“Dark matter” – a whisper from a guide from another world.
I google it and find out that on the 7th of May the US Department of Energy approved $19 million for the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search at the SNOLAB facility in Ontario, which will be led by SLAC.
Scientists posit the existence of dark matter because the movements of galaxies cannot be explained in terms of visible matter alone. Measurements suggest 80 per cent of the universe is dark matter. Unfortunately dark matter has not yet been detected because it doesn’t emit light or energy.
According to a popular theory it is made up of weakly interacting particles (WIMPs) that ‘pass through regular matter like ghosts, but every so often may collide with an atom of regular matter, causing a reaction scientists can note’. Detecting this reaction is the aim of the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment.
SNOLAB’s laboratory, located 6,800 feet underground in an abandoned nickel mine, is the deepest in North America. This ensures it is shielded from unwanted background signals from cosmic radiation.
The apparatus will consist of four detector towers containing lattices of silicon and germanium crystals, which will vibrate if struck by a WIMP. To measure these tiny vibrations, these ‘atomic jiggles’, ‘the crystals need to be cooled to less than minus 459.6 degrees Fahrenheit – a fraction of a degree above absolute zero temperature.’ Absolute zero is the coldest matter can be. ‘Near this state any movement on the atomic level should be detectable.’ Therefore the towers will be placed in a cryogenic container called a SNOBOX. Hopefully a WIMP will ring one of the crystal detectors ‘like an atomic bell’ and leave its mysterious ‘fingerprint’. The experiment will begin in the 2020s.
My initial reaction was “how very Annuvian!” Way before science most ancient peoples have been aware of a invisible otherworld of ghost-like matter, a vast otherness that holds and shapes the visible. Within Brythonic tradition it is known as Annwn, ‘the Deep’, and later became Faerie. Frequently located underground, across water, in the starry heavens, it is a realm of ghosts, fay, chthonic gods usually visible and audible only to the eyes and ears of the soul, although the vibrations of their presence can sometimes be detected in the liminal and deep places of Thisworld.
So this quest is to capture a particle of Annwn, a particle of Faerie. No surprises it must take place so deep underground in conditions of ultracold. This brings to mind the sleep of Pen Annwn, Winter’s King, Gwyn ap Nudd, from Calan Mai (1st or 8th May) throughout the summer. His place of rest is Caer Ochren, the castle of cold stone. It is colder than ice. Near absolute zero. At this temperature the restless spirits of Annwn who threaten to destroy Thisworld are also more restful. Could one be caught in frozen slowness, ring that bell, a knelling from Faerie, give the scientists proof?
Following these contemplations I checked out the astrology. Several years ago, Brian Taylor, who sadly passed in February this year, made me aware of the influence of Pluto over events concerning the underworld and atomic science. In 1985, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, he began an astrological essay tracing ‘the exteriorisation of Pluto in the history of the nuclear era’ which he completed in 1995.
Brian also mapped the synchronicities surrounding the photographing of Pluto on the 14th of July 2015. These included the culmination of the deal between the West and Iran over the Iranian nuclear programme which, perhaps not so coincidentally, Trump recently withdrew the US from this week.
In ‘Shock and Awe: The Astrology of May 2018’ Anna Applegate says ‘on Monday, May 7, in the wee hours of the morning (3:52 CDT), Mercury in Aries forms a square to Underworld Lord Pluto in Capricorn.’ This was the day of the press release for the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment.
Anna continues, ‘The Taurus Sun will also make a trine to transformative Pluto; it occurs on Friday, May 11 at 6:10 p.m.’ ‘After Mercury enters the sign of Taurus on the Sunday 13th, the square to Pluto will transform into a more “benevolent” trine, as Taurus and Capricorn are sister signs.’
Although I have little knowledge of astrology I have long been aware of the influence of Pluto in my life. I’m a Scorpio, which is ruled by Pluto. According to Brian, who read my birth chart, I ‘have Pluto rising’, ‘angular Pluto is a powerful placement’ and ‘the moon’s nodes exactly square Pluto’. Sun and Mercury are also in Scorpio. Brian also charted transits to my natal Pluto for the day I met Gwyn.
For me, Gwyn is the Brythonic equivalent of Pluto, ruler of winter and the underworld, and the primary guiding force in my life. The synchronicities between the transits of Pluto, the inaugration of the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment deep underground with its cryogenic SNOBOX, and the sleep of Gwyn and his spirits in the castle of cold stone feel important. Is this a portent? A warning about something that will happen if the bell is rung and the knell of dark matter begins to echo from Annwn?
Anna Applegate, ‘Shock and Awe: The Astrology of May 2018’, Amor et Mortem, 1st May 2015
Brian Taylor, ‘Photographing the Underworld? A Note on NASA’s Pluto Fly-By’, Animist Jottings, 18th July 2015
Dana Dovey, ‘What is dark matter? Scientists may be on cusp of detecting of finally detecting elusive material’, Newsweek, 10th May 2015
Jay Bennett, ‘The Search for Dark Matter Continues, More Than a Mile Underground’, Popular Mechanics, 9th May 2015
Manuel Gnida, ‘Construction Begins on One of the World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Experiments’, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 7th May 2015