Last night’s Cold Moon was the year’s full moon in Gemini, and I had feelings about it. For one thing, it was the last full moon of the year. For another thing, the Cold Moon is simply a special moon to me. It rises in Gemini, the polarity of Sagittarius (as is the way of the full moons – they rise in the zodiac polarities of the sun), and I feel a unique connection with Gemini. Among other small things I did with respect to the Cold Moon, I set out a vessel of filtered water to charge in the moonlight, and my crystals and gemstones alongside it.
This morning I brought them in just before dawn, before the sun could touch them, and later used the water to make moon water tea.
As well, I meditated and took note of the random thoughts that wandered into my mind before I cleared them out:
1). Like it or not, I can always count on this progression: The day will become the night. The night will become the too-late.
2). There are no real answers. Every day, there are more questions.
3). Memories are recycled, in a sense. Everything is a reminder of something.
4). In some cases, grief carries on to infinity.
5). I’m most alive when I have a challenge and a plan in front of me… when I’m taking action.
6). I love the sound of a train in the distance.
Some of this may sound bleak, but it doesn’t feel as much as I approach the contours of my experience on Earth. #5 is one of many ways in which I recognize that the element of fire lights up my core and drives me through life. Fire is about action and will. It’s the opposite of bleak.
Meanwhile, speaking of fire, I’m taking great and perverse pleasure in the challenge of keeping warm in a cold house. It was 62F in here when I woke up this morning, and I delighted in it. By January I may decide to turn on the heater, but for now, keeping the house cold is the business.
We spoiled desert rats love the heat, but desert rats also know that the desert gets cold in the winter, so why should it be a big deal? If we’re acclimated to the heat of the summer, then we should also be acclimated to the cold in the winter. But somehow, it is a big deal. I’ve always struggled with the cold.
The issue might actually have more to do with the desert’s dramatic temperature range in the winter: we’ll have nighttime temps in the 30’s or 40’s while daytime temps rise into the high-60’s or low-70’s. We can experience a 20- to 25-degree difference in temperature within a 24-hour period, and during the day it’ll be chilly while the sun almost always shines bright in a clear blue sky. It’s hard to reconcile our day and night temperatures. I do like a challenge, though.
I hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful day or night, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Until next time, my friends.
Tonight, I’m sitting here wrapped in loose, knit layers, feeling cozy in my cold (70F) house – no, I haven’t turned my heater on yet, despite the nighttime dropping of desert winter temperatures – and I’m listening to the rain, and I thought I’d share with you my proverbial heart’s desire. Because we’re in the moment. We’re sitting beneath something spectacular.
It’s been one of my dreams to visit a dark-sky area to view the Geminids. Of all the (30) annually occurring meteor showers, this is the one I’ve most wanted to see. The winter constellation of Gemini is one of my favorite constellations, and its twin stars, Pollux and Castor, are two of my favorite stars!
It would feel especially magickal to view a meteor shower in the winter, I think. To be outside, in the dark, in the cold, watching for meteors. It’s cold in space.
Could I make this happen? I don’t know. I don’t drive on the freeway (the spot I’ve pinpointed is 32 miles away), and I’d want to settle under the stars at 2am. It’ll be December 13-14, Monday night/Tuesday morning, so… not a viable consideration for most of my friends, as they’ll have to go to work on Tuesday. (Whereas I won’t. I’m taking all of next week off for vacation.)
It wouldn’t be just the Geminids, either. There’ll be a lot to see! From a dark-sky location, I’ll be able to see stars that are obscured by the halo of city lights, constellations in their entirety, maybe, rather than just the alpha stars and other large stars. Even beyond that, there’s the band of our Milky Way galaxy! If I could see that one day, too. And while I’m on the topic of cosmic bucket-list items, I should mention the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Aside: I like to fantasize that somewhere next door in the Andromeda galaxy, our closest neighboring galaxy at 2.5 million light-years away, there’s at least one planet alive with sentient life forms, including intelligent beings. Beings who, unlike us, have the technology needed to leave their galaxy. That they exist, and that they’ve come to Milky Way and visited Earth.
I watched a video on YouTube that explained how the Andromeda galaxy has a history of devouring other galaxies, and how ours will be next. In roughly 4 billion years, Andromeda will collide with Milky Way, and the Milkomeda galaxy will be born.
To think that Andromeda is just one galaxy. According to current NASA reports, there are around 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. (“Observable” being the operative word. There are 200 billion galaxies that we know of.)
