Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what or who created the constellations? Maybe, you have studied your newspaper horoscope at times and wondered why you are the star sign that you are.
Most people are aware of the 12 standard zodiac signs. Yet, few know that modern astronomy uses 88 star constellations, 40 of which are based upon the figures established by Greek mathematician Claudius Ptolemaeus (100–170 CE)—a scholar otherwise known as Ptolemy.
The additional 40 are derived from European star atlases drawn between the 15th and 17th centuries.
During his lifetime, Ptolemy cataloged more than 1000 stars and he associated them with ancient constellations founded by Sumerian and Babylonian astronomers.
If you enjoy astronomy from a magickal perspective, and remember that, for thousands of years, astronomy and astrology were indistinguishable, you may be interested in ‘Star Magic’ by Sandra Kynes.
Kynes has had a keen interest in the heavens ever since she was a child when she gazed in wonder at the night sky, fascinated by the myriad pinpricks of light and the sight of the occasional meteor shower.
From her early introduction to the beauty and splendor of the heavens, the author was drawn into the world of astronomy. Along with her father, who was a keen astronomer, she visited places such as the
Hayden Planetarium. There, she developed her understanding and appreciation of the stars.
Later in her teens, Kynes was drawn onto the Pagan path. Today, she is a member of the Bards, Ovates and Druids.
With the deep reverence for the natural world that her spiritual perspectives have brought, and the addition of her position as an amateur astronomer, Kynes has moved increasingly closer to understanding the magickal context of star lore.
In her book, she presents an in-depth examination of the major constellations. She reveals how the stars can act as magical gateways into new and exciting perspectives on the universe.
Star magic, as the author points out in her opening chapter, is not astrology. The two are quite different but not incompatible with one another.
The author traces the earliest forms of astrology as well as outlining the 12 zodical constellations that make up modern astrological practice. This even extends to the modern practice of integrating the additional or thirteenth star sign of Ophiuchus into Scorpio.
To the casual observer, the night sky is little more than a palette of twinkling lights. In chapter two, Kynes addresses this by explaining how we can readjust the way we approach and react to the starry heavens with a close examination of how and why the stars appear to move the way they do. She also explains how traditional astronomy uses a universal cataloging method, known as the Beyer system that uses the Greek alphabet to establish star seniority.
In chapter three of Star Magic, Kynes introduces the application of star energy in magic and ritual.
According to the author, drawing down the light energy of a star involves the use of the chakras that reside within our psycho-spiritual bodies. The author uses a twelve-center system with an emphasis upon the root chakra for grounding.
Full details on how to develop chakra work with stars is included in the practical exercises recommended by the author.
For Kynes, star magic is more than connecting to stellar energy through a chakra system. Other related aspects include astral travel and dreamwork with additional tools such as talismans to strengthen the power of the work.
So then, what of the stars and constellations themselves?
Starting with the month of March, the book takes a closer examination of them by dividing the year into four, three-month periods and starting with the constellations that are visible from the Northern hemisphere.
Starting with Bootes and its alpha star Arcturus, and ending with Taurus the bull, each star grouping is described with reference to its astronomical position, visible location and associated Greek myth. The author also includes a map of the stars within a constellation as well as the correct invocation to use when drawing down its energy.
The book then repeats the process for those constellations that are only visible in the furthest reaches of the Southern hemisphere.
The book concludes with a summery and appendices on how to determine your position of latitude where you live, the use of color in star magic, information regarding the fixed stars of universal magic, including Agrippas set of the most powerful fifteen stars and their sigils, a look at meteor showers and a complete list of all constellations.
A glossary, index and endnotes closes the book.
Whilst this is a book that is advertized as being of interest to Pagans and Wiccans, its appeal is more universal.
This is a thoroughly absorbing publication that will be of great interest to absolutely anyone who enjoys looking at the stars and of wondering what the mythology is behind them.
Whilst I am not entirely comfortable with some of the magickal aspects on offer in the book, there is no doubt that, if you take a firm grasp of the traditions, legends and archetypes the stars represent, you will indulge in a real treat.
‘Star Magic’ is a book that children will love and take to their hearts—assuming that is that they can actually see the stars where they live through the light pollution. If not then there is plenty of computer software out there that can replicate the heavens even on a cloudy and overcast night. With the star maps and positional descriptions Kynes offers in her book, it should be relatively easy for a child to find any constellation on their own.
Star Magic is an utter joy to read. It offers you unexplored depths of stellar wisdom as well as easy access to ancient but living myths that breathe life back at us through the beauty of our starry heavens.