All planetary pictures include the Sun. The Sun is the heart of our solar system and represents the heart that beats within each of us. As far as I can see all patriarchal worship down through the ages starts with the Sun especially. It is possible and likely that before patriarchal religion the Sun and Moon were worshiped equally. My own pet theory is that the very first symbolic thought was the way a woman’s cycle matched the moons. And so the moon was the womb as well as a symbol of the Moon. But that’s a different story.
So here, more or less, is how it goes. I will weave the astronomy with the astrology for the sake of time and poetics.
Once upon a time…
We looked up and noticed the most beautiful light in the sky. The brightest thing in fact after the Moon. After years of study and observation it became clear that this light spent about 9 months as the evening star, disappeared and then spent 9 more as the morning star. Clearly this indicated that this wandering star (planet) of beauty was feminine. We all know what takes 9 months…
Another observation about this beautiful light was that it or she repeats this every year and a half. And if you plot this on a circle and connect the dots you get a pretty perfect 5 pointed star which is of course just like a human: two arms, two legs and a head, not to mention fingers and toes.
The symbol for Venus is a circle, representing spirit, atop a cross, representing matter suggesting that the beauty of our material world is so seductive that spirit is drawn to it. Desire lives here. We all know about desire.
So here we have the Queen of Heaven in all her beauty, shining in the evening to stir our desire, moving further and further from the sun as she grows brighter and brighter in the sky. Then one day she turns around and moves back toward the sun. Growing dimmer and dimmer each day until she disappears for a bit more than a week. Here is the mystery: What happens to us when beauty is gone from the heavens? How are we meant to live? What is asked of us that she may return? There is no question that her disappearance reflects something important about our experience down here as humans.
The story develops: She is the Queen of Heaven and must leave her throne to visit her anguished sister in the underworld. She must offer love and light in the darkest place to the inevitable, terrifying experience of loss. And this is where she goes when we can’t see her. As she descends she must pass through seven gates
Her underworld sister instructs the servant to open each of the seven doors just a crack so that in squeezing through our Queen of Heaven will have to divest herself of one power at each gate; only to arrive powerless and naked in the underworld. The ways of the underworld are perfect. They may not be questioned. There are seven gates (just as there are seven visible planets).
Here is a list of what is left at each gate:
- Crown = intellect
- Lapis necklace = the power to defend herself through speech.
- Double strand of beads over her heart = the twin flames of wisdom and compassion.
- Breastplate called ‘come, man, come’ through which she can summon help from men through her charisma = the ability to be rescued.
- Golden ring from her wrist = the power to strike back.
- Lapis measuring rod and line = the ability to find her bearings.
- Royal robes = outer personality, her ego.
Naked and defenceless as a newborn, she is ushered into the throne room before her deeply distressed sister; symbol of loss and grief beyond repair. We also know about her.
Then our Queen is judged, struck and turned into a corpse, a piece of rotting meat and hung from a hook.
This is how our ancestors saw the time when Venus is gone from the sky.
When Venus is not visible she comes to conjunct the Sun. From the day of her disappearance she moves steadily, invisibly toward the very heart of the Sun, the image of God itself; the Great Spirit. And when she hits the very center of the Sun she finds mercy. She finds witness. She may be dead and stripped of all worldly power but she has found her way to the heart of truth. Not the truth of right and wrong but the truth of existence, creation itself. In today’s lingo you might say, the core strength of her spirit.