A Story of the Stars

When I was 8, people conversed in cryptic ways I couldn’t really digest. They introduced themselves as “Shio Ayam” (Rooster Year) and other people understood how old was the person. It was perplexing yet fascinating. Did people use mathematics or language or both? How did they understand the numbers only by using Chinese zodiac? Was it some kind of sorcery?

I learned that Chinese astrology used heavy mathematics in calculating someone’s life prediction. I was fascinated with math, too. Being a young Mathematic olympiad, this exercise was like a fun sport! I also love to read books. I learned Javanese astrology and Western astrology. The Javanese astrology used super cryptic calculation and my younger self went “whoaaa!” for it but the Western astrology had stories of beautiful mythology which paint a memory whenever I look up the sky. One of the myths I love is the story of Orion constellation. Orion was a great hunter who boasted to Artemis, the goddess of hunter, that he would kill all the animals. Gaia, the goddess of the Earth, was unhappy and she sent Scorpius, a mighty scorpion, to kill Orion. Orion was killed and gods honored Scorpius and put it among the stars to become a Scorpio constellation. Artemis, who honored the bravery of Orion, asked Zeus to put him among the stars as well. The gods accepted the request and put him on the other side of Scorpio so that they didn’t fight. To this date, I always recall such beautiful myth whenever I see Orion and Scorpio constellations especially in the clear sky.

Then, I remembered in one fine day, along the way to go home, I saw a constellation as we called it “Gubug Penceng”(raking hut) or “Rasi Iwak Pari” (ray fish constellation). It was the Crux constellation in the Southern sky. My dad told me, long time ago, people didn’t use compass to find the way to go home. All they need to see is finding Rasi Iwak Pari to go to the South. It seems to me that the stars help people to direct our way, it’s probably possible for us to get guidance from the stars for our life. My dad told me, we aren’t supposed to believe such stuff. Astrology is not the thing we need to believe. We just need the stars to guide our way, no more, no less.

Growing up a logical person who took Science for my high school program, I learned that stars are just like the Sun. Stars are just light from gaseous balls of heat. I like mythology but I was starting to hate astrology when I was in high school. I despised any of astrology thingy until one day, I had my heart broken and I found out that I needed a closure. The closure was put there somewhere between the stars— or so, that I believe. I was so wounded and it was just a coping mechanism I needed. I tapped into my younger self who appreciate the stars. I learn astrology once more and I found out, my dad is right. Stars are just light. They don’t tell any stories yet, we, humans give meaning to the light.

Today is Sunday and I had a mass. The priest talked about how the magi found baby Christ. They were indeed astrologers who saw the Great Conjunction around 6 or 7 BC. It was really a prominent story which allow me to ask, aren’t we supposed to “believe” astrology? You may hate astrology, you may despise the idea that aligning stars somehow show your life, or logically, come on, it’s not even stars. The Great Conjunction is when Saturn and Jupiter aligned in a way that made them super bright. Even if I study astrology, I can say I don’t believe astrology. I just use astrology as tools to help me. Sometimes, I don’t even care about what the stars are “saying”. I don’t really “follow” what the astrologers said. When I want to do something, I just need to do it. No stars were involved in the process. Pope Francis said that it’s not the star that determines the Child’s destiny; it’s the Child that directs the Star. It’s not the stars that dictates our life but it’s us who made the story for our stars.

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