What is the Meaning of the Winter Solstice?

I'm On Astrology By Answers.comWhat is the purpose of the winter solstice, and what does it mean?

The winter solstice is a date of ancient rituals and the modern seasonal holiday that marks the entrance of winter. The earliest calendars were organized by the zodiac signs around the positions of the equinox and solstice to help ancient agrarian societies keep track of the proper times to sow the crops and reap the harvest.

winter solstice

The winter solstice in particular often indicated, “the light at the end of the tunnel” as at this time, the Sun reaches its furthest position from the viewer to turn back once again to pay them a visit. Thus, it signified the return of daylight. Read more in my article “Why Observe the Winter Solstice?” at Astrology.Answers.com

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Get Cosmic Astrology: The Book of Answers—Available Online Now

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Have you ever questioned—what’s the whole point of astrology?

Does its system of concepts hold any truth under the weight of the unfolding reality around us—and where did such ideas of astrological aspects, the zodiac signs and planetary configurations originate?

If you are curious about the origins of astrology –or- if you would like to unearth the connection between the microcosm that is human and the macrocosm that is the universe–Look no further than The Book of Answers.


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Cosmic Astrology: The Book of Answers holds all the answers to your astrology questions.

  • Where did astrology come from?
  • Why do we still practice it in modern times?
  • What archetypes in astrology can be traced in modern psychology?
  • How does astrology complete a metaphysical picture of the cosmos?
  • And how does astrology resonate with recent scientific theories of the universe?

If you often ponder the universe -or- if you are in search of a better understanding of the subtleties that connect the mind of human to the whole of the universe:

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History of Astrology

Cosmic Astrology: The Book of Answers uncovers the history of ancient astronomy and the practice of astrology. It goes back to the days of ancient Babylon and Egypt!

What separates the astrology of ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece, India and China? Find out the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology.

Ancient Calendars

Within The Book of Answers explore the connection between the sky and systems of time—the rhythm written in the stars and planets—named by the ancient Greek philosophers as comos—that reveals the mode to our ancient and modern calendars and clocks. Did you know that time and the calendar are constructed based on the motion of the planets and stars in the sky?

Sacred Geometry

Discover the fractal symmetry that builds the reality all around us and how this sacred geometry is written in the angles of astrological aspects. The human body, the growth of a rainforest and the harmony of music are all reflections of fractals, as outlined by the number “phi” or the universal expression of the golden ratio.

Sacred Geometry goes all the way back to ancient Greece with the Platonic Solids. Learn more about sacred geometric shapes and how each fit within the Flower of Life.

Philosophy

Learn how eastern wisdom follows the “negative philosophy” or limitless view of the universe with no need for a single fixed perception or point of view, while western systems of scientific method operate within a limited or “positive philosophy” of that which can be observed and estimated based on the logic of previously established fixed reference frames.

Cosmology

Learn more about cosmologies of early origins such as the ‘way’ of Tao and metaphysical myths like the infinite eight of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis in Egypt—two concepts that draw parallel philosophic connections in ancient times. Unearth those sacred esoteric connections that explain the interaction between “chaos” and “cosmos”.

Metaphysics

Do the positions of the planets and stars or astrological aspects actually have an effect on the Earth? Does astrology in fact influence human perception or the manner of all Life as we know it—and if so, why should we care?

Learn why the subtleties of all parts of the whole are so important, and how even invisible influences have the power to affect the reality in a very big way.

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Vitruvian Woman Revealed Within The Book of Answers!

The Oracle’s Library presents an in depth look at the history of Ancient Astronomy and the practice of Astrology. Ever wonder where astrology originated, or whether these concepts hold any weight in the modern world?

–The Book of Answers delivers an inside look at the root of astrological practice.

Cosmic Astrology: The Book of Answers

Cosmic Astrology: The Book of Answers is not a horoscope book–but a collection of historic origins and esoteric concepts that draw the zodiac archetypes and connect the sacred symmetry of the skies. Within its pages, explore the implications of sacred geometry, and learn how the trace of phi, the golden ratio resounds in the creations of nature–from the macrocosm written by the ‘wandering stars’ to the microcosm echoed in the divine proportion of the human body.

See the Vitruvian Woman revealed inside! 

