Leonardo da vinci last supper astrology

An article exploring some astrological considerations

Thomas is Mercurial, but Gemini, not Virgo.


Christ is the ultimate Piscean symbol. John reflects Christ in his demeanor and literally even his clothing. The mirror image of Christ in the painting, John, embodies the Pisces sign. Peter is intensely rash and hot — Mars like — and he even has a stinger, his dagger! He represents the Scorpio sign. Judas, the traitor, represents the Cancer sign.

He is holding a bag of silver! Judas is the shadowy figure in the painting who does not reflect light. The clandestine traitor, Judas, forms a pair with Christ in the painting. The Christ figure is the bright Sun 2 , and Judas is the dark Moon. The two have a direct, sinister connection, which gives additional symbolic evidence of Judas as the apostle symbolic of Cancer.

Thus the watery signs are represented as mutable, fixed, and cardinal, from closest to the Christ figure to the farthest, in the first group. The mutable-fixed-cardinal pattern continues to the right of Christ. Philip, stretching towards Christ while gesturing with both hands towards himself, seems rather Venusian — long hair, no beard, almost reminiscent of paintings with Venus literally in them.

His actions also suggest balancing, characteristic of the Libra sign.

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Thaddeus Jude literally has a flame fire as his symbol and he appears as oldest of the fire trio. The earth signs are intriguing for different reasons. As he appears, imagining that his Virgo sensibilities have been shaken up is not difficult. Bartholomew, on the outer left of the painting, seems a bit dour and definitely concerned. He is the Capricorn sign. The earthy trio appears somewhat muted and stable, compared to the other trios of apostles note the active, spread out fiery trio, and the uneven heads of the trios closest to Christ.

The earthy trio is quite level and looks consistent among the three.

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With all of the talk about the apostles symbolizing the signs, what does the Christ figure symbolize? He is the Sun. He is also the ultimate symbol of the Age of Pisces. Using this as a basis of reference, it can be argued that all of the apostles symbolize the Age of Pisces, with each apostle symbolizing a different dwadasama within the Pisces sign. Judas as the dark Moon, contrasted with Christ as the bright Sun, has already been mentioned. The apostles symbolized by Mars face each other from a distance and even look alike.

The same is true for the apostles symbolized by Mercury, using outstretched hands and fingers, and facing one another. The Jupiterian apostles look away from each other, and the Venus and Saturn apostles face each other.

Starting from the right: Simon is the Aries, dynamic and forward with his arms, followed by Thaddaeus, Taurus, with a strong neck, protecting himself and perhaps his belongings with his arms. Matthew, the Gemini, is open for everything, in contact with everyone, turning his head to one side, his arms to another.


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Philipp, Cancer, is vulnerable, sensitive, with a lot of female energy. Jacob, Leo, is self-reliant, taking his place as a king with his arms spread wide, etc. Certain popes had their own astrologers, whom they consulted regularly to identify the best time for important decisions.

After his election in , Julius II even asked his astrologers to set the best date for his inauguration. Like him, many theologians were convinced that God shows his will through the stars.

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So why have some of the greatest artists hidden their astrological meanings if astrology was accepted and unquestioned? It seems they wanted only the initiated to understand the deeper meaning. There was a significant gap between the astrology presented to ordinary people and what the initiated understood. The mostly illiterate commoners followed the stars and the moon mainly for agricultural purposes.

Leonardo also used mirror writing so that only few could follow it. These artists wanted to address people whom they regarded as equals in their ambition to discover the meaning of life. So, too, for many unknown master builders who used astrological and esoteric symbols in the great cathedrals. There are, however, also examples of unveiled zodiac and planetary symbols throughout western art, not the least in the cathedrals, where signs of the zodiac are found in the tympanum , the decoration above the portal that leads into the cathedral.

This entryway is the border between the sinful world and the sacral, divine area of God. Entering the area of the divine was a kind of initiation rite which was performed in full awareness of the passage from profane to sacred. Of course, Christ is the most frequent figure in the tympanum, but the zodiac often placed around him demonstrates that the ruler of the universe makes use of the stars as his tools.

Baptisteries too were often decorated with the zodiac, mostly as a mosaic in the floor. Baptism was the entrance into the church of Christ, the cosmic order.

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And the zodiac was a symbol of that order. With the end of the Middle Ages, art was no longer limited to depictions of the sacred. The flourishing towns of early modernity gave artists new locations on which to place their art. Many, especially in Northern Italy during the booming Renaissance , decorated public buildings with astrological symbols to express the connection with this important spiritual and knowledge tradition.

The age of enlightenment and the industrial revolution saw a decline in the influence of astrology.

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The cathedrals of the new era were factory buildings, railway stations, mansions for the new capitalists, and housing blocks for the growing urban population. The new ruling classes were not very interested in metaphysical symbolism. Yet astrology never completely disappeared. Art Nouveau, historism, symbolism , and abstract art picked up its symbols again.

But the real comeback of astrology came in the twentieth century with all its catastrophes. Artists like Picasso, Hundertwasser, and Dali both reflected this disorientation and tried to give people cosmological orientation. They did so in part by using astrology.

The connection between art and astrology is really quite natural: Art expresses current and timeless ideas in a visual form. Astrology gives a broader understanding of these ideas, expressing the idea that we are not isolated but connected to tradition. It helps people searching for orientation. Both art and astrology share the desire for cosmic harmony and aesthetics. In this, astrology is not far from religious systems as it offers a framework of meaning beyond physical reality.

Scientists, artists, astronomers, and astrologers for centuries have been convinced that there is something like a cosmic harmony. The great Johannes Kepler and many others aspired to discover it.

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