If you're one of the millions who give attention to astrology, or have had your birth chart drawn and interpreted, you probably know the zodiacal sign and natal house occupied by Venus at the time of your birth. The natal house in which Venus was located at birth shows the particular set of human experiences through which your emotional life, feeling nature and sense of values, fueled by the type of energy symbolized by Venus' sign, best operates.
But a house and sign examination is not the most fundamental astrological key revealing your Venusian nature. This article presents a basic, easy-to-use technique to determine and interpret your Venus type. It is based on viewing the 584-day cycle between the Sun and Venus as a whole. Readers of my series on mental types, The Four Faces of Mercury, will recognized that the Venus cycle follows a pattern similar to the cycle of Mercury, but with some important and very intriguing variations.
The approximately 116-day cycle of the Sun and Mercury deals with mental processes, associations and attitudes, while the cycle of Venus symbolizes emotional processes and attitudes, as well as our value-and-meaning-giving faculties – that is, how we interpret, evaluate and make sense of our life-experiences and the world around us. Whereas Mercury is the neutral and asexual planet, the servant and messenger of other planets and their functions, Venus is assigned a feminine polarity; it represents the set of values motivating our actions (Mars) and guiding our mental processes and use of knowledge (Mercury). But the most unique and fascinating feature of the cycle of Venus is the remarkable way it conforms, cycle after cycle, to a five-fold pattern.
Because the orbit of Venus lies within Earth's, from our geocentric point of view Venus always leads or follows the Sun by no more than 47.5 degrees. Another special feature of the Venus cycle (which it shares with the Mercury cycle, because the two bodies both lie within earth's orbit) is that Venus forms two very different types of geocentric conjunctions with the Sun — the inferior conjunction and the superior conjunction. A Venus cycle begins at the inferior conjunction, when Venus is exactly between the Sun and the Earth. At the superior conjunction, which is equivalent to the opposition aspect, Venus is on the far side of the Sun, with the Sun standing exactly between the Earth and Venus.
The inferior conjunction, equivalent to the New Moon phase of the lunation cycle, occurs when Venus is in the middle of its retrograde cycle and moving quite slowly across the zodiac. It is then nearest to the Earth and, from our point of view, dark. Rising before the Sun, Venus appears in the pre-dawn sky about a week after the inferior conjunction, when the Sun and Venus are about ten degrees apart. As a herald of the new day, Venus is called Phosphorus and Lucifer, the latter name meaning "light bearer."
Venus turns direct about three weeks after the inferior conjunction. Thirty-six days after the inferior conjunction, Venus is most brilliant in the morning sky. Thirty-six days more, Venus reaches its maximum distance from the Sun. At this time, Venus is moving through the zodiac at the same speed as the Sun, and gaining.
Two-hundred and sixteen days (or 6 x 36 days) later, Venus reaches its superior conjunction with the Sun, when it is moving close to its maximum of speed of about 1°15' per day. For several weeks before and after the superior conjunction, however, Venus is so close to the Sun in the sky that it is no longer visible. Venus is furthest from the Earth at superior conjunction, which is equivalent to the opposition aspect and the Full Moon phase of the lunation cycle. The superior conjunction inaugurates the hemicycle in which Venus plays the role of the Evening Star, Hesperus, which means western. Thirty-six days after the superior conjunction, when the Sun and Venus are about ten zodiacal degrees apart, Venus first appears in the evening sky, setting after the Sun.
Two-hundred and sixteen days (6 x 36 days) after the superior conjunction, Venus again reaches its maximum distance from the Sun — about 47 degrees, but maximum elongation varies slightly from cycle to cycle. It occurs when the motion of Venus equals the Sun's, and is slowing. Thirty-six days later (which is also thirty-six days before the next inferior conjunction), Venus is most brilliant, outshining all other objects in the evening sky . Then, about two weeks later, Venus begins its forty-day retrograde journey, in the middle of which occurs the inferior conjunction, the birth of new cycle. But about twelve days before the inferior conjunction Venus becomes no longer visible in the sky.
Because Venus rotates one-hundred and eighty degrees on its polar axis between inferior conjunctions, at each superior conjunction Venus shows Earth the face that during the inferior conjunction faced the Sun, while the side that was facing the Earth during the conjunction now faces the Sun. But this is not the most extraordinary feature of the Venus cycle. When one plots the cycle of any important turning point of the cycle of Venus for five or more consecutive cycles, a remarkable pattern forcefully emerges — a five-pointed star!
So many factors figure into the remarkably stable five-fold structure of the Venus cycle that we can only outline here a few of the most important. The most striking features of the pentadic structure include: 1) a superior conjunction occurs very near to 648 degrees (one complete circuit around the zodiac plus 288 degrees or four points of a five-pointed star) from the inferior conjunction which opened its cycle; 2) successive inferior conjunctions occur about 936 degrees zodiacal degrees apart — that's two circuits around the zodiac, plus 216 degrees or three points of a five-pointed star; 3) this patterns repeats itself in terms of the zodiacal degrees on which Venus turns retrograde and direct, as well as the degrees of greatest brightness and maximum elongation; 4) a complete pentagram is formed after five complete cycles, totaling two days, eight hours short of eight years; 5) successive five-cycle sets identically repeat the pattern, with an offset of only two zodiacal degrees; and 6) the star pattern created by five Venus cycle rotates backwards through the zodiac, completing an entire round once every 760 Venus cycles, which adds up to about 1,215 years.
Additionally, phenomenon of Venus occur in steps of thirty-six days or in multiples of thirty-six. Maximum brightness occurs thirty-six days after the inferior conjunction; the next step, maximum elongation occurs thirty-six days later; and the superior conjunction occurs 216 days (or 6 x 36 days) after maximum elongation. In the evening star phase, maximum elongation occurs 216 days after the superior conjunction; maximum brightness takes place thirty-six days following maximum elongation and thirty-six days more brings the inferior conjunction.
The brief overview of the Venus cycle presented in the previous page provides a multiplicity of factors susceptible to astrological interpretation, and it offers a foundation for a process-oriented classification of Venus types. Such a classification consists of two fundamental types – Venus Lucifer, the Morning Star; Venus Hesperus, the Evening Star. As we'll presently see, each of the two types presents a particular emotional temperament and a particular sense of values, meaning, ideals and appreciation. Additionally, each of the two primary types carries a special retrograde subtype.
Determining your Venus type is easy. First locate the Sun in your
natal chart. If Venus is clockwise from the Sun, your
Venus type is Lucifer, the Morning Star. On the other hand, if Venus is
positioned counterclockwise from the Sun, your Venus type
is of Hesperus, the Evening Star.
If you haven't had your birth chart calculated, simply look up your birth day and year in an ephemeris. If the Sun is further along the zodiac than Venus, your Venus type is Lucifer. If Venus is further along the zodiac than the Sun, it's Hesperus. While you're at it, check to see if Venus is retrograde (indicated by the letter R in the Venus column above your birthdate). In the ephemeris and horoscope graphics generated by Khaldea2001TM, retrograde planets and listings are shown in red. For example, if your natal Sun is 20 degrees Gemini and your natal Venus is 10 degrees Taurus, your Venus type is Lucifer, the Morning Star.
While the interpretation given here provides the most fundamental approach to the cycle of Venus and its place in astrology, it is important to note that it does not factor the latitude of Venus into the picture. Additionally, a thorough astrological consideration of one's emotional nature requires an examination of the house and sign occupied by Venus, as well as considering how other astrological planets, especially the Moon, Mars, Saturn and Neptune tie in with Venus and the chart as a whole. Nevertheless, the interpretations below provide the first and most fundamental approach, and they deal not only with our emotional make-up, but also with our value-system and how we interpret, evaluate and make sense of our life-experiences and the world around us.
A new Venus cycle opens when the Sun and Venus meet in inferior conjunction. It is a moment when the Venusian faculties of emotion and evaluation are impressed with what Dane Rudhyar calls a "new quality of will and purpose." But the new quality of Venusian response and meaning does not become realized all at once. It is rather gradually translated from potentiality to actuality throughout the 584-day Venus cycle.
The first half-cycle of the Venus cycle is characterized by a spontaneous, eager and impulsive emotional nature. It corresponds with the constructive, biological activity predominate during the waxing hemicycle (from the conjunction to the opposition) of the lunation cycle. But while the approximately 29-day lunation cycle deals with our most basic and essential life forces, and with adapting to the demands of daily life, the Venus cycle deals with our inner nature and the set of meaning-giving values guiding our daily actions and forming our long-term goals.
