A glimpse afforded of the boundless, a glimmer through the veil of words, and one embarks upon a poet's voyage into space. One journeys to what the old Greeks called IMAGE, 'heaven gate', "which the hours lift and put down like a trap door". And yet words but touch the hem of that measureless robe extending beyond. Chaos may be described as a 'yawning', but what phrases might usher forth upon the exhalation that is bound to follow it? What combination of symbolic utterances could convey the timeless nature of celestial space breathed out from that abyss? A name would give to it limitations, but finite minds, groping towards the infinite, mark their voyage with such, deifying that whose mystery lies beyond their ken. And so it is that boundless space becomes both heaven and God, Uranus or Ouranos, a name which invokes a formless being whose presence persists as a backdrop for the generations of more tangible deities to come.
The notion of a backdrop may be traced in a cognate term, IMAGE (ouraios), which means 'hindmost' or 'the rear'. This may be seen as an appropriate designation of that which is ontologically anterior to subsequent activity. Taken by itself, the word ouranos simply describes the 'vault or firmament of heaven', which the ancient Greeks believed to be continually revolving and carrying around the stars which were fixed in it. They regarded this as an attribute of Ouranos, their primary theogonic deity – a very passive and remote-seeming attribute of a god who was never worshipped and infrequently spoken of, except as an ancestor of Kronos and Zeus. Seeking to learn more of his veiled nature, scholars have pursued possible connections with other words such as IMAGE (ouron), which means 'urine' and evokes for some the idea of heavenly rain. Others have gone further afield and tried to find a relationship between the Indo-European root ur, connecting up the first element and the Ural Mountains with Uranus. A sounder approach is simply to trace ouranos back to the Sanskrit root var, which means 'to veil' or 'to cover'. In doing this, one pinpoints the essential similarity as well as the etymological kinship that exists between Ouranos and the Vedic god Varuna. One thus acquires a conception permitting a deeper insight into the idea of space as dealt with in the myths of both the Hellenic and the Vedic traditions. One can easily think of the vault of heaven as covering the earth, but one may also approach the idea from the other way around and consider what may lie beyond the heavenly veil. Ouranos is celestial space out of which the duration represented by Saturn emerges. Thus, he is not merely the veil but that which has the power to veil, a distinction that places him well above the function of a hovering god whose release of heavenly rain fructifies mother earth.
Long before the Golden Age of Greece, Hesiod recorded the popular cosmology. In the beginning there first came Chaos, to be followed by Gaia 'of the Broad Breast' who would be the foundation. "But", he wrote, "Gaia's first-born was one who matched her every dimension, Ouranos, the starry sky, to cover her all over, to be an unshakeable standing-place for the blessed immortals." A more ancient cosmology told of a different order. According to the Orphic tradition with which Homer was familiar and whose traces can be found in the Iliad, the beginning was witnessed by Uncreated Nyx ('Night'), which existed first as a great black-winged bird hovering over a vast darkness "without form or void". Though unmated, this bird laid an egg from which golden-winged Eros flew forth, while Ouranos and Gaia issued from its shell. Together, Ouranos and Gaia became the first parents, bringing into being Okeanos and Tethys ('Nurse'), who, in their turn, produced Kronos, Rhea and the other Titans. This is a more philosophical description than the commonly known version transmitted through Hesiod, and it shares many of the cosmological elements found so frequently in other myths of creation. As a contemporary of Ouranos, Gaia takes the place of the substance-principle involved in the vast process of becoming, from the level of the formless and timeless belonging to the great Cosmic Deep to the realm of time and form. She encompasses Tethys, Rhea, Hera, and all the other manifesting aspects of her being as it gives depth and breadth and texture to life. But she is not space. She is not the measureless, boundless, electric potentiality which moves all and yet seems to be only a backdrop in the abstract, an idea of becoming existing beyond and outside all possible becoming. She is not Ouranos, nor is it likely that she could give birth to him, for she is not the wielder of the spark of life, only its sublime vesture. In her the thrill of anticipated being will course, but she will not be its source.
