Apocalypse 2017!

An investigation of the 'Doomsday' and 'Rapture' prophecies connected with the entrance of the Sun into the zodiacal sign of Libra in September 2017


Quick, finish digging your underground shelter and get down to the supermarket to stock up on canned goods, oven chips and microwaveable pizza. No, hang on a minute; scrub the chips and pizza as there won't be any electricity or gas supplies after the apocalypse strikes. What are we thinking of?! Forget the shelter too. If Armageddon is anything like as apocalyptic as the prophets of doom are telling us, you'll have had your chips anyway. Better just top yourself now and beat the rush for Rapture. Well, you wouldn't want to be left behind, would you? You would? You must be crazy, or perhaps the prophets of doom and imminent 'ascension' who have come up with this prophetic poppycock are? You decide.

Facts versus fantasy

We make no apology for this humorous introduction. The subject is so very silly laughter is the best way we know to treat it. Having said that, let us compare facts with fantasy. At the time of writing this article there were more than one million results returned by Google for the search phrase "23 September 2017." What are we to make of this? Is there any truth in the predictions that this date will usher in an apocalypse when the vengeance of 'god' will be poured out upon the earth? We don't know about you, but we think that humanity has been doing a pretty good job of 'pouring out vengeance' across the globe for the last 2,000 years without any Divine assistance! But let us ignore that inconvenient 'elephant in the room' and examine the predictions being made by the prophets of doom and destruction to see what truth, if any, there is in them. The basis of these predictions is that 23 September coincides with Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year.

Does it? Well, sort of. . .This year Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of 20 September and ends on the evening of 22nd, so by the 23rd the Jewish partygoers will mostly be tucked up in bed. Another ingredient in the prediction is that this coincides with the entry of the Sun into the zodiacal sign of Libra. Does it? Only just, as the Sun will enter Libra one day earlier at 8.02pm GMT on 22 September at London, England. In New York it will enter Libra 5 hours before that at 3am DST, whilst in sunny California it will do so at 0.02am local time, almost two days earlier. Only in Australia and New Zealand will the Sun enter Libra on 23 September at 5am local time. So as the Sun does not enter Libra in the USA or Europe on 23 September where does this prophetic date come from? Your guess is as good as ours! One possibility is that around noon on 23rd the position of the planets in the zodiacal signs can be interpreted to support the claims being made for this event, whereas on 22nd they can't. This suggests that those making these claims know about as much about astronomy, astrology, time zones or the Bible as a monkey knows about algebra. But these are not the only holes in this nonsensical prediction as we shall see.

What the prophets don't say is that the Jewish New Year also coincided with the Sun's entry into Libra in 2006. Moreover, it also coincided no less than eight times during the previous century, when, so far as we know, no 'apocalypses' occurred! Those who are capitalising on the coincidence of these two annual events this year, assert that this is a fulfilment of the events described in the book of Revelation in the Bible. But are they? There we may read that: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the Sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered" (Revelation 12:1-2). Are the prophets right? Let us look at a chart of the heavens calculated for the exact moment the Sun enters Libra at London, shown below.

23 september 2017

To help non-astrologers identify the zodiacal signs and planets we have listed their names beside the astrological symbols that represent them at the left of our chart. Do we see a 'woman clothed with the Sun'? No we do not. The Sun is just entering the sign of Libra at the bottom of the chart. Nor is the Moon at the 'feet' of Virgo (the 'woman'). If it were it would need to be in the opposite sign of Pisces at the top of the chart. But it's actually in Scorpio, the sign immediately following Libra in the Zodiac. In fact it's about 30 degrees to the right of the Sun, a position corresponding roughly to the shoulder of the 'woman'. That is, if there is an oddly-shaped spherical woman in the sky. Frankly, we doubt it. If there were, someone would surely have snapped her on their smartphone and uploaded it to YouTube.

