Goddess Sunday: Inanna and the Venus Transit

by Beth on May 27, 2012

Queen of all given powers
unveiled clear light
unfailing woman wearing brilliance
cherished in heaven and earth
chosen, sanctified in heaven
you
grand in your adornments
crowned with your beloved goodness
rightfully you are High Priestess…
~ Enheduanna
translated by Betty DeShong Meador,  Inanna, Lady of the Largest Heart
© University of Texas Press, Austin

As I was writing my Astrological Tidbits column for my May WINGS newsletter, I was marveling over the upcoming transformations that the influence of the planet Venus is likely to shower upon our world. I was especially fascinated with how it will be undergoing a transformation of its own.

Venus, being closer to the Sun than the Earth, “overtakes” the Earth’s orbit every 584 days. As it does so, it changes from the “Evening star,” when it is visible after sunset, to the “Morning star,” visible before sunrise. But there is a period in between, when this bright planet – the third brightest object in our sky, after the Sun and the Moon – vanishes from our sight.

Most commonly, it disappears behind the Sun for about 50 days. But we are on the threshold of one of the rarest of all planetary cycles – a Venus transit. That means that from our perspective on Earth, Venus will cross in front of the face of the Sun. During a portion of the Venus transit, the planet of love, beauty, and harmony disappears from view for about eight days. When it re-emerges, it will be the morning star.

Venus transits occur in in eight-year pairs, but only every 105 to 121 years.  The upcoming one on June 5-6 (depending on time zone) is the second of the pair that was preceded by one June 8, 2004. This will not happen again in our lifetimes, for the next occurs on Dec. 11, 2117.

As I contemplated how we are now entering this momentous period, it reminded me a lot of the Goddess Inanna’s descent into the Underworld, and Her re-emergence afterward.

Little did I know (until now!) that the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia actually did associate the planet we call Venus with their greatest Goddess.

Inanna, Queen of Heaven

Inanna is the Morning Star and the Star of the Evening, which the ancient Sumerians, like the Mayans, were completely aware was one celestial body.  The Greeks, on the other hand, believed it was two different bodies, until Pythagoras worked it out in the late 6th century B.C.E.

The Goddess Inanna, known later as Ishtar by the Babylonians and Assyrians, is the Queen of Heaven, Goddess of grain, fertility, sexual love and pleasure.

Daughter of the Moon God, Nanna, She is complex and multifaceted.   As “Mother of All,” She presides over Nature, especially fertility and birth. She offers joy and brings tears. She is a giver of abundance and protector of women in childbirth, yet also the bringer of war, with battle being called “the dance of Inanna.”

She rules both Earth and Sky from Her throne of lapis lazuli. She gives forth the gentle rains that bring life to the desert; and She summons flood and disaster when angered.

Prayer-poems honoring Inanna were written by Her priestess, Enheduanna (En-hey’-doo-ahna), over 4,000 years ago (approximately 2285-2250 BCE). There is every reason to believe, therefore, that the stories and worship of Inanna are far older.

In fact, Enheduanna is the world’s first author of either sex that we know by name. Her 415-line poem of Inanna’s descent into the Underworld is one of the most ancient and powerful stories in world literature.

It rings with relevance even today, as it holds within it the motifs of death and resurrection, vengeance and forgiveness, and the arc of initiation still followed and understood by cultures and traditions throughout the world today.

To read a beautiful, relatively brief synopsis, written by Madronna Holden for Parabola Magazine, you might visit here.

May Inanna be gentle with us as Her retrograding planet aligns this week with the Sun. May we honor Inanna’s descent as She prepares for Her rare crossing between our Earthly home, and the giver of Life that is our solar star.   May Her return be triumphant and blessed.

Hail Inanna!

nox cipher May 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm

The artist is John Singer Sargent

Love your article Beth.

http://jssgallery.org/paintings/BPL/Pagan_Gods_detail_Astarte.htm

Beth May 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

Oh! Thank you so much, Nox! Interesting that Sargent painted Her as Astarte. All the other copies I found online (all un-attributed) named Her as Inanna. Of course, Astarte is considered a later version of the more ancient Inanna. Thanks again! I’m updating the info right now.

Maria May 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

Wonderful post, Beth! Thanks for all the great info!

Johanna May 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thank you Beth! Beautiful article – Hail Inanna!

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