Centaurus' ancient name , Beze (Hebrew) and Al Beze (Arabic), means despised. To despise means to look at something or someone with scorn and contempt, even extreme hostility. That is how the prophet Isaiah described the coming Messiah: "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering . . . "—Isaiah 53:3. It was true as Jesus hung on the cross; it is true today.
Pagan stories connected to Centaurus describe a guilt-bearer who is struck down, willingly sacrificing his immortality to save another from death. The stories resemble the facts of Messiah's first coming. Being despised and rejected is probably harder to bear than physical suffering, yet Messiah looked at the joy which lay beyond his suffering. As believers all over the world are enduring rejection, physical abuse and even martyrdom, they are walking the path that their Savior took. They will share in his future glory.
If you are not aware of the plight of Christians in other countries, please check out Open Doors or Voice of the Martyrs.
The figure of the constellation Boötes carries a sickle in his left hand. (A sickle is an tool with a short handle and curved blade for cutting grain or grass.) The figure represents the reaper of the harvest, the one who will judge between the grain that is brought in and the chaff, or waste, that will be burned. Boötes is from a root meaning to come, and carries the idea that a judgement day is coming.
The following poem is in the old style called alliterated measure. Many of the terms are no longer familiar. Looking them up will be a good language lesson for the day.
Boötes the Ploughman
The ploughman prepares a plot to sow,
Smoothly strews the seed to grow
Waters and waits, watching his field
As his grain greens and gains in height.
Ranging rank and ragged are tares
Allowed to linger, later to burn.
Then scythe and sickle he sets to the task
And forth from the field he faithfully brings
The stalks to stack and store, then thresh.
Goodly grain he garners at last,
But chaff, cherished not, he chooses to burn:
Boötes the omen of oncoming harvest.
"His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn," Matthew 3:12.
Virgo, the virgin, represents God's promise to our first parents that a virgin would bear a Seed—a God-man who would crush the serpent's head. Thus Virgo symbolizes affliction due to believing the serpent, as well as hope through the promised Seed.
This month Virgo is visible all night long. Mars, the red planet, is now in Virgo and very bright. Together, they are easy to find in the southern sky.
Mars is thought to represent the god of war, and so Virgo and Mars together remind us of the great war against God. In this war, mankind devises all kinds of philosophies and religions in order to shut out the one true God revealed in the Bible. This war is the reason the world continues on its downward path of conflict, disease, political corruption, poverty, and broken relationships. Only through the promised Seed, Jesus Christ, can we obtain peace, healing, and blessing. His sacrifice and resurrection destroyed the power of the serpent over those who place their faith in him. He gives them power to overcome death and to live a clean life.