While it’s not an official observance – we nevertheless found tonight’s astrological occurrences to be pretty legit. It’s a bit of a ‘Triple’ Wolf Moon.
Insofar as it’s a Wolf Moon … whilst Ardra is up (Jyotisha / Hindu astrology) and the Moon is in Gemini (Western astrology .. with a twist – more on that in a moment).
Now, the Wolf Moon itself is the Full Moon in the month of January – so named, it should seem, due to the prominent Howling of the Wolves about this time of year in Europe during the Night.
Ardra ( आर्द्रा ), meanwhile, is the Great Hunter – The Wolf Who Stalks Between The Stars. He is both an Archer and also a Wolf. Indeed, The Wolf. Rudra. The Lord of Animals (‘Pashupati’). And identified with the Star that is Sirius (in Western / post-Hellenic terms).
[His Prey, meanwhile, is Prajapati in Deer form – the asterism of Mrgashira [‘Deer Head’ – it’s in part of the Western constellation of Orion] that was up last night … pursued across the skies by the justly-famed ‘Son of Sarama’ [i.e. ‘Wolf’] Whom we also know as ‘Shiva’ (or, for that matter, Odin – and c.f. the saliency of Zeus et co in the relevant same role in one of the Hellenic co-expressions of this myth) today]
That Nakshatra [‘Star Sign’ will do as a translation for our purposes] is where the Moon is tonight in our Hindu / Jyotisha terms.
Now, the next Nakshatra after Ardra, in our reckoning, is Punarvasu ( पुनर्वसु ). Where Ardra is Sirius, Punarvasu (under the aegis of the Goddess Aditi) correlates with the Gemini Stars.
Gemini, in Western astrology and astro-myth tends to be linked to the Dioscuri – the ‘Sons of Heaven’ (Dios), ‘Zeus’ Boys’, Castor and Pollux (or Polydeuces, if we are being Greek).
In Hindu reckoning, however, Punarvasu’s Twin Stars are often held to stand for the Asvins – the Horse Twins (c.f. Hengist and Horsa, if we are being Germanic) that are the ‘Divo Napata’ [‘Sons of Heaven’ (Dyaus)] and Sons of Rudra.
As you can see – it is the same Stars, with the same Gods, both amidst the Vedic and the Hellenic astro-milieux .
Yet what has that to do with Wolves?
Well, Manasataramgini’s work in this area has demonstrated that the Asvins … are also correlate with another Pair of the Sons of Rudra – the Wolves, Sarva and Bhava.
So – we have Ardra, the Hunter (whether as Archer or as Wolf), Rudra, being followed by His Two Sons, that are likewise (at least, inferentially) Two Wolves. These Three being (the Wolf Star of) Sirius and the two Gemini Stars in Western terms, respectively.
And that’s where that ‘Wolf Moon’ is, tonight – it’s in Ardra, per Jyotisha reckoning, and in Gemini in Western astrological terms.
As I said … a ‘Triple Wolf Moon’.
And it is interesting therefore to consider, perhaps, that ritualine offering prescribed in SBr XI 1 5 10 – where the Moon is hailed as the Hound of Heaven, and Three Arrows are given as Dakshina so that this luminously illustrious lunar lupine does not carry off the propitiator’s cattle.
We had earlier thought of this in terms of the TriKanda [‘Three-Arrow’ or ‘Three-Shafted Arrow’] utilized by Rudra to strike down Prajapati following the latter’s most grievous misdeed (and it is this accomplishment of archery and hunting and service to the Order of the Divine for which Rudra is granted the Lordship and Dominion over Cattle [‘Pashu’ – cognate with *Fehu, as it happens] … a dominion which, I suppose, we could view the Moon as seeking to reassert when it is the sacrificer’s cattle that He seeks to carry off), which is identified as the three stars of Orion’s Belt in Western astrogationary terms – still protruding from the carcass of His Prey.
Yet it seems to me now that the Three Arrows might figuratively remind one of the Three Wolves – Ardra / Sirius, followed by the Punarvasu / Asvins / Sharva and Bhava / Gemini – which, after all, rush forward like an arrow shot forth from the bow, and bury ‘teeth’ deeply into the flanks and hide of the pursued foe.
In any case – A Good Night For Hunting.
We are reminded, in closing, of the Prayer to these Wolves of the Sky Father that is to be found in the Shankhayana Shrauta Sutras [Calland translation] (aptly, perhaps, it is section IV 20):
“O Lord of the Earth, O Lord of the Intermediate Region
O Lord of the World, O Lord of the Spirits,
O Lord of the Great Spirit, spare our two footed and our four footed cattle
Treat kindly our two footed ones and our Four footed cattle
He who hates us and whom we hate (for him) art Thou difficult to satisfy
with Thy Shadow, because of Thy Insidiousness
The Heart is Thy Bow, the Mind is Thy Arrow, the Shooting is Thy Eye
As such we know Thee
Homage to Thee !
May Soma refresh Thee
Do not hurt me
The Two Who like Wolves with Jaws Wide Opened , roam in the forest
Bhava and Sarva, the sons of the Great God, (may) homage (be paid) and with the (four) hymns (beginning)
‘What might we say to Rudra” (RV I 43), “These prayers we offer to Rudra” (RV I 114), “Let, O Father of the Maruts ” (RV II 33), “These praises bring to Rudra of strong bow” (RV VII 46)”
And we are also reminded, of course, of the Taittiriya Brahmana’s prayers for the propitiation of the two Nakshatras in question – Ardra and Punarvasu.
To quote from TB III 1 1 4 & 5 [Dumont translation]:
“4 Along with Ardra (His Nakshatra), Rudra, Spreading Himself, Goes – The Best of the Gods, the Lord of Cows.
To His Nakshatra we would offer worship with oblation.
May He not harm our offspring, may He not harm our men.
Let the Dart of Rudra pass us by.
Let Ardra, the Nakshatra (of Rudra), enjoy our oblation.
Shaking off all evils, let Them Both ( Rudra and Ardra) drive away the wicked, the enemy.
5 Again (Punar) let the Goddess Aditi deliver us (from evil) ;
again (Punar) let the Two Punarvasus (Who are Her Nakshatra) come to our sacrifice.
Again, let All the Gods come to us.
Again and again we Honour You (O Gods) with oblation. “
So let it be.
The Wolves’ (or, in this case, Wolf’s) Howling [ref. PIE *kreH- (‘To Cry’, ‘To Shout’ .. ‘To Howl’) => Proto-Germanic *hrōþiz => Old Norse hróðr ; and also, aptly enough, Sanskrit ‘Kirtan’ ( कीर्तन ), ‘Karu’ ( कारु ) etc. , and assumedly Ancient Greek ‘Kerux’ ( κῆρῠξ )] a Song , a Prayer , of eagerly awaited-for Syzygy.
This, The Hailing Of The Famous Wolf for the Restoration Back To Him of His Moon.
ॐ नमः शिवाय