What were you doing January 16, 2006? Who knows, right?
On that date the New Horizon space probe was launched and headed to the farthest reach of our galaxy – Pluto – three billion miles away. And today, we have visuals from only 7,000 miles above the surface of this far and distant, dwarf planet. Considering our moon is about 250,000 miles from Earth, New Horizon is practically shaving Pluto!
The series of photographs produced by our USA space probes of every known planet in our galaxy, up close and personal, may very well be our greatest gift to mankind. But, even as the mysteries of the sky are revealed scientifically, and we see the beauty, power and grandeur of planets, star nebulas and galaxies in magnificent portraits, spiritual mystery expands.
It is easy to forget that we did not have an image of the Earth from space until July 1969. We had no idea how beautifully blue and green this planet we live on is until we saw it from the moon and began to understand Job's comment, 'God hung the Earth on nothing'. Hung the Earth on NOTHING...and yet here we are.
When Uranus was photographed in 1986, the new photos downloaded on one monitor at NASA at the same time other monitors showed the explosion of Challenger. Astrologers would label the sudden, unexpected explosion an event in keeping with Uranus' nature without question.
When Neptune's pictures were birthed into our visual consciousness in August, 1989, three million people were holding hands and singing across three Latvian countries in a peaceful, harmonic protest of the Soviet Union. By November the Berlin Wall fell - with no guns fired. The Iron Curtain took its final bow by spring and reunited Europe. Again, Neptune's pictures arrived with a gentle, kind Neptunian wave that changed our world.
On July 14 the New Horizon space probe took the closest photos of Pluto planned. We await these historic images impatiently as they hurtle through space for an entire 24 hours at the speed of light to reach NASA's monitors. For the last week photos from 1.5 million miles out arrived, all grey and fuzzy, like a fledgling planet, tantalizing us with expectations. Each day images came in with more detail, and recognizable geology as the probe draws nearer.
Pluto was discovered in 1930 as Einstein discovery of relativity of 1905 was being forged into a science of nuclear power. Pluto in astrological terms rules power: nuclear, emotional, sexual, financial, secrets and taboos - any way power comes. It rules the dark and mysterious parts of earth like caves, swamps, chasms, and ice-y glaciers. Psychologically, Pluto reigns over extremes such as obsessions, inward looking, and the potential of deep transformation.
The first NASA photos show Pluto as dark, a planet of black and white, and grey. It is lit only by one of its moon, Charon, and starlight. Daylight has not been seen for 20 years and will not be seen for 80 more in a winter worthy of the Game of Thrones warning, 'Winter is coming.'
As harsh as Pluto sounds, the scientists describe Pluto's most dominant feature as a 'bright, mysterious heart'. We now know that as we look into the night sky a heart shines on us from the edge of beyond. Who would have expected that? From Pluto of all places?
This leaves me wondering what earthly event will reflect our new awareness of Pluto. Or has this new consciousness already begun with the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriages. Today the headlines reflect our obsession with Iran and a nuclear treaty...as if we can control true power. Even Cuba our near neighbor emerges from the dark for us to probe and obsess over. Pluto power is not destructive OR transformative. It is both. It is destructive AND transformative all in the service of becoming our Highest Selves. Stretching us to our broadest boundaries to open to...Heart.
I wonder what other deep, dark secrets and hidden power can simply come out into the light and be transformed into love. Somehow, Pluto's heart - way out there - gives my heart hope here on Earth.