Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When Inner Worlds and Outer worlds Collide

Kepler-62f (Artist's Concept)

"Exoplanets including WASP-3b, HAT-P-5b, GJ 758 b and c, HD 178911 Bb, HD 177830 b, TrES-1, and HD 173416 b have been discovered in Lyra. In January 2010 the Kepler Mission announced the discovery of the additional planets Kepler-7b, Kepler-8b, and three planets around Kepler-9 are expected to be the first of many discovered by the mission, which has a significant part of its field of view in Lyra.

In April 2013, it was announced that of the five planets orbiting Kepler-62, at least two -- Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f -- are within the boundaries of the habitable zone of that star, where scientists think liquid water could exist, and are both candidates for being a solid, rocky, earth-like planet. The exoplanets are 1.6 and 1.4 times the diameter of Earth respectively, with their star Kepler-62 at a distance of 1,200 light-years."

- excerpt from the Wiki entry for Lyra

"Claiming to be an extraterrestrial from a planet called 'K-PAX' about one thousand light years away in the Lyra constellation, Prot (rhyming with the word "goat", played by Kevin Spacey) is committed to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan where psychiatrist Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges) begins to evaluate him as a delusional."

- via the IMb synopsis for the film K-PAX

"In the film Contact, the message intercepted by Jodi Foster's character is coming from Vega, the brightest star in the Lyra constellation."

- excerpt from the Wiki entry for Lyra

"...I created my own female ET religious order at some point in the early 1970's, for a sci-fi children's story: the Makyrr. The Makyrr were an avian race, originating from somewhere in the constellation of Lyra, who seeded a number of habitable planets with a variety of organic life. Andromeda, however, is not a representation of a Makyrr, who wore winged headdresses and had more bird-like features."

- an excerpt from my previous post, Andromeda: She Who Waits

"There is one group of entities who are mammals, yet are oriented toward Lyran principles (Lyra being the mother group), and whose features are very different from humanoid. One particular group resembles what you call alien. The body type of these entities would be what you call ectomorph, very thin, almost frail and birdlike. The facial structure is more angular, sharper, resembling a bird, though these are still mammals. The eyes are birdlike. The hair is not feathered, but is of a different quality that can resemble feathers, if you are not touching it or in close proximity to it. It was also ceremoniously adorned in a certain way that made it look like feathers."

- excerpt from a "channeled" message, 1992, Lyssa Royal Holt

"Even if humanity ultimately takes the dirtnap, the discovery of a living extrasolar planet seems almost inevitable. I wonder what our response will be, gazing at some tantalizing and alien world orbiting another star. What will we have done to ourselves -- and how might our collective predicament color our reception of a confirmed extraterrestrial biosphere?

Although real enough, the new Earth will also play a formative role in our imaginations; it promises to be a liminal frontier as well as an astrobiological focal point -- the locus of new myths, an imaginal haven forged of memes old and new, a distant and beckoning mirror."

- Mac Tonnies, 2006, excerpt from this archived Posthuman Blues blog entry


Okay, maybe "collide" is too dramatic a term, but, it sounds more aesthetically pleasing than "converge". And, while reality isn't exactly imitating art in this instance, it's alluding to it. 

In this case, I'm referring to the recent discovery of the habitable planets, Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f, in the constellation Lyra. I wasn't even aware that there are at least 2 known star systems in that constellation, but, hey, the more, the merrier.

For whatever reason, Lyra has always attracted the creators of science fiction, specifically it's largest and most brightest star, Vega. Other popular speculative hotspots would include Alpha Centauri, the Pleiades constellation, and Sirius, but, my heart has always belonged to Lyra, although Cygnus (in which another "habitable" exoplanet was recently found) and the Pleiades are also personal favorites.

Why is it that certain stars attract us? And, more importantly, why are we moved to create new mythologies about them? Because, we are creating new mythologies - specifically alien, ET mythologies - seemingly on a daily basis. Case in point, Zeta Reticuli, home to Betty and Barney Hill's gray aliens; an older meme, perhaps, but an effective one.

Lyssa Royal Holt, via her guide Germain, has created an entire alien-classification system (see the "message" link above). Oddly enough, she - and/or her muse - may have been describing the "Makyrr" (in the quote above).

