Most of the planets we know today, were discovered thousands of years beyond us. Ancient sky gazers were observing and tracking distant stars in the skies, associating events with seasons and positions of galaxies and constellations. By watching the heavens, they associated planets, stars and constellations, to gods, creatures and objects. This is how legends and stories were written in the stars!
In the beginning, Astrology and Astronomy were not separated, there was no clear distinction between one and another. Together, they formed one art. Discovering the secrets of the magic celestial bodies, translating and interpreting their mystic unfolding, had the same meaning for the keepers. This is how the ring of skies, or the Zodiac, appeared. It is found as belt of 8 degrees wide, on each side of the ecliptic. In ancient and modern times, there are various representations of the „holy circle”, depending on culture, beliefs and religions. Throughout the several interpretation, the Zodiac always divides the annual orbit of the Earth around the Sun, or the apparent path of Sun in Heavens, in twelve equal zones, each corresponding to a constellation. For each constellation there is a legend, a myth, which comes from the earliest ages.
Pythagoras, known as the founder of the science of numbers, believed that „everything is harmony and number,” beyond particles, fields or strings. He saw the „mondas” as the one, the beginning of everything and the duality rising straight from the core of the 1unity. From 1unity he saw the universe uprising.
Imagine one point. Imagine a second point. Unite the two points and get a unique line. Get a third point, equidistant from the first two points ⡀⠁⡀ and unite all three points. You can get only one figure, one equilateral triangle. The point and the line belong to the first dimension; the triangle belongs to the plane or the second dimension. It always takes a forth point to get a volumetric figure and step into the third dimension. Known as Pythagorean or Platonic solids, the five perfect shapes, all together with the four elements — fire, water, air, earth — continuously moving, ongoing blending and changing, gave birth to the universe, the solar system, our Sun and the Earth, so did the ancients believe.
From the Platonic solids, Kepler, would later revolutionize the entire astronomical and astrological world, by discovering the magic relationship between the diameters of planetary orbits and their distances from the Sun (Mysterium Cosmographicum, 1596).
Going back to Pythagoras, around 6 BC, through his concept that everything is number, he discovered the musical scale. According to legend, Pythagoras was playing an improvised musical instrument, a box with a string attached. While pressing the same tension on the string, at equal distances, he noticed sounds flow harmoniously and predictable. He then went further, into the blacksmiths, to hear the regular hammers hit. He was searching for the relation between sound and mathematics. Indeed he found what he was looking for: „There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres”( Pythagoras). Listening to the flowing of the hammers, he realized that each hammer hit is a ratio of another: half, 3/4 or so. This is how he found the simple and profound connection between spirit and matter: the beautiful numbers. He saw planets and stars moving according to mathematical equations, corresponding to notes and thus producing a symphony. He spoke first of „the harmony of spheres,” the music of the heavenly bodies moving in the skies, according to mathematical ratios and each musical note corresponding to a number, thus each planet having her own resonance. Heavens, deities, sciences, cosmos, in all of them Pythagoras saw the numbers as Alpha and Omega. Aristotle, in his „Metaphysics I,” mentioned that the principles of Pythagoras were applying throughout the entire Universe. The principle of numbers was considered the principle of all things and the whole universe as harmony or number.
Above all the numbers, the Pythagorean fraternity’s best kept secret was „ten, the perfect number that embraces all the powers of number„. Due to this view and depth of thinking, the antics were certain that there are ten heavenly bodies in our solar system. Since only nine were visible, it was believed that the „Counter-Earth,” known also as Antichthon, was the tenth planet. Situated opposite to Earth, believed to be identical and symmetrical in all aspects, but opposite in every way, the Counter Earth would be hypothetically situated behind Sun, facing his other face. Therefore we can never reach it with our eyes.
The theory was right, even though the tenth planet is neither symmetrical situated, nor has an identical nature to our blue planet we all call Earth. Last planet to be discovered, Pluto, is the furthest out within the ten planets, therefore, we should respect the order and speak about it when we finished the other nine stories of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.
In the 6th century BC, Pythagoras, taught that the Sun is the center of our solar system and that the planets revolve in circular orbits, that the Earth revolves daily on its axis, and yearly around the Sun, that Venus is both a morning and evening star. Like Thales and his two pupil Anaximander and Anaxagoras, he spoke that the planets have spherical shape and are inhabited. It was Ptolemy who, studying in the celebrated school of Alexandria, wrote his „Almagest” which was the text book of astronomers for 14 centuries. Here was concentrated nearly all the wisdom of the world and Ptolemy spent forty years studying. Yet he wrote that the Earth was the center of the cosmos. Copernicus by-passed Ptolemy and revived the theory of Pythagoras. He saw the beautiful simple idea of the Sun, the fire globe, around which all the planets we know, revolve.
