Shapes in the Night Sky

Long before TV and radio, movies and organized theater, there were only the stars at night and the tales told about them, often around a crackling camp fire, to entertain us.

Shepherds, cattlemen and hunters would go to sleep out in the open on hot summer nights and look at the stars in wonder. What were these points of light that seem to stay in a constant formation and travel across the night sky together? And what were the other points of light, those that seemed to wander? These wandering stars were called Astra Planeta in the language of the Greeks. We now know these wandering stars as planets.

The Planets didn't stay in formation like the other stars but seemingly zigzagged across the heavens, their trails discernible only over a period of time. The Greeks had no way of knowing that the planets, including our earth, were orbiting the sun and that it only our earthbound perspective made the planets' paths look chaotic.

The one predictable part of the planets’ course was that they all traveled in the same narrow path through the sky, even the sun and the moon.

Ancient people looked into the heavens and projected meaning onto the patterns they perceived.  In much the same way, people of today look up and try and see shapes, including animals, in the clouds.

This narrow path had star formations that the ancients became familiar with over time. These constellations of stars were named after famous gods, heroes and mythic beasts. The narrow path became special,  and each of the constellations became closely associated with the seasons of the year and of our lives. These constellations eventually evolved into our zodiac.

When are We?

“What day is it? And more importantly when is Winter coming?”

Determining the exact time of the year was very important to the ancients as one had to know when to expect the next change in seasons. The only problem was that there was no exact way of measuring a year.

The earliest and most obvious way to measure a year is by the phases of the moon. Starting with an empty sky the new moon is born and then gets larger every night until it's a whole round disk and then shrinks back to nothing. The problem is as we know now a year is 365 and one fourth day long and a cycle of a moon is on average 29.53 days long and 29.53 goes into 365.4 days in a year 12.35 times. That’s twelve and a third moon cycles in a year. So if you track time by the moon you will get roughly 12 moons, or months as we call them, in a year. But then there are some days left over and after a few years these left over days add up. Soon the spring festival is happening in the middle of winter, and no one is sure when to plant crops. So an extra month has to be added so the months match the correct season. This adding up of extra days into a new month usually happens in winter.

The Dreaded 13th Month

You're in the 12th month and everyone is looking forward to Spring. Then the New Year starts and Winter doesn't go away. It should be the end of Winter, only it’s not getting any warmer. So a new month is tacked on to the year. The dreaded thirteenth month. Everyone hates that thirteenth month. Yet at the end of the thirteenth month things are finally getting warmer. It's Spring, the crops begin to grow, and the stricken land begins to heal.

Happy Undecimber

The thirteenth month was added in different places to the old calendar. Sometimes it was added before December and sometime after December. Julius Caesar, the Roman General and statesman, created the modern calendar with 365 and ¼ days. Re called this extra month “Undecimber” as it was the eleventh month and it came after December. (December means tenth month).

There is even a Zodiac sign for the extra month which appears between Scorpius (November 23) and Sagittarius (December 18). This extra Zodiac sign is called “Ophiuchus - the Serpent Healer” and appears November 30.

Olympian Starseeds Initiative


Hercules the Star
By Oscar William-Smith

Part I: An Introduction

Larger Than Life Living In The World Today
(c) 1975 - 2017 Hercules Invictus