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Lovejoy: The Exodus of a Comet


by Radko Vacek

What a spectacular event happened in the heavens, in the solar corona, on December 15, maybe just a minute before 12:00 am, Greenwich Mean Time! It took the spotlight on the centerstage of the sky, when the sun was in the Yuletide part of the zodiac, as the Star of Bethlehem had done. You might easily think of it as the Christmas miracle of 2011! Speaking of Biblical miracles, however, I prefer to think of it as being like the parting of the Red Sea. A comet made its Exodus, from mediocrity in outer space to stardom in the heavens!

The "star of the show" is named Lovejoy! That's quite a fitting name for a miracle, wouldn't you say? It got called that through an extraordinary coincidence, or rather a synchronicity? The lay astronomer who discovered it is Terry Lovejoy. Comet Lovejoy, hereby nicknamed LJ for its ET-type of cuteness, is about 200 m (660 ft) wide. As a Kreutz sungrazer, its orbit brings it very close to the sun. All of the Kreutz sungrazers are thought to be bits of a giant comet, which broke apart at some time lost to the passage of several centuries.

LJ stunningly defied the expectations of astrophysicists on the 15th. LJ plunged through the solar corona. Being an icy object, it was expected to get 100% annihilated, but LJ lives to this day! Karl Battams, scientist at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., reported on Twitter, "I've worked with sungrazers for eight years; today was the most amazing day I've ever had with them!"

No one could be more expert than he. A scientist at one of the top labs on Earth, he must have top credentials, and he also has eight years of intensive experience, yet the odyssey of LJ stunningly overturned his expectations!How can this be?

Was it that the corona was cool (relatively speaking!), just by chance at exactly the right time? Even the part about the timing is quite hard to believe! Concerning the temperatures in the corona, they peak at 1.1 million C. No way can the adjective "cool" ever describe any of them, not even relatively speaking! But who says that being hot is the only characteristic of the sun to consider, as far as this miracle is concerned? Being well aspected, astrologically speaking, was a characteristic at the time, one very relevant to the miraculous survival of LJ.

The odyssey of LJ is among the best evidence ever for the case that scientists and professionals should take astrology seriously. Moreover, its miraculous survival has a message (of utmost profundity!) attached to it, intended for you, and all of us. Here are the plans. Plan 1: to share my reasons for saying that the survival of LJ is an odyssey through an astrological universe. Plan 2: to special deliver LJ's profound message to you.

Investigations into the validity of astrology are overwhelmed by the complexity of the subject. Rarely has astrology been researched under the controlled conditions needed for definitive results. The astrology investigated has been that of human personality, character, a subject whose complexity makes it very hard to keep extraneous variables from confounding the conditions of the study.

One way of bypassing this obstacle is not to limit astrology to the contexts of the character of people. Why not investigate astrology in the contexts of the characteristics of inanimate objects? We then can generalize discoveries from the simpler cases to the complex case of man. A similar approach has been long used in psychology: investigating the nature of man by studying the simpler cases of rats and pigeons. As different as the character of man and the characteristics of an object seem, really the two are enough alike that it is not too far fetched to investigate the nature and the destiny of an object via its horoscope, similar both to a natal chart and to a progressed chart. The comet LJ meets the requirements of such an object, unbelievably well!

Scientists are having trouble telling the story of LJ. To begin with, they don't know for sure when it came into being. Yes, they do think it's one of the bits of a huge comet, but thinking something does not necessarily make it true. The extent of their surprise by its survival means they don't understand it enough to tell much of its story.

Let me, an astrologer, try to tell LJ's story. You can think of astrology as a language for telling the stories of people and things.

The first thing needed for telling any story is a starting time. In order to use astrology to tell a biography, astrologers must pick a starting time. The time picked overwhelmingly and for so long has been birth, just because it is the easiest to determine and the most logical time from which to start. Birth has been picked so often to be the starting time that now it is an astrological convention. How hard it has become to recognize this fact: birth, as the starting time for the astrologically told story, is a choice after all! Other choices of starting times are open to astrologers, which greatly widens the storytelling possibilities of astrology. The coming into being of something may have been at some totally unknowable time, so that some other time must be picked from which to start telling the story. Such is the case with the story of LJ.

What time should I pick, from which to start its story? The symbolism of the sun and the moon is useful in deciding. If a potential father and a potential mother come together into a personal relationship, the result may be a birth. A common symbol of a potential father is the sun, and a common symbol of a potential mother is the moon. Using these analogies to make the substitutions, if the sun and the moon come together into an astrological relationship, called an aspect, then a manifestation analogous to a birth may result. Only about eight hours before LJ's sungrazing, at 4:05 pm GMT, the sun and the moon came together into a practically perfect aspect, the 120 degree apart trine. What a fine time from which to start telling LJ's tale in terms of astrology! Here's the opening of its story:

On December 15, 2011, GMT 4:05 pm, the sun and the moon came together into a perfectly trine aspect.

