Astrology and Horoscopes

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls In Astrology

It might be thought that astrology and astrologers could have nothing to say about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Whatever could the stars hope to reveal about them? Yet suitably enough, seeing that the Essenes who produced the remarkable literary legacy preserved during two millenia themselves studied astrology, the stars can shed an unexpected light on this subject. They particularly do so on what many today consider the central mystery of the Scrolls, the “secret” some are sure they contain and that is being withheld.

As I will demonstrate, astrology illuminates the the relation of the Scrolls to Jesus and the current and anticipated reassessments of his status due to their discovery. The original team of Scrolls scholars denied there was any kind of relation of the Essenes and their literature with the origins of Christianity. Evidence has been mounting for some time now against this long held conclusion and is even swinging very much in the opposite direction. There could be a lot about Christian origins here but is it knowledge that will prove helpful or unfavourable to accepted belief?

Only recently a noted American astrologer, Michael O’Reilly, wrote a two part article for Horoscope Magazine on The Exposive Secret of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I am adding my own Scrolls feature to this site partly in response to the article’s leading statements but still more to put on record an important and prophetic finding in relation to this subject and the reseaches mentioned in my The Star of Bethlehemfeature here.

Like an increasing number of studies dedicated to the Dead Sea Scrolls (Dead Sea Scrolls) the just mentioned article was unabashedly radical, prone to regard modern discoveries as actually or potentially undermining of Christian beliefs. As O’Reilly’s last paragraph says:

“before any global religion can be popularly accepted Christianity with all its accompanying fear tactics has to be debunked. The Dead Sea Scrolls hold the key to this process as they describe the founder of Christianity, St Paul, as the creator of the myth of Jesus. This is not to say Jesus was not a historical figure… but that he learned his mission from a group of radical Jews…”

This is not just an isolated astrologer getting carried away because within scholarship and journalism others with no attachment to Christianity have inclined to similar views. It is just that O’Reilly, like many astrologers (and myself for different reasons as in the Symbols of Advent feature), additionally anticipate the advent of a new global faith soon and see traditional beliefs about the status of Jesus as crucial to how this will happen. Beyond astrology – and I will have to take readers through the more scholarly/historical dimension first before applying the astrological data – O’Reilly’s understanding of what the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown and yet unpublished scrolls will reveal is influenced by such works as Beigent and Leigh’s sensationalist The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (1991) and the more solid but still controversial work of the Scrolls scholar, Robert Eisenman, in studies like The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (1992). And as O’Reilly points out, by the end of ’96 Eisenman will have published his huge, 900 page manuscript describing as an Essene the till now shadowy figure of James, leader of the Jerusalem church and brother of Jesus.


The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947 but after 45 years only 20% of the whole had been published. There had been so much delay, ineptitude, rivalry and intrigue among certain proprietorial scholars so that by the 90’s it had become easy to read more intrigue into what had happened than was really the case. Beigent and Leigh theorized the Jerusalem Ecole Biblique, which gained a monopoly over the texts, were pursuing a Vatican-related agenda to delay or obfuscate information concerning the historic finds because they assumed they undermine and challenge the entire Christian position. Only in 1992 due to the Trojan efforts of Robert Eisenman and Dr Andrew Wise who had made the secrecy around the Scrolls an international issue was the monopoly of the Ecole Biblique broken and new and controversial material released.

The idea that Christianity might be seriously challenged by the Dead Sea Scrolls would not have occurred to society at large in the years immediately following discovery. Originally it seemed the Bible had been or soon would be wonderfully confirmed. Manuscripts of Old Testament books, though many were, unlike the famous Isaiah scroll, fragmentary, promised reassurance that later copied texts forming the basis of all our translations (the earliest from about 1100AD) had in fact been reliably transmitted. Here were some of the oldest manuscripts in existence, older than almost all accepted source texts of ancient works including the familiar Greek and Latin classics. And apart from a few minor variations, the hoped for reassurance as regards the antiquity and reliability of the Bible had been forthcoming. At this stage the Dead Sea Scrolls appeared more like an issue for philologists than critical historians.

The Vatican has had many failings and hidden agendas over the centuries but one need not indulge the scholarly equivalent of Ian Paisleyism and blame it for every negative event in religion. There is no clear evidence for a Vatican Scrolls plot and Jewish and Protestant scholars linked to work on the Dead Sea Scrolls have emphatically denied it. If anything, what is coming to light or has been leaked about unpublished material, beginning as early as 1971 with claims of the Spanish Jesuit scholar, Jose O’Callaghan – plainly not involved in any Vatican plots – is rather favourable to traditional Christian ideas as considered presently. If one is aware of this under-rated, more favourable dimension (Beigent and Leigh do not mention O’Callaghan) one could even wonder what all the fuss and suspicion around Dead Sea Scrolls secrets is about. We shall nevertheless see that the negative claims and speculations concerning them are almost certain to cause Christianity trouble.


Who were the mysterious and remote Essenes who have left a legacy in the Judaean desert at Q’umran to intrigue the modern world? Even in the ancient world they were figures of romance as can be gathered from the exaggerated Shangri-la type description of them as unbelievably ancient and idealistic according to the Roman writer, Pliny. Depending upon whether their name owes more to Greek or Aramaic they were “the Holy Ones” or “People of the Covenant” and they were a late-developed sect of Judaism like the Pharisees. And along with the Pharisees and Sadducees the Essenes composed the third force of Judaism during the first century of the era to gather from the Jewish historian, Josephus. They had reformist urges and wanted a return to a very pure observation of the Law. They were obsessed with the Temple whose hierarchy they abominated as corrupt and whose rites and sanctuary they avoided without necessarily totally rejecting because they dreamed of the perfect temple described in Ezekiel.

Many have thought of the Essenes as linked to the birth of the Pharisee movement which sought to purify religion in the wake of the corruptions under the foreign Seleucid rulers of Israel which led to the revolt of Judas Maccabeus in the second century BC. It may even be that the original Essenes were a reformist branch of priestly and temple-associated Sadducees. Everything from discoveries of temple incense at Q’umran to references to the line and role of the priestly Zadok are increasingly lending support to this idea. The Essenes were a specific group but they probably also represented a thought trend and mood within Judaism so that it is easy for them to be mistaken today for other dissident groups of the period with whom they may have well have had loose connections.

To the extent Judaism could ever be said to have possessed any “monastic” institutions, the Essenes had a “monastic” centre in the desert at Q’umran at the site of an old fortress. The movement had links at the synagogue level to the villages of Israel. This makes it not impossible that Jesus was raised a village Essene – an idea I consider in Signs for a Messiah. Whatever one concludes about that there is no need to assume Jesus was ever an “initiate” at Q’umran, would have wished or needed to have been one. Everything we know about Jesus suggests a too great alienation from the Law and ritual and the sort of additional refinements to them as practiced at Q’umran for that to have been likely. At least one Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, Herschel Shanks, has proposed, in Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992) that certain deeds and sayings of Jesus, like his staying in the leper village of Bethany close to Jerusalem which an Essene was bound to avoid if they wished to enter Jerusalem pure, imply deliberate rejection of things the Essenes represented.

Jesus was always his own person whatever his upbringing but those who hasten to pigeonhole him within a sect and deny his originality overlook the essential point that to whatever extent Jesus was original at the level of thought, it was never his main purpose to be so. Like a monarch who is called good because they fulfil their appointed task well, the task of Jesus as a descendant of the royal line, a son of David, was to enact prophecy, to be its Messiah.

Arguably, his greatest originality was the way in which he synthesized prophetic forecasts and perspectives on this role and in doing so disappointed or bewildered many of his contemporaries including his own herald, John the Baptist. It is somewhat more possible that this cousin of Jesus, who at an early age lived in the wilderness (in which case where and how?) was at one time an Essene initiate and held many of this sect’s expectations. But if so, he in turn would need to have broken away to have pursued the career he did. Jesus’ originally estranged brother, James, but famed in later life for his leadership of the Jerusalem Church, his Temple-centred devoutness and aura of righteousness in a very traditional Jewish way, could more easily have been an Essene than any other character in the New Testament. He was the sort of Jew an Essene could admire and what appears to be a fragment of his Epistle found at Q’umran suggests that this at least was the case.

Overall, there seems little question that the Essenes, who used the rite of baptism, were the most messianically attuned of the Jewish sects. They are very much linked to questions of Christian origins today for that reason. The head of the monastic community even performed a ceremony in which he represented the coming Messiah under the form of bread – the Christian rite of communion is rather obviously connected to that. Prophecies of the Messiah, especially in Isaiah, seemed to have impressed the Essenes more than other Jews and their leaders had retired to the desert with the idea of preparing a highway for God in line with that prophet’s forecasts. The Dead Sea Scrolls texts, carefully copied in the scriptorium and recovered from the caves, are of two main kinds: copies of all the Old Testament books of the Bible, except Esther, with an emphasis on the prophets, plus a variety of purely sectarian works. These contain rules and rituals of the community, hymns of the sect, highly codified speculative commentaries on current events in the light of the prophetic texts, material treating of the hoped-for wars of the Messiah especially in The War Scroll, of the whereabouts of buried (temple?) treasure, treatises on astrology (fundamentalists who say the Bible forbids astrology, please note!), medecine and a lot of fragments hard to place anywhere on a variety of subjects.

Depending on one’s view, with or without good faith, scholars, especially of the Ecole Biblique, originally placed the the Essene movement and its texts between 250BC and the beginning of the era rather than in the first century. By carbon-dating, though not necessarily palaeography, or the evidence from coins in the Q’umran area, this time span was permissible. Today the view is growing the records might be better placed between something like 100BC and 50AD. A case can be made for the storage of some of the texts as late as the Bar Kochba rebellion against Rome in 136 and some sort of sectarian residence in the Dead Sea area until that time. But the main assumption is that most activity ceased around 70AD and the destruction of the Temple, a temporary or permanent abandonment of Q’umran and the fall of Masada to the Romans (AD74) at which perhaps some Essenes lost their lives – at any rate documents identical with uniquely Essene orientated material at Q’umran were found at the site. This in itself has raised all sorts of questions about to what extent the Essene desert “monastics” were or were not pacifist. Between ancient reports of them and modern discoveries there is still confusion and contradiction on this and several distinguising points about them like were they vegetarian, or were they and to what extent, celibate.

The pacifist issue is a question almost as much archeological as textual. Why was the Q’umran settlement made at the site of an abandoned (6th century BC) fortress? Was there always a measure of sympathy for the military ideal? Could it be that at some point the quarters of the basically contemplative Essenes were taken over by more revolutionary Zealot/Zadokite believers? At very least we know there was some break in the community habitation at Q’umran occasioned by the earthquake and fire of 31BC. It must anyway be allowed that not all texts and all implements discovered at Q’umran belong to one group. It is not reasonable automatically to assume that all Essenes during the whole period of their desert retreat held one view as opposed to a variety of views like say, strict Baptists within the denomination of Baptists. Judaism, like a type of Free Church Protestantism, has always been hugely fissile – there were said to have been forty nine sects of Judaism at the time of the fall of the Temple. Given their love of codes and an abstract quality born of love of legal minutiae, the Dead Sea Scrolls do not help us to decipher the history of those who wrote them. It is very easy for imaginative scholars to take code names like ‘The Wicked Priest” “The Man of the Lie” and “The Teacher of Righteousness” and apply them to anyone from Intertestamental period High Priests to Jesus, John the Baptist, James the Brother of Jesus, or St Paul if one is so inclined.


Whether or not the Teacher of Righteousness behind leadership of the Essenes has anything to do with Jesus or his brother James, an astrologer rather than a conventional scholar is going to doubt – especially given that the Essenes used astrology in their search for the Messiah – that the origins of the Essene movement should be set back long into the BC period. The desire of the Essenes to realize the “New Covenant” promised by Jeremiah is a new age kind of impulse and if they understood anything like the astrology we know, they would anyway not have expected radically new developments much before the dawning of the Piscean era which means their movement ought to have manifested near and chiefly within the first century.

Since mainstream scholarship does not favour astrology little has been written on its use among the Essenes and I had known of the peculiar Q’umran version (which was involved in the sect’s distinctive solar calendar) beyond some claims of the late Scrolls scholar, John Allegro. O’Reilly’s article however refers to more recent and extensive studies by Dr Alan Snow and maintains the Essenes used a twelve sign zodiac beginning at Taurus because of a belief the world had begun under that era. If they really did have the doctrine of astrological eras implied by that then it is very important. They would have to have known the age of Aries was ending and the Piscean era beginning, the era that could reasonably be expected see a new covenant especially since as widely interpreted Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks allowed the advent of the Messiah around the time Jesus appeared. Perversely, Reilly fails to absorb the point he raises about dispensations and ages. He says that when Jesus spoke of being with his disciples “till the end of the age” he meant the age of Aries (in effect over in Jesus’ time!) and that the Essenes were a disappointed people for whom the apocalypse of Jesus’ forecasts, angelic help and the militarily gained world rule of the Messiah did not materialize.

