“I will die but I will rise. I will return, the Phoenix from the flame”
--Troy by Sinead O'connor
Astrology is a symbolic system that provides us with a vivid three-dimensional metaphor for life. For many of us who keep track of the tales spun by the orbits of the planets, Astrology is a poem written by the cosmos. In this epic that has been recited for billions of years, we find verses that make us feel exultant and gloomy, secured and fearful, enlightened and confused. Like any good story, it is the journey of the hero, the soul’s journey, that captivates us and keeps us on our toes. It is therefore my duty, as someone who spends most of his waking hours listening to these stories, to inform you of the next verse in this cosmic tale that begins on October 8th.
Two important celestial processes take place that are both mythologically and astrologically significant. Venus, the planet symbolizing money, relationships and diplomacy starts her retrograde motion in Scorpio, the sign of death and transformation. She will appear to “walk” backward until November 18th. In addition, from October 8th to November 7th, the Sun will transit through what the ancient astrologers called the Via Combusta, which roughly translates to the Fiery Way or the Burning Path.
It was believed that when the Sun or the Moon travel through this part of the zodiac belt, we experience “ill-luck and misfortune.” Since I do not believe in luck or her less fortunate sister ill-luck, I can assume the elders meant to warn us that during this period of time, the Magical Threshold (Scorpio is the sign of magic) that leads into the unknown is wide open. When these gates open, alas, all kinds of creatures, neurosis, and creepy-crawlers make themselves much more visible. Everyone is affected differently. Some become snappy (I call them snapicorns) and they project their inner challenge out on anyone in their path, some go inward feeling the Winter Blues, and others do unspeakable things in the name of their God.
Another way of looking at the Via Combusta is through the mythological lens of Joseph Campbell:
"The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would appear to have died.”
--Hero with a Thousand Faces.
The Sun, which represents the human soul, is like the hero passing into the womb of the whale. It is there in the darkness of the unknown that it find its true identity and resurrects baring the gift of light.
The Celts independently arrived to the same conclusion regarding this time of the year and its volatile nature. Their way to deal with the magical threshold was to celebrate their New Year, Samhain, on the eve of October 31st. They believed that the veils separating the living from the dead were temporarily lifted on that day, allowing spirits and other such entities to roam freely among the living. The powerful healing these celebrations and myths provided the people were so strong that the Catholic Church could not eradicate them, forcing the clergy to assimilate the holiday. They re-branded the sacred day of thresholds and called it Halloween or All Saints’ Day. It should be noticed that it’s not a coincidence that the Day of the Dead is celebrated during Via Combusta, when the Sun sails through the troubled waters of Scorpio, a sign that governs Death, magic, healing and transformation.
Out of darkness comes light and from the ashes of the Fiery-Way the Phoenix rises again. This concept explains why, in Judaic and Celtic traditions, the day starts when the Sun sets and not when it rises. The Mythos-logic is simple: the day is conceived in the darkness of the night, just like we begin life in the darkness of the womb. When we are ready to face the world, we emerge into the light like the Sun rising at dawn. Artists often express that some of their best work comes from experiencing dark spells of depression and pain. The Via Combusta is the womb by which you too can give birth to wonderful creations.
Now let’s look at Venus Retrograde. Every 18 months Venus retrogrades for about 40 days. At this time you will be asked to reexamine your relationships, especially those closest and most intimate. You will be surprised by how many times a day people will want to know that you love them. To avoid conflict, profess your love as often as you can. However, take heed not to lie. Venus in Scorpio can see right through deception and her wrath can be bloody indeed if she catches you being insincere. Since Mars is also transiting in Scorpio, he will serve as her knight executing her bidding. Spend as much time as you can in water, long baths with salt water can calm her down and maybe even put her bodyguard to rest.
During Venus retrograde it is not recommended to sign documents, forge partnerships, open a new business or take loans. However, refinancing could actually work very well. Please avoid buying expensive products, but you are more than welcome to purchase second hand goods. It is also considered to be a great time to ask for forgiveness and resolve old grudges.
As for the midterm election, since it will take place during Venus retrograde and the Via Combusta, expect the unexpected and throw away the polls. Who knows which side of the bed Venus might wake up on come November 2nd.
My suggestion for this tumultuous time:
Do not be afraid to burn the old, a resurrection is sure to come. Remember, the planets are with you and we are nothing but verses in an epic cosmic poem.