Night Skies Are Good Medicine: how a 12 year old, dark night, & sky opening changed my life

As a child I remember my dad pointing up to the dark night sky. “See that, it’s Orion’s Belt. And just over there is The Big Dipper”. My eyes would scan the night sky, seeing nothing but dark and stars all jumbled up and splashed around. “Look up, just there, just there”. As a child it seemed my dad could see through the night and into outerspace. I imagined him like a “star magician” able to pull a whole picture of stars out of the dark night and make sense of it all. My eyes couldn’t do that, other than scan the dark sky, continually searching for patterns and “Big Bears” lost in the dark.

There is something magical about “seeing” in the dark and pulling shapes of stars in the pitch black and finding pattern and meaning to it all.

Many stars and skies later I was living in Suriname in South America, volunteering with Canadian Crossroads International. I arrived in Paramaribo, the capital city in the dark of night, and headed into the wilderness to meet my host family; who at the time was camping for the weekend at a regional park. All was new. New smells, new sounds, new lights, new dark, new sky.

After arriving, my host sister “Cherille” invited me to go for a walk with her. It was pitch black outside and only shortly after suppertime. Cherille was 12 years old at the time and I was 24. I felt my feet on the dusty bauxite earth road. I saw shadows of giant palm leaves floating in the breeze. Fireflies and iridescent dragonflies helped to light our path. Howler monkeys sounded in the distance. Up ahead, where the road appeared to end, I saw a giant light; it looked like a spotlight just hovering and calling us closer. A giant circle spotlight on the horizon that seemed to be pointing to a location and destination of great importance.

I turned to my host sister Cherille, pointed at the giant spotlight, and asked her “what is that?” She didn’t understand. I pointed again to the giant spotlight in the night. “Just there, that big big light. What is that?” She looked at me quite puzzled. “Sister Christa”, she said, “why it’s the moon.” I was shocked and sure that she was mistaken. I pointed again. Again she answered, this time with a smile and a giggle “It’s the Moon”. Then she asked almost in a concerned and confused voice: “You do have the moon in Canada?”

I had never seen a moon so big and so close. It was a supermoon. The spotlight was right there, so close I could touch it. An array of emotions moved through me; I moved from embarrassment and shock, to awe and sacred stillness. The night sky can create profound opportunities to see our humanity, our oneness, and our connectedness to all. In that moment, I felt connected to not only the moon, but to all people and creatures everywhere. I felt the grandness of the universe and in many ways, I felt like a “speck” on the end of a flower in “Horton Hears A Who”. Magic happened that night on the walk with Cherille and the Giant Moon. I didn’t see ‘Orion’s Belt’. I didn’t find ‘Big Bear’ or the ‘Big Dipper’. I found much more. I found myself in the moon. It was a powerful beyond measure moment. Cherille could not understand why I was smiling and tears were simultaneously running down my face. I was silent. I was at home – the moon and I.

We can all find this good medicine if we just “look up and see”. If we take the time to notice, to pay attention, and to stay in the question and the hope of infinite possibilities.

Many of you are out in the night sky camping and spending time with family and friends this summer. There is magic in the night if you only look and see. There are sounds of fires crackling, smells of wood fires burning, stillness in the breeze, crickets, fireflies, owls, coyotes and more. And if we look up, way up, just there you will see it. That special star. That speck. That moon. That flash. That moment of magic just for you saying “HELLO” and “WELCOME TO THE NIGHT”, “WE HAVE SO MUCH TO SHOW YOU AND SO MUCH TO SHARE”.


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My invitation: I invite you my friends to take the time to breathe into the dark and the night and the starry sky. I invite you to look up and see and listen. I imagine that the more you look up into the night and the stars and the magic, you will not only see what is “out there”, but you will see what lies “within”. We are all stars flashing, shimmering, and shining in our own way. Look up and you will see. You will see.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU – leave a comment below. How has the moon inspired you? How do you connect to the moon, the sun, the planets? How does nature sing to the deep places of your soul? Whoop whoop. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Written by: Christine Ciona (July 19, 14)