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Comet ISON

Picture Credit: NASA

On November 28th, the comet ISON will reach perihelion, or closest point to the Sun, as it loops around the Sun on its journey to and from the Oort Cloud, the hypothetical “home” of the long-orbit comets that visit the Solar System from time to time. Its visibility will depend on whether it breaks up on this part of its journey, and predictions range from cynical to sensational. However, the best viewing time (GMT) is probably around 7:00 a.m., before the Sun rises, in the eastern sky.

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It is still only visible with binoculars, but the pictures below show ISON’s constellational journey. Even if you don’t see it, you can “entrain” to it, feeling its movement through the Solar System, if you choose to. Comets have long been considered harbingers of disaster, accompanying important historical events. However, in the writing of Rudolf Steiner, he describes comets acting as agents of healing; as they swoop in toward the Sun, they accrue to themselves all manner of “astral debris” which is collected and flung outwards on its exit path, away from harm. (See below for notes on Ophiucus, too.)

The picture sequence below starts with a panoramic view of the overall area of the sky where comet ISON is active. Then there is a sequence of dates, which go through until December 7th.

Follow the journey, enjoy the story, and allow it to nourish your imagination …

In the pictures below, the label of ISON is in red, and most of the pictures also show its tail.  Look for Mercury and Saturn, making the third of their three exact conjunctions on November 26th, 2013. The ecliptic is shown as a green line.

Below: November 23

Below: November 28

Below: November 29….see ISON now on the left hand side of the Sun, having looped around it and passed perihelion

Below: December 1

Below: December 7

If we can allow our imaginations to sense and feel the meaning of the images suggested here, we participate in a deeply personal way with these energies. “Our” meaning is unique to “our” journey, and we do not need to impress it on anyone else, as it is not “the ultimate truth.” The experience of meaning is sufficient unto itself.

Here are some thoughts that came to me as I contemplated this imaginal journey…

The trajectory looks like an arrow or a spear piercing our Solar System, whose nearly circular, or elliptical, orbits weave their way around the Sun. A spindle, a distaff … a comet-sperm … penetrating the Solar egg. Dane Rudhyar spoke in terms of the “cosmic fecundation” which comets represent, as they cross over the orbits of the classical planets en route to the Sun and out again. See how the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun), the green line in the images, goes straight through the centre of the Scales. Here, charmingly, each pan of the Scales has a symbol … one is the Sun and one is the Moon. Libra, the “halfway” sign is the place where the soul is challenged to strive for, or allow, BALANCE.

Often our notions of what this would look like cause us heartache and stress as we endeavour to “live up to” our airy ideals. Libra is the only man-made symbol in the Zodiac, and shows where our movement towards “Mind” and “Civilization” becomes juxtaposed with our deeper feelings, soul intimations, and desires, and we must balance these energies. Uranus is the “esoteric” ruler of Libra, and as the planet of Awakening, it sheds light on where and how our “scales” are true and “justified.” This word refers to the correct calibration of weighing-scales, and also to the theme of “justice.” Listening to the news, one hears multiple injustices almost becoming “normalized” through a kind of “double-speak.” But here, comet ISON goes “straight down the middle,” nudging us on to the Middle Way? We may be feeling a strange kind of stasis, almost a frozenness, poised between our own internal opposites.

The claws of the Scorpion reach upwards to the central pillar of the Scales, here almost seeming to graph the Sun, as if reaching for something delicious, precious, and desirable. Reaching for the Light, accommodating a deeper level of inner balance, usually means an encounter with dense, dark and shadowy aspects of our experience (or the “world out there”) and reaching a place where we learn the difference between re-action and action. Re-action does not bring true clarity of momentum, and action results not so much from decisions, but rather arises from inner alignment.

After perihelion on November 28th, comet ISON makes its way upward, away from the ecliptic, along the snake Serpens, towards its head. It is held by the left hand of the figure in the constellation of Ophiucus, the infamous “13th sign.” This large constellation is often associated with Asklepios, pupil of Chiron, and famously called the “Father of Medicine.” The constellation is associated with plagues, and the healing thereof, as well as oracular activities and divinations. Passing by the Mercury-Saturn conjunction on November 23rd, it will perhaps reveal the negative thoughts that “plague” us, their origins and ultimate ephemerality. Healing is offered here … can we receive it graciously?

All images created with the program “Starry Night” 6.4.3., Simulation Curriculum Corp

Bio:  Melanie Reinhart has been a professional astrologer since 1975, and is a prize-winning Diploma-holder of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, of whom she is also a patron. She received the Charles Harvey award in 2004, for “exceptional service to astrology,” and has taught for leading astrology schools in the UK and abroad. She runs a thriving practice offering individual readings to an international clientele. Books include: Chiron and the Healing JourneyChiron, Saturn and the CentaursIncarnation, and a contribution to the anthology The Mars Quartet. Visit her website for articles, useful resources, and a calendar of her workshops and lectures.