Lake Tyrrell by Alex Cherney Stargazer astrology Stella Woods

Stargazer astrology for October 2021 by Stella Woods

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Aboriginal astronomy

The First Nations cultures of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, stretch back over 65,000 years, making theirs the oldest continuing culture in the world.

Aboriginal astronomy existed long before the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks. Long before Galileo, the Renaissance, or the Enlightenment. Their astronomy forms the foundation of stories passed down the generations for tens of thousands of years via song, dance, visual, and oral tradition.

The Boorong night sky

Those lucky enough to have visited north-west Victoria, with its majestic deserts and bright blue skies, will have experienced the wonders of the cosmos, as the sun sets and the darkening sky lights up with thousands of beautiful stars. 

Archaeological evidence shows this area of Australia has been occupied for at least 30-40,000 years. Prior to white settlement, over one thousand generations of Boorong people inhabited the Mallee country, priding themselves on their expert knowledge of astronomy and stargazing. Their name, Boorong, means ‘darkness’ or ‘night’, and for them the sky was a metaphor for life on earth. Like other indigenous peoples, the Boorong created a giant map of their land in the night sky, using it to teach tribal law and mythology; track the seasons, observe weather patterns; identify food gathering and hunting periods; and pass on ancestral wisdom.

Lake Tyrrell – space and sky

Image: Lake Tyrrell, Alex Cherney

Lake Tyrrell by Alex Cherney

In the 1840s, a young English settler named William Stanbridge arrived in the Mallee and camped with the Boorong at Lake Tyrrell in northwest Victoria. ‘Tyrille’, or ‘Direl’ in the local Wergaia language, means ‘space’ or ‘sky’. Lake Tyrrell is a shallow, salt-crusted lake, and on clear moonless nights acts as a gigantic mirror reflecting the stars. Those standing by the lake have a magical feeling of floating in space.

The Boorong shared their stories with Stanbridge, pointing out over forty stars, planets, and constellations, and recounting myths passed down the generations. Fascinated by their detailed knowledge of cosmology, the young man wrote down the names of their constellations. In 1857 he presented his findings to a philosophical society in Melbourne.

The astonishment that I felt, as I sat by a little campfire, with a few boughs for shelter, on a large plain, listening for the first time to Aboriginals, speaking of Yurree Wanjel, Larnan-kurrk, Kulkan-bulla, as they pointed to these beautiful stars. –William Stanbridge, Lake Tyrrell, Victoria 1847

Legacies lost

Sadly, by the time Stanbridge gave his Melbourne lecture, the Boorong people and their thousand generations of culture and knowledge had been almost completely wiped out by white settlement. Today, few traces of their legacy remain, though the small settlement of Boorongie, north-west of Lake Tyrrell and several other towns in north-west Victoria are named after the Boorong constellations, recorded by Stanbridge 175 years ago.

In the early 1990s, John Morieson came across Stanbridge’s work and embarked on a journey to identify the constellations he described. The project took over two years. Morieson worked with David Mowaljarli, a Ngarinyin elder from the Kimberley and former member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Mowaljarli was keen to share his sacred knowledge, for the sake of future generations. Both men are now deceased, but we owe them a huge debt for creating a living record of the rich Boorong cosmology.

Here are just a few of their stories.


Image: Mallee Kangaroo by Sean Mack

Mallee Kangaroo by Sean Mack

According to the Boorang, the Nurrumbunguttias were the original race who once inhabited earth but now live up in the sky as planets, stars and constellations. They have special spiritual powers and are the source of everything. ‘Warring’ is the smoke from their campfires, known to us as ‘The Milky Way’.

The Nurrumbunguttias earthly counterpart is the Mallee kangaroo. The apron of fur extending from the kangaroo’s nose and under each cheek down to its chest resembles the long grey beards of the elders. In the Wergaia language “Nurrumbut” means ‘old man’.


Gnowee is the Boorong name for the sun – an emu egg cast into space by Pupperimbul, a small bird, to banish darkness from the earth. Because of her life-giving qualities, Gnowee is female, providing warmth and light to help plants grow and animals thrive.


Chargee Gnowee (Venus) is sister to the sun and appears as both the morning and evening star. She is the wife of Ginabongbearp (Jupiter) and like her husband, travels alone across the night sky. Chargee Gnowee (Venus) is seven times brighter than Ginabongbearp (Jupiter).


Ginabongbearp (Jupiter) is chief of the Nurrumbunguttias. He travels the same path across the sky as his wife Chargee Gnowee (Venus), but takes a full twelve years to circle the sun.
Though Ginabongbearp travels alone, he is so bright that, on a clear night, he resembles a white cockatoo against the dense green of the forest.

Ginabongbearp means “foot of day” or “pulling up daylight”. The screech of the white, sulphur-crested cockatoo can be heard at sunrise throughout the Mallee. When arriving at a stranger’s camp, those carrying or wearing a white cockatoo feather come in peace.



Warepil, the brightest star in the night sky (Sirius) has as his earthly counterpart the wedge-tailed eagle, Australia’s largest bird. Along with Ginabongbearp (Jupiter), Warepil is chief of the Nurrumbunguttias.

The wedge-tailed eagle soars high overhead by day, but by night turns into Warepil (Sirius) travelling across the night sky. Warepil appears an hour or two before dawn in midwinter in the eastern sky and can still be seen in the western sky for an hour or two after sunset. In the summer months he flies directly overhead at midnight.



