by Gordon Brennan
On 8th June 2004 a very rare phenomenon occurs when Venus passes directly over the face of the Sun. Anyone who is particularly interested in the astronomy of the event can investigate the many Internet sites commenting on this. Scientific institutes and observatories around the world are running special events for the public about the Venus transit so it can be viewed safely and there are many free talks and meetings on 8th June. Some shops will be selling special viewing glasses to watch the transit safely.
The event is generating such interest partly because it is so rare. The last time this happened was in 1882. In fact the transits happen in pairs: it occurred on 9th December 1874 and then on 6th December 1882. The June 2004 transit will be followed by another on 6th June 2012 and then not again until 11th December 2117.
A curious precision exists in the timing of the intervals between transits. There is a repeating cycle of intervals of 8 + 121.5 + 8 + 105.5 years between each transit, a total of 243 years.
It is not visible everywhere around the world. In the UK we will miss the start of the event when it is below the horizon. What we shall see will be the planet as a black dot with a diameter about one thirty-second of the Sun. Venus’ shadow on the Sun will appear much bigger than the actual size of Venus itself, owing to the distances involved.
This transit is also an eclipse. Just as Rahu and Ketu, the nodes of the Moon, produce eclipses, so the nodes of Mercury and Venus can do the same. Mercury’s transit is much more common, but it also is rarely seen as Mercury stays so close to the horizon. The outer planets do not cause such eclipses, as they cannot come between the Earth and the Sun.
Does the event have any astrological meaning? Of course every event in our Solar System is significant, so the answer is yes. What does Venus represent? Women, art, love, desire, beauty are its main associations in Western astrology, as the goddess Aphrodite.
But in Vedic astrology there is a larger picture, which includes the associations already given plus such matters as Venus being the teacher or priest of the demons or those who focus on material desires and also being a warrior, whose desire cannot be defeated. In Indian mythology Venus’ avatar Parashurama is provoked by the slaying of his father and responds by killing every warrior on the earth until he is pacified and agrees to give up his violence.
In terms of religions Venus represents Muslims. (Rahu is sometimes given as the significator, but in this case as Venus is eclipsing the Sun both seem relevant). Islam’s holy day is Friday, Venus’ day. Moreover, just as Islam is a religion that focuses on the beneficial organisation of worldly matters, so Venus is the planet relevant here.
The Sun represents Christians – Sunday is the holy day and if we dig into the history of the Christian church we find Sun worship overlaid by Christian festivals, such as Christmas, the old festival of the winter solstice. Parts of the Christian story have been blended into current beliefs from pre-Christian Sun worshippers such as the Mithraic and Dionysian cults. The Jewish religion naturally favours Saturday – Saturn’s day of atonement for sins.
So Venus eclipsing the Sun seems to say that a shadow is being cast over the Christian world by the Islamic world. Enough said – that is obviously what is taking place just now. Looking back in history for confirmation we see that during the last occasion of the transits from 1874-1882 there was a crisis in the Ottoman Empire, a massacre of 15,000 Christians in Bosnia Herzegovina and Bulgaria, the Russo-Turkish war and major internal re-organisation in the Ottoman Empire with the first Ottoman Constitution.
Perhaps even more significant is the current context of this transit of the Sun. Just now anger is flaring up as Mars approaches Saturn. On 25th May Mars will be exactly conjunct Saturn in Gemini with retrograde Venus in the same sign. Mercury, lord of Gemini, will be only one degree from Rahu in Aries at the same time. A build up of energies in Gemini and Aries with a Parivartana Yoga between Mars and Mercury is an explosive mixture, so we can expect at least a heating up of the current situation. On 8th June Venus will have moved back into Taurus and will retrograde across the Sun. The transit takes place at 24 degrees of Taurus, in the first quarter of Mrigashira, the Nakshatra or lunar constellation related to Mars. In general terms, though, we are seeing the preparation for bigger events to come in the next few years.
In the political arena it is very interesting to note that the G8 Summit, whose agenda is mainly the Middle-East situation and non-proliferation issues, begins on June 8th in Sea Island, Georgia, USA, with President Bush in the chair. There is quite likely to be terrorist activity at the very start of this event, which will focus the minds of the participants on the urgent need for international cooperation.
Gordon Brennan welcomes comments. Email GWBrennan@aol.com