Browsed by
Month: December 2022

Visitors To Our World

Visitors To Our World

I sometimes find myself daydreaming. I wonder, if some alien entity were to visit our planet just to get to know us, what would I tell them? I’m not someone who’s travelled widely. I’ve not tasted the myriad cultures that grace our rich and colourful world. And I’m certainly not some high-powered executive who wields vast amounts of power where my word is the command for those in the lower echelons. I live a quiet, largely unobtrusive life. So, what would I tell them?

Grandeur of Earth

Grey wolves Image by Angela from Pixabay.

First and foremost, I’d want them to learn about the grandeur of our planet. Firstly, I’d show them places where they’d find the magnificent creatures of our world. Strong and supine, masterfully dexterous or simply finely well-adapted to their habitat. I’d insist we search out the four corners of Earth where the numerous creatures of our world reign supreme. Many of those creatures are small and seemingly insignificant—bats, insects, and birds. Still, they hold court in their domains.

I’m sure they’d be astounded when I showed them the deep Amazon forest with its trove of plants and animals. They’d be astonished at how life is so perfectly coordinated. Another place I’d show them would be the Boreal forest and its panoply of animals and plants. I’d eagerly tell them how the plants, trees, and the animals who live within have often found unique and surprising ways to survive the unforgiving weather that assails the region. If possible, I’d want them to see the ocean depths, too, the mysteries couched within that jewelled realm.

Boreal Forest. Image by Lee Everts.

Similarly, humans must take a bow for part of the grandeur on our planet. I’d excitedly and I admit, proudly show them many of the superlative structures my species have created. I’d tell them how, regardless of when they were built, these structures remain a part of our world, given how they reflect the intellect and wisdom of our human forebears.

Sydney Opera House (Source: Pixabay).

Like many, my first inclination was initially to find places untouched by my own kind. However, I’d assure our visitors how such an objective would be to unfairly disregard the presence of humans, one of the animals who inhabit the earth.

Showing the Shadowy Side

After showing our visitors the grandeur of the planet, I think it’d be only fair to show them the darker side of my species, in particular. I confess I’d hang my head low. Still, if they truly want to know us, they must also understand the fear undergirding life on this planet.

“Why do you fear?” they’d no doubt ask. In response, I’d honestly tell them I’m not exactly sure. Although, I’d maybe start by explaining how all species deeply fear death. Or maybe it’s better to say it in another way; we are all hardwired to survive. At any rate, I’d assure them, I feel that fear has always had a significant role to play.

Other creatures on this planet ably demonstrate such drives for survival. For instance, I’d say, if they were to watch a wolf chasing a caribou, the caribou would run like the wind to escape the wolf. Sometimes it’d work and sometimes, not. I’d tell them they could watch any predator and prey and witness the same drama.

Humans and Our Struggle to Survive

I’d suspect they’d inquire about my species at this point. “Are your kind the same? Do you also feel this fear to which you refer?” Again, I’d have to confess my uncertainty, noting how things get a little more complicated with our story. I could only offer my humble understanding.

I’d explain how I feel fear has become intense for my kind. We struggle to control resources required for survival. Things such as fuel for heat and power, as well as food are the most sought after. In certain parts of our world, nations have been fortunate to possess valuable resources, I’d tell them. The result has led to wars and great distress with countries raging for control of these resources.

Photograph of a limestone quarry showing degradation to the landscape. Image by Hans from Pixabay (quarry).

I’d relate how this fear for our survival has resulted in a wretchedly torn and raked landscape. I can even explain how too many use money to wield their control. But while many have become controlled by the worship of money, I’d still say I think it’s our fear for our survival and our potential death that is the underlying driver. I’ll be sure to explain how it is very sad how my species has been brought down by their misunderstanding.

Dance of Life and Death

“What do you mean?” they’d likely then ask. I’d tell them it’s because I think too many of my species don’t understand death. Many of our fellow species understand death all too well, readily walking into its embracing arms. But too many of my species cannot comprehend how there is truly no beginning or end of life.

Two Yellow Flowers Surrounded by Rocks (Pexels).

I’d tell them how we go on, for it’s a circle, our dance of life and death. My species needn’t fight so vehemently to survive, intentionally taking the lives of others to improve their own pursuit to survive.

Their greed and lust for money are all mortally bound to their fear of death. All is done to control the world and more importantly, to control life. By controlling life I think they feel they’ll control death.

Our alien friends might understand, I’m not sure. But I’ll tell them how my species do not realise it’s okay to die. Along with one another’s destruction, they fight it by steadfastly transforming their bodies. They pursue a life they feel reflects eternal life. They fail to understand our essence, spirit or consciousness is what carries on.

Certainly, I’d acknowledge these are beliefs. Still, don’t beliefs become reality I’d ask them? Sometimes, we can go forward with a feeling or sense rather than always feeling the need to prove it scientifically. How does it feel? We must listen to our bodies. We’ll know.

I’ll tell them how I fear many of my species don’t understand who they are and how simple life can be. I feel we are here to share and give of ourselves. Wouldn’t life be so simple if we accepted this truth?

That’s the best I’d be able to do as I help them understand my planet. And I’d say to them, I hope they’ll return one day to see if we’ve somehow been able to change.

Declaration of the Light

Declaration of the Light

“Run!” he called out. Mira followed Ran the best she could as he nimbly darted around the broken down buildings. They were in the outskirts of the green zone and so, things were always a bit dicey out here. Ran must’ve spotted them up the road and figured, if they valued their lives, they’d better get out of there.

There were an, array of vents, many broken, huffing and puffing, along the front of the grey beleaguered factories. Their constant drone was a defining feature of the soundscape. Mira had long ago blocked it out.

Image by Catherine Bergman from Pixabay

They jogged for several minutes, Mira always looking around to see if they had any company. But there was no one. Ran ducked into an old dilapidated building at the end of the road, its broken tar sutured together in the most recent repair job. Mira followed him and caught her breath. “Do ya think they followed? Ran looked behind them.

“Nah, I think we gave ‘em the slip.”

“I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far.”

“We’re well out of the main area now, anyway. That’s the most guarded area. But no one ever comes out here. We better duck in here, keep going. This is the way, I’m told.” Mira worriedly looked behind them, but she hurried to follow Ran. They clambered through the long pipes riveted to the doors of the machinery. Mira almost slipped on a small pool of oil, although she managed to get her footing. “You gotta be careful here. There’s often oil slicks below the machinery. No one to clean ‘em up anymore,” he said, calling out to her from up ahead.

Mira wasn’t entirely sure where Ran was going. She didn’t want to say anything though because he seemed to know where he was going. Plus, these days, she always followed him. She wouldn’t make the mistake she made before. That almost cost her her life. It was lucky he hadn’t left. He’d said he’d just had an inkling things were going to go that way. Besides, that gang were always unpredictable and so, she should’ve known not to mess with them.

And she was glad she was with Ran. He could always outsmart the others. They’d always been wary of him, cause he was from the other side. Mira still remembered when their transport arrived, all of them filing off. She was pretty sure she’d actually seen him at the time, but she wasn’t completely sure. But eventually, their paths had crossed and they both knew they were meant to be together.

She looked ahead and Ran was crouched under an overhang, drinking from his bottle. When she caught up to him, he offered her a drink which she happily accepted. “Do ya know where we are?” she said, her head scanning around.

“It’s not too much further. Remember what I told ya this morning when we left. I’ve got a surprise for you.”

“Yeah, when we ran into that crowd, I thought we’d had it.”

“No worries. We had no problem giving them the slip. As we did. But never fear, we’re going places.” He smiled impishly, the way he always did when he was onto something. She smiled back, rolling her eyes and then gave him back the bottle.

“Wonder what they’re gonna do with this place.” She ran her hands along what seemed to be some sort of metal chute.

Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

“Well, it’s already getting close to the end of the year. Can’t say they’ll do anything now. What’s next year, anyway? Half the time I forget.”

“I think it’s gonna be 2133. But I’m not totally sure.”

“Sounds about right.”

“All I know is I’d love to get outta here. You know, I’ve heard some say there are ways to get out. There’s trees and grass out there apparently. But I don’t think it’s true. They say it’s just a wasteland now.” She looked at Ran who had a self-satisfying look on his face. “Why do you look that way?” She frowned.

