While many of us are being advised or in some cases ordered to stay at home (which I support by the way because I believe in working together and protecting the most vulnerable), if you have the opportunity to safely get some fresh air and observe the night sky without endangering yourself or others (perhaps by walking through the quiet streets after sundown or even making your way to a local park), there are some glorious views of mythologically-important constellations visible at this time of year.
Here in my part of California we have been getting some much-needed rain, which of course means cloudy skies and limited stargazing opportunities, but tonight the sky suddenly opened up to reveal some breathtaking stars, and since the moon just passed through the point of New Moon (early in the morning on March 24) the moon is following very close behind the sun and the very thin new crescent sets not long after the sun sets in the west.
Above is an image of the skies to the south, southwest, and west, from the point of view of an observer in the northern hemisphere at about latitude 35 north, at a time of about ten o'clock p.m. for March 26. Wherever you are on the planet, when it is about ten p.m. in your local time zone you will be facing the same direction in the sky, although depending on your latitude north or south of the equator, the above stars will be higher or lower relative to the horizon (I've drawn in the horizon with a purple line).
And of course observers in the southern hemisphere will see the orientation of the constellations to be inverted from the above image (as the south celestial pole will be above their heads and thus "up," whereas here in the northern hemisphere we have the north celestial pole above our heads and thus "up").
Orion absolutely dominates the western sky as he sinks towards the western horizon. The above star-chart from Stellarium.org shows Orion as larger than most surrounding constellations, but does not give the true impression of just how huge Orion will look if you are able to go outside and see the night sky in person at this time of the evening this time of year. The constellation is not completely vertical, but is "angling downwards" as Orion travels along its arc towards the west.
Following close behind Orion you will also easily make out the constellation of Canis Major, the Big Dog, which at this time of year appears to be oriented just the way an actual large dog would be standing (horizontal, rather than vertical the way Canis Major is often oriented in the sky, as if rising upwards out of the horizon the way we often see Canis Major). Note that all descriptions are given from point of view of an observer in the northern hemisphere, with regard to orientation of the constellations.
The brilliant star Sirius is included in the constellation Canis Major and will be unmistakable.
On the other side of Orion from Sirius and Canis Major you can see the beautiful "V" of the Hyades, which forms the "jawbone" of the Bull of Taurus. In the star-chart above, you can see the label that says "Taurus," and above that word you see the "V" of stars that forms the head of Taurus, with the bright orange star Aldebaran at the tip of the left branch of that "V" (brighter stars are shown as being larger in the star-chart above, so Aldebaran is that largest star in the outlined part of Taurus, straight above the letters "TA" in the word "Taurus" as labeled here).
Continuing to the west from the V-shaped Hyades of Taurus (towards the right, as we face the star-chart above) you can also make out the beautiful Pleiades, which are seen in the star-chart above just over a large tree on the horizon, and which you can see in the sky by continuing in a line from Orion's shoulder through the V-shaped Hyades and then onto the Pleiades about equidistant beyond the Hyades from Orion.
You can also confirm the location of the Pleiades by looking below the twisted foot of the constellation Perseus. Perseus is a very bright constellation and distinctive in outline, and plays an important role in a great many myths (including of course the myth of Perseus, but associated with many other mythical figures in many other stories as well).
Standing straight up (not how we usually observe them) above the constellation Orion this time of year you can also see the important zodiac constellation of Gemini. Look up from Orion's upper shoulder (the shoulder indicated by the star Betelgeuse).
There are many other important constellations nearby as well, such as those marked in the chart above. The constellation Cancer is faint and can be difficult to locate, but it is well worth doing so in order to observe the dazzling Beehive cluster, which has been discussed in many previous blog posts.
Just a small sampling of previous posts discussing some of the many important aspects of these constellations in the world's ancient wisdom preserved in the myths, see for instance:
Additionally, I am convinced that many of these constellations feature prominently in myths which point us towards the recovery of our connection to our essential self, from whom we become alienated due to trauma, as explained by healers and teachers such as Dr. Gabor Mate and Dr. Peter Levine.
Some of these myths about the recovery of the self involve the ordeals of Odysseus on his long journey home, as well as the story of Castor and Polydeuces (referenced in the above post on the Dioscuri), and even the story of Samson -- all of which ancient myths have important connections to the constellations visible in the chart above.
I hope that if you have the ability to do so you can make your way outside to a place where you can see the stars this time of year.
Below is the same star-chart as that shown above, but without inverting the colors or adding outlines and labels: