After the mediocre showers from the past few months, the Perseids meteor shower comes in to light up the night sky with a brilliant show. Being related to the myth of Perseus and Medusa, this time of year is perfect for changing the narrative of your life’s story.
So, grab a blanket, a pen, and paper, then find your favorite spot to get a clear view of the night sky on August 13th to see this luminous show.
What is a Meteor Shower?
Meteor showers are annual nighttime shows here on Earth, lighting up the sky with bright fire trails of light, but where does it come from? These dazzling lights come from meteors, made up of small pieces of space dust and debris that fall at high speeds through our planet’s atmosphere, usually coming from comets and sometimes asteroids. 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.
What You Need to Know About the Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseid meteor shower is visible from mid-July to mid to late August, but every shower has a peak night where the meteors will be most visible and active. For the 2023 Perseid meteor shower, the best night to view the show will be August 13th. Even a powerful show like the Perseids can be drowned out by the moon if it’s full, so it’s always good to check a moon calendar before going out to see any shower. Luckily the moon will be waning (getting smaller) with only 10% visibility on August 13th. So grab a blanket, head to a place with little to no light pollution, and watch as 100 meteors per hour shoot across the night sky! It’s good to keep in mind that the best time to view most showers is in the hours before sunrise, so if you’re feeling up to it, head outside around 3 AM.
The namesake for each meteor shower usually comes from the constellation that the meteors seem to emanate from. Of course, the stars in the constellations are many, many lightyears away, so we use them as a night sky map. The Perseids have a radiant point in the constellation Perseus, which is named for the famed hero of Greek mythology.
Perseus is best known for killing the gorgon Medusa. His mother, Danae, was locked in a chamber after a prophecy claimed that her son would kill her father, Acrisius the king of Argos. Zeus, being a god with nearly unlimited power, came and visited Danae in her chamber and fathered her son Perseus.
Like any Greek hero, Perseus’ early days of manhood were littered with the duty of impossible tasks, but with the Greek gods’ help and guidance, he could do the impossible. He has slain the gorgon Medusa, eventually fulfilling the prophecy, and killed his grandfather Acrisius, the king of Argos.
The Power of Myth
Myths are like living, breathing entities, so there is no one true telling of any myth. There are many different endings to the story of Perseus and all of them are true for the people who tell them.
Medusa was not always the hideous beast told to us in the story of Perseus; around the 5th century, her myth began to shift and continues to do so today. Medusa’s life changed when, in the temple of Athena, she was attacked and assaulted by Poseidon. Athena saw this as an insult, but instead of punishing her uncle, she turned Medusa into a cursed gorgon. Storytellers in the 5th century began to focus less on the hideous monster she had become and instead wrote about the once fair maiden she was before.
Medusa is an all too familiar tale of how assault survivors do not often get support but instead face criticism, ridicule and exile for speaking out against those who have wronged them. Medusa’s one saving grace is her ability to turn people into stone, a protection against the advances of unkind persons. Even that is taken away from her as Perseus uses her severed head to enact her protective ability to use as his weapon, further demonstrating the ways in which female bodies are often thought to “belong” to others.
The famous Cellini statue of Perseus triumphantly holding the head of Medusa is as famous as their story, however, another recent statue has risen to fame regarding this myth. Luciano Garbati in 2008 recreated this statue with the roles reversed, Medusa holding the head of Perseus triumphantly. Garbati claims not to have realized the feminist implications of his statue until after crafting it, but his creation quickly became a symbol for the “me too” movement.
Re-write Your Own Story
“As above, so below” is the term we use in astrology to describe how the movements of the solar system can affect us here on earth. So, just like a planet stationing retrograde, every meteor shower is an opportunity to connect to the energy shift and use it in your own life.
On August 13th set out to do a ritual by grabbing a piece of paper and finding some divine alone time. Think about a story you have in your own life such as “I’m always late,” “no one stays friends with me forever,” or “I’m not smart enough.” Choose a story you don’t like or are not proud of, because this will be an opportunity to re-write that story into something more empowering.
Summarize the story in one sentence and write it on paper. Fold the paper 5 times, because 5 is the number of change. Next, rewrite the new story either creating a shift in perspective such as “I show up to things exactly when I can and when I’m supposed to,” or by creating a new habit or pattern such as “I am a good friend to others.”
Next, burn the paper with the old story written on it. Imagine the old story dissolving and leaving your life as you watch the fire consume it. Then, place the new story somewhere you can see it often. This will help you internalize the new story and help manifest it into reality!