The Moon holds out her apron to catch the falling stars this week when the Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks overnight Friday April 22nd.
Now even though this meteor shower is not one of the year’s most prolific, it is one of the most welcome, coming as it does in the spring after several months of sparse meteor shower activity.
The radiant of this shower is near the star Vega, one of the season’s brightest. Vega is a blue-white star that can be seen rising in the Northeast well before midnight. Vega belongs to the constellation Lyra, the stringed instrument known as the lyre. The lyre is sacred to Orpheus, the ancient Greek “son of Apollo” who was initiated in the ancient Egyptian rites of the afterlife.
His tale is a tragic myth of descent in that his beloved Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies soon after they are wedded. Orpheus is granted passage into the underworld and is able to convince the dread god there to release his beloved from the land of the dead through the magic of his music. But, he must lead her to the upper world without looking back.
Orpheus proves unsuccessful and so loses his beloved a second time. But let’s consider, the feminine in myth and fairy tale always represents the soul ~ or that part of the human being that remains in the invisible, spiritual world. So I like to imagine that Eurydice is like the soul of the Earth, that invisible force that laughs in flowers each spring*, when her beloved Orpheus sends his shower of stars through the sky.
The Lyrid Meteor Shower kicks off International Dark Sky Week this year, so be sure to get outside these nights, and let your soul bask in the radiant song of the stars.
*this line inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “Hamatreya“
To all the souls awash in the stars,
ps The Lyrid Meteor Shower is active from April 15 to the 29th, and best viewing should be overnight Friday night, April 22nd, before the Moon rises.