To Touch the Sky: Myth and Astronomy in the Oral World
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In the ancient world, ritual was not separated from the space in which it was performed. The sacred space is the point from which true transformation takes place, and according to Mircea Eliade, it is the point of orientation that founds the sacred world. The sacred was the power of transformation that was manifest from the eternal world into this one. Seeing a seed germinate, sprout, bear fruit, and die, all in accordance with the movements of the Sun, Moon, and stars, was the revelation of reality to oral peoples astutely observing the universe. This life-cycle echoed throughout all biological rhythms in the world, from agriculture to the seasons, from animal migrations to the tides and winds. More important, this cycle was seen as a reflection of the moving celestial luminaries that rose, set, and turned, and appeared to be the source of all of nature’s processes on earth. As such, life was mirrored in the cosmogony.
Join Dr. John Knight Lundwall as he explores the connections between ancient, oral cosmology, astronomy, and mythology within his own fieldwork amongst the ancient Fremont peoples (Southwestern Native American, 300 to 1300 AD.). Dr. Lundwall will show how an ancient petroglyph created by the Fremont mirrors the cosmos, was used as a site to preserve and enhance the sacred, and mimic solar and stellar cycles in Fremont culture. Using this as a springboard, Dr. Lundwall will explore other Native American expressions of this sacred cosmovision and will show parallels in cultures across the globe.
John Lundwall holds a doctorate in comparative myth and religion from the Joseph Campbell school of myth studies, Pacifica Graduate Institute, out of California. He is a researcher, lecturer, a published author, and has served as an editor on several academic publications. His primary interests are oriented towards orality and the origins of myth and religion.
Dr Lundwall is a founding board member of the Utah Valley Astronomy Club (501 (c)(3)), a non-profit organization that partners with State and National Parks within Utah in the United States to help run their astronomy and science programs.
Dr Lundwall is also the Project Leader of the Utah Cultural Astronomy Project. Lundwall and his team are investigating the cultural astronomy of the ancient Fremont Indian, a Native American culture group associated with the American Southwest that inhabited the land of present-day Utah between 300 and 1300 AD. So far, the team has made several remarkable and original discoveries.