For the rest of the month Venus and Jupiter will be spectacular in the evening sky, looking west an hour after sunset, and then they’ll come into closest conjunction with one another just over two weeks from now. What’s their story?
It might seem a simple task to imagine the stories in the stars, but in ancient ages, such an undertaking was only granted to neophytes passing through the sacred rites of initiation, because, to know these stories was to touch the divine, which awakened certain elevated capacities in the initiated.
So for instance, the ancient story in the stars this month has to do with the rite of passage regarding temporal and divine love, of the goddess Venus/Aphrodite bragging that she’s the most powerful of the gods because she can make them all fall in love at will, with mortals even.
The father of the Olympian Gods, Jupiter/Zeus, takes issue with Venus, and causes her to fall in love with the mortal Anchises. The result of this battle of divine will in matters of love was described as the child Aeneas, who’s birth and life journey inspired Virgil’s ancient epic “The Aeneid.” In this story, the Romans celebrated their connection to ancient Greek culture. Virgil’s poem later inspired the great masterwork of medieval literature, “The Divine Comedy” of Dante.
Virgil’s “Aeneid” begins with a call to the muse to sing of Aeneas, an “exile driven on by Fate.” Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is also a poem of exile, and concerns itself, from the outset, with the Divine Love that sets the beauty of the stars turning, from the world’s first day.
Great love is always regarded as the gift of knowing the stars, and this week, they’re on bold display.
Hear these episodes every Monday morning on Interlochen Public Radio, and anytime on podcasts everywhere The Storyteller’s Night Sky.
Cover image from Sky&Telescope.