A Week of Celestial and Festival Mysteries Ahead

This week is all about hidden mysteries, in the celestial world and in the festival calendar.

On Wednesday, May 17 the Moon meets Jupiter in the morning sky, and in some parts of the US, the Moon will actually occult or block Jupiter. Then, the Moon disappears into its own “dark phase,” before it comes New on Friday, May 19. That’s the set up for the first mystery.

In between the Moon’s game of celestial hide&seek with its occulting Jupiter on Wednesday and coming to New Phase on Friday is Thursday’s festival mystery known in the Christian calendar as Ascension Day, an event described in the New Testament when, 40 days after Easter, the Christ ascends as though in a cloud that takes him from the sight of the Apostles.

What to make of these mysteries of occultation, ascension, and newness?

In ancient culture Jupiter was god of wisdom, the mighty ruler of the silver age, powerfully wielding thunderbolts and lightning. For the Moon to occult Jupiter it’s as though stilling all that majesty and gathering it unto itself, taking hold of the outer power that crashes and strikes and using it to nourish an inner uprightness that ascends whatever is petty or mundane in the inner life.

The poem “I, 1” by Rainer Maria Rilke captures this mood beautifully:

The hour is striking so close above me,

so clear and sharp,

that all my senses ring with it.

I feel it now: there’s a power in me

to grasp and give shape to my world.

I know that nothing has ever been real

without my beholding it.

All becoming has needed me.

My looking ripens things

and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

In the striving,


This episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky will air Monday morning May 15 on Interlochen Public Radio, and can be heard on podcasts everywhere at anytime. Thanks for subscribing!

Cover image of Moon approaching Jupiter from BBC Sky at Night Magazine.