I have attached a rough draft of the horoscope of LJ, showing roughly the positions of the planets between the pm times (GMT) 4:05 to 11:59. Because LJ is an extraterrestrial body, the cusps of the Houses do not have the personal significance of earth-born things, so that the First House is the first sign, the Second House is Taurus, etc. The following, first row gives the positions at 4:05 pm GMT, the starting time of my story of LJ; the second row gives them at 11:59pm GMT, about when LJ was transiting the solar corona.

In the natal chart of a person, the tradition is that the trine aspect between the sun (23Sag19) and the moon (23Leo19) reflects optimistic self-confidence, physical vitality, and recuperative powers. All these qualities sound like exactly the ingredients in Mother Nature's prescription for survival through a life-threatening challenge. They mix together to make just the right potion, Resilience! Yes! What better fuel could there be, for propelling LJ through its miraculous survival experience? This is one astrological tradition supported by the Exodus of LJ. Here's the next sentence in LJ's story:

On December 15, 2011, GMT 4:05 pm, the sun and the moon came together into a perfectly trine aspect. Out of their aspect, resilience was manifested in the nature of the comet Lovejoy, "LJ", which was less than eight hours away from orbiting into the corona of the sun. LJ was making an Exodus from mediocrity in outer space.

The sun was well aspected, not only by the moon throughout the Exodus, but also by Neptune, in the neighbourhood of a 60 degree, sextile aspect. In the course of LJ's Exodus, the sun passed the threshold of the fifth degree difference. The aspect between the sun (23Sag39) and Neptune (28Aqu32) was just 4 degrees plus 53 minutes shy of a perfect sextile. According to astrological tradition regarding human charts, this aspect between the sun and Neptune reflects the force of creative inspiration in the native's life, with the potential to manifest in artistic and mystical experience. That experience is known to me as a poet. The Divine Spirit, in filling you, empowers you to write poetry, or do any art. At the heart of any artistically creative experience is the enthusiasm to love what you are doing. The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek, meaning, "full of the Divine Spirit". For artists to soar to the true heights of creativity, they need to make themselves receptive to that Spirit. So, does astrology predict that LJ also is inclined to be mystically minded? Wow! That really would be some expectation to have of any object, even one as extraordinary as a comet!

It is more consistent with astrological tradition that this aspect relates to the behaviour of the sun at 11:59, more than to any characteristic of LJ. Although plus or minus five degrees is not a rule etched into stone, the neighbourhood of plus/minus five is a common rule of thumb used by many astrologers in weighing whether or not an aspect is worthy of note. At 4:05, the time of the so called natal chart of LJ, the sun was still 5 degrees and 12 minutes away from the perfect sextile, whereas at 11:59, the sun had passed the fifth degree threshold to be just 4 degrees and 53 minutes away. This suggests that the astrological tradition more commonly accepted is to interpret this aspect reflecting some quality of the sun during the transit of LJ through its corona. I have already hinted at the identity of that quality in the preceding paragraph. Receptivity: that is the quality relevant to the Exodus of LJ, and the characteristic of the sun which we need to identify.

Indeed it is fitting to describe the sun as having been receptive! It let LJ pass through its corona. No amount of resilience imparted to LJ's nature would have sufficed, had the sun not been characterized by receptivity. If it is ridiculous to suggest even a temporary cooling of the whole corona, how else could the sun have allowed transit? My theory is that the shield of the corona parted, to make a cooler tunnel through which LJ could transit to continued being, and heavenly stardom! But perhaps only under the influence of the sextile aspect could such a wonder happen. I do think it really was like the parting of the Red Sea, the Divine Spirit filling and parting the corona that day, as It did the Sea during the Exodus! Thus continues the story of LJ:

On December 15, 2011, GMT 4:05 pm, the sun and the moon came together into a exact trine aspect. Out of their aspect, resilience was manifested in the nature of the comet Lovejoy, "LJ", which was less than eight hours away from orbiting into the corona of the sun. LJ was making an Exodus from mediocrity in outer space. During those eight hours, the sun was nearing a perfect sextile aspect with Neptune. Out of their waxing aspect, receptivity was manifested in the nature of the sun, that grew more and more receptive to letting a comet transit the barrier of the solar corona.

Two days before this, at 9:49 pm GMT, with the ingress of the moon into Leo, all the planets had vacated the Water signs. In spite of LJ's nature being icy in the chemical sense, it may be significant that Water, not only the liquid state of ice but especially one of the four elements in the alchemical sense, is absent in LJ's horoscope. Could this also be a factor in not disintegrating in the face of the fiery sun, as expected of an icy object? I don't know of any astrological tradition addressing this question, but it does work as yet another astrological piece in the puzzle of LJ! Its story goes on:

Two days before this, at 9:49 pm GMT, all of the heavenly bodies considered of major importance in my spiritual tradition had vacated the Water signs. This worked to reduce the aquatic characteristic in LJ's nature, which otherwise would be very aquatic, due to being an icy object, and very vulnerable in the face of the fiery sun.

From GMT 4:05 pm to 11:59 pm, the moon progressed from being over five degrees off from a perfect oppositional aspect (180 degrees apart) to being under one degree off. In human charts, traditional astrology interprets this aspect between the two as reflecting a tendency to develop psychological problems. It is believed also to indicate a tendency to try escaping reality through substance abuse. These two tendencies combined may make someone self-destructive. The climax of LJ's story does indeed, no less than "Hamlet", involve the question, "To be or not to be", even though scientists thought that being was out of the question! Once again, astrology lets the story go on:

As LJ approached the threshold of the corona, a philosophical scientist looked on, and thought, "Could Nature not have used energy more kindly, than to guide a comet from outer space to there? It would have been better for it to stay mediocre, than vainly to light up the sky so briefly, only to be annihilated in the corona!" Then natural forces raised the receptivity of the sun even higher, and the Divine Spirit filled the corona and opened a passage through it. LJ transited the corona, with a tunnel of solar heat all around it. LJ survived!

One more aspect remains to be included into the astrological language of the narrative. It is the most noteworthy of all, in uniting the horoscope. It jumps out at you on looking at it. Look at the attached horoscope. See the gap in the distribution of the planets, between the moon and Jupiter? During the eight hours of LJ's story, both the moon and Jupiter had been approaching each other, in the astrological sense of progressed charts, moving nearer and nearer the trine (120 degree) aspect. With such a gap, this progression towards an aspect is essential to unifying the bits of astrological information into a coherent story of the person or the thing. In a human chart, astrological tradition interprets this aspect as reflecting the spirit of great generosity. What on earth could this mean on the level of a comet, or any of the planets?! Did LJ become more and more generous?

LJ is inanimate, as are all the celestial bodies we're talking about. Earth, "Gaia", might be the exception among the planets. All the rest are not living; therefore, they cannot be giving. However, a Provident Deity can be giving, via LJ and the rest, but giving implies getting. Who is the recipient? We are, if Providence is giving us a message in the miracle of LJ. Indeed, Providence is giving us three messages! Just as LJ faced an utmost crisis, so also in these times do we. The characteristics of resilience, in the nature of LJ, and receptivity, in the nature of the sun, also constitute virtues which we would wisely take into our character. Enthusiasm, becoming full of the Divine Spirit, also figures in the narrative, in fact as the most essential of the three qualities. Here are the messages, if you let me be the humble but lively interpreter:

1) We had better think positively. That will give us the resilience to pass through the seemingly impassable obstacles, like LJ surviving the corona.
2) There is much promise of great teachers, who will teach us how to overcome these crises. We won't learn a bit, however, unless we first make ourselves receptive, like the sun became to LJ. The Zen Master can't fill the cup with tea until the student empties it.
3) Don't let fear of the future move you to egotism, which blocks enthusiasm from bringing happiness into our lives. "To be or not to be", is that the question? The miracle of LJ inspires me to say, whatever we do, our jobs, caring for our families, for our pets, whatever, if we do it so enthusiastically that we forget our egos, losing ourselves and vain pride in the fervour of the doing, then you and I will not ask, why be? Our happiness will get strong enough to make that an irrelevant question.

Here at last is the end of LJ's story, in which I also am included!

During these whole eight hours of the Exodus of LJ, the moon and Jupiter were approaching a trine aspect. Out of this aspect, inspiration has manifested in my mind, so that I am blessed with three messages behind the miraculous Exodus of Lovejoy. I pass this blessing on to all of you. The best that I can tell, here are the three messages. Be resilient, by thinking positively. Be receptive, in being open to the wisdom of wise teachers. Get enthusiastic, so full of the Divine Spirit that, in loving something you do, you lose all preoccupations with yourself. With these three messages behind the miracle, Lovejoy was not guided in vain. It made an Exodus from mediocrity in outer space, to stardom in the heavens! Get inspired by this miracle, and, even in these hard times, you can live happily!

So the language of astrology did enable me to tell the story of Lovejoy, a feat that scientists were too stunned to do. What more can I say on behalf of the value of astrology?!

For photos and more information, see
http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/lovejoy.php and also www.spaceweather.com

Happy New Year! May a "comet" of love, joy, and spiritedness soar through your life, enlightening your mind and your heart!