence in order to shape it into something that suits the conclusion that you want to reach.

8. Teachers who are using this argument can thus be seen to be manipulating their followers -- which is something that the scriptures themselves warn against in no uncertain terms, and with extremely pointed language. Some of them are no doubt sincerely convinced that Revelation 12 lines up with September 2017, based upon seeing the same arguments and accepting them as valid. But all of them should exercise more critical analysis, because it shouldn't be too hard to ask whether Leo indisputably has nine and only nine stars (and any familiarity with the constellation itself, as seen in a dark night sky, will answer that question quite decisively).

9. More importantly, literalist teachers who accept the argument that the figures described in Revelation 12 correspond to heavenly figures should realize that this insight opens up a completely paradigm-shifting possibility: the possibility that other figures in the Old and New Testament might also be based upon the sun, moon, stars, and heavenly cycles (with the zodiac constellations playing a leading role, just as they do in this passage). Instead of taking the insight that Revelation 12 refers to constellations to question whether the entire literalist approach to scripture might be wrong, those who make these videos about a September 2017 rapture are taking their flawed literalist paradigm and using it to misinterpret an obviously celestial passage of scripture. 

10. As explained in my January 2017 video on this subject, the events described in Revelation 12 are all based on celestial metaphor: the dragon with seven heads waiting to devour the child of the woman in travail corresponds to Scorpio (positioned beneath the upraised legs of Virgo), the child itself which is "caught up unto God, and to his throne" corresponds to Corona Borealis (the Northern Crown), and the passage in which the woman flies to the wilderness and is is nourished "from the face of the serpent," and the serpent casts out water from his mouth as a flood after the woman, all pertain to the constellation Hydra, and the fact that the daily rotation of the earth causes both Virgo and Hydra to disappear into the western horizon. Supporting evidence for these assertions can be found in many other myths and sacred stories from around the globe, virtually all of which can be shown to be employing the very same system of celestial metaphor, which itself is so ancient that it predates ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient India, ancient China, and even the ancient Indus-Saraswati civilization. Supporting evidence can also be found in other passages in the Bible itself, which clothe the same constellations in slightly different settings, but which still contain recognizable clues pointing to the same region of the heavens.

11. I believe it is quite possible that the "wings" given to the woman when she flies into the wilderness (Revelation 12: 14) correspond to the constellations Corvus and Crater on the back of the serpent of Hydra (a serpent also being mentioned in Revelation 12: 14). While it is also possible that these wings (described as the wings "of a great eagle") correspond to the constellation Aquila the Eagle, not far from Virgo and directly above Scorpio in the Milky Way, there are other ancient references in which Hydra is apparently envisioned as having wings. See the discussion and diagram relating to the youth Triptolemus in the myths of ancient Greece in this previous post. Further, there is a well-known episode in the life of the prophet Elijah, described in 1 Kings 17, in which Elijah also flees to the wilderness, where he is given food and water by ravens, beside the brook Cherith which goes before Jordan. Note the clear similarities to the events in Revelation 12, in which the woman also flees to the wilderness and in which a stream (or in this case, a "flood" of water from the serpent) is described. From this, we can see that the brook Cherith is almost certainly Hydra (whose very name indicates an ancient connection to water in some capacity), and that the ravens which feed Elijah are almost certainly associated with Corvus (located on the back of Hydra, and usually described as a crow, although ravens and crows are of course related and not very different in outward form -- and the constellation Corvus does indeed resemble a large crow or raven in the night sky). Note that if the brook Cherith is Hydra, then it is indeed situated "before Jordan," if the heavenly Jordan is understood to be the beautiful band of the Milky Way itself. The rotation of the night sky, from east to west, means that Hydra goes "before Jordan" through the heavens, if Jordan is identified with that river of stars which is the Milky Way galaxy.

12. Similarly, the description of the child of the woman being "caught up" can be shown to relate to another passage in the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament), known as the Judgment of Solomon -- in which the king commands that a baby be cut in half, in order to settle a dispute between two mothers. The celestial foundations of this famous incident have been discussed in great detail in previous posts such as this one, as well as in a video here. This important episode is also discussed in even more detail in my 2016 book, Star Myths of the World, Volume Three (Star Myths of the Bible). The child in that story is "caught up" by the swordsman, who threatens to cut it in half. The swordsman in that text is none other than the powerful figure of the constellation Hercules, who can be seen to be brandishing a mighty club, sword or scimitar in the heavens. The child, as strange as it may seem, is associated with the arching Northern Crown (or Corona Borealis). Similarly, I would argue that the child who is described in Revelation 12: 5 as being "caught up unto God and to his the throne" is also Corona Borealis -- and that when the passage describes the child as being caught up to God, the passage is describing the same powerful figure of Hercules, this time associated with the Almighty rather than with the powerful human swordsman found in the Judgment of Solomon account. This description of the child being "caught up" is the source of the connection of Revelation 12 with the idea of a "Rapture" among some literalist Christian circles -- the word "rapture" means to "snatch up" (like a raptor, a bird of prey whose name comes from the same Latin word which means "to seize" or "to grab")

Thus we see that the Rapture and Tribulation being described in Revelation 12 relate to constellations   in the night sky (Corona Borealis, which is "caught up," and Virgo in the vicinity of Hydra, which is the woman in the wilderness). They are not descriptions of literal future history (although some literalist Christian groups interpret them that way -- mistakenly, I am convinced). 

I would argue that not only is the identification of September 23, 2017 as the start of a literal Rapture and Tribulation a deeply flawed conclusion based upon a very subjective interpretation of the "crown" described in Revelation 12: 1 and informed by a basic literalist approach to the scriptures, but that the clearly celestial descriptions in Revelation 12 (and their connections to other myths and other important characters and events in the Bible) cast grave doubt on the entire literalist paradigm out of which predictions of a literal Rapture and literal Tribulation originate.

It is bitterly ironic, in my view, that the very celestial connections which conclusively refute the entire literalistic approach to the scriptures are here being used to try to convince people that a literal Rapture and literal Tribulation are on their way -- terrestrial events imagined by those who believe the stories in the Bible are describing literal and terrestrial events, when it can be conclusively shown that the stories in the Bible are celestial in nature, from first to last.

I certainly do not believe there will be any literal Rapture and Tribulation commencing on September 23, 2017 -- but that does not mean that I exclude the possibility of manipulation of world events around that date by the same powerful forces who study the esoteric aspects of the world's ancient wisdom in order to try to manipulate, dominate, and oppress other men and women (instead of using the world's ancient wisdom in order to bless, uplift, and empower other men and women). There is a long history of the use of "false flag" events to launch criminal wars of aggression (such as the USS Maine incident, or the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to name just two).

While some who are propagating the argument that Revelation 12 points to September 23, 2017 are no doubt doing so out of their own sincere belief in the connection, it should be quite clear at this point that this connection is dependent upon a completely subjective count of stars in the constellation Leo -- and that this fact opens the entire interpretation up to the possibility of manipulation. Those who would manipulate scripture for their own purposes may also be disposed to manipulate other events in order to get their way or accomplish their designs.

There have even been speculations, by very noteworthy researchers such as Dr. Joseph P. Farrell (who has written literally dozens of important books and whose analysis should be very carefully regarded and highly respected, in my opinion), that certain techniques for the modification of weather have been researched and demonstrated for many decades already, and that the recent unusual hurricane which dumped an unprecedented amount of rain on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana might have been manipulated or modified in some way by some technology (we certainly experienced unusual weather in California at the same time that this hurricane was hitting the gulf coast).

It should go without saying that manipulating weather in order to cause death and destruction would be a grave violation of the moral law preserved in the world's ancient wisdom, which teaches that each and every man and woman is a microcosm of the entire universe, connected to the Infinite and possessed of infinite value. It should also go without saying that manipulating the ancient wisdom in order to manipulate men and women is also a grave violation of the teachings of that same ancient wisdom, given to all of humanity as a precious inheritance for our benefit and blessing. I hope that the date of September 23, 2017 will not see any attempts to manipulate geopolitical events in any way in order to violate the rights of men and women anywhere.

It is also my hope that a clear understanding of the way that Revelation 12 is being manipulated and misinterpreted to try to connect it to September 23 of this year will help others to resist manipulation of the world's ancient wisdom, and to be alert to other similar manipulations. 