Below, (for your amusement) is an excerpt from a 1999 draft of "The Legend of the Kastar and Makyrr" which was to appear in the appendix of an adult sci-fi version of an original children's story of mine. Odd thing about the Makyrr... but, after all these years they still resonate with me, and have become an element of my own, personal mythology, to the degree that they continue to resurface in things I write. Although this excerpt is rather dry, I'm hoping it may inspire you to ferret out your own private aliens... my guess is that many of us harbor, at least, a few.


(Note: Actually, this was not the intended post for this time-slot. I've been working on something else that was to introduce a succession of posts - of which this may have been one. I know I also mentioned another Patron Saint post in the works. This too is on hold. For reasons beyond my control, all labor-intensive work is almost impossible to pull off at this time. Bear with me.)

(Additional note: Incidentally, regarding Metastructures, which seems to be constellating on this blog lately, the original name of the violet "trident" symbol, and, arguably, the most important symbol of the four (it was, essentially, the code-breaker) was... Lyra. Also, for a short time, I privately referred to the deck as "Lyraen Temple".)


"It was the second band of settlers that concerns us here, however, and these came from a system in the vicinity of Antares. They called themselves the Kastarae, or Kastars. This was not so much the name of their species as it was a designation of their status which was, more or less, that of an elevated biologist; biology having become an almost arcane science on their home planet at that time. Though human-like in proportion, they were, for the most part, reptilian, with blunted features and webbed extremities. Their eyes were most singular in that the lids were transparent and the pupils elongated slits. The irises were a pale, metallic color and it was said that to look into the eyes of a Kastar brought madness to even the most stalwart of psyches.

The band that arrived on Zin were composed of nine males, renegades predominantly, who came, not so much in the interests of their home planet, nor with the intention of studying the mineral composition of Galazindra. Their mission, covert in application, altruistic in intent, was to design and propagate new organic life forms, experiments which were strictly forbidden at all points in their planetary system, and with good reason; it was just such experiments that eventually decimated all members of the female gender. There were, allegedly, no females of the species remaining. The males propagated themselves by cloning.

They settled west of the great ocean that divided the two major land masses of Zin, on an arid peninsula comprising what is now considered Mohan, bordering on what is now a desert. (see "Galadan"). The remnants of their collapsable domes can be found there still; they were made of materials designed to last long after their creators. Unbeknownst to the Kastars, however, they had not arrived on an utterly deserted planet. East and north of their encampment, across the great ocean in an area that eventually became the doomed Ebwydya, existed a settlement of an entirely different race. These came from a system located in the constellation of Lyra. They called themselves the Makyrr.

Apparently, as in the case of the Kastarae, whether by some design of fate, or merely an embellishment added by later chroniclers, the Makyrr numbered nine. In contrast to the reptilian nature of the Kastarae, however, the Makyrr were the vestiges of a predominately avian race and were vaguely bird-like in appearance, their beak-like noses furrowing into nondescript thin lips, their skin - while not fully feathered - exhibited a pale down in various ares of their anatomy, similar to the hair on a human body. The major difference, however, lay in the eyes; the eyes of the Makyrr were uniformly dark with an enlarged round pupil, and the color of the iris, which entirely filled the eye, varied from indigo, to violet, to a deep sienna. Unlike the fixed, metallic stare of a Kastar, the eyes of a Makyrr induced tranquility.

An interesting symmetrical aspect was that the Makyrr were wholly female in gender. Unlike the Kastarae, however, the Makyrr were an exclusively mystic order, members of a race that most certainly had a thriving male gender, though, comparable to the human monastic orders on Earth, the Makyrr were not disposed to consort with them. Which is not to say the Makyrr did not breed. They bred, in fact, female progeny that were wholly Makyrr, through a self-induced process of parthenogenesis. And, this was not the only ability the Makyrr possessed. Amongst their many attributes, levitation - a recessive expression of their ancestor's ability to fly - and weather manipulation among them, they could, under certain circumstances it was said, reverse the state of decay in certain organisms.

The presence of the Makyrr on Zin has never been fully explained, though it is likely that some variety of breeding program was, as with the Kastarae, part of their agenda. In the case of the Makyrr, it was most likely confined to forms of vegetation, possibly extending to several simple organisms which contributed to said flora's survival. Certainly the amazing variety of plant life that was said to have flourished exclusively in Ebwydya gives credence to the legend, but unfortunately, apart from a handful of place names, little physical evidence exists. Ebwydya was decimated by an asteroid in the third millennium and, as to the fate of the original Makyrr, history is silent."

- Excerpt from The Legend of the Kastar and the Makyrr, 1999, Dia Sobin

Makyrr - early sculptural model - DS 1984