90 years after the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is up to us to continue his work towards creating a society where "the achievements of the human mind and heart would be limitless"

90 years after the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is up to us to continue his work towards creating a society where "the achievements of the human mind and heart would be limitless"

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- born this day in 1929, ninety years ago this year.

As everyone knows, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a towering champion of justice, democracy and human dignity, and a courageous and tireless opponent of oppression, racism, segregation, poverty and colonialism.

His life and message was one of opportunity for all. His message was against fear, against violence, and against the idea that giving opportunity for one group necessarily required taking away opportunity from another group.

In a text he wrote in 1961, entitled "After Desegregation, What?" speaking of those involved in the movement on college campuses against segregation, he declared:

The problem is not merely a racial one, with Negroes set against white; rather, it is a tension between justice and injustice. Therefore, their movement is not aimed against oppressors but against oppression.

In his participation in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he stood against segregation -- and also for full employment. 

His message was not just against the oppressive structures of racism and oppression, but also included a positive vision of creating a society in which men and women could attain their full potential, and "the achievements of the human mind and heart would be limitless" (see "After Desegregation, What?" page 7).

This focus on the positive was absolutely essential to Dr. King's message and plan of action. Indeed, in the same text he declares:

This constructive program is a basic part of any genuine non-violent movement, for non-violence is essentially a positive concept. Its corollary must always be growth. Without this broad range of positive goals, non-cooperation ends where it begins (5).

Dr. King's message was so powerful because it realized that violence is only a negative tool, and that it could be overcome by positive action -- indeed, that it could not stand against positive action, if only enough people could be awakened to what is right, and emboldened to act on behalf of what is right. 

This same message can be heard very clearly in one of his very first public speeches calling for a stand against injustice, at the mass meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association in December of 1955, in which he pointed to the unjust arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to relinquish her seat on a public bus, and called for a non-violent boycott of the buses of the city and municipality.

At that meeting (transcription here), Dr. King announces:

We are here, we are here this evening, because we're tired now. And I want to say that we are not here advocating violence. We have never done that. [. . .] The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest.

The power of that message was such that it woke people up, around the country and around the world, in a way that violence never could have done. 

But it is now up to us to heed his message and continue his work, to prove that justice is stronger than violence.

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

嫦娥 visits the far side of the Moon

嫦娥 visits the far side of the Moon

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Congratulations to the people of China, whose space program appears to have successfully landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, which has never been done before.

The mission and craft are known as the Chang Er 4, named after the immortal moon goddess 嫦娥 whose name literally means "Chang the Beautiful."

Her story is discussed in this previous post from 2015.

The myth of the goddess 嫦娥 is significant, because it falls into a myth-pattern found around the globe, of a pairing of a mortal and an immortal, usually appearing as one of the following combinations:  a mortal husband and immortal wife, or a mortal wife and an immortal husband, or a living husband and an undead wife or vice versa, or (very commonly in the world's myths) a set of twins in which one twin is mortal and the other is divine.

I am convinced that these myths are intended to convey profound and important truths for our understanding -- truths which are beneficial to our present condition in this incarnate life -- and that these lessons include the reality and accessibility of our spiritual nature, our divine nature, our  Higher Self, and our inner connection with the Infinite.

Other previous posts dealing with this important subject include:

Returning to the landing of the Chang Er 4 on the surface of the moon's far side (near its southern pole), this recent article gives some additional detail. It does not mention, however, the detail provided in this other recent article, which states that the Chang Er 4 lander carried with it six live species from earth: cotton, rapeseed (aka "canola"), potatoes, a flowering plant species called arabidopsis, and fruit flies! 

I'm not sure why that little detail was not more widely reported, since it seems like a fairly noteworthy item. Personally, I'm not sure its such a good idea to send fruit flies, which breed notoriously rapidly, up to the moon -- but, as they say in many science fiction and horror stories, "Really, I mean, what could go wrong?"

What has been getting a lot of reporting is the fact that the so-called "dark side of the moon" is a misnomer (as owners of the famous Pink Floyd album have already known for years, since the album itself informs us that "Matter of fact it's all dark"). The moon turns on its axis just as the earth does, allowing the sun to illuminate the entire surface in turns, just as we on earth experience night and day. The mechanics of that process, as well as some interesting detail on why we are actually able to view about 60% of the moon's surface from our vantage point on earth (not all at once, of course) are included in this very first episodeof the "Exposing PseudoAstronomy" podcast from Stuart Robbins (archives here).

Returning briefly to the goddess 嫦娥 to finish this brief discussion, note that in the painting above, a poem about Chang the Beautiful has been inscribed in the upper-right area of the artwork. The calligraphy reads as follows (according to a translation provided with the image on Wikimedia commons):

She was long ago a resident of the Moon Palace,
Where phoenixes and cranes gathered and
Embroidered banners fluttered in heavenly fragrance.
Change E, in love with the gifted scholar,
Breaks off [for him] the topmost branch of the cassia tree.

This beautiful poem may contain hints of celestial elements, since this story (I believe) is based upon celestial metaphor, as are virtually all of the world's other ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories.

The phoenixes and cranes would probably refer to the constellations Aquila and Cygnus (respectively). The Moon Palace itself may refer to the constellation Ophiuchus, which sometimes plays the role of a tent, a pavilion, a great gate, a house, or a palace. The breaking off of a branch of the cassia tree may refer to the beautiful constellation Coma Berenices, discussed in this previous post. If so, that would indicate that Chang Er might be associated with the constellation Virgo, the Virgin (at least in this poem), since Virgo's outstretched arm reaches towards the nearby constellation of Coma Berenices.

The (mortal) husband of Chang Er is traditionally 后羿 (Hou Yi in Mandarin or Hau Ngai in Cantonese), which means something like King Archer. This name hints that he would either be associated with Sagittarius or Orion, and I would guess Orion might be most likely, since Virgo is rising when Orion is setting on the opposite horizon, and vice versa (meaning that they can never actually be together anymore — a poignant touch to this ancient story).

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Above is an image of the Liberty Bell, which rang out in the Old State House of Pennsylvania (a building which later came to be known as Independence Hall) to summon the people to the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776. The Declaration of Independence was itself adopted in the same building, as was the later Constitution.

The words imprinted on the Liberty Bell, when it was forged in 1753, come from the text of the scroll of Leviticus chapter 25 and verse 10:

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.

You can see these words on the image above, if you zoom in enough (they wrap all the way around the bell, and at the end of the verse itself is stamped LEV XXV X, which you can see coming around from the left at the top of the bell).

As Professor Michael P. Hudson points out, in an important interview recorded with Bonnie Faulkner of Guns & Butter from September 26, 2007 (interview #141, embedded below), the word translated "liberty" in the King James version of Leviticus 25: 10 is the Hebrew word "deror" or דְּרוֹר (Strong's number H1865), which means "uninhibited flow" and, by metaphorical extension, the forgiveness of debts. Later, the same Liberty Bell and its ancient message became a powerful symbol among the movement to abolish slavery in the decades prior to the Civil War.

As this article from 2017 by texas university (t.u.) Professor Jonathan Kaplan explains (and as Professor Hudson also points out in his 2007 interview), that specific Hebrew word for the forgiveness of debts is cognate with an earlier Akkadian terms dararum and andararum, which also refer to the forgiveness of debts and which appear in proclamations on ancient Mesopotamian tablets dating back to the second millennium BC. 

Ancient civilizations -- and ancient scriptures -- had a very clear understanding of the significance of debt, and of the importance of keeping debt from devouring the people of a society. In the gospel account recorded in the text of Luke chapter 4, when Jesus is described as beginning his ministry with the reading of a text from the book of Isaiah in the synagogue, the text that he reads is Isaiah chapter 61, verses 1 and 2, which also contains the same phrase, translated "proclaim liberty" using the word "deror" (forgiveness of debt). The ancients understood that credit in society was necessary, and that it could serve productive purposes, but that it could also become predatory and lead to a downward spiral which could only be corrected through the cancellation of certain types of debt.

Recently, Michael Hudson has released his latest book exploring this very subject, entitled . . . and forgive them their debts, taking its title of course from the verse in the Lord's Prayer, which Michael Hudson points out is often mis-translated as "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" rather than as "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," even though the Greek words employed in the original text itself are opheilemaand opheiletes, which unequivocally mean "debts" and "debtors." 

In that interview from September 2007, when the global financial crisis was just beginning, Professor Hudson explained how issuance of mortgage credit at levels far beyond anything that would have been permitted in previous decades led directly to the housing bubble and subsequent collapse -- and how the dismantling of the Glass-Steagall provisions in the 1933 USA Banking Act invited the types of securitization of mortgages that played a central role in the financial crisis. 

