Tag Archives: astronomy

Slowly Slipping Zodiac

As someone with almost literally a life-long love of astronomy (my first word was “star”), I’ve always been vaguely intrigued by astrology. I’m fascinated by that which endures through many ages and cultures of humanity. At the very least, such things reflect an aspect of human consciousness. They’re also a shared idea, so they form community in the like-minded.

Is there magic in the stars? No, not in the astrological sense. Any “magic” is in us, in our consciousness, not in the stars. (Worldwide, on average, almost 12 million babies are born each month. That an astrological sign applies to them all is a bit of a stretch.)

And the thing is, most of us aren’t the sign we think we are!

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Saturn (Pluto) Jupiter

If you keep an eye on the night sky you may have noticed two bright “stars” to the south just around midnight. (To be precise: Jupiter is dead south at 11:02 pm; Saturn is dead south at 11:37 pm. By midnight they’ve moved slightly to the west.)

If you’re the type to keep an eye on the night sky, you likely already know those “stars” are Saturn (on the left) and Jupiter (on the right). What you may not know — and certainly can’t see — is that almost right smack dab between them is the former planet Pluto. All three just happen to be lined up nicely right now.

The New Horizons spacecraft is also out there, well beyond Pluto.

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Sun Sign

The two Solstices are the only universal holidays I celebrate. There many personal holidays, almost all anniversaries of whatever happened that day: births, weddings, deaths; the arcs of jobs and love affairs; graduations and engagements; all the milestones of life. (The trick is to avoid Marley’s chains and chests.)

When it comes to the world, I see only two true holidays whose meaning every mind on Earth shares; two that everyone can anticipate and appreciate. These holidays are defined by the star that gives us life. They mark our orbit as precisely as the numbers of a clock mark the hours.

In fact there are four such star-marked days; two major, two minor.

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Sideband #34: The North Star

I had a small dinner party last night so that some friends could come over for some ‘za and beer and catch up on the latest antics of Nancy Botwin and company on Weeds. Per the old saying, “A good time was had by all.” Or to put it less passively, “As usual, we had a blast! (And that Nancy… craaaaaaa-zy!!)”

However, in the course of conversation I realized not everyone knows about the magic behind our north star (Polaris by name) and found myself taking the virtual podium to explain. It’s one of those things that’s common knowledge to many, but may come as a complete surprise to others.

So for those of you not familiar with the navigational magic behind the north star, here’s the deal.

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