In the popular Greek myths, Ouranos and Gaia brought forth the celestial Titans, the Kyklopes and three gigantic beings whose towering vigour and beauty so struck Ouranos that he bound them in strong bonds "under the wide-wayed earth" (Gaia). The great distress that this brought to Gaia prompted her to instigate a plot against Ouranos, which was carried out by Kronos, who, by mutilating his father, stole from him the power to create and brought it into the subtle realm of duration. The Secret Doctrine states that Ouranos tried to oppose an impediment to the natural evolution of creation. This means that the birth of these offspring was distorting and throwing out of balance a very subtle development taking place in the akashic field of becoming, and he sought to stop it. The destruction of these children alludes to the fruitlessness of Nature attempting to create human beings on her own, but Gaia's persistence prevailed and monsters were delivered even as the power of creation in chaos was lost to Ouranos. Some of the titanic offspring of Ouranos remained celestial but were doomed to engage in a long struggle with generations of terrestrial Titans whose existence Gaia ensured. It was those of the Third Race (personified by Kronos- Saturn) who mutilated him, for it is they who fell into generation, causing creation by will (kriyashakti) to be superseded by physical creation. True creation thus became the begetting so endlessly chronicled in the scriptures of various religions.
Varuna is the Universal Encompasser, the all-embracing Space who is one of the oldest Vedic deities. Ouranos and he are variant forms of the same idea, corresponding with the Iranian Ahura Mazda and taking their name from the same root var. Originally they shared a lofty position in the ancient cosmologies, that of Varuna being better charted than that of Ouranos, who was kicked upstairs early on in Greek cosmology. The hallmarks of their greatness are thus more readily traceable in Vedic references about Varuna, to which one may turn to get a more coherent picture of the nature of Ouranos. Originally, the attributes ascribed to Varuna gave to his character a moral elevation and sanctity far surpassing that attributed to any other Vedic deity. Moral grandeur is the quality especially associated with him, a grandeur which made him stand apart from a close connection with sacrifices and magical rituals. He is the Lord of the Universe, the only god given the title Kshatriya, in whom the three heavens and the three earths are deposited. Perhaps because his loftiness lay so far beyond the focus of religious supplication, by the end of the Rig Vedic period Varuna began to decline in importance. He "without whom no creature can even wink" was degraded like Ouranos, while descending gods brought his creative power into generation. While Ouranos became a vague sky god, Varuna became a kind of Neptune whose deep was identified more with the ocean than with the waters of space.
In the early Rig Veda, Varuna is lauded as the 'barrier against falsehood', the 'guardian of immortality' and the 'Lord of rita', which is Absolute Truth. He presides over the relationship of man with the gods and cannot be got around, for he beholds all that has been or will be. He is the ruler of the other side, of the invisible, timeless world of the noumenon in which the inner law and order of creation preside. He is the font of kriyashakti and the owner of maya, through which forms are created. As the Coverer, he represents the hidden and cryptic, the inner reality of things, of order in its transcendent aspect as it originates beyond the understanding of man. His absolute power is felt at night and in all that is mysterious. Law which is visible and manifests in the workings of the universe and the affairs of men falls under the jurisdiction of Mitra and the day, whereas their unseen source lies in the beshrouded night-time presence of Uranus. He rules over a subtler mode of existence, reflected in the reign of Ouranos over the Second Root Race, where he acted as the first astronomical teacher of men, instructing them from afar through the rita of his being.
As man progresses through the root races, the human soul is tested and tried under the influence of the Planetary Spirits. The limiting power of Saturn enables the soul to know itself as a self-conscious being. But this limiting power must itself be shattered in order to release it to a still higher and more ethereal state. This is the disruptive work of Uranus who, "with the pent-up energy of the thyrsus, destroys with lightning stroke to build anew a temple of fairer beauty". Key words related to Uranus are change, disruption, revolution and the urge towards freedom. Uranian traits have something in common with Aquarius, which is now believed to be more under the rulership of Uranus than of Saturn. Thus, change involves a breaking with the past and a striking out into the realm of the new. An individual influenced by Uranus in this way has the ability to suffer changes, act unconventionally, even crudely, guided by a flash of intuition. Such a person is sensitive to rays, waves and flashes, to new inventions and their discovery.