Now, more than ten years after that earlier interview, Professor Hudson has recorded a more recent interview on Guns & Butter, which goes even deeper into the ways that credit can be used productively instead of destructively, tying the discussion in to the larger context of economic rent and neoliberal fiscal austerity. 

Tying the question of government spending (fiscal policy) to the subjects of economic productivity and the reduction of rentier interests (defined in the interview) or their proliferation, Professor Hudson explains during this interview that:

Classical economists saw the proper role of government as being to create social infrastructure and upgrade living standards and productivity for their labor force. Governments should build roads to minimize the cost of transportation, not private companies creating toll roads to maximize the cost by building in financial charges, real estate and management charges to what users have to pay. [ . . . ] The great question is, what is the government going to spend money on, and how can it spend money into the economy in a way that helps growth? [ . . . ] Instead, the rentier classes have hijacked the government, taking over its money creation and taxing power to spend on themselves, not to help the economy at large produce more or raise living standards.

These are concepts which impact every one of us in modern society, and which it would behoove everyone to understand, but which are rarely if ever explained. Indeed, as Michael Hudson makes quite clear in that second interview, the neoclassical economics doctrine which is almost universally taught in schools (all the way up through college and postgraduate level economics) is deliberately deceptive -- hence the title of this most recent Guns & Butter interview, "The Vocabulary of Economic Deception," and the title of Professor Hudson's second-most-recent book, J is for Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception.

The divide between the conventional neoclassical "orthodox" economists and the so-called "heterodox" economists such as Professor Hudson is clearly laid out and explained in another essential text which will help make some of the points he brings up in these interviews much more understandable: Modern Monetary Theory and Practice, by Professors William Mitchell, Randall Wray, and Martin Watts. 

As long as people do not understand these concepts, it will be much easier for those who have in Professor Hudson's words "hijacked the government" to continue running it into the ground, and running the people into unsurmountable debt.

It is quite clear, however, that the ancients understood these concepts, and that they included them as central themes in the Biblical scriptures -- as well as in texts from other, even earlier cultures (you can even see debts involved in creating the central crisis in the Mahabharata of ancient India). They knew that it was a societal issue, and that the very structures of society had to be designed to ensure that debt did not end up enslaving the majority of the population.

The period of the New Year (albeit often observed around the period of the equinoxes rather than around the period of the solstice) was the time when deror or andararum was proclaimed in the ancient traditions. Thus, as we prepare to observe another New Year, it would be very appropriate to take some time to examine these concepts more deeply, in order to prevent the kind of economic deception which is presently being practiced on a wide scale, and which is in fact being taught in  even the most respected of economics departments, with very few exceptions.

As resources, I would recommend the two Michael Hudson interviews discussed above, and embedded below, as well as the three books linked above, and also the eBook entitled Diagrams and Dollars referenced in this previous post.

And, of course, we also have the precious resource of the world's ancient wisdom, entrusted to our ancestors in remote antiquity, and preserved for our use today as a treasured inheritance, as relevant and necessary to our lives today as ever in the past -- and perhaps even more so than ever.

"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."


Guns & Butter #141, September 26, 2007:


Guns & Butter #395, December 12, 2018:

Birth of the Buddha, Birth of the Christ

Birth of the Buddha, Birth of the Christ

Here is a new video I've just published, entitled "Birth of the Buddha, Birth of the Christ" -- which explores some of the parallels between the nativity accounts of the Buddha-to-be and the Christ-child.

Although the details of the stories themselves are very different, there are numerous astonishing parallels, many of which are discussed in this new video -- and which can be shown to relate to the fact that the stories of the birth of the Buddha and the birth of the Christ are based on a foundation of celestial metaphor, as are virtually all the other myths and scriptures and sacred stories from around the globe.

In the story of the birth of the Buddha, the mother of the Buddha-to-be, whose name is Queen Maya (also known as MahaMaya) is described in many ancient texts and commentaries as being of impeccable character, giving generous alms and performing the proper holy-day vows, as well as being free from any previous sexual relations or any lustful thoughts, as well as having abstained from taking any life, abstaining from theft, from evil conduct, from lying, and from taking any wine or strong drink -- all of which indicates that the conception of the Buddha-to-be within her womb was a kind of Immaculate Conception with parallels to the gospel accounts and traditions.

See for example the translation of the 123rd sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya, which is a canonical Buddhist text dating to perhaps the third century BC.

That ancient text and other accounts of the incarnation of the Buddha declare that when the Boddhisatva decided to incarnate in the womb of his mother Maya, all the heavenly devas rejoiced -- which is another parallel to the descriptions of the birth of the Christ recounted in the gospels.

The video above explores some of the celestial foundations for the distinctive aspects of the story of Maya and her dream of the elephant. It then goes on to explore ways in which both the Buddha and the Christ can be seen to be associated with the constellation Ophiuchus, and ways in which the visit of the revered sage Asita to the parents of the infant Buddha parallel the actions of the aged and holy man Simeon in the gospel accounts of the presentation of Christ at the temple.

I am convinced that the accounts of the birth of the Buddha and of the birth of the Christ have profound meaning for our lives. They point us towards the spiritual birth which takes place after the physical birth, signified in many myths by the great turning-point of the year (at winter solstice), and towards our reconnection with our own divine nature and Higher Self.

They also point us towards the awakening from illusion and the reconnection with truth.

I believe that it is extremely beneficial for us to meditate long and deeply on these stories, and to read them closely, becoming aware of every detail, and to think about what they are trying to convey to us for our own lives.

As Alvin Boyd Kuhn says, in a passage I am fond of quoting, these ancient scriptures are not apprehended in their full force and applicability until every reader discerns himself or herself to be the central figure in them.

I am convinced that when we learn to listen to the myths in the language that they are actually speaking, we are more likely to be able to hear what they are trying to say to us.

And I am also convinced that the best way to hear what they are saying is to go to the ancient myths themselves and converse with them (rather than listening to what I or anyone else tells you that they are saying).

And it is my hope that in this holy season these ancient stories will be a blessing to you in a new and meaningful way.




Winter (solstice) is Coming

Winter (solstice) is Coming

Our earth will pass through the point of December solstice (which is winter solstice for the northern hemisphere) at 2223 Greenwich mean time today, Friday the 21st of December, 2018.

For those of us in North America, the clocks will read 1723 Eastern time (5:23 pm), which is 1423 Pacific time (2:23 pm).

The point of winter solstice (that point on our annual cycle when the north pole is pointed most directly away from our sun) was imbued with tremendous spiritual significance in the code or language underlying the world's ancient myths and scriptures, virtually all of which can be shown to be using the same "code book" of celestial metaphor.

Above is a new video I just made entitled "Winter (solstice) is Coming," which briefly examines some of the ways in which aspects of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones(based on the book series by George R. R. Martin) can help us understand the way that the "lower half" of the annual cycle -- including "winter" and especially the point of winter solstice itself -- was connected with the concept of spiritual death and renewal.

Previous posts which examine these and other aspects of this important annual station of the year include:

Wishing everyone a Good Yule and an uplifting December solstice!

The blessings of the gods, and the ways we cheat ourselves out of those blessings

The blessings of the gods, and the ways we cheat ourselves out of those blessings

image: Wikimedia commons (Vineyards in California --   link  ; Dionysos and Eros --   link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (Vineyards in California -- link; Dionysos and Eros -- link).

The world's ancient wisdom, given to every culture on our planet in remote antiquity in the form of myths, scriptures, and sacred stories, can free us from mental prisons -- whether self-imposed as is often the case, or imposed on us by widely accepted lies which can run through an entire society.

Many myths (such as the story of Thor's visit to the hall of the jotun Utgarda-Loki) and ancient wisdom literature (such as the Tao Te Ching) urge us to perceive the world around us as it actually is, rather than as our preconceptions or our past accumulations and assumptions tell us that it is (or tell us that it should be).

When we fail to perceive things as they actually are, and operate based on mental illusions or self-deceptions, we fall into prisons of our own making -- or into mental prisons which others fashion for us.

The examples which could be offered for this important concept are endless -- and range from the mundane to the profound. 

In this short discussion, I would like to focus on a societal misconception which may at first seem to be completely unrelated to the deep teachings of the world's ancient wisdom, but which is in fact closely connected to their teachings regarding the gifts of the gods to men and women, and to the ways that we cheat ourselves out of those blessings -- a pattern which can perhaps be seen in many other aspects of our lives.

In the realm of economics, no concept is more fundamental than the definition of money, and yet it is widely misunderstood -- and because of this misunderstanding, society's ability to fully enjoy the blessings of the real resources which are the gifts of the gods (or, if you prefer, the gifts of nature) is severely compromised. 

Perhaps the most concise and most highly readable short treatise explaining the way money really works in society is an illustrated book written by J. D. Alt in 2014 entitled Diagrams and Dollars: Modern Money Illustrated, apparently available only as a Kindle book but which can be purchased for $1.50 (USD) and read in its entirety on any networked computer or mobile device.

Once you read and understand this little book and its brilliant illustrations, you will gain a new perspective on the origin of money and the way it relates to the ability of society to make use of the resources in that society for both public and private purposes. 

As J. D. Alt explains in chapter 6 of that text, a correct understanding of the way a money system works is directly related to an understanding of the way in which we as a society have the ability to "pay ourselves to build and create goods and services that make us collectively healthy and prosperous" -- and, even further, "that what can be  accomplished is not limited by the number of Dollars available for Sovereign Spending [ . . . ]. The limitation, instead, is imposed by the real resources -- labor, materials, energy, and technology -- which are sustainably available to implement our collective goals."

In this assertion, author J. D. Alt is echoing similar assertions made by other respected economists who are challenging the conventional (and false) framework of the way money operates in society (and the conventional and false economics which continue to be taught to students at all levels of education, and which continue to inform the misleading news reporting which is drummed into us nearly every day). 

For example, in a recent blog post by Professor Bill Mitchell of the University of Newcastle (in Australia), Professor Mitchell lays out a rather comprehensive explanation of the way money actually works, and declares at one point that: "it should be understood that the real constraint on government spending is not financial but real -- the actual resources that are actually for sale." This assertion is identical to that made by J. D. Alt and quoted above (I would recommend reading J. D. Alt's book first for an overview prior to diving into the much more in-depth discussions offered by Professor Bill Mitchell).

Once you begin to understand what J. D. Alt and Professor Mitchell are explaining, you will be able to understand the deliberately misleading mental frameworks being imposed on listeners through news stories we hear every day about how crushingly large "global debt" has grown, and how it is acting as "kind of a dead-weight for global growth," such as the recent radio piece embedded below and entitled "Global Debt reaches record high $184 Trillion, IMF says" (and similar stories are frequently featured in this and other countries about the national debt).

Although this subject can be somewhat confusing at first, the important assertion of J. D. Alt, quoted above (and echoed in somewhat more condensed form in the quotation from Professor Mitchell) reveal what is at stake in this discussion. The discussion is actually about making use of real resources, such as "labor, materials, energy, and technology" -- and when we allow ourselves to be tied down by false constructs regarding "balanced budgets" and "deficit spending," then we cannot properly utilize those real resources.

To take the very first of the real resources listed as examples by J. D. Alt, which is labor, we can see that the deliberate imposition of an obsession with balanced budgets and restrictions on the ability of governments to influence the utilization of resources through fiscal policy (by the monetarists of the Chicago School, beginning most aggressively in the 1970s) has led to completely unnecessary and extremely harmful levels of involuntary unemployment -- in other words, it has led to the failure to make use of one of the most important natural resources gifted to any nation by the benevolent gods: the labor of the men and women that the gods allow to be born in that country, and the gifts and talents with which those men and women have been blessed.

In the united states at this moment, there are well over 500,000 men and women who are homeless (including over 134,000 in my home state of California). In Europe, youth unemployment in France is presently over 20%. In Spain, youth unemployment is over 33%, in Italy it is almost 32%, and in Greece it is over 43%. And yet, even as the resource of labor (the human talent of men and women, and the gifts and abilities which they have been given by the gods) is being wasted at these unacceptable levels, we have politicians fretting over budget deficits -- and indeed laws which limit the amount of deficits which some governments are allowed to plan as part of their fiscal policy.

Again, the reader is recommended to consult J. D. Alt's short and brilliantly-illustrated volume in order to understand why the term "budget deficit" and "national debt" (or "global debt") are actually misnomers, and why these mental constructs are both false and misleading. 

