Summary of the cycle greatest eastern elongation: Venus is Hesperos, the evening star, about two months before it turns retrograde, 45– 48 ° ahead of the Sun in zodiacal longitude. During this time the Sun appears to gain on it in longitude and, in the midst of this phase, Venus reaches the degree at which it will conjoin the Sun in inferior retrograde conjunction. Fig. 5.2 Venus cycle Station-retrograde: When Venus reaches its stationary point and appears to move backward against the backdrop of the zodiac. It is always 30 ° ahead of the Sun at this point (orb of 1.5 °).


Inferior conjunction: Venus now begins to fall behind the Sun in longitudinal degree. This is the midpoint of the retrograde cycle and the beginning of a new phase of evaluation or action. Heliacal rising (point 4): A few days (about six or seven) after the inferior conjunction. Venus is about 10 ° behind the Sun and is first seen after the obliteration by the inferior conjunction and begins the long phase of morning star. Station-direct (point 5): Occurs when Venus is exactly 30 ° behind the Sun in longitude (sign) with an orb of 1.5 °. Venus now advances towards point 6. Greatest western elongation (point 6): The point at which Venus is the morning star – Phosphoros – about one month after it has reached the degree at which it was in inferior conjunction with the Sun. Venus is always 45–48 ° behind the Sun in zodiacal longitude at this point. Superior conjunction (point 7): When Venus is on the other side of the Sun, from geocentric view, and reaches the same degree as the Sun in zodiacal longitude. It remains invisible to the eye for about fifty days around the conjunction. This marks the time when Venus begins the advance towards greatest eastern elongation, and the cycle begins again.


The Mesoamerican view The Mesoamericans – both Aztec and Maya – venerated the twin-star Venus. All known evidence reveals that the Mesoamericans truly understood Venus retrograde, the symbolism as well as the motion. It is the phase between the station -retrograde and station-direct of Venus which bears the greatest relevance to our inquiry into retrogression and its implications, both natally and in transit. What is it that the Mesoamericans considered happens when Venus hides in the arms of the Sun, invisible to our view? Bruce Scofield says (my italic): The panels at El Tajin begin with Venus as Evening Star [in her station-retrograde place]. It is during this phase that Venus, according to Aztec mythology, takes the form of a man and walks the Earth. Here he meets the goddess Xochiquetzal, goddess of love, who abets him in breaking his vows of purity. In the next panel . . . Venus spends the night with music, drinking and love – and he couples with the goddess. There appears to be a product of this coupling, the birth of a sky monster. In the third panel . . . [inferior conjunction], the ball game is played in the underworld. Venus loses and s/ he must be sacrificed by the Sun. In the fourth panel, which covers the span from Evening Star, through inferior conjunction, and on to Morning Star [heliacal rising], Venus is sacrificed.


The death of Venus occurs while the planet is obscured by the Sun, but ultimately Venus is reborn as Morning Star [and female].The androgyny which the Greeks only manage clumsily to create through the union of Aphrodite and Hermes is obviously a more implicit characteristic of Venus retrograde than we might generally assume. That a monster was born is no surprise, for we all know of the monster our shadow Venus brings out in us. It has been called ‘green-eyed’, but is in fact a representative of all that we may not have, or cannot bring to the light of day.Horrors lurk in the darkness of Venus, and the ancient Maya and Aztec cultures devised an entire calendrical system around it comprising long cycles with large numbers, which was astronomically surprisingly precise. The shroud of mystery around the Mesoamerican calendar slowly unravels when we look at the evidence from various ancient sources. Several features come together, such as the ritual ball-game peylota played by opposing teams during the eight days of consummation and death of male-Venus at inferior conjunction; the instigation of war accompanied by human blood-sacrifice at heliacal rising; and the subsequent fertility rites. This is not the harmonious Venus inseminating one with ideal Uranian love, but closer to the vindictive aphrodisiacal Pandemic himeros which ultimately destroyed Phaedra and her stepson Hippolytus, who was fool enough to worship Artemis, the chaste goddess. The Mesoamericans appear to have known more about Venus retrograde and attached greater significance to its astronomical cycles than other learned cultures.


They set armies marching in synchrony with her rise from the underworld, transformed from woman to man to woman again, still redolent with the atmosphere of the dead. To them she was Venus Goddess of War. The calendar seems indisputably astrological, calculated to determine propitious times for combat and sacrifice to the gods. The peylota was a ritual combat, re-enacting the legendary journey of the Maya hero twins Hunahpu the Hunter (Venus) and Xbalanque the Jaguar (Sun) to the underworld called Xibalba, where they faced many trials at the hands of the Lords of Death. The twins’ lives were at stake, and though their father had earlier lost such a game – and his head – the twins do not, and after sacrificing the Lords of Death they are transformed into celestial beings: Venus and the Sun.


