By: Brad Kronen
Over the course of this series, we have seen how the themes of generosity and goodwill displayed by the supposed acts of one man living in 4th century Asia Minor have progressed through the centuries via the oral traditions of story telling and legend. These oral traditions eventually transformed the good deeds of an individual who existed long ago and elevated them to reflect the life of a venerated Saint.
But the final factor which transforms Nicholas the saint to Santa Claus, the timeless icon, is the almost archetype-like astrological symbolism of his acts.
The themes of Generosity, Faith, and the Law are under both Nicholas’ saintly patronship, as well as astrologically are equally placed under the House associated with both the sign of Sagittarius and its planetary ruler, Jupiter – the 9th. Additionally, Nicholas is the patron saint of things unabashedly Sagittarian such as Archers (Sagittarius is represented by the symbol of the archer's arrow) and long distance travel (an area of Life under the domain of the 9th House), since legend speaks of Nicholas saving a ship from sinking while traveling far from his native Myrna, as evidenced by the 1416 painting by The Limbourg Brothers, “St. Nicholas Saving Sea-Farers”.
Besides being assoicated with things so obviously Sagittarian, the saint is also associated with those Centaurian things which are not so obvious as well, such as Nicholas’ almost uncle, or in-law like association with the 3 sisters and their dowries. (The 9th house covers benevolent aunts and uncles and is also the House of one’s in-laws.)
The Astrological Symbolism of the 9th & 3rd House Polarities Behind Nicholas & His Generous Deeds
I teach that in order to understand the full significance of something astrologically, one must always look to the polar opposite point in order to have the most well rounded view. The polar opposite point of the 9th House of Sagittarius is the 3rd House attributed to the sign of siblings and duality, Gemini.
The merger of the polar opposition of Gemini to the already established Sagittarian/Jupiterian traits associated with the saint is what makes Nicholas mythic. His most popular legends deal with the Gemini themes and images of siblings and mirrored duality, with the 3 sisters’ dowries and the resurrection of the 3 brothers. And if that wasn’t too obvious, the number associated with Gemini, 3, is practically mimicked through each association with the saint with the 3 sisters dowries, the resurrection of 3 brothers, the saving of the 3 unjustly condemned men, even the more distant approach of Nicholas being known for primarily 3 legendary acts of generosity!
How Do You Make an Early Christian Saint a Well Loved Icon Accepted by All?
Eat, Nicholas, Eat!
There is very little factual documentation about the man who actually was St. Nicholas, leaving much to do with his life and actions left to personal interpretation and story telling. As stated earlier, the astrological significance brought forth by the merging of the polar opposite forces of Gemini and Sagittarius is the primary astrological impetus behind Nicholas' morphing into Jolly old St. Nick, but what catapults the Turkish bishop into THE icon of Joy and Generosity of heart that we all know and love today is the influence of the planet associated with both saints and expansion……of the waistline and other places – Jupiter.
Why and how should a rather svelte Turkish man balloon into a borderline obese, but infectiously cheerful large male presence with a booming laugh?
The answer is literal, metaphysical, and thoroughly Jupiterian.
Astrologically, every planet rules over an area of the human body. The largest planet of the Solar System physically oversees that which is most sizable, beginning with the biggest concentrated organ in the human body, the liver, and ending with those microscopic physicalities that really know how to expand to sizable proportions, the fat cells. Unlike society's current views, for many a century, people who were plump were also considered to be pleasant, or “jolly”, and were thought to possess a cheery and optimistic demeanor due to all the Jupiterian cells in them.
Patching Pieces of St. Nick Together to Make One, Big, Fat, Jolly, Santa
Let's take the red from Nicholas’ bishop robes, expand them into a tent like suit with matching white trim to go with the saint’s hoary hairs, add another person’s worth of weight in fat cells to fill up the suit, and lastly, apply some of that bishop’s red to the cheeks and nose to include the association of the liver by making Nick look like he just pounded some seriously potent eggnog to stay toasted in as many ways possible during his lengthy evening sleigh ride around the globe, and OUI-LA!
The Heavens Are Telling
...That We Are All Saints
And here is where all things Christmas and Santa Claus come full circle, because along with Jupiterian expansion, I, being the polar opposed Gemini astrologer, uncovered a mystically missing link regarding St. Nicholas that would convince even the staunchest of Scrooges that yes, Virginia there IS a Santa Claus!
Jupiter is “exalted” or its energies work best in the sign of Cancer. Why? Because who better than Mom, the embodiment of the maternal energies of Cancer, to be benevolent to others or most likely to generously share the wealth. Upon seeing all the Jupiterian symbolism and meaning associated with St. Nicholas, I theorized that the actual man born in 3rd century Turkey would have a prominent Jupiter in his natal placement. I based the determination of the natal Jupiter on a very thin factual margin being that there is no documentation or definite date of St. Nicholas’ birth, however the year is presumed to be 270 A.D.
The Nether Countries of Holland and Belgium celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, on both December 6th, the traditional date, but on the previous day as well, since they believe December 5th to be the actual birthday of the saint. Using December 5th, I was able to find an Ephemeris for the year 270.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Nicholas’ natal Jupiter at the pinnacle of exaltation, I, ummmm….hear.
On December 5th, in the year 270, the planet of Saints and of Santa, otherwise known as Jupiter, was at its most concentrated and optimal area of the Heavens possible, by being placed in the very center of its exaltation at 15 degrees Cancer that day! Furthermore, the planet of goodwill and generosity was in retrograde, or backwards motion, signifying a person who would act with great openness of heart but do so humbly and behind the scenes, so that he would not be directly accountable and thus praised for them.
Astronomers have recently theorized that the phenomenon of the Star of Bethlehem did indeed occur, but that it wasn't an actual star. It's now conjectured that the “star in the east” that “to the Earth gave great light and so it continued both day and night” was actually a conglomeration of the planets Venus, Mars, Mercury and Neptune around a never before witnessed, far brighter than usual, brilliantly illuminated Jupiter. The King of Planets positioned in such a never before seen state of radiance was interpreted by many as a sign from the Heavens that the world had been forever changed by the arrival of a Messiah. How beautiful it should be that Jupiter should play such an important focal point a mere few centuries later by heralding the birth of a person who would transcend his mortal form and represent that which is inherently good in all of us.
Seeing this wondrous fact did, very much like The Grinch himself, make my heart grow 2 and ½ sizes, because I realized that it didn’t matter whether St. Nicholas was an actual person or not. Discovering that this icon of modern commercialism, and some would say even capitalism, was based upon a person whose birth supposedly took place during a time when Jupiter was positioned in the sky at its most effectively powerful point, told me all I needed to know.
Our collective, ancient selves placed this man at that period of time in order for him to always represent not only Goodwill towards others, but Hope for ourselves throughout the ages, regardless of what year it is, what war we are fighting, or what totalitarian regime we are living under.
Be they factual or mythological, St. Nicholas & Santa Claus remind the residents of this planet with yearly regularity that we are all saints of whatever creed, and that at any time of year each of us have it within ourselves to approach Life and each other with optimistic cheer and a generosity of heart befitting the King of Kings.