Venus Cazimi: An Alchemical Turning Point


Venus Retrograde Cazimi in Leo

Sunday, August 13, 2023

This is not the blog that I had imagined I would be sharing earlier in the week. But then I had a couple of things happen that left me emotionally feeling like I was standing on ground that was crumbling beneath my feet and then just as I had righted myself I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in several years who is going through a profound grief process having lost several people in her life over the last year most significantly her husband. As I noted in my last blog unexpected events are often angels in disguise. 

In the Venus Retrograde workshop I am currently facilitating we began with Innana’s descent into the underworld to visit her sister. In myth Innana, Queen of the Heavens, is the original iteration of Venus. In this part of her story, she goes to visit her sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld, the Great below who is in labor but has become so stuck in the grief of losing her husband that she is refusing to let her child be born. She actually executes Innana upon her arrival and hangs her on a meat hook. In order to save Innana the God Enki creates two creatures and instructs them to enter the Underworld like flies, to sit upon Ereshkigal’s bed, and to then simply repeat, essentially mirror, Ereshkigals words back to her. Adding that she will eventually offer them a gift and that they are to ask for Inanna's body and then pour the water of life over her bringing her back to life. 

From the story:

“Ereshkigal was moaning: Oh! Oh! My Inside!

They moaned: Oh! Oh! Your Inside!

She moaned: Oh! Oh! My Outside

They moaned: Oh! Oh! Your Outside”

Eventually, Ereshkigal experiences being seen and heard and indeed offers them a gift. 

So how does this relate to your life as you move through this Venus retrograde cycle, mirroring various cycles with our own lives? 

Venus’ symbol represents a hand mirror. By its nature, a mirror reflects us back to ourselves. Just as within the myth, we could say through a psychological lens that Innana Queen of the Heavens is a mirror of Ereshkigal Queen of the underworld. Our conscious world (The heavens) mirrors our subconscious world (the underworld).

This process is symbolic of the various phases we ourselves move through on our own journey of which grief is a significant one that we often avoid, rush through, and can’t tolerate in ourselves let alone others instead trying to fix ourselves or them to make ourselves more comfortable rather than honoring their or our very own process. 

When we bury our grief new life does not fully emerge and we continue to recreate the old pattern because we never completed it. How this usually manifests in our lives is something along the lines of no matter what job we take we always, always have the boss from hell. We somehow date the same person again and again in different clothing. Our life becomes an iteration of the Einstein quote Insanity is doing the same thing again and again expecting different results.”

As Francis Weller writes in his powerful book The Wild Edge of Sorrow: 

“Grief work is not passive it implies an ongoing practice of deepening, attending and listening.”

To fully do this we must stretch toward and embrace ourselves in all of our glorious messiness. We must allow ourselves, and others a moment to breathe before we step into the unknown of a new life, a new creative project, a new relationship. We when don’t allow ourselves a moment to grieve we are essentially committing an act of violence against ourselves. We metaphorically hang ourselves upon the meat hook. 

Mark Nepo's words come to mind “I learned that what we retreat to may at first be a refuge, but that which we face and see becomes a resource.” 

Remember that the new Moon is indeed the dark Moon where there is seemingly no light. It is from this darkness that new life emerges.

Relationships, Venus’s domain, stimulate our growth. All relationships. Our relationships with our significant others, parents, children, friends, a work we love, a creative project, pets etc. Essentially when you really consider it all life is based on relationships, including our very relationship with life itself as viewed through the lens of our particular psyche.  

Tomorrow, Venus will be Cazmi which marks a turning point, the beginning of a new phase within the Venus retrograde cycle. 

In medieval astrology, when a planet is Cazimi it enters the heart of the sun after being burned by its beams. It’s treated as an alchemical process in which the planet emerges as its more purified and clarified force. 

In the spirit of sharing I a giving you the homework my class was given last week: Chronicle the things your need to grieve for, large and small. Whether they be a person, a relationship, a creative project, a dream that didn't come to fruition, or a part of yourself that feels like it has left the building. Make a list. And find a simple way to honor and witness that part of yourself. It is a sacred part of your process, after all, just a little time. A moment to breathe. A little more than 100 years ago it was an accepted practice within our culture to go into mourning for an entire year. Mirrors would be covered, the house would be shuttered and people would wear black gradually shifting to “lighter colors of mourning” such as grey and lavender. It could be as simple as placing the list below a lit candle. 

This helps to create the space for new life to emerge. Both through the Venus Retrograde cycle and the New Moon in Leo on the 16th. 

In our fast-paced world we sadly most often don’t take the time to witness and align with the cycles of life. We, not just individually but culturally, live in a world where we often view ourselves as separate from the greater cycles of life. Personally, I prefer a more enchanted view of the universe, as renowned cultural historian and astrologer Richard Tarnas posits. One where the universe is seen and thus experienced as caring and sentient. One where both we and everything are connected. 

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