The highest and subtlest states of consciousness manifest in human beings as will, wisdom and love. These are said to be expressions of the ruling spirits of Uranus, Mercury and Venus operating through man's spirit, spiritual soul and human soul. With the will of Uranus, the aloofness of Saturn is broken like the pot borne by the Aquarian water-bearer, who then pours out the living water for all humanity. This water is the fiery water of space and is not meant to irrigate the fields of the separative personality, but pours beyond reason and self-interest, indiscriminately. This is why it is said that Uranians are interested in humanity as a whole and are "no respecters of persons". They have developed the wisdom and love within themselves to such a breadth and depth that it cannot be contained in limited interests and relationships. Rather, it spills forth from them in a disinterested stream of revolutionary insights and non-partisan goodwill.
It would be difficult to find a better example of these Uranian qualities than in the discoverer of this planet which has given them their name. William Herschel had come to England as a promising young musician from a talented family in Germany. Having benefitted from an early exposure to music, mathematics and the arts, William quickly established himself as a very successful music teacher and was able to send for his younger sister, who kept house for him whilst pursuing her own musical career. This happy arrangement was not, however, to last long, for the ever curious and penetrating nature of William's mind led him to embrace a fascination with the stars, accompanied by a frustration in not being able to see them well enough. Soon he had converted their hitherto orderly home into a music conservatory, a telescope factory and, by night, an observatory. When music lessons had been completed for the day, the drawing-room was turned into a work-place where telescope tubes were made and a huge optical lathe was set up for making lenses. A smelter, fashioned in the kitchen, once exploded in the course of the never-ending experiments William performed in his attempts to construct a superior telescope. After he fell asleep one night and dropped off a scaffold set up for observing, his sister began to stay up with him and gradually became more and more involved in the work. Day and night they worked, his sister once writing, "If it had not been sometimes for the intervention of a cloudy or moonlit night, I know not when my brother (or I either) should have got sleep." Finally, in 1778, Herschel completed a 6.2-inch reflecting telescope with a 7-foot focal length, and with it he began his first survey of all the stars visible to him in the heavens.
Until March 13, 1781, the solar system was believed to end with Saturn. Herschel became the first person since the beginning of recorded history to discover a planet. His find catapulted him to world fame and created an extraordinary interest in his telescope. Being an amateur astronomer and devoid of any vanity, he simply observed that "it was that night its turn to be discovered". What this modest statement actually revealed was a diligence in his approach to his work which was far beyond any known to astronomers of his time, amateur or professional. He had developed from scratch and from bold experimentation a telescope which was far superior to any of his day, and with this he had set out to record systematically, in careful detail, information regarding all visible heavenly bodies. No one had ever thought to attempt this before. When he discovered Uranus, the quality of his forty-two-year-old eyes and his instrument let him know that the small disc he was looking at was not one of the fixed stars. He noted its location between the horns of Taurus and one foot of Gemini. Four nights later he saw that it had moved slightly and wondered if it was a comet without a tail. After it was reported and established as a planet, he named it after King George III, though scientists in France insisted on calling it Herschel. At one point it was almost named Neptune, but Johann Bode suggested the name Uranus as a logical addition to a generational sequence of deities already established in the earlier namings of Saturn and Jupiter.
During his life, Herschel made four highly successful complete surveys of all the stars visible through his ever-improving telescopes. With the avid interest and support of King George and others from all over the world who desired to obtain one of his telescopes, he was able to devote himself entirely to their manufacture and to night-time observation of the stars. He built a monstrous 40-foot telescope with 48-inch mirrors to be set up near London. While the giant tube lay on the ground prior to being raised up on a scaffold, people liked to walk through it, perhaps imagining they were walking through a corridor to another world. King George took the Archbishop of Canterbury through it, saying, "Come, my Lord Bishop, I will show you the way to heaven." It was completed in 1789, and through its lenses Enceladus and Mimas, two of Jupiter's satellites, were discovered.
The quality of Herschel's eyes and his instruments, coupled with the mind of a revolutionary thinker who was completely uninterested in fame or individual wealth, brought him to the threshold of Uranus, which was waiting, as it were, to be discovered. The man matched the planet in a curiously fitting way, as if he had been born to unveil the heavenly body whose influence upon mankind was so powerfully reflected in his own character. It is a bit like the wonderful 'discovery' of the domestication of grain. The grain was slowly evolving in the wild, unseen, while man was gradually developing his awareness of the increasing size of its kernels and how he might exploit them. Bit by bit he developed the technology, and step by step he began to experiment with the fattening seeds until suddenly, so it seemed, he was planting the seeds and grinding the fruited grain. There is an exquisite match between burgeoning human consciousness and that which it perceives. Nature grows to man's awareness and it reveals its mysteries to those whose faculties are already in coadunition with them.
