Voyage to the Planets Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein Voyage to the Planets is a film that makes use of NASA and JPL footage taken of the moon and several planets from space, and combines these visual images with the music of Gustav Holst's The Planets (1917) symphony suite. The following information is useful to know about the planets as background before watching the film and listening to the music. In the ancient world, prehistoric peoples were well aware of the movement of the planets and the constellations, as demonstrated by the stone circles and temples they built that served as observatories and astronomical time keepers. The myths of ancient cultures offer insights into how early humans viewed both the power and the influence of the planets. Several gods of the Greek and Roman pantheon carried the influences of the planets that were known to ancient humans, and other planets, moons, and heavenly bodies discovered in the last few centuries have been named for other gods or mythological beings because of "energetic" connections that seemed appropriate to the namers. There is evidence in manuscripts from several ancient cultures that ancient humans believed the planets, moving through various constellations or signs of the Zodiac, ruled human personality and events on Earth, and that as they moved around the sky, they influenced the auspices of human endeavors. (The birth of Jesus, for example, is believed by some scholars to have been augured by planetary signs, symbolically described as the "star" of Bethlehem.) The ancient world acknowledged seven planets in a geocentric or Earth-centered concept. Those seven planets were the sun, the moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. In more modern times, science came to recognize that the sun, rather than Earth, was the center of the solar system, and Earth itself was a planet revolving around the sun. Also, with the improvements in telescopes, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, several planetoids, and moons of the various planets were discovered (some of which had been predicted by earlier astronomers). Energies connected with the various planets and the myths of the Roman gods associated with them (for whom they are currently named) are as follows: Mercury—god of wisdom, magic, alchemy, and the occult sciences. Something of a trickster, Mercury was also known as Hermes; he was, in addition, the messenger of the gods. Note the mystical suggestiveness of the music in certain places. Venus—(included here with the moon) was the goddess of sexual love and beauty. The music is soft and caressing, and in some places might almost be called erotic. Mars—known as the Red Planet, and associated with the god of war. Notice the aggressive, pounding beat of the music, the minor key, and the driving thematic waves suggesting battle imagery. Jupiter—head of the Roman pantheon and also known as Jove (from which we get the word "jovial"), Jupiter is associated with the idea of expansion. He is connected with generosity, boisterousness, growth, new ideas, joy, and laughter. Saturn—the Roman name for the Greek Titan Kronos, and hence associated in both cultures with time. Kronos was supposed to have eaten his children as his wife Rhea (Ops) gave birth to each. She got tired of this, and when Zeus (Jupiter) was born, she hid him and wrapped a large rock in swaddling clothes and fed it to Kronos, which he swallowed down. Later, when Zeus had grown to manhood, he challenged his father and overcame him, cutting open his belly and allowing all his brothers and sisters to escape. Roman myth says he left Greece and went to Italy, where he governed as Saturn. As Jupiter is associated with expansion, so Saturn is associated with contraction. (Some authorities say the name Saturn is the source for the Hebrew name Satan, considered to be the ruler of materialistic concerns.) Uranus—known as Ouranos among the Greeks, this first great sky god was the father of all living things via his relationship with Gaea (Mother Earth). Together they produced the race of Titans, until Ouranos was challenged by his son Kronos, as Kronos would later be challenged by Zeus. This was the first planet discovered in modern times (1761); energetically, it is therefore associated with science and technology. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily