Earlier this month, on the 5th of June, there was a Transit of Venus over the Sun. This once in a lifetime event involved being able to observe a comparatively tiny Venus pass in front of the body of the Sun. Millions viewed this rare event personally, using equipment, or online through NASA’s webcast.
Many people have asked me what I believe the Transit of Venus signifies. I mainly do ancient astrology, so the question is often, “what do ancient texts say about transits of Venus, or any planet, over the surface of the Sun?”. Well, the truth is that I’m not aware of the texts saying much about the phenomena. It is a type of “mundane” phenomena though, as in something that seems to have significance for general worldly events, such as political, spiritual/philosophical, and cultural changes. It basically seems to be a suped up version of something called “Cazimi” or “in the heart of the Sun”, which is when a planet is within a degree from the Sun (later authors made it within 16′ of the Sun).
I do actually have some very strong opinions myself about what the Venus Transit means, and they tend to differ considerably from what I typically see ascribed to the transit in the astrological community. While my interpretation of the transit as a phenomena is not lifted directly from any ancient source, my interpretation of it is completely based in ancient principles and doctrines of interpretation.
I believe that the Venus Transit of 2012 pertains very strongly to the issue of gay marriage, especially in the U.S., and that it bodes well for major progress in that area in the near future.
I base my interpretation of the Venus Transit on 4 main factors:
1. Venus – her natural significations
2. Cazimi – what it means to be empowered with the Sun
3. Venus-Mercury – the combination of these planets in partnership
4. 7th House for U.S. – for this year
Let’s discuss each one of these.
First, it should not be forgotten that the Transit of Venus is chiefly about Venus. Her main significations pertain to sexuality, love, union, marriage, pleasure, art, aesthetics, music, femininity, liquids, perfumes, and fatty fruits. Yet, it is not uncommon to see predictions that pertain to weird new age spiritual things, financial cycles, wars, etc. based on her transit, as if matters of art, music, pleasure, sex, marriage, and all that other enjoyable stuff is just too marginal for us to find significant. I think this is quite misguided. There is significant importance to changes in the way we perceive and create beauty, make love, trends in music and fashion and art, sensual openness, partnership customs, and so forth. These are integral parts of human culture.
Therefore, when you think of the Venus transit, think of Venus, the goddess, and Aphrodite, and that something important is brewing in the world of pleasure, beauty, and partnership.
There is a distinction between a planet being strong when within a degree of the Sun as opposed to being weakened when under the Sun’s beams which first appears in Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century CE, in Ch. 14). The distinction is actually lost in the Schmidt translation of Paulus but is correctly maintained in the Greenbaum translation.
The distinction was later described as akin to being in the heart of the Sun by Rhetorius (~7th century CE, in Ch. 1) who also further clarified that the planet was more powerful in its significations when in such a position.
Medieval Persian and Arabic astrologers drawing on Rhetorius and/or Paulus continued to use the concept. In the Jewish Perisan astrologer Sahl’s “Fifty Judgments” (9th century CE) the concept still involved a degree and was one of strength versus the weakness of being under the beams (note: Sahl thought it good if a malefic were under the beams, because it would be weaker in its malefic significations – see Judgments 29 and 39). However, later in the Perso-Arabic medieval period the concept of cazimi changed from being within a degree of the Sun to being within 16′ of the Sun, which is about one solar radii in arc length as observed from earth. al-Qabisi (10th century CE) even goes so far as to say it should be within 16′ by both longitude and latitude, which amounts to a planet either transiting in front of the Sun (as Venus recently did, and as must be the case by this definition when Mercury or Venus are cazimi) or behind it (as in the case of Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn). Therefore, an actual Transit of Venus is Venus cazimi in the strictest, later sense, as used by al-Qabisi. We might consider it a more powerful version of the foundational Hellenistic notion involving being within a degree of the Sun.
Early definitions refer to Venus being more powerful or strong, and to being in the heart of the Sun. The Sun is the primary symbol of power, leadership, honors, and political office in ancient astrology, so this notion of greater power only when truly in the Sun’s “inner circle” becomes very naturally extended by the very famous Jewish scholar, astrologer, and traveling mystic, Abraham Ibn Ezra, in the 12th century who likened a planet in cazimi to one sitting on the throne with the king (Book of Wisdom, Ch. 8, #98). While I don’t usually go beyond 1000CE, Ibn Ezra here gives a great descriptive analogy for cazimi which is consistent with both the prior notions of power and the natural significations of the Sun.
This is how I view the Venus transit too, as Venus assuming a role in leadership. She has special consul with the major players, the game changers, and it is her time to wield some political power, bringing about things she’d like to see.
I do a lot of research into the ancient astrology of sexual orientation. It surprised me when I got into the Hellenistic and Persian material just how much material there was that pertained to sexual orientation. It’s always puzzled me how weird some people get when discussing such literature too, as if it’s taboo to have a symbolic language that might be able to describe various expressions of sexuality. The extent of such literature has actually put me in awe at the height of astrological achievement in the Hellenistic era, not least because these are good significations, which when used properly are quite informative in ways other systems of astrology had never been with this topic.
