Mars and the Miracle Star

The Moon sweeps past Mars and Uranus above the ocean beast Cetus this week, drawing impulses out of the collective unconscious for either chaos or miracles. Image from Sky&Telescope.

Mars meets Uranus during the first quarter Moon on Wednesday, January 20th, and though we usually describe the planets in relation to the zodiac, I want to talk about the stars lying beneath them right now, which are those of Cetus, the whale, a seemingly unremarkable patch of sky that is related by ancient astrology to impulses arising from the collective unconscious, impulses that are either of great insight, or of chaos.

Mars is unmistakably red where it appears high in the southwest around 8:30 pm. And while it’s visible to the naked eye, you need binoculars to see Uranus below and left of Mars, and bear in mind, the Moon is nearby, casting its glow into the scene.

Due south of Mars is the region of Cetus the whale, with the bright star Menkar marking its mouth, and the variable star Mira at its throat. Menkar is related to the potentially beastly and devouring nature of the whale, which lends itself to this ancient association with unconscious forces that periodically erupt in culture and history. The star Mira, on the other hand, takes its name from “miracle” and has to do with the mystery of human souls in the spiritual world making the decision to take up the karmic necessity of earthly life.

The ancient hero Perseus turned Cetus to stone out of a keen sense of his role in the great narrative of the world. Perseus is straight overhead these nights.

So this week, the choice is ours, to be swayed by the collective unconscious, or to recognize our role in bringing balance and harmony into what can seem like a raging tide. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

Catch this week’s episode on Interlochen Public Radio, or subscribe to my weekly podcast The Storyteller’s Night Sky at this link.

For the beauty of the world,


Image of Cetus by Tania Nault