Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Neptune


Today the planet Neptune completes one full revolution of the Sun since its discovery in 1846. Neptune has of course  been orbiting the Sun for millions of years, taking 165 years to orbit our nearest star,  but its only since 1846 that its existence has been known  by humans. It was the first planet to be discovered by mathematical calculation, being not visible except by telescope.  

In mythology Neptune was the ruler of seas and oceans and this is reflected in its designated symbol of a Triton. Neptune is also associated with the horse, the god often being depicted riding a shell-shaped chariot drawn by horses. 

Roman Mosaic 2/3 century CE

Astrologically Neptune is the ruler of the Zodiac sign of Pisces as well as hospitals, prisons, mental institutions and monasteries; in fact all places which involve a withdrawal from society  are believed to be under the rule of Neptune as well as psychic phenomena such as dreams, hypnotism, extra-sensory perception, illusion and deception in general. Alcohol and drug-taking, especially hallucinogenic mushrooms, along with melodrama and cinema are all classic examples of Neptunian influence. Neptune is also associated with humility and spiritual illumination.

Neptune was a popular subject for Renaissance and baroque fountains in Italy, in particular Berni's Trevi fountain in Rome. The Roman god of the seas influence in popular culture continues in the curious ritual  of paying homage to Neptune when crossing the equator, especially upon cruises.
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