Mother Sky: I See You, I Hear You by Carolyn Lee Boyd

Deep field galaxy cluster from 4.6 billion years ago.
Deep field galaxy cluster from 4.6 billion years ago with light from galaxies 13.5 billion years old soon after the “Big Bang” 13.8 billion years ago.

The sky is telling us a story of our universe’s first moments while the cosmos sings, and now we can see and hear these wonders through our bodies as well as our imaginations, spiritual journeying, and intuition. These feats are made possible by the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the sonification of sound waves emanating from galaxies that have, for the first time, been converted into a range audible to human ears. Now, experiences that we have only heard about in ancient myths have come to the human realm.

The JWST, according to NASA, allows us to see stars and galaxies as they formed 13.5 billion years ago. Because the light from these stars and galaxies took billions of years to reach us, we see them at the first moments of their birth.

Pillars of Creation
The “Pillars of Creation,” where new stars are forming.

In addition, this past summer, NASA released audio from two galaxies whose sound waves are audible because they travel through the gases that surround them. The sounds are far too low for us to hear, so NASA has bumped them up about 57 octaves so you can hear them. Here are sounds from the black holes at the center of the Perseus Galaxy and Galaxy M87.

We are the first generation to be able to experience not only our universe but many of the ancient myths and stories in a new way. When I see the images and hear the music, I feel awe and a true sense of belonging on this planet in a way I had not before. I am connected to those ancient myths that emerged so long ago in a deeper way.

When you see the images of the universe’s first moments, can you visualize the Greek Eurynome rising from the primordial chaos and dancing the world into being? Is She joined in Her cosmic dance by Tibet’s Klu-Mo making the stars, planets, and cosmos out of Her own body? Can you spy the Tantric goddess Bhuvanesvari and Egypt’s Hathor bringing into being all that was, is, and ever will be? 

Some myths focused on how our sun and planet came into being. The Fon goddess Mawu created the Earth and all beings on it with a giant snake while the Greek Gaia emerged out of chaos to create the earth and living beings out of Her desire. Do you feel the deeper truth of these stories when you look at the photographs of stars being born?

In Egypt, priestesses played seven-stringed harps to create the “music of the spheres.” Heide Göttner-Abendroth states in The Dancing Goddess, “Stringed instruments in the hands of female musicians played an important role in Egypt, which was matriarchal in its most ancient stage. These seven-stringed instruments reflected the astronomical science of the then-known seven planets: each string was consecrated to a planet, and when the priestess played it, she literally created the harmony of the celestial spheres” (42). Egypt’s Bast; the Athabascans Asintmah; Canola, inventor of Irish harp; German hill fairy Huldra; and inventor of music Sarasvati are just some of the other goddesses worldwide associated with music. Can you hear all these cosmic symphonies in NASA’s recordings of the black holes?

If we substitute the photos and recordings for the imagination and profound truth of the myths, we will have lost rather than gained by them. I believe, however, that we can accept this gift of beauty from the universe as complementary to the myths, holding both their truths in the same moment. After all, it is our human intelligence, persistence, and sense of curiosity and wonder, all aspects of the same creation depicted in the myths, that has given us the ability to see and hear these amazements. 

In fact, perhaps these images and sounds came to us just in the nick of time as we face monumental challenges as a planet as well as opportunities to find ways to come together to solve them. Many people who have gone on missions into space have spoken of being changed by them, of suddenly realizing both the magnificence and fragility of our planet, experiencing the sense of “home” our planet gives us. You may remember “The Blue Marble” photo of the Earth in 1972 that helped awaken the environmental movement of the 1970s. What might we, as a planet, be inspired to do by these images and sounds, perhaps in a new perspective to be experienced in common in the vastness of this amazing and beautiful universe?

The “Blue Marble,” Earth from space

Today, instead of automatically wondering “What must I do now?” when interacting with these photos and recordings, maybe I should simply open myself to wonder, go outside and look up at the sky and down to the Earth, sing to the moon, gather the sun’s rays on my face, and feel myself as a being with a mind, body, spirit and soul in a matrix of beauty, energy, and possibility. I am honored to dwell on the only planet we know of that is burgeoning with life. I think my job today is to accept the gift of these images and sounds, given not just by humanity’s intelligence and passion to learn more about our universe, but by the universe Herself, and see what plans they have for me and all of us.

BIO 

Carolyn Lee Boyd’s essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews, and poetry have been published in a variety of print magazines, internet sites, and book anthologies. her writing  explores goddess-centered spirituality in everyday life and how we can all better live in local and global community. She would love for you to visit her at her website, www.goddessinateapot.com,where you can find her writings and music and some of her free e-books to download.

Sources: 

Gimbutas, Marija, Language of the Goddess, HarperCollins, New York, New York, 1991; Göttner-Abendroth, The Dancing Goddess: Principles of a Martiarchal Aesthetic, Beacon Press, Boston, 1982, 1991; Monaghan, Patricia, Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, New World Library, Novato, California, 2014.

Photo credits:

Deep field galaxy cluster: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Pillars of Creation: NASA, ESA, CSA, STSCI; J. DEPASQUALE, A. KOEKEMOER, A. PAGAN (STSCI). Public domain.

Blue marble: By NASA/JSC – http://www.spaceimages.com/as17-148-22727.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45947541



Categories: General

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10 replies

  1. The photos from recent years – especially the Pillars of Creation – are awe-inspiring. I have not thought about relating them to ancient myths; thank you for showing me a new approach. And I agree: “maybe I should simply open myself to wonder, go outside and look up at the sky and down to the Earth, sing to the moon, gather the sun’s rays on my face, and feel myself as a being with a mind, body, spirit and soul in a matrix of beauty, energy, and possibility.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for reading and your response! So glad you enjoyed the photos. And, yes, I think that’s exactly what FAR is about – sharing our perspectives so we can all think in new ways. I really appreciate your comment!

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  3. Since learning some of the many Latvian songs to the Sun Mother, Saule, I’ve been personally and warmly greeting the sun, moon and stars when they appear to me. It’s all energy! I love how you get lost in awe of the universe, Carolyn. “See what plans they have for us.” That is the true mystery! The recordings from NASA are deeply inspiring and I’ll return to them often. Thank you!

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    • I’d love to hear more about the Latvian songs to Saule, the Sun Mother and your greeting the sun, moon, and stars! Yes, getting lost in the mystery is one of the great human experiences, I think, and one we all need more of! Thank you for your comment!

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      • I was looking for some quiet little folk songs on Youtube and found this! Latvians LOVE to sing and an amazing number of people get together to sing each year at the Latvian Song Festival. This song is translated- but whenever it says “The Sun,” they’re actually singing “Saule.” It’s incredible how the lyrics portray the ancient pre-Christian history of Saule as an all-powerful Sun goddess.

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  4. What a beautiful post. I loved the way you wove the sounds and images with the mythology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Beth! There are so many connections between “new” discoveries and mythology or ancient knowledge, whether the fungi network beneath the forests or in the cosmos or elsewhere — it’s fun to look to see what is out there that shows that we are not so different from our deepest ancestors.

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  5. Oh wow. Awe inspiring. Reading this as I take in the sun’s morning rays shining through the window as I do most Winter mornings

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