Although commonly known as shooting stars, that light that you see streaking across the sky at night actually has nothing to do with stars. Instead, it is a small chunk of rock from space that is hurtling towards Earth. These small chunks, or meteoroids, start to burn up under the intense heat and pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere and turn into meteors. So what are commonly called shooting stars are actually meteors hurtling towards Earth.
Luckily, these meteors are usually harmless. Approximately 90 to 95% of them completely burn up in the atmosphere. On average, the other 5 to 10% that do not completely burn up usually lose around 95% of their original mass. The little bit that ends up hitting the ground in these cases are called meteorites, and most of the time, they are smaller than your closed fist. In rare cases, they can make a huge impact, which is what likely happened to cause the mass extinction of dinosaurs.
Shooting stars: meaning in the bible
According to The Christian Bible, stars will begin to simply fall out of the sky at the end of the world. Does this mean every time that there is a meteor shower, the world is ending? Of course not. However, many Christians believe that at the end of times, we may end up seeing a lot of falling stars, as well as the other prophecies in The Bible. It cannot be said that this is true or false, but it is a possibility for sure.
The more common shooting stars may mean something else, though, according to some Biblical scholars. Some have hypothesized that it can serve as a daily reminder that the Earth is just a speck in a vast, vast universe. Religion aside, Earth is obviously just a small speck when compared to the size of the entire universe, and we can all agree that it is a very important speck (or at least, very important to all of us). Christians would likely go even further to say that the Earth is so important that God sent his only son to save the people that inhabit this place.
Other sermons on the topic have called them a symbol of God’s inner light. As we see the lights streak across the sky, although fleeting, it can remind us that God’s light shines over all kingdoms. According to the book of Isiah in The Bible, the light of Christ shines over all peoples in all kingdoms, and shooting stars obviously shine over all people all the time since they can occur anywhere in the world.
One thing that can be agreed upon by most Christians is that stars, including streaking ones, does not determine one’s personality or destiny. The Bible rejects horoscopes and astrology, and many Christians would say that they are simply a pagan tradition and that they do not have any real bearing on people.
Explaining shooting stars: The mythology point of view
Each set of falling stars have their own mythological meanings in different cultures. Furthermore, each culture has a different interpretation of shooting stars in general. With their own specific beliefs, there are so many variations that it would be impossible to cover completely.
In fact, entire books could give only a cursory brief on many of the finer details, so here is a general overview of the relationship between meteor showers and mythology.
One of the annual meteor showers is Perseids, which comes in the summer (typically late July to mid-August). As you might be able to guess from the name, it is named after Perseus from Greek mythology. Perseus was able to fight and win a hand to hand against monsters that were said to be completely indestructible. One of the monsters that he vanquished was Medusa (think hair of snakes that can turn people to stone.)
This shower is called the Perseids because it comes from the direction of the constellation of Perseus. The Greeks often believed that when meteor showers came around that it was an omen for something good or something bad that was soon to happen. In this case, the Perseids were a signal that a great figure that could triumph over anything would be born during the month and a half long shower.
One common thing to do when seeing a shooting star in popular culture is to make a wish. Many cultures actually had this as a tradition before it became widespread and some of those traditions still carry on today. For example, if you have been struggling with your finances lately, some people have been known to say “money, money, money,“ and if you do it before the star has fully burned out, your wallet will be overflowing.
Others suggest that holding or sticking a rag over your face during a meteor shower can help with acne. Do these methods work? We don’t know it for sure, but it could not hurt to try.
Spirituality and falling stars
While the scientific explanation of shooting stars is straightforward, there may be a complex meaning to them. According to some, every meteor that is seen has some sort of spiritual explanation, and you were meant to see them. They may tell you something about your past, inform you about the present, or predict something in the future, and depending on who is asked, that meaning may be different.
Many philosophers of the past have had their views on shooting stars, which probably does not come as a shock to you. However, there are still many people that have many thoughts on them today. Some of these thoughts do not actually involve falling stars, but instead when you dream of them.
It is generally agreed upon that the spiritual meaning of dreaming of shooting stars means focusing on a long term goal, subconsciously. Depending on what you are doing in the dream, it may signal that you are proud of yourself or that you are not working hard/fast enough.
Shooting stars in the real world may suggest something else spiritually. For example, how do you feel when you see a shooting star? For most people, it is a positive feeling. It makes them happy or wishing hopefully. According to spiritual guides, these meteor showers may be sent to you to make you feel this way.
They say that it should be used as a reminder to stop and take a breath and reflect on what you want out of life and your hopes. They also say that it symbolizes a part of us breaking off from the rest, taking its moment to shine and the glory/recognition that may come with it.
How likely are you to see a shooting star?
Shooting stars can be seen at any time of the year. However, there are times where it is more common. Meteor showers may occur several times in a year and often come due to pieces of rock breaking off a comet as it passes the sun. When this happens, you may be able to see up to hundreds in a single hour.
These meteor showers are usually named based on the constellation in the direction that it appears the meteors are coming from, and common ones include the Perseids and Leonids. So if you are looking up at the sky enough, you are almost certain to see a few shooting stars yourself, but they are definitely easier to see in areas without a lot of light pollution.