Monday night I stepped outside into a winter wind. Low in the WSW, I saw Venus accompanying a crescent moon. With her fiery light, she has long fascinated mankind. The Egyptians, the Arabs, the Greeks, and the Romans all knew her well.
Down through the ages Venus’ brilliance has spawned many myths, but she is most revered as the goddess-of-love. One of the best descriptions of her temperament comes from 17th century astrologer Lilly. “She is a Feminine Planet, temperately Cold and Moist, Nocturnal, the less Fortune, author of Mirth and Joy; of the elements, the Air and Water are Venereal; In the Humors, Phlegm with Blood, with Spirit and Genital seed.”
Even today her mythological status is alive and well, but let us not forget that Venus also help us crack the universe. Through a primitive telescope, in 1610 Galileo saw that the phases of Venus were inconsistent with a geocentric solar system. It was a discovery that shone a light on Copernicus, while dooming the Ptolemaic system to the dustbins of history.