Our Lord came to earth as a sacrifice, and he was born among the animals of sacrifice to symbolize his mission. Previous to his coming, animals were offered up to appease the Lord's anger, and to encourage His favor and forgiveness of sins. Certain exoteric religions had regressed to the point where these animals were actually worshipped as holy creatures.
In the Taurean Age the bull was a harmonious symbol of the time, and became sacred to Jupiter, while its opposite sign Scorpio was sometimes represented by the serpent, symbol of occult teachings -- as seen on the Egyptian headdress. In the Arian Age, the Ram, the firstling or leader of the sheep, was sacrificed and its opposite sign of Libra was represented by the Tables of the Law, and the Sacred Scriptures of Moses.
In the Piscean Age, fishes and those who would later become Fishers of Men came to the fore, and had as their opposite sign Virgo, the Virgin holding a sheaf of wheat. The loaves and fishes multiplied by the Lord Jesus to feed the multitudes represented the fruits of both signs. In Virgo too is hidden the mystery of healing, for this is the sign of health, and the Son of Righteousness was to come "with healing in His wings."
Now in the Aquarian Age we have the Man, full-grown, and its opposite sign Leo, the Son (Sun), or the Son of Man. The more obvious teachings now have to do with the development of mankind, and perhaps the exaltation of Man, but within these will be hidden the door to the inner mysteries of the sign Leo as well, for within each sign is a reflection of its opposite.
All the great mystery teachings of the ages have pointed to the birth of the Sun, which becomes possible as each man reaches a degree of perfection from within, but the timing of its fullest realization could only come now, in the Age of Man and Sun, or the Son of Man so often mentioned by Jesus, and some- times even by Daniel of the Old Testament.
At the time the animal sacrifice was begun, this was meant to symbolize a sacrifice of the carnal nature by one who had become enlightened. It is doubtful if man was ever intended to kill living creatures, since it was the inner animal that was to be overcome (not killed). But as each Age nears its end, the form becomes crystallized and the spirit that began it becomes obscure so that the coming Age must pick up and fulfill what went before, in order to use it as a platform from which to carry on.
Our Lord Jesus was born in a place that housed animals, and lay among those which were to be sacrificed, as he himself would be one day when his flesh and blood would symbolically be eaten in the sacrament of communion.
The manger is a container built in the animal stall to hold their grain or hay, usually a wooden trough. After Jesus had himself been sacrificed and raised from the dead he exhorted Peter, the founder of his church-to-be, to "feed his lambs" and to "feed his sheep," if Peter loved him.
The only sacrifice from then on was to be the bread to symbolize his body and the wine to symbolize his blood. Both of these are transformed fruits of the earth, and were symbols also in ancient times for the mythical Ceres and Dionysius, whose rites were celebrated at harvest time.
Man continued to sacrifice man in martyrdom and war throughout the Piscean Age, but he has grown disgusted enough now to start seeking an end to it. He is also attempting to find a way to feed the multitudes with both earthly and heavenly goods. And he knows now that the time has come to show the love Jesus asked for.
Our Lord, from the magnitude of his consciousness, fully surveyed and understood the vast perspective of the Ages, of man's evolution and of what was needed to correct the predominant earthiness of his ways. He volunteered to undergo gross treatment on earth for the purpose of pulling the whole mass upward.
God's gift of Grace to man was far beyond anything he could have earned by his own efforts. Jesus came with purpose, and his every recorded act was purposeful and meaningful.
It is not necessary that we should figure out all the meanings, only that we truly believe on him that brought them into fruition. For it was only by the Incarnation of the Christ Spirit in the planetary body of the earth that further spiritual progress could be made possible for humanity.
The covenant of Abraham in the age of the Taurean bull was the circumcision of the foreskin of the male sex organ, and this was a definitely Scorpion signature, which acted as a door or way whereby they could acknowledge good faith in their Creator, and be favored. Scorpio is the opposite sign from Taurus, and the truth that every sign reflects somewhat of its opposite is indicated in this case, as providing an inner passage into the mysteries of patriarchal times. The old wisdom teachings also bore a strong flavor of this Taurus-Scorpio axis -- the combination of nature and architecture in the sign of cattle, and the phallic symbolism associated with Scorpio.
When Moses came he was very angry that the people had worshipped a cattle-statue like those in the Egyptian ("hidden") land from which they had just so triumphantly emerged, for he was in the very act of receiving for them the commandments of God for their new Age, then of Aries.
Moses had acted as the Ram, or leader of their flock setting out for a new land, typically Arian.
