The Archer-Centaur
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Humanistic Astrology - Dane Rudhyar
Abstract meaning Concrete and Traditional Meaning Part of Body Ruled
Expansion of relationship.
The relation between relationships.
Abstract linkage and interpretation through perspective.
Open-mindedness, vision, honesty.
Tendency to generalize.
The will to conquer new fields.
Passion for ideas, compassion.
Love of outdoor and travels.
The thighs and pelvic region.
The ovaries.
Sciatic nerve.
Muscular system.
New Age Astrology - Alan Oken
I Seek Therefore I Am
positive natural tendency misuse or exaggeration of trait
vast and inspirational mind
sees the larger issue at hand
magnanimous and generous
teacher and judge
straightforward and bold
inability to regulate mind with matter
tends to false exaggerations
gluttonous, never satisfied
dictator and propagandist
loud-mouthed and coarse
Traditional - Llewellyn George
Physical Characteristics Mental Tendencies
tall, slender, well-made figure inclined to stoop
generally long or oval face, rounded forehead
expressive blue or hazel eyes, clear complexion
hair brown or chestnut inclined to baldness especially near the temples
tendency to stamp or scrape the feet
generous, good-hearted, good-tempered
just, frank, free
cheerful, charitable and friendly
active and enterprising
sympathetic, humane, somewhat impulsive
inclined to philsophy, law, medicine or religion
fond of traveling, voyaging and out-of-door sports and exercises
Traditional - Manly P. Hall
Emotional Key Words Mental Key Words
proud, zealous, energetic, hail-fellow-well-met, buoyant, openhearted, amiable, tender, idealistic, sincere, speculative, daring, impatient, not domestic, self-indulgent
jovial, progressive, philosophic, intellectual, eclectic, frank, just, good-tempered, intrepid, punctilious, oratorical, prophetic, curious, altruistic, extremely ambitious, financially inclined


Turning Aries Glyph According to the A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator by Llewellyn George, in Sagittarius, the Sun gives a jovial, bright, hopeful, generous and charitable nature. These types are very self-reliant. Active and enterprising, these are ambitious, perservering types who are not easily discouraged. They are honest and frank, so much so that they appear outspoken, but what they say often goes right to the mark. They love liberty, freedom and out-of-doors sports, but dislike a master, and simply will not be driven. Generally they have a strong will, but they are sincere and honorable. They are energetic and aspire in earnest, with a reverence for philosophy and science and possessing good calculation and foresight, to the extent of being prophetic as to the outcome of movements or enterprises.

Likewise, those who are born with Sagittarius rising are very independent, disliking a master and not allowing anyone to order or drive them about. They are inclined to be jovial, bright and hopeful, and are usually good-humored and honorable. They are frank and fearless in disposition but given to impulsiveness, and their nervous energy makes them appear demonstrative. They are intensely ambitious, making them appear restless, over-anxious and high-strung at times, but they are sincere, and quick to arrive at conclusions. Generally sympathetic and loving they often appear blunt or abrupt, rarely missing the mark in their deductions so intuitive and prophetic are they, possessing amazing skills of calculation and foresight. Intrested in travel, law, medicine and philosophy, they respect religious customs, enjoy outdoor sports, and are fond of animals. In commercial professions, Sagittarians are generally aggressive, quick to see and take advantage of opportunities and to consummate business arrangements, definitely enjoying "big business" and large financial undertakings.

Mutable Sagittarius represents fire in its most restless expression. In Sagittarius we move from Sorpio's compressed world of emotional instrospection to the high adventures of mind and soul sought by a spirited fire sign who loves celebrating the grander designs of life. Whereas Scorpio feels compelled to plumb its depths in darkness, Sagittairus seeks the sunniest of days to explore the immensity of human experience on a global scale. This easily inspired sign feels like its on some big mission of great collective meaning. Here we happily take to the expansive skies of a higher consciousness, one that allows us broader visions of what is and of what can be. The Archer enthusastically views life in this wide-angled manner, and tries to uplift the rest of us so that we'll do the same. The Archer realizes that while we humans are ideally all the same, culturally we certainly are not! Mutability lends a curiosity about how people and things work, and the pioneering spirit of fire helps Sagittarius feel it's on a quest - in this case, a quest for understanding the world at large.

