Wishing on a Shooting Star . . .

starWhere did the practice of wishing on a shooting star come from? Like a lot of superstitions, the beginning is unknown and the meaning can vary depending on the historic age and circumstances. For instance, during my attempts to answer the shooting star question, I found that several ancient societies and religions believed that they were fallen angels and demons or that they were rising and falling human souls. Traditionally, it has also meant change, new birth and answered prayers and wishes. Some cultures believe that seeing one is a bad omen signifying a death of some kind, but the more common belief is that seeing a shooting star is a good omen and wishes will come true.

In my opinion, the most probable theory as to where the idea of wishing on shooting stars began I found at yahoo answers … it is as follows:

“In Europe at the time when the Greek astronomer Ptolemy’s view of the cosmos as a universe of interlocking spheres became the orthodoxy, there was a widely accepted and very poetic explanation for “falling stars” which was entirely consistent with other deeply held beliefs of the time.

It was thought that the gods, overwhelmed with curiosity, would sometimes look at the earth from between the spheres, and that in that instant a star or two might slip through the gap and become visible as a falling or shooting star. Since the gods were clearly peering down at that very moment, it was considered an excellent opportunity to voice one’s wishes with the guarantee that the gods would hear them.”

This seems very likely to me – it is logical. Humans throughout time have had a fasination with stars. Shooting stars are a rare sighting in the heavens and the heavens have always been associated with Angels … therefore, wishing on a star is similar to offering a prayer.

The correct way to actually perform your wish also varies greatly … some believe you need to hold something in your hand, you need to complete the wish before the star disappears, the more times you can repeat the wish on the same star before it vanishes is also suppose to add to the likely hood of wishing success.

Scientifically, shooting stars are not actually stars, they are meteors and appear as intense streaks of light across the night sky. The way these small objects quickly shoot across the sky with streaks of light makes them look like a falling star.

Tonight, August 11, 2009 is the peak night of the Perseids meteor shower (more info on this shower) .. one of the best showers of the year. There should be an abundance of shooting stars all night long … and here in the woods, we will have cloudless skies.
However, the bright moon that will be shining will decrease the visibility of tonight’s sky show, so get out there early before the moon shows his face and make your wishes, pray your prayers …. there will be plenty to go around. Since there seems to be no set rules, just do it your way … prayers and wishes are always a good thing.

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~ by bearyweather on August 11, 2009.

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