Wandering Solstice 2020

I don't have any photos for you. Or little videos. Or memes. Just wandering thoughts. I was going to write about distance running, an essay I started in my head whilst driving through the winding peak district yesterday. But today is a new day with new free-flow thoughts. Today was the winter solstice which means that it starts getting light again, for a little while. 

Today also marks the peak of an astronomical event-- a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. I live in northern England. It is cloudy and rainy tonight. However, I live in northern England. It is dynamic. Yesterday (and twice during the past week!), it has been clear just after sunset, and I got to see the two planets quite close together in the southern sky, as well as a very bright Mars a bit further north and east. 

Last night I didn't even have to leave the comfort of my bedroom to see Jupiter and Saturn. I found Tyler's binoculars to have a look. They didn't make much of a difference; the objects being so low in the sky by that point, but I felt rather pleasantly science-y and blessed to see it from my window. I didn't try to take photos, but rather just enjoyed the brief moment. There is some suggestion that such a conjunction may have been taking place around the time of Christ's birth, and was the source of the "Christmas star" that guided the wise men to Bethlehem, which of course would mean that it wasn't a star at all but two planets. Wanderers themselves. 

Conjunction (The Great Conjunction, specifically) first entered my vocabulary as a rather young person watching my favourite film, The Dark Crystal. I didn't know what the word meant; I only knew it was important, and heralded massive changes. It was a scary word, but also hopeful. 

In the story, the three suns lighting the planet were coming together in a Great Conjunction. At the same time (spoiler alert!), a group of gentle, light, good creatures were conjoined metaphysically with a group of powerful, creepy, evil creatures to bring the world back into balance and peace under a unified leadership. The timing of all of this fell to the the meek and reluctant hero and heroine creatures, the Gelflings. 

The etymology of conjunction shows that the latin, coniunctionem, is from the joining of "con" from "com" meaning "with/together" and iugare "to join," from iugum "yoke". 

The Great Coming Together. 

Putting on the yoke with another requires vulnerability, trust, compromise, and patience. Sharing a burden requires compassion. Though the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn tonight doesn't actually herald massive changes--it merely stems from our point of view here on Earth and the relative orbits, I pray for massive change. I pray for an even greater conjunction for all of us on this planet; that even as we wander, we would wander toward light. 

Blessings on the longest night, 


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