Fire always seems to usher in new experiences, and in this third and last fire sign of the zodiac it can be said that Sagittarius exposes us to more inclusive levels of human interaction. It's interested in how society, for better or worse, impacts the lives of many and not just of the few. Sagittarius finds itself concerned with what's happening "over there", any place far away, even on the other side of the world. This is because the Archer is learning to develop an international awareness of how varied all societies can be due to their cultural interests, their moral standards, their art, their language, and even their honored religions. Sagittarius simply finds itself enthralled with all the facets that make each society unique.

Even closer to home, however, the Archer seeks to move beyond the dynamics of family life and into the broader fields of community involvement. This is the first sign to want to encounter people from all walks of life. Sagittarius supports human diversity, and the thought of reaching out and connecting with people in an attempt to create a more ideal society, is very appealing to this civic-minded sign. He is the "do-gooder" of the zodiac, always rying to drum up good cheer between people as it tries to promote ideals and visions that wil fire others up, so that they, in turn, will enthusastically contribute something of social worth. Make no mistake, however; this sign doesn't seek to build enduring structures that result in entrenched traditions (even though it is the sign associated with organized religion). Instead, Sagittarius takes on the role of the social prophet who shows others "the light" in hopes that something big and beautiful will come out of any revelations this sign upliftingly offers. His own dream of a model society is one that honors individuality and freedom. Of course it's a naive vision that doesn't take into account the need for rules and regulations, leaving it to Capricorn to take over those necessary parts of society building. Granted, if everyone was equally high-minded, honest, and decent as the Archer feels itself to be, then perhaps few, if any, laws would need to be made and enforced, since everyone would always be doing the right thing in ways that benefit everyone. Lofty, idealistic Sagittarius just doesn't understand why society's ironclad rules are so inflexible!

In Sagittarius, the self-confidence of fire and the restlessness of mutability join with the genial influence of Jupiter to create an expansive nature that cannot be confined. The symbol of the archer is really a centaur, a creature who is half horse and half man, giving Sagittarians a double nature, with one half rooted in the instincts, and the other half aiming at the stars. Sagittarius wants to know like its polar opposite, Gemini, but this knowing must go further. Gemini is content to think while Sagittarius must eperience; Gemini may let the mind wander, but Sagittarius wants the body to travel; Gemini likes to accumulate facts, while Sagittarius want to construct theories, fitting all the separate pieces of information into an all-encompassing world-view.

Sagittarians are eager to share their experience with others, their expression ranging from arrogant bombast to raified abstraction, from devastating satire to evangelistic fervor. Whatever the genre, their motive is to convince, which is why they are better talkers than listeners. They must be free to pursue their truth unhampered, but having arrived at it, they may forget the winding path that led them there in their desire to spread it around. The influence of Jupiter can give them a tendency to self-righteousness and arrogance, but it also is responsible for their best qualities - their faith, their optimism and their sense of humor. Even as infants Sagittarians are very active and hate being confined, and they are usually early walkers and probably early talkers as well.

Sagittarius takes social consciousness a step further, expanding upon his understanding of human relationships in an attempt to bring order into the conglomeration of life principles and experiences. His prefereed method of doing so is to establish judicial, moral and religious codes which serve as the intellectual framework for the socioeconomic structure that is Capricorn's province. Remember, Sagittarius is primarily a mentally oriented sign, governed by logic. This mental outlook is quite different from that of its polar opposite, Gemini, who is more concerned with precepts and relationships that aid the individual in his rapport with his immediate social condition centered within the confines of family or tribe. Sagittarius is not particularly concerned with the individual's welfare but rather with the well-being of the State, or humanity in general. His mind enlarges the mercurial goal of behaving in a certain manner into the Jupiterian concept that "man must have certain laws to govern his behavior and lead him to righteousness".

Whereas Germini searches for a methodology in his individual conduct, Sagittarius is looking for the Absolute Truth underlying all causes. His is the mind of the theologian, the philosopher and the social scientist seeking values which are proper and eternal; values which are omnipotent and unchanging (although not unchangeable). Believing in his own method of judging the world's affairs as "the" path toward the Sagittarius: The Centaur by theperianTraditional Art©2011-2012 theperian good life he can become quite dogmatic in his personal dealings with people and narrow minded in his vast specualtions on la condition humaine. The Spanish inquisition was the embodiment of this negative aspect of the Sagittarian thinking process. The religious zeal of the inquisitors in the defense and preservation of what they believed was the true state of the Catholic faith knew no bounds.