The Sun is at the center of our galaxy, The Milky Way. It is a ball of fire, traveling through an interstellar cloud, in the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, between the larger Perseus and Sagittarius arms of the galaxy. Its distance is about 146 million km. from the Earth, and it takes about 8.3 minutes for a ray of light from there to reach us. Although it is the nearest star to Earth and has been intensively studied by scientists, many questions about the Sun remain unanswered.
Early star gazers saw the Sun as a giant ball of fire, whose presence was making day and absence was making night. It was seen as the highest deity and worship of the Sun was central to ancient civilizations. Many ancient monuments hold the Sun in the center and mark exactly the solstices and the equinoxes. The Greeks called it Helios, who wore a shining crown and rode a chariot across the sky. Over time, the Sun became increasingly associated with Apollo. Romans called it Sol and the birth of „the undefeated Sun” was celebrated on the 25th of December. Even in most of the cultures the Sun has been associated with male personality, in Germanic mythology the Sun is a goddess, named Sunna, and In Japanese mythology, the sun is goddess Amaterasu. With respect to the fixed stars, the Sun appears from Earth to revolve once a year along the ecliptic through the zodiac, and so Greek astronomers considered it to be one of the seven planets (Greek planets, „wanderer”), after which the seven days of the week are named. The solar symbol „☉” represents the divine spirit (circle) surrounding seed of potential
For many years, Le Verrier, a French astronomer, studied the transit of Mercury around the Sun. Using Newton’s laws of gravitation and motion, in 1959 he published a study, suggesting that it could be an interior planet causing disturbances in Mercury’s motion. Same year, M. Lescarbaut, French physician and amateur astronomer, stated that he had seen the passing of a small planet across the Sun, on March 26. The two got together, studied the calculations and observances, and agreed that indeed, a new planet was discovered. They called it „Vulcan”, and the sign of the planet is a hammer and a spear. In mythology, Vulcan was the god of forge and fire, son of Jupiter and Juno, husband of Venus. Legends speak his smithy lays in Sicily, under Etna, and whenever Venus is unfaithful, he becomes angry and his hammers fall with such forces, that vulcano erupts. Among astronomers, many have claimed to see the black spot next to Mercury, on the face of the Sun. In 1915, Einstein’s theory proved that the fluctuations of planets are due to the Sun’s fields of attraction. The closer the planet, the stronger the effect. Mercury, the closest planet to Sun, would then feel the effect much stronger than the further planets in our Sun system. Until today, scientists still debated the existence of Vulcan.
When the skies are clear, you might see a bright sparkling star. This is Mercury. In the evening twilight, just after the setting of the Sun, it raises on the Western horizon, higher and higher each night, but never exceeding 30 degrees. Other times, just before sunrise, this time on the Eastern skies, Mercury appears, increasing elevation day by day, until reaching the elevation from the West. It is more visible from the Southern hemisphere, and just like our Moon, can be „new” or „full”. So close and tide to the Sun, its spin-orbit resonance is much different from the other planets, varying from 0 ( when the Sun is almost still in Mercury’s sky) to a very high one ( 1.5 resonance rather than the usual 1 ).
By Ancient Greeks, Mercury was called, on two names: Apollo – the god of day, as a morning star, and Hermes, the god of darkness, when it was an evening star. Later, they realized it was one and the same planet. Mercury was also named quicksilver, because it moves very fast compared to the other planets. Romans named the planet Mercury, after their messenger god, same as Apollo, the Greek god. Its symbol represents the mind (crescent) poised over divine spirit (circle) and matter (cross). Ptolemy states in „Almagest” that on June 9, 118 A.D, Mercury was near the Beehive, a cluster of stars in the constellation of Cancer. Astronomers agree that on that date, according to their best calculations, it was within one degree in that group. Of account to its nearness to the Sun, Mercury is difficult to be detected. Copernicus, in his last moments, lamented that as much as he tried, he had never been able to see it.
Venus, goddess of beauty, was known as „phosphorus” by the antics, because she is the most brilliant of all planets. Situated so close to the Sun, she can never oppose him, and can be seen with the naked in the daylight, shining next to the Sun. Legends speak of Napoleon, who went to Luxemburg to riceve honors, and was caught by surprise that the crowd, instead of looking at him, was looking at the skies. Venus was shining bright in the middle of the day, next to the Sun, and they associated the star with the arriving of Bonaparte. Venus’s sign is a locking glass and the circle with a cross represents the divine spirit (circle) over matter (cross). For Mayans, it was the „flower star” and in the Babylonian myths, she is liked with Isthar. Antic Greeks identified Venus with Astarte, the divine mistress of Adonis. The festival of Adonis was timed to coincide with the appearance of Venus as the Morning Star. At Antioch, the death of Adonis was celebrated with great solemnity. Emperor Julian visited the city at the time of this festival, helt at the Vernal Equinox, and marveled at the voices who cried that ” the Star of Salvation” has downed upon the in east.
To the ancient thinkers, The Earth was believed to be a flat plate resting upon the back of four white elephants, all supported by a giant turtle. Time was represented as a great serpent, devouring his own tail. There have been many theories and axioms upon the existence of „The Earth”. In Homer’s Iliad, the Earth was presented as a shield-like disc floating on water and surrounded by the Oceans.
In the 3rd century BC, Plato’s idealistic universe, had the Earth as the center of the Universe, motionless, with all the other planets revolving around. Aristotle, his disciple, followed Plato’s geocentric concepts, but opposed his idealistic universe, made of myths and divine substance. His approach was pragmatic, based upon observation and systematic research.
It was Aristarchus, the last of the Pythagorean astronomers, who assumed that the Sun, rather than the Earth, is at the center of our solar system. His hypothesis contradicted the philosophical beliefs and all the laws of physics as then understood.
There is a tale, much closer to our times, about Christopher Columbus, who told the Spanish conquerors that it is possible to reach Asia just by sailing west to east. How can a ship sail uphill? they wondered; if the Earth would be round, they thought, then on the other side of the Earth, everything would be upside down: the rain would fall from the earth to the skies, the grass would grow inside out and trees would grow with their roots in the sky with the branches deep in the earth. So nothing could stay on earth and a ship would never be able to climb up and get back again.
Later, the astronomers observed that just like the other celestial spheres, the Earth is suspended in space, hanging upon „nothing”. It moves around its orbit with unimaginable speed, though we cannot sense it and is held in place by the force of gravitation.
From other planets, the Earth looks like a star is seen to us. When astronauts flew out of the Earth’s orbit, they were astonished, not by the view of the universe, but to the most amazing features and colors of the blue planet. In the infinite space we call Universe, that cannot be comprehensible by the human mind, the Earth, it is just a tiny spark. Just like our world exist, so many other worlds could exist, all capable to abode life. The sign for Earth is the crossed Sun, which represent the four cardinal directions.
In Ancient times, The Moon, was the symbol of Isis, sister-wife of Osiris, the God Sun. The symbol of the sign of Taurus, a circle encircling half circle, represents the inseparable Sun and Moon, Osiris and Isis. The two were worshiped around the world for their great services for mankind, teachings of husbandry and domesticity — easy safe delivery for mothers. Their natures have always remained true through religious worship, but their names changed from culture to culture. Artemis of Ephesus, Astarte of Antioch or Diana of Rome each represent Isis, for they were „named”. Deified at death and the star Venus was called the „Queen of Heaven,” but Moon is the true symbol. The Egyptians called the Sun Ra, and The moon was his eternal spouse, the Two that are equal , and they came together only at the time of New Moon after which she „ran after him” until the next embrace. The Moon has such attraction powers that the seas follow her. Twice a day, at about twelve hours and twenty-five minutes, the waters begin to set in from the oceans towards the shores, higher and higher, for about six hours, when its flood tide is reached, then retreats. The waves raised by the Moon’s attraction, follow her course around the Earth. The Sun also aids but the Moon is closer to the Earth, so her influence is much greater.
Mars. God of War, whose sign is shield and spark, it represents the force/ aim over the divine spirit. Egyptians called him Kahir, „The Victorious!”. This red planet rarely scintillates but shines with steady light. The ancient Romans built a temple to Mars to which they painted red and draped it with red hangings. Some speak of Mars as originally not being a god of war but a god of vegetation. Roman husbandman prayed for the prosperity of his crops and vines to Mars, and it was to Mars that the priestly college of the Arval brothers, whose business it was to sacrifice for the growth of the crops, addressed their petitions exclusively. We think rather that this is but another attribute of Sun Ra, Osiris, the Sun of god, or Son of The Sun , following the symbol of Mars, the shield and a spear, making him a war god.
It was an empty sky beyond Mars, until January 1st 1801, when Ceres was discovered. Kepler conjectured there had been another planet in this space. This supposition was corroborated by Titus’s discovery of what has since been known as Bode’s law. When you take the numbers 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, 192, 384 – each of which, after the second is double the preceding one. If you add 4 to each of these numbers, a new series is formed: 4, 7, 10, 16, 28, 52, 100, 196, 388. At the time this law was discovered, these numbers represented nearly the proportionate distance from the Sun on the planets then known. It was Piazzi who discovered the small planet Ceres at almost the exact distance necessary to fill the gap in Bode’s series. By 1870, nearly 112 small planets had been discovered in this area, called „pocket planets,” as they were very tiny, few hundred kilometers in diameter. The largest were named for the early Greek gods. It is believed that these are the fragments of larger planets which, in antiquity suffered great catastrophes
Colossal Jupiter, king of gods, in the next in line. His sign is a hieroglyphic representation of an eagle, „The bird of Jove” which Rome adopted as symbol. It is the mind raising above the horizon of matter. Romulus built a temple of Jupiter, beside the „sacred oak” which was venerated by the early shepherds. Roman kings impersonated Jupiter down to imperial times and they built a splendid temple to him, replacing the original one, and a statue of Jove standing in his four-horse charrioton the capitol. Jupiter, they said, ruled thunder, lightning and the oak. Jupiter is the rain God,
Jupiter has four satellites which bear the name of Io, Europe,Callisto Ganymede and Callisto. these are visible to our eyes through a telescope but the ancients must have known of to them for which reason they gave Jupiter four horses for his chariot. It is a fact that the early Chaladeans did have magnifying glasses for they have been found in the ruins. Also Nero had an „optic glass” through which to view the races and games at the stadium. Any traces we see on the surface of the planet are clouds of gas in their atmosphere, so we don’t have a clue what the „solid” is like.
