All Love Meets with Its Return

Only once every 12 years will the Olympian King of the Gods stand beside the lead star of the zodiac with the Moon sweeping by on Valentine’s Day, and it’s happening this year.

So what does it mean? As our largest planet and mythological ruler of the heavens, Jupiter has dominion over the sky. Jupiter also has 12-year orbit, which means the planet spends about one year in every region of the zodiac. Right now, Jupiter is among the stars of Aries. The brightest star in Aries is Hamal, which means the star at the head, or the “leading one.”

Jupiter and Hamal joined by the waxing Moon will be visible high in the West two hours after sunset on Wednesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day. In imagining what Jupiter might have to say from this particular throne of stars on such a day, I land on the George MacDonald’s novel “Phantastes,” in which he writes: It is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another.

MacDonald was Scottish and this novel, A Fairy Romance for Men and Women, was published in 1858. It follows the tale of a young man who is pulled into a dreamlike world in search of his ideal love.

MacDonald was deeply influenced by the German Romantics, especially Novalis, and this particular novel had a pronounced influence on writers like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein.

And for this week, consider, Jupiter moves among the stars of Aries. It will be 12 years before this happens again, when we may find that All love will, one day, as George MacDonald wrote, meet with its return.


This episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky airs on Monday, February 12, 2024 on Interlochen Public Radio, and can be heard wherever you listen to podcasts. Cover image of Jupiter from NASA’s Juno Mission.

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