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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Galactic Center marks astrological eras

The Galactic Center, also known as Sagittarius A is a huge black hole: a gigantic dark star that is the Sun of Suns in the Milky Way. Despite its size and importance It's not very apparent because even light has to bow to its huge attraction.

Due to precession of equinoxes, the Galactic Center (GC), otherwise virtually static in the firmament, moves 1º14' per century - and it does so in a normal forth (not retrograde) motion, like all other astrological objects of relevance except the Lunar nodes. It takes 2,432.4 years for the GC to cover a whole sign of the Zodiac. Right now the GC is in late Sagittarius, being at 26º52' in the year 2000 (now at 26º58').

It's been noticed that many people of historical relevance had important aspects, not necesarily harmonious, to the GC. But I will not dwell in this matter here.

Many astroogers believe in conventional astrological eras, based in the precession of 0º Aries as it was when the Western and Indian astrologies diverged, some 2,000 years ago, at the end of the Hellenistic period. This is a very arbitrary decission: after all precession is irrelevant for Western Astrology (not so for Jiotisha, the Indian tradition). Precession alone is meaningless for Western Astrology and more that date that correlates with no celestial object that I know of. These are the astrologers that talk of the "Age of Aquarius" and all that nonsense.

Instead the GC is a most important celestial object. A true objective referent. So I say we are not in the Age of Pisces, we are in the Age of Sagittarius: the age of expansion, knowledge (and religion too). It fits much better with the period that begun two decades after the failure of Hannibal against Rome and also few years before Rome conquered virtually all in the Mediterranean. It fits well with a period that started with the Jewish rebuiliding of the temple of Jerusalen (commemorated in Hannuka), continued with the preaching of Jesus and Muhammad and eventually derived in the age of discoveries, the age of reason and the age of space exploration. All very very Jovian, really.

But the Age of Sagittarius desn't stand alone in this self-sustaining logic. The ages before it, at least till the end of the last glaciation, are very coherent as well. The following overview is surely Eurocentric and my apologies to all for such a narrow aproach.

The Astrological Ages as defined by the Galactic Center:

· 178 BCE - 2254 CE: Age of Saggitarius (already commented)

· 2610 - 178 BCE: Age of Scorpio
- Begins with the apogee of Megalithism and the foundation of several civilizations in Iberia, Malta and the Cyclades, as well as the Semitization of Mesopotamia. It continues through the late Chalcolitic (Copper Age), with the consolidation of Indo-Europeans in Central Europe (Corded Ware) and the Bell-Beaker phenomenon (traders?). It then enters in the quite violent Bronze and Iron ages, culminating in the Persian and Macedonian empires, among other stuff.

· 5042-2610 BCE: Age of Libra
- Unlike warlike and ambitious Scorpio, sign of radical changes, Libra is a more civic sign. The Age of Libra actually begins with the foundation of the first commonly acknowledged civilization: Sumer (Eridu, El Ubayd). It's also the apogee of the great Neolithic expansion, when it reaches the shores of the Atlantic. These beginnings are followed by the expansion of Megalithism, as well as the developement of the oldest European states (Balcans), inspired by Troy (founded c. 3000 BCE)
, as well as the rise of dynastic Egypt. The last centuries announce the Age of Scorpio to come, with the first Indo-European and Semitic incursions in their respective historical areas.

· 7474-5042 BCE: Age of Virgo - Virgo holds a spike, Virgo is Ceres... and hence the Age of Virgo is that of Neolithic. While the first Neolithic surely began before 7500 BCE, it is in this period when it consolidates and initiates its expansion. The famed town of Catalhöyük, with its magnificient home-temples of bulls, lionesses and mother goddesses was founded just at the beginning of this age, while some transitional Mesolithic-Neolithic cultures like ancient Jerico or Göbekli Tepe instead arrive to their end. In this period, Neolithic technology, cultures and way of life spread widely around the Near East.

· 9906-7474 BCE: Age of Leo - Leo is ruled by the Sun and therefore the Age of Leo began with the end of the Ice Age. It is the period of transition to Neolithic (Mesolithic) in the Near East, while the rest of the world remained in the so-called Epipaleolithic stage. The beginning of this era is also that of the oldest known pottery with the Jomon culture of Japan (ancient Ainus).

The matter becomes less clear when we enter the Paleolithic period as such. As cultures last for several of these ages often and also the chronology becomes less and less precise as we look back. Also there is no certainty (as far as I know) that Earth's woble (the cause of precession) has not changed in such long spans of time.

Anyhow here there is an outline (again for Europe mostly):

· Magdalenian period: GC in Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. The beginning of Cancer is roughly coincident with the end of the expansion of Magdalenian, while the transit through Gemini corresponds maybe with the greatest cave art (Taurus??).

· The Solutrean period is fully coincident with the transit of the GC through Aries. It's also the last glacial maximum, when cold possibly depopulated most of Central Europe.

· The Gravettian period spans, depending of the region, through the signs of Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. In some areas it last (Epigravettian) until the arrival of Neolithic. It is the period of Cro-Magnon people (properly, or narrowly, speaking).

