Podcast Transcript | Cosmos: The Wisdom in the Stars

[Dayna Lyn Nuckolls]

Woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

[Yasmin Shamir]

That voice you just heard is sidereal astrologer Dayna Lynn Nuckolls. Hello and welcome back to Roots in Ritual. This is a trip in podcast exploring the spiritual practises, lifestyles and ceremonies that connect cultures across the world. I'm Yasmin Shamir. I'm your host and I'm a co-founder of the travel platform Trippin.

[Robyn Landau]

And I'm Robyn Landau. My work explores the neuroscience of well-being. So I'm going to be taking us a bit deeper into the science of what's going on in our brains and bodies when we're experiencing these rituals.

[Yasmin]

And together, alongside some incredible guests, we uncover the origins and delve into the science behind traditions that have inspired our modern pursuit of physical and spiritual wellbeing.

On today's episode, we're going to explore how throughout time and across cultures, human beings have made connections with the cosmos. Ancient civilizations look to the stars to mark passages of time, navigate unknown frontiers, predict good fortune and explain tragedy. Planets were literally seen as an embodiment of the gods and observing their movements and making meaning from it was important work. Now, astrology and astronomy are both studies of the stars. Astronomy helps us to understand our universe, and astrology seeks to help us understand ourselves within it. Though today they're seen as distinctly different and independent of one another.

We're going to explore the common threads and the overlapping origins of the two practises. We're going to be hearing from Jo Marchant, who's an author and science journalist. Her latest book is called The Human Cosmos A Secret History of the Stars and is about humanity's changing relationship to the sky. She shares what she's learnt through her study of cultures, creatures and communities that use astronomical insights to govern and guide their lives. We'll also be hearing from Dayna Lynn Nuckolls, who's a sidereal astrologer who's using astrology as a revolutionary tool of liberation from current political and societal capitalist systems. She shares incredible wisdom on how to use astrology as individuals and in our collective society today to make meaning in our lives and seek justice in the world through divination. Find in the stars. And, of course, we'll be hearing again from Robyn to learn more about what's happening in our brains and bodies when we engage in a relationship with the cosmos.

Now, whether you believe in astrology or not, you don't need to follow your horoscope to receive the primal benefits of a connections to the stars. In today's episode, we're going to uncover how simply being aware of the movements within our constellation can make us better interact with the earth, ourselves and each other. To start us off on the journey, let's meet Jo Marchant, she takes us back to where it all began.

[Jo Marchant]

In society through history has been inspired by the heavens, everyone has looked up and seen the skies and that's been absolutely central part of their lives until now. Now, because of light pollution, we don't have that very separated from the sky, but right from prehistoric times, people were really interested in the sky. It was part of their everyday life. And that's because what was happening in the sky really was crucial for what was happening on Earth. So through the night, the skies, the stars are turning around the sky. They're giving us a sense of time through the night. They're getting a sense of direction because the stars are circling around the celestial poles in the north and south. But through the year as well, you have different constellations will be rising and setting in the sky. And we know from looking at cave paintings, for example, but also looking at Hunter-Gatherer communities that they saw those changes in the sky, different constellations that were becoming visible as absolutely entwined with the seasonal changes that were happening on Earth. So it really it was just one sort of plastic system. So people absolutely had to keep track of. I told them when they were it told them where they were, it told them who they were. So it was all about experience. All about meaning. All about connections.

[Yasmin]

What's quite interesting is that ancient cultures across the world that had no contact with one another were independently incorporating planetary wisdom into their daily lives. From the Egyptians to the Mayans to the Chinese, these indigenous societies track the skies, aligning places of worship with certain stars or celestial bodies, creating elaborate calendrical systems and rituals around them. But it was in ancient Babylon that this avid observation of the cosmos, combined with a deep reverence for it, paved the way for what we now know as modern forms of astronomy and astrology. Now, over time, the dominion of science over spirituality has forced these two practises apart. But as Jo explains, their origins are inextricably linked in prehistoric times.

