The Moon Wakens Mars with a Kiss on Tuesday, February 18

This week the Moon will cascade down a stair of morning planets in her silvery gown as the Titan Goddess Selene, sweeping us into the folklore of prophetic morning dreams when she meets Mars on Tuesday morning, Jupiter on Wednesday, and Saturn on Thursday, before she disappears into her dark phase below the eastern horizon and arrives at New Phase again on Sunday, February 23rd.

Image from Sky&Telescope

As Titan Goddess, the Moon’s story this week is one of an immortal who falls in love with the shepherd Enydmion, asleep in his cave ~ we’ll consider him Mars. Selene is so overcome with the desire to kiss Endymion that she begs Zeus to grant him eternal sleep, so she can meet him each night in dream. Zeus is Jupiter, whom the Moon meets on Wednesday. Then there’s the granting of Selene’s wish, which takes place on Thursday, when she meets Saturn, Father of Time and Eternity.

In the classical Greek rendering of this myth, Selene and Endymion marry, and between them they have 50 daughters, which is the number of lunar cycles in one Olympiad ~ or one four year cycle.

About 45 minutes before sunrise on Tuesday, the Moon will appear exactly in front of Mars, causing an occultation, which is easily imagined as Selene kissing the sleeping Endymion! So plan your viewing spot now, and take with you Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s beautiful poem, which begins:

The rising moon has hid the stars;
Her level rays, like golden bars,
Lie on the landscape green,
With shadows brown between.

And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana, in her dreams,
Had dropt her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.

On such a tranquil night as this,
She woke Endymion with a kiss…

~from Endymion, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You can hear this story on Interlochen Public Radio, where I host my weekly segment The Storyteller’s Night Sky.

Thanks for stopping in!


ps the dramatic image above of Selene bestowing her kiss on Endymion is by George Frederick Watts, from 1872