part 2

Like the Morning- and Evening-star were found to be one and the same, humanity may one day realise that those spiritual expressions like all is one, or everything is made of love, have actually some very valuable meaning. Creating an understanding of oneness, of cosmic unity, is actually the very means to realise first hand the condition of our common origin, or, in other words, the original condition of our soul: the stillness of an unwavering heart. Realising body and soul to be one and the same we may realise that all oppositions are one and the same, like the two sides of a coin. Above, here on earth an opposition may appear as a conflict or crisis, but inside of each earthling, inside the core of our soul, remains cosmic harmony, for all is one. Even quantum physics could learn from this, for this inner harmony is the constant they are looking for. Buddha calls it nirvana, which literally means blowing out the candle, by which he meant to describe the condition of a witness. You may know the expression: stillness is the way. It’s the way of the witness. To explain it to a scientist we would have to say the basic building block of existence is a mysterious energy that always is, yet if it doesn’t move it is as if not. This is the very reason why the feeling of being fulfilled is so uplifting; Venus is weightless, in other words, the soul is light-hearted.

That the origin of existence, which I call the soul, is a standstill of energy and thus does not appear to be a solid thing but rather nothing, and that existence is based on the vibration of this mysterious energy, as the string-theory suggests, is still not fully accepted by science, as they were just recently spending billions of dollars in Switzerland on an underground experiment to simulate a big-bang situation, mirroring the begin of existence, in order to find the theoretically assumed smallest solid thing. This is the ancient Greek fashion of thinking that assumed the atom to be the basic and solid building block of existence. The funny thing was that some thought that the Swiz big bang could create a black hole into which our earth could disappear, into oblivion. The thought that everything can come out of nothing is in the West a very foreign unfathomable concept, yet to the East, to the eastern mythology at least, it is rather common sense. There they assume that the non-phenomenon, the absolute, as they call it, or parabrahman, the unspeakable stillness, the cosmic womb, is the origin of all, the uncreated creator.

However, there were some ancient Greeks that called the origin the Darkness, by which they meant the nirvana Buddha was talking of. This darkness is of course not empty, it is full of potential; in fact, everything came out of this cosmic womb. Astrologically speaking, this darkness, the source of all is made of love, a mysterious energy that in life never stands still to serve life. So much for the metaphysics.

If we look at the etymology of the word Venus, the name for the ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love, especially sensual love, persuasiveness, seduction, pleasure, lust and sexual rapture, as well as procreation, we’ll find that it derived from ancient Latin venus, meaning charm, love, loveliness, sexual desire and beauty. The Proto-Indo-European base (a hypothetical reconstructed ancestral language of the Indo-European family assumed to be 5500 years old) is thought to be wen, meaning, to strive after, wish, desire, be satisfied, and associated with Sanskrit vanas, desire, and vanati, desires, loves, wins. Old English derivations are wynn, meaning joy, wunian, to dwell, wenian, to wean, accustom, train, and wyscan, to wish.

The astrological Venus dwells in the well of existence; she doesn’t wish to be satisfied, she is the symbol of contentment, pleasure and happiness. Venus is a winner, as love is a winner. Desiring is her very nature, but what does that really mean? Is it like a wanting of the Mars-warrior? Etymologically desire derived from Latin desiderare long for, wish for. This longing is the original sense, the very essence of our bodily existence. It’s a stretching out of one’s wings. De-sire may derived from the phrase de sidere (from the stars); Latin sidus means heavenlyvenus statue body, star and constellation, which is also the base of the word considerate, and probably was meant to indicate the mythological background of Venus. Last not least, to wean originally meant to still a baby in a sense of breastfeeding.

As in Greek and Roman mythology the goddess of Love has never been seen with or associated with nurturing or breastfeeding babies (although, if you look at statues of her, you often see her squeezing her left nipple as if she is ready to give milk like a cosmic mother) we could support the assumption that the Roman Venus, goddess of Love and Beauty, as well as the astrological Venus of today has been stripped of her origin.

If we think of Venus (or Aphrodite for that matter) we don’t think about nurturing mothers, although she is a mother of few offspring in mythology, she is not seen as a mother, but rather in connection with aphrodisiacs and sexual pleasures. Venus has been stripped and what is left is a beautiful charming woman. What it means depends on each's perception. For some she thus becomes the desired object of lust, some may be not able to even look at her, while others will adore and cherish her as a goddess. If we want to unveil her mystery the first thing we’ll find is: she is not a Roman.

Unlike other religions the early Roman deities had no myths. The early Romans did not feel the needs to humanise their deities with human action or personality. They did not feel the needs to have the gods and goddesses married to one another, or have offspring. Such concepts were not accepted in the early part of Roman history. Most of the early Roman deities had agricultural and pastoral natures, especially deities of fertility –like Mars and Saturn!

In the 5th century BC Rome was just one of many irrelevant muddy little villages between the reigning Etruscan culture in the north and the Greek colonies in the south and Sicily. Venus did not have a cult or festivities to her name until much later. From the 4th century BC onwards she was associated with the Greek Goddess of Love Aphrodite.

It wasn't until the Romans came into the contact with the Etruscans in Etruria (Tuscany) and the Greeks living in the Campania, that the early Roman deities underwent changes.

The Etruscans at that time worshipped many different deities. Alpan or Alpanu, goddess of sexual love, was an Underworld goddess –indicating death and darkness, and if you know a bit about Greek mythology you may see a connection to Persephone who was linked with Aphrodite through the love triangle with Adonis. Alpan was sometimes depicted wearing loose cloak and sandals, otherwise she was naked, except for her jewellery- also a beloved accessory of Venus. The Etruscan Goddess of love Turan was a tutelary goddess of Vulci -a tribe or people as well as a city. (Vulci were one of the legendary twelve peoples of Etruscan civilization, who formed into the Etruscan League, a confederacy of self-interest.) Her sacred bird was a white swan and a dove. Her other attribute was the blossom. Again swan and dove are closely related to Venus.

Turan and Alpan represent the two sides of the planet Venus, the morning and the evening-star, love and sex.

A bilingual inscription on the Pyrgi Tablets dating to about 500 BC found near Caere in Etruria equates Etruscan Goddess of love and marriage Uni-Astre with Phoenician Astarte. To the sea-traders that introduced Astarte to the Etruscans this goddess was rather a temple-prostitute. Now, it’s a well known assumption, even today, that every sailor has a woman in every harbour; they probably wanted to have the service of those temple-prostitutes available in each of their harbours. And as the Phoenicians traded in many places, the worship of Astarte, the sacred servant, spread rapidly. The Etruscan Uni-astre, was made consort of the sky-god Tin (whom we associate with Jupiter/Zeus) then underwent a drastic change when the Romans made out of Uni Juno, the wife of Jupiter. They changed her from a very welcomed temple prostitute to a very prudish and jealous housewife.

In some ascetic mystical cults, love was recast less as a biological principle and more as a great cosmological force like gravity; it served as a power of attraction that united the cosmos and led souls upward into their final destinies. To this mysticism, some philosophers de-emphasized biological love in favour of spiritual love. The ancient Greeks, including Plato in his Symposium, thought also that there are two different aspects of the goddess of Love, which they called Aphrodite Urania, the morning-star in the East, and Aphrodite Pandemos, the evening-star in the West. Urania is the heavenly sakral love and Pandemos the common profan love. The eastern Morningstar -by the way- which represents the heavenly spirit of love, Aphrodite Urania, is of course Venus in Taurus, in the core of the soul below the horizon. And the western Evening-star above the horizon linked with the common practice of sex at the base of existence is illustrated by Venus in Libra. 

Pandemos was the common Aphrodite of all the folk, associated to the physical realm of sexual love, of lust and prostitution, as well as procreation. As Porné (meaning: clitoris; tickle; whore) she was the goddess of the Hetaerae similar to Magdalena being the patroness of prostitutes. Hetaerae (lady of easy virtue, companion) is the term of antiquity for women who get paid for sexual offerings. Contrary to prostitutes (Greek: pórnai) as well as the common Greek housewives doing the homework (Oikos) Hetaerae were considered to be educated in art, philosophy and literature and socially accepted.

In Athens the temple-prostitution, the worship of the goddess, was made a trade by Solon around 640BC and taxed. Caligula did the same in Rome a bit later.

Urania’s connection with Uranus’ makes her heavenly love to be the human striving for enlightenment. The sakral love of ‘Venus caelestis’ was made out to be pure and heavenly, representing the noble love of body and soul.

We could also use the term harlot instead of prostitute or hetaerae. In Old French herlot, or arlot, means vagabond, tramp, rascal, rogue or low fellow, and was applied to itinerant jesters, male servants, jugglers and later also to actors; further associations like young fellow, knave, glutton, lazy, go about begging and strumpets, led to buffoonery and un-chastity. And considering that Venus is a wandering-star, harlot, the vagabond, might be a more accurate definition of her trade.

A universal aspect of the cult of Aphrodite Pandemos and her precedents is the practice of ritual prostitution in her shrines and temples. The practice was an inherent part of the rituals owed to Aphrodite's Near Eastern forebears, Sumerian Inanna and Akkadian Ishtar, whose temple harlots were the sacred servant. We might want to purify the image of those sacred servants and portray them as special women that were trained to be mortal vessels for the divine joy and ecstasy of the goddess, who were initiating men into the mysteries of Aphrodite’s domain, but I don’t know if that has been ever the case, or if it is just a romantic interpretation of a poet. It might have been just a custom of socially abandoned women, of widows, as it still is in parts of India, to practice this trade as the only means of income. The social denigration of widows was probably not restricted to India but common in the near east.

    In this context we should consider Urukagina, who reigned over the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia ca. 2380 BC to 2360 BC (that’s nearly 4400 years ago). He is best-known for his reforms to combat corruption, which are sometimes cited as the first example of a legal code in recorded history. In it, he exempted widows and orphans from taxes; compelled the city to pay funeral expenses including the ritual food and drink libations for the journey of the dead into the lower world; and decreed that the rich must use silver when purchasing from the poor, and if the poor does not wish to sell, the powerful man (the rich man or the priest) cannot force him to do so. Urukagina's code is perhaps the first recorded example of government reform, seeking to achieve a higher level of freedom and equality. It is actually the first known use of the word freedom. But the statement that the widow and the orphan were no longer at the mercy of the powerful man sheds light onto the former social status of widows and orphans.

In her book The Inner Planets Liz Green said that "the Temple harlot is a woman, who embodies and channels the essence of Eros; she symbolizes the strange paradox we find in Venus, that mysterious blend of sacred and profane sexuality, which defies ordinary moral interpretations. The archetypal and transpersonal nature of the sexual act demands no marriage bond, no ties of romantic love, and no claims are made afterward. Thus Venus is said not to be concerned with commitments that bind through time nor does she reflect the sentiment and idealisation of romantic love. Rather it is the role of the goddess as the anima or soul image, who frees the man from the grip of the mother through the discovery of his own potency and capacity for love and joy without emotional bondage. By becoming an embodiment of the divine object of desire and source of pleasure she acquired power and importance to the value placed upon it and finds that feminine self-value accordingly." It would have been beautiful if it would have been like that, as it empowers women’s confidence, but if that is a historically proven fact I doubt very much. Liz says that if you see this mystic figure of the sacred harlot as a denigration of the feminine, you have sadly missed the point. That’s true. Let's be clear about this, the decline of associations made with Venus might have been politically/morally motivated, but it isn't a denigration of the feminine.

The denigration of the feminine that might have happened was probably because of the self-interest of those Phoenician sailors that imported the Goddess Astarte into Rome and Greece. The Phoenicians knew Astarte, or Holiness Ashtart, as a Goddess from north-western Semitic regions, now Lebanon, who was worshipped (and very much enjoyed) through ritual prostitution. This ritual has its roots in Mesopotamia where those sacred servants were called women of Ishtar, which is the Sumerian Inanna. The Greek euphemism is hierodule. Those sailors completely stripped off Astarte’s virginity, but by that it meant her purity, her heavenly origin as a mother goddess. virgins

The titel Virgin, as in Virgin Mary, Virgin Astarte, Virgin Anat (a violent war-goddess), and Maiden Innana, indicates an unbroken or holy (pure and whole) origin. Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, is regarded to have been the Egyptian Hathor, mother of Horus, at an earlier stage. In Egyptian mythology, Hathor was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was seen as the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow. Hathor (or Mehturt, meaning great flood,) was worshipped as a cow-deity from at least 2700 BC. Cows and Venus go a long way back.

The Milky Way was seen as a waterway in the heavens, sailed upon by both the sun deity and the king, leading the ancient Egyptians to describe it as The Nile in the Sky. Another interpretation of the Milky Way was that it was the primal snake (the Egyptian Cobra), Wadjet, the protector of Egypt who was closely associated with the great mother goddess Mut and Naunet.

Naunet (or Nunet) is the female aspect of Nu, the deification of the primordial watery abyss that due to being a concept was viewed as not having a gender.

