WORLD HOROSCOPE, HOUSES, JUPITER-SATURN CONJUNCTIONS
Zaych-i Gehan (World Horoscope)
|World Horoscope - Zaych-i Gehan|
Image credit: K. E. Eduljee, Zoroastrian Heritage
The Dawn of HistoryThe 9th century CE Middle Persian Zoroastrian text, the Bundahishn combines various mythologies about the dawn of history, a combination that leads to some confusion and which is not supported by the Zoroastrian scriptures, the Avesta. The confusion is quite understandable. The authors of the Bundahishn were writing in the era following the Alexander of Macedonia's burning of the library at Istakhir in 330 BCE and a further destruction of what remained after the Arab conquest of Iran in 650 CE.
The legends contained in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh (Book of Kings, 11th century CE) were based on an earlier (now extinct) Zoroastrian text, the Khvatay-Namak/Khodai-Nama/Khohainameh (Book of the Lord), and is more congruent with Zoroastrian pre-history in the Avesta. Perhaps Ferdowsi as an North-Eastern Iranian Khorasani had better access to surviving Eastern Zoroastrian and Tajiki literature than had the authors of the Bundahishn. We will therefore use this tradition to provide context for the horoscope of the world, the Zaych-i Gehan.
The first king of the Aryans was Gaya-Maretan who lived in the Stones Ages. Gaya-Maretan also translates as the first mortal. The name later evolved to Gayomard and still later as Kaiumars. Gaya-Maretan was involved with the first recorded battle with an adversary whose ethic was antithetical to the Aryan ethic and who leader, Ahriman, was the devil incarnate. Since for Zoroastrians, destructive evil resided in the north, we can speculate that Ahriman and his hordes invaded the Central Asian homeland of the Aryans from a region to its north.
This first battle is for Zoroastrians the first pollution of a peaceful, idyllic life and the start of a constant battle against the marauding forces of evil. A Zoroastrian goal in life became the eradication of this evil and the return to a peaceful and ideal existence. Zoroastrian astrology starts with the aggression of the adversary and ends with an eradication of evil and a return to the best existence.
The Beginning of Aggression. When it Happened - Chiyon Jhast
Twelve Houses - Kadag
Greater Bundahishn 5A.1,2 & 6F:
The Adversary entered in the month of Frawardin/Farvardin, day of Ohrmazd (March 21), at noon, when day and night were equal (noon at the vernal equinox).
- Gyanan (1House of Life) was at 19° of Kalachang/Kalakang/Karzang (the crab) (Cancer)2;
- Tishtar (Likely Sirius the Dog Star. Cf. Plutarch, Isis and Osiris 47) was in the lunar mansion/asterism (a cluster of stars that is smaller than a constellation) of Azara/Azarag (jhast andar Tishtar starag),
- Of the planets, Jupiter was in it (andar bud);
- Kisagan (House of the Purse) was Sher/Ser/Shagr (the lion) (Leo) [can also be read '(In) Kisagan was Sher'];
- Bradaran (House of the Brothers) was Khushak/Khusak/Hushag (ear of grain/corn) (Virgo);
- Pidishtan/Pidaran? (House of the Parents/Foundation) was Tarazhuk/Taragug (the balance) (Libra), Saturn was in it;
- Franzandan (House of Progeny) was Gazdum (the scorpion) (Scorpio);
- Kardagan (House of Those Who Were/Servants/Travellers) was Nimasp/Nemasp (the centaur) (Sagittarius), the Dragon's Tail was in it;
- Wayodagon (House of Nuptials/Partnership) was Vahik/Wahig/Nahazik (the lead goat) (Capricorn), Mars was in it;
- Margan (House of Death) was Dul/Dol (the water-pot/water-spout/pail) (Aquarius);
- Washtagan (House of Sick) was Mahik (the fish) (Pisces), Venus and Mercury were in it;
- Mayan-i Asman (House of Mid-Sky or Heavens) was Varak/Warrag (the ram/lamb) (Aries), Mihr (the Sun) was in it, in the asterism/first lunar mansion Patiywar/PadisparPadevar;
- Farrokhan (House of the Fortunate or Auspicious) was Tora/Gav (the bull/ox/cow) (Taurus), the Moon was in it;
- Dushfarragan (House of the Unfortunate) was Do-patkar/Do-pahikar (the two-figures/images) (Gemini), the Dragon's Head was in it.
