Mars, the Red Planet is the 4th furthest from the sun. It looks red, even to the naked eye in the night sky. In 2014 it was closest to the Earth and at its brightest on April 14, as I was writing this, in line with a full moon that would eclipse the next day. I went outside and set up a tripod and took this photo from my back patio. I was amazed that the planet, when zoomed in on showed up like a red bead in the sky with a dimple in the center. It seems to be an auspicious time to resume work on the Labyrinth for the final phase leading to its completion.
Mars is the second smallest of the planets in our solar system after Mercury, and gets its red color from a coating of iron oxide on the surface. Even though it is about half the diameter of Earth, its Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain on a planet in our solar system. Mars has a thin atmosphere and ice caps on its poles like Earth. The ice caps contain enough water that if they were to melt the surface of Mars could be covered with 11 meters of water. The rotational tilt of its axis causes the planet to experience seasonal changes and might even melt ice to create flowing water during the warmest times of the year. Mars is orbited by two moons that are named after the Roman God Mars sons Phobos and Deimos.
In mythology Mars was the God of War, and was the principal deity worshipped by Roman soldiers. He was the offspring of Jupiter and Juno (Zeus and Hera in Greek mythology). Mars has a long history that dates back to Neolithic times when he was the God of Spring, growth in Nature, and the protector of cattle. This would have made him an important deity for herders, who lived close to nature, moving their flocks seasonally to greener pastures. He was also associated with Woodpeckers and Wolves. A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers rules the woods at Halls Hill Park and made themselves known by pecking the trees around the Labyrinth while I worked on the Mars circuit. Wolves are the ancestors to all dogs. There aren't any wild wolves on Bainbridge Island but there are plenty of dogs.
|Statue of Ares at the Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy|
Mars was held in much higher regard by the Romans and was elevated to a very high position, second only to the God Jupiter. He was the patron deity of the Roman army and was also a God of agriculture. Rather than being psychopathic, his violence was justified as conflict with the goal of peaceful resolution.
|Venus and Mars, from a mural at Pompeii, Museum of Archaeology, Napoli|
|The beginning of the Mars circuit, looping from the Jupiter circuit|
|A heavily pierced devotee of the Hindu God Murugan participates in the Thaipusam festival in Penang, Malaysia|
This red trident reminded me of the lilies painted on the beautiful murals at the Minoan palace at Knossos, Crete, where the Labyrinth of the Minotaur was located. If all spears were lilies how different the world would be.
|A wall mural of lilies with approximate recreations from the Palace at Knossos, Crete|
|A Trident of Vel in the brown western direction of the Labyrinth.|
I worked my way from black to white to blue green and ended the Mars circuit where it will bend in to the Earth circuit.
|The nearly completed Mars circuit|
|Three circuits and the center to go!|