Astrology and the Geminids Meteor Shower: Be Careful What You Wish For


Hint: Play Video as you read

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)

We don’t need airplanes to make a wish on a shooting star with the annual Geminids meteor shower playing through the skies from December 7 through the 21th with the December 13th and 14th being the crescendo of the display.

This year is favorable for the Geminids, the year’s grand finale for meteor-watchers. As a general rule, it’s either the Geminids or the August Perseids that give us the most prolific meteor display of the year. Unlike many meteor showers, you can start watching for the Geminids around 9 to 10 p.m. – in years when the moon is out of the sky. The waxing gibbous moon interferes during the evening hours this year, and doesn’t set till around midnight. However, this shower tends to gain strength after midnight and to climax at roughly 2 o’clock in the morning, when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky. So look for the Geminids to be at their best after moonset. Geminid meteor maximums commonly rearch 50 or more meteors per hour.

The Geminids are so named because the meteors seem to radiate from the constellation of Gemini. However, they are in fact caused by the Earth crossing the dusty debris trail of an asteroid (or possibly an extinct comet) called 3200 Phaethon, which then enters and incinerates in the Earth’s atmosphere producing the spectacular Geminids Meteor Shower.

The Geminids are unique in the Solar System in that most annual meteor showers are identified with active comets, where as the Geminids are thought to be caused by the Palladian asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon. It has been speculated that when Phaeton was young it got caught in Saturn’s orbit and now passes by the Earth every year leaving behind its debris trail.

In mythology the story of Phaeton is a story of young man driven to prove himself regardless of the consequences. Phaeton was the son of Helios, the god of the sun, who drove his shiny chariot drawn by four fiery and powerful steeds across the sky each day to light and warm the earth. Phaeton’s mother was a mortal woman who raised Phaeton alone. An apparently fatherless boy, Phaeton was given quite a hard time by the other boys. Phaeton begged his mother to give him his father’s name. Reluctantly, his mother agreed. Not quite believing his mother he undertook the journey to his father’s palace, where his father greeted him and acknowledged him as his son.

Phaethon was exuberant. He father was an important and influential god, and the boy was no doubt awed by the power that Helios wielded. So Phaethon did something rash – he asked his father for a favor. Helios, thrilled at meeting his young son, immediately agreed, without even knowing what the boy would ask. However, this fatherly attempt at affection was to have unfortunate consequences. For Phaethon wanted to drive the Sun-god’s chariot across the sky. Knowing the folly of the request, but unable to take back his gift, Helios was forced to comply.

In the folly of youth, Phaeton leaped upon the chariot and grabbed hold of the reins. The horses sensing the inexperienced hand as they rose up over the earth ran out of control and dipped too close scorching the wide swatch of area we know now as the Sahara. Zeus, seeing the danger, sent a thunderbolt to stop the chariot and Phaeton was struck down. HIs broken body fell into the Eridanus river, were he was mourned by his sisters. Their grief was so intense, Zeus transformed them into trees, Weeping Willows.

This two week period is a bridge between now and the winter solstice. During this time Mercury, which represents young people, moves in retrograde motion past Pluto, Mars and the Sun. In Celtic astrology, the solstice represents the death of the old sun and the birth of the new sun of the year, a very potent myth that I’ll reprint shortly. Astrologically we see the journey of Phaeton to his father’s palace and in the granting of his wish Phaeton’s violent transformation. This tranformation effects not only his life by that his community, that of his sisters, as well. The Geminid meteor shower falls against this astrological backdrop highlighting a need to be careful what you wish for.

Astrology Chart of Geminid Meteor Shower


Add to Technorati Favorites

About Beth Turnage

I write about astrology alot. Some people like to read it.
This entry was posted in Astrology and Mythology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
a says:

Can You Make A Wish On A Meteor Shower ?

Beth Turnage says:

Only if you are waiting for a star to fall. Then in you are in big time luck.