Janet Tells Stories


Folk Tales of the Cosmos

Have you ever looked at the night sky- looking for shapes and naming them? How about the clouds in the sky- what images do you see? Clouds change in an instant, but the stars have their rhythms. Some are always visible, some seem to change places, some appear to disappear and then come back. Over time people associated the movement of the stars with measuring time, planting, navigating, and knowing when the beasts migrate across the plains. The daily count came from the sun, the monthly count from the moon and the yearly count came from the stars that reappear or disappear on the horizon every six months!  It was crucial to be able to remember a cluster of stars if it only arrives every 6 months. And that’s when the stories are created and passed on to the next generation.

There are 88 constellations recognised by the International Astronomical Union each of which has a story behind it. Some of the constellations “link up” to retell some of the Greek Myths but other cultures have their own stories of the night sky.  Nowadays knowing these stories helps with star constellation recognition, crucial for scientists to observe changes in the night sky which may affect us. Einstein is attributed to saying that to encourage intelligence in a child, tell them fairy stories. And to become more intelligent – more fairy stories. Being able to “see” the stories helps to develop both imagination and curiosity “muscles” when seeking to make sense of shapes in the sky. Skills and attributes that both adult and young scientists need!  

It explores how other cultures view the night sky as well as the Greek centric myths.

Pre-lauch at Sidmouth Festival
Pre-lauch at Sidmouth Festival
The interpretative dance comparing the 19th-century depiction of  the Pleiades  with a possible 25,000 year old depiction in a cave painting
The interpretative dance comparing the 19th-century depiction of the Pleiades with a possible 25,000 year old depiction in a cave painting

There is a lot of excitement and activity after the launch of Janet’s latest book- Folk Tales of the Cosmos.

The information is all on this website- but all the links are on this page!

History Press article – Stories about Starry Nights


Folk Tales of the Cosmos Shows

FToC cover final

Illustrated by Vicky Jocher.
Vicky’s Website

Listen to some of the tales on her video’s page.


Storytelling at its best! Janet Dowling takes you on a journey through many of the stories written in the stars in her own concise and inimitable way. A wonderful book and resource!

David Strange: Chairman -Norman Locker Observatory.

Janet Dowling’s imaginative storytelling eloquently brings to life the legends, myths and fables we’ve superimposed onto the night sky. This wondrous book is itself a rare stellar event, a nova, giving birth to a new star.

Aidan Shingler: StarDisc Creator

Janet Dowling is magic and her stories bring the wonders of the night sky onto the page. She has journeyed from Polar ice to Pacific islands in search of tales which will re-enchant the heavens under which we all live and which so many of us forget.

Jeremy Harte: Folklore Society