Category Archives: The Universe

The Universe

Spiritual Musings 7th August

It is not often spirituality, science and ecology join forces but this has happened recently. According to The Times (July 30th 2011) scientist at Oxford are aiming to produce a map recording all the religious woodlands in the world.

Sacred Woodlands

The boffins have realized that ancient sacred woodlands which are often thought to be the abode of deities tend to be left undisturbed for many centuries, and as a result, they are treasure chests of bio-diversity. Indeed, the forests that will appear on the map protect some of the highest concentrations of threatened species in the world.

Furthermore, The Alliance of Religions and Conservation estimate that between 8 and 15% of the world‘s land is considered sacred or religious. Yet, despite their value many of these forests are bereft of recognized legal protection and survive solely due to the influence of local elders and spiritual leaders.

Religious sites

Unfortunately, in the UK most natural religious sites were destroyed when Christianity became a major faith and churches were built on the sacred groves. India, on the other hand, still has many holy woodlands.

In one district of Kodagu which is about the size of the county of Oxfordshire in the UK there are about 1,200 sacred groves. In Karnataka in Southern India certain grooves contain trees that are so rare they are not found in the most heavily protected areas.

Of course it is not just Hinduism that is contributing to saving species; Dr. Bhagwat and Professor Willis of the biodiversity unit at the Oxford Martin School are also in contact with managers of Shinto shrines in Japan and with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which owns 300 fragments of tropical forests containing rare insects. Dr. Bhagwat commented;

‘We know so little about these sacred sites and how they should be managed and what biodiversity they hold.’

It certainly sounds to me, that as we become more and more aware of the loss of all sorts of natural goodies on the planet, that more action needs to be taken to support, sites of ancient, historical, religious of spiritual importance. What do you think? Please wrote and let me know.

Finally, I would like to flag up my new section on the Planets. Each has a very unique characteristic, and if you are fairly new to astrology and awareness to these, may prove enlightening….

 

Touchdown on Venus…

On this day in 1966 the Soviet Space craft Venera 3 landed on Venus.

The incredible thing, was that this was the first craft to land on another planet in our solar system, yet this is less widely known, than the Moon landings, which were of course manned, unless you happen to be one of the conspiracy theorists who doubt it ever happened outside a Hollywood Studio!

Full Moon in Leo…

Full Moon in Leo

The Full Moon in Leo today, faces not just the Sun in Aquarius, but also the combustible energies of Mars and the watery influence of Neptune.

Mars conjunct Neptune

Now Mars conjunct Neptune on its own, has plenty of challenges. Mars in Aquarius promotes independence, but the ego needs of Mars are not so strong because of the humanitarian influence that Aquarius brings. Therefore people can fit in well to a team, but retain their independence. However, Neptune and Mars are not particularly happy bed-person’s because Mars is about Fire, Neptune Water.

Deceit can creep in under this influence, however, the Sun can provide some mitigation, and especially in Aquarius, for this is the zodiac sign of essential truth and the propagation of high ideals.

Stellium of Planets

This collection of planets known as a cluster or stellium, can be a powerful force for good causes, but as we have seen with the awful scenes in Bahrain, Mars can be destructive when alongside the Sun, as well as a go getter.

In terms of the Leo Full Moon its opposition to Mars alone this too is not pleasant and can trigger the over use of force, or hasty decision making!

Uranus the radical

With the Moon’s opposition to the Sun, this can be where outdated and fixed practices and attitudes battle with the need for change. The radical co-ruler of Aquarius Uranus, is a contradiction in terms for the sign, the other ruler (co-regent) Saturn resists change, so there is a duality in Aquarius at work, all the time, any way.

Jupiter/Pluto Square

With the Moon’s opposition to Neptune, Neptune may be able to do quite well here, resisting false hopes, and asking that any spiritual developments are for real but this is a complex planetary blend, and clearly the desire for social justice has been greatly helped by the Sun and other planets transits through Aquarius, but the real trigger, in my view, remains the Jupiter/Pluto Square. In fact, the world is going to be quite an unstable place, right through to the summer.

