by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2012

 Comet Bradfield from Cactus Flats in northeast Colorado,
 just before sunrise (photo credit : Starmom - May 2004)

This year’s Lyrid meteor shower comes to its crest on April 21, telling us that we can expect life to be  peppered with a ‘shower’ of ideas and input during this time.

The 'Lyrids' (as they're known) will be visible for several days - as they are every year - but with there being a New Moon on the 21st, this is a particularly good time to use the darkened sky as a backdrop for enjoying nature's splendor.

That said, is this an important, serious or otherwise earth-shattering astrological time? Maybe, maybe not. But whether or not it's is a time likely to offer grist for our mental mill. Little problems, figuring out how to deal with little problems, votes for and against things we’re considering doing, figuring out how to get things done and achieve our personal aims…that would all be entirely typical of this time.

Here's what NASA has to say on the subject. They've put up a nifty little video, too. Very astronomical!

There’s a blog on the Lyrids posted last year here on astroPPM...

...that deals (in some detail) about the theory of meteor showers and what comet Thatcher – the comet responsible for the Lyrids – is about.

At least at some levels. But like all astrology - there's always more to say!

For those who want the Cliff Note version of the 2011 'chat,' comets are objects which, instead of orbiting around the Sun per se, make big loops starting somewhere Out There and coming whatever distance in towards ol’ Sol.
In Thatcher’s case, the aphelion (farthest from the Sun) position is truly way out there: Thatcher’s aphelion distance is 110.443 AU (one ‘AU’ or astronomical unit being the distance from Earth to the Sun). Just to compare, Jupiter’s aphelion is 5.458 AU and Neptune’s is 30.44 AU.

So 110 AU? That’s a whole long ways away.

On the inside track, Thatcher is also something of a celestial overachiever. It’s perihelion (the closest point to the Sun) is at 0.9207 AU – and since anything less than ‘1’ would indicate something which is inside Earth’s orbit, this tells us that Thatcher is what’s known as a ‘earth crossing comet.’

Don’t worry though…it isn’t going to hit us. As a matter of fact, at this very moment, Thatcher is pretty much as far away from Earth as it gets on its 415.5 year orbital journey.

 The orbit of Comet Thatcher as diagrammed
 by NASA/JPL for April 22, 2012

But metaphysically, it still does cross Earth’s orbit. So this is an object which astrologically we would consider emblematic of ‘information coming to us from out of the blue.’

Or out of the very cold darkness, to be more outer space about it. And considering how outer space is pretty much a vacuum, this is an interesting commentary on meteor showers in general. The information which turns up during a meteor shower fill may well ‘fill in the gaps’ where some greater issue is concerned. Or they may be ideas which fill in the gaps in our time. Or ideas about how to use those little gaps in our time.

Drawing on the long-built logic and lore concerning the Lunar Nodes, we would also think that any other ‘Earth crossing’ object would also represent an ‘intersection.’ In this case the orbit being crossed is that of Earth orbiting the Sun: our greater life plan, our purpose, our consciousness, our life in general.

And the source? That’s probably the most informative point here. Considering where Thatcher is at the moment (i.e., near to being as far away from us as possible), that which ‘comes to us’ now – whether in the form of an idea or an event – is coming from…from where? From way out there.

Think of this in terms of expressions like ‘out of left field,’ ‘out of the blue,’ or the ever-to-be-marveled-at ‘from a whole other direction than what I expected!’

Can this be good? Yes. Can it be a pain? Yes. After all, let’s go back to that Thatcher aphelion point – 110.443 AU. That’s beyond Sedna, for goodness sake! Yes, even when Sedna’s at it’s farthest from the Sun, Thatcher goes beyond that.

And it’s not like Sedna is at its farthest from Earth at the moment. It doesn’t reach it’s actual perihelion (closest approach to Earth) until the year 2076. And even at that, it’s going to be 76AU away – over twice as far away as Neptune is from us at it’s furthest.

