The Moon will be our escort across the dawn this week, like a goddess cascading down the stair of morning planets, and only slipping out of view on Saturday, February 2nd, which is this season’s Cross Quarter Day.
The sequence will go like this: on Wednesday, the Crescent Moon will be just above the planet Jupiter, 45 minutes before sunrise; then it will encounter Venus on Thursday. On Friday, the waning sliver will approach Saturn; and on Saturday, the Moon will just barely be visible, looking low in the southeast at dawn.
This spectacular line up of planets is analogous to the spectacular convergence of sacred traditions specific to this time, the most ancient of which is Imbolc, the Celtic festival associated with the goddess Brigid. Imbolc may mean “in the belly” and it’s a celebration of fertility in anticipation of the Spring.
Then there’s the Christian observance of Mary’s presentation of the Christ Child at the Temple, now that 40 days have elapsed since the birth, at Christmas. This tradition is echoed in the on-going Balinese practice of not allowing a newborn child’s feet to touch the Earth until 40 days have passed, out of the belief that the spirit is still in tact with newborns, and coming to Earth too soon can defile that connection.
Then there’s the Christian St Brigid, also celebrated at this time, who, like her Celtic predecessor, shares the patronage of fertility, prosperity, and poetry. The name Brigid means “Fiery Arrow”, which implies a kinship with the Roman goddess Minerva.
All of this feminine energy converges this on Saturday, when we’re halfway through the season. If you tie a ribbon or handkerchief to a tree at Brigid’s Day, then tradition holds it may be touched by goddess as she moves over the Earth, consecrating it with curative powers.