The Tapestry of Night
A long time ago, before streetlights and cars, when nights without the Moon were really dark, if it was clear, the bedizened velvet sky held us tight in her embrace. Sailors far out at sea, bobbing on the breast of the ocean, could look up and see constellations they recognised from home; travellers across the silvery desert watched the same stars appearing one by one in the lilac evening; in monasteries high in the Himalayas or low in the river valleys of the Danube monks counted the same sparkling stars. The whole world shared the stellar blanket, familiar, comforting.
On such nights, those shining points of light are just beyond an arm’s length away. You can pinch Jupiter or Saturn between your thumb and forefinger, and if the Moon is up, you can hold her in the palm of your hand. We were intimate with the stars and planets, kept calendar by their movement, told stories about them. The Moon told us when in the month we were, and the Sun told us where in the year we were. We lived close to the mystery of the heavens, and for many of us, that is where the gods dwelt.
One of the prices of modern life is the loss of intimacy with the sky, the loss of the sensual connection with darkness and brightness. It’s not irretrievable, of course, but the shape of most of our lives makes it hard to connect to the night. But those nights when we lie again beneath our blanket of stars, we can feel eons rolling away. Our ancestors did just this when they roamed the plains of Africa a million years ago.
Astrology connects us to the mystery and the magic of that night sky. We look up and we don’t see a million gassy explosions, we see gods and goddesses, tales of love and heroism, intrigue and sacrifice. Astrologers see the stories of the night sky, and then we look into our own souls and see the reflection, the repetition, the mirror of the sky.
The slow ballet of the stars and planets, sun and moon, is repeated in each of us. Our souls are reflections of the cosmos. Fragments that cohere to create vast sagas, that connect people across time and space in patterns so huge that we can only see the very edge.
If this is true, which I think it is, then the universe is threaded together by something we might call magic. If we are so connected to the stars, then we are part of a vast tapestry of meaning.