Why are the words disaster and catastrophe linked to and inspired by those tiny remote dots of light in the heavens? What on Earth can those minuscule planetary ‘stars’ do to humans and other planets?
Both the ancient and the modern characters for Mars in Chinese mean the ‘fire star’. Catastrophe is usually defined to mean the denouement of a tragic drama, but basically signifies a downfalling star and a deviation (dys)-aster of stars.
Patten has counted and lists 369 words that are connected etymologically with the root of Mars, Ares, Bel, Indra, Tyr and other Martian gods. Practically all of them connote bad actions or feelings or experiences.
Iron Age of Mars | Alfred di Grazia
Disaster definition: an unfavorable aspect of a planet or star. The two earliest senses of disaster began at almost the same exact time (our earliest record of each comes from the middle of the 16th century); the sense of a great and sudden misfortune appears to have come slightly after the sense relating to a star.
Disaster (which has the Latin word for star, astro, in its etymology) is not the only word in English to have been formed based on the supposed influence of stars: the flu is a shortening of influenza, which comes from the Medieval Latin word for influence, based on the notion that epidemics were influenced by the stars.
The Secret Histories of disaster, catastrophe and influenza | Merriam-Webster
disaster (noun): anything that befalls of ruinous or distressing nature; any unfortunate event, especially a sudden or great misfortune, 1590s, from Middle French désastre (1560s), from Italian disastro, literally ill-starred, from dis-, here merely pejorative, equivalent to English mis- “ill” (see dis-) + astro star, planet, from Latin astrum, from Greek astron star (from PIE root *ster- “star”).
The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed on an unfavorable position of a planet, and star here is probably meant in the astrological sense of destiny, fortune, fate. Compare Medieval Latin astrum sinistrum misfortune, literally unlucky star, and English ill-starred
Disaster | Etymonline
For example, disaster was originally the Italian disastro. Literally translated from its roots of dis- and -astro, this word meant means ill-starred. Of course, without any other knowledge at hand, this doesn’t really make any sense.
However, with the knowledge that the people who created this early version of disaster blamed most catastrophic events, such as natural disasters, on the positioning and alignment of planets and other astronomical objects, we can begin to understand where this word came from, and thus know much more about the nature of the word itself.
The Importance of Etymology | Writing It Out
the definition of the word disaster is an occurrence causing widespread destruction and distress; a catastrophe or a grave misfortune. But the etymology of the word disaster takes us back to a time when people commonly blamed great misfortunes on the influence of the stars.
Disaster first appeared in English in the late 16th century, just in time for Shakespeare to use the word in the play King Lear. It arrived by way of the Old Italian word disastro, which meant unfavorable to one’s stars.
This older, astrological sense of disaster becomes easier to understand when we study its Latin root word, astrum, which also appears in our modern star word astronomy. With the negative Latin prefix dis- (apart) added to astrum (star), the word (in Latin, Old Italian, and Middle French) conveyed the idea that a catastrophe could be traced to the evil influence of a star or planet (a definition that the dictionary tells us is now obsolete).
The meanings of many words have changed over time, and older senses of a word may grow uncommon or disappear entirely from everyday use. Disaster, for instance, no longer means the evil influence of a star or planet, just as consider no longer means to observe the stars.
The Etymology of Words and Their Surprising Histories | ThoughtCo
Mars the Star of Fire and Venus the Star of the Metal?
Mars has unpredictable position and unstable brightness. Chinese called it 熒惑 Yin-Ghou, which means unstable Fire, the Star of Fire. Saturn roughly moves to each zone per year. Chinese called it 鎮 Zhen, which means town, staying in a place.
Yin Yang Five Element scholars and astronomers in the Early Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 8 B.C.) applied Five Elements name for Big Five Planets. Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth are connected to white, black, green, red and brown respectively. Venus becomes the Star of the Metal. Mars is the Star of the Fire, because of its reddish brown color. Saturn is the Star of the Earth, because of its yellowish brown.
Connections of Five Planets and Five Elements | Master Tsai
The planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war Mars. In Babylonian astronomy, the planet was named after Nergal, their deity of fire, war, and destruction… The Hellenistic Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis, meaning fiery… In ancient China, the advent of Mars was taken as a portent for bane, grief, war and murder.
Mars in culture | Wikipedia
Saturn Polar configurations suggest that in the past the planet Saturn was a God Planet that was fixed in the skies above the North Pole.
The ancients’ obsession with the planet Venus stands in marked contrast to the relative indifference currently accorded our nearest planetary neighbor. Who among us could even point out the Evening Star on any given night? Would anyone in their right mind be inclined to view Venus as an agent of destruction and impending doom?
David Grinspoon, a NASA astronomer and the author of a very entertaining history of Venus observation, offered the following summary of the ancients’ preoccupation with Venus:
Venus must always have seemed a unique, animated entity. For our ancestors the details of the complex movements of Venus served as important harbingers of war and peace, feast and famine, pestilence and health. They learned to watch every nuance for the clues they could wrest of what nature had in store. They watched carefully, obsessively, through skies not yet dimmed by industrial haze and city lights, and they learned to predict accurately, for years and decades to come, the rising, setting, dimming, brightening, and looping of Venus.
Confronted with Venus’ prominent role in ancient consciousness, Grinspoon, like countless others before him, seems to take it for granted that it is only natural that the ancients would look to that particular planet for omens of things to come. But why should this be, since there is neither an inherent nor logical relation between Venus and the phenomena mentioned by him – war, pestilence, fertility, etc.?
Indeed, it stands to reason that any ancient skywatcher worth his salt would soon discover that there was precious little to be learned about such terrestrial matters from the patient observation of Venus. That is, of course, if we are to believe the conventional version of Venus’ history, which holds that the planet’s appearance and behavior has hardly changed for millions of years.
The Many Faces of Venus – The Planet Venus in Ancient Myth and Religion | Ev Cochrane
In Chinese the planet Venus is called Jīn-xīng (金星), the golden planet of the metal element. It is known as Kejora in Indonesian and Malay. Modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures refer to the planet literally as the metal star (金星), based on the Five elements.
The Sumerians associated the planet with the goddess Inanna, who was known as Ishtar by the later Akkadians and Babylonians. She had a dual role as a goddess of both love and war, thereby representing a deity that presided over birth and death.
Venus in culture | Wikipedia
Comet Venus is the second book in the God King Scenario Series. The first book, An Ancient World in Chaos, presented a fascinating model whereby Mars, Venus, Mercury and the Moon played havoc with Earth for an incredible 3,000 years, coming so close they loomed larger than the Sun.
In support of such incredible claims, Gilligan calls upon the most fascinating civilisation of ancient times – the Ancient Egyptians. He proposes that the divine god-kings of Pharaonic Egypt were first and foremost guises of planetary bodies as they appeared to move back and forth to Earth. He further proposes that these heavenly monarchs were represented by human ‘doubles’ – mortal Pharaohs who were believed to be earthly manifestations of god-king planets.
Comet Venus | God King Scenario
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