Venus has recently returned to the evening sky, and this week on Friday, the goddess of love and beauty moves across the celestial equator and is restored to the northern celestial hemisphere, just in time for all the spring festivals of renewal.
The celestial equator is an imaginary line projected out into space from the Earth’s equator, and it allows astronomers to speak about the northern and southern celestial hemispheres. When the sun appears to move across the celestial equator, we call it equinox, and it marks the time when day and night are of equal length. This happens twice every year, and will happen later this month at spring equinox, when the sun moves across the celestial equator, day and night are for a moment of equal length, and then greater daylight returns to the northern hemisphere.
So the planets appear to do this, too, and this week, it’s the turn of Venus. There are a lot of myths connected to this particular motion of Venus, myths of the divine feminine emerging from the underworld, like Persephone for the ancient Greeks, after she was abducted by Hades and taken against her will to be his queen in the underworld. Before Persephone returned to the upper world, Hades tricked her into eating the pomegranate seed, which meant that she would have to spend one third of every year with him in his underworld kingdom.
What isn’t obvious at first in this myth is that the ancient Greeks never told tales of Perspehone’s time in the upper world – she was always only ever the dread goddess of the underworld. So they left a question unanswered, one that seems really timely right now: who is Persephone when she emerges from the shadows? She’s no longer the maiden daughter of the mother she was torn away from when she was abducted, and in the upper world, she’s no longer subject to the control of Hades. Who is she once she’s been freed of these circumstances?
The ancient Greeks left the answer to the centuries. And there’s a clue right now, not only in the day-to-day world, but in the motion of another planet in our sky. The planet Mercury, who is messenger of gods and escort of souls. Mercury has just swept close to Venus in the evening sky, as though offering Persephone his hand for leading in her into the upper-world. His only request of her, as god of communication, is that she speak her truth.