While Sagittarius ultimately seeks to unite Man with a larger philosophy, to a deity, his is not the mystical religion of Scorpio or the blind faith of Pisces. Born of Gaia, Goddess of the earth, the Centaur seeks to give to Man a practical philosophy suitable to social growth and harmony. Though his head may soar to the highest clouds of inspiration, his ponderous legs walk firmly upon the ground. He is not the inventor of new methods of social behavior, nor a reformer, least of all a revolutionary, but rather the preserver of cultural traditions, seeking to build upon what has already been established. His contribution is to systematize all this collected data and amassed energy. It's not that he is opposed to change; he is opposed to the complete overthrow of what has already come into being, preferring to modify the established order. He may not be the author of governmental constitutions, but he surely will insist on including a clause permitting amendments.

In Archetypes of the Zodiac, Kathleen Burt tells us that each year around November 20, we who live in the temperate zone experience the entry of the Sun into Sagittarius, a cheerful, optimistic, lighhearted 30-day interval between two of the zodiac's most earnest, serious-minded, striving signs - Scorpio and Capricorn. It seems perfect synchronicity that here in the United States our Thanksgiving holiday falls in Sagittarius, a time to celebrate our gratitude for being alive, happy and healthy, counting our blessings together with friends and family. Such a jovial festival of overeating is truly in the spirit of All Highest Zeus, or Jupiter, as the Romans called him, the ruler of Sagittarius. When we reach the ninth sign, and the ninth house, we have emerged from the murky, swampy waters of the Scorpionic Unconscious to bask once more in the sunlight of a solar Fire sign to again experience conscious, extroverted energy. Traditionally astrologers have associated Sagittarius with Spirit, expansion of awareness, aspiring to greatness, and the ability to motivate, inspire, or "fire up" others. There is a sense of playfulness to Sagittarius, and many who participate in the Sagittarian archetype through Sun sign, rising sign or prominent Jupiter in the horoscope have this sort of playful approach to life, tending, as a result of expecting good things to happen to them, to draw many positive experiences in the course of their lifetime.

The glyph or symbol for Sagittarius is the arrow, and in ancient Greece as well as India, archery was an important psychological and spiritual discipline. Mastery of archery was a type of self-mastery as the student developed patience and presence of mind, learning to flow with the action as the arrow is released at the target. In the motion of releasing the arrow, the mind and body of the archer were one with the bow, the arrow, the motion and the target. Education is often a major part of the Sagittarian path and those who persevere in their studies benefit from the discipline, learning to organize their thoughts instead of just blurting them out, a well-known Sagittarian trait. Without training in presenting their large ideas, Sagittarians can just indulge themselves in Gemini-like babble. They have a tendency to over generalize, so mental training can help them to think sequentially as well as imaginatively. What, then, does the higher Sagittarian shoot his arrow at? What is the highest target at which he should aim? The answer is Truth, which is what Zeus, in his highest manifestation, meant to the Greeks, and is what is implied in the Sagittarian search for honesty, sincerity, integrity and just judgment.

We can easily appreciate the positive key words the Greeks attributed to Zeus - magnanimity, majesty or power, beneficence, abundance, spirituality, joviality or optimism, justice, truth and wisdom. This would be the archetypal ideal, the Counselor, All Seeing Zeus, and Zeus the Wise as he is called in Homer's The Illiad. But in the myths of Zeus one can also find the negative qualities often associated with Sagittarians - arrogant, proud, negligent, overly optimistic, wasteful, provocative, extravagant and fanatical. Indeed, Liz Greene in The Astology of Fate tells us that in Sagittarius fanaticism is often closely linked with deep inner doubts. But to the Greeks, Zeus was primarily regarded as the upholder of the Cosmic Order, Cosmic Law, Justice, Truth and Virtue. As such, Zeus presided over promises made and oaths taken before witnessess, often punishing perjurers by sending them to Tartarus. Zeus, sitting on his tribunal, does not weigh the words but instictively knows the truth or falsity behind them, and like Zeus, Sagittarians have an instinct for the truth that allows them to look beyond the Gemini facts, no matter how beautifully organized, and see the fallacy. This is what makes the archetype so appropriate to the courtroom environment.

Like Zeus, Sagittarians have a strong sense of justice, and as extroverts, often crusade on others' behalf, attempting to set others' wrongs right. But their view of justice is different from that of Libra. While Libra is concerned with fairness and a mental balance of the scales, fiery Sagittarius is coming from the emotions and the desire to act - to do something to right the wrongs in the environment. But Father Zeus was not simply a just Judge, but was also a merciful Father. He did not hold grudges, a trait common to Sagittarians who although quick to anger, are just as quick to forgive.

Sagittarius A*Photo: NASA During the month of Sagittarius, the world is locked in the depths of winter, the landscape quiet, buried under snow (at least before global warming, anyway). Among Native Americans this was the time for telling stories, for philosophical reflection and accordingly, Sagittarius is a sign of wisdom and preeminently the sign of the philosopher. Though the days are just as short during Capricorn, in Capricorn the sun has passed the soltice point and the days are already getting longer. In Sagittarius, it is the power of the night-time, of collective humanity that is increasing, the time when personal or individual concerns are at a minimum, and universal concerns become all-encompassing. This is why Sagittarians are said to be lost in abstruse philosophical concepts, neglecting everyday realities while they wander about with their heads in the clouds. But there is another astronomical correlate for this universality: the center of our galaxy is situated in the final degrees of Sagittarius. Thus the the darkest days of the year, just before the winter solstice turning point, are tied into a wider frame of reference, with concerns and concepts so vast they can only be symbolized by the galaxy as a whole. The Sagittarian arrow is always pointed upwards, towards the divine, like the gaze of one who is concerned with distant worlds or galaxies - our home in the stars.

In myth, Sagittarius is linked with Chiron the Centaur, a race of beings which were half-human and half horse; their minds and hands having the clarity and dexterity of the human race, and their lower bodies, formed like horses, connecting them with the earth and the world of instinct. Chiron, the king of the centaurs, was a philosopher, teacher, and healer who lived in a cave, close to the earth, partaking of earth's natural beauty and wisdom. From his cave he shared his knowledge of celestial phenomena, medicine, herbs, spiriutal disciplines, music and mathematics, and his expertise in these areas was respected even by the gods. Asclepius, son of the healing god, Apollo, learned the art of medicine from Chiron, surpassing his tutor to become the acknowledged patron deity of the healing arts. (Asclepius was later slain by a thunderbolt from Zeus when he usurped the privilege of the gods by raising the dead to life.)

Hercules slaying the centaurs Even Chiron's death exemplified the Sagittarian theme of the philosopher who sacrifices personal concerns for the sake of the greater whole. Accidentally wounded by his friend Hercules with an arrow dipped in the poisonous venom of the Python, not even this great healer could heal himself of this painful wound; but being immortal, neither could he just die. So Chiron chose to die, but for a higher purpose, walking willingly into the underworld to fulfill a decree that Prometheus, the great awakener who defied Zeus himself in bringing fire to humans, could only be redeemed from his punishment by another immortal god giving up his own immortality. Chrion's sacrifice allowed Prometheus to return to service for humanity, and it was for this selfless act that the gods honored him by placing him in the heavens as the constellation of Sagittarius.

When the planet, or planetoid, named for Chiron was discovered by Charles Kowal in 1977, the chart of its discovery suggested something incredibly profound, for the Ascendant, at 26 degrees Sagittarius, corresponds to the center of the galaxy. Pluto sits on the Midheaven and Chiron himself is a hemispheric singleton, and retrograde, grounded in the Fourth House in Taurus, with every other planet above the horizon. The constellation Ophiuchus, said to represent Asclepius, is in the vicinity of Scorpio, possibly accounting for that sign's assocation with the medical arts, but there was no other planet or asteroid which represented this god of healing. Hence, Chiron, teacher of Asclepius, has become the carrier for the Asclepius archetype, and it is the role of the healer that has come to be most associated with Chiron. Chiron is connected with alternative rather than traditional methods of healing, and his own methods were based primarily upon diet. In the early 80's, shortly after its discovery, there was an upsurge in holistic healers such as accupuncturists and naturopaths. Massage therapy, primarily associated with dark parlors in red light districts prior to the 1970's, became a much sought after healing discipline, along with sports massage, herbal rememdies, cranio-sacral therapies and a host of other arts.

Artemis - Goddess of the Hunt Another archetype that has come to be associated with Sagittarius is that of Artemis (Diana), Lady of the Beasts, the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the hunt. Artemis held herself apart from all romantic involvement with men or gods, preferring the freedom to roam wild through the mountains of Arcadia, and Sagittarians are notoriously gun-shy about committment in human relationships, placing a high value on their personal freedom. Sagittarius is called the Archer, and the bow and arrow properly belong to Artemis, as do traditions that this sign is athletic, freedom-loving, restless, and inclinded towards the outdoors. Although she was known as the goddess of the hunt, in fact she protected animals from being hunted more often than she hunted them herself, and today she would no doubt be found campaigning for the whales, the oceans, and the rainforests. She represents the side of Sagittarius that has achieved wholeness, voicing their compassionate concern for those who can't speak for themselves.

Source:Microsoft Clip-Art The Age of Sagittarius (c. 19,450 to 17,300 BCE or 6300 to 8600 CE) was characterized by a relatively advanced flint tool-making style of the Upper Palaeolithic referred to as the Solutrean industry. The industry was named by Gabriel de Mortillet to describe the second stage of his system of cave chronology, following the Mousterian. The era's finds include tools, ornamental beads, and bone pins as well as prehistoric art.

Fragment of a flint laurel-leaf knife from Laugerie Haute, different views of the same specimen. Date: Solutrean, 22 000 - 17 000 BP Solutrean tool-making employed techniques not seen before and not rediscovered for millennia. The Solutrean has relatively finely worked, bifacial points made with lithic reduction percussion and pressure flaking rather than cruder flintknapping. Knapping was done using antler batons, hardwood batons and soft stone hammers, permitting the working of delicate slivers of flint to make light projectiles and even elaborate barbed and tanged arrowheads. Large thin spear-heads; scrapers with edge not on the side but on the end; flint knives and saws, but all still chipped, not ground or polished; long spear-points, with tang and shoulder on one side only, are also characteristic implements of this industry. Bone and antler were used as well.

The Solutrean may be seen as a transitory stage between the flint implements of the Mousterian and the bone implements of the Magdalenian epochs. Faunal finds include horse, reindeer, mammoth, cave lion, rhinoceros, bear and aurochs. Solutrean finds have been also made in the caves of Les Eyzies and Laugerie Haute, and in the Lower Beds of Creswell Crags in Derbyshire, England. The industry first appeared in modern-day Spain and disappears from the archaeological record around 15,000 BCE.

Source:Microsoft Clip-Art Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Zeus who was credited in that civilization with creating mankind. As we have seen in our journey through the Great Years, most of these ages occurred in "pre-history", the time before writing was invented and history began to be recorded. It is believed that writing was first developed among the Sumerians between 3,000 and 4,000 BCE, as the age of Gemini was drawing to a close. All we know today about the period before that time has been gleaned from artifacts discovered throughout the world showing that truly human civilizations began to appear sometime after 40,000 BCE. But we also know something about these early ancestors from remnants of oral traditions handed down over thousands of years, traditions which became the foundation of the mythologies of early civilizations such as the Babylonians and the Greeks, as well as all other ancient civilizations in all parts of the world.

Source: "In the beginning was the Mother". As far back as 30,000 years ago, the people of the earth worshipped a female deity. In cultures around the world, the Goddess has been revered in myriad forms, in temple and grove, cathedral and cave. She has been celebrated and venerated through ritual, myth, and art. She is the Great Mother, representing the fertility which brings forth all life; as Mother Nature she is the living biosphere of both the planets and the forces of the elements; she has roles of both creator and destroyer; she is the Queen of Heaven; and she is the moon. She possesses magickal powers and is emotion, intuition and psychic faculty. The Goddess is Gaia, the earth, Ix Chel, the moon, Arianrhod, the stars. She is Oya, who brings the storms, and she is Mary, who calms them. She is Nut, who births creation, and Kali, who destroys it. She is maiden, mother, queen and crone;lover and spinster, warrior and sibyl, nurturer and judge.

The Divine Force within the Goddess is believed to be genderless, but it is manifested as male and female principles within the universe. Often within the worship of the Divine Force the Goddess, or the female principle, is emphasized to the exclusion of The Horned God, or the male principle, but, theoretically both are recognized. The Goddess has many facets, names and aspects and Goddess worship dates back to Paleolithic times. Many anthropologists speculate the first “God ” or gods of the peoples were feminine. This coincides with ancient creation myths and beliefs that creation was achieved through self-fertilization. Within the concept of creation the participation of the male principle was not Deusa Gaia by Leonardo Ramalho - O Caduceu ®known or recognized yet. The Goddess was believed to have created the universe by herself alone, and from this belief came the agricultural religions. It was thought that the gods only prospered by the beneficence and wisdom which the Goddess showered on them. Evidence appears to indicate most ancient tribes and cultures were matriarchal. This does not mean the feminine portions of these societies held themselves superior over their male counterparts, because Goddess worship was balanced by honoring both the male and female Deities, as illustrated by the observance of the sacred marriage of the Sky God and Earth Mother in many global societies.

