Monday, September 1, 2014

How the Ancients Fit a Map of the Solar System in One Little Circle: Part 1

A degree is a step or stage in a course.  In the case of an old fashioned thermometer, the red line at 31 degrees Fahrenheit tells us the level of thermal energy is so low that it’s cold enough for water to freeze.  If the expanding mercury climbs to 99 degrees Fahrenheit we know it is hot enough to jump in a lake.  There are also degrees that document the level of a person's education.  A master's degree

confers more rights and responsibilities than a bachelor's or associate's degree.  In both cases degrees measure a level that goes up or down like steps on a ladder.  What about degrees in a circle?

Every circle has 360 of them, or “360 spokes in the wheel.”

Maybe to get a better idea of what a degree in astrology is we should first break down the circle being calibrated.  The first division is a horizontal line (from Greek horos-boundary), and the second division is a vertical line called the meridian (from Latin medius dies- mid day).  If all these funky foreign words bother you just scroll down to the pictures.  I’m including some quotes from the Rig Vedas to remind us that there were 360 degrees in a circle and 60 minutes in a degree long before the modern clock.

“With four times ninety names, he (Vishnu) sets in motion moving forces like a turning wheel.”

Each quadrant is then divided by 3 for a total of twelve sections. 

“Twelve are the fellies, and the wheel is single…. What man hath understood it?
     Therein are set together spokes three hundred and sixty, which in nowise 
              can be loosened.”   
                                        The quotes are from the first Mandala of the Rig Veda.
Fellies are sections on the rim of a wheel, but we have to remember that 'rim' is only an expression, just like the circle on the chart, to help us locate ourselves along an imaginary wheel in the sky.  

One degree of a circle that fits on a letter size piece of paper is going to be a lot smaller than one degree of a circle the earth makes when it travels around the sun.  I can't show 1 degree the size of earth's orbit, but I can show what 1 degree of a circle about 21 feet wide looks like.  

In the series of drawings below I have divided a page size circle up into successively smaller sections till we get to one degree.  Then I let that 1 degree radiate about 10 1/2 feet till we have a degree of a circle large enough to encompass a big living room.

#    #    #     #     #

When we divide a quadrant of ‘90 names’ by three, each section has 30 names or degrees.  

And now we say magna cadabra.........

In 21 pages (don't forget we skipped 13 of them) that expanding degree went from less than 1/8 inch in width to 2 ¼ inches; at least that's how wide it looks on my screen.   A wheel composed of 360 of these 2 1/4inch sections would make a circle a bit more than 21 feet wide. 

Congratulations!  You have earned your first astrological degree!!  Click here to see how one degree on a wheel thousands of miles wide is shown on a letter size piece of paper.  60 Minutes in 1 Degree

And here is a link to the Math is Fun page about degrees.  Check it out!   Degrees

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