Putting aside the astrological activity of the Moon briefly, it would seem as though the Sun is once more stirring up life on earth...
The BBC today reported that three solar flares, including a so-called X-flare - the strongest type of flare, and the biggest of its kind since 2006, will be reaching the earth today and tomorrow. The ultra-violet radiation from this type of activity has the potential to knock out power grids and disrupt the workings of communications and technological equipment such as satellites. More information on how this occurs can be found here: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/spaceweather/effects.php
A multi-media video of this flare in action can also be viewed on the NASA website.
I can personally report my telephone handset beeping as if it was being put back in the cradle several times this afternoon, even though nobody was touching it at the time.
From an astrological point of view, I find this interesting for two reasons: firstly, the Sun is currently in Aquarius - a sign associated with technology via its ruler, Uranus. Secondly, from a traditional astrological perspective, the Sun is said to be in Detriment when in Aquarius, suggesting that the interaction of solar energy and technology is not always likely to be positive one.
According to scientists from NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Sun is currently moving towards a high point of activity in its 11-year cycle known as 'solar maximum' which will reach its peak around 2012/13 - no doubt adding fuel to the fire of those doomsayers fond of the Mayan calendar and the predictions of mass flooding tied up with their astrological folklore.
At this time, we could be in for a phenomenon known as a 'mass coronal ejection' This tends to occur roughly every 100 years and aside from creating spectacular displays of the aurora borealis (or northern lights) has the potential to knock out digital and electrical infrastructure for significant periods as well as disrupt magnetic devices such as compasses. The last one occurred 150 years ago in 1859, making this event well overdue.
It will be interesting to see whether this has any impact on the weather or indeed, on human or animal physiology.
Journalist, Lynne McTaggart, author of 'The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe', and editor of the newsletter, 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' has been doing research into the effects of solar flares on psychic phenomenon. In an interview with podcaster, Kelly Howell, she asserted that radioactivity caused by solar sunspots and flares affects the magnetic energy shield that surrounds the earth. This in turn, she believes can affect living creatures in a number of ways.
McTaggart has collected a number of scientific studies that show that geomagnetic storms can affect the hearts of humans, thickening the blood and causing cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks. Naturally, this is interesting from an astrological point of view, given that the Sun rules the heart in medical astrology.
Solar activity also appears to affect the brain, possibly because nerve impulses appear to be magnetic in nature. McTaggart quotes one four-year study which found correlations between geomagnetic variations and the rise in admission to two New York mental institutions. Of course the jury is still out about this, as several studies have also shown that the Full Moon appears to have an equally strong effect on people's behaviour, no doubt the source of the word 'lunatic.'
For more info, visit: http://www.wddty.com/weathering-geomagnetic-storms_1.html
A whole science has developed around the idea of the link between planetary and biological rhythyms. Known as Chronobiology, it appears to bear out what all those ancient astronomers and philosophers maintained - that all living things are affected by the planets, particularly the sun, which sets and regulates our biological cycles. One scientist suggests that this synchronism may be set when we are still in the womb as a result of information sent from our mother's pineal gland which has been shown to be responsive to light and dark and that sets our circadian rhythms.
Of course, many critics will at once point out that it is never a good idea to mix science and astrology up - that both systems are based on entirely different philosophies - the one focused around physical cause and effect; and the other based on symbolic correspondences that is ultimately founded on the premise that the entire universe is intimately co-related and interlinked, functioning as one great soul or organism.
As I pointed out in the Introduction to my MA Cos Div Dissertation, however, it is only westerners with their dualistic outlook on life that separate nature from spirit - this was not so for many ancient cultures, including those that developed astrology. Nor was it ever true for eastern cultures like the Chinese who, for centuries, considered the I Ching divination system to be one of their greatest scientific achievements.
Of course, the debate on this subject continues to rage as scientists and astrologers fight to defend their corners - the most recent example of this being the disparaging remarks made about astrology by scientist Brian Cox on the BBC TV programe, 'Stargazing Live'. (see the newspaper report about it at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2011/jan/24/1)
Deborah Houlding has written an excellent refutation of this and other critiques of astrology, such as the suggestion of a 13th zodiac sign. Have a read by following this link: http://www.skyscript.co.uk/13thsign.html