The Gift of Venus Retrograde.

The Dance of Venus

Today the planet Venus goes retrograde beginning her transformation from evening star to morning star. This shift occurs about once every 1.6 years and, like the moon, reflects the shifting tides of consciousness and the cosmos. The dance of Venus forms an exquisite five petalled rose pattern around the earth every eight years, and although the distance between the five points she touches is slightly irregular, the pattern created is beautifully harmonizing.

In the human psyche, the influence of Venus can likewise point the way toward harmonizing our experiences- both inner and outer- creating a world where our soul may flourish and thrive. Venus can bring order out of Chaos, and mythologically she is the only one who can temper Mars.

Venus orbits the Sun every 224.7 Earth days showing herself in different phases like the moon. When she makes her inferior conjunction to the Sun during her retrograde phase (3rd June 2020) she is closest to the earth- we could consider this a new phase of Venus, much like the new moon phase.

The phases of Venus and evolution of its apparent diameter

When Venus is retrograde we have a chance to review, revise, and revaluate aspects of our life that relate to our inner Venus. As astrologer Darby Costello poetically says, Venus retrograde is a time to do some interior decorating on the self. Venus themes to consider include relationships- how are we relating to others, what changes do we need to make, what shadow aspects do we need to face, and what is our deepest longing for connection, union, or communion?

Venus relationships are not only romantic or sexual but include friendships, working partnerships, our relationship with money, with the environment, food, nature… Venus rules all kinds of partnerships including and most essentially the relationship with ourselves.

The dance of Venus is mythologised in the Sumerian story of Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth. Inanna makes a descent to the ‘great below’ to attend the funeral of her sister’s husband. Upon entering the underworld she is devested of her regal attire… symbols of her heavenly status, until finally she is hung naked on a hook for three days. This is the stripping of the ego that happens when we enter the underworld- the unconscious- to face our shadow- in the case of Inanna her confrontation is with her dark sister Ereshkigal, who in reality is the unacknowledged and rejected parts of Inanna herself.

Inanna is finally saved by her father the God of water, Enki who sends two creatures- the kurgarra and the galatur, beings neither male nor female formed from the dirt beneath his fingernail and who “enter the underworld like flies”. The tiny creatures witness the pain of the dark queen Ereshkigal empathising with her every cry and suffering, a compassionate act that breaks the curse. Through the empathy offered by the creatures, Ereshkigal is touched, grateful for having been witnessed in her anguish and offers the kurgarra and the galatur a gift of their choosing- which of course is the corpse of Inanna revived and released from the underworld.

There are many layers of symbolism encoded in this myth of renewal and transformation and Venus retrograde is an excellent time to explore these themes in our own lives.

Inanna in the great below- artist unknown

What darkness is waiting to be illuminated by the light of heaven- our conscious mind? What aspects of our exiled and disenfranchised self is ready to be integrated? In terms of relationship, are we ready to accept our own failings and sabotaging behaviours- or will we continue to project them onto others?

Venus is retrograde in the same sign every 8 years thus providing a thread- a golden thread- to follow our life’s narrative and soul’s unfolding- like the Venus rose. Perhaps an old story or theme from the past is reactivated during this Venus retrograde- old lovers or friends from the last Venus in Gemini phase (May/June 2012) may suddenly reappear.

What relationships have we not ended properly? Are we still haunted by the ghost of relationships past? Are lessons still to be learned from emotional baggage hung on a hook in our psyche? It could be that an aspect of a story or theme is ending and a new cycle is beginning. Perhaps we need a deeper understanding of what has gone before we can truly move on. This is a time to reflect.

The last time Venus was retrograde in Gemini was 15th May – 27th June 2012 -this was an extra special event as Venus also transited the Sun during the inferior conjuntion on 5th June, 2012. What was going on for you at that time? I recall exactly what I was doing that evening: I was dancing with a group of people in a studio in Ecuador and as I danced I became mesmerised by the sacred mountain Mandango the “sleeping giant” or “sleeping warrior”.  It was a magical connection which was highly symbolic of an aspect of myself that was awakening.

Taking it further back in the Venus retrograde in Gemini cycle- 8 years before that it occured on May 17th – June 29th, 2004- and then 20th May- 1st July, 1996… and so on. Can you find a connecting thread that runs through these time-lines in your life? Hopefully with each cycle we get to see our issues and patterns more clearly- get to shine more light into the dusty dark caverns of our unconscious. Like in the dance of Venus we may see that events we thought were random or spurious were in fact important parts of our beautiful design… or steps in our dance.

Remember to be gentle- and let ourselves off the hook- in most cases we did the best we could at the time with the knowledge we had. Like the little creatures in the myth of Inanna, it is finally compassionate connection that breaks the spell of fragmentation. To invite the lost parts of ourselves home we must first accept them without judgement- and also not fear them.

Venus in Gemini is about integrating the light and the dark. It is also about merging the faculties of the mind with a deeper embodied wisdom of the heart-centre and soul. If we have been struggling to filter some of our traumatic or buried experiences through the mental faculties, or articulate what happened- tell our story- Venus retrograde in Gemini may provide an opportunity to finally put some flesh on the bones.

As well as the goddess of love, Venus is also the goddess of war in her morning star persona. During our time in the underworld we reclaim and integrate our disenfranchised parts which can then ignite our sacred warrior and we are renewed as the light bearer.

This is Venus’ transformation from evening star to morning star – the Heliacal Rise- and happens on June 10th at 09 degrees 44′ Gemini.

Venus is also about money- what is our relationship with money? Do we know how to manifest abundance, can we receive it, are we comfortable asking for what we need… what we want…what we like? Are we eclipsed in the shadow of poverty consciousness… do we feel undeserving of the finer things in life?

Venus is connected to creativity and style- is what we present on the outside an accurate reflection of how we feel on the inside… does this strike you as superficial… is it time for a reinvention?

Do we have a creative outlet- can we show the world our creative spark without shame or fear of rejection? Can we create purely for the pleasure and the joy of it, just for ourselves?

Venus is our values- what do we truly value?

And finally Venus is our connection with the natural world- can we take pleasure in the scent of a rose, the feel of the air kissing our skin on a summer day, or the sensual joy of cool water bathing… can we connect with tiny creatures and stop to marvel at the wonder of an eagle soaring overhead? Or do we rush through life with our senses and feelings shut down living only in our head?

Venus retrograde offers rich pickings in reviewing these aspects of our life.

For the time of the Venus retrograde- from now until 25th June- I am offering special priced astrology consultations focusing on the Venus aspects in your chart.

 

 

 

Hunter & The Hunted: Dejanira & Nessus

The Rape of Dejanira- Guido Reni

February’s full moon in Leo occurring at 07.33 GMT opens a gateway into a theme which is constantly discussed and often misunderstood –  the dynamics of the abused and the abuser.

This may seem like a surprising comment given that our social media and psycho-spiritual channels are currently saturated with information on how to identify and over-come toxic and damaging ways of relating. Particularly in the field of personality disorders, NPD, or narcissistic personality disorder has claimed the hotspot in being the new evil incarnate. Podcasts, YouTube videos, talks, seminars, books and films readily expose and condemn the diabolical indicators of that new breed of human- the ‘Narc’.

But it’s not only NPD that is being exposed in an attempt to better understand the inner workings of abusive relationships, and as one thing can’t exist without the other, it becomes apparent that there can be no abuser without a victim to abuse. Co-dependents, sufferers of PTSD, border-liners, empaths, and an array of increasingly complex personality disordered behaviour comes under the sway of psychotherapy in an attempt to understand why we humans are so challenged and dysfunctional in our intimate relating.

It’s little wonder that these matters-especially issues of abuser and perpetrator-should occupy much of our interest these days, after all we are under a Saturn Pluto conjunction which in itself is undoubtedly bringing issues of power, abuse of power, and the exposure of hidden things to the surface.

But under this full moon we also have the added intensity of asteroid Nessus exactly conjunct asteroid Dejanira at 9 degrees of Pisces.

Let me explain…

In Greek mythology Dejanira who was a Calydonian princess and whose name translates as “man-destroyer” or “destroyer of her husband” has become synonymous in astrology with the victim archetype.

Here is her story-

One day Dejanira, the wife of Hercules, wanted to cross the river Euenos and was offered a lift by the centaur Nessus who invited her to hop on his back while her ferried her over the water. Dejanira, grateful for the offer accepts the invitation but halfway across the centaur attempts to rape her. The scene is witnessed by Hercules who standing on the opposite riverbank promptly raises his bow and shoots Nessus with a poisonous arrow. Before his imminent death Nessus tricks Dejanira by exploiting her worst fears and deepest insecurities, namely the infidelities of her husband which may eventually lead to her abandonment.

