I’ve mentioned in this blog several times now how I’ve been studying Astrology intently for the last several months straight (following multiple periods in the past during which I much more casually just sort of dabbled in it)… It’s been tremendously gripping this time around, and I have to conclude that maybe I finally just reached a phase in my life during which I was “ready” for all that Astrology has to impart. This is a concept that comes up all over the place: this notion of not grasping, and maybe not even perceiving, something…until we’re ready for it.
Interestingly, as I springboard into this concept by referencing my astrological studies, it was in one of the books I’ve been using in exactly those studies where I found a really thought-provoking example of just such a “blind until ready to see” kind of idea. The book I’m talking about here is called “The Inner Sky,” and it was written by a man named Steven Forrest. The relevant portion of the book occurs when Forrest is discussing what astrologers refer to as “the Outer Planets.” Obviously in human terms, pretty much all of the planets are insanely far away from us, so a distinction along the lines of “inner” versus “outer” might seem pretty sketchy to the uninitiated. In the astrological realm, though, Inner Planets are simply those that are visible to the naked eye, and were known even during the most classical, formative periods in the development of the field: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (and please note here that astrologers refer to the Sun and the Moon as “Planets,” and in so doing, they’re consciously using the term in the slightly altered sense of “heavenly bodies”).
Fast-forward from our ancient forebears, however, and then bring your time machine to a halt in the year 1781, when Sir William Herschel became the first human (on record, anyway) to realize that a certain light in the sky, visible to the naked eye but long presumed to be a star due to its general dimness and apparent lack of movement across the firmament, was actually a planet. Nearly named “George” by Herschel in honor of the British monarch, and then nearly named “Herschel” by other people in honor of its discoverer, heads arguably cooler and possessed of finer sets of aesthetics than those prevailed, and the newly realized planet was dubbed “Uranus,” named after the Greek Sky-Deity whose amorous affair with Gaia (Mother Earth) eventually gave rise to the great Olympian pantheon. Uranus in Astrology has come to be linked with the rebellious and the revolutionary, the individualistic, the genius, and the astonishingly unique…fitting, then, that Uranus is also the only planet we have that’s named after a Greek Deity, and not one of their Roman counterparts…
So following this collective realization by humankind of an additional planet, we can then jump ahead to 1846, when our species first perceived the planet we know as Neptune…and then 1930, when we discovered Pluto. New bodies continue to turn up, too, such as Chiron, the planetoid first recognized in 1977.
The great observation that Steven Forrest makes in his book is less about the bodies themselves, and more about not only what they represent in astrological terms…but that we didn’t discover them until humanity was ready for those things that they symbolize. On either side of the 1781 discovery of Uranus — Planet of revolution and rebellion and individuality — both the North American and European continents were undergoing landmark revolutions of their own, and the scientific “Age of Enlightenment” was progressing. Following the discovery of Neptune, which stands for concepts such as mysticism, spiritualism, and even consciousness itself, the world saw a great rise in occultism, the spread of Eastern religion and philosophy into the West, and the stirrings of social and charitable awareness (as Forrest points out, altruistic organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were conceived of around this time, slavery was abolished in the United States within a couple of decades…). The discovery of Pluto — Planet of Power, Transformation, and Regeneration — sat sandwiched between two World Wars, conflicts that transformed the world in ways that still reverberate through our civilization today.
Forrest’s supposition actually rang very true to me, and he goes on to hypothesize that we may yet discover more bodies even farther out, or more wildly elusive thus far to our sensibilities, because as a people, we’ll finally reach the point at which we’re ready for whatever concepts it may be that those bodies will represent to us.
So all of this has been a slow build toward the main thrust of this post: what will come next? What will that next planet that we discover be held to symbolize?
Here’s an idea I have about that…
If Forrest is right, and each new planet only seems to finally solidify in our collective awareness as we’re ready to comprehend what it signifies, what have we been grappling with of late as a people? What concepts dominate our thoughts, and especially if we can turn here not just to harsh reality around us, but to the things we seem to be embracing in our leisure time as our capacity for creating enthralling entertainment races forward…?
Certainly we love our tales of various doomsday scenarios: zombie apocalypses, alien invasions, cataclysms both natural and supernatural…these are all wildly popular, and their appeal to the masses shows no signs of abating any time soon.
But the other area of exploration I’d point to here — and which isn’t mutually exclusive to the various Tales of the Apocalypse, nor to things like the crime dramas we also love, and the political intrigues, and the action epics and the martial arts pieces — would be stories about the super-powered.
Think about it: now that CGI technology is reaching the point where it can actually begin to match on movie screens what wide-eyed young devotees of the comic book and the sci-fi and fantasy novel have been seeing inside their heads for decades, super-heroes and super-villains have become billion dollar industries. You don’t even need to be a card-carrying geek now to know that Tony Stark is Iron Man, or that Professor Charles Xavier leads the X-Men. The fan and the more casual observer alike are becoming indoctrinated into the world of the super-hero and the super-villain.
And my question is then this: are super-powers maybe what we’re preparing for…? Maybe the next Planet we discover will represent the next great evolutionary leap that we make. Maybe we sense on some level that super-powers are becoming imminent for our species, and we’re readying ourselves for this by exploring them in controlled ways as concepts in our entertainment before the big change occurs…?
Now, to be clear here, I don’t believe we’ll all suddenly get bombarded by radiation and then sprout fantastic new abilities like some tormented, angst-ridden teen in a Stan Lee funnybook from the early ’60s. But then again…don’t they say that we only use something like a meager 10% of our brains? What if the next big leap is what will happen when much greater portions of our gray matter suddenly begin to switch on…and what if this change brings with it all kinds of interesting new abilities? We could then be looking at new sensory input mechanisms we’ve never dreamed of…or maybe things like telepathy or telekinesis or even teleportation could become actual gifts our kind possesses. I’m not necessarily saying this will happen, and that I feel certain of this…but I am saying I don’t categorically rule such developments out as impossible, either. Stranger things have happened, right? Like…life blossoming up out of nothingness in the first place. The impossible is only impossible until it happens that first time…then it’s just more of the possible.
So be on the lookout for an announcement of a new Planet whirling about out there at the far reaches of our Solar System, and then see if you, your neighbors, and the rest of the world have started showing signs of being jumpstarted into something significantly more actualized. Hey…it could happen!