We’ve recently emerged from an Underworld journey and we are still shaking the the soil from our eyes.
On July 22, Venus stationed retrograde in the sign of Leo, and for 40 days and 40 nights she traversed her backwards path into the very heart of the Sun and back. Venus stationed direct on September 3rd and we’ve begun to gain clarity on the lessons of this retrograde, lessons we are still integrating until October 7th when Venus clears her retrograde shadow. In reflecting on this transit, it’s helpful to see it through the lens of Inanna’s journey into the Underworld.
Inanna was the ancient Sumerian goddess of, among many things, love and war. A goddess of dichotomies, she ranked among the highest echelons of the ancient Mesopotamian pantheon for millennia. She was also the deity associated with the planet we call Venus, and the retrograde motion of this planet was connected to the story of Inanna’s descent into and return from the Underworld.
The briefest summary of her tale: In order to enter the Underworld, Inanna had to pass through seven gates. At each gate, she had to divest herself of an aspect of her garb: her jewelry, her tools (her measuring rod and line), and finally even her clothing. Naked, she dared to take the throne of the Underworld from her sister Ereshkigal. For this egregious affront, she was made into a corpse and hung on a hook for three days and nights. She is ultimately revived and ascends from the Underworld. But one who enters the Underworld cannot simply leave—a sacrifice must be made (tl;dr, she sends her husband to the Underworld in her place, sparing her priestess and her hairdresser!).
Looking back on July 22 through September 3, what was stripped from you in your descent? When laid bare, what power (or knowledge) did you seek to hold? What part of you had to die so that you could be revived anew? What sacrifice must you make for the new you and new reality you’re stepping into?
For an in-depth discussion on Inanna and the Venus retrograde cycle (as well as the Barbie movie!) check out episode 412 of @theastrologypodcast, hosted by the brilliant Chris Brennan and featuring the inimitable Demetra George. You can also read the full text of Inanna’s descent translated from ancient cuneiform here. I also highly recommend author @meghanelison’s article "‘Barbie’ Is the New Inanna", which breaks down how the new Barbie movie is a modern iteration of the Inanna descent myth. Epic.