The Hidden Promise of Leap Day

Overnight Thursday this week, the waning gibbous Moon will move from the region of Virgo stars to Libra, where, on Friday morning, it will be near the star Zubenelgenubi, one of the most amusingly-named stars in the sky.

Zubenelgenubi is the brightest star in Libra, and its name means “the southern scale,” the weighted-down side of the scales where all the gold is.

Thursday is February 29th ~ Leap Day, a day that only comes ‘round once every four years, and this is the kind of thing that says to me that a mystery is upon us, and things that are otherwise hidden can be discovered.  Moving through midnight on Leap Day, the Moon sheds light on the gold-filled scale, which is like an invitation to us all to seek for hidden treasure. In all mystery wisdom, the greatest treasure a human being can find is a true knowledge of the self.

The fairy tale I like for this is The Treasure Seeker, from Andrew Lang’s collected tales. It’s a short adventure story that begins with a party of shepherds sitting around in the kitchen of an inn, swapping stories of the strange things that had happened to them in their youth.

One of the men shares that one night, after he had served as an assistant to a shepherd for three years, he was approached by a mysterious dark spirit who offered him access to a hidden treasure, one that was not accessible at twilight or high noon, but that could only be dug up at midnight. The shepherd described in exact detail how the treasure could be found, but he also confessed that he never had the courage to seek it himself.

What happens next can be found here at The Treasure Seeker by Andrew Lang, and it can be imagined overhead at midnight on Leap Day, when the Moon lights the way to Zubenelgenubi, the golden balance that comes from self knowledge.

In the leap of faith,


This episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky airs on Interlochen Public Radio Monday, February 26, 2024, and can be heard on podcasts wherever you listen.