Comet ISON was discovered on September 21, 2012 in images taken by Russian astronomers Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski of the constellation Cancer. September 21, 2012 was 5 Tishrei 5773, the fifth day of the new year of 5773, halfway between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. 5773 is the year when ISON has been visible to NASA telescopes, and beginning in August 2013 (Elul, the last month of 5773) to amateur astrologers directing their telescopes to the heavens across the globe.
Discovery image of ISON / Credit: International Scientific Optical Network
Thus from its inception ISON hints at a message that traverses the 5773 – 5774 transition, which is also the 2012-2013-2014 transition, beginning at the winter solstice in 2012 and through the winter solstice of 2013, as we continue to receive energetic pulses and upgrades from the galactic center to advance us into a new era.
For much of 5773 / 2013 ISON has been traveling through astronomical Gemini, making a loop through the constellation from earth’s perspective. On June 13, NASA’s Spitzer telescope took these photos of ISON:
On July 15 (Erev Tisha B’Av), ISON was in conjunction with the Sun, just 8 degrees north of our prime luminary. On August 1st ISON moved into Cancer but due to its proximity to the sun has been hidden from view.
On August 11, ISON began rising above the northeast-east horizon at dawn.
On August 12 (6 Elul), amateur astronomer Bruce Gary of Arizona snapped a picture of ISON:
Beginning Aug. 21, ISON will be 6 degrees above the east-northeast horizon at twilight and potentially visible through a telescope. Stay tuned for more pictures!
On October 1st, ISON will come within its closest distance of Mars and may be visible through Curiosity. Mars and ISON will then move together through the sky eastward through Leo. In mid-October, ISON and Mars will be conjunct royal star Regulus. Beginning in late October, ISON is likely to be visible through binoculars or even to the naked eye.
On November 17, the day before the 19th of Kislev, and the arrival of the new revelation of the secret dimension of Torah for the year 5774, ISON flies by the super-bright stars Spica and Acturus in Virgo.
On November 24, ISON conjoins Saturn and the star Zubenelgenubi of Libra. According to Nick Anthony Fiorenza of Lunar Planner:
This is another primary event adding to the story line of ISON’s messianic journey. Synchronistically, this star marks Saturn’s exalted location in the ecliptic. It is curious timing for ISON and Saturn to conjoin here! Zubenel-genubi is the southern star of the scales of Libra, also the southern claw of the Scorpion. Its theme is about Karmic Responsibility / patterns of the past.
On November 27, ISON conjoins Dschuba (marked below by Delta), the middle star of Scorpio’s tail, a day before it turns around the sun.
Thus just before reaching Perihilion on Chanukah, ISON crosses the Scorpion’s tail.
“Three things come when one least expects it: the Messiah, a found article and a scorpion.” – Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 97a
ISON then heads for the 13th sign of the zodiac, the gateway between Scorpio and Sagittarius, Ophiuchus. On November 28, the first day of Chanukah, ISON reachest its closest approach of the sun at only 0.012 AU. The icy comet will be saturated in the sun’s heat and energy before making its closest approach to earth on its way back from the sun.
On Dec. 26 (23 Tevet), ISON makes its closest approach to Earth at 0.43 AU, about half the distance between the earth and the sun. The earth will past through the comet’s trail of cosmic dust in mid-January.
ISON is the Chanukah comet, bringing us light from a distant past:
The holiday of Hanukah is all about Light. In its essence it connects us to the concealed light of Creation – Or HaGanuz.
The first light of Creation included within it the ability to see beyond time and space. We learn from the sages and the Zohar that God decided to reduce this light in order to limit its use because if people were to have access to the higher light, they might have used it for negative purposes.
In every generation there are 36 righteous people that are special channels for the light of Creation to feed and sustain the world. The opportunity we have to come closer to this light is when we light the Chanukah candles.
For more on ISON’s messianic journey, see Lunar Planner. Astrologically, ISON tells a story:
Due to the trajectory of comet ISON through the cosmos with specific reference to the consellations, there appears a story worthy of consideration. Remember that we are told to watch the sky for signs.
From the time Comet ISON first becomes visible to the naked eye it traverses the constellations of Leo, then in November it makes its way into Virgo and into Libra then Scorpius in December. Late December it moves into Serpens, then Hercules and finally Draco before it is no longer visible with an unaided eye.
Putting this together in terms of how the Hebrew Massorah depicts these aspects of the constellations, it reads like a book.
The seed of the woman, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who shall punish the enemy, will redeem His atoning work through conflict with the enemy who assaults mans heel. His mightiness will reign victorious as He bruises His heel casting down the dragon and trodding him under His foot and then rededicating the temple of God.
The possibility that ISON will be visible in the nighttime and possibly daytime sky raises the question whether ISON is the Star of Jacob prophecized by Bilaam in the book of Numbers (thanks to Rabbi David Katz for discussion on this point):
I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not in the near future. A star shall go forth from Jacob, And a staff [shevet] shall arise from Israel
The word staff (shevet) is from the same root as the word ‘tribe’ as in ‘tribes of Israel’ and as the word for comet in modern Hebrew – shavit (שביט).
The Zohar elaborates on the connection between heavenly phenomena and the arrival of the messianic era:
Then the 7th window will open in the entire world, and its star is Kochav Yaakov, and this is the one about which Bilaam said “a star shoots forth from Yaakov,” and this star will be luminous for 40 days and 40 nights. When Melech Hamoshiach will be revealed, and all the people’s of the world will be gathered to him, then the verse will be fulfilled which states [Yeshaya 11:10]: “the root of Yishai, which stands as a banner for peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his peace shall be [with] honor.” – Zohar Terumah 172b
Another passage from the Zohar describes a blazing star from the East:
After forty days, when the pillar rises from earth to heaven in the eyes of the whole world and the Messiah has appeared, A STAR WILL RISE UP ON THE EAST, BLAZING IN ALL COLORS, AND SEVEN OTHER STARS WILL SURROUND THAT STAR. And they will wage war on it from all sides, three times a day for seventy days, and all the people in the world will see.
And that star will make war with them with torches of blazing fire, sparkling in every direction, and it will strike them until it swallows them every single night. And at daytime, it lets them out again. They will make the war before the whole world repeatedly for seventy days. After seventy days, that star will be hidden and the Messiah will be hidden for twelve months, the pillar of fire will return as before, the Messiah will be hidden in it, and that pillar will not be seen.
After twelve months, the Messiah will be raised inside that pillar into the firmament, where he will receive strength and the crown of kingship. And when he descends to the earth, that pillar of fire will be seen again as before, in the eyes of the whole world. Afterwards, the Messiah will appear and many nations will gather unto him, and he will make wars throughout the world. At that time, the Creator will awaken all the peoples of the world with His might, the Messiah King will be known throughout the world, and all the kings in the world will awaken and unite to wage war against him.
We watch the heavens with anticipation of the message ISON carries for our sun, our planet and our solar system. ISON’s mysterious origins, trajectory through the zodiac, and potential window of luminosity on earth make the countdown of 5773 and the beginning of 5774 an exciting time for the night sky, which since ancient times has been the inspiration board for prophets and poets aching for redemption.