The vastness of the universe is overwhelming. I’ll say it again and again: I can’t imagine that in the entire Universe, the only sentient life that exists is here on Earth, on this tiny planet in this small galaxy.
I’ll share this with you, too: Two of my favorite ways to meditate are clearing my mind while gazing into fire, and clearing my mind while gazing at this picture. It’s mesmerizing to me, artistic renderings of the planets lined up in order, for comparison… Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, and then the Giant Planets on the other side of the asteroid belt: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Here’s another pic:
The sheer size of Jupiter! No wonder we can see him so large and bold in the sky. I’ve admired Jupiter in the bright morning blue sky as well as in the dark of night.
I’m forever in love with the Cosmos, though I’ve still yet to star-gaze from the backyard (since Salem’s death). I’ve tried. I just can’t. Watching the night sky for meteors 32 miles away from here, though, might create a different story. It might be a good way to return to that practice.
We shall see.
I hope this finds you all doing well, dreaming your dreams, and hopefully living them, too.
It’s late, my friends, late as in (backsliding out of my progress) past-midnight late (slipping).
Just got out of my cold tea tree and hemp shower (have I mentioned that I haven’t taken a hot or even warm shower since sometime in September? Like who even am I?), and I went to glance at the calendar to check for the next day’s color, and I couldn’t help but notice that the cosmos has quite an agenda, quite a line-up of events going on in the next 24 hours. This ephemeral information completely distracted me away from the day’s color (which, by the way, is white).
Look at these shenanegans:
We start out all cool with the first quarter moon stationed in Scorpio (we had that powerful Scorpio new moon last night), and then it begins: we’ve got Venus entering Capricorn at 3:44am MST, the moon going void-of-course at 10:10am, Mercury entering Scorpio at 3:35pm, and finally, the moon stationing herself in Sagittarius at 6:52pm. Yes, the moon will be void-of-course for almost NINE hours, leaving us untethered, as it were.
With all of this combined (especially the moon being void-of-course all day), my plan is to do nothing. I’m going to drive my little ten-minute drive to work praying to Archangel Raphael to get me there safely, and then home again at the end of the workday, and that’s it. I’m not going to do anything, go anywhere, make any purchases, any (major) decisions; I’m not going to spontaneously stop at any store, not going to take risks of any kind, not going to start any projects, nothing. I’m going to lay low until Saturday, when the moon has solidly planted herself in Sagittarius and everyone else up there is in their spots and nothing is happening.
Because As Above, So Below.
On that note, my friends, I wish you all a good Friday!
Hello there, friends. I have a story to tell you about a moth.
At around noon on Sunday, a small moth came into the house with me through the sliding-glass door. I was surprised. When I say it came in with me, I mean with me, not ahead of me or behind me. Or maybe my surprise was more due to the fact that the moth fluttered in so closely to my face, and I hadn’t noticed it at all when I was outside. It just suddenly appeared as I was coming in from the back patio.
It was a mystifying thing to happen at noon on a bright, sunny day, as moths are nocturnal, for the most part. I couldn’t remember ever seeing such an active moth in the middle of a summer day. Moths are attracted to bright light at night. This moth came with me into the darker house from the bright outdoors.
I’d been doing laundry out there in the (outdoor) laundry room and had just come in briefly to grab something, so a few minutes later I opened the door again to go back out. Again, the moth appeared in front of my face, materializing there and staying with me as I stepped out onto the patio. It wasn’t in a hurry. It simply accompanied me out.
Back in the laundry room, I arranged the laundry in the washer and reached for the detergent and as I was filling the detergent tray, I looked up and saw that the moth was poised on the inside of the washing machine lid, again right there, eye-level. I hadn’t noticed it coming in. It was just suddenly there. I could see every detail of its wing pattern and coloring. A feeling came over me. After this third appearance in front of my face, the moth’s behavior didn’t seem random. It seemed deliberate, because the moth was clearly making sure that I saw it. Like Salem used to do.
It was hours later at around 10:30pm when I stepped into the hallway from my office to go to the kitchen. The hallway leads straight to the living room, so I’m walking toward the far back living-room wall when I walk down the hall. Instead of going into the kitchen to the left of the hallway/living-room juncture, though, I changed course and went all the way into the living-room to inspect that far wall, because I’d noticed a small dark moth-shaped spot centered on it at eye-level, directly ahead of my path. I found that it was the same moth, positioned before me for the fourth time since the middle of the day. Tears came to my eyes as I said, Salem? I mean, I at least had to wonder. In many Native American cultures, it is believed that moths are messengers from the spirit world, especially from those who are no longer with us on the physical plane.
