HADRIAN'S VILLA OBSERVATORY
TOWER ALIGNED TO SOLSTICES
MILLIONS around the world are gathering for a very special Solstice which almost coincides with a very special New Moon.
Priests will be celebrating rites at the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS to mark not only the Solstice but this very special New Moon, which we call the ANTINOUS SUMMER BLUE MOON. It is special because it is the second New Moon in the sign of Gemini since both Sun and Moon aligned in Gemini a month ago. This "extra" New Moon, at 8:03 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday, comes just 32 hours ahead of the Solstice at 4:08 p.m. Wednesday PDT.
The meditations of the Hollywood Priests of Antinous will be focused on an Italian archaeologist and her team who will be spending this Solstice at the ruins of a tower on a hillock at Hadrian's Villa which experts hold to be the Emperor's own private observatory.
These experts, led by MARIA DE FRANCESCHINI, have demonstrated that the observatory tower is in fact aligned to the Solstices. She believes the observatory was dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, who raised Osiris from the dead to become a god of resurrection and transfiguration — just as Hadrian declared Antinous a god of resurrection and transfiguration.
For centuries, experts had been mystified by the layout of the sprawling complex of marble baths, banquet halls, luxurious residences, gardens, shrines and unidentified structures 30 kilometers outside Rome.
Hadrian's Villa was a sprawling complex of buildings, temples, gardens, a zoo and — yes — even an observatory tower on a hillock on the edge of the compound from which Hadrian could observe the heavens.
But, in an article published in the journal Nature last year, De Franceschini wrote that she believes the mystery-shrouded Rocca Bruna Tower, long held to be Hadrian's private observatory, is in fact aligned so as to produce sunlight effects for the seasons.
She describes her findings personally in the video at the top of this entry.
De Franceschini says that during the summer solstice, rays of light pierce the tower and another of the villa's buildings. In the Rocca Bruna Tower, dawn sunlight during the summer solstice enters through a wedge-shaped slot above the door and illuminates a niche on the opposite side of the interior (image courtesy nature.com). And in a temple of the Accademia building, De Franceschini has found that sunlight passes through a series of doors during both the winter and summer solstices.
"The alignments gave me a new key of interpretation," says De Franceschini, who adds that the two buildings are connected by an esplanade that was a sacred avenue during the solstices. Based on ancient texts describing religious rituals and study of recovered sculptures, she thinks the sunlight effects were linked to religious ceremonies associated with the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was adopted by the Romans.
De Franceschini, who works with the University of Trento in Italy, has published a book describing the archaeo-astronomical work, VILLA ADRIANA ARCHITETTURA CELESTE. She credits two architects, Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray, for initially noticing the light effect in Rocca Bruna.
According to nature.com, Robert Hannah, a classicist from the University of Otago in New Zealand, says that De Franceschini's ideas are plausible. "They're certainly ripe for further investigation," he says.
Hannah believes that the Pantheon, designed by Hadrian in Rome with a circular opening at the top of its dome, also acts as a giant calendrical sundial, with sunlight illuminating key interior surfaces at the equinoxes and on the spring equinox on April 21st, the city's birthday.
Few classical buildings have been investigated for astronomical alignment, says Hannah, partly because it is much easier to check for alignments in prehistoric structures such as Stonehenge, which do not have potentially contradictory artefacts.
De Franceschini spends every solstice at Hadrian's villa, seeking further verification. Our thoughts and prayers go with her during this special season of the ANTINOUS SUMMER BLUE MOON and the Solstice.
We can envision Hadrian, sick with grief and alone after the death of Antinous, ensconced in his observatory tower scanning the heavens for a sign from his Beloved Boy, praying to Isis for her to work her magic on Antinous ....