“No reason. Come on.” He got up and started scrambling into a more open part of the factory. Mira had to speed up to keep in pace with him. It wasn’t a problem as they were both fairly fit. That didn’t bother her. But where were they going?

Image by Axel Mali. from Pixabay

They reached a wall and Mira didn’t know where Ran was going to go now. “What now? We can’t go any further.” Ran fished in his jacket. “What are you doing?” Ran turned to her and just put his hand to his nose. She always knew when he did that it was to say, ‘Not to worry, he ‘knows’ what he’s doing.’ She stood there while he took a card and slipped it into the slot. She looked around warily nervous; he was taking too long doing who knows what. Mira was always on the look out, as the guards were everywhere these days. Although, there hadn’t been any at all for a while, which put her more out of ease.

He searched around on the a piece of the machinery near the wall, feeling with his hands for something. He smiled, winking at Mira. “Gotcha,” he said. He slid two cards in two different slots and all of a sudden, the wall began to waiver and then disappear. Mira stood there, her mouth agape.

“How did you do that? That’s impossible.”

“Little bit of magic. And no it isn’t, provided you’ve got a little bit of information.” He tapped his temple.


“Come on. We gotta go.” He started off again, Mira again looking behind them as she followed. They ran through a labyrinth of machinery until they reached a large cylindrical shaped structure. On its surface it had a series of rungs. When Mira looked up, it seemed to go on forever.

Suddenly, Mira heard a noise from behind them. “Hurry, Ran. I think we’ve finally got company!”

“Okay! We’re in business! We can outrun them!” He hoisted himself up and began to climb. “We’ve gotta climb now—like our life depended on it!” he said.

“Yeah, cause it does!” She followed Ran and started up the rungs, looking to see if she could see them yet.

They were about twenty metres up and when they stopped and looked down to see several people on the ground floor. They apparently hadn’t looked up yet. But they were fairly high up already. Ran carefully and quietly fed his arm into the rung so as not to lose a grip. He took a drink of water and then handed it to Mira who took a long drink. “I’m hoping we’ll find more water when we get up there.” He looked up.

“I don’t even know where we’re going,” Mira said, a slight look of worry on her face.

“Me neither, but I’ve got me an inkling.” He flashed a smile and then started to climb.

Eventually, they reached what looked like a hatch. “What now?” Mira said.

“Just a sec,” Ran said as he pulled another card from his jacket.

“Where did you get all of those?”

“I met an old gentleman from the old times and he told me there was a way out. When everyone went to ground with the wars, there were ways to get back. Sure, he told me, there’d be a few tricks we’d need to get past the guards and their traps. And we needed to be strong and swift. I told him, we’ve got that.” He smiled impishly again. “He said he was too old now for him to do it. He’s the person I’d been visiting. Remember?” Mira nodded. “Then, one day, he gave me these cards and told me where I needed to go. The portals are meant to read the units in their hands. But they needed older tech in case that malfunctioned.” He held up the card. “So, here we are.”

He slid another card into a slot and they heard a click. Ran grabbed the handle and then pushed. They climbed out into a forest, a soft breeze blowing. A rocky waterfall flowed nearby. The smell was extraordinary, given the difference from the recycled air they’d been breathing. Ran smiled widely, looking at Mira who looked spellbound. He tilted his head back and breathed in. “Oh, this is heavenly!”

Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

“This can’t be real!” They scanned all around. “No wonder it was so hard to get up here. They definitely don’t want us to see this!”

“Oh, yeah.” He hugged Mira as she laughed, twirling her around. “We did it.”

“Yeah, well, they know we’re gone and so we better keep going. I don’t trust them,” Mira said. They walked off, hand in hand. After a couple of hours, they encountered a spring and when Mira expressed caution, Ran told her it had all been a lie.

“Not to worry. That’s also a bit of a lie we’ve been fed. All I know is they don’t want us up here.” Ran filled his bottle. “Come on, we better keep moving.”

They found a cave and they were able to collect some moss from a nearby woods to make a comfortable enough place to sleep.

Later, they were having something to eat. “This is good,” Mira said, as she ate some of the rabbit. “Where’d you learn how to do that?”

“From that fellow I always used to visit. He was full of stories. One of those stories was about snaring rabbits,” he said, shrugging his shoulders like it wasn’t a big deal.

