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Where science meets astrology – Transit of Venus celebrated in Golden Bay

Submitted by on June 1, 2012 – 11:18 am

By Charlotte Squire

I’m sitting in a sun-lit room with Marsha Jones the astrologer/astronomer and Kevin Durkan the High School Science Teacher. They come from vastly different backgrounds and belief systems, yet each of them have a light in their eye, because today we’re discussing the internationally acclaimed Transit of Venus.

From New Zealand’s perspective, Venus will be passing between the sun and planet Earth, this Wednesday, June 6th during daylight hours. Those of us who have the special solar viewers to safety look at the sun will be able to watch a small black dot travel across the lower part of the sun over a period of six hours. One reason this is such a significant event is that it won’t happen for another 105.5 years until the year 2117.

“The pattern is for two transits within eight years followed by a gap of 121½ years, then another after eight years followed by a gap of 105½ years before the pattern is repeated. For the next occurrence you will have to wait until 2117,” explains Kevin.

Here in Golden Bay, Kevin has organised cross-curricular presentations to students at the High School and some of the Primary Schools. If the weather’s good Kevin and Marsha will also be at our local ‘Village Green’ in down-town Takaka between 1.10 and 1.50pm so that members of the community can also take advantage of the solar viewers.

Leaving Golden Bay for a moment, Transit of Venus celebrations will also be held at Tolaga Bay, which is on the East Coast of the North Island. This was where Captain James Cook anchored after witnessing the Transit of Venus in Tahiti in 1769. Three German poets, along with three Kiwi poets will be there to experience the transit. This creative collaboration is supported by Professor Bill Manhire – New Zealand host and International Institute of Modern Letters chair.

“Poets have always gazed up at the stars, and it will be fascinating to watch how these creative minds spark off each other and to see how an event like the Transit of Venus inspires their work,” said Dr Manhire.

Obviously this is where astronomy meets creativity, and speaking of different perspectives, I’m interested in how Kevin and Marsha came to find each other and form an obviously united team.

Says Kevin:

“Everybody in science has their own area of interest, I don’t have a huge passion for astonomy, but a serendipitus conversation with a colleague in the UK, where I was lucky enough to be able to see the Transit of Venus in 2004, led to my interest in the event. Out of the blue I got this email from Marsha, she also had a passion for the Transit of Venus but came from a different direction.

“There’s often a lot of misunderstanding between scientists and people with metaphysical/spiritual bents. And they’re seen as being from two opposing sides, which my heart tells me isn’t the case. The two can actually very happily exist side by side.

“In fact many of the most famous, formative scientists in history have actually had a spitiual side. Einstien was very religious and yet traditional religious dogma doesn’t actualy fit very comfortably with scientific dogma. I’m guessing his heart lead him to a plce where science didn’t.  And he was quite happy with that dicotomy.

“We wanted to bring the two together to show that one aspect nourishes the head, and the other aspect nourishes the heart.”

I asked Marsha to shed some light upon the ways Happyzine readers might be experiencing some astrological influence from the Transit of Venus.

“Venus represents fertility, fruitfulness, creativity, arts, abundance, harmony, and harmonious relationships. Sometimes we can experience a swing of the pendulum before finding the balance, but it’s useful to have an awareness that we’re working towards integrating the opposites. So I think to make the most of this alignment of the sun shining through Venus, coming down to earth … is to step up in your next level of creativity, bring it into manifestation, define, and declare it.

“Look at Venus as the feminine principle, so it’s honouring things like intuition, nurturing, cooperation. Hopefully on a global level that’ll be recognised. If you need a boost of any kind, to write that blog, or bring that creative project out, now’s a really good time.”

Bill Manhire obviously had the same idea.

Marsha said that during the last two Transits of Venus (1874 + 1882) there were huge leaps forward in technology, including the invention of electricity, the telephone, the light-bulb and recording equipment.

Who knows what we’ll come up with this time around … perhaps the New Zealand Government will adopt a clear, focused commitment to a reduction in carbon emissions to the lauded 350 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere.  Maybe our wild rivers will be official declared as national treasures or ‘taonga’, off limits to any form of development into the distant future, in honour of their immeasurable physical and spiritual value.  Perhaps hydro-powered hover crafts will finally claim their rightful place in mainstream culture.

What ever the invention, or development, we’ll be able to put it down to the 2012 Transit of Venus, where intuition, creativity and cooperation made their mark.

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