It’s just that Salem was the first thought in my mind when I saw again how precisely and deliberately the moth set itself in front of me, where I’d be sure to see it. All Salem ever wanted was to be able to see me, to be seen by me, and to be with me. She wouldn’t allow me to touch her, but we shared our love and affection through our eyes.
The next night was Monday night. Again, I was on my way to the kitchen when I stopped abruptly at the end of the hall. Directly overhead was the A/C vent, and I was suddenly, inexplicably overcome by the urge to change the A/C filter.
Now, believe me when I tell you, my friends, that I’ve never felt such an inclination. Never as in ever. But in that moment, it was the only thing I wanted to do, even though I was on a mission to do something else and I had several other things that I wanted to be doing at the same time. Suddenly, all I could think about was changing the A/C filter! I often experience sudden bursts of motivation to do random things late at night, but this was a new one.
So I went to retrieve my step-stool and I got up there and unlatched the A/C vent, slid out the old filter, replaced it with the new one, re-latched the vent, stepped down. It was precisely 10:35pm, which I know because of my cell phone call log. My phone rang as I was putting the step-stool away, you see. It rang and it was my friend and I picked it up to answer, and as we spoke, I absentmindedly reached for the old A/C filter from where I’d leaned it against the hallway wall.
Maybe you’ve correctly guessed where this is heading: I turned the dirty filter over to look at the cleaner side that had been facing up into the A/C duct, and there, in front of my face and perfectly centered on the filter, was the moth. It was dead and beautifully displayed. And I started crying, silently, because I didn’t want to have to explain anything to my friend.
The A/C filter is not an insect trap. I’ve never seen insects on the old filters. For whatever reason, insects do not get up there. This was a complete anomaly. If an insect were to get into the vent and die on the filter, it would die on the outside/downward-facing side of the panel, the side on which the dust collects… not on the side that’s facing up into the duct. That filter had been in the vent for over a month and there’d been plenty of time for other insects to get into it, but there was only the moth that’d been poised on my living-room wall almost exactly 24 hours earlier. I don’t even know how it managed to get up onto the top side of the filter. And I can’t imagine why it would. Moths are attracted to light, not to dark A/C ducts.
I couldn’t believe it, quite frankly. I’d been stopped in my tracks and called to remove the filter that held the moth.
I know that this moth holds importance for me. In a span of 36 hours, it made sure to appear in front of my face five times (a significant number to me): coming into the house, going back outside, on the inside of the washing machine cover (front and center), on the living-room wall facing the hallway (front and center), and finally on the clean inside of the A/C filter (front and center).
Of course I carefully transported the moth to my kitchen counter. I’m going to return it to the Earth on Sunday.
Anyhow, I don’t know where I’m going with this, and I don’t have much else to say about it. It was just a strange and totally not random or coincidental thing that I wanted to share. Oh, and today, I opened my mailbox after work and a moth flew out at me, the first moth to fly out of the mailbox in the thousands of times I’ve opened it in the seven years I’ve been in this house. Literally a message in my mailbox fluttering out into my face.
As I’d mentioned in my last post, the Lion’s Gate Portal is open… and when it’s open, there may be messages. I’ve received mine. I’m not sure what it is yet, but perhaps there will be a reveal after meditating one of these days. I would like to think that it’s Salem, so maybe I’ll just go ahead and believe that. It very well could be, at any rate.
My body suddenly developed horrible body odor at work on Friday, a very unusual situation for me.
Because of this, I changed my plan to run errands after work and decided to go straight home and run the errands the next day, Saturday, instead.
Consequently, I had to get into my car on Saturday (yesterday).
And my car wouldn’t start. The battery was dead. It took well over two hours for the emergency roadside service person to arrive, and it was three hours total before my car was up and running again.
Thanks to my weird horrible body odor on Friday, I’ll be able to get to work tomorrow morning. Whether it’s the phenomenon of serendipity or a divine arrangement (or both), I marvel at it. If I’d kept to my original plan to stay home all weekend, I wouldn’t have discovered my dead battery until MONDAY MORNING, of ALL the mornings for my car to not start.
