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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.

Making our way back to the bright world: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Dec 31 2021.jpeg
Sky & Telescope
Venus leads the parade of planets into the midnight hour this week, before she becomes 2022's morning star.

At the end of this week, the year ends, and what better day for it to fulfill than a Friday, which is the day of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

Not only does the year end sounding the glorious note of Venus, but the celestial goddess herself is bold and beautiful in the evening sky, leading the parade of planets into the midnight of the year. Venus is making one of her rare retrogrades just now, so we can imagine that she’s backing up across the threshold as her way into the new, retracing the footsteps she took to get to the sacred moment between the years, when it’s as though time and eternity hold hands.

As with all true threshold crossings, Venus is escorted beyond the trappings of the old year by Mercury, that ancient psychopomp who leads all souls from this world to the next.

In esoteric wisdom, the soul’s experience of the Venus sphere has to do with one’s community, with those who share your ideals and your highest striving, while the Mercury sphere is where souls are tested as to their moral character.

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, we don’t get to the spheres of Mercury and Venus until the Paradise, but since 2021 marked the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, I’ll end this last segment of the year with the final lines of his Inferno, as a good omen to help us build up good thoughts as we emerge from the hard stuff, so that, with confidence, we can look toward a bright and healthy 2022 ~ it’s worth everything we’ve got:

My guide and I entered that hidden road
To make our way back up to the bright world.
We never thought of resting while we climbed.
We climbed, he first and I behind, until,
Through a small round opening ahead of us
I saw the lovely things the heavens hold,
And we came out to see once more the stars.

~Dante’s “Inferno” Canto XXXIV lines 135-138