It cannot be denied that some Essenes and/or affiliated Zealots (like many others in Jesus’ time) did hope for a military messiahship but to the extent they did so one is forced to say that given their astrology they were rather foolish. The simplest reading of the signs ought to have indicated to them that messiahship and divinity would not be portrayed or manifest in the very military terms of Aries once out of that era. Moreover, given any seven millenia type theories of human history dating from around 4000BC it would be foolish to imagine the Millenium of the prophets could have been instituted at the dawning of Pisces. It would need to wait through another Piscean two thousand years to arrive at the sacred seventh. Perhaps all one can say is that people are impatient, illogical and that hope springs eternal in the human breast!

Before going on to apply modern astrology to the Scrolls and consider my own special finding I shall mention some of those things which appear rather favourable to Christianity in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They mostly refer to still unpublished or disputed translations but it is unlikely they will or can all be dismissed or explained away.


Possibly most significant is Document 4Q246, the small Son of God Scroll. This refers to the Messiah as “son of God” and “son of the Most High”. While one could, by special pleading, explain this away saying that angels or very holy men could be called “sons of God” this surely shows that the Messiah was never (as in some Jewish and Liberal Christian interpretations) seen by all Jesus’ contemporaries as just a man or that St Paul had to concoct a “son of God” doctrine around Jesus to please Gentiles. He could teach it himself within the context of expectations of the time. As it happens, the combination of titles in this text echoes Gabriel to Mary in Luke’s gospel. Is there a connection? There just might be and not only because Gabriel features in Essene thought. Q’umran has turned up some texts evidently proto-Septuagint (the Greek version of the Bible ordered by Alexander the Great). It is the Septugint as opposed to the standard Masoretic text of the first century rabbinic recension that helped fix the virgin birth upon Isaiah’s text and thus Christian prophecy. In the Masoretic text it is easier to claim Isaiah only said “a young woman shall be with child”. So did the Essenes await a “Son of God” by virgin birth? Certainly their notions of messiahship were distinctive.

Back in 1991 controversy broke out over one document (Q 485) which spoke of the Messiah as “pierced” and dying at the hands of enemies. The word “pierced” was disputed and inevitably because its significance is enormous. This is the word used by the prophet Isaiah for the Suffering Servant who dies and redeems. The popular view of the Messiah in Jesus’ times, and even among some Essenes, is of an undying world conqueror. This alternative view of the Messiah as a more suffering (Piscean style) servant figure who dies and redeems indicates either this was what some Jews of the period anticipated or at least that among the Essenes there were Christians who knowing that Jesus had died believed he was the Messiah. Either way, again one is not looking at the “inventions” of any late developed Pauline or other theology of the 60s or later.

That there must have been some Christian believers among the Essenes is implied by tantalizing fragments which appear to be sentences directly from the Gospels and other New Testament books, for example: “And the earth brings forth fruit of herself” ((Mk 4.11) “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render unto Caesar” (Mk.12.17) and ” And he saw them toiling at rowing” (Mk.6.28), “And when they had eaten enough they lightened the ship (Acts 27.38), “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5.11-12, “For if any be a hearer of the word and not just a doer (Jas 1.23).

If nothing else such discoveries support the view that the gospels or sections of them, were early written, eye-witness accounts composed, if not within years of the events they record, then at least before the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 i.e. within a generation of the crucifixion. This idea is not really challenged by the possibility that some texts at Q’umran were late written and stored as late as the Bar-Kockba rebellion because Cave 7 material which is involved here is deemed to be of around AD 50 and palaeographic expert, Carsten Thiede, whose The Jesus Papyrus (1996) argues from certain fragments discovered in Egypt for an early date for Matthew, confirms an early dating for relevant Q’umran material. If all this is true then a very different picture emerges from the modern rationalist one which has been trying to place the gospels ever later reducing them to late meditations on the meaning of distantly remembered events.


Viewed in this light whatever could be negative for Christianity in the Dead Sea Scrolls apart from saying – what is rather excessively critical and obviously not the case – that Jesus lacked an original thought and merely fulfilled unusual but known sectarian ideas of his era? I think the potential negative begins simply with the association, however favourable to the historicity of the gospels, of Jesus and/or Christian origins with what was in effect a very legalistic and, though messianic, conservative and nationalistic organization. So far as we can tell, the gospels, perhaps deliberately, make no direct reference to the Essenes perceiving the followers of Jesus as a group in their own right. Once one limits Jesus and/or Christian origins down to the Essenes this allows some commentators to make an altogether narrower figure of Jesus. He is no longer the Messiah as “a light to the Gentiles” after the manner of even Isaiah’ s prophecy, no longer a new figure of the new era but a local reformer or an apocalyptic preacher who got it wrong about changing the world for national benefit or who may even have been a rebel Zealot, a hero of the outgoing Arien era rather than a saviour of the Piscean one.

From this position, ignoring possible layering, merging and variation of influences within the Essene movement during more than a century, one may then stress the importance of James the Righteous, Jesus’ brother and known leader of the early Jerusalem church. One speculates that perhaps this famously respected figure among Jews of his period corresponded to the most prestigious of the Essene code names, “the Teacher of Righteousness”, that he was an effective messianic leader with Jesus a sort of co-messiah or breakaway figure whose messiahship must have been in doubt or whose messiahship wasn’t but whose divinity was. It is known that there was a sect of Ebionite Christians, deemed heretics by the rest of the church, who followed the Law exactly, who accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah but not as “Son of God” and regarded Paul as the enemy. It is possible some Essenes were or sympathized with the Ebionites though the above mentioned, seemingly Christian texts which included Acts and Paul’s Epistle to Timothy make it unlikely any Q’umran Christians were outright anti-Paul. But once one starts stressing the obviously more Jewish and legalistic Christianity of James one can claim this was the true and original form of the faith – Eisenman does so – or that even, according to a trend begun by G.S.F. Brandon, in Jesus and the Zealots, (1967) James was really a military leader of the Jews against Rome.

One only has to read Barbara Thiering’s Jesus the Man (1994) to realize just how far some Scrolls scholars can go in their speculations and contradiction of others scholars in the field. Thiering, besides, represents the greatest potential source of confusion in linking Essene and Christian which is reading back not just Essene themes but literary techniques into the gospels to the point the gospels can be made to reveal almost anything but their plain sense. The Essenes were a secretive, in some respects elitist and political group with aims and enemies within both Jewish and Gentile society. It was natural and inevitable their commentaries would resort to code when referring to private or sensitive issues, for example describing Rome as Babylon. The gospels were directed to anyone who would listen to them and its authors were keen to show themselves no sworn enemies of Rome. It is therefore controversial to assume as Thiering does – and no Scrolls scholar endorses her flamboyant interpretations of the Dead Sea Scrolls which turn almost everything they state into a coded message – that the gospels, like the Scrolls, are conveying double messages, a surface story with very different esoteric information underneath.


Thiering’s approach is idiosyncratic, even eccentric, but what unites her with many of the dissident or non-Christian view – and crucially to the supposed “secret” of the Dead Sea Scrolls – is a conviction that Christianity was originally a Jewish, to the point of being a nationalistic, sect and that this more literalistic, legalistic faith, for which Pauline doctrines are mere Greek accretions, could have political interests. In short, as in Thiering’s reconstructions, one is faced with questions not of divinity but dynasty. This is made very explicit in the recently published Bloodline of the Holy Grail: (1996) by geneologist, Laurence Gardner, who, influenced bv Thiering’s claims, believes he has been able to uncover the hidden lineage of Jesus and his brother, James. Jesus had a daughter and two sons by the Magdalene and his line continued through the youngest, Joseph, who fathered a son, Josue. James gets merged, (a la Thiering), with the figure of Joseph of Arimathea who, Laurence maintains, voyaged to England and had a daughter, Anna, who supposedly married Bran the Blessed, a character of British Celtic myth conveniently assumed to be a historical figure!). One is curious to know just how much the author’s speculations, though influenced by Thiering, reflect the beliefs of various occult orders and royal families within Europe – the book has an introduction by Prince Michael of Albany, current heir to the Stewart line as well as, it seems, more distantly, a descendant of Jesus!

In any revisionist pictures inspired by Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries, Paul regularly gets the blame for having opportunistically adapted Christianity to the Gentile world and in effect betrayed a very human Jesus. This line of thought disregards that the Paul who condemned Peter and James for Jewish exclusiveness was only really duplicating the kind of alienation reported to have existed between Jesus and his brothers during his lifetime and was fulfilling an internationalism associated in prophecy with the Messiah. This was being ignored by traditionalists not to say the astrologers of Q’umran who should have had a better understanding of what Pisces and its ruling planet, Jupiter (planet of all foreign issues) signified.

I don’t think it is irrelevant that Beigent and Leigh, who lean heavily upon the Zealot/Essene theories of Robert Eisenman in their interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, should also, more famously, have popularized the theory expounded in the best-seller, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1984) and which studies like Gardner’s simply enlarge upon, that Jesus did not die on the Cross but escaped and probably fathered a dynasty with the Magdalene. The authors’ stock-in-trade is a colourful, romantic, down-grading of the status of Jesus based on deception/conspiracy theory so that, despite vastly and unconnected starting points, both books, written a decade apart, work to the same effect. A bit like O’Reilly who regards the Jesus of doctrine as needing to be jettisoned in the interests of a new world faith, they perceive traditional beliefs as linked to a grand, age-old plot by Christianity, more especially Catholicism, to dominate the world through false claims which knowledge of Christian origins would undermine. Although the Dead Sea Scrolls fail to do this in any obvious way but even, as we have seen, arguably confirm gospel record, their ambiguous style and illusions in certain areas and their complex treatment of messiahship and kingship is fertile ground for erecting novel, almost Arthurian myths of a dynastic kind.
Such speculations nevertheless cater to various rationalist and feminist trends within modern society and religion and in a way to give them a whole new life of their own. Thus America’s controversial Bishop Shelby Spong who has denied virtually all credal doctrines of the churches and has authored a book denying the resurrection, has written favourably of ex-Catholic Margaret Starbird’s The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (1993) a highly speculative study of the Magdalene and Grail legend. This book develops elements of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail thesis – which brought Starbird to spiritual crisis destroying all her beliefs – and offers its own evidence in support of the idea Jesus fathered a dynasty.

While it is possible the Dead Sea Scrolls we possess or archeologists might yet find will turn up whole gospels and treatises denying (or even confirming) those in existence this is unlikely and I don’t think that is the main point now. What is important about the Dead Sea Scrolls is that element of ambiguity within them which allows them to provide myth and clues, often illusory, to parallel discoveries. For example, one often hears them discussed along with the hugely different Gnostic literary finds of 1945 from Nag Hammadi in Egypt which record the beliefs of dissident, traditionally “heretic” Christian groups which emphatically do deny resurrection doctrine and supply Jesus love affairs and a relation with the Magdalene. The world view of the two groups could not be at more variance, the Essenes concerned with history, law and fact and the Gnostics seeking to deny or transcend them for a purely mythic, internalized truth, in a way that makes getting the precise details of Jesus’ or anyone’s life correct, irrelevant. But modern trends appear disposed to attempt a wedding of such opposites with the result that often purely mythic data are being allowed to help form the outlines of new histories. The fertile ambiguities of the Dead Sea Scrolls are central to this process. What I am saying – and more from a scholarly rather than any astrological viewpoint – is that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain less a secret than they further the creation of one when placed alongside a variety of other “evidence”.

In the Symbols of Advent article I mentioned the cult of Maitreya and its possible future role in religion – at any rate few modern cults are more concerned with the foundation of a new world faith and forecasts about its imminent establishment. These hopes may or may not be justified but anyway followers of the cult allege Maitreya has forecast that new information about Jesus will soon emerge to shed new light on him. If that happens whatever is found is unlikely, without the prestigious Dead Sea Scrolls being able to support it in some fashion, to enjoy the credit hoped for by New Age religionists. What, therefore, is the “secret” the Dead Sea Scrolls is holding or more likely can allow to emerge from other sources? I believe that astrology can definitely help us with this question.