The orbit of Sedna as diagrammed by
NASA-JPL for April 22, 2012 

But let’s think this through…so Sedna is about as close to us as it gets and Thatcher is about as far away as Thatcher gets.

Put simply, they’re both way out there though Sedna is (metaphorically) ‘pressing in upon us.’ And that says that all the Sedna ‘issues’ – the management of our superegos and identities and all the problems which go with maturity (or lack thereof) and earning-versus-entitlement - or put another way, narcissism – are naturally being shown up either in our lives or in the world around us?

So this Thatcher ‘sprinkling’ we’re getting? It may be about any of these subjects. Maybe you’re becoming more informed about something. Maybe it’s insight which pertains to you or someone you know – or maybe even why you know them?

Identity – in it’s greatest sense, positive and negative – seems a key Sedna quotient. All the pluses and all the ‘ikky bits’ (as a British girlfriend once put it to me) are very Sedna indeed. Why? Because the good of our nature is that we either share or harness in making efforts and the greedy, me-me-me side of our personality, the side which says I’m entitled to do this or take it out on somebody else or try and make life all about me, my problems or my desires…that’s part of our nature too. By polarizing us in a way we humans think of as ‘maturity’ (emotional, intellectual, spiritual – one or all) Sedna periods signal when such qualities will be our signature, our challenge, our aim or our downfall.

So whether you’re having to deal with Sedna issues or Sedna ‘stuff’ is being evoked in you (either to your surprise or because its habitual)…or even if you’re just feeling bombarded by stories which strike you as Sedna like in this world…this Lyrid meteor shower is an adjunct to same.

But Thatcher – and thus the Lyrid Meteor Shower – is more than just about Sedna. Remember, Thatcher goes outside of Sedna’s orbit and from there ‘brings to us’ all the unsuspected things of life, all that we  have no control over in life (the Kuiper Belt). And along the way, it permeates our personal protections and societal/personal ‘masks’ (Neptune and Uranus)…it represents the metaphysical talent life has for inspiring, daunting and challenging both our efforts and what we’re ever so sure we know for true (Saturn and Jupiter).

 Diagram of the greater solar system (credit: NASA-JPL)

After doing all that, comet Thatcher then sails through the asteroid belt, illuminating, sparking and showing up so many possibilities and  pitfalls life and processes can hold…it’s about interrupting what we thought we were so sure about doing (Thatcher passing Mars) and bringing ALL that not just back to us and our life, but a little beyond.

A little beyond, you ask?

Yes. The planets which orbit between Earth and the Sun (that Sun being emblematic of the core of our existence – life itself)…there are only two planets there.

One is Mercury: our thought processes. And the other is Venus. Any way you slice this, these are personal and internal qualities. We act/interact with others to feed the needs outlined by Venus and Mercury, and by their nature in our natal charts (especially when combined with transiting indicators) we can tell how well (or not so well) these attributes are functioning in our lives.

Venus transiting in front of the Sun
(photo credit: Jan Herold - June 8 2004)

The astrological Venus represents value and worth - and the cause/effect of our being able to get the desired response from others based on the quality/qualities of our Self that we bring to the table - or put on public display, use in our interactions or embody as a 'product' we put out into the world.

When we say ‘worth’ here, we mean ‘self-worth,’ even though yes…many do try to substitute financial worth for a sense of worthiness.

(Hmmm…could we be hearing an echo of the Sedna maturity thing here?)

Probably the interesting quality about comets is their tail. The fact they have one, and that even when the comet itself is (as Thatcher is currently) far, far away, a smattering, a dappling of all they bring to us remains for Earth to be ‘reminded by’ once every year.
It’s sort of like how we celebrate ancient holidays. Or traditions. Or how there’s so much to be learned from the tail (trail, tales) of those who have gone before us.

Is it any wonder that at this time when economics and so much wrestling with what is basic and what is extravagant and being in simple touch (with reality or others)? It any wonder Sedna is now nearing its perihelion?

