Gateway to the Stars & the Winter Solstice

After dark this Winter Solstice (21 December 2020 at 10:03 GMT) take a walk outside and look up at the stars and think about how our whole solar system is on the move. In the time it takes you to read this post, the Sun, Earth, and all the other planets with which you are familiar (plus their moons) will have travelled 3600 km, or 2200 miles, through the Milky Way ever closer toward the Solar Apex.

The Solar Apex is a position sightly southwest of the bright, beautiful bright star, Vega, which once upon a time, around 12,000-10,000 BCE, was the pole star. Because Vega is found in the constellation of Lyra, the Harp of Orpheus, it cloaks everything associated with enchanting, other-worldly, charisma. Vega is linked with magic and divine spells and that Mozart, considered by many to be the greatest composer in history, was born with Vega rising is a fascinating testament to the spellbinding power of his beautiful music.

But perhaps the most fascinating of all is that like geographers use latitude and longitude to map out locations on earth, astronomers use similar measurements called Right Ascension and Declination to map locations in the skies. Although longitudes and latitudes are determined from the Earth’s equator and the 0 meridian at Greenwich, Right Ascension ‘begins’ at the crossing point of the Sun’s apparent path through the sky (the ecliptic) with the celestial equator, the point otherwise known as the Vernal Equinox (the first day of spring). 

It is beginning with this point that the 360 degrees of the Sun’s annual path are measured in terms of hours and minutes. The Solar Apex holds the position of about 18 hours of Right Ascension, which is the moment of the Winter Solstice, when the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn. 

This is this an important moment each and every year. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the time when the sun turns back toward us becoming increasingly stronger as the days grow increasingly longer. This year, this moment is even more monumental because Jupiter and Saturn come together by conjunction to start their historical shift into Aquarius. 

Least you think that this does not affect our everyday lives on earth, think again. When one of the slower moving planets such as Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto crosses this point, even the stock or share markets react as Christeen Skinner reminds us in her excellent book, The Beginners Guide to the Financial Universe: An Introduction to the Role of the Sun, Moon, and Planets in Financial Markets. Both Saturn and Neptune crossed this point in 1987 and 1988 respectively, with Uranus following in 1989. As Skinner notes, you may wish to refresh yourself on the volatility demonstrated by the Dow Jones Index during those last years of the 1980’s. Least you are not yet convinced, when Pluto (slowest moving of all) crossed this point in 2008, we suffered a global financial crash. Skinner also predicts that when both Saturn and Neptune will be at the apparent right angle to the Solar Apex in 2026 (a highly unusual moment) , we might well expect a sharp decline in index values again over a period of a few months.

What might this all mean for our solar system to be sucked, as if by an enormous magnet, toward Vega, the former pole star, located in the constellation of Lyra the Harp of Orpheus? I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted to guess it might have something to do with ‘Judgement Day’ or a massive reevaluation and realignment. Certainly this is what happened with the financial markets. This is also because in 12,000-10,000 BCE, Vega was also known as Maat, the great Egyptian goddess who, after weighing souls on her scales of justice, moved them from one life to another and by the way, Vega will also be the pole star again in about 11,500 CE. Other-worldly charisma and engagement indeed. 

Happy Solstice!

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