"That black, maddening firmament; that vast cosmic ocean, endlessly deep in every direction, both Heaven and Pandemonium at once; mystical Zodiac, speckled flesh of Tiamat; all that is chaos, infinite and eternal. And yet, it's somehow the bringing to order of this chaos which perhaps has always disturbed me most. The constellations, in their way, almost bring into sharper focus the immensity and insanity of it all"
-Mark X., Citations: A Brief Anthology
Celestial Bodies and the Passing of Time
As ancient astrologers observed the passing planets and stars, countless journeys around the sun led to the recording of recognizable patterns in the sky. These constellations were given names connected to living beings. The twelve evenly spaced constellations became known as the Zodiac. As early human beings celebrated celestial bodies, each journey around the sun was marked with holidays, rituals and rites of passage specific to regional cultures and tribal identities.
From the planting guide by T.E. Black titled God's Way, the following diagram illustrates a modern example of what was once commonplace, incorporating astrology into farming and other day to day activities. Planting, building and even activities such as cutting hair were planned around this map of the stars.
Illustrations associated with the Zodiac linking human activities to astrological events have been discovered as far back as 1300 B.C. Recording the passing of time is an ancient practice. Methodologies may have changed overtime, varying by culture, but the practice has remained a core part human identity through generations.
The Gregorian calendar, common through much of the modern world is nearly 2000 years old, dating back to the rule of Julius Caesar. Our modern calendar is nearly identical to the Julian calendar, with a minor adaptation made in the mid 16th Century. Under the authority of Pope Gregory XIII the year was reduced by .0125th of a year to account for solar drift, or essentially the loss of a day every 100 years.
Celestial events have marked the passing of time, as seasons change and life. moves forward. In our modern world, how do we seek to connect with that which is comparatively ancient as we make our journey around the sun?
Modern Connections to an Ancient World
As modern human beings we are in the position of being uniquely disconnected. The digital age has made the world smaller, and yet we spend more time alone, looking at screens, separated from one another physically and separated from the natural world.
It is undeniable that our environment and daily activities have an impact on our moods, can shape and impact decision making. But how can we make deeper connections to the natural environment? Would connecting to the natural world, fellow creatures and human beings make us a happier more peaceful society? There is evidence that these questions have proven true for many animal species. The dorsal fin of killer whales, for example, flops over in captive animals due to depression and anxiety.
The pandemic has driven many of us outside be it for fresh air or just a different point of view. As human activity lulled, we have seen a revitalization of the natural world. Where smog has cleared, stars appeared. In areas where pollution shrank, birds, fish and insects reemerged. Perhaps the beauty nature has to offer us could pose symbiotic benefits of healing, connection and peace to us as part of a larger planetary ecosystem.
Reflecting on the predictability of the changing phases of the moon and passing of the stars can foster a personal sense of peace. Looking at something so ancient and realizing so many eyes before have looked up at the sky as they overcome their own personal challenges.
This months doodle is an opportunity to reflect on the passing of time, connecting with the natural environment and the effect external elements have on us. An opportunity to seek peace through meditation and reflection, paying attention to internal and external influences in a quest for balance. Perhaps connections can bring peace and healing to both us and our natural world.
Keep calm and doodle on.