Today has many significances.
It is Solstice Day. It is the shortest day, the day of least light.
It is the 32nd Anniversary of Britain’s most deadly terrorist incident, the tragic on-board explosion which claimed the lives of all the passengers and crew of Pan Am Flight 103 and eleven people on the ground in Lockerbie, a total of 270 human beings.
It is also a time in ancient and more recent religions and philosophies when we say goodbye to darkness and think ahead to increasing light, hopefully increased enlightenment and optimism too.
This year and this evening we are allowed to witness the planetary wonder of the Great Conjunction when the solar system’s two largest planets come so close in the night sky (from an earthly point of perspective) that they appear to be one large bright heavenly star.
Depending who you listen to, this last happened about four hundred or eight hundred years ago. From what I have heard it happens in a less dramatic way every twenty years. However, given the year we have all experienced, it does not seem appropriate to say anything to take the shine off this special astronomical occasion. If you are in a location where you can see it clearly, enjoy this phenomenon, perhaps view it as a beacon in the lead up to Christmas and a hopeful torch as we approach the unknown of a New Year.
With that thought in mind, I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote about a series of lunar events which manifested between December 2017 and January 2018. It appeared in an online magazine Until the Stars Burn Out in September 2018.
Supermoon Trilogy (3rd December 2017 to 31st January 2018)
is it ominously awesome, this repeated perigee?
uncommon perhaps but purely astronomical?
signifying foreboding or even miracle?
spanning the death of one year
of the next its birth though
how often this on earth
occurs I do not know
or even pretend
to begin to
is it history?
a supermoon once
then a supermoon twice
the moon appearing of extra size
during the bimester thrice seeming to grow
with fulsome lucence in winter skies spell-casting
her fluence over Advent, Hanukkah, Solstice
and Christmas, visiting the New Year
a wolf supermoon rampant before
and blue blood supermoon
rising far beyond
when revisiting she
with constant hypnotic
glows upstages pyrotechnic
show-off meteor shower shows?
instead of seeking portents in the sky
which some would label lunacy let us for now
declare in time of gloom enlightenment is truly rare
be it mind or heart or supermoon, welcome every steady beam