The Lyrids meteor shower takes place every year in April, and it’s a perfect time to recommit to the promises you’ve made to yourself.
The beginning of the year is a classically slow time meteor shower-wise, but things are picking up now with the Lyrids lighting up our night sky this month.
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What is a Meteor Shower?
We’re all familiar with the idea of a night sky lit up with shooting streams of light, whether we’ve seen it for ourselves or just on TV, but where do these beams of light come from and what exactly is a meteor shower?
These trails of light are meteors, which are made up of small pieces of space dust and debris that fall at high speeds through our planet’s atmosphere. Because these little pieces of space are falling so fast they leave behind brilliant streaks of sparkling light that can be observed by the naked eye here on Earth. Sometimes they even fall onto Earth itself, but most burn up before that can happen.
What You Need to Know About the Lyrids Meteor Shower
After a slow and pretty dull start to the year for meteor showers, we finally have a more spectacular show to look forward to in April with the Lyrids meteor shower. It’s taking place in the second half of the month, from April 14th through the 30th, with the peak night for viewing being April 22nd.
This shower takes place in front of the Lyra constellation, close to the bright star Vega.
For those in the northern hemisphere you’ll be able to see this shower on the eastern coasts better, but since it is brighter with more objects per hour falling then the showers that preceded it this year, you should still get a pretty good show even if you’re on the west coast. The best time to view this shower is around 9-10 pm local time on the east coast and 6 pm for the west coast.
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For those in the southern hemisphere this is a more challenging shower to see, though not impossible–especially this year! The Aries new moon–which will be a lunar eclipse–is on April 19th, so its light won’t be interfering on the night the Lyrids peak. The best time to watch for this shower will be in the hours before sunrise, so about 4:30-5:30 AM, for those of you who live on the East coasts in the southern hemisphere.
Orpheus and the Lyre
Lyra was one of the 48 constellations discovered by the 2nd century astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy. It goes by many different names around the globe since astrology and astronomy have roots in every ancient civilization, but the common symbols used for this constellation are either an eagle or a vulture holding a lyre (in Australia they see a boomerang in this constellation!). A lyre is a string instrument similar to a harp in the shape of a U.
In Greek mythology, the lyre is associated with Orpheus, a famed musician and supernaturally skilled lyre player. Upon the death of his wife Euridice, Orpheus ventured to the underworld. He did so by playing his lyre for the ferryman Charon and then the three headed guardian dog Cerberus, charming them both with his musical musings. Having made it to a place no living person had before, Orpheus sought to hold court with the king and queen of the underworld, Hades and Persephone, for the fate of his late wife.
However, Hades was staunch with the natural rule that no person shall return to life after death, but his wife was swayed by the speech the young musician made, and so ever the loving and abiding husband (they’re few and far between among the Greek myths!) Hades allowed Orpheus to play one song. The king of the underworld was charmed, just as many had been before by Orpheus’ songs, so he said he would release Euridice on one condition: that Orpheus may not look back as he walked out of the underworld. He would need to trust that Euridice was behind and following him out into the world of the living.
Orpheus walked dutifully forward until the light of the sun was on his face. Sitting in the ferry boat, nearly at the entrance to the living world, he found the temptation to turn around and look at his wife unbearable. He turned around and saw her beautiful face for a moment before she dissolved away, returning back to the underworld where she would forever stay in wait for him to return.
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Stay True to Your Promises
The story of Orpheus and Euridice is a reminder that we are only as good as our word, so under the Lyrids meteor shower is the perfect time to do a ritual around staying true to the promises we make to ourselves.
Perform this ritual on the night the Lyrids will peak, April 22nd.
First, you’ll need to identify a promise you are trying to keep to yourself. Try thinking of something you’ve been trying to do for a while like quitting smoking, doing more yoga or calling your mom once a week. It’s so easy to break a promise made only to yourself, so figure out which one you want to keep and write it down on a piece of paper.
For the next part of the ritual, we’ll be doing some gardening. If you have a plant that needs to be re-potted that’s perfect for this ritual, otherwise you can also buy a new plant to work with, just know that for the ritual we are going to be re-potting it.
Why re-pot? Because you’re going to put the promise that you intend to keep at the bottom of the pot, fill it up with soil, and then place the plant in its new bed imbued with your intention. As the plant grows, you’ll see how your intention is manifesting. Care for this plant as a physical representation of the magic you’re doing under the Lyrids meteor shower.