“How did he learn to do this?” She scooped more into her mouth.

“A good number had already broken off before the wars. So, they were living off the land on their own—doing just fine, he told me. He said some of his people are still up here. But no one wants us to know that, do they?”

The next morning, they were up early as Ran was insistent they watch the sun rise. “What’s the big deal? So, it’s a sun rise.” Mira said, as she poured a cup of tea they’d improvised from some flowers they’d found.

“Not just any sun rise. You’ll see,” Ran said, always with that same impish smile. He helped clear things from their breakfast. “Come on, ya gotta be ready for it.” She hustled along and joined him outside their cave. They found a boulder and sat down, Ran putting his arm around Mira.

Gradually the sky lightened and then transformed before their eyes into a pallet of pinks, yellows and blue. Just over the water and strewn across the sky were dollops of grey. Then slowly the light yellow grew, like a jewelled orb on the horizon, the pinks and blue dancing along its perimeter. The pinks deepened to an orange as it blended with the other colours. All the time the golden orb was growing in size.

Image by Jason from Pixabay

“Magnificent,” Mira said in barely a whisper. Ran looked at her.

“Told ya. It’s the winter solstice,” he said. They sat for a while watching the spectacle.

“I’ve heard of that. But I didn’t even know what it was actually.”

“Well, it’s a real thing. The world will slowly transform now.” He spread his hands out before him. “Ya think it’s official?” Their hands clasped, both smiling.

“Yeah. We’re here to stay.”

No Need to Stay On The Wrong Side of the Bed

No Need to Stay On The Wrong Side of the Bed

Image by Public Co from Pixabay.

Of course, we all get up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. As far as I can tell, my periodic irritability is not due to any difficulty I’ve had with any one or any thing—certainly nothing that’s obvious to me. I’m in my early fifties and so, it’s likely due to the hormonal bonanza we experience at this time of our lives. So, who knows , maybe I can lay it at that door.

Everything Going Wrong

But I sometimes do overthink things a little. As well, I’m fairly sure I allow the troubles from my past to edge a little too much into my present. We’re always told to be in the “now.” But I’m certain my focus on the now slips every now and then, careering uncontrollably down with my already descending morale.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay.

At any rate, when I slowly roll out of the wrong side of my bed, I am weighted down with everything I feel is going wrong in my life. It’s a frame of mind, make no mistake. The cup is half empty, damn it. I’ll refuse to hear anything otherwise. That’s the nature of my mood, I’m afraid.

I go about robing myself in an array of perspectives coloured in shades of sorrow and melancholy. It’s important to emphasise, it is only a perspective. At any other time, the same idea or thought would be clothed in a far brighter and spirited manner. But not right now when the sky seems to be falling and nothing is going right in my life.

Is There a Way Out?

And I’m not alone in my dilemmas. Many of us are tripped up by periodic blues. Given the problem, how do we wrest ourselves from the doleful embrace? Sure, time is all that’s sometimes required. All we need to do is maybe have something to eat. I’m sure you’ve heard of this dilemma. Researchers have identified a tie between our blood sugar and our mood.

Sometimes we have little comments, ready and waiting, that merely compound the murkiness surrounding us. They’re the words further hurtling us towards a constant re-play of everything that’s gone wrong in our lives. We focus on how this always happens and how we’ll never be … fill in the blank. It never ends, until our fixated attention is somehow pried away from that mesmerising bottomless pit.

Following the Words of a Tunneler

For me, my sensibilities are shaken into place by a quote from a soldier. I’d been doing some research on the First World War and encountered this corner of history. When I looked a little more deeply, I realised it was much larger than I’d initially realised.

The soldier was a tunneler. I’d not be surprised if that doesn’t ring a bell, as they weren’t the most well known members of our past. Still, they hold an undeniably honourable place. Often it was miners who were enlisted to build the tunnels below the fighting that occurred on the surface—No Man’s Land. Three simple words that can’t quite capture the horrific reality of the place.

Tunneling is nothing new. Groups ranging from the Persians and Romans in 256 to the Vietcong in 1966 against the United States were adept at tunnel warfare.

The explosion of the mine under Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt, 1 July 1916 (Photo 1 by Ernest Brooks).

During the First World War, the idea was for their men to tunnel below the enemy and then place explosives in the mines. This was expertly done beneath Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt on the Western Front at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. It was this explosion that was supposed to have started the battle.1 At times enemy tunnelers would encounter one another below the surface and a skirmish would ensue.

The tunnelers had to keep a wary ear out for any mining that was taking place. Both sides of the war employed these tactics. As a result, those on the British side would employ various devices in order to hear. One such method involved forcing a stick into the ground and then holding the other end between their teeth. This permitted one to sense any vibrations resulting from the digging of the opposing side.

Understandably, the entire process was highly stressful. One would expect anyone involved to be miserable and of a dark humour. So, I was astonished when I read how archaeologists had encountered the words scrawled on a tunnel’s walls. Given the circumstances, the words would seem so out of place. Yet, amidst the maelstrom, William Carr was able to share astoundingly poignant and touching words. He wrote,

If in this place you are detained, don't look around you all in vain, but cast your net and you will find, that every cloud is silver lined. Still.”

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Bearing His Words in Mind

And it’s those words that always give me pause. While we may feel confined or imprisoned in whatever dilemma we’re experiencing, we’re not to worry. For within the darkness, there will always be a light shining through, William Carr assures us. So, hold fast, he says. His thoughts were clearly not on his own troubles. He only sought to ease the path for those who followed.

If this man was able to evoke such beauty and majesty while all hell was erupting overhead, then surely I can endure the tiny, by comparison, challenges with which I find myself contending. This is certainly not to imply that some of the things with which we’re contending are of no concern.

What we’re facing may very well be on par with the challenges of William Carr—perhaps more. Still, his words are intended as a gentle push forward. Every now and then, we’re brought down by some one or some thing. At other times, as I’ve suggested, we have no idea why we’re feeling down. It just happens sometimes.

In any case, there may be a period when we’re feeling beleaguered and down. But hopefully, we can remember words such as those of William Carr. They remind us of our strength, courage, and fortitude. We recall how, with a little perseverance, we’ll discover a path out of the holes in which we find ourselves — sometimes ones we’ve dug for ourselves. These words and phrases offer us leverage, the firm support we need to free our selves.

So, sure, maybe we’ve just gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. But there’s no need to stay there for long.


1Things didn’t seem to go according to plan, as the order for the explosion was given ten minutes before the infantry attack, thus providing the Germans with a heads up that attack was imminent.


BBC News 2014 “WW1 soldiers’ writing unearthed in Somme tunnels”

Herman, Arthur 2014 “Notes From the Underground: The Long History of Tunnel Warfare”

Mirror 2011 “Inside the lost First World War tunnels of the Somme”

Morin, Amy 2022 “ How to Stop Overthinking”

Science News 2018 “Link between hunger and mood explained”

Wikipedia 2022 “Tunnelling companies of the Royal Engineers”

Wikipedia 2022 “Tunnel warfare”

The Bright Side of Life

The Bright Side of Life

Source: Image by Анастасия Егорова from Pixabay.

Stressed Out

No doubt we can all remember those all too often moments at work when we were expected to do what no human could possibly accomplish. And they wanted it done yesterday. It seemed insurmountable and we’d go home fraught with nerves. Our teeth would clench with the stress, our jaws clamped and tight. The next day, these stresses and feelings of anxiety would be invariably be there waiting for us, taking little time to swirl around us and relentlessly feed our hopelessness, bitterness, and inner trauma.

Day in and day out, we spend much of our time lost in thoughts coloured in darkness, stress, and negativity. We’re swallowed by that throat-clenching heartache, fear or anguish which combine to feed our stress and anxiety. Sometimes, we’re able to pull ourselves out of it. But at other times, those feelings that brought us down decide to hang around, pulling us further below.

Many of us are caught on this treadmill of darkness and we become consumed by thoughts of negativity which feed our feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s like we’re on autopilot, simply interpreting and re-interpreting in accordance with our beliefs and fears. There is little chance of stepping outside our perspective. Someone says “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” and our response is a reference to how it’s not going to last or how it’s still really cold or it’s too hot and just simply not enough. Before we know it, our negativity affects what we do and soon, it just becomes normal to go on thinking that way. Ultimately, it comes to reflect how we go forward in our lives—our destiny.

With all these negative emotions taking control, we’ve now entered “survival-mode.” Our bodies are under stress and our evolution has ensured we respond accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with it and it’s actually a necessary response. If we were walking in the woods and we heard branches breaking behind us, our feelings of stress would rise and would soon trigger our “fight-or-flight” response. We would quickly turn around, only to realise it was just a tree falling. We relax, maybe laugh with relief, and then go back to normal. The problem is that sometimes our feelings of stress are never relaxed by a fight, nor a flight response to safety. We are never relaxed because the “danger” remains. Survival-mode emotions simply hang around and we are in a constant state of stress.
So, our problem is now living in survival-mode, that is, in constant stress. And this brings with it very real problems. Anything from chest pain and fatigue or stomach upset and sleep problems. At its worst, it can lead to depression.

Turning the Page
So, how do we get out of survival-mode and the feelings of constant stress and anxiety that accompanies it? One of the techniques is to find a way to connect with yourself. Listen to your body. It may be saying loud and clear what it needs. How healthy is your diet? Are you getting enough sleep? Just take a moment and listen.

Take time to connect with others in your life, be it a loved one or friends you’ve been too busy to contact. Sit down and give them a ring. Make a date to meet. Don’t forget exercise or other relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing. We can also take some time to enjoy a hobby or perhaps reading a book. These are all methods we can use to relax and bring down the levels of stress in our lives.
There’s a saying that’s been attributed to different people, one of whom being Buddha. And it goes,

The thought becomes the word,
The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into the habit,
Habit hardens into character,
Character gives birth to destiny.
So watch your thoughts with care,
And let them spring from love
Born out of respect for all beings.
There are ways to think positively.

So the next time some negative thought enters your mind, reach up and catch it before it can turn the key and open the door of your heart to unnecessary stress and anxiety. It may not always be easy, but it is well worth your time to look on the bright side every now and then.


Awe and Wonder of the Night Sky

Awe and Wonder of the Night Sky

Gazing into the sky, we’re always alone. Make no mistake. Even if there are one hundred or more heartbeats surrounding us, the connections we feel with the night sky remain a solitary one. Before us is a starry pin-pricked universe. Deep in our hearts, we know we belong intimately to the stars. And when we are truly alone, not a soul for miles around, looking up, we are embraced by a celestial extravaganza.

A Passion for the Night Sky

We’ve always had a close relationship with the stars. It makes sense. A recent study from NASA found that we share about 97 percent of the atoms and other elements of life with our galaxy’s centre. We share with our universe something so integral to who we are as humans. It’s very humbling.

Star formation in the constellation Orion as photographed in infrared by NASA‘s Spitzer Space Telescope (Source Wikipedia).

From our earliest moments on this earth, we’ve been entranced by what lay in the skies above. Millennia ago, our forebears in Greece brought us the patterns named according to legends. Orion, Aquarius, Cassiopeia, and Virgo were amongst the 88 constellations named. And it’s believed astrology’s origins emerged from the Sumerians. That may be so. Although, it’s possible the origins of these storied beliefs depicted as the constellations of Aries, Cancer, and Capricornus and more were from a much deeper past.

Possible Origins of Astrology

In Lascaux, France, a group of curious schoolboys happened upon paintings of animals hidden in a cave. Dating from the Upper Palaeolithic, the scenes appeared to depict hunts and so it was regarded as a snapshot of life at the time.

More recently, researchers decided to look again at the images. When they did, they came up with a far different explanation. It was one that demonstrated that around 40,000 years ago, our forebears were also acutely bound to the skies above. The researchers believed the pictures were not of a mere hunt. Rather, they were astronomical illustrations, maps for the heavens above.

Photography of Lascaux animal painting (Source: Wikipedia).

In the 2018 article in the Athens Journal of History, Martin Sweatman and Alistair Coombs explained their case. Using advanced software, they were able to indicate how the depictions mirrored actual constellations. Extending their explorations, they compared constellations with animals appearing on the cave walls in France, Spain, Germany, and Turkey.

Were the images on the caves in the various countries the true origin of astrology? If the knowledge of Sumer made its way to Greece, is it not possible the knowledge of astrology journeyed a greater distance through time from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Sumerians? In any case, simply in the naming the stars, we’ve continued to express the inherent bond we have with the mysteries of the nightsky.

Various Cultures and Their Ties To the Night Sky

Our cultures have demonstrated their ties with the stars in other ways. Maes Howe in Orkney is dated around 2,700 BC1. It is the largest and most intricate chambered cairn in Orkney. It was certainly built to be a presence in the landscape, visible for miles around.

The architects of Maes Howe took great care in the construction of the cairn. During the darkest time of the year, leading up to winter solstice, the ebbing rays of the setting sun are permitted to shine through the entrance passage of the chambered cairn, piercing the darkness.

Maes Howe (Source: Wikipedia).

It is a bond with the sun, one filled with a comforting knowledge the darkness of the midwinter sun will soon give way to a resurgence of the light. This was a relationship on which the people strongly depended. It too signified an intimate tie with the skies above.

There are numerous monuments where the tale is the much the same. For instance, at Stone Henge, the structure of the stone circles is in accordance with both the summer and winter solstices. For the winter solstice, in particular, the monument appears to have been constructed in order to point towards the winter solstice sunset.

On the other side of the Atlantic in Mexico, the Mayan pyramid Chichen Itza stands. It’s one of seven structures where the building itself features in the winter solstice. For instance, at Chichen Itza, visitors are in awe as they watch the dawning summer solstice, climb the temple stairs.

A Closer Examination of the Night Sky

All of these instances are indicative of a unified and harmonious affinity with the stars above. People have been closely examining the movement of the sun and the planets for millennia. Certainly included are the people of Greece and Rome who gave us the legends on which astrology plays a central role.

Nicolaus Copernicus portrait from Town Hall in Toruń – 1580) (Source: Wikipedia).

Others included Copernicus. He completed the first manuscript of his book, “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”) in 1532 and published it eleven years later in 1543. His was a radical interpretation of the sun. He argued the sun, a heliocentric view, rather than the earth, a geocentric conception, lay at the centre of the solar system.

This set off a barrage of criticism from quarters as an earth-centred understanding of the solar system had been the norm since ancient Greece. It accorded with the religious views that demanded we be at the centre of the cosmos. It would take another century for the heliocentric or sun-centred solar-system to be adopted. In the meantime, the works of Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton would all go on to broaden our understanding of the night sky.

Awe for the Night Sky

Elements of the night sky have had us spellbound for millennia. There are no doubt moments when we’ve actually entered close to a meditative state while pondering the night sky and its denizens. In any case, our mind and body are able to slow down. And when we’re distracted by the awesome vista before us, the difficulties we may have been experiencing miraculously slip away.

Cassiopeia constellation Image by WikiImages from Pixabay.

One can simply imagine the people in awe silently watching the winter solstice cast a light into the passageway at Maes Howe. And tens of millennia ago, the men and women looked up into the nightsky and beheld creatures that no doubt held some sort of reverence in their own lives. Likewise, people nowadays are exhilarated by the sight of a meteor shower or eclipse.

In each case and more like them, we have found elements of wonder and reverence hidden from us in our daily lives in the skies above. Illustrious and magical, they are visions that for a moment can set our spirits free.


Byrd, Deborah 2020 “Celebrate solstice sunrise at Stonehenge live online”

Dobrijevic, Daisy 2021 “Geocentric model: The Earth-centered view of the universe” Space

Greenspan, Rachel E. 2019 “Here’s Why Stonehenge Is Connected to the Summer Solstice”

Historical Astrology 2022 “Sumerian Astrology”

Harvey, Ailsa 2022 “Heliocentrism: Definition, origin and model” Space

Howell, Elizabeth 2017 “Humans Really Are Made of Stardust, and a New Study Proves It”

Impey, Chris 2011 “Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model” Teach Astronomy

My Modern Met 2022 “10 Legendary Constellations and the Stories Behind Them (According to Greek Mythology)”

Newby, Gregg 2020 “Were Paleolithic Cave Paintings Actually First Star Maps?”

Rituals 2020 “How stargazing is good for your health and well-being”


1This may be even earlier, as exact dating is not possible. The surrounding ditch was dated, although it may post-date the actual construction of Maeshowe.