One would guess that there are many – too many – who are in the process of throwing all the rules and standards out the window. The ‘why’s are probably legion here, but everybody seems to be polarized, particularly in terms of ‘what’s wrong with them but don’t you dare point at me!’

Yes, it’s a challenge. Through what we do and our contributions to the world (and others around us) we hopefully earn respect, acceptance, love and (oh yes,) money.

Yes, this would be the Taurean precept, AND where folks try to make that short cut between ‘self-worth’ and ‘worth.’

From the real deal development of the internal Self comes (in time) satisfaction. That satisfaction is all about having known you really lived up to your potential. In spite of that old saying ‘the one who dies with the most toys, wins’ life isn’t about a competition with someone else. Exteriorizing our (self) worth to the point that we think what others matter is the measure of who we are is not only a bit dicey, but a sure and ready symptom of an internal self-worth issue begging to be nurtured.

And how to do we nurture them? Like the myth of Sedna teaches, as implied by Thatcher’s path, the Lyrids – occurring just as Taurus begins – urges us to tend our own mortal, mental garden. As to help, life ‘sprinkles’ (or ‘peppers’) us with ideas…and sometimes critiques or problems. The point isn’t to set us back. The point is to give us perspective so we can feel our own feelings, fix our own basis of perspective and in time, become more secure.
From our security, and from that which we create in life because we do feel secure – that’s where real respect from others and ourselves is born.   

So maybe you’ll get some really insightful glimpses on yourself, your friends or this world about now.

Thatcher was “officially” discovered back in 1861, and though comets don’t ‘come from the stars’ as was thought Way Back When, metaphysically, the point where they “originate” from (known as a comet’s “radiant”) matters.

At least astrologically, I mean.

In the case of Thatcher, it’s 'origination’ point ‘appears’ to be in constellation Lyra.

Constellation Lyra

From that, we can deduce that Thatcher – and thus our yearly Lyrid Meteor Shower period – carry at least a bit of the qualities associated with Lyra’s brightest star, Vega.

What's Vega about? Vega is about charisma - having it and how you use it. Vega is associated with great orators, writers, singers, salespeople and those who use charm to get their way.

Vega can be a great positive - or personal negative. Some of us use it, some of us are prone to getting used by it.

 Fixed star Vega as photographed by the Spitzer Space Telescope
(photo credit: NASA-JPL/Spizer Space Telescope team)

And yes, some of us use and get used.  

I mentioned Thatcher’s being discovered in 1861, but the Lyrids? They’ve been known to mankind long, long, long before that. We have a record in China’s Zuo Zhuan which in referring to May 22 of 687 BCE references the Lyrids.

And that tells us something else. Back in 687 BCE this meteor shower was occurring just at the very beginning of Gemini. These day’s it’s happening just at the beginning of Taurus. That’s a shift from mentality to self-esteem and a sign that the Lyrids are about a linking of though and self-esteem.

You may think this is about what we think of ourselves, and that may well be true. You may mean this refers to thinking through our personal issues in order to solve them, and again – I can’t find any flaw with that. You may think this linking of ‘thought’ and ‘worth’ is emblematic of the Information Age and all the intellectual property rights which are becoming more and more valuable and all the fracas about that. Or that it’s through our exercise of mind that we invest in ourselves and do anything of worth which (according to the Taurus pattern) give us the maximal ability to grow our self-worth and our financial worth (if that’s on our agenda) and wind up feeling satisfied and secure about our life.

Again, I’m with you.

So while this isn’t likely to be an earth-shattering moment (and if it is, it’s not Thatcher doing the shattering) this is a time when considering what life is really worth is probably apropos.
Then again, it may be a perfect time to sit and the window and gaze out at the stars. There’s something very humbling yet very reassuring to know how small we really are. It takes the pressure off…and somehow frees us to be more than we were when we got up just this morning.

That’s enlightenment!

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