by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
Excerpted and adapted from
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
“Osiris’s coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris’s star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), significator of his birth.”
Barbara Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (749)
“So this was the harbinger of the annual inundation of the Nile through her appearance with the rising sun at the time when the inundation was due to begin. The bright star would therefore naturally become, together with the conjoined constellation of Orion, the sign and symbol of new vegetation which the Year then beginning would infallibly bring with it.”
Dr. John Gwyn Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and His Cult (157)
Much has been made of the gospel account of the “star in the east” followed by “wise men” from afar, claimed to have heralded the birth of the newborn savior of the world. Over the centuries, various supposedly scientific theories have been put forth concerning this purported phenomenon that turn out to be all for naught, because this theme reveals itself to be an old mythical motif. This fact is demonstrated using ancient primary sources and the opinions of qualified experts.
“In actuality, many ancient gods, kings and heroes were said to have been born under a ‘bright star’ or some other sort of celestial sign.”
In actuality, many ancient gods, kings and heroes were said to have been born under a “bright star” or some other sort of celestial sign, indicating their greatness and role as “savior” as well. Despite protests to the contrary, this heavenly theme is obviously astrological and astrotheological in nature, dating back centuries to millennia prior to the common era. Indeed, like so many other religious and mythological correspondences, the “bright star” and the “three kings” represent motifs that long predate Christianity and are found within Egyptian religion, symbolizing the star Siriusas well as those of the constellation called Orion, along with their relationship to the Egyptian deities Osiris, Isis and Horus.
In the gospel story, Jesus’s birth is signaled by a bright star and a visit from wise men or magi, as they are termed in the New Testament, representing Persian astrologers following the star. Despite the stellar brilliance and obviousness, this tracking was apparently not a simple act, since these “wise men” are depicted as nevertheless illogically becoming hopelessly lost and must ask Christ’s enemy King Herod for assistance. (Mt 2:1-10) Concerning this pericope, Dr. James Orr remarks, “It may…be inferred from Mt 2 10 that in some way or other the wise men had for a time lost sight of the star.”1 (Matthew 2:10 states: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”)
“Although in the gospels these magi are not numbered, their gifts are counted as three, and over the centuries tradition has set them at three as well.”
Herod points the wise men in the right direction, but he too evidently becomes so discombobulated that, instead of following his own instructions to find Jesus, he needs to slaughter all of the children in the village, a heinous act that can be found nowhere in the historical record and would be rather deplorable for the all-powerful God/Jesus to allow in order to save his own neck. In any event, although in the gospels these magi are not numbered, their gifts are counted as three, and over the centuries tradition has set them at three as well. Hence, the familiar tale is that Jesus’s birth was accompanied by a “star in the east” and “three wise men.” These three wise men were also said to be “kings,” as in the popular Christmas song, “We Three Kings.” At a certain point the three kings were given names, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and the mythmaking continued.
Coincidentally, there happen to be three very conspicuous stars in the “belt” of the constellation of Orion that are also called the “Three Kings.” Moreover, as French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943), herself a Christian, remarked, “The Christians named the three stars of Orion the Magi,” revealing esoteric knowledge of Christian astrotheology, regardless of when it was first adopted. In addition, one of the brightest stars in the sky is that of Sirius, which, along with Orion, was a favorite of the Egyptian priesthood for thousands of years, keen observers of the skies as they were, and well aware of astronomical phenomena. Not a few people have thus equated this bright star and these wise men in Christian tradition with these revered celestial bodies within Egyptian and other mythologies.
“Rather than representing a ‘historical’ event surrounding the birth of a Jewish messiah, the star at the coming of the savior can be found in the myths of Egypt.”
In reality, rather than representing a “historical” event surrounding the birth of a superhuman Jewish messiah and divine Son of God, the stellar appearance at the coming of the savior can be found in the myths of Egypt, particularly concerning Osiris, Isis and Horus.
A Sirius Star
The coming of Osiris – the savior of Egypt – was associated with the “Star in the East” because the Egyptians recognized that the rising of Sirius with the sun, or “heliacally,” occurred around the summer solstice, the time of the Nile flooding. L ife along the Nile was highly dependent upon the inundation associated with the heliacal rising of Sirius, a flood deified as Osiris, who was said to be “born” at that time.
Thus, this important association of Sirius – “Sothis” in the Greek and “Sepdet” or “Sopdet” in the Egyptian – with the life-giving Nile flood began some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Hence, the “Star in the East” heralded the birth of the Egyptian Messiah thousands of years before the Christian era. This annual birth of Osiris was also a resurrection, as the goddess Sopdet “woke him from the dead.”
