From March 6th through April 17th, Venus is traveling retrograde (i.e. backwards) through our skies. The Venus retrograde period is a time for reevaluating your relationships and your capacity for love. While Venus is retrograde, notice the places where you are drawn into your relationships’ darkness and notice the ways you might find increased intimacy there.
The retrograde journey of Venus is depicted in the Mesopotamian tale of the descent of Inanna into the underworld. It is the story of a journey into the dark places in relationship, an attempt to recover lost love. During her descent, Inanna was stopped seven times, at seven gates. Each time, she had to remove one item from her person and leave it behind so she could go on. Any or all of these items might have symbolic meaning for your explorations during this Venus retrograde period.
At The Fifth Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Ring
The ring is a contract. The gift of a ring seals a bond between two. It is the physical reminder of an agreement to marry, to share one’s life with another and to hold fidelity. A ring symbolizes a pledge, a vow, a promise.
Promises are hard to keep—that is their nature. A promise to love and remain true to someone is easy to speak when the heart feels that love; but when the heart is out of touch with love—this is where the work begins. The ring is there as a reminder that love once was spontaneous, and that the work of getting back in touch with that love is worth doing.
Inanna’s mate has left her and gone to the dark underworld. She is following him there to reclaim the love they once had. He is lost in the dark, suffering: love has died. She cannot make him love her again and to forcibly remind him of his promise to love her would be cruel and would not reawaken spontaneous affection. In an earlier post, I hinted that Inanna cannot afford, while in the underworld, to take the attitude of victim. To hold the beloved to the letter of their promise when the heart of their promise is suffering is to beat him over the head with that promise. “But you promised!” is a poor welcome back into relationship.
The Gatekeeper Asks:
Have you made a pledge or vow? Have you promised to love forever and did you have any idea what you were promising? Is it now much harder to maintain that love?
Are you willing to honor your promise and do the work of reawakening the love that first inspired the promise? How can you make love sustainable?
Yes, the ring is a promise, but it may not be the promise it first seemed to be. Rather than the promise to love someone forever, perhaps it’s the promise to bring yourself back to love, again and again, as many times as is necessary for love to reawaken and flourish.