In this story King Arthur and Sir Gawain encounter “Sir Malger of the Deadly Axe.” Sir Malger challenges King Arthur with a riddle. Arthur’s life depends upon him discovering the correct answer to this question, “What is it that women want most?”
Arthur has seven days to find the answer, so he and Gawain spend this time asking every woman they meet what they want most. The answers they receive are varied including beauty, love, wisdom, a partner, children, riches, adventure, and truth. Somehow Arthur knows none of these are the correct answer to the riddle.
On the seventh day Arthur and Gawain are returning to Sir Malger’s castle feeling discouraged. Then an old woman calls to them. She is horrible to see. Her skin is wrinkled and yellow, her teeth are jagged and she has a patch over one eye. She tells Arthur and Gawain she is Lady Ragnell and she knows the answer to the riddle. However, before sharing the answer Arthur must promise her marriage to one of his knights. Desperate to save his king, Gawain agrees to marry her. Lady Ragnell answers the riddle by saying; “What women want most is to have their own way!”
Arthur’s life is spared and Gawain marries Lady Ragnell. On their wedding night, Lady Ragnell asks Gawain to kiss her. He closes his eyes and gently kisses her and when he opens his eyes the most beautiful woman he has ever seen is sitting before him. He asks her who she is and she tells him she is Lady Ragnell and what he sees now is her TRUE self.
Sir Malger had placed her under an evil spell and Gawain had partially free her from the spell by marrying her and then kissing her. However, she tells Gawain to choose how he wants her to appear as she must return to her former horrible look either by day or by night according to his choice.
Sir Gawain thinks about this and realizes that he cannot make this choice for her as she is the one who has to live it. He tells her she must choose for herself. By giving the choice back to Lady Ragnell Gawain freed her from the rest of the evil spell. Remember the riddle?
By letting her choose he had given her what a woman wants most. Her own way, her own choice, the ability to determine what was best for her!
Lady Ragnell told Sir Gawain, “Now you have broken the spell forever! I need never take that monster shape again. I can be my true self – day, night, and always!”
Indeed, what the Aries woman most wants is to have her own way, so she can remember and be her true self. Our culture has defined certain roles for women and imposed those roles upon them, so it is difficult for women to remember what their own way is and how to live from their true authentic self. This Venus in Aries cycle is an opportunity for the feminine principle to change that, first by noticing the ways she gives away her sense of self-knowing and self-direction, and then fully reclaiming those parts of herself.
It is easier for the young women growing up now as the old definitions are changing. When my own Venus in Aries daughter was two years old, she began teaching me about these mysteries. If I offered to help her get dressed she would take a deep breath, make herself as tall as possible, and with all the authority and strength she could muster she would shout “I do it myself” or “I do it my way.”
Now age 32 (at her fourth synodic Venus return) she is more than ever doing it herself and doing it her way with courage and confidence. She is a fierce warrior ready to uphold and defend the cosmic order of life at any moment. She is committed to being an athlete and helping others who desire it – to get and stay fit.
At age 24 (her last Venus Return) she was committed to protecting our beautiful planet working with Green Peace and other environmental causes. Though she still deeply cares for the planet her focus now is on personal fitness.
It is wonderful to witness a freer more conscious awareness of this Aries energy showing up in our young women, because we truly need healthy feminine (and masculine) expressions of this energy to restore and maintain the natural order of life.
The heliacal rise of Venus near the Spring Equinox was viewed by the ancient Sumerians as the Venus cycle worthy of ceremonailly celebrating as a culture every eight years. Venus rose in Aries on April 8, 1993 and then again April 5, 2001, April 3, 2009 and most recently on March 31, 2017. One way the Sumerians honored this 8 year Venus cycle was to ceremonially re-enact the Inanna story, symbolizing the mythic representation of Venus and her journey through the sky.
It is also interesting to note that in 2025 Venus Rises nearest the Spring Equinox in Pisces. That means this is the last time in our lifetime we will be engaging the Wild Warrior Woman Archetype as the Meta Goddess for an entire 19 month cycle. It seems it is up to us to be sure we have our own way now to further the healthy return of the Wild Warrior Woman as a vital expression of the Solar Feminine into the collective consciousness.
There has never been a more important time for remembering and working with the Venus Cycle and her mysteries of death, resurrection, rebirth and ascension, all contained within the story of Inanna.
Venus, radiant and shining Queen of Heaven, brightest of the visible planets, rose as Morning Star on March 31, 2017. She stationed direct on April 15, 2017 and moved through the first Gate into the underworld on April 23, 2017 when she made her first conjunction with the waning Moon in the morning sky releasing her crown symbolizing the crown chakra.
Once each month for the next seven months she released distortions connected to each of the chakras before disappearing into the underworld for about two and half months on November 27, 2017 where she dies to who she believes herself to be so she can be reborn to who she truly is. Then she will rise as evening star on February 19, 2018 and begin her ascent reclaiming a healthy connection to all she left on her way into the underworld.
This cycle lasts until October 31, 2018 and is a powerful initiation of the Solar Feminine now re-entering our collective awareness.
We would love to have you join us for our Venus Alchemy Aries Aries Evening Star Ceremonial journey celebrating and intentionally engaging each step of the Venus Cycle. These classes have been life changing for many and you can join at any time.
You might also enjoy this Activating the Aries Wild Warrior Woman Article