4th of July 2019 – “Speaking with the Stars”: No holiday better epitomizes summer in the United States than Independence Day. And the season’s namesake asterism — the Summer Triangle — will be on prominent display as fireworks ring out across the land. The trio’s brightest member, Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp, stands nearly overhead in late evening. The asterism’s second-brightest star, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, then lies about halfway from the southeastern horizon to the zenith. Deneb, the luminary of Cygnus the Swan, marks the Summer Triangle’s third corner. Although it is this asterism’s dimmest star, it’s the brightest point of light in the northeastern sky.
If you ever thought the Sun’s distance controlled temperatures here on Earth, today should convince you otherwise. At 5 p.m. CDT, our planet reaches its most distant point from the Sun during 2019 – aphelion. The Northern Hemisphere’s warm temperatures at this time of year arise because the Sun passes nearly overhead at noon; during winter, the Sun traces a low path across the sky.
|Sign||Sidereal Dates||Tropical Dates||Calendar of the Soul|
|Aries||April 15– May 15||March 21– April 20||April 14 – April 30|
|Taurus||May 16– June 15||April 21– May 20||May 1 – June 15|
|Gemini||June 16– July 15||May 21– June 20||June 16 – July 20|
|Cancer||July 16– Aug 15||June 21– July 22||July 21 – August 3|
|Leo||Aug 16– Sept 15||July 23– Aug 24||Aug 4 – Sept 7|
|Virgo||Sept 16– Oct 15||Aug 25– Sept 22||Sept 8– October 12|
|Libra||Oct 16– Nov 15||Sept 23– Oct 22||Oct 13 – Nov 9|
|Scorpio||Nov 16– Dec 15||Oct 23– Nov 21||Nov 10 – Nov 30|
|Sagittarius||Dec 16– Jan 14||Nov 22– Dec 21||Dec 1 – Jan 4|
|Capricorn||Jan 15– Feb 14||Dec 22– Jan 20||January 5– Feb 8|
|Aquarius||Feb 15– March 14||Jan 21– Feb 19||February 9– March 8|
|Pisces||March 15– April 14||February 20– March 20||March 9– April 13|
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1054 – A supernova, called SN 1054, is seen by Chinese Song dynasty, Arab, & Amerindian observers near the star Zeta Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day. Its remnants form the Crab Nebula.
1776 – American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence of the 13 States is adopted by the Second Continental Congress
1807 – Birthday of Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian general and politician
1826 – Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, 2nd president of the United States, on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. (see article below)
1855 – The first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published In Brooklyn.
1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & its sequels.
1872 – Birthday of Calvin Coolidge, lawyer & politician, 30th President of the United States
1886 – The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.
1902 – Deathday of Vivekananda, Indian monk & saint
1914 – The funeral of Archduke Franz Ferdinand & his wife Sophie takes place in Vienna, six days after their assassinations in Sarajevo.
1918 – Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia & his family
1934 – Deathday of Marie Curie, French-Polish physicist & chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
THE “AMERICAN” or “THREEFOLD” VERSE by Rudolf Steiner given to Ralph Courtney, a pioneer of Anthroposophy in North America for the Threefold Group in New York City, which later established the Threefold Community in Spring Valley (now Chestnut Ridge). This verse for the American spirit speaks of the inner unity of human beings and of support from the spiritual world for our efforts:
“May our feeling penetrate to the center of our hearts –
And seek, in love, to unite with those who share our goals,
And with the spirits who look down benevolently
On our hearts earnest strivings.
Sending us strength from realms of light, to illuminate our love“.
Thomas Jefferson & John Adams were ideological opposites & election rivals, but the two Founding Fathers reconciled late in life—which made their nearly simultaneous deaths on July 4, 1826, all the more meaningful. On the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson uttered his last words, “Is it the fourth yet?” before passing away. Later that same day, Adams also died, but not before saying, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” unaware his dear friend had already passed on.
Five years later, on July 4, 1831, James Monroe, the last presidential Founding Father, died as well. The fifth U.S. president had attempted to write an autobiography, but was unable to complete it as his health slowly deteriorated after his wife died the year before.
Interesting that there has only been 1 president born on the 4th of July – Calvin Coolidge, the nation’s 30th president, in 1872.
“Three of the four presidents who have left the scene of their usefulness & glory expired on the anniversary of the national birthday, a day which of all others, had it been permitted them to choose [they] would probably had selected for the termination of their careers,” wrote the New York Evening Post the day after Monroe’s death.
Adams served as the second president from 1797 to 1801, followed by Jefferson, who served until 1809. But long before the 13 colonies had won their independence, Adams & Jefferson played vital roles in creating the document that declared men were created equal & entitled to “life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.”
Adams, in a letter to a friend in 1822, recalled how Jefferson was placed on the committee to write the document. “Mr Jefferson came into Congress in June 1775 and brought with him a reputation for literature, science, and a happy talent at composition. Writings of his were handed about, remarkable for the peculiar felicity of expression,” Adams wrote.
The irascible Adams also described why he insisted that Jefferson write the draft: “Jefferson proposed to me to make the draught. I said I will not; You shall do it. Oh No! Why will you not? You ought to do it. I will not. Why? Reasons enough. What can be your reasons? Reason 1st. You are a Virginian, and Virginia ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason 2d. I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular; You are very much otherwise. Reason 3d: You can write ten times better than I can. ‘Well,’ said Jefferson, ‘if you are decided I will do as well as I can.’”
The importance of July 4 might have surprised some Founding Fathers. The Continental Congress declared freedom from Britain on July 2 & approved the Declaration on Independence on July 4. Most members signed the document in August.
Adams thought Americans would remember July 2 as their “Day of Deliverance” from Britain. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, he wrote, “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
While Adams & Jefferson represented their states in the Continental Congress, a teenage Monroe dropped out of college in 1776 to fight in the Revolution, enlisting in the 3rd Virginia Regiment, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Many historians consider Monroe the last president from the Founding Fathers.
Adams & Jefferson would live to see the country expand well beyond the original 13 states. Adams was 90 when he died of a heart attack. Jefferson had been in declining health for years before dying at 83.
“People interpreted their deaths in a religious manner,” said Michael Meranze, a U.S. history professor at UCLA. “It was clearly taken symbolically as both the birth and growth of the early republic.”
In 1826, for instance, Rep. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts delivered a two-hour-long eulogy in Boston suggesting their deaths were a sign that God was protecting the nation.
“As their lives themselves were the gifts of Providence, who is not willing to recognize in their happy termination, as well as in their long continuance, proofs that our country and its benefactors are objects of His care?” Webster said.
~ Peace ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg