CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - December 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 7:00PM or later and enjoy the Midwinter sky. This is the best time of year to stargaze with the littlest ones, since the sky will be dark before their bedtime!

In the early evening... To the west, you will catch the Summer Triangle and its associated constellations sinking below the horizon. Overhead you will find Cassiopeia.

To the east, some of the brightest stars in our sky are all rising together, called the Winter Hexagon on the star chart. This group includes Betelgeuse and Rigel in Osiris/Orion, Isis/Sirius in Canis Major, Procyon in Canis Minor, Castor and Pollux in Gemini, Capella in Auriga/The Charioteer, and Aldebaran in Taurus.

To the north you will find Ursa Major romping along the horizon, with the pointer stars above the horizon, pointing the way to the steady location of Polaris, the North Star.

On December 21, in the northern hemisphere, we will have our longest night of the year, which I love to celebrate with some stargazing. This year, however, I will be visiting family under the southern sky instead! Much of what I will see from Mauritius (20 degrees south latitude) will be the same as what I would see back home (38 degrees north)... but I won't be able to see the bears (and North Star), and instead I'll see the Southern Cross, as well as the Magellanic clouds, which are two dwarf galaxies that orbit our own Milky Way galaxy.

The following star chart can help you find your way around the sky: 

December 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 8:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community, and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our final “Children of Promise” New Moon working of 2017!

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - November 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 8:00PM or so and enjoy the early, dark sky.

The winter stars return! The winter season may be colder and less full of green, growing things than the rest of the year, but the stars are glorious. And with a cup of hot cider, what could be better?

Look to the east at 9:00PM or so and you will find the bright stars and constellations that will be overhead in the depths of winter: Orion's belt (and Betelgeuse and Rigel) and Sirius (Hail Isis!) (see January's post for more details), and the red Aldebaran in Taurus. The are also close to Capella (see October's post for more details), and make up a circle of the greatest concentration of bright stars in our night sky.

Look up from the horizon from Aldebaran and you'll see the Pleiades - this cluster of baby stars (only 100 million years old!) marks the holiday of Samhain/Halloween, when it rises at dusk… so that the Pleiades are directly overhead at midnight that night.

The following star chart can help you find Orion, Aldebaran, and the Pleiades:

October 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 8:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - October 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 8:00PM or so and enjoy the earlier-and-earlier darkening sky.

You will still be able to find the Summer Triangle, no longer overhead but instead down toward the western horizon. Cassiopeia instead is almost directly overhead. If you follow the way the tail of Cygnus the swan (the bright star Deneb of the Summer Triangle) is pointing along the Milky Way, you will move through Cassiopeia to another bright star, Capella.

Capella is one of the three brightest stars in the northern sky (Vega and Arcturus are the others), and has been known for millennia as a goat star - the name means little (female) goat in Latin. She is part of the constellation Auriga, the charioteer. Capella is also associated with ancient constellations of a goat-herd (with several stars making up the herd), or a shepherd, and throughout the years Auriga has sometimes been shown carrying a goat. Capella was the brightest star in our night sky ~200,000 years ago, so it's fun to wonder what our ancestors may have thought of it then!

The following star chart can help you find Capella and Auriga: 

October 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 9:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

CAYA Sprouts Family Circle October 2017: Celebrate our Beloved Dead

CAYA Sprouts invites families of all sorts, and children of all ages to our October circle, where we will honor and celebrate our Beloved Dead.

Sunday, October 22, 11:00AM-2:00PM

Location: private residence in Oakland
(Please RSVP for address)

RSVP (by October 19): cayasprouts@googlegroups.com*
*Note: If you are not yet a member, you will need to request to join the Google Group before you can RSVP.

This month, we will gather together to craft small shoebox altars in remembrance of our Beloved Dead, followed by a sweet and heartfelt celebration sharing stories, songs and Samhain Chili to welcome and honor the presence of our Beloved Dead in our hearts and our lives.

Please come (and have kids come) prepared with pictures (photo or hand drawn) of any one of your/their Beloved Dead to be honored in this way.  This may be an ancestor of blood or affiliation, deceased pet, etc. Charms, stickers, glue, scissors, paper, and other crafty materials will be provided, but feel free to bring any additional items or relics that you or your kids would like to include in your altar.

Note: We will have a few extra shoeboxes, but if you have one at home, please bring that as well. Alternatively, if you have crafted shoebox altars in the past (with us or elsewhere) and want to keep working on/adding to your previous year's creations, feel free to bring them along!

Come As You Are Pagan Congregation’s Sprouts Family Circles are monthly gatherings of eclectic, interfaith families with a desire to co-create safe, fun, loving, magical, child-centric spaces where kids and their caregivers can come together to deepen their relationship with Nature, Mother Earth, and each other. We honor all spiritual paths and strive to create a mutually supportive environment in which to explore and develop our own unique practices to integrate Earth-based spirituality and parenting.

Families of all sorts, with children of all ages are welcome. Activities can be shortened or modified to make them suitable for even the youngest child, and the older children are encouraged to deepen their practice and develop their leadership skills by assisting adults with the planning and facilitation of structured activities, as well as assisting with caregiving and mentoring during the kids free-play/adult discussion time.

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - September 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 9:00PM or so and enjoy the Fall Equinox stars. With the nights rapidly lengthening, you can go out earlier and earlier to stargaze!

This time of year for me is a time of comfort and familiarity in my stargazing. Shortly after sunset, Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila (the Summer Triangle constellations) are still overhead, Cassiopeia is along the Milky Way to the northeast, and Sagittarius is along the Milky Way to the southwest. And of course Polaris (of the Little Bear) is steadfastly to the north.

There is of course so much more to learn of the stars, more constellations and stories. But the brightest stars are familiar, and I enjoy sitting under them and basking in the starlight from hundreds and thousands of light-years away. (Stargazing without a telescope, we can see light from stars up to ~16,000 light years away - a faint star in Cassiopeia! This is just a little bit of the Milky Way galaxy, which is ~100,000 light years across, with the nearest edge being ~23,000 light years from us. I like to think of this limited naked eye vision of our own galaxy as a Hekate situation, seeing just far enough out to know our place but not so far that we are overwhelmed by the landscape.)

I challenge you at this point in the year to revel in the stars you know, but to also look at them with a creative eye: find a new constellation on the star chart that you want to learn, or make one of your own! Put your own story to it, and share it with your family, or the next person you stand under the stars with. :)

The following star chart can help you find your way:

September 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 9:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing, with the New Moon and at the time of the Equinox!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

Source: http://www.cayacoven.org/children-of-promi...