Discussion Questions for "A Magical Tour of the Night Sky"

Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
A Magical Tour of the Night Sky
By Renna Shesso

Discussion Questions for Group or Personal Reflection

  1. There are instructions throughout the book on how to locate stars, asterisms and constellations using only the naked eye and the perspective of your own extended arm and fingers. How does this change the way you think about the night sky?
  2. Do you feel that the images widely available to us through developments in modern astronomy (such as those from the Hubble telescope) enhance our personal relationship to the cosmos or alienate us?
  3. Does understanding the patterns of movement in the sky influence your opinion on whether or not they influence human behavior and fate—does it lend credence to astrology? Why or why not?
  4. If astrology is already a field of study for you, how does this book expand, support or challenge your knowledge of the planets and the zodiac?
  5. Using the true modern position of the Sun in the zodiac signs (shown in Figure 34), what would your "sun sign"—what you read in a horoscope column—really be?
  6. What was your childhood relationship to the night sky? How was that relationship influenced by where you lived? What are your early memories of the outdoors, night and nature?
  7. What was the most surprising thing you learned from this book?
  8. What self-discoveries did you make by following the exercises at the end of each chapter?
  9. Using this book, what planets, stars or constellations have you been able to locate in the night sky?
  10. The author relates many myths back to the motion of the planets and stars. Does this shift your thinking of the importance (or lack of importance) of old lore? How?
  11. Have you visited any of the sites mentioned in A Magical Tour of the Night Sky? Or other sites with Sun, Moon or other alignments? What was their impact on you, if any?
  12. What planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn—have you been able to recognize?