Saturn, god of time, is next outward from the Sun. His sign is an ancient scythe, where the matter (cross) takes precedence over mind and human spirit. To the anciens, Saturn was associated with Cronus, and so the metaphor of the tail-biting dragon reveals the cyclicity of time: time turns back on itself and what has been before will be again.
Saturn is the „sower,” the husbandman, shown as an old man carrying sickle. The Saturnalia was celebrated in his honor in Rome durin the winter solstice. It marked the time of the 25th birth of the Sun, after which, days gradually grew longer and warmer. In the Julian calendar, December 25 marked the day of the Winter Solstice. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 4th century AD that Rome replaced the nativity of the Sun with the birth of Christ. At Antioch, the date was accepted about 375 AD and the mother was the Heavenly Virgin, or Astarte, says Frazer.
Saturn has three rings surrounding it at the equator. The Chaladeans put three sets of wings to their representation of Saturn, which means they were able to see them. The plane of the rings is inclined 28 degrees of the ecliptic and the Sun illuminates the northern and the souther faces of the rings. At Saturn’s equinoxes the edge only recieved the light, and the rings are invisible to us, except with the most powerful telescopes and then only a tiny ray of light. As we know, Saturn ‘s cycle is just under 30 years. The most favorable time of observing it is when its full face is toward us and the rings spread out as brilliant. This happened in 1995 and if you didn’t observe, you might not want to lose the following one, 2025. Please remind me in case I forget, as I don not want to lose such a wonder.
Uranus was named „Heaven” who was the most ancient of gods. Astronomers think it is older than out earth. Its symbol, derived from the combination of Sun and Mars, represent the force over a divine spirit (circle) surrounding seed of potential. His sign is the letter H of Herschel, its discoverer, with a planet suspended on its cross bar. On March 13, 1781, between 10 and 11 PM, Sir Williams Herschel was examining the Gemini constellation through his telescope. He observed a disk widened which meant it was not a fixed star. For several nights he kept on watching the skies and observed its motion, then he announced he discovered a commet! Under constant observationof few months, it was known to be a planet and accepted in our solar system.
Uranus has four moons of which little is known except the courious fact that their orbits are nearly perpendicular to the plane of the planet’s orbit, and that their moves are retrograde. To us, Uranus is the planet of surprises, so too, in the sky, his moons are acting in other ways than other moons.
Neptune is further out in space, so far that our eyes cannot reach it. Neptune is the god of seas, and its sign is the trident. For many years, the movement of Uranus baffled the most perfect calculus of astronomers. Saturn would come to its appointed place to the minute and second, Uranus defied arithmetic and refused to conform to the time set down for him in the skies. It was believed it then must be another planet outside its orbit whose attraction produced these perturbations. In 1843, two young mathematicians, Le Verrier and Adams, each unknown to each other, were given the task of finding the orbit, of the unknown planet. It took almost three years of calculations and studies, before Neptune’s position was found. A telescope was pointed to the exact direction and there was the new discovered star! Neptune has one moon, at an almost equal distance the earth bears from our moon. The revolution of its moon around the planet takes about six days and helped astrologers calculation the mass of Neptune.
Pluto, is the latest planet discovered among the Solar system. It is the tenth-largest body observed directly orbiting the Sun, ” It is a dwarf planet, composed of largely blocks of „ices”. It has three known natural satellites: Charon, Nix and Hydra. The system is unusual among planetary systems in that each is tidally locked to the other: if one were standing on Pluto’s near side, Charon would hover in the sky without moving; if one were to travel to the far side, one would never see Charon at all.
After many name suggestions, the name of the planet was chosen, Pluto. One of the alternate names of Hades and for the Romans, the god of the dead, the underworld, and the outer regions. Pluto’s astrological symbol resembles that of Neptune, with a circle in place of the middle prong of the trident. Pluto symbolizes destruction and its symbol is much like a cloud produced by a nuclear bomb. Funny, right?