[Jo]

What was happening in the sky and the movement of the stars, it really was reflected in seasonal changes on Earth. And then you look at the Egyptians and you've got the appearance of the star Sirius, for example, which heralded the annual floods every year, which was really important to them, vital for their agriculture. So appearances of different stars that they really were being mirrored on Earth. And then it was the Babylonians that they sort of took that to extremes. They started seeing everything that happened in the sky, a planet changing direction, for example, or lunar eclipses as meaning something terrible that was going to happen and often meant the death of the king, for example. And so the king would have these teams of astronomers, astrologers who would be watching the sky every night. But because they were doing that every night, literally for centuries, they started to notice repeating patterns and came up with mathematical models. They were the ones that invented the Zodiac. And they did that because they wanted an accurate scale or coordinate system in the sky and noting down exactly where different events happened to make their observations more accurate. That was really important in allowing them to make more accurate astronomical observations. And then the ancient Greeks inherited both of these things. And both of those sort of strands of thought are still important for us in the Western world. Now, one couldn't have been born without the other. A lot of the key astronomers that we think of in the Western world and the Ptolemy, Kepler, Galileo, these kind of giants in the history of scientific astronomy, they were all keen astrologers there. Their aim was to sort of understand the secrets of the soul and to find that in the stars.

[RobynLandau]

At one point, the way we explored the universe and our place in it was one connected system, and it's incredible to think about how embedded these rituals with the cosmos were and guided not just the intricacies of the ways of living, but self-expression, divination and science all at once. Looking back to that time, it's really inspiring how unified everything was. You know, these giants in the world of science and philosophy all study the stars and some even followed astrology. Carl Jung was reported to study astrology and the earliest father of psychology, William James, in an exploration of consciousness and humans place in the universe, explored this connected cosmic system. Now, some of these early scientists believe that the earth had a soul just like human beings, and we're all influenced by the quality of light in the sky. And it's this sense of holistic, collective consciousness that we've departed from in modern science, even though they come from the same foundations. This divide started when modern science began to deal only in the physical, only in the scene consciously understood and measured and slowly. Anything we couldn't measure, couldn't see, could it tangibly prove was shunned or dismissed. You know this mind over body science. Over spirit astronomy. Over astrology. While these may all sound like opposites, they're simply two sides of the same coin and at the end of the day, both astrology and astronomy are simply born from the human desire to make sense of our world, to see patterns in our cycles and to make meaning in our lives. We can't discount the power of meaning making our individual lived experiences and the different tools people use to enable them to do that. A large portion of our brain is essentially a map of our own individual experience. So these imprints of meaning, of culture, of experience, of connection really shape how we feel and live out our lives.

[Jo]

With the rise of science, we've kind of separated ourselves out from the universe, we concentrate now on the sort of mathematical objective understanding of the physical universe out there, and we're trying to remove ourselves and our experience from it. We've removed the importance of personal experience, and I think that's what astrology is is all about. Astrologers are interested in that personal connection that that meaning, that feeling that we're part of something bigger. And from a scientific point of view, astrological sort of connection or predictions don't really make any sense. Well, I think that's missing the point in a way. I think astrology is, or maybe should be more about the meaning that we bring to it, it's about us seeing ourselves as something bigger. There's a feeling that there's more to our existence. So I think that's a really interesting tension that we have today.

[Yasmin]

The ancients believed that planets and people move together in a synchronised way, experiencing periods of tension or relaxation at exactly the same moment. And as we've heard, astrology has existed as a way to make meaning out of these cosmic connection between the heavens and life on Earth. Despite scientific rationality, astrology influence on popular culture is arguably more widespread than ever before. Just a quick scroll through your social media and you're bound to come across posts about Mercury retrograde, the full moon or the zodiac signs. But Sidereal astrologer Dayna Lynn Nuckolls is digging deeper and using astrology as a tool of liberation.

[Dayna Lynn Nuckolls]

My name is Dana Lynn Nuckolls, The People's Oracle, and Sidereal Astrologer, and I am a black woman from Chicago who by blood is the descendant of a long line of Baptist preachers and grafted into a tree of Pentecostalism. And these spiritual traditions absolutely inform my practise of astrology, even though on face value those things seem really contradictory. But I'm of the mind that my personal experience, my engagement with the political and my spiritual reality should absolutely not just inform as like a layer over my astrology, but it should be the bedrock and foundation of it. So I call what I do divination for liberation, because I reclaim astrology as a tool for liberation in the tradition of the workers and who is an opportunist in society. And all of the black folks of the diaspora who have hidden their spiritualities and their gods and duties inside the religions they were forced to take on. And so here I am with astrology, kind of pulling and teasing out for all of the ways that astrology is a tool of divination. I don't think that I was ever not serious about astrology, my official study began in 2007 with a quirky artist I met at this place called the Negro League Café. So those who don't know the Negro League was kind of an adjacent baseball league in America for black athletes because they were not allowed to play in Major League Baseball. So this cafe was homage to them, and it was a place of so many black artists and musicians and quirky folks. And so I met this black artist there. And one day she was like, Do you want to learn astrology? I was like, Oh, yeah. And we went down to Harold Harold Washington Library in Chicago and checked out as many books as possible. That was August twenty seven and I have been absolutely obsessed ever since.

[Yasmin]

But what is astrology? We asked people from the trepang community to share their thoughts.

[Community Voices]

I think astrology is a bit of a pseudo science. I guess you kind of tend to think that it's in some extent true.

I think that astrology is a way where people can find a motivation, a purpose for life because life is purposeless.

Well, there's clearly a connection with the stars. And I think it's the correlation with the universe and the psychology and behaviour of human beings.

I think astrology is the study of how the stars and the planets influence us, make us the way that we are.

It's a way of finding some constants and things that exist within the universe, which we can try to attach some sort of complex or chaotic reasoning to.

[Dayna]

I would say that astrology for me is primarily a timekeeping mechanism, and it's similar to a calendar or clock where we have these segments of time. So we have an hour. We have a minute. We have a second year, decade, century. But the difference between calendars and astrology is that not only does astrology segment time, it also tells you what it means. Right. And inherent in these layouts or segments of time is meaning. Additionally, this really strong conviction I have that this is a tool of divination and tools of divination, maybe have been historically used to perpetuate empire or capitalism or feudalism. But those are not my traditions. Those are not my inheritance. My inheritance is a work of liberation.

[Yasmin]

Astrology has truly moved with the times from its ancient origins to its emergence in the printed press back in the 1930s, when horoscopes were first introduced in newspapers and magazines. And right up until today, where we now have dedicated apps and YouTube channels and accounts that deliver cosmic guidance daily, giving many people the vocabulary to better understand themselves and interpret their life's events. Now, when you ask people what's your sign, they tend to answer with their son, Sign.

[Community Voices]

My star sign is Taurus. I'm a nurse. I am a Libra. Aquarius is a Capricorn. I'm a cancer.

[Yasmin]

This is the constellation in the sky where the sun was at the moment they were born. But this sun sign is only one piece of the puzzle, or rather the pie. All of the planets in the solar system can be mapped from this point to create a more comprehensive picture of a person, a place or an event. And this map is called a birth chart. Here's Dana to tell us some more.

[Dayna]

Most people's introduction to astrology is through the Zodiac. So, again, through like these horoscopes that are ultimately based upon the sign the sun occupies at the moment of your birth. So in keeping with this idea that astrology is a timekeeping mechanism, focusing only on the sun is like only having the year as a measurement of time. So each of the planets is governing this this segmenting of time. The Sun is one of many placements which can be a planet that is relevant inside of this chart called the birth chart. And the birth chart is a picture not only of where the sun was at the moment of your birth, but also Mercury, Venus, the moon, Jupiter, Saturn. Some astrologers will use Pluto, Uranus and Neptune and various other celestial objects out in space.

[Robyn]

Well, looking at the larger picture, astrology is just one tool that I use that helps me feel connected both to myself and a higher collective consciousness in the universe that I subscribe to. Do I understand and track the daily movements in the sky as related to me and my birth chart? No, I certainly do not. But I do have some favourite astrologers whom I use their guidance to both get me to a certain mindset for the week or enable me greater space to reflect, to adapt and to integrate specific events or experiences happening in my life. So for me, it's really something that provides a sense of grounding to help guide me through certain themes in my life cycles of time and often where to focus my efforts.

[Community Voices]

I use it for fun. I look at my pattern. I'm used to check the weekly quotes or descriptions that some astrologers write about.

I don't use it at all because I'm a scientist and I don't believe in astrology. And I wouldn't say I'm necessarily a believer, but it's definitely something that I've always checked in with.

I like to use it to explain things that I don't really have an explanation for.

I'm not somebody who reads daily horoscope or anything else, but I do tend, when I need a new person to ask what their birthday is and kind of fitting different people into a greater scope.

[Robyn]

I find this conversation so fascinating because it's really a divisive topic still, no matter where you fall on the science versus spirit spectrum, it seems this conversation around astrology continues to grow in popularity, which I think is just a really interesting reflection of the current time. You know, it seems to be this kind of larger societal indicator about this move to or acceptance about this larger connected system. People don't have to believe in astrology to believe that there are intangible forces shaping our human experience, which aren't so easily measured. Right now there is a rise in spirituality. More people are spiritual, about less religious than ever before. And I think that's because people are seeking to make meaning in their lives, you know, in a pattern system that makes sense for them, a belief system that they can create for themselves that resonates with them, not one that has been imposed on them with a set of rules. And there's a lot of science to show that subscribing to a personal belief system, regardless of if it can be proven true or not, does wonders for our health and states of being. As Jo tells us, something doesn't need to be proven true in order to work and have a result.

[Jo]

The book that I wrote before the human cosmos was called Cure A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body. And so I looked at some of the latest scientific research around the power of the mind, over the body when we think something's going to work, when we have an expectation or belief or a hope. How does that affect us physically? That belief triggers real sort of biochemical physiological effects in the brain that can be measured that in many cases are exactly the same as the effects that are caused by drugs. Looking at how well, how does that relate to astrology? I think that absolutely our beliefs about the world and about ourselves and about our lives or our expectations or our hopes, they can really become self-fulfilling. I think it's too simplistic to say that astrological predictions don't work or aren't real because there isn't physical causation, because I think you can have psychological causation. I think the meaning in itself can be self-fulfilling.

[Yasmin]

We'll be back to the Cosmos right after this. This episode is sponsored by Skillshare, the online learning community is offering our listeners a free trial of premium membership. So no matter what 20 21 brings, you can spend it creating something meaningful or learning something new that interests you with skill shares, online classes. Now, I didn't finish university. I've got no qualifications or degrees, but I consider myself a lifelong learner. And the beauty of our modern times is that learning has never been more accessible than it is today on Skillshare. Whatever your interest, there's something there for you. So if you're feeling a bit stuck or uninspired, I invite you to take a browse. If you're enjoying this podcast, you might be interested in taking a class with Chinderah, a.k.a. the slum flower on revolutionary self care. Or perhaps you're interested in making podcasts yourself. Then I'd suggest checking ethnographer Daniel Bakos class on how to create deep and descriptive conversations. And one that I'm really enjoying on a personal level is skill sets, new class with musician turned farmer and chef Cali's, where she's teaching you how to tell your story through source Skillshare. His classes are designed for real life so you can move your creative journey forward at a pace that suits you. You'd be creating real projects with the support of fellow creatives so you can accomplish some real growth. Explore your creativity at Skillshare dot com forward slash Trippin. And where our listeners get a free trial of premium membership at Skillshare dot com forward slash Trippin. So why not go check it out and I hope you find something that speaks to you.

