On September 23, just after the equinox and the New Moon, proponents of the Revelation 12 sign suggest that this prophecy from Revelation will literally happen as an alignment of planets and stars in the sky. As you can see in the image above, the woman is said to represent the constellation of Virgo; the Sun is at her shoulders (“clothed with the Sun”), the Moon is at her feet, three planets in the constellation Leo (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) are visually “aligned” “above her head” along with nine of the most visible stars in this constellation (making 12 “stars”), and the planet Jupiter is stationing direct near her abdominal area.
Jupiter is said to symbolize the male child this woman is giving birth to. The fact that Jupiter is recently stationing direct, which means that it’s shifting from retrograde (an apparent backwards movement through the sky) to direct motion, further reinforces the theory and belief that Jupiter is symbolic of the birth of a child in Virgo’s abdomen, because this retrograde period takes 42 days, which is the approximate period of gestation in the womb.
Now, it’s certainly intriguing and this particular setup of planets is quite rare, but let’s get real here. This isn’t the first time this kind of alignment has occurred since Revelation was written. In an article featured on The Catholic Astronomer, astronomer Christopher M. Graney, pointed out that in the last one thousand years, similar configurations have happened at least four times: September 24, 1827, September 6, 1483, September 5, 1293, and September 14, 1056. I’m very grateful for Mr. Graney’s work in finding these past configurations, because I really didn’t have the time or interest to do this myself.
You can use an astronomy software program (like Starry Night which I use, or Stellarium) to easily verify these dates for yourself, which I did. While these past configurations are not identical, they’re extremely close and are enough to warrant a validation of this prophecy at those times as well. Maybe the rapture already happened in 1483 and we just haven’t realized it yet?
It’s also possible that Revelation, if it has any prophetic or symbolic value, was probably never meant to be taken as a vision of literal future events at all. It’s possible that Revelation, and the Bible itself, are filled with veiled astrological metaphors meant only for those initiates who could decode it and understand the symbolism. It was extremely common for alchemists and initiates of mystery religions and cults to write material coded in esoteric symbolism. This was a way of keeping non-initiates from understanding the true message, cult secrets, and also a way of protecting the secrecy of the cult from persecution. The popularity of the Revelation 12 sign reflects the exoteric understanding of Christianity, and it misses the likely truth that Christianity today is not what it was over two thousand years ago.
The same is true of astrology. In fact, astrologers today are just now uncovering the techniques, beliefs, and practices of astrologers who lived thousands of years ago. We’re just now beginning to understand the origin of western astrology. Even with this newfound material, we still barely understand how these ancient astrologers practiced, how they understood time and space, or how they even thought. In light of these discoveries, it’s obvious that early Greco-Roman astrology and the astrotheology of the Bible are not the same thing, by any means.
In fact, modern astrologers don’t actually use the constellations. The large majority of astrologers today use either the tropical or sidereal zodiacs. The signs of these zodiacs are named after the constellations, but are not the same thing in a technical sense. The tropical zodiac was already in use long before the Bible was written, and was used in tandem with the sidereal zodiac during the height of Hellenistic astrology during the reign of the Roman empire.
When astronomers try to say that your Sun sign is actually the sign before it, they apparently don’t know that western astrologers don’t use the constellations at all, but rather the tropical zodiac, constructed from the Sun’s seasonal cycle. The sidereal zodiac attempts to line up the signs with the constellations, but fails to do so completely because the signs of the sidereal zodiac occur at 30 degree equal increments, while the constellations do not. The constellation of Virgo is 40 degrees wide!
The reason astrologers no longer use the constellations is due to something called precession of the equinoxes. This is the gradual shifting of the constellations relative to seasonal points and planetary alignments over a period of thousands of years. For example, roughly two thousand years ago, during the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the Sun was in the constellation of Aries, but today it occurs near the end of the constellation of Pisces.
This is also where the belief in the astrological ages comes from, and the suggestion that we’re moving into the “Age of Aquarius” since the Sun on the equinox is moving from the constellation Pisces to Aquarius. But, to go back to Revelation 12, I don’t think that this particular passage from the Bible was referring to a specific “alignment” of planets on September 23, 2017. In fact, whenever this configuration occurs, it happens near the Sun, where no one could ever possibly see it! You won’t see any of these planets or stars on Sep. 23. You’ll only see the Sun, and I wouldn’t recommend looking at it (unless you still have some leftover eclipse glasses).