Astronomy Challange

September 5, 2018

As I was driving home from all the things of the day, I realized I wanted to commit to doing this astronomy challenge. I live on the big Island, Hawaii, and feel so fortunate to be living in a place so devoid of environmental light pollution. There are regulations here for the type of lighting towns can have, as well as limiting how much lighting can be installed on highways and streets. In fact, we have some of the best stargazing conditions in the world with our highest mountain, Mauna Kea at 13941 ft. Elevation, and over 15 international telescopes, who here have the best possible opportunity to map and observe the night sky.

In the 15 minutes I was outside observing the night sky, I was able to locate Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and the Milky Way, which was very distinctly visible stretching from north to south. Delphiniums and Aquilus constellations were directly overhead, Dracus to the north, and Cassiopeia, Scorpio to the south, Cetus to the east, and Ophiuchus to the west.

I remember once again, that I am a lucky passenger here, safe in our blue/green spaceship, every seat with an excellent view of some layer of the heavens.

September 6, 2018

The electricity went out tonight in my neighborhood. It gave me a great opportunity to go outside and look at stars, no clouds tonight so I had a clear view 360° of the whole sky. So many planets are in the sky right now! I saw Venus that was setting, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus rising. Looking at the sky, day or night, just taking the time to do that, has consistently offered me what I perceive to be a miraculous mirror of my internal self, and helps me reflect upon my current state of being.

I stepped outside to look at the stars and saw a beautiful “shooting star” in the Literally, here is a meteor rock, a piece of matter from elsewhere in the universe which has somehow found its way into earth’s gravitational field, and blazed its way into our atmosphere at the precise moment when I looked up. Although it is common to see such falling stars here, especially during the various meteor showers that happen throughout the year, it never ceases to feel like a magic moment and puts me in a frame of mind that is bigger and goes beyond the physical details of life. My frame of mind feels expanded as I end my stargazing today.

September 7, 2018

It is a bit overcast tonight as I look up into the heavens. A few stars shine through and a planet or two. Now that I am familiar with the night sky I’m surprised to find I have an intuitive sense of where they are as the clouds blow past. I think of the ancient Hawaiians and how they journeyed from Tahiti using only the stars as their guide. The stars were very important to them, and all they had as a reference point far out at sea. There were even Kahunas in charge of learning the stars well enough guide voyages.

Not far from where I live, stands a circle of stones called “navigational stones”. These stones are located at the top of a tall precipice overlooking the water, an ideal vantage point from which to see the horizon from above. This is precisely where navigational apprentices would learn the night sky night after night. They are also called “wayfinding stones”. I wonder what the equivalent is to us in such a technological age. How do we navigate through so much responsibility and daily demand for our attention?

September 8, 2018

Tonight was my time to hang with my nephew. We looked at the sky together and saw Hōkūle’ā, or Arcturus, meaning “star of joy” in Hawaiian. This was the northern zenith star for the Polynesian voyagers. My nephew is the embodiment of joyful being, but as he moves out into the world more, even at only 5 years old, I see some of his essence begin to be hidden. I hope for him that this star may be a “Wayfinding Stone” one day, to remind him to return to joy. In the meantime, I will let it be one for me, and remember the joy of wanderlust and journeying into the unknown.

September 9, 2018

The constellation of Cassiopeia, seated on her throne and regaled to the heavens by Zeus for her jealous banishment of her own daughter, hovered above the north eastern horizon tonight. She’s always a reminder to me of the shadow side of feminine mythology. If seeds germinate in the dark shadow, then I think the flowering stage of her story is one where women collaborate and unify as one, creating an environment of life which thrives with abundance.

The stars themselves, seem to be some of my “Wayfinding Stones”. The community I find myself surrounded by are such women, living abundant and healthy lives, offering examples to our children of what it means to be empowered feminine beings. So I think of them now as I finish the challenge, and know that stargazing will now be a more regular practice for me.