“When we look out into space, we are looking into our own origins, because we are truly children of the stars.” – Brian Cox
The cosmos holds some of the oldest stories;
ancient myths that have survived millennia.
One of these stories is the cosmic hunt,
variations of which come from all around the world. The broad premise is that there is a hunter that is chasing an animal into the night sky – usually represented stars in the the handle of the saucer/big dipper in the night sky, known as the Great Bear or Ursa Major (watch me tell the story on Instagram
Researchers looked at the cosmic hunt myths from around the world and created a tree of story’s evolution through time and estimated that the cosmic hunt story could be traced back to the Paleolithic era, around 15,000 years ago.
What I love about this knowledge is that when you look at the Ursa Major constellation in the night sky you are reminded of your ancestors and how the story has been handed down by humans migrating across the globe for millennia.
The cosmic hunt is not only a story; it’s a cultural memory.
Back in the mists of time we humans saw ourselves as part of the universe; our lives inextricably bound up in the comings and goings of animals and plants…and stars (which when you think about it we are literally biologically bound to our nearest star - the Sun - through our circadian rhythm).
Our ancestors would be able to tell when certain animals would pass their way for hunting based on which stars were in the sky and they filled the (then very dark) skies with stories based on the glittering lights of the heavens.
Today, our scientific knowledge of the stars is tremendous…but what has happened to our personal connection to the night sky? How often do we look up and navigate our lives by the stars above?
How do our stories weave into those of the celestial heavens?
Over the last few years as I have gotten to know the winter stars as the earth moves through space I have started to infuse the night sky with my own stories:
- 🎨 Orion The Hunter is also the woman painting the universe
- ❤️ Gemini The Twins are also a mother cradling her child with love
- 🌌 Ursa Major The Great Bear is also a dancer leaping through the night sky
Now when I see these constellations I am reminded of creativity, love and joy.