Two constellations in the sky that are placed quite far apart – Centaurus and Sagittarius – portray the same mythological creatures.
Part horse and part man, the only difference between Centaurus, which pictures the Sagittarius-decanate of Leo, where the Sun may be found from August 3 to August 13, and Sagittarius, which pictures the sign where the Sun is located from November 22 to December 22, is that Centaurus is armed with a shield and spear, while Sagittarius has a cloak and uses a bow and arrow.
It suggests that the teaching that the ancients, who placed these pictures in the sky, wished to convey in terms of universal symbolism was closely linked.
It’s no coincidence that one larger and one smaller section of the zodiac should be represented by similar creatures; or that those chosen should indicate the human qualities carried by a horse.
Rather, especially as the huntsman and the spearman are facing (as if traveling towards) each other, it signifies that there is a movement of the same type of influence from one station in the zodiac to the other.
It can therefore be inferred that the teaching signified includes a movement, a carrying from one place to another, else why the horses’ legs? And that its comprehension requires several stations in the zodiac with the two most important being pictured by the roving horsemen.
Following the simplest and most obvious method, which the ancients always employed, it will lead us to commence with Sagittarius because it pictures 30 degrees, and is therefore more important than Centaurus which pictures only 10 degrees.
And we may be sure that a child or children will play a part in the story, because the smaller influence relates to the middle-decanate of Leo, which has natural rule of children.
Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, and the Sagittarius decanate of Leo, sub-ruled by Jupiter, are known to relate to gifts. Hence, immediately after the Sun leaves the Sagittarius sign in winter is the time of gift giving.
Christmas – December 25 – is not on the day when the Sun reaches its farthest declination south. That’s December 22 – the day it crosses from the manger of the horse (Sagittarius) to the manger of the goat (Capricorn) – because for three days it remains at this lowest, most southern, point before starting to move back to bring new life and light into the world.
Giving it three days grace after December 22 insures that the Sun on Christmas day will be moving northward in declination and that the days will have started to get longer. And they will continue to lengthen until June 22, when the Sun reaches the topmost point of the home sign, Cancer.
The topmost part of a home is commonly the chimney. Therefore the Sun, in coming to the home, from the place where Jupiter brings his gifts on the line dividing Sagittarius and Capricorn in winter, must touch it first at the highest spot, the chimney. And to reach it, he of course comes through the air.
You will search the Bible in vain for mention of Christmas tree or Santa Claus; yet it seems certain that they are linked traditionally with the Centaur picturing the middle-decanate of the section of the heavens relating to children.
Santa Claus, like the horsemen in the sky, one of which relates to the time of winter’s cold and the other to the heat of summer, portrays two seasons of the year.
His garb is chiefly red; for as representing the constellated Centaur is he not next the fiery furnace, Crater, where the heat glows fiercest? Yet, to denote the snow of winter, the trimming of his garb is spotless white.
The gifts he brings at Christmas time are tokens of still greater gifts to come. They are the promise of abundance that will follow when the heat of the Sun has time to ripen crops again after the dearth of winter.
Even though the days have started to lengthen there is still a period of privation and cold ahead yet Santa Clause gives promise of better days to come.
In his jovial manner and rotund figure he expresses the Jupiterian quality of Sagittarius, from which the Sun has just moved at Christmas.
This is the sign of religion. And even as Santa Claus brings promise of material gifts; so religion brings an equal cheer and promise of spiritual blessings after the hard dark days on Earth are done.
The days are darkest about Christmas time. They are like those days when hope fades and nothing seems worthwhile. Therefore it is fitting that there should be joyous news of a happy future life.
Santa, however, not only represents Jupiter’s winter sign, but also a decanate of Leo ruled by the Sun. And anyone who has viewed the radiant rising Sun on a cold and frosty morning will remember its resemblance to Santa’s red circular face.
Yet the youngsters of the land, whose special joy he is, would not recognize the rotund fellow if divested of his whiskers. They are an essential part of his makeup because at Christmas time the Sun has just moved into Capricorn, and chin whiskers are the especial adornment of a goat.
Horses customarily draw sleighs, therefore Sagittarius and Centaurus could well qualify; but as still more significant of the cold bleak days of winter reindeer, that are more accustomed to ice and snow, are now used to take their place.
Before this sleigh – which coming from Sagittarius, the Jupiterian sign of abundance, is filled to over flowing with good things – can get to the fireplace, Crater, it must land on top of the house at Cancer, which the Sun really does.
For after touching its highest point – where it enters the home-sign Cancer – it immediately starts descending, as if going down the chimney, until it passes into the decanate pictured by Crater.
However, it does not tarry in this fireplace, or hottest decanate of the zodiac, but immediately moves into the decanate pictured by Centaurus, the other horseman of the sky.
The feet, it is true, are ruled by Pisces. But ask any small boy or girl – such as is ruled by Leo – is it enough to hang up the mere feet of stockings on Christmas evening?
No, they usually hunt for stockings that are long and ample, such as come well up on to the thighs. And Sagittarius rules the legs covered by the longer hosiery and of which its Leo decanate also partakes.
The gifts Santa brings
The horseman of Leo is not the gift, but the one who brings it; for the Sun at this time of the year ripens the grain in the field and the fruit on the trees.
The gifts which the traveler from the north brings, while related to the children of Leo, are pictured in its neighbor – the harvest sign, Virgo. It is really the Virgin Mother, not Santa Claus, from whom the gifts more directly come.
The lady of the sky holds a palm frond in one hand and heads of wheat in the other; while Hercules, who pictures the middle decanate of Virgo, holds in his hand the branch of a tree adorned with fruit.
This fruit is the fulfillment of the promise made at the time when the nights were longest, just as the Sun turned back from its farthest distance away.
This promise was not made by using a tree when it was filled with fruit, because they are hard to find at Christmas time. It was made by using an evergreen tree, symbolic of perpetual life.
The fruit the tree would bear, when ripened through the heat of the Sun in Leo, was represented by presents. And it was spangled with stars and bedecked with lights as a token that the Sun – moving through the firmament – was on the way to dissipate the winter’s darkness.
At this Yuletide season, it is the custom to hang mistletoe with the privilege of kissing whoever passes under it, which connects the passing of the Sun from Sagittarius to the Centaurus decanate of Leo, the sign of love affairs and pleasure.
The mistletoe, like the Christmas tree, is of evergreen foliage. It symbolically promises everlasting life, but because it grows above the earth, apparently too pure and holy to touch the physical soil, it came to have a special spiritual significance.
Its berry fruit, formed without polluting contact with the loam of earth, came to be looked upon as derived from an immaculate conception.
Kissing under the mistletoe even in recent times was a solemn and binding ceremony. It was not only the token of a chaste affection and the promise of marriage it was the promise that the love then expressed should develop into a new and more spiritual type of life.
Such a life of spiritual endeavor, as Santa Claus and Centaurus clearly teach, is dependent upon what is done for others. It is the effort to give, rather than to take, which promises a spiritual harvest.
Article by Elbert Benjamine
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