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Yesterday the world watched enraptured as 33 miners in Chile were released from their bondage in the Underworld and emerged relatively unscathed, with amazing stories of bravery and transformation. One of the more amazing reports that I heard was that the miners were arguing over who should be rescued first, each one wanting their brethren to be released before they themselves were freed. This has been a truly inspiring story, but the true miracle was the spirit that these men demonstrated during their captivity, despite the agonizing pressures of being trapped in the underworld darkness.
The astrological significance of the rescue of the miners this week is impressively precise. First, we have Pluto (transformation in the Underworld) in the sign of Capricorn, ruling the Earth and all things that come from underground, conjoining Ceres, the goddess of the earth who provides nourishment and sustenance of all living things. The Pluto/Ceres conjunction corresponded in its negative form with the oil spill in the Gulf earlier this year, and with the release of red sludge in Hungary, but here we have the reminder that transformation in the underworld can occur despite adversity.
We also have Venus in retrograde motion right now, and in her retrograde phase Venus disappears from the evening sky. During this period of darkness she is thought to be in the Underworld, and the ancient Sumerians created the myth of Inanna’s descent into the Underworld to correspond with the disappearance of Venus from the sky. Inanna was the predecessor of the goddess that we know call Venus, and in her journey to the Underworld she was required to release all of her clothing and arrive in the heart of darkness completely naked and free of artifice. The Venus retrograde cycle suggests a mating between Venus and the Earth as she goes underground, and then a mating of Venus with the Sun when she emerges and conjoins the Sun (which will occur on October 28th this year).
Venus is not only in the Underworld of the sky, but also traveling through Pluto-ruled Scorpio where all of the secret and hidden emotions are buried. During this time we’re being asked to surrender the items of artifice that keep us separated from our true selves. As we watch the rescue of the miners in Chile, we wonder what it would feel like to be trapped beneath the Earth, and retrograde Venus reminds us that the Underground is an important aspect of our transition and transformation.
It’s an interesting synchronicity that the pod used to rescue the miners was called “Fenix,” or Phoenix. The Phoenix is the bird that symbolizes the sign of Scorpio – the bird that dies in fire and is reborn in its own ashes.