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The Pentagram of Venus

Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, desire and fertility, is she our most favoured planet?!

Like Mercury, Venus is known as an inferior planet, which means that its orbital plane around the Sun lies inside the orbit of Earth. Therefore, the Earth can never come between Venus and the Sun. From our geocentric perspective, we can plot the orbital pattern of Venus in relation to the Sun, which is known as a synodic cycle.

Venus and the Earth have a near orbital resonance of approximately 13:8 [1]. This means that the orbits of Venus and the Earth meet at almost the same location once every 8 Earth orbits, which equals once every 13 Venus orbits. It is within this 8 year cycle that the Venus pentagram is created by the 5 Superior Conjunctions (when Venus is behind the Sun from the perspective of Earth) that fall within it.

From an areal view of the solar system (and the astrological chart wheel), a pentagram is created if a line is drawn from each Superior Conjunction as they occur in order, completing the pentagram by drawing a line back to the start of the next cycle [2]. The orbital resonance is not exact; Venus and Earth start each 8 year cycle at approximately 2.5 degrees earlier than that of the cycle previous. Gradually over time, the degree points of the Superior Conjunctions move in retrograde through the zodiac, and they each take 100 years or so to move into a new zodiac sign. N.B. The same pentagram pattern can also be mapped from the Inferior Conjunctions, when Venus is in front of the Sun. The astrologer Arielle Guttman refers to each Inferior Conjunction as a "Venus Star Point" and has produced a significant amount of research into the significance of this pattern.

The chart below displays the approximate positions of the Superior Conjunctions of Venus for the years 2022 - 2030 for London and nearby timezones, which mark a five pointed star.

  • 22nd October 2022 - 29 degrees 27 mins Libra

  • 4th June 2024 - 14 degrees 30 mins Gemini

  • 6th January 2026 - 16 degrees 22 mins Capricorn

  • 12th August 2027 - 19 degrees 7 mins Leo

  • 23rd March 2029 - 3 degrees 29 mins Aries

  • 20th October 2030 - 27 degrees 6 mins Libra

The Synodic Cycle of Venus

Venus begins a synodic cycle at the Superior Conjunction, when Venus is directly behind the Sun from the perspective of Earth and therefore hidden. As Venus travels along its orbit, it appears from behind the Sun, and in the Northern Hemisphere, Venus becomes an evening star and is visible on the Western horizon after sunset. At this stage, Venus is now far enough away from the Sun’s glare to be seen from Earth, and is moving away from the Sun in the zodiac. Each successive night, Venus is seen higher and higher above the horizon after sunset, and eventually completes the first phase of its cycle at Maximum Elongation East, when Venus is at its maximum distance from the Sun (from Earth’s perspective), which is 48 degrees. Therefore, Venus can never be more than two zodiac signs away from the Sun. At Maximum Elongation East, Venus is moving through the zodiac at the same pace as the Sun, and soon after this, the orbit of Venus starts to approach the Earth, and the progression of its position in the night sky and the zodiac slows down, until it appears to remain in the same position for two consecutive nights. This is known as Stationary Retrograde. Then, as Venus approaches the path where its orbit falls between the Sun and the Earth, its position starts to backtrack Westwards through the sky night by night - this is Venus Retrograde. Venus is now reversing along the zodiac and appears to be moving back towards to the Sun. Its position moves closer and closer to the horizon at each sunset before finally loosing visibility by passing in front of the Sun’s glare. This meeting with the Sun is the Inferior Conjunction, when Venus (retrograde) lines up directly in-between the Sun and the Earth, marking the middle of the cycle.

The second half of the synodic cycle is a mirror of the first. Venus retrograde moves backwards in front of the Sun, until it is far away enough to become visible as a morning star on the Eastern horizon at dawn in the Northern Hemisphere. Venus then reaches the point where its very nearly circular orbit starts to move away from the Earth. Whilst Venus takes that curve, from the Earth’s perspective Venus appears to stop backtracking in the night sky for two consecutive nights, this is Venus Stationing Direct. As Venus continues to traverse its orbit, its progress in the zodiac moves forward again, picking up zodiacal speed towards its Maximum Elongation West. This is the third phase of the cycle. Venus then continues along the last part of its orbit, which takes it behind the Sun, the Superior Conjunction, and the cycle begins again. The whole synodic cycle is 584 days (not to be confused with its orbital period of 225 days).

Visibility and Under the Beams

Venus is brighter and more clearly visible when close to its Maximum Elongation and Stationing Direct/Retrograde. It is with these conditions combined that Venus is as close to the Earth it can be whilst also being far away enough from the Sun to not be glared out.

Traditional Western astrology considers it vital to consider the distance by zodiacal degree that planets occupy in relation to the Sun. Any planet within 15-17 degrees before or after the Sun is said to be “under the beams”[3], which is generally a state of weakness.

During its synodic cycle, Venus falls under the beams of the Sun twice. At the Superior Conjunction, when Venus is furthest away from Earth, it is under the beams for quite a long period of time, around 4 months. This is Venus’ transition from morning to evening star. When Venus is closest to the Earth at the Inferior Conjunction, it is under the beams for around 3 weeks as it transitions from evening to morning star.

Philosophical Parallels

In his book Christian Astrology, William Lilly gives several names for Venus, including the Greek “Phosphorus”[4] which, like the Latin name Lucifer, means “light bringer”, which corresponds to the morning star phase. He also gives the name "Hesperus" and "Vesperugo"[4] which means “evening”, which corresponds to the evening star phase.

The apple is sacred to Venus. When cut in half crosswise, each side shows a five pointed star, which is reminiscent of the five petals of the apple blossom. One side is given to the morning star and the other, the evening. The five pointed star is also a symbol of immortality [5]. In Vedic astrology tradition, Venus aids the body in repair and recovery and knows the mantra that brings the dead back to life.

The Venus Pentagram is truly one of the most beautiful examples of sacred geometry and our understanding of this incredible symbolism deepens our appreciation for this planet! If you would like to read about the Rose of Venus, I highly recommend this article by Nick Kollerstom.

[1] An Overview of the 13:8 Mean Motion Resonance between Venus and Earth, Ákos Bazsó, Veresa Eybl, Rudolf Dvorak, Elke Pilat-Lohinger, Christoph Lhotka, 2009,

[2] Venus, the Rose and the Heart, Nick Kollerstom,

[3] Christian Astrology, William Lilly, 1647, page 113

[4] Christian Astrology, William Lilly, 1647, page 72

[5] The White Goddess, Robert Graves, 1948, page 250


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