The Ghosts that Haunt the Halloween Sky: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Oct 28, 2019

The Ghost Nebula in the region of the constellation Cepheus, the King, lends itself to wild imaginings of haunted skies in this season. Image taken at Kitt Peak National Observatory. As a circumpolar constellation, Cepheus is overhead every night.

It’s the week of Halloween, a festive and mischievous celebration rooted in the ancient agrarian observance of the Autumn Cross Quarter Day, when stories abound about encounters with supernatural beings associated with fate.

As the path of the Sun shifts south in this season, its power to charm life out of the Earth seems to weaken, so that it no longer calls forth bud and blossom, flower and fruit from the plant kingdom. But instead, the light has a more golden hue, drawing out the gold of the forests and trees, as though affirming that in all things, there is an appropriate season for wisdom and maturity, even in the experience of the human being at this time in the cycle of the year. The year’s deeds have ripened now, and can be assessed.

In the tropical zodiac, the Sun has just entered the sign of Scorpio, long associated with the underworld and the dead, and since the deeds of the human being have been weighed in the scales of Libra, now the 

The ghost of queen Cassiopeia, from an image of the nebula captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

supernatural encounters get stirred up, according to what is required to set things in balance. The nights grow longer now, and the ghost of the King and Queen depart from their thrones in the sky for riding the moonlight shadows through the night.

This week, the Moon is a waxing crescent and will slip past Saturn Friday and Saturday. Saturn is Father Time, holding us to our memories and our responsibilities with regard to our ancestors, the sacred dead, and all that has come before. Not only do we have Saturn there to witness, but there is also this ghost nebula in the region of Cepheus the King and the ghost of Queen Cassiopeia, looking down from on high through these night.

This is the sign that at All Hallow’ds, the day after Halloween, it’s good to recommit yourself to noble deeds you may have left undone.