At no point did I feel annoyed by the battery situation, either, because it was par for the course. Batteries don’t last forever, and I’d had that one since 2018. Dysis (my car, Goddess of the Sunset) was due for a new battery. Also, waiting for emergency roadside service opened a window of time in which I could get to a few simple tasks I’d been putting off.
I stank to high heaven on Friday afternoon, my friends, and so I got shit done on Saturday, and I’ll be able to get to work on time tomorrow morning.
In other magickal news, we have a very special cosmic event happening today, August 8, in the thick of Leo season: August’s New Moon coincides with this year’s 8/8 Lion’s Gate Portal. Today is a supreme day for setting intentions to manifest our dreams, a day that may well be the luckiest day of the year. This article explains the event very well. I would rather not talk about vile body odor and the 8/8 Lion’s Gate Portal in the same post, so please do check out the short, quick-read article!
Native Americans dubbed June’s full moon the “Strawberry Moon” in recognition of strawberry season. From where I’m sitting (with my strawberry-stained fingers), this naming could not be more apt. The strawberries are scrumptious right now!
The big cosmic player in this full moon event – besides the moon, of course – is literally big. It’s JUPITER. Big ol’ jovial, honest, expansive, and lucky Jupiter. Jupiter is the carefree optimist of the Zodiac, and Jupiter is greatly influential during this full moon phase. Jupiter is going to sextile the full moon in Capricorn. (If your mind jumped into the gutter just now, don’t worry about it. Jupiter would just laugh.)
This aspect makes for a happy, feel-good full moon, which is especially welcome considering the jagged edges of the solar eclipse’s aspects we endured a few weeks ago. The friendly exchange of positive energy between Jupiter and the full moon softens things up nicely, lending us optimism and encouragement.
This is the adage that comes to mind when I think about our Strawberry Moon in Capricorn:
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
And we have a shot.
This full moon invites us to go for it, whatever it is, even if it seems unlikely or out of reach or damn near impossible, because Jupiter’s harmonious position in relation to the full moon makes for possibilities. Let us rejoice! We deserve it.
I took this backyard pic of the near-full moon tonight:
The intensity of this full-moon energy will last for about two weeks. Do with it what you will!
Hello, my friends. I have a weird little story that I want to share with you.
Last night, I was browsing through space videos on YouTube, like I do, and I landed on one that featured the sounds of the planets in our Solar System. I’d just finished the video, and Saturn’s eerie demonic screams were fresh in my mind when my friend texted me out of nowhere. She was freaked out.
Our conversation went like:
HER: So I just heard a noise coming from outside. It sounded like squealing tires, but it was a long duration, so it could not be squealing tires. After a while it sent chills down my spine. Maybe someone was playing with the sound system by the pool area. It sounded like a banshee
[I shivered, because she was describing exactly the sound I’d just heard in the video. The sound of Saturn. Not only that, but I’d just thought to myself – I kid you not – Saturn sounds like a wailing banshee.]
ME: O M G
ME: Just now, literally, I was listening to the sounds of planets in our solar system (on YouTube)
HER: Share So I can see if it matches what I just heard
HER: Did it sound like squealing tires on the road?
ME: I’ll send you the video link, go immediately to timestamp 3:09 to hear Saturn
[A minute passes]
HER: F*ck!!!! That is it!!!!
ME: O M
HER: Why did I hear it???? [four screaming emojis]
ME: G Because I was listening to it!!!! [four screaming emojis + smiley]
HER: What is happening Kristi!!!!
We’ve gone over it and over it since then, and we can’t think of any kind of logical explanation. The leap from “It sounded like squealing tires” to “It sounded like a banshee” in the same text doesn’t make sense. Those are two random and yet very specific similes, and together, they aptly describe the sound of Saturn in the video.
I’d thought that the sound was eerie, too, but it was creepier for her. I heard it because I was watching the video, so I knew exactly what I was hearing. She heard it coming from her balcony all of a sudden, with no context at all.
There’s no way that this “sound of Saturn” incident was a coincidence. There’s simply no rationale for it other than we have a sort of ESP connection between us, which we already knew. We have other shared ESP incidents in our friendship history that connected us in totally “unexplainable” ways before.
Further down in our conversation, she said:
“I thought it was playing over the speakers outside… I kept waiting to hear the crash sound… thinking it was tires screeching… But then it kept going and then this feeling came over me… I was going to go to the living room to ask (her husband) if he heard it”
She also commented that when she heard it, she thought that it might be “connected to aliens,” and that “it sounded other worldly.”
