The goddess of love and beauty returns to the evening sky this week, just in time for Valentine’s Day and New Moon!
Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, and will be followed by the New Moon on Thursday, then on Friday, the barest sliver of young Moon will appear on the western horizon with Venus about 30 minutes after sunset. This will be a beautiful scene, if you can catch it!
Venus was our morning star for most of last year, and disappeared several weeks before the turn into the new year, and is only just now becoming visible again. For some ancient cultures, Venus as morning star was a goddess of war, whereas in the evening sky, she represented peace and love. This seems to be rooted in the role of courage in love, for it was believed that there was no sort of courage more respected by the gods than the courage that comes from love.
The ancients also understood that Love was identical with the combining force that pervades the universe, and which causes the attraction of all things, even those forces that would contradict one another. This kind of force meant that humans had to be wary of base or mean love for the body alone, and to strive for a nobler love, that included a love beyond the physical.
So, here’s a little ceremony to undertake for the emergence of Venus this week: gather up some rose petals ~ the rose is the flower of Venus ~ and create a path to the western horizon before sunset at 6:06 pm on Friday. Bring a chalice and fill it with your favorite warm elixir. When the time arrives for Venus and Moon to appear (about 6:30 pm), offer up your chalice with a poem or a prayer of dedication to love, just as the crescent Moon, like a chalice, offers up Venus in the cosmos. You can think of this as the start of a month-long practice of paying attention to how you express and experience love. In one month, when we see the Moon and Venus together again in this configuration, the planet Mercury will be standing by, and as messenger of the gods, he will want to know if what we offered has true and noble meaning!