Astrology of Now: The Dance of Love and Resurrection
Standing on the edge of a mineshaft that may have revealed itself when the earth moved at the eclipse on 4 December, the taste of brimstone lingers and there’s smoke in the air. Maybe we are hesitant, but is that a twisting stairway into the darkness? Better to descend eyes wide shut than to fall unknowing.
Down in the shadows there may be fear or spiders, but there may also be treasure, truth and things that can only be said when the lights are out.
Of course, some of us may simply walk around this open mouth in the earth, but many will be drawn in.
“Go into the underworld via the Vent of Dis. Take coins with you for the ferryman. Take two cakes for the three-headed dog; one to let you into the underworld, and one to let you out again.” — the tower tells Psyche how to accomplish her fourth task.
And who is that figure in the shadows, waiting to greet us on our way down?
Venus, the planet of laughter, is about to turn retrograde (December 19) making her regular (every 18 months) descent into the underworld, and her companion for part of this journey is none other than the lord of the underworld himself, Pluto.
Venus and Pluto
Close — 4 December — 6 January
Conjoining 11 December and Christmas Day
Close — 21 February — 6 March
Conjoining 3 March
Venus Rx 19 December — 29 January
This story unfolds in Capricorn, the sign of the fish-goat, whose hooves reach for the highest peak, but whose scaly tail flicks and flickers in the shadowy depths of cool waters deep beneath the earth. Indeed, the goddess of love, lightness, luxury has been walking in this mountainous regions since 5 November. As she has climbed higher, she has come closer and closer to Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld, whom she will encounter on 11 December — for the first of three rendezvous. But they are already close enough to be in deep conversation (see above).
It’s useful not to become too fixated with gender here. Pluto may be meeting a queen, like the stone-shod queen of the goblins in The Princess and the Goblins, or perhaps Persephone herself, in her guise as Queen of the Underworld. And from the other side, in Aztec mythology, Venus was identified with Quetzalcoatl, “Precious-feathered Serpent”, the god of wind and knowledge. Venus may be the musician Orpheus, seeking his beloved, or even Gilgamesh. So suit your gendering to your own story.
The hero or heroine, who does not do battle with sword or guile but seduces with grace and art, is going to meet an implacable force in the other one’s realm, a creature who wears a helmet of invisibility. What are her defences? What is her strategy? How will they like each other?
This sounds scary — and it is quite scary. It is a drama, the re-enactment of a myth in the skies this winter.
Now Venus is at her greatest brilliancy in the evening sky (December 6 as I write), a glorious shining disc at sunset. But she slides slowly closer and closer to the horizon before completely disappearing around the New Year. She conjoins the Sun on January 8, re-emerging as the evening star in mid-January. Remember that after the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the night sky. A light is going out.
Somehow this intense Venus transit will effect each of us — more or less. If you are ruled by Venus — that is with Taurus or Libra Sun or Ascendant — then this transit is important. If you have planets in Capricorn or Cancer, they will be strongly affected. If you have any important points at 23-28° Cardinal (Capricorn, Aries, Libra or Cancer), the conjunctions will dig right into your soul. If you have anything at these degrees in the other water or earth signs, you may feel positively empowered. Scorpios will get a long dose of Venus-power while she walks beside your ruler, Pluto.
When Venus goes underground, she changes. She disappears for nearly a fortnight and reappears as Lucifer, the light bringer. This secret journey of hers from evening star to morning star has been much mythologised — as Innana or Persephone. The Aztecs said the new Venus was Quetzalcoatl’s flaming heart.
“Persephone is having sex in hell.
Unlike the rest of us, she doesn’t know
what winter is,
only that she is what causes it.” — from Persephone the Wanderer by Louise Glück
Alchemy — or just magic — happens in hiding, in the dark, in the crucible.
And this time, she’s not going underground in Scorpio or Libra, Virgo or Leo, Aries or Pisces, the signs where she has retrograded in recent years. This time she’s in Capricorn, just as she was in the winter of 2013/14, and she’s being escorted by the sovereign of the underworld himself. In fact, these two may be working together.
Positively: these Venus and Pluto have a lot in common — specifically sex, seduction and wealth.
Negatively: they have a lot in common — sex, seduction and wealth.
There is the potential when these two put their heads together for deep passion, or for corruption. Which are you dealing with? Or are you dealing with both?
“These mountains were full of hollow places underneath; huge caverns, and winding ways, some with water running through them, and some shining with all colours of the rainbow when a light was taken in. There would not have been much known about them, had there not been mines there, great deep pits, with long galleries and passages running off from them, which had been dug to get at the ore of which the mountains were full.” — from the Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald
It’s as if Venus has a long talk with Pluto in December, and then goes back to change a few things underground, to re-emerge, empowered in January, first as Lucifer, the morning star and then turning direct on January 29.
This combination of planets is bound to be about power — seductive or financial — and maybe how you use it or how it is used against you. It may be quite clearly about money. In Capricorn this is not unlikely. It could well be about facing a reality, an unpleasant truth connected with these themes. By facing the truth, you’ll come out stronger. The worst thing you can do now is lie.
The retrograde gives us a chance to ponder, reflect, change and re-invent ourselves. It will give some of us a chance to retrieve something lost — maybe as far back as 2013 — maybe a lost love, or a lost investment.
Some of us will dive into the alembic and emerge changed. Both Venus Rx and Pluto are transformative.
Pluto has become established in Capricorn since 2008. In the collective, real structures of power have been revealed, more power has been concentrated in the hands of fewer, corruption is more blatant. At the same time, a deep change is taking place in our understanding of both history and our effect on this planet. All these things, good and bad, useful and disheartening, are connected to Pluto, the transformer, in the sign of earthly power. Pluto can also be merciless in stripping things back to their essentials, including relationships and people. But with Venus here, his actions are softened.
Indeed, Venus is retrograding over the very spot of the Great Capricorn stellium of January 2020, which started this pandemic — a stellium with which she was conspicuously disengaged. She wanders across the field of that conflagration. Venus is the peacemaker too.
Wherever this takes place in your life, remember that love is Venus’ super-power.