Another minute later, she reported that she just asked her husband whether he’d heard the sound. He told her that he did not.
It was just so weird that after I listened to Saturn, she texted to tell me what it sounded like, because she heard it too. She’s nine miles away, and we weren’t texting before that. She had no idea what I was doing at the time. I know that I’m repeating myself at this point, but it’s still new, and I can’t get over it.
But wait… here’s the kicker… this just occurred to me now: It was Saturn that was making the sound in question. Saturn governs Capricorn. I am a Capricorn. She heard MY planet and texted ME when she heard it with her sixth sense. She is an Aquarius, the next sign over. In the video, the planet after Saturn is Uranus, her planet. We’re closer neighbors in the Zodiac than we are on this physical plane, but we’re very close friends here.
I don’t care what anyone says. There’s more to our reality than this one dimension, this one plane.
Okay, I have to stop thinking about it now, before my head explodes.
If you were born between May 20 – June 21, you’re a Gemini, as you’re probably well aware. We’re happy to be in your astrological sign in the Zodiac right now. We’re in the thick of Gemini season!
A little Astrology 101, for those who don’t know: In terms of the elements, Gemini is an air sign (swift, cerebral, communicative). In terms of the qualities, Gemini is a mutable sign (adaptable, agreeable to change, easily go-with-the-flow). Gemini’s governing planet is Mercury, the planet of communication, information, intellectual curiosity, and learning.
Gemini is a brilliant sign, and Geminis are some of my favorite humans. They’re quick-thinking, bright, and interested in everything. They’re likable people, and they’re fond of people, themselves. They’re keen observers and good conversationalists. My Mom is a Gemini!
In the zodiac, Mercury is currently stationed in Gemini… and it happens to be in retrograde. Mercury retrograde can be annoying, but it’s such cosmic shenanegans that make things interesting and instructive for we Earthlings. Retrograde is a time for us to review, reflect, reassess, and recalibrate, and we are wise to take the opportunity.
Regarding the retrograde, though, what is it, exactly? What is Mercury doing? It’s orbiting the sun, like we do here in our solar system, but it’s eased up on the accelerator. It’s slowed down, so from our viewpoint, it appears to be moving backwards. Mercury retrograde is a circumstance that impacts us here on Earth. This tomfoolery occurs about three times each year.
I mean, other planets go retrograde, too, and they all have an impact in one significant way or another. Saturn and Pluto are also in retrograde right now!
But Mercury retrograde is the notorious one. It’s the one that we notice, because it messes with our daily lives on a topical level. It’s the one that causes our technology to go haywire in any number of ways. Right now, with Mercury being the planet of communication and the planet that rules Gemini, and this being Gemini season, and Mercury retrograde happening in its home sign of Gemini, we may be feeling the retrograde’s effects more intensely than usual, especially with technological snafus and user-error mishaps related to communications. Communications programs and devices glitching and crashing. Texts and emails sent to the wrong person by mistake. Replying “to all” by accident. Phone connections dropping and notifications settings mysteriously turned off, causing us to miss calls and texts. Message transmissions delayed. Internet connections slowed down, or otherwise disrupted.
Mercury retrograde drama isn’t limited to communications technology, though. Basically, it’s open season on any kind of technology or machinery. I personally know four people who’ve had to deal with car problems since Mercury went Retrograde on the 29th of May. Thankfully, Mercury goes Direct again soon, on the 22nd, the day after the Sun moves out of Gemini. Mercury basically spent its entire time in its own zodiac sign in retrograde. I’m sorry, Geminis.
JUNE 10, 2021 ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE
Now, about that slinky, glamorous solar eclipse that just occurred on the 10th. (Which I did not see, by the way.) While we were focused on the “Ring of Fire” eclipse, the event was, first and foremost, a New Moon. It was Gemini’s New Moon. (Solar eclipses happen on the New Moon, while lunar eclipses happen on the Full Moon.) New Moons mean new beginnings and fresh starts, renewed resolve, setting intentions, and getting action plans underway. Eclipses amplify all of this and clear the path for big changes. Our Gemini New Moon was supercharged by the eclipse!
NORTH NODE IN GEMINI
For me, though, the most interesting factor in the picture of the Gemini New Moon Solar Eclipse was that it was a North Node eclipse… and that the North Node is also currently in Gemini. (Clearly, Gemini is having a moment.)
