What I love most about Hellenism is the treasure trove of ancient texts at our disposal. This wisdom, information, and these simple observations help us form our practice, and shape our world views. As I try to devote as much time to research for this blog and my personal practice as I can responsibly spare, I come across many of these gems in scholarly notes, or straight there by way of Google. I fully admit to not knowing half of these texts even existed before I stumble upon them. At any rate, today, I want to share with you some beautiful wisdom about predicting the weather, based upon the moon.  The advice comes from Aratos, by way of his excellent Phaenomena.

Aratos (Ἄρατος) lived from about 310 BC to 240 BC, and he was a Hellenic didactic poet. His Phaenomena (Φαινόμενα, appearances) came upon my radar because of his description of the constellations, but as far as I can tell, not everything he writes in the first half of the Phaenomena is entirely correct--at least not according to the current night's sky. The latter part of the Pheanomena is of interest today. It's called 'Diosemeia' (Διοσημεῖα, forecasts), and is about weather lore. It seems that the Diosemeia is largely copied and rephrased from other works, including that of Aristotle and Hesiod, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful, or entertaining.

Also, try not to skip ahead too much, because you are getting his weather predictions based upon the sun tomorrow *wink*.

"Markest thou not? Whenever the Moon with slender horns shines forth in the West, she tells of a new month beginning: when first her rays are shed abroad just enough to cast a shadow, she is going to the fourth day: with orb half complete she proclaims eight days: with full face the mid-day of the month; and ever with varying phase she tells the date of the dawn that comes round.
For oft, too, beneath a calm night the sailor shortens sail for fear of the morning sea. Sometimes the storm comes on the third day, sometimes on the fifth, but sometimes the evil comes all unforeseen. For not yet do we mortals know all from Zeus, but much still remains hidden, whereof, what he will, even hereafter will he reveal; for openly he aids the race of men, manifesting himself on every side and showing signs on every hand. Some messages the Moon will convey with orb half-full as she waxes or wanes, others when full: others the Sun by warnings at dawn and again at the edge of night, and other hints from other source can be drawn for day and night.
Scan first the horns on either side the Moon. For with varying hue from time to time the evening paints her and of different shape are her horns at different times as the Moon is waxing – one form on the third day and other on the fourth. From them thou canst learn touching the month that is begun. If she is slender and clear about the third day, she heralds calm: if slender and very ruddy, wind; but if thick and with blunted horns she show but a feeble light on the third and fourth night, her beams are blunted by the South wind or imminent rain. If on the third night neither horn nod forward or lean backward, if vertical they curve their tips on either side, winds from the West will follow that night. But if still with vertical crescent she bring the fourth day too, she gives warning of gathering storm. If her upper horn nod forward, expect thou the North wind, but if it lean backward, the South. But when on the third day a complete halo, blushing red, encircles her, she foretells storm and, the fierier her blush, the fiercer the tempest.
Scan her when full and when half-formed on either side of full, as she waxes from or wanes again to crescent form, and from her hue forecast each month. When quite bright her hue, forecast fair weather; when ruddy, expect the rushing wind; when dark stained with spots, look out for rain. But not for every day is appointed a separate sign, but the signs of the third and fourth day betoken the weather up to the half Moon; those of the half Moon up to full Moon; and in turn the signs of the full Moon up to the waning half Moon; the signs of the half Moon are followed by those of the fourth day from the end of the waning month, and they in their turn by those of the third day of the new month. But if halos encircle all the Moon, set triple or double about her or only single – with the single ring, expect wind or calm; when the ring is broken, wind; when faint and fading, calm; two rings girding the Moon forebode storm; a triple halo would bring a greater storm, and greater still, if black, and more furious still, if the rings are broken. Such warnings for the month thou canst learn from the Moon." [733 - 818]