Meteoroids are outer space rocks that can differ in size and are broken bits of asteroids or comets. When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere it produces a burst of light and can appear to be “falling” or “shooting” through the sky, so we refer to them as falling and shooting stars. Throughout history, people have been fascinated by these events and view them from magical and spiritual lenses. Falling stars have been considered to be communication from the gods, ancestors, and spirits, which can herald either good or bad omens.
Cultural meanings for falling stars
Important events are about to occur. In August of 30 B.C.E., Cassius Dio, an ancient Roman historian wrote that “comet stars” were a response to the death of Cleopatra and the comet following the death of Julius Caesar signified he was ascending to the role of a god.
The Greeks named a yearly meteor shower, The Perseids, after the sons of Perseus and its corresponding constellation by which the shower occurs. Today, people can view the shower from mid-July to late August, with the peak between August 9-14.
In 3rd century A.D., a beloved deacon named Lawrence was canonized following his execution by Emperor Valerian. At the moment of his death, the Perseid meteor shower was visible. The event was called “The Tears of St. Lawrence” by his followers who honored his teachings and humor on his feast day, August 10th.
Halley’s Comet passed Earth during the beginning of the Jewish Roman revolt. The revolt marked 2,000 years of Jewish migration from their homelands spreading the culture to every continent.
Falling star superstitions
Making a Wish
Wishing upon a star goes beyond a Disney song to 2nd century C.E. Ptolemy wrote about the belief that gods viewed the Earth through gaps in the sky. When a star fell between these gaps, we could ask the gods to fulfill a desire. The gods had a better chance of granting their wish since they were already watching earthly events.
Making a wish on a falling star is common throughout the world. In Chile, the moment you spy a shooting star, grab a stone and make a wish! In the Philippines, you should tie knots in a handkerchief.
Spirits are nearby
People commonly think falling stars are spirits of your deceased loved one signaling they are close and your connection is still strong. Other cultures believe a falling star foretells a spirit is going to heaven. In the Testament of Solomon, an esoteric book believed to be authored by Hebrew King Solomon, falling stars may be demons who fells down to Earth while watching humanity.
Ancient Celtic tribes believed falling stars were the breath of a dragon blessing the Earth. Some believed falling stars signaled your destiny would be realized. Other cultures believed shooting star were just generic signs good luck was headed your way.
Harbinger of doom
Certain North American indigenous cultures viewed falling stars as impending doom. An Ojibway tale recalls a comet that previous comes to Earth will someday return to completely destroy it. Some tribes said a comet had previous destroyed multiple cultures. During those times people had to submerge themselves in bodies of water to save their lives. Other tribes view falling star as an omen that sickness or death was coming to the community soon.
Some people believe falling star signify begins and ends like the deaths of St. Lawrence or Cleopatra. Other groups view shooting stars as upcoming major changes to one’s life. If you see a falling star, get ready for new beginnings! You are seeing a green light to go ahead with your goals and nothing will prevent you from success.
Most people believe falling stars are good messages from the heavens and enjoy watching the meteoroids trip through the sky. Allow a single wish to form in your mind and make that wish on the shooting star, WHILE it’s still falling, and be ready for your dream to come true.