Guest Writer: Forget Orbs, Meet the Transit of Venus!

Is this close enough for you? An extraordinary image of Venus and the sun captured by the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), June 8, 2004.

What’s your favorite orb?

Are you a liberal? Do you favor a nice wide orb that covers lots of ground, ten degrees, say, for the Sun and Moon, and a generous eight for the other planets?

Or does all that slop, all those extra trines and squares and oppositions that you get, make you nervous, make you tighten up and demand a little less before you grant an aspect its degree?

In that case, you’ll want no more than eight degrees for the Majors, maybe even six, and a nice tight four degrees separation for the planets. Better results, you’ll say, more precise.

And you’ll be right, of course. A four degree orb is a lot more focused than eight, and more than twice as precise. Discussion over.

Or is it?

By ignoring that wider orb, you’re also ignoring the undeniable influence that a ten-degree conjunction of the Sun and Venus will have on the person experiencing it.

Sure, it may not be as intense, as smack-you-in-the-face-crazy as some love affair or artistic endeavor begun under a six or eight degree conjunction, but it will be there, messing with your goddess parts. Ignore it at your peril. Or your client’s, should you choose to leave him/her unprepared for Venus’s impending kiss.

Venus’ transit will be visible on certain parts of the globe, but not everywhere!

All of which is to announce an event that truly needs no announcing for anyone with an astronomical bent: the impending Transit of Venus, coming soon (June 5th) to a sky near you. It’s possible you’ve been looking forward to this ever since June 8, 2004, when the last Transit of Venus occurred.

Or perhaps you’ve been waiting for this event since 1760, when this mechanical planetarium (orrery) was created in anticipation of Venus’ transit of 1769?

That’s because you understand that after this one, you won’t get another chance till next lifetime, or December 2117 if you’re very long-lived.

Let’s not go into the technical reasons for that here. If you’re an astronomy geek you already understand it better than I can explain it.

But for those technical reasons, Transits of Venus come in pairs, eight years apart, followed by 121.5 years of getting back into position, or possibly 105.5 years, depending on where you are in the cycle. It all adds up to a 243 year period.

The point is, on June 5, available for viewing throughout North America for a few minutes just before sunset, you’ll be able to forget the whole orb issue and see what a real conjunction looks like, assuming you have Grade 14 welder’s glasses or other appropriate viewing apparatus.

With your welding gear in place, you’ll witness Venus crawling across the Sun’s hot body, a tiny black disc on a sea of fire. And you won’t have to sail to South Africa to see it, either, like Mason and Dixon did in 1761, although if you want to watch the whole five hour cosmic orgy you will have to sail out into the Pacific. Hawaii ought to do it.

Venus will seem to be a dark, moving sunspot during its transit

Now, if you follow the conservative orb arguments, such an über-tight conjunction ought to have über-precise astrological consequences both for you and for the entire planet. You’ll have to monitor your own chart to find out the personal effects, but the planetary ones will be notoriously hard to predict, if history is any guide, because other forces are at work.

Mars is square to the Sun-Venus coupling (by a 1˚orb), and Mars tends to get jealous. That can’t be good. (Or maybe it can, if it results in a lot of creative friction, and great make-up sex.)

Add to that, the Moon and Pluto are a mere degree apart in Capricorn, a likely harbinger of dark secrets revealed in a very public way, with emotional fireworks a distinct possibility. Not a bad thing in itself, but hardly a love fest—except in the sense that a big, blow-out fight can be a needed air-clearer in any relationship, including the ones we have with each other and the Earth. Those are just a couple of the complicating factors.

Also, this is 2012, after all. One would think that this massive amping up of Venus’s famously delicious qualities is playing some role in the evolution of consciousness. A quick scan of world affairs for June 8th, 2004, and indeed for the months to follow, reveal mainly tawdry, business-as-usual vanity and decadence in national and international politics, culminating in the re-election of George W. Bush; and then, tragically, the Indonesian tsunami disaster the day after Christmas.

For hundreds of years, Venus’ transit of the sun was crucial to measure the size of the universe. In 1639, amateur astronomer William Crabtree was one of only two people in the Western world known to have observed and recorded a transit of Venus around the sun.

Vanity and decadence: that sounds like Venus gone bad. But even if some of the beauty and love pumped into the world’s consciousness in 2004 through the Transit of Venus (as astrological principles insist) was corrupted by planetary dark energy, that doesn’t mean it all was. It doesn’t mean it didn’t have a positive effect, however hidden. Even now, it is up to you to decide what you do with your share.

Now, eight years later, we get yet another shot of the good stuff, the Big Love, and it comes at the Mayan end-of-days, when the dark appears darkest, but the beauty has never been more beautiful. So get out your welding glasses, clean up your personal impeccability, and stare into the Sun for a few minutes at dusk on June 5th. You’ll never see anything like it again.

—Patrick Hutchins

Contact Patrick at