The cunning Nessus draws Dejanira into a ruse that enables him to inflict revenge on his adversary Hercules from beyond the grave. He offers Dejanira a sample of his blood telling her that if she ever fears abandonment by Hercules, she should smear the blood on him thus ensuring his fidelity and lasting commitment.

When Hercules-who was well known for fathering children all over Greece- falls in love with Iola, it is more than Dejanira can bear, and desperately fearing abandonment she places a little of the centaur’s poisonous blood on her husband’s famous lion-skin shirt causing his skin to burn instantly. In great pain Hercules jumps into a nearby funeral pyre, and stricken with grief Dejanira takes her own life shortly after. A tragic tale indeed!

In astrology, the position of Dejanira indicates our susceptibility to abuse or the places we feel vulnerable to abuse. Nessus points to our potential abusive or predatory tendencies. In synastry charts where couples have these asteroids in hard aspect issues of abuse and sometimes dangerous liaisons, are highlighted- although this is not always the case and layers of complexity refuse any forgone conclusions.

Clues to the complexity of this duo are to be found in the myth itself. Firstly, why is Dejanira so riddled with insecurity to begin with? While it is clear that she has married a philandering husband, what is not clear is what drives her- a princess- into a situation where she is repeatedly disrespected.

And what of Nessus’s revenge from beyond the grave? This speaks of legacies, feuds, and unresolved issues passed down through lifetimes. There is no redemption in this story, everyone ends up dead. But at least then there is a sense that the feud, or curse, or bad blood has finally come to an end.

In her desperate love of her husband, Dejanira’s fears are more than realised in the demise of both of them.

Astrologer Melanie Reinhart relates Nessus issues to sexuality, death, revenge and jealousy, and says that it has to with abuse of power and has ancestral implications.

But Nessus also offers the possibility of reprieve and breaking of the toxic ties for good. As Melanie says of Nessus, ‘the buck stops here’.

 “It seems that Nessus brings opportunities to understand and release deep patterns of helplessness, being taken advantage of, and being oppressed. Nessus processes really do seem to end the unfathomable ties that bind us to people, places, and situations.”

First though we have to understand how these processes operate in our lives. Have you ever found yourself at the end, or in the middle of an intensely difficult relationship scouring books and the internet for information in a desperate attempt to understand what the hell is going on, only to find yourself staring in the mirror wondering if you are the abused or the abuser? And if we accept that we have unwittingly got ourselves involved with (yet another) narcissist, or psychopath, or crazy lady does it not necessitate a deep probing into our own core wounding to ask why we would allow that? Afterall, emotionally healthy people do not invite nor stay in unhealthy relationships.

And in touching our core wounds and travelling back through our psychic timeline can we see where the pattern began, the place where the psychic fingerprints of our father or mother, and their father and mother left marks on our fledgling soul? And then further back down the ancestral line can we identify the patterns of abuse, or unlove, or hidden things whose shadow grows bigger with each generation that refuses to acknowledge it… until the buck stops here- with you.

But this is no small feat and overcoming intergenerational trauma requires more than just personal will and cognitive understanding. Healing wounds of the soul requires spiritual grace, love, forgiveness and compassion- centauress Chariklo can point us in this direction.

African writer and healer Patrice Malidoma say that what we think of as a curse is really the legacy of unlove. What curses live in the rivers of our families’ crossing from lifetime to lifetime? What betrayals wait in the inner sanctums of our homes? And where did it all begin?

These are sacred wounds, they are ours and yet they are not only ours, they belong also to our ancestors as they belong to our culture and societies.

The myth of Dejanira provides an archetypal lens through which we can explore issues of the abused and the abuser. It is too easy to blame the other. Often we form relationships with those souls who are precisely able to draw stagnant waters form our deepest well.

Like in the myth of Dejanira these poisons are carried in the blood from generation to generation until someone, usually after a great deal of trauma, decides to confront the family skeletons and clears the ancestral field.

Often the kind of relationships that are able to facilitate this holy healing are in the end just too difficult to sustain, though hopefully along the way we bring each other closer to a state of grace where we can finally let go of blame and the ultimately unrealistic polarity of abuser and abused.

Looking at the placements of Dejanira and Nessus in your own chart-and if you have them the charts of your parents- is hugely beneficial in identifying the family curse.

Dejanira’s killing of her husband is unmeditated and accidental but it is from her own deep wounds and insecurities that she destroys her husband and herself.

As I’ve been writing this blog a song from the 80’s has been rolling around in my head- Hunter and the Hunted by Simple Minds-