Star Lore: Uses

ambience: music


To Native Americans the stars were a calendar, a navigational tool, and a link to the hereafter. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

“In California for example, you have people who are typically classified as hunter gatherers and they are very systematically harvesting an abundant landscape. They don’t farm because they don’t have to farm. They can just get it off the land. So the stars for them were used to signal the seasonal changes that were important for things like the acorn harvest in the fall. Or the, the seasonal behavior of the animals. But they also used some of those stars as elements in spiritual enterprises as well. For example, Luiseno, another group of Southern California Indians has an extremely well preserved sky lore. And part of their sky lore involves chants or songs that are sung at mourning rituals. And part of the task is to assist the soul of the deceased to make it to the next world. Well that route goes by way of climbing up the Milky Way and moving through the sky and going beyond to what is essentially a transcendent paradise beyond the sky. But there’s a route. And there’s specific stars. So those stars are named. Those are stars that are also important in the seasonal aspects of their lives. And, and in navigational aspects such as they are. But they’re also important in this religious dimension. And they have that importance because people sense that there is a connection between all these aspects of the world for them.” Pulse of the Planet is presented by Dupont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.


Star Lore: Uses

Throughout history disparate cultures have looked to the stars to navigate and to time their harvests.
Air Date:08/29/2003
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: music


To Native Americans the stars were a calendar, a navigational tool, and a link to the hereafter. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

"In California for example, you have people who are typically classified as hunter gatherers and they are very systematically harvesting an abundant landscape. They don't farm because they don't have to farm. They can just get it off the land. So the stars for them were used to signal the seasonal changes that were important for things like the acorn harvest in the fall. Or the, the seasonal behavior of the animals. But they also used some of those stars as elements in spiritual enterprises as well. For example, Luiseno, another group of Southern California Indians has an extremely well preserved sky lore. And part of their sky lore involves chants or songs that are sung at mourning rituals. And part of the task is to assist the soul of the deceased to make it to the next world. Well that route goes by way of climbing up the Milky Way and moving through the sky and going beyond to what is essentially a transcendent paradise beyond the sky. But there's a route. And there's specific stars. So those stars are named. Those are stars that are also important in the seasonal aspects of their lives. And, and in navigational aspects such as they are. But they're also important in this religious dimension. And they have that importance because people sense that there is a connection between all these aspects of the world for them." Pulse of the Planet is presented by Dupont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.