Mut, an ancient Egyptian mother goddess was considered a primal deity, associated with the waters from which everything was born. Some of Mut's many titles included World-Mother, Eye of Ra, Queen of the Goddesses, Lady of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, and She Who Gives Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any.

The last tiltle is probably the best way to describe the virginity of the mother goddess. She is the unbroken (whole) eternal mystery out of which everything appears. The legend goes that Mut had no parents, but was created from nothing. This nothingness, the Greek Darkness, the darkness of the primordial sea, the milky way, is symbolized by the 1st quarter of the astrological zodiac below the horizon. It represents the dark or unknown source of existence in its original state: in stillness; it is the soul that is the core of each and everything. At the core of this first quarter is Taurus the bull and home of Venus, which means the heart of soul is made of love. The bull is of course the cosmic milkgiving cow.

Another bull-story that would fit in here is that of the cowboy Zeus and Europa. The mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus.

But back to Virgin Hathor, mother goddess and Milky Way, cow and primal snake, cosmic maiden who gives birth, but was herself not born of any, the primordial sea; Hathor is also depicted as a cat, or as a lioness, as well as the white vulture since Egyptian white vultures have no significant differing markings between female and male of the species. I suspect that the white vulture transformed into the white swan. But more importantly I like to make you aware of the other two major symbols of her: the lion and the cobra.

First of all keep in mind that the astrological star-sign Leo is ruled by the Sun, which is the basic symbol of an eye. Secondly Horus, son of Hathor, called one with the two eyes (right Sun and left Moon), is commonly depicted as an eye. The word for this symbol was Wedjat. It was the eye of one of the earliest of Egyptian deities, Wadjet, who later became associated with Bast, Mut, and Hathor and then Horus and later Ra, depending on who was in power.

Wadjet, the primordial snake, the milky way, which literally means the Green One, was originally the ancient local patron goddess of the city of Dep, a city that was an important site in the Predynastic era of Ancient Egypt and the cultural developments of ten thousand years from the Paleolithic to 3100 B.C. The image of Wadjet with the sun disk is called the uraeus, rearing cobra, a stylized, upright form of an Egyptian spitting cobra, used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity, and divine authority in ancient Egypt.

right eyeleft eyeleft eye drawingsun leo

The major point here is that Wedjat was a solar goddess and this symbol began as her eye, an all seeing eye. Using a bit of fantasy it seems to me as if those two symbols of the all Seeing Eye and the cobra melted into the symbol of Leo. If you look at the cow sculpture of Hathor you’ll see the sun disc and the cobra between the bull’s horns. The connection to lions, however, is illustrated by many more Goddesses. 

I just mentioned Bast, the solar war goddess, worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty, viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, was depicted as a fierce lioness. In the late dynasties her role in the pantheon became diminished as Sekhmet, a similar lioness war deity, became more dominant in the unified culture of Lower and Upper Egypt.

Bast was a goddess of the sun throughout most of Ancient Egyptian history, but later was changed to a goddess of the moon by Greeks occupying Ancient Egypt toward the end of its civilization. In Greek mythology, Bast is also known as Aelurus.

I like to make you aware of the fact that the connection between the sun the lion and Venus as a mother goddess is very old. Several small, corpulent figures from the Late Stone Age, between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, that have been found, Venus of Willendorf (below, second from left), perhaps, being the most famous of them, is estimated to have been carved 24,000 - 22,000 BC, predate the available records of goddesses like Astarte or Inanna by many thousands of years. Some archaeologists believe they were intended to represent goddesses, while others believe that they could have been simply toys. However, seeing a figure often interpreted as a Mother Goddess, who is sitting on a chair giving birth and flanked by two lions, found in Çatalhöyük, Turkey, dating back to 6000BC makes mythological connections to one of the oldest representations of Venus, the Sumerian Innana, which has been invoked in hymns as a ‘lion, who shines in the sky’, ‘great brightness, celestial lion’. The symbolism of the lion was carried over to Greece and Rome as we can see it still illustrated with Cebele and Rhea.

Hollow Rock VenusVenus von Willendorf 6000BC cebele rhea

  • Around 35.000 BC was the so far oldest found art work of a Venus out of mammut ivory created (above on the left), which was recently found amongst other carvings of same age, like a stylish mammut, an elegant horse, a flute made of a bone, a streched water-bird and the lion man -also made of mammut ivory, in caves of the Swabian mountains. They are all very fine crafted artifice's that testify besides a stone-age old human drive for music and art an understanding for symbolism, in specific a symbolic connection between man and lion, the animal, between the king over the wild and king of the wild. The animalistic mankind has stood up and became humane; first came the cave-man. Those artistic stone-age people may have been proud to be more than just an animal, to be as majestic but to be something more than a lion. Whatever their reason was, man's connection to the lion seems to be very old.

 

Here we might have to look who those people were, which we call the ancestors of western civilisation to understand the connection to the lion. Those Semetic Phonecian sea traders that brought the mythology of Astarte to the Greeks and Etruscans assimilated the myths from the Assyrians. Astarte is the Sumrian Inanna, which later became the Babylonian Ishtar. Even though the Phonecian obviouly associated Astarte with the planet Venus, the first observations of the planet Venus were made by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. The most famous City states in Mesopotamia, were Sumer, Babylon, Eridu, Nippur, Uruk and Ur. The city of Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia, is one of the earliest known civilizations in the world. The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century. The Sumerian city states rose to power during 5300–4100 BC in the Neolithic, the ‘New-Stone’ Age, the last part of the Stone Age. Although other cities pre-date Sumer (for example Jericho -Hebrew for ‘moon’-, which is believed to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city of the world, dating back to 9000 BC) the cities of Sumer were the first to practice intensive, year-round agriculture. The surplus of storable foodstuff created by this economy allowed the population to settle in one place instead of migrating after crops and herds. It also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn required an extensive labor force and division of labor. This organization led to the necessity of record keeping, which led to the development of writing. Several centuries after the invention of cuneiform, the use of writing expanded beyond debt/payment certificates and inventory lists to be applied for the first time, about 2600 BC, to messages and mail delivery, history, legend, mathematics, astronomical records and other pursuits. Conjointly with the spread of writing, the first formal schools were established, usually under the auspices of a city-state's primary temple.

Most authorities credit the Sumerians with the invention of the wheel, initially in the form of the potter's wheel. The new concept quickly led to wheeled vehicles and mill wheels.

With the invention of writing to keep record of goods in this socially stable invironment, other sciences evolved, among which astronomy and astrology occupied a conspicuous place in Babylonian society. The five planets that are visible to the naked eye have Sumerian names. The zodiac (the circle of the 12 starsigns) was a Babylonian invention of great antiquity; and eclipses of the sun and moon could be foretold. Observatories were attached to the temples, and reports were regularly sent by astronomers to the king. There are dozens of cuneiform records of original Mesopotamian eclipse observations. The stars had been numbered and named at an early date, and we possess cuneiform tables known as the ‘Enūma Anu Enlil’ dating back to the Old Babylonian period of lunar longitudes and observations of Ishtar (Venus). The oldest significant astronomical text that we possess is a 7th century BC cuneiform Venus tablet of Ammi-saduqa, which lists the first and last visible risings of Venus over a period of about 21 years and is the earliest evidence that the phenomena of a planet were recognized as periodic.

The Babylonian astrology is of course inmbedded in Sumerian mythology. To find out why or how the planet Venus got asociated with lions and mother goddesses we have to dive deeper into there. The Sumerian culture may be traced to two main centers, Eridu in the south and Nippur in the north may be regarded as a contrasting poles of Sumerian religion.

The Sumerian gods (dingir-dingir) had associations with different cities, and their religious importance often waxed and waned with those cities’ political power. If the temples/gods ruled each city it was for their mutual survival and benefit; the temples organized the mass labor projects needed for irrigation agriculture. Citizens had a labor duty to the temple which they were allowed to avoid by a payment of silver only towards the end of the third millennium. The temple-centered farming communities of Sumer had a social stability that enabled them to survive for four millennia.

Eridu was said to be one of the five cities built before a flood occurred. It appears to be the earliest settlement in the region, founded ca. 5400 BC, close to the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the Euphrates River. Eridu, was the home of the culture god Enki, his temple was known as E2-abzu (house of the cosmic waters). Ab-zu means far-water, and Enki is a god of beneficence, ruler of the freshwater depths beneath the earth, a healer and friend to humanity who was thought to have given us the arts and sciences, the industries and manners of civilization; the first law-book was considered his creation. Enki represents the element of air in the Abzu, which is the air-sign Gemini that is embedded in the watery first quarter of the astrological circle.

Nippur, the Sumerian for ‘lord wind’, was the sanctuary of the deity Enlil, the lord of the ghost-land, whose gifts to mankind were said to be the spells and incantations that the spirits of good or evil were compelled to obey. Enlil, ruler of the cosmos, was subject to An alone. Enlil by name alone represents the element of air, yet because of his subordinate nature to An, Enlil is associated to the second quarter of the astrological circle, the mind at large, which is below the horizon, and thus also below the sky-quarter of An (which is the 4th quarter above the horizon).

‘An’ meaning sky, heaven, was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the royal tiara, most times decorated with two pairs of bull horns. (one pair of Bull horns is the symbol of Taurus where Venus dwells) An or An-u was the progenitor of all gods.

An idea of mine is that the word An, for sky, and Nu, for the primordial watery abyss, melted together into Anu. Na means and, and Nu probably meant all. As we speak of thousands of years of cultural evolution it’s easy to imagine that they all influenced each other, here in particular I mean the Egyptians and the Sumerer, which then influenced the Greeks. The relationship between An and Nu is the story of sky-god Uranus and Venus as the mother goddess rising out of the primordial sea.

Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient Nil canal. The modern name Iraq is thought to be derived from the name Uruk. At its height c 2900 BC, Uruk probably had 50,000–80,000 residents living in 6 square km of walled area; the largest city in the world at its time. Uruk, the Sumerian city of the deity Anu, is linked with Uranus; both are sky-gods. Anu’s consort Ki, means Earth while Uranus consort is known as Mother Earth, Gaia or Rhea. According to Sumerian legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until An and Ki bore Enlil, god of air, who cleaved heaven and earth in two, who had his temple in Nippur.

This slicing into two is repeated in the later tale of Marduc, son of Apzu (Enki) and Tiamat who killed his mother Tiamat by dividing her with his sword and thus creating above and below. Marduc is the city-god of Babylon who replaced Enki on the top position of the pantheon because of Babylon’s political power over Eridu, where Enki was the city-god, and thus Marduc is original seen as a sun-god. However, he seems to represent all three aspects of the element fire. He represents Mars as the creator of heaven and earth by killing Tiamat, but he has also been associated to Jupiter, probably in his position as king of the gods. In the four quarters of the astrological zodiac, the fourth quarter, the sky over the sea, is associated to the element fire, which means all sky gods actually represent the might of fire; so does Uranus although he is ruling an air-sign. Anu mated with Nammu, the Sumerian goddess of the primeval sea, his mother; and so did the Greek Uranus who was taking his mother as wife. Nammu bore An a son, Enki (the God living in Ab-zu whose temple is in Eridu). She and her Enki created mankind from clay for the purpose of serving the gods.

    Once again the Sumerian mythology is the base of Greek tale of Prometheus, who created humanity out of clay. As clay is found in abundance in Mesopotamia these tales probably emerged in Neolithic, a time when pottery was invented.

Each walled city of Mesopotamian civilization in early times was centred upon a temple complex or ziggurat, including the state granary. Archaeology has shown that these temples grew from modest shrines that were associated with the earliest unwalled levels of settlement about 4500 BC. As the towns grew into City-states, the shrines were destroyed, the site flattened, and a larger temple was built upon it. This gradually raised the temples above the level of the surrounding buildings, so that eventually a temple platform was constructed, raising the temple towards the heavens -possibly the origin of the biblical story the Tower of Babel. Each shrine was named after a single god, and with the development of the wide ranging Sumerian civilisation these gods became part of a Pantheon or single family of divinities, known as the Annunaki (Anu = Heaven, Na = And, Ki = Earth). Rather than Anu being seen as the god of the heavens, he was the heavens. In this way to the earliest Sumerians, humankind lived inside a living divine realm. As it was believed that the sacred realm mirrored the profane, wars between cities on Earth were seen as paralleling struggles between the divinities in heaven. Associations between the movements of the planets and earthly events were carefully collected, and came to be resources associated with limmu lists for compiling important historical events, and which has been developed into Chaldean astrology. Chaldea was a Hellenistic designation for a part of southern Babylonia, mainly around Sumerian Ur and Uruk, which became an independent kingdom under the Chaldees. The Persians found the Chaldeans masters of reading and writing, and especially versed in all forms of incantation, in sorcery, witchcraft, and the magical arts. Thus, in Greek, Chaldean came to acquire the meaning of astrologer.

