When the Sun Goes Backward

Zip Dobyns

This is the title of the lead article from the current issue of Cycles, the publication of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles. The subheading is “solar motion, volcanic activity, and climate, 1990-2000.” Author James Shirley suggests that the coming decade may be marked by climatic extremes, and postulates unusual solar motion as the cause of increased volcanic activity which will contribute to the weather extremes. According to Shirley, through the years 1989 to 1991, the Sun’s motion will be retrograde relative to the solar system mass center.

The technical term for the center of mass in the solar system is the barycenter. Theodore Landscheidt claims to have used the position of the barycenter and its relationship to Jupiter to predict major changes in the stock market, including the crash of 1987. I do not yet have the details of Landscheidt’s predictions or of his techniques, but hope to get them in time. The Heliocentric interest group of NCGR has published a one-page ephemeris calculated by Astrolabe which gives the midpoint of Jupiter/Barycenter for this century.

Shirley writes that the relative retrograde movement of the Sun has occurred twice previously in the last millennium, in the 1630s and in the second decade of the 19th century. During both periods, there were climatic extremes and exceptionally violent volcanic eruptions. Shirley describes the previous scientific doubts about a Sun-weather hypothesis due to the relatively minute changes occurring during an 11-year sunspot cycle, but cites recent work by Labitzke and van Loon which strongly supports a connection between the sunspot cycle and atmospheric data on earth. The work of Wilson, Reid, and Wigley also supports a link between solar activity and climate. Theories are being developed to explain the periods of glaciation on earth, including the “Little Ice Age” during the Middle Ages. The new work on Chaos (see the Napoli article in this issue of The Mutable Dilemma and read the book) supports the extreme sensitivity of moving systems to initial conditions. This was a primary discovery by Lorenz in his efforts to model the weather of earth.

Although the Sun is about 743 times more massive than the planets taken together, it is still subject to the gravitational pulls of the planets. The barycenter traces a regular path as we orbit the center of the Milky Way galaxy, but the Sun “moves to and fro, looping about the solar system center of mass (barycenter), with one loop taking on the order of 10-20 years. The Sun’s center is at times more than a million miles from the barycenter; this distance is a little larger than the diameter of the Sun itself.” p. 114. Shirley has correlated major long-period changes in solar activity when there have been few sunspots with periods when the solar motion was particularly energetic. Though the physical mechanisms remain obscure, a connection seems strongly indicated.

Shirley defines a climatic effect as conditions which persist for a season or longer such as a prolonged drought. Most atmospheric scientists are concerned about the potential for global warming due to increased carbon dioxide, but another “little ice age” remains a possibility. Fairbridge and Shirley think we may be on the brink of another prolonged minimum of solar activity as the current solar motion resembles that of the earlier periods. They say that the last three prolonged minima of solar activity correspond in time to the coldest periods of the little ice age and we may face a deterioration of climates over the next few decades.

Shirley suggests that the Sun’s failure to loop around the barycenter during the years 1989 to 1991 may be similar to re-setting a clock or to a missing tooth in a gear which causes periodic slippage. The event is likely to perturb magnetic fields and/or the flows of materials within the Sun. Previous periods of similar Sun motion corresponded to periods of extreme cold, major volcanic eruptions, crop failures, “social upheaval, international migration, political rebellion and pandemic disease.” p. 117. Based on the earlier periods, the cold, droughts and floods could occur in the next three to four years, with the volcanic eruptions increasing from 1993 on. The mid to late 1990s could also be a period of severe droughts.

I was particularly interested in this article because it supports the predictions for this period which have come from a variety of other sources. Ibn Browning bases his forecasts on past geological records but he also predicts cold, droughts, floods, volcanic activity and earthquakes during the late 1980s and the 1990s. The general expectation of astrologers is for weather extremes and turbulence (including geological) when major planets transit through Capricorn and Aquarius. The psychic vision of Mr. X reported in an earlier issue of The Mutable Dilemma said the same thing. Our current news is emphasizing drought in the great plains of the U.S., including a serious threat to our grain production. It is ironic that the Reagan administration which supposedly got astrological advice apparently was not told anything about the climatic potentials. Unlike Egypt after the Pharaoh’s dream as interpreted by Joseph, we have depleted our stores of food just before the possible coming of some lean years. Los Angeles is raising the cost of water and urging conservation. One of these days we will be able to use solar energy to remove the salt from sea water and we’ll have the whole Pacific Ocean, but in the meantime major planets transiting through Capricorn can signal the need for belt-tightening in a variety of areas.

Copyright © 1988 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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