Bodies of Mystery

Witness to wonder

An imagined monologue in the voice of Johannes Kepler, born this day in 1571.

Okay, so my starting point was not data in the sterile manner so often preferred, but faith in harmony, the trinity’s perfection: here center, here a spherical surface, here the intermediary space, but who can separate one from the other without immersion in the deadly lie of separation? I took its unity for granted as a starting point. Poor method, some would argue, but you have to start somewhere, and I think too many scientists underestimate the value of our natural inheritance. I challenge anyone to notice the rhythm of these forms and tell me they aren’t true. There is symmetry through a quantity established at the start, first in Creation and then in the mind’s capacity to bear witness to its vast shape, these shapes our elements, these elements our incarnation, just beyond what we can fully know, and yet. Look, I say. Look!


A contemporary of Galileo, Kepler was among the first to publicly validate Galileo’s theory of a heliocentric model of the universe. What strikes me about Kepler is the strong aesthetic and theological bent of his interests, which seem inseparable from his science. 

Kepler’s A Priori Copernicanism in his Mysterium Cosmographicum in: M. A. Granada / E. Mehl (eds.), Nouveau ciel, Nouvelle terre. L’astronomie copernicienne dans l’Allemagne de la Réforme (1530–1630), Paris, Belles Lettres, 2009 [collection l’Âne d’Or], pp. 283–317.

“We will Laugh at The Extraordinary Stupidity: Galileo to Kepler” in Science Backyard.

“An Astronomer’s Astronomer: Kepler’s Revolutionary Achievements. . .” in Scientific American.