The AntiKythera Mechanism Revealed: A 2000-year old Astro-Computer

by Demetra George

Antikythera MechanismThe Antikythera Mechanism, a 2000-year old astronomical computer, is one of the most important current discoveries from the ancient world. It sheds light on a critical era of our own astrological history. This sophisticated multi-geared device, which is now dated to the late 3rd century BCE, is the world’s first known analog computer. Its purpose was to calculate and display precise positions of solar, lunar, stellar, and planetary phenomena. It was an eclipse predictor, an astrological tool for erecting charts, and an astronomical teaching device. Unlocking the mystery of this astronomical computer – how does it work, who built it, when, and for what purpose  – provides a glimpse into the misty origins of Hellenistic astrology.


Around 65 BCE, a ship set sail from Asia Minor, its cargo overloaded with looted Greek treasures from the Roman conquests of Eastern kingdoms. It carried coins from Pergamum and Ephesus and stopped at the islands of Kos and Rhodes to pick up vessels filled with oil and wine. As it rounded the tip southern Greece, it was caught up in a severe storm and sank near the tiny island of Antikythera. Its treasures remained buried beneath the sea, lost and undisturbed until 1900-01 when the cache was accidentally discovered by Greek sponge divers. Among the trove of glassware and marble and bronze statues were a number of pieces of a bronze geared mechanism, encrusted by two millennia of seashells and limestone accumulations. The fragments of the mechanism were placed in various boxes in the basement of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and a few pieces eventually went on display with little explanatory commentary.

Read more: The AntiKythera Mechanism Revealed: A 2000-year old Astro-Computer

The Lunation Cycle

Adapted from Mysteries of the Dark Moon & Finding Our Way Through the Dark
By Demetra George

lunation cyclesSince ancient times the Moon has been worshipped as the Queen of the Night. Dating to at least 35,000 years ago, artifacts from the upper Paleolithic era, consisting of sequences of notches carved into bone, stone, and ivory are thought to be the earliest lunar phase calendars. By gazing at the Moon and tracking her phases, early peoples regulated their lives according to lunar rhythms. They watched the Moon change place, color, shape, disappear and reappear each month. She gradually unfolded from a slim silvery waxing crescent, increasing in light until she was totally illuminated at the full Moon, and then decreasing in light until she became altogether invisible at the dark of the Moon.

The phases of the Moon are not simply a manifestation of the Moon herself, but rather a display of the changing relationship between the Sun and Moon as the Moon circle the earth each month. They reflect the pattern of her increasing and decreasing light as she separates from the Sun and then returns back to him, and in that process tapping out the rhythm of how it is that life is created, sustained, and renewed.

Various cultural traditions have divided the Moon’s cycle by three (new, full, dark), four (new, first-quarter, full, last-quarter), eight (new, crescent, first-quarter, gibbous, full, disseminating, last-quarter, balsamic), twenty-seven (Hindu nakshatras), and twenty-eight (days of the lunar month). The eight-fold cycle of transformation as seen in the in the increasing and decreasing light of the Moon’s monthly cycle is also evident in the increasing and decreasing light of the yearly solar seasonal cycles, marked by the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days. The lunation cycle as a whole describes the various qualities of energies that comprise the successive stages of any organic life process of coming to be and passing away. In Dane Rudhyar’s seminal work in 1936 on the lunation phases, he used the metaphor of the growth of a plant to illuminate the successive stages of growth symbolized by the phases of the lunation cycle.

Read more: The Lunation Cycle