UpBeat Spiritual Living: The Stars and Human Experience
© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
Humanity has been fascinated by stars since the beginning of human history. As shepherds watched their flocks by night, they observed the movement of the pinpoints of light in the sky. Some pinpoints were larger than others, and some groups of pinpoints appeared to form figures. Thousands of years ago, people named the figures they saw in the star patterns. They imagined large and small bears, a charioteer, a warrior, a swan, and others. They told stories of interactions among some of the characters. The Greeks and Romans had gods who inhabited the skies and interacted with love, jealousy, and competition. Did those beliefs cause them to see stories in the night skies, or did the night skies inspire the stories of Gods in the daytime skies?
At least as early as King David’s time—and he ruled from 1010 to 970 BCE—people imagined stars had points, and they drew simple symbols to represent stars in jewelry and other adornments. King David owned a magic shield that protected him from enemies. Emblazoned with a 6-point star, it was known as the Mogen David, or Shield of David. King Solomon, who became ruler in 967 BCE, had a ring he believed brought him luck, which carried the image of a 6-point star. His signet ring was believed to control demons and spirits.
As the time of the birth of Jesus approached, people saw something extremely bright in the skies, which some called simply, “the Star of the East”. Wise men somehow followed the star to Bethlehem, to meet and honor the newly born messiah as a newborn infant.
Many other star symbols came into use in culture and religion. A Celtic 8-pointed star shows the holy days, such as Yule on 20-22 December and Midsummer on 19-22 June. A star-and-crescent became an Islamic symbol, and the Star of Lakshmi became a Hindu symbol associated with the goddess Lakshmi. A dimensional pentacle became the Druze star, representing the Druze religion. Stars showed up adorning the covers of holy and precious books and in many forms, as amulets and rings. Stars have appeared in artwork and on flags.
The stars have been used for navigation, permitting the expansion of world exploration and trade by the Vikings and later the Portuguese. The stars have also been used for prophecy, in Chinese and European horoscope systems, and in predictive card techniques such as Tarot.
Today, people are still fascinated by stars, to the extent that they even see “star quality” in other people. The media speak of “stars of stage, screen, and television”, meaning popular and well-paid actors and actresses. We speak of someone being “a rising star”. An extremely accomplished performer can even get a star symbol installed, in their name, in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Instead of being looked up to, a star performer can now be “walked all over” on Hollywood Boulevard.
So stars have been admired, imagined, worn, and steered-by. “Star quality” has been projected onto people who perform. And finally, stars have been brought to Earth to be walked on. Perhaps it’s time to start this cycle again. Are you moved by the stars? It’s a beautiful night outside. Why not pull up a comfortable chair or laze in your hammock, and watch the stars revolve in the Heavens? Feel your connection to the oneness of all human time and experience. Think of early nomads watching the night sky, and feel what they must have felt. Feel your connection to the One Divine Presence. Repeat…
● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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