An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

Common Themes, East & West:

Star Lore & Astrology

"Out of this World" Exhibit: Johann Bayer, 1603
[Note: I have negativized this and all other images from this exhibit for dramatic effect]
See directly below for the main site:

The Near East and Classical World

This "Out of the World Exhibition: The Golden Age of the Celestial Atlas" is a collection of astrological  illustrations from rare books in the collection of the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, MO.  The illustrations and accompanying data are first-rate; by following hypertext links, some pages even offer comparisons of themes and artists by showing two versions side by side.  I planned only to check a few images, but was so intrigued by the journey that I went through the entire exhibit (over 100 pages).

A curious footnote: one of the artists, Julius Schiller, in his Coelum stellatum Christianum (Augsburg, 1627), replaced all the pagan constellations with Christian ones: thus, Taurus the Bull became St. Andrew; the river Eridanus became the Red Sea; the Ship of the Argonauts became Noah's Ark, and so forth.  These are all logical choices.  Yet, perhaps in an eerie presentiment of depth psychology, Andromeda, the chained woman, became the Holy Sepulcher........

Andromeda, chained
"Out of this World" Exhibit: Johann Bayer, 1603

[Annotation expanded 21 February 2003]: This bilingual (Italian & English) site focuses on Urania, the Greek Muse of Astrology.  It looks at her mythology in detail; it also explores her iconography, treatises named for her, and a multi-lingual bibliography concerning her.  Text and illustrations come from the Library of the Department of Astronomy at Italy's University of Bologna.   Although limited in scope to its single subject, this site is impressive in depth.
...Two are the main versions of the myth of Urania, deity who derives her name from Ouranos (sky): according to the Herodotean tradition she is daughter of Sky and Light, corresponding to the Assyrian Mylitta, to the Phoenician and Carthaginian Ashera (Astaroth), to the Arabian Alilat (from the Arabic a-lilat = night) and to the Scythian goddess Artimpara. This tradition identifies Urania with Aphrodites Urania, or celestial Venus; Hesiod probably knew the oriental tradition himself, as he refers to Aphrodite as Uranus' daughter ( Theog., 989)....

...When Apollo went to the Parnassus, he settled there with the nine Muses in a holy assembly devoted to the fine arts, travelling together throughout Greece on the back of Pegasus, the winged horse. Theirs was a wandering life, hence the name of Apollo Musagetes, that means he who leads the Muses. In the plastic arts the Muses are frequently represented as a choir of young women surrounding Phoebus, and only in later times they will be depicted singularly, each one with her own attributes.

In Homer's work the Muses are related to the art of foretelling, that he calls the science of good and evil, deriving the word Muse, from the Greek verb muein, (to initiate somebody to the misteries). Urania is said to inspire only chaste love, and in the classical tradition she is often depicted with her foot on a turtle, symbol of silence and retreat....
"Star Myths and Constellation Lore" is the name of this website.  There are excellent links to lore as well as art and astronomy, but the site's "star" is a sample chapter by Dr. Theony Condos from her translations and commentaries on ancient texts written about the forty-eight constellations of the classical world.  The sample chapter is on the exquisite mythology of Delphinus, the Dolphin.  It is beautifully done -- scholarly, alive, warm, and richly detailed.

This tasteful site belongs to Condos' publisher, Phanes Press, a respected academic publisher (her book, Star Myths of the Greeks and Romans: A Sourcebook, can be ordered on-site).
[Added 10 February 2001]: From Professor D. L. Ashliman's always fine site comes his translation of a brief German legend, "The Night Raven or Eternal Teamster."  The great raven, Odin's bird, eternally drives a wagon through the stars.  The "wagon" is otherwise known as the Big Dipper or Ursa Major.
[Added 10 February 2001]: From Cathy Bell comes an entry-level site on the "Mythology of the Constellations."  She provides additional pages with brief mythic data on specific major constellations.  (Note: the busy background on the homepage is hard on the eyes but that background mercifully disappears on her additional pages.)

Auriga (the Wainman, or Charioteer)
holding Capella ("Little She-goat") and her two kids
Christoph Semler, 1731
(From the "Out of This World Exhibition": see above) [Link updated 21 February 2003]

[Added 4 October 1999 & expanded 22 February 2003]: This is Bill Hollon's "Speculation about Archangels," a nicely researched paper in which the seven archangels are linked to the seven planets.  Of particular interest is the connection he makes between Lucifer and the planet Venus; this fits closely with Jungian insights into the West's repression of the archetypes of Lucifer (Light-Bearer) as well as the "dark feminine":
...Venus is characterized by different peoples either as a fallen angel, a planet or both. Lucifer is the Christian name for a being that meets each test. According to Webster:

                  Lu ci fer (l s f r) [[ME < OE < L, morning star (in ML, Satan), lit.,
                  light-bringing < lux (gen. lucis ), LIGHT1 + ferre , to BEAR1]] 1
                  the planet Venus when it is the morning star 2 Theol. SATAN;
                  specif., in Christian theology, Satan as leader of the fallen angels:
                  he was an angel of light until he revolted against God and, with the
                  others, was cast into hell. . . 10

Another clue comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia: "The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance."11  Enoch claimed that Michael was the archangel leader. Webster defines Lucifer as leader of the fallen angels. As demonstrated here, both Michael and Lucifer are names that are often ascribed to our solar system neighbor....

(Note: this site is double-listed under Nature Spirits.)
When I first saw this site on Mithras, I nearly passed it by.  In the Roman Empire, the religion of Mithras was the chief rival of early Christianity (whose followers claimed to be washed, metaphorically, in the blood of the lamb).  In the Mithraic "mysteries," followers were said to have been drenched, literally, in the blood of a bull who had been defeated by Mithras.   This immensely popular deity was a soldiers' god, bloody, of little interest to a 20th-21st century feminist.  Nevertheless, the site's surprisingly lovely opening graphic caught my eye.  It's a 2nd century AD fresco from a Mithraic Temple in Marino, Italy and it shows Mithras with stars beneath his cloak.  Stars, not blood.  I reluctantly went further....
Erudite, as craftily constructed as a great detective story, David Ulansey considers "The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras" in a 1994 article from Biblical Archaeology Review (the article is a summary of a much longer book published in 1991 by Oxford University Press -- the site offers an opportunity to order the book -- this isn't just a "tease" site, however: the article is full length and valuable in its own right).

Ulansey takes issue with the usual interpretation of Mithras as a Roman version of the ancient Iranian god, Mithra.  Mithras slew a bull -- there is no evidence that Mithra ever did.  Mithras is connected not only with a bull, but also with a dog, snake, raven, and scorpion.  Mithra has no such connections, nor does any other Iranian god.  Ulansey patiently shows his reader (his graphics are great) how these animals have nothing to do with any mythic cluster from Iran but everything to do with a group of constellations found along a continuous band in the sky.  The gradual unfolding of Mithras' identity and role among these stars is scholarship at its best.   The subtle connection the author finally makes between Mithraic and Christian mysteries is profound.
[Added 10 February 2001]: From Anthony Peña, the astrology guide, comes a fine essay called "A Short History of Western Astrology."  It's informative, lively, and very accessible.  He also offers his excellent internal links for those who wish to delve more deeply.
[Added 10 February 2001]: From Wolfgang R. Dick in Germany comes a collection of briefly annotated links on the Eurasian history of astronomy with a special focus on cosmology, myth, and astrology (e.g., there are a number of interesting links to the Star of Bethlehem and the magi).  His worldwide links will take you into marvelous terrain with many windings into offbeat areas of ancient history and lore.  Note: the author warns you when an article should be read with caution, which is quite useful.

Andromeda, chained
"Out of this World" Exhibit: Hugo Grotius, 1600

[Added 20 November 1999]: This carefully researched and extensively illustrated paper by college professor Katherine Griffis-Greenberg is "Neith: Ancient Goddess of the Beginning, the Beyond, and the End" (note: links to more of this author's papers are on my Egyptian pages).  In addition to data on Neith as a goddess of hunting and war, we meet her here as an unusual sky-goddess.  Here's a pregnant passage:
....From predynastic and early dynasty periods, she was referred to as "Opener of the Ways" (wp wA.wt) which may have referred not only to her leadership in hunting and war, but also as a psychopomp in cosmic and underworld pathways [10]. The main imagery of Neith as wp wA.wt was as deity of the unseen and limitless sky, as opposed to Nut and Hathor, who represented the manifested night and day skies, respectively. As the "Opener of the Sun’s paths in all her stations" refers to how the sun is reborn (due to seasonal changes) at various points in the sky, beyond this world, of which only a glimpse is revealed prior to dawn and after sunset. It is at these changing points that Neith reigns as a form of sky goddess, where the sun rises and sets daily, or at its ‘first appearance’ to the sky above and below [11]. It is at these points, beyond the sky that is seen, that her true power as deity who creates life is manifested [12].
From fn.10 onward, you'll find detailed skylore illustrated with graphs and hieroglyphs.  I found it fascinating.
This Egyptian site includes late Greek-influenced Egyptian material but is more important for its overview of astrology in the ancient Mediterranean world; it also provides a good bibliography at the end. [Note: this is double-listed under Egypt: Religious Beliefs & Practices.]

The Orient
Orion as the Japanese Drum of Winter
(Taken from the Orion page at the Japanese site below:
Note:  I have drastically altered the color balances on this image --
if you can't make out the drum's shape on my page,
you might wish to make a slight adjustment to your "brightness" dial.)
This page retells a Japanese folktale, "Orihime and Kengyu," about the stars, Vega and Altair, and the Milky Way dividing them.  Orihime is a princess who weaves so beautifully that her greedy father keeps her busy day and night.  When she grows sad because she has no time even to fall in love, her father arranges a marriage with a herdsman, Kengyu.  The two are blissfully happy.  Read the tale to find out what happens.
This story, and the Tanabata summer festival that commemorates it, entered Japan in the late 7th century from China and remains very popular to this day (I heard a variant of it in 1962 from two Vietnamese college students in Hue, S. Vietnam; these young women associated it with a sweet, juicy fruit they called, with much blushing and giggling, "milky-breast fruit," an apparent allusion to the Milky Way of the story as well as to the princess).

If you click on the homepage link, you'll go to a wide-ranging site run by Steve Renshaw and Saori Ihara (who co-wrote the folktale).  Here you'll find articles and charts on Japan's ancient & modern astronomy, archaeological finds, lunar calendar, astrology, and more star lore (see especially a paper on the stars of Orion, which in Japan are called "The Drum of Winter" -- the opening illustration of this cosmic Drum is great: see above).[Link updated 22 February 2003]
[Added 10 February 2001 & expanded 22 February 2003]: This Vedic-focused site, "Looking for the Heavenly Casket," is a gem.  It's by Dr. Michael Witzel of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University.  Looking at several Vedic texts, Witzel searches for the soma-bowl, or vessel, overturned upon earth every night by Varuna:
...Kuiper pointed out some 20 years ago that Varuna as well as some other gods turn over or tip over a heavenly vessel, a casket or bucket (kosa) and empty its contents over the earth down beneath it, as can be seen in passages like the following. RV 5.85.3 "Varuna has poured out the cask, with its rim turned downwards, over heaven, earth and the interspace. Thereby the king of the whole world sprinkles the soil, as the rain (sprinkles) the barley." (10) RV 8.72.8 "With the ten (fingers) of Vivasvat, Indra has pulled up the heavenly bucket, with a threefold cord." (11) RV 8.72.10 "They (the hotrs) pour out with obeisance the inexhaustible source that goes round(?) with its bottom upwards (and) its rim downwards". (12)

It is interesting to note that the kosa is symbolized in the Mahavrata ritual by kumbha-s [vessels, pots] carried by young women on their heads. (13) However, the identity of this heavenly casket has escaped us for many years....

