REVIEWS / READERS AND PUBLISHERS COMMENTS
First of all, do not be put off by the title of Bill Darlison’s book, The Gospel and the Zodiac: The Secret Truth About Jesus. This is not a quasi-theological treatise written by a newspaper astrologer. Neither is it another rehash of The DaVinci Code. On the contrary, this book is an erudite and highly readable contribution to esoteric thought that has been a largely unspoken but nevertheless significant tradition in all major religions since time immemorial.
Darlison begins with a critique of the historical approach to the Gospels, whereby rationalists have tried to shoe-horn the Gospels into a historical framework within which to understand the life of Jesus. This, he shows, adds little to either historical scholarship or to a spiritual understanding of the Gospels. He shows how the divisions between those who saw the Gospels as, essentially, a biography (which was to become Christian orthodoxy), and the Gnostic tradition, which understood them more as symbolic, spiritual allegories, developed early in the Church’s history. This latter tradition has remained an esoteric undercurrent, in its various manifestations, ever since.
After a brief explanation of the part that astrology and cosmology has played in many religions, Darlison presents the central thesis of the book: that St Mark’s Gospel should be understood as a mystical text in which the account of the ministry of Jesus becomes a vehicle leading the reader through the successive twelve signs of the zodiac, each one representing a different stage on the way to spiritual enlightenment.
This approach, provides an interpretation that both embraces the ineffable nature of Jesus’ ministry, and also explains some of the seeming anomalies in Mark’s Gospel, if read from a purely historic perspective.
The book goes on to examine the symbolism of each sign of the zodiac and how these relate to themes in the Gospel. Darlison even provides his own version of Mark’s Gospel, dividing it into twelve sections corresponding to the zodiac.
This fascinating book will be of interest to several audiences: to those interested in the history and development of the early Church; to Biblical scholars; to people interested in astrology; and to those interested in esotericism and mysticism in general.