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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in astronomy

When I was a little girl, my favorite book was the Dutch translation of Michaels Ende's (originally German) 'Momo and The Grey Gentlemen'. Together with the main character from comic series 'Yoko Tsuno', my ethical system and basic personality got its foundation from Ende's main character Momo. If you haven't read this book--it's from the writer of 'The Neverending Story', if that helps--please pick up a copy. It was written in 1974, and describes well... exactly our current society. That's not what I wanted to talk about, however. I wanted to talk about the Constellation Cassiopeia.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Humanity has been studying and dreaming about and mythologizing the heavens since before the beginning of recorded civilization. No doubt, our ancestors were telling tales about the sun and stars even as they made the long trek out of Africa. Studying the heavens formed the very basis of some civilizations (see Sumer and the Maya, for example), giving rise to calendar systems, festival cycles, and whole arcs of mythology.

For those interested in the origins of the myths of the heavens (as opposed to just the science, which is a fascinating topic in and of itself) a good place to start is Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy by David H Kelley and Eugene F Milone. Dense -- though never boring -- Kelley and Milone's book offers a solid grounding in the place of "naked eye" astronomy in ancient civilizations, how our ancestors' observations shaped their civilizations, and the myths and legends that arose around celestial phenomena. A useful interdisciplinary reference, which I recommend for older children and adults interested in the history of astronomy.

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  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    It's not easy to find, but "Star Myths of the Vikings" by Björn Jónsson has a lot of material on Norse astronomy. Some of it is sy

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A look at the year ahead

Just over a week into the new year and that means it's time to put some plans into action, and look at the year ahead. One of which is steering this blog's content in a more useful direction by providing practical information on how I bring "my" Paganism into my everyday life as well as further explaining more about my spiritual practice, our homesteading adventures, observations of the world and Pagan community, and how that all fits together, even if not perfectly.

Believe it or not, today is a great day for thinking about 'blue' moons! While I don't consider them anything special, plenty of people do. I do admit, however, that it's an extra opportunity to do some full moon-based magick! The funny thing about blue moons is that most people have no idea how to tell when one is going to happen without looking it up in an almanac or the internet.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's due time for another astronomy post, wouldn't you say? Today, I'm picking up the fourth of the constellations in the zodiac: Capricornus. Capricornus is often referred to as 'Capricorn', the latin word for 'horned goat' or 'goat horn', and in ancient Hellas--and even in most modern interpretations--the hybrid is not between human and goat, as one might expect from a culture with satyrs in its mythology, but goat and fish.

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  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    Always love your posts, Elani! Thanks for making them so informative and horizon-expanding.
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    High praise, coming from you Thank you very much!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a short one again. Canis Minor is... well... minor. The picture below gives a good overview of its position in the sky, completely surrounded by constellations a lot bigger than it is. In fact, there are only two stars in the recognized constellation. One of them, however, is the seventh brightest star in our sky. 
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This is not the first time I write about dogs on this blog. I wrote about guard and hunting dogs before, in relation to ancient Hellenic society, as well as mythology. Yet, none of the myths I tackled in that post, relate to the constellation of Canis Major.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Some constellations have huge mythological backstories, others do not. I'm starting to realize that those who are best know--like Aries and Cancer--have tiny backstories while some unknown constellations--like Argo Navis--have huge ones. Cancer's mythological backstory can be found in the myth of Herakles, and today, I'll present you with the whole story.

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