THE ZODIAC BUILDING
A ZODIACAL ASTROPOEM
COSMIC ROMANIA 10
-text and photos by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe;
design by Florin Stancu-
The Dorobanti Way is a beautiful street in Bucharest,
starting like a branch from the main North-South route.
(A “dorobant” was a soldier in an elite military corp of Romanian Army
that was remarked for its bravery during the war for Romania’s independence
against the Ottoman Empire in 1877-1878).
Sun after our walk begins on this street,
we can see a sensational building made in 1946
by the architects Radu Dudescu and Mircea Marinescu,
with the support of the famous engineer Emil Prager.
Along with them,
the artist Constantin Baraschi
(who had previously made a zodiacal monument
at “Kilometre 0” of Bucharest)
ornamented this building in a cosmic-zodiacal way.
Thus, at the top, we can see the sun,
with 6 copies on the left and 6 copies on the right,
corresponding to the its apparent passing through the 12 zodiacal houses.
Down, above the ground floor,
angelic people make harmonious, terrestrial activities.
And between the Sun and the people, the most spectacular part:
4 special sets, each one including 4 artworks.
The first of them begins with an artwork suggesting spring activities of the gods,
and continues with 3 signs of the zodiac: Aries, Taurus and Gemini.
But, inspired by the stars from around them,
I prefer to watch them as the ecliptic constellations
and to write…
A ZODIACAL ASTROPOEM
1. ARIES THE RAM
Watching the constellation Aries
I’m thinking of Iason and the Argonauts,
who captured the Golden Fleece of the Winged Ram.
In the future I suppose that
another great expedition will be possible:
Iason and (this time) the Astronauts
will capture the Golden Brightness of the most brilliant star
in this constellation,
2. TAURUS THE BULL
The constellation Taurus seems to be
the richest in famous objects:
the Pleiades, the star Aldebaran, the Hyades
and that amazing Crab Nebula,
the remnant of a supernova chosen by
the French astronomer Charles Messier in the 18th century
to open his primordial list of deep sky objects.
So I see in the Taurian M1
just the Acropolis of the Messier Catalogue.
3. GEMINI THE TWINS
Two beautiful stars
and the Geminid meteor shower
which annually announces that
Castor and Pollux
have remained Olympic champions
in the heavens.
The second set begins with summer activities of the gods,
and continues with 3 other signs of the zodiac: Cancer, Leo and Virgo:
4. CANCER THE CRAB
The Crab is a small and dim constellation
just because this character attacked Hercules
and was crushed by the hero.
So now only M44,
the Beehive open cluster of stars,
saves the interest for the Crab,
but just if the sky lovers
do not afraid of stings
and enter the telescopic dimension.
5. LEO THE LION
“What is the star
you prefer in Leo:
Regulus or Denebola?”
asked me a sky lover.
“I prefer the shooting stars
of the Leonid meteor shower,”
was my answer,
“because, although the Leonids fall down,
they are unrepeatable.”
6. VIRGO THE MAIDEN
If I would be a farmer
I’d like to work somewhere
between the star Spica
and the Sombrero Galaxy.
Only if the goddess of justice,
would not accuse me
of breaking some law
in celestial agriculture.
Another set, with autumn activities of the gods
and the zodiacal signs Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius:
7. LIBRA THE SCALES
Anything I would do
for the scales of justice,
I’m afraid that
from the heavenly point of view
I could never be harder
than Libra’s brightest star,
8. SCORPIUS THE SCORPION
After cowardly killing the famous hunter Orion
the Scorpion was put in the sky
not as the goddess Artemis’ gratitude,
but as a symbol of a villainous crime.
And maybe now the beautiful star Antares
appears in the constellation Scorpius
as a sign of penitence.
9. SAGITTARIUS THE ARCHER
Mythologically, the bravest teacher.
Celestially, full of nebulae.
Cosmically, including the galactic centre.
And one after another,
although half man and half horse,
the centaur Chiron remains
a great invitation
and a great model
And the last set, with winter activities of the gods,
and the zodiacal signs Capricornus, Aquarius and Pisces.
10. CAPRICORNUS THE GOAT
Who was the Goat?
There are two variants.
Amalthea, the she-goat
that gave her milk to the child Zeus.
Pan, the tragic god
of rustic music and theatrical criticism.
A double representation,
just like one of the prides of the constellation Capricornus,
a double star.
11. AQUARIUS THE WATER-CARRIER
If I would be a god
I’d ask Ganymede the cup-carrier
to serve me not with nectar,
but with more light
from Beta Aquarii,
which is nicknamed
The Luckiest of the Lucky Stars.
12. PISCES THE FISHES
In the past,
Venus and Cupid,
the gods of beauty and love,
disguised into fishes
to not be recognized by the monster Typhon.
Now, because of Earth’s precession,
the constellation Pisces hosts the vernal equinox,
which changed its place from the constellation Aries.
we can say that even the vernal equinox
was attracted by the beauty
of the two astral fishes.
It was an extraordinary honour for me
to cooperate with you from another time,
artist Constantin Baraschi!
But I was also intrigued that the city’s edils
allowed trees in front of the Zodiac Building.
Or maybe this is a natural reaction of Earth
because the creators of this edifice
omitted to suggest
that the ecliptic is only a branch
of the cosmic tree…
… in which the Sun is just an
orbiting little bird.
© 2012 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)