The Sino-Vietnamese War of 1799 – I

6th Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Portrait by Castiglione (1688-1766) an Italian, formerly known as Giuseppe Gassilionio, who was systematically trained as a young student and has solid artistic knowledge

The Qing dynasty (1644–1912) was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was officially founded in 1636 in what is now Northeast China,. The dynasty had been successful in most respects and was wealthy, relatively stable and feeling secure within the confines of the Middle Kingdom and beyond.

On 08 August  1775, there was an impressive Annular Solar Eclipse, the path of which was easily seen in Southern China, Hong Kong and Macau, then continued across Vietnam on its way to the eastern regions of the Bay of Bengal. Probably the most striking feature was its relatively long duration, estimated to be more than 4 mins.

If we look towards 1779, four years later, there were momentous events which are some of the most remarkable in military history. Moreover, what happened is sometimes compared to the Tet offensive in the Viet Nam War of the 1960s and early 1970s. While they are not by any means identical, the similarities between the two events, separated by nearly 170 years, are striking.

The Tet offensive on January 30, 1968, was launched by combatants of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam directed at the South Vietnamese Army, the United States Armed Forces, and their allies. It was a campaign of surprise attacks against military and civilian command and control centres throughout South Vietnam. The name of the offensive comes from the Tết holiday, the Vietnamese New Year when the initial large-scale attacks took place.

In part, this article follows a conversation with a fellow traditional astrologer, regarding the validity of the expected range of influence derived by the length of the eclipse itself. Here, we would expect some sign that eclipse was indeed a portent of a given event or not.

Let’s examine the details of the eclipse. It passes over very few countries, over the open Pacific Ocean, until it hits Taiwan, Hong Kong and South China. It then passes over Hanoi. Mundane astrologers sometimes use the astrological chart either of the dates of foundation for the city or else the quality assigned to a region by Classical sources. We don’t have any Western sources for historical Hanoi or North Viet Nam. What we are given is a variety of dates based on modern occurrences, such as political events. Clearly, this would be useless when considering the Vietnam of the late 18th century.

I chanced upon a Vedic source which looks to be promising and the author states that North Vietnam/Hanoi is under Aquarius/Shatbhisa and China is under Taurus/Kritika. You can find the complete list and the explanation of how the signs are derived at  Rta Swar  (ॠत_स्वर)  Let’s proceed with this in mind and see how it plays out in a major conflict with China.

 

The chart is for the Hour of Mars and the Day of Jupiter. The Sun is in his Joy in the 9th House. The charts Almuten is the Moon in Cancer. The first clue is that Taurus (China) is in the 7th House of open enemies and the Lord of Taurus is in the  8th House of Death in a Mercurial Sign with Saturn. From this alone, we can see the potential threat to the established order Vietnam may be interpreted by the MC in Virgo.  Jupiter is Lord of the Ascendant in a weak sign and retrogrades in the 4th House. opposing Venusian Taurus. The symbolism of the empty house is hard to ignore, even if there is no precise astrological consideration that covers this situation.

 

Map of Vietnam 1829 (?)

The Lord of the Ascendant is in his Fall in Cancer and the string of the eclipse planets in the Ninth House is a heady mix.

“In the middle of the night on January 25, Quang Trung’s force took the outpost at Son Nam in Nam Dinh province defended by the Le king’s followers, who had been celebrating the New Year. It then rapidly seized one after another of the forts defending access to the capital. On the third day of Tet, January 28, the Tay Son surrounded the important post of Ha Hoi, some 20 kilometres southwest of the capital. Caught off guard, the Chinese defenders there surrendered with their arms and supplies.” (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/history#72278).

The Chinese forces must have been in a state of complete shock. The Vietnamese strengthened their defences using trenches, minefields, pit trap and bamboo stakes concealed by straw and anything else that would conceal the pits.

