Venus appears brightly in the sky both at dawn and at dusk, and was known as the Morning Star (Lucifer) and as the Evening Star (Hesperus) to pre-Copernican astronomers. Mythologically, Hesperus was a deity who had a western garden (hesperus is the Greek for 'west') in which his daughters, the Hesperides, guarded a grove of immortality-giving apple trees.
Although Lucifer and Hesperus were both conceived of as male gods, the special beauty of Venus in the sky led to it being thought of chiefly as a feminine planet, the goddess of amorousness and sexuality. Since she presided over such qualities, she was also connected with fertility and creativity and thence to motherliness.
Her metal is copper, in Latin cyprium, a metal famously rich on Cyprus. Venus (or Aphrodite as the Greeks called her) was known as the Lady of Cyprus because she was particularly revered on that island. In the Babylonian pantheon she was a warrior goddess, Ishtar, who was especially worshipped in Nineveh.
Homer associated Aphrodite with laughter. She was the goddess of sweetness, love, and warm wetness. She brought about fortunate events and was known as Fortuna Minor. In the Bible the Morning Star is one of the names of Christ (Revelation 22:16). He promises to give the Morning Star to the saints who keep his words to the end (Revelation 2:28). St Peter prays that the Morning Star may rise in the hearts of his fellow Christians (2 Peter 1:19).
VENUS IN BRIEF
- DAY: Friday (Frigg was the Norse equivalent of the Roman Venus)
- METAL: Copper
- LEWISIAN NAME: In the Ransom Trilogy, Lewis calls Venus 'Perelandra'
- QUALITIES: sweetness; warmth; beauty; laughter; motherliness; sexuality; fertility; vitality; creativity
- C.S. Lewis designed The Magician's Nephew so that it would embody and express Venus's qualities. To find out more, read Planet Narnia