In the fifth part of this series, we will continue to analyze the correlation between the charts of the greatest instants of Venus’s passage over the Sun with how beauty was perceived during the 13th and 14th centuries.
For the years 1275 and 1283, the two pairs of data of Venus’s passage over the Sun, based on the calculations made by Fred Espenak, NASA / GSFC1, are:
- May 25, 1275 GMT 22:57
- May 23 1283 GMT 15:20
The Ascendant of the first chart (see below) is in Capricorn, a complex sign, crucified on the altar of materialism. As we learn from Vettius Valens (2nd century CE), the sign of Capricorn or the house of Saturn is a feminine, earthly, cold, tropical, servile, destructive and brutal, suspicious, lurking, two-natured, the Descendant of the Universe2, indicative of bad luck and toil. Like all the other tropical (cardinal) signs, it represents the beginning of a new age, the creative impulse of the duality between matter and spirit.
I couldn’t help but notice that the 13th century remained in history as the beginning of the Little Ice Age, also called the “Little Glaciation” when the area covered by glaciers began to expand. Although there is no consensus about its beginning, carbon dating of over 150 plants left intact under the ice cap in Baffin Island and Greenland, indicates that cold and wet summers, extremely cold winters began suddenly between the years 1275 and 1300.
We notice that Saturn, the ruler of the Ascendant, culminates in the sign of his exaltation, Libra, in the tenth house, one of the strongest houses, symbolizing that his energy had been intense. Saturn is also retrograde, meaning that he functioned at the extreme intervals of his expression, in no ordinary, usual way.
Being the farthest planet from the Sun, Saturn has nothing in common with fire and heat, he is dark, unable to receive or generate luminosity. The lack of light defines him as difficult, the gravity and the grave are two words that directly show his essential bleak and gloomy nature. In traditional astrology texts, Saturn is known as the Great Malefic because his condition is incompatible with life, as we know it on Earth.
Thus, Saturn governs cold, dark and oppressive locations or situations defined by weakness, disintegration or death. Saturn is the master of winter, the enemy of the Sun, the symbol of the authoritative father, or the law that is not concerned with justice and morality, but rather with the obedience of structures that serve a collective purpose, the enforcement of restrictions and the setting of limits and norms.
Thus, we learn from the chronicles of history that the period of the 13th and 14th centuries was the period when states began to mark their boundaries more clearly: after the decline of the Holy Roman Empire (1247-1273), separate dynasties of different German states were formed, the borders were being drawn between states such as Serbia-Hungary (1284), France-Germany (1349).
The Sun of Gemini, the monarchic power makes a trine with Saturn in Libra, indicating the political centralization and consolidation of the monarchic states which were competing with the Papacy.
Powerful states like Genoa and Venice emerge in the South of Italy – synchronically, Capricorn is responsible for the South and West, that is, the Mediterranean Sea, as Vettius Valens tells us.
Also during this period, the “classical crusades” or the Holy War ended as the Oriental states were being taken back by Muslims. In 1291, after a violent siege, Acre, the last resistance center of the Crusaders, was conquered by Muslims.
In any case, Saturn in Libra had the effect of intensifying all relations, especially trade, between the East and the West, and philosophy, architecture, and Western culture had received new influence through the discovery of the culture and teachings of the East.
Jupiter, as a symbol of the papacy and clergy, is in the fourth house in Aries, the house of the natural resources and the earth, the symbol of the retreat, a sign that the efforts of the clergy were directed more towards consolidating their internal position and gaining ground through the acquisition of land and the oppression of the peasants in order to obtain the necessary labor force for farming – Saturn in Libra, as lord of the Ascendant, is also the symbol of the nation as a whole, of the people who make it, in opposition to Jupiter in Aries. Pluto in Capricorn creates a T-square with the two planets, a symbol of the need of finding new transformative solutions for working the land.
Saturn’s power brought forth the strongest authoritarian empires that have ever existed: in America, the Inca and Aztec Empire, and in Asia, the Ottoman Empire, but also the consolidation of the Mongol Empire, which had come to occupy vast territories of China and Russia.
