The Moon Wakes Mars with a Kiss Tuesday Morning: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Feb 17, 2020

The waning Crescent Moon occults Mars on Tuesday, meets Jupiter on Wednesday, followed by Saturn on Thursday, stirring up the ancient mythology of the Titan Moon Goddess Selene and her Endymion. Image from Sky&Telescope.

This week the Moon will cascade down a stair of morning planets in her silvery gown as the Titan Goddess Selene, sweeping us into the folklore of prophetic morning dreams when she meets Mars on Tuesday morning, Jupiter on Wednesday, and Saturn on Thursday, before she disappears into her dark phase below the eastern horizon and arrives at New Phase again on Sunday, February 23rd.

As Titan Goddess, the Moon’s story this week is one of an immortal who falls in love with the shepherd Endymion, asleep in his cave ~ we’ll consider him Mars. Selene is so overcome with the desire to kiss Endymion that she begs Zeus to grant him eternal sleep, so she can meet him each night in dream. Zeus is Jupiter, whom the Moon meets on Wednesday. Then there’s the granting of Selene’s wish, which takes place on Thursday, when she meets Saturn, Father of Time and Eternity.

In the classical Greek rendering of this myth, Selene and Endymion marry, and between them they have 50 daughters, which is the number of lunar cycles in one Olympiad ~ or one four year cycle.

About 45 minutes before sunrise on Tuesday, the Moon will appear exactly in front of Mars, causing an occultation, which is easily imagined as Selene kissing the sleeping Endymion! So plan your viewing spot now, and take with you Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s beautiful poem, which begins:

The rising Moon has hid the stars,

Her level rays,

like golden bars,

Lie on the landscape green,

With shadows brown between.

And silver white the river gleams,

As if Diana, in her dreams,

Had dropt her silver bow

Upon the meadows low.

On such a tranquil night as this,

She woke Endymion with a kiss... 

~from "Enydmion" by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow