Reading the UK sky using the Aldabreshin Compass.

Just last week, the BBC was highlighting the unusual conjunction of Venus, Mars and Jupiter in the night sky.

With the ebook of Southern Fire now available and work on the rest of the series well in hand, this inevitably caught my eye. This is exactly the sort of event that Aldabreshin astronomers would predict and which everyone in the Archipelago would study for particular significance.

Okay, I’ll play, for my own amusement and to entertain existing fans of the series.

In the Aldabreshin sky, this would put the Diamond, the Ruby and the Topaz in the arc of Marriage, with the constellation of the Hoe. Checking the day and date, I find the Lesser Moon, the Pearl would be in the arc of Children with the stars of the Walking Hawk, along with the Amethyst. The Greater Moon, the Opal would be in the arc of Siblings with the stars of the Winged Snake. The Emerald’s in the arc of Travel, with the Mirror Bird while the Sapphire is in the arc of Parents with the stars of the Spear.

Which is definitely the sort of night sky that would get an Archipelagan interested. That puts the Emerald approaching its zenith in the north, then an empty arc, crucially the arc of Death, then a conjunction of three heavenly jewels in the east, an empty arc, then a conjunction of two heavenly jewels, then two successive arcs with a single jewel (going clockwise).

What would this all signify? Well, that would very much depend who was reading this sky. For the sake of this entertainment, let’s suppose that’s an Archipelagan warlord who’s keen on improving communication and understanding. (If you’ve read all of my books, you’ll guess who I mean but No Spoilers!)

The triple conjunction’s the most significant so let’s start there. The Topaz guides towards creativity and new ideas. The Ruby offers strength and courage. The Diamond brings clarity of purpose. That’s all very encouraging if some new plan’s being contemplated, though the Hoe’s a reminder that it’ll be hard work. Portents in the arc of Marriage relate to more than romance; they’re significant for all one-to-one relationships. Whatever this plan might be, it’s going to need the help of a committed partner. Directly opposite, the arc of Self is empty, so personal concerns must be set aside, with the Net offering hope of support.

What does the second conjunction have to add? The Walking Hawk’s a warning of adversaries, an encouragement towards watchfulness and gathering one’s strength. Amethyst calms anger and promotes inspiration. The Pearl balances emotions and focuses the mind, encouraging intuition. All this is in the arc of Children, where omens about love affairs can also be found. So that willing partner may well not be a family member. In fact someone closely related by love or affection may well be opposed to this project. The empty arc of Friendship opposite holds the constellation, the Vizail Blossom, and that’s a symbol of femininity. Lover or wife? Better make sure to keep calm and to look for ways around their objections.

The Opal in the arc of Siblings reinforces this; an omen for seeking harmony in dealings with those close to you, along with the Winged Snake which is symbol for compromise and things intertwined. All the more so because that lies opposite the Emerald for peace and progress is in the arc of Travel which also signifies learning, with the Mirror Bird, symbol of wisdom and higher knowledge. Looks like new ideas and new information are going to be key – and sharing them openly and honestly. Sapphire for truth and communication sits alongside the Spear for strength of purpose in the arc of Parents where all those with responsibility for others can find portents as they seek security for those they watch over.

So whatever this character might be planning, the omens are favourable – while advising being well prepared for opposition from nearest and dearest. This project is well worth doing but it’ll be hard work and he’ll need to stick to his purpose.

I wonder what it is…?

If this means nothing to you, there’s a whole section on Aldabreshin Divination here.

To see how such stargazing colours the Archipelagan world view, try the opening chapter of Southern Fire here.

Author: Juliet

Juliet E McKenna is a British fantasy author living in the Cotswolds, UK. Loving history, myth and other worlds since she first learned to read, she has written fifteen epic fantasy novels so far. Her debut, The Thief’s Gamble, began The Tales of Einarinn in 1999, followed by The Aldabreshin Compass sequence, The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution, and The Hadrumal Crisis trilogy. The Green Man’s Heir was her first modern fantasy inspired by British folklore in 2018, and The Green Man’s Quarry in 2023 is the sixth title in this ongoing series. Her 2023 novel The Cleaving is a female-centred retelling of the story of King Arthur, while her shorter stories include forays into dark fantasy, steampunk and science fiction. She promotes SF&Fantasy by reviewing, by blogging on book trade issues, attending conventions and teaching creative writing. She has served as a judge for major genre awards. As J M Alvey, she has written historical murder mysteries set in ancient Greece.

3 thoughts on “Reading the UK sky using the Aldabreshin Compass.

  1. You realise that you’ve just made me REALLY want a sequel to the Aldabreshin Compass series?

    Darn you and your insidious ways…


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