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Cosmic Astrology: The Book of Answers is a modern interpretation of the myth and mathematics behind the zodiac. Unearth tales of ancient esoterica in harmony with the psychology and physics of great modern minds, like Jung and Einstein. Within its pages, the dimensional reality begins to unfold the shapes of Plato’s classic elements, and the trace of sacred symmetry resounds the golden ratio in Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”. East meets west as Tao is expressed, and scientific method is challenged. Time turns back the clocks of the stars, as astrological aspects paint the story of the ages in the sky.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tesla

Tesla ShadesNikola Tesla, the man of mysterious intellectual capabilities shook the foundation of science at the turn of the 20th Century, as he redefined the technological world with the electromagnetic transmission of energy—the spark of an idea that lit the globe with the gleaming monument of electricity.

Tesla gave us the knowledge to harness the energy contained within nature in the form of electricity. That is why, when you flip a light-switch, thank Tesla for his gift of alternating current—the breakthrough in electrical engineering that offered us the ability to generate and transmit energy across great distances.

1.Tesla Thought He Received a Message From Martians

Documented in the writings of Tesla is a letter sent to the Red Cross Society, which speculates his possible encounter with an alien signal transmitted across space. This “one, two, three”– as he described it—distinguished the signal he received from a place in space, maybe Mars? Then, he thought, this must mean there is a civilization much like our own on the red planet, and this would explain the source of these signals.

tesla contact with mars

–Despite this consideration, modern rovers display the footage of a barren land on the Martian surface.

Perhaps it was another inventor’s experimental signal being transmitted through the airwaves or the evidence of another little thing called cosmic rays—the remnants of high-speed, high-energy particles that reach Earth from deep locations in space.

2. Tesla Performed Electricity Demonstrations for Guests like Mark Twain

mark twain

In response to the widespread fear of the dangers of this new unknown technology electricity, Tesla calmed the frightened reactions of crowds through entertaining and informative scientific demonstrations. Much like the performance of an artist or magician, Tesla displayed the power of his inventions with admirable showmanship in hopes that this fear would be replaced by inspiration and wonderment for the latent force contained within our reality.

–Amongst the guests of honor that came to pay him a visit was the famous American writer Mark Twain—good friend of Tesla’s.

3. Tesla Opposed Drones Before They Were Ever Invented

Tesla DronesDespite the fact that Nikola Tesla was the first to construct a drone-like device–and his own curiosity entertained the thought of saving humanity from itself with the use of robotic technology as a means to arm all nations and end war in a gallant global ‘touché’— he was actually opposed to the use of such devices for the promotion of bloodshed and the continuance of organized warfare.

After a request from dear friend Mark Twain that he may have permission to use Tesla’s mechanized ship design for large-scale production of similar robotic war ships, Tesla expressed his opposition to such use of his inventions, claiming he would not much like to be the inventor who is remembered for the production of wide-scale destruction—having inherited this disdain for war from his father. He expressed these opinions after constructing the first ever remote control device—a small mechanized ship with three blinking lights to line the top.

–Because of this, Tesla did not push the development or large-scale production of drones.

“At present we suffer from the derangement of our civilization because we have not yet completely adjusted ourselves to the machine age. The solution of our problems does not lie in destroying but in mastering the machine.” –Nikola Tesla

4. Tesla Manifested His Vision Using “The Secret” Before It Was Mainstream

Before the 21st Century brought us the series and bestselling book “The Secret”—a treatise to the power of the mind and the manifestation of thoughts and dreams—Nikola Tesla manifested his own vision. In his youth, Tesla once heard of the grandeur and beauty of Niagara Falls and was captivated by its natural wonder. Before he ever set out on his journey to America, Tesla began to consider the implications of wielding the power of the falls to generate electricity for all to use.

niagara falls tesla

After 30 years, his vision became a reality, as Tesla did just that. In 1895, the construction of Tesla’s design was completed with the grand opening of the Westinghouse Niagara Falls Power Plant—the first hydroelectric power plant that sparked the electrification of all civilization and lit the early 20th Century streets of New York City.

–He would later reflect on this accomplishment as a true testimony to the power of thought and the manifestation of his own vision.