2D. N. Mackenzie: Cancer at 19° i.e. 109° longitude, falls in the ninth lunar mansion Azara/Azarag/Az-barag (106°40'-120°)
From the above we read that the 'houses' (kadag) were sectors named separately from the constellation of the zodiac (that was its current occupant), and that the constellations of the zodiac were in these 'houses' or sectors at the time of the great primordial event that set the world in motion (thereby reading that the constellations of the zodiac do not in themselves form 'houses' but are rather occupants of 'houses' - 'houses' that will change from time to time.
[The grammar of the original text is critically important here. The original sentences were simple and need to be checked to see if they, for instance, read "Kisagan (House of the Purse) was Sher (the lion)" "Kisagan (House of the Purse) was in Sher (the lion)" or Sher (the lion) was (in) Kisagan (House of the Purse).]
The 'astrology of the world' above appears to be an attempt to define in time the first aggression. The definition of time appears to take the form of a record of the position of the constellations of the zodiac and the planets. If the House of Life coincides with the month of Farvardin (the first month of the Zoroastrian calendar starting at the spring equinox), and if the various houses constantly coincide with the same month (rather than a constellation of the zodiac), it would appear that the age in which the aggression occurred was in the Age of the Kalachang the crab (Cancer). The possible time frame for the assault of Ahriman on Gaya Maretan would then be the 9th to 7th century BCE.
Al Biruni's Twelve House
We introduced Al-Biruni (973-1048 CE) to the reader in our Introduction/Home Page as an "Eastern Iranian who was born Kath (near Khiva?), Khwarezm (now in Uzbekistan), and died in Ghazni, (in today's Afghanistan). His work in astrology Kitab al-Tafhim li Awa'il Sina'at al-Tanjim, also known as Tafhim, was translated by R. Ramsay Wright as the Book of Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (1934). His listing on the Twelve Houses closely parallels the Zoroastrian concept." According to Ramsay Wright's translation, Al Biruni list the properties and indications of the twelve houses as follows:
Indications relating to nativities: Soul, life, length of life, education, native land.
Indications relating to horary* questions: Asking horary questions, important public matters, nobility, advancement in rank, witchcraft and spells.
[*Horary (relating to the hour) astrology is, according to Wikipedia, an ancient branch of horoscopic astrology by which an astrologer attempts to answer a question by constructing a horoscope for the exact time at which the question was received and understood by the astrologer. A horary chart is often constructed by first assigning the thing asked about, the quesited, to a particular house in the chart. For instance, asking "Where is my lost dog?" would be represented by the sixth house, as it is the house that governs small animals (traditionally, smaller than a goat). The house cusp of the sixth house will be in a particular sign, for example Libra. Libra is ruled by Venus, so Venus is considered the significator of the lost dog. Venus's state in the horoscope (its dignity, aspects, etc.) may give clues to the animal's location. Houses play a crucial role in horary astrology, perhaps more so than they do in other branches of astrology.]
Indications relating to nativities: Suckling,nutriment,disaster to eyes if over-taken by ill-luck, livelihood,household requisites, assistants profession of children.
Indications relating to horary questions: Examining the querent, lending and borrowing, counting friends, arrival of stranger, enemies or friends, mandate of emir, winds when they blow.
Indications relating to nativities: Brothers, sisters, relations, relations in-law, jewels, friends, migration, short journeys, intelligence, knowledge, expertness in religious law.
Indications relating to horary questions: Secrets and news and commentaries, well-born ladies, journeys by water.
Indications relating to nativities: Parents, grandparents, descendants, real estate, fields, houses, water-supply, knowledge of genealogy; what succeeds death and what happens to the dead.
