The Transit of Venus - June 6th, 2012
It is 6.46am. I’ve just come back from Glastonbury Tor, where I sat and watched the 'Transit of Venus'.
These are my first notes. I’m just going to put down everything I saw, felt and thought. Later, I’ll shape them into something more readable. But I’m publishing them now just as I’ve written them.
When I went to bed at 2am, I was trying to replace a sense of dispirited disappointment with a mood of calm acceptance. I’d been attending a gathering of astrologers, mystics, poets and philosophers in a field near Glastonbury. When I first agreed to give a talk there, I had hoped for a nice clear sky. It began to look, on my way down from London, as if the sky was due to be completely against us. Thick cloud cover obscured every single star. We couldn’t even see the Moon. And I knew that we’d only have an hour at dawn, just as the Transit was coming to an end, to witness this rare, historic event. All the weather forecasts spoke of thunder and lightning.
But I’d made a commitment to talk at this gathering and a promise is a promise. I did though, ask if they would mind bringing my talk forward by a couple of hours. This, I figured, would give me just enough to hop on the last plane out to Spain or Portugal where I’d have a far better chance of a good, clear, view of the dawn.
The nearby airport had three possible early evening flights on offer. But it wasn’t possible to book online so close to take-off. So straight after the talk, I persuaded my friend, Jess (who had come down to video my talk), to drive me. Sadly, every single flight was full.
What could I do? I had fulfilled my promise to attend the gathering. The universe clearly wasn’t willing to let me satisfy my own desire for a spontaneous Sagittarian travelling adventure. So I decided to go back to the gathering and join my fellow astrologers in a session of all night ceremonies and horoscope castings.
Maybe, just maybe, the dawn would bring us a small gap in the clouds. But it wasn’t looking very likely. At a magical midnight ritual, we ‘charged’ a copper pot full of healing herbs with positive thoughts and hopes. I was invited to stay up and continue the ceremonial activity. But I grumpily decided to go to bed, asking my friends to wake me if there was any chance at all of seeing anything when the Sun finally rose.
At 4.50am I was roused from my slumbers by an excited astrologer. “Jonathan! The sky is clear. Get up and get in the car. If we get to the top of Glastonbury Tor we may just see something!” By 4.54am, we were on our way. And soon after 5am, we were half way up the Tor, thrilled to see the Sun clearly shining through big gaps in the previously impenetrable cloud.
So my first insight of the day was nice and obvious. “Don’t believe all that the experts say about how things are due to turn out. Amazingly hopeful changes can still happen.”
My second insight came when we sat down to catch our breath after climbing the strange and mysterious hill on which the ancient Tower of Tor stands, overlooking Avalon. There were several people on the resting bench, all observing the Transit. Yet none of them were wearing eclipse glasses. I had been worried about meeting people who might be trying to view the Sun without such protection. Even at dawn, you can permanently damage your eyes if you look at the Sun for long. I needn’t have worried. These observers were looking at the Transit of Venus across the rising sun through strange, round silver discs. I thought, for one mad early morning moment, that I had encountered a bunch of freshly landed aliens, employing futuristic technology to see the sky. But on closer inspection, I realised those discs were CDs! Ordinary household repositories of data and music. It turns out that these work as natural filters if you hold the CD to your eye and look through the semi transparent silver rim. Indeed, as I found out when i tried one, they work better and give a far more rewarding view than eclipse glasses.
So there was insight number two. There exist already, in this world, some surprisingly easy solutions to some seemingly impossible problems. That’s a message that many people could do with hearing and trusting, especially in these troubled times.
The remaining insights came courtesy of the Transit of Venus itself. I watched it rise, I watched it shine and I watched a tiny black dot slowly edge towards the side of the Sun before slipping out of sight. This, to me, was so important. We will all be equally affected and influenced by this Transit of Venus whether we witnessed it or not. I wasn’t keen to see it happening so I could gain more personal benefit from it. I was eager because my job, as an astrologer, is to look carefully at what’s happening in the sky and interpret the meaning of it. In theory, I can do all this from books, tables, charts and diagrams. But in my experience, nothing is as powerful or as informative than the exercise of casting my own eyes on the heavens themselves.
