Venus Unveiled

Now comes the season of Venus’ greatest altitude, which means the opportunity is at hand for seeing the goddess of love and beauty in broad daylight, while the Sun lingers above the horizon to greet her.

Even though Venus is one of the brightest objects in the sky, this is one of only two instances when the planet steps through the veil of light to grace us by day, when she’s at a great enough distance from the Sun. The only other time we can see Venus by day is when the Sun is eclipsed.

The question is, what are we really seeing when we look upon Venus in broad daylight? In the storyteller’s world, in the world of poets and artists and dreamers, it’s what we bring to the encounter that makes it what it is. And since ancient ages, it’s been known that the goddess of love and beauty can only be approached by the good, the true, and the beautiful.

It used to be that Venus bestowed these gifts on human beings, but the stars and planets have long-since elected silence in relation to humanity on the earth, to see if we can pick up our side of the relationship. So now it’s like this, rather than waiting to receive celestial inspirations from above, it’s our turn to make offering back, to realize that what was once understood as a speaking from the stars that is now silent is actually an invitation, as expressed in the poem “The Habit of Perfection” by Gerard Manley Hopkins: “Elected Silence, sing to me, and beat upon my whorlèd ear, pipe me to pasture still and be the music that I can hear.”

Look about 45 degrees up and slightly left of the Sun as it slopes west toward its setting any day this week, and there you’ll find Venus, an inconspicuous point of light in the twilight blue, inviting us to wake, not out of the dream, but into it.


Hear this episode Monday, May 8 on Interlochen Public Radio, and on podcasts everywhere, anytime!

The crescent phase that Venus exhibits (as pictured above) proved to Galileo in the 17th century that the planet was orbiting the sun, not the earth.