Indications relating to horary questions: Old and hidden things, treasures, thieves' hiding-places , schools, fortresses, fetters, dismissal from office, opening abscesses, lancing and cautery, stepfather, prison.
Indications relating to nativities: Children, friends, clothes, pleasure, joy, little acquisition of property, accumulated wealth of father, what was said of him at his burial service.
Indications relating to horary questions: Messengers, right guidance, bribery, rectitude, distant places, poor harvests, securing the wealth of the ancients, feasts, food and drink.
Indications relating to nativities: Sickness, defects of body, overwork, if unfortunate accident to legs, loss of property, disease of internal organs, slaves, maids, cattle.
Indications relating to horary questions: Lost and escaped, some lost trifle which does not turn up, affairs of women and eunuchs, suspicion, hatred, calumny, violence, dissipation, deceit, terrors, prison, enemy, poverty, moving from place to place.
Indications relating to nativities: Women, concubines, giving in marriage, marriage-feasts, contentions, partnership, losses, lawsuits.
Indications relating to horary questions: The absent, thief, places where travelers assemble, treasure, death of contemporaries, foreign travel, sudden murder [for a trifle], denial, obstinacy, claiming a right, cheapness and dearness.
Indications relating to nativities: Death and its causes, murder, poisoning, evil effects of drugs on body, inheritance, wife's property, expenditure, poverty, extreme indigence, feigning death.
Indications relating to horary questions: Buried, and hidden treasure, things ruined or lost or old, middens and rubbish-heaps, sickness of friends, lawsuits without a case, folly, contention, pride, dullness or the market, leisure.
Indications relating to nativities: Travel,re1igion,piety,fate,seriousness, attainment of knowledge from the stars and divination, philosophy, survey1ng, sharp discernment, trustworthiness, interpretation of visions and dreams.
Indications relating to horary questions: Failure, abandoned business, books, information, ambassadors, miracles, roads, brothers-in-law.
Indications relating to nativities: Rule of Sultan, government with council of nobles, absolute authority, success, in business, commerce, professions, well-behaved children, liberality.
Indications relating to horary questions: Kings, notables, judges, the celebrated in all classes, amir and his conduct in office, things newly legitimized, wine, step-mother.
Indications relating to nativities: Happiness, friends, enemies, concern for next world, prayer and praise, friendship of women, love, dress, perfume, ornaments, commerce, longevity.
Indications relating to horary questions: The treasury of the sultan, its officials, trouble in the office, foreigner's child, servant's child, (read 'abd) things which are sound, beautiful, advantageous, the beginnings of affairs, friendship of the great, bribery, food.
Indications relating to nativities: Enemies, misery, anxieties, prison, debt, fines, bail, fear, adversity, disease, prenatal fancies of mother, cattle, harbours, slaves, servants, armies, exile, tumults.
Indications relating to horary questions: Fugitives, writers, those who neglect devotion, a precious gem, prisoners, the matter which preceded the question, property of oppressors, thieves, lost property, scorn, envy and fraud.
Conflicting Description of the Zodiacal Ages and the Age of the Aggression
However, towards the close of English translations of both the Lesser and Greater Bundahishns, we encounter the following:
LB 34.2: As this was six thousand years the series of millennium reigns of Cancer, Leo, and Virgo had elapsed, because it was six thousand years when the millennium reign came to Libra, the adversary rushed in, and Gayomard lived thirty years in tribulation.
GB 36.2: For three thousand years Gayomard with the 'gav' was in the material state with antagonism; and the lords of the millennia were Cancer, Leo, and Virgo, so that it became six thousand years. 36.3: When the rule of the millennium came to Libra, the adversary entered, and Gayomard lived thirty years in the adverse state.
Both passages to state "when the millennium reign came to Libra" and "when the rule of the millennium came to Libra" is the time the adversary rushed in (and attacked). This would appear to mean the Age of Tarazhuk/Taragug (Libra) as being the age of the aggression of the adversary. The Age of Kalachang (Cancer) is now assigned to the creation of Gayomard/Gaya Maretan. In addition, the author assigns a forward progression of the ages through the zodiac, while the ages progress in reverse.