The distance to Uranus is awe-inspiring. It is over twice the distance of Saturn from the sun and can be measured in miles from the earth at 1.75 billion. This is why, with the discovery of Uranus, the solar system became twice as big as it had been before. If one could imagine trying to look at a golf ball 1.5 miles away, one would have a relative idea of the planet's size and distance. When closest to the earth, Uranus has a visual magnitude of 5.5, which makes it barely visible to excellent human eyesight under perfect observing conditions without optical aids. This raises the question of whether it might have been known to the astronomers of ancient Egypt or India. Could it have been known by another name, the records of which have become lost over the centuries? It has been pointed out that the ancient Hindus worshipped seven planetary gods, excluding the sun and the earth. This suggests that they might have known of Uranus, but there is no name preserved which might be treated as an equivalent. Another interesting problem has to do with the relationship between Uranus and our sun, occultism asserting that it, as well as Neptune, does not depend entirely on the sun like the other planets do. This possibility becomes all the more intriguing when one begins to examine the scientific information that has been so painstakingly gathered over the two centuries since the planet was discovered.
Someone once said that a flashlight provides more light in one second than Uranus has provided to earth in the two hundred years since it was discovered. No wonder the planet has remained so securely veiled from scientific understanding until very recently. Distances and cycles were worked out in early years, only to be shelved. Uranus either ran too fast or too slow, according to all expectations. It was assumed for a long time that the law of universal gravitation broke down beyond Saturn, and with it the possible application of Newtonian physics. This sort of breakdown may concur nicely with the expectations of astrologers, but it brought nothing but puzzlement and consternation to physicists and astronomers. The breaking up of moulds so firmly associated with the spirit of Uranus was demanding a breaking up of previously held assumptions about the way the solar system worked. Just as the planet had lain hidden in the skies for millennia until the right individual and the right circumstances converged to permit its discovery, so now the right combination of factors were awaited which would provide observers a chance to peel away one or two more veils from its mysterious face.
Only once every one hundred and seventy-five years do the outer planets align themselves in such a way as to create the right circumstances for a closer look at Uranus. But to grasp this circumstance, the right knowledge and technology would have to be ready. The right preparation, imaginative forethought and a willingness to discover new means would have to converge in time to take advantage of it. And this is exactly what happened, with no margins to spare, in the preparation of the Voyager 2 mission. Only once in one hundred and seventy-five years would the outer planets be aligned so that a spacecraft could, with minimal fuel, use the gravity of one planet to change its course to another and repeat that process twice more so that four successively more distant planets could be reached. The time was ripe and the will to unleash the inventive imagination was there to meet it. Nor was this a once-and-for-all leap of invention. Because of serious radio problems that developed in Voyager 2 early in its flight towards the outer planets, enormous ingenuity has been subsequently exercised to find more and better ways of keeping communication between the spacecraft and earth alive. One gets the impression that our link with Uranus has been a very tenuous one, saved only by an enormous act of collective will on the part of scores of dedicated scientists, aided, no doubt, by the meditation of certain Uranian individuals who remain unknown to the rest of humanity.
Voyager 2 passed through the system of Uranus on January 24, 1986. The data gathered during those few hours have been analysed and interpreted adequately to give one the ability to imagine the view a passenger aboard the craft would have had. Approaching the planet with its circling moons, one would feel like a part of the head of an arrow flying towards the centre of a standing target. For, projected upright in front of one's gaze, the whole Uranian system stands on end and displays itself in concentric rings surrounding a large bull's-eye, which is the planet itself. The craft would then plunge perpendicularly through the system like a dart which misses the bull's-eye on the board, but passes very close to one of the inner satellite rings and continues on to the other side. This is exactly what did happen, and although there was no human observer in the craft to witness it, pictures taken revealed sections of the planet and its moons which gave to ground observers a powerful sense of viewing the whole passage. Unlike the journey through the systems of Jupiter and Saturn, whose horizontal orbits permitted a leisurely passage through the planes of the satellites, the vertical orbit of Uranus was penetrated and passed in only five hours. All the information that could be obtained had to be gathered in that condensed period before the spacecraft was shuttled off on the next leg of its journey towards Neptune.
