What is a Shooting Star?
Shooting stars, also called falling stars, are not actually stars, but meteors. Meteors are the light trails created when a meteoroid, a small piece of cosmic debris that has broken off a comet or asteroid, makes contact with the earth’s atmosphere. “Meteor” is derived from the Latin “meteora,” meaning “phenomena in the heavens.”
A Significant Event
In the second century, Greek astronomer Ptolemy theorized that shooting stars were evidence of the gods prying open the cosmic realms to peer down at Earth. This is one possible origin of the tradition of wishing upon shooting stars. People believed that if the gods were looking down at Earth at that time, they would be more likely to hear and grant their wishes. There are many other cultural beliefs about the significance of shooting stars, including that they represent human souls and/or other-than-human spirits moving between cosmic realms. There are also beliefs that shooting stars are decidedly bad omens, akin to tears falling through the sky. And while there is no universally agreed upon meaning of a shooting star, the vast plethora of beliefs demonstrates that humans generally find shooting stars to be significant events.
This is somewhat curious, considering that seeing a shooting star is not actually that rare of a phenomenon. There are around one million shooting stars that streak through Earth’s atmosphere on any given day. Where we live can certainly impact how often we might see them, but if we can get away from light pollution and bring ourselves to focus on one area of the night sky for 10-15 minutes, the odds of seeing a shooting star are actually relatively high.
When You Dream About a Shooting Star
While the possible meanings of shooting stars abound, it is generally agreed upon that if you see shooting stars in your dreams, your subconscious is dwelling on your long-term desires. The specifics of what the dream means in terms of your long-term goals depends upon how the shooting star behaves in your dream (i.e. wishing upon a shooting star, witnessing a meteor shower, the shooting star moving very slowly across the sky, etc.). But, in general, if you are dreaming about shooting stars, know that your subconscious is likely trying to communicate something to you about your long-term wishes.
The Personal Meaning of a Shooting Star
It may be an interesting thought experiment for each of us to ask ourselves, on an individual level, what shooting stars make us feel and why. Do we wish upon shooting stars? Do we see them often? Do we find ourselves looking for them? Can we recall the last time we saw one? Does seeing a shooting star change our mood or the moment? Cultural beliefs are certainly important, but aside from or in addition to those beliefs, the sighting of a shooting star can take on a personal meaning to each of us. Maybe it becomes a reminder for us to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect on our place in this world. Or maybe it serves as a bright flicker of hope, giving us motivation to move forward in each of our journeys. Reflecting on what seeing a shooting star moves in us or makes us feel is a good starting point for further examination of what shooting stars might be reminding us of or inspiring in us.
The Perseid Meteor Shower
This is a particularly apt time to be thinking about shooting stars because the Perseid Meteor Shower is upon us. Meteor showers are a storm of cosmic dust that has broken off a comet (specifically the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, in the case of the Perseids). Comets are made up of a combination of ice, gases, and dust. Astrologically, comets might be said to represent stagnant beliefs or fears we hold onto. As the pieces break off of the comet and collide with our planet’s atmosphere, raining streaks of light through the sky, we can imagine a parallel experience taking place inside of us, breaking apart those stale beliefs and fears we’ve been holding onto.
How the Meteor Shower Can Affect Us
We can allow the shooting stars to be a visual reminder to us to break down our own comets, bringing the pieces into contact with our own spiritual atmospheres, allowing the friction to distill those beliefs and fears down to the root, the part we really need to deal with, setting our own skies alight with deep examination. What is it that we need to contend with, within ourselves? What do we need to confront, head on? This is the time. Creating a new world starts within each of us. Let us respond to the shooting star’s call to examine our deeply rooted beliefs. And let us also remember that this work is never-ending.
When to View the Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids can be viewed best in the Northern hemisphere during pre-dawn hours, from mid-July to mid-August. The peak of the Perseids occurs near the end of its run; this year the peak will happen over the course of August 11, 12, and 13. For the best viewing experience: venture out sometime after 10 pm and before 4 am, find a spot with an open view of the sky, free of trees and buildings and away from city light pollution, and prepare to settle in for at least the 20 minutes that it will take for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
If you’d like to learn about the meanings of other significant sightings, read the California Psychics blog here.
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