Solar Eclipse of June 30, 1954 – Brothers in Arms

The 1st lunar mansion of Cancer: الذِّرَاعُ “al-dhirā`” (the Lion’s paw) in Arabic. पुनर्वसु “Punarvasu” (The Two Restorers of Goods) in Sanskrit. Symbolized by a bow and quiver full of arrows in Jyotish. From [Wellcome MS Persian 373] Thumbnail 193 of Nujum al-‘Ulum ‘Stars of Sciences’ copied from an earlier work (dated AD 1575), which was probably commissioned by ‘Ali’ Adil Shah II of Bijapur in India. [Wellcome MS Persian 373]

The Total Solar Eclipse of June 30, 1954, is distinguished in no small part by its reach. Totality stretched from the US to Eastern Canada, over Greenland, parts of Scandinavia, Eastern Europe through Iran, Afghanistan and to Northwestern India. The most obvious historical connection is to a conflict between Afghani Pashtuns and Pakistan. I make this statement with some degree of hesitation because as the saying goes, a Pashtun is only at peace when he’s at war.  Afghani tribesmen are the de-facto military and warfare is taught alongside lessons in the Quran by traditional Afghans to boys as young as six., Therefore, we need to keep in mind that conflict is something of a natural state. The difference here, however, is that the conflict is between what we could well call brothers. In fact, the notion of hard boundaries between some Islamic countries is itself something of a rarity.

In addition, the politics existed and persisting between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are so convoluted and deeply ingrained, that I will not be rehearsing them here in any detail. I’m more interested in the larger symbolism and particularly as it relates to this eclipse, However, this particular, little-discussed incident represents something of an epiphany or crystallization of the larger theme of serious and protracted wars that would have included Kashmir and therefore India and Pakistan – conflicts that continue to this day. The war in Kashmir is at least as old as the time of Partition. It has hosted what has been called a shadow war certainly between India and Pakistan, but Afghanistan has also been involved.

The strategic position of Afghanistan changed when Pakistan was born. Instead of being bordered by a largely Hindu population, it was now neighbours with another Islamic one.  Nevertheless, this was still early days and the porous border with Afghanistan was to some extent exacerbated by her landlocked position. There was and still is an antagonism between Sunni and Shia Muslims and Afghanistan is also neighbours with predominantly Shiite Iran. Even after all this time, the lot of Shii Muslims in Afghanistan is not good and is perhaps even worse in Pakistan.

I don’t think it would fair to suggest that this eclipse alone augured for the conflicts between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but it is both relevant and highly telling of the greater conflict. Pakistan has a large Pashtun population beyond the concentrations we find in Waziristan, a mountainous region covering the North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies.

On 14 August 1947 (27th of Ramadan in 1366 of the Islamic Calendar) Pakistan gained independence. India gained independence the following day. The date given for the present state of Afghanistan is  4 August 1747, 12:01 PM in Kandahar. So, to put the conflict in context, this is not quite seven years into the young lives of either country. We don’t need to consult the chart for the creation of Pakistan for our immediate interests. It is impossible not to notice that the three countries are Leo. They have many things in common and many things to fight about.

This is the chart for the eclipse in Afghanistan:

Most obvious of course is the string of Cancer planets and luminaries in the 8th House of Death and Inheritance, themes which are very much at play, perhaps more so for Pakistan. Although history has celebrated the Independence of India and the creation of Pakistan (Land of the Pure) the depth and magnitude of the wound required to create a land for India’s Muslims are considered mostly within the context of the immediate results, such as the widespread violence between displaced Hindus and Muslims.

What is less often considered is the longer-term effects of the amputation. Pakistan was no small concession. It is an enormous country of 340,509 sq m., all of it once part of India. Moreover, the land had been handed over to what had not so long ago been invaders and often very harsh rulers. an estimated three hundred million Hindus were massacred and their religious sites destroyed over a three-century span of time. Members of other religious groups were also severely persecuted over the centuries. This mostly gets lost in the smoke and mirrors that constituted the politics of India and the British Empire. This raises the issue of duplicity, as shown in the 7th House.

Nevertheless, Gemini is, after all, the sign of the twins. The Lord of the Descendant is Mercury in Cancer but retrograde in the 8th House. It’s the Day of Mercury, but the Hour of Jupiter. The latter is also the Almuten of the chart. This brings us to the Lunar Mansion in which the Eclipse occurred.  The 8th Mansion is named al-Natra, meaning the Crib or Gap. It occupies 0* Cancer to 12* Cancer 51’What would seem utterly hopeless at first glance, turns out to be representative of opportunity.

In The Picatrix:, this Mansion denotes’ love and friendship and the ability to heal enmity.  Stephanie Johnson adds that Al Nathrah brings “a profound attachment to family and a love of children, even those of other people. This is not dissimilar to the interpretation of a Moon in Cancer.” (Lunar Mansions: Arabs and the Moon p. 5)  Dorotheus of Sidon has his own interpretation, but while the core themes remain the same.  there is great doubt about the longevity of the benefits. He writes  it is:

“Good for voyages, swift on outward and return journeys. Marriages contracted will be harmonious for a while, then discordant. A slave bought will deceitful, accuse his master, and run away. A partnership started will involve fraud on either side. If captured, long imprisonment.”

Durand Line Border Between Afghanistan And Pakistan

The two versions are not incompatible. In the short term, peace and understanding prevail. However, we know that corruption is rife in both countries. The core issue was and still is the recognition of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, known as the Durand Line. The issue was old even before the inception of Pakistan.  The history and ongoing strife are far too complex to rehearse here in detail and that isn’t the main thrust of this article. Everything is ephemeral in the Sub-Lunary Sphere and what this chart and eclipse show us is how the details, the smaller stretches of time, fit into the larger picture which is ultimately more massive than the human mind can fully comprehend.

Neverthe; less, in the short run, all looks quite encouraging. We have a truce rather than a permanent peace, which is what we might expect. The exaltation of Jupiter in Cancer lends a great deal of good-will seems well and Venus in the 9th House is quite splendid for two Islamic countries settling border issues. saturn is not respecting the Ascendant, except by aversion.

This does matter, however, because Saturn is all about boundaries and limitations of all kinds, and the party contesting the border can’t see that. Saturn is ion his House of Joy only because he can do less damage there.  Be that as it may, Mars is on the same Axis and the Eclipse – known as the axis of Hades and he has just entered Capricorn  This axis is after all, about possession of material things, either your ‘own’ or what is inherited. Again, this theme fits perfectly with the matter at hand. Mars is in his sign of Exaltation, but Retrograde. The antagonism is enough to get things moving, but not enough to kybosh all that might be gained.

Ficino tells us that Mars is soothed by Venus and Saturn is soothed by Jupiter. Both of these are operative in the outcome, albeit a temporary one. Venus accomplishes this by her position in the 9th House of religion. Islam itself is under Venus and both countries are Islamic. That brings an ultimately unshakeable degree of harmony, despite the boundary issues.  She is also in the sign of the Sun, and we are discussing two Leo countries. The 9th is the Joy of the Sun.

Jupiter, on the other hand, is strong, even though the house position is weak. He is still the Almutren of the chart. in his exaltation with a Cancer Moon.  He forms a trigon with Saturn and this seems to seal the deal. At the end of the day, the parties in conflict are they are brothers – and like brothers that will continue to scrap but always find a way back to each other. According to  Vinay Kaura, of Sardar Patel University, as of Jun 27, 2017 . “no Afghan government, including the present one headed by President Ashraf Ghani, has ever recognized the legitimacy of the Durand Line, which runs through mountainous terrain and remains largely unpoliced.” (MER. Jan, 2017. But what does a border actually mean to people who are partly nomadic and for the most part have no real concept of a nations state?

Considering both countries are strongly Muslim, the concepts of ummah and caliphate have much more resonance and particularly with the tribal populations of both countries. Ummah (Arabic: أمة‎ [ˈʊm.mæ]) is an Arabic word defined as “community”. It is distinguished from Shaʻb (شعب [ʃæʕb]) which means a nation with common ancestry or geography. Thus, it can be said to be a supra-national community with a common history. When Muslims speak of the Ummah, they would include Muslims from all countries. The Islamic ideal is a global Caliphate with all non-believers subjugated, so national boundaries between Muslims are going to produce conflict between tribal and Islamic values.

A nomadic family posing for a photo in the Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan

This is part of the never-ending story and there were and will continue to eclipses that are immediately relevant. My primary purpose here was to show how the eclipse describes the situation so eloquently.

Indian Cosmology : Astrological Mysticism in the The Surya Siddhanta – I

A Panchānga, shown above, is a Hindu calendar and almanack, It presents important dates and their calculations in a tabulated form. It is Jyotisha

Earth is a sphere

Thus everywhere on [the surface of] the terrestrial globe,
people suppose their own place higher [than that of others],
yet this globe is in space where there is no above nor below.

Surya Siddhanta, XII.53
Translator: Scott L. Montgomery, Alok Kumar

Many people who are familiar with Indian Epic the Ramayana, will recall the many deeds of Ravana, including the capture of Sita. Less known are the extraordinary feats of King Maya. According to the legend, the Hindu Sun god, Surya, imparted highly specific knowledge of the universe to Maya. The series of treatises on that subject is known as the Surya Siddhanta. It is the most ancient book on astronomy believed to exist and it’s alarmingly accurate.  In the history of astronomy and astrology, it is a key document of inestimable value.

To define our terms, Surya is the Sun or Sun god. Solar deities are ubiquitous for reasons that are plain enough. Without the Sun there is neither light nor heat, rendering life impossible..

Siddhanta is a Sanskrit term denoting the established and accepted view of any particular school within Indian philosophy. Literally “settled opinion or doctrine, dogma, axiom, received or admitted truth; any fixed or established or canonical text-book on any subject” (Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary).  Surya (the supreme light) was the main solar deity in Hinduism; and also represents the Sun in India and Nepal. He is one of the core elements of Hindu astrology;  “Surya was the chief of Navagraha and the Classical Planets. He had 3 wives; Saranyu, Yama, and Yami. From northeast India, 11th century CE”. (Curator at National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK)

A sculpture of the Hindu sun-god Surya. The god is in a typical pose holding lotus flowers. Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh, India, c. 1100-1150 CE. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

It has become increasingly apparent, with the re-discovery of Hellenistic and Arabian astrology that we don’t have all the pieces. Without the study of Persian and Indian astrology, metaphysics and astronomy, we are missing elements that cause the relative break down in later systems. I notice this often in the venerable Greek texts, where I’m not alone left wondering what on earth the writer was thinking. Moreover, some of the techniques handed down to us from these sources lack consistent credibility. Some appear to be next to useless after decades of experimentation.

It would be quite impossible of course to do more than provide an introduction to the Indian systems and to point to particularly relevant sources of influence. I believe the greatest synthesis of early astrological synthesis was achieved in ancient Persia. This is only natural as Persia is like a geographical bridge between the Hellenistic, the Babylonian and Indian. This is the first of what I anticipate will be three articles.

Western culture, beginning with the Greeks, developed a taste for, and some ability at, writing more or less objective histories. Cultures who valued reason and logic over the mythological have strong advantages and many disadvantages. Indians did not make absolute distinctions between history and mythology and appear to have been particularly adept at finding a way for reason and mysticism to flourish. The Vedas were never considered ‘fiction’ as such. A linear narrative has no place in this view and in fact, most Indians believe the Vedas have neither a beginning nor an end.  They are immortal. They are spiritual. They offer practical guidance and even mathematical knowledge. At the same time, the age of the universe is the age of Brahma.

The easiest way to realize the difference, which I have admittedly simplified to some extent, is to ground the understanding in the infinite, a reality in which the temporal is subordinate to the infinite in all respects. The infinite is, of course, the source of the temporal, but Western culture became amnesiacal about this a very long time ago. Logical categories can be helpful but they can quickly become nothing more than cookie cutters. This system attempt to reduce the complexities of human existence by making things appear to be smaller, more manageable and separate from each other. However, consolation is not always the road to truth.

The Surya Siddhanta is a treatise on traditional Indian astronomy, said to date back over 1500 years and attributed to Mamuni Mayan, a Promethean hero in Tamil culture. There is a vibrant tradition that tells us the work is 2 million years old.  Be that as it may, it forms the basis of the Hindu and Buddhist calendars. Subsequent mathematicians and astronomers such as Aryabhata and Varahamihira frequently referred to it.

In his own work, entitled Pancha Siddhanta, the esteemed Varahamihira,, besides the Paitamaha Siddhantas (more or less identical to the “classical” Védanga Jyotisha ) of Siddhantas Paulisha and Romaka (directly inspired by Hellenistic astronomy ) and Vasishta Siddhanta. Varahamihira was one of the only renowned Indian Astronomer, Mathematician and Astrologer whose name became familiar throughout India.

The book Surya Siddhanta has clearly been reworked more than once. However. it is not impossible that there was a volume with the same title from the Mauryan Empire, providing a date sometime in the third century B.C. in southernmost, including what is now Sri Lanka. Al Biruni’s India is a rich source of astronomical knowledge in India at that time.

Of immediate interest to the student of the history of astronomy and astrology, we are provided with rules allowing us to assign to the stars movements in accordance with their position in the sky. It provides the positions of several different stars of the lunar nakshatras and even addresses the calculation of the solar eclipse.

In the upcoming series of articles, I intend to look closely at some core elements in the Surya Siddhanta in light of astrological theory. One such element is the importance of the Nakshatras.

Hindu Metaphysics – Yantra Mandala illustration

The Introduction to the work tells us that “The Surya Siddhanta is at the top of this class of revelations. It was revealed to Maya an Asura, in all probability an Assyrian or rather a Babylonian.” (See Surya-Siddhanta (11935)    The Assyrian and Babylonian element is not at first particularly obvious, but as the work progresses we find some markedly interesting parallels. much of it in the realm of what in these days referred to as visible astrology, the periods and phases of the planets and more. Yet The work itself tells us that the Surya-Siddhanta was “revealed more than 2,164,960 years ago, that amount of time having elapsed, according to Hindu reckoning, since the end of the Golden Age” (p.I)

It is these massive periods that have left many astronomers aghast, although the late Carl Sagan was fascinated by them. We do, after all, look through a glass darkly and the ordinary human mind is not equipped to deal with concepts such as infinity or to fully grasp the significance of the knowledge that the light of stars that died a million years ago that haven’t reached us yet. What we are seeing in deep space is the distant past.

The antiquity of the transmission is calculated using the Nakshatra system – the matching of an asterism at the very point at which it would have to have occurred in this system.:

“In calculating the conjunction (yoga) of a planet and an asterism (nakshatra), in determining the setting and rising of a planet, and in finding the elevation of the moon’s cusps, this operation for apparent longitude (drkkarman) is first prescribed.” (p. 190)

 

  1.  Cf. Bhāskarācārya, Bapu Deva Sastri, la traduction en anglais du Surya Siddhanta, Lancelot Wilkinson (ISBN 3-76481-334-2lire en ligne [archive])
  1. This painting from a manuscript depicts the Sun and Moon. The deer is associated with the moon in Indian culture and often used to symbolize the Moon in pictures. Image by British Library (copyright CCO 11,1 Creative Commons).

Total Solar Eclipse of 8 August 1496 – The Mayan Apocalypse

Macrobius, Solar Eclipsxe

A dramatic Total Solar Eclipse occurred on 8 August 1496 with maximum eclipse at 20:36 UT. It must have been frightening for the indigenous people  The eclipse plunged the Sun into darkness for 5 minutes and 30 seconds at maximum, creating an extraordinary spectacle for observers in a broad path up to 236 km wide. The dramatic quality fo this eclipse means that to a great extent it speaks for itself.

First, we do well to put ourselves in the position of the observers. The Maya, for example, were sophisticated astronomers time-keepers and interpreters of eclipses.  This eclipse had dire implications for several cultures in the region, but it behoves us to focus on one for the time being.

Pyramid dedicated to KuKuulKaan”a Universal Solar Calendar. tracking the five movements of our Planet in relation to the sun, namely Equinoxes, Solstices, and the Zenith of the Sun.

Ethan Watrall provides a succinct comment on Mayan culture: “The Mayans religion involved several aspects of nature, astronomy and rituals. Most Gods represented a form in nature, for example, Sun God, Kinih Ahous, or Maize God, Yum Kaax. The Mayans were known for their calendars and astronomical buildings. These were used during their religious rituals. Similar to the Egyptians, the Mayans built Pyramid like temples for religious reasons. The main difference in shape being [sic] that the Mayan pyramids have a flat top to build temples on top. The best-known pyramid is El Castillo or Temple of Kukulkan in the archaeological site Chichen Itza, in the Mexican state of Yucatan.” Mayans Religion: Gods, Animal Spirits and Pyramids

.The first encounter with the Yucatec Maya themselves may have occurred in 1502, when the fourth voyage of “came across a large trading canoe off Honduras. The eclipse appears as a tidal wave of death for the inhabitants of the region. Keeping in mind that all these cultures held a special place for the Sun as a source of life itself, it must have a profound effect and would no doubt be taken as a bad omen.

I managed to recreate the chart, using Cancun as the location. However, the eclipse path continued through Mexico, Central American through what is now Venezuela and beyond.Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus), whose name means “Christ-bearing colonizer was the catalyst that changed the world of ancient American civilisations forever.

New Sun God Temple Reveals Maya Beliefs – Courtesy National Geographic

Most immediately, we can see that the eclipse is in the Fixed Sign and Leo, with Mars and a Venus ahead of the Sun. This is all happening in the Eighth House, associated with Death. Even Jupiter and Saturn are disposited by Mars. Moreover, according to Bonnati, the Sun is Hyleg, giving a stronger sense of the loss of life.

In a Fixed Sign and of above average duration, at 5 minutes and 30 seconds, we can expect the full force of this to be felt more than five years into the future. In fact, in the same region, the concerted plan to exterminate as many natives as possible and sieze both lands and resources was well underway, just a few short years after contact. We can say that even by the time of the eclipse, there was no realistic option of reversal and the Spanish used everything at their disposal, including germ warfare in the form of smallpox-infected blankets. The natives had no resistance to these diseases and were reduced by as much as 90% For these people, the events of the late 15th C. to the mid 16th C. in particular, were like an apocalypse.

Sanderson Beck tells us that by the end of 1499 Columbus had discovered “that there were extensive gold fields in Española. Columbus had already written to the Spanish sovereigns saying he planned to take as many slaves as he could; now he told them of the rebellion and asked them to send a competent judge. Meanwhile, they had authorized Ojeda to visit the mainland Columbus had discovered and which Ojeda named Venezuela, where he found valuable pearl fisheries.”  Spanish Conquest 1492-1580 By the time of the eclipse, the seeds were already being sown and an apocalypse was unleashed on the indigenous population of what are now several countries.,

Map of America by Sebastian Munster

The Eclipse of Thales

The eclipse of May 28, 585 B.C is of interest to a variety of disciplines such as history, astronomy, philosophy and not least because, as  Isaac Asimov noted, this would be the earliest recorded eclipse the date of which was accurately determined in advance of its occurrence. ” I doubt the veracity of that very much because there were civilizations in the Middle East and Central Asia who appear to have understood Saros cycles earlier than this. Nevertheless, it is true that it was the first accurate prediction of its kind in Classical antiquity. Recent scholarship has provided a wider view of the transmission of ideas from Egypt and the Middle East

This eclipse is known by a few names and one of these is The Eclipse of Thales because he us the one credited with the prediction. Panchenko writes:

“While doubt has been cast on the truth of the story, there are other accounts of it besides that of Herodotus. Diogenes Laertius says that Xenophanes, who lived in the same century as Thales, was impressed with the prediction, and he also gives additional testimonies from the pre-Socratics Democritus and Heraclitus. …  If the account is true, it has been suggested that Thales would have had to calculate the timing of any eclipse by recognizing patterns in the periodicities of eclipses.

It has been postulated that Thales may have used the Saros cycle in his determination, or that he may have had some knowledge of Babylonian astronomy” Panchenko, D. (2004). “Thales’s Prediction of a Solar Eclipse”. JHA. p. 275– If this is the case, we have an earlier Greco-Babylonian exchange of knowledge of celestial prediction than is usually accepted.

AristarchusOn the Distances and Sizes of the Sun and Moon 10th C. Reproduction

Thales is said to have visited Egypt and studied forms of mathematics, such as those used in land surveying, [he} “brought back to Greece the ideas of deductive geometry later codified by Euclid. Before 450 BC, Merton realized that a single period of 235 lunar months (19 years) would cause the popular lunar calendar to return to synchrony with the solar, seasonal calendar. At this time, the same lunar phase would be recorded at the same time of the solar calendar year. This period also gives a rough guide to when a lunar eclipse will recur at the same geographic location.” (2009). Solar Eclipses: Ancient Greece. Retrieved from http://www.trunity.net/cosmos/view/article/51cbeab47896bb431f685660

Contact with the Medians (today’s Kurds) would have given him an opportunity to learn star lore from the Persians and Babylonians, if not the Medians themselves.

According to the historian Herodotus, a Total Solar Eclipse occurred in the late afternoon during a battle between the Lydians and Medes at Kirzilmak in what is now Turkey. The battles for the hegemony of Anatolia had been ongoing for years. This is what he tells us that they “were still warring with equal success, when it happened, at an encounter which occurred in the sixth year, that during the battle the day was suddenly turned to night. Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen. So when the Lydians and Medes saw the day turned to night, they stopped fighting, and both were the more eager to make peace. The Histories Book 1 Chapter 74

At what must have been approximately 4.17 PM. the sky suddenly turned dark as the Sun was eclipsed by the Moon.  The warring parties took this as an omen that the heavens commanded peace. The battle and the war ended on the spot.

I managed to recreate the time of the eclipse for the specified location. This has more than one function. Not least is the doubt that the eclipse occurred on the specified date. See this rebuttal to Panchenko.

