Monday, June 11, 2012

Birth of the Morning Star: Heliacal Rising of Venus (06/12/12)

[19th century representation of Venus, on the Cardiff Castle clock tower.]


"There was a lamp drunk on his own oil who boasted one evening to everyone present that he was brighter than the Morning Star and that his splendor shone more conspicuously than anything else in the world. A sudden puff of wind blew in the lamp's direction, and its breath extinguished his light. A man lit the lamp once again and said to him, `Shine, lamp, and be silent! The splendor of the stars is not ever extinguished.'" ~Aesop's Fables~

The planet Venus has complex symbolism because of its unusual movements when retrograde. For the past few months, Venus has been our night time companion as the Evening Star. After turning retrograde, it quickly passes from the sky, temporarily disappearing in the glare of the Sun, and reappears during the day as the Morning Star.

Because it can appear either in the day or night, the spiritual beings associated with Venus often have a dual nature. The Sumerians associated Inanna with the planet, the goddess of both love and war. In antiquity, they were represented as siblings. The Evening Star was Hesperus (Greek, “evening star”) or Vesper (Latin, “evening star”) and the Morning Star was Phosphorus (Greek, “light bearer”) or Lucifer (Latin, “light bearer”).

When the Bible was translated into Latin, the Roman name Lucifer was used for the Hebrew Helel (“Shining One”, Venus as Morning Star). This tradition continued when the Bible was translated into English. The name appears in Isaiah 14:12, where the prophet proclaims the downfall of the King of Babylon. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!” Because the passage talks about a figure falling from heaven, interpretive traditions read it as the fall of Satan.

In other passages, like Revelations 22:16, Christ is associated with Venus instead. “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Other resurrection figures like the Sumerian goddess Inanna and the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl are also associated with Venus, its retrograde movements representing their death and rebirth.

The Morning Star is paradoxically associated with enlightenment, overcoming darkness, and rebirth but also pride, rebellion, and folly. After the Sun and Moon, Venus is typically the brightest object in the sky. When retrograde, it returns to the day moving backwards. It appears before the dawn, but disappears in the increasing light of the rising Sun. Depending on the source, these changes were interpreted as prideful, Venus challenging the Sun, the traditional symbol of both God and rulers, or supportive, Venus adding its bright light to the dawn.


And so when he [Venus] goes forth [heliacal rising], they know on which day sign he casts his light on certain people, venting his anger at them, shooting them with darts.”
~Codex Chimalpopca~

The reappearance of Venus was seen as dangerous, associated with warfare, violence, and accidents in some cultures. The Mayans associated it with the death of kings and wars were timed to harness its energy.  Known more technically as its heliacal rising, when the planet is first visible in the eastern horizon, just before dawn. It occurs around eight days after Venus' inferior conjunction with the Sun, on June 12th, 2012 this retrograde cycle.  (The date can vary by location, due to latitude and obviously visibility.)

Contemporary astrologers interpret the Evening Star as the more introverted or “feminine” expression of Venus and the Morning Star as the more extroverted or “masculine”. Danger exists only because of the radical and rapid shift in the expression of its energy. Venus has lit the early evening for months. During the retrograde cycle, it suddenly falls backwards from the night sky within a few weeks and ends up in the day. We can experience a similar shock. The night sky represents our personal underworld, the unconscious, and the day sky, the conscious mind. When Venus returns to the day, she brings things with her to be addressed: one on one relationships, money and material goods, ethics and our mentors. Just as the Morning Star can represent rebirth or rebellion, the heliacal rising of Venus can be challenging or an opportunity to consciously work on her themes.

To continue today's Biblical theme, the name Lucifer, translated here as "day star", is used positively in 2 Peter 1:19: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts..."

For more information about Venus retrograde, see:

For gemstones to harmonize its influence, see:

© 2012, C. L. Matthews

[Image Source: Wikipedia Commons]

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