Why do you want an alternative to huge balls of thermonuclear fusion burning incomprehensible distances away?
Is there not enough magic in bright shining reminders of the immensity of the universe we live in?
Is it not enough that you can see millions of years into the past just by looking up at the right time?
Do you not feel lucky enough to have one of these wondrous objects close at hand to provide us with an effectively (for us) unending stream of energy and warmth? A stream of energy that is in fact responsible for all life on this planet. A stream of energy that without which none of us could be here without.
Is that not enough?
Is that not a big enough miracle?
I’m tempted to just link to a game that I didn’t understand, that seems to have some ideas about stars in it.
In fact. I take inspiration from it. Despite my incomprension.
The more romantic side of me believes the stars are there to teach us. I think we have been learning from the stars for all of the history of humanity. Pre-civilisation even.
The little pinpricks of light in the night sky. The starry firmament above. The immense baking orb of our sun.
Once there are minds to think and eyes to see, I’m pretty sure they looked up pretty quickly.
As soon as those minds were able to wonder. They will have wondered. At the wonders. (As they wandered?)
I’ve heard it said that the concept of gods, and other forces in control of the cycles of nature, were a key step in the evolution of culture. They allowed families and tribes (and later cities and nations) to teach those same cycles, allowed an easy way of learning.
There’ve been some unpleasant consequences of these initial steps, but you can see a reasoning to it.
Stories teach us. Gods make good stories.
And stars make good gods. And great stories.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many cultures have looked to the skies for their mythologies. Practically speaking, the procession of the constellations through a year can help teaching the times of the seasons. Which affects everything. When to plant and grow, when to store and save.
So you create constellations. See the patterns in the stars. Make them into people and beasts and monsters.
And the stories live on.
When I see the stars. And think about the stories that’ve been told of the hunter and the twins and the great bear and the hydra and the swan. I think of Casseiopia and Andromeda and Lyra and Hercules.
I wonder what others might see.
On the other side of the universe, someone else is probably looking up and wondering at the stars. Seeing a whole different set of constellations, in the same stars.
And they may well be making their own stories up.
I want to hear those stories. And see those stars.
Illustrated by Adam.