There is no doubt that the arguments connecting Revelation 12 to September 23 are gaining a lot of traction among certain groups (see for example this video, which has nearly 7 million views to date, according to the YouTube view count, and which gets into Revelation 12 most directly beginning at around the 17-minute mark). 

If you know people who have been taken in by some of these arguments, and who would benefit from the above discussion, or the infographic, previous blog post, or Revelation 12 astrotheology video below, please feel free to share them.

Ultimately, this entire mania about Revelation 12 and September 23 should be seen as opening a window upon the overwhelming evidence that the stories in the Bible -- as well as the world's other ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories -- are built upon a foundation of celestial metaphor. I believe that this truth, when understood, will greatly increase our ability to hear what the ancient wisdom given to humanity is trying to say to us, and greatly decrease the ability of others to manipulate  or distort the message of the ancient myths.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Introducing the New Academy of Celestial Mythology & Ancient Wisdom

image: Delphi. 
Wikimedia commons (link).

How would you like to attend a symposium-style class at a college or university discussing ancient myths, their connections to the heavenly cycles, and the profound truths that they can convey for our lives today?

I've been working very hard to come up with ways to provide that kind of experience, and am excited to announce a concept I call the New Academy of Celestial Mythology and Ancient Wisdom, which will offer just that sort of experience, in a live online environment.

Based on a kind suggestion sent to me from a friend through email some years ago, I have tried to organize the Star Myths of the World series of books in such a way that helps readers learn how to approach the world's ancient myths for themselves and perceive the clues that point to the celestial code, rather than simply laying out the connections that I myself perceive. 

In other words, the goal is to try to teach others how to begin to understand the language of the myths for themselves, rather than simply providing "my translation" of what I believe the myths are saying, without helping others to learn that language.

Now, in addition to the material in the books, videos and blog posts that you can find in the various sections of the Star Myths of the World website, I'm continuing to follow that excellent suggestion by creating a series of live online courses to provide a kind of "college class" experience in which participants can dive into a specific set of myths or sacred stories, see visual demonstrations of the constellations involved, and discuss the possible meaning that the myths are conveying, as well as ask questions for clarification during the process.

Each course will consist of three two-hour classes (totaling six hours for the course), conducted in a group web-based conference call, each one week apart. Each course will be limited to twenty-four participants.

This is not a series of pre-recorded videos -- these courses are live calls, led by me, with diagrams and "chalkboards," designed to help you gain confidence in the connections between the myths and the stars -- and awareness of the ancient teachings associated with those connections.

The cost for one course is seventy-two us dollars ($72 -- aka seventy-two federal reserve notes). That's quite a bit less than the cost for a single hair appointment to get highlights in California (not that I have ever done that, but I happen to know they typically cost a lot more than that around here). And each course provides a lot more material than you will typically get in a standard weekend getaway conference with multiple speakers, in which a presentation is usually about an hour, with very limited Q&A (although you do get to hear from multiple speakers, which means more breadth but less depth than these courses offer).

To be clear, I'm not "selling" any ancient wisdom here -- you can access ancient wisdom for no money at all, by going to the myths and scriptures for yourself. You can also learn about the connections between the ancient myths and the stars through the several hundred posts on this blog, as well as the dozens of videos I've made. And you can get a lot more depth through the six books I've written thus far on the connections between the myths and the stars.

However, this new set of courses is an attempt to provide a learning environment that combines live conversation and visual diagrams, similar to the kind of teaching I did when I was an instructor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the US Military Academy at West Point many years ago. Books and videos, unfortunately, can't provide the same experience. Podcasts can come close -- especially podcasts with a video component, of which I have some plans to do soon. But with a podcast, you are relying on the host or hosts to ask the questions you would like to ask, whereas in this new format, you can ask questions yourself.

To learn more, or to reserve your place in one of the upcoming courses, please visit the New Academy of Celestial Mythology and Ancient Wisdom on the Star Myths of the World website.

Note that you can always find your way to the "New Academy" page through the "Resources" page on the website, which can be reached via a link found at the very bottom of any page in the site.

