Poem: Jupiter and the Moon

I went out on the porch last night, and saw the Moon and Jupiter very close to one another. I’m not sure they meet the technical definition of conjunction in astrology, but they were beautiful together.  One can see that Jupiter is this incredibly bright point, but the Moon is much larger, a curving shape in the sky.  I know how they’re of different sizes, of course, and how they spin in different orbits and around different bodies (the Moon around the Earth; Jupiter around the Sun). All the same, I felt like it made a good poem subject:

The king of heaven and the priestess dance,
edging closer still on successive nights;
at first the huntress drew near, as in trance,
now, she appears to have the brighter lights,
as king accepts the darkness of her robe,
and comes within the compass of her arms.
Yet majesty refuses half-dark globe,
processes in grace past her wanton charms.
Around them, all the courts of whirling stars
appear to pause, to watch the king seduced.
Kidnapped sisters ride to their dying hours
track the same bridleway the couple’s traced:
down to the West: there, Pisces descending
augurs precession and winter’s ending.

So, this is me attempting to work out poetically something that I’m just beginning to understand about the structure of our planetary orbit vis-a-vis the Precession of the Equinoxes, and grasp about both astronomy and astrology.  The signs of the Zodiac are moving counter-clockwise across the sky, 1° every 72 years or so.  But they’re also moving clockwise at a regular rotation rate… That means, right now, that Pisces is setting at around 11:15pm and over the course of the winter it will gradually vanish from sight during the latter months of February and March, only to rise with the Sun in April and May for a while.

Pisces IS Pisces in part because it lies on the plane of the Ecliptic — that narrow band of star field where the Sun makes its daily course, and all of the planets also orbit (the Moon has a very weird orbit that varies around the planet… reading about major and minor lunar standstills makes my head hurt, by the by).

Underlying all of this is the underlying mythology of our night sky, in which Jupiter is a king of the gods, and in Kabbalah one of the ministers of grace or mercy, hence the appearance of that word in one of the lines.  The moon is sometimes a major and sometimes a minor goddess.  Is this a meeting of priestess and huntress?  Father and daughter?  Lovers?  Is the Moon a queen? A priestess? A seductress?  The ancients are not always clear.  The “Kidnapped sisters riding” are supposed to be a reference to the Pleiades, but I’m not sure it’s specific enough; in one myth, the seven sisters are actually the kidnapped sisters of Europa, riding on the bull back as Orion chases Taurus to rescue them… except that Taurus is facing the wrong way in the sky; he’s constantly backing away from the Winter King (another Orion reference).

All of this is much explanation for a poem that I feel is now done, for the moment.  Enjoy!

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