The Scrolls were first discovered by bedouin early in 1947 but no one knows any precise date or time for this. There is therefore no horoscope for this first encounter with a hidden history whose true meaning was not originally clear to those involved. For describing leading events like the foundation of nations the rule in astrology is that one takes some deeply symbolic or emotional moment – like the signing of a treaty or a coronation – and then treats that as a birth. Subsequent events by transits and progressions to the pattern will disclose whether one has in fact chosen the true moment of birth. O’Reilly takes as the chart for the Dead Sea Scrolls a moment of first recognition and profound realization about them which took place on the night of 29th November 1947.

The Scrolls had found their way into the hands of Professor Eleazar Sukenik, head of Hebrew University’s Dept of Archeology. Examining them their significance and antiquity was becooming clear to him when at midnight he heard over the radio the announcement that the UN had approved the foundation of an independent Israel. His son, Yigael Yadin, was at the time chief of operations for a secret miitia fighting for national independence. Suddenly Sukenik felt almost mystically there was a connection between the discovery of the Scrolls in his hands and the fate and meaning of Israel itself. The chart of the Dead Sea Scrolls can therefore be timed for midnight and subsequent transits to this chart at times affecting Dead Sea Scrolls issues and scandals confirm this must be the true pattern. For example, when Robert Eisenman provoked the crisis which broke the Ecole Biblique’s monopoly, the power struggle aspect of Pluto square Pluto was active.

This is a wonderfully descriptive chart. With Virgo rising and Gemini at the Midheaven i.e the two signs ruled by intellectual Mercury, that planet is very and suitably emphasized. The chart bespeaks reading and writing and all the ancient work in the scriptorium especially as the third house of writing, copying, documents and transmission contains Mercury along with sun and Jupiter. And with Sun and Jupiter in specifically Sagittarius this will be writing about religion, philosophy and theory of law! The sign on the third house is nonetheless not Sagittarius but Scorpio, which is Mercury’s sign too. This definitely supplies a flavour of mystery, secrecy and intrigue to the documents not to mention the great amount of Scorpionic research which deciphering the texts would engender. This is writing which is or aims to be everlasting and classic. Mercury in Scorpio is in a fixed sign and the nodes (the fate and purpose point) at 22 of fixed Taurus (conjunct the foundation sun of modern Israel months later – recall that Sukenik immediately linked his discovery to Israel’s destiny) oppose the very writerly third house Mercury from the ninth house of religious affairs and publishing. This is a classic enterprise but the fate of its labour-for-eternity has been to be hidden and obscured for centuries and then, when discovered, to suffer publishing delay in line with hindering Saturn squaring Mercury in one direction and exactly squaring the nodes in another from the hidden twelfth house of retreats, caves and, at a more psychological level, hidden enemies.

So far so good for descriptive accuracy if not for the fate of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Yet that in the modern world these finds can obtain publicity is signalled by the very public moon in the tenth of reputation conjunct shocking, controversial Uranus placed in Gemini. The moon at 27 Gemini suitably opposes the Galactic centre – a power point associated with events in religion, which plainly this discovery is – and also Venus, which is within conjunction to the point from 29 of Sagittarius in the fourth. Beautiful treasures of the national religious heritage (fourth house) is what is indicated by this Venus. Although, curiously, given the title of his article and its burden O’Reilly doesn’t make the point, any potentially “explosive secret” regarding the Scrolls ought to be represented by the fiery Mars, ruler of the 3rd of writing in the hidden, potentially undermining twelfth in the sign of fiery and royal Leo and just within aspect to the conjunction of the public moon with shocking, revolutionary Uranus. Dark Pluto as co-ruler with Mars of the third sector and also in fiery Leo likewise has some of this troublingly secret feeling to it. More of this presently.


My special interest is of course to observe if this chart suggests the Scrolls bear any relation to Jesus and information about him. I should explain that it is common in astrology to compare charts for relevance and thus a Prime Minister or President of a nation is going to show very close relations of his planets or angles to power points of the national chart or else he will not gain power. Accordingly, claiming as I do with complete certainty that I possess the natal chart of Christ, if the Dead Sea Scrolls will reveal or undermine Jesus in some way there should be very intense contacts between the two charts.

Before commenting on that I had better mention first a matter of astro-vocabulary or symbolism. While all and any contacts between the two charts could hold some significance, some factors would count a good deal more than others. In the affairs of Christ, the moon, Mercury and Neptune hold special place. The Essenes set a lot of store by the moon as did rabbis of later centuries who have taught that Israel’s affairs are more affected by lunar eclipses than solar (which are referred to the Gentiles) and claim that the Messiah is symbolized by the moon. I was not, perhaps fortunately, aware of this at the time of writing Signs for a Messiah and so was forced into some quite special psychological and theological speculation in the course of attempting to explain what seemed a surprisingly prominent lunar factor in Christ’s nativity.

Mercury is also very important not only because if Jesus was born under Virgo, Mercury “disposits” or “rules” his chart’s sun but because Mercury is everything to do with the humanity of Christ, all doctrines and arguments about his dual nature. Finally there is Neptune, which functions as Almuten of the Joshua chart and as such is the strongest planet and arguably most truly represents who and what Jesus is. He is the principle of compassion, of universal agape, the mystical dream, the highest idealism, but also the suffering servant because Neptune rules Pisces, sign of suffering and service. Historically the rabbis could refer the affairs of the Messiah to the moon but had they known of Neptune they would have to have linked the messianic principle to that factor since Neptune is (in its positive expression) the mystical dream. And to the extent the Messiah is “the desire of nations”, a longed for, dreamed of individual, he must be symbolized by Neptune.

The greater part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, despite tantalizing connections with the gospels of the kind cited earlier, appear to be about legalistic and strictly Essene concerns. Accordingly, one wouldn’t expect the chart of the Dead Sea Scrolls to connect powerfully, for good or ill, with that of Jesus and at first sight that expectation seems justified. There is more obvious linkage between this horoscope and the Pentecost pattern for the foundation of Christianity. Noticeably, P’s Pluto conjuncts Dead Sea Scrolls’s sun/Jupiter conjunction; its first house moon (the body of believers) is placed between the Dead Sea Scrolls Mars and Saturn allowing there could be the kind of connection scholars suspect between the origins of Christianity and a highway prepared for our God in the wilderness by an Essene movement some of whose structures and rites Christianity appears to have inherited. That the P chart’s Saturn conjuncts Dead Sea Scrolls’s Midheaven of reputation and destiny doubtless symbolizes the heavy hand of ecclesiastical scholarship and officialdom upon the fate of the Scrolls as represented by the Ecole Biblique.

Looking again at the Dead Sea Scrolls chart there is however at least one very significant contact with the pattern for Jesus. The Dead Sea Scrolls chart shows a Neptune (the messianic and mystical principle) in trine to its (the Dead Sea Scrolls’s) Midheaven. The destiny, reputation, even one might say the career, of the Essenes has been tied up with a pronounced messianic hope. It was the hope for which they renounced earthly goods (a possible meaning of Neptune in the Dead Sea Scrolls second) and their true currency. It was a hope they committed to writing (Neptune to a Gemini Midheaven). None of this certifies a connection with Jesus as such until one looks at the Joshua chart. The Dead Sea Scrolls Neptune at 12 degrees of Libra trining a Midheaven at 13 of Gemini conjuncts a Joshua chart natal Mercury at 13 degrees.

It is contacts of this kind of 1 degree of closeness which allows an astrologer to make connections. In this case one can assume that, given the already noted gospel links to the Scrolls, somewhere among these documents something significant about Jesus does reside. As it is, the Dead Sea Scrolls’s own Mercury, by its conjunction with Chiron, the Wounded Healer factor, surely points to the crucial controversy concerning the “pierced” and wounded one that the documents have already raised in relation to Jesus and his messiahship; but given this, the additional contact of Dead Sea Scrolls Neptune to the Mercury of Christ’s nativity surely clinches the matter for supposing Jesus is somehow involved.


At first it might be thought that whatever is to be found about Jesus is rather favourable for him or Christianity. After all, trine aspects are by tradition favourable. But not every trine is favourable or not in the short term – and the Dead Sea Scrolls deal in the long term or nothing! – and as it happens Neptune trine Midheaven does not have a good reputation. At the best of times artistic and mystical Neptune has a touch of the victim to it and what is liable to happen under Neptune trine Midheaven is that the person, artist, mystic or whatever, is victim to or ignored by precisely those in the artistic or religious community who should be of most assistance to them. This is the text-book view but I can personally vouch for it and have even described the effect in the autobiography mentioned in The Star of Bethlehem article because my own birth chart of one month prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery is in many points strikingly similar. Not least one finds almost the exact same degrees of Virgo rising and Gemini at the Midheaven with Neptune in trine to it.

In the chart of the Dead Sea Scrolls and as it relates to the birth pattern of Jesus plainly this aspect is redolent of the whole suffering, abandoned, servant theme attaching to the Messiah through the Isaiah prophecies the Essene community cherished. At the more immediate level and in our own times it is likely to mean that whatever describes and favours Jesus in the Essene legacy is, for a time at least, not going to favour him or will only do so after a period of trouble or misunderstanding. Truth in this area could well be turned on its head and talk of “secrets” abound – after all, this Neptune is in easy, “opportunity” aspect (sextile) to the dark and secretive Pluto. Recall, moreover, what has already been said about Mercury as one of the most important factors for the Joshua chart: Mercury refers to the humanity of Jesus and all issues during his life and after it concerning “the two natures” – in short the humanity/divinity question. Put these factors together and the message is surely clear: the Dead Sea Scrolls have some role, and not necessarily a helpful one, in beliefs people are going to have about the status of Jesus, the nature of his messiahship. And they will think the whole matter hinges upon some “secret”.

Neptune represents a notoriously difficult influence. I have described it according to the rules in mystical, idealistic and compassionate terms but that is its positive meaning. Because most people do not live at a high level of mind or spirituality they usually experience Neptune influences in very negative ways. Especially Neptune afflicted in a natal chart can signify illusion, lies and, deceit and the sort of alcoholism and drug abuse which are forms of escapism or substitute mysticism. What this means, especially if Neptune is the chief symbol of Jesus, is that one can expect a lot is going to be misunderstood about him and thus on certain subjects, at different times, natal aspects and subsequent transits of Neptune can function as both true description of and, in the hands of the misguided persons, lies and deception about Jesus.

I had already recognized this point long before either the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the light of astrology came my way or I had any access to astrocartographical maps for the Joshua chart showing how certainly planetary influences will function geographically for Jesus. In The Star of Bethlehem feature I mentioned the function of the moon and Uranus lines. The moon, anyway one of the most important lines to consider for this chart, proved strikingly relevant but what about Neptune, in some ways the most essential of the lines?


This proves suitably, even strikingly dramatic. Neptune runs across the Mediterranean from Africa crossing the coast of France almost exactly at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, passing north through France across Paris, over the English Channel into London through England into Scotland passing near Edinburgh. What story is this hinting at and what sort of energy can it favour?

Rather obviously we are dealing with the Grail line and the whole “secret” about a dynasty contained within the myth of the Grail of the Magdalene. Although the earliest and more plausible tradition still held by the Greek Church has the Magdalene finishing her days in Ephesus like Jesus’ mother, later tradition told of the Magdalene and Mary Cleophas, with Lazarus and a dark, Egyptian born child, Sarah, arriving in Provence, after following a sea-route from Africa, at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (anciently, Ratis). This story and place are only the starting point for a whole alternative, Gnostic history-cum-doctrine of Jesus developed west of the line and centred at the village of Rennes-le Chateau, outside of which Jesus is rumoured to have been buried (according to Richard Andrews and Paul Schellenberger’s The Tomb of God. 1996). The “Grail” is not a chalice, dish or stone but effectively the Sangraal, the Blood Royal of Judah the Magdalene brought to France and hence the Jesus lineage doctrine guarded and secretly promoted over the centuries from especially Paris and the Seminary of St Sulpice there.

England too has had its own Grail traditions not to mention later developed, fuzzy British Israel theories while London today is where the “Master” Maitreya, called the Christ, is said to reside somewhere among the city’s Asian community. Further north, close to Edinburgh, is the medieval Rosslyn Chapel, the Masonic Church, now said to be really a shrine for ancient documents and possibly treasures of the Templars secreted from the Jerusalem Temple and hidden in Scotland. Scotland was one of the areas of Europe the most distant and free from the powers of the Inquisition which, helped by the French monarchy, had engaged in persecution of the Templars from 1307. Stephen Knight and Robert Lomas, authors of the The Hiram Key (1996) an inquiry into the origins of Freemasonry (which owes a good deal to Templar beliefs and rituals), have applied for permission to excavate Rosslyn as their researches so far have convinced them there is something very major there to be found about Christian origins -the book rather amibtiously speaks of “The Scrolls of Jesus”.

