As a child growing up in Winston-Salem, I looked forward to the Advent season when the Moravian Star would be displayed. I remember we were driving down Cascade Avenue remarking about how Christmas kept coming earlier (this was after Thanksgiving by the way), and I pointed to the Moravian Music Foundation and said it was too early for them to have the star up.
My father corrected me, saying that the Moravians knew the right time to put it up. I learned it marked the beginning of Advent, the season of expectation, the time of preparing for the arrival of the Christ Child. I have since learned this child appears in other traditions as the Divine Child, the Redeemer, the one who will live a human life but remain in contact with the Divine Source and bring that promise all humans hear whispered in their hearts to fruition.
The Moravian Star originated as a geometry project in the Moravian Boys’ School in Niesky, Germany. This was some time in the 1830s. Peter Verbeek began making them to sell around 1880. His son created the Herrnhut Star Factory. The store selling them in Herrnhut was the first Moravian landmark we saw driving into town. The star represents the Star of Bethlehem, the promise of Light, the coming of the Divine to our little earth, which is so much more in need of this than I ever imagined as a child.
My favorite one was the enormous one that hung in Trinity Moravian Church. It struck me with awe. One year I was honored to sing the hymn “Morning Star” beneath its light. The second line of the hymn is, “Ere thou cam’st, how dark Earth’s night.”
I’ve named my novel after this star. In The Star Family, I give the Advent Star thirteen points. I think it was Dr. Atwood who told me that one of the original stars had thirteen points, but I can’t find the email, so I might be wrong. Thirteen is, believe it or not, considered a sacred number. There are thirteen full moons in a year. We have twelve disciples plus one, the Master Teacher, Christ. We have twelve constellations in the zodiac, but a thirteenth esoteric or hidden one, Ophiuchus, tucked between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Named the serpent bearer, it could represent the spine which supports the rise of the kundalini energy, or serpent, bringing enlightenment to the individual.
I’ve also heard the star might be older than the 1830s. There might be some research published about this in the future. I don’t know more than that. In the novel, I made the star much older, tracing it back to the 1500s and suggesting it goes back way farther than that. I made this part up. But it is built using sacred geometry, the angles and proportions Mother Nature uses as building blocks, so it could be true. No wonder it creates such a feeling of harmony and joy.