The eclipse is well into the last degree of Taurus. This degree is referred to by a few names, the best known is the Anarectic degree. It is the degree in which the Sign is said to be exhausted. In effect, the sign is ended and the transition to the next is about to take place. Venus is the Lady of the Eclipse.  How fitting this appears to be at the end of a war! It is as if the eclipse spelt out the end and the fighting turned to awe and mutual surrender.

The sight of the eclipse precipitated an unexpected and immediate ceasefire between the Lydians and the Medes, who had been fighting for control of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) for five years. Both sides of combatants interpreted the eclipse as a sign to reconcile. More often than not, eclipses have been seen as either a harbinger of some form of evil or a judgment of some sort. The latter would be a case such as an eclipse that occurred prior to the death of Richard III in the War of the Roses.

According to NASA, .in a solar eclipse, the Moon’s shadow falls across the Earth in a relatively narrow path, and the maximum duration of totality at any given place is often about 7½ minutes. However, the duration of eclipses is usually taken as the length of time between the first sight of the eclipse to the last, which includes all phases of the eclipse. This is not helpful and is often virtually impossible to reconstruct in the case of a historical eclipse.

The astrological community, past and present,  either makes no mention of either magnitude or duration, often making a vague suggestion that it might last for about six months or so. To begin with, this doesn’t take into account the relative strengths of mutable, cardinal and fixed signs. To be fair, many astrologers who make such claims are only interested in natal astrology and not mundane.

One of the clearest and most plausible guide was published by Sam Bartolet in a booklet “Eclipses and Lunations in Astrology” and has an introduction by Llewellyn George. My copy is showing signs of advanced age, but I believe the publication may still be available by special order.

Bartolet states that with regard to predicting the period of influence, or indeed when the effect will be noted at all, is a year for every hour of the eclipse. This is impossible for obvious reasons, so I take it that this is a typographical error (its typed by hand) and that minutes and not hours was intended.

Please note that I do not imply an influence of the eclipse, except for the initial shock, but instead consider all celestial events as signs.

In the case, of the Eclipse of Thales, the effect was virtually instant. The fact that the eclipse was in a Fixed Sign and third decan of Taurus, which is sub-ruled by Saturn would auger for a longer period of influence. Nevertheless, there appears to have been a civilizing effect and seven years after the eclipse, we have events such as the building of the Ishtar Gate and throne room wall from Babylon, Iraq is made.

The Hour is Saturn and the Almuten is Venus. This all seems to tie in well with the events of day.- a mighty judgement resulting in peace!

Total Eclipse of the Sun in 0029

A bird flies in front of a partial solar eclipse in Jerusalem photo credit REUTERS

Luke 23:44&45 “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.”

This a short piece which constitutes little more than a footnote. The interested reader will find it easy to reconstruct the events surrounding the crucifixion. I have not gone into the reported events narrated by Mark: ” And Jesus uttered a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. [39] And the veil of the Temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom.  [Mk 15:37].  But no doubt some will wish to refer to this also.

As is the case of many biblical and ancient narrative, it is often difficult to separate literary convention or what might now call propaganda from historical fact. It has proven to be often the case that a given narrative requires more than a bit of effort to discover the intended message and the facts of the matter. Religious texts are,  as often as not, metaphorical. Indeed, the idea of a completely objective history is a fairly modern invention and not without its own problems. It has yet to be seen whether humans are capable of perfect objectivity.

Nevertheless, there are some physical, astrological events such as we saw in the Star of the Nativity, that can be verified, albeit with a pinch of scepticism. The story, told in three of the four Gospels, of the darkness that came upon Jerusalem when Jesus was on the cross, fits nicely with other biblical tropes of a celestial darkness as a symbol of a spiritual reality. I’m not a dedicated biblical scholar and have little interest in the minutiae of the text at this time, as it does not serve our immediate purpose.

Many scholars have fallen victim to the expected date of the crucifixion,m which we associate with Passover and sure enough, there was an eclipse in that general temporal vicinity. That was the Total Eclipse of March 0033 March 19 (Saros 59)

Naturally, ancient and medieval Christians considered this to be a miracle and there was a widespread belief that this event was one of a few in the New Testament were confirmed by non-Christian sources;. However, modern scholars have discovered no contemporary references to it outside the New Testament. itself. 