Now here, I must ask you to suspend your disbelief. The following words are my personal impressions. I cant logically justify them. I can only tell you that this is what I became overwhelmed with an urge to to say!
I saw, Venus, saying ‘Don’t worry about the world economic situation. I am the planet of wealth and ‘value’. I represent the tides of fashion and belief that roll across the great ocean of humanity. The world may be in a state of fear and anxiety right now but that is really only because governments and banks are working with a financial model that is outmoded and discredited. You have lost faith in your current methods of managing mercantile transactions. Rightly so, for it is time to apply new standards and principles. These are about to emerge. They couldn’t come into force any earlier because there was too much resistance to change. But now, even those who work at the very heart of the world’s greatest financial empires have had enough of using 'olde worlde' systems. If these people are not already seeing fairer, better ways to govern lending and borrowing between nations and individuals, they will identify such mechanisms soon. Or they will step aside and allow others with broader vision to control the various institutions. Either way, current problems with all currencies will shortly become far less intense.'
I had already reached a professional judgement about the future of the Euro. I have already predicted that the Eurozone will remain intact - but I have to confess that until now, I couldn’t envisage exactly how this could happen. Now suddenly, in this moment of cosmic epiphany, as I witnessed the rare Transit of Venus, I was being treated to an understanding of what would have to happen... and an assurance that it would indeed happen.
My next insight was to do with the difference between women and men. Venus is, after all, the ultimate symbol of feminine power. Watching Venus reveal herself, so naked and exposed was a revelation. Gone was the famous bright light of the early evening. Gone was the glorious herald of the dawn. Here was Venus without her glittery make up and her dazzling dress of light. Venus first thing in the morning!
And here, in my astrologers mind, was the end of an era. An era in which it is expected that to be feminine is to be mysterious and elusive; idealised, stylised and somehow unreal. Here was Venus revealing her true self: her natural shape, her genuine size and her essential energy.
Here was Venus saying ‘Up until now, we have been living in a world where all the rules are set by men. Women may have taken up some positions of authority and influence but they have largely been obliged to implement and enforce a male agenda. No longer need that be the case. Now here comes a world where the positive feminine traits of compassion, sympathy, empathy, respect and even love must be allowed to matter as highly as the ‘masculine’ impulse to conquer, control, punish, profit and push.
The last time the world saw the second in a pair of Venus transits was December 1882. Soon after, the progressive thinkers of the world began to formulate the ideas and beliefs that would eventually give rise to the Suffragette movement at the very end of the 19th century. But even at the time that Transit took place, legislators around the world were finally repealing many of the laws that had effectively made women into their ‘husband’s property.’ It may take a similar 20 years or even more before we see the emergence of a comparable social breakthrough. But it’s now clear to me that I will (probably) live to see it happen and my children most certainly will.
Today, the International Monetary Fund is led by a woman for the first time ever. I now feel sure that Christine Lagarde is about to make a momentous and historic contribution to the future of global financial management. She is charged with the unenviable task of publicly upholding the conventional ‘male’ expectation that hardship must be met with hardship, whilst privately preferring a more pragmatic approach - but she is in an amazingly strong position to help steer the ship of the planet’s prosperity towards more secure shores is more than mere coincidence. I can’t help but think, in passing, that her importance is even more significant when we stop to consider the ironic yet deeply symbolic nature of her predecessor’s downfall.
The world moves faster, today, than it did 130 years ago. The speed of transformation may well accelerate too. Before I make a specific prediction about the timing of the next big wave of change, I need to digest all I have just seen. I also need time to evaluate all the other glimpses of the future that came rushing into my mind during that brief but glorious chance to observe a celestial phenomenon that will not occur again until the year 2117.
I saw something about forthcoming fashions, artistic trends, changing musical tastes and architectural innovations. These too, are all of course, traditionally Venusian.
So too would be the possibility of men, finally adapting to a new cultural paradigm by allowing themselves to become more subtle, more sensitive, more delicate and well, I guess, finally, properly ‘Gentle’men.
But for the rest of what I began to understood, we will have to wait while. After a sleepless frenzy of fishing in the pool of 'mystical enlightenment', I must sleep... perchance to dream.