The Maya people were highly sophisticated about Venus’ motion and cycles , devising a 586-day calendar with fasti, or feast days. Venus was a central figure and, depicted as the goddess of war, armies were mobilized when she was in her station about to turn direct. The imagery around her is grisly and violent. It was said that she rose up from the underworld still sticky with the blood and bones of the dead after her forty-day journey in the arms of the Sun. Here is where Maya Venus and Greek Aphrodite meet – in the rituals surrounding death and the underworld journey. The annual resurrection of Adonis, like the Eleusinian and Orphic Mysteries, psychologically prepared its participants for their own death. The interpretations of Venus’ astronomical movements are so intriguing and relevant to retrogression because it was this cycle by which the Mesoamericans governed their ritual lives and portrayed the ‘game of life’ with its mortal stakes.


Venus: the fifth harmonic and the Golden Section
Unlike Mercury, the Venus retrograde cycle does not offer a triennial review. Venus is retrograde in the same sign every eight years, and its station patterns form a series of quintiles against the backdrop of the zodiac. That is a sequence of Venus retrograde cycle seen over an eight-year period shows each of the eight stations to be almost exactly 72 ° apart (there are five stations over eight years). Five 584-day cycles of Venus equals eight 365-day yearly cycles. When we look at the diagram of Venus stations and cross -connect them, a quinary symbol, the pentangle (five-pointed star) is formed. This pattern is also found in the Metonic cycles of Venus – the occultation’s.Venus retrograde cycles and the Golden Section Like its brother inferior planet Mercury, Venus has a long cycle which performs a slow regression back through the zodiac: when it stations to turn retrograde in the same sign every eight years, it does so 2-3 ° earlier in the sign than in the previous retrogression. Transiting Venus performs a slow, regressive review of the zodiac over many years. As with Mercury, it stations and turns direct a few degrees earlier, until gradually it covers all signs of the zodiac. Its phases are succinct and outline stages of insemination, transference of arcane knowledge through symbolic gender exchange, incubation, mysterious union with the source of life, and, finally, emergence and renewal.


The celestial mandala that Venus’ retrograde loops perform illustrates its inherent beauty perfectly. The center of the mandala is Earth, the place where one must struggle to achieve wholeness and knowledge. Quinary symbolism traditionally represents man after the fall, in his profane Pandemic state. Esoteric schools see the power of the number five as the cause, not the effect, of the five-digit contact points on our human extremities. It has always been associated with man’s innate capacity to understand, and to create something from that comprehension. The quinary is associated with material understanding of arcane or esoteric truths and is symbolic of the whole of the material world. The fifth element in esoteric work is ether, the ‘cosmic glue’ which transports thought (idea) to the lesser, but manifest, body.


As far back as Egyptian hieroglyphics the five-pointed star signified the concept of ‘rising upward to the point of origin’ and formed part of word groups meaning ‘to teach’, ‘to bring up’ as in to raise a child, and the ‘teacher’. Inherent within the cyclic pattern of Venus is the Star of Man, which Leonardo da Vinci illustrated in his drawing of the circle squared with man in balance, the most famous of the Golden Section representations in art. The Venus retrograde pattern forms the basis of the Golden Section, in which there are implications of hidden generative powers . Strictly defined, the Golden Section is an irrational proportion which is equivalent to the division of a straight line into two parts so that the ratio of the whole line to the larger part is the same as the ratio of the larger part to the smaller (13: 8).


The Greeks knew about this measure, at least since Euclid (c. 300 BC), and it is thought to possess some aesthetic virtue in itself, a hidden harmonic proportion in tune with the universe. It may well be why the Pythagorean brotherhood chose the pentangle as their emblematic symbol — each segment in the star figure is in golden ratio to the next smallest segment. This ratio is imbued in nature -the chambered shell of the nautilus mollusc is an ideal example of this natural phenomenon : as the mollusc inside the shell grows, the shell enlarges along a logarithmic spiral so that it always remains an identical home , because it does not alter its shape as it grows. A spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, is a macrocosmic view of such a divine order of things. With regard to Venus stations, both direct and retrograde, the Golden Section is activated and resonates around the zodiac at 72 ° intervals, setting up a tone which ‘recollects’ all Venus stations within that cycle.


