Starwalks: Into the Dark
The great square of Pegasus is high overhead by sundown at the end of November, and the three stars of the summer triangle—Vega, Deneb Aldige, and Altair—are setting in the west. Capella, the star of the Egyptian God Ptah, is already visible in the NE sky. Along with two other of Auriga’s stars, Capella is also identified by the Mescalero Apaches as ‘The three who went together’ representing two sisters who both loved the same man and rather than fight over him, they shared him.
To the SE of Capella look for the Pleiades, a fuzzy cloud of stars called “pinyon seeds” by the Zuni. At the same time the stars of the Big Dipper are skimming low on the northern sky; the star Phecda dipping below the horizon at 8 PM on November 20 and two hours earlier by December 20, at 6 PM. The Alabama Native Americans, related to the Creek tribe, considered the Big Dipper a celestial boat whereby sky beings descend to earth and humans ascend to the heavens. The Creek call it Pilohagi, ‘the image of a canoe.’ High in the sky at sunset in late November the evening star Venus will conjoin the new moon on December 5. Retrograde in motion on December 21, it disappears into the sunset at year’s end. Venus represents the Twin War Gods of the Zuni. At sunset on New Years Eve as Venus disappears, the canoe that is the Big Dipper rises.
A current resident in Pie Town, Thea Marshall has lived in NM for 34 years, and enjoys writing, her horse, and the stars. al Locater Beacon (PLB) or SPOT. They use satellite technology and can initiate searches or notify your family members you need help.
The best part is, these simple items can all fit in a fanny pack or a back pack, and we all have one of those.