Friday, August 12, 2011

Night of the Shooting Stars: The August Perseids

 "And oft, before tempestuous winds arise,
The seeming stars fall headlong from the skies,
And, shooting through the darkness, gild the night
With sweeping glories and long trains of light." 


The Perseid meteor shower occurs every August and always produces a lot of bright meteors.  In every climate it is witnessed, and at all times of the year, but most frequently in the autumnal months.  The Perseids have been around as long as there are records.  They are caused by the largest comet to frequent Earth for thousands years and will continue to frequent the earth for thousands a years to come.  Our distant ancestors will look up in the sky in much the same as we are doing today.

When the ancients saw these balls of fire streaking across the sky, they believed that they were messages from the star gods, messages too complex for them to understand, and the frightened people believed that quite likely,these messengers meant harm. At Sparta shooting stars were thought to show that the gods were displeased with the kings.  Some ancients believed that we each had our own star, and that a falling star denoted that someone was about to die, while ancient China, it was the opposite. A shooting star was said to have marked the birth of a child whose soul was coming to us at that moment.  
The stars are thought by some Mexican tribes to be birds with bright breasts and dark backs. When they face us we see the stars, but if they turn their backs they become invisible. When a bird flies over the face of the heavens we see a shooting star. Then again the stars are the bright nails holding up the sky, or the lamps hung out from heaven to light the lower world.
  And in early Christian writings, shooting stars were said to be fallen angels.

"All of sudden, this shooting star went by, and all I could think was that they were listening to us somehow. "--Nicholas Sparks

Shooting stars bring much to the imagination, and in today's world, we  often make a wish or consider it lucky to see a shooting star.
If a wish is made and the star travels in the direction of the person making the wish, it is destined to come true.
The after-midnight hours leading up to dawn on August 12 are usually the prime window to view the annual Perseid meteor .  So, hopefully we will all have a wonderfully clear weekend.  Enjoy the show. 

Say not, we pray you, in accents so solemn,
Meteors are but aerial stones, 
Wandering fragments of planets expired,
Speeding through space to terrestrial zones. 

This way and that way they glide through the azure,
Luminous pathways from heaven to earth;
Footsteps of angels we always believed them,
Harbingers they of new life and of birth.

Softly they slide from the pure empyrean,
Love is their beacon, 
and souls are their freight; 
To mothers expectant they speed with their burdens, 
To homes of the humble, to halls of the great.

Do not, Philosophers, plague us with reasons,
Vexing our minds with your "Primitive Cause;"
Leave us the charm of our childhood's traditions,
Leave us our Poetry; nor teach us your Laws. 
--A. G. Rensham--


  1. I've been trying to remember when this I see I've missed it again...

  2. If I can keep my eyes open......I'll look up to the sky.
    Have a GR8 weekend Mary. (((hugs)))

  3. although I was looking forward to seeing this.. I have to say the rain storm we received instead was much welcomed... I enjoyed a wonderful nights sleep with the sound of rain and thunder... wonderful.. hope all is well blessings

  4. How do you know so much interesting stuff?? I am awed by your knowledge! Thanks for sharing. Somehow I remember seeing these lights, just couldn't remember which month.

  5. Messages of the star God's...
    I love that idea.

    perhaps they were right.

    my appologies for my absence
    I have been ill.

    Hope all is well with you
    blessings and love

  6. I've been sleeping all night with the cooler weather and have missed the showers...and then last night when I was up and down, I couldn't see them either cuz the storm clouds were moving through. We had lots of rain here yesterday so be looking for it to come your way Mary. Hopefully I can catch a glimpse tonight!
    Enjoy your Sunday Sister/Friend! :)