The stars in our eyes

Have you ever wondered why we use the word “disaster” to describe a catastrophic event? Well, you can thank the stars for that one. The word “disaster” comes from the ancient Greek “dys-” meaning “bad” and “aster” meaning “star”. The Greeks believed that the stars could influence human affairs, and a “disaster” was seen as a bad omen from the stars.

From “lunatic” to “dog days,” the stars and planets have had a profound impact on the way we speak. “The stars in our eyes,” which means be very hopeful and excited is one of many expressions with astro bodies for inspirations.

One of the earliest recorded uses of celestial terms in language comes from ancient Babylon, where the Babylonians were keen observers of the stars and planets. They named each planet after a different god, and many of these names have survived to the present day. For example, the planet Venus was named after the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, and the planet Mars was named after the god Nergal.

In fact, many of our modern words and phrases have their roots in astronomy. The word “planet” comes from the Greek “planētēs” meaning “wanderer”. The ancient Greeks observed that certain celestial bodies seemed to wander among the fixed stars, and they called them “planētēs”.

The word “disastrous” is just one example of how the stars have influenced our language. Another is the word “eclipse”, which comes from the Greek “ekleipsis” meaning “abandonment”. The ancient Greeks believed that an eclipse was a sign that the gods had abandoned them, and the word still carries that connotation today.

Even the days of the week have their roots in astronomy. The seven days of the week are named after the seven celestial bodies visible to the naked eye: the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The English names for these days are derived from the names of the corresponding gods in Norse and Roman mythology.

In ancient Greece, the philosopher Aristotle believed that the stars and planets had a direct influence on the physical world. He believed that the movements of the stars and planets were responsible for everything from earthquakes to the growth of plants. This belief persisted into the Middle Ages, where it became a cornerstone of medieval astrology.

Even today, we still use celestial terms in our everyday language. One of the most common is “lunatic,” which comes from the Latin word “lunaticus,” meaning “of the moon.” The term originally referred to people who were thought to be affected by the phases of the moon, and it’s still used today to describe someone who is behaving erratically. Which shows how society as changed.

Another celestial term that has entered our everyday language is “dog days.” This term originally referred to the period of time in late summer when the star Sirius, also known as the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. It was believed that the hot, humid weather during this time was caused by the influence of Sirius. Today, we still use the term “dog days” to describe any period of hot, uncomfortable weather.

Finally, the expression “thank my lucky stars” has its roots in astrology. In ancient times, people believed that the stars had a direct influence on their fate, and that certain stars were lucky or unlucky. By thanking their “lucky stars,” people were expressing their gratitude for their good fortune, and hoping that their luck would continue.

The study of light has a long and rich history, and it continues to influence our language and culture today. In India, the ancient science of Jyotisha, which encompasses both astronomy and astrology, is still practiced and revered. While we may not believe in the direct influence of the stars on our lives, their impact on our language and culture is undeniable.

Read about The Orion constellations

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