In the northern hemisphere, summer solstice occurs on the 21st of June and marks the longest day of the year. In contrast, the winter solstice on the 21st 22nd of December marks the longest and darkest night in Persian culture. This night is known as Yelda, and in the past it was thought to be a particularly auspicious time where because of the darkness, the evil spirits were most prevalent. So families and friends would gather together and stay up all night to discourage any evil spirits or bad fortune coming their way. And to this day, people across Iran continue the tradition, gathering together to share food, read poetry and enjoy each other's company late into the night. The equinoxes are the midway points between the two. Solstice is marking the beginning of spring and the start of autumn. These are the days when the length of both night and day, light and dark are equally matched. On the spring equinox the Persians have. Their New Year's is called Nowruz, and it translates to English as a new day. And this festivity marks the first day of spring, the renewal of nature. And people prepare for it by doing some major spring cleaning and preparing their home for impromptu visits by friends and family. Over the coming days, they create a special table called I Have Seen, where people play seven things, beginning with the letter s in Farsi. So things such as Sabzi Sumac symbol, which are all certain types of herbs, flowers, foods and other objects that are placed on the table to symbolise growth and love, health and prosperity. So the turning of the seasons has inspired many rituals and traditions the world over with different cultures, finding elaborate ways to celebrate these transitions between light and dark.

[Jo]

You see a lot of cave paintings that Chumash people who lived until recently in California, for example, a lot of cave paintings linked to the cosmos and the winter solstice, for example. That was a really important moment for them. So when the the sun is receding each day in the winter, in that moment when the sun stops its journey south and pauses and they had all of these rituals to try and persuade the sun to to pull it back north again, to bring this is life in the light back to the earth. So it was absolutely key to everything, really to the plants that they needed to to eat, to the warmth that they needed. So that's why they were so interested. You know, we forget now we're very disconnected from this guy. But for people of the past, it meant absolutely everything. It was a fundamental part of life.

[Robyn]

All of these civilisations, despite being thousands of miles apart, with no knowledge of each other's existence, all celebrated these moments of time and viewed them as sacred. These markers of the year permeated so much more for them in culture and society and really informed and played a major role in their infrastructure, artistic expression and societal order. And while we have additional light sources available to us now, we're all impacted by the amount of light available on the day. And that does impact our sleep wake cycles, how much energy we have and how much rest we need. So more seasonal living actually does play a really vital role in honouring these natural rhythms and cycles in the year, both in our universal landscape and within ourselves.

[Jo]

We're sort of aware of this is getting longer and shorter today, but for a lot of people, it's not a huge part of our lives. But in the past, this was this was crucial. This was life and death from a practical point of view, because life is sort of dying off and lying dormant in the winter. And if the sun doesn't come back and start using that heat and light and longer days again, then life on Earth is going to perish, but also from a sort of metaphorical or spiritual point of view that it seems that people did think about after death of soul, sort of travelling with the sun. When you start to get these stone monuments or things like Stonehenge or Newgrange in Ireland, that's where the sun and the solstice really seem to be the key thing that people were focused on. And so people were very aware of this movement of sunrise and sunset on the on the landscape and went to really great lengths to mark those moments, the winter solstice and the summer solstice. Like we know with Stonehenge, you know, these massive stones were being dragged for long distances to to erect the stone circle. That was you know, it was the axis of the circle. It was aligned long winter and summer solstice. We know that it was a really key moment, that they went great lengths to mark and to make physical mark in stone and create an experience out of it. So probably that would have been really bound up in sort of more complex societies and the political structures of the time and the spiritual beliefs. At the time.

[Yasmin]

Dayna made a really thought provoking point in her interview about our relationship to time and how our bodies and our physiology is affected by these changes in the sky.

