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Planets for Pagans, by Renna Shesso

Reviewed by Susan Starr

[Snip] One of the first things Renna Shesso writes – in fact, insists on – is going outside and looking at the sky, even if all you can see are a few of the brightest stars and planets. There is no substitute for direct witnessing, she tells us, and she’s so right. She explains how to identify the constellations and the space between their constituent stars using our hands – no fancy instruments required. This is the way our ancestors did it – who saw quite a bit more in the night sky than we do — and it still works.

Starting with the North Star, Polaris, and working her way through all the visible planets, some constellations and a few interesting star clusters, Shesso presents us with not only the astronomy – where, when and how to find the star or planet – but ancient myths, stories of how they got their names (usually from a god or goddess), and places on Earth that were built to mark their seasonal passing.

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