My research is within the field of cultural astronomy, and embraces five main themes.
Astrology in Culture
The study of contemporary and medieval astrology and its role in culture has been an ongoing research from the 1990s onwards. This has lead to several publications in the astrology practice by Galileo and his astrological philosophy. Additionally publications and lectures on the Biblical E on the Star of Bethlehem. See the publication page for these papers as well as the Youtube page for additional Star of Bethlehem work.
In this area my PhD (2011) was on the role of fate within the practice of contemporary astrology.
I also explore the role of ancient astrology in contemporary life. To see more on this topic as well as information on fixed stars and horoscopes then visit the archive of the Visual Astrology newsletters here. You can also look at all the lecture material on Astro Logos Ltd web site here. Or for Youtube lectures on fixed stars, Starlight and visual astrology click here.
Since the early 1990s I have worked on unpacking and then considering star phases in sky mythology and ancient text.
This work considers the nature of a star’s relationship to the horizon and how it is dependent on the phase type to which the star belongs. Stars that belong to the phase type of Arising and Laying Hidden, will touch the horizon by rising and setting and produce two points on the horizon, one of disappearance and another of reappearance. In contrast, other stars which belong to the phase type of Curtailed Passage will touch the horizon marking places of ascent to the heavens and descent to earth. The cultural relevance of these two different types of ways that the stars engage with the horizon can be a part of the visual vocabulary of different people. A particular focus on this work is in Ancient Egyptian cultural astronomy. See the publication page for published works in this area.
This area of work overlaps with my star phasing research and considers the sky dynamics of a particular landscape. It includes:
The Welsh Monastic Skyscapes project and ongoing publications on the role of the sun in the orientation of Cistercian abbey’s of Britain and the island of Ireland.
The medieval churches of North Wales. In the north of Wales, there are 105 churches that have stonework dated to the thirteenth century or earlier. Of these, only twelve are oriented to face the summer solstice sunrise. Additionally these twelve churches however all engage with their mountainous landscapes in a unique manner.
The Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi is one of a collection of ancient stories focused on the mythological past of Wales. Karen Bek-Pedersen (2013, p.287) argued that the stories of the Fourth Branch, ‘contain intriguing details potentially pertaining to ancient cosmological ideas’. This paper is forth coming and considers the role of star phasing plus the struggle to link the solar agriculture year with that of the lunar calendar.
Egyptian Cultural Astronomy
This is a key area of my research interests and includes the influence of star phasing and skyscape philosophy within the astronomy of Ancient Egypt.
Past research has been on the star phasing contained within the ascension myth of the king, from the Pyramid Text and my current work is on the the ‘curled figure’ as shown in four ceiling schemes from the Ptolemaic-Roman period.
Fixed Stars in Astrology – by the turning of the earth
My astrological work is focused into restoring the place of fixed stars in astrological thought. My focused is on using parans, the original way that stars were used to understand life on earth.
Using this method has lead to the development of the software Starlight as well as a redefining of the cultural meanings of the stars based on their mythology. This work is reflected in my books on fixed stars and the report ‘Stories from the Stars’ from Astrodeinst. You can watch a short YouTube by Bernadette on this topic if you click here.
Once a year I run a Star School for Astro Logos where these methods are taught.