By Anne Ortelee

When I was young, the “pictures” which people “saw” in the constellations in the sky completely escaped me. It looked like a bunch of really bad connect-the-dots pictures that I didn’t get. My Virgo Sun perceived no order, just chaos. Not enough lines, lots of dots and very, very large leaps of imagination about people or animals doing things. I could spot the Big and Little Dippers because they WERE right up there but the rest were confusing.

In September of 1986, I was at the edge of the Great Rift in Tanzania Africa. I spent hours in a transcendent quasi-religious experience gazing at the night sky and marveling. I felt the raw primal nature of the night sky and understood how humans thousands of years ago had watched it with awe and amazement. It was an unforgettable night. I realized how our electric lighted world diminished our sense of connection with the universe and earth. After a few weeks back in electric New York City, I thought no more about it.

Then, in the summer of 1998, I spent a wonderful weekend in Maine at Wendy Ashley’s stargazing extravaganza. We went out on a houseboat, stretched on our backs and watched the constellations rise in the east while Wendy relayed their myths. It was another transcendent quasi-religious experience with the universe (note the 12-year gap – yes, transiting Jupiter in Pisces was again in aspect to my natal chart!). This time my star conversion took.

From time past remembering, we used to lie on our backs, look at the sky and listen to our elders tell stories. No wonder people saw pictures in the sky. It is nature’s version of movies and television. Look at the sky; watch star rise after star rise and observe the constellations as their story unfolds. The stars rise quite slowly, creeping up over the horizon and resolving gradually from blurs into sharpness as they move backward, leaving plenty of time for lines to connect dots.

Here are my favorite techniques to have your own transcendent quasi-religious experience with the stars.

1. Look Up. When you are out and it is dark, look up. Try and figure out what you are looking at. Look for clumps of stars near the Moon or something bright. Look at your watch. Run into the house, turn on your computer and cast the chart. Look at the chart using the planetarium part of your software. Click on the stars and read their myths.

2. Read the Star Gazing Section in the Newspaper EVERY Day. You find it on the weather page. The astronomers write using a sidereal zodiac, so for them Saturn is still traveling through the constellation of Gemini. Add 23 degrees to get the tropical zodiac. Look a their sky map with your astrology charts.

3. Get Out of Bed in the Middle of the Night. Very painful and it must be done. Fortunately, there aren’t too many occasion BUT when the sat section of the newspaper says there is going to be something cool in the sky, go outside and look. New York is NOT dangerous in the middle of the night. Check out your roof. People are outside looking up to see the star show. And, they are quite nice! You can sleep tomorrow night.

4. Hang Out with Astronomers. No, they don’t like astrologers, but they know interesting things. You’ll meet astronomers if you get out of bed in the middle of the night. Visit websites, buy astronomy books, go to the planetarium – the more you look the better you get.

5. Tie the Stars to the Chart and Reading. Sprinkle a few stars into each reading. Look up the star’s myth. Tell the story during the reading. Listen to how the star shows up in the person’ life.

6. Check Out Disasters. Unfortunately, some fixed stars do have well deserved bad reputations. They show up prominently in big, memorable disasters. Forget this information when looking at your own chart or doing readings.

7. Get Fixed Star Astrology Books. Get Bernadette Brady’s Fixed Star book. Send nagging e-mails to Wendy Ashley and Diana Rosenberg about their Fixed Star book in progress. The NCGR Intermediate Lecture book has a good star section. Haunt used bookstores and websites for old astrology books with fixed star information.

8. Get Mythic Astrology Books and Regular Myth Books. Mythic translates to star stories. The Mythic Journey by Greene and Sharman-Burke and Mythic Astrology by Guttman and Johnson are solid references. I love Robert Graves and Joseph Campbell’s various books on myths. Barbara Walker published two books also: Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and Women’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects.

9. Get Out into the Great Outdoors and Near to Nature. Go camping. Go on astronomy trips, Go visit friends in the country where it is dark. Get outdoors at night.

There is a whole sky full of stars aching to tell you secrets. You just have to look up.

Copyright © 2006 Anne C. Ortelee