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Dreaming in the New Year: This week on The Storyteller's Night Sky

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As goddess of love and beauty, Venus stands as door keeper at the Capricorn gateway of the gods. The invitation to journey through this scene is one's dreams. Image from Sky&Telescope.

If the skies are clear this week, we’ll see the waning gibbous Moon making a path through the stars of Leo and Virgo, rising later each night, until it gets to the eve of its last quarter on Friday the 13th; then it rises after midnight.

In my world, the waning gibbous Moon gives rise to dreams, especially at this time of year, when we hear the story of how Joseph was told in a dream to take the child and his mother to Egypt for safety, and of how the Three Kings that had come to celebrate the birth of this child are also told, in dream, to make the way to their homelands by a route different than the one they followed to get here.

How do we follow dreams now? And is New Year’s the right time for dreaming? Isn’t it the time for making firm, wakeful resolutions instead?

Looking into the sky right now, in addition to waning Moon, Venus is evening star, passing through the region of Capricorn. This is the goddess of love and beauty at the gateway of the gods. How do we approach such a scene in our hearts, in a way that has consequence in light of the news of the day?

I imagined Langston Hughes answered, when he wrote, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.”

Sixty year ago, in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke words that continue to resound through the decades, “I have a dream.”

In the Old Testament Book of Job we read: For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed.

All of this to say that while striking out after resolutions, we do well to pay heed to our dreams, and in doing so to tread softly, for we tread on one another’s dreams.

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.