Perhaps the great destruction of Zoroastrian texts during the times of Alexander of Macedonia's invasion and the Arab invasion has resulted in the 9th century CE author of the source Bundahishn to make these errors in collating whatever material was available to him. In the synthesis of combining various creation myths, the author has produced what he possibly believed to be the best book on the subject. Further, the author may not have been a practicing astrologer. As chapters LB 34 and GB 36 contain references to the invasion of the Arabs, they are obviously a creation of the author rather than a quote from an originating source.
Since the passages LB 34.2 and GB 36.2 are in obvious error and a modern construct, we will stay with GB 5A.1,2 & 6F cited earlier.
What we can take away from chapters LB 34 and GB 36 is that ancient Zoroastrians used the zodiacal ages to measure historical time and eras - from the beginning of history to the present - and that Varak/Warrag (the ram/lamb) (Aries) marks the beginning of both the annual and cosmological calendars.
The Fate of Gayomard / Gaya MaretanGB 6F.1: ...it was manifest in the pad spih-i (stars of) Gayomard that he live for thirty years during the antagonism of Ahriman... .
GB 6F.3: On the advent of the Adversary, the Ormozd starag (planet Jupiter) was in the watery Crab (Cancer) in the (House of) Life, in its exaltation, thus allotting to Gayomard the existence of life
GB 6F.4,5,6: Saturn was in the Balance (Libra) in the fourth place (house) below the earth in its exaltation, and which on account of its superiority over its opponent, it allotted death (to Gayomard). On account of Jupiter being in its exaltation in the mex-i gyanan, (house of) Life, and its preponderance (abarwezih) over Saturn, it averted the death for Gayomard for thirty years.When Saturn returned to the Balance (Libra) which is its exaltation, Jupiter was in the Goat (Capricorn) where is its dejection/fall, and on account of the preponderance of Saturn over Jupiter, death came up to Gayomard and he fell on the left hand side. [MacKenzie: The periods of rotation of Saturn and Jupiter are 29 years 167 days, and 11 years 315 days, or in round numbers, 30 and 12 years respectively. Jupiter would therefore make 2 1/2 rotations while Saturn completed one, and so come into the sign opposite its exaltation from which it started, i.e. its dejection.]
Zadsparam 1.4.8: Both were in their supremacy (balist) at the beginning of the creatures, as Jupiter was in Cancer on rising, that which is also called Jivan ('living'), for it is the place in which life is bestowed upon it; and Saturn was in Libra, in the great subterranean, so that its own venom and deadliness became more evident and more dominant thereby.
9. And it was when both shall not be supreme that Gayomard was to complete his own life, which is the thirty years Saturn came not again to supremacy, that is, to Libra.
10. And at the time when Saturn came into Libra, Jupiter was in Capricorn, on account of whose own lowness, and the victory of Saturn over Jupiter, Gayomard suffered through those very defects which carne and are to continue advancing, the continuance of that disfigurement which Ahriman can bring upon the creatures of Ohrmazd.
1.6.1 And as he (Ahriman) came secondly to the water, together with him rushed in, on the horse Cancer, he who is the most watery Tishtar; the equally watery one, that is called Avrak, gave forth a cloud and went down in the day; that is declared as the movement of the first-comers of the creatures.
2. Cancer became a zodiacal constellation (akhtar); it is the fourth constellation of the zodiac for this reason, because the month Tishtar is the fourth month of the year.
Jupiter-Saturn OrbitsThe orbits of the planets Jupiter and Saturn take place within the ecliptic path described by the Sun. That is because they approximately share the same orbital plane as the earth and most other planets whose collective orbits are in about the same plane.
As we have seen earlier, Zoroastrian and other astrology divide the path of the Sun and planets along the ecliptic into twelve segments or houses. The Sun passes through all the segments or houses once a year, Jupiter once about every twelve years (actually 11 years 315 days), and Saturn once every 30 years (actually 29 years 167 days). Jupiter therefore make 2 1/2 rotations while Saturn makes one.
In the respective travels through the ecliptic, the Sun overtakes Jupiter and Saturn about once every 13 months. As this 'overtaking' by the Sun happens, the planets are in the ecliptic beside the Sun they are therefore lost in its glare. Then, as the distance between the Sun and the two planets increases, a point comes when the planets rise in the east shortly before sunrise in an event known as the Heliacal Rise. This event was considered particularly important in astrology.
Issac Abarbanel (1437-1508 CE), like another Jewish astrologer Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra also known as Abenezra, c. 1089 — 1164 CE was a one-time resident of Spain. According to Michael R. Molnar, Abarbanel subscribed to Claudius Ptolemy's notion that different signs of the zodiac represented different countries. However, where Ptolemy assigned Pisces to North Africa, i.e. Libya, and parts of Anatolia (Western Turkey) Abarbanel assigned it to Judea, a notion that appealed to Christians as well. For them, the simultaneous conjoined (see below) heliacal rise of Jupiter and Saturn at the House of Judea or Palestine would herald the coming of the much awaited messiah.
Conjunctions of the Moving Heavenly BodiesThe heavenly bodies that move relative to the 'fixed' stars: the Sun, Moon, planets and comets engage in a behaviour called conjunctions that have special significance in Zoroastrian astrology.
Conjunction means a meeting, joining, or association. An occulation occurs when the planet in the foreground blocks from view (occults) the planet in the background. An eclipse occurs when a body disappears or partially disappears from view, either by an occulation, as with a solar eclipse when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, or by passing into the shadow of another body, as with a lunar eclipse when the earth's shadow falls on the moon.
In astronomy a conjunction (or an appulse) is when two celestial bodies appear near one another in the sky. In astrology, the coming into close proximity of two heavenly bodies along the same celestial longitude in characterized by a unification of the planetary energies.
|Conjunctions and associated planetary positioning|
Image Credit: Wikipedia. Conjunction
The Great Conjunction of All Heavenly BodiesAccording to Plato and Aristotle, the conjunction of all the heavenly bodies (planets, Sun and Moon) is seen as a pivotal moment in history and is sometimes associated with natural calamities. The return of the heavenly bodies to a similar position defines a type of astrological age. For Zoroastrians such as event in Aries would be particularly significant.
One such conjunction (in Gemini) occurred on March 3, 1953 BCE when all planets visible to naked-eye, including the sun and the moon, were in close conjunction. Because such an event has the Sun in attendance, it cannot be viewed normally. In the image below, the horizon is indicated by a band of fog and the sunlight has been 'turned off'. It is conceivable that the planets in conjunction could have been seen just as they rose above the eastern horizon. Other great conjunctions occurred on:
- August 29, 3440 BCE in Virgo and Libra
- March 3, 1953 BCE on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces
- April 24 to 27, 4 BCE for the main part in Taurus except for the Sun in Gemini
- May 31, 531 CE in Gemini
|The Great Conjunction (on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces) of all the heavenly bodies at 7 am March 3, 1953 BCE as seen from Khorog (Tajikistan). Image generated by Stellarium program.|
According to van de Waerden, the Persian-Zoroastrian astronomical tables called the Tables of the Shah composed under Khushro Anushirvan c. 560 CE and revised under Yazdegird III c. 640 CE (at the time of the Arab invasion) were based on a conjunction of all the planets that was thought to have occurred near 0 degrees Aries in 3102 BCE, that is, their mean longitude was at or near 0 degrees Aries. Van Waerden cites Abu Ma'shar and Biruni as February 17, 3102 CE (one day prior to a similar event in Hindu astrology).
The conjunction is said to have been accompanied by the Great Deluge, a massive poring of rain and a subsequent flood. However, elsewhere, Waerden cites sources stating that the deluge took place some 229 years and 108 days after the conjunction which would seem to remove any connection between the two events making the exercise quite pointless. We know from astronomical tables that a conjunction of all the planets did not occur on February 17, 3102. Waerden offers a date of 3580 BCE instead.