Based on significant clues in the work of the Dutch Indologist. F. B. J. Kuiper (who also played a pivotal role in my own thinking about Varuna and embryology), Witzel unravels a series of clues and finally comes to the realization that the vessel, upon whose rim sit seven sages, plus the goddess Vak (Voice) and Brahman (Prayer), is the Big Dipper, which does indeed turn over during the night.  Since the paper relates to my own work on Vak, Varuna, the Grail, amrita, soma, and much more, I find this research deeply exciting.  I'm not sure how many others will find it equally so, but I hope the more scholarly-inclined will at least take a look.  Another fascinating excerpt:
...If one actually pays attention to the movement of Ursa Maior one can easily see that this asterism actually turns upside down every night. (Apart from actual observation of nature, I suggest to take a look at such computer programs as Voyager II for the Mac or EZC (Easy Cosmos) for the PC to observe the rotation of the Great Bear, the sapta rsayah, once per night, and similarly, once per year-- Such figures wiill be included in the WWW version of this paper).

Observation shows that the Great Wain has the form of a big spoon that is emptied out every night: it slowly turns around, scooping up the heavenly waters (19) and then releases them over the earth lying beneath it. (The same is the case at summer solstice but in a different position, so to say, upside down.-- A picture of this movement may be included in the WWW version of this paper.)To conclude: The heavenly casket, the great ladle on which the seven Rsis sit according to BAU, turns round every night, emptying its (mythological) contents, the heavenly waters.

Actually, this image actually is not so rare as we might think. It has its similarities in Japan (Hokuto shichisei, the seven stars of the "northern spoonS). One of the early generations of Japanese gods (coming after Izanagi/Izanami) in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki also represents a name of this meaning. (20) Also, in the North American English, the Great Wain is called "the Big Dipper" - an expression which is close to the Japanese one. In South America where the Incas regarded the Milky Way as a river, (21) the god of thunder, Inti, was seen at night in the asterism of the Great Bear, where he scooped water from the Milky Way, in order to wet the earth. (22) This image is close to the Black North American image of the Great Bear as a "drinking gourd." The slaves who in the 19th century tried to escape to the northern US and to Canada used the code words in their songs: "follow the drinking gourd!S (23) These similarities which go beyond the idea of a Heavenly River and a Big Ladle or Spoon should alert us for more striking similarities in myth, spread all over the American and Eurasian area. (24)....
[Added 10 February 2001]: This is a site on Indian (Hindu) astrology called Navagraha (Nine Planets).  There are links to history, meaning, and art:
...The importance of Navagraha worship has been stressed by ancient saints and maharishis and references are available in the sacred writings, one of them being the 'Maha Prayaschitha Grantha'. It states that by the worship of Navagrahas, the planets which are in auspicious situations offer increased fruits of benefits for one's actions while the planets which occupy less desirous situations tend to remove the evil effects of a person's karma....

Note: also see my annual page on Lunar New Year.

The Indigenous World

Navajo Yei Bi 'Chai (Nightway) Dance
by Wayne Beyale
(Cover of Stars of the First People, Dorcas S. Miller,
Pruett Publishing, Boulder, CO, 1997) [Server was down 2/22/03 -- hopefully, it's temporary]
[Added 10 February 2001]: This is a subtle, thoughtful 1994/1996 essay, "The Sacred Sky of the Navajo and Pueblo," by Matthew Green, winner of an Honorable Mention in the Griffith Observatory's Popular Articles in Astronomy Contest.  It's a beautifully delineated (and carefully footnoted) work comparing and contrasting these two cultures:
...As illustrated by the various sky lore, the Navajo put a much heavier emphasis on the stars than the Pueblo and less emphasis on the sun. This is partly because the Navajo are primarily a ranching rather an agricultural people. They have less use for the sun and have turned to other celestial objects for their religious and practical needs. As a result, the Navajo use a mostly star based calendar.[17]

Another reason the Navajo are more dependent on the constellations than the motion of the sun is due to the geographically dispersed nature of the Navajo people. For this reason, the movements of the constellations, which appear at about the same time everywhere (in the land of the Navajo) are more accurate than the more delayed movement of the Sun.  Furthermore, the entire sky, as opposed to just one object in the sky, is considered to be of the utmost importance to the Navajo. Unlike the Pueblo, who single out the Sun as their most substantial celestial object, and call it "Our Father Sun", the Navajos will say "The sky is our father."[18,19]....
[Added 10 February 2001]: This is the late Paule Giese's terrific "ABORIGINAL STAR KNOWLEDGE: Native American Astronomy," a collection of her annotated links, especially to Lakota starlore (including stars of the winter solstice), but also to other Native American peoples.

Ancient Ones from the Purple Cave
By David Paladin
(Courtesy of Lynda Paladin: link updated 2/22/03) [Server was down 2/22/03 -- hopefully, it's temporary]
[Added 10 February 2001]: From Pomona College in California comes this very interesting educational site on ancient astronomy/cosmology.  Interactive (albeit slow-loading) maps allow one to explore indigenous starlore from North, Central, and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.  At first glance, this opening page doesn't look like much but if you dig more deeply, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the range of information and illustrations:
The current available resources can be divided into four parts:
* An interactive Atlas of the Ancient World, which shows the locations of major astronomical sites on all the continents of the earth.
* A searchable glossary and timeline of Ancient Astronomy.
* A set of course materials for educators and students which includes useful classroom activities and exercises for the study of ancient astronomy.
* A complete bibliography, videography, and set of links to help in exploring the world of ancient astronomical cosmology.
Hidden among the many pages are excellent essays and references.
This site is called "Introduction to Archaeoastronomy," a new and exciting field.  As its introduction explains:
The study of the astronomical practices, celestial lore, mythologies, religions and world-views of all ancient cultures we call archaeoastronomy. We like to describe archaeoastronomy, in essence, as the "anthropology of astronomy", to distinguish it from the "history of astronomy"....We learn much about the development of science and cosmological thought from the study of both the ancient astronomies and surviving indigenous traditions around the world.
This site offers a wide range of links to an ever-growing field (e.g., Native American starlore, Stonehenge data, Polynesian navigation, Nazca lines, Mayan temples, and much more) -- the links include excellent articles by many scholars in the field.

Contemporary Astrology & Astronomy[URL updated 11/20/99; & 2/5/01]
This is a handsome, wise, and soothing site on Archetypal Astrology by Michael McLay.  His opening excerpt from a longer paper, "A Jungian Approach to Astrological Counseling" (available further down the page), introduces the use of masculine and feminine planets in the chart as clues to an archetypal theatre created for each child by the parents, a theatre filled with the dynamics of the parents' own failures and strengths.  In giving an example of this in his full length paper, McLay uses C. G. Jung's difficult Sun-Neptune aspect to discuss the wounded Fisherking legacy Jung received from his father, and the Sun-Moon aspect to discuss the nature of the marital conflicts between the parents.   There is a second paper as well, "The Astrologer's Soul," which is beautifully written and deeply felt.  For example, here is a passage where he speaks of meeting a Hindu astrologer in India in 1980:
....Beneath the battered books, the dusty porch, the funny hat, the broken English, and the chatter about my future, I sensed a soul that knew, in his bones, that there was a source of order in the universe that was accessable to him, that spoke to him. He had an assurance and depth that derived from daily contact with a structure of reality that ran beneath his visible world. This man had one foot on the archetypal ground.

The undercurrent of this visit has remained with me over the years, serving as a reminder that the study and practice of astrology is first and foremost a path for developing a familiarity with the gods and goddesses that thread their way through our lives. And perhaps much more.

