Venus as Inanna & the Cosmic Pentagram

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Venus, Stage 1

The planet Venus and its cycles were closely observed and honored by many ancient civilizations and shamanic cultures like the Celtic at New Grange Ireland, the remains of the Sumerians, the Babylonians and Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem; best known is the Mayan calculation.

The ancients were attracted to Venus because one it was fairly regular in its orbit, two close to the earth and easily observable and three its unusual pattern.  This allowed them to based ceremonies and rituals what has since been called the “Cosmic Pentagram.”

Mayan Temple

A complete pentagram is formed in the sky by Venus in 8 years, in other words, from any degree point of contact Venus will return to that point in exactly eight years.

As Venus orbits the sun approximately every 225 day but as it is seen from Earth, the planet appears to move back and forth relative to the sun in a cycle that lasts 584 days. Five of these oscillations—2,920 days—are almost exactly as long as eight solar years. You may have noticed this in your Solar Returns that every eighth birthday return Venus will be within a couple of degrees of its natal position.

On Saturday, March 05 2017,  Venus turned retrograde at 13 Aries 07.  The Sabian Symbol is “a serpent coiling near a man & a woman.”  Fast forward to March 2, 2025 ( almost 8 years hence, less 3 days)  we see in the ephemeris Venus Retrograde @ 10 Aries 50 that has the symbol of “A canoe approaching safety through dangerous waters.”

The Venus cycles are regular, but not quite exact; that’s life for you –march 25.png

Now take any Venus superior conjunction  (an Earth-Sun-Venus alignment)  or any inferior conjunction (an Earth -Venus-Sun alignment) and elapse 584 days in either direction (forward or backward).


If there is  inferior Sun-Venus conjunction on March 25, 2017 (Aries)  add 584 days via the website Time and Date’s calculator.  The site will return  the date for the the next inferior conjunction which is October 30, 2018 (Scorpio).   If instead we want to see if the star above works, subtract 584 days, and this time Time and Date site will return the previous inferior conjunction or  around August 19, 2015 (Leo) — it is actually August 15th four days off.  Subtract again and you get 12 January 2014  (really January 11th Capricorn) and one last time gives  7 June 2012 (June 6th or Gemini).

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Keith Hunter’s website, The Mayan-Aztec Mysteries, has further details but the 584 time-frame is an approximation, it is better to use this, from the British Astronomical Association,  for the inferior dates.

british astronomical association.png

A listing of both the superior & inferior dates is at the Venus Cycle-1 document.


                       Venus Retrograding

On January 9, 2018, Venus has a superior conjunction with the Sun at 19 Capricorn 23 giving us the Sabian symbol of a “Church with no service,”  highlighting the harmonizing elements underlying experience.    A superior conjunction is when the inner planets  — Mercury and Venus are the inferior  planets to the  luminaries of the Sun and Moon — can be observed from the Earth.

january 9 2018.png


                                        VENUS in Myth

Now that we have covered all the background material, I want to focus primarily on the mythological/ritualistic aspect of the Venus cycle.  As previously mentioned the Maya used the Venus cycle to create a sacred  260-day calendar.

It was based that Venus spends about 260 days as a morning star and 260 as an evening star, the two phases separated by a 60 to 70 day period in the ‘underworld,’ i.e. when Venus is invisible.  When it emerges from that phase, it is now the evening star.Venus+and+Mercury+as+Morning+Stars copy1

The Sumerians identified Venus with their central religious figure, Inanna who was closely allied to love and war; the Mesopotamians called her Ishtar.  Inanna was associated with the morning and evening  phases of Venus — the 7 or 8  successive conjunctions  with the Moon  they called ‘Gates.’

The Ishtar myth is far better.  Here, Ishtar queen of heaven,  has set her heart upon visiting the nether world, the home of her sister Ereshkigal.  There are lots of ideas, but in the end, the best that fits is her desire to increase her power in the Netherworld too,  though the other idea of  freeing her lover Tammuz is very tantalizing and depending upon the story each one works out convincingly.   In the one that most intrigues me, Ishtar/Inanna  gathers all the appropriate divine decrees, adorns herself with her queenly robes and jewels, and enters the “land of no return.”

Ereshkigal, her fierce rival (sibling rivalry no less)  kills her — here this means her earthly body is held captive in the Netherworld.  Beforehand though, realizing that her sister may  put her to death for trespassing,  Inanna instructs her faithful messenger, Ninshubur  that if after three days should she fail to return, he should go to heaven and cry for her in the assembly hall of the gods.

  •  Ninshubur should also go to Nippur (a holy city in Sumeria and also a god   & weep and plead before Enlil ,the god of air who later became the king of all the Sumerian gods, to save Inanna from Ereshkigal’s clutches.
    • If Enlil should refuse, then Nippur should go  Ur where  Nanna, the great Sumerian moon-god associated with the Egyptian Hathor and Taurus, resides and plead Ianna’s case there.
      • If Nanna, the fertility god refuses, then Ninshubur the messenger should go to Eridu, where Sumerian civilization is said to have originated, and weep and plead before Enki, the mischievous god of wisdom, magic and incantations. Enki is similar to the Viking god Loki.
        • If all is lost, Enki who was an exorcist (magic and incantations) ¹, will use his knowledge and expel Ianna from the Netherworld. Appropriately enough he was the deity of cleanliness.

The descent

The descent into the Underworld begins just after the retrograde station of Venus when Venus disappears into the Sun’s glare.  This happens near the Vernal Equinox on March 20 or so. This year it occurs March 25th, 2017 at 12 noon when Venus meets up with the Sun & makes an inferior conjunction. This happens at the degree of 4 Aries 44 (see the chart above where Venus is circled in green) that is the symbol of a “Triangle with Wings.”

