Wednesday 24 December 2014

The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms

A glimpse of something so magical, and yet something that is so easy to explain - so scientific - so predictable every month - this evening.

The "new moon in the old moon's arms".

"Earthshine" from Wikimedia commons by Claude Schneider
The old moon, not illuminated by the Sun, is instead lit by earthlight. When the new moon is slender enough, the earthlight is enough to show up the side away from the Sun. The new moon is in the old moon's arms.

Seems very Christmassy. 2,000 years since a baby called Jehoshua - the salvation of the Lord - is resting in the arms of his mother, a girl called Miriam - named after the sister of Moses. The man who stands, confused but proud, in the room is Joseph - named after the most loved of the sons of Israel. The new world rests in the old world's arms.

Of course, it's foolishness to talk of the "old moon" as if it is passing away. The dark area, currently dimly lit by the reflected light of the earth, is actually waiting to be lit in its turn. The new moon is not the replacement - it's actually the first-born. The one that springs from the old tale is the one that will lead it into a new story. The new moon is what the whole moon will soon be. As time goes by eventually the whole moon while shine with the glory of the Sun.

But for this moment, at the start of its story, the new moon rests in the old moon's arms. Silent, graceful, full of promise, expectant. It's beautiful, isn't it?


  1. Yes, beautiful, dear Archdruid! I was just thinking how wonderful this year that we celebrate the Saviour's birth just as a new sliver of moon (yes, the first-born) is waxing.

    Christmas blessings from a daily visiting/sometimes commenting/occasionally reactionary Ordinariate follower. And thank you for brightening another year!

  2. Really beautiful and one to ponder. Thank you.


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