Ultimately it is this harmonic resonance that is most significant, and should it connect to a natal planet, then that planet is employed as an agency to resonate the transiting Venus retrograde message around the horoscope at 72 ° intervals. 3 As Charles Harvey writes in Working with Astrology 4 : The importance of the Golden Section in the processes of nature has been known about since at least the Greeks, and these and other ‘irrational’ numbers such as π, Planck’s constant, and so on , can definitely be seen to play a vital part in the scheme of things. Various writers have independently pointed out the importance of the Golden Section ratio and have suggested that planets in the GS ratio to each other at any time will have a very distinctive and creative resonance one with another. Venus retrograde incorporates the mystical fifth harmonic in its long cycles, thus imparting its own ‘selfness’ into the psyche of the individual born when it is in that cycle.


To be born in either of the stations – retrograde or direct – signifies a powerful connection with the interior mechanism of the Golden Section. The introverted and contemplative (asocial) natures of such individuals are highly imaginative and must find ways to externalize the metaphysical through the physical. In transit, something mysterious takes place, a reformulation of natural order, and a return to an ideal place where everything manifest can appear to be a cheap replication of cosmic perfection. The association of consciousness and ‘mind’ with Venus is not traditional. However, as we now see, the number five is not associated with the intellect per se but with the inspirational force behind the intellect which, of all the animals, man possesses in great measure. It is the number of creative spirit, of ars and techne, of creative imagination put to skilled use.This function simultaneously enfolds creative and destructive potentials. The dualism of Venus speaks of these polarities: the sacred and the profane; the divine and the temporal: the life-force and the death-wish; the goddess of love and the goddess of war; the celestial and the worldly. Celestial dreams become worldly reality when the creative impulse of man embodies and makes manifest the Platonic ideals of imagination.


David Hamblin says (my italic): My own research has convinced me that Fiveness is essentially connected with the idea of making, arranging, building, constructing, structuring, and forming. It is to do with the creation of order out of chaos: the bringing-together of things that are naturally separate into a formal relationship with one another. It is, therefore, the first number in which man asserts his power over the world.The connection of language and knowledge with creative and procreative functions is drawn by Michael Harding in Hymns to the Ancient Gods, in which he links the quintile fifth harmonic and the seeds of consciousness. He says: . . . the 5th harmonic refers specifically to the ordering and empowering function of language and the way in which it might create a specific form of consciousness in the individual. It is this consciousness which then becomes impressed on the world in the form of art, style or some such similar external expression. 6 When Venus is retrograde, all cycles of retrogression are invoked, past and future. The retrograde period activates the Golden Section pattern inherent in the quintile, the capacity to know the unknowable.


There is no ‘first’ or ‘last’ with a cycle, only evolutionary patterns, and Venus is bound up with the impulse for creative physical expression of an exalted idea. It then follows that individuals born during Venus retrograde periods have the pattern imprinted in their psyche and carry this Venusian quintile about, experiencing the creative angst that many artists express through the medium of their work. Unfortunately we often only attribute the artistic temperament to those actively involved in the classical creative arts. This is not only misleading but also discouraging to creative people who may not write arias, paint masterpieces, dream poems or whatever. Perhaps the invocation of the Golden Section quintile accounts partially for the Venus retrograde individual’s sense of being ‘different’.It may be why much rumination over love, values, creative issue and diplomacy occurs both globally and individually when Venus stations, turns retrograde and remains so for forty days, communing with the immutable forces which guard the mysterious knowledge. The knowledge that Venus imparts upon its return to the upper world is not the information that Mercury brings to the surface with each of its cycles. It is an aesthetic, visceral knowing, which cannot be articulated but can only be enacted or portrayed through the subtlety of relationships with others or in abstract imagery.


In ancient Egypt, the lotus symbolized nascent life or first appearance (an archetype) and was a natural symbol for all forms of manifestation. In the Middle Ages it came to represent the mystic ‘centre’ and the heart, but the five-petalled lotus combines both sacred and profane symbols: the lotus of mystical illumination with the quinary symbol of man’s capacity for manifestation. In the lotus, The potentialities of being are realized by means of an activity which is always internal since it is exercised from the center of each plane; furthermore, from the metaphysical point of view, it is impossible for external action to be brought to bear upon the total being, for such action is possible only on a relative and a particular plane.


That the retrograde cycles of Venus describe a lotus-mandala in the heavens (see fig. 5.1 ) is apt because it is the ‘internal activity’ of the Venus retrograde transiting cycle which ultimately is impossible to externalize. The lessons learned in the course of the forty-day retrograde period are relative only to the individual experiencing them. In fact, it might well be that the lotus flower only picks up that which was left off at the last station of Venus in the same sign and house. Full integration of Venus retrograde into the ego structure is unlikely to take place immediately upon its direction, but is incorporated over time.The retrograde period creates a quiet introspection which takes place on a very deep level, rather like observing one’s own behavior and responses while nevertheless participating wholly. Of all the retrograde cycles, Venus’ appears to be the most unconscious in its immediate effects, but in the long view the most rational. Therefore, it would serve to look back eight years when analyzing a current Venus retrograde trend, for there will be echoes of the past in the present situation. The inferior planets always pick up unfinished processes where they left off in the last retrograde cycle, but unlike Mercury’s rapid and accessible cycle, Venus’ is more lengthy.


Venus retrograde transits the same natal house every eight years, reviewing and resurrecting incomplete or dormant issues which have been quiescent since the last transit. One gets a cold hard look at one’s relationships and at what is relevant to one’s integrity at this time. It may be that there is an imbalance for a period while deeply mysterious transformations occur — so mysterious that one never really knows what has happened until several months have passed. After Venus has turned direct, and begins to move along at about the same speed as the Sun (in the ephemeris), stasis initiates a time to review what the retrograde period revealed. The station -retrograde begins a time of global review; the entire Earth experiences the retrograde phenomenon.We can see how it manifests in the collective by watching the news in regard to diplomatic and international relations. The reconsideration of what is diplomatic, and what is necessary to maintain a balanced world-view and sense of integrity, is precisely what happens to the individual when Venus transits a sector of the natal horoscope.


The Maya believed that the point at which Venus reaches her heliacal rising, about six or seven days after the inferior conjunction, was when political situations were particularly unstable and leaders insecure and fallible. Bruce Scofield says he has found the heliacal rising, ‘often corresponds to a time of failure or resignation on the part of leaders and often coincides with a major accident or storm.’ 8 Venus is still retrograde at this point, but stationing and moving slowly as the Sun appears to move ahead in the zodiac. An instinctive recoiling occurs at the station-retrograde, sometimes because of an event, at other times as a conscious, voluntary retreat. More often than not, the area in the chart which is being examined by Venus retrograde has gone unattended for some time-certainly with this deep perspective. One tends unconsciously to withdraw, seeking hidden meaning in experience, hoping to draw value or deeper knowledge from ones daily interactions. The area in which Venus is retrogressing becomes vulnerable to attack and is often the stage for a confrontation upon resuming direct motion.


Unspoken messages, hints, nuances and subtleties become magnified and can be distorted, but they are nevertheless laden with implications. Venus plumbs and depths of undeveloped personal characteristics in the areas of the horoscope it is transiting, and is likely to contact a natal planet by aspect in the course of that time since it backtracks over 15-18o of an arc. If the inferior conjunction makes an aspect to a natal planet, the results of that insemination are likely to be birthed well after the direction of Venus. When the planet traverses two houses there is an overlapping of concerns, which has a direct bearing on the eventual outcome. When it changes signs during the retrograde phase, it then has a subtle change in theme.The transmutative aspect of Venus retrograde cycle is evident during the transit period because there seems to be a mirror image of what is ones “normal” method of arriving at conclusions. That is, if one is usually, terribly intellectual and systematic about decision-making, one might find another way more fruitful and become more instinctive. Conversely, a normally intuitive type finds solace in logic and highly organized methods of dealing with the world. There is an experience of discovering and dealing with ones opposite.


That Venus became a male God in the retrograde phase of its cycle symbolizes the necessity of inversion to experience wholeness. The transit of Venus retrograde exposes the need to see aspects of oneself which are normally hidden from view. Those values are often diametrically opposed to the ones consciously espoused and can create some of the most profound emotional disturbances. A great number of mistakes can be made during Venus retrograde transits, largely because it is so infrequent and thus foreign to the daily experience.The degree of discord that arises within ones personal life during the retrogression signals the distance that is from ones core values and higher creative inspirations. The sudden imbalance can tilt one towards an opposing pole, creating tremendous upheavals in relationships and in ones personal experiences. All the turmoil may be a magnification of a single issue and can be blown out of proportion. Ideally, it is time to contemplate what ones deepest, most personal, creative needs are and from what well-spring those needs originate. It is time to explore ones own needs for love and nourishment and to examine ones capacity to receive both of those life-sustaining forces.


The mysterious “ideal” can interrupt and tear apart what one has found to be loving and nurturing-flaws and faults in others can become enhanced, and one might see all the dangers of intimacy, rather than the supportive aspects of it. The call to war after the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun might bring forth the dead, and one may be recalled to times in the past when rejection and emotional pain conspired to erect and emotional fortress which for current circumstances might be quite inappropriate. Ultimately, it will depend on the degree of responsibility that one assumes for ones own lovingness and capacity for commitment that will correct the situation, allowing for necessary changes.

SOURCE:Retrograde Planets-Traversing the Inner Landscape-Erin Sullivan.


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