Bright blue Venus seems suspended in the black branches of my neighbour’s cherry tree these evenings. When I tuck my daughter into bed, I look out her window and see the planet shining more brightly and steadily than anything else in the sky.
I am looking west. Venus is in her guise as the Evening Star. She is very, very beautiful now. Who could possibly imagine her as a harbinger of violence?
I’ve been inspired to think hard about Venus thanks to Laura’s posts – and I noticed that, quite by accident, I published her piece about Venus’s underworld journeys on the very day the planet entered Scorpio, the sign of Hades. Intentionally, it was published on Venus’s day – Friday, the 5th day of the week.
Many years ago, I edited a series of books on mythology published by Time-Life. I happened to read the volumes on Mongolia and Mesoamerica back to back. I was very taken with some clear parallels in the myths of the Asian steppes and those of the Aztecs and Mayans. In particular, I noted that on both sides of the Pacific, Venus was considered a planet of war.
Since it’s considered quite likely that early Americans walked from Asia across the Bering Straits and down the continent, I suppose it’s not much of a surprise to find there are shared mythological roots. But then one can trace the idea of Venus as a planet of war further west across Siberia along the Silk Route to ancient Mesopotomia – the birthplace of our astrology.
According to some sources, Inanna, the mother goddess was the planet Venus. As such, she was both the goddesss of fertility and a warrior queen. The goddess had two faces.
In Western astrology, we have emphasised the soft side of Venus – her sexual allure, her indulgence, her beauty. In our iconography, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the face of Venus and the face of the Virgin Mary. Indeed Botticelli plays on this in his famous puzzle painting Primavera.
|Primavera: for a discussion of the symbolism of
this painting click here
We have been rather seduced by Roman stories and Renaissance paintings. We are entranced by the bright shining star I see every night at the moment – and we have forgotten that Venus has another face. Catch her in the morning, before the ritz has gone on and she has a nasty nature. The Mayans called Venus as the Morning Star, the Spear Thrower.
Now why I wonder, is Venus almost wholly scary on one side of the world, and almost entirely good on the other? And what does this tell us about the dark sides of the signs she rules?
Here are some interesting links: