Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Hunter Sisters Get It Together

According to Fact Monster, on Sunday the Moon and Venus were 2 degrees apart at 1 PM EST (1800 UT), in conjunction. This four-second exposure also shows the Moon's earthshine.

I had known that the Moon symbolized Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt. But I had not known that Venus had been known not only as a lover but as a hunter, too....

Writes Barbara G. Walker in The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, "Venery used to mean hunting; for, like her eastern counterpart Artemis, Venus was once a Lady of Animals, and her Horned God -- Adonis, both the hunter and the sacrificial stag -- became venison, which meant 'Venus's son.'...

"Modern interpretations of classical mythology tend to picture Venus as a sex goddess only. Her birth-giving and death-giving aspects have been suppressed; but they were equally important in her cult. As Queen of the Shades she was identified with Proserpine, but went by the name of Libitina. Plutarch said Libitina was only another name for Venus, 'the goddess of generation.'"

Walker provides numerous interpretations for the Moon, but includes this: "Because the Moon-goddess was threefold, the Destroyer as well as the Creator, she was the devourer of the dead as well as the giver of life." Artemis, the eastern counterpart of Venus, was an "Amazonian Moon-goddess, worshipped at Ephesus under the Latin name Diana or 'Goddess-Anna.'"

The two dots beneath the moon are probably stars in the constellation Sagittarius. Treetops are at lower right.

The top shot is cropped from the photo above. Ten minutes later I snapped the bottom shot at a faster shutter speed, which shows craters and mare in the sunlit crescent itself (clicking on the photo gives a larger view).

Our annual holiday letters (our Tenth Anniversary edition) printed out as I typed this last night (couldn't post because Blogger was being persnickety). Mary and I gather notes over the course of the year; then I write the first draft. The draft makes several rounds back and forth before we finally settle on what goes out. Each year we've sent at least one page of color photos -- at first I taped actual photos to a sheet of paper and had color copies made; now I put together computer montages. Sometimes I use my low-end color printer but other times (like this year) I'm having copies made from the file.

Last night the weather gods were futzing around with their heavenly hoses. Within minutes we'd gone, several times, from deadly calm to full-blast deluge and back again. No build-up but instantaneous change. First nothing, then WHOOOOOSHHHH!, and just as quickly back to nothing. A few moments of peace, then back to WHOOOOOSHHHH!

I never experienced this sort of thing up north. It's pretty cool. Almost as cool as cloud spit, when all the sky offers up is a single great gob of rain splat on my windshield. No stargazing last night.

But a great night's sleep. I needed that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been noticing this alignment in the sky. Venus looks so big!

Sadly, I probably won't even get a card out this year. I think the blog is about all I can handle in that department. They'll have to come to me to find out what is new.

10:13 AM  

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