The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks overnight Thursday, just as Comet Wirtanen is hurtling our way, the closest comet of the last century.
At the same time, the planet Saturn, ancient guardian of the past, is following the Sun over the western horizon at the end of the day; while Jupiter, who bears the promise of the future, is sweeping into the morning sky at dawn.
With Christmas now just two weeks away, these phenomena provoke an interesting thought about how we prepare to participate in the season: The meteor shower of the Twins suggests that there are at least two paths open to us: one rooted in the past, or Saturn’s way; and the other oriented to the future, with Jupiter.
Then the comet is like an exclamation point, lending urgency!
Right in the midst of these phenomena is the Feast of Saint Lucy, a 3rd century Christian martyr who is celebrated in Scandinavia by precessions of girls wearing candlelit wreaths. St. Lucy’s feast is December 13th, exactly 12 days before Christmas. Traditionally the 12 Days happen between Christmas and Epiphany, so St. Lucy’s Day is really like a signal that it’s time to make final preparation for those days of greatest outer darkness.
There’s a mystery hidden in the seasonal dark, which tradition holds can only be found by those who prepare for it. The 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany are like a recapitulation of the 12 months past, Saturn’s way and a foreshadowing of the 12 months ahead, Jupiter’s way.
Then St. Lucy’s candles are like a symbol, that the cultivation of an inner light is necessary for finding our way from the past to the future through the deep mystery of the season.