Venus Dual Goddess

To supplement this article you may enjoy the Podcast Venus Retrograde and the Transit of Venus – a talk on KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio, with Marylyn LeBlanc.

Let’s begin with the Venus long cycle:

  • March 27th:  Greatest eastern elongation: 46° ahead of the sun (Venus in Taurus, sun in Aries) evening star – Venus Hesperos.
  • April 12th:  Venus at 7° Gemini (the degree at which it will station Direct on June 28
  • May 15th:  Venus Stations retrograde at 23° Gemini (exactly 30° behind sun)
  • June 6th: Inferior Conjunction AND the Transit of Venus in this year which reflects back on the June 8th, 2004 Transit of Venus!
  • June 28th: Venus Stations Direct (prograde) at 7° Gemini (exactly 30° ahead sun)
  • July 31st:  Venus passes 23° Gemini, the degree at which it Stationed Retrograde
  • Aug 15th: Greatest western elongation: 45.8° behind the sun (Venus in Cancer, sun in Leo) morning star – Venus Phosphoros.

Though the period of Venus being retrograde is 40 days, its full cycle is profound. Over a period of about 110 days, Venus will pass over 16° of the zodiac – three and a half months (half as long as the Mars cycle is).  

Venus Mandala

This fact alone shows the focus and intensity of the full Venus retrograde cycle before it. We see Venus in the evening sky for about 3.6 months very bright, and in phases, crescent and so on, based on the longitudinal distance between it and the sun.  This is the time in which we are at our most imaginative and internally creative . . . it is a time a time of insemination and the gestation of ideas, projects, action, deliberation and future actions in early formation. 

You will recall the beautiful sunset transit of Venus and Jupiter as they moved together and separated in January/February 2012.  It is at the time of greatest elongation – distance from the sun – where Venus heralds its upcoming retrograde cycle.  This is where we can experience the greatest sense of freedom and objectivity in our perception in relationships, and clarity of goals and ideals envisioned.  And, the potential of the creative lies in the pattern of Venus and its fifth harmonic point coming up to the inferior conjunction.

As Venus begins to slow down in relation to earth’s orbit, as earth passes it, Venus will reach exactly 30° behind the sun, called Venus Hesperos, and will station retrograde precisely. Venus then begins its movement “into” the arms of the sun, into its rays and disappearing from view.  To rise again, months later as the morning star Venus Phosphorus, light bearer.

So, there is a very long implicate cycle here  . . . one which is repeated every eight years in the same part of the zodiac, as you will read further.

Soon upon us is the inferior conjunction of Venus with the sun. The 5th / 6th of June 2012 brings one of the most rare astronomical planetary alignments – The Transit of Venus.  This phenomenon occurs only when Venus is retrograde, when it is passing between earth and the sun, and is transiting across the solar disc.  Venus is retrograde from the 16th of May through June 28th, 2012, and in that time its passage between the earth and the sun is in exact alignment – the earth, Venus and the Sun are all in the same plane, hence Venus passing in a perfect arc across the sun’s disc! This is not something to view with the naked eye, but with specialized lenses – available online – it is well worth it.  It will also be streaming live on many astronomy sites online.
























Fig. 3   (m/d/y)

Technically it is an eclipse, but Venus is so small, it is but a tiny black dot traveling across the disc of the sun.  In fact, only eight of these remarkable, long-cycle events will have occurred since the invention of the telescope (in the years 1631, 1639; 1761, 1769; 1874, 1882; and now 2004, 2012).  See the table of dates at left when Venus retrograde was / will be exactly conjunct the sun:

Note that these dates are in pairs, each of which are eight years apart – listed are three pairs in Sagittarius and two in Gemini - there is a numerical sequence involving all of these dates that are consistent and part of the sacred geometry and numbers of Venus in her orbital cycles.

This pattern, or mandala, is formed against the backdrop of the Zodiac, and forms a five-petal lotus in its cycles . . . it also creates a heart shape in this form, if you look closely.  The central loops are the retrograde periods, as they loop around and close to earth, and back again out . . . all retrograde planets are closer to earth than when direct . . . hmmmm.

We know that Venus stations retrograde every 18 months and remains so for forty days.  Over a period of eight years, these points of retrograde form a pattern – a pentacle, a five-petal lotus, a spiral fractal . . . 

Venus Mandala

The five-fold, eight year pattern is embedded in nature in the number five, the number of humanity.  The number five, quinary symbolism, is associated with the ancient Pythagorean perfect solid, found in all facets of nature and organics – it is the basis of life and human creativity. Our five fingers are the gods of creation, and the ten fingers are the Dactyls. 

One variant on the myth of the dactyls is that Rhea knowing her time of delivery was come, went to the sacred cave on Mount Ida. As she squatted in labor she dug her fingers into the earth (Gaia) which brought forth these daktyloi Idaioi  "Idaean fingers"). 

The ancient ritual mythoi result in the common use of the word dactyl for fingers.

When ancient Greeks offered a deep, solemn vow, they would press their hands against the earth as they made their pledge. In some myths, they are in Hephaistos’ employ, and they taught metalworking, mathematics, and the alphabet to humans.  Dactyls were both ancient smiths and healing magicians. Hephaistos is connected to Venus Aphrodite, in that Zeus forged a marriage between them, because Aphrodite Urania was so promiscuous.  The association of Venus/Aphrodite with arts and crafts lies in her union with the craftsman and creator of great shields and gold adornment for heroes and queens.  His shield for Achilles in the Trojan war is renowned – Achilles’ mother, Thetis, asked Hephaistos to forge a new shield because he had loaned his other to Patroclus, who was killed and the shield was taken as collateral.

Venus is a dual goddess and as such she rules the sacred and the profane, the ideal and the real; she has two guises, and when Venus is retrograde, and in the ‘rays of the sun’ she is mating with the god of the day, of the light, the source of all life.  And she rises with the scent of the underworld in her aura. It is said by the Maya that she undergoes a transgender becoming the male god of love of the underworld, and rises from the dead, dripping in blood and bones.

Underlying this rhythmic transit is the mystery of life itself.   The fifth harmonic in astrological symbolism is associated with language and the function of human consciousness.  In Hymns to the Ancient Gods, Michael Harding says:    “ . . . it is this consciousness which then becomes impressed on the world in the form of art, style, or some such external expression.” 

VitruvianWhat Harding is saying is the number five is the archetype of all creative manifestation emerging from the consciousness (and collective unconscious) of humanity.  Quinary symbolism is found in all plants, sea creatures, shells, flowers – and in more esoteric areas such as the Fibonacci sequences of numbers, one example of which is:  1→2, 2→3, 3→5, 4→7, 5→11 ad infinitum.  A matter of adding numbers sequentially . . . this form of unfolding lies in the basis of our contemporary ‘fractal’ that existed in the origins of all life, before digitalization.

There are many forms associated as well as number sequences to the Venus cycles, some of which you can find in chapter five of my book: Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape.

Typical to Venus, all cycles of Venus retrogression are invoked - past and future - when it stations retrograde for its forty-day period.   The retrograde sequence activates the Golden Section pattern (see three images below) inherent in the quintile aspect, the capacity to “see” the invisible in nature. There is no “first” or “last” of a cycle, only evolutionary patterns, and Venus is bound up with the impulse for creative physical expression.  

Golden Ratio

What does this mean:  The invocation of the Golden Section quintile accounts for the deep interior experiences that people have during the entire phase . . . when Venus moves into the exact conjunction with the sun, midway during its retrograde period, there is a symbolic and psychological descent into the deepest part of the soul and the psyche. We often find the reality of our lives far distant from the ideal we carry in our psyche. The Ideal and the Real are a natural split in the Aphrodite archetype, and dialectic springs up during the retrograde cycle. During the hieros gamos – sacred marriage  – of Venus and the sun, an archetype arises that we experience personally, and the point in the horoscope where this inferior conjunction occurs is the hint to what is being transformed and will be born when Venus rises again, and is visible (about 10 days after the station direct, at heliacal rising).

Through our hearts and in the most secret and sacred realms of our being, a renewal of our relationships and priorities in relating becomes very active. Indeed, even as Venus stations retrograde, twenty days before the conjunction, this spiritual and magical collusion of Real and Ideal begins to shimmer. And can feel like a tremor or an earthquake, depending on the personal relationship in your chart that Venus is highlighting . . . it will be revisiting the same house as it was in eight years ago, and back on eight years and so on . . .

What should I do:  look back every eight years to the previous Venus retrograde cycle (it will be in the same sign but two degrees and two days earlier). Explore those eight year cycles from the first one after your birth to the current one. Venus retrograde transits the same natal house every eight years, reviewing and resurrecting incomplete or dormant issues that have been quiescent and unconsciously in active process.

The retrograde cycle of Venus is particularly most noticeable in our relationships with others, and most significant is how you experience them . . . whether those are personal relations or global attitudes toward relating and relationships. You will likely experience a destabilization of your inner experience of others. Please keep in mind that you may be destabilized and not objective at all during your experience with this longish transit. Both you and the “other/s” are actually changing, and your sensitivity to this is magnified. Significantly, you will notice an echo from all the previous cycles of 8 year transits in the same house in the current one . . . those echo’s are the foundations of development in your sense of aesthetics, relating, balance and proportion in your lifestyle and way of being.

Since Venus is retrogressing between 23° – 7° and then direct (prograde) from 7° – 23° of Gemini, that is the area of your horoscope – your life – that is concertedly and seriously examined for balance, boundaries and the proportionality of your life.  Ask yourself,  “What I dedicate myself to and how is that focus furthering my values, goals, intentions and motivations? How am I shaping my reality by ‘secret’ collusions with my unconscious?  How might I access that deep place within my psyche and collaborate and collude with the creation of myself?  What are my human political views, my relationship with society, with rules and regulations, with the laws of the land and the laws of mankind?  How is the balancing act playing out with me as the fulcrum?”

In the Maya tradition, the rising of Venus into the visible dawn sky was said to be a time to set armies marching, and a time of great political instability . . . I have found this to be quite true, in the past, and expect that to be apparent again, in very dramatic ways over the next couple of months.  These days, it is hard to imagine what could happen that would be “highly dramatic and politically unstable” considering the Zeitgeist is just that!

In the Name of the Rose

Venus retrograde also speaks to our values, integrity and how those play out in our social arena.  Because the transit repeats itself in the same sign, degree and therefore HOUSE, all the secret meaning of the house becomes increasingly overt and irrupts into consciousness.  This experience of the “secret self” the androgynous self, can be very intense.  This period may exaggerate and increase your sensitivity to all relationships. Certainly, how you see people, such as your friends, your associates, your family, your Doppelganger – all are in the theatre of your mind, but also playing out on your life-stage.

Sub rosaSub rosa literally is “under the rose” and comes from the Latin “in secret”; the rose has not only been symbolically but also actually associated with sequestered activities, privacy, unspeakable things; for instance, in the Middle Ages a rose above a doorway indicated a private meeting.  In religious symbolism, sub rosa is synonymous with “confession”, and the sacrosanctity of the Catholic Confessional is also referred to as a Reconciliation. Today even, it is used as a legal term similar to “in camera” which means in chambers, in the dark, unseen/heard by others; literally the privacy of the judge’s chambers. 

The power inherent to quinary symbolism is lively in sacred and profane cultures both.

The five stations retrograde in an 8 year cycle are separated by 72° and when plotted around the 360° of the zodiac, those points of station form a pentacle, an elegant star . . . each cycle of Venus retrograde involves three passes over the same degrees: forward, backward, and forward again. Thus, we get an introduction to what we are to learn, then a time of experimentation, and finally, a place to bring the ‘reconciliation’ into play in our lives.

Because of this natural phenomenon Venus spends more time in the retrograde degrees than any other. And since Venus repeats retrograde cycles through the same degrees repeatedly, during your lifetime, these places receive a very specific focus from Venus.

PentacleThe secret and sacred aspect of Venus is found, as I mentioned, in the archetype underlying the quintile – the 72° between each 18 month station – are the number of degrees between the points of a pentagram, the petals of a rose, the chambers of the Nautilus, and so on.  A sacred and secret association with the pentacle, often misrepresented and abused, is an ancient mystical symbol at right.

When Venus is retrograde, and it is only so for five signs of the Zodiac in a lifetime (average 72 years but, say, from 1966 through 2047): Aries; Scorpio; Gemini; Capricorn; Leo/Virgo – there are transitions from one sign back to another as the precession of the sign occurs, but these are slow, and incremental over years and only by a couple of degrees at a time.

Trace the pentacle of the Venus stations on your horoscope and you will see the select and discrete (only five) areas/houses in your chart that receive repeated Venusian focus. In the course of your life Venus will only transit in retrograde and station five signs, thus, five sections of your chart! In this way, we are called to the core of our hearts and souls to experience ever evolving facets and characteristics of our most interior nature.

By drawing this pentacle diagram on your chart, you invoke Venus, and in that way you grow more conscious of gifts, creativity, relatedness and a deeper, significant awareness of your value, your self-worth, your unconscious intentions (so if they are negative, some work can be done) and your aesthetic needs. In general, all life-lessons are that are essential to your balance and sense of harmoniousness within and without are encoded in this pentacular (!) exercise.

Want to learn more? To supplement this article you may enjoy the Podcast Venus Retrograde and the Transit of Venus – a talk on KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio, with Marylyn LeBlanc.

Venus Retrograde

Learn about the Venus Retrograde cycle in detail in this lecture with retrograde expert Erin Sullivan.

1 hour, 6min.. MP3 format:
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