5. Tesla Shook Buildings with the Tune of A Frequency

After the mysterious destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge aka “Galloping Gertie”, some speculating bystanders knew no source to blame but maybe… a meddling dark wizard or the mothman? Not much was—and still is—known about frequencies. Yet the science wizard Tesla could’ve easily explained—the collapse of the bridge is caused by an external frequency interfering with the structural frequency of the bridge due to the natural resonance between the two. Tesla uncovered this fact with an experiment in his lab that shattered the windows of nearby buildings and shook the floorboards of his lab right below his feet.

tesla monument

With Tesla’s oscillator, he had discovered the concept of resonant frequency, as he had unknowingly tuned his invention to the same frequency of the structures surrounding him. In this “eureka” moment after discovering the dangers of what he had done, he took a sledge hammer to his own invention just before the police arrived.

–After the startled officers investigated the scene, Tesla replied that they had just missed the most remarkable experiment.

6. Tesla Represented the Earth Before the Establishment of Greenpeace

“The pollution of our beaches such as exists today around New York City will seem as unthinkable to our children and grandchildren as life without plumbing seems to us.” –Nikola Tesla

Tesla Car

–Also, his car the Tesla model runs on electricity–go figure.

7. Tesla’s Research Was Stolen, Destroyed and Seized Countless Times (Once by the FBI)

 Most don’t really mention much about Tesla’s numerous patents used in technologies across the world, those to develop the radio, experiments with X-rays, on the wireless transmission of energy, and the application of frequency to affect the ionosphere—thus, the weather. (It all sounds so very HAARPy–but that’s probably because it is). Tesla often experimented with high frequencies.

Tesla HAARP

Yet most of his test models, papers and works were destroyed at the pinnacle of his career, when Tesla’s lab burnt to the ground over the course of just one hour. This loss of work was quite discouraging, but disheartening was the lack of recognition and proper pay for the empires he had single-handedly prompted into initiation. Despite the fact that several of Tesla’s patents were used by inventor of the radio Marconi—copyright infringements-in-all—this man was still awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radio inventions. This pattern continued to hint the consistent (intentional?) dismantling of any trace of Tesla’s name, fame and legacy.

Tesla's Paper

In fact, it was so important to evaluate each and every paper of Tesla’s research—out of fear that he might possibly be a ‘communist’ due to war paranoia, or rather it became a perceptional questioning of his motive between the newspaper headlines of his inventions of the so-called “Death Ray” and questionably ‘suspicious’ country of origins—that entire boxes of Tesla’s papers were seized by the FBI immediately following his death. It’s okay though, right?–NBD. After all, they gave them back (certainly after makin’ copies) and inspecting all works to assure that these materials in the wrong hands would not pose a threat to national defense.

–Yet, if there was an actual weapon that could beam aircraft out of the sky (as outlined by the so-called “Death Ray”), the FBI would surely not have disclosed this intelligence to the world. After all, such inventions would grant the US the polished edge of the world stage.

8. Tesla Literally Unleashed the Power of the Elements

Not only did Tesla generate electricity with the waters of Niagara Falls, he also developed a machine that could produce a static discharge to invent an artificial lightning.

Tesla lightning

During Tesla’s experiments with lightning in Colorado Springs, his machine produced millions of volts and cracked with thunder heard 15 miles off into the distance–no doubt the rumble of over 100 feet long discharges of lightning flashing overhead his lab. Tesla blew out the circuits of the entire town of Colorado Springs with these experiements. He also claimed the wireless transmission of energy was a very real scientific feat—and the result of this transmission of energy was seen in the trace of an aurora glowing atop the transmission tower.

9. Tesla Entertained the Idea of “Life-Force”, Mind Power and ‘Akash’

Nikola Tesla thought science could only entertain those spiritual ideas pertaining to the concept of ‘akash’ and explored these conceptual curiosities by seeking the guidance of a guru. The wisdom of the guru—as other spiritual teachers also considered it—relayed that the transmission of thoughts between people or telepathy was granted by high frequency brainwave states. Tesla dreamt that he might one day find a way to capture the photograph of a thought, and considered the ‘akash’ or quintessence to be an entertainable subject in science.

meditation

Tesla always had a fascination for psychic phenomena, and considered the possibility that two people might actually be able to share thoughts based on the resonant frequency of brainwaves. This consideration came as a product of a dream Tesla recalled in his memory—the vision of angels flying overhead, then the sorrowful face of his mother on one of the angels—which revealed to him that his mother was dying. To his astonishment, the vision was true.

