Shooting Stars

In the Kory culture, all of humankind is represented in the stars. Mental states are parts of constellations. Someone who is depressed is in the constellation of the lala, a dark flower which blooms at night. It attracts bats, creatures of the night who typically feed on insects but also pollinate this unusual flower. From the lala emanates a subtly putrid smell, reminiscent of decaying flesh. In this culture, Lalaland has a rather bleak landscape. People there lack physical and mental energy. Actions and thoughts require a great deal of effort so its inhabitants spend much time sleeping, hence the nocturnal flower.

Someone suffering from delusions also holds a sacred place in the night sky. There is a constellation called the dandelion. It boasts a cluster of stars that seem to pulse through the night as some stars fade and some get brighter. It gives a feeling of expansion, as though a breeze scatters the stars over the course of the night.

In a similar vein, people with eating disorders can find themselves in the vicinity of Venus, the planet alternately known as the morning star or the evening star. It represents the confusion these people feel about their place in the world, as they cannot decide whether to live or die. This ambiguity around survival is seen as a deep philosophical conflict and people with eating disorders are highly regarded in that society.

Everyone can claim a spot of their own in the sky and explain the constellation in terms of their worldview. Everyone’s logic is accepted – the stars exist and the person exists. The correlation is easy to make. When you feel you no longer fit that constellation, you wait for a shower of shooting stars and change your allegiance. Great ceremonies are held during such a time, and people reinvent themselves publicly, and their new personality is accepted as such.

Anthropologists have studied mental health in different cultures and concluded that the Kory have elevated its understanding to an art form. By mapping their internal states to a very public manifestation in the sky, the mythology becomes powerful, and their being becomes woven in the fabric of life. There exists a very strong social network and a shared kinship with the elements. There is also an understanding that people change over time and across seasons. In the rainy season, people rely more on the symbols on Earth to maintain their sense of self. When people fall in love, they look to the sky to divine their compatibility. They create a shared story to marry their unique place in the sky.

The Kory Creation myth is not centered around the Sun and the Moon, but is based on subtle relationships between the stars. The Kory, of course, are keen navigators, on land and on the seas. Each constellation is a friend with a dark or sunny personality. There are no right or wrong. There just is. They are a well-adjusted compassionate people with a scientific bend.

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