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Every Monday morning at 6:49 and 8:49, IPR News Radio looks into the night sky with Mary Stewart Adams, former Program Director and founder of the International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands, who has been telling stories of the night sky on IPR since 2013.

Comet leonard and What Humanity Speaks to the Stars: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

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This image from shows the path of Comet Leonard December 12 through 17 as it sweeps through Ophiucus and on through Sagittarius.

Nearly 100 years ago this month. Austrian philosopher, scientist and esotericist Rudolf Steiner composed a verse regarding the changing relationship between the human being and the stars that’s interesting backdrop for this week’s big astronomy news: Comet Leonard.

The verse begins with the time in history when the stars spoke to human beings. We can imagine that this refers to the time of the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians several thousand years ago, and those cultures that developed a science out of this speaking, which we know by the name astrology.

Through the course of human destiny, the verse continues, a knowledge of this astro-logos grew silent and gave way to the Scientific Revolution and the predominance of math and physics as the way to know starry worlds, rather than through the speaking of celestial beings. This became known as the science of astronomy.

The verse concludes with an image of what can develop in our relationship with starry worlds, once we have known their speaking, have lived through their silencing while we sorted out our place in space, to the time when we can be aware of what we are speaking back to the stars, as an astrosophy, or star wisdom. And here’s where Comet Leonard comes in, because now, it’s we who must see mighty images into the night, to understand, through science and culture, the impressions we are making in our celestial environment, rather than what impression it’s making on us.

Leonard is speeding through the region of Ophiucus right now, the mighty healer who holds the serpent in his hands, his story one of conquering the forces of death. Leonard arrived here after passing through Boötes, the region of the good shepherd.

So, what can we imagine as our message to this season’s cometary visitor?