Our karmic path follows these Nodes of Destiny. When the Moon is ascending toward the North Node, we’re moving forward into our destiny. When the Moon is descending to the South Node, we’re reflecting on the past or even living in the past. (We all have baggage, if not from this lifetime, than from previous ones.) We cyclically move from one to the other, learning and growing and evolving on our journeys in this lifetime, though it’s important to keep a balance between the two. If you have your natal (astrological) chart done, make sure that it includes where the Nodes of Destiny were when you were born. It matters. Knowledge is power, as they say.
The June 10 solar eclipse being a North Node eclipse indicates that we’re looking ahead and moving forward. A North Node eclipse combines North Node energy with New Moon energy, which heightens the emphasis on new beginnings, fresh starts, the setting of intentions, starting new efforts, and so on. That the North Node is currently in Gemini (with the South Node in its opposite sign, Sagittarius), indicates that as a people, we’re moving toward our destiny on the strength of Gemini’s intellectual gifts, those gifts being our purpose. Gemini is about learning, and we do indeed have a lot of learning to do.
This is why I’m most fascinated by the Nodes of Destiny aspect of the Gemini New Moon Solar Eclipse. Thanks to bright and intellectually curious Gemini, we may well make forward leaps toward the betterment of humankind and the health of the Earth, itself. The North Node in Gemini gives me hope. It inspires me to see our destiny as a planet and as a people in a positive light.
This, as someone I know would say, is the Gemini effect!
I tried to write and post about last night’s Gemini new moon solar eclipse. I cancelled and/or postponed plans with two friends on two different nights so I could focus on it. I skipped two workouts. I stayed up superlate at my laptop. But it just didn’t gel. I studied my ephemeris and online transit calculators and such until my eyes bled, and in the end, I’d gathered so much data that I ended up overwhelming myself. I’m sorry for this!
At any rate.
The eclipse is over, but the magic of it isn’t. New moon energy is here, and I’m finding myself making changes automatically… specifically, changes to my after-work routine in my ongoing effort to get to bed earlier.
The new moon is a time for setting intentions and getting your action plan underway, and this is what I’m doing without even thinking about it. When my behavior naturally aligns with cosmic events without any conscious thought, I know that I’m receptive and balanced; I know that I’m in the right place, on the right path.
Starting today: Rather than waiting until later at night to do necessary things, I’m doing them immediately after getting home from work. Removing my eye makeup. Making dinner (so it’s there when I’m ready to eat it). Making my (PBJ) sandwich for the next day. Filling up my water bottle for the next day. Putting a fresh face mask (yes, I’m still choosing to wear one) in my bag for the next day. And so on.
I won’t sit down to work on blog posts until all of this is done. I’m hoping that relieving myself of the pressure (of knowing that there are mundane things to be done for the next day) will help me here with my writing, and also, of course, with getting to bed earlier.
A non-negotiable in my nightly routine is going out to look at the moon and the stars and any planets I can find. Speaking of which!!! I took a phonecam pic of my beautiful Vega (alpha star in the constellation of Lyra) the other night, and to my surprise, her blue color came through!! I didn’t expect this, especially since Arcturus’s orange color never comes through.
I wish I could get a phonecam pic of Scorpius, as that’s one of the few constellations that I can view almost in its entirety. Scorpius is the first cosmic body that I see when I step outside these nights, because it’s so close to the horizon. Antares, Scorpius’ alpha star, is the front-and-center jewel of the night. When I look higher up and elsewhere, I can see other beloved characters: Arcturus and Vega and Spica and Altair.
Behold Vega looking as blue here as she does in person! I cropped the photo just enough to enlarge Vega for our viewing pleasure:
I love my stars.
I added this phonecam pic of Vega to my post about the stars, as well, as I also have phonecam pics of Arcturus and Spica there.
That is all for tonight, my friends. I looked through my THREE drafts of what was supposed to be last night’s Gemini new moon solar eclipse post, and I like a lot of what I’d written. I did a lot of work on that post, so I’m thinking I might go back in and get it together for you this weekend. It’s after-the-fact, but the energy of the celestial event is still with us, and there’s more to the picture than the event, itself. Much more. Stuff we need to know about, actually.
I thought I’d finally share a certain passion with you… one that’s been a huge part of my life for a while. I’ve written quite a bit about the moon this year, but I don’t think I’ve written about the stars. Not more than a mention, anyway.
I’ve taken my stargazing up a notch in the last twelve months, most avidly since winter, when I’d go out to the backyard to admire the constellation of Gemini in the night sky. I watched with fascination as Gemini and other winter constellations gave way to the spring ones. But it was my adoration of the orange star Arcturus that heightened my already intense interest in the cosmos.
Arcturus here in the northern hemisphere is a commanding star, radiant and bold. Arcturus is 30 light-years away. Night after night, I gaze up at Arcturus with my mind blown as I think about how the starlight I’m seeing emanated from the star back in 1984. The speed of light (in a vacuum) is calculated at 186,282 MILES PER SECOND. It took 30 YEARS of travel at this speed for the starlight to come close enough to illuminate the star for our naked eyes to view from Earth today. That’s how far away Arcturus is. I can’t even come close to fathoming it.
The alpha star in the constellation of Boötes, Arcturus is the brightest star in that constellation, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, and the fourth-brightest star in the entire night sky. You can’t miss Arcturus if you live north of the celestial equator. Look up at night when the sky is clear and find the large, bright orange star shining down on you!
Another star with whom I feel very closely connected is Vega, a luminous bluish star of the constellation Lyra. Vega is 25 light-years away. Vega’s light began traveling through space in 1996 in order for us to view the star today.
Noting the celestial transition from winter to spring was awe-inspiring. I do miss Pollux and Castor, the bright twin stars of Gemini, but the spring constellations held me – some of them still – just as fast. I’m thrilled anew as we transition from spring to summer, delighted to see the summer constellations array the night sky while some of the spring constellations hang around.
Summer constellations I’m currently watching: Lyra (The Harp); Draco (The Dragon); Serpens (The Serpent); Aquila (The Eagle); Scorpius (The Scorpion); Cygnus (The Swan); and Hercules (The Strongman/Dagda and Odin).
Hercules’ supergiant star Ras Algethi is the constellation’s alpha star. Ras Algethi is 380 light-years away. In the year 1641, Ras Algethi emitted the light that we see when we look up at the star. This starlight has been barreling through space at 186,282 miles per second for 380 years in order for us to see the star today… and there’s an infinity of space with myriad other stars and galaxies far beyond that.
Space is unfathomable, I say again. Limitless and unfathomable. This is why I believe in the existence of life-forms outside of Earth. It simply doesn’t make sense to me that in the entire universe, the magnitude of which we can’t begin to comprehend, the only sentient beings are here on our little speck of a planet. Our little speck of dust of a planet in the grand scheme of the cosmos, I should say. If exhaustive study ends up proving that there are no other sentient beings in our solar system, well, our solar system is but a speck in the entirety of the universe, too. Our little solar system is far from the end of it.
I am so enraptured with the cosmos that I’m without words when I try to convey the depth of my emotion. Star energy is powerful energy; I now work with it and with the moon and other celestial bodies almost exclusively. The stars create connection and love as expansive as the universe itself. I go outside every night and look up at the magnificence overhead, and suddenly, I’m richer than I ever thought I could be. There are times that the sight of the cosmic bodies of moon, stars, and planets move me to tears. I may live alone, but I’m the farthest thing from alone.
Carl Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” I feel the truth of these words at the very core of my being.
The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
And I can’t think of a material thing in the world that I want more than a telescope.
(There are telescopes that can take pics of what you’re viewing and send them to your computer…?!!)
While I can’t photograph the celestial bodies with my phone, I can at least take screenshots of the stars and constellations as they appear on my SkyView phone app while scanning the night sky. All of the celestial bodies I’m featuring here are those that I’ve been able to view with my naked eye. I have the camera enabled on this app, so you can see my point of reference as I view these stars. (You’ll see parts of my backyard, treetops, any clouds that may be in the sky, etc.) I’ve been using SkyView for several years now, so it’s about time I share some screenshots here, right?
One thing to note: I often can’t view an entire constellation. When SkyView picks up a star that I can see, it lights up with its complete picture.
I had to start with Gemini, of course. I’m so glad that I took screenshots of this constellation, because that was the last night that I could view it. It will be around six months before I’ll see these brilliant twins again.
Castor is Gemini’s alpha star, even though he’s the second-brightest of the constellation. Evidently, this designation was a mistake. Quoted from Wikipedia: “Castor’s Bayer designation as ‘Alpha’ arose because Johann Bayer did not carefully distinguish which of the two was the brighter when he assigned his eponymous designations in 1603.”
