Spin Cycle

Round And Round She Goes…

I remember once a long time ago, there was this traveling carnival that came and set up in neighborhood. It was around some holiday, I think Halloween. They set up in a parking lot. It was an ordinary traveling carnival, with rides, and food booths and games. There was this one ride in particular that I remember, because my friend managed to get sick while were on it. It kind of looked like big double edge hammer, and each car, which was on each end of the spinning hammer, would spin. So you could spin from two different frames of reference. One large loop around and around, like on a Ferris wheel, but your individual car would spin around on it’s own axis as you spun around. That’s when it happened.

I remember way back in college when we were studying the rotation of the earth. There are quite a few rotations within rotations when you break it down. Our solar system itself is inside of a particular galaxy, which itself is spinning around the universe. Then within our own galaxy, all the stars are spinning around in a cycle. And we, of course, are on earth, which is circling the sun. And of course we have night and day, so the earth itself is spinning on it’s own axis. Right there you have four different things spinning around

What makes it even more confusing is something called precession. If you look at the earth, and imagine each pole sticking up and down, the tips of each pole would draw an imaginary circle as the earth spins around its axis. It takes the earth about 26,000 years to move through one cycle. If you can imagine a spinning top that is holding steady, but the axis moves in a slow circle as it spins, that’s kind of what’s going on. So already we’ve got five different things that are spinning from the earth’s perspective.

The interesting thing about the precession of the earth is that if you take the 26,000 years, and divide by 12, you get about 2100 years give or take. This is exactly as long as each astrological “age” is. As then earth processes around its axis, every 2100 years or so it moves into a different “house,” according to astrology.

If you can imagine the earth as a spinning top, and the axis slowly (in the earth’s case 26,000 years) making a circle, the axis will slowly “point” towards the constellation that represents each astrological symbol.

Many believe that much of the symobology from the bible, as well as the stories that it was based on stems from this precession. The earth’s axis makes a 26,000-year rotation, and each “age” is when the earth’s precessional axis is pointing towards a particular constellation, representative of a particular astrological sign. Currently, we are in the “age” of Pisces. This started around the same time as the birth of Jesus, and many believe this is where the “Jesus fish” idea comes from (Pisces = fish). Before Pisces, was the age of the bull. This is behind the symbolic smashing of the bull, or the golden calf, when Moses came down with the ten commandments, and found his followers busy worshipping a golden calf. The coming “age of Aquarius” or water, is going to be around 2040. Who knows what will happen then. Maybe lots of rain or maybe Al Gore really was right, and the ice caps will melt and we’ll all have to watch “Waterworld” with Kevin Costner and learn how to survive on ships.

Of course, all these stories and mythologies were developed long before they had any accurate means of measuring, or even understand the mechanics behind celestial movements of planets, stars and galaxies. They just knew that different stars, (whatever they were) seemed to appear in different shapes, and slowly move across the sky. You can imagine primitive man coming up with all kinds of fascinating mythological stories to explain it all.

The biggest reason my friend got sick on that insane spinning was because he ate a chilidog, a really big chilidog, right before we got on the ride. And when he got sick, he really got sick. I feel bad for the poor guy or girl that on into our cart after the ride finally came to a halt.

So if you have a chance, or care enough to remember, next time you watch a sunrise, or a sunset, remember that there’s a whole lot of spinning going on out there.