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Lover's Light: Venus Synodic Cycle




Astrologically the lover archetype is represented by Earth's twin 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 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.

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.

Venus' symbol is the circle of spirit meeting the cross of matter, and the alchemical sign for copper, her associated metal. A testament to the power of relating as what brings us as mirrors for one another.

{Note: I use Venus with feminine pronoun "she" though I don't believe she is associated with one gender.}

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 changes 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, Phosporus-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.

Here is a mini-timeline of Venus' lover and warrior positions during her next synodic cycle:

  • March 31, 2017 :: Rises at 1 degree Aries as Morning Star as she is now far enough away from Sun to have her own light

  • November 17, 2017-February 18, 2018 :: Not visible to us as she is in conjunction with the Sun and in the underworld/Kur

  • August 17, 2018 :: Venus is in highest latitude in the evening at 10 degrees Libra


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 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 2017-2018 dates of her gates and also healings are:

March 25, 2017 :: Exact Venus-Sun conjunction symbolizing conception and awareness before a rebirth March 31, 2017 :: Venus Rises as Morning Star out of combustion with the Sun and beginning a new phase of feminine consciousness and archetypal focus at 1 degree Aries April 23, 2017 :: Gate of Authority (Crown Chakra) at 28 degrees Pisces May 22, 2017 :: Gate of Perception (Third Eye Chakra) at 16 degrees Aries June 20, 2017 :: Gate of Communication (Throat Chakra) 14 degrees Taurus July 20, 2017 :: Gate of Compassion (Heart Chakra) 17 degrees Gemini August 18, 2017 :: Gate of Personal Power (Solar Plexus Chakra) at 21 degrees Cancer September 17, 2017 :: Gate of Creativity (Sacral Chakra) at 27 degrees Leo October 17, 2017 :: Gate of Life (Root Chakra) at 4 degrees Libra November 17 - November 28, 2017 :: Venus/Inanna Enters Underworld (Conjunct the Sun) in Scorpio February 19, 2018 :: Inanna returns from Underworld March 18, 2018 :: Gate of Life (Root Chakra) at 14 degrees Aries April 17, 2018 :: Gate of Creativity (Sacral Chakra) at 21 degrees Taurus May 17, 2018 :: Gate of Personal Power (Solar Plexus) at 27 degrees Gemini June 16, 2018 :: Gate of Compassion (Heart Chakra) at 3 degrees Leo July 15, 2018 :: Gate of Communication (Throat Chakra) at 6 degrees Virgo August 14, 2018 :: Gate of Perception (Third Eye Chakra) at 7 degrees Libra September 12, 2018 :: Gate of Authority (Crown Chakra) at 2 degrees Scorpio October 25, 2018 :: Exact Sun Conjunction 3 degrees Scorpio, symbolizing conception November 2018 begins next Venus cycle

{Dates courtesy of Emily Trinkaus and Shamanic Astrology}

I can't help but be enthralled by the dance of Venus, and her mirror of our own Earth souls as we oscillate between hiding and vulnerability on our path of love and connection. Her 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. Ultimately, it asks who is the 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. Most of all, the courage to follow the Lover's Light.

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