Venus our brightest celestial companion after Sun and Moon, begins its rhythmic retrograde or apparent backward, motion this week. This means that very soon the planet will be swallowed up in the light of the Sun and will not be visible for awhile. But before Venus goes, there’s something we should be aware of…
For ancient cultures, Venus was goddess, arrayed with love and beauty in its many forms: as Isis to the Egyptians, Aphrodite to the Greeks, as the Divine Feminine to the Maya. In this role, it was believed Venus was invested with the care and cultivation of what lives as secret longing in the heart of the human being.
Venus never appears very far from the Sun, so the ancients believed this was how the goddess continually stoked the flames of human love and beauty, by constant proximity to the light and warmth of the Sun.
When Venus moves into retrograde and disappears into the sunlight, it’s like the two are engaged in a conference; their topic of conversation is these secrets and longings that are held in the innermost chambers of the human heart.
It’s a beautiful imagination that begs the question: what are we carrying in our hearts?
The Austrian poet Rilke seemed to address the very thing in his Letters to a Young Poet, which are like a directive from Venus to the human being, before the planet disappears from our view for awhile:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer…
Venus will begin its retrograde Saturday, March 4, and will rapidly sink into the western horizon, disappearing from view about mid-month, coming to conference with the Sun on Sunday, March 25.