The Venus eclipse occurs on June 8th (in New York, 7:05-7:25 a.m.; for best viewing time for your city, visit NASA.com (calculated in Universal Time). According to Space.com, the best viewing will be from Europe, but it will also be visible from parts of America and most of Asia and Africa.

On Tuesday, June 8, 2004 as Venus gracefully traipses across the Sun, she will appear no bigger than a tiny beauty mark. But looks are deceiving: The not-so-dainty diva packs a wallop while announcing the dawn of a new day. If history serves, this Venus transit will impact the world artistically, technologically, ethically, politically, and spiritually for years to come. The last set of Venus `eclipses' in 1874 and 1882 gave way to the information/electronic age, automobiles, telephones, and the beginning of the women's movement. Historically, these Venus transits have often seen great advances in civilization, with women taking center stage.

In many ways Venus is quite spiritual, and esoteric astrologers count her among the `Sacred Planets'. Venus' desire knows no bounds, and is she ever willful! On those rare occasions when Venus (a.k.a. `The Jewel in The Sky') transits between the earth and the sun, she makes our desires that much more visible and our world changes. Often great leaders die (Reagan), while others are born (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Fiorello H. LaGuardia.)

What does this week's "occultation" (a transit where one planet gets in between the Earth and another planet) mean and where will it lead us in the years ahead?

Venus rules art, beauty, love, grace, and desire. But the planet, whose very name evokes images of valentines and Botticelli's Titian-haired goddess emerging from the sea, is much more influential than that. She is central in directing the course of our cultural evolution here on Earth.

As astrological ruler of both Taurus and Libra, Venus is all about sensual love and truth. Venus insists that in order to grow, one must connect, interact, and share. "She links the spiritual to the material", says Robert Cohen Ph.D., a math professor and esoteric scholar. Other esotericists have cited Venus as the planet that is spiritually and vibrationally closest to Earth, suggesting that we have a lot to learn by observing "her". And to the surprise of many, Venus is often prominent in the astrological charts of war. It makes sense: After all, where does unbridled desire lead us?

Since the time of Christ, these Venus occultations have taken place in only two signs: Gemini (where we are now) or Sagittarius, the astrological axis of thought, communication, philosophy, religion, and beliefs. This axis is referred to by astrologers as the lower mind vs. the higher mind. The Gemini/Sagittarius axis is about the polarity of `secular chatter' vs. morality, and ethics: it's the contrast between Jerry Springer and Bill Moyers, Howard Stern and Charlie Rose. One isn't necessarily better than the other. Both play a valid role in society's evolution. The astrological implication of these rare Venus transits occurring in only these two signs is specific: It suggests that for the last 2000 years, civilization has been focused primarily on one major socio-cultural riddle, namely: How do we think, and what do we believe? In other words, at this moment it is imperative to work that much harder at connecting our minds to our hearts.

Further study of past Venus occultations reveals significant turning points in Earth's evolution, and significant steps forward in our cultural, religious, and political history. Often a woman appears to change the course of history (for example, Catherine De Medici, and Marie Antoinette).

The next Venus occultation will occur on June 6, 2012. Mayan prophecies predicted long ago that 2012 will mark the end of the current era which began, according to them, on August 11, 3114 BC. According to those prophesies, life as we know it will change drastically the next time Venus crosses the sun's face. Whether this is true or not, the next eight years will be a time of great tumultuousness, and filled with many opportunities for mankind (and womankind) to choose new paths to better insure survival on this planet.

What will the new era look like? Some astrologers are predicting that the current use of cell phones and the internet to transmit messages and images instantly are only precursors to a time when we will be able to transmit ourselves just as quickly. Others say that intergalactic travel and communion with extraterrestrials and other entities will be as commonplace as email. Still other spiritual writers say, that we are heading towards a different and more liberal form of religion altogether. We could laugh, but who could have fathomed in 1882 that man would fly only 20 years after the last Venus occultation? We are traveling faster and faster. The important thing is to be sure that our spirits and souls remain intact and with us at every part of the journey.

Here is a list of some historic incidents that occurred within the past 500 years around the time of similar Venus transits. While some of the following events may not have been recognized in their moment as significant, we can all agree, they were remarkable moments in the long history of planet Earth.

Venus Occultations of May 25, 1518 and May 23, 1526

  • Magellan circumnavigated the globe, crossing the Pacific Ocean.
  • Church of England was established by King Henry VIII.
  • The Reformation began in Western Europe.
  • Women reigned in Europe:

    Catherine De Medici (1519-1589) brought Italian culture to the French Court, attempted to pacify relations between Catholics and Protestants in her country but failed and was blamed for the death of 50,000 Huguenot Protestants in the St. Bartholomew Massacre of 1570.

    Queen Elizabeth I of England 1533-1603. During her 45-year reign, the Spanish Armada was defeated and England established as premier world power.
  • Venus Occultations of December 7, 1631 and December 4, 1639

  • First settlers arrive on America
  • First regular mail service began in Europe
  • Rene Descartes (1596-1650) contributed to the rise of `rationalist science'
  • Queen Kristina of Sweden (1626-1689) reigned from 1632-54, converted to Catholicism, fled to Rome, and met the Pope.
  • Artists Rubens and Rembrandt glorified women in their paintings.
  • Venus Occultations of June 6, 1761 and June 3, 1769

  • 1761: Venus transit first observed by cooperative international effort among astronomers.
  • 1762: Rousseau's Social Contract published: "Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains."
  • Napoleon Bonaparte born 1769
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) later published "A Vindication of the Rights of Women"
  • Empress Maria Teresa of Austria (1724-1780)
  • Marie Antoinette of France (1755-1795)
  • Events leading up to French, American, and Industrial Revolutions
  • Invention of the cotton gin and steam engine
  • With the creation of the AU, astronomical unit, distances between the earth, planets, and stars were defined. Astronomers begin to determine the size of the universe.
  • Venus Occultations of Dec 9, 1874 and Dec 6 1882.

  • 1875: Theosophical Society established bringing the East to the West. A spiritual organization with no dogma and with a credo of "No Religion Higher Than Truth", it welcomed all regardless of sex, caste, creed, or religious belief.
  • 1876: Telephone invented; Atlantic Telegraph Cable completed; Automobile Age begins; streetcars begin running in Chicago.

  • 1880: Helen Keller born (Sun conjunct Venus), despite being blind and deaf from 19 months of age, with the help of Anne Sullivan Macy (Venus theme of partnership and cooperation), she learned to read and write with Braille and went on to graduate college, write, lecture, and teach, and inspire the world, proving beyond a doubt, `Where there's a will there's a way.'

  • Circa 1882: Electricity generated by Edison lights up one square city mile, The Great White Way is born; Henrik Ibsen wrote Enemy of The People; the Suffragette Movement is born, women get the vote 38 years later in 1920; millions begin to emigrate from Europe to the U.S.; FDR, James Joyce, John Barrymore, Virginia Woolf, Sam Goldwyn, and Fiorello H. LaGuardia are born.
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