–Tesla considered the coincidence between such a dream and an external event in reality to be a possible indicator to confirm the connection between the minds of two people in the resonant frequency of their thoughts.

10. Tesla Was Outright Antagonized by Rival Inventor Thomas Edison

The invention of electricity was a battle between the two types of generated currents: direct current of Edison’s invention and alternating current of Tesla’s design. Edison saw how the efficiency of Tesla’s design could be the cause for his ruin and campaigned against alternating current tooting the dangers of its use and performing demonstrations for the public by electrocuting live animals. Edison also made statements to the public that alternating current would be most optimal for the electrocution of prisoners.

Tesla vs Edison

–Even though Edison was kind of a jerk, Tesla won in the end.

Imagine how Tesla the ‘father of robotics’ felt when presented the “Edison Award” after the totality of his life’s work of engineering electrical inventions, device patents and mechanical systems that fueled the world’s electricity went virtually unrecognized all but for the subcategorized award established in the name of his rival’s memory. At the same time, another took a Noble Prize for radio inventions provided by Tesla’s patents.

Learn more about the inventors brawl between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison with the babbling narrative contained within Episode 6 of Online Series Drunk History.

–Laugh because even if it isn’t historically accurate, it is kinda, in  some small way, true.

photocredit: Windell Oskay, Recuerdos de Pandora, An Eye for a Mind, Jonathan Crawshaw, Jenni C, Moyan Brenn, Tom Hart, outtacontext, Saket Vora, JASON SEWARD, Mark Mathosian

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Tesla’s Opposition to Authoritarianism and the War Machine

“There can be no doubt that, of all the frictional

resistances, the one that most retards human movement is

ignorance. Not without reason said that man of wisdom,

Buddha: “Ignorance is the greatest evil in the world.”

The friction which results from ignorance, and which is

greatly increased owing to the numerous languages and

nationalities, can be reduced only by the spread of

knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous

elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent.

But however ignorance may have retarded the onward

movement of man in times past, it is certain that,

nowadays, negative forces have become of greater

importance. Among these there is one of far greater

moment than any other. It is called organized warfare.

When we consider the millions of individuals, often the

ablest in mind and body, the flower of humanity, who are

compelled to a life of inactivity and unproductiveness,

the immense sums of money daily required for the

maintenance of armies and war apparatus, representing

ever so much of human energy, all the effort uselessly

spent in the production of arms and implements of

destruction, the loss of life and the fostering of a

barbarous spirit, we are appalled at the inestimable loss

to mankind which the existence of these deplorable

conditions must involve. What can we do to combat best

this great evil?” -Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla
—Read the full article by Tesla on PBS.

[from THE ONWARD MOVEMENT OF MAN–THE ENERGY OF THE MOVEMENT–THE THREE WAYS OF INCREASING HUMAN ENERGY]

 

Read from the collection of articles on the Tesla index at PBS.

Photograph by Alvaro Tapia

 

 


 

Written in response to Smithsonian article Tesla the Eugenicist

Sunspot Cycle Caused by Planets Jupiter and Saturn

I'm On Astrology By Answers.comDespite the attempts of scholars to debunk all forms of astrology, the use of heliocentric astrology demonstrates that the familiarities between the planets Jupiter and Saturn cause the sunspot cycle. The heliocentric conjunction and opposition of these two giant outer planets in relation to the sun provokes patches of magnetic reversals in the form of sunspots that can be traced with science back to the astrological aspects between the sun, and planets Jupiter and Saturn. If we take a closer look at cycles of solar maximum and solar minimum, a pattern begins to unfold.

Jupiter Saturn Sunspots

Learn about the scientific implications of heliocentric astrology and how the astrological aspects between Jupiter, Saturn and the sun fuel the 22 year sunspot cycle. For an explanation behind this phenomena, check out my latest article Sunspots Caused by Planets Jupiter and Saturn on Astrology.Answers.com.

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Photo by Jules Stoop

Survey of Stonehenge: Settlements at the Site of Prehistoric Cultural Capital

Over the last five years, archeological research teams have revealed an underground landscape surrounding the prehistoric site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England to map a timeline of the rise and fall of civilization on the Salisbury Plain.

stonehenge circle

With this most elaborate historical survey of the land surrounding Stonehenge to date, we can begin to piece together the scenes of prehistoric civilization through the artifacts and monuments that still remain at the site today.

The discoveries of this underground survey can be found within the BBC special “Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath”. With this look at the social and economic traces of cultural exchange in ancient Britain, the artifacts and sacred stone circles reveal a flourishing settlement with centralized power over the activities, resources and ritual practices of the people who lived in the nearby region of Stonehenge.

–For anyone who didn’t get a chance to see what was revealed in Episode 2 of Operation Stonehenge, I’ve summarized it for you below:

1. People Settled Near Stonehenge for 9,000 Years

After uncovering a Long Barrow tomb that predates Stonehenge by 1,000 years, scientific evidence has revealed the trace of organized civilization, which predates the construction of the colossal stone circle. But the very presence of such a Long Barrow tomb was a common Neolithic structure seen repeated time and time again on the continental mainland. For this reason, the Long Barrow community burial tomb suggests that the region was traversed by outside cultural influences in the early days.

2. The Settlement at Durrington Walls Flourished at the Time of Stonehenge’s Construction

Just 3 kilometers northeast of Stonehenge is Durrington Walls one of the largest–if not the largest–Neolithic settlement in northern Europe. It’s construction is often suggested to have been built a complimentary monument to Stonehenge. The remains of this prehistoric settlement span 500 meters wide, and the site of such a vast village of up to 1,000 homes or 4,000 people characterizes the population of the area with the same grandeur as the vast perimeter and grand monumental henge of Durrington Walls. The walls also suggest a hierarchic control over land and resources, which may have been further reinforced by the promise of safety.

3. Stones of the Henge were Brought from the Marlborough Downssarsen stones

Although sarsen can be found locally, no rocks as large as the megaliths of Stonehenge can be spotted on the Salisbury Plain. It is widely accepted that the particular stones selected as megaliths originated in the sarsen fields of the Marlborough Downs nearly 50 kilometers north of the building site. This fact is due to the sheer size of the sarsen rocks used in the construction of the monument that cannot be found in the nearby area. With the largest of the stones weighing in at almost 40 tons, it becomes even more difficult to grasp the level of human ingenuity and elaborate maneuvering it must have taken to pull 80 of these largest stones across 50 kilometers in an age of Neolithic technology.

4. Surveyors Used Geometry and Astronomy to Map the Henge Blueprint

Long before mathematics was defined by the Greeks (about 2,000 years!), the builders ofStonehenge had an extraordinary grasp of geometry. To construct this henge with such great precision, surveyors must have drawn a circle to mark the exterior perimeter dotted with the location of each megalith. One of the most important features was then added to the blueprint–a line to bisect the circle and align with the east and the rising sun. This sets the overall tone of solar symmetry that resounds in the monument’s construction, as within this etched circle, five hexagons are placed to display each of the megalith stone positions.

Stonehenge Geometry

After the floorplan was literally etched into the landscape, the builders then placed 30 of the sarsen megaliths at each position to mark the passage of the sun. With this information, the people that lived in the surrounding area could measure the most important dates of the annual cycle–such as the equinoxes and solstices–to keep in step with the natural seasonal rhythms of planting and harvesting.

–Thus, Stonehenge is primarily a calendar built to measure the passage of time at the height of an ancient agrarian civilization.

5. The Bluestones Hail All the Way from Wales

At the time of origination, the sarsen megaliths of Stonehenge gleamed white to contrast the later addition of the Bluestones. This collection of smaller megaliths placed within the exterior perimeter of 30 sarsen stones also adds to the remarkable exertion of labor it took to build such a grand monument–considering the Bluestones originate from over 200 kilometers away in the Preseli Hills of Wales to the west. In the days of Neolithic, such monuments to rival Stonehenge were virtually unheard of. Skeletons found near Stonehenge that also date back to the same time as the Bluestones reveal what is thought to be a family who migrated from around 200 kilometers to the west in Wales–near the same location as the Bluestones’ origination.

