Yesterday, for the first time ever, we saw it: a photo of a black hole. Red, black, and blurry, it looks like the Eye of Sauron, if you’re watching the Lord of the Rings without glasses. The black hole is located in Messier 87, a galaxy in the constellation Virgo, 55 million light years from Earth. “We have seen what we thought was unseeable,” astronomer Shep Doeleman, who led the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' effort to capture the image, said during a news conference, reported to the New York Times.
A black hole is “a great amount of matter packed into a very small area — think of a star ten times more massive than the Sun squeezed into a sphere approximately the diameter of New York City,” explains the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “The result is a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.” For astrophysicists, this photo offers proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which predicted the existence of black holes. For astrologers, however, the proof that a black hole exists in Virgo indicates potential change in how we interpret the stars.
A number of black holes are known to exist, including Sagittarius A*, a massive black hole that lies at the centre of our galaxy. In astrology, Sagittarius A* is in the same place as the galactic centre, a force of gravity that influences our birth charts similar to the way a planet does. The gravitational centre “has been referred to as the sun’s sun, and my teacher Annabel Gat calls it the universe’s vulva,” explains astrologer Aliza Kelly, author of the Mixology of Astrology: Cosmic Cocktail Recipes for Every Sign. “The galactic centre is really where we store the mysteries of ourselves, our transcendence, our ability to go through many different iterations and journeys." In astrology, other known black holes can influence our birth charts as well, but to a lesser degree.
And although we previously knew of the black hole in Messier 87, the photo offers irrefutable proof that it exists — and astrologers are considering what that could mean for their field, especially considering its massive size. “When it comes to new scientific discoveries, the astrology community really needs to band together to think about how [the discoveries] are going to influence and affect things symbolically, within the mythology, and with the interpretations of what we describe to different celestial events,” Kelly says. She points to the discovery of Pluto in 1930 and Chiron in 1977. After these discoveries, astrologers took years to decide how to interpret them — and even then, not all astrologers agreed.
Some astrologers are finding significance in the fact that this black hole appears in Virgo. “This black hole is in the constellation of Virgo, it’s a sign that we all need to use our higher mind and knowledge to assess our emotions and let go of things no longer serving our truest calling,” says astrologer Lisa Stardust. Kelly points out that Virgo, like Sagittarius, is a mutable sign, meaning that both the Messier 87 black hole and the Sagittarius A* black hole appear in “signs in the zodiac are associated with change and transfiguration” — appropriate for this scientific milestone.