All through the coming month, the planets Venus and Mars will grace the evening sky looking west, albeit Mars is gradually fading, and Venus is slowing down in her chase.
This week, they’re moving through the stars of Gemini, where all of the journeying planets cross through the path of the Milky Way, and though the Milky Way isn’t visible to us in the evening twilight, there’s still plenty of story to be had here.
In the Paradise of his Divine Comedy, the initiate-poet Dante leads the reader through a very specific process of mounting up to the first heaven of the Moon, through all the planetary spheres to the 7th heaven of Saturn, before his pilgrim and his beloved Beatrice then leap up to the 8th heaven of the fixed stars at the region of Gemini ~ so you can see where I’m going.
This week, I imagine Venus is Beatrice, and Mars is the pilgrim Dante. On Tuesday evening, the crescent Moon will appear right between them, a reminder of the first stage of their celestial journey which is now far behind and below them, now they’ve mounted up into the stars of Gemini.
Centuries of scholars have wondered at why Dante chose Gemini as the region of stars for this stage of the Comedy, and though many presume it is because he was born in Gemini season, I think it has to do with his building his path to God, because it’s right at Gemini where the path of the planets crosses through the Milky Way. When you follow the progress of Dante and his Beatrice, they move from planets to zodiac, from zodiac to fixed stars, and from the fixed stars to God.
Only then is Dante able to speak to that which he was after all the while, of Love, the Love that moves the Sun and the other stars.
Hear this episode Monday morning May 22, 2023 on Interlochen Public Radio, or tune in anytime on your favorite podcast site! Note that the image above is from Sky&Telescope and their weekly post “Sky at a Glance.”