Oct 9, 1604: Kepler’s Supernova 1st seen!
Today isn’t only the 70th birthday of John Lennon. October 9 also marks 406 years since Supernova 1604 was first spotted in the Milky Way. German astronomer (and astrologer) Johannes Kepler first spied it himself on October 17 yet October 9 is the official anniversary of the star’s very first sighting in the constellation Ophiuchus.
Whether the 8-day difference in the dates is due to the historic calendar change from Julian to Gregorian, I’m not certain. Perhaps so. Suffice it to say, it’s been a while since ‘Kepler’s Star’ or ‘Kepler’s Supernova’ came into human consciousness. His book on the celestial discovery, De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii may be translated as, On the New Star in Ophiuchus’ Foot.
Ophiuchus is a very interesting constellation and is considered by some to be the Thirteenth Sign in the Zodiac. Here’s some info on the mythology of the constellation from Bernadette Brady’s excellent Book of Fixed Stars:
The stars of Ophiuchus the Serpent Holder and Serpens the Serpent are now spread between three constellations: Ophiuchus the Serpent Holder, Caput Serpens, and Cauda Serpens. Ophiuchus occupies a larger area across the ecliptic than the modern constellation Scorpio. From November 21 to December 16, the Sun is actually among the stars of Ophiuchus rather than in Scorpio yet most modern astrologers make no differentiation in this matter. Debates continue.
To the Greeks, Ophiuchus was known as Serpentarius the Healer which points to snakes shedding their skins, an archetypal symbol of new life. Serpentarius was also known as the god Asclepius, son of Apollo, the Sun god; in Astrology, the Sun represents our vitality. Asclepius was taught the healing arts from Chiron and is usually depicted holding a stick about which a serpent is coiled, a modern day motiff of Western medicine.
You, of course, note the Scriptural similarities with the uplifted coiled serpent along with modern Astrology’s use of Chiron as an archetype of Christ, the Key, and Healer of all our woes.
Legend says that Asclepius was ship’s surgeon on the Argo and the story goes that his skills improved until he could raise people from the dead so the gods, always jealous of their exalted dominion, smote him with one of Zeus-Jove’s thunderbolts and placed him in the heavens as Ophiuchus.
Then in 1604, the excellent Johannes Kepler came along with his telescope, bright intelligence, knowledge, and what must have been rather good eyesight…and the rest, as they say, is history.
The constellation’s primary star used in Astrology today is Alpha Ophiuchus, aka Ras Alhague whose keywords are: ‘the healer; one who strives to create balance; to repair that which is damaged’ (including ideals.)
Considering that today’s starry anniversary falls upon a certain Beatle’s birthday, it’s interesting that John Lennon’s natal Venus culminated as Ras Alhague rose. Abraham Lincoln is another historical Ras Alhague figure with the star linked by paran to his natal Mercury.
If it isn’t in your library of very interesting books, you may wish to check out Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars on Amazon where you may notice a novice’s review I wrote about the book years ago!