Here Begins a New Life in Love

As the Moon eclipses the Sun on Monday, April 8, Venus will appear in the midday, the goddess of love unveiled.

The biggest astronomical event of the year is next week’s Total Solar Eclipse, and if you plan to see it, make sure you also know what else is going on in the sky. My favorite thing is the fact that as daylight fades through eclipse, Venus becomes visible, an ancient indication that a new initiation of love is about to take place.

The original people of the great lakes region tell a tale of Moon and Venus that involves the youngest daughter of a family, who, after much teasing by her sisters, marries an old old man who becomes a handsome youth only when his young bride becomes an aged woman.

The celestial wisdom here is that when Moon and Venus are together in the evening sky, the Moon is always just past new phase and is described as “young.” But Venus is evening star, so she’s “old.” The opposite is true in the morning: When Moon approaches Venus at dawn, it’s at the very end of its cycle, so  the Moon is old, but now Venus is young.

The Greeks also captured this in their myth of Eos and Tithonus, a love story that Homer referred to when he wrote that, “The dawn rose up from bed with lord Tithonus to bring the light to deathless gods and mortals.” Eos had asked Zeus for Tithonus’ immortality, but forgot to also ask for eternal youth. This is a tale of the morning Moon, which is always “old” though the day is young.

But then there’s an eclipse, that rare moment when the beloveds meet “in the middle.” When the New Moon eclipses the Sun, Venus is unveiled in the midday, when we don’t usually see her. And so begins their new life in the poetry that is our sky.


Cover image by Simon Julien (1735-1801). You can hear this episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky on Interlochen Public Radio Monday, April 1, 2024, and on podcasts everywhere at anytime.