As an aside, we know that a Jupiter-Saturn triple conjunction (see below) occurred in 3065-4 BCE (in Aries).
Jupiter-Saturn ConjunctionsThe outer planets visible to the naked eye, Jupiter and Saturn, especially their conjunctions, play a central role in the Zoroastrian astrology of the world. Some authors such as Courtney Roberts state, "It was the Persians who first developed the astrological use of the cycle of Jupiter Saturn conjunctions. ...These exotic chronologies travelled well, and made as profound an impact on astronomy and astrology in Judea and the Christian West as they did throughout the vast Moslem empire." Roberts also states that "We rarely acknowledge the far-reaching scientific and religious contributions of the Persians, the traditional enemies of our cultural heroes, the Greeks and Romans."
In the ancient Persian system of calculating Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions adopted by Abu Ma’shar al Balkhi (Latinized as Albumasar, 787-886 CE), the number of revolutions of Saturn in a world-year of 360,000 solar-years is 12,214, and of Jupiter 30,352. These revolutions result in 18,138 mean conjunctions in 360,000 years.
360,000/18,138 = 19.84783 years, the time between two successive mean Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions (say, 20 years) (a modern calculation finds the figure to be 19.8592 years). These 20-year conjunctions are called small conjunctions in the Persian system.
Between small conjunctions, the first decade after a conjunction, Jupiter dominates Saturn as it is said to wax relative to Saturn. The second decade after the conjunction - the waning of Jupiter - is a period when Saturn dominates.
The mean motion of the conjunctions from one conjunction to the next is 12,214/18,138 x 360° = 242°25'17" (say 243°) or 8 zodiacal signs plus 2°25’17”. This figure is explicitly stated in Abu Ma’shar's Book of Conjunctions.
[We have noted earlier that Jupiter orbits the Sun about once every twelve years (actually 11 years 315 days), and Saturn once every 30 years (actually 29 years 167 days). Jogging Jupiter therefore make 2 1/2 rotations while the sluggish Saturn makes one.]
|Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction Cycle. Image credit: JupitersDance|
The start of a cycle in the first degree of Varak or Aries has special significance in Zoroastrian-Persian astrology. Therefore, if the Jupiter and Saturn are first conjoined at the very start of Aries, in about 20 years they will meet up eight signs along the ecliptic in Sagittarius. However, they will not meet in the beginning portion of Sagittarius, but about 3° further along in the sign. The next time they meet (40 years from their initial meeting in Aries) will be another eight signs ahead, in Leo. In another 20 years they will meet up again in Aries about 9° further along from their initial meeting point. This reunion in Aries will have taken place just short of 60 years - actually closer to 59 and a half years, 59.5742 to be precise - from their initial meeting. Western astrologers call the 60 year cycle the first order recurrence of the conjunction.
|Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction Chart. Image credit: Star of the Magi|
|Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions 582-126 BCE. |
0 = 1 BCE, -1 = 2 BCE and so on
Source credit: Richard Nolle at astropro.com
From the Earth Triplicity they move on to the Air Triplicity: Libra, Gemini, and Aquarius, and finally to the Water Triplicity consisting of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.
From 5000 BCE, 20-year Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions are known to have taken place on Jan. 27, 4991 (in Libra/Air); Sept. 6, 4971 (in Cancer/Water); Apr. 9, 4951 (in Pisces/Water); Nov. 19, 4932 (in Scorpio/Water); July 5, 4911 (in Cancer/Water) and so on.
The shifting or drift from one triplicity into another is called a transfer of the transit. Since there are thirty degrees to a house occupied by a constellation of the zodiac, a 3° advance in a house after every conjunction will after 10 conjunctions amount to 30° and a shift or transit to an adjoining house.
Given that 10 conjunctions take place in each triplicity, the two will have completed around 40 conjunctions in just under 800 (actually 794.4) years. Every 41st conjunction brings the alignment back to within about 1 degree of its starting point (Aries in our example). The 1st, 41st and every 40th conjunction thereafter are called big conjunctions.
The next milestone in Zoroastrian cosmology is the conjunction after three big cycles called a mighty or grand conjunction.
In December, 1603, Kepler observed a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn taking place in Sagittarius in the morning sky. The observation led him to calculate that such conjunctions took place in 800 year cycles and that one such conjunction would have taken place some 1600 years prior to his time, that is in 6 or 7 BCE.
Kepler wrote: "The magi were of Chaldea, where astrology was born, of which this is a dictum: Great conjunctions of planets in cardinal points especially in equinoctual points of Aries and Libra signify a universal change of affairs; and a cometary star appearing at the same time tells of the rise of a king." (Kepleri opera omnia 4.347).
The closest Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that can be calculated occurred on January 29, -4294 (4295 BCE) when they were 0.0139 degrees apart in Virgo. The Stellarium images show the close proximity increasing to March 21, the vernal equinox of 4295 BCE.
|Closest Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction in Virgo. 2 pm March 21, 4295 BCE, Shush (Susa), Iran (Persia)|
Image generated by the Stellarium program
Triple Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions
A triple conjunction occurs when the earth passes both Jupiter and Saturn within about 40 hours of each other followed by Jupiter's retrograde motion which carries it back past Saturn into a conjunction for the second time, and then forward again to bring it into conjunction with Saturn for a third time.
While single conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn occur regularly or periodically once every 20 (actually 19.8592) years, triple conjunctions (three conjunctions due to the retrograde movement of the planets in a seven month period) are not periodic.
Jupiter passed Saturn 180 times during the 3600 year interval from 601 BCE to 3000 CE and of these passings, 20 were triple. This works out to average of 180 years between triple conjunctions. However, the actual interval between triple conjunctions varies between 40 and 377 years and is therefore not periodic.
astrologers regard a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (within a span of about seven months) as an indicator of a major cultural change.
BCE triple conjunctions took place in 4892 (in Pisces), 4753 (in Scorpio), 4594-3 (in Taurus), 4336 (in Aquarius), 4296-5 (in Cancer), 3919-18 (in Aries), 3780 (in Sagittarius), 3442-1 (in Cancer), 3363-2 (in Pisces), 3323-2 (in Cancer), 3065-4 (in Aries), 2807 (in Leo), 2767 (in Gemini), 2509 (in Pisces), 2469-8 (in Leo), 2350-49 (in Leo), 2092 (in Taurus), 1794-3 (in Cancer), 1536 (in Aries), 1496-5 (in Virgo-Leo), 1376 (in Virgo), 1119 (in Gemini), 978 (in Aquarius), 861, 821, 563-2 (in Taurus), 523-2, 146-5 and 7 BCE. Cyrus II, the Great, was born c. 600 to 576 and died August 530 BCE. He reigned from 559 BCE till his death. His birth and establishment of the Persian Empire are claimed to have been predicted in Jewish prophecy.
CE triple conjunctions took place in 332-3, 411-12, 452, 709-10, 967-68 (in Pisces), 1007 - 1008, 1305 - 1306, 1425, 1682 - 1683, 1940-41 (in Aries), and again in 1980 - 1981 CE. Future triple conjunctions will be in 2238 - 2239 and 2279 CE.
It is claimed that the triple conjunction (in Pisces) of 7 BCE included an occulation of Saturn by Jupiter, an event that is interpreted by some as the 'Star of Bethlehem' that guided the magi to Bethlehem. The position of the occulation/conjunction in the sky relative to Persia and the time of the day need to be investigated further. Also see The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi By Michael R. Molnar.
|Jupiter-Saturn (triple) conjunction in Taurus on the eastern horizon at 1:51 am, July 26, 563 BCE as seen from Shush (Susa) winter capital of Persia, heralding the reign of Cyrus the Great. Image generated by the Stellarium program.|