Bring me my chariot of fire!: from the February archive of Fairy Tale Moons

Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! ~ verse and image from “Jerusalem” by William Blake 

The constellation Auriga the Charioteer, with its brilliant star Capella, is racing over the zenith this month ~ its imaginary wheels representing heaven and Earth joined by an axis known as the line of destiny. This line can be imagined as the ecliptic, the apparent path along which Moon, Sun and planets appear to wander around the Earth, and above which the Charioteer rides, bearing the heroine of the fairy tale The Frog and Lion Fairy  through the encounters with fate that are borne of galloping off toward one’s destiny.

This Peter Paul Rubens painting (c. 1630) shows the infant Zeus with Amalthea, the Nourishing Goat Goddess, bearing the cornucopia, the star Capella in the constellation Auriga, on her lap.
Finding Auriga the charioteer overhead on February nights

The name February is rooted in the word februare, to purify, and this month is typically associated with the Lenten season of abstinence. However! this month’s tale is more closely aligned to the mood of the carnivale that precedes Lent, with its lesson that risk can bring its own reward, and sometimes, throwing caution to the wind can clear the path for one’s true destiny to arrive.

Among the star stories of this season we also hear tell of the Lost Pleiad, the fated sister of the beautiful star cluster Pleiades, who was caught between the clashing rocks known as the Symplegades, through which the sisters had to pass as they took ambrosia to the suckling Zeus in the heart of Capella, Auriga’s brightest star.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel also had a vision of the Charioteer, a described in chapter one , Book of Ezekiel.

Further tales of Auriga from The Storyteller’s Night Sky radio archives!

May you know a beautiful starry sky, in every season!

Mary Stewart Adams