To me it seems, that to catalog a star as a number is almost an insult. It stupefies the importance, the millions of mysteries hitherto ignored by mankind regarding that particular star. It’s not just a star you are labeling, but a complex system of planets, asteroids, comets, stars (if binary system) etc. The star in and of itself is worthy of the respect we pay to the sun itself. Without sunlight the world would be filled with darkness, without starlight the universe would be filled with darkness. Stars nourish the universe with life, they are the bringers of light in a universe cloaked in darkness. The universe is filled with a divine essence, we find the beauty of geometry and other mathematics from the grandest of scales down to the smallest subatomic particles (even if things get rather odd at such small levels). The universe itself is governed by laws only recently (and largely still not) understood by man, which are sacred and for all intents and purposes- eternal and universal laws. The macro universe moves like clockwork, nothing moves beyond it’s assigned path. Like the atom is to the micro universe, so to is the star to the macro universe. It is the essential element from which the universe itself is built. Without atoms the universe would be stranger beyond comprehension, if there was nothing to replace the atom, the universe would appear largely empty (no pun intended (gold foil experiment)). If it weren’t for stars there would be no light, and the universe would be cloaked in darkness. The ancients speculated about the nature of stars, but few philosophers and great thinkers of their time had the sacred realization that stars are other suns! But the sun itself was seen as an object truly worthy of respect and sometimes even worship. Akhenaten, the Egyptian pharaoh who ruled from ~1353-1336 BC disregarded the traditional (for all intents and purposes) polytheistic religion which had dominated Egypt for thousands of years and instead chose what he saw as the one true thing worthy of his praise- the sun which he called the Aten. On the cliffs of the city of the sun (Amarna) he had etched a poem of praise to honor the sun for all it’s glory and splendor:
“You arise beauteous in the horizon of the heavens
Oh living Aten who creates life.
When you shine forth in the Eastern horizon you fill every land with your beauty.
You are so beautiful: you are great; gleaming and high over every land.
Your rays embrace the lands and all you have created;
You are Re and reach out to all your creations, and hold them for your beloved Son.
You are afar, but your rays touch the earth;
Men see you, but know not your ways.
When you set in the Western horizon of the sky
The earth is in darkness like the dead.
People sleep in their rooms with covered heads;
They do not see each other.
If all their possessions were stolen
They would know it not.
Every lion leaves its lair;
All snakes bite;
Darkness covers all.
The world is silent
For the creator rests in his horizon.
When you rise from the horizon the earth grows bright;
You shine as the Aten in the sky and drive away the darkness;
When your rays gleam forth, the whole of Egypt is festive.
People wake and stand on their feet
For you have lifted them up.
They wash their limbs and take up their clothes and dress;
They raise their arms to you in adoration.
Then the whole of the land does its work;
All cattle enjoy their pastures,
Trees and plants grow green,
Birds fly up from their nests
And raise their wings in praise of your spirit.
Goats frisk on their feet,
And all fluttering and flying things come alive
Because you shine on them.
Boats sail up and downstream,
All ways are opened because you have appeared.
The fish in the river leap up to you
Your rays are in the deep of the sea.
You are the creator of the issue in woman,
The seed in men;
You give life to the son in his mother’s womb
Soothing him so he does not cry
Oh nurse within the womb.
You give the breath of life to all your creations
From the day they are born.
You open their mouths and give them sustenance.
To the chick that cries “tweet” while still in the egg
You give breath in the shell to let him live,
And make the time for him to break the shell
And come out of the egg at the moment for him to chirp
And patter on his two feet.
How manifold are your works: they are secret from our sight
Oh unique god, no other is like you.
You made the earth after your own heart
When you were alone. All men, herds
And flocks, all on the earth that goes on its feet;
and all that is in the sky and flies with its wings.
The land of Egypt, the foreign lands of Syria and Nubia too –
You put every man in his place and fulfil his needs;
Each one with his sustenance and the days of his life counted,
Their language is different,
And they look different;
Their complexions are different,
For you have distinguished the nations.
You make the seasons to bring into being all your creatures;
Winter to cool them,
And the heat of summer to come from you.
You have made the sky afar off
So when you rise you can see all you have made.
You alone rise in the form of the living Aten
Shining afar, yet close at hand.
You make millions of forms out of you alone,
Towns and villages, fields, roads and river.
All eyes see you before them
For you are the Aten of the day, over all the earth.
You are in my heart and none other knows thee
But your son “Akhenaten”;
You have given him understanding of your designs and your power.
The people of the world are in your hand
Just as you have created them.
All men since you have made the earth you have raised for your son
Who came forth from your body,
The King of Egypt who lives in truth,
Lord of Diadems, Akhenaten, whose life is long:
And for his beloved wife
Mistress of Two Lands, NefernefruatenNefertiti
May she live and flourish in eternity.”
Thus I say once more that it is disrespectful to label a sun as a mere number. I imagine that our son is labeled as something like HIP 294038927 in some alien language, a mere speck in an ocean of light. Of course I realize the logistics of cataloging stars with actual names, we’d quite literally run out of words and word combinations! But I cannot stress the importance of respecting the sacred essence of those distant suns. God only knows how many poems and praises have been written to the Aten’s of the intelligent extraterrestrial beings which (as logic would dictate) dominate the heavens.