Venus and the Flame of Love

By this weekend, around October 8, 2023, Venus will return to the same position she held over three months ago, in early July, when the planet was visible in the evening sky near the star Regulus.

Not long after coming close to this star that marks the heart of the Lion, Venus began her retrograde.

Now as our morning star, Venus affords us the opportunity to see things from the other side; literally from the other end of the day. It’s like we’re being given the chance, as Homer wrote, to find the beginning.

Since July, the goddess of love and beauty has changed from evening star to morning star ~ and, for love stories everywhere, back in July when Venus came as close to Regulus as she is now, she was attended by Mars. But when Mars is near Venus like this, he’s diminished. This always happens when he’s in proximity to his beloved, because he’s on the other side of the sun from us, so he appears to fade, to lose vitality, as though he were consumed in the passion aroused by proximity.

Samuel Coleridge’s poem “Introduction to the Tale of a Dark Ladie,” speaks to this. In the poem, a storyteller woos a woman with his tale of a legendary knight who’s driven mad by the loss of his beloved, like Mars fading in the presence of Venus. But the storyteller would use his tale to the opposite end, that by playing on his beloved’s sympathies for love lost, he might gain her as his bride.

In July, Mars was standing with his Venus, but here in October, she stands alone, beside the heart of the king.

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.

~Mary Stewart Adams

Hear this episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky on Interlochen Public Radio Monday, October 2nd, and on podcasts everywhere, at your convenience. Images from Michigan State University Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar.