Cultural Superstitions among the Stars: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Oct 26, 2020

Reading the signs in the heavens is a centuries-old art extending to clouds, weather, eclipses, planetary conjunctions, and the appearance of comets. This 16th century manuscript depicts a mighty battle witnessed in the sky after a mighty peal of thunder opened the clouds to reveal three crosses in the middle of which a knight does battle with a fiery sword.

With a Blue Moon at Halloween, followed by a Friday the 13th next month and a Total Solar Eclipse after that, it’s time to take a look at cultural superstitions in relation to the stars.

For centuries, the appearance of a comet in the sky was regarded as an omen for everything from an illustrious birth, to a significant death or even, as a sign that there would be a plague. So take note, not only was Comet NEOWISE magnificently visible in early summer, astronomers are now reporting four more comets in northern hemisphere skies, though none of them are visible yet without telescopes.

Then there’s the all the superstition attached to the Moon, whether it’s a Blue Moon, a Blood Moon, or an eclipsing Moon. In Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” there’s even a significant reference to a cross appearing on the Moon.

Then at Winter Solstice, the planets Saturn and Jupiter will come to their once-every-20-years Great Conjunction, which has also been regarded through the ages as an auspicious harbinger of change. The 16th century astronomer Johannes Kepler calculated the great conjunctions through history and concluded that the meeting of these two planets in 7 BC was the “star” that the wisemen of the East followed to the birth of the Christ Child.

Most of these ideas about the signs in the heavens and their relationship to human life comes from a time when it was believed that every human being comes from a star ~ not just that we’re made of star stuff that is the remnant of some star that exploded in super novae eons ago, but that, as a soul-spirit being, our point of origin is among the stars, and further, after fulfilling this human life, each soul returns to their birth star, to “report back” as it were, regarding life on Earth. This is why it was believed that the writing of the stars is actually our own deeds, inscribed into the cosmic spaces.