Friday, September 18, 2009

The Stars at Night

Orion: The HunterIs it just me, or are the stars clearer in the autumn night sky than at any other time? When the rain clouds are cooperative by vanishing, it's been a treat to stand outside in the crisp air and see the fall constellations peeking over the treetops and roofs. Orion in particular is always a welcome harbinger of this season.

They Dance in the SkyDespite having studied astronomy several times, I am by no means an expert stargazer. Instead, I've focused on the celestial knowledge that comes from the originating myths. While many of the traditional myths are Greek in origin, others come from Sumer and Egypt. Additionally, many other cultures have their own myths and constellations to explain and remember the shapes in the sky.

Once Upon a Starry NightAlso related to the stars and constellations is the age-old study of astrology. While our 21st Century perspective has pushed this firmly into the New Age category, it can be a fun tool to play with. If nothing else, it's also an easy entree to learning different constellations.

We often get patrons who want to learn more about astrology, but don't know where to start. Like astronomy, I'm not an expert on this topic, but the following titles have proven useful to people who want to learn more about the astrological zodiac:
Constellations: the stars and stories

And, a book that I haven't read, but might nominate for the Diagram Prize:
How to Spot a Bastard by His Star Sign.

What are some of your favorite constellations, and what are the myths behind them? Which important astrology books have I inadvertently left out? And most importantly, what's your sign?

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