I’ve just been watching In the Shadow of the Moon, a documentary about the Moon landings that contains extensive and personal interviews with the Apollo astronauts. They are now old men, and the only people to have been on an alien world and to have seen the earth from that perspective. It was an event that not only boosted America at the time of the Vietnam War: it united the whole world, people were not saying that the Americans have landed on the Moon, but that we have landed on the Moon. When before or since has there been an event that united the whole world?
We can set a chart for Washington, the capital of the USA, for the moment Neil Armstrong took his first step. The chart remarkably has no hard aspects – it is all trines and sextiles. It was, you could argue, a purely positive event, one that uplifted and inspired humanity. This is also described by Sun in Cancer (earth based humanity) trine to Neptune Rising (epiphany). Mars is Rising in Sagittarius, describing the courage and adventurousness of the Moon landing, even the spiritual/religious dimension to it. The MC in Virgo, and the 10th House Nodal Pluto in Virgo, describe the technological (Virgo) power (Pluto) involved. Pluto is conjunct Uranus and Jupiter, emphasising the technological breakthroughs and advancements of the mission.
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You could also say that Neptune Rising describes the subsequent doubts that arose over whether the Moon Landings occurred, doubts that become absurd when you listen to the astronauts talking.
Neil Armstrong has a close conjunction in his chart between the Galactic Centre and guess which body? You got it, the Moon!
With Pluto completing his time in Sagittarius, the film's release (in 2006) is timely, a last look back at these events whilst those who participated are still alive.
So here are some quotes from the astronauts talking personally about the journey to the Moon and back.
Charlie Duke I was able to look out the window to see this incredible sight of the whole circle of the earth. The oceans were crystal blue, the land was brown and the clouds and the snow were pure white. That jewel of earth was just hung up in the blackness of space.
The only people that have seen the whole circle of the earth are the 24 guys that went to the Moon.
Edgar Mitchell When you see the earth like that it’s powerful. Not any bigger than that.
Mike Collins Peaceful and quiet and calm and serene and how fragile it appeared, that was oddly enough the over-riding sense that I got looking at the Earth. My God that little thing is so fragile out there.
Edgar Mitchell You get to see the earth receding, you get to see the Moon coming towards you, and it’s awe-inspiring. And you start to identify hey we’re going to be up there pretty soon, bye-bye back there.
Edgar Mitchell The biggest joy was on the way home. In my cockpit window, every 2 minutes, the earth, the moon, the sun and the whole 360 degree panorama of the heavens, and that was a powerful, overwhelming experience. And suddenly I realised that the molecules of my body and the molecules on the spacecraft and the molecules in the body of my partners were prototyped and manufactured in some ancient generation of stars. And that was an overwhelming sense of oneness, of connectedness. It wasn’t them and us, it was that’s me, that’s all of it, it’s one thing. And it was accompanied by an ecstasy, a sense of Oh my god wow yes, an insight, an epiphany.
Gene Cernan I felt that I was literally standing on a plateau somewhere out there in space, a plateau that science and technology had allowed me to get to, but now what I was seeing and even more important what I was feeling at that moment in time, science and technology had no answers for, literally no answers, because there I was, and there you are, the earth – dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt that the earth had just too much purpose, too much logic, was just too beautiful to have happened by accident. There has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me. And I mean this in a spiritual sense, not a religious sense. There has to be a creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern our lives.
Mike Collins I think if you do something as drastically different like flying to the Moon and coming back again, everyone tells you how important it is, how wonderful it is and how important, important, important, then by comparison a lot of other things that used to seem important don’t seem quite as much so. And I’m not saying that I’m able to face life with greater equanimity because I’ve flown to the Moon, but I try to. And maybe some of our terrestrial squabbles don’t seem quite as important after having flown to the Moon than they did before.
Jim Lovell We learned a lot about the Moon, but what we really learned was about the Earth, the fact that just from the distance of the Moon you could put your thumb up, and you could hide the Earth behind your thumb, everything you have ever known, your loved ones, your business, the problems of the Earth itself, all behind your thumb. And how insignificant we really all are, but then how fortunate we are to have this body and to be able to enjoy living here amongst the beauty of the Earth itself.
Dave Scott The Earth truly is an oasis, and we don’t take very good care of it. And I think the elevation of that awareness is a real contribution to saving the earth, if you will.
John Young Earth has changed a lot since we started flying in Gemini, there’s a lot of things like urban pollution, and you can see that when you orbit now. The big cities all have their own set of unique atmospheres. We ought to be looking out for our kids and our grandkids. And what are we worried about? The price of a gallon of gasoline. In the United States they’re worried about 3 dollars a gallon gas, how awful that is.
Alan Bean Since that time, I have not complained about the weather one single time. I’m glad there is weather. I’ve not complained about traffic, I’m glad there’s people around. One of the things that I did when I got home, I went down to shopping centres, and I’d just go there, get an ice-cream cone or something, and just watch the people go by, and think boy we’re lucky to be here, why do people complain about the Earth? We are living in the Garden of Eden.
Mike Collins As I look back I would use one word, luck. I just feel very lucky. Neil Armstrong was born in 1930, Buzz Aldrin was born in 1930, Mike Collins was born in 1930. I mean, how lucky can you get? We just happened along at the right time.
Alan Bean I feel blessed every single day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think this is great, this was wonderful. Somebody had to go and they happened to pick me, so it is great.