While Wheeler borrows it from the Freemasons, it looks just like iconograph below when turned upside down, just as Inanna will later hang (see the Hanged Man card in the Tarot for this motif as well.)

The Sun Council

When Inanna, daughter of Sin, goes into Council with the Sun (i.e. Venus is conjunct the Sun), she disappears from the sky & renews herself.  Her backward and inward retrograde motion symbolizes the archetypal need for for self-examination, meditation & renewal.

After the initial Sun conjunction, Inanna will encounter the Moon for each of following seven months.  Every contact represents one Gate of initiation and at each gate, she must relinquish either a power or  possession.  When she reaches the 7th Gate, she is stripped bare, and on bended knees brought before Ereshkigal and the seven Anunnaki, or the great pantheon of gods who decide upon the fate of  mankind . They give  Inanna their “look of death,” whereupon she is turned into a corpse and hung from a stake.

So pass three days and three nights.

On the fourth day, Ninshubur, seeing that his mistress has not returned, proceeds to make the rounds of the gods in accordance with his instructions. As Inanna had foreseen, both Enlil of Nippur and Nanna refuse to help. Enki, sure enough, devises a plan to restore her to life. He creates the  kurgarru and kalaturru, two sexless creatures, entrusting them with the  the “food of life” and the “water of life,” with instructions to proceed to the nether world and to sprinkle this sixty times on Inanna’s suspended corpse. This they do and Inanna revives. Her experience represents the spiritual journey everyone  must make in the quest for personal transformation.

                              Venus/Inanna’s Helical Rise

On March 31 Venus/Inanna emerges from the Underworld, a heliacal rising, as the Morning Star; the planet Neptune rises a few degrees ahead of her.  The meeting with the Sun inaugurates a new mission, a new plan, a new period of activity,  that is actualized during this cycle.  This particular  cycle is characterized by the archetype of Neptune, the sea god, who was first discovered in 1847, almost two hundred years ago.  Neptune, astrologically, represents fantasies, daydreams, music & propaganda but ultimately duty.

The central challenge then is learning to maintain a healthy balance between one’s sense of obligation as it is shown in one’s natal’s house and elevating that into the greater duty to one’s social circle i.e. family and community.

There may be a tendency to become so idealistic in serving a higher cause that the sense of self is lost and the challenge becomes setting long-range goals to avoid getting lost in the minutia of the moment thus losing all perspective of your purpose.

On April 15th,  Venus’ backward (retrograde) motion ends.  It will be stationary direct @ 26 Pisces 55, a degree symbolized by “a harvest moon rises in the east”  suggesting a heightened awareness of a need to visualize the nascent self and communicate with one’s values.

The turn from backward to forwarding motion symbolizes an awareness of what has been learned from communicating with the outward world and then bringing that home into the self.

venus april 15 2017.png

    Heaven’s Gate


On April 23rd, around the beginning of the Sun’s ingress into Taurus,  the First Gate is reached &  Venus and Moon meet at 28 Pisces 18 that has the symbol of  ‘a prism’ which is suggestive of an act separating something into its essential elements, as  nothing can be completely known and understood until all its constituent parts are revealed.

Thus, at this first Gate, the process of dismantlement of the false personality is initiated so the True Self can emerge.

This gate is related to the Crown Chakra and is connected with Heaven.  Venus is stripped of her Queenly crown,  the symbol of her natural authority as ruler, but for us, the democratic man,  it is the symbol of  one’s ego identification that has to be eliminated, for as long as the self is tied to something material, it  becomes stagnant for it entrenched defending and maintaining that status quo & that is not the way of growth.

               The Second Gate


The Second Gate is  at Gemini on May 22, 2017.  This will occur at at 16 Aries 26  corresponding roughly to the Sun’s ingress into Gemini.

The Sabian Symbol for Venus here is “Brownies (a fairy) dancing in the sun,” and corresponds to Inanna losing her third eye or magic.      More on this later.


  1. Kramer, Samuel Noah, Ph.D, The Myth of Sumerians,  University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA. 1944.

Who was Tammuz?

Tammuz and Ishtar are the great lovers of the ancient world. When the beautiful youth died the Queen was so grief stricken that she mourned for him and gave the earth no sun and light until he returned to life again. He plays a prominent part in the religious life of the Babylonian people for like Osiris of Egypt, he was an agricultural deity, and gave the Babylonian the gift of rivers.

His cult shows up in the Bible, where the Prophet Ezekiel (chapter 8 verse 10) mentions various idolatrous practices of the Israelites, including worshiping the sun and “every form of creeping things and abominable beasts. ” 

And then in Ezekiel 8:14, New Life Version...

11 Standing in front of these pictures were seventy leaders of the people of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each man held a dish in his hand from which the smell of special perfume rose up in a cloud.

 12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the leaders of the people of Israel are doing without anyone seeing them? They are worshiping in a room full of false gods. For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us. The Lord has left the land.’” 13 And He said to me, “You will see even worse sins which they are doing.”

14 Then He brought me to the north gate of the Lord’s house. And I saw women sitting there crying for the false god Tammuz. 15 Then He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see even worse sins than this.”

16 He brought me into the open space of the Lord’s house. And I saw about twenty-five men at the gate to the house of the Lord, between the porch and the altar. Their backs were toward the Lord’s house, and their faces were toward the east. They were bowing toward the east worshiping the sun. 

Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer’s obit. His Alma Mater, Dropsie College for Hebrew & Cognate Learning, was a Jewish College in Philadelphia. It closed in 1986 but reopened two years later as the Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, a postdoctoral research center and fellowship program in Judaic and Near Eastern studies. In 1993 the institution was incorporated into the University of Pennsylvania as the Center for Judaic Studies.

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