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books about
'astro-mythology', 'star lore', 'sun myths' and 'sky gods'

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Many cultures around the world have ancient myths, legends and folktales about 'sky gods', and in ancient times, before the advent of the written word, astronomer-priests would 'personify' natural phenomena, the better to tell stories about them. Celestial bodies, comets in particular, were personified, and were often the central theme of these stories - the ancient scientific explanation of their interactions being handed down in oral traditions, the vestiges of which we call today mythology. To these peoples science and religion were often inter-linked, and their expression of these beliefs were much more poetic than the dry, unimaginative jargon that dominates modern scientific language ...

Owen Morien Morgan began gathering the druidic traditions, astro-myths, and legends of Wales in the mid-1800s, translating them into the ancient natural science they were composed to impart, and comparing them with star lore, sky myths and the astro-mythology of other ancient cultures worldwide ...

 

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"Stars of the First People: Native American Star Myths and Constellations" by Dorcas S. Miller

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UK Edition

 

"This is one of the most complete set of Native American star legends that I have seen. The author first reviews the standard Greek and Roman myths that have given us our constellation names. For each region of North America, he devotes an entire chapter to star legends from indigenous people that live in that region. At the end of each chapter he lists standard constellations and groups and the Native American legends behind each, and at the end of the book he provides an overall listing. Some interesting similarities come out - for example, the Big Dipper is a bear in standard Greek and Roman and in many Native American myths, and Sirius is a dog or wolf star in standard and in Native American myths."

 

"Star Names Their Lore and Their Meaning" by Richard H. Allen

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UK Edition

 

"Star names, the zodiac, constellations; folklore and literature associated with heavens. The basic book of its field. Fascinating reading solidly based on years of thorough research into astronomical writings and observations of the ancient Chinese, Arabic, Euphrates, Hellenic and Roman civilizations. The book starts out with two brief sections discussing features of the Zodiac as a whole, then goes into great detail about each constellation in the sky, zodiacal or otherwise. He draws upon mythology and folklore from the Chinese, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Old Norse, Hebrews, Celts, many Native American peoples, Assyrians, etc ... "

 

"Star Myths of the Greeks and Romans: A Sourcebook"
by Theony Condos (Translator)

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UK Edition

 

"The nightly appearence of the stars has been a source of endless wonder and speculation. This handbook looking at the 48 classical constellations includes the only surviving works on the constellation myths - Erathosthenes's 'The Constellations' and Hyginus's 'The Poetic Astronomy'. Star Myths is an excellent sourcebook - for a serious student. If you're looking for entertaining and engaging writing, look elsewhere. If you want a learned (if brief) overview of how the Greek and Roman constellations were named, by whom, and what stars are contained therein, then you've got the right volume!"

 

"Sun Lore of All Ages: A Collection of Myths and Legends Concerning the Sun and Its Worship" by William Tyler Olcott

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UK Edition

 

"A Survey of Solar Mythology, Folklore, Customs, Worship, Festivals, and Superstition, by William Tyler Olcott. Sun worship, in its most primitive form, lies at the foundation of our earliest mythologies and religions. This book is a collection of myths from around the world and from all ages. From the more familiar Egyptian, Greek, and Norse worship of the sun, to the lesser known mythologies of the Pacific Islands, Native Americans, and peoples of the Far East, this book gives a comprehensive overview of manís fascination with the sun."

 

"The Starlore Handbook: An Essential Guide to the Night Sky"
by Geoffrey Cornelius

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UK Edition

"The Starlore Handbook is a handy introduction to the science of astronomy. Anyone wanting to look knowledgeably skyward and to know more about when, why and how humankind imposed patterns, names and legends on the stars above could usefully start here. "The identification of stars in groups is found among all cultures at all stages of development" Cornelius writes. North American Indians, for instance, saw the Great Bear, Ursa Major. Its tail and rump incorporate the seven stars--called in India rishis (from a Sanskrit root meaning "bear")--that are generally known as the Plough or Dipper. Both Babylonians and Chinese identified a wagon or carriage, but for American Indians the three stars in the Plough's handle were a trio of hunters."

 

"Celestial Key to the Vedas: Discovering the Origins of the World's Oldest Civilization" by B. G. Sidharth

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UK Edition

"A leading astronomer proves that India had a thriving civilization capable of sophisticated astronomy long before Greece, Egypt, or any other world culture. Provides conclusive evidence that the Rig Veda is 12,000 years old. Establishes actual dates and places for many of the events in the Hindu epics. By deciphering the astronomical events and alignments contained in mythical and symbolic form in these ancient texts, Sidharth calls into question many if not all of the assumptions governing Indo-European prehistory. He explores such subjects as the astronomical significance of many Hindu deities and myths, the system of lunar asterisms used to mark time, the identity of the Asvins, and the sophisticated calendar of the ancients that harmonized solar and lunar cycles."

 

"Hamlet's Mill: A Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth"
by Giorgio De Santillana & Hertha Von Dechend

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UK Edition

"A seminal work of scientific and philosophical exploration. It argues that our myths are remnants of an ancient astronomy suppressed by the Greeks and Romans and later forgotten. On the way it challenges basic assumptions of Western science and our theories of how ancient knowledge was passed along. This book is not for the casual reader, but for one that is ready for a shift in his way of thinking about astronomy, history and mythology. Hamlet's Mill focuses on the symbolism of Old World mythology and the transmission of knowledge through archaic language. Refering to mythologies from Sumer, Egypt, China, Japan, Iceland and MesoAmerica, it is an indespenseable addition to anyones library interested in the transmission of knowledge through symbolism. Main themes include the Precession of the Equinoxes, gods as constellations, World Tree as Earth's axis, Deluge as the shifting of the visible sky and much, much more."

 

"They Dance in the Sky : Native American Star Myths"
by Jean Guard Monroe & Ray A. Williamson

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UK Edition

"A collection of legends about the stars from various North American Indian cultures, including explanations of the Milky Way and constellations such as the Big Dipper. Grade 4-8 This volume of Native American star legends is well researched and told in language that lends itself well to reading aloud. The first two groups of stories deal with the Pleiades and the Big Dipper; thereafter, they are organized by geographic area. Each group has introductory notes about the tribes of the area and their general beliefs, providing a context for the legends which follow. Notes at the end of each section correlate Indian and Western names for constellations and stars whenever possible. In addition to tales from well-known tribes such as Navajo and Mohawk, there are selections from Tlingit, Wasco, Picuris, and other small groups. Coyote appears in many of the tales, causing trouble whenever he appears. Wolves, bears, eagles, and other animals also inhabit the storiesand the night sky."

 

"A Walk Through the Heavens: A Guide to Stars and Constellations and Their Legends" by Milton D. Heifetz & Wil Tirion

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UK Edition

"What star is that? Where's the Great Bear? Who was Andromeda? A Walk through the Heavens is your guide to the pathways of the night sky, answering the commonest questions about what you can see up there. There are simplified maps of the constellations, together with instructions on how to gauge their sizes and the distances between them. With this information you can find the constellations easily, and make a journey by eye from one constellation to the next. Ancient myths surrounding the constellations are retold, enriching our understanding of how historical peoples saw the awe-inspiring spectacle of a sky sprinkled with stars. This book, magically illustrated by Wil Tirion, does not require any instrument or telescope. It is an ideal introduction to launch a young astronomer on a journey across starlit skies."

 

"The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars" by Julius D. W. Staal

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UK Edition

"The New Patterns in the Sky - a modern classic in the literature of sky lore - is a comprehensive collection of myths, legends, and historical notes about each of the 88 constellations and the sun, moon, Milky Way, and shooting stars. Star maps depict the constellations with outline figures. Written for the non-specialist and widely respected by professional planetarians, this book provides a substantive review of the familiar star lore of classical Southwest Asian and Mediterranean civilizations as well as that of ancient China, South Asia, and traditional societies of northern Eurasia, North and South America, the Pacific Islands, and Australasia."

"Earth Under Fire: Understanding Mythology as the Science of the Past"

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"Myths and Moundbuilders"

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"The Lost Civilisation: Heaven's Mirror"

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VHS UK PAL version
(UK and Europe)


"Maya Temples, Tombs and Time"

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"Astronomy - Changes in Human Outlook from Ptolemy to Einstein"

VHS NTSC version
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"Eyewitness - Planets"

VHS NTSC version
(USA & Canada)

 

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