This month's Full Moon in Sagittarius is followed by the rare Transit of Venus – an event that happens every 120 years. The transit occurs in pairs, and the first one happened in 2004. During the past eight years, we have seen tremendous change in communications and our perception of the world (think Facebook, twitter, global uprisings, etc.) For my forecast this month, I want to take us on a tour of two powerful Twin Goddesses to help us understand a facet of this powerful gateway. Twins are appropriate, because the Transit is happening in the sign of Gemini the Twins, and because what we are working to integrate into our consciousness now is how to hold the energy of polarity.
Madame Blavatsky, the Theosophist, wrote that "Venus is the most occult, powerful, and mysterious of all the planets; the one whose influence upon, and relation to the Earth is most prominent." Venus in her role as emissary of the Divine Feminine IS mysterious, powerful, influential and must be understood if we are to be whole human beings.
Venus' current retrograde journey (where the planet appears to move backwards in the sky) takes us into the underworld. Traveling into the underworld is a time-honored mythic tradition, a time to be purified, to heal, to surrender the ego. A quick refresher on Venus retrograde, which happens until June 26, tells us to reconsider the themes of relationship, values, and what we need to bring more beauty and harmony into our lives. In Gemini, this retrograde period also invites us to gather our tools and to learn how to navigate between extremes. Mercury, the god that rules Gemini, was the only Greek/Roman god who could freely travel between the underworld, the mortal world, and the world of the gods. Through him, we learn that all the worlds are important as we seek to understand our wholeness. We must see not only our shadowy, underworld power but also our divine, bright spirit selves, and then ground these two parts into our daily lives.
The Twin Goddesses of Isis and Nephthys can also help us enter into the feeling of the Venus retrograde and Transit of the Sun. We probably have heard of Isis, one of the most revered and ancient forms of the Goddess. Isis is known as the goddess of rebirth and resurrection as well as love. Her search for the dismembered body parts of her lover Osiris created the framework for many important resurrection myths to come. But she has a twin sister named Nephthys, who was also a part of this story. Together, they played instrumental roles in the journey of the soul both in life and in death.
Nephthys was in charge of escorting the dead through the underworld where they would have to face a certain set of challenges or tests. If they successfully pass through the night, they meet Isis in the East and are escorted into New Life. Nephthys is associated with the Sacred Phoenix, symbol of death and rebirth. She is a midwife, a nursemaid that suckles the dead at her breast so they can return to life.
Ascend and descend; descend with Nephthys, sink into the darkness with the Night-bark.
Ascend and descend; ascend with Isis, rise with the Day-bark.
"I put your heart into your body for you, that you may remember what you have forgotten."
What can these twin Goddesses tell us about this point in human history? What ritual of initiation are they trying to move us through?
One piece of our initiation is understanding our mortality – not just individually but collectively. We as a species could be said to be maybe around adolescence. We're just teenagers really, if that. In most cultures around the time of puberty, children had to undergo an initiation ceremony to help them transition into adulthood and take on more responsibility in the tribe. Part of these ceremonies was almost always a recognition of death, mortality, of the impermanence of life.
And here we are, staring into the abyss of not only our own individual mortality, but the threat of destruction that could essentially wipe out all life. I'm not being dramatic. Life will find a way, yes. But the planetary threats we face right now are so dire, it is a feeling of being on the brink of total annihilation. What does this knowledge give us? How can we move with this?
I think Nephthys can show us a way. In The Garland of Nephthys by Linda Iles, she writes that:
Nephthys presides over the workings of nature and life forces that are not seen. According to Plutarch, “Nephthys is that which is beneath the earth and invisible.” She is associated with psychism and hidden wisdom…Nephthys [is depicted as a] lady of weaving and mistress of unseen knowledge…
Isis and Nephthys both have children by Osiris. Isis's son Horus, is conceived posthumously with Osiris, while Nephthys' son Annubis is consceived while Osiris is drunk but very much alive. Iles continues:
In contrast to Horus, the bright child, who is the symbol of rebirth and ultimate triumph over death and destruction, Anubis is the dark one, the dark child. He is the master of hidden knowledge with the power to freely traverse all the secret ways between heaven, earth and the underworld. There is no path that is barred to him. Anubis does not sit on a throne like his half-brother, but he is master of every path, it is said that no one can deny him access.
We too must learn how to access the hidden, secret wellsprings of knowledge that we have become blind to in our recent history. We have to learn how to face our own mortality and find within this knowledge the gift it brings. Our bodies contain this information, and opening to the gifts of our bodies while simultaneously understanding ourselves to be part of the larger body of the Living Earth could birth even more astonishing ways of communication, knowing, and working with each other.
In his book "The Water of Life" mythologist and storyteller Michael Meade writes and speaks about the idea that each one of us has a special destiny to fulfill:
"Each individual carries an expectation of and a desire for self-revelation. What seeks to be revealed is extreme by nature and can only reach awareness through radical circumstances. Whether formal or informal, certain events touch the inner realties of a person. Initiatory events are those that mark a person’s life forever, that pull them more deeply into the waters of life than they would normally choose to go. What initiates us also strips us down to the inner essentials and releases qualities and powers that were hidden within… Each crossroads in life secretly ask the question: Who are you really?"
If we saw ourselves inherently as part of the whole, then saying yes to the uniqueness and specificity of our own authentic Self would mean stepping into communion, relationship, and deeper wholeness. Rather than trying to be everything, we can understand that our uniqueness, our flaws, our specific life circumstances are exactly what the world always wanted.
This Venus and Eclipse energy right now – both in the sign of Gemini - could make our life circumstances even more confusing and bring us to the very limits of our understanding. Which is a good thing because then we can leap off the abyss into a new understanding. Here we are invited to be willing to be confused, willing to not know, willing to stand and speak the truth of the moment.
Yoda would be another excellent guide right now. When he says, "You must unlearn what you have learned," he is telling us to step into the paradox, to go to the places that are unknown. This is terrifying to a part of us that exists solely to make us feel more stable and solid (the ego).
If we can begin to understand the difference between perfection and wholeness, we may know what it means to be a flow of constant change. Perfection can imply a static state, a place we get to that means we never have to change again. We've arrived. But wholeness is always evolving because it's got everything in it already swirling and shaking and moving all over within it! It's whole. It's all there already. We just have to be present to what is coming up now and understand it as part of the great song we are singing back to the divine.
This Divine Feminine energy, it draws a circle around everything. There's a wonderful definition of the universe as I heard it from Joseph Campbell, but it's been said and resaid by humans since Hermetic times: "God/Universe is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, and whose center is everywhere." We seek, as Jung said, to recover our wholeness. That's what the energy is trying to draw forth from us right now: our wholeness. Not our smallness, not our pettiness, not our differences, not our unlimited capacity to be anything we want to be or are told we should be. Our wholeness. All the parts of you and especially those very idiosyncratic yet deliciously creative and uniquely YOU parts of you. That's the part of you I especially love to encounter.
"…in the process of redeeming the Goddess' spiritual memory, we must constantly keep our glance directed at, and take into consideration, both inner and outer reality, both the masculine and the feminine. Such a task entails maintaining out balance on the threshold at the midpoint between the two worlds. For from this vantage point, we are able to recognize and unite polarities." ~ Ruth Rusca, Feminine Mysteries of the Bible
I have some questions for you to consider as you make your way through the next month. To read them, click here.
Rhea Wolf is a professional workshop facilitator, astrologer and writer. Rhea brings an extensive background increative writing, performing arts, the Work that Reconnects, and earth-based spirituality to her work. It is her passion to help people awaken their inherent creativity and deepen their connections to the larger world. Rhea's work has appeared in Alternatives Magazine, New Connexion, hipMama and Tarot.com. For Rhea's complete workshop schedule and more information about her work, visit www.turningwheelastrology.com.