Certainly it seems that, beyond all the distortions linked to the processes and assumptions of the Inquisition, at least the leaders of the Templars, though outwardly defenders of the Catholic faith, were privately alientated from it and technically heretic. Their unorthodox views about Christ and Christianity including denial of Christ’s divinity appears to have owed not just to contacts with Mohammedans and the usual medieval ignorance of biblical sources but to specific information about Christian origins (from Ebionite Christians at a guess) discovered and secreted away when excavating the Temple area of Jerusalem where they seem also to have found gold and various treasures. It has been noted that all the Notre Dame churches which Templar funds or architectural knowledge helped bring into existence, originally lacked the symbol of the cross apparently because the Templar hierarchy felt they had reasons to doubt Christ was ever crucified. This could suggest finds of a more Gnostic variety since the reality of the crucifixion is denied in some of the Gnostic texts from Egypt.

Before saying more I had better answer the obvious objection to all this, namely is not the Neptune line proving the Grail theory true after all? My answer is that, since as stated, one cannot readily trust Neptune I believe what we are looking at here is Neptune’s negative face. But in that case where is the positive? Given what I have said about the disposition of Neptune to be negative for most people, I don’t believe there has to be anything else to prove a point although I do believe a more positive, truth orientated expression exists.

It is along this same line, though more especially in Britain, that over the centuries most theological speculation of the prophetic and “dispensationalist” kind has originated from among such diverse groups in Paris, London and Edinburgh as Jesuits, Puritans, Baptists and Plymouth Brethren. Compare how little, and only periodically, has been produced elsewhere in the West on these themes and I think this does amount to something. It is quite true that such speculation has been a minority, sectarian, esoteric pursuit but then, until very recently, so too has been the “theology” of the Grail line. Any belief in the Messiah has always to be understood in terms of the ages and cycles of history and this kind of dispensationalist, apocalyptic speculation, is really a form of mystical world-dream in its way duplicating the passions of the Essenes. One could argue that the Grail theology is also a Neptunian mystical dream but it belongs less with the mystic’s strivings of spirit and soul than with the calculations of the ego that classically Neptune denies. The Grail theology is the Neptunian dream rather obviously tainted by a certain Gallic over-evaluation of the material which finishes unable to imagine or follow a Jesus without romances and this-worldly political designs.

Though not as important as the Neptune line within the Joshua chart it can also be asked what the same line is doing in the Dead Sea Scrolls chart. I don’t wish to be too dogmatic in my readings here but it looks as though, once again, Neptune is more obvious for its negative manifestation, pointing to who from where will mislead the public about what the Scrolls have to tell. Noticeably, Neptune passes cuts through California where at California State University Robert Eisenman, though he is to be commended for wresting the Dead Sea Scrolls from Ecole Biblique control, has been busy turning the predominantly pacifist Jesus and his brother James into Zealots, and it passes by East Australia, stamping ground of Barbara Thiering most radical of all Scrolls scholars whose Jesus is a marrying, divorcing world traveller of an ex-Essene. Pluto, which as we know aspects the Dead Sea Scrolls Neptune, runs besides the length of New Zealand, birth place of Michael Beigent, (chief mover of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception) and the land where he went to university at Christchurch (what’s in a name?!). Deadly Plutonic secrets is what Beigent specializes in or would like to. He has poured scorn on specifically Christian apocalyptic but it is just possible it will be his Plutonic destiny to discover he has aided and abetted the formation of an ideology preparatory for its horrors in the form of New World Leader and Religion.


Since the secretive Pluto which aspects the Dead Sea Scrolls Neptune is in the sign of Leo, as is also the Mars which with Pluto co-rules the Dead Sea Scrolls’s third house of texts and writing, one can be pretty certain about what sort of “secret” the Scrolls will reveal – or, more likely, help to support relative to other finds probably linked to the Jerusalem Temple area and Rosslyn Chapel. It will be primarily something royal and dynastic in import. Leo is the sign of royalty and in the chart of modern Israel where it is so strongly represented by elevated Saturn, Mars and Pluto all in the sign, it simply has to symbolize the Davidic/Zionist legacy. The Dead Sea Scrolls envisaged a secular and religious Messiah, an heir to Zadokite and Aaronite priesthood and an heir to the royal line of David.

Secondarily and related to this, since Mars has a great deal to do with the symbolism of resurrection, (see my Astrology and Belief Today on this) one could expect a challenging of resurrection belief but I shall keep to the dynastic issue here.

Christians saw the two messianic functions as united in the earthly and heavenly, two-natured Jesus though in a secondary sense they perhaps saw messiahship as divided between the religious Baptist, the Messiah’s herald, and the more secular/royal Jesus. The messianic speculations and imagery of the Dead Sea Scrolls could nevertheless be used to point to other notions of messiahship (as is already the case) and even other lines of descent, alternatives some might yet attempt to make something of especially if, as I suspect, “treasures” of the Templars turn up. These, apart from perhaps some Leonine gold objects, could include formerly unknown sectarian writings from such as the Ebionites, who did not accept Christ’s two natures, or the resurrection denying Gnostics. Dynasty is then free to overtake divinity, issues of politics those of religion. The true Christ or new Christ could be presented as “a son of David” to more political effect, a potential world ruler with special claims upon Jerusalem. This would be very much in line with the politicizing tendencies of the French tradition in religion which certainly reaches a high point in the sort of hidden tradition described in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail which associates the Son of David with the Merovingian dynasty of France and through it to many great families of Europe. Thus for example, today, Otto von Hapsburg as Duke of Lorraine also bears the title King of Jerusalem and his ancestors have sometimes been hailed as a “Son of David”.

