The Goddess of Love and the Golden Ratio

Thursday September 29th 2011
Venus Rising (The Star) 1890 by Jean-Leon Gerome

I’m thrilled to introduce a guest post from Venus expert Laura Perkins – especially since Venus conjuncts Saturn in her own sign of Libra today.

What do you think of when you see a five-pointed star?Hollywood stars? The flag of the United States? Wicca, paganism, or witchcraft? The Virgin Mary? Gawain and the Green Knight? The military? Journeys to the underworld? The end of the Mayan calendar in 2012?

At times, I think of all of these things, but mostly, I think of the planet Venus, beauty, and the golden ratio. Here’s why:
Over time, the planet Venus draws a five-pointed star in the the sky.

“It does WHAT?” 

That was exactly my reaction, the first time I heard this. Many of you reading The Oxford Astrologer may already know it, but let me explain for those who don’t.

Every ten months, Venus conjuncts the Sun. This alternates between conjunctions when Venus is retrograde (“inferior conjunction”) and when it is direct (“superior conjunction”). Each conjunction is then repeated (within 2 degrees or so) eight years later.

If you draw lines between each consecutive inferior conjunction OR each consecutive superior conjunction that takes place over this eight-year period, you will draw a five-pointed star, just like this one.

This also works for Venus’ station points, before and after a retrograde.
The five-pointed star can be drawn without ever lifting your pen from the paper, and its starting point is also its ending point. For this reason, it is sometimes called “the endless knot.

If you draw such a star with the points equidistant, they will be 72 degrees apart, which is a quintile in astrology. Quintile aspects indicate natural talents and gifts in a natal chart.

The golden section or ratio.

Like much of the rest of nature, Venus’ pentagram has the golden section (and by extension the Fibonacci sequence) embedded within it. When you draw that star on the paper, its lines are divided into segments, where they cross. 

Every segment in every line of that star is in golden proportion to the next longest segment: 1 to 1.618.  This proportion is considered by artists, architects and others throughout history to denote beauty. So Venus, the goddess of beauty, demands a sense of proportion.

The Parthenon, designed by
Aphrodite’s  acolytes.

Venus rules Taurus and our current month of Libra, also the second house of what we value and how we make our money, and the seventh house of relationships and partnerships. Venus tells us that having a sense of proportion in our value system and our relationships will help us to bring forth our natural talents and gifts. We can then live a life of love, harmony, beauty, and good taste.

But the pentagram is just one facet of the cycle of Venus. Every ten months Venus conjuncts the Sun, but it’s rare for Venus to also parallel the Sun, passing directly in front of the Sun from the point of view of the Earth. This is called an occultation, and it happens only about every 120 years. When occultations do happen, they happen in pairs, eight years apart.

The star at the heart of an apple

We are in one of those eight-year periods between occultations right now, and the second one will happen on June 6, 2012. The first of the pair occurred on June 8, 2004. 

The year 2012 has been getting a lot of buzz, due to the end of the Mayan Calendar’s Long Count in that year, by some calculations. Calculations regarding the Mayan Calendar are complex and controversial, and there are many conflicting theories. I am not a scholar on the subject, so I will leave those debates to the experts.

One thing that is clear, however, is that the Mayans regarded Venus as important, and her cycle was used in many of their calculations. In their mythology Venus makes a journey to the underworld. A tale has intriguing echoes for any student of western or near eastern mythology. I will discuss Venusian journeys to the underworld in my next guest column.

You can find more about the Venus Pentagram and associated mythology in my mini book, 5: The Venus Pentagram, available on Smashwords.

With a packed 9th house ruled by Pisces, Laura Perkins is part questing knight and part siren, with a Jupiter in Gemini element of trickster. 
She’s a recovering techie geek, and an emerging writer and artist. Visit her website at

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  1. Christina says:

    @Laura – Thanks for writing this piece. It’s set me thinking about the current planetary line up in Libra. And what I wonder happened in the previous eight-year period of occultation. Is that the equivalent of going into the underworld and then being reborn?

  2. Christina says:

    I realise that some people are having trouble commenting on this post – especially if you are doing it from a google account. Please let me know by twitter @oxfordastrology or email if you have tried and failed.

  3. Laura says:

    Christina, that’s a very good question. I think you may be on to something there. I remember hearing a prediction when this 8 year period started; it said we’d all be very confused and have a hard time finding our way during this period. If you think about that, it sounds like going down into the Underworld and drinking the waters of the river Lethe, forgetting who you are, and stumbling around. Haven’t we all been doing that for the past 7 years or so? But I think something amazing will come from this time that we may only recognize in retrospect.

    I also want to give credit where credit is due. Christina chose the images for this post, and they are wonderful!

  4. Christina says:

    @Laura – thanks – I love the Star and then I realised after I put up your post that we’re getting really naked here at the OA.

    What a perfect description of the past seven years. We have all been confused. Old certainties have been knocked down – e.g. “the system”. hmm.

  5. Christina says:

    Would that be 1874 and 1882 – then the signs in which it falls would be important too. The thing that springs to mind for me is Impressionism which fits into those dates (ish). The first exhibition was in 1874. Then the 1870s really belonged to them in a way.

  6. jess says:

    The correspondences here are truly magical. I feel awed by the power and beauty of the heavens. Sometimes I’m sure there really is a mind behind all this – then other times I’m not.

  7. Laura says:

    @Christina – Yes, 1874 was the start of another pair of occulations. Here’s a link I came across recently that’s kind of interesting:

    I think we can probably blame Venus for all the nudity around here!

    Do you know, today with Saturn conjunct Venus, I saw on facebook where the Hollywood Reporter is reporting about Scarlet Johannson expressing her outrage over nude photos of her that someone got by hacking her cell phone and then posted on the internet. It fits the transit so well – the beauty is setting boundaries about what is appropriate and what is not.

    @Jess – This kind of stuff really makes me wonder about it all too.

  8. Isy Aweigh says:

    Wonderful piece. I’ve read Laura’s book — several times 🙂 — and I do see the world in a different way. It’s a remarkably potent little meme.

    @Jess — the brain itself is a collaboration between many structures and many wildly different types of cells, chemicals and activities, many of which communicate by means that are indirect or happen in such a remote manner that they’re not directly aware of what they act on; yet out of this ridiculously disparate and potentially messy arrangement of parts, we each draw a single coherent awareness and lucid streams of thought. (At times :))

    So I’d say the mind isn’t IN it, it IS it. That’s my view.

  9. Christina says:

    OK – I think the Venus occultation may be working with the long Pluto cycle – at least a bit. Pluto being god of the underworld of course. Remember Pluto takes 248 years to make his way around the Zodiac.

    1761 and 1769 – Pluto in Capricorn from 1762 -1778

    1874 and 1882 – Pluto squares Uranus (from Taurus to Leo)

    2004 and 2012 – Pluto squares Uranus and is in Capricorn

    Just thinking aloud really but there it is

  10. Christina says:

    Sorry those first pairs are the dates of the occultations.

  11. Laura says:

    Interesting, Christina. So the half-cycle of Pluto is quite close to the length of time between the occultations, which means Pluto is generally making an opposition to wherever he was the last time. That does seem signficant.

    I will also note that there just tend to be a lot of different factors in any chart, and in the case of the 18th century occultations of Venus, some have pointed out that the American and French revolutions happened right afterwards, but this was also when Uranus was discovered, which is certainly related to that liberating energy.

    I have noticed 8 year cycles where the points of the Venus pentagram have been hitting in my own chart. I think on an individual basis, it tends to be very personal and internal, however. But I do think it raises consciousness, and when that happens to people all over the world, some sort of evolution happens.

  12. Christina says:

    @Laura – I agree that you have to be really careful about making sweeping generalisations that link events with astrological cycles. I always favour tight orbs and truly close events. It’s also always important to keep in mind the story that’s being told. So, as you say, why would Venus having anything to do with revolution – it ain’t her thang.

    On the other hand, art (impressionism in this case) does obviously fall under Venus.

    I hope you are right about human evolution – but I sometimes have my doubts. I think it is appealing but unproven.

  13. Peter says:

    On a slightly different note, it might be of interest to realise that the intimate knowledge of the Venus cycle enabled our ancestors to align their solar- and lunar calendars.
    It is believed that the solar calendar was used for agricultural purposes (Sun’s ingress in the moveable signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn coincides with the beginning of spring, summer autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere)and the lunar calendar for matters of a personal nature. To avoid any drift, both calendars had to be aligned every so often. This was made possible by observing Venus, who marks the same point in the sky every eight years, when the solar, lunar and sidereal calendars coincide. Over five Venus cycles, or 40 years, it completely synchronises these calendars, down to a few seconds and furthermore enables detailed predictions about the tidal movement and upcoming eclipses.

  14. Christina says:

    @Peter – So she harmonises the Sun and Moon times!

  15. Peter, that is extremely interesting. I wasn’t aware of that. I’m curious about the mechanics of how that works. Obviously Venus comes into contact with the Sun at predictable points on an 8 year cycle, but how does the Moon fit into that?

  16. Peter says:

    To understand this we have to cast our minds back to the ancient calendar makers. Their biggest problem was the fact that sun and moon cycles are incompatible. They were probably working with a lunar calendar, based on 12 lunations, which was 354.37 days long. We still have remnants of this in the names of Hunter’s Moon, Harvest Moon, etc. On the contrary to the Lunar calendar, the solar one was defining seasonal marker points, important for agriculture. Compared to the lunar calendar, this produced a discrepancy of 11 days per year. Therefore sticking to the lunar or solar calendar alone would have caused a constantly widening gap between the dedicated months and the seasons. By observing Venus’ movement in the sky they realised that Venus seemingly stops every 584 days, reverses her direction for a while, only to return to her regular anticlockwise motion again. (It may be of interest to note here that Venus’ orbital period of 224.7 days and the Earth’s period of 365.25 days are in a phi based ratio) After five reversals, or eight years, Venus completes her pentagram shaped movement and returns to her original place. As this happens within two days of the (modern) calendar date of her first reversal, it is a perfect and easily visible marker to re-align the solar calendar with the lunar one.