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Signs or Stars

That which is below is as that which is above, and that which is above is as that which is below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing. —Attributed to Hermes Trismegistus   Astronomy and astrology both define the zodiac as a belt in the heavens about eight degrees either side of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun. This space also includes the motions of the Moon and principal planets against a backdrop of stars and deep space objects. Astrologers divide this…

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Vesta: A “Planetoid”?

“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.” —Vincent Van Gogh The Titius-Bode “law” is a rough rule that predicts the spacing of the planets in the Solar System. The relationship was first noted by Johann Titius in 1766 and was formulated as a mathematical expression by J.E. Bode in 1778. This led Bode to predict the existence of…

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Blue Moon

“Everyone is a moon with a dark side never shown to anyone else.” —Mark Twain July of 2015 has a second Full Moon in the same calendar month, which according to the modern definition is a “Blue Moon.” Tracing the origin of the expression is an enlightening object lesson in the mechanism of folklore and idiom. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first reference to a Blue Moon appeared in the year 1528 in a poem titled Rede Me and Be Not Wroth: “If…

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Jupiter in Virgo: August 2015–September 2016

“To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe     Virgo is the only female among the zodiacal constellations, and other than the twins, Castor and Pollux (Gemini), and the Water Bearer, the only human figure. Virgo is depicted as a maiden, holding a palm branch in her right hand and a single ear of wheat in her…

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Planetary Harmonics

“Venus draws a pentagram around the Earth every eight years. The Moon squares the circle. Everything in the heavens moves around everything else, dancing to the Music of the Spheres.”  —John Martineau, A Little Book of Coincidence   Musica Universalis, or the “Music of the Spheres,” is an ancient philosophical concept that sees the proportions of the movements of celestial bodies—Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica, the Medieval Latin name for music. This music is not audible but is understood as a mathematical…

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Trek to the Planet Vulcan

CAPTIONS: The late Leonard Nimoy as the Vulcan hero of Star Trek Hephaestus at his Forge by Guillaume Coustou the Younger (Louvre) A ring of (invisible) dark matter, represented here in blue, is inferred in the image of galaxy cluster (CL0024+17) in this Hubble photo.   For a time, Vulcan was a small planet, or large asteroid, proposed to exist between Mercury and the Sun. Its astrological significance is still part of esoteric astrology, having a deep and hidden relationship to the sign of Taurus,…

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Say Hello to Planet 9

CAPTIONS: A predicted consequence of Planet 9 is that a second set of confined objects should also exist. These objects are forced into positions at right angles to Planet 9 and into orbits perpendicular to the plane of the solar system. Five known objects (blue) fit this prediction precisely. (NASA) Caltech professor Mike Brown and assistant professor Konstanin Batygin. (Photo: Lance Hayashida/Caltech)   On January 20, 2016, Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown, at the California Institute of Technology, announced calculation-based evidence of a massive ninth…

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The Nabataean Zodiac

At its height around 100 BCE the Nabataean empire included parts of Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The heart of the kingdom was Petra, “rock” in Greek, that was known as Naqmu to the Nabataen culture. It was a fabulous city carved into living rock that poet John William Burgon described as “a rose-red city half as old as time.” Petra was established as early as 312 BCE but was unknown to the modern world until its discovery by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig…

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Hamlet’s Mill & the Wheel of Heaven

For millennia, people have found meaning by watching the night sky as it changed over time, looking for repeating patterns and searching for changes that could portend danger. Sparkling points of light in the dark sky could be tracked and named. For example, the stars of Ursa Major became a dipper, a plough, a wagon, or the hind leg of an ox to different cultures. The sky “moves” every day because of Earth’s rotation on its axis. The sky also changes each month as Earth…

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Earth and the Scheme of Things

“When we contemplate the whole globe, flying through space with other stars singing and shining, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”             —John Muir   On February 22, 2017, NASA made a stunning announcement. The Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first-known system of seven Earth-sized exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) in orbit around a single star. This system is in the constellation of Aquarius and is about 40 light-years from Earth—relatively close in stellar terms. NASA believes three of…

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