People born during the Luciferian or Morning Star half of the Venus cycle generally let their feelings lead the way, tending to feel and emote first and think later, especially if natal Venus rises before Mercury. They are emotionally fresh, spontaneous and open to new experiences. Emotionally resilient, Venus Morning Star people usually recover quickly from emotional or romantic disappointment, while Venus Evening Star people are more likely to scar emotionally and carry deep-seated resentments because their emotional make-up tends to process and replay scenes of disappointment and hurt. But when a Venus Lucifer person, especially one born while Venus was retrograde, experiences profound emotional pain or abuse early in life, she may "close down" emotionally and assume a protective or fearful attitude toward life and relationships.
Venus' second half-cycle begins at the superior conjunction – which always occurs when Venus is direct and moving through the zodiac near its greatest velocity – and continues until the next inferior conjunction. A few weeks after the Sun and Venus meet in superior conjunction, Venus emerges on the other side of the Sun, appearing as Hesperus the Evening Star.
Corresponding with the waning hemicycle of the lunation cycle (from Full Moon to New Moon), Venus' Evening Star half-cycle denotes a deliberate and goal-oriented emotional make-up seeking to extract and distill the meaning of experiences encountered and ideals formulated during the Morning Star half-cycle. Whereas emotions and feelings eagerly rushed forward during the Venus Lucifer period, they are now more controlled and introverted in the Venus Evening Star period, though not necessarily less intense!
Although Venus Evening Star people may not show emotions are largely and as easily as Venus Morning Star types, they often experience emotions more intensely because they tend to become more privately and internally involved with their emotions and their emotional life. Feeling after the fact, so to say, Venus Hesperus people may take a long time to recover from emotional trauma, thinking about and anguishing over a lost love or a bitter disappointment for years.
Relationship between mixed types, while not necessarily favorable or unfavorable, may at times produce misunderstandings and a sense of being "out-of-synch". In such instances, it is not unusual for the Venus Morning Star partner to claim to immediately "forget about" or "get over" a disagreement or fight, while the Venus Evening Star person may require much longer to "forgive and forget." One may be amazed and deeply perplexed that the other can so easily disregard a painful incident, or that it made such a minor impression on his partner; the other may be annoyed that her partner still brings up that "old" issue of a few days ago, thinking, "It doesn't bother me, so why should it bother him?"
The descriptions of the Venus types (and subtypes) which follows are illustrated with the birth charts of numerous personalities. Thorough interpretations of the sample charts are not attempted here, but indications are provided regarding how Venus fits into the chart as a whole, and some additional hints are given regarding the key factors of the nativities. Additionally, in the examples an exhaustive interpretation of the Venus types is not attempted. We point the way, and offer suggestions, because our approach encourages self-devised, self-initiated learning and thinking. We encourage you to study of the biographies of personalities who interest you, and if you wish to learn more about the astrological planets and asepcts, you may want to have a look at The Planets - Celestial Organs and their Function, and The Eon: The 36 Cyclic Aspects. You can also learn more about the planets, astrological aspects, the signs and the houses, and much more by browsing the online edition of A Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer and The Astrology of Relationship.
The cycle of Venus begins
during its retrograde period, signifying a phase of renewal and
reorientation of feelings, emotions and values. It is a time when
the future attempts to free itself from the past,
clearing the way for the development of a new set of values and a new
emotional sense. But attempts to fight or rebel against the past and its
values and morality can bind us to the very things from which we seek to
During its 584-day cycle, Venus spends only about forty-one days retrograde, which is proportionately less than any other planet, and only about one in 30 people are born while Venus is both Morning Star and retrograde. If you are one of them, your feeling nature and sense of values may go "against the grain," and you may deeply question traditional values and morality. This means you may find it difficult to get emotionally insynch with others, or others may have difficulty connecting with you or understanding your value-system. Yet your emotional natural is very strong and you are guided by a very definite set of values and ideals.
Venus Lucifer retrograde people often find themselves involved in the arts, especially as exemplars dedicating their life and work to new ideals. Such truly avant-garde individuals may be so far ahead of their time that their true stature is recognized only after the close of an often tragic life. In other instances, a struggle against the past and its biological and social imperatives, combined with a search for higher values and ideals, may lead to ascetic practices or to a life of devotion and renunciation. But ironically, such practices and their associated forms of devotion and renunciation, and the values and ideals driving them, are likely to be rooted in a past tradition.
Examples of the denunciatory type include Meher Baba, the once famous "silent mystic", and the female Christian mystic Teresa de Avila. The birth chart of Meher Baba features Venus in the first house Aquarius, with no planets between it and the Sun. Uranus is on the Midheaven, with Scorpio Moon and Saturn retrograde nearby. In the instance of Teresa de Avila, Venus is on the Ascendant and Mercury rises between it and the Sun. Pluto retrograde is on the Midheaven.
In a man's chart, Venus Morning Star retrograde suggest a high degree of self-discipline and dedication to one's ideals and goals, to one's art and self-image. Dedication of this sort should not be confused with pure ambition or a drive to "get ahead" or to dominate – drives connected with Mars and Jupiter – and which may factor in according to how these two planets tie in with natal Venus. The tragic artist Amadeo Modigliani (who was born with Venus straddling a very close conjunction the Sun and Mercury) is an example of this type, and so is, in his own way, actor Jack Nicholson.
Women leading pioneering, often difficult, lives figure largely as examples of Venus Lucifer retrograde. Chrissie Hynde, the first woman to become the creative and musical principal of a successful rock band, is an outstanding example. Chrissie went where no woman had gone before. She was never merely a "chick" in a rock band, and she never played traditional female roles. Chrissie is the heart, soul and guts of The Pretenders, and she made it as "one of the guys," on her own merit. And when she wanted a child fathered by a musical genius, she chose and won her long-time influence, Ray Davies of the Kinks.
Another example is provided by the birth-chart of Mimi Farina, sister of Joan Baez and widow of writer Richard Farina. Until a tragic motorcycle accident took her husband's life 30 April 1966, Richard and Mimi Farina were among the most successful and influential folk musicians of the mid-1960s, and probably the first to create the folk-rock-blues fusion that saw fuller development and success in the work of Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, Country Joe and the Fish and many others. In the 1970s Mimi founded the Bread and Roses Foundation, which brings live music concerts to prison inmates.
Courtney Love exemplifies the full range of Venus Lucifer retrograde womanhood. Born when Venus was conjunction Mars in the eight house, and at the very end of the Venus retrograde period, just a day before its station, Courtney had to rise out of a background of early abandonment and abuse to find her own place in a world which never seems able to understand her, a world in which she often felt emotionally displaced. In 1994 her husband, the legendary Kurt Cobain, took his own life, leaving her with a young child. Fan's of Kurt's band, Nirvana, and the press tried to blame her for her husband's suicide, and she was even vilified by her publicity-seeking journalist father. Yet Courtney continually goes on, and the world continues to misunderstand her.
When considering a birth-chart with Venus Lucifer, it is important to determine whether or not Venus is also the Planet of Oriental Appearance – that is, if it is the planet rising immediately before the Sun, with no other planet between Venus and the Sun. Additionally, planets situation between Venus and the Sun should figured into the interpretation the Venus types, as the functions and drives they symbolize inevitably play into the picture. In the instance of the remarkable birth-chart of figure skater Tonya Harding, Jupiter (expansion, compensation and the need to succeed) is situated between Venus Lucifer retrograde and the Sun, and the three are involved in a triple conjunction, which opposes a tight conjunction of Moon and Saturn retrograde.
MICHAEL R. MEYER has been a leading figure in the humanistic astrology movement since the 1960's and is today its foremost proponent. His best-selling "A Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer" is one of the most widely read books on serious astrology published during the 20th century. Michael is the founder of khaldea.com and its Rudhyar Archival Project, as well as the creator and developer the Khaldea Ephemeris7z, the Khaldea Calendar and Khaldea7z.
All images provided by the author, permission granted.
Four Pentagrams; Paeans; Granites; Prophetic Rite
Ron Squibbs, Piano
Audio CD (August 31, 2013)
Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985), one of the most unjustly neglected composers, may finally be getting his due. Acknowledgment of his work seems to be growing: a couple of excellent websites offer most of his published writings on music along with some wonderful recordings, and Deniz Ertan has published the first book, other than Rudhyar's own, about his music, ideas, and art (University of Rochester Press, 2009). During the last century, only a handful of recordings of Dane Rudhyar's music appeared, but the new millennium has already seen fine recordings by Richard Cameron-Wolfe (Furious Artisans, in 2003), Steffen Schleiermacher (Hat Art, 2004; MDG, 2005), and Richard Zimdars (Albany, 2009). Now comes the world-premiere recording of 'Four Pentagrams,' composed in 1924-26 and revised in 1971-74. Originally released in 2009 with one less piece, this 2013 reissue adds another world premiere, "Prophetic Rite" (Review by Robert Reigle)
22-May-2018, 05:30 UT/GMT
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