The Star of the Magi

Courtney Roberts, M.A.


                                   The Topics Below can all be presented as a Sermon, Lecture or Seminar                                    and can be tailored to suit specific needs, interests or time constraints



Apocalypse, New Age, or Mayan Meltdown?

                Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?



 The irony is that people have been trying to predict the end of the world since the beginning of the world, and so far, they all have one thing in common: They've all been wrong!

In contemporary western culture, we have taken to recycling and remodeling the cosmologies of the ancient world to our own liking, resulting in a lot of current excitement about:

1) The impending return of Jesus Christ in a Christian/Muslim Apocalypse,   2) The dawning of the New Age of Aquarius, and 3) The apparent alignment of precession, the winter solstice and the galactic equator at the end of the Mayan Calendar in December 2012.                    

Obviously, these can't all be true, but they are all fascinating, and enormously influential in popular culture. 

It’s perfectly natural to want to see time and history as meaningful, and to try to organize the flow of the past, the present and the future into some far-reaching and grand design.  We stand on the receiving end of some truly remarkable ancient attempts to do exactly that; for instance, the Zoroastrian Apocalypse and the Christian Millenniums, the Hindu Yugas, and the Buddhist Kalpas.

There is something valuable to be learned from all of them - even if lesson one is not to take any of them too seriously!

We all seek meaning in time, and our destiny and fulfillment in history. We long to fathom the hidden, innermost secrets of the universe, but at the same time, we can’t help but impose our own desires and limitations upon it. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference, but that's why it's so important to try! 

So join us in this stimulating combination of lectures, graphics, discussions and small group work as we try to get a grip on the big picture. We'll examine the most influential cosmologies and chronologies of the ancient world, along with their contemporary interpretations, while coming to terms with our uniquely personal visions of the meaning of time and history in our own lives.    

Visions of the Virgin

      The Divine Feminine in Christianity        

 Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje, and more....                             

Millions of people of all faiths and nations flock to Marian Shrines around the world; a testament to the enduring human desire for transcendence and meaning, and devotion to the Divine Feminine. Visions of the "Luminous Lady in White" abound. 

For instance, the sightings at Zeitun, Egypt in 1968 were witnessed by hundreds of thousands of Jews, Muslims, and both Protestant and Orthodox Christians.  In fact, Egypt is a contemporary hotbed of sightings, for this can hardly be considered a uniquely Christian phenomenon. 

These apparitions are just as popular among Muslims, Hindus, and even Buddhists. .                                                                                                  Courtney adds fascinating dimension to the apparition stories by going beyond the orthodox interpretations to delicately unravel the tangled skein of pre-Christian goddesses woven into the cults of the Virgin Mary, exploring a tradition of goddess worship very much alive and well in contemporary Christianity.                                           

Her findings don't distract from the meaning these visions hold for the faithful, but expand upon their greater relevance across religious and cultural boundaries, bridging the gap which separates Catholics from other Christians, and Christians from those of other faiths, all the while reconnecting Marian Christianity to its broader roots.


Visions of the Virgin

(Llewellyn, 2004)

The first of its kind to explore the comparative religious dimension of modern Marian Apparitions 



Common Ground

       Rebuilding the Bridges
                  between Islam              
    and the Judeo-Christian West                                               
 It's easy to lose sight of the fact that the three great monotheisms actually have a lot more in common than not. While each tradition celebrates a separate origin in divine revelation, the historical and sociological contexts reveal a much more inclusive story, and a shared set of core beliefs, all stemming from the influence of the Persian religion of the prophet Zoroaster. 
But who was Zoroaster?  What did he teach? 

This program brings into focus the man and his message; an ethical religious system which the mighty Persian Empire spread throughout the ancient world. We’ll explore the specific historical contexts in which Persian Zoroastrian ideas interpenetrated Second Temple and Hellenistic Judaism, early Christianity, Imperial Islam and even the modern Baha’i movement.

In a world so often tragically divided by religious beliefs, the Persian perspective points to a worldwide religious heritage we can all share; an inclusive story that helps rebuild bridges between traditions which have too often lost touch with their essential messages. 

In discussing Zoroaster, we'll explore how the mighty Persian Empire spread his revolutionary new religious ideas throughout the ancient world; dualistic ideas about the ultimate battle between good and evil (God and the devil) at the end of the world, and about the coming messiahs who would speed the process along.

