Follow an epic animal race, a quest for a disembodied hand, and an emu egg hunt in constellation stories from diverse cultures
We can see love, betrayal, and friendship in the heavens, if we know where to look. A world expert on cultural understandings of cosmology, Anthony Aveni provides an unconventional atlas of the night sky, introducing readers to tales beloved for generations. The constellations included are not only your typical Greek and Roman myths, but star patterns conceived by a host of cultures, non‑Western and indigenous, ancient and contemporary.
The sky has long served as a template for telling stories about the meaning of life. People have looked for likenesses between the domains of heaven and earth to help marry the unfamiliar above to the quotidian below. Perfect reading for all sky watchers and storytellers, this book is an essential complement to Western mythologies, showing how the confluence of the natural world and culture of heavenly observers can produce a variety of tales about the shapes in the sky.
About the Author
Anthony Aveni is Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies Emeritus at Colgate University. He helped to develop the fields of archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy.
“In this book of stories, Aveni introduces readers to the diversity of constellation mythologies. An entirely original, vividly written, and totally absorbing book by a world expert.”—Simon Mitton, University of Cambridge
“Aveni is the star of his own luminous book: casting light in the form of stories – about the sky, time, earthly correspondences and concerns, and human imagination.”—Christopher Vecsey, author of Imagine Ourselves Richly: Mythic Narratives of North American Indians
"Aveni skillfully guides us around the awesome night sky through the imagination of different peoples around the world, past and present. A wonderful treasury of cultural astronomy."—Jacqueline Mitton, author of Zoo in the Sky
““Connections between Earth Mother and Sky Father are universal. The stories in this book are wise and wonder‑filled to encourage humility and mindfulness.”—Sunny Dooley, Diné Traditional Wisdom Keeper