A week ago, the Huffington Post picked up an interview with a University of Southern Queensland physics professor about the star known as Betelgeuse going supernova and what that might mean. When it happens, which could be tonight or not for another 100,000 years, a second sun will appear in the sky and may be visible for a couple of weeks before fading. Neutrinos will bombard the earth, but supposedly have "no effect" on us.
Given how little we really know about the body, that last notion seems a tad ridiculous, but, beyond any potential physical repercussions, think of the psychological ones! Heliocentrism is the model of our universe, with the sun at the center and all the planets revolving around it. Almost all of the cells in our body mimic that model, with more or less centralized nuclei. Culturally speaking, you can find sun worshipping all over the globe. If our skies present the image of two suns for even a brief period of time, it will shake the very foundations of our world view. How could it not?
Consider what 'two' signifies: Yin and yang, partnership, duality. From an animistic world view, you would have to see the appearance of two suns as reflecting something back to us, a message. In one sense, it could be literally illuminating our dualistic mind-set, the mentality that sees mind as separate from body, people as separate from earth. What a time to be reminded of this (even as a possibility), as we confront the destruction that the dualistic mode of thinking has wrought upon the planet.
It could also be shining a light on the need for others, partners. If we take the appearance of two suns to heart, our neighbors (down the block or occupying the next continent) would cease to be the next independently functioning household over and, instead, become necessary for a healthy self-image, be it of our neighborhood or world. Friends and lovers could take on the aspect of ‘twin,' with the attendant repercussions of depth, connection and meaning that we understand about those relationships. Within ourselves, our anima or animus might stop being a figure of difficulty and discord and move toward integration.
The taijitu, better known stateside as the yin/yang symbol, represents polarity, the union of opposites, all that is, dynamism. Traditionally, the sun and the moon have been seen to embody these ideas, but two suns could be interpreted in much the same way, especially when Betelgeuse fades, as is predicted, for the taijitu is said to be born of a singularity and to create one, too. By showing us two suns and then reverting back to one, the universe could be seen to be pointing the way to the taijitu's inherent wholeness.
One half of a dualism is often seen to embody negative aspects. When many Westerners first hear that yin is dark, cold, slow, feminine, their beliefs about equality are offended. "Why do women get the crappy side?" was certainly my first thought on day one of Chinese medical school. But there is nothing inherently wrong with those attributes. In fact, they're one whole half of existence, denying which would be akin to splitting the globe down the middle or cutting off your daemon, as in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.
In a similar way, one could choose to be suspicious about the second sun, and perhaps with good reason. Here's what a friend suggested about it: "The second sun is also like an impostor, that looks like the real sun but sheds no warmth. Also, depending on what time of the year this happens, it could be mostly visible at night. As such, it could symbolize the anti-Christ -- looks splendid like the real sun, but it is fake."
I don't resist the idea that there are anti-Christ-like forces in the universe, but I do hold to the notion that they are ultimately here for our benefit. Perhaps the second sun won't feel right in our hearts. In that case, it will be a wonderful opportunity to bow to it and say, "No thank you," affiirming the greater truth of our own dear sun. I imagine that the peace brought by such a collective act would be planet-altering.
The richness of the metaphor of two suns interests me particularly, as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, from an esoteric point of view. In the body, the heart can be thought of as the ‘sun,' as it is often depicted as the most brightly illuminated chakra. If you apply the appearance of a second sun to the body, then you would be talking about the ‘higher heart,' the chakra associated with the thymus gland. This chakra is said to be activated as consciousness is expanded. Perhaps the appearance of two suns would indicate the ignition of Gaia's higher heart.
May it be so.
Image courtesy of NASA Goddard photo and video.Tweet