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Speaking with the Stars: this week on Storyteller's Night Sky

October finds all of the naked-eye planets making remarkable moves, including Jupiter, now in its retrograde, moving westward against the background of stars. Image from Sky&Telescope.

Now it’s October, and there’s a dynamic cosmic positioning happening all month. Mercury just resumed direct motion, and soon Saturn will follow suit. In the tropical zodiac, Jupiter will slip back into the sign of Pisces, while Venus is being swept up in the light of the Sun and is now journeying to its other side.

This month’s Full Moon occurs in the very spot where the Sun will be in six months, so it’s getting things ready there, in advance.

Not to be left out, Mars begins its once-every-two-years retrograde, just as October ends.

But I want to consider just Sun and Earth for a moment. In their relationship they continually exhibit stillness and balance, solstice and equinox, as steady as our breathing. In fact, the rhythm of our breathing is deeply rooted in the cosmic harmony between Sun and Earth.

The Earth wobbles on its axis relative to Sun at a rate of one degree every 72 years, so it takes the Earth 25,920 years to complete one wobble. The human being breathes an average of 18 times each minute, so we breathe about 25,920 times in every 24-hour cycle.

This is a remarkable harmony, but not too surprising if we really stop to consider that we’re part and parcel of the cosmic whole.

The planets also exhibit their own stillness and balance relative to Earth, but not in the same rhythm as our breathing, but it’s just at the point where these planetary rhythms enter our breathing that the ancients believed the cosmos gives rise to speaking in human beings.

So what words will you choose amidst all this dynamic planetary motion this month?

Mary Stewart Adams is a Star Lore Historian and host of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky.” As a global advocate for starry skies, Mary led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011, which later led to her home state of Michigan protecting 35,000 acres of state land for its natural darkness.