Heaven and Earth

Venus Retrograde: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Rwanda


The planet we call Venus has long since enthralled and fascinated us with its distinctive dance across the heavens, and its appearance as both a morning and evening ‘star’. The Ancient Sumerians venerated the planet as their most revered goddess, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and her mythology is an allegory describing the planet’s movement, disappearance and re-appearance during her retrograde cycle. We are about to experience one of these cycles now because on the 25th September, Venus the evening star reached her time of maximum brilliance before beginning her retrograde descent into the Underworld on the 5th October.
As goddess of both love and war, Venus-Inanna is about love and relationship on both a personal and transpersonal level. It is also about loss, and how we deal with this in our relationships. In the myth, Inanna descends to the Underworld to witness the funeral rites for her sister’s husband. In doing so, she is made to surrender her symbols of wordly power: her crown, her necklace, her breastplate and measuring rod – so that she arrives in the Underworld naked and humble. This metaphor reflects the retrograde motion of her planet, and psychologically represents a time to reflect on loss in our own lives, on grief and on forgiveness, and to spend time purifying and releasing our own attachment to worldly power.
The cycle of Venus lasts 584 days, so there are exactly five Venus cycles every eight years. This means that every eight years the planet comes back to the same place in the night sky to begin her retrograde cycle. Symbolically this offers us the opportunity to reflect back on our relationships with others and ourselves over the intervening eight years, to see transpersonal relationships and how they have matured or otherwise. We can take these cycles back as far as we like, multiples of eight years, to this particular time of year. Globally we can do this too, picking out the key events for each time period. Going back eight years we get to 2010/2002/1994 respectively, and each year reveals a particular aspect of our relationship with the planet and each other.
In my perspective, 2010 was an important year with respect to Us and planet Earth. It was the year of the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, whose ash cloud resulted in six days of flight chaos across Europe, affecting millions of people as dozens of countries closed their commercial airspace. And around the same time, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the ocean (see above). It was during these large scale events in the Northern Hemisphere, one natural and one man made, that Polly Higgins, barrister and campaigner, first coined the word’ Ecocide’ as a law to protect the Earth. Polly put her case to the UN in April advocating drawing up a legally binding mechanism in national and international law to hold to account perpetrators of long-term severe damage to the environment.
On a human level, going back to the Venus cycle of 1994, it was the events of the Rwandan genocide dominating our headlines, when up to one million people died as a result of the genocidal murder of the Tutsi minority by the Hutu majority government. Eight years later, in 2002, the International Criminal Court was established to bring the perpetrators of this genocide to justice, as the global community attempted in some measure to restore right relationship to a fragmented world. It is this same body that in 2010 Polly Higgins suggested could house a court to prosecute not only crimes against humanity, but crimes against the planet as well (aka Ecocide).
These traumatic events on the world stage still leave their echoes in our collective psyche, and when attention is turned towards them during the Venus retrograde cycles, can be reflected on, and on an energetic level, purified and addressed. It is interesting to note that the powerful drama ‘Black Earth Rising’ by Hans Blick, currently being broadcast on BBC 2, is addressing some of these very themes, in particular how truth can be distorted so easily during times of crisis, indeed how truth is often distorted to suit the agenda of both sides. No nation has experienced this as poignantly as the people of Syria, in whose land the goddess Inanna herself once reigned almost supreme.
In the next stage of the current cycle, Inanna comes face to face wither sister Erishkigal, who fixes the Eye of Death on her and hangs her on a peg to die. This is the time of the Inferior conjunction of Venus, which will take place on October 26th 2018, when the planet is located between Earth and the Sun. As Venus disappears from the night sky, Inanna is stripped bare and forced to meet her dark soul before rising again on 31st October and finally going direct on the 16th November. We will be collectively preparing to remember the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War during this time period, so we too have the opportunity to face any unprocessed business and therefore meet ‘our dark soul’ before turning our renewed brilliance to the world.