As both J. D. Alt and Professor Mitchell make clear, budget deficits and surpluses in and of themselves are neither inherently good nor inherently bad: there are times when a surplus is appropriate and there are times when a deficit is appropriate. The real constraints are the actual resources given to a nation by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature), including the gifts of the soil, the riches under the soil, the croplands, and the fruitbearing vines and trees, and the forests, and the riverways, and most of all the gifts and talents of the men and women of that country. 

All of these gifts (the resources of nature, and the lives of every single man and woman and baby born in that land) were explicitly described as gifts originating and having their ultimate fount in the Invisible Realm -- the divine realm, the realm of the gods -- according to the world's ancient myths and scriptures. 

Thus to squander them, or to steal them from the people of that land, is an affront to the gods themselves, and to the divine realm.

Indeed, many previous posts have pointed to evidence from the world's ancient myths which suggests that the gods manifest in this material realm through men and women themselves, and thus to spread deceptive mental prisons in order to deprive the people of the use of those gifts and to deliberately impoverish the people of a nation can also be seen as a serious offense against the Invisible Realm.

Previous posts on this topic include:

Through a form of mind control or misleading illusion, we are being kept from making use of the gifts that are available to us, and which ultimately come from the Infinite Realm itself. However, the same ancient myths and scriptures which show us the Invisible Realm and its potency show us, through example after example, how to emerge from our illusion and our self-imposed separation from the gods.

The pattern described above for money and resources at a societal level is illustrative of the way the pattern works in other areas of life as well. We are being sold a mental framework of deprivation, limitation, and artificial scarcity, when in fact we are surrounded by the abundant gifts from the gods themselves, which are overflowing all around us and most of all within us. 

Comet 46P / Wirtanen

Comet 46P / Wirtanen

comet 46p wirtanen dec 2018.png

As you may have already heard, there is a comet passing through our part of the solar system, Comet 46P/Wirtanen.

This article from Sky and Telescope gives one of the better discussions of the comet and its current pass through our inner solar system, predicted to reach its closest approach to earth on December 16 (Sunday).

That article also includes a good star chart diagram showing the path of the comet as it moves through the background of stars on successive days, which you can see here.

Above, I have created a star chart using Stellarium showing the general orientation of stars for a viewer in the northern hemisphere, and indicating the approximate location of the comet on December 13 (tip of the lowest yellow arrow), December 16 (tip of the middle yellow arrow) and December 19 (tip of the topmost yellow arrow).

Note that the best celestial "landmarks" for finding Comet 46P/Wirtanen on this 2018 approach include the V-shaped Hyades and the brilliant cluster of the Pleiades. Below, I reproduce the same star chart shown above, this time with the Hyades and Pleiades labeled. I have also labeled the outline of the mighty constellation Orion, with whom I assume most readers are familiar:

comet 46p wirtanen dec 2018b.png

Personally, I have been out on two successive nights now (last night the 12th and this evening the 13th) and have not been able to locate the comet using binoculars, even though I was able to easily identify the two small stars in the constellation Taurus indicated near the tip of the lowest yellow arrow (where the comet is passing on December 13). These two stars can be seen in the charts above at the end of the green line which extends from the point at the bottom of the "V" of the Hyades (the constellation outlines included in these charts are a conventional outlining system used on Stellarium as a default -- readers should use the constellational outlines suggested by H. A. Rey for finding the constellations and for perceiving their connection to ancient myth, but I have included the conventional outlines above because they give a line from the "V" of the Hyades to stars that might serve as useful referents for locating the comet).

However, the comet is expected to become somewhat brighter on the following nights as we approach the 16th, and it will also be movin go a location between the Pleiades and the first star in Taurus behind the Hyades (the first star which that green line connects to, behind the point at the bottom of the "V" of the Hyades).


Below is a computer animated model showing the orbit of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from the point of view of an observer slightly above the plane of the orbit of the planets, and at a distance beyond the orbit of the planet Mars (the path of Mars is indicated by the red oval in the animation):

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

From the above diagram we can readily observe several important aspects of the orbit of Comet 46P/Wirtanen. First, the orbit of the comet, which is indicated in bright magenta, comes very close at its farthest point to the orbit of the planet Jupiter (Jupiter's orbit is indicated in gold on the animation). This means that Comet 46P/Wirtanen is a short-period comet: one whose orbit takes fewer than 100 years (and indeed, Comet 46P/Wirtanen's orbital period is now less than 6 years per orbit).