The atmosphere of Uranus is basically the same as the atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn. Composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, the planet is surrounded by a layer of hydrocarbon haze formed as sunlight breaks up the methane molecules of its underlying clouds. The rocky core which is believed to exist at its centre is surrounded by mixed gases in a superdense, non-liquid form which extends all the way to the bluish-green outer regions of the planet. The rich chemical mixture of Uranus gathers not in oceans or mountains, as it would on our globe, but in the air, where it condenses to form clouds when the temperature is right. Because the planet and its system lie almost in the plane of the solar system (instead of perpendicular to it, like the other planets), its 'north' pole sometimes points to the sun and half a revolution later its 'south' pole does the same. Its inclination of axis to orbital plane is ninety-eight degrees, and its spin is retrograde in direction. Due to this 'tilt', the course of a year on Uranus (which is the equivalent of eighty-four earth years) witnesses the sun standing almost directly above every point on the planet. In a pattern quite opposite to that of the earth's, when the sun is over the equator of Uranus, the seasons are changing the fastest while, when at the poles, the apparent motion of the sun slows, stops and reverses itself.
Because of its rapid rotation, the winds of Uranus move from east to west. This startled meteorologists who were forced to accept that the angle of sunlight is less important than rotation in generating the motion of weather systems. But this was not the only rule that Uranus broke. According to theories developed from the studies of other planets, the sun's apparent movement in regard to the poles of Uranus should mean that they are slightly warmer than the equator. On Uranus they are not. The moons orbiting the planet are small and cold and could be expected to be little evolved, dull and basically 'dead'. But instead, each is unique, some showing a great deal of geological activity, some dark and uniform, some enormously faulted and others heavily impacted. The darker colours of the satellites and rings closer to the planet suggest an abundance of carbon compounds, the vital building blocks of life, reminding one that the entire solar system contains the right chemical elements for life to begin wherever conditions permit. Bearing the names of Shakespearean characters, the satellites Oberon, Titania, Umbriel, Ariel and Miranda were all known before Voyager 2's visit. But no one was prepared for the "brave new world" of Miranda up close, with its fantastically weird grooves, ridges, valleys, canyons twelve miles deep, and huge chevron patterns all intersecting higgledy-piggledy in the most chaotic landscape known anywhere in the solar system. A vast harem of bombarding comets attracted to the magnetic field of Uranus must have created some of these extraordinary effects, but they cannot account for all of them.
Nine rings circle with Uranus, but the shepherd moons believed to be largely responsible for the definition of rings around Saturn and Jupiter are observable only near the Epsilon ring, which is the brightest and outermost of the otherwise thin and dark rings of Uranus. Of the ten new moons discovered, all are orbiting inside the system of narrow rings, and if the rings are shepherded, it must be by satellites smaller than twelve miles in diameter, which was the minimum size detectable by the Voyager 2 cameras.
The fact that the Epsilon ring is apparently slightly inclined to the others has inspired the suggestion that the Uranian system is the product of a collision where the fragments have not had time to collapse to a circular disc. But this idea is based upon the same sort of imaginative speculation that has attended other puzzling Uranian features. There are enormous gaps in our knowledge about the Uranian world, and given the many exceptions to the planetary rules that Uranus has presented, one cannot feel confident about making assumptions along the lines of physical laws applicable in the case of planets closer to our sun and more influenced by it. Uranus is big and powerful. The laws governing its behaviour are important to understand, but they remain shrouded, as the inner law and order of creation belonging to Ouranos and Varuna might be expected to remain.
The mass of Uranus, which is 14.5 times that of the earth, is great enough that its gravity can create a very hot interior. This heat makes atoms shed electrons so that they become an electrically charged fluid which spins out to generate a magnetic field far greater than the earth's and one which is absurdly tilted. The magnetic poles of Jupiter, Saturn and the earth roughly correspond with the poles of rotation. Not so in the case of Uranus, whose magnetic axis is tipped sixty degrees to the poles of rotation. This means that the 'north' and 'south' magnetic poles lie closer to the equator than to the geographic poles. In addition, the magnetic axis lies forty-eight hundred miles off-centre, a condition some have thought may be caused by a magnetic field generated from the mantle rather than from the core of the planet. It may also be that the sixty-degree tilt of the magnetic field was just a coincidence. Voyager 2 may have reached Uranus while it was undergoing a magnetic field reversal in which the poles were shifting magnetic polarity, a phenomenon that happens on earth about every half-million years. If this were the case, it would seem that another dramatic conjunction between the planet and its discoverers had taken place, one where Uranus was caught in the act of shifting a veil covering the inner reality of things, revealing a glimpse of the essential dynamics of change which is mirrored in secondary and tertiary forms in the world.