In this chart, Venus, the goddess of beauty, becomes captive in the sixth house, a cadent house of the public health and illnesses, because the cold, depressing, saturnine nature does not reconcile with the joyful and playful Venus.
Venus is the Moon’s dispositor which is located in the last degree of Taurus, signifying a crisis of resources (Taurus). The condition of the people was not a healthy one, and prosperity and economic growth stagnated. People were eating less and less, so the immune system made the human body more susceptible to disease.
Thus, we find out that between 1315-1317, the Great Famine killed millions in Europe because of shrinking crops due to climate change – cold and rainy summers, heavy winters, but also possible due to the inability of the power to equally distribute the harvests.
Venus, making a separating trine with Saturn in Libra, turned from the goddess of beauty into the goddess of death because there were signs of the removal and destruction of Venus’ symbolism – prosperity and abundance were over. Alone, Mercury in Gemini, although combust, can give us clues about the activities in which Venus was reflected – trade, travel and investigation of the mysteries of life, all Mercurial symbols.
In 1231, in Italy and in Spain, in 1478, the Inquisition, an institution of the Catholic Church, was set up to try to destroy any connection people had with the magical nature of the world, with the veneration of forces beyond the human understanding of those times.
The strong and all-powerful goddess, venerated for centuries, Venus retired into a magical garden where few could discover her. However, her departure doesn’t take place before she shows her warrior face, thirst for blood. Venus taught people that to truly receive her gifts meant to break free from everything they loved, to accept the losses and to wait for a new period of growth.
The shipping routes to the Far East have brought to Europe an extremely lethal killer, the plague, the Black Death, which broke out for the first time in 1340 in Asia. In 1347, the Italians brought the plague to Europe through the Genovese sailors – Saturn in Libra makes a square with Pluto, the god of darkness and death located in the Ascendant of the first chart.
Black Death has spread swiftly through the entire region of Europe – it is said that over 100 million people died within six years. It was the beginning of the decline of the feudal system, the economic activities collapsed, the settlements were abandoned, and the peasants working the land rebelled – Venus allies with the father of Cronos, Uranus, responsible for the uprisings and revolutions against the corrupt and authoritarian systems.
The feudal society of the Middle Ages, with its rigid hierarchical structure, dominated by the agricultural economy and under the strong influence of the Catholic Church, began to fall apart.
Saturn is often related to history, traditions and the past, but is equally concerned about the future. All that results from his influence is to create better foundations for a potential future. Ancient images often show Saturn holding Ouroboros, the serpent who eats his own tail, a symbol of eternal regeneration of forces, birth and death in the endless cycle of past, present, and future.
The eight years that pass between the two moments are fertile periods of processing the new ideas and changes, in which there is a progress of consciousness regarding the nature of the world.
In the second chart, we notice that Venus is in the 9th house which shows us that her power had influenced universities, religious institutions, not the least philosophy, knowledge, education and religion. The Renaissance begins in Italy, and later in the rest of Europe. The fall of Constantinople led to the migration of Greek texts and writings to Italy. Also, the emergence of print has accelerated the dissemination of ideas during this period – Mercury, as a symbol of writing and communication, is in Cancer, the triplicity of Venus.
The Libra Ascendant tells us that Saturn’s in Libra legacy from the first chart continues by consolidating foundations and farming, exploitation of mineral resources – Saturn in Capricorn in the fourth house sets the foundation for the evolution of the materialistic society of today.
If in the first chart, that of 1275, Venus is in the triplicity of Mercury while in the second, she is in the triplicity of Saturn. If, in the first part, she tried to rebel against human activities, bringing death and destruction, in the second, I believe she is going on a long pilgrimage to another world, perhaps that of dreams, divination, and astrology.
To be continued…
Member of Romanian Astrologers Association
Articolul este disponibil în revista Astrele și în limba română.
- https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/transit/catalog/VenusCatalog.html ↩
- Thema Mundi or chart of the world is described by astrological tradition as having Cancer Ascendant. Therefore, the Descendant of this mythical map is in Capricorn. ↩