The site also offers a large number of valuable links to mythology and archetypal astrology.  (Note: McLay is available for workshops as well as private charts.)
[Added 21 February 2003]: This is from Star Hill Inn, "an astronomy retreat in the Rockies since 1988," a spectacular place for star-viewing in the American Southwest.  From time to time, this website offers well-written articles providing a mythic context for various celestial events.  There's also a page of fine "astro-photos" taken by visitors to the Inn.
[Links and text revised 22 February 2003]:  The above three sites all currently carry the  syndicated "Weekly NewsScope" by WolfStar which offers insight into current events as seen through the mythic lens of astrology.  Wolfstar also provides a preview of future events by placing them within the context of vibratory fields in the mysterious spaces of the skies.  I personally find his work fascinating and check it weekly between late Monday and Tuesday.  Note: the three sites vary in getting updates online so I check each one until I find the most recent column.  Some offer archives of past columns, which is a useful means of checking Wolfstar's track record.
[Revised 22 February 2003]: This is a good, clear, entry level site on astrology from Alicia Katz Hazel at Wandering Star Designs.  Links will take you to data on the planets, zodiac, houses, etc.  There is also information on her astrological jewelry creations: she offers her rationale and inspiration for working with semi-precious stones and unique beads in creating jewelry that grounds a person in the energetic field of their own personal natal chart.  I found it quite intriguing.
[Added 10 February 2001]: This is "The Galactic Center and The Centaurs," an interesting essay (with good internal links, including where the Galactic Center [GC] was when you were born).  I found it tantalizing, but I know so little about the topic that I won't comment further.  (Note: more on the GC will be found on my Centaurs page.)
[Added 10 February 2001]: For a fuller treatment of the Galactic Center, this is "The Galactic Grip" by Philip Sedgwick.  It is lucidly written and attractively presented.
[Added 20 November 1999]: This is Richard Nolle's rich archive of Astropro's Website of the Week (WOW) Awards.  His detailed reviews are a treat.
More to come -- meanwhile, currently ungrokked links are directly below.  These may or may not make the final "cut."



Common Themes: Ancient Greece: Centaurs, Cheiron, Wounder Healers, Sagittarius

Common Themes: Ancient Greece: Pan, Horned Goats, Capricorn

Asian Lunar New Year


Myth*ing Links' General Reference Pages:
MythingLinks Search Engine

Cross-cultural, Multi-regional, Interdisciplinary Collections

General Reference Page (online libraries, reference help, literary texts, world languages, word-lover sites, help on writing research papers, copyright information, film plots, themes, and/or films representing various historical periods)

Special Interest Sites for Pacifica Faculty, Students & Colleagues(includes Jung, Campbell, Freud, Eliade, Otto, Hillman, other depth psychologists, mysticism, anthropology, religious studies, archetypal perspectives, foundations for mythology & psychology, relevant journals, books, videos, etc.)

Teachers' Reference Page for Primary & Secondary School Education


Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
[Note: updated menu will be found on my home page -- see below for link]

Animal Guides
Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Crones & Sages
Dragons & Serpents
Food: Sacrality & Lore
Land: Sacrality & Lore  (mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, crop & stone circles, FengShui)
Earth Day & Environmental Issues
Earth Goddesses & Gods
 Air: Sacrality & Lore (air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
Air, Wind, & Sky Goddesses & Gods
Fire: Sacrality & Lore (fire, northern lights, green-flashes, Elmo's Fire)
Fire & Solar Goddesses & Gods
Water: Sacrality & Lore(water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Floods & Rainbows: Mythologies & Science
Water & Lunar Goddesses & Gods
Green Men
Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Birthing [forthcoming]
Rituals of Puberty
Rituals of Death & Dying
Rituals of Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
Sacred Theatre, Dance & Ritual
Star Lore & Astrology
Symbols, Signs, & Runes
Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
Trees & Plant Lore
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse\
   James Hillman: The Terrible Love of War
Weaving Arts & Lore (Cosmic Webs, Spinning, Spindles, Clothing)

Down to Geographical Regions: Africa

Note: my complete Site Map is on the home page.
If you have comments, suggestions, or wish to report a broken link,
my e-mail address will be found near the bottom of my home page.

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Text and Design:
Copyright 1998-2003 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.

17 December 1998; 5 February 1999;
4 & 18 October 1999; 20 November 1999;
24 January 2000;
5 February 2001; 10 February 2001; 18 December 2001 (Nedstat 3);
21-22 February 2003: links check plus added Rae Ann's Star Hill Inn site.