There are many reasons to develop a connection with the Star Nation and many ways to do so.
As long-time Bear Tribe teacher and Sun Bear’s first apprentice, Page Bryant taught and wrote—courtesy of her Master Teacher Albion—awake humans have already gone about as far as they can in building relationships with the energies of the Earth. However, in recent times, even conscious humans have mostly neglected to build relationships with the energies of the sky. Being pragmatic, Albion reminded us that we shouldn’t wait until we really need the help of the Star Nation to start building a relationship with its members.
So how do you build a relationship with the Star Nation? There are many ways to do this:
Build a Star Altar
A star altar or star bundle is used whenever you do ceremony or go on shamanic Starwalking journeys to help you connect with the energies of the Star Nation. As Page taught, the simplest star altar begins with a piece of a meteorite (which has fallen to earth and still carries the energies of the stars) that you place in a bed of white sage and wrapped in a leather pouch or piece of leather cloth. Whenever you wish to do ceremony and connect with the Star Nation, simply smudge yourself and your ceremonial area, unwrap your star bundle, light a candle, state your intentions, protect and ground yourself, call in your guides, and begin.
Feel free to add to your altar. There are beautiful fabrics – often found at a discount in the remnants bin – at most fabric stores that would make a great altar cloth. You may wish to include a star-shaped candle holder or candle, a symbol of your Starwalking guide, and any other special item that helps you connect with the energies of the Star Nation.
Acquire a Sky Chart
Before you go off on a Starwalking journey, or even before you go outside at night and look up at the stars, it can be quite handy to have a map. As you learn your constellations or before you set out to meet a Star Elder, a sky map can help you determine where in the night sky a particular constellation and star are located relative to your position on Earth at a given time of year. Science and camping stores (brick & mortar or online) are great sources of these sky charts/star maps. There are atlases that show different sections of the sky by season for your hemisphere. There also are book-size wheels that you can turn to see the constellations advance across the sky in your hemisphere by season. For those who like technology, there also are many great (and free) apps for your cell phone that show you what is in the sky directly above you based on the time of year and your GPS-measured position.
Research the Esoteric Meaning of Stars & Constellations
Another useful source of information—which can be found using physical books or online—comes from researching the metaphysical meaning of different stars and constellations. Astrological sources are more useful for this than astronomical, although the latter also still be helpful for learning about the type and relative age of the star you wish to visit. A lot of the esoteric writings about the stars observable from Earth was done by Arab astrologers in the Middle Ages.
You may find that it is helpful to keep a notebook or journal where you jot down what you research about a given star and then what you discover when you journey to meet its indwelling spirit. Remember, there aren’t right or wrong answers, there are just answers that are personally meaningful to you.
Ask for a Starwalking Guide
Page Bryant’s landmark book, Starwalking: Shamanic Practices for Traveling into the Night Sky, was published by Bear & Co. in 1997. It’s been out of print for some time—although it hopefully will be back in print within a year—but you can occasionally find used copies on Amazon.com and similar resources.
Starwalking is what Page called the practice of taking a shamanic journey to meet an energy in the Star Nation rather than in one of the three “worlds/realms” on Earth.
It is really important to ask for your own Starwalking guide and then to build a relationship with that guide—just as you did with your earth-based shamanic journey guide. This is a simple process of laying out your star altar, smudging and grounding yourself, calling in your guides for protection, and then setting your intention that you would like to meet your own Starwalking spirit guide. Wait patiently and be aware of who shows up. Before your meditation is done, ask your guide’s name so you will know how to call it to you when you next want to journey into the night sky. Once you have your guide, the best way to start building that relationship is to start journeying together into the Star Nation. Always make sure that you offer an energetic gift to your guide when it shows up and at the end of a journey. Don’t treat your guide like a pack horse unless you don’t want to build a strong and lasting relationship.
