Where Do Stars Come From?

What's New — By Vica Amuchastegui on August 17, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I just heard a beautiful legend from the North Mountain Range of Puebla about the origins of the Milky Way and the stars in the sky, and I wanted to share it with you.

The nahuatlacas were seven tribes with shared origins that came from the mythical Chicomoztoc and that went along in a long pilgrimage to find their true home. Among these tribes were the Aztecs who had to find an eagle on top of a nopal devouring a serpent (Mexico’s coat of arms), the sign of where they should build the great Tenochtitlan the seat of the Aztec empire.

But another tribe came to the northern territory of what today is the State of Puebla, and since their settlement wasn’t as big as that of other tribes they kept most of their traditions and costumes, and that is how this legend came to us.

According to the nahuatlacas, many many time ago, so long ago that is impossible to establish when, the only two things in the night sky were the moon and a beautiful serpent made of crystal. The moon was, and still is, very spoiled; sometimes she would illuminate beautifully the night, while others she would do it poorly or wouldn’t do it at all. When the serpent realized it, she decided to constantly illuminate the world, on the west by night and on the east when the morning came. She had to cover a long distance between these two points, and she did it so many times, that her route stayed marked on the night sky forever, like a big long fainted cloud. The men named her route MixKoatl Ohtli, that means The Serpent’s Path and it’s what we now call the Milky Way.

Night Sky

But one night the moon, jealous of the serpent’s beauty and the affection the man had for her, threw a big rock at her and she broke in millions of little pieces.

Those pieces scattered all over the sky, but they never stopped illuminating the man. They became what we now call stars and when the night is clear and the world is really dark, there’s not a star in the sky that’s not shining towards the man. The serpent’s head fell east of the earth and became the morning star. Her tail fell to the west and became the evening star, this way the serpent makes sure that there’s not a moment of darkness on earth.

I think we’ve all heard many stories about the origins of the stars, specially when we were kids. But I think this is one of the most beautiful I’ve heard. Hope you enjoyed it as well!

[photos courtesy of jurvetson, forestgladesiwander and doortoriver]

Tags: "legend"