Venus, Jupiter, and the Shadow of the Moon

With the Lunar Eclipse only just behind us, the big celestial news this week is the coming together of the planets Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky, looking east before sunrise.

There’s an old English tale of the water nixy that is the perfect fit for this configuration, and it involves a bargain made with an otherworldly being by a miller who has lost his fortune. 

The miller finds himself near the mill pond during the night of a Full Moon where he hears the mysterious call of the nixy. She promises to make him a rich man if, in return, he will give her the youngest thing he encounters when he returns home. He agrees, but unbeknownst to him, his wife has just been delivered of their son, so though the miller does become wealthy, he can’t enjoy his riches for fear of losing his son.

The only safeguard is to make sure the boy never goes near the mill pond. But sure enough, one day, long after he has grown into a fine young man and has a wife of his own, he is led astray while hunting, and ends up near the mill pond, where the nixy captures him at last.

When he doesn’t return home, his wife goes to an old witch who tells her how she can restore her husband: She must wait until the night of the Full Moon, and go to the mill pond with a golden gift. The wife does this, not once, not twice, but for three Full Moons, when at last she finally frees her husband from enchantment  ~ but only for a moment! Because sadly, the water nixy is able to cast them away from one another for many long lonely years, until finally, chance brings them back together by the light of the Full Moon, where their love is restored and they live happily ever after.

The shadow revealed at the Full Moon eclipse is like the enchantment of the water nixy, and the two lovers are Venus and Jupiter.

You can read the full tale of the Nixy at this link.

Hear this week’s segment of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” on Interlochen Public Radio.

cover image by Mary Stewart Adams, taken at The Sacred Space, Santa Barbara, CA