Since the earliest of times, the human race has pondered upon the nature of the Heavens and of the strange objects seen there.
Over the past couple of centuries, the progress of astronomy has helped many of these mysterious objects to change from mere points of light to fascinating diverse worlds.
Nonetheless, when we stroll under the starlit sky and gaze upward at familiar constellations, we feel that the mystery is still there and, probably, will never be gone.
The names of the constellations tell us that the ancient story-tellers and sky-watchers were writing a tribute to the human spirit when they translated their mythology to the patterns of the sky.
Even the earliest watchers must have noticed that, while most objects seem firmly fixed on the celestial sphere, some wondered in a generally eastward direction: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The ancients also noticed that all the wanderers’ paths were confined to a narrow track around the sky. They termed this track “the belt of the zodiac,” from an ancient Greek word for animal.
In many civilisations, each planet got to personify one or another deity. The Greeks and Romans identified the known planets with the most powerful gods, and borrowed from the Babylonians the tradition of predicting the future by looking at the positions of the planets.
Similar concepts and techniques originated in the ancient India and China.
Within these beliefs, each planet was supposed to have its character and disposition and powers. Looking at us mortals from different positions over the zodiac belt, the planets were presumed to influence our fate and the entire course of the earthy events.
The images suggested by Nicholas Shaplyko reveal his perception of the characters of the planets, as seen by an artist’s eye and felt by his heart.