Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

"Praise ye Him, O sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light''

and a Few Odds and Ends

The story told by the Zodiac can be summed up thus:

The First Set of Four Signs: The Nature of Christ

Virgo: Christ as God Incarnate, born of a Virgin
Libra: Christ as Redeemer
Scorpius: Christ as Victor over Death and Evil
Sagittarius: Christ as Justice

The Second Set of Four Signs: The Nature of the Church

Capricornus: The Church as the Bride of Christ
Aquarius: The Church as the Font of Grace
Pisces: The Church as the People of God
Aries: The Eucharist

The Third Set of Four Signs: Last Things

Taurus: Judgment
Gemini: Heaven
Cancer: Hell
Leo: Christ as Eternal King, reigning in the Heavenly Jerusalem

Seeing Each of the Zodiacal Constellations

If you live around the same latitude as Indianapolis and Naples, I will relate a way you can see each of the Zodiacal constellations, one per month. If you live North or South of the aforementioned latitude, adjust these directions relative to your location.

If you go out on the 1st of each month at 10pm and have perfect visibility (something that's very hard to come by for city-dwellers!), you'll be able to see a myriad of constellations, including more than one Zodiacal constellation at a time. So I will focus only on what's as close as we can get to directly overhead. In other words, on the 1st of each month, at 10pm, go outside, find a dark place, and face South. At these times, you will see:

January 1, 10pm Taurus directly overhead
Februray 1, 10pm
Gemini directly overhead
March 1,
Cancer directly overhead
April 1,
Leo directly overhead
May 1,
Virgo you will have to lower your head some and look toward the South a bit, a little over halfway up between the horizon and directly overhead
June 1,
Libra as with Virgo, you will have to lower your head a little toward the South, but a little lower this time and look a little less than halfway up between the horizon and directly overhead
July 1,
Scorpius as with the above two signs, you will have to look toward the South -- this time much lower -- very low -- on the horizon
August 1,
Sagittarius look once again about the same place you saw Scorpius
September 1, 10pm Capricornus again toward the South, but a few degrees higher up relative to where Scorpius was located
October 1,
Aquarius look toward the South, higher than last month, about halfway between overhead and the horizon
November 1,
Pisces look toward the South, but raise your head even higher than last month, to about a quarter of the way down between overhead and the horizon
December 1,
Aries almost directly overhead

As you follow the zodiacal constellations, you'll note that they dip lower and lower, and then higher and higher between directly overhead and the Southern horizon, reflecting the angle of the ecliptic.

Some might be looking at the above and are puzzled, thinking of the concept of "Sun Signs" -- the sign in one's astrological natal chart where the Sun is located at the time of one's birth (e.g., when you hear someone say, for ex., "I'm Aquarius! What Sign are you?", they're referring to their Sun signs). They might be wondering why, if people born between January 21 and February 18 are considered to be "Aquarians," the constellation of Aquarius is overhead in October. The answer is that when the Sun is in a constellation, that constellation isn't visible for the same reasons we can't see the stars during the daytime.

Seeing the Naked-Eye Planets

The planets will follow the same path as the Zodiac's constellations, the Sun, and the Moon, so to spot them, look in that same East to West arc in the sky, facing toward the South while in the Northern hemisphere. The planets' orbits vary wildly, so where they'll be on a given date changes from year to year. But here are a few things to note: 

Planet Color Orbit Moons Notes
Mercury Yellowish to pinkish 88 days 0 Mercury is difficult to spot, being only really visible just after Sunset or just before Sunrise. It will be seen within 17 and 28 degrees away from the Sun.
Venus Silvery-bluish 224 days 0 After the Moon, Venus will be the brightest object in the night sky. It's known as both the Morning Star and the Evening Star, depending on the time of day it's visible. When it can be seen, it will be seen for a few hours after Sunset in the West, and for a few hours before Sunrise in the East. With binoculars (or a telescope), you can see its Moon-like phases.
Mars Red 1.8 years 2 Though known as "the Red Planet," Mars can also appear an orange-red.
Jupiter White 12 years 67  After the Moon and Venus, Jupiter is the next brightest object in the night sky.
Saturn Yellowish-white  29.5 years 62 Though not as bright as the other planets, Saturn is brighter than almost all of the visible stars.

Meteor Showers

I so encourage anyone with an interest in the stars to keep an eye out for the yearly meteor showers! One year, I saw the Leonids put on a spectacular display, with meteors of different colors -- pink, white, and green -- and even "sound effects" when some of those meteors entered our atmosphere and sizzled, popped, and exploded!

Some meteor showers are "duds," and, of course, visibility is always an issue. A meteor shower that peaks on a cloudy night won't reveal much. But what I saw with those Leonids that one year has me convinced that it's worth it to mark your calendars and at least give them a look. You can find the dates of the various meteor showers here, at the American Meteor Society's calendar page (will open in a new browser window). There are many showers, as you will see, but the Leonids, Geminids, and Perseids -- "the Tears of St. Lawrence" -- tend to be extra special.

Table of Contents

The Zodiac


A Tour of the Heavens

Envisioning the Celestial Sphere

The Constellations of the Zodiac












Summary and a Few Odds and Ends

The Traditional Catholic View of Astrology

Back to Being Catholic