Polaris: Anchor, Lighthouse, and Other Nautically Cosmic Metaphors

Every night I spend a few minutes staring up at Polaris, whether I can see it or not. It’s my favorite star.

Polaris doesn’t move. Sailors used to navigate by the “North Star,” and I see it as a spiritual beacon as well. It’s become an important symbol in my own personal mythology.

Hey, I’m going to go out for a smoke now, in fact. Come with me. Come look at this.

Everything else in the sky that I can see from my hemisphere is spinning around and around and around and it never stops, while Polaris just sits quietly up there in one spot* like a tranced out Ascended Master, or the finite center point of an infinite spiral. When my life feels like it’s going haywire (which is pretty much par for the course), I always know where Polaris is. Even on a cloudy night. Even in the daytime.

I associate Polaris with the Archetypes: big ideas that have become entrenched in our collective consciousness and don’t change. The concepts represented by the gods and goddesses, heroes, villains, standard stock character types, monsters, and the stories about all of them that just keep re-appearing in many different forms throughout the history of all Earth’s cultures. Archetypes are the examples we’ve created which, in turn, create us by showing us how to shape our lives.

Mathematics. The laws of Physics (including the ones we don’t know about yet). The philosophical debates around our most basic questions. The perfect Platonic Ideals conceived by imperfect slices of consciousness.

The core tenet of so many religious beliefs: “Don’t be a dick.”

If we ever get to meet people from other planets (when, dammit, I mean when), I bet we’ll find common ground when we start comparing our species’ oldest questions and the stories we tell as we to try to answer them. I like believing that these things are universal and unchanging.

This might sound weird coming from a self-proclaimed Chaos mage. I understand that events and time are all random and fluid from the human perspective. It feels like we’re swept every which way by who-knows-what kind of cross-dimensional cosmic tides and our lives are subject to incomprehensible coincidental fields. I just appreciate being able to look up while trying to sail through the midst of this whole mess and knowing there’s something tangible that I can rely on: a little point of light that’s always there*. We just have to keep going that-a-way and we won’t get lost.


*Yes, I know the Earth wobbles a little on its axis, and I know that someday Polaris will be gone. But I’ve just given it Archetypal status, so it’s officially part of the stories, and it’s not really going anywhere ever now, is it, Smarty-pants?