Venus Retrograde in Scorpio: A Look in the Well.


Amor Sacro y Amor Profano (Galería Borghese, Roma, 1514)

As Venus retrogrades through Scorpio relationships may be sorely tested- relationships with others and self. With the illuminating light of the Taurus full moon on Wednesday we may receive some clarity as to what really ails us in this department.
And there are strong clues of where to look- Venus retrogrades in the same sign every eight years, whatever issues were present from October 8th- November 18th, 2010 when Venus was last retrograde in Scorpio, may have popped up again for reckoning. If there were relationship – or other Venus-type issues present, we have an opportunity to handle them now, or at least get a deeper perspective.
This Venus retrograde may lead us right back to wherever we left off in 2010- how well, or not did we deal with the issues?
Relationship issues can run deep, right down to our first experience of mother and father; if through early wounding our instinctual self has been suppressed causing difficulties in present relating, this Venus retrograde may assist us in becoming more aware of our deeper impulses.
Difficulties with accepting love, trusting love, having our basic emotional needs met are all Venus problems.
Aphrodite the Greek counterpart to Venus has two epithets: ‘Aphrodite Urania’- meaning celestial or heavenly, and ‘Aphrodite Pandemos’- meaning of the common people. Both aspect of the goddess must be expressed, and herein lies a clue to possible unease in relationship- are we serving one aspect of the goddess and ignoring the other? Are we honoring our spiritual path but in denial about our more instinctual primal needs? Or, alternatively, are we satisfying our worldly physical needs and avoiding our spiritual calling? Basically, are our needs being met physically, emotionally and spiritually?
Is there a resonance with what happened in 2010, or even further back to October/November 2002?
Use the light of this full moon on Wednesday, in Taurus where Venus is exulted to shine a light on this aspect of your life.
The seeds of the new moon on October 9th which was just one day before Venus retrograded, paired Venus and Persephone in an exact conjunction. Persephone, having made the descent and the return from the underworld in union with Venus, allows for the possibility of a forensic view of our inner mechanics- the nuts and bolts of relationship… And if indeed you do feel like a ‘nut’, or feel like ‘bolting’, my advice is to hold off on making big decisions until mid-November when Venus turns direct, better yet, leave it until mid-December when the shadow of Venus retrograde has truly passed.
In the meantime, take this opportunity to get deeper insight into your patterns of relating and ask what it is you need to feel truly met- from yourself and others.

Pandora’s Box

John William Waterhouse- The Pandora's Box

John William Waterhouse- The Pandora’s Box

While rape has always been a disturbing topic, the past few years has opened Pandora’s Box in an unprecedented way.

But did you know that Pandora had no box at all and that this came about by a mistranslation by Erasmus, the sixteenth century monk? Erasmus changed the original Greek word pithos to Latin pyxis, box. The word now translated as “box” was actually a large jar (πίθος pithos), but may also be interpreted as womb- at least it is thought to have been Hesiod’s intention to draw such a parallel. Pandora’s womb of clay, her pithos is also described as having lips.
Pandora properly means “all-giving” rather than “all-gifted.” An alternate name for Pandora attested on a white-ground kylix (ca. 460 B.C.E.) is Anesidora, which similarly means “she who sends up gifts.”
The gifts of the womb…
The misogyny behind the Pandora myth is evident-
When Prometheus stole fire from the gods, Zeus took vengeance by presenting the first woman- Pandora, to Epimetheus, who was warned not to accept it but could not resist.
Pandora was made from clay, and each god helped create her by giving her a divine gift. She was also given a beautiful jar- pithos- but was warned to open it, again she could not resist and the rest is history. Pandora opened the box and spread all evil across the earth.
Remind you of another story?
It is a Garden of Eden myth.
But let’s get back to the fact that it was not a box at all but a jar, a clay, jar, a pithos, and in fact a womb.
When Pandora opened the secrets of her womb all hell let loose. Why?
Because the secrets of the womb are the secrets of life, more powerful that any Apollonian science has achieved in the 2’500 years that have intervened between Pandora and Dolly the sheep.
The word uterus is connected to the word utterance and when the Pythia of Delphi- again from the word pithos- womb- opened themselves to divine inspiration in their oracular pursuits it was the voice of the womb that called forth.
Surely there is a paradox here – on one hand the womb is responsible for unleashing all evils and on the other is an oracle of such high regard that all the great and good of the time such as Socrates would religiously visit for a consultation.
And what of rape? There has been much talk of rape culture, particularly since the ‘Me Too’ campaign, but when we peer deeper into this Pandora’s box and move beyond the good and bad of the situation to ask why this dynamic is, and has been rife in our culture, we find a very deep rabbit hole indeed.
While it may be argued that the very fabric of patriarchy with its uneven texture of stolen riches has cloaked the insidious face of power relations, whatever is at the bottom of the rabbit hole is surfacing and it runs deeper than we imagine.

When Venus Met Persephone, and Lilith was Rising…

Sirin and Alkonost The Birds of Joy and Sorrow 1896 Viktor Vasnetsov

The Birds of Joy and Sorrow, 1896 by Viktor Vasnetsov

Today’s new moon at 15 degrees Libra in the second House offers an encounter with a profound constellation of Dark Goddess energies. Persephone and Venus are exactly conjunct at 10 degrees of Scorpio, also in the second House, shining a light on the feminine particularly as it relates to resources, security, power and possession (self or otherwise). This alignment offers the possibility of integrating exiled feminine aspects, reclaiming her back into the soul of the world and spheres in which she has previously been repressed or inhibited.

It was only a few decades ago when women were obliged to stay in unhealthy marital or familial situations for fear of becoming destitute. In the second House we are concerned with resources of all types… the other territory raised for consideration here is the sharing of ourselves on all levels, particularly emotionally and sexually.

Much of these dynamics exist at an unconscious level.

The alliance of Venus and Persephone creates a strong initiatory condition in which we may be prepared to receive and integrate lost contents of our psyche (soul). The meeting of these two formidable goddesses point directly to healing the feminine principle, particularly as it relates to ‘give-and-take’, power relations with others, interpersonal relationships, and appropriate use of energy and resources- including money and sexuality.

Astrology, the movement of celestial bodies through our collective and individual heaven is a potent way to work with symbols and archetypes. New moon and full moons offer particularly inviting portal through which to meet the transpersonal realms. Today’s new moon sees a meeting between Sun and Moon at 15 degrees Libra in the 2nd House- the house of possessions where we have a need to feel safe in the world.

Second House mottoes are: “I have”, “I possess”, “I need”, and also “I am safe”. Possession also refers to possession of self, that is the keeping together of body and soul.

Ruled by Venus, the only feminine planet, the second House is concerned with resources to live by, cash-flow and creature comforts. It is the House that sustains life and keeps the Ego safe. There is a need for security and certainty here. But life is rarely certain and when a stellium of luminaries, planets and asteroids (including two dark goddesses) meet in the second House on a new moon, our stability, how we get it, where we lack it, and what we will do in order to try and keep it, comes under question.

The second House stellium toady looks like this:

-Dark Moon Lilith 13 Libra

-Moon and Sun 15 Libra

-Mercury 28 Libra

-Venus and Persephone 10 Scorpio

Esoterically, the 2nd house was named “The Gate of Hades” by the ancients; the word “hades” in ancient Greek simply means “invisible”. Psychologically speaking Hades (or his Roman counterpart Pluto) is the hidden or unacknowledged regions of the human psyche, it is the energy that influences and motivates us without our realizing it. Everything from money, sex, power and shame fall under this domain. As the ruler of sex and money, Pluto’s position in the chart will show us how we bond with others, and how we share resources- including  our sexuality.

Saatchi Art Artist Henry Shmulevich; Painting, “Hades and Persephone

Hades and Persephone by Henry Shmulevich

Venus and Persephone’s meeting in the house of resources (ruled by Venus) at 10 degrees in the fixed sign of Scorpio (ruled by Pluto), is an auspicious placement. This union connects two important aspects of feminine wisdom that have become ruptured in patriarchy: The loving erotic, harmonizing, and caring feminine, and the one who has not only made the descent into the kingdom of Hades but has survived and come back to tell the tale too. She can show us the way…

Whereas Pluto remains forever captive in his own domain, Persephone is blessed with autonomy to move between the world of the living and the world of the dead. It is to Persephone, then, that we must look to as messenger between our conscious and unconscious material, particularly as it relates to an expression of wholeness in feminine consciousness.

This powerful union of goddesses opens a portal through which we can explore the under-current mechanics in our lives – what’s really running the show, particularly in relation to:

How we share our selves with others; the desires and abuses of Eros (relating to others), where we give ourselves away, or enter into contractual agreements in order to feel safe in the world.

Until we have learned to take care of and provide for ourselves we are vulnerable to compromises that may injure our soul.

While Venus accommodates –  and sometimes puts others first – Persephone endures no such compromise and needs no permission from anyone to be herself. She has no desire to people-please. Having been to the basement of her subconscious and owned the rejected parts of herself, she is whole unto herself and not dependent on anyone else. And while she may not need anyone else to feel complete, in her merging with Venus, the goddess of love, she may desire sacred union- and that is an altogether different experience.

The union of Venus and Persephone conveys a sense of being open and available, inter-dependent, and alive with the possibility of union, while not betraying oneself under any circumstance.

In the lives of contemporary women, we might ask if we are are being authentic to ourselves when we relate to others…

Do we give too much in order to be accepted? Do we exhaust our resources by continually giving. Do we give and never receive? Can we receive? Can we surrender?Do we have to be in control? Can we give? Do we diminish our light and/or power to fit in with and please others? Do we give our sexual energy inappropriately, either not owning our sexuality, or else letting others exploit it? Are we being used? Do we have sex when we don’t want to? Can we nurture ourselves? Do we give too much emotional attention and caring to others rejecting our own needs? Are we filled with festering resentments because we feel we are not being met? Do we prostitute ourselves to have our material needs met? Are we insecure in the presence of other women, either unwilling to own ourselves, or else projecting our shadow… acting the bitch? Do we talk behind backs and create drama? Can we truly and unconditionally support others or do we manipulate others, devising unspoken contacts and expectations, and then becoming furious when these are not honored? Are we playing games and living a lie in order to get by?

It is not an easy light to shine, this stark, unblinking light that is required for a controlled descent into the hinterlands of our being. We recoil from its unforgiving glare and try instead to turn it outward. But the goddess is often depicted with a mirror for a reason- it is to the self that we must look to finally know ourselves.

Mirror mirror on the wall, show me real and show me all…

The conjunction of Venus and Persephone raises some pretty challenging questions and in facing them we may fear being crashed to the shore of our carefully constructed, if somewhat restricted, lives. But face them we must and calling upon the one who “sees in the dark”, She who moves between the underworld of Hades and the human realm, is graciously offered to us on this new moon. Persephone lovingly holds the door of Hades for us to pass through and back again. She is both the nourisher and the death bringer, but as death bringer she encourages us only to release self betraying and dysfunctional  behaviors so that we may be free.  These outmoded and destructive ways of being were learned at a time when we felt powerless in the face of a culture that did not honor or respect our feminine nature.

It is the shedding of the old skin so that the new one can grow, and this time of year, the turning of the wheel toward the dark invites us to go into the inner realms to identify the parts of ourselves that must be let go of. As Mother Nature herself surrenders last years crop to the processes of renewal, we to are gifted the secrets of life and death.

It is no coincidence that the greater of the Eleusinian Mysteries, when Persephone re-enters the domain of Hades, traditionally takes place in October. Around the corner is Samhain, a gateway to meeting our ancestors for deep diving to release the burdens we carry and accept our gifts and heritage as yet unowned.

It is now we hear the voices of the past and learn what needs to heal in order to move forward into the birthing time of Spring.

Marta Dahling- Persephone

Persephone by Marta Dahling

Venus and Persephone are a mighty dual that teach how to imbue the feminine qualities of love and sensuality openly and deeply while remaining true to our own authentic longings and desires. A counsel with these goddesses may prompt us to ask whether our sexual needs are being met in our partnerships, or if we are still operating out a conditioned response to meet our partners needs above our own. If we carry sexual shame or are cut off our life force (kundalini) due to previous abuses, Venus and Persephone offers the possibility to reclaim our sacred sexual selves.

Are we afraid that if we assert ourselves our needs we will be rejected or replaced by a more compliant partner? Are we secure enough in ourselves to resist such cultural manipulations? Do we know we are good enough, not just as a self affirmation mantra but as a deep, unshakable, embodied knowing?

The naked awareness of the dark Goddess is to see the death and destruction of the old and joyfully embrace it as an immanent sigh of renewal.

But that is not all…

This new moon also sees the rising of another powerful Dark Goddess- Lilith- who is exactly on the ascendant at 19 degrees Virgo. There are four faces of Lilith and this one, asteroid Lilith, represents our original feminine essence before it was corrupted, repressed, conditioned or punished. Lilith is rising… she is being restored to her authentic power, an embodied and sovereign feminine principle who is capable of deep, open, transformative love and sacred union while remaining true to herself. In this sense, Lilith in her original, pure essence, might be said to hold the energy of both Venus and Persephone.

With Dark Moon Lilith joining the stellium in the second House, the writing on the celestial wall becomes even clearer. While asteroid Lilith represents the primordial and essential feminine essence, Dark Moon Lilith shows where that essence has been corrupted, exploited and abused. Here we are shown very clearly that the feminine wound that has surfaced at this time, and for the continuing lunar cycle, is directly involved with resources, wealth, possessions, security and sustaining oneself in the world.

Evening Mood, William Bouguereau

Evening Mood, William Bouguereau

It’s all is the stars…

If you are working with the lunar cycles and personal development, today is an opportunity par excellence to be working these issues.

You are welcome to book a consultation with me either in person or via Skype to explore these archetypal energies and how they move in your life. I would be delighted to assist you.