Visit Star Elders on their Home Suns
Once you’ve researched the esoteric meaning of certain stars and constellations, it’s good to create a plan and decide which Star Elders you wish to visit and in what order. Modern astrologers work with around 163 fixed stars, so you’ll have lots of choices. You could plan to visit three or four constellations each month or each quarter in constellations that are visible in your skies at that time of the year. Remember, Mother Earth’s position relative to these stars changes during the year as she advances around Grandfather Sun, so not every constellation is visible in your hemisphere at all times during the year, and Northern and Southern Hemispheres have their own specific constellations that are never visible in the other hemisphere. That doesn’t mean you can’t go on a Starwalking journey to visit a star and constellation you can’t see, but it might be good to familiarize yourself with the most common ones in your region first.
When Starwalking, lay out your star altar—outside if weather permits, or inside if it doesn’t—smudge, ground, call in your guides (including your Starwalking guide), set your intention, and head off to visit the Star Elder. As with your guide, always be respectful when in the presence of this elder, always offer a gift, and always thank the elder for its time at the end of your visit. Upon your return, jot down notes in your journal so you’ll start to get an understanding of the specific energies of different stars. That way, when you need support in that area of your life, you’ll know which Star Elder to ask for help or advice.
Draw Down the Energy of a Particular Star in Ceremony
Another way to connect more deeply with the energies of the Star Nation is to draw down energy from a particular Star Elder. For example, if you’re going through a rough patch in your finances, and you’ve previously visited the Star Elder Spica in the Virgo constellation, then you can do a ceremony to ask that Star Elder if you might draw down some of its energy to help improve your finances. That energy can be stored in a clear quartz crystal, a piece of jewelry, or even in a bowl of water (see below). Since the esoteric meaning of Spica is good fortune, unexpected honors or advancement, happiness, and wealth as long as a person don’t use the blessings for selfish purposes, it would be a good idea to pledge to donate at least 10% of whatever bounty you receive to a charitable organization before asking to draw down Spica’s energy.
Make & Take Star Essences
Star essences, like flower essences and gem elixirs, carry subtle vibrational energies in water that can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, a bowl of water charged with star essence can be drunk or added to your bath or spritzed (from a glass bottle) into your energy field. The more consciously (and gratefully) you use the charged water, the more likely you’ll experience noticeable results.
You can make very specific star essences by drawing down the energy of a particular Star Elder and charging a bowl of water with it, or you can make a more generic energy imprint of the sky on a particular night based on astrological patterns or astronomical phenomenon (such as a particular meteor showers or visible comet or phase of the moon or the moon in a particular astrological sign).
If you’re making a specific star essence, as with Spica above, then you’ll do a ceremony in which you lay out your star altar (including a bowl of water), then smudge, ground, set intention, call in your protection/guides, then call out to or even visit that Star Elder and ask for permission to draw a bit of its energy down into a bowl of water on your star altar. Once your ceremony is done, you can put everything away and decide how you will use the water.
If you are making a more general essence based on a particular astrological pattern, check the timing so you know when to do your ceremony, lay out your star altar with your bowl of water on top, smudge, ground, call in your guides, set your intention to imprint the water with the general energy of that evening’s sky, and then leave your ceremonial area and let the bowl of water stay out overnight. Try to get up around dawn so you can bring the water (and your altar) inside and bottle up the water before Grandfather Sun and other energies are added to the mix.
If you plan to store and use your charged water for more than a couple of days, it’s probably best to add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of brandy (or other spirits) or cider vinegar (if you don’t consume alcohol) to preserve it. Otherwise, you may find some interesting biological experiments growing in your bottle. Always store your essences and elixirs in glass—amber for earth-based essences like flower essences and gem elixirs and cobalt blue glass (if you can find it) for sky essences—as you want a neutral/insert container. Metals can add their own energies to the subtle vibration and plastic tends to absorb vibrational energies, leaving no imprint in the water.
Whichever way you opt to begin building a relationship with the Star Nation, the important thing is to start and to work at it on a regular basis. Just like exercise, you’ll gain more through consistent (if short) episodes over a long period of time rather than a short-term deep dive into the subject followed by years of no activity. Working with the Star Nation has deeply enriched my life and greatly expanded my understandings of the Universe and my place in it as a two-legged. May it be as beautiful an experience for you.
Written by a long-time Student of Wind Daughter & Page Bryant