6. Henge Stones are Missing or were Repositioned Over Time

Stonehenge Memorial

Over the centuries, the Bluestones were repositioned time and time again–in what may have been an attempt to match the shifting stars to reflect a more accurate calendar of the seasons by the discrepancy between sidereal and solar time. If this agrarian society relied on the equinox and solstice to time the planting seasons, then this time tracking monument may have been corrected over the years to match the precession of stars, which shift at a rate of 1 degree every 72 years. Although the repositioning of the stones is still a mystery, an even greater enigma emerges from the grand sarsen stones that have disappeared from the site without a trace.

7. The Avenue Once Stood a Grand Palisade

Within the wider blueprint of Stonehenge, remnants of ‘the Avenue’ can still be spotted to reveal an ancient processional route. A long trench-like geologic feature caused by glaciation connects ‘the Avenue’ at Stonehenge to the location of the sarsen field on the Marlborough Downs. Professor Wolfgang Neubauer speculates that this route was the very ‘avenue’ used to transport the stones to the site. With a closer look at the Avenue, signs of a wooden post barrier bisecting the east and west sides of the route redefine this road as a grand palisade–a colossal wooden barrier up to 7 meters tall. The use of such a grand palisade is still unknown, but the construction of the Avenue is often associated with the cultural influences of the Beaker period.

8. Stonehenge Flourished in the Bronze Age with the Exchange of Tin

Clay Beaker at Amesbury

The Beaker period brought with it a rise in decorative pottery handcrafted from local clays as seen throughout the tombs near Stonehenge. The barrows and burial tombs grew with more elaborate artifacts and building materials began to reflect the rise of continental influences and cultural exchange. The addition of copper daggers found in graves in the area welcomed the Bronze Age of technological advances in the form of bronze metalworking.

–The island of Britain grew with great power during the Bronze Age due to the abundance of tin found throughout–a key ingredient in metalworking that when mixed with the correct measure of copper crafted bronze weapons and tools.

9. Artifacts Show Traces of Continental Trade Networks and Cultural Exchange

Artifacts unearthed at the settlements surrounding Stonehenge–such as copper axes from Spain, gold relics from Ireland and precious amber all the way from the Baltic region–reinforce the importance of the settlements as the location of an island hub for trade and continental cultural exchange. With the entrance of the Bronze Age, the construction of large boats began to be built in order to transport people and resources greater distances in record time. These grand cargo boats were built at about 16 meters long and weighed in at over 5 tons! Yet the construction of cargo boats allowed trade exchange to be conducted overnight, as these boats traversed the English Channel in just under a day.

10. Tombs Reveal Influential People and Social Hierarchy at Stonehenge

Bronze Age people favored the settlements surrounding Stonehenge, and this phenomena can be traced in number of  gleaming white mounds that would have defined the panorama of the ancient landscape. A clue into the types of people who called the Salisbury Plain home during the height of the Bronze Age is revealed in the largest mounds and burials that contain precious artifacts–a trace of rising wealth and powerful families or clans in the region. One particular tomb of an archer contained various weapons, decorative pottery and a Jadeite wrist guard from Spain, which demonstrate this man’s high status and suggest his network or connection to the continental mainland. However, one of the most impressive pieces uncovered at the site remain the decorative gold lozenge and gold studded bronze dagger found at the Bush Barrow.

Bush Barrow Gold

The solid gold lozenge is etched with precise straight lines to display a civilization with perfect mastery over gold-working techniques as far back as 1950 BCE. Even more impressive the craftsmanship becomes with a look at the 140,000 estimated studs that were used in the hilt of the bronze Bush Barrow dagger. Modern goldsmiths are so stunned by the minute size of such intricate gold-work that some speculate the labor must have been done by the small hands of a child. Following this high period, the fall of Stonehenge as a ceremonial place and the decline of monument building took place around 1,500 BCE, when prehistoric housing structures and common neighborhoods crept up into the grass hills of this once sacred site.

For a recap of the BBC’s episode 1 of Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath, check out 8 Hidden Facts About Stonehenge Revealed.

 

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Photo by Brian Fuller

Autumn Equinox Observances from the Ancient Past

The ancient Egyptians, Phonecians and Persians celebrated the New Year with the autumn equinox, when the hours of daylight and darkness reached an equilibrium. On this date, the first day of autumn, the location of the Sun reaches one of the four corners of the zodiac cross.

