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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.

The Pillars of Wisdom: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

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There’s a terrific mystery being staged in the night sky this week and throughout the summer, where the planets Jupiter and Saturn appear on opposite sides of the Milky Way.

The art and architecture of ancient cultures reveals a sacred understanding of the relationship between the human being and the spiritual world, both before birth and after death. It was understood then that the spiritual journey of the human being was articulated by the 12 signs of the zodiac, and when life began on the earth, consciousness would rise up, like a new day dawning, while awareness of the spiritual world would set.

This rising and setting of awareness was described in the mystery centers as passing by two mighty pillars ~ one representing life and the forces of the day, the other representing night and the forces of death. The trick was to pass between them in a balanced way.

For example, in ancient Hebrew tradition, this wisdom was represented by the two pillars on other side of the entrance to Solomon’s Temple.

In the realm of the planets this week, we’re imagining the pillars as Jupiter and Saturn, where Jupiter represents the ‘coming into life’ or day-side pillar with its promise of the future, and Saturn represents those things that pass away, and that set when we drift into night.

You can see Jupiter and Saturn looking southeast in the sky about an hour after sunset. Jupiter is brighter and will appear first, to the right of the Milky Way. Saturn appears golden and will be to the left of the Milky Way. At the mid-point right between them is the center of our galaxy, perfectly accenting the ancient understanding that life is found in the balance between these two. To pass between them, to take the middle way, was to understand life rightly.