Once again, the power of maya had matched mankind's ability to penetrate its illusory veils. Just as the life-span of William Herschel matched the eighty-four years of a single revolution of Uranus, and his inventive, open and unconventional character reflected the nature of the planet's spirit, so too the superb timing and bold penetration of its unknown realm were now matched by a glimpse into one of the planet's most puzzling mysteries. At each point, the history of the discovery of Uranus involves an interaction between the planet and its spiritual influence operating through human beings who are engaged in major spiritual, psychological and scientific breakthroughs. An intimate mirroring has been going on wherein mankind's growing concern for humanity as a whole and their disinterested quest for greater truths are being charted in the form of their gradually increasing understanding of the planet Uranus.
The ancient arcane tradition taught that Ouranos was the first astronomical Teacher of men. In perfect reflection of this, Uranus is teaching men what their inner being knows and comes to express in the conscious mind only through a series of discoveries. Ouranos, the measureless, boundless, electric potential of space which seems to be only a backdrop to the universe, manifests through Uranus in a series of mayavic veils which, when lifted by man, will reveal laws encompassing this solar system and leading far beyond. Space, which is its greater veil, can thus be expected to conceal mysteries of change through motion involving polar shifts which include not merely systems but whole galaxies. In our solar world, Uranus is thus the representative of this vaster maya which awaits man's penetration and willingness to reshuffle all his previously held assumptions about the nature of the universe, and to break through to a larger, more all-encompassing perspective. Ouranos and Gaia issued from the shell of the egg of the great black-winged bird of Night. He is the ruler of the covering of things, the shell. She is the substance of the covering, the fabric of the veils moved and endlessly transposed by the motion of his timeless ideation. He is the creation which lies behind change, the thrill of potential becoming which is the font of kriyashakti and motion itself. This is the source of his moral grandeur, for it mirrors the highest truth which never changes, even as it begins to move in a motion so limitless as to seem but a still backdrop to all subsequent motion.
As the planet Uranus orbits our sun, its rotation axis is ever pointed at the same direction in space. It is as if it hearkens to a distant vibration which continually informs it and influences it even as it makes its strangely incongruous way around our solar system. Uranus is not entirely dependent on the sun, and its oddities can be ultimately explained only in terms of its subtle links, involving its subtler globes, with a much vaster system whose laws effortlessly incorporate all the laws of physics known to man. They incorporate them on such a highly synthesized level that all the redundancies, inadequate suppositions and limiting models fall away, leaving only the kernels of truth that fit in with a much bigger picture. Individuals following this Uranian path may imitate this same stance, and be in the world, so to speak, but not of it. They can also attempt to shed the conventional views and comfortable limitations of the personal man. Those who pass the tests and trials of the other planetary spirits may hope to come under the vibrating influence of Uranus. That such are rare is borne out by the fact that very few in this world march to the beat of a truly universal drummer.
This may be seen reflected in the strangely off-centre magnetic axis of Uranus. It is as if its position mirrors the prevailing condition of a humanity which is activated more by the forces operating in its mantle than those emanating from its immortal core. Perhaps a wonderful centering of the magnetic axis of Uranus will accompany a reversal of this mistaken tendency when the bulk of mankind learns to live from within without. This centering would not alter the fact that the planet's rotational axis would continue to point towards its invisible mentor. It would simply reflect an alignment of principles such as exist in an individual whose sevenfold being has become like seven lenses, each perfectly reflective of the lens above it. Like a refined telescope, the vestures of such a one transmit faithfully the higher truth that lies beyond the veil of appearances, their revolutionary presence tending to shatter the lesser convictions held by others. Through such as these we glimpse Uranus and begin to dream a waking dream of becoming something far greater than what we believed ourselves to be. We soar beyond time and all its limitations, beyond words and tenses and forms, to the threshold of our essence, that invisible point in space.