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Ether: Venus Synodic Cycle


“Disrobe me that mine inner beauty may be revealed.”

~The Zohar (Kabbalahist sacred text)

While the entire cosmos delights me, nothing quite so much as the planet of love and beauty and Earth’s twin planet…Venus. To me, it is a symbol of the ultimate lover.


I often think of Earth and Venus as lovers, their dance evoking beauty and sacred geometry (see image at top of page). One of my graduate school professors, cosmologist and philosopher, Brian Swimme, who has lots of Venus influence in his chart, describes gravity as a force of love, the energy that pulls and holds cosmic bodies to each other. Venus' orbit relates the most to Earth and I often think about the reason we come to Earth is to learn about love thanks to this marvelous, cosmic relationship. 








Lover comes from Proto-Indo-European leubh- meaning "desire, love, care." And that is what a lover does best, he/she desires intimacy, joy, and experience and cares deeply for others. The lover wants to be in a relationship with people and  surrounded by beauty while doing work they love. She/he/they adore all the expressions of love whether platonic, romantic, deep friendship, soul connections and empathetic understanding. The lover's greatest fear is being alone, unwanted, or unloved.

The lover has many talents such as evoking beauty, love, playfulness, inspiration (the muse), creativity and feeling deeply. They are a partner, a friend, a spouse, a team-builder, an intimate, an enthusiast, and a sensualist. Like all archetypes, it is in all of us and holds gifts of passion, gratitude, and appreciation. The lover in us reminds us to honor our sensuality with bubble baths, good food by candlelight, or enjoying beautiful art. In an elevated expression the lover reminds us of the vulnerability inherent in relating and intimacy.


Though the lover has stunning gifts of beauty, they are equally matched by the shadow. I used to be a shadow lover desiring attention from men to prove my worth. I directed my desire outwardly to please others and in doing so lost myself and my identity. The shadow lover becomes devoid of autonomous meaning to herself as she attempts to earn worth through being what others want of her and can feel empty or ghost-like. I have overvalued materials goods and money and focused too much on pleasure. The shadow lover manipulates and gets what she wants using her powers of seduction (i.e. the Gold Digger) while doing whatever she can do become more and more physically and emotionally attractive. 



Mythologically the lover is attributed to Venus or Aphrodite, the goddess of love, pleasure, and sensuality. Author and psychiatrist Jean Shinoda Bolen describes her as the alchemical goddess with a consciousness all of her own that is both focused and receptive. Aphrodite energy makes someone feel focused and also magnetized to, it is seductive as it can create an impression of being enamored or fascinated when he/she is not.


In the myth of Aphrodite, she was born of a violent act when the testicles of Uranus were cut off by Cronos (leader of the Titans) and tossed into the sea. The seafoam mixed with "seamen" and Aphrodite was born. Her emergence from the sea is one of the most famous images of the Renaissance in "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli. Many gods wanted her hand in marriage, but unlike other goddesses, she got choose her mate. She chose Hephaestus though had love affairs with Aries (God of War),  Hermes (Messenger of the Gods, but I think of him as a pirate of sorts), and may mortal men. 


Beyond Western/Greek culture, the lover has many names: Venus in Roman, Aphrodite in Greek mythology, Egypt was Isis or Hathor, Norse mythology is Freyja, Ishtar in Babylonia, Inanna in Sumeria. Her symbols are the mirror (to ourselves and also others), mourning doves, the rose, seashells, the number 5 (pentagram and her rose orbit), swans, triangles, dolphins, and bees.


In instances where sensuality or sexuality are degraded (such as Judeo-Christian, Muslim, and patriarchy), the evocation of the lover and Aphroditic woman becomes characterized as a whore and demonized. This is where our current society standards and the shadow lover intersect. Aphrodite wants to worshipped and wants a temple, without modern outlets for honoring the power of the feminine and sensuality we become infused unconsciously instead of honored specifically. 


To me, the objectification of women and our own desire to be objectified arises from the lack of healthy Venusian expression. Our Aphroditic impulses have been relegated to the false feminine instead of elevated to her ideals of care and desire for love itself. As women, we search for attention from men instead of cultivating intimacy with ourselves and other women as a way to connect with our essence. We value being desired over being kind and create a phony sense of value and worth. The shadow side of Aphrodite is mistrusted by women, and rightfully so as she desires what she wants more than intimacy with women. In her elevated side, Aphrodite honors platonic and soul connections with women as much as she values her connections with sisters.



Astrologically the lover archetype is represented by the planet Venus. And according to my chart, I'm about as Venusian as it gets with my Sun in Taurus (ruled by Venus), Venus squaring my rising, Venus conjunct my midheaven with my Moon, and Venus touching every planet in my chart. Venus in our astrology chart reveals how and whom we love, our version of feminine expression, whom we feel pulled to, and for heterosexual men it is often the projection figure of their anima (or inner woman).


How Venus gets expressed in our chart depends largely on our own relationship to ourselves though regardless, it is a powerful force in the way we related and share affection. With  Saturn, Venus can be more discerning. In Scorpio or in relationship to Pluto, Venus prefers mystery or prone to obsession. However, with Neptune, Venus can become overly romantic or prone to illusion or fantasy.


{Note: I use Venus with feminine pronoun "she" though I don't believe she is associated with one gender and has qualities of non-binary and binary depending on personal experience.}


Just like Earthlings, Venus has her own cycles of being seen and hiding called her synodic cycle, or cycle of light. This cycle has been tracked since 7000 BCE with the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa and the Mayans of Mexico and Central America. Every 1.6 years (18 months and two gestation cycles) Venus completes an entire cycle of light as she moves through different positions in relationship to the moon and sun, and with it, her light and visibility change for those of us on Earth. I see these moments when we open wide in vulnerability and move more into our own self-discovery and all the spaces in between.


Mythologically these cycles of Venus that were tracked in ancient times, correlated to different stories of creation and destruction. For the Mayans, it was the god Xolotl and his brother Quetzalcoatl that were the different evening star and morning star positions. The Greeks believed the morning star was the God Phosphorus/Eosphorus (meaning "Dawn-bringer") and the evening star the god Hesperus. While the Babylonians had the same belief, they eventually realized it was the same celestial object thanks to the Babylonians who had the same belief and then realized otherwise. However, in Sumeria, it was the goddess Inanna's position descent and ascent from the underworld that created Venus' cycle of light.



Astronomically  this heliacal (light) cycle has several major positions in the sky:

  • Morning Star (Warrior, Phosphorus-Heosphorus/Quetzalcoatl position for 9 months)

  • Conjunct the Sun (Invisible to us and in the underworld mythologically)

  • Evening Star (Lover/Hesperus/Xolotl position for 9 months)

Venus spends nine months in the Morning Star position and then nine months as the Evening Star and then begins a new cycle.  In Sumerian mythology, these two positions were regarded as "lover" and "warrior." The lover and the warrior are two sides of the same coin as love without the desire to protect and take action is not love at all.


Being a warrior doesn't mean fighting just to fight, it means standing up for something you care about, it is about defending versus attacking. When Venus is in the warrior position we are called to invoke something that feels like Jean of Arc, Eris, or Xena energy or me. All of these women symbols of fighting for a just cause. While in her lover position, Venus remembers her ability to rest, relax, and receive. She identifies with being loved and loving and appreciates the mutuality of care that arises when she is touch with herself first. 




Each of these phases of visibility to me represents a different facet of intimacy with self and others, that continuously evolves and changes. I feel most connected to the ancient Sumerian explanation that this dance between Earth and Venus was the myth of Inanna, a woman who went into the underworld to regain her power. (If you want to learn more about the Inanna myth I highly recommend Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women by the author Sylvia Brinton Perera.) I see the descent as the ultimate striptease and the unveiling of ourselves into what feels like death only to regain our sense of power (the ascent). However, in the underworld, and true vulnerability, we cannot hide. With Venus in her "underworld" or invisible phase, she is in the process, perhaps exploring her depth and becoming more intimate with herself. Noticing where she hides or fears exposure and the barriers she has to the connection she truly desires.


Throughout the myth she crosses "gates" or moon/Venus conjunctions on her way into the underworld and on her ascent. Each gate on the descent represented something she was giving up or shedding and on her ascent becomes a tool or gift she regains into her sovereignty. This process symbolizes the ultimate exposure and the giving up of her defenses to the darkness and uncertainty. Her unveiling stripping her of the illusions and identities of the “upper world,” and in many cases the personas we use to hide our wounds.


The 2020-2022 dates of her power portals and also healings are:


June 3, 2020 :: Exact Venus-Sun conjunction symbolizing conception and awareness before a rebirth
June 9, 2020 :: Venus Rises as Morning Star out of combustion with the Sun and beginning a new phase of feminine consciousness and archetypal focus in Gemini and Aries
July 16, 2020 :: Gate of Authority (Crown Chakra) 
August 15, 2020 :: Gate of Perception (Third Eye Chakra) 
September 13, 2020 :: Gate of Communication (Throat Chakra)
October 13, 2020 :: Gate of Compassion (Heart Chakra) 
November 12, 2020 :: Gate of Personal Power (Solar Plexus Chakra) 
December 12, 2020 :: Gate of Creativity (Sacral Chakra) 
January 11, 2021 :: Gate of Life (Root Chakra) 
February 13-May 3, 2021 :: Venus/Inanna Enters Underworld (Conjunct the Sun) 
May 12, 2021 :: Gate of Life (Root Chakra) , 
June 12, 2021 :: Gate of Creativity (Sacral Chakra) 
July 12, 2021 :: Gate of Personal Power (Solar Plexus) 
August 11, 2021  :: Gate of Compassion (Heart Chakra) 
September 9, 2021 :: Gate of  Communication (Throat Chakra)
October 9, 2021 :: Gate of Perception (Third Eye Chakra) 
November 7, 2021 :
: Gate of Authority (Crown Chakra) 

{Dates courtesy of Gemini  Brett with Shamanic Astrology}


I can't help but be enthralled and enchanted by the dance of Venus in the sky, as the mirror of our own Earth souls as we oscillate between hiding and vulnerability on our path of love and connection. Venus' positions in the sky a reminder of the different expressions of love remind us that there is more than one way to be a lover.


The lover becomes a master of the Venusian striptease as the ultimate continuous act of vulnerability and intimacy, the seduction of the willingness to be seen in both our messiest/darkness and shiniest in our underworld and upper world selves. Most of all, the courage to follow the Lover's Light as a guide for our ultimate journey of intimacy with self and others.



Lover from Proto-Indo-European liebh- for "one who desires"

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