Collectively the Sumerian gods were known as An’unna, offspring of the lord. Uranus is the first sky-god of Greek mythology and progenitor of all following gods, including Kronos, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, who are known as Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto respectively. Uranus’ genital, however, metamorphosed into Aphrodite/Venus. Uranus and Venus are thus essentially the same; the difference is that Uranus just didn’t know that he had her (love) in him, which is the reason why Mother Earth ordered their son Kronos to get rid of him and his ideal spinning mind that was blocking evolution. The idealising mind had to die for love and beauty to be born. This connection between Love/Venus and Heaven/Uranus was also made in the E'anna temple of Uruk, which was shared by An and Inanna. An has two pairs of bull horns and Inanna alias Venus is ruler of one pair as the ruler of Taurus, the bull.

This connection between Uranus and Venus is which has been stripped; but it is essential to understand their connection as they are essentially the same. Rather than to free the man from the grip of the mother as Liz Green suggests, the role of the goddess Venus as the anima or soul image is to free man, including woman in the sense of humanity. The rise of Venus out of the primordial sea is a kind of resurrection of Uranus, representing enlightenment of humanity. And as enlightenment is purely individual, it’s the enlightenment of humanity in an individual.

Another example of how those different cultures were influencing each other is obvious with the Hurrian mythology, a tribe that lived in northern Mesopotamia. There the son of Anu, Kumarbi, bit off Anu’s genitals and spat out three deities, one of whom, Teshub, later deposed Kumarbi. This is the theme of castration and replacement we find later in the Greek mythology where the Titan Kronos (Roman Saturn) dismembered his father Uranus with a scythe, which led to the birth of the three Erinyes and Aphrodite (the eldest of them), which was later associated with the Roman Venus. This makes Saturn to the mid-wife of Venus and gives us thus a tremendous clue of how important it is to be responsible and act responsibly.

The present financial crisis, for example, can be traced back to a lack of responsibility and mature guidance. But rather than blaming others to be responsible, the banks, Wall-Str. and stock-brokers, pointing the finger to their greed, what about the responsibility of all our societies and thus of all our political and religious leaders that educate us to be greedy and competitive?

The so-called myths of Inanna, the lion of heaven, are said to date back to a time between 1900 and 3500 BC, although the connections between the lions and the mother goddesses seems to be much older; who influenced whom I don’t know. In their original inception they were pre-patriarchal myths, that means connected to monotheist mother goddess. Inanna’s myths show the incursions of the patriarchy, the gradual dispossession and loss of status of the mother Goddess. Most of the powers once held by her were being slowly eroded. The fact Inanna was pictured as a beautiful woman (i.e. attractive to males, as opposed to the earth fertility goddesses of pre-history), suggests a shift in favour to the male dominated pantheon.

Inanna provides a many-faceted symbolic image, a wholeness pattern, of the feminine beyond the merely maternal. She combined earth and sky, matter and spirit, vessel and light, earthly bounty and heavenly guidance. She was Queen of Heaven, goddess of gentle rains and terrible floods, goddess of the morning and evening star, queen of the land and its fertility, bestowing kingship on chosen mortals. She was the goddess of war (more powerful than Athena and Artemis combined), and equally passionately, the goddess of sexual love. Eventually, she was known by many names (Ishtar, Isis, Metis, Astarte, Cybele, etc.), although those in later times were often described as having much less power or less all-encompassing.

One idea of where the lion imagery of the mother goddesses comes from is the connection between the milky way and comets falling down from there. A widespread tradition of that time recognizes comets as the souls of great kings or heroes. Comets where called hair-stars in antiquity, whereby the mane of the lion illustrates the tail or trail of a comet, labelled a fiery falling star, which is connected to the comet-like appearance of the red eveningstar (Venus). But it also connects with ancient myths of origin of Neolithic Greece (6000BC). Then Venus was called Eurynome, which means wide wandering one or the wandering star. She was born of  primal Chaos, dancing on the water. Eurynome transformed the North Wind into a serpent named Ophion. The serpent coiled himself around her, impregnated  her and she gave birth to the Cosmic Egg. Ophion wrapped himself around the egg seven times and stayed until it hatched Creation.

The lion’s mane or the hair-star are symbols that lead to a further not so well known association, yet which is globally found in connection with the planet Venus: lamentation. I won’t moan about it further, I just like to mention that it indicates the loss of love, as well as of the beloved.

But back to Inanna/Ishtar. In one Babylonian legend she was made to be the daughter of the Moon God Nanna and Ningal, representing the Wane Moon. The connection between Inanna and Nanna sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Nanna was also known as Sin or Suen who was the son of Enlil, the notherly winter storm who raped Ninlil, the southwind, both representing the element of Air. According to that legend Inanna, the new moon, had a brother Utu (or Shamash) who was the sun god, which connects the darkest night and the brightest day. But the most interesting part of this legend is that Inanna had also an older sister: Ereshkigal, goddess of Irkalla, which is the Greek Hades, the netherland or Darkness below Earth. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgement and give laws in her kingdom. Interesting, because it connects sexy Inanna with the dark realm of death, represented by the astrological Pluto. If you look at 4quarters the symbolism of Venus and Pluto, ruling Soul and Body respectivily, you might see the similarity that is indicated by Inanna being the sister to Eresh-ki-gal, which makes Venus the sister of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and consort of Hades/Pluto. This sisterly connection or family bond is also inherited or indicated by another name of Aphrodite- Persephassa, which has been associated with Persephone.

The similarity between Venus and Pluto connects the soul with the body, as does the similarity between the Sun and Uranus connects the Mind with the Spirit.

Even though Inanna is clearly marked as a lunar goddess, the dark new moon, by the time the Phoenecian assimilated Inanna as Astarte her association to the planet Venus was already established, which allows me to see Ishtar's Decent into the Underworld not as a waxing and waning of the Moon, as the cresent is usually understood, but as the story of the disappearance of the evening-star and the re-appearance of the morning-star Venus. While Venus/Inanna is in the realm of Erishkigal alias Hades/Pluto, not just sex disappears, but the love-story ends too.

Ishtar’s Descent into the Underworld: In this myth, Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld and demands that the gatekeeper open them:

If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.

