Humans began exploring the universe, observing natural phenomena, the movements of stars and their paths, and formulating their knowledge and beliefs based on these observations. Jordanians, like other peoples in the Levant and Arabia, were interested in stars, planets, and their appearance and paths. The desert climate played a significant role in this interest. The desert sky is free from clouds for most days of the year, allowing the stars to shine bright and clear, unobscured by clouds or fog. Additionally, the hot climate of the desert compelled the people of the desert and caravans and armies to travel at night to escape the scorching heat of the sun. They would traverse vast distances in the darkness of the night, guided by the stars and planets. People have recognized that certain stars rise at certain times and others disappear. Each time has seasonal conditions and changes that accompany it, such as cold and heat, rain and wind, winter and summer. They began to connect the rising of those stars and what accompanies them with weather changes. Some people used the rising of some stars as indicators of seasons and periods, others attributed some changes in weather conditions to the stars and planets themselves. In general, inhabitants on the Levant benefited from the movement of stars in the sky and their rise and setting times in determining time, seasons, and their respective climates. For example, certain stars appear at times when the heat or cold intensifies, while others correspond to the start of a specific season. They also utilized the paths of stars in the sky to determine directions, as will be revealed later.

The people of the desert and rural areas in the Levant and Arabia, including Jordan, continue to take care of their interests, graze their livestock, manage their agriculture, and recognize the times of the beginning and ends of seasons in accordance with their own perception of universe. They navigate through the deserts guided by the stars and their positions in the sky. It is even the case that there are still those who can recognize the times of the year, such as the onset of the rainy season, midwinter, the arrival of summer, the approach of the hunting season, and the migration of birds by observing the stars.

The major stars known at the rural and Bedouin societies in Jordan
Some of the most important stars recognized and used by them to determine the seasons and their phases are:

i. The Star of Al-Thurayya (= The Pleiades)
Al-Thurayya is in reality a cluster of stars and not a single star. It is one of the most famous stars that the Arabs relied on to determine the seasons by its conjunction with the moon. It is one of the lunar mansions where the moon descends once every month. For example, the conjunction of Al-Thurayya with the moon on the seventeenth night of the lunar month indicates the middle of autumn and the arrival of winter, while its conjunction with the moon on the eleventh night indicates the arrival of midwinter. Its absence in the evening indicates the approaching end of spring, and its rising at dawn indicates the arrival of summer, and so on.
ii. The star of Al-Shi’raa (= Sirius)
It is a very bright star, and its rising at dawn indicates the intensification of summer heat and coincides with the arrival of the month of August. On the other hand, its rising after sunset indicates the entrance of the month of February and the intensification of cold and frost.
iii. The Star of Suhail (= Canopus)
It is one of the beloved stars to the Arabs, and it is called Suhail Al-Yamani or Al-Bashir Al-Yamani because its rising heralds the end of the heat and the moderation of the weather in the desert. So the rising of Suhail indicates the entrance of autumn.

The lunar Mansions
The lunar mansions are twenty-eight in number, and each mansion is either a single star or a group of stars. Each mansion rises in the east at dawn every thirteen nights and sets in the west opposite another mansion. By their rising, the seasons of the year are known as follows:

Knowledge of Times of the seasons and the Phases of the Moon:
i. Summer
The summer season begins approximately with the rising of Al Thurrayya in the seventh of June each year, and ends with the rising of the star of Suhail, at the beginning of September.
ii. Autumn
The autumn season begins with the rising of the star of Al Jabhah (= Nu Scorpii), which corresponds approximately to the sixth of September, and ends with the rising of the cluster stars of the Wreath of Al ‘Aqrab (Scorpion).
iii. Winter
The winter season begins with the rising of the cluster stars of the wreath of Al Aqrab, approximately on the seventh of December, and ends with the rising of the star Sa’ad Al S’oud (= Beta Aquarii = Sadalsuud).
iv. Spring
The spring season begins approximately on the eighth of March when the star Sa’ad Al S’oud enters, and ends with the rising of the star of Al Thurrayya.

v. Ways to determine the seasons through stars. It
a. The Sign of the Start of Autumn:
If the stars of Al Thurrayya are in the middle of the sky at dawn, autumn begins, and the nights become cooler.
b. The Signs of the Onset of Al Wasim (Marker or Season)
Marking the middle of autumn is done when the star of Al-Shi’raa aligns with the star of Suhail at dawn. This means that it becomes vertically aligned above Sirius. This is an indication of the onset of Al Wasim (Marker) the second half of autumn.
c. Sign of the Onset of Spring:
The onset of the spring is marked by the aligning of the star of Al-Shi’raa with the star of Suhail at sunset. This indicates the coming of spring.
d. Sign of the Approach of the End of Spring:
The absence of the Cluster of the Al Thurryya stars at the dark times indicates the coming of the spring.