So Pollux is the brightest, but his twin got the alpha crown by mistake. No cause for sibling rivalry drama there at all. Nope.
Arcturus is Boötes’ alpha star.
Boötes is a spring constellation, but I’ve been admiring Arcturus since at least winter. Here’s my attempt at a pic of Arcturus with my phone cam:
Polaris is Ursa Minor’s alpha star. Also known as the North Star, Polaris is likely one of the oldest instruments of navigation in the history of humankind. Polaris is the closest star to the North Pole!
Spica is Virgo’s alpha star. Spica is one of my three favorite stars (along with Arcturus and Vega). Here’s an attempt at photographing Spica with my phone:
Centaurus is a southern hemisphere constellation, but if you’re located at a latitude between +30° and -90°, you can view it. Down here in Phoenix, AZ, my latitude is 33°. I can see the northern part of the constellation, where Menkent is situated. It’s the only star that I’ve been able to view in Centaurus. I would love to see Centaurus’s alpha star Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centaurus), but alas.
Regulus is Leo’s alpha star.
Gemma is Corona Borealis’ alpha star.
Cor Caroli is Canes Venatici’s alpha star.
**Are you noticing that the stars I’m able to see with my naked eye are mostly the alphas of their constellations?**
Vega is Lyra’s alpha star, and she’s my second-favorite star… a very close favorite to Arcturus. Vega is a cool blue-white color, and she is the brightest star in the summer sky. [ETA: Since I posted this, I attempted to photograph Vega with my phonecam… and lo, her blue color came through!! I enlarged this image so you can really see her color.]:
Unuk is Serpens’ alpha star. According to some sources, “Unuk” is obsolete, and the star goes by “Alpha Serpentis.”
Altair is Aquila’s alpha star.
Antares is Scorpius’ alpha star.
Deneb is Cygnus’ alpha star.
Ras Algethi is Hercules’ alpha star.
This was a magickal early morning! At 4:30am I went out and looked at the moon in the breaking dawn, and Jupiter was right there next to her, large and bright and magnificent. You would think, what kind of a star could be so large and bright in broad daylight? The answer is that it’s not a star. It’s Jupiter.
I hope you enjoyed (or at least tolerated) my geeking out over the cosmos!
Here in North America, April closes with the blooming of a tiny, ground-creeping wildflower that covers the ground thickly in a cloak of bright pink. Thus, Native Americans named April’s full moon the Pink Moon.
This year’s Pink Moon will rise on Monday the 26th (or Tuesday the 27th, depending on where you are), and it will round out this month of celestial wonders in spectacular fashion: this full moon will be a supermoon, closer to the Earth than average full moons, appearing large and low on the horizon as it rises. Check your local moonrise schedule to determine when you can expect to see it!
Rising in the constellation of Scorpio (element of water) while the sun is positioned in Taurus (element of earth), this full moon will bring challenges – growth-inducing tensions, let’s say – to us as Taurus’s earthy, grounding energies of the physical, material realm opposes Scorpio’s watery, esoteric energies of the spirit realm.
As a result of this polarity, this particular full moon presents us with a unique opportunity to engage in shadow work, to bring out our shadow selves… our dark selves that we’ve repressed in order to avoid emotional pain. Shadow work involves looking inward with a magnified intuition in search of the root causes of our emotional blocks and drives, whatever they may be.
In other words, this is a good time to address our inner demons, not with the goal of driving them away, but with the goal of acknowledging and accepting them. Rather than fixing our inner demons, we can work with them, and we can work to heal from them.
This is not easy. Shadow work is work. It’s facing ourselves and working through trauma, the toughest sort of spiritual work we can undertake. In my humble opinion, a good way to start shadow work is to work with a therapist, whether a traditional Western therapist, a metaphysical therapist, or a church counselor. We can delve into shadow work as a part of our solitary spiritual practices, certainly, but it’s always good to add in the assistance of an expert, if possible.
There’s a lot of talk about self-love floating around. The full moon – especially the energetic powerhouse of a supermoon – rising in Scorpio while the sun is positioned in Taurus serves as a reminder that self-love includes love of our shadow selves.
It’s scary making space for our inner demons to breathe, I know! I’ve been working on mine for most of my life. It’s a process that I’ll continue indefinitely. For me, tomorrow night’s rising of the glorious Pink Moon will be a time for quiet celebration, reflection, and gratitude.
Happy full moon-viewing, and merry meet again, my friends.