Friday, June 22, 2012

Past Deadline: Earth to Venus - Come In, Please

“Huh. See?” said Groom-boy on the weekend. “There IS a full moon coming up!”

In the days previous we had been talking about all the weird, freaky things that had been happening in the world, such as the guy strung out on bath salts who chewed off another guy’s face or the guy who killed his roommate and then ate his brains and heart, not to mention the guy who killed and dismembered a foreign student and sent body parts to various political party headquarters in Ottawa.

The day after the full-moon proclamation, I watched as the Twitterverse exploded with tweets from people running for their lives as a shooter rampaged in the Eaton Centre in Toronto.

The full moon always gets blamed. Maybe that’s more comforting than the idea that these things happen only because this weird, freaky world is full of weird, freaky people who do weird, freaky things.

Still, it’s all been super strange lately, so I wondered if, perhaps, the transit of Venus is to blame?

This astronomical phenomenon takes place when the planet Venus slowly crosses in front of the sun. The Venus transits occur in pairs with eight years between them, but each pair is spaced more than a hundred years apart. The last one was in 2004 and, after this week (June 6), it won’t happen again until 2117.

It’s considered to be a pretty big deal in astronomical circles. You can bet there have been some festivals to celebrate the event.

Scientifically, the transit of Venus is an opportunity to get a measurement of the distance of the Earth from the sun.

Astrologically, it has other applications. While “causes weird, freaky behaviour” does not appear to be one of them, communication seems to be a theme.

Astrologists appear to agree this astronomical event is a powerful thing. Throughout history, people have recorded things that have happened in association with the timing of the transit.

One source I found mentions the 1874 event coincided with the completion of the Transatlantic telegraph cable, creating intercontinental communications by wire between the east and the west.

UK astrologer and author Alison Chester-Lambert suggests the June 6 transit just might save the planet, likening the sun and Venus to be a sort of “cosmic Superman and Superwoman.” She wonders if a magical solution to such things as over-population, over-consumerism, over-inflation, over-consumption and just plain over everything might occur.

She notes that when the Venus transit occurred in 1631 and 1639, it brought about a new world view. We learned the sun is the centre of our solar system (not Earth) and scientists were busy proving certain previously held theories were bunk.

Oh – and she mentions something about chocolate arriving, so this is serious stuff!

When the event occurred in the 1700s, all kinds of interesting things were happening with world power and churches, and the industrial revolution began.

In the 1800s, the transits marked giant strides in technology – including electricity for public use, the telephone, light bulb and recording equipment. An explosion of information began – with newspapers, the phone, telegraph and radio, and it has led right up to our current information technologies – and the Interwebs, of course.

Many astrologists talk about the transit in terms of communication within relationships. Apparently, because these phenomena often occur in the sign of Gemini, which is the sign of communication, it can serve to bring humanity closer together.

I suppose as we consider what has happened over the last eight years between transits, one could argue humanity has been brought closer together through technology.

Is this a good thing? It certainly means that whilst various weird, freaky people do their weird, freaky things, we can be sure to find them live on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

By the time most of you are reading this (if any of you are still reading, that is), the transit of Venus will likely be over for another 105 years. I, for one, will be staring at my phone with great anticipation to learn what it all has meant.

Or maybe I’ll just go find some chocolate. Woohoo!

Published in The Perth Courier, June /12

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