Joan of Arc*turus

Joan of Arc was a girl of 13 when she was first visited by the angels, who called her to the task of freeing her homeland from the ravages of war. It took a few years before she actually heeded the call, and traveled to Vaucouleurs, where she prevailed against those who doubted her to gain audience with Charles, whose position as the rightful King of France Joan had come to defend.

Joan of Arc was a shepherdess, and when she asked the angels: “Why me?” she was told: “Because you can hear us.”

After correctly identifying Charles, though he tried to trick her, she crowned him King.  But then, despite success in battle against the English, Joan of Arc was captured and eventually burned at the stake for heresy. It was May 30th, 1431.

When we look in the sky this week of her death, it’s possible to imagine that Joan of Arc’s deed is written there among the stars. Following the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle leads to the bright star Arcturus, in the constellation Boötes, the shepherd ~ we’ll let Arcturus be Joan of Arc. Beside Boötes is the starry crown, Corona Borealis, which Joan places on the head of the hidden king. The hidden king is Hercules, moving through the night upside own, which allows for imagining that the situation in France was only made upright when Joan answered the call, identified the king, and saw to it that he was properly crowned.

Thursday, May 30th is the Feast of Joan of Arc. Arcturus is rising overhead from the East, and on Friday, May 31st around 4 am the Moon will be right next to Saturn, as though to fortify the wisdom of trusting one’s destiny, for as Joan of Arc said: “I am not afraid. It was for this that I was born.”

Happy stargazing,


This episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky airs on Interlochen Public Radio Monday, May 27, 2024, and can be heard on podcasts everywhere at anytime. Cover image shows the starry crown, Corona Borealis, rises in the East in this season, adorning the night sky between Boötes and Hercules, imagined as the crown Joan of Arc used at the coronation of Charles VII.