War (Canopus) is the brother of Warepil (Sirius) and the first to bring fire down from space and give it to the people. And War is the second brightest star in the sky after Warepil. His earthly counterpart is the crow.

A straight line drawn from Warepil through War down to the horizon points directly south. War can be seen in the sky the whole year round but hides behind the trees from July to September, the months when crows lay their eggs.



The ringtail possum, Bunya has its head coinciding with the top star in the Southern Cross. The cross is the tree that Bunya runs up for safety.

If you’d like to find out more about the secrets of Boorong cosmology visit:

Sun-Mars conjunction in Libra – fighting for fairness

Every two years, the Sun, symbol of light and life, meets up with Mars, planet of passion and willpower, propelling us into a new two-year cycle of adventure and achievement. Think of the Sun as Chairman of the Board, and Mars as the CEO. When they work together, they form a dynamic duo and extraordinary achievements are possible.

This special astronomical event takes place in early October with the Sun and Mars joining forces in air sign Libra for the first time since 2006. Although the Sun and Mars are feisty, egotistical planets, Libra is the sign of relationship, harmony, balance and cooperation. Some keywords for Libra are unselfishness, flexibility, gentleness, artistic creativity, compromise and mediation. Sun-Mars in Libra means using our passion and willpower to create a fairer world. And with Mercury conjunct the Sun and Mars, there’s a focus on clear, honest communication.

Positive use of Sun-Mars energy in Libra

  • Respecting partners, friends and family
  • Fighting for fairness, social justice and equal opportunity
  • Embracing truth, justice and integrity
  • Sharing knowledge and ideas
  • Tackling racism and other forms of injustice
  • Better work-life balance
  • Support for those who bring music, art, culture, pleasure and beauty into our lives
  • Striving for more cooperative relationships and partnerships (personal and business)
  • Learning to compromise and find the middle ground
  • Practising unselfishness, consideration and kindness
  • Speaking up for those who cannot defend themselves
  • Consciously changing the way you think

What the Sun-Mars conjunction means for you

The Sun-Mars conjunction will play out in a different way for each person, based on where it falls in your birth chart. Using the solar house system, you can look up your star sign in the table below and see which area of your life will be most affected. For example, Aries can expect a renewed focus on relationships, while for Capricorns, the arena is business and career.

If you have a more detailed knowledge of the astrological houses, you can also check the exact house position of 15-16º Libra in your birth chart and expect new beginnings in this part of life as well. For example, if the Sun-Mars conjunction falls in your fourth house (home), you might decide to buy a new home or renovate, and if it’s in your sixth house (health), you might start training for a triathlon.

2021 Sun-Mars conjunction by star sign

Star sign

Area of life affected

New beginnings / fresh energy



New relationships, new business partners or creative change in existing relationships.



New work environment; different approach to diet, health and fitness; healing chronic health problems; getting a new pet.




Creativity goes into overdrive. Fun, adventure and flirtation. Great time to conceive a child or discover your inner child.



Focus on creating a dream home and building close family relationships. Renovating, decorating, buying property.





New visions and ideas; closer connection with neighbours, siblings, cousins and community; writing projects.



New ways of earning and managing money. New sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Change in values and the kind of people you spend time with.


The Self/Identity

Reach for the stars. Seize the day. Just do it. The universe is right behind you and your dreams this year.


Inner World

Inner peace; time alone; creative ideas and insight; getting rid of old stuff through emotional and physical decluttering.




An exciting social life with new friends. More involvement with community groups. Networking opportunities abound.


Career/Public Image

Promotions, pay rises, new jobs, new careers or even starting up your own business.



Book your dream holiday; expand your horizons with a new study course or overseas trip; write your blog.


Investments/Joint Ventures

Successful investment planning; new share portfolio; joint ventures and partnerships, new ways of managing debt.

Mars mission faces communication blackout as sun blocks red planet

Image: Mars opposite Sun by NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mars opposite Sun by NASA/JPL-Caltech

If you’re thinking the Sun-Mars conjunction is merely an astrological or symbolic phenomenon; NASA has announced it is pausing its robotic Mars exploration efforts from 2nd–16th October as the red planet passes behind the sun.

On 7th October Mars will reach a position in its orbit known as ‘solar conjunction’, which happens every two years. During solar conjunction, the sun’s hot outer atmosphere, or corona, tends to disrupt interplanetary communications with NASA’s deep space explorers – two rovers, one lander, and the Ingenuity helicopter, all based on Mars.

But no need to panic. Some of the NASA robots are monitoring the weather, while Perseverance Rover has found a good parking spot between two dunes and a rock outcrop to rest up during the communication hiatus! 

This diagram depicts the relative positions of Mars, Earth and the sun as Mars passes almost directly behind the sun from the perspective of Earth. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mercury direct – clarity and new direction

From our earthly viewpoint, every four months communication planet Mercury turns retrograde, reminding us that, despite our best efforts, we are not always in control of day-to-day affairs. Mercury will be travelling backwards through air sign Libra until the 19th October, disrupting our daily lives, pushing us to deal with unfinished business, delivering home truths and revealing hidden or buried emotions.

When Mercury is retrograde it’s best to be patient and go with the flow, but that’s not always easy and frustration can easily build up. In the final week of October, Mercury changes direction, starts picking up speed and moving forward again. We can now make sense of the events of the past few weeks and tie up all those loose ends.


Stella Woods is an astrology teacher, writer and consultant. Contact Stella at or or 

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