Let us see if we have any more luck with the 'crown' of 'twelve stars' this non-existent 'woman' is supposed to be wearing. Sadly not, as there are 20 stars in the constellation of Virgo, not twelve. Even if we stretch a point and say that Virgo is surrounded by the other 11 signs of the Zodiac, which, counting itself, would make 12 starry 'mansions', the same can be said of any of the other 11 signs of the Zodiac. So that does not fulfil the prophecy either. But the prophets of poppycock have an answer to that. They tell us that the constellation of Leo which is at the bottom of our chart 'crowns' Virgo. Leaving aside the awkward question of how a crown can be said to be at the bottom of anything, the prophets claim that Leo contains 9 major stars, which, with the addition of the planets Mercury, Mars and Venus in Virgo makes 12. So it does, but as any astronomer will tell you these three planets transit Virgo every single year and have been together in that sign more than a dozen times in the last century. Oh dear, another bit of the prophecy bites the dust. Or does it? Let us be charitable and delve a little deeper into this prediction for the benefit of those readers who know little or nothing about astronomy, astrology or the Bible.

Dissecting the prophecy

Firstly, as we said earlier, there is nothing unusual about the Sun appearing in the constellation Virgo. As the earth orbits the Sun each year, the Sun appears to move through the 12 signs of the Zodiac, spending about a month in each one. The month that the Sun appears in Virgo is around the time of the autumnal equinox, from late August through to late September. Let us be even kinder to our prophets by supposing that as the Moon is in Scorpio the woman may be doubled-up in childbirth with her feet tucked under her shoulder. Though why she would want to adopt such an uncomfortable position we cannot imagine, but let that pass too. Is this an unusual position for the Moon to be in? No it isn't. The moon takes roughly 27 days to orbit the earth with respect to the stars. So for a day or two every month in every year, the Moon appears near the 'feet' of Virgo. We apologise for harping on about the feet of Virgo. Although we are reasonably competent astrologers and know our way around the map of the heavens, we have yet to see a woman in the sky in the constellation of Virgo, so you can hardly expect us to be able to locate what are supposed to be her feet! In short, the Sun appearing in Virgo with the moon at her feet (or shoulder), is in no way unusual or remarkable.

apocalypse 2017

John Martin — The Great Day of His Wrath — oil on canvas, 1851-3

The notion that this annual event might be a fulfilment of the prophecies in Revelation is not new. It was suggested at least fifteen years ago by some doomsday prophet or other whose name mercifully escapes us. Since then, interest in this fantasy has increased. Each year doomsters speculate that "this is the year," only to forget about it when nothing happens, before moving on to the next year's occurrence. So why has this year's event attracted so much more attention? One possibility is the addition of Jupiter to the mix. Some people claim that this year Jupiter will be near what is supposed to be the womb of Virgo, and assert it represents the child that the woman is about to give birth to. If we look at our chart again, we see that Jupiter is in Libra not Virgo. So if it is in the woman's 'womb' it is as anatomically misplaced as the poor lady's feet!

Now Jupiter takes nearly 12 years to orbit the Sun, spending about a year in each sign of the Zodiac. This means that Jupiter appears in the part of Libra the prophets tell us corresponds to the woman's 'womb', together with the Sun in Virgo and the Moon at her 'feet' for a couple of days roughly every 12 years. The last time this happened was in 2005, so why was that event not trumpeted to the skies for its prophetic significance? Probably because YouTube only launched in February of that year, whereas Twitter did not appear until a year later. Of course, there was always Facebook, which had been running for two years, but it was only accessible to a few American High school students. Fast forward twelve years to 2017 and it's clear why it's now so much easier for anyone with Internet access to promote and propagate whatever lunatic prediction floats their boat.

