Monday, May 22, 2017

Back from Contact in the Desert 2017

image: modified composite of personal photograph plus two images from Wikimedia commons (link 1 and link 2).

I've recently returned from a fantastic visit to Joshua Tree, California and the Contact in the Desert conference for 2017.

The conference is still going on through another entire day on Monday, May 22, but I hitched a ride home early in the above-pictured craft (I used to own a 1966 model myself, so I really couldn't resist).

Big thank-you to everyone who stopped by my table to learn about Star Myths and Astrotheology and the celestial language that the world's ancient myths are speaking. I enjoyed meeting every single person who visited, as well as our conversations.

Thank you also to those who purchased copies of my books -- I very much hope that you will enjoy them and that they will be uplifting in some way.

For anyone who was unable to attend this year's Contact in the Desert, or who was unable to purchase signed copies of books at the conference due to the inconvenience of having to carry them around or pack them in luggage for the flight home, you can always purchase copies from one of many outlets, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookseller -- and can obtain signed copies of any title from the "Books" section of my website where you can specify a name or names for a personalized inscription.

The order page for signed copies can be found towards the bottom of that "Books" page, and it is set up for shipments within the united states. If you want to arrange shipment to somewhere else, please use the contact form provided on the website and we can figure out how much the shipping would cost.

For new friends visiting this blog for the first time after learning about my research at the conference, welcome! You can follow my new "author page" on Facebook (if you use that site), and will definitely want to check out all the material that's available on my main website, Star Myth World (dot com).

There is a search window on the blog to search for specific terms in the over 900 posts going back to 2011, and of course you can also visit the "Myths" section of the website to find discussions of specific ancient stories and their relation to the stars and heavenly cycles (and meaning for us today), as well as the "Video" and "Podcasts" sections for visual and audible examination of the evidence that virtually all the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories can be shown to be built upon a common system of very specific celestial metaphor.

The stars and planets shining over the desert were spectacular. I enjoyed cooking my dinner on a camp stove under the stars, while powerful laser-pointers probed the sky overhead -- and then sleeping out on the desert floor and doing Sun Salutations facing the sun in the morning. 

You can see some photographs from this year's event which were published in the LA Daily News here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to find the four important heavenly serpents

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Right now is one of the best times of the year to try to locate the four major celestial serpents which play important roles in many of the world's ancient myths.

All four of them can be seen at the same time at this time of year, if you happen to be located in the northern hemisphere. Observers in the southern hemisphere will probably not be able to locate the constellation Draco, which winds its way between the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, near the north celestial pole, unless they are observing from a point fairly close to the equator.

However, viewers in most parts of the globe should be able to locate the first three of the celestial serpents described below (we'll return to tips for locating Draco momentarily).

Presently, the first and perhaps most important of the heavenly serpents is rising in the east during the prime-time viewing hours after sunset: the brilliant constellation Scorpio, which plays the role of a devouring serpent or a dragon in many of the world's ancient myths (in addition to occasionally playing a scorpion). 

Scorpio can be easily identified by the bright reddish star Antares, in the very "heart" of the constellation. Scorpio is labeled in the star-chart below: the constellation Scorpio follows behind Virgo in the zodiac band (behind Libra, which is between Virgo and Scorpio but is fairly faint and is not marked in the diagram below, since we are here dealing with tips to assist in locating the four heavenly serpents).

You can easily locate Virgo right now because the glorious planet Jupiter is traveling through Virgo at this time (the constellation Corvus the Crow, which stares towards Virgo's brightest star, Spica, is also looking generally in the direction of Jupiter at present). When you find Jupiter, you can then trace out the rest of the constellation Virgo. To the east of Virgo, rising up out of the eastern horizon, you should be able to easily identify the looming worm-like form of Scorpio, nearly vertical in the eastern sky -- its "pincers" most easily seen as a kind of "T" bar of three stars above the vertical body of the worm.

Scorpio appears in many myths as a serpent or similar monster with multiple heads -- sometimes seven, sometimes eight, and sometimes nine. Thus, I have drawn it as having multiple heads in the chart above, although depending on the light pollution in your area you will probably only be able to see the three brightest stars (which give it a "T" shape as it rises up from the horizon, as mentioned), due to the ambient light that is usually present near the horizons.

Directly above Scorpio, you may be able to make out the enormous form of Ophiucus, the Serpent-bearer, who holds the next of the four celestial serpents that you can see during this time of year. Ophiucus is not easy to identify unless you are fairly familiar with the constellation's outline -- although once you become familiar with it then it becomes fairly easy to see when Ophiucus is in the sky. 

At present, Ophiucus will be "lying" almost horizontal to the eastern horizon as it rises in the east, above (or "to the left of") the vertical form of Scorpio rising. As Scorpio and Ophiucus make their way across the middle of the sky, Scorpio will become more horizontal and Ophicucus will turn upwards and become more vertical, but when they are just rising in the east, then Scorpio will be vertical and Ophiucus will be horizontal. The diagram above "curves" the horizon upwards on the left and right sides of the image, to simulate the 180 degrees of horizon arc that you would be able to see if you were actually standing outside. Thus, if you think about that left horizon as being more "level" (as it will be when you are outside), you will realize that Ophiucus will also seem much more horizontal when you are trying to identify the constellation's outline in the heavens (outdoors) than it seems to be in the above image.

Here is a previous post that provides some tips on tracing the outline of Ophiucus in the sky. My favorite method for seeing the constellation involves finding the "triangle" at the top of the massive body of the constellation. The "forward foot" of the constellation Hercules comes very close to the "triangle" of Ophiucus, as you can see from the diagram above. Knowing this fact can help you to identify the triangle at the top of Ophiucus.

The constellation Ophiucus, as his name implies, is holding a great serpent. This serpent is actually seen in two "halves" which are found on either side of the body of the constellation of Ophiucus. The serpent of Ophiucus plays an important role in many ancient myths -- sometimes in the role of a serpent, but often in the role of other sinuous things as well, including various forms of vegetation. The serpent halves can be described as having a "tail" half (on the left as we look at the image above -- the eastern half) and a "head" half (on the right as we look at the image above -- the western half). 

You can see that the "head" of the serpent of Ophiucus resembles a small triangle or diamond-shape. Note also that the constellation Hercules can be seen to be reaching down towards the "head" of the serpent of Ophiucus with his lower outstretched arm. 

There are a great many myths from around the world in which a serpent or serpent-figure guards a tree bearing special fruit (often, divine fruit). For instance, in the myth of Heracles (also known in Latin as Hercules), the hero must retrieve an apple from the garden of the Hesperides -- and that apple tree is guarded by a fearsome dragon. You can see Hercules gathering an apple from a tree around which a large serpent is winding in the ancient mosaic shown above.

I am convinced that the "head" of the serpent held by Ophiucus represents the apple in this particular myth, which Hercules reaches out his hand to grasp -- just as the constellation Hercules can be seen to be doing in the night sky. The "dragon" which guards the base of the tree in this myth is of course Scorpio, which is found around the region of the base of the constellation Ophiucus. There are many other myths around the world in which a dragon resides at the roots of a tree -- such as the Norse myths, for example, in which Nidhogg the dragon gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil, the World-Tree.

Of course, there is also a story about a serpent and a tree with fruit at the beginning of the text of Genesis -- and the clear echoes of this particular episode to other ancient myths involving trees and serpents (and sometimes fruit as well) shows once again that the sacred texts included in the so-called Old and New Testaments of the Bible are closely related to the world's other ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories, and that they are all based upon the same system of celestial metaphor.

Moving on to the third important celestial serpent, we can also see not far away the constellation Hydra, which stretches below Virgo (all directions in the above descriptions are for observers in the northern hemisphere -- the constellation Hydra will be "above" Virgo for viewers in the southern hemisphere). Hydra also plays a role in numerous ancient Star Myths, many of which are detailed in the volumes of the series entitled Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them.

At this time of year, you can see the entire length of the constellation Hydra, at the same time that you can see Scorpio rising, with Ophiucus above Scorpio holding the two halves of the Ophiucus-serpent, and also Draco far above. Hydra is so long that its body actually continues on past Virgo and runs underneath the length of the constellation Leo (who precedes Virgo in the sky, as shown above). The head of Hydra is actually quite a bit further west than the nose or forward feet of Leo. You can make out the small oddly-shaped head of Hydra ahead of Leo (and below it), and if you do so it may give you a nice feeling of accomplishment.

Note that in the above diagram I have also indicated the stars Castor and Pollux, which are setting in the west but still visible in the star-chart above. They will be roughly level with one another (once again, the horizon in the chart above is curved upwards to try to simulate the "wrapping" of the horizon to your right as you face south in the northern hemisphere, so although the stars of Castor and Pollux appear to be stacked one above the other in the diagram, they are actually next to each other in a line that parallels the horizon, when you go outside at night). This previous post gives more tips on locating Castor and Pollux in the west at this time of year.

