Irish Unitarian minister and journalist Darlison (Enlightenment and Ice Cream, 2007, etc.) elucidates the zodiac’s significant place in the Gospels, most specifically in the Book of Mark.
Considered the “Cinderella Gospel”—briefest, least literal, colloquial, an abbreviated version of Matthew and Luke—Mark is full of the kind of unintelligible metaphors that prove most knotty to scholars of the “historical” Jesus. However, Darlison argues cogently, Mark in fact contains a highly sophisticated series of parables and mysteries intended to lead the reader on the path to self-transformation based on the cycle of the zodiac. “Mark’s Gospel is a textbook of the spiritual journey written in an astrological code,” the author writes. Once deciphered, this code “completely transforms our understanding of the Gospel’s original nature and purpose.” Jesus’s miracles and parables were not to be taken literally, the author demonstrates through a systematic reading of his life and teaching, but as “dramatizations of internal processes.” The Gnostics believed that the Gospel story was not an eyewitness account, but an allegory in which the seeker’s internal journey mirrored the sun’s 12-month cycle. Mark’s primary metaphor is the yearly journey of the sun through the signs of the zodiac, and Darlison reflects this structure in his own narrative, moving from Jesus’s baptism and the beginning of his ministry in Aries, the time of the spring equinox and theme of newness, through his suffering, death and resurrection in Pisces. The author debunks New Age-y nebula surrounding today’s zodiac reading and reminds us how fluent ancient writers were in the language of the constellations. Judaism is steeped in the tradition, and many mythical seekers (Gilgamesh, Hercules, Theseus, etc.) were “solar heroes” whose series of ordeals were patterned on the sun’s annual cycle. Darlison’s accessible literary reading of the Gospels is especially useful in isolating original Greek words misconstrued over the ages.
An intriguing leap into faith, and not at all the loony speculation the title might suggest.