Regarding the role of Sirius/Sothis in Egyptian mythology, in The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Dr. James P. Allen states:
“Sothis (spdt ‘Sharp’). The morning star, Sirius, seen by the Egyptians as a goddess. In Egypt the star disappears below the horizon once a year for a period of some seventy days; its reappearance in midsummer marked the beginning of the annual inundation and the Egyptian year. The star’s rising was also seen as a harbinger of the sunrise and therefore associated with Horus in his solar aspect, occasionally specified as Horus in Sothis (hrw jmj spdt), Sothic Horus (hrw spdtj), or Sharp Horus (hrw spd).”
Thus, sometime around the middle of April, Sirius could no longer be seen on the horizon, until its reemergence at the summer solstice, starting a new cycle. Sirius is identified with Isis: “Sirius, the herald of flooding of the Nile, was the star of the goddess Isis, consort to the great god Osiris, who was represented by the constellation of Orion.”
In addition, Pyramid Text 593:1636b/M 206 states: “Horus the pointed has come forth from thee, in his name of ‘Horus who was in Sothis.'” “Horus in Sothis,” therefore, refers to when the sun rises with Sirius. Thus, in ancient texts we find the birth of Horus the sun associated with the star in the east.
“In ancient texts, we find the birth of Horus the sun associated with the star in the east.”
Egyptologist Dr. J. Gwyn Griffiths concurs that “the inundation of the Nile was often connected by the Egyptians with the heliacal rising of the star Sothis (the Dog Star, Sirius), seen in the constellation of Orion.” To summarize, the three wise men serve as pointers for the star in the east, which in turn announces the savior of Egypt.
Orion and the Three Kings
As important as Sirius was to life in Egypt, associated with the renewal of the land around the Nile and thus memorialized in Egyptian religion and mythology, so too did the constellation of Orion figure prominently in Egyptian culture. In fact, it was observed that, as the rising of Sirius signaled the beginning of the summer solstice and its life-giving inundation of the Nile, the rising of Orion, with its three distinct stars acting as a pointer, signified the end of the flooding, towards the winter solstice: “The Nile flood…its coming and going heralded by the stars of Sirius and Orion, was without parallel.”
The ascent of Orion could not have failed to impress its observers: “The heliacal rising of Orion occurs before that of Sirius, so, star by star, Osiris was revealed by this most magnificent of constellations straddling the celestial equator.”…
Concerning the relationship between Orion, Sirius and the Egyptian deities, Egyptologist Dr. Bojana Mojsov states:
The constellation of Orion was linked with Osiris: “He has come as Orion. Osiris has come as Orion,” proclaim the Pyramid Texts. Sirius and Orion, Isis and Osiris, inseparable in heaven as on earth, heralded the inundation and the rebirth of life. Their appearance in the sky was a measure of time and a portent of great magnitude. In historic times, both occasions were always marked by celebrations.
As we can see, the annual emergence of both Sirius and Orion were closely noted and commemorated, meaning that these celestial events factored significantly in the minds of possibly millions of Egyptians for thousands of years. Moreover, the “rebirth of life” in Osiris – his resurrection on Earth – constitutes an annual event, in the Nile’s flooding.
Within the constellation of Orion, “the Hunter,” are three bright stars said to make up his “belt.” Concerning these stars, in The Geography of the Heavens renowned Christian astronomer Elijah Hinsdale Burritt remarks:
They are sometimes denominated the Three Kings, because they point out the Hyades and Pleiades on one side, and Sirius, or the Dog-star, on the other. In Job they are called the Bands of Orion…
The biblical Book of Job (38:32) also contains reference to the Mazzaroth, or “zodiac,” and demonstrates significant astronomical knowledge, an important fact in consideration of the contention that, centuries later, the Jewish priesthood rehashed the Egyptian astrotheology in its “midrashic” or fictitious account of Jesus Christ.
The three highly visible “king-stars” of the splendid constellation of Orion are named Mintaka, Aniltak and Anilam or Alnilam, the latter of which means “string of pearls,” while the former two signify “belt.” The statement in the Egyptian texts that Sothis “leads Orion” thus constitutes the motif of the bright star followed by these three “kings,” which have also been called the “three kings of the soothsayers,” a title that may indicate the antiquity of this royal appellation.
The bright star Sirius rose with the sun at the summer solstice, signaling the birth of Osiris as the Nile inundation and the birth of Horus as the daily solar orb. In winter, the Three Kings in the belt of Orion pointed to Sirius at night before the annual birth of the sun, which is also Horus.
“In winter, the Three Kings in the belt of Orion pointed to Sirius at night before the annual birth of the sun, which is also Horus.”
The appearance of the three stars in a line with Sirius occurred in the night sky over Egypt thousands of years ago, pointing to the horizon as the new sun was born at the winter solstice. Thus, it could be asserted that the three kings trailing the bright star announced the birth of the savior at the winter solstice in Egypt, ages prior to the same event purportedly taking place in Judea.
1 Orr, James, ed. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, V. Chicago: Howard Severance Co., 1915, p. 2848.
For more information, including citations and bibliography, see Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection.