from THE AUTHOR​​​​


     I am glad you chose to visit this page because here you will find additional information to enhance your reading of   Children of the Sky and news about what is happening above us.  I look forward to any comments or questions you might have.  

+Von Del Chamberlain+​​​​
Contact Von Del
The years 2020 and 2021 offer you a rare opportunity to see in the sky the primary phenomena that lie at the foundation of the rich Skidi Pawnee traditions expressed throughout Children of the Sky. You will need to wait many years to see this again. The author hopes that readers will watch especially for the items listed below.
The Pawnee “New Year” opens in early February when the Swimming Ducks(tail of Scorpius) can be seen before dawn light washes them from view. At that time the Council of Chiefsstands near the zenith and at eventide The Family(Pleiades) stand near the zenith.  This year also opens with Oopihdee-koochoo(Mars) in the dawn sky along with His two bothers (Jupiter and Saturn). Watch how these three planets migrate around, coming into conjunctions throughout the month of March. Also, keep watch on Choopihdit-tahkah(Venus) in the western evening sky. Think about the relationships of Venus and Mars depicted in Children of the Sky as you continue to watch these things throughout the coming months.


During February you will see Choopihdit-tahkahand The Familymove ever closer to each other. Please do not miss seeing Choopihdit-tahkahmove right through The Familyon April 2-3.This is a rare phenomenon, especially beautiful as seen with binoculars. Choopihdit-tahkahand The Familytogether seems to be shouting the important message that people should remain united as families, cultures and perhaps someday even as a global humanity.
Watch how Venus remains in the evening sky, then as it glides in its orbit between Earth and Sun, it will move quickly into the morning sky, rising before the Sun. Venus will be gone from the evening sky for many months, but you can find it brilliantly shining in the dawn.
Throughout the next several months watch Oopihdee-koochoo(Mars) get ever brighter, moving slowly westward while He also appears to get behind stars as if to drive them westward. Mars reaches opposition, rising at sunset, on October 13, 2020, standing brilliant and red throughout the night. From that point it swill lowly dim, rising earlier while steadily moving westward.
Keep on watching, as months go by, to find Mars moving into the western evening throughout the early months of 2021. Watch Venus slowly come back into the evening. Continue to watch this pair (parents of the first Skidi girl) migrate about and then come together. The climax of this symbolic manifestation of how, according to Skid tradition, humanity came into existence will occur 13 July 2021 with brilliant Choopihdit-tahkahand dim Oopihdee-koochooin close conjunction. Please don’t miss it.Binoculars will help.
As you watch, please think about everything you read in Children of the Sky.
+Von Del Chamberlain+​​​



I hope readers of Children of the Sky are continuing to watch Mars (Oopihdee-koochoo). He has reached the western evening sky in his migratory quest to be with his mate (Choopihdit-tahkah), but She is not there. What is most significant, however, is the fact that He is moving steadily toward conjunction with the Pleiades, passing just 3 degrees south of the cluster on March 31. Consider the significance of this to the story you are reading. The Pleiades, in the classic constellation Taurus, represents the most important concept of unity of family, tribe, indeed unity among all people.
Continue to watch the red warrior, conceptual father of the first human in Skidi Pawnee tradition, as He slowly dims lower and lower in the west until no longer visible. Continue to think about what this means in our story.

This is the month this year when we lose one of the primary characters of Children of the Sky from our visible sky.
At the start of the month, Choopihdit-Sky as(Venus) sets less than an hour after sunset. Moving in its orbit between Earth and Sun, it passes quickly from evening visibility into the morning sky. In terms of our story, Oopihdee-koochoo(Mars) will complete His epoch journey without fulfillment. He is bright now, but growing dimmer every night, as He continues to migrate westward. Watch as, night by night, He appears to get nearer to His brothers, Saturn and Jupiter. By the end of month Jupiter, too, will be nearly gone into the sunset glow. For more details click on the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar.


My readers are well aware of the significance of the associated directions NE, SW, SE, and NW with the World Quarter Stars, specific animals, nature’s seasons, seasons of life and the inter-cardinal posts, made of certain trees, holding up the mudlodge. If you check the glossary at the end of the book you will find my considered opinion as to the identity of the World Quarter Stars.  The month of May is an excellent time for northern hemisphere readers to make your own study of the relationships of these particular stars in the evening sky.

To begin, remember that the west side of the sky is associated with female powers and the east side with male powers. Thus the NW Yellow Star and the SW White Star are considered to be helpers of the Beautiful White Star of the west (Venus) who watches over the garden of life. The mates of these guardian stars, the SE Red Star and NE Black Star, support the Great Red Star (Mars).

If you begin your personal study of these stars in early May by looking to the SW, you will find Sirius in Canis Major (SW White Star), setting as the evening progresses. Sirius will be gone later in the month. Turning to the NE, you will find Vega (Black Star of the NE) rising. Now look to the NW and find Capella in Auriga (Yellow Star of the NW) moving lower toward the horizon as it gets later. The last of the World Quarter Stars to rise into the sky is Antares in Scorpius (SE Red Star); in early May you will need to wait awhile to see Antares rise, but by the end of the month it will be visible, as it gets dark. Try to imagine these four bright stars, when they are in these culturally associated directions, as though they are holding up the great dome of the sky-lodge we all live in.

I hope you will watch these four stars throughout the month of May and think about the things you read in Children of the Sky.  Be sure to include in your observations the planet Mars while it slowly moves into the feet of Gemini as the month continues. Day by day He is getting dimmer (weaker), in His prolonged migration to be with his mate (Venus) who now is off in the eastern morning sky before sunrise. He will not find the gratification He seeks this time.

FEBRUARY 2019 SKY NOTES​​​​​​​​​​​​​

I hope readers of Children of the Sky are following the celestial characters visible in our current sky as they read. Early February is a particularly important time in the old Pawnee calendar; indeed, we should think of it as the Pawnee New Year. This is portrayed numerous times throughout the book. Examples are: chapter 10 (page 95), chapter 13 (pages 114-115), chapter 34 (page 336), chapter 58 (page 515), and chapter 68 (page 601). If you are located near mid-northern latitudes, you can go outside and see the clues that were so important to the Skidi Pawnee for beginning the seasonal round of ceremonies and associated activities. This was when hunters away from the villages on the winter buffalo hunt returned home and everyone began working to prepare for the annual round of ceremonies that included planting crops and many other things critical to survival and enjoyable living.
So, here are the clues visible in the early February sky to initiate these most important New Year activities. The stars known as the Swimming Ducks become barely visible just before the light of dawn obscured them from view. When these stars were seen, the people knew that ducks of the air would soon be migrating northward. The Swimming Ducks are the stars marking the tail of the classical constellation Scorpius. They rise considerably south of east. Within a few days, as the month of February continues, these stars become easy to see in the clear dawn.
Here is another celestial feature the Skidi used to confirm the arrival of the beginning of spring. With the Swimming Ducks appearing low down in the southeast, the stars they called the Chief’s Council were easy to see almost directly overhead. These are the stars known worldwide as Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, along with a few other nearby stars.
Finally, another easy way to confirm this time of year is to look high overhead as it gets dark in the evening. Find that tiny bunch of stars referred to in our story as “The Family,” known everywhere nowadays as the Pleiades. This tightly bound bunch of stars is easy to see in high-quality country skies, but, sadly, they are becoming difficult to see for most people today who live within the sky-glow of cities. It is sad to lose this beautiful star cluster that has been so famous for most of human history. There are more cultural stories about the Pleiades than any other stars in the heavens.
Dear Readers, 
It will be extremely helpful for you to become well acquainted, through personal observation, with the stars that are so important to the people portrayed in Children of the Sky.                                                                                                                               

​ ​​​​​


I hope you are watching the primary characters of Children of the Sky as you read.

Oopihdee-koochoo(Mars) continues to progress in His western journey to be with His mate, Choopihdit-tahkah(Venus), who is clearly in sight in all Her beauty, drawing Him toward Her. But He is beginning to grow weaker (dimmer) as He goes. He also appears to get nearer to His own brothers (Saturn and Jupiter). But notice that Choopihdit-tahkah is teasing Him, receding into Her western lodge earlier and earlier as She is ending Her reign of the western evening. Watch these two romantics struggle with each other throughout the month.

At the beginning of the month, Venus appears close to the star Spica in the constellation Virgo. By month’s end, She is very low south of west, setting earlier and earlier in increasing evening twilight.


Keep on watching stars and planets during August 2018 as you read and think about
 Children of the Sky.

The August 2018 sky is ablaze with the stellar characters ofChildren of the Sky. Suhkooloo(Sun) illuminates the day, while Pah(Moon) can be seen sometimes during daylight and other times during darkness. Beautiful bright Choopihdit-tahkah(Venus) rules the western evening sky throughout the month with her mate Great Star, Oopihdee-koochoo(Mars), dominating the evening in the east, moving westward throughout the night, rising earlier and earlier each day, and continually drawing nearer to his mate across the sky. In between Mars and Venus fly Oopihdee-koochoostwo brothers bright Jupiterand dimmer Saturn(sickness star). 

Thus, in the evening one can easily trace the line of constellations of the zodiac across from north of west to south of east: Venus is in the constellation Virgo (the virgin) passing near the bright star Spica at the end of the month; Jupiter is in Libra (the Scales); Saturn is in Sagittarius (the Archer); Mars is in Capricornus (the Sea Goat); the Moon cycles through all of these as it moves completely around the zodiac during the month passing Venus on August 13-14, Jupiter on the 16th– 17th, Saturn on the 20th– 21st, and Mars on the 23rd.

So keep on watching as you read to illuminate the astronomical settings
so important to the story.

Are You Watching the Sky Full of Planets in July 2018?
Beautiful Bright White female Star of the West (Choopihdit-tahkahVenus graces the sky in the northwest at eventide. As you look at Her, remember that She is the mother of the very first Skidi, (a girl) to be placed on earth.
Mercury(Choopihdit-tahkahssister) will be visible in the west after sunset during the first half of the month.
Jupiter(Oopihdee-koochoo’s  brother) stands bright and stately in the south, moving ever westward during the month, as darkness comes.
Saturn, slightly yellow in color (the one said to bring sickness), occupies the southeast evening, moving steadily higher toward the south as the month progresses.
Mars, Great Red Male Warrior (Oopihdee-koochoo), father of the first Skidi, reaches opposition (Earth between Sun and Mars, the planet rising as Sun sets) on July 26, closest since 2003. We won’t have a closer opposition until 2035.
It is hoped that readers of Children of the Skywill pay particular attention to Venus (Choopihdit-tahkah) and Mars (Oopihdee-koochoo) as they stand on opposite sides, both brilliant, “looking at each other from across the sky.” This symbolizes the moment when He is strongest in His continual quest to be with the one who beguiles Him with Her beauty, alluring Him onward.
Please continue to watch this parade of planets as you read Children of the Sky, thinking about how their ever-changing aspects inspired Skidi traditions.