When I was a college student, I tried out for one of the theater department’s plays – Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. I did not get the part I wanted, that of the Duke, which was kind of a shame since I had memorized his lines, part of which went something like this: “It hath in solemn synods been decreed, both by the Syracusians and ourselves, To admit no traffic to our adverse towns.” So then you have to ask yourself, what the heck is a solemn synod? For that matter what’s a synod, solemn or otherwise? It’s a meeting, usually a religious council, but also a civil meeting, that’s held at a pre-arranged time, say during a new or a full moon. Yesterday was a new moon, and if we were using a lunar calendar, that would mark the first day of the month. The synodic month then, is a period of time marked by a complete cycle of moon phases, which is 29½ days in length. At sunset today the slender new moon will appear just above the western horizon.