Autumn Equinox

The ancient sky-watchers used the stars above to form the constellation of the cardinal zodiac sign Libra–the Balance–to signify the time when daylight and darkness were balanced. This astronomical event held great importance to ancient agrarian societies, because it marked the location when the Sun and ecliptic traversed over the equator–an important event for timing the harvest.

Why Did Ancient People Celebrate the Autumn Equinox?

The importance of such a seasonal time marker as the autumn equinox was heightened in ancient agrarian society due to the nature of activities at this time of year. At this time, the harvest was in full bloom and the bountiful return after long summer hours of laboring under the heat of the sun revealed the promise of ripened, life-sustaining crops. To many people of ancient agrarian civilization, the harvest season was a time to count your blessings in the form of fruits that grow from the earth.

Harvest_moon

What Types of Traditions Are Observed on the Autumn Equinox?

In China, the autumn equinox is described as a day of balance between yin (darkness) and yang (light). Yet the autumn season in turn welcomes the winter, as yin takes hold and the light of the Sun disappears with each passing day. For this reason, the autumn equinox enters with an air of serious reflection and marks a time of preparation before the challenge of winter ahead.

It is thought that at this time, the festival sacrifice to the Moon or Harvest Moon took place in contrast to the sacrifice to the Sun, which was held on the spring equinox. The Taoist philosophers used the element metal to characterize the season of fall with solemnity and courage for the trials ahead.

Reap What You've SownHow Did the Harvest Determine the Nature of the Observance?

The autumn season of falling leaves offered a period of relaxation for ancient agrarian people, just before the chill of winter set in. It was a fortunate time if the crop yield was abundant, but also sobering if the harvest was bad. For this meant the abundance of living things would soon return to the earth, and food would be scarce if they weren’t already prepared. The darkness would soon creep across the land with the turn of each day. If there was abundance now, it was time to celebrate–for soon, the cold would force them to ration all resources for the coming winter.

–Thus, the harvest and autumn equinox is a time of reaping what you’ve sown.

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Photo by Paul Bica

 

8 Hidden Facts About Stonehenge Revealed

New discoveries have recently been made at the sight of the prehistoric monument Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. Over the last five years, archeological research teams at Birmingham University have unearthed an ancient landscape beneath the Stonehenge complex.

Stonehenge

With the use of high-tech radar equipment, researchers were able to survey 12 square kilometers of the surrounding area with such great precision, they have begun to map a blueprint of the timeline between constructed structures and monuments before and after the completion of Stonehenge.

–Last Thursday the first episode of Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath aired on on BBC. If you didn’t get the chance to see the first episode, I’ve summarized it for you below:

1. First there were Three Pillars

Before the construction of Stonehenge there were three “totem-like” poles or pillars unconnected to the later site. During the Mesolithic Period, those people who inhabited the area built the success of society and civilization from hunter-gatherer strategies. Because of this, it is speculated that the first three pillars were constructed, when people migrated to the area around 10,000 years ago. Back then, the land was prime hunting territory with bovine aurochs (huge wild cattle), and an abundance of flint also ensured the warmth of a fire.

Doggerland2. Then–Britain became an Island

About 8,200 years ago, the land that connected the Isle of Britain from the mainland continental Europe began to flood. The totality of what was Doggerland fell back into the sea by about 6,000 BCE, and the inhabitants of the Stonehenge area became isolated and stopped producing monuments for a few centuries to follow. Thus, a period of standstill began after the flood and around the construction of Robin Hood’s Ball (a causeway enclosure).

3. Robin Hood’s Ball Marks the Birth of the Neolithic

As people began to retire from hunter-gatherer survival techniques and settle the area surrounding Stonehenge, the continuous construction of causewayed enclosures similar to Robin Hood’s Bowl can be seen repeated across the isle. Circular ditches and gaps or the causeways distinguish this feature, and its existence suggests the separation of land as territory or rising local tension between groups in the area.