The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter, but according to the ancient decree.
The gatekeeper lets Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar has to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. In rage, Ishtar throws herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal orders her servant Namtar to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her.
After Ishtar descends to the underworld, all sexual activity ceases on earth. The god Papsukal reports the situation to Ea (Enki), the king of the gods. Ea creates a eunuch called Asu-shu-namir and sends him to Ereshkigal, telling him to invoke the name of the great gods against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal is enraged when she hears Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she has to give him the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkles Ishtar with this water, reviving her.
Then Ishtar passes back through the seven gates, getting one article of clothing back at each gate, and is fully clothed as she exits the last gate.
Here there is a break in the text of the myth. The text resumes with the following lines:
If she (Ishtar) will not grant thee her release,
To Tammuz, the lover of her youth,
Pour out pure waters, pour out fine oil;
With a festival garment deck him that he may play on the flute of lapis lazuli,
That the votaries may cheer his liver. [his spirit]
Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure,
With precious stones filled her bosom.
When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure,
She scattered the precious stones before her,
"Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish!
On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli, playing it for me with the porphyry ring.
Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women!
That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense."

Formerly, scholars believed that the myth of Ishtar's descent took place after the death of Ishtar's lover, Tammuz: they thought Ishtar had gone to the underworld to rescue Tammuz. However, the discovery of a corresponding myth about Inanna, the Sumerian counterpart of Ishtar, has thrown some light on the myth of Ishtar's descent, including its somewhat enigmatic ending lines. According to the Inanna myth, Inanna can only return from the underworld if she sends someone back in her place. Demons go with her to make sure she sends someone back. However, each time Inanna runs into someone, she finds him to be a friend and lets him go free. When she finally reaches her home, she finds her husband Dumuzi (Babylonian Tammuz and later Greek Adonis) seated on his throne, not mourning her at all. In anger, Inanna has the demons take Dumuzi back to the underworld as her replacement. Dumuzi's sister Geshtinanna is grief-stricken and volunteers to spend half the year in the underworld, during which time Dumuzi can go free. The Ishtar myth presumably has a comparable ending.

So Maiden Inanna, still a lunar goddess, was assimilated by the Phoenecian and as such also worshipped in the famous ancient city Carthago, a Phoenician new town in modern Tunisia, besides Melqert, the sun-god. Here the two eyes of Horus, Moon and Sun, are still together as they were in Uruk, where Inanna was worshipped together with Anu, the sky or heavenly dome, and also in Greek mythology where Venus is the metamophorsis of sky god Uranus’ genital. Before the Phoenetcian trader spread the mythology of Astarte as a temple harlot, Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality and ecstasy, but primarily with war, the dark side of the moon. The Phonecian Astarte, like the Ugarit Anath as well as Aphrodite-Persephassa (Persephone), were often portrayed as very destructive and mischievous, bloody mean, to say the least.

Her Phoenecian origin however is closely linked with Semitic mother goddess Asherah, a lunar goddess representing the productive power of nature. Asherah, or Athirat, literally means she who treads on the sea, or simply she of the sea, which may have been equated with the Milky Way. The connections should be obvious by now.

If we want to make sense of all this we have to come to terms with the ancient connection -if not mix up- between Moon and Venus, as it was with Astarte and Asherah, as well as with her solar origin. How quickly cultural perception on a specific topic, like sexuality for example, can change we can observe in the last century. Just compare –if you are old enough- the common sexual moral stance of the 50ties with today. In between we had the woman’s liberation, a huge advertisement-campaign of youth and sex, a change of mind on many topics that are related to it, abortion, gay-marriage and so on. 100 years compared with few thousand years evolution of ancient civilisation -a few thousand years ago- is very little.

Astrologically we today sharply discern between Moon and Venus, as we do it between a nurturing mother and a sensual lover, which can be a harlot, strumpet, hooker, hetaere or courtesan, or simply housewife. Naturally, they can be both, mother and lover, and often are. Moon Goddesses are now often associated with those ancient great mothers of all, and Venus rather with infidelity and adultery next to bitch and ice-princess. Consider that in those old days the Moon was represented by a male god. And if we look into those old mythologies of the Sumerer and Babylonians we’ll find that in some legends Inanna is the daughter of the Moon God Nanna and the ‘Great Lady’ Ningal, who was a goddess of reeds, and was probably first worshipped by cow-herders in the marsh lands of southern Mesopotamia. There we find those cows again!

With all that mythological material at hand we might be able to see that the origin of Venus, including her association to Uranus, as Aphrodite Urania, to the Queen of Heaven, the Lion’s seat, as well as to the hair-star comet or egg that fell from the sky (Uranus), her virgin titel in many of her ancestor models like virgin Astarte, including virgin Mary, or the coupling of her representations with the god father, Astarte and Melqert, Anu and Ishtar at Uruk, her connection to Eros and Psyche, her luner connection to the Earth-mother or Mother Earth, reaching back to the Sumerian goddess mother of all: Nammu, the primordial sea, or Ninhursag, the Sumerian creation mother, what we have at hand is a very complex as mysterious testament of our heavenly origin equal in status to the god of all gods. Which makes love the supreme power of our existence.

If we see love like comet in the night-sky, falling from the milky way, representing a godly soul, or if we see her rising from the depth of the sea, transformed from the members of Uranus, the sky-god, representing the enlightenment of love, or of a loving consciousness, the origin of love has a lot to do with Darkness; with the darkness of the night sky, the darkness of the ocean (and emotion).

Darkness illustrates the depth of the primordial sea, the soul, the source of all; darkness is the origin -the modern term is the unconscious. That is when you blow out Buddha’s candle. There is a witness who doesn’t know it exists, which is the reason why Buddha mentioned it. It is awareness, yet not aware of itself, but of everything else.

Looking through the four colored lens of astrology, darkness is below the horizon, we cannot see beyond it. In the zodiac below the horizon are the first two quarters, the soul and the mind. First comes the soul with Venus at its core. Then comes the mind, which is seen as a mirror, a reflecting tool and, naturally, unconscious of its deeds, like the moon reflecting the sun-light. To the astrological mind, looking back to its origin, the soul becomes an unconscious reflection of intelligence (indicated by Mercury in Gemini on the other side, in the soul, bordering with the Moon in Cancer), which means, to the mind Venus appears to be the Moon. This might be the genetic reason why babies fall in love with their mothers. However, those two quaters below the horizon represent the symbol of Venus holding a mirror.

When in a scientific research monkeys were put in front of a mirror they first saw their image in the mirror, and after they bumped into the mirror they immediately looked behind the mirror to find the monkey the saw in it. After a while they recognised that the image is of themselves and started to make faces and squeezed pimples. This sense of self-reflection -the awareness of being there- is, according to astrology, the base of self-consciousness, which is not a knowing of oneself to be the one in the mirror, nor the knowledge of it written in the mind, but the being of it -being conscious of one's awareness. A monkey is not self-conscious in the way we would consider an enlightened being, like Jesus or Buddha. I believe that the presence of awareness in animals is much more obvious than in humans that are confused with their mind activity. However, the mind-mirror can be used to see one's original venus mirrorface: mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? It's me, Venus.

