The Soul Comes Out to Play in the Dark

This week’s waning Moon means it’s International Dark Sky Week 2021, from April 5 to 12.  Throughout this week you can see the waning crescent Moon as it passes Saturn on the morning of April 6 and Jupiter on April 7, before it sinks into the arms of the dawn to achieve New Phase on Sunday, April 11 at 10:31 pm edt.

International Dark Sky Week is intended to raise awareness about the issues of light pollution around the world, and to provide education and resources about how to mitigate its unwanted effects, particularly in habitat, in energy resources, and in human health.

For me, International Dark Sky Week is also about drawing attention to the necessity for developing healthy human imaginations. The imagination differs from the intellect in that it is more playful, especially because it’s not bound to the laws of reason or logic. Just as we need sound intellect to function in a healthy way in the day-to-day world, we need healthy imaginations to find our way into the unknown, and there are a lot of unknowns in our world.

And this where the dark comes into play, and why protecting the dark is so essential to our well being. The dark is one of the most stimulating elements for the imagination, and you can test this yourself by turning off all the lights and being awake in your space, in the dark, or by going out into the night when it’s undisturbed by artificial light.

Here’s a terrific quote to help me make my point, from John O’Donahue:

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb- time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.”

Happy star seeking! As always, this episode is available by audio through Interlochen Public Radio, and on my podcast, The Storyteller’s Night Sky.


Check out for ways to support efforts to protect natural darkness, in your home, and in the world!