[Dayna] One thing that's becoming so apparent is that capitalism as an economic system, as a belief system, as an environmental doctrine. Right. It's all of these things. Requires us to measure time in a very specific way. That we are required to measure our time for currency. We do not measure our time for relationships, we do not measure our times for our own bodies. And so one of the things that is so deeply empowering and important is that it fundamentally gets us back connected to our bodies. Capitalism requires us to sacrifice our body for capital, right. For labour, meaning that if I'm a mom, I don't allow my baby, my baby's needs or my body and its healing process to determine what I do with my time connecting back to these what we can observe and see. You cannot see capital this time. And when we count our time for relationship, we automatically get plugged into these things that we're observing. We automatically get plugged into what my body's saying to me, what your body saying to you and how they're communicating to each other. And so the solstices and the equinox are really fascinating because of that.

The biological connection to our pineal gland, our pineal gland is actually sensitive to the amount of light that is available at any given time. Now, of course, we have artificial light that disrupts that. We have screens on our phones that disrupts that. But the Sun's movement over the course of the year and a day is so fundamental, meaning that if we're from the the fall equinox to the winter solstice and sunlight is decreasing, that means that melatonin is being released earlier and earlier in the day. And it's the easiest thing that anyone can do, right, to really start paying attention to how their body can be more in sync with what we can observe in the sky.

[Yasmin]

The belief that the moon influences life on earth goes back millennia since the dawn of time, the moon has been seen as this mysterious and enchanting object in our night sky from Palaeolithic cave paintings through ancient mythology and religion to present day, the moon continues to be both an aesthetic symbol as well as a guiding force. In ancient Egypt, the god of the moon was called Konza. He marked the passage of time, and his name means the traveller, and he was said to be the protector of those who travel in the night. The ancient Greeks had many deities connected to the moon, such as Artemis and Hecate, but it was the goddess Saleen who was seen as the moon incarnate and embodied in fill across many cultures. The moon has been seen as a balancing force to the sun, the yin and the yang, the feminine to the masculine. The power of the moon is more subtle than its fiery counterpart. And as Dana explains, it's the moon that really shows us how to observe and receive.

[Dayna]

The moon is the point of entry. Believe in terms of the celestial. You can't go outside and stare at the sun. You'll go blind. We actually interface with the sun through the moon, right? Then we see the moon because it's reflecting the light of the sun. And actually all of the planets are visible, not just the moon, because they are reflecting the light of the sun right now because of light pollution. We can't see all of the other planets. But the moon is is something that you become aware of pretty quickly. Right. You notice when when it's shining bright orange, feels like you can reach out and touch it or drive close to it. Even in my own personal practise of astrology, the moon is really what I pay attention to the most in terms of my daily routine and my daily habits. Going out and observing the moon doesn't require your belief. You can see it and it's there. And you can also be a good observation of your own moods. You can be a good observer of your own energy levels. You can be a good observer of what's actually happening in your life. And that's really all astrology is for, is to make sense of what's actually happening in your life. And the moon is really one of the best place to start.

[Robyn]

The moon has been a source of wonder to civilisations across time, just looking up and seeing the moon at night is a nourishing feeling. But the debate over the influence of the moon on humans and animals has long been debated for quite some time. Some people will feel intuitively a certain energy when the moon is full, or those with the spiritual practise might specifically work with the phases of the moon to help guide their month. For example, the new moon is generally seen as a time for new beginnings, a good time to start a new project, a new habit, a new thought form versus the full moon is a way to soak up the energy of that intention to receive and attuned to the powerful energy and the light in the sky. And while we know the moon influences the tides of the oceans, daily witches and those of the divination practise with the moon have largely been discredited as nothing that can be proven and hokey, if you will. But as Joe shares, there's new science beginning to emerge which backs up what these ancient cultures, these witches, those connecting to the cosmic system have intuitively felt for quite some time.

[Jo]

For the moon in particular, there's links with fertility and reproduction and links with madness. It's really interesting that these sort of two themes that come out with the moon and both of those now, there are sort of hints in the science that there might be some truth to those. So most of the research on biological clocks, so sort of timekeeping within creatures to that sort of sleep wake cycles, but also every aspect of our biology, sort of blood pressure, digestion, kidney function, cell division, that's all dependent on sort of cosmic cycles. And most of the work has been done with regards to the sun. So that's twenty four hours Akkadian rhythm in our biology and in almost every species on the planet. Scientists haven't looked so much until recently at the moon. And the odd scientist who has tried to look at it has generally been ridiculed because of this link with mythology. But more recently, biologists are starting to find that there are genetically encoded moon clocks as well. Certainly in marine species, they're finding hundreds of genes that will pulse in time with the face of the moon, Serengeti wildebeest, full time conception of their calves to a certain phase of the moon so that the calves, the safely born ahead of the spring migration as different birds will time the hatching of their chicks according to the moon, so that there's lots of different examples. And then now there are some hints in people as well. And so that is still really contentious.

Like in the 1960s, 1970s, there were lots of trials suggesting that you got more births at certain times of year, for example, or that menstrual cycles time with the moon and now that they're actually doing slightly more intelligent studies to look at it. There was a study suggesting that women's menstrual cycles can be interesting to moonlight. There are some sleep studies looking at how quality of sleep varies with the face of the moon. This other study that came out a couple of years ago was looking at patients with bipolar disorder where they will suddenly switch from high to low mood. And it's known that this is linked with sleep patterns. And these patients tracked the timing of their sleep. And if their mood changes over many years and it turns out that this these switches were actually being driven by tidal cycles of the moon. So that's something that scientists really started paying attention to that. And we're not sure yet how that's happening. So one possibility is that it's gravitational effects and another possibility is magnetic effects, because as the sun in the moon sort of moving around us, we're moving around them relatively. That's creating tidal effects in the earth's magnetic field. And we know that a lot of species are incredibly sensitive to tiny changes in magnetic field because they use it for navigation. So birds, insects, turtles. And there's now a little bit of work suggesting that actually we may also have a sort of sense that we're not aware of of magnetic changes.

[Robyn]

And no matter what you believe in, it's incredibly difficult to look up at the night sky on a full moon and just not be taken aback, incomplete at the sheer beauty of it and the mystery of what it evokes. And awe is a really magical feeling or emotion. It's something that stops us in our tracks. It evokes this huge wow, stops our thought and has actually shown to rewire our brains in a way that evokes more empathy, more collective unity and connection.

[Jo]

If scientists want to study or they will show people the stars or pictures of the stars, if anyone has ever just had that experience of looking up and seeing the proper dark sky, the proper heavens with the Milky Way and this incredible experience, you feel like lift it up like that one with the cosmos. And it has a name. It's called Celestial Vauling. And what psychologists have found is that after feeling this kind of all people are more creative, they're more curious, happier, less stressed, even weeks later, people feel as if they have more time, they feel more connected to a bigger picture on top of all these kind of effects on well-being, it changes people's outlook on life so people make more ethical decisions after feeling or they're more generous. They're more likely to make sacrifices to help somebody else and their beliefs change.

People care less about money and more about the planet. So it's really fundamentally important, this connection being confronted by something bigger, being drawn outside of yourself. People after feeling or they estimate their physical size is smaller, they sign their names smaller, and brain activity that's associated with a sense of self is reduced or kind of draws us out of that and makes us feel connected to a bigger picture. And that just seems to be really important in terms of the kinds of decisions that people make and in terms of their happiness and well-being as well. And the researchers have warned about what they call or deprivation in modern society. So this idea that we're focused on our small screens all the time, a focus is becoming inward, smaller, and we're not being confronted by the sort of vast horizons of nature for us to work together and make the decisions that we need to make to live more sustainably and peacefully on this planet. Then we need that experience of the cosmos, but we need that at all.

