Meet the Gods… in Heaven(s)

We find it rather quaint that the ancients considered the planets to be imbued with powers, calling them gods. But why should they do this? The planets go round and round the Sun, trapped by the physics of celestial mechanics we are taught in school. How could they give the notion of independent action to the ancients?

Unless… unless, the planets did not always move as we currently see them. Modern science tells us (and they are so very accustomed to making such pronouncements) that the planets have been in their current orbits for billions of years. They do this through the theory of uniformity – sort of a Darwinism on the cosmic scale. Everything has to change slowly or there would be no pretty mechanisms for us to study. If the planets could move pell-mell anywhere they wanted… well, we would probably think of them as gods, moving through free will and independent motion.

It is odd that most ancient cultures ascribe warlike attributes to Mars by whatever name they use, and beauty and grace to Venus, grandeur to Jupiter (many ancients even mention the red spot), and solemnity to Saturn (even mentioning the rings). So how could the ancients have such intimate knowledge of the gods up in the heavens (even the Christian God is up there, though without a planetary association) unless they had actually witnessed them exhibiting such behaviors?

An interesting side note: in the Hopi prophecies about the approaching end, they say the planets will leave their courses.

Not a very pleasant idea, huh?

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