Another factor in the melting pot of the 2017 prophecy is the addition of the naked-eye planets—Mercury, Venus and Mars—into the mix. As we mentioned earlier, those promoting this apocalyptic event claim that the constellation Leo has nine stars, so the addition of these three "wandering stars" brings the total number of stars in Leo to 12, forming the supposed 'crown' of the very oddly-shaped woman we have been discussing. Unfortunately, Leo has more than nine stars. So where did this particular fantasy spring from? The most likely candidate is the popular Stellarium virtual planetarium software. Which goes to show that budding prophets of doom shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer, but let that pass too. If we fire up Stellarium, or any other similar astronomical software programme, we find that the lines connecting the stars of Leo to form an outline of a lion include nine stars. Bingo! Prophecy confirmed! Not so fast, for Stellarium also shows other stars in Leo that are not connected by any lines. What is worse, different depictions of Leo connect different numbers of stars. To cite just one example, Collins Field Guide to the Stars and Planets connects 13 stars with lines. Other astronomical text-books connect 10 stars, or even 14!

As the claim that Leo has nine stars is false, the assertion that the addition of three planets brings the total number of stars to 12 must be false too. Although the appearance of these additional three planets in Leo at the same time that Jupiter is in Libra isn't all that common, it is has occurred many times during the past 6,000 years without precipitating an apocalypse, so that claim falls to the ground too. And why should Jupiter represent a child? Almost every schoolboy knows that Jupiter was regarded as the Father of the Gods by the ancient Greeks and Romans. A dad cannot be his own son. Nor was Jupiter ever associated with the Messiah or his birth, for that role was fulfilled in every religion as well as in the teachings of occult science by the Sun and sometimes Mercury.

Now you see it now you don't

Having shown the loopholes in this loopy prophecy, let us look at the even bigger problems with it. Although the three planets in Leo will be visible in the early morning on 23 September 2017, all will be low in the south-eastern sky. Venus is very bright, so it will be relatively easy to spot. However, Mars and Mercury will not, because they will be much fainter, and they won't rise until morning twilight by which time the Sun's light will largely obscure them. The thin crescent Moon will be visible in the evening sky, low in the south-west. Jupiter may be visible lower in the south-west, though it will be difficult to locate, since it will set before twilight ends. In other words little of this supposed "sign" will actually be visible to the naked eye, and those parts that will be visible won't be visible at the same time. Unless, of course, you view it on your smartphone in a software programme, which is not what we imagine the good Lord had in mind when, as the Bible tells us, he set the stars in the firmament for all to see.

What of the event itself? Many of the armchair pundits promoting this nonsensical notion claim it heralds the so-called 'Second Coming'. As John Temple makes clear in his afterword to the eighth of his articles on the Search for Truth, this doctrine has been distorted and misinterpreted by the Church to bolster its own dogmas, so we may discount this claim too. Moreover, if one is going to quote the Bible in support of one's claims, one should at least be mindful of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Clearly, the more enthusiastic of these doomsters believe they are on speaking terms with the Almighty! We commend the rest of Matthew chapter 24 to them, especially verse 24: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

One planet that those promoting this event fail to mention in all their pronouncements is Neptune. If you glance back at our chart you will find it at the top in Pisces, which lies directly opposite the sign of Virgo in the Zodiac. Not only is it opposite Virgo, it is in what astrologers call an 'opposition' aspect to all three planets (Mercury, Mars and Venus) in it, except the Sun. This is generally considered a very bad aspect in astrology, indicative of conflict and strife. Now, among its many astrological attributes Neptune is the great deceiver. It is the planet of fantasy, hallucinations and delusions. If an astrologer looked at this chart he might say that as Neptune 'crowns' the whole map of the heavens on the very day and time when the Sun enters Libra, the only 'ascension' it signifies is that of the mind (Mercury) into lazy (Venus) and thoughtless (Mars) imbecility (Neptune)! Which, given all that we have said so far, seems rather apt, don't you think?

Rinse and spin

These sorts of prophecies and claims have been made many times before, as you can read in our afterword where we list several of them. But no matter how often they are rinsed and repeated, soaped anew and spun in different directions, the stains in them simply won't wash out. The four lunar eclipses during 2014-2015 caused many people to anticipate a 'Second Coming' which never came. What WE predict, based on that increasingly rare commodity called 'commonsense', is that nothing at all will happen on 23 September 2017 when the planets line up in Virgo. Such alignments are very common. On 5 May 2000, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn formed a close alignment together with the Sun and Moon in the zodiacal sign of Taurus. All seven bodies lay within an arc of 26 degrees, much closer than the alignment that will occur on 23 September this year, when Jupiter is more than 40 degrees away from the group of planets in Virgo. So what happened on that day? Angelina Jolie married Billy Bob Thornton. Only the two movie stars involved can say whether that constituted an 'apocalyptic event' or not!

An even more significant alignment occurred on 4 February 1962, when the same planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn—were in a group in Aquarius together with the Sun and Moon. What is more this alignment coincided with a total solar eclipse. What happened then? Again, nothing remotely apocalyptic, although the United States did test a nuclear bomb in the Pacific Ocean, which must have wiped out millions of innocent marine creatures. But as the USA had been conducting such tests since 1945 and would continue to poison the planet with them until 1992, by which time over 1000 bombs had been exploded, this planetary alignment cannot be said to have been responsible for the collective lunacy of the American military!

Revelation is a notoriously enigmatic book from which almost any "prediction" can be drawn. Many theologians don't think it was meant to predict the future, and others think it was meant as a warning of events that had already taken place. Occult science teaches that both views are largely correct. Revelation, like the Book of Enoch, which it closely parallels, was a sealed volume; that is a book not intended for the laity, but for the 'Elect' Jesus mentions in the verses we quoted from Matthew earlier. We have neither the time nor the dispensation to 'unseal' Revelation for you, except to say that it is far and away the most allegorical and occult of all the books admitted into the biblical canon and therefore the least understood and most misconstrued.

Predicting the future

None of this is to say that it is impossible to predict future events, good, bad or indifferent. Many have done so from Biblical times right up to the present day. This is in stark contrast to the predictions made by the most famous of all prophets—the 16th century French doctor and astrologer Nostradamus. He discovered that there is more kudos and cash in dispensing psychic advice than pills, and soon made his fortune pandering to the hunger for peering into the future among the rich and titled of his times. He still enjoys a wide following today among mystery-mongers and thrill-seekers of all kinds, who love nothing better than analysing his enigmatical quatrains, of which the following is an oft quoted example:

"The year 1999 seven month,
From the sky will come a great King of terror:
To bring back to life the great King of Angolmois, (the Mongols),
Before after Mars to reign by good luck."

July 1999 passed without incident, except that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published on the eighth of that month. Make of that what you will. Personally, we are highly sceptical of all Nostradamus' predictions, which he cloaked in such circumlocutious and arcane jargon that they can be made to fit almost any event; a trick today's prophets have yet to learn!

Those who prophesy truly are as rare as those who can recognise the One Light of Truth amongst the deceitful colours of fantasy. Moreover, they generally keep their predictions to themselves, whereas the false prophets broadcast their nonsensical notions far and wide, hoping in this way to gain the fleeting bubble of fame and possibly a bit of extra cash too. There is a strange occult law that seems to operate in connection with prophecy. As soon as any individual with genuine predictive powers prophesises for personal gain, their abilities diminish. This leads many false prophets to go to ever greater lengths to maintain their failing powers, until in the end they lose them altogether and with it often their mental and physical health too. You can read more about the true occult laws that govern prophecy in the afterword to part ten of Astral Conversations.


We make no apology for having treated the 23 September 2017 prophecies with less than our customary seriousness. As we said in our introduction, they deserve nothing else but laughter. The alternative would be to cry over the folly of those who make and believe in such predictions and despair at the mendacity of those who profit from them. Any psychologists among our readers may have their own theories about the dogged persistence of such fantasies and the gullibility of those who swallow them. Frankly we can't be bothered to analyse the reasons for such breathtaking credulity and stubborn stupidity, except to point out that "there's nowt so queer as folk," as the say in Yorkshire!


© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. All rights reserved. Published 17 July 2017.

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