The Rebrith of Quetzalcoatl & the Rise of Venus

Kukulkan/Quetzalcoatl

The heliacal rising of Venus occurs on June 10th where after a period of darkness she transforms into the Morning Star, rising just before the sun. For the Maya and Aztecs of Mesoamerica the journey of Venus was observed and noted with great interest and precision. Her journey was well documented and richly mythologised.

According to observations made by the Maya, episodes of upheaval linked to the cyclical motion of Venus play out as life-changing events.

What life changing events are taking place today? On the surface what we see is a world under the shadow of a global pandemic… and yet, many sense more is occurring behind the scenes and below the veil of consciousness. We might ask, what aspects of Venus- our value system- are we ready to transform? For the Maya -and contemporary astrologers- Venus’ rise as the Morning Star heralds a new beginning.

What part do we play in this cosmic unfolding? Does the consciousness we bring to bear upon the dawning of a new world influence and create that world? Is this the time when we individually and collectively realise we are far more powerful than we have been led to believe?

This is the first Venus retrograde in Gemini that has happened since the Venus transit of 2012- a year that coincided with the end of a 5125-year solar cycle in the Mayan calendar. It is also taking place between a lunar and solar eclipse. These are powerful times!

Questions to ask: why were the ancient Mesoamericans so fascinated by the movement of Venus on her journey around the Sun, and what can that consciousness teach us now?

Long before Copernicus was tracking the movement of the planets in the high renaissance period, the Maya followed Venus with amazing accuracy. In a text known as the Dresden codex (thought to have been produced in the first half of the tenth century) the rise and fall of Venus from Morning Star to Evening Star is carefully illustrated. Curiously, the text made its way from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Royal Library in Dresden, Germany where in the 1800s a German mathematician named Ernst Förstemann- without any prior knowledge of Mayan glyphs- deciphered the text as an illustration of the celestial journey of the planet Venus.

In working with their solar Haab and Tzolkin calendar, the Maya viewed the heliacal rising of Venus (the rising of the planet before the sun after the inferior conjunction) as both potentially auspicious- a sign of new beginnings and the resurrection of Light after a period of Darkness, and potentially inauspicious, an evil portent invoking wars and conflict.  Ritual and warfare were planned accordingly.

Professor Anthony Aveni tells us, “Rituals celebrating the appearance of the Morning Star may have been held on the large plaza in front of the House of the Governor, providing the rulers of Uxmal with a way to commemorate their ties to the sky god.”

In another pre-colonial codex know as the ‘Borgia’, the narrative of the planet Venus suggest that the feathered god Quetzalcoatl represents Venus through the synodic cycle. Also revealed in this codex is the belief of the Maya that Venus is seen as the cause of a total solar eclipse. The story of Quetzalcoatl is also symbolised in the Annals of Cuauhtitlan which associates the 8-day period between the Evening Star and Morning Star- when Venus makes an inferior conjunction to the sun- with the death and resurrection of the feathered serpent deity.

Aveni says, “Before emerging as the Morning Star, Quetzalcoatl descended into the underworld for 8 days, evoking a link with the number of days Venus is invisible in inferior conjunction.”

In Mayan mythology, the planet/goddess Venus was inextricably linked with the Sun- never being more than 47 ° away from the sun- and the serpent god Kukulkan- closely related to the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl- whose name means ‘one who emerges from the serpent-spirit’ or cosmic kundalini force.

In ‘The Secrets of Mayan Science/Religion’, Mayan daykeeper Hunbatz Men says,

 “To be Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan is to know the seven forces (chakras) that govern our body – not only know them but also use them and understand their intimate relationship with natural and cosmic laws. We must comprehend the long and short cycles and the solar laws that sustain our lives. We must know how to die, and how to be born.”

This initiatory process of death and rebirth is also symbolised in the Sumerian myth of Inanna in her descent to the underworld as a parallel to the cosmic movement of Venus.

In ‘The Hidden Maya’ by Martin Brennan, the Maya equivalent of “chi” is referred to as coyopa or “lightning in the blood,” which enables one to perceive within the body messages from the external worlds – both natural and supernatural. There is no one word for this in English, but it means something like, “vital force spirit.”

For the Maya, when Venus follows the Sun, appearing as the Evening Star, she is Lamat when she reappears before the sun as the Morning Star, she is Ah-Chicum-Ek.

Morning Star Venus is associated with war, this is also the case in ancient Mesopotamia where She is Istar d’ Akat, a male deity of war. This warrior aspect of Venus is not to easily grasped or recognised in our modern patriarchal world where political and military power is firmly held by men. Feminine power- ahead of the Sun and in her warrior aspect- was  largely rejected in patrilineal cultures such as Hellenistic, pharaonic Egypt, Latin Rome, and Judaism- and still today.

Knowledge of the 7 power centres- the serpent rising- vital energy- kundalini… these are the gifts of Venus. She shows us how to clear our vessels, to burn the old by descending into the darkness to illuminate what lies there, so we can see what is ready to be transformed, and like the Phoenix, or the feathered serpent, we rise.

Venus as the Scorpion Goddess

Image credit: CHN. From the Jiroft culture- Bronze Age (late 3rd millennium BCE) located in present day Iran.

Right now Venus is out of sight, obscured by the light of the Sun in what is known as her inferior conjunction. The ancient Sumerian myth of Inanna- our oldest written myth- tells the story of the descent and rebirth of the goddess as a symbolic representation of the movement of the planet Venus as she moves between the Earth and the sun- and then the other side of the sun.

For Inanna, the underworld journey is a process of healing the split between herself and her dark sister, the lost or unconscious parts of herself that have experienced loss, betrayal, rejection, and trauma. It is a profound experience of awakening, reclamation, reintegration, and sovereignty.

For the ancient world -and still many today- it is believed that Venus is guiding and showing us how to move through the process of death and rebirth as an initiatory journey into the sacred nature of our being. She is showing us how to integrate the shadow and the light parts of ourselves.

This feels more important than ever as the dark unacknowledged aspects of the collective unconscious are becoming painfully visible and destructive.

In Mesopotamia, Venus in her underworld phase was represented by the deity known as Ishhara or Ishkhara- who was symbolised by the Scorpion. She takes her place among the other Scorpion goddesses seen in cultures from Hindu, Aztec, and Egyptian.

Ishhara is the goddess of healing, magic, and sexuality. A vow made to Ishhara was taken very seriously… vows made in the underworld are for real, as is eating the food of the underworld as seen in the myth of Persephone.

Perhaps we are realising that many Faustian pacts have unwittingly been made and that it is time to free ourselves from the bondage of corrupt systems which have led to the desacralization of our humanity.

Times of underworld descent are an opportunity to right wrongs and free ourselves from unconscious patterns and behaviours by making them conscious. This works individually and collectively – as we become conscious of the ‘great below’, below the veil of illusion, or behind the curtain of OZ, the impulse is to rise up and refuse further complicity with that which is in misalignment with or offensive to our essence.

As Venus continues her journey in the underworld, the moon is undergoing her own death and rebirth as she is partially eclipsed on Friday 5th June in her full moon phase, positioned at the feet of the constellation Ophiuchus- ‘the Great Healer’ and close to the royal star Antares in the constellation of Scorpio. Antares symbolises death and rebirth, power and profound transformation.

Venus emerges on June 12th just above the fixed star Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus -the ‘Eye of Illumination’- another royal star which symbolises movement into the new and remembrance of the sacredness of life.

This Venus retrograde cycle closes on June 24 shortly after the solar eclipse/Solstice on 21 June.

Venus then journeys direct in her Morning Star aspect-or Lucifer the Light Bearer- for 9 months before making her superior conjunction on the other side of the sun. She then returns as the evening star- Venus as lover- for 9 months.

What powerful times we are living through as we, part of the cosmic matrix, also undertake these journeys filled with the possibility of renewal, repair, and remembrance of our sacredness.

Credit to Psychologist Heather Ensworth, and to Babylonian Astrologer Rumen Kolev for their research and presentations on this topic.