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Astronomy and the Greek Myths

 
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David_Hannaford
gleeman


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 8:50 am    Post subject: Astronomy and the Greek Myths Reply with quote

Some time ago I installed an astronomy program on my computer. This enabled me to view a map of the night sky as seen from any nominated point at any time in history (I chose Alexandria, 1500 BC). With a few clicks it was possible to greatly speed the time base, and to see the slow movement of the "fixed heavens" (the background of stars) and the relatively rapid movement of the planets across that backdrop.
My object was to verify a piece of occult lore, namely, that the planet (and goddess) Venus was associated with the number five and the pentagram because when viewed over a period, due to the differing orbits of Earth and Venus, Venus traces out a five-pointed figure (the pentagram) against the backdrop of the fixed stars, returning to its original point after eight years. This I failed to do (maybe I need a better program Embarassed ) but I did make an interesting discovery...the behaviour of the planets in the sky matches the characters given to the gods and goddesses by Graves in The Greek Myths!
Venus is the brightest light, and consorts first with Saturn then with Jupiter, then Mars, while her most frequent companion is Mercury, which dashes about the sky from one conjunction to another, as Hermes was said to do in his role as messenger of the gods.
My conclusions?...the makers of these myths were advanced astronomers (because it would take generations of observers to notice and to record these facts, and this implies a society advanced in other ways); and that Graves' method of revealing the past through myth interpretation is vindicated.
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notarius
bard


Joined: 25 May 2002
Posts: 63
Location: Bristol, England

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:13 am    Post subject: Astronomy and the Greek Myths Reply with quote

Hello David,

This is fascinating! Several Robert Graves or Classical scholars have told me that Graves was particularly far out on the Greek Myths, although he did so much to popularise them, so this evidence of the accuracy of his knowledge is invaluable.

You and others may be interested that there is an online astrological chart for Robert Graves himself (born 24 July 1895 at 04:26:00 at Wimbledon, London, England) at www.khaldea.com. This is a "Freewill donation" site and its copyright restrictions (see below) prevent me from reproducing it here or giving the precise URL, but typing "Graves" or "Robert Graves" into the search box at www.khaldea.com will find it soon enough. Open source enthusiasts will also find a path to the image via Google, but should see the full copyright restrictions are stated at:
http://www.khaldea.com/notices.shtml.

Astrology is not a field I know much about, but imagine that the chart will be of some interest to you and others who are more expert.

Enjoy!

PatrickV
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David_Hannaford
gleeman


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:54 pm    Post subject: Astronomy and the Greek Myths Reply with quote

Thanks for the astrology link, Patrick, and I am sure that Graves has made a significant contribution to the understanding of that field too, as it also originated in the goddess-temples of the ancient Mediterranean.
However, my point concerned modern astronomy ... the observable movements of the actual planets of our solar system, and how those movements are expressed in metaphorical terms in Graves' descriptions (in The Greek Myths) of the equivalent gods and goddesses.
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notarius
bard


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Location: Bristol, England

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:19 am    Post subject: Graves' Astronomy, Graves' Astrology Reply with quote

David,

Thanks for that. Yes, I had realised the distinction before sending, but thought my little contribution in a related field may be still be of interest to some, so pressed "Submit" anyway. But, Astronomy it is and I'll leave further contributions to the astronomers...!

Patrick
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Neil Spencer
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:49 pm    Post subject: Graves' Astrology Reply with quote

To the Ancient Greeks, there was no distinction between astrology and astronomy, and if Mercury was observed to be flitting around the heavens making frequent conjunctions with other planets, then the planet's meaning as 'Messenger of the Gods' was being acted out literally.

Although astrology as we know it is a Greek invention, the Greeks took inspiration and observational records from the Egyptians and Babylonians (Ptolemaic Alexandria was astrology's principal birthplace).

I am an astrologer interested in the subjects' entanglement with English poetry, something the Eng Lit establishment struggle to recognise or embrace. I wonder if Graves can be added to the long list of poet-astrologers, which stretches from Chaucer to Ted Hughes by way of Sydney, Spenser, Yeats and Macneice. A chapter on this lineage is in my book, True As The Stars Above (Gollancz).

If any Graves scholars can point to any references in his work, I'd be fascinated. Obviously the White Goddess is riddled with esoteric lore, but I'm looking specifically for astrological references.

The usual numerological association with Venus is not 5 btw, but 7: the seven pointed star is ascribed to her as Ishtar/Aphrodite/Venus. However, the eight year retrograde cycle of Venus perfectly describes a pentagram, with 'stations' (tunrr-round points) at 72 degrees of the zodiac.

Graves' birth chart is intriguing. Sun, Moon, Mars and Ascendant all in Leo; what a glorious show-off!

Neil Spencer
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