Welcome to the year 1997! Only three more years and we end a decade, a century and a millennium. The second millennium to be more precise. Although, to be exacting in the Gregorian Calendar it will really be the year 1996, because there is no zero year in the Christian popular calendar. The year preceding AD. 1 is 1 BC., with the year zero in between lost to history forever. When the 6th century monk Denis the Little (no relation) decided that history should be divided into BC and AD he erred in his calculations to determine the birth of Christ. Because the Wise Men, the Magi (Greek meaning Astrologer) were guided by a star, historians overwhelming concede that Christ was born years earlier in 7-6 BC, when a conjunction of the brightest planets, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces, would have created such a visible phenomenon as the Christmas Star. Well, if we use this information then that would make this year really the year 2000, or 2001, since the birth of Christ. If we include the zero year between AD. and BC., then this year becomes 1999 or the year 2000. Wow! This is confusing! Should we "party like it's 1999", or pay homage to the millennium?
What Time is it?
Numerous systems have been developed to keep track of and record the passage of time. Probably the oldest in use is the Luni-Solar calander of ancient India, and the Chinese Luni-Solar Calendar, which goes back to the dynasties of ancient China. According to the Chinese calendar we are now in the year 4695. The Judaic Calendar purports to date back to Creation and 1994 will be the year 5757 by its accounting of time. Oy Veh, I'm really feeling old now. Well, the years just melt away if I adopt the Islamic Calendar in which it will now be the year 1417, since it tracks time by the prophet Mohammed's migration from the city of Mecca to Medina. This is called the Hegira.
What we are observing here is that the tracking of time has a subjective, cultural or religious bias, depending on whether you are Indian, Chinese, Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. This subjective bias still lives on in the popular Gregorian Calendar. The months September, October, November and December in Latin refer to the numbers seven through ten respectively. The current months are displaced by two and no longer refer to the original Latin numbers, after which they were named. This is because two giant egos, Julius and Augustus Caesar wanted their names to literally go down through history. Thus, two months July and August were added to the calendar displacing the remaining months. So you see, on one hand time is relative to who and where you are; your personal vantage point, yet on the other its determination has an empirical foundation.
Time is a form of measurement. To measure something we need a yardstick of sorts. Since the heavens are so regular and rhythmic, relative to our ephemeral lives, we use them as our yardstick to measure the passage of time. The Earth turning on its axis is our unit of measurement called a Day. The Moon moving from new Moon to new Moon is our unit of measurement called a Month. The Earth revolving around the Sun, the center of our solar system, is our unit of time called a Year. These are units we measure our lives in from the daily grind, to the monthly bills, to the accumulation of years measured in many happy returns, or birthdays. This tracking of time is empirical or observable. Its source is outside ourselves and we exist in this flow and measure our lives by it. It is not personal to us. Time waits for no one. We look at our watches, and literally observe the passage of time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years and beyond, and it seems time is happening to us.
The Book of Time
Our word Astrology comes from the Greek words astron and logos, which translates to: "reason" by the stars. One of the names of astrology in Sanskrit is Hora Shastra, which translates to: "the science that deals with time", or the "holy book or time". By its system of reasoning, astrology measures time. This measurement is beyond our subjective experience of time! It can measure time the same way modern cultures do in hours, days, months and years, but most importantly astrology can measure time relative to your personal existence.
Astrology sense of time connects us to a time that personally resonates with us, based upon the moment we can into existence. It can facilitate an identity beyond the modern fabrication of the times you live in. It affords a way to measure self as it specifically relates to your existence. The astrological chart for the time, day, year and locality of your birth in existence is a personal yardstick; your personal book of time.
Many people live by a calendar that is not specific to them. They are living by another person's time, measuring their lives by another person's yardstick. They are walking in another person's shoes, not specifically measured to them. They measure their existence by friends, peers and societal expectations. When should they go to school? When should they travel, marry, climb the corporate ladder? Much of the struggle of life is bad timing. "It must have been the right place, but the wrong time", as the Dr. John pop song goes, says it all. Knowledge is indeed divine, but timing is everything.
Your Personal Celestial Clock
From our brief analysis of time you can reason that modern Sun-Sign Astrology is a degraded, generalized use of this book of time. It's like having your usual clock with 12 numbers, but with no am. or pm., second, or minute hand, or even calendar, date, or year! How could you respect someone who wore such a watch; they would never be on time for anything! I would expect a manufacturer's recall for such a clock, after a public out-cry from the chaos it created.
Unlike this faulty clock, your astrological chart is a personal celestial clock relative to your existence in time. It has the second, minute and hour hands reflected in the cycles of the days, months and years of your life. These cycles refer to the celestial timing of the Earth, Moon and Sun in your life. But astrology measures time beyond these references. It measures the two year Mars cycle, the twelve year Jupiter cycle, the 29 plus year Saturn cycle to the eight four year Uranus cycle and beyond, way beyond your daily grind. Further, Astrology measures how time has passed; how the heavens have moved, since you came into existence. This yardstick is again specific to your existence and symbolically describes the Cosmic Clock of your life. This measurement is yours alone and so Astrology personalizes your existence in time. It is the clock of your life and to know its mechanics is to know the times of your life. To know the clock of another is to know the times of their life, and so astrology is readily used as an empathic tool to walk a mile in the time frame of another person's reality.
The Impersonal Cosmos Has Room for You Too
Our times are characterized by a growing sense of the impersonal. Gone are the days when the Earth was considered the center of the universe; when humanity was considered the Crown of Creation. Our understanding, like the cosmos, continues to expand rapidly. We know the earth is one of several planets that revolve around a Sun, that is one of billions of such stars in a small corner of the Milky Way Galaxy, that's one of millions of such galaxies. You've all heard the late Carl Sagan's spiel. The point is: that's impersonal!
Even though the cosmos is vast and continuing to expand, according to Professor Stephen Hawkin, in his landmark book A Brief History of Time, Mr. Hawkin's conclusions regarding time will surprise many as he reveals the personal in the seemingly impersonal vastness of time and space.
Mr. Hawking explains in the chapter nine, entitled, "The Arrow of Time", "The discovery that the speed of light appeared the same to every observer, no matter how he was moving, led to the theory of relativity -- and in that one had to abandon the idea that there was a unique absolute time. Instead, each observer would have his own measure of time as recorded by a clock that he carried: Clocks carried by different observers would not necessarily agree. Thus, time became a more personal concept, relative to the observer who measured it". Thus, a great scientific mind of our time reveals that so called absolute time is but a relative illusion, replaced by a personal clock that we each carry. Your astrological chart is such a time piece. Through it you can measure personal timing in a seemingly vast, impersonal universe. A skilled time-keeper can familiarize you with the watch you carry so you can be on time for the various symbolic appointments that await you in time. Astrology in Sanskrit is Hora Shastra, the "book of time", and its skilled application will reveal your back pages and appointments and the future pages and appointments that await you in the time of your life.
Copyright: Dennis Flaherty
Bio: Dennis Flaherty
Dennis Flaherty is a certified practicing Vedic and Western astrologer, author, and popular lecturer. He offers astrological consultations and directs the East-West curriculum through Greenlake Metaphysics in Seattle, Washington. He holds degrees in English and Sociology from the University of Massachusetts. He is past president of the Washington State Astrological Association, and currently serves on the Steering Committees of both ACVA (American Council on Vedic Astrology) and AFAN (Association for Astrological Networking).
Dennis was nominated for a Regulus Award at the 1992 United Astrology Conference, and was a recipient of the Jyotish Kovid and Jyotish Vachaspati awards from the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences. Dennis co-sponsored both the Sacred Astrology Conference in Seattle, Washington and the Fourth International Symposium on Vedic Astrology, in Del Mar, California. He can be reached at 7212 Woodlawn Avenue NE, Seattle, Washington, 98115. Phone: (206) 525-2229.