· The Aurignacian period spans through Libra and Scorpio (extended in some areas until Gravettization and even beyond).

· Earliest Aurignacian possibly begun in Central Asia much earlier. The chronology is imprecise partly because of the novelty and partly because of issues with C-14 for such early dates. It may be some time between the previous Pisces and Aries transits of the GC (but with great uncertainty: Aquarius and Taurus are also possible).

· The great expansion of H. Sapiens in Asia (from their early settlements around the Arabian Sea maybe) is also uncertain (too few fossils) but may have begun some time around 60 or 50 milennia BCE. Too large a span to say anything with GC astrology.

· But the great Toba eruption, that may have triggered the migration out of Africa, has a quite precise date: c. 74,000 BCE. That seems to be during a transit of the GC by late Taurus. Then with Gemini the travel would have begun maybe.


Steven Bamford said...

Given your interest in Galaxy zoo, I hope you have at least a passing interest in the science of astronomy, and hence science in general. Astrology, the idea that the apparent positions of unrelated astronomical objects has a causal influence on human events, is ludicrous. Particularly perplexing about your article is that you reject the arbitrary choice of the Point of Aries (in favour of another arbitrary object), but continue to use the equally arbitrary regions of sky defined by constellations. These constellations are simply the product of chance alignments of often physically unrelated stars viewed in projection.

Astrology is devoid of scientific reasoning, it is merely a mixture of superstition and the over-interpretation of selected events from a multitude of perfectly reasonable coincidences. Although interesting from the historical point of view of understanding the human need to explain the world, its naivety has been well surpassed by science, and a sense of humility and acceptance that we can not necessarily explain everything.

Maju said...

Hehe. Bad day to post on astrology, precisely when I posted also in GZ blog (linking here?, I guess

Well whatever. I do think that Astrology works and I'm not really content about that: just that I can't shut my eyes to what for me seems quite evident. I was surely happier and more optimistic when I was 100% skeptic and thought all people were born equally blank.

Anyhow, you have misunderstood the issue with Aries point: I am precisely saying that constellations do not matter (in Vedic Astrology they do, in Western Astrology they don't - and I work only with the Western system) but that precession affects the apparent movement of the GC (and other distant objects as well, but let's skip them).

If we are going to consider that precession should be measured by anything at all, that should be a real object not the vernal equinox of some 2000 years ago (why not 5000 or whatever?) as do typical "New Agers". And what object of this kind is more important than the GC?

I also say that the GC eras seem to be more consistent with actual facts than the New Age ideas.

But of course, I may be wrong. Errare humanum est.

segurelha said...

Very good insight :)
Actually as precession happens (at least back to 10000 years ago) both the spring echinox, autumn echinox and the position of galactic center in tropical signs, shift accordingly.
Its like reversing analysis of a natal chart based in ascendent as first house or the descendent. It would work in a identical way, since the cosmic positions are again the same ;)

Anyway thats a fresh and very insightful perspective

I also agree that we cannot close eyes due to the fact that so many things work in astrology. Initially I was a skeptical astronomer that start asking why so many ancient cultures had astrological observations only to discover later on, that actually if group hundreds of people based in their sign you will actually match very interesting common characteristics, something worth to look deeper at.

By the way, i am portuguese, not far from your beautiful region :) and i also am a supporter of left-oriented ideas (maybe my aquarian nature)

Maju said...

Hi, Segurelha. I have never got much relation with Portugal (except for a friend of my chilhood who was half-Portuguese) but I am terribly intrigued by the prehistory of your country. Check my personal site's page on Atlantis (skip the first sections and go to the last one for faster reading):

I am personally quite convinced that the ancient legends about Atlantis, Erythia, etc. probably talk of a civilization of Portugal (Estremadura) that was with all likehood the oldest civilization of the Atlantic (and a major center of Megalithism and Bell Beaker). As I say in my site, it's not under the sea but under a SEP field (somebody-else's-problem field, a wink to Douglas Adams famous pentalogy), even if it may have suffered a tsunami too.

Well, on topic: my point is that the association of 0º Aries with the vernal equinnox some 2000 years ago as Vedic Astrology and the Age-of-Aquarius theory do is arbitrary, while the Galactic Center is not: it's actually the most powerful energy source outside the Solar System (from an earthling perspective, naturally) and the "Sun of the Sun", even if it's a "black sun". I don't think we can ignore the GC, really.

I'm glad you like the idea, even if tentatively.

I also agree that we cannot close eyes due to the fact that so many things work in astrology. Initially I was a skeptical astronomer that start asking why so many ancient cultures had astrological observations only to discover later on, that actually if group hundreds of people based in their sign you will actually match very interesting common characteristics, something worth to look deeper at.

That's more or less what I saw too. Have you checked astrofaces ( It's an interesting site that compares people's pics based on their three main astrological placements (Sun, Moon and Asc.). It's of course limited but it's a nice attempt to make scientific astrology.