Venus Retrograde 2010: Eros and Psyche
Friday, October 8 through Thursday, November 18, 2010
What Is Venus Retrograde?
When Venus goes retrograde, she takes our hand and pulls us into the darkness of our relationships. A retrograde period of any planet is a retrospective of that planet’s themes. It is like going into the deep, dark cave of oneself in whatever area of life is covered by the planet that is retrograde. It is a time of moving backward, perhaps of going back to pick up pieces lost in the past. It is a retrieval, a turning inward, perhaps a letting-go. Since Venus’ domain is relationships, this turning inward will happen in that domain.
The Tale of Eros and Psyche—Forbidden Love
The story of Psyche’s marriage to Eros, her loss of him and her journey to recover him, is an apt metaphor for the retrograde journey of Venus. Here is her story.
Psyche, whose name means “soul,” was a mortal woman of great beauty, beauty to rival even Venus-Aphrodite herself. People came from miles around to worship Psyche and bring her gifts. This aroused the anger of Aphrodite, for no mere mortal deserves to be worshipped as a goddess. Aphrodite sent her son Eros (Cupid), who represents living desire, to punish Psyche. He came upon her when she was sleeping, and fed her the drink of Bitterness, then touched her with his arrow, that she might fall in love with the next hideous creature that came near. But in doing so, Eros was grazed by his arrow himself, and he became struck with her beauty, so he gave her the drink of Joy also.
Psyche was now cursed. Everyone wanted to worship her but no one wanted to marry her. She was unloved. Her parents consulted an oracle, which said, “she is destined for no mortal husband” and advised them to leave her on a mountain top where a monster would claim her. While her parents were dismayed, Psyche herself submitted and went to the mountain top. There she was swept away by a friendly breeze to a marvelous castle, filled with attentive but invisible servants. There also she met her bridegroom, who was loving, affectionate, charming and passionate. He visited her daily, but only in the dark. He gave her everything and required only that she never ask to see his face.
Psyche was allowed a visit from her two sisters, who were jealous and concerned at the unusual marriage she had made. “What,” they exclaimed, “you only see your husband in the dark? How do you know he isn’t some kind of frightful monster who only wants to do you harm?” Their suspicion persuaded Psyche to break her promise to her husband and make an attempt to view him in the light.
One evening, after a fabulous (but unlit) meal and the same splendorous lovemaking Psyche had come to expect from her mate, he fell asleep in her arms. She gently crept out from under him and, lighting a lamp, held it over him to see what he looked like. No one was more surprised than she to see that the being she was married to was not at all a monster who wanted to hide his face in the dark, but the very God of Love himself! She fell into a reverie, feeding her hungry eyes on his features. Just then a drop of oil from the lamp fell and landed on his perfect shoulder, scorching him and awaking him. “Now you’ve done it! Love cannot live with suspicion,” he cried, in anger and regret, as he flew out the window and into the clouds. He went back to his mother, whom he had defied in living with Psyche.
This tale—and more about what it means—is continued in this thread:
Psyche’s Wanderings Begin
Relationship Epiphany Day–October 28, 2010
The First Task: Sorting the Seeds
The Second Task: Gathering the Golden Fleece
The Third Task: The Waters of Forgetfulness
The Fourth Task: The Underworld Journey
Psyche’s Hidden Task: Facing the Wrath of Other Women
Eros’ Hidden Task
Psyche Is Made Immortal
For more about the Venus Retrograde period and how it feels, look here: This Year’s Venus Retrograde