Constellation Stories of Ireland
This book is a way of re-discovering the tales that the people of ancient Ireland may have told as they looked up at the varied patterns in the starry sky. More
The Constellation tales we are familiar with today mostly come from the Greek and Roman mythology, replacing the legends and perhaps history of numerous other cultures that have come and gone through many thousands of years of human society. Legends told and re-told around many billions – no trillions - of cooking fires are now silent, mostly lost or forgotten to the ages; such is the way of progress.
This book is a way of re-discovering the tales that the people of ancient Ireland must have told as they looked up at the varied patterns in the starry sky. The legends herein are ancient, yet such must have been their impact that they have survived the passage of time. Some are more popular than others, yet manage to retain the echo of another era, when the world was at the crossroads of what we now call civilization.
We can never know what starry pattern went with which story thus allowing this author to pick her own constellation shapes and re-name them. The constellation maps at the end of the book displays a graphic of today’s more common constellation patterns showing their accepted names as agreed by the IAU (International Astronomical Union), together with an adapted map re-naming the constellation displays as described in the stories within this book.
What better place to tell a tale than to gather around the fire after a full meal and share experiences of the day and of times past. From the cave to the mud-hut the fire was indeed the true heart of the family or clan. As a child I remember sitting by the big open fire, my mother pointing out shapes in the laying of the coal and the flames that rose high, while telling a story of fairies, elves and princesses.
And so our ancestors must have done the same with no other distractions to capture their attention as they sat through the long dark hours of winter.
Indoor cooking caused a lot of smoke to travel through the dwelling also there was the added risk a blaze spreading, leaving cooking outdoors as the preferred option. One can easily imagine that when the nights were clear and the food was eaten that the stars was used as the perfect canvas for their ancient stories.
Anyone who has ever camped out with others and shared food beside a stick built fire will testify to the sense of camaraderie that envelops the gathering as the day folds its arms around the night. Telling jokes, gossiping, singing or sharing stories seems to be the most natural thing in the world to do around a campfire, and so it was with our ancestors all those generations ago.
This book is about re-discovering and re-connecting with your ancient past and all those generations responsible for you being here. Through the medium of the starry sky displayed for reading on a technological tool that would appear as an artefact of great magic to those ancestors we both share, let me introduce you to a different world, where the night is dark and we -you and I- are sitting together around a campfire.
Our bellies are full, and our possessions are few.
Someone adds an armful of wood to the fire and we watch a host of orange sparks rise upwards soon lost to the greater immensity of the stars. With a gentle clearing of the throat our honored storyteller draws us from our pondering and chatter. We set about completing immediate urgent needs like going to the toilet or settling ourselves down more comfortably.
The storyteller looks around waiting patiently until, satisfied that all have climbed aboard the chariot of rapt attention, our teller of tales nods providing us with a satisfying smile, then with a deep intake of breath begins .....
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