Among the first human images discovered are the “Venus figures,” nude female figures having exaggerated sexual parts that date back to the Cro-Magnons of the Upper Paleolithic period between 35,000 and 10,000 BCE. In southern France is the Venus of Laussel, carved in basrelief in a rock shelter, appears once to have been a The Venus of Laussel (Marquay),Bas-relief of Female, c. 20,000 BCE.  she holds a bison horn in one hand. Photo Museum of Aquitane, Bordeaux hunting shrine dating to around 19,000 BCE. In this carving the woman is painted red, perhaps to suggest blood, and holds a bison horn in one hand. Also in Cro-Magnon cave paintings women are depicted giving birth. A naked Goddess appears to have been the patroness of the hunt to mammoth hunters in the Pyrenees and was also protectress of the hearth and lady of the wild things. Throughout the eons of history the Goddess assumed many aspects. She was seen as the creatress, virgin, mother, destroyer, warrior, huntress, homemaker, wife, artist, jurist, healer and sorcerer, her roles or abilities increasing with the advancement of the cultures which worshipped her. Throughout the centuries the Goddess has acquired a thousand names and a thousand faces but most always she has represented nature, associated with both the sun and moon, the earth and the sky. But perhaps her best known role is Gaia, the Earth Mother.

Gaia is the Earth goddess of Greek mythology who mated with her son Uranus to produce the remaining Titans. Gaea seems to have started as a neolithic earth-mother worshipped before the Indo-European invasion that eventually led to the Hellenistic civilization. In Greek Mythology, Hesiod’s Theogony tells how, "after Chaos arose broad-breasted Gaia the everlasting foundation of the gods of Olympus. She brought forth Uranus, the starry sky, her equal, to cover her, the hills, and the fruitless deep of the Sea, Pontus, 'without sweet union of love', out of her own self. But afterwards, Hesiod tells, she lay with Uranus and bore the World-Ocean Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and the Titans Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and Phoebe of the golden crown and lovely Tethys".

Source:“After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children who hated his lusty sire.” When Uranus hid the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes in Tartarus causing pain to Gaia (Tartarus was her bowels), she shaped a great flint sickle which she gave to Cronos, who took the sickle and castrated his father as he approached Gaia to have intercourse with her. Uranus called his sons “Titans,” meaning“strainers” for they strained and did presumptuously a fearful deed, for which vengeance would come afterwards; for, as Uranus had been deposed by his son Cronus, so was Cronus destined to be overthrown by Zeus, the son born to him by his sister-wife Rhea. In the meantime, the Titans released the Cyclopes from Tartarus, and Cronus was awarded the kingship among them, beginning a Golden Age.

Gaia is believed by some sources (Joseph Fontenrose 1959 and others) to be the original deity behind the Oracle at Delphi. She passed her powers on to, depending on the source, Poseidon, Apollo or Themis. Apollo is the best-known as the oracle power behind Delphi, long established by the time of Homer, having killed Gaia’s child Python there and usurped the chthonicpower. Hera punished Apollo for this by sending him to King Admetus as a shepherd for nine years.

Source: Most recently in our own age the role of Gaia has been revived as a theory positing that the Earth is a self-regulating complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrospheres and the pedosphere, tightly coupled as an evolving system. The theory posits that this system as a whole, called Gaia, seeks a physical and chemical environment optimal for contemporary life, evolving through a cybernetic feedback system operated unconsciously by the biota, continuously stabilizing conditions of habitability in which all lifeforms can exist and evolve themselves. Many processes on Earth essential for the conditions of life depend on the interaction of living forms, especially microorganisms, with inorganic elements. These processes establish a global control system that regulates Earth's surface temperature, atmospheric composition and ocean salinity, maintaining the global thermodynamic equilibrium state of the Earth system. The originality of the Gaia theory relies on the assessment that such homeostatic balance is actively pursued with the goal of keeping the optimal conditions for life, even when terrestrial or external events menace them.

