A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



June 2008

VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com


In this issue:
  Venus and her dance as the Snake Charmer : exploring how Venus can carries a collective theme.

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 Venus and her dance as the Snake Charmer
 exploring why Venus carries a collective theme
Bernadette Brady M.A.

When Venus is a morning or evening star it becomes the brightest “star” in our night skies and few people can walk out under a starry sky with a brilliant evening Venus without asking “What star is that!” or marveling at her apparent classic Christmas-tree-type-star appearance. (Left: Venus as an evening star.) 


It is a simple fact of our solar system that the further Venus is separated from the sun, the brighter she glows in the morning or evening skies. Most of us are familiar with this movement which is so spectacular that it was the focus of the earliest astrological writings, the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa which are cuneiform tablets recovered from the library at Nineveh, and although dated from the 7th century BCE, are considered to be transcriptions from older Bronze Age records.  


As astrologers we also marvel at her beautiful cycle of five retrograde loops which are arranged elegantly around the circle of the ecliptic giving us a five point mandala as Venus moves in its orbit around the sun, completing each mandala every eight years and making each "point" every 584 days.


As this mandala unfolds over space and time it slowly drifts westward by around 2 degrees each complete mandala. Thus slowly the five points of this Venus mandala move backwards through all the signs of the zodiac over a period of 243 years.


Additionally the path transcribed amongst the stars by Venus engaging in a retrograde loop slowly morph from a symmetrical loop to a tight and bent loop, thereby gradually changing what stars within a particular constellation Venus touches during the course of her retrograde movement (see figure 1). 


To the Assyrian astrologer-priests Venus was the only female deity in the heavens and her power lay with her associations. When she shone brightly on another planet or group of stars, she was considered to be "radiating" these other heavenly bodies (stars or planets) and thus they received her blessing and could use it to their own advantage. If the part of the sky being radiated by Venus was considered supportive of the king and the realm, then all was well but if the constellation was a potential rival, such as Orion, or just simply a difficult part of the sky, such as the great Scorpion, then difficult times were predicted. (For more information on Venus see the February 2006 issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter).

 Figure 1 - The retrograde path of Venus shift from symmetrical to quiet bent loops
 as it changes its relationship to its node
(where Venus crosses the ecliptic as it moves north to south or vice versa).

As Venus' five pointed mandala slowly unfolds and shifts by 2 degrees every eight years, it will be linked to five different constellations which, according to the Assyrian astrologers, she will be radiating and thus empowering. Added to this visual phenomena is the effect of Venus' morphing retrograde paths which add a variation to what actual stars in the five constellations or parts of the sky are being touched by Venus. For it is not the same retrograde path every eight years just shifted a little to the west but rather a shift to the west linked with an alteration of the actual pathway transcribed by Venus, as shown in figure 1.  Any single constellation will have Venus repeating an exact loop only once every 243 years and for many stars and parts of constellations Venus is the only planet that is able to move into their part of the sky.

Additionally because Venus is at its brightest when it is retrograde, as this is the period when it is furthest from the sun, when it does move into its unique and variable retrograde loops, traveling to parts of the sky unavailable to other planets it is, according to visual astrology, at its most powerful, its greatest ability to radiate another.

The visual experience is that Venus will be seen to be growing brighter as an evening or morning star and then, for some of these times,  it will begin to move north or south of the ecliptic and, while shinning brilliantly, will weave a loop – either wide or tight – circling stars and parts of constellations and empowering them by its radiating beams. Finally after sharing her radiating light with these stars, she returns to a more stable pathway, slowly dims and eventually disappear into the sun's light.   


Currently the five areas of the sky being radiated by Venus are:


March 2001 – The Fishes of Pisces
October 2002 – Between the Scales of Libra and Virgo

June 2004 – The Eye and Horns of Taurus the Bull

January 2006 – The Cape and Bow of Sagittarius

August 2007 – The Head of the Hydra


In this article I want to examine Venus’ journey through the constellation the Hydra and her present focus in the head of this great and ancient snake.


The Hydra


The Hydra (figure 2) is the largest constellation in the sky, stretching for nearly 95 degrees across the heavens from Cancer to Scorpio. It has gone through many names but through most cultures it is a snake, a serpent or a water snake. The Hydra is considered to be the constellation on a uranographic [1] stone from the Euphrates of 1200 BCE showing it as the source of connection to the "great deep" and also to the great dragon Tiamat. Many cultures have a snake or serpent connected with their creation myths in some way and in the ancient Aegean world women were worshipped with serpents.  Although the Hydra is the largest of all the constellations it has not been broken up and redistributed to other groupings by the Greeks or later astronomers.

 Figure 2 - The Hydra, covers over 95 degrees of the sky
 and carries on her back Corvus, the crow and Crater (the Cup).

Venus and the Snake 

Since 1831 Venus has slowly been creating retrograde loops which have been moving westward along the back of the Hydra (see figure 3). As Venus moves along the back of the Hydra she radiates the different asterisms which are located on her back.

Figure 3. The turning points of retrograde loops of Venus amongst the stars of the Hydra. Positions are given for every 16 years although Venus will retrograde amongst these stars every 8 years.

Venus' current journey through the Hydra



Venus radiating Corvus the Crow - the insightful


In 1847 Venus was forming loops around Corvus the Crow or the magical raven, the mystical and wise bird of many different cultures' mythology. Into this cycle Annie Besant was born (1 October 1847). She was a political activist who spoke out against the lack of women's rights, the established religion and the political  systems of the day in England. She was also involved with the Theosophical Society and when she moved to India, she campaigned for self-government in that country. Born a little later in the same cycle of 584 days from the retrograde loop of Venus in Corvus the crow was the artist Paul Gauguin (7 June 1848) who was a leading Post-Impressionist painter. and an artist who helped establish the primitive movement in art, a breakaway form the traditional styles.  


