The Three Graces at dawn: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Jul 17, 2017

The Three Graces or Charites, Roman statue, marble copy of Hellenistic original, 2nd century, Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Moon and Venus will strike a remarkable pose this week on Thursday, July 20th, when they grace the morning sky in the east an hour before sunrise.



The Moon will be at one of its most beautiful phases this week, known as waning crescent, which it only achieves in the morning sky as it drifts around the Earth and back toward the Sun. Waning crescent always occurs the week before New Moon, which will happen on July 23rd this month. This will be the last New Moon before the Great American Solar Eclipse in August, so it’s a good one to watch, in preparation for that event.

The Moon will meet Venus in the region of Taurus stars, where she’s been holding court with the orange-red bull’s eye star Aldebaran. On Thursday morning, the Moon, Venus, and Aldebaran will be a like a beautiful trio, singing the dawn into being!

These three can also be imagined like the three graces: Joy, Bloom, and Brilliance. The graces are the ancient dieties of beauty and they personify the element of harmony in the world, spreading joy and gracefulness in nature, and in the hearts of human beings and gods alike. 

Venus is by far the most brilliant of the three, and in August, when the Sun is totally eclipsed and the daytime sky becomes about as dark as it is during early twilight, Venus will be the most conspicuous nearby object to the Sun, appearing in the sky almost a full ten minutes before totality occurs! 

Such an unveiling of the graceful goddess by day begs for a song of joy and beauty, some poem or verse, which we can all practice on Thursday, with waning crescent Moon and Aldebaran as witnesses. One of my favorites is from George Gordon, Lord Byron: 

She walks in beauty, like the night 

Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 

And all that’s best of dark and bright 

Meet in her aspect and her eyes; 

Thus mellowed to that tender light 

Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 

Offer your song of love and beauty into the morning sky this week, where Venus Moon and Aldebaran stand as the graces of dawn. George Gordon, Lord Byron "She Walks in Beauty" can be found at this link. Excellent article describing what can be seen in the sky during the August 21, 2017 eclipse, if you dare to look away from the "main event". Click here