by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Persied Meteor Shower

A little streak of meteor light in the night sky 

The coming nights of August 12th and 13th are the height of the annual Perseid Meteor season. Visible mostly in the northern hemisphere, meteors streak across our sky every night for about a week and are most visible just before dawn.

Not much is made of meteor showers in the astrological world, but maybe we're just missing something. So what do we know about this event?

For one, we know that the meteors which shower down upon us from a comet named Swiff-Tuttle which has an orbital period of 133.45 years. If we just divide that number by 12 (signs of the zodiac), that gives us 11.12 'implied years'...which is a number close to what we would think of as the primary "Jupiter number" seeing that Jupiter takes 11.86 years to orbit once around the Sun.

Close though that may be, Swiff-Tuttle is a whole other thing than giant gas planet Jupiter. Consider takes Jupiter 11.86 (earth) years to orbit around the Sun. Go past Jupiter and Uranus and you arrive at Neptune, which takes 164 years to do a single-orbital thing. Pluto - whether you call it planet or dwarf planet - it's out there beyond Neptune and it takes 248 years to go once around the Sun.

When farthest away from the Sun (a point known astronomically as the 'aphelion') Swiff-Tuttle is out beyond Pluto. It's even out beyond Pluto, Ixion, Chaos and Huya, if you want to get right down to it.

At the other end of the scale we have the perihelion - the point at which objects in solar orbit come closest to the Sun. Measured in what is known as 'astronomical units' (or AU's), Earth's perihelion is 0.983 au. And Swiff-Tuttle's is 0.9585 au.

This means that Swiff-Tuttle makes its innermost curve to head out back into icy solar systemic realms pretty much in our earthly neighborhood, which is why we see all the meteors. If you think of it as Swiff-Tuttle throwing off droplets like a wet cartoon dog making a quick turn, you're just about there - the reason comets have tails (and are thus thought of by us as comets) is exactly all about this 'shedding' thing. (But no, you shouldn't worry about having to tell a comet to get the heck off the couch.)

The point here is that Swiff-Tuttle makes its entire orbital journey in just 133.45 years, which might mean calling it 'swift-Tuttle' would be more apropos - this comet trucks!

Considering all this as a metaphor - which everything in the solar system is from a macro/microcosmic point of view - that means that whatever Swiff-Tuttle brings to us is quick acting, has a quick affect, or comes and goes quickly. That the comet's 'way out there' aphelion point is in the Kuiper Belt also tells us that at the very least Swiff-Tuttle's meteor shower brings is a 'shot' or two (or three or sixty) of things we don't control and which end up being influential at some level on things we are doing, the way we think, or how we or our lives change because of these new influences.

The area of the zodiac which this comet comes from being in the constellation Perseus adds to this a whole mythical bent.

Benvento Cellini's Perseus

Perseus was the first of the great fabled Greek heroes. A son of Zeus (aka Jupiter, speaking of Jupiter) he ends up being challenged by various monsters conjured up by Jupiter (knowledge) and dad's ocean ruling brother, Neptune (water=emotion; Neptune= ideals versus illusion).

So right away we know this is a tale of generations, calling us to consider parent/child relationships, what we have learned, not learned or rebelled against with regards to our parents or family...maybe even whether we are 'turning into' our parents as we go along. Or whether we can accept being parents, with all the responsibilities and ultimately, the losses there implied as children grow up and go off into the world.

Important too here is that the monsters are not the parents. These are monsters conjured up by the parents - which plainly indicates they are psychological issues or choices which may have roots in family, but which you are acting out/on in your own life.   

The two most famous Perseus hero stories being the  slaying of Medusa and his rescuing lovely Andromeda from a monster conjured up by Neptune.

The story of Medusa is one we all think we know. But unless you've really dug into it, you probably don't really understand the full importance of the Medusa which is in each and every one of us - the Medusa in our own lives we are so afraid of. Medusa can be about facing the truth. Or admitting to yourself that you live in a world of delusions, fantasies...or that you're just kidding yourself about what reality is. Or what real values are. Or what you are capable of, have done, are responsible for, or so on. Medusa can simply be our fear of the new - or that if we learn better, we'll have to admit (oh, horrors!) that we were actually wrong about something. 

 --- (New! Link to my full length Medusa article, now posted here at astroPPM) ---

And sometimes that is (yes,) a whole giant and difficult thing. But whatever it is, if it's the truth, its the truth - there's a reason why Medusa's head ends up being mounted on the front of the shield of Pallas Athena, she being the Goddess of Wisdom.

