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’s 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.