Updated: Feb 11, 2021
It's said that your future is written in the stars. Do you believe in fate and destiny? I love reading about the brave explorers that used the stars to navigate, the significance of how the magical standing stones are aligned, how the ancient civilisations planted by the moon and the stars. The mystical realms of astrology are also fascinating! Here is where to see the night skies and more.
Sky At Night, Madagascar ©MDHarding
It's In The Stars
The stars were said to be first documented by the ancient Babylonian astronomers of Mesopotamia (today's Iraq, Kuwait, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders) in the late 2nd millennium B.C.
Then in 300 B.C Aristyllus with the help of Timocharis produced the first-star catalogue in Greek Astrology. It has been said that the Greek astronomers lead the way, with the discovery that Earth was a sphere and the surrounding solar system.
The ancient Minoans, who lived on the Mediterranean island of Crete from 3000 to 1100 BCE, left records of using the stars to navigate. They would have known the different constellations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. For example, the most familiar constellation in the Southern Hemisphere is the Southern Cross and in the Northern Hemisphere is the familiar constellation The Big Dipper.
Ernest Shackelton, one of the great explorers took one of the most dangerous voyages to Antarctica around 1915. On-board the Endurance he only had a sextant (which uses the angle between the sun or star and the horizon that would have been constantly bouncing up and down due to strong Antarctic waves) to calculate the latitude.
You can read more about Shackleton and how you can follow in his footsteps.
Did you know Leonardo Da Vinci also had a passion for astronomy, so much so that he explored the possibility and concept of the telescope?
Discover more about Da Vinci the genus.
Have you heard about the celestial meteor shower due to take place in the Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan this year? Said to peak between the 12th and 13th August 2020. For more than 2,000 years events like this have been enjoyed due to no light pollution, cloudless skies and the dramatic desert landscape.
Discover more about Jordan and staying at the Full of Star tents.
Ancient Civilisations Mayan, Olmec, Azteca (Mexico) & Incas (Peru)
While in Mexico you can visit the incredible temples of Chichen Itza and Tulum where the stones have been placed in line with the astrological calendar.
In Peru, you can see the ancient terraces built at Machu Picchu. How they had been built to incorporate their own irrigation system and that systematic way they planted.
Here in the UK, there are mystical standing stones. These are dotted throughout the landscape with the largest standing stone circle - Stonehenge located in Salisbury, England and in Scotland is the oldest stone circle (500 years older than Stonehenge) dating to neolithic times - Callanish Standing Stones. Both are incredible sites that are still used today for worship and rituals.
The purpose of Stonehenge is astronomical. It is carefully aligned so that, if one sits at the centre, one has a clear view of the summer-solstice sun rising over the heel stone.
The latest theory to be proven is that the "east row indicates a line to the rising of Pleiades, a group of bright stars which for many cultures had associations with funerary rites. At around 1800BC the constellation could be seen rising in the east during the Autumn months".
Did you know the largest stone circle in the world is Gobekli Tepe, Turkey?
Many years ago I was told that the freckles on my arm were the constellation of Cassiopeia. I was star struck haha.
Did you know the oldest astrology dates to India and is called Jyotisha. Jyotish is said to be the eyes of the Vedas. Rishi Parashara is believed to have written the earliest known voluminous treatise on traditional astrology in his Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra which he received from Lord Brahma. It is different from western astrology as it uses sidereal zodiac, meaning what you can see in the sky whereas western astrology uses tropical zodiac. Where the planets are relative to the position of the sun.
The first Zodiac said to be by astrologer Ptolemy, was found in Egypt and dates to the 1st century BC, the Dendera Zodiac. The father of modern astrology is Alan Leo, a prominent British astrologer.
Though Astrology is said to have originated in Babylon far back in antiquity, with the Babylonians developing their own form of horoscopes around 2,400 years ago. Then around 2,100 years ago, astrology spread to the eastern Mediterranean, becoming popular in Egypt, which at the time was under the control of a dynasty of Greek kings.
Are you interested in delving into the world of astrology? My lovely friend Fiona is running an astrology circle for eight weeks starting this Wednesday (6th May 2020).
Fiona has been studying and offering private readings in tarot and astrology for 23+ years. I loved my tea and Astro tarot reading. You can find out more here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading.