The Queen of the Moon can be seen wandering through her snowflake palace this week when she dons her gibbous gown and passes through the asterism of the Winter Hexagon. There are six first-magnitude stars here setting a terrific stage for her to cast her snowflakes from on high, including among them our brightest star, Sirius.
Such a stage is the right place for poetry as well, like Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence” which she wrote when she was only 20 years old. The poem made her instantly famous, and she went on to become the first woman to ever win the Pulitzer Prize.
In the poem, Millay describes being wrapped in infinity, and entering as though into a clairvoyant vision, she expresses the sensation of becoming one with the world. She wrote:
The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
Millay was writing in the early 20th century, and seemed to echo the 3rd century Hellenistic philosopher Plotinus, who said: “The universe extends as far as the soul goes, but no further. The boundaries of its existence are determined by the degree to which, in going forth, it has the soul to keep it in being.”
So go out to catch the Moon this week, and sink your soul into the majesty and mystery of the universe, and take St. Vincent Millay with you. February 22nd marks the anniversary of her birth, in 1892.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.
And this just in, from spaceweather.com, that over the weekend (February 20, 2021), a coronal mass ejection erupted from the Sun and is now headed earthward. Per their description, “The eruption split the sun’s atmosphere, hurling a CME toward Earth and creating a ‘canyon of fire.'”
The image up top of the Moon sweeping through the Winter Hexagon is from Sky&Telescope and you can learn more about it from their site at this link.