On Stars and Story-Telling

Not too long ago, I posted a story that mentions how King Solomon froze two demons in the sky holding up a great pillar (the Milky Way). When the demons drop the pillar, the world will end. It’s a lovely tale, but I confess — I had to look at a photo of the Milky Way before the story really clicked for me.

Living in a city as I do, I can’t always appreciate how much the stars dominated the night sky for our ancestors. I don’t feel the visceral reality of the stories that they told: of sky-creatures and moon goddesses and gods who set star-crossed lovers as constellations in the heavens for eternity.

And then I came across The Mountain by Terje Sørgjerd: time-lapse photography from various sites on El Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. Through his lens, the clouds are a vast ocean (or maybe dust clouds from the riders of the Wild Hunt). The sun is a chariot that rides across the sky, and, yes, there really is a Great Pillar that wheels in the heavens above us.

And suddenly the stories make sense again.

Make sure to take note of the Milky Way as seen through a Sahara sandstorm, about 00:32.


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