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Be Still in Haste: This week on The Storyteller's Night Sky

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Listening in for the meaning in our lives of planetary motion against the background of fixed stars requires an inner stillness as a way to engage with outer haste.

The planet Saturn has resumed direct motion after five months of journeying retrograde, or westward against the background of stars, and because Jupiter is still going westward in its motion, the two gas giants are moving slightly closer together right now.

Mars is brightening as it readies to begin its 74-day retrograde at the end of this month, while Venus and Mercury are moving too close to the Sun to be seen.

The Moon is tip-toeing toward New Phase, where it arrives on Tuesday, when it will cause a partial solar eclipse primarily visible from Europe and parts of Africa and Asia.

Eclipse season. At their best, eclipses stir an increased interest in celestial phenomenon. At worst, they stir sensation and superstition ~ so what do we do? How do we manage our thoughts about the phenomena in a way that neither denies their significance in human culture, nor makes us feel helpless in the face of forces mightier than we are ourselves?

My approach is to strive for a mood of inner quiet and listening, usually supported by what’s occurring in the natural world around me, and in the comfort I get from inspired poetry, like the poem Be Still in Haste from Wendell Berry, which was recently shared with me by an astrologer friend of mine, which I offer now as a context for contemplating this week’s New Moon:

How quietly
I begin again
from this moment
looking at the
clock, I start over
so much time has
passed, and is equaled
by whatever
is present
from this
moment this moment
is the first

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.