  • The quarrel between Aphrodite, the Queen of Heaven, and Persephone, the Queen of the Underground, both loving Adonis, is depicted on many ancient mirrors found in Italy. It is maybe a poetic reminder to wonder and ponder about what we see in the mirror.

The Phoenecians brought Astarte to Cyprus where she became Aphrodite. The Greeks, however, had already a god-mother, a fertility god and a war-god, so Aphrodite was stripped of those associations and what was left is the desired Beauty of Love.

THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE

The most common version of the birth of Aphrodite describes her born in sea-foam from the castrated genitals of the sky-god Ouranos. Hesiod, Theogony:
"Ouranos (the Sky) came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Gaia (the Earth) spreading himself full upon her. Then the son [Kronos] from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to fall behind him . . . and so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she drew near holy Kythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Kypros, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and Aphrogeneia (the foam-born) because she grew amid the foam, and Eustephanos (well-crowned or girdled) Kythereia because she reached Kythera, and Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros, and Philommedes (Genital-Loving) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros (Love), and comely Himeros (Desire) followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods,--the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness."

HOMERIC HYMN TO APHRODITE:

To Sea-set Kypros the moist breath of the western wind  wafted Aphrodite over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Horai (Seasons) welcomed her joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of orichalc and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted Horai wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Kythereia.

The Anacreontea, Fragment: Aphrodite roaming over the waves like sea-lettuce, moving her soft-skinned body in her voyage over the white calm sea, she pulls the breakers along her path. Above her rosy breast and below her soft neck a great wave divides her skin. In the midst of the furrow, like a lily wound among violets, Kypris shines out from the clam sea. Over the silver on dancing dolphins ride guileful Eros and laughing Himeros (Desire), and the chorus of bow-backed fish plunging in the waves sports with Paphia where she swims.

DAUGHTER OF ZEUS & DIONE.

A less common version makes Aphrodite a daughter of Zeus and the Okeanis Titanis Dione. Aphrodite and Dione both had temples in the sanctuary of Zeus at Dodona.

Other Famous Myths about Aphrodite:

EROS CAUSES ARES & APHRODITE TO FALL IN LOVE

One day Ares came in from the battlefield brandishing a strong spear and began to make fun of Eros weapon. Eros said, This one is heavy: try it and you will see. Ares took the javelin, while Aphrodite smiled quietly; and with a groan he said, It is heavy: take it back. Keep it, said Eros and so perhaps bound Ares and Aphrodite in love.

EROS AND PSYCHE

Aphrodite figures as a secondary character in the Tale of Eros and Psyche, which first appeared as a digressionary story told by an old woman in Lucius Apuleius' novel, The Golden Ass, written in the second century A.D.. In it Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of a mortal woman named Psyche. She asked Eros to use his golden arrows to cause Psyche to fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. Eros agreed, but then fell in love with Psyche on his own, by accidentally pricking himself with a golden arrow. Meanwhile, Psyche's parents were anxious that their daughter remained unmarried. They consulted an oracle who told them she was destined for no mortal lover, but a creature that lived on top of a particular mountain, that even the gods themselves feared. Eros had arranged for the oracle to say this. Psyche was resigned to her fate and climbed to the top of the mountain. She told the townfolk that followed her to leave and let her face her fate on her own. There, Zephyrus, the west wind, gently floated her downwards. She entered a cave on the appointed mountain, surprised to find it full of jewelry and finery. Eros visited her every night in the cave and they made passionate love; he demanded only that she never light any lamps because he did not want her to know who he was (having wings made him distinctive). Her two sisters, jealous of Psyche, convinced her that her husband was a monster, and she should strike him with a dagger. So one night she lit a lamp, but recognizing Eros instantly, she dropped her dagger. Oil spilled from the lamp onto his shoulder, awaking him, and he fled, saying, Love cannot live where there is no trust.


When Psyche told her two jealous elder sisters what had happened, they rejoiced secretly and each separately walked to the top of the mountain and did as Psyche described her entry to the cave, hoping Eros would pick them instead. Eros was still heart broken and did not pick them and they fell to their deaths at the base of the mountain.
Psyche searched for her love across much of Greece, finally stumbling into a temple to Demeter, where the floor was covered with piles of mixed grains. She started sorting the grains into organized piles and, when she finished, Demeter spoke to her, telling her that the best way to find Eros was to find his mother, Aphrodite, and earn her blessing. Psyche found a temple to Aphrodite and entered it. Aphrodite assigned her a similar task to Demeter's temple, but gave her an impossible deadline to finish it by. Eros intervened, for he still loved her, and caused some ants to organize the grains for her. Aphrodite was outraged at her success and told her to go to a field where deadly golden sheep grazed and get some golden wool. Psyche went to the field and saw the sheep but was stopped by a river-god, whose river she had to cross to enter the field. He told her the sheep were mean and vicious and would kill her, but if she waited until noontime, the sheep would go into the shade on the other side of the field and sleep; she could pick the wool that stuck to the branches and bark of the trees. Psyche did so and Aphrodite was even more outraged at her survival and success.


Finally, Aphrodite claimed that the stress of caring for her son, depressed and ill as a result of Psyche's unfaithfulness, had caused her to lose some of her beauty. Psyche was to go to Hades and ask Persephone, the queen of the underworld, for a bit of her beauty in a black box that Aphrodite gave to Psyche. Psyche walked to a tower, deciding that the quickest way to the underworld would be to die. A voice stopped her at the last moment and told her a route that would allow her to enter and return still living, as well as telling her how to pass the three-headed dog Cerberus, Charon and the other dangers of the route. She was to not lend a hand to anyone in need. She baked two barley cakes for Cerberus, and took two coins for Charon. She pacified Cerberus with the barley cake and paid Charon to take her to Hades. On the way there, she saw hands reaching out of the water. A voice told her to toss a barley cake to them. She refused. Once there, Persephone said she would be glad to do Aphrodite a favor. She once more paid Charon, and gave the other barley cake to Cerberus.
Psyche left the underworld and decided to open the box and take a little bit of the beauty for herself, thinking that if she did so Eros would surely love her. Inside was a ‘Stygian sleep’ which overtook her. Eros, who had forgiven her, flew to her body and wiped the sleep from her eyes, then begged Zeus and Aphrodite for their consent to his wedding of Psyche. They agreed and Zeus made her immortal. Aphrodite danced at the wedding of Eros and Psyche, and their subsequent child was named Pleasure, or (in the Roman mythology) Voluptas.

