A story about my birthing star – what might yours be?
Several months ago, whilst giving a friend and fellow Druid Grove member a lift home after a Beltaine ceremony, we discovered by chance that we were born within 5 days of each other (many moons ago!)
I reminded him of this synchronicity when we met again recently at Samhain. To my astonishment and open child eyed wonder, Pete proceeded to tell me something so simple, yet so magical about our birth time and star time, that it blew me away. I’m inspired to share it with you here because, as Alban Arthan – The Light of Arthur – gradually and all too soon approaches – it has an especial resonance and meaning.
This is because our own star, the Sun, after reaching the most southerly point in its journey through the sky on 21st December, appears to ‘stand still’.
To the naked eye this standing still (Sol = Sun, Stice = Still ) appears to last for three days, until 24th December, before the sun turns just like a pendulum at the end of its arc, and is seemingly ‘reborn’ as it starts its slow journey back north, signifying that deep midwinter will eventually give way to more light.
This time is one of the most significant points of the year for Druids as it marks the birth of the Sun and a New cycle of the year unfolding.
It is worth noting that in the early centuries after the death of Christ, his birth was not celebrated at Christmas, but in the very early Spring. Not being able to suppress the earlier and universally recognised tradition of Winter Solstice, the celebration of Christ’s birth was moved to co-incide with the time of the rebirth of the Sun. Either way it is the time of birth. Nobody owns the Sun after all. As one of my favourite poets Hafiz put it in the 13th century:
“The Sun never says to the Earth,”You owe Me”. Look what happens with a love like that ; it lights up the whole world”
Shortly we will get to the star revelation that Pete illuminated for me. First I should add that not only is the Sun’s Birthday at this time of year, but shortly afterwards, at the very beginning of January, is when Pete and I have our Capricorn Birthdays. There is an additional synchronicity here (Druidry generally works in threes). My dear friend Philip Carr Gomm has a birthday within one day of mine – but a year earlier, which puts us an almost mythical ‘year less a day’ apart.
So, whats this special information that Pete shared with me?
The 14th brightest star in the sky is Aldebaran. It can be found by following the three stars of Orion’s belt from left to right (in the Northern Hemisphere) or right to left (in the Southern). The first bright star found by continuing that line is Aldebaran.
Astrologically Aldebaran, in the constellation of Taurus, is a fortunate star, portending riches and honour.
The name Al-de-baran is Arabic for “foremost” or “leading star” because it precedes or leads the Pliades – or seven sisters; surely one of the most beautiful constellations in the heavens.
Amongst various myths from a range of different cultures associated with Aldebaran, my favourite is this one from the Seris people of northwestern Mexico, who regarded this star as providing light for the seven women of the Pliades constellation giving birth. How beautiful and fitting is that? Particularly as I am writing this on the very cusp of my middle daughter giving birth for the third time.
Here’s the interesting bit of the story: When Pete and I spoke, he told me that because Aldebaran is sixty five and a half light years away, it means that the light he and I witness emanating from it as we observe it now, is the very same light that was birthed and generated at the point of our own births.
Isn’t that fascinating? Cosmic even.
So as I look to Aldebaran at or around Alban Arthan this year, I will be seeing in it the light from just after the time of my birth, which has taken sixty five and half years travelling at the speed of light (186,00 miles per second) to get to earth. Humbling isn’t it?
Now, just as Aldebaran happens to be my birth star of this time, each of us will have a star, or stars, out there which will have given birth to the light you see today , at or around the time of your own birth. Its very chastening and inspiring to look at a star and imagine that for a few moments.
So here’s a Druidic invitation: In preparation for the rebirth of the sun at Alban Arthan this year, find out which star equates with your age in terms of light years distance away from the earth. Then imagine it – or better still find it on a star map – and gaze to the heavens in awe of it all. The light you will be seeing was generated at the time of your own birth!
A little guide to help you.
Listing stars within 50 light years which can apparently be seen with the naked eye (just in some cases) -Go to column 10 on this chart.
Here’s a strange fact to finish in relation to Aldebaran
The planetary exploration probe Pioneer 10 is currently heading in the general direction of the star and should make its closest approach in about two million years.
Have fun and be blessed
Annex for those wishing to know a little more .
The star Aldebaran, named “Tascheter” by the Persians, is one of the four Royal stars of the Persians from around 3000 BC. These stars were chosen in such way that they were approximately 6 hours apart in right ascension. Each of these stars was assigned to a season. Aldebaran was prominent in the March sky and as such, it was associated with the Vernal equinox.
The four royal stars with their modern and ancient Persian names were:
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) vernal equinox and is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.
Regulus (Alpha Leonis) summer solstice and is the brightest star in the constellation Leo.
Antares (Alpha Scorpii) autumnal equinox and is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.
Formalhaut (Alpha Piscis) winter solstice and is the brightest star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus.
To medieval astrologers, Aldebaran was one of fifteen Behenian stars, associated with rubies, milk thistes and the kabbalistic sign .
Stars within 50 light years – An Atlas of The Universe
A List of Stars within 50 Light Years. This is a list of all the stars marked on the map. This is every star brighter than magnitude 6.5 within 50 light years, so all of these stars can be seen with the naked eye although most of them are quite faint.