Tat, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and to all readers at Free Thought Nation.
In Florida, at about 27 degrees North, you can see the manger of Christ rising in the south east at midnight on Christmas, with the three wise men (Orion's Belt) pointing to it below the star in the east (Sirius). And you can see the three wise men kneeling at the manger as well. Further north, for example in Europe or Canada, the manger is not visible.
I just read an article by Kenneth Humphries 'The Birthing of A God Man'.
His factual information regarding the literal absurdity and contradiction between the Matthew and Luke accounts of the nativity of Christ is useful and interesting. However, his approach seems to me typical of a mocking superior tone that is common in such writing, and that I suspect is unhelpful in speaking to a broader audience in a way that will deepen public understanding.
Humphries does not even address the possibility that the nativity stories are allegory, and were intended as such by the authors. Showing that they are literally absurd seems to be asserted as a significant contribution, with the unstated implication that if we could only shift from faith to reason, from myth to logic, from religion to science, we could save the world.
It would be far better if Humphries and similar minded writers took the absurdity as a starting point to ask why these stories were written, and whether they could have a hidden meaning that would help to explain their ongoing allure, helping to rebase the myth on empirical observation and logic rather than just seeking to discard it as primitive junk.
In this and other threads looking at the unseen story of the biggest constellation in the sky, Argo, I explore this problem by examining how the hermetic method 'as above so below' can explain the nativity stories. It is immediately obvious, once properly considered, that these stories are star myths. The idea of the incarnation of Christ is that observed processes in the cosmos are reflected on earth. The Luke and Matthew birth stories embed patterns that are readily visible in the sky from Israel (but not from Europe). Just as the Greeks placed their mythic stories such as Perseus and Andromeda, Hercules and others in the sky, the Bible stories of the wise men, the star and the manger are visible in the southern sky, at midnight on Christmas.
Once we accept the hypothesis that hidden cosmic meaning of the Bible stories was concealed by the authors as a secret mystery, we can start to appreciate the scale of intellectual degradation involved in the Christian forgetting and suppression of its origins. There is no point engaging with dogmatists who are mired in literal delusion, as most will go to the grave holding their fervent fantasies. But a constructive agenda remains to ask what the stories really mean, in a way that is compatible with modern scientific knowledge. Humphries seems to be scared to explore this bigger cosmic story because it is safer for him to seek approval from his friends for a purely secular agenda.
Looking at the status and meaning of the manger story in Luke 2, the text has three mentions of manger: "she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them....This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”... So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger."
A manger is an animal's feed trough, so the presence of animals at the birth of Christ is implicit in Luke's account, although the Bible does not mention a stable or animals. So, we find the typology of the birth story of Jesus in the wooden animal vessel presents a restatement of God's earlier covenant with humanity, where the savior Noah is surrounded by animals on his ark.
A key issue in assessing the possible Jesus-Noah link is the hidden question of how myths reflect stories about the stars. As I stated before, the manger and ark appear to me to be found in the sky in the constellation Argo. Phillip Coppens, in his superb book The Canopus Revelation, examines the problem of how Argo and its brightest star Canopus have been ignored in mythic studies, apparently due to their invisibility from Europe. Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky after Sirius, is known in Arabic as Suhail, a name sumilar to the Egyptian Sahu that has conventionally been assigned to Orion, though there is no strong evidence for the Orion link. It appears that the Egyptian Sahu is actually Canopus. Argo, the largest constellation in the sky, conventionally has fifty stars, the same number as the rowers in Jason's Argo and the Ark of Gilgamesh. Argo is also cited as the location of Osiris. In Star Lore: Their Names and Meaning, quoted athttp://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/Canopus.html
RA Allen says "the constellation Argo Navis was associated on the Nile with the great god Osiris, so its great star became the Star of Osiris."
Coppens' theme is that the neglect of Canopus and Argo indicates a deep forgetfullness in study of myth. This all appears to be fruitful material for historical psychoanalysis, to work out the reasons and scope for such large scale amnesia, similar to the question of how the actual origins of the Christ myth were forgotten. We know that much stellar lore was lost due to traditions of oral transmission in mystery cults which were easy prey for the imperial bigots. In efforts to reconstruct ancient star lore, we have to use a range of methods, including extant records, direct astronomical observation, and interpretation of apparent links between stories, based on similar ideas and purpose. Applying such coordinated methods to analysis of the manger story, the link to Noah, Osiris and Argo appears strong. When we seek confirmation by actually looking at the sky, something most moderns are loath to do, we find the deck of the ark immediately below the star in the east, viewed from the three stars of Orion's Belt. The similarity of the manger myth to the ark story, and their presence in the sky, is compelling.
In assessing Luke's account, we know that much material is midrashic, reworking Old Testament myth. Here at the beginning of his Gospel we find a midrash on the flood, in a story that also has strong apparent resonance to the Egyptian vision of Argo and Canopus. My view is that this material is neglected because it is so embarrassing to recognise the suppression of non-European vision that was central to the construction of Christianity.
Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing says in her epic satire Canopus in Argos that the primary crime in the fallen world is to look at the sky, and she explains how miscreants against this taboo are weighted down by loads on their heads so they can only look at the earth. It is a parable for the sickness of our society, with the pervasive inability to see anything bigger or older or more real than its convenient fantasies.
If we go to Egypt and look at Argo at Christmas midnight from a riverboat, we see the ship of the heavens perfectly reflected in the Nile River, as above so below, as the images of the stars, the 50 Argonauts who also accompanied Jason and Gilgamesh, twinkle at us from the calm surface of the river of life.