The Price of Improbable Love

On Wednesday, March 13, 2024 the crescent Moon will appear beside Jupiter in the evening sky, two hours after sunset looking west. And so begins this week’s grand adventure, which is nothing less than the final resolution of improbable love.

The Moon was New on Sunday, March 10, among the stars of Pisces. This week it will pass by Jupiter; then it will cross through the river of Milky Way stars above the giant Orion; and by Equinox on the 19th, it will be above the constellation Hydra, the water serpent that snakes along through the sky with Crater the golden cup upon its back.

In the tradition of Celtic wonder tales, there’s a story of Diarmuid, a mighty hero from the first race of humans after the gods. Diarmuid must endure one of life’s most difficult trials, the trial of the heart. His is a love between worlds, with the daughter of King Under-Wave.

Eventually she must flee to her own kingdom, where he follows. Along the way he finds three drops of heart’s blood, which turn out to be hers ~ she lost one each time she thought of him in her flight. This loss of blood could mean her death unless Diarmuid can restore them to her ~ but it’s not so easy: she must drink the drops from the golden cup of wonder that belongs to the King whose lands are across the river of forgetfulness. A giant guards the river, allowing passage only to those whose virtue warrants it.

This week the Moon is Diarmuid, and his story begins Wednesday when he passes Jupiter. By Sunday the Moon will appear above the giant Orion, who carries him across the Milky Way, to approach the golden cup at Equinox. Diarmuid achieves the cup and restores his beloved to life, but at great price: his love for her is forgotten in his longing for his own home, in the world to which he, but not she, belongs.


Hear this episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky on Interlochen Public Radio Monday, March 11, 2024, and on podcasts everywhere, at anytime. Cover image from Sky&Telescope.