42 Jupiter in Virgo
AR 41 Geometry
of the Spheres
AR 40 Saturn
in Cancer, June, 2003 to July, 2005
AR 39 The
Poles of the Zodiac
Twelfth Planet, Plutinos or
Eclipses Promise or Peril?
The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology
Children of the Gods
Wheels Within Wheels
Horoscopes of Destiny
Zodicac of Dendera
A Star Is Born
Age of Aquarius
Persia's Royal Stars of Ancients
The Lore of a Shaman
twelve gates were adorned with twelve pearls, one for each gate."
Book of Revelation 21:21
Whether or not someone
gives credence to astrology, the idea that each month of the year
has a "birth stone," a special gem related to it, is a
familiar notion, and wearing an item of jewelry containing a birth
stone is commonplace. The idea of wearing birth stones as jewelry
originated in Poland in the eighteenth century, but the origin of
the practice is rooted in more ancient traditions.
of the "Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God"
(Rev 21:10), was magnificently bejeweled and corresponded to the
twelve tribes of the children of Israel. "The city had a wall
great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels,
with names inscribed thereon, which are the names of the twelve
tribes of the children of Israel. On the east were three gates,
on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west
three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and
on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb . .
. and the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with
all kinds of precious stones . . . and the twelve gates were adorned
with twelve pearls, one for each of the gates, and each gate was
made of a single pearl; and the great street of the city was of
pure gold, as it were transparent glass." (portions of Revelations
In THE CURIOUS LORE
OF PRECIOUS STONES, George Frederick Kunz says, "It is easy
to trace in this description the substitution of the twelve apostles
for the twelve tribes in connection with the precious stone enumerations.
And we also have the twelve angels, associated at a later date with
the months and the signs of the zodiac."
A vision of Saint
Peter, guarding the entrance to the "Pearly Gates" of
heaven, is a familiar icon. Saint Peter was seen as the leader of
the twelve apostles and was therefore awarded the first position
as Gatekeeper of Heaven. Likewise, the first birth stone (Jasper),
was assigned to Saint Peter, and to the month of March, as spring
equinox is the symbolic beginning of the year. Perhaps the original
practice dated back four thousand years ago when the year began
at the spring equinox when Aires, the Ram (first sign), rose before
the equinox sun.
Kunz also says,
"That the foundation stones were inscribed with the names of
the apostles (and therefore twelve tribes and zodiac signs) is expressly
stated (Rev 21:14), but it was not until the eight or ninth century
that the commentators on Revelation busied themselves with finding
analogies between these stones and the apostles. At the outset,
the symbolism of the stones was looked upon from a purely religious
standpoint." One of the earliest writers to discuss these correspondences
was Andreas, bishop of Caesara. "The jasper, which like the
emerald is of a greenish hue, probably signifies St. Peter, chief
of the apostles . . . as the sapphire is likened to the heavens,
I conceive it to mean St. Paul, since he was caught up to the third
heaven, where his soul was firmly fixed," and so on.
of the High Priest
When the Jews fled
Egyptian captivity during Pharonic times, among the items they were
instructed to craft, or take with them, was a sacred garment which
later became a holy relic. "And you shall make the breastplate
of judgment with the work of a craftsman . . . and you shall set
in it setting stones, four rows of stones; the first row shall be
a sardius, a topaz and an emerald. . . " Exodus (28:15-19)
Called the breastplate of the High Priest, or the breastplate of
judgment, this sacred vestment of twelve stones was said to confer
the power of God upon the Old Testament patriarch, Aaron. Several
Old Testament stories describe how the stones on the breastplate
of judgment turned cloudy or murky when someone did not tell the
truth. The power to discern truth from falsehood was somehow bestowed
on the priest by the behavior of the stones themselves.
As the twelve tribes
wandered in the desert, each tribe carried a standard and displayed
it as a flag or insignia while camping in the wilderness. The colors
of the flags, and each tribe's symbols, were based on gem colors
from the High Priest's breastplate.
We are likewise
told that the stones themselves carried the power of the twelve
tribes, "And the stones shall be engraved with the names of
the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings
of a signet; every one shall be engraved with his name according
to the number of the twelve tribes." (Exodus 28:21). The potency
of these tribal stones has survived ancient Egypt and the Hebrew
Exodus, still thriving today as birth stones, gemstones of the month.
To the ancients
power was contained in the stone's color as well as the geometry
of the crystal. Minerals are formed in the earth through the forces
of fire or water, ancient elements of alchemy. Igneous rocks are
formed through dramatic fiery events while sedimentary minerals
accumulate over time through water's influence. Metamorphic stones
form through a combination of influences.
Crystals grow in
accordance with mathematical law, according to principles of what
is sometimes called Sacred Geometry. The external geometric form
of a crystal is the outward, visible expression of the mineral's
internal atomic structure. This matrix is at the heart of any crystal
and also determines other characteristics such as hardness, fracture
and cleavage and its relation to every specimen of the same mineral.
Because crystals hold a numeric frequency of shape and form their
atoms vibrate in accordance with the characteristic and significance
of that number.
Stones of Power
In earlier times
the power of the stones were believe to embody certain qualities
or an archetypal energy which was used to heal an ailment or illness,
strengthen a weakness, or perhaps to counterbalance an excess. The
belief that gems and stones have special qualities, relating to
the time of year and perhaps also containing a special virtue of
talismanic power, can be historically traced to the writings of
Josephus, in the first century of the Current Era (AD), and to Saint
Jerome in the early fifth century. In THE CURIOUS LORE OF PRECIOUS
STONES, George Frederick Kunz informs us that both Josephus and
St. Jerome assert the connection between the twelve stones of the
High Priest's breastplate, the twelve months of the year, and the
twelve zodiacal signs.
The order of the
foundation stones in Revelation corresponds with the tribes and
signs, this determined subsequent gems of the months. In the beginning,
the "stone of the month" was worn by everyone during the
period that particular "tribe" or sign was thought to
have the most efficacy. Later when the zodiacal signs were engraved
on gems to endow them with special virtue, the Hebrew letters designating
the sign (or at least the initial character), were often cut upon
the gem. Engraving a sacred letter upon a gem, and wearing the stone
with intention, imbued it with talismanic potency.
Today, the signs
don't move in concert with the months of the Gregorian calendar,
so while modern birth stones are assigned to the calendar month,
the signs range from roughly the twenty-first of one month to the
twenty-first of the next. Over time, substitutions and changes have
been made in the order to arrive at the familiar list of birth stones
in use today. However, it is interesting to note that when changes
to the calendar are accounted for, the modern list of gems and months
still holds true for the most part to the original foundation stones
the New Jerusalem
A diagram of the
new Jerusalem from the Book of Revelation bears striking resemblance
to an astrology chart with its twelve divisions or "houses"
which outline the signs and contain the wandering planets. The twelve
jeweled gates of heaven can also be seen as portions of the ecliptic
occupied by the archetypal twelve signs, stages of the hero's journey.
and ancient power of twelve shown by gates, angels, apostles and
zodiac signs also relates to the mystery of our spiritual anatomy,
the heavenly city within. In Qabalah the Tree of Life exists in
four worlds simultaneously and symbolism is multi-layered. In Qabalistic
lore, Jerusalem, "Bride of the Lamb" is also a metaphor
for the sacred anatomy of the spiritualized human.
To the initiate,
the sacred geometry encoded in these attributions is a reflection
of the accomplishment of what is termed the Great Work, the successful
transmutation of lead into gold and the attainment of mastery. When
the "Great Work" is accomplished, the new city is built
and the Bridegroom, literally the Anointed One, may enter and reside.
From a three-dimensional perspective, perhaps the heavenly Jerusalem
is a symbolic dodecahedron - a solid figure with twelve faces -
meant to be built from within.
In a modern sense,
the twelve jeweled gates of heaven are also the months of the year,
marking the apparent passage of the Sun through the sky (ecliptic)
on its annual journey. By converting the Biblical Foundation Stones
to monthly birthstones we can partake in this passage more consciously,
honoring ancient wisdom.
In the New Testament
gospel of Luke, a much-quoted passage appears, "For the Kingdom
of God is within you." (Luke 17:21). Perhaps if we wear a birth
stone, or zodiacal stone of the month with intention, we can invoke
the archetypal energy of the angels, setting the foundation stones
for the inner temple.