So, today is my birthday. (Today, as in the day I am writing this) I’m a Leo, according to the Zodiac signs, ruled by the Sun and exalted in Aries. That’s interesting. My husband is an Aries, and Leos are supposedly most compatible with an Aries. The Sun is prominent in the Leo chart and empowers the Leo ‘to do’ and ‘to be’. This Leo season there are several astrological events; a lunar eclipse, a Mars Retrograde and a Mercury Retrograde. Not exactly sure what all that means, but from what I understand it’s supposed to be a time of growth and positive change. On the flip-side, for Leonines and some of the other astrological signs, the retrogrades are going to cause of bit of chaos. Since this month is only a few days in and it has been hellish, thus far, I am not looking forward to the remainder of the month! So, let’s get this positive stuff underway! The past couple of days have been challenging, at best. Bring on the positive!

Zodiac sign characteristics are interesting. For the most part, I don’t fit the Leo personality, at least in my opinion. Leos are supposed to be loud, boisterous, desire to be the center of attention, like to take the lead and be in control. Not guilty of any of the above, so far. I will admit to leadership qualities. I have been in positions of leadership and even though I might not fully understand all the in’s and out’s of a situation, I am willing to take charge if need be.The thing is, I don’t ‘need’ to be a leader, or in charge, yet that seems to be a prominent characteristic of the Leo. I guess we are supposed to be extroverts, as well; nope, that I am not. Apparently, we are a creative bunch, however. I am in good company with other Leos in history who have been writers, actors, artists, and musicians. I’m not certain I will ever attain any degree of fame, but I still enjoy the arts and the modicum of talent I like to think I have.

So what about this whole astrology thing? Astrology is the study of the stars and planets and their relationship to and influence on us. Healthcare workers and police are tuned in regardless of their belief systems when it comes to the power of a full moon, or a blood moon, for that matter. As a nurse I am fully aware more psychiatric events are likely to occur under a full moon. Emergency Rooms experience a spike in the numbers they treat, especially of unusual cases, more births occur, elderly residents and those with dementia experience more agitation. The scientific research supposedly doesn’t support any of this, but next time you have a conversation with anyone who works in a hospital, nursing home, or as a police officer, ask their opinion. So strong is the ‘superstition’ surrounding this phenomenon, many doctors and nurses will not work a full moon. What about a blood moon? Apparently, we should avoid surgery during a blood moon. Hmmm….? More bleeding crises are said to occur. One study  revealed 82% of 1000 tonsillectomies performed during a blood moon experienced bleeding events; people died. This holds true for cardiac events in surgery, too. The takeaway is don’t schedule a surgery during a blood moon, or full moon, if at all possible. (Side note for anyone having trouble conceiving. Research supports conception, not birth, being more likely during a waxing moon than a waning.)

Spiritual seekers are open to astrology, birth charts, and the like. Adherents to Biblical teachings, not so much. The church, at least those I have attended, believe astrology, horoscopes, and anything related to be ‘satanic’ in nature, devil-worship, but is that legit? What about the Magi? Did the three wise men of the Christmas story not play a prominent role in its telling? Aren’t there Christmas songs about the Magi? Many Christian scholars driven to make a distinction between Christianity and New Age philosophy insist the Magi were not astrologers, rather, the Magi were astronomers.

Astronomers study the planets and stars, just like astrologers do, but instead of studying their positions and effect on the earth and its inhabitants, astronomers study everything outside the earth’s atmosphere and the properties and relationships of said planets, stars, asteroids, and galaxies. Some well-known ancient astronomers/philosophers many of us may have heard of are Eratosthenes, Plato, Archimedes, Ptolemy, and of course Galileo, who is credited with having made the first telescope. Interestingly, Galileo was accused of heresy by the church. Wait a second! I thought the Magi were astronomers? Either way, the Biblical account of the Christmas story and the Magi, is more consistent with astrology, since the Magi had foreknowledge of a predicted “Messiah”.

There is an astronomer from Vanderbilt University who has written an article on why the Magi were not astronomers. He presents the Biblical account from an astronomical perspective and describes how unlikely it would be the whole ‘following the Star of the East’ stuff to the manger could actually have happened. More interestingly, he points to the likely possibility the Wise Men were astrologers who had watched the position of the stars and planets for years waiting for the moment when their alignment signaled the birth of a future king of royal lineage. The authors of the Gospels embellished the astrological event a bit to tell the story Christians around the world recognize as the Christmas story, complete with a star in the East, no room in the inn, a baby born in a manger, animals, shepherds, and citing the infant as the anticipated Messiah. A bit of poetic license, perhaps? Based on the theory of the article’s author, the infant would have actually been a toddler by the time the Wise Men showed up. Royal birth or Messiah, I am not interested in arguing which; that is for each of us to decide.

As I get nearer to transitioning to the new blog “Bridging the Gap”, chasms seeming to exist between Christians and spiritual seekers are really not as wide as we tend to believe. I bet with a little open-mindedness on both of our parts we could find some common ground…..

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