Before one dismisses as too far-fetched any Merovingian related or promoted messiahship as a line of inquiry it needs to be borne in mind that the Antichrist, a substitute Messiah figure, has always puzzled biblical exegetes because it seemed a case could be made for describing him as either Jew or Gentile. This never made sense but it could do so if one thinks of him as by descent both exactly as the Grail bloodline claims would imply of any future messianic monarch. To have any substance the Jesus/Grail dynasty claims require ancient intermarriage of the French royal line with some descendant of the Davidic line somwhere in the Languedoc probably through the strongly Jewish settled kingdom of Septimania in the early centuries of the era. There is no question that not just Jews but those of Davidic descent, magnates and princes like Prince Todros in Narbonne, were settled in this region; this is a matter of medieval and Catholic record.

In relation to Jesus the descendant could of course be collateral whatever the claims (negative Neptune specializes in lies!) to direct descent. The early church historian, Eusebius, wrote of the grandchildren of Jude, brother of Jesus, and since Jesus is said to have had several brothers and sisters no doubt there have been many collateral descendants. Somewhere, one of them may even have laid claim to being a direct descendant of Jesus and been believed. The authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and Bloodline of the Holy Grail speak of a lineage from Jesus but one writer on the Net has not irrelevantly proposed we should perhaps be looking for a blood-line of the Antichrist since the descendants of the Seleucid ruler, Antiochus Ephiphanes, the biblical antetype of the Antichrist, appear to have married into the Roman Imperial line and thence into the Merovingian dynasty.

I am not trying to say I believe that Otto von Hapsburg (about whom I know nothing) or other modern figures of supposed Jesus lineage, like Prince Michael of Albany, are actual or potential Antichrists. As will be apparent from my Symbols of Advent feature – if the Antichrist presently exists then as an astrologer I find the object of Jeane Dixon’s visions, born “somewhere in the Middle East” the most suitable figure yet suggested. However, I think that in the scenarios likely to unfold in coming times France and England, Paris and London will in some fashion be influential in altering Middle East affairs and facilitating the advent of a new global faith. I consider the current desire (as of October ’96) of President Chirac to promote European involvement over American involvement in Israel is a trend to watch, one that could lead to a watershed. France may in future connect to any World Government/Antichrist trends in a special way due to the influence of various long-established cliques within that country. And I cannot overlook either that London, placed on the Neptune line, is the current home of Maitreya, who – if he is for real – would surely be (especially as he promises to reveal “The Master Jesus” to the world) the best candidate for the biblical “prophet of the Antichrist”.

Aided by a certain non-committal, sceptical and vague manner of thought favoured in England, for centuries now London has consisently been the conduit through which unusual or heretical theories about Jesus have issued – I myself was once reliably informed that some of the problem with publishing Signs for a Messiah is that while America is the major centre for astrology related texts, America usually leaves the responsibity for the more exceptional and controversial works about Jesus (like Jesus the Magician, A.N.Wilson’s Jesus, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail ) to London to publish first. My unusual angle therefore leaves me somewhat dependent upon what London circles may care to promote and certainly, a publisher like Cape, whom I contacted out of pure curiosity, even after more than a decade, is evidently still jealously committed to defending the best interests of the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and their thesis. They have no desire to represent alternative views which their representative assured me people offer to them just about every week so intense is the feeling engendered by the book.

But in conclusion I must return to the fate of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their message according to the astrology available to me. Does their message have sinister undermining potential, could it be used by, say, the London-based Maitreya of whom it was originally openly forecast he would eventually assume power in the Vatican with the aid of radical Masonic groups in order to establish a new, ecumenical world faith? Well, it is not impossible by the rules. Once again, using chart comparison, one notices that the Mars in Leo which, along with Pluto I earlier defined as indicator of any “explosive secret” associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls, just happens exactly to conjunct the all-important Uranus of Jeane Dixon’s alleged Aquarian Antichrist. This particular Uranus – and Uranus is anyway a ruling planet for an Aquarian – conjuncts the fixed royal star, Regulus, a sign that this person, if they exist, could indeed be a world ruler.


O’Reilly reasonably enough anticipates that as Pluto slowly transits the sun/Jupiter conjunction of the Dead Sea Scrolls beginning late ’97 and going through ’99 much can be published, uncovered and revealed. (I can’t help wondering, since the Dead Sea Scrolls has something of a buried treasure signature to it and the Jupiter to be conjuncted rules the fourth sector, whether what is revealed wouldn’t also synchronize with other issues and discoveries like temple treasure). A powerful arc to the chart’s Pluto in ’97 could mean that intimations of what following years will reveal will already be given; but as regards the ’99 period, in light of what I say in Symbols of Advent any revelations then might even be used to support the claims of an emerging world leader or religion. Yet if that were the case the arguments would only hold weight for a while. The Saturn of Israel and the Pluto of the Dead Sea Scrolls both oppose the Sun of Dixon’s alleged Antichrist (if that individual proves relevant to coming events) and in any case, the Scrolls are forever whereas the illusions that could be spun from them will last only for a very short period relative to their long history.

I cannot resist finishing this article on a purely personal note. I have felt a great affinity for the Dead Sea Scrolls chart for the simple reason it has so many similarities with my own albeit I am glad that Mars is not posited in my twelfth house. As already somewhat indicated in The Star of Bethlehem article, the effect of such a pattern in real life is to engage the individual in a great deal of frustration caused not least by endless delay and inability to bring one’s message to where it ought to be. In this connection I find it is at once appropriate and ironic that I should be in part responding to an ariticle by an astrologer expounding his views on the Scrolls at considerable length within a publication through which I have never been able to convey the information, more important for religion and astrology, regarding the astrology of Christ – indeed Signs for a Messiah would almost certainly have stood a better chance of publication in America if I had managed to do so. I was told, and rightly so by their Sydney associate magazine, that even to get a reply from the New York editors I would probably need to send the material by registered and recorded mail; and if improbably I could be accepted I would find myself on some year-long or more waiting list to be published. Well, I wouldn’t be told so I tried first by just registered mail then registered and recorded but only, as promised, to fail.

But was there a bit more to it? As an astrological colleague acidly remarked, I wasn’t very sensible to imagine I was going to get anything positive about Christ through to a building whose New York address was 666. Was I or wasn’t I? My belief in numerology is limited, if it even exists, and I have no desire to be superstitious but the colleague had certainly touched upon a bizarre synchronicity. If there’s anything to it I can safely leave that to Michael O’Reilly and all those who want a new world religion to work out. Whatever they might think or say, plainly, such is the way of things today it is unlikely they would ever have my own or the Dead Sea Scrolls’s problems in getting their opinions and truth heard.

Rollan McCleary