In September 1855, Venus once again produced a loop over the Raven (Corvus) and in that period, between this and the next Venus retrograde loop, Sigmund Freud was born (6 May 1856). It was Feud who challenged our view of humanity by the exploration of the human psyche.  


 Venus radiating Corvus the crow :
the insightful

Photo of Sigmund Freud, 1938

Annie Besant
(1847 - 1933)

Paul Gauguin
 (1848 - 1903)

Sigmund Freud
(1856 - 1939)


Venus radiating the Crater, the Chalice


By 1879 Venus was entering the Crater – the cup or Chalice - and in that time Joseph Stalin was born (21 Dec 1879). Stalin became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. As a dictator he undertook ethnic cleansings against many different cultural groups within Russia and it is believed that over 3 million people died under his policies. 

Douglas MacArthur was born in the same cycle and within a few weeks of the birth of Joseph Stalin, (26 January 1880). MacArthur was a US General and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army in chief of the Allied forces during WWII. Both these military men had the lives of thousands of individuals in their hands and both men were a cause of the loss of life, MacArthur in the causalities of war and Stalin through political “cleansing”.  In their case the Chalice was a cup filled with blood. 


 Venus radiating the Crater :
the Chalice of Blood.

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin
(1879 - 1953)

General Douglas MacArthur (1880 - 1964)


However, other notable births in this time period include: Franz Marc (Feb 1880) German painter (founder of the Blaue Reiter School), Sean O'Casey (March 30th) Irish playwright (Playboy of the Western World), Mikhail Fokine (April 26th) Russian choreographer/founder of modern dance, Allard R Hulshoff (May 19th) architect of Amsterdam, and Robert Rutherford McCormick (July 30th) US editor/publisher Chicago Tribune. For these people, Venus radiating the Crater means that they carried a gift which they could offer the world which was of benefit to it.


Venus radiating the Sextant - giving ways of understanding


By 1927, 1935 and 1943 Venus was radiating Sextans. In this period the zoologist Desmond Morris was born ( 24 Jan 1928). Morris is the author of "The Naked Ape" and is often criticized for viewing all of human behaviour through a zoological lens. In contrast to this view of the human psyche, R.D Laing was born just a few months before Morris (7 Oct 1927)  Laing was a psychiatrist who went against the psychiatric orthodoxy of the time by taking the expressions or communications of the individual patient or client as representing valid descriptions of lived experience or reality, rather than as symptoms of some separate or underlying disorder.



 Venus radiating the Sextans :
ways of understanding

Desmond Morris in 2006

Desmond Morris
(1928 - )

R.D. Laing
(1927 - 1989)


Venus radiating the head of the Hydra


The last retrograde loop of Venus was in August 2007 and this occurred over the head of the Hydra.  Venus will keep emphasizing this set of stars every 8 years until its retrograde loop of 2031. Thus there are three periods in this current era where the head of the Hydra gains the blessing and radiation of a brilliant Venus: the first was this last retrograde loop of Venus in August 2007 (see figure 4), the second will be in August 2015 and the third in August 2023.


 Figure 4 - The Venus retrograde loop of August 2007 - radiating the head of the Hydra. The yellow Venus is when Venus is direct, with the red showing the positions of Venus moving retrograde or stationary.



An Earlier Cycle

We won't know about any notable births for some time from the people born in 2007 and we could look back in time for notable births in earlier periods. However, another way of approaching this is by considering historical events for other periods when Venus was radiating the head of the Hydra 243 years ago. The last time the head was emphasized was the American War of Independence (1775 – 1783) and the betrayal of the American forces by Benedict Arnold, who handed over the plans to West Point to the English. This betrayal occurred during the retrograde loop over the head of the hydra in September 1780. 


The period prior to this was in 1521, 1529 and 1537 when Henry VIII (1491-1547) separated England from the Church of Rome during the English Reformation. In 1530 Henry accused Cardinal Wolsey, the most powerful man in England, of treason. This pattern was repeated in the next Venus retrograde cycle over the head of the Hydra with Benedict Arnold. Cardinal Wolsey fell ill and died on his way to answer Henry’s charges.


In both these periods of retrograde loops over the head of the Hyda we see successful challenges to an established power, in the 18th century it was to the power of England while in the 16th century it was that of the Catholic Church.


Is it possible that this current Venus retrograde loop is heralding another such period, both in the people who are born as well as the mundane events that will emerge? The larger time frame is between  2007 – 2023 where history may reach a turning point again by a challenge to the established power through issues of betrayal and a new page in history being written that will stay current for the next 240 years taking us well into the 23rd century.


Finding a collective theme to your natal Venus


Apart from these large mundane cycles, we can ask of our own natal charts, what was the retrograde loop of Venus into which we were born. Look in the ephemeris for the immediate time before your birth to find when Venus was retrograde. Then if you own Starlight simply enter the date and look at the sky map to see what stars or what part of the sky Venus was radiating. This is the zeitgeist of your Venus, its background and collective theme grouping you into a Venus generation.


1. Uranography is the branch of knowledge concerned with mapping the stars, galaxies, or other celestial bodies.


The software that allows you to work with the whole sky in your astrology is Starlight and it can be explored on the Zyntara home page where there are also online tutorials.