Note also that between the muzzle of the Lion of Leo and the heads of the Twins of Gemini you can still see the delightful Beehive Cluster, whose general location is also labeled in the above star-chart. Here is a previous post (one of many) discussing the location of this important celestial feature.

Those three celestial serpents -- Scorpio, the serpent of Ophiucus, and Hydra -- should all be visible at this time of year to most observers located in either hemisphere. The fourth of the important heavenly serpents which is also easily observable at this time of year, for viewers in the northern hemisphere, is the Dragon of Draco. This constellation winds its way between the stars of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, and is best found by first locating those two fairly familiar constellations.

The Big Dipper is one of the most well-known constellations in the northern sky. Its front two stars (the two front stars in its "bowl") are known as the "pointers," and they point to the North Star, Polaris. 

Polaris itself forms the tip of the handle of the Little Dipper: once you locate Polaris, you can trace the arcing handle of the Little Dipper forward to the small "bowl" of that constellation, whose front two stars are relatively bright and easy to spot. Below is a diagram showing the two Dippers, with Draco in between:

Once you have located the Big and Little Dippers, it is a relatively easy task to trace out the sinuous form of Draco winding in between them. Remember that the tip of the "tail" of Draco is found just above the "pointers" of the Big Dipper, and that the "body" winds around the "cup" or "bowl" of the Little Dipper. Then the constellation makes a rather sharp bend at the place where there are two small "feet" on the outline of Draco (as envisioned by the brilliant constellation-mapper, H. A. Rey). Finally, the "head" of the Dragon of Draco is another small circlet of stars, and you should be able to make it out at this time of year. It is not far from the sword or club held by the constellation Hercules, who is presently rising in the east (along with Ophiucus) in the hours after sunset and before midnight.

Thus, you can see that right now is a wonderful opportunity to try to observe all four of the most important celestial "serpents" who play various roles in the world's ancient myths. The next several days leading up to New Moon on May 25 are especially good nights to observe the stars (and the night of New Moon and the following couple nights are also good for observing stars, as the young waxing crescent follows the sun very closely for the first couple nights after New Moon).

If it is at all possible, I hope that you can go outside into the night and trace out the heavenly serpents who wind their way through the world's ancient myths!

Monday, May 15, 2017

See you at Contact in the Desert!

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

If you are planning to attend this year's Contact in the Desert in Joshua Tree, California, you will have the opportunity to hear from an enormous lineup of researchers, authors and speakers, including Graham Hancock, Professor Robert Schoch, and many others.

I won't be speaking but will be attending and also selling copies of my latest book, Astrotheology for Life, as well as copies of all my previous books (you can see sample content from each of those here), and would be happy to inscribe those for you. 

If you are planning on attending and have a copy of one of my books already that you'd like me to sign for you and want to bring it along, feel free to do that rather than buying copies there.  Obviously, I will not be able to transport an unlimited number of each of the different titles to the event, but I will have copies of each title while supplies last.

If you're not able to attend this year's event in Joshua Tree, I hope to attend other events in the near future in other locations, and will make that known here on the blog, so stay tuned.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New video: "See for Yourself!"

The world's ancient myths are built on celestial metaphor. 

In 1952, H. A. Rey (who, along with his wife Margret, is best known for writing and illustrating the Curious George books) published a system for outlining the constellations in the book entitled The Stars: A New Way to See Them (still in print, in an updated edition available online here or in most bookstores).

Curiously, his system opens the door to seeing the connections between the myths and the stars. And, as this video shows, it appears that artists down through the millennia (and around the globe) were using a very similar system for outlining the constellations -- and for encoding the constellations in artwork about the myths!

This new video uses the outlines suggested by H. A. Rey (with some slight modifications in a few instances) to illustrate the direct connections between ancient artwork and specific constellations and their distinctive outlines and features. Some less-ancient artwork depicting scenes from what are often referred to as the Old and New Testaments is included as well, along with star-charts illustrating their connections to the stars.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Welcome to new visitors from AdventureFit Radio (and returning friends)!

Big thank you to Tom Ahern and Bill Kerr of AdventureFit Travel and AdventureFit Radio for reaching out all the way from Australia to invite me over to their show! 

Tom and I had a great interview (Bill was recuperating and couldn't be part of the conversation) and I hope you will enjoy it. 

Welcome to all new visitors who may be checking out the blog and the Star Myth World website for the first time due to hearing about my research through this latest podcast. 

Here is a link to the podcast on the AdventureFit website, and here is a link you can use to download the file to your iTunes or other mp3 player (other options for listening are available at the podcast link).

I thought Tom asked some great questions and led the conversation into some areas that have not necessarily surfaced in other podcast interviews. 

Below are a few links to some previous posts related to some of the subjects we touched upon during the chat:
  • Discussion of the "crossing of the Great Flood" which may be a metaphor for something we are all going through in this incarnate life.
  • Musings that out-of-body experiences involving mushrooms or other methods may relate to the message of the myths.
  • The importance of Gobekli Tepe and how it upends the conventional paradigm of humanity's ancient history (and see also here).

It was great to "meet" Tom and Bill during the weeks leading up to this interview, and I wish them all the best with their travels and research and other projects. Travel is obviously something that can greatly enhance our lives, and can also provide us with new perspectives and even cause us to question assumptions that may go unexamined if we always stay within familiar surroundings and people -- so getting out to experience other cultures and other parts of the world can indeed be life-changing.

I myself have had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand and Australia (thanks, Kiwi!) and can attest to just how much positive impact that trip has had on my life. 

This interview was recorded on April 27, 2017.

Friday, May 5, 2017

New video discussing some aspects of Astrotheology for Life

Here's a video I made discussing some of the concepts found in my new book, Astrotheology for Life.

I hope it's helpful for explaining some of the reasons I had for writing this particular book in this particular way.

You can find most of the previous videos I've made on related subjects in the "Videos" section of the Star Myth World website. You can also "subscribe" on YouTube if you want to be alerted immediately when a new video is published (although new videos will also be posted to the blog, usually within twenty-four hours of being published online somewhere).

Please feel free to leave feedback on videos or to pass them along to friends or family as appropriate, and also to let me know if there's a way to make them more helpful in any way.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Introducing Astrotheology for Life

I'm very pleased to announce the arrival of my latest book, Astrotheology for Life: Unlocking the Esoteric Wisdom of Ancient Myth.

You can see sample content by visiting the "Books" section of my main website, Star Myth World (dot com). 

This book aims to explore the system of celestial metaphor upon which virtually all of the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories are founded -- a concept sometimes referred to as "astrotheology" -- and also to explore how their ancient wisdom applies to our lives today. I am convinced that in order to begin to understand their message, it is important to approach the myths in the language that they are speaking.

To that end, I have arranged the discussions in Astrotheology for Life by "myth-pattern" (sometimes referred to as "oicotype"). As most of those who have studied myths from around the world soon begin to realize, certain themes or patterns can be found in myths from cultures which are widely separated from one another on our planet (and indeed separated from one another, apparently, by time as well). Some of these myth patterns which are explored in some detail in the book include:
  • The baby cast adrift in the water -- typically in a river and sometimes in the sea
  • The crossing of a Great Flood, one of the most prevalent patterns in ancient myth
  • Stories involving a woman or a goddess who must be made to smile, or who smiles and then denies it
  • The retrieval of the beloved from the realm of the dead, usually an unsuccessful retrieval (such as we find in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, a pattern which is extremely widespread)
  • And stories involving a "failed baptism," in which a baby is dipped in fire or in water intended to make the child immortal or invulnerable to weapons, but the outcome of which is typically unsuccessful.
By looking at patterns of myth, and then discussing the likely celestial analogues upon which these specific stories are built, as well as the possible esoteric messages which the stories in these myth-patterns may be intended to convey, the hope is that the reader will begin to develop "pattern recognition" in the exploration of ancient myth, so that you can approach them for yourself, directly.

The book is entitled Astrotheology for Life because I am quite convinced that the ancient myths and their profound wisdom have direct applications for our lives today. 

And not only for our individual lives: I am also convinced that many of the grave problems we face in the world today are a direct result of being "cut off" from the ancient wisdom which was entrusted to all humanity in the form of the ancient myths. Reconnecting with this ancient wisdom may be vital in making choices that will result in life for future generations.

For this book, I developed a new way of displaying the star-charts in black and white, so that they will be highly visible and helpful, and also so that the cost of the book can be kept down (color images cost more money to produce in a book). Astrotheology for Life contains over fifty illustrations and labeled star-charts along with clear and systematic explanation showing how the ancient myths and myth-patterns are built on the cycles of the heavens, and how to interpret their message for yourself.

I hope that the message inside will be a blessing to you in some way.