In 31 BC, Gaius Octavius Caesar, the grand nephew of Julius Caesar and his designated heir, defeated Antony and Cleopatra in the battle of Actium. Julius Caesar ruled as Dictator of Rome, but after his victory in Actium, Octavian established the Roman Principate, a monarchy in which the Emperor ruled for life. Octavius crowned himself Augustus Caesar and became both the first Roman Emperor and Pontifex Maximus of the Roman religion. This was the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic.
Augustus had achieved the deification of state power. After his death, Augustus, called the Son of a God, would be worshipped as a Divinity in his own right.
Under Augustus, Rome and the provinces had become, in essence, a police state. Augustus embarked on a vigorous program of imperial expansion, sending armies across the Rhine River and up the Danube from 16 BC to 6 AD. At the turning of the millennium, at the transition between the Ages, Rome reigned supreme in the Mediterranean world.
Lupa Capitolina: she-wolf with Romulus and Remus. Bronze, 13th-century AD (the twins are a 15th-century addition).
Capitoline Museums , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The ubiquitous Roman legions, led by standard-bearers wearing wolf-skins over their elegant armour, marched under banners bearing the image of the Roman she-wolf, installing Imperial garrisons in Hispania, Gallia, Germania, Thracia, Syria, Africa, Egypt and Greece.
This triumph of raw Roman power solidified the rule of aristocratic predators who ruled the Italian state that birthed the victorious Imperial legions. Roman institutions depended upon wars waged for profit and glory. Yet, under Augustus the Empire maintained a Pax Romana that lasted through the death of Augustus in 14 AD.
A master of politics, Augustus spread the wealth of Empire widely. He displaced poor farmers from their lands and gave that land to his legions as a reward for their faithful service. Augustus rigged elections to favor his personally selected candidates, chosen for “merit” and loyalty rather than bloodline. He placed Imperial colonies in the hands of pliant surrogates who would further Roman interests.
Augustus built the foundations for a long-lasting Empire by creating entire new privileged classes at home and abroad. These predatory Roman elites were naturally loyal to the Emperor who enriched and elevated them, and together the Emperor and these newly privileged social classes profited from the sweat and blood and taxes of the peoples of the Empire around the world.
The Roman Empire spread a polytheistic pantheistic pagan religion far beyond Rome's borders, but the power of the Empire resided in Roman coins that served as the medium of exchange across the world, as much as in the iron and fire commanded by Roman legions. At home, the authoritarian, militaristic rule of the Empire was commanded by a fractured elite engaged in continuous infighting. Above all else, the elites of the Roman Empire worshiped money and power.
All this was in stark counterpoint to the mystical, monotheistic, prophetic philosophy of the tiny nation of Israel, whose people had been oppressed for generations. Israel had endured the yoke of Babylon, the lash of Egypt and now the double oppression of Imperial rule and an ossified Israeli priesthood, jealous of its privileges and beholden to the Roman governor charged with extracting maximum value for the Empire.
During this time of global turmoil and conflict, there was a widespread awareness, subliminal for the most part, that the world had reached a turning point of the ages.
Prometheus Brings Fire by Heinrich Friedrich Füger
In Greece, Aeschylus, fashioner of ritual dramas elucidating the ancient mysteries and son of a priest of Eleusis, had risked the wrath of the mob for putting a speech into the mouth of his Titanic hero Prometheus declaring the imminent end of the reign of Zeus, aka Jupiter, King of Gods.
Go thou and worship; fold thy hands in prayer,
And be the dog that licks the foot of power!
Nothing care I for Zeus; yea, less than naught!
Let him do what he will, and sway the world
His little hour; he has not long to lord it
Among the Gods.
In Rome, the visionary prophet Virgil, in a poem ostensibly part of a cycle of works dedicated to the glory of the coming of the great God-man Augustus, declared, “The last great age, foretold by sacred rhymes, renews its finished course, Saturnian times roll round again, and the mighty years begun from their first orb in radiant circles run, the base degenerate iron offspring ends, a golden progeny from Heaven descends – Oh! Chaste Lucia! Speed the mother’s pains, and haste the glorious birth, thy own Apollo reigns!” St. Augustine, and other Christian scholars, would later interpret Virgil’s words as a prophecy of the coming of Christ.
In Israel, the coming of the avatar of a new spiritual dispensation had become an integral part of the people’s consciousness. Isaiah had long prophesied that “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the sprit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge. . .For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. . .He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
In this super-charged atmosphere of spiritual excitation, expectations among the global community of spiritual Teachers were high that a new Avatar would appear, heralding the onset of a New Age. Scholars, priests, shamans, astrologers, yogis, Magi and mandarins alike searched the sky, the waters, the flickering flames and even entrails scattered upon the earth, in a quest for a map to the quintessential spiritual drama about to unfold -- but where and when? These were the questions the Wise Ones sought to answer.
Journey of the Three Magi to Bethlehem,
Leonaert Braemer, 1638-40
According to the "mythical gospels" penned by Matthew and Luke, it was at this turning point of the ages that initiates in far-away Asian spiritual centers found the signs they sought in the sky and these Magi, or Wise Ones, began a long, arduous journey from their home in the Near East, probably Babylon, to Judaea, a small, economically and strategically insignificant and remote colony of the Roman Empire.
There were, in fact, a series of celestial events that occurred during the span of several months in the year 7 B.C.E. that would certainly have commanded the attention of Babylonian astrologers seeking signs of the dawn of a New Age.
The triple conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn that year created a series of dramatic astronomical events that had potent astrological significance. When the two bright planets Saturn and Jupiter pass close to one another from our viewpoint on Earth, they can appear to form a single dramatic star in the sky.
Jupiter/Saturn Conjunction, NASA
The triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurred in Pisces that year, for the first time in 900 years. Astrologers may have seen this as the beginning of the New Age of Pisces, the sign of the fish, which was considered to symbolize the Jewish people.
According to Matthew's gospel mythology, the wise men traveled to Judaea and asked, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to adore him.” (Matthew, 2)
Herod, King of Judaea, was an authoritarian ruler acting as a colonial hegemon in that outpost of the Roman Imperium. Herod had murdered his own wife, executed three sons for conspiracy, murdered the Jewish High Priest Aristobolus III, and for good measure executed forty-five members of the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of the Jewish people.
Constellation of Pisces from Uranographia
by Johannes Hevelius
According to the myth, Herod was not happy to hear rumors from Rabbis about the multiple manifestations of the Star of the New Age in Pisces, sign of the fish. The Wise Men interpreted the triple conjunction in the sign of the fish as the symbol of the advent of Jesus the Christ, a Divine Avatar, born to be the spiritual King of the Jews.
Herod would have seen this astrological interpretation of the momentous events in the sky as a forecast of the imminent birth of a Divinely ordained rival for the throne of Judaea.
Herod assembled chief priests and sages of Judaea and asked them where Christ, this Messiah, was to be born. They replied that Micah the prophet had foretold the birth of the great captain of the Jewish people in the town of Bethlehem.
Herod therefore sent the visitors from the East, the Magi, to Bethlehem, requesting that they report back to him about the miracle child, so he could also go to adore him.
According to Christian mythology, the Magi followed the path of the star, which went before them, to a place where the Eastern initiates discovered some shepherds worshiping a newborn babe laying in a manger, son of a Divine Mother whose birthing had been written in the sky and in the history of the Jewish prophets.
These powerful magicians received Divine wisdom in their sleep, counseling them not to return to Herod and they went back by another way to their own country. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and warned the Holy Family to seek shelter in Egypt until further notice.
According to Matthew, Israel’s Roman King Herod, stained with the blood of priests, family and common folk alike, triggered an unholy massacre of newborn babes in and around the tiny town of Bethlehem in an effort to kill the coming Messiah in his crib and thus forestall the initiation of the New Age of sacrificial love, fervent devotion, and active compassion.
The effort of the retrograde spiritual forces represented by Herod failed in their intent, and the holy child would grow up to represent the exact antithesis of Imperial rule – a humble initiate schooled as a carpenter, who was also reported by students of the mysteries to have been tutored in the initiatic teachings of the Essenes, a King of Kings who brought forgiveness and healing to the outcasts of society, the workers, the seekers and the suffering through his transcendent love and self-sacrifice.
Christ spoke Truth to Power. Christ spoke Truth to the self-serving priests of the Jewish people and to the Roman hierarchy alike. For speaking the Word, for telling his Truth, for his message of Love, and for his healings, Christ was crucified. This was the punishment traditionally reserved for enemies of the Roman state.
Through his death and Resurrection, Jesus fulfilled his mission as Avatar of the Piscean Age, demonstrating the immortality of the Soul. Christ reunited his Divine energy with the energy of his Divine Mother by unifying his risen etheric body with the etheric body of the planet Earth, thus making his Word and his Love available through the power of direct spiritual perception to every human being to inhabit our beautiful blue-green world.
Following his miraculous Resurrection, this avatar of Divine Love directly transmitted the power of the Holy Spirit to his apostles at the feast of Pentecost. The apostles traveled throughout the world, bringing the good news, healing and consoling the afflicted. This Holy Spirit represents the supernal fire that is known to initiates in the mystery schools of both East and West by many names – kundalini, prana, chi, Reiki, shakti and universal life force energy.
Today the etheric body of the risen Christ, coterminous with the aura of Planet Earth, transmits the Holy Spirit to disciples, and to all individuals who seek to know Him. One need not be a member of a particular church, a follower of a particular religion, a renunciate, or even a pure soul, unstained by sin, to obtain the grace of Jesus Christ.
“And I say to you,” Jesus told his disciples (Luke, 11), “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. And which of you, if he ask of his father bread, will he give him a stone? Or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?”
This is the message of Christmas. Speak to Jesus directly. Speak from your heart, the place where Jesus resides. Be not afraid. Ask for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Speak to Mary, the Divine Mother, who is the loving Dove incarnate, and the bridge to the inborn wisdom of the natural world, encoded with Christ consciousness.
Seek to know Immanence, the Christ within, through prayer, meditation and contemplation of the sacred forms in Nature. For Christ consciousness resides in the cycles of the natural world, and the Holy Spirit is the force that animates the Universe.
When we go even further along the spiritual path, when we work to subordinate our egoistic consciousness to the Higher Self, through meditation, purification of our physical, emotional and mental bodies, and through selfless service to others, we empower ourselves to walk the path of Spirit. When we walk this path, we are partaking of communion with the risen Christ, and we become part of the mystical body of Christ.
“For I am the vine and you are the branches,” Christ told his disciples.
As we look back upon the 2000 year Piscean Age today, we recognize that we are once again at a turning of the Ages. We inhabit a world once again ruled by a dominating, exploitative Imperial military power, a world in the thrall of materialist philosophies and ego-driven cravings for power, wealth and sensual pleasure.
East and West alike suffer as a result of the misguided teachings of fundamentalist religious leaders preaching war and exclusive traditions of salvation for the tribe, the bloodline and the obedient followers of priestly castes.
Priestly castes who arrogate to themselves alone the ability and right to access the Divine, interpret the Divine Word, and to impose their own moral law by force of political and military might.
This New Age of Global Empire exhibits many parallels to the paradoxical time of Christ’s birth, when Rome's Imperial glory, initiatic renewal and immense human and spiritual suffering co-incided throughout the world. At that time, Christ brought suffering humanity a tangible direct connection to the Holy Spirit.
Today we are each called upon to connect personally with the Holy Spirit through our own personal efforts. We are each called upon to communicate the Divine Word as it is transmitted through us by that ubiquitous, loving, and divinely wise Spirit – for the healing of all nations and peoples, that we may further the Divine plan to bring about a New Age of peace and co-operation. We are called upon to live our lives as though Christ were walking before us, to walk in the footsteps of Christ.