[Yasmin]

So wherever you fall on the spectrum between science and spirit, experiencing this sense of awe and wonder can have incredible benefits for how we show up in the world. And in a time when we need more unity, we need more empathy. And to recognise that we're all in this world together, connecting with the cosmos can help us. To remember, our guests have shown us today that the night sky has been and still remains to be one of the more mysterious questions for humankind. But the desire to make meaning from it continues with so much we still don't know about our universe. Myths and rituals offer a multitude of ways we can interact with life's natural cycles and help us to understand and heal our societal wounds. Here's Joe and Dana with their closing thoughts on how we can harness this connection to the cosmos to enhance life here on Earth.

[Dayna]

We are deeply seeking an interpretation of this time. We are urgently in need of meaning. So astrology becomes this radical tool of myth making, meaning making and storytelling astrology diverges from. The normal ways that we would seek meaning or to make things make sense, we can find meaningful narration of our personal experiences in astrology. They can give us a context and connect us back past, present and future. And this is what people are seeking. If we could approach astrology in this way, rather than thinking it's something that you have to believe in or don't believe in. And so astrology for me is is radical. It's the pick axe to dismantle the foundation of capitalism and gender binaries and all of these isms that are ailing us.

[Jo]

One is just learning the stories about the stars and how different people have connected with them, just having those stories and identities, looking up at something impersonal. You've made that the sky, your sort of personal neighbourhood. And it's something that connects us with people all through history and all around the planet. Then the other thing is the sky is something that we can still explore. And even if you're somewhere with a lot of light pollution, you can still look up and get to know the sky and see the changes happening through the air and feel connected to those cycles. Just watching the changing phases of the moon gives you that kind of monthly cycle. It's just the attention, the awareness. It's really easy to just go about our lives and have no idea, just not bother to look up. But when you do, it becomes like friends or guides.

[00:43:55] And I don't think you have to believe that that's literally true for that to be a comforting, connecting picture in these times where so much feels out of control that the problems seem too large for anyone to feel like they can have an effect.

[Dayna]

I always say that freedom begins in the imagination, but revolution begins in the body. Revolution begins in the body because merely feeling a feeling that socially. Has been shamed out of you is a radical act of revolution going to sleep when you're tired, eating when you're hungry, staying a little bit longer, and having that conversation with the friend who needs you even though you're late is sticking it to capitalism, right? It's dismantling these things, focusing your time on relationship and community is radical and it's revolutionary. And so anyone can be a revolutionary in this way when they're plugged into their own bodies as a primary site of revolution.

[Yasmin]

Seeing ourselves and our planet as part of a cosmic dance between light and dark action and introspection can help us to find balance not only within ourselves, but in society as well. And by celebrating seasonal transitions with ritual or simply reverence, we can move through our days, our years and our personal cycles with much more meaning. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey to the cosmos, a huge thank you to Jo, Dayna and Robyn for their insights and wisdom. Thank you to Ami Bennett for editing this episode. And thanks to Project Gemini for the music. My name is Yasmin. This is Roots & Ritual, a podcast by Trippin. And if you want to keep up with us on social media is atrip in the world or you can email us on routes and ritual atropine dot world. If you want to get in touch about the podcast. If you're enjoying the series, please do hit subscribe. Follow and throw five stars and a nice review on your podcast platform of choice. We really appreciate the love. Next week or on a quick break, but we'll be back with you on the 6th of April for the rest of the season, kicking off where we travel to Brazil to explore the Afro Brazilian dance of freedom of Capoeira

[00:46:17] To guide us out, Dayna has shared a beautiful song from her soul to yours. So until next time, stay well and stay Trippin.

[Dayna]

Woke up this morning with my mind, straight on freedom woke up this morning with my mind, stayed on freedom, woke up this morning with my mind, stayed on freedom. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.