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Terrifying Splendor in the Heavens

February 21, 2015 / Terrifying Splendor in the Heavens

Did you see this fantastical sight in the night sky around 6:30 EST on Friday, February 20? 

Just past dusk, I was finishing my half-hour of meditation in my little office here at home.  The gong sounded on my iphone, signaling the half hour, and I opened my eyes and sat quietly for a minute or so, returning from the infinite world of meditation to the smaller world of dailiness.  Standing up, I turned to look out the window.

Held in the black branches as if in a celestial net.

Too huge to be real. 

Too dazzling to be real. 

Too gorgeous to be real.

A display of heavenly splendor that might have terrified those of earlier times.   

“Oh!” I cried.  “Oh!  Oh!”

There stands brilliant Venus in the horns of the sliver of silver Moon.  There floats red Mars, less than the width of the Moon above Venus.   Oh!

Astronomers call it a “conjunction”, when celestial bodies appear to be very close to each other.  They aren’t, of course, actually close to each other, but depending where you are standing on Earth, it looks that way.  It depends on how they are all moving, and how we are moving relative to them, as to whether we might see something like this sight out my window.  And it’s all so very complicated, these motions and their relationships.   It really was an accident, that I looked out my window and saw the Moon and Venus and Mars standing near each other, at just this moment. 

In the city we have these bright street lights.  They keep us from seeing the night sky.  But I imagined those people of other times and places, and how they might have seen this coldly-majestic sight glittering in a sky of true dark, and been afraid, or struck with awe.

I, whatever I am in the unthinkably tremendous scheme of all of it, happened to look out a window and see, just for a moment, the power and the glory.  All of it heedless of me.  Makes you shiver, doesn’t it?

Terrifying Splendor in the Heavens

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