Sun Spot Activity

Finally, this Full Moon is further more important, because of the increased level of Sun Spot activity this week, which has spewed a huge amount of extra magnetic energy into the Solar System and telecommunications satellites, weather systems and space activity can all be affected. Amusingly, my router also failed today, hence this post is late. Fortunately the engineer was able to quickly supply me with another way. Synchronicity with the Solar flare activity or what…I love astrology!!!!!!!

Video Horoscope

For your Weekly Love Video Horoscope

Astrology a rational view by scientist

13th Zodiac Sign

The recent media flap that had astronomers inventing a new astrological sign and dredging up dated anti-astrology arguments is another example of scientists behaving badly, a Philadelphia area science historian believes.

Professor Darin Hayton

Darin Hayton, a science history professor at Haverford College, is affiliated with the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science.

Writing in the PACHS Smorgasbord blog, he observes that, throughout the twentieth century, opponents of astrology have seemed baffled.

“They regularly express shock and surprise that despite a rational, modern scientific worldview people continue to believe in astrology,” he said.

“Critics have displayed a remarkable doggedness in putting forward the idea that astrology is an intentional fraud perpetrated on a gullible populace. But exactly what is accomplished by calling astrology rubbish?”

Such attacks may rally the faithful but fail to persuade others, he suggests.

Astrology or astrologers

Hayton says it is not his intention to defend astrology or astrologers, but thinks it disingenuous that critics rely upon a small set of rhetorical straw man positions to refute astrology. A straw-man fallacy occurs when an actual position is ignored and a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version is substituted for it.

The strategy has not been particularly effective for the science side, he noted.

Zodiac Signs

Critics of astrology claim it is impossible to understand how the stars can affect human affairs, and doubly difficult to suggest a mechanism to account for the influence of the zodiac signs, which continue to change their positions among the stars.

Precession of Equinoxes

Technically, a phenomenon known as precession of the equinoxes is responsible for the shifting sky map. As the earth rotates on its access, a slight “wobble” effect causes the apparent position of the constellations to advance about one degree every 72 years.

In the latest brouhaha over astrology, Minnesota astronomer Parke Kunkle made headlines by claiming that astrologers must be reading the wrong charts. Because of precession, he says a person born under the astrological sign of Pisces today would have been an Aquarian if born on the same calendar date in ancient Babylon.

But this is the same straw-man fallacy that opponents have used for decades to debunk astrology, Hayton points out.

Position of the Sun

“In western astrology, the astrological signs are determined by the position of the sun in the sky, not the absolute positions of the constellations. Refuting a doctrine that astrologers don’t hold seems, at best, ancillary and probably irrelevant to any attack on astrology,” Hayton said.

Astrologers Charlatans?

Such attacks aren’t new. In a 1930 Popular Science article debunking astrology, author Jesse Gelders claimed that astrologers are ignorant charlatans because they fail to realize (or acknowledge) that precession exists. Others have made similar points over the years.

Hipparachus

In fact, precession was identified by Hipparchus, a Greek astrologer, more than 100 years before the birth of Christ. And historical documents indicate that astrologers have been aware of the phenomenon ever since, Hayton says.

“What is served by the denigrating rhetoric used to brand astrologers as frauds and charlatans? Surely it would be more effective to adopt a more conversational approach rather than labeling astrologers and their customers irrational, superstitious dupes,” he suggests.

Astrology a Defence

You can read in detail my Defence of Astrology or if you wish for something completely different extracts from the New and Old Testaments which relate to astrology.

Galileo Galilei…

Today, 15th February marks the 447th birthday of Galileo Galilei, the brilliant Italian scientist and mathematician who fell foul of the Vatican, because he prescribed to the view that the Earth rotated around the Sun, not the other way around, which at that time was considered a heresy, and led to a lifetime house arrest.

Heliocentric concept

This theory, was based around the Heliocentric concept (the Sun is the primary planet in our solar system), this went against the widely held Geocentric (that the Earth was the centre of solar system) view of that time. Remember we are talking about the shift of understanding from the Earth being flat, to understand gravity, planetary ellipses etc.

Copernicus and Galileo

A contemporary of Galileo was the Polish scientist Copernicus, who also fell foul of the church and other learned folk for his view, that the Earth was not at the centre of our universe and Galileo gave his peer unstinting support.

Kepler and Galileo

Ironically, Galileo was scornful of Kepler, yet another contemporary but with more of an awareness to astrology, whose belief was that the Moon caused tides. Umm, not the first time astronomers have poured scorn on astrologers then!

Venus patterns

Yet Galileo did do invaluable work in understanding the patterns of Venus and Sunspot activity.

Happy birthday Galileo!

For greater awareness of what astrology is… and for other famous Aquarius folk…

 

Prof Brian Cox on BBC Radio 5 Live…

Professor Brian Cox has been on the Richard Bacon show on BBC 5 Live. All was going well until he made the statement, children don’t realise that they could earn more as scientists and engineers than other careers. Seems a bit of an unscientific remark to me, for whilst I agree we need to make other possibilities more exciting, bit of a blanket statement…

Ghosts

He then on to say Ghosts were rubbish, because to speak we need to eat. This may be indisputable from a scientific view point, but anyone who feels any energy, or effect can only be influenced by cause and effect alone, is inhabiting only a practical dimension.

Astrology and Brian Cox

Richard Bacon teased all this out very skilfully, and then of course, led us to astrology. First Cox denied that he had uttered the words that astrology is rubbish, then said, basically get over it, if you disagree. And I think this very arrogance is what I object to.

Personally, even though I have done this for a living for 16 years, I don’t have any problem in people not believing in astrology, indeed this can be said of almost all my friends. But he is using a Public Broadcast portal, to slag off astrology, without even understanding what it is, and that I don’t like.

Astrologers are not fakes

For example, he professed amazement that anyone practised astrology as a sincere living. Well if he had been better briefed, he would know this was so, and know that most astrologers are not fakes, prying on people’s insecurities but very intelligent and genuine people.

Chinese Monkey

He then went on to say he didn’t know what his zodiac sign was, a statement which lacks complete credibility when he said he knew he was a Chinese Monkey. Anyone with any passing knowledge of Chinese astrology, would know their own Western zodiac sign. He just couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge this, which was pretty obvious to all.

Astrophysicist Dr Percy Seymour

He also went to say that there was no scientific evidence to support astrology, but Astrophysicist Dr Percy Seymour has published two books finding that there was, so again, his research into this subject is scant to say the least, because he doesn’t even acknowledge that other scientists believe that there is a link between the gravitational forces of the solar system – that was, despite saying that weather on earth WAS affected by solar activity. Hold on, we are part of this planet, we don’t own it, we are product of it!!!

Metaphysical views

So, what we have here, is someone with sincerely held scientific views, who trashes anyone with sincerely held metaphysical views, and that I find entirely objectionable.

What would be much more appropriate is for him to say, “personally I don’t believe in astrology and don’t know enough about it to take a view”.

If you’d like to read about how my interest in astrology evolved…

Lonely Planet…

For years now many people have thought we are not alone – that there must be life on other planets, it has just been a question of finding it. However, Howard Smith a senior astrophysicist at Harvard University has other ideas. In a paper to be delivered to the American Association for the Advancement of Science he argues that the discovery of Kepler 10b and other recent planets, suggests that Earth may be very unusual in its ability to support life; “The new information we are getting suggests we could be effectively alone in the universe.”

He said this is because all the planets which have been discovered so far are totally uninhabitable, they have either been too hot, too cold or in some cases have elliptical orbits which mean the temperature varies greatly, it seems as if extremes are the norm for most planets in contrast to the kindly atmosphere enjoyed on Earth.

Kepler 10b

Even Kepler 10b, which has a rocky surface and is roughly the size of Earth is just a few million miles from its Sun making its surface a scorching 1,300C, but it has no atmosphere and is bombarded with radiation, making life as we know it Jim, impossible there.

New planets

Smith does not entirely rule out the idea of intelligent life or life of any form in the universe, he just thinks it is so rare there is little chance of us ever finding it. Yet, not everyone agrees with Smith. Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy and also at Harvard said “the techniques we have used to find them (the new planets) are biased towards finding big fast moving planets…the question now is how common is it to find small rocky planets like the Earth.

Kepler

Kepler is doing that survey work now, and in a year or two we are likely to get the answer. My belief is that Earth like planets are actually very plentiful”.

It seems then that we are either in a universe teaming with second Earths or we are basically alone in the universe, the jury is out for now…but my view is that we ARE NOT alone.

Now for something completely different your Indian Weekly Horoscope...