So there I was, researching the latest data on the
theory of evolution with the help of some friends who responded to my
recent column on the subject.
One wrote that "as a person of faith, I am indifferent to how my Creator
created me - breathing life into mud, the Big Bang, evolving from
monkeys - it's all good with me." Then he cited the Book of Job, in
which God asks, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the
earth ... when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God
shouted for joy?"
Yes, exactly. Neither creationists, the proponents of intelligent
design, nor atheists were there to know for certain about the beginning.
But despite the presumptuous claims of the latter, something started it
all, and we might as well call this creative force God, then search for
the methodology with inquiring minds.
My own inquiring mind has been all over the universe for most of my
life; one ex-husband declared that my mind was so open that people
tossed their trash into it. Be that as it may, my own tentative
life-view got hit again with the mid-August news story about the latest
determination from the International Astronomical Union about the
definition of a planet.
If there are 12 instead of nine planets, what does that do to astrology?
The new outside planets, Charon and the so-called Xena, might not make
much difference, but surely Cerus, circling the sun between Mars and
Jupiter, has an effect. Having the goddess of fertility and agriculture
between the gods of war and good fortune, makes a kind of cosmic sense
For the uninitiated, each of the 12 astrological signs has a ruling
planet except for Leo and Cancer, which are ruled by the Sun and the
Moon. With Earth not counted, the other eight planets had to cover ten
signs - so Venus doubled up for both Taurus and Libra, and Mercury
covered both Gemini and Virgo.
Many astrologers have insisted for years that there must be two more
planets, and here they are, with one left over! Ceres clearly fits
Taurus, the Bull. But nobody wants Charon, the cranky old man who
ferries souls across the river Styx, for a planetary ruler; so let's
skip him and claim Xena for Virgo.
Some astronomers are seriously objecting to naming UB313, Xena's formal
name, after a TV character instead of a Roman goddess. How to break this
to the scientists: The gods and goddesses weren't real either, guys!
Those of us in the Salem area should just be grateful that UB313's
discoverer didn't name it Samantha.
If I were in charge of these things, I would re-name the planet Uranus.
The Greek Ouranos wasn't a god at all, but simply the sky. Besides, it's
impossible to pronounce in any way that gives it dignity. I would call
it Athena, the goddess, interestingly enough, of both wisdom and war.
Mars, the god of war, is the male image, reflecting aggression, glory,
and what Achilles in the movie, "Troy," calls a chance for warrior
Athena is not interested in these things: she simply tells us that we
must respond to aggression with whatever it takes to preserve our
freedom and other values. I visited her temple on the Acropolis of
Athens many times when I lived there. Her alabaster statue sits near my
computer, reminding me that when faced with "bad," in any degree, at any
level, one must take up a spear and shield to fight for "good."
Anyhow, I hadn't seen any response from astrologers to the new planets,
so I wanted to call my friend Darrell Martinie, the Cosmic Muffin, whom
Governor Bill Weld appointed the official astrologer of the
commonwealth. Except that Chip Ford and I had attended his funeral last
month, so he wasn't available.
Chip was surprised that the funeral was held in a Catholic church, with
Darrell and his husband, Ed, being a married gay couple. I was more
surprised that there was tolerance for an astrologer!
I'd asked Darrell why he stayed in a church that, at least at the
Vatican's level, didn't approve of his marriage. He responded that he
was four things - blonde, Italian, gay and Catholic - and none of them
The funeral was presided over by two priests who honored Ed's spousal
status and obviously had enjoyed Muffin. Father Mulloy joked about their
theological "discussions," and Fr. Schmeruck laughed about the
astrological advice he would get from him; then told us that "Darrell
spoke with the stars." There, again the stars that "sang together."
Ed told me when I called to ask him about the new planets that in fact
Pope Pius XII had been interested in astrology. Later I learned from
Wikipedia that Pope Sylvester II (999-1003) was the scientist who
introduced Arab knowledge of arithmetic and astrology to Europe.
I do not believe that our personalities are set by rays shining from the
planets on the day we are born. But as is potentially the case with
evolution, God may have set things in motion with patterns that will
make sense when we questioning human beings have learned more about the
wonders of His creation.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem
News, Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, (Lawrence) Eagle-Tribune, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence
Journal and other newspapers.