“The Star of Bethlehem, The Constellation Leo, and Zoroastrian​​ Magi” | Nicole Foster

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The biblical Magi (/ˈmædʒaɪ/[1] or /ˈmeɪdʒaɪ/; singular: magus; Greek: μάγοι, magoi), also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings, were, in the Gospel of Matthew and, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

According to Matthew, the only one of the four Canonical gospels to mention the Magi, states that they came “from the east” to worship the “king of the Jews”

Magi (/ˈmeɪdʒaɪ/; singular magus /ˈmeɪɡəs/; from Latin magus) denotes followers of Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster. The earliest known use of the word Magi is in the trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great. Old Persian texts, pre-dating the Hellenistic period, refer to a Magus as a Zurvanic, and presumably Zoroastrian, priest.

Pervasive throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia until late antiquity and beyond, mágos, “Magian” or “magician”, here words known to be for a practitioner of magic, which includes astrology, alchemy and other forms of esoteric knowledge. This association was in turn the product of the Hellenistic fascination for (Pseudo)Zoroaster, who was perceived by the Greeks to be the “Chaldean”, “founder” of the Magi and “inventor” of both astrology and magic, a meaning that still survives in the modern-day words “magic” and “magician”.

He was known to be a priest in the second millennium B.C. somewhere in western Persia, who taught about individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the resurrection of the body, the Last Judgment, and everlasting life for the reunited soul and body, among other things, became prevalent in the Abrahamic religions.

If you remember, back in Genesis, Abraham and Sarah were Chaldeans sand also half brother and sister, whose Father was Terah. Terah’s name means, Protector of the Moon. These cities, which Terah’s family sojourned back and forth were major centers for Moon worship. Ur, both northern and southern Ur, were situated along the Euphrates River. So Abraham and Sarah’s family being Chaldeans seem to be from a culture of magi who are heavily involved in astronomy and moon worship (This may be why Abraham keeps going out a night to talk to God, who uses the stars of heaven as a backdrop to explain to him, how numerous his descendants were going to be.

The Magi because of the gifts they have, seem to be coming from modern-day Yemen or Seba in the southern Arabian peninsula, just across the way from the Ethiopian kingdom of Axum or (Sheba).

So this is the background of who the Magi are and where they are coming from. What prompts them to move westward know about a king being born from the tribe of Judah. Well, a bright star in the East… The stars were aligned a certain way.

The Magi seem to know the Torah and the prophecy of a coming king to born in Bethlehem.In 3 B.C. The constellation Leo, just over the horizon (which is known as the king constellation) has a star in it called Regulus (which means royalty), and Jupiter (known as the King planet)

Jupiter aligns with Regulus, in the constellation of Leo (King, King, King) around Sept 11, 3.B.C. (Around the Jewish New Year). They notice this and find it quite striking and they know they need to start moving. A few months later, Jupiter in retrograde view, looks as if it circles the Regulus, and comes in conjunction with Venus (known as the Mother planets) floats. This is an extremely bright celestial activity. This is a big astronomical conjunction. It’s beyond noticeable in the sky. It bright at night, and the Sun rises in the constellation of Virgo at daybreak. This is normal but yet once in a blue moon planetary occurrence. What intense watching of the Magi! They are deep seekers of wisdom and instruction, paying attention to God’s message to mankind. Check it out here: Star of Bethlehem

But someone who wasn’t paying attention to the move of the Creator was taking back by this knowledge. And that’s Herod. When the Magi finally arrive around the winter solstice (Dec- 21-23). He gets unnerved. There’s another king? Oh yeah, there IS a prophecy about one being born in Bethlehem. He is so thrown off, because of his lack of paying attention, he tells the Magi, to come back and let him know where this child is born so that he may worship him, also. But Herod’s plan is to kill him off. This baby is perceived as a threat. If Magi from the east have seen an astrological event in the Heavens, this is a great king, indeed.

I give all this information to hopefully quicken our hearts and ask ourselves, this: Who are you this Advent season. Are you Herod of are you the Magi? Are you Herod and lazily going about your days, not paying attention to the instruction of God Almighty, and when the time comes, your angrily and jealously caught off guard? Or are you the Magi, who attentively seek out Divine instruction and move accordingly in the will and purpose of the King of Kings? We have something more than the stars and planets. Yes, God uses His creation to testify of his glory. However, we have the great Counselor, the Paraclete, The Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth. Are you listening and waiting for Him to give you instruction on when to make a move- that may change everything for you, for your family, for your community- Are you paying attention and seeking the Lord’s instruction?

Let our prayer be this Advent season to wipe the sleep off our eyes, and throw of sleepiness of our spirits, and prepare our hearts to receive Divine Instruction, so that we may properly worship and adore the King of Kings and Lord or Lord’s just as the Magi.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Nicole Foster the T.V. Host and founding minister of The Hippie Theologian. She holds a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, a Master of Divinity from Redeemer Theological Seminary and a B.A. in History from Southern Methodist University. She’s an ordained Anglican minister and teaches Old Testament for various organizations. She loves to hike, camp, make organic soap, and be a beach bum as often as possible.

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