The inner door he was opening up lay through the Tablets of Law, symbolized by Libra, the sign of Law and of Justice, or the rewards of cause and effect. It was "an eye for an eye" in those times. Moses continued with circumcision, but changed their form of worship to that received from God on the mountain, which he wrote out in the first five Books of the Old Testament, called the Pentateuch.
Jesus kept and advised his followers to keep the Law of Moses, at the same time establishing a new covenant. For he had to first fulfill and bring to its full term the Old. The symbol of Pisces is two fishes tied together, the one attempting to swim upstream and the other downstream, in the waters of the great Subconscious or astral element.
It is significant that his coming was announced by Gabriel, the archangel of the Water element, and of the Soul. Through his help, the upward urge must find supremacy.
Opposite Pisces and balancing it, the inner doorway of the teachings is through Virgo, the Virgin. It was her fruits of the harvest season that Jesus took when he said, "This is my body. Eat in remembrance of me . . ." and of the enspirited juice of grapes, "This is my blood of the Covenant . . ." So that by eating and drinking these fruits of the virgin on a higher level, we become one body with the Christ, which is the spiritual Son-Sun.
Now at the coming of the Age of Aquarius, the sign of Man, and of its inner or opposite sign Leo and the Sun, the possibilities become unlimited. Our Lord, the Son, has now fully become the Door, as he said himself to be, and this door is opening even now.
On the human level, too, the previous significators reappeared to dramatize and close the past. The unusual birth of John the Baptist, born of an old man and woman as announced by an angel, repeated the story of Abraham and Sarah. The carrying into and coming out of Egypt by Mary, Joseph and Jesus, repeated in miniature the exile of the whole Jewish nation into Egypt and their return home, led by Moses as far as the River Jordan and the Promised Land.
Moses couldn't cross the Jordan. Joshua ("Jehoshua") could, and so could Jesus (also "Jehoshua"). This was symbolized when John drew Jesus up out of the Jordan in baptism, much as a fish would be drawn up out of the waters, and reminiscent of the ancient and mystical Fish-Man called Oannes (John) who came from the sea to teach early mankind all things they needed to know.
With Jesus was begun a new Way, for all the old had been fulfilled, except for the prophecies of the future, which he next proceeded to fulfill one by one.
In this day of Man, we too turn back where he left off, and pick up the Testament and the Sacraments as Jesus did the Law of Moses, and we use these as a springboard into the new Dispensation on whose threshold we stand -- in the Doorway of the Sun!
Every event in the life of the Christed Jesus finds its parallel in the life of one who aspires to the attainments of such Initiates as Jesus, Mary and Joseph. So also in every pre-Christian religion or initiatory school, without exception, the path of attainment was foreshown in the lives of its great teachers as clearly as it is shown to the Christian in the life of Christ Jesus.
They usually included an immaculate conception, the performance of miracles, and in some form, a crucifixion and a resurrection. This must of necessity be so since the path of Initiation is similar for all. Hence every teacher is represented as experiencing these souls steps in his career. There is one exception: the legend of the Star is connected only with the birth of Jesus. This mysterious Star was the Archangel Christ hovering above and blessing the birth of Jesus and imbuing his holy body with His own celestial powers so that it might become a fit vehicle for His later use during the three-year ministry.
The events of Jesus' life were carefully planned and carried out, all having great significance. We repeat, that everyone is destined to experience these steps outlined in the life of our Lord, for every being is potentially a Christed one.
The Immaculate Conception and the Holy Birth will at some time become a living experience within the personal life of all, and Meditation upon these spiritual mysteries will help the aspirant to draw ever closer within the influence of that great Divine Love which embraces all things and whose power is at its height during the blessed Holy season.
Because Initiation is a cosmic process of enlightenment and liberation of power, the experiences involved are similar for all. One may note that Buddha, Krishna, the fire god Agni, Osiris, Zeus, Mithras, Dionysius, Hermes, and many others were reputed to be born of virgin mothers through an immaculate conception, the holy birth taking place at midnight in a cave, grotto, or stable.
Every messenger who has inaugurated a great world religion has been immaculately conceived and has come to birth with all the inner beauty and mystic meaning that such a conception signifies.
An ego thus born is a very "old soul," or one who has had many preparatory earth lives during which he has evolved that sublime compassion which enabled him to live the life of complete self-renunciation necessary to become a Teacher of his people. Such an ego is carefully watched over and tended by the divine Hierarchies who guard human evolution.