Prehistoric Skywriting - It's written in the Stars

Pre-Dawn Star Gazing
Framework of Time
Heaven on Earth
Planets, the wanderers
Catastrophe! Precession
It's Written in the Stars
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From Mythology to Astrology
People look at the stars and tell stories. They notice the patterns and work those into the stories. They make stories to teach and explain the patterns.

On the stars, they hang many tales of important events. Thus the stars become a history book. Tales that incorporate the locations of the planets, and the locations of the constellations (rising or setting) afix a time stamp to the story.

After many generations of history was tied to the stars, it seems natural that people in their quest for pattern making, for seeing order in the world, would wonder if the connection went the other way as well. If the patterns in the sky could be used to predict the future as well as the past. Thus was astrology born.

People love to classify and categorize, to organize their knowledge to see if new connections are made. The planets and stars have been used heavily in this way for a long time.

Now the study of the stars is so often separated from the study of myth, language, and culture. Things are compartmentalized and it has been fashionable for a while to think that we are better, smarter, and more knowledgable than our ancestors.

Respecting our ancestors and trying to reclaim their knowledge, to understand that the stories we now know as 'myth' were describing things of great importance to them in solid physical ways as well as psychological or metaphysical, has been problematic. Since this way of thinking was outside the academic norm, academics who have tried to restore this thought have had difficulty being published. The people most vehement about being heard, have often been somewhat on the kook side, adding unnecessary bits about planets changing orbits, or alien visitations.

Happily this seems to be changing now. More well-written and rational materials are being published and people are daring to look across disciplines and look for the connections. Secret of the Inca's is very good in that it shows how the myths were used in a practical way to transmit information about the culture and it's experiences across the centuries.

You can recombine the knowledge yourself. Take a myth that interests you and look for locations and animals mentioned in a star chart. Which planets might relate to the active figures - people or gods? What sorts of numbers and shapes recur in the story? Do these remind you of any astronomical features?

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