As for Andromeda, she is a beauteous lovely overcome by Neptune (emotion) who Perseus, son of divine knowledge (Jupiter) is sent to rescue. In this assignment we get a good clear shot at trying to grasp the difference between knowledge and wisdom - they are not the same thing! Apparently knowing and understanding all (Jupiter) is not the same as wisdom, which would be why Athena is incarnated separate from Zeus (though sprung from his brow) complete with helmet, spear and various other kinds of weaponry - including, one would suppose, a pretty pithy ability to pronounce that truth which really hurts!

What does this amount to for our purposes, though? Probably that knowing and knowledge is static: it is what it is. Wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge - what to do with it.

In Perseus' case, Zeus (Jupiter) sends Athena (wisdom) to help arm Perseus - another hint about wisdom as the weapon or tool with which we do, not merely contemplate. And since Perseus' tale is all about going to fix things, we thus are informed that anything emanating from this constellation, like the Perseid meteors are about 'showering' us with not just the wisdom, but the need to fix things.

So don't be surprised if there are things going on right now which need fixing. Or which you're being challenged about in the sense of how to fix them. That Medusa is involved here (by Perseus implication) also tells us that there's some element of 'facing the truth' involved.

Edward Burne-Jones - Perseus rescuing Andromeda
from sea monster Cetus (associated with Aquarius/society
and Pisces/feelings, empathy, universally connective
emotional standards)

Astrologically, there are also two important fixed stars associated with constellation Perseus. The first is Mirfak. Also known as Algenib, this is a very large star estimated to be about 42 times the size of our sun.

Fittingly, Mirfak is conceptualized as the honorable battle, the accepting of a challenge - even the desire to compete. If Mirfak (which is positioned currently at 2 Gemini) is strongly aspected in your chart, you will embody or react to these concepts in terms of whatever planet or point connects to Mirfak's placement.

The other star is a bit more touchy. It's name is Algol, and it has a rather rancid reputation as reflected by alternative names like the 'Ghoul' and 'Demon Star.' Associated with the eye of Medusa, Algol is often simply referred to as the 'passion of the feminine.' And because of this, particularly in times gone by it has come to be associated not just with the 'evil woman' but with anyone who when prodded, wronged or prompted was of a mind to speak up, speak out or stand up for themselves.

Constellation Perseus

Positioned at 26 Taurus, Algol is without question a star which has two sides of it: here we either embody the effective or disruptive 'power of the feminine' (reflective response). Once embodied, everyone reacts to this energy - that's the guaranteed part, coming from the fact that Algol sits in a 3rd decan (degree 20-29) position of its' zodiac sign.

Mirfak is 1st decanate: it falls between degrees 0 and 9. So it's about our person or what we do. Algol is 3rd decanate - once we do what we do, then what we put out there affects other factors, other people, other lives...and in time, us: our reputation or our reception or our opportunities or our relationships.

At its peak during the August 12-13 period, the Perseid meteor shower is occurring with Neptune in a challenging square to Algol, prompting issues of disillusionment to surface. They may be past, they may be just happening now, or it may be that at this time facts are exposing you to truths you had denied or never wanted to know in the first place.

Meanwhile, there's a huge influx of energy by trine (meaning it's unavoidable) connecting with the Mirfak dynamic. The lineup here is Mars (proactive energy), Saturn (earning, structural rules, leadership) and Venus (relationships, products and reputations), so expect there to be calls for things to be done, get done and owned up to. This last is particularly underscored by a  rather compounding, compacting, metamorphic pressure-filled touch being thrown atop all by Pluto, still retrograde, inching backwards in early Capricorn, a sign ruled by Saturn.

That Pluto is retrograde now means that this is unlikely to be a moment of action per se...but what's rising to the surface now is not the sweet cream - it's something far fouler. Real change however...that isn't likely to happen until mid-September at least, as that's when Pluto with station and go direct.

But the shower of information? That's now. We're hearing it. We're seeing it. We're becoming aware of it.

Maybe we should pay more attention to these meteor showers. What do you think?


  1. What an interesting idea! Meteor Showers as astrological symbols. Very cool.

  2. If any object traveling through the universe matters to us astrologically, all objects traveling through the universe matter to us astrologically - at least that would seem to be the logic which works in my world.

    I hope you (and others) post comments on what you observe effects to be in your daily life, too!

  3. It is so much fun reading your articles,Boot

    The world is as we are from the macro to the micro,it is miraculous!!