The Total Eclipse of the Sun in 0029 November 24 was quite a spectacle as shown by the image below. The path of totality, shown by the red swath, crossing from the Near East to the Straights of Hormuz and beyond couldn’t be missed. However, it is almost four years prior to the estimated date of the crucifixion.

It becomes increasingly apparent that this is the eclipse referred to, but that was not as an actual event in 0033. It is a widespread convention in Eclipse lore that momentous events are ‘foreshadowed’ four years prior to the cataclysm. This is a misconception based, I think, on two famous eclipses that were in fact approximately of 4 mins duration. The great eclipse of 1910 is case in point and was said to have been a presage of the onset of WWI.  However, the eclipse in May of that year which is credited was only visible from the Southern Hemisphere and with the exception of Austrailia was not seen in any of the of countries associated with the war that broke out in 1914. 90 was one of the years that Halley’s comet visited us and perhaps the significance of the eclipse was later conflated with that.

If this is the case, and it is difficult to argue with on the grounds of the eclipse itself, the fact that none occurred anywhere near Passover, the passage wherein the light is extinguished may very well have been a literary convention looking back to the eclipse of 0029. This merging of physical events with spiritual significance is by no means rare in ancient narratives. The core symbolism of the eclipse of the luminaries, particularly of the Sun, is the death of a great light. That would certainly include the “light of the world.”

The Eclipse of Castiglione

On the 12th of May, 1706, there was stunning Total Solar Eclipse, with the Path of Totality running through the heart of Europe, from Southern Scandinavia through Spain. The chart for the eclipse in Castiglione Savarese, a town now in Northern Italy looks very ominous indeed. Any astrologer reading this chart would have taken it as a harbinger of things to come, particularly knowing the strategic value of their city and the.extreme turbulence of Europe, involving several powerful countries jockeying for increased wealth and hegemony. This needs to be said because making a prediction of an event that cannot possibly take place, such as a major earthquake in an area that has no significant seismic threat or to push the point further to predict a tsunami in Mongolia. When predictions are made, it is to the great advantage of the practitioner to take realities into account. This includes political realities. 

The path of the eclipse also looks like a visual depiction of the Swedish army’s sweep through Europe, over the Alps as it races from one conflict to another. or the French army under Louis d’Aubusson de La Feuillade marching to a decisive and assured victory.

The eclipse was exact for that location at 10.20 AM. The Sun eclipsed by the Moon in the 21st-degree of Taurus, which conjuncts Algol, the most pernicious star in the heavens.  Furthermore, Algol is between the eclipsed Sun and Saturn. This configuration in the  Tenth House augurs for the fall of Castiglioni. This is not to be confused with the more famous battle at the same location on August 5, 1796.

The history and political intrigue germane to our topic should be understood as part of a series of many, many battles. In one way or another, the conflicts began with the crisis of the Spanish Succession and the hydra head of ensuing conflicts involving several countries in Europe. The details are too many to release here and are not likely to be of great interest to anyone other than a historian of the period. However, a summary of the events that lead up the more than a century, the political and military situation is summarized thus:

Since May 1706 a French army of 48,000 under the said Louis d’Aubusson de la Feuillade was besieging the Savoy capital, Turin. Another army 44,000

Battle of Luzzara, War of the Spanish Succession

under Louis Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme was employed to bar the Austrians’ path from Lake Garda. However, Vendôme was recalled to Flanders to restore order after the lost Battle of Ramillies, leaving command to the inexperienced Duke of Orléans. Eugene of Savoy exploited the situation and dashed to Turin, forcing Orléans to split his forces. He left 23,000 men under the Count of Médavy near the Adige in case allied reinforcements appeared from the other side of the Alps.  The Swedish army under the Crown-Prince and future King Frederick I of Sweden, crossed the Alps and besieged Castiglione. Here, Médavy attacked and totally defeated the Hessians, inflicting a loss of 8,000 killed, wounded, and missing.”  These historical facts have been gathered from various sources, all or most of which can be found  @ Wiki

We are now in a position to see the progressions and comparisons of the two charts. Saturn has moved to conjunct Mars in the Ninth House and we can fairly read that as indicative of the foreign invaders, particularly with Aries opposing the city’s Ascendant in Libra. The lights are now weak in the 12th House and acting as hidden enemies. Saturn is Almuten of the First and fifth House in the Hour of Saturn. The chart Almuten is Mercury.The Scorpio/Taurus Axis of the Nodes in the Axis of Hades reflects themes of the Eclipse.