Dark Sky Park: Last New Moon Of Spring

Jun 6, 2013

IPR: The New Moon on Saturday will be the last New Moon of the Spring season. Does it have a name, or does it bear any particular significance in the realm of mythology?

Mary: Ancient and indigenous people, as well as poets and dreamers, typically named the Full Moon and in religious observance it is the moon when it is first visible after new phase that indicates the onset of a particular practice, so there are certainly associations, but no name.

We don't see the moon at new phase, because it is in the same degree of the zodiac with the sun.

IPR: Can you explain "degrees of the zodiac?" 

Mary: it may seem a little dense, but it's worth it: For us it appears the planets and the sun and moon are moving in a circle around us. Since we know that there are 360 degrees in a circle we can apply this to the apparent path that the sun and moon and planets are following. Then we can identify their position by saying they occupy a certain degree of the zodiac.

Further, there are 12 constellations along this path. 360 divided by 12 gives us 30 degrees of the circle belonging to each one of 12 constellations or signs, of the zodiac.</p> <p> Saturday's moon is 18 degrees Gemini in the tropical zodiac and there's a story in that spot.

IPR: Please share! 

Mary: The planet Venus, now appearing as our evening star, has lately completed its once-every-120-years pair of transits. This means it appeared to move directly in front of the sun twice: once in 2004 and then again in 2012.

For the ancient Greeks this movement of Venus marked the time when she was as Prometheus, the Titan whole stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. Venus moved across the sun and "took" the flame, then wove it about the earth for eight years. This process started in 2004 and completed in 2012.

IPR: How is it related to Saturday's new moon?

Mary: When Venus as Prometheus first took the flame of the sun both Venus and sun were 18 degrees Gemini. Saturday's moon will be 18 degrees Gemini. Gemini is the twins so you could say there are two options here: 1) we don't see anything in all of this, and Venus/Prometheus, as in the myth, stays chained to his rock as punishment: or 2) we become as Hercules in the myth. Hercules encounters Prometheus. You could say he "recognizes" the role of the divine and he frees Prometheus from his rock and hard fate.

Venus is prominent in the west starting 45 minutes after sunset and Hercules is nearing the zenith of our night sky, directly overhead about an hour later. With the new moon, the choice is ours.