The Augsburg Wunderzeichenbuch – A Mid-Sixteenth Century Book of Miracles

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, Folio 52 (Comet mit einem grosen Schwantz, 1401) “In the year A.D. 1401, a large comet with a peacock tail appeared in the sky over Germany. This was followed by a most severe plague in Swabia.” — The Book of Miracles (f°74), ca 1552

You may consider this post as something like a page from a scrapbook on the artistic records of historical comets and other celestial phenomena.

The New Year in our current tradition begins with the first day of January which is named after Janus.  In Roman religion, the animistic spirit of doorways (januae) and archways (jani). Janus and the nymph Camasene were the parents of Tiberinus, whose death in or by the river Albula caused it to be renamed Tiber The symbol of a gateway or doorway is indeed apt. However, most commonly we associate Janus with the ability to see into the past and future. I believe that every new beginning deserves a glance at the past, to see how we got where we are. Animistic spirit doorways are what we pass through when we discover new ways to communicate our experiences and the authors and artists of The Augsburg Wunderzeichenbuch have done just that, The paintings do not attempt to provide a faithful rendering of a physical sighting. Instead, the comets are wildly expressive of their perceived nature.

The simple and miraculous truth is that we are literally made of stardust. The heavens have had a vital role to play in all known civilizations. The comets shown here did, in fact, coincide with earthly events.

“The figure of a Fearful Comet.” John Haygarth. Line engraving by W. Cooke, 1827, after J. H. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Skywatching used to be a far more common practise, not least because the skies were clearly visible and without the modern levels of light pollution. In many cases, such as the examples given here from Whether we look to the past or the future we see signs that assist in prediction and make sense of extraordinary occurrences. Dramatic celestial events, even when feared as apocalyptic nevertheless elicited a sense of profound awe. The images of comets are magnificent, even if considered portents of doom. Some are from Biblical accounts imagined in reference to life in the 16th Century.

Courtesy of The Warburg Institute Library The School of Advanced Studies -University of London.  The book contains 167 colored representations of miraculous signs (portents) in the media of gouaches and watercolors  The work is attributed to Heinrich Vogtherr and Hans Burgkmair the Younger.

On Christmas day 1704 a great light appeared in the sky of Catalonia. It was a meteorite of a kilogram of a rocky type that crashed near Catalonia. It was collected in the Scientific Miscellany of Josep Bolló, who made the drawing, describing it as Signe Magnus,  “And as we have observed, it can be said that it was an omen for the miseries and calamities that has suffered and suffers all the Kingdom of Spain, and more particularly the Principality of Cathalunya.”

Winter Solstice 2018

23rd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival in Vancouver, Canada

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the longest night of the year in expectation of the waxing light force. I have mentioned before, that I believe the four Solstice and Equinoctial point should be primarily a time of celebration and reflection. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to look at the chart for the exact moment of the Winter Solstice. Because all the said points occur in Cardinal Signs, we can expect that each will have maximum influence over the following three months, unless some other element, such as a potent eclipse occurs in tandem. Here we have the chart for the Solstice in Greenwich.

At first glance, the chart doesn’t appear to be particularly extraordinary. We could say that the centre of the action is between Jupiter and Mars. Mars is exceptionally powerful, in spite of being in the sign of Pisces, disposited by Jupiter. The chart Almuten is Mars and by way of Collection of Light, he collects light from both Luminaries, Mercury and Venus. He occupies the last Decan which is ruled by Mars in the 7th House of open enemies and partners. Jupiter is with Mercury and in the decan of Mercury. This is a strong position for communicating the need for a consideration of roots. Moreover, Jupiter is Lord of If the Prenatal Syzygy which Valens considered to be a life-giving position of light and protective good fortune, when angular and with such a relationship with its ruler(See Vettius Valens – Anthologies Book II, Riley trans., p.38). The ancestral urge is therefore very strong.

The 4th fourth house in this context is associated with Ancestral optimistic, high minded Sagittarius.  Moreover. the first decan of Sagittarius is considered fortunate and “blesses with a capacity of spiritual insight” (See Austin Coppock 36 Faces p. 194.)

The UK is involved in what has become a convoluted Brexit. Globalists have fought against the vote to leave, using everything at their disposal. At the time of writing, what was a simple majority vote, has now risen to 68% in favour of leaving the EU.  There have been calls for a second referendum, but that would appear to be a virtual impossibility. The hard aspect between Jupiter and Mars is separating, indicating that the worst of the current version of the crisis is past. We don’t have a date for further votes on the details of the separation if any, Nevertheless, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm local time on March 29 2019, most likely with no deal.

Saturn is in his domicile and Lord of the 6th House of the common people. This indicates, among other things, that the people want stability. Tangible assets and monetary concerns are much on the minds of all. Not surprisingly, Conservative voices are gaining increasing relevance as the country works to free itself of the undemocratic EU. There is no doubt that the struggle will continue and if the question was simply “will Brexit happen” the answer would be a yes, but with much opposition from abroad.

Celebrate the turning of the wheel and I wish you all a New Year filled with blessings of all kinds.

St, Lucy’s Day celebration in Denmark. Photo Credit: Scanpix