Sagittarius, by Johfra Bosschart The great psychiatrist Carl Jung believed the similarity of mythological themes found among all these diverse cultures in different parts of the world was empirical evidence of the existence of a part of the psyche he termed the collective unconscious. He coined the term "archetypes" as the means by which these unconscious contents come into consciousness by "cloaking themselves" in the everyday material of the collective societies' shared conscious experience. In Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (volume 9 of the collected works), he described this concept as similar to Plato's conception of the Idea as supraordinate and pre-existent to all phenomena. He saw this as an a priori factor in all human activies, namely the inborn preconsious, and unconscious, individual structure of the psyche. Archetypes are not only disseminated by tradition, language, and migration, but they can arise spontaneously at any time, at any place, and without any outside influence. Thus there are present in every psyche forms wich are unconscious but nonetheless active-living dispositions that preform and continually influence our thoughts, and feelings and actions. It is important to point out that the archetypes are not determined as regards their content, but only as regards their form. A primordial image is determined as to its content only when it has become conscious and is therefore filled out with the material of conscious experience.

At some level we are all aware of a fundamental dichotomy between subjective experience and objective reality—the so-called ‘mind-body’ dualism that has plagued philosophers for millennia. And on reflection most will agree that this duality only concerns humans — as far as we know other animals live entirely in the here and now, do not introspect, and have little if any self-awareness (much less awareness of awareness). Part of the problem, according to Julian Jaynes in his controversial book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, published in 1976, is that consciousness is not any of the things we usually think of it as being. In particular, it is not equivalent to the ‘consciousness of consciousness’ that begat dualism, a notion that only serves to confound attempts at definition. Nor is it synonymous with experience, conceptualization, learning, thinking, reason, or being awake. Each of these latter mental activities functions quite well without conscious attention.

Consciousness then is something distinct from most of the activities that we normally attribute to mind. Jaynes defines it as an interior mental representation of the self, a metaphorical “space” of introspection wherein the analog “I” can work through problems to “see” the outcomes of potential solutions. Consciousness is created through metaphorical use of language, which allows the spatialization of time necessary for visualizing “linear” sequences of past events and future outcomes—indeed, without consciousness there is no perception of time. The central role of metaphor in the construction of consciousness is manifest in the way we describe our subjective experience in everyday language: for example, we “see” things in our mind’s “eye”; we have a “gut feeling” that something is true. None of these descriptions of experience is meant literally; they are all metaphorical. But we know exactly what they mean, because that is how consciousness works.

The question then is: when did consciousness first emerge? Most will assume that humans have always been conscious. But not so according to Jaynes: although written texts existed much earlier, metaphorical usage did not appear until about the first millennium BC, beginning about the time of the Odyssey. Before that language usage was entirely literal—metaphor is largely absent in the Illiad. If consciousness is based on the use of metaphor, this would suggest that prior to ~3000 years ago humans were not conscious. And yet by that time civilization had already existed for several millennia. How was this possible? The answer is that the first civilizations were built not through conscious effort, but rather by humans obediently—and quite unconsciously—following the vocal commands of their gods.

Jaynes’s study of ancient texts and other artifacts suggests that prior to the emergence of consciousness humans were motivated — literally slaves to — hallucinated voices that told them what to do, a phenomenon akin to that experienced by modern day schizophrenics. To the person hearing them, hallucinated voices seem just as real — and just as external — as actual voices, because their perception involves the same auditory apparatus of the brain. Like most brain functions this apparatus is contained in both hemispheres. In contrast, the brain circuitry required for speech is confined entirely to the left hemisphere. The normal function of the equivalent region in the right hemisphere has long been a mystery; indeed, it is often assumed not to be necessary, as unlike the left side, it can be removed without major adverse effects. Jaynes posits that this region within the right hemisphere is a vestige of an ancestral structure whose function was to generate hallucinated commands. As far as bicameral humans were concerned, the hallucinated voices came from gods. Early on gods and kings were one and the same, so the hallucinations probably sounded much like the actual voice of the king. In this way the god-king was perceived to command his subjects even without being in their presence, promoting social coherence.

Early hunter-gathering tribes Jaynes theorizes that the bicameral mind developed concomitantly with language, the emergence of which was a prerequisite for civilization. Humans are social animals, and in animal societies the size of the group is limited by the mode of communication. Nonhuman primate societies are kept relatively small owing to simple patterns of vocal communication, and this is likely to have been true for prehistoric humans as well, who probably lacked complex language (which would explain why human culture remained so rudimentary for hundreds of thousands of years). As language developed along with agriculture, the resulting enhancement of both communication and division of labor allowed societies to become larger and more complex. Jaynes suggests that this was facilitated by the independent but correlated development of mechanisms for vocalization (confined to the left hemisphere of the brain) and induction of auditory hallucinations (confined to the right hemisphere). Whenever habitual activities were stymied by novel problems requiring a decision, hallucinated commands induced by the stress of uncertainty (as occurs in contemporary schizophrenics) would have directed creative solutions that were also socially constructive, being perceived as emanating from an acknowledged authority. Cultural entrainment would have ensured that the hallucinated commands were more or less consistent with the interests of the group. Because of the adaptive benefits of large coordinated societies, natural selection would have favored the evolution of the bicameral mind.