Second, we can see that Comet 46P/Wirtanen is orbiting in the same orbital direction that the other planets shown are orbiting our sun. In the computer animation, the sun is indicated in yellow (of course: it is the circle in the center of the orbiting planets). The planet Mercury is shown in green, with a green orbit, closest to the sun. Next out from Mercury is the planet Venus, shown in turquoise with a turquoise orbit. Next of course we find our earth, shown in blue with a blue orbit, and then Mars in red with a red orbit. Just outside of the magenta path of Wirtanen we see the orbit of Jupiter, shown in gold.

You can see that Comet 46P/Wirtanen is orbiting in the same direction as the planets are in their own orbits around the sun. This means that the comet is "prograde" as opposed to retrograde in its orbit.

Finally, you can see that although the orbital plane of the comet differs slightly from the plane upon which the planets are orbiting, the orbital plane of the comet is not tilted very much relative to the plane of the ecliptic upon which the planets generally orbit. The animated model shows a series of lines above or below the magenta arc of the comet's orbit in order to indicate when the comet is below the plane of the other planets (lines going above the comet's magenta path) or above the plane of the other planets (lines going down below the comet's magenta path).

All of these features are highly characteristic of short-period comets, as Dr. Walt Brown explains on this page of the comet chapter of his book, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood. Fully 97% of the 737 known short-period comets are prograde in their orbital direction, with only 3% of them orbiting in a retrograde direction. This weighting is in marked contrast to the 298 known long-period comets, which are nearly half-and-half prograde versus retrograde in number.

Additionally, as the discussion in the linked page by Dr. Brown reveals, the great majority of short-period comets have a low angle of orbital inclination versus the plane of the orbits of the planets, whereas the long-period comets come in towards the sun from all kinds of different orbital planes, some of them very steeply inclined versus the plane of the orbit of the other planets.

And, it is notable that Comet 46P/Wirtanen's aphelion is very close to the orbital distance of the planet Jupiter. This fact indicates that Comet 46P/Wirtanen is a member of the group of short-period comets known as "Jupiter's Family" whose aphelions bring them out to a range of four to six astronomical units from the sun (an astronomical unit or AU is a unit of measurement derived from the average orbital distance of our earth from the sun on the long axis of our orbital path, equivalent to about 93 million miles). Jupiter orbits at an average of 5.2 AU from the sun, or about 5.2 times the average distance of earth's orbit.

As Dr. Brown explains on the webpage linked above, these characteristics of the known short-period comets orbiting our sun (their low inclination relative to the orbits of the planets, their overwhelmingly prograde orbital direction, and their tendency to have aphelions which take them out to a distance close to the orbital distance of Jupiter) all argue that these comets did not originate from some hypothetical "Oort Cloud" far beyond the farthest planets in our solar system, where they were supposedly perturbed and hurtled all the way into our solar system, only to become trapped in an elliptical orbit around the sun.

Instead, these characteristics argue that comets probably originated from some catastrophic event which launched debris outwards from some point in the inner solar system. Dr. Brown argues that they were violently ejected from our own earth itself. Other researchers, including Thomas Van Flandern (1940 - 2009), former Chief of Celestial Mechanics at the US Naval Observatory, have argued that they may have originated from an exploding planet orbiting between the orbital paths of Mars and Jupiter. For more discussion on this topic, see previous posts from very early in this blog's history, such as this one and this one.

Note that early in this blog's history, I was interpreting the Bible literally, but as I began to discover more and more evidence that the figures and events described in the Bible (in common with virtually all the world's other ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories) can be shown to be based on celestial metaphor, I slowly came to the conclusion that I could no longer believe that the stories in those scriptures were ever intended to be understood as describing literal and terrestrial historical events.

In any case, over the next few nights I hope that you (and I) will have success in seeing Comet 46P/Wirtanen on its 2018 visit to the inner solar system -- and that as we observe this mysterious visitor, it further excites our curiosity to learn more about the ancient history of our planet and solar system, which may very well contradict the conventional narratives we have been told over and over, and which continue to be repeated as though they have already been proven (when in fact they do not seem to be supported by the evidence). 

note from a little after 10pm on night of 12/14:

The comet is now easily visible right where it should be, as suggested by the line imagined between the tips of the arrows in the diagrams. It appears as a hazy blue-green glow when viewed through binoculars (I used 10x50 WA).