4. A Community Grave for Early Rituals Stood Before Stonehenge

An intricate ‘Long Barrow’ grave design as seen throughout continental Europe shows the rising Neolithic influences into the area. The Long Barrow grave can be found 2 kilometers east of Stonehenge and stands a far more advanced structure than all previous known architecture at the site. This particular community burial tomb was the place of ritual ceremonies and rites of the dead. These mass graves were speculated to house up to 50 people before being sealed.

5. The Greater Cursus Topped All Previous Architecture

A long oval-shaped causeway structure built similar to Robin Hood’s Ball spans across 2.5 kilometers near the site of Stonehenge.

Greater Cursus Stonehenge

Such an extensive enclosure of ditches and causeways was not made possible without the use of Neolithic Era technology and tools such as flint axes. This particular Cursus is suggested to have been connected with an early processional route. At either end of the Greater Cursus, two pits were found. These pits mark the location of a solar alignment and demonstrate the rising importance of the calendar to the Neolithic farmer.

6. The Local People Mined Flint on an Industrial Scale

Flint mines can be found nearby the surrounding area of Stonehenge with Neolithic industrial projects such as Grimes Graves. It is suggested the flint coloured with rare pink algae (Hildenbrandia rivularis) near Stonehenge became a mythical icon of the land, and if held under the warm water springs in the area, a normal flint would be turned bright pink. After Neolithic technologies reached the island, flint mines appeared in the form of circular ditches carved 12.5 meters into the ground and connecting in patterns beneath the earth.

Grime's Graves

7. The Pits of the Cursus Align with the Summer Solstice

 Two pits were discovered at either side of the Greater Cursus to mark the presence of a solar alignment on Midsummer’s Day or the date of the summer solstice. At sunrise on the summer solstice, the sun ascending above the eastern horizon aligned with the eastern pit, and at sunset, the sun descending below the western horizon aligned with the western pit of the Cursus along with the exact location where Stonehenge would be completed centuries later. With the rise of agrarian society in the Neolithic Era, time-tracking and seasonal marking monuments became more common. The grand size of the Greater Cursus suggests a ceremony that lasted an entire day.

8. Successful Surgeries were Accomplished by Neolithic Physicians

After excavating the area surrounding Stonehenge, skulls were unearthed that display what researchers speculate to be an early form of surgery. Despite the lack of modern medical knowledge, skulls showing signs of weapon injury were uncovered to demonstrate how early physicians were still able to heal their patients in a process known as ‘trepanning’. Signs of healing around the operated area confirm that some people were able to not only survive the battle but live to tell the tale.

–The next episode of Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath is set to air on Thursday September 18th at 8:00 pm. Stop by the Oracle’s Library for an overview of episode two next week.

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Fact or Fiction: Is the Force From Star Wars Real?

Star Wars "the Force"Is “the Force” from Star Wars Real or Science Fiction?

Let’s take a closer look at what George Lucas had in mind when he created “the Force”–the latent, all-encompassing metaphysical power of the universe in the Star Wars series.

You might notice it sounds a lot like the “quintessence” of the early classical philosophies, but in fact, “the Force” is more a play on the Eastern esoteric wisdom and the concept of Tao. George Lucas built the political dynamics, jedi philosophies and conflicts in the Star Wars world with influences from the time following Japan’s Sengoku Jidai or Warring States Period and action sequences in the style of Japanese Samurai Films or Jidaigeki.

The Force

You may now see how “Jedi” seems a play off the name of this film genre. This links us back to the origins of “the Force” in Eastern philosophies.

What exactly is “the Force” from Star Wars?

 –If you asked a Japanese samurai the name of “the Force” of latent and underlying power of the universe he may have answered “qi” or perhaps “kami”.

But still, he may remark that the greater universe is governed by the polar force of “taiji” (the Great Polarity) and qi is our extension of this force. Then the visual Tao symbol depicting taiji shows us the eight trigrams and two infinite forces in eternal balance–the Light and Dark Side of the Force. In Star Wars these two sides embody forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, although these concepts were originally defined as yang and yin.

Use the Force!

Does the Human Body Produce Electricity or Magnetism?

Yes! In fact it does. But you won’t find yourself shooting lightning bolts from your fingertips or salvaging your T-65 X-wing from the pits of Dagobah swamps. Instead, the bioelectromagnetism in all living organisms is essential to some biological functions. More about bioelectromagnetics can be found at the Bioelectromagnetic Society.

 

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