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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Look Up…

This blog about astrology was written by Henlo Lourens. Special topic blogs are written by Bushwise students during their course, and all facts included are based on their research.

Read time: 4 mins

“Keep your eyes on the stars", "we are truly children of the stars", and "look to the stars and from them we learn", are just a few thought-provoking words that demonstrate the beauty and symbolic importance that comes from understanding and learning about these celestial bodies. This blog is about not only the stars, but also the importance of understanding them as a field guide.

Every culture on Earth has at some point looked to the stars for practical information and answers to the biggest of questions. A lot of what was first known is wrapped up in stories and passed down through generations. If we look at the invention of the telescope for example, it can be argued that Galileo's invention was the result of all the questions asked and the astonishing predictions of what the stars mean, where they come from, and the general fascination that comes from the beauty of the night sky.

Learning about the Southern Cross

During the numerous game drives that happened during the winter when the sun set early, we conducted lessons about astronomy and more specifically about the Southern Cross. 

As field guides, it is important that we understand how to use the Southern Cross and constellations alike as not only a way of direction but to also further our understanding and local knowledge of ancestral beliefs and societal influences that come from the speculations and beliefs of others. In doing so, we as field guides can create conversations about these celestial bodies. As well as encourage a new understanding and passion for astronomy. 

I personally enjoy trying to see comets and learning about meteors. It really delights me when I get the opportunity to study the night sky and expand my knowledge about astronomy. I have always been fascinated by conversations about astronomy, and getting to know the different ideas and beliefs around astronomy that have been constructed from the questions asked by people. 

Traditional beliefs about the Southern Cross

Within different traditional belief systems, the Southern Cross is more than just a way to find the southern point. The bright stars of the pointers and the Southern Cross were often referred to as a metaphorical group of giraffes by the Zulu, who traditionally believe that giraffes travel across the heavens to keep track of the location of the moon and the stars. 

Among the Venda, these giraffes were known as Thutiwa. In October, the giraffes are believed to be moving above the trees on the evening horizon, reminding people to finish their agricultural objectives of planting crops. 

The Karanga people believe the stars are the eyes of the dead. This gives them great solace in finding hope and trust for their protection.

Experiencing the night sky at Bushwise

During our course, we were able to experience the night sky on numerous occasions. One of my favourites was when we had a sleepout, where we were fully immersed in the environment and nature as a whole. 

I found it particularly calming to look up at the stars and think about the challenges and achievements that I have experienced. I personally found happiness and a feeling of gratitude in having the opportunity to learn about the world we live in and appreciate the togetherness of both having my fellow students and my greatest passion in one place. 

We get to experience so much peace and fulfillment when we take a moment out of their busy life to simply look up. Join us out here to experience it for yourself.



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