I believe that this format will provide an ideal way to help others to become more familiar with the  language  of celestial metaphor which unites the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories around the globe.

I hope that you will be able to join me in one of the upcoming courses!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New Video: The Vision of Ezekiel (Wheels within Wheels)

Here's a brand-new video illustrating the "Astrotheology of the Vision of Ezekiel: Wheels within Wheels."

The Vision of Ezekiel, in which the "heavens opened" and the prophet says he was granted "visions of God" is an extremely important passage in the Hebrew Scriptures, aka the "Old Testament." The new video illustrates the evidence that the passage known to us as Ezekiel's Vision -- which includes a whirlwind from the north, a great cloud, a fire "infolding itself" or "catching itself," the likeness of four living creatures with an appearance like lamps or burning coals of fire, wheels lifted up from the earth, with an appearance as it were "a wheel in the middle of a wheel" -- represents a description of the awesome celestial mechanics which create the heavenly cycles, albeit a description clothed in metaphor and fantastical language.

The fact that Ezekiel's vision of the heavens opening can be shown to be built upon celestial metaphor constitutes powerful evidence that the episodes and characters in the ancient scriptures that have come to be known as the Bible were not intended to be understood as literal terrestrial history but rather that they are composed of esoteric metaphor. Further, Ezekiel's vision was understood even in ancient times -- and even by staunch early Christian literalists -- to exhibit important connections to the four gospels of the New Testament, which themselves have for centuries been associated with the four faces described in the likeness of the living creatures in Ezekiel's vision: the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Thus, we see additional confirmation that the scriptures we call the Bible are built upon celestial metaphor practically from first to last, in both the Old and New Testaments (so-called).

This fact, that the Bible can be shown to be built upon celestial metaphor, connects the scriptures of the Old and New Testament to virtually all of the other ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories from other cultures around the globe, on every inhabited continent and island of our planet, which can also be shown to be built upon the very same esoteric system.  This connection and this understanding should unite humanity. Tragically, literalistic interpretations tend towards the division of humanity, because literalistic interpretations tend to "externalize" and "physicalize" the ancient myths and sacred stories, leading towards divisions between those who accept this literalistic interpretation versus that one, and between those supposedly descended from this character versus from that one (when the characters themselves can be shown to have been celestial metaphor from the beginning).

The fact that the world's myths can be shown to share a common system of allegory, and one with a level of specificity that argues against its development in cultures without contact with one another, also has tremendous ramifications for our understanding of humanity's ancient past. As this video explains (and as I have explained in other previous posts such as this one), I do not believe that the ancient myths, including the account of Ezekiel, describe contact with or sightings of extraterrestrial spacecraft or beings. However, it is evident that the world's myths share a common system, and what's more that this system can be shown to have been fully mature and fully developed before the creation of some of the earliest surviving ancient texts we have available, such as the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt or the clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia containing the Gilgamesh cycle, among others. From this fact, we can conclude that this ancient system predates the earliest civilizations known to or admitted by conventional academic historians -- earlier than the civilizations of ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient China, ancient India, and the ancient Indus-Saraswati civilization.

There are many other ramifications of this astonishing worldwide evidence found in humanity's ancient myth, too many to list here, but one important aspect is that as we learn to understand this ancient language or code, we can begin to perceive the profound wisdom which the world's sacred stories were intended to preserve and convey. I believe our ability to hear their message is greatly enhanced as we begin to listen to them in the language which they are actually speaking -- which is a celestial language, a language of the heavenly cycles governing the sun, moon, visible planets, and especially the stars and constellations. The points on these cycles were invested with meaning in the code or language of the ancient myths -- corresponding to aspects of our own physical and spiritual journey. Thus, as we learn to converse with the myths in the language which they are actually speaking, we can go to them for wisdom that applies to our own sojourn through this incarnate life.

I hope that this new video illustrating the celestial aspects of the famous Vision of Ezekiel will be a blessing to you.

You can comment in the "community" section of my website Star Myth World (dot com), as well as in YouTube or in Vimeo where the video is posted, or in Facebook or twitter. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel in order to receive notification the moment any new videos are posted.

(Same video, on Vimeo):