This as the ground from which Second Temple Judaism sprang, and these same Persian concepts continue to pulse throughout contemporary Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i religion, moving world events along with them.

The Star of the Magi


New Light on

the Star of


The Star of Bethlehem is still one of the most puzzling and popular mysteries of the Bible.

Finally an author with a solid background in the role of astrology in ancient religion takes on the Star, exploring critical questions like:

1)Who were the Magi?

2) How did their astrology inform their beliefs?

3) How, and why did their beliefs influence their Judean neighbors? 

Courtney Roberts highlights the surprisingly widespread influence of the Persian Zoroastrian religion and its astrology upon Judaism, and throughout the ancient world.


Courtney Roberts, M.A. 
(Cultural Astronomy, Bath Spa University, UK) 

A writer, teacher, and consultant whose work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture,’ combining cosmology, religious studies, and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos.

While developing my academic specialization in the role of astronomy/astrology in religion, particularly Persian Zoroastrianism and western monotheism, I also developed a passion for talking with western audiences about the Persian religion.  It’s an effective way to examine the traditional thinking that still keeps us at war with the Muslim world. 
       I also gained a deep appreciation for humanity’s long-held, religio-scientific beliefs about a meaningful universe, and our rightful place in it.  Cultural Astronomy/Astrology raises some very good questions about the nature of human consciousness, and its evolutionary relationship to our larger, cosmic environment. Regardless of whether we can actually answer those questions or not, they make a good starting point for any exploration of the meaning of time
and human history. 
        I've lived and worked all over the world, and lectured on my work throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, speaking for churches, social & business groups, academic venues, and audiences of every persuasion.


A Partial List of Previous Engagements

Hudson Valley Episcopalian Diocese - Monday Meetings                                                                                  University Unitarian Universalist Society, Orlando, FL                                                                                              St. Mark's Unitarian Church  Edinburgh, Scotland  
The Dublin Unitarian Church, Dublin, Eire                                                                                                             Unity of Bellaire  Richmond, VA                                                                                                                             Unity of Sebring, FL
UU Fellowship Briarcliff Croton Ossining, Inc., Croton-on-Hudson, NY
UU Congregation of Shelter Rock, Manhasset, NY
Spiritual Living Center - Church of Religious Science, Orlando                                                                           Spiritual Living Center – Church of Religious Science -  Mendocino, CA
Sophia Centre- Bath Spa University, UK                                                                                                           Graduate Conference On the Study of Religions University of Bristol, UK                                                         California College of Art (S.F.)  Graduate Seminar                                                                                             Institute of Noetic Sciences Chapter Lawrence, KS                                                                                                     IONS Chapter  Boulder, CO      IONS Chapter Salem, OR                                                                                     IONS Chapter  St. Joseph. MO      IONS Chapter  Orlando 
The Princes Street Unitarian Congregation  Cork, Ireland                                                                                         The Bath Unitarian Fellowship, Bath, UK
Hwa-gyesa International Zen Center  Seoul, South Korea                                                                                     A.R.E. Search for God Study Group Annandale, VA
A.R.E. Search for God Study Group Richmond, VA                                                                                        H.O.M.E. Center, New Thought Church  Salem, OR
Discovery House, Olympia, WA                                                                                                                         Centered Wellness Holistic Center  Chicago, IL                                                                                                          An Sanctoir-Ballydehob, West Cork, Ireland                                                                                                         Barnes & Nobles Kansas City & Tulsa, OK                                                                                                               The Phoenix & Dragon Atlanta, GA                                                                                                                          East West Books, NYC & Mountainview, CA   
The Moravian Bookshop, Bethlehem, PA                                                                                                              A.R.E. Search for God Study Group Olympia, WA
Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church Hayward, CA                                                                                            The UU Church of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem,  PA
National Council on Geocosmic Research Annual Education Conference                                                             NCGR New York Regional Conference                                                                                                                  Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Missoula, MT                                                                                               Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, CA                                                                                                         The London College of Spirituality, London, UK
The Theosophical Society, London


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The Star of the Magi

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Visions of the Virgin

Personal Consultations

Zoroastrian Texts

Available in English translations


A bridge in the Middle East between the people.



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Equal access to education for girls around the world.

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A Brief History of Astrology

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After the Apocalypse - What Didn't Happen in 2012


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