Posts Tagged ‘Jupiter’

Planetary Show

March 31, 2012

The skies have been an interesting place in recent evenings. Just after the Sun set in the west, Venus became visible some distance up in the sky and, a short time later, Mercury could be seen closer to the horizon.

Then Jupiter could be seen near to Venus. Venus grew closer and eventually passed Jupiter in the sky heading for its turn around as it heads back toward the Sun for a conjunction later this year. And during this period, the Moon passed all those pageant.

Before Mercury set in the west, Mars was seen as a shining pink spot further to the east. And further still was Saturn but it did not rise until after Mercury had set.

So, all Seven of the ancient lights in the sky that early observers wrote about could be seen in the course of a single hour.

Throughout most of recorded history, the lights we see now and their motions – so ponderous and predictable – have been a comfort as well as a bit of a mystery to Man. In today’s world, we know more about those lights than our ancestor’s did; answered many of the questions they must have posed before our time.

With all the majestic motion entailed from ancient times until now, it is hard to imagine those orbs doing anything but continue in their graceful paths.

Was it always so? Many ancients hinted at something strange and frightening being seen above us in the darkness. The very fact that they grew concerned about tracking the movements causes one to wonder if perhaps something catastrophic had occurred in those early times, as writers like Velikovsky have told.

Or was their record-keeping nothing more than idle curiosity over the movement of the planets? It seems a rather strange thing for early man to be struggling to survive and yet have time to record in detail those movements. And the practice was so worldwide – and under government sponsorship – that one wonders exactly what their reasons could have been.

No, governments do not usually put a lot of manpower into idle curiosities.

But, then, we may never know for certain why they did it.

And yet we can still feel the same wonder.

the Week

January 4, 2012

I have heard a lot of different theories about the week and the way it was arranged.

The Romans used a time interval longer than seven days in their earlier period but gradually adjusted it down to seven. From what I can tell, the Hebrews had seven days since their earliest writings.

But today we have seven days named Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There are also interesting theories about how they came up with those names.

Sun-day and Moon-day are fairly obvious but the next few seem to come to us from the old Norse gods: Tewes-day, Woden’s-day, Thor’s-day, and Freya-day. The last day was named for Saturn.

Apparently some monk in the past realized the planets arranged in their distance from the Earth were Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn.

The “distance-from” criteria is wrong as we now know but I can not figure out how someone thought the Sun was closer than the Moon since the latter eclipses the former, and not vice-versa.

Also, I question the rational of equating Woden, king of the gods, with Mercury. Actually, this bit of connection was done by the early Roman writers and their correlation seems to have stuck, regardless of the rationale or complete lack of it.

But Woden was Mercury? Wasn’t he the god that plucked out his eye for wisdom? And the only planet I know with a large red spot is Jupiter.

And they thought Thor was Jupiter? Yeah, I can see that the god with the bright red hair and red beard, and very warlike, should not be equated with the red planet.

Obviously, someone is not putting things together correctly to my mind. But, maybe I’m wrong.

Still, if you follow the Sun and planets in order of brightness: Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn. And there, amazingly, you also have the arrangement of the days of the week.

At least, to my mind, it really seems to be that simple.

Also, it is interesting that the Spanish still call Saturday, “Sabado”, the Sabbath. We celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, even though it used to be on Saturday as well. So why did its worship on Saturday end? Well, let’s not get into that discussion at the present as it would open a whole big can of worms.

Playing With the Numbers

April 7, 2010

Where did the Maya come up with their numbers? They had an obsession with the Pleiades (as did most cultures around the world) but they did NOT adopt the number 7 as part of their system like the east did – 7 is the days of the week.

They count by twenty over and over and then throw in a monkey wrench with a thirteen here or an eighteen there. Why?

Many writers tell us that they use twenty because it is the number of fingers and toes we have. And the thirteen because of the major joints of the body… you know, the ones that demons can invade in, not the small ones like the toes or finger joints.

That seems a bit of a stretch to me – a contrived reason at best – why not use all the joints or at least come up with something that is actually thirteen? And some say it is the number of heavens they had… but wouldn’t the number of heavens have come from their mythology and hence from their calendar? Perhaps that does not sound like good reasoning but I have heard many lame excuses similar as to why we have seven days in a week.

Astrology shows a variety of mirrors in differing scales. Jupiter travels through the twelve signs in twelve years. Hmm, interesting. That one be a sign a year, no? And wouldn’t that mean that every year would sort of have a different meaning? Just like the katun readings by the Maya?

Also, Saturn travels around the Zodiac in about 29 years. This parallels the movement of the moon around the Zodiac. So the Moon in a progressed horoscope mirrors the movements of Saturn.

The parallels are abundant. The celestial movements tell a story that the Maya were able to watch long enough and codify.

It had nothing to do with counting on their fingers.

A Little Off-topic, perhaps

March 19, 2010

With the talk of Velikosky and the catastrophic view of cosmic history for planet Earth, I thought I would throw in my two cents worth. It seems almost everyone has a theory about how we got here, and I am no different.

The usual scientific theories involve the planets coalescing from remnant Solar material or something along that line which would imply all the planets came into being pretty much around the same time, give or take a million years or so.

Velikovsky’s notion was that the planets were created in different fashions and at differing times, some even within the cultural history of mankind. That runs completely contrary to the standard scientific model. Others suppose Venus to be a late-comer on the scene, like Velikovsky, but still millions of years old, unlike the catastrophic view.

Years ago I heard a theory, after scientists detected radio noise coming from Jupiter, that Jupiter was a nascent solar object, either an unborn star or one gearing up for such. My thought was quite the reverse of their theory: Jupiter had already been through the solar stage.

Several ancient civilizations have stories about ancient gods coming in pairs like the Hero Twins of Mayan myth, sons of one of an older set of twins. It struck me that Uranus and Neptune are similar as are the pair, Jupiter and Saturn.

So, I wondered, what if the Uranus-Neptune pair was a Sun that pulled apart and shed molten material, smelted from the furnace of its interior, to form planets. Perhaps a similar fate awaited the next stellar object: Jupiter-Saturn. Maybe this system had been a binary star system until the demise of Jupiter-Saturn, or a trinary system earlier.

Either way, the planets were formed of the molten substance formed in the center of the stellar object and when it got too large and unbalanced was thrown out of the gaseous sphere.

Similar to this is the molten center of our planet, still smelting the elements at its core. Every so often, slag rises to the surface of the mix and hits the underside of one of the plates forming the crust. This could cause an earthquake, or perhaps it is the cumulative effect of repeated impacts that cause the imbalance and the earthquakes.

And it is the rotating smelter of the core that actually creates gravity by its motion, making a vortex.

So, there’s another wild theory in a nutshell – or a nut-case.

a Thought on the Earliest Long Count Record

March 15, 2010

Some historians hypothesize that the Long Count was completely finalized in the first century BC as that is the occurrence of the oldest known Long Count inscription (36 BC at Chiapa de Corzo). It could be that earlier inscriptions have simply not made it to our time (being on destructible materials) or that earlier stone representations have just not yet been found.

Either way, the 36 BC occurrence remains the oldest about which we know. So, why did the Maya date the beginning of their calendar so much further back, like 3100 years further back?

And did they keep record of the days and years since that time in the prototype of the Long Count or some other system until it was finalized? Or was it truly as John Major Jenkins hypothesized that they simply back-dated the calendar to a random starting point in the past?

It is difficult to do more than speculate on this question. One thing that would help is knowing why they started it on the date in question. What happened then that should have been monumental enough to give birth to a new calendar?

There are many theories about this issue. The usual definition given from the Mayan documents was that it was the “birth” of the planet Venus. Most historians today brush that aside, saying it was only the appearance of Venus as the morning star before the Sun rose. I cannot see that would be such a momentous thing since it happens quite often. And I have not seen anyone offer any proof that this was the case.

Immanuel Velikovsky theorized that Venus was born out of the planet Jupiter (see his Worlds in Collision for the particulars. Practically all the scientific community, however, stick to their belief that Venus is about the same age as Earth so there should have been no life to witness it’s “birth” from Jupiter or elsewhere.

But, if Velikovsky was correct in his timeline of the birth of Venus and the subsequent encounters of our planet with others, the last encounter would have been around 685BC. This might have allowed the orbits to stabilize and the Maya could have made any adjustments required to complete the various cycles in their calendars. They could then have finalized the Long Count. This may have taken a few centuries to completely nail it down.

Hence the earliest records of the first century BC. There may be even older ones, but if this timetable is correct, they may not be too much older.

But, time may prove me wrong.

Heavenly Obsession

January 20, 2010

The ancients were obsessed with the heavens. Their gods were up in the heavens above – many were planets, for some strange reason – and they kept a keen eye on their movements and the portents above. As the planets are not visible during the day, this had to have been a nocturnal activity. They must have been insomniacs and there must have been some important reason for their sky-watching rather than some idle whim. The basic struggle to survive lent little time for such “academic” pursuits on anything but a modest scale. There must have been some worldwide pressing need to keep such a vigilant watch.

Again, historians aid our understanding by pronouncing it superstitious fear. They tell us Stonehenge was built for this reason: they feared the Sun was disappearing, going away southward, and needed some reassurance it was returning.

(I don’t know where anyone got this notion. Surely the ancients, more in tune with their environment than most modern mankind, would have noticed that the Sun came back every year. And without the intercession of a priest. How could anyone convince them otherwise? Perhaps if they had just crawled out of some hole and never witnessed the seasons… No, probably not.)

Obsessed, though, they were. They could see the planets moving independently of the background star-field and were able to plot their courses, predict their future positions, as if they had nothing better to do. Why go to the bother if there is no pressing reason?

Fear is a good motivation. Not some hypothetical superstitious fear but something tangible. For us, Friday the 13th is a symbol of bad luck; for the Templars it was a deadly reality. Many today still fear the 13th but it lacks the punch.

We find it remarkable that the ancients understood precession – use it, in fact, as a standard for intelligence – but how important is it, really? How does it impact our daily lives? Most people would be hard pressed to define what it is and even fewer could say if it had any bearing on anything.

Precession is the by-product of the slow wobble in our planetary axis. Astronomers think the entire process takes a little longer than 26,000 years to complete the circuit. As this wobble progresses, the equinoxes (spring and autumn) appear to move backward through the signs of the zodiac. Hence the term: precession of the equinoxes.

Many think this slow progress through the zodiacal houses is the mechanism the ancients defined the “world ages” of the past. But for the variation in the equinox there is nothing that actually affects the world and the people on it. Why would the changing of the positions of the equinoxes be any matter of importance to the ancients unless there was a momentous event attached to the change? Easter and Thanksgiving fall on different dates each year and yet very few people could describe the mechanism for the change. It is merely a calendrical appointment and nothing to require the changing of an age.

Precession is, in essence, nothing of any great importance to our day-to-day world. From its study over the centuries, observers have come to understand that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Precession shows us the motions of the solar system on a grand scale. Any effect on us is miniscule. It is a mechanism for denoting the passage of time not unlike the rotation of the planet or the length of revolution of the Moon around our world or the Earth around the Sun.

So that could not have been the change in the heavens watched so carefully by the ancients. They tracked the planetary motions and something more as well: they seemed to know features about some of the planets they should not have. Jupiter’s red spot and Saturn’s rings were known to the ancients even though they could not have seen these features without the aid of a telescope.

Scholars scoff at the notion that the ancients had such intimate knowledge of the planets but the facts speak for themselves. Cultures around the globe mention these features. Were they simply lucky guesses? Incredibly so to be made in diverse localities.

Can the ancient world have been so different from our own? And what might these changes have meant to the people in the world, like the Maya? Certainly it would have affected their world view, their philosophy, and the priorities of their culture. By studying their histories and artifacts we might come closer to understanding.

Studying the modern Maya may help in our understanding but one should not confuse them with their historical counterparts. How many Catholics today would relate to their Church in the ninth century?

Jupiter, King of the Gods

December 5, 2009

And why, with all this obsession with the Sun, did the ancients consider Jupiter to be the chief of the gods? It is the brightest spot in the sky – that is, after the Sun, the Moon, and Venus. So why hadn’t the Sun, the Moon, or Venus gotten the title of chief of the gods?

And how did several cultures around the world retain a memory of the giant red spot on the planet? Odin “plucked out his eye” for wisdom, leaving the gaping wound. And why wisdom? Wasn’t wisdom somehow connected with Athena, the daughter born out of Zeus’ head? Or is all this myth nothing more than merely mixing metaphors.

Still how could the ancients have known about the red spot without the aid of a telescope? Perhaps they had one but we have never found record of it? Maybe, but not likely.

There is a memory – racial memory of some sort – herein of something different than what we can see today, something which turns the ordered heavens we know into a bit of a chaos.

I remember hearing years ago about astronomers discovering Jupiter to be a massive radio source. Many hypothesized it was a star in the early stages of birth. I always thought it was more likely the other way around: a star that had once been.

Didn’t the Greek myth recount Zeus [Jupiter] overthrowing his father, Chronos [Saturn], and “tying him up with chords all around him”. Now how the heck did they know Saturn had rings? Could someone back then have actually witnessed Jupiter somehow spinning the rings around Saturn?

And what the heck could that mean? How could Jupiter have ever gotten close enough to interact with Saturn? Modern science scoffs at the notion.

But the ancient eyewitnesses were too terrified to scoff at what they saw unfolding over their heads. That modern researchers refuse to examine the record does not in any way lessen the possibility that such events occurred.

We may never know what the ancients were talking about… unless it happens again…

And could this be something along the lines of what the Maya were talking about?