From this it should be clear why Jaynes’s theory is disturbing to many: it provides a provocative albeit quite compelling explanation for the natural origins of religious belief. The ancients who wrote of being commanded by the spoken words of their gods were not being metaphorical — they were being literal. But those voices originated inside their heads. It wasn’t until the voices began to recede that words began to adopt metaphorical meanings, paving the way for the emergence of consciousness as we know it. Could these "voices of gods" being perceived literally really be the emergence of archetypes from the right side of the brain which maintains our connection with the collective unconscious, pre-established as to form but gaining material for manifestation from the conscious contents existing in the left side of the brain, i.e. nature as percieved in the conscious experience of man?

These myths were handed down through countless generations as oral traditions until they were finally recorded in written word by the great poets such as Homer and Hesiod. Many of these myths referred to the Gods teaching men the arts and sciences, including agriculture, winemaking, and the healing arts. You have to wonder - how did prehistoric man arrive at these technologies that completely revolutionized the state of human existence? Remember, the beginnings of the human civilization of homo sapiens appeared 200,000 years ago and the migration Source:AAAnimations from Africa 100,000 years ago. Yet life remained relatively the same as it had for the 2 to 3 millions years since earliest humans first emerged during the last Ice Age. It wasn't until 40,000 years ago the first evidence of culture emerged, and then suddenly, there was a poliferation of human cultures and a great advancement in technologies which allowed these heretefore nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers to settle down in agricultural-based communities.

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Sagittarius is the Archer-Centaur, half horse and half man, and the constellation outlining this mythological figure is composed of eight bright but otherwise undistinguished stars, divided into two subgroupings: the Milk Dipper (representing the Centaur's body) and the Bow, with an additional frontal star called Al Nasl, the Point, which is the head of the arrow. The Archer is eternally after the Scorpio and so his arrow is aimed directly at Antares, the great, red heart of the Scorpion.

Image courtesy of Astrology
Image courtesy of Astrology
Sagittarius is a large constellation of early summer. Its collection of Messier deep sky objects is second to none; some of these are accessible to binoculars and several are even spectacular. Sagittarius is unusual in that its brightest star is neither alpha nor even beta but rather epsilon. Epsilon lies northwest of the Southern Crown (Corona Australis) while alpha and beta are in the southeast corner of this constellation. However the most noticeable asterism of Sagittarius is a distinctive trapezoid at its centre.
Image from JAMES B. (JIM) KALER 
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, University of Illinois; 
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Copyright © James B. Kaler, all rights reserved. These contents are the property of the author and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the author's consent except in fair use for educational purposes.
The upside-down Little Milk Dipper of Sagittarius (the Archer) dominates the upper center of the photograph, its handle sticking into the Milky Way. Nunki is the upper right hand star of the bowl, Ascella the lip. The main part of Sagittarius' "bow" starts at the end of the Little Milk Dipper's handle and bends down and to the left (from top to bottom, Kaus Borealis, Kaus Media, and Kaus Australis). The bow then bends up and to the right to Polis. Just below Kaus Australis is reddish Eta Sagitarii. Rukbat is down and to the left, while Arkab is the double closer to the lower left corner. The arrow runs from the center of the bow down and to the right to the star Alnasl, and points close to the center of the Galaxy in the dark clouds of the Milky Way, seen running from upper right to lower center. Image from JAMES B. (JIM) KALER 
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, University of Illinois; 
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Copyright © James B. Kaler, all rights reserved.
The Constellations web page is © 1996-2005 by Richard Dibon-Smith.
The Constellations web page is © 1996-2005 by Richard Dibon-Smith. Any use of this material without written permission by the author is an infringement of this copyright.


Sagittarius, the Archer, from Bayer's Uranometria of 1603. The horizontal dashed line near the top is the ecliptic. Note that the Alpha and Beta stars (Rukbat and Arkab) are drawn much brighter than they actually are. The broad dark band at the top is centered on the ecliptic, and shows the region in which the Moon and planets can be found.

Courtesy of the Rare Book Room and Special Collections Library of the University of Illinois

Courtesy of the Rare Book Room and Special Collections Library of the University of Illinois.


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