Knowledge of Worship Times
Worship times in the day and night are determined based on available indications of the entry of those times as follows:
i. Fajr prayer time: The time of Fajr prayer is known when dawn breaks and the darkness of the night begins to fade. Some use the rising of the morning star (Venus) as an indication of Fajr nearing, especially if it rises from the east at dawn.
ii. Dhuhr prayer time: The time of Dhuhr prayer is known when the shadow of an object reaches its shortest length and then begins to extend.
iii. ‘Asr prayer time: The time of ‘Asr prayer is known when the length of an object’s shadow becomes equal to its own length and starts to extend. It ends with the approach of sunset.
iv. Maghrib prayer time: It is known by the setting of the sun.
v. ‘Isha prayer time: It is known by the disappearance of twilight in the western horizon and the arrival of complete darkness at night.

Traveling in the Desert and Navigating with the Sun and Stars.
These are among the most important stars that Arabs used to determine directions:
i. The Star Al-Jedy (= Capricorn):
The Capricon star is the first guide, the most prominent reference, and the eternal compass that never fails due to its uniqueness among the other stars in the sky. Its location in the northern part of the sky, above the pole center, remains almost constant compared to other stars. This unique characteristic made it a fixed reference point for travelers, as it always indicates the direction of the North.
i. The Star Suhail (= Canopus)
Arabs used to determine the direction towards Yemen when they observed the rising of the star Suhail. Therefore, they called it “Suhail Al-Yamani”. Many travelers, especially those heading south, often used the star Suhail to determine their direction, even though it does not appear at all times during the year. The rising of the star Suhail indicates the direction of the Qibla (Mecca) for the people of Jordan and some countries in the Levant.
ii. Banat Na’ish (The Big Dipper or Ursa Major):
This constellation indicates the northeast or northwest direction depending on its position.
iii. Al ‘Aqrab (The Scorpio):
Its rising indicates the southeast direction, and its setting indicates the southwest direction. When it is at its highest point in the sky, it is located in the southern part of the celestial dome, and its head points towards the west.

Determining Directions through Observing Star Locations and their Paths
The travelers’ orientations and roads at night can be easily determined by distinguishing the Capricorn star from other stars, the traveler can determine their direction. Facing the Capricorn star indicates a northern direction and turning away from it indicates a southern direction. Placing it on the left side of the traveler indicates an eastern direction, and on the right side indicates a western direction. Additionally, there are some stars known by the Arabs that they use to determine directions.

The legendry heritage and Stars:
The Arab heritage is rich in beliefs and myths that are related to stars and planets. Some of these take the form of religious beliefs and have their own rituals, while others are narrated in the form of stories or legends for entertainment or to interpret cosmic phenomena and weather conditions. Some of these stories include:
i. The legend of the Daughters of Na’ash and Suhail
“Daughters of Na’ash” is an Arabic term referring to the seven major stars in the constellation Ursa Major. According to the legend, the star Al-Jedy (Capricorn) killed the father of these daughters, and they carry their father’s casket and revolve around the star Capella to avenge him. The Pleiades stars, known as the Pleiades (Al-Hawijzen), intervene and protect them from Al-Jedy.
ii. A Legend interpreting why the star Suhail does not Rise High in the Sky
It is believed that star Al Jedy (Capricorn) sought help from the star Suhail to protect it from the Daughters of Na’ash. The Star Suhail filled its bagpipes with water in preparation for the journey to help the star Al Jedy. However, on the way, Suhail empties its bagpipes of water, making it difficult for it to return and refill it with water again. It is said that Suhail repeats this process every night. This has become a proverb for someone who claims to offer help but is not sincere, it is said: “Like the help of Suhail to Al-Jedy.”

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