After Saturday’s New Moon on August 11, 2018, we entered the sacred sequence of days leading up to the 7th Night of the 7th Moon in the Chinese tradition, which brings us to the portal between the worlds.
The Qixi Festival is celebrated during the most romantic time of the year, when the Crescent Moon sweeps across the western horizon toward the thickest part of the Milky Way.
The date for the festival is movable, because it’s based on the Lunar rhythm, which gives it a changing mood from one year to the next. This year, the seven days leading up to the 7th night will include a beautiful meeting between Moon and Venus on Tuesday night, August 14, then between Moon and Jupiter on Friday, August 17. Overnight Friday, before the Moon achieves its first quarter on Saturday morning the 18th, that’s when we arrive at the moment when the portal opens between the worlds ~ and every lover can chance upon his true love!
Variations on the story abound, but in essentials it involves the two stars Vega and Altair, which are overhead on opposite sides of the Milky Way every year at this time~Vega and Altair are two of the three stars that make up the asterism of the Summer Triangle. Vega is the weaving princess of the heaven world who’s captured by Altair, the cowherd of the earthly world. He steals away her feathered cape when she descends with her fairy sisters to swim in the sacred pool of water at the top of a mountain. Because she can’t return without her cape, the cow herd is able to speak to her and ask for her hand in marriage. The weaving princess consents, and they live happily together for many years, and even have twin children together, a boy and a girl, until the Jade Emperor calls the princess back to the heaven world. Her beloved cow herd is heart broken and attempts to follow her, with his children in tow, and though he’s able to ascend through the sky, he’s not able to cross the mighty celestial river that runs in torrents between them. The two stars that appear on either side of Altair in the night sky are his children.
However, his devotion impresses the Jade Queen so much that she ultimately grants that once each year, the lovers can meet, as shown in the image above! Their meeting takes place every year on the 7th Night of the 7th Moon, and the date for this sacred meeting in 2018 is Friday, August 17, so we have this entire week to get ready for the meeting with the beloved.
Click below for Mary Stewart Adams’ audio of this week’s Storyteller’s Night Sky radio segment!