There are many indicators of homosexuality (and of various sorts of homosexuality and various sexual appetites) in the literature. However, it is not recommended that one try to delineate sexuality based on a few stray indications. Some of the indications can mean many things, not just homosexuality.
This brings us to Venus-Mercury combinations. Venus-Mercury combinations show up in many indicators of homosexuality in ancient astrology. Interestingly, Venus-Mercury also pertains a great deal to theater, eloquent speech, and musical composition. Remember that Mercury signifies commerce, language, and generally complex things with lots of “exchange”. Hermes, the original astrological Mercury, was a god associated with hermaphrodites, and other such combinations of gender roles through his children. Mercury basically complicates through admixture and exchange. Venus with Mercury, brings in sexuality, partnership, and the arts, and thus is a natural and comfortable signifier for hermaphrodites, homosexuals, bisexuals, transvestite, transgender, and so forth. These are but some of the more sexually-oriented significations.
It is interesting how they can bundle at times when Mercury-Venus is prominent and there are other similar indications with regards to sexuality, such that we may have more gay and transgender people attracted to the theater, musical composition, aesthetic science, and so forth. They do not always bundle though. I have Venus and Mercury co-present in the same sign and I’m heterosexual, though very attracted to the science of music and composition, as well as to poetry.
In any case, here are some indications about sexuality involving Venus-Mercury in a few texts:
Dorotheus (1st century CE, Carmen Astrologicum, Book II, Ch. 7 – repeated in Rhetorius and others):
- Venus in a house of Mercury (i.e. Gemini or Virgo) while Mercury is in a bad place (i.e. the 12th, 6th, 8th, or 2nd) is an indication of homosexuality.
- Lot of marriage (not Venus but Venus-like) with Mercury (Rhetorius has in a house of Mercury), with Mercury in a masculine (i.e. air or fire) sign in an angle (i.e. in the 1st, 10th, 7th, or 4th house), indicates homosexuality.
Abu’Ali (9th century CE, On the Judgements of Nativities):
- Venus and Mercury in each other’s domiciles, or Venus and Mercury together in a domicile of Saturn, indicates homosexuality.
Abu Bakr (9th century CE, On Nativities):
- Mercury and Venus together in the 7th house is an indication of homosexuality.
Umar al-Tabari (9th century CE, Three Books on Nativities):
- Mercury as the almuten (planet with the most rulership) over many of the marriage points, including Venus, Moon, 7th, and lot of marriage, is an indication of homosexuality.
As you can see one of the indications of Venus-Mercury combinations on a sexual level is homosexuality, and possibly LGBT-ness in a general sense. The Venus Transit involved Venus in Gemini, a house of Mercury, and with Mercury in that house. Therefore, the cultural and political power wielded by Venus can pertain to poetry, music, artistic theory, but also to more complected forms of sexuality and partnership. The joining of Venus to the Sun was in the bound of Venus as well, which is sort of like her own room in Gemini, thus it echoes back to more prototypical or core Venusian significations, especially of sexuality and partnership.
House of Marriage, For a Little While
Many people contend that the chart of the U.S. has Sagittarius rising. If that were so, then Gemini would be the 7th house of the U.S. chart, and would have special relevance for marriage and partnership customs as they develop within the legal entity of that state. However, the U.S. chart is something of a matter of debate. Additionally, less stress was placed on the charts of the birth of political entities in the ancient world, then on temporary charts for those locations that pertained to varying measures of time.
The important mundane charts for periods of time that were discussed by Abu Ma’shar and al-Qabisi were of two main types, those of equinoxes/solstices and those of lunations/eclipses. Most of the important charts are those of a Vernal Equinox preceding a great conjunction of Jupiter-Saturn. These great conjunctions occur every 20 years, but certain ones are particularly important, such as the first such conjunction in a new triplicity (i.e. element) which carries significations that apply to major changes over about 240 years, and the first such conjunction in Aries which carries significations that apply to major changes over about 960 years. You can read more about the hierarchy of these charts in my post on this matter.
What is particularly significant to us is that the chart signifying the major U.S. changes for 2012 has Sagittarius rising, and the exact Venus Transit to the center of the Sun from Washington, D.C. has Sagittarius rising. This means that the Venus Transit has a particular relevance for state matters of marriage and partnership this year and that this significance was reinforced at the actual transit.
Given the occurrence of the Venus Transit in the 7th house of the year for the U.S., we are given a clear indication that such events in Gemini take on a particular relevance for marriage in the U.S. Not only the Venus Transit but also the solar eclipse of May 20th, 2012 occurred in the sign of marriage for this year in the U.S.A.
Venus, planet of love, sexuality, partnership, and beauty, has attained some special power this year to affect the political scene. She is particularly inclined to complected varieties, especially LGBT sexuality, and the place of her transit this year is the place where she has access to the marriage and partnership customs of the country.
On a side note, the Venus Transit took place conjunct the star Rigel, which is a star in the foot of the hunter Orion. It is thought to have significance related to marching. Time to get that pride march together!