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Cultures > China

:: 2200 BC - PRESENT

Cultural Background | Surviving | Living in Community | Finding Meaning in the Cosmos

Finding Meaning in the Cosmos

The Chinese closely watched the movement of the stars and planets because they believed that these bodies in the sky represented the rulers of their land on Earth.

The emperor was compared to Polaris, the North Star, which was the star always visible in the sky. According to one myth, the emperor was said to be born from the light and energy of the North Star falling on his mother. The other stars in the sky represented the Chinese workers who circled the emperor just as the stars circled the North Star.

Other members of the ruling family were said to be represented by other stars in the sky. Astrologers watched their movements and then predicted the future of their Chinese counterparts. If a star became dim in the sky, it was seen as a sign that the person it represented would have hard times in the future or might never be chosen to rule the country.

The information astrologers learned from the sky was kept secret from most of the country. Astrologers were under orders not to tell anyone but their rulers what the stars told them would happen because the rulers wanted to keep this important knowledge private. If the astrologer's predictions had been told to the public, the royal family's enemies might have learned how and when the Chinese rulers would be most in danger of attack.

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Learn more about stars and constellations and how astronomy influenced mythology.

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