ADONIS

Aphrodite was Adonis' lover and a surrogate mother to him. Cinyras, the King of Cyprus, had an intoxicatingly beautiful daughter named Myrrha. When Myrrha's mother commits Hubris against Aphrodite by claiming her daughter is more beautiful than the famed goddess, Myrrha is punished with a neverending lust for her own father. Cinyras is repulsed by this, but Myrrha disguises herself as a prostitute, and secretly sleeps with her father at night. Eventually, Myrrha becomes pregnant and is discovered by Cinyras. In a rage, he chases her out of the house with a knife. Myrrha flees from him, praying to the gods for mercy as she runs. The gods hear her plea, and change her into a Myrrh tree so her father cannot kill her. Eventually, Cinyras takes his own life in an attempt to restore the family's honor.
Myrrha gives birth to a baby boy named Adonis. Aphrodite happens by the Myrrh tree and, seeing him, takes pity on the infant. She places Adonis in a box, and takes him down to Hades so that Persephone can care for him. Adonis grows into a strikingly handsome young man, and Aphrodite eventually returns for him. Persephone, however, is loath to give him up, and wishes Adonis would stay with her in the underworld. The two goddesses begin such a quarrel that Zeus is forced to intercede. He decrees that Adonis will spend a third of the year with Aphrodite, a third of the year with Persephone, and a third of the year with whomever he wishes. Adonis, of course, chooses Aphrodite.


Adonis begins his year on the earth with Aphrodite. One of his greatest passions is hunting, and although Aphrodite is not naturally a hunter, she takes up the sport just so she can be with Adonis. They spend every waking hour with one another, and Aphrodite is enraptured with him. However, her anxiety begins to grow over her neglected duties, and she is forced to leave him for a short time. Before she leaves, she gives Adonis one warning: do not attack an animal who shows no fear. Adonis agrees to her advice, but, secretly doubting her skills as a huntress, quickly forgets her warning.
Not long after Aphrodite leaves, Adonis comes across an enormous wild boar, much larger than any he has ever seen. It is suggested that the boar is the god Ares, one of Aphrodite's lovers made jealous through her constant doting on Adonis. Although boars are dangerous and will charge a hunter if provoked, Adonis disregards Aphrodite's warning and pursues the giant creature. Soon, however, Adonis is the one being pursued; he is no match for the giant boar. In the attack, Adonis is castrated by the boar, and dies from a loss of blood. Aphrodite rushes back to his side, but she is too late to save him and can only mourn over his body. Wherever Adonis' blood falls, Aphrodite causes anemones to grow in his memory. She vows that on the anniversary of his death, every year there will be a festival held in his honor.


On his death, Adonis goes back to the underworld, and Persephone is delighted to see him again. Eventually, Aphrodite realizes that he is there, and rushes back to retrieve him. Again, she and Persephone bicker over who is allowed to keep Adonis until Zeus intervenes. This time, he says that Adonis must spend six months with Aphrodite and six months with Persephone, the way it should have been in the first place.

THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS

The gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles). Only the goddess Eris (Discord) was not invited, but she arrived with a golden apple inscribed with the word kallistēi (to the fairest one) which she threw among the goddesses. Aphrodite, Hera and Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple. The goddesses chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands of Paris, of Troy. Hera tried to bribe Paris with Asia Minor, while Athena offered wisdom, fame and glory in battle, but naked Aphrodite standing very close to Paris whispered that if he were to choose her as the fairest he would have the most beautiful mortal woman in the world as a wife, and naturally he chose her. This woman was Helen. The other goddesses were enraged by this and through Helen's abduction by Paris they brought about the Trojan War.

PYGMALION AND GALATEA

Pygmalion was a sculptor who had never found a woman worthy of his love. Aphrodite took pity on him and decided to show him the wonders of love. One day, Pygmalion was inspired by a dream of Aphrodite to make a woman out of ivory resembling her image, and he called her Galatea. He fell in love with the statue and decided he could not live without her. He prayed to Aphrodite, who carried out the final phase of her plan and brought the exquisite sculpture to life. Pygmalion loved Galatea and they were soon married.

Another version of this myth tells that the women of the village in which Pygmalion lived grew angry that he had not married. They all asked Aphrodite to force him to marry. Aphrodite accepted and went that very night to Pygmalion, and asked him to pick a woman to marry. She told him that if he did not pick one, she would do so for him. Not wanting to be married, he begged her for more time, asking that he be allowed to make a sculpture of Aphrodite before he had to choose his bride. Flattered, she accepted.

Pygmalion spent a lot of time making small clay sculptures of the Goddess, claiming it was needed so he could pick the right pose. As he started making the actual sculpture he was shocked to discover he actually wanted to finish, even though he knew he would have to marry someone when he finished. The reason he wanted to finish it was that he had fallen in love with the sculpture. The more he worked on it, the more it changed, until it no longer resembled Aphrodite at all.

At the very moment Pygmalion stepped away from the finished sculpture Aphrodite appeared and told him to choose his bride. Pygmalion chose the statue. Aphrodite told him that could not be, and asked him again to pick a bride. Pygmalion put his arms around the statue, and asked Aphrodite to turn him into a statue so he could be with her. Aphrodite took pity on him and brought the statue to life instead.

This is probably Venus greatest gift, to enliven us. Not just in a physical sense as a creative force and mother goddess, but to fullfill us from the inside out.

To understand Venus is to understand the evolution of humanity inside of oneself, is to understand unity, the relationship between us, and to understand Venus in the astrological circle is to understand the natural way we operate or function in relationship to others as well as to ourselves. If we don't have a relationship to our inner Venus, the heavenly Venus Urania, then it is very likely that our self-valuation is lacking something (although Venus is weightless, she is not worthless) and then it is very likely that Venus' astrological association of vanity comes into play. If our soul is felt as an emptiness instead of its natural abundance of joy, if it is perceived as an abyss when we feel dark and are lamenting, if we feel vane, it’s very likely that we are looking out for a substitute to fulfil us from the outside. To understand Venus is to come to a place of meditation where fulfilment is found to be a fact of being alive. And astrology can be used as a mirror to the soul, to see the beauty. So be it.

Sieghart Rohr  

further articles from Sieghart:

Imagine you know nothing

A view from beyond the stars

My astrological overview

The astrological language

Responsibility, the ability to will

1968-2008

The hymn of love

The creation of humanity