Let us meditate this Christmas season upon this responsibility, for it is through our own efforts that we will have direct experience of subtle energies and spiritual realities. In that direct experience we will connect with Christ Consciousness and through that initiation we will discover the true meaning of Christmas.
As we celebrate this year's Solstice and Christmas season, let us all invoke the aid of the Divine Mother and the Cosmic Christ to usher in a New Age of Aquarian community and goodwill towards all sentient beings, a New Age of environmental restoration and a return to spiritual values that will bring about peace on Earth.
Christmas Meditation Upon the Divine Mother, The New Isis
Unfortunately, in the consumer culture of the modern day reincarnation of the Atlantean and Roman Empires, here in 21st century America, we often feel disconnected from the true Spirit of Christmas, from Christ consciousness. We often suffer from the illusion of being trapped in the concerns of the egoistic mind, the grasping materialistic mass consciousness of mainstream consumer culture.
There is a simple way to reconnect with the Christ within us, and to true Christmas Spirit. That is through connecting to the Divine Mother. We can connect with Mary through a contemplation of the spiritual powers inherent in nature, and through Mary we will connect with the Holy Spirit, for Mary is the incarnation of that Holy Spirit, and the embodiment of that Spirit’s loving wisdom.
Isis, Medieval Book Cover, Anonymous
In a beautiful lecture by the Austrian mystic, educator and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, concerning the Mystery school tradition of mystical Christianity called “Search for the New Isis, the Divine Sophia: The Quest for the Isis-Sophia”, Steiner draws a parallel between Raphael’s painting of the Madonna holding the child Jesus and the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris, in which Osiris is the central figure of the mystery, the dying and reborn god, and Isis is the Divine Mother and consort who brings Osiris back from the dead.
Steiner suggests that the Luciferic, materialistic, logical modern world has lost touch with Christ consciousness, that modern, rationalistic man has died to Christ, and that we can only hope to regain a true connection to the mystery of Christ’s birth and death through the mediation of Mary, of the New Isis, the Divine Sophia.
For the Divine Mother has been killed by the rational materialism of the Age of Reason and we must now work to resurrect the Spirit of the Divine Mother in order to give birth to the Christ consciousness within us.
". . . Oh, the soul will attain to altogether new feelings if it feels committed to experience the new Isis legend within modern humanity,” Steiner explains. “Lucifer kills Isis and then places her body into the infinity of space, which has become the grave of Isis, a mathematical abstraction. Then comes the search for Isis, and her discovery, made possible through the inner force of spiritual knowledge. In place of the heavens that have become dead, this knowledge places what stars and planets reveal through an inner life, so that they then appear as monuments to the spiritual powers that weave with power through space. We are able to look at the manger today in the right way only if we experience in a unique way what is weaving with spiritual power through space, and then look at that being who came into the world through the child. We know that we bear this being within us, but we must also understand him."
"Just as the Egyptians looked from Osiris to Isis, so we must learn to look again to the new Isis, the holy Sophia. Christ will appear again in his spiritual form during the course of the twentieth century, not through the arrival of external events alone, but because human beings find the power represented by the holy Sophia. The modern age has had the tendency to lose this power of Isis, this power of Mary. It has been killed by all that arose with the modern consciousness of humankind. And the confessions have in part exterminated just this view of Mary. This is the mystery of modern humanity: Fundamentally speaking, Mary-Isis has been killed, and she must be sought, just as Osiris was sought by Isis in Asia. But she must be sought in the infinite spaces of the universe with the power that Christ can awaken in us, if we devote ourselves to him in the right way."
Dwarf Galaxy Sculptor, ESA/Hubble,
Digitized Sky Survey 2, courtesy NASA
May you participate in the resurrection of the Divine Mother within your own soul during this sacred season. May you unite your consciousness with the Christ consciousness, may your heart be filled with the Divine love of Christ, and may your will be united with the Divine will. May all you do be united with the Divine plan of love and light, working for the liberation of all sentient beings in time and space.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick clouds.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
The speechless full moon
comes out now."