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Inanna, Venus Retrograde, and Barbie

Inanna, Venus Retrograde, and Barbie

In episode 412 astrologer Demetra George joins the podcast to talk about the connection between the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Inanna, the Venus retrograde cycle, and the Barbie movie!

During the course of the episode we talk about the ancient Mesopotamian myth of the descent of the goddess Inanna into the underworld, and how it is connected to the Venus synodic cycle, and especially the retrograde phase of Venus.

I saw Demetra give a lecture in 2005 connecting the myth of Inanna with Venus retrograde, and then I was really pleasantly surprised to see a number of parallels with the myth show up in the Barbie movie that was released recently right when Venus stationed retrograde.

Some of these parallels between Barbie and Inanna were pointed out in an article by a writer named Meg Ellison titled “Barbie is the new Inanna”:


Demetra and I have been talking about a lot of this for the past few weeks, and decided to record an episode on it, in order to dive deeper into some of these ancient myths surrounding the Venus retrograde cycle and talk about how they are still relevant today.

In the process we covered a lot of interesting ground, and touched on a number of important and fascinating figures, including the first author in history who signed her name to her writings, a priestess of Inanna named Enheduanna that lived around 2300 BCE.

In that way this episode builds a little bit on the previous discussion Demetra and I did earlier this year on Heliodora and the early history of women in astrology.

We also talked about the nature of archetypes, planetary significations that have been lost through time, and a deeper understanding of the complex yet profound meanings of Venus and her cycles.

We also delved into some Barbie astrology facts, and I should say that there are spoilers for the Barbie movie in this episode, so if you care about spoilers then maybe watch the movie first before listening to the episode.

For more about Demetra visit her website:


This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.


00:00:00 Introduction
00:00:30 Inanna, Venus retrograde, and Barbie
00:03:01 Meg Elison: Barbie is the New Inanna
00:07:00 Barbie movie released on Venus retrograde
00:08:45 Greta Gerwig born on Venus retrograde
00:09:37 Inanna book published when Gerwig was born
00:11:14 1959 Venus retrograde when Barbie became popular
00:12:30 Goddess Inanna in Ancient Mesopotamia
00:27:40 Venus synodic cycle
00:29:45 Inanna’s descent into the underworld
00:43:24 Heliacal set under the beams of the Sun
00:48:36 Seven gates to the underworld
00:54:00 Emergence from the underworld
00:59:39 Inanna finds husband on her throne
01:04:40 Venus stations direct and maximum elongation
01:05:25 Venus as morning star vs. evening star
01:12:00 Morning setting and superior conjunction
01:15:44 Venus retrogrades and breakups
01:18:00 Archetypes
01:25:52 Contradictory meanings of Inanna
01:41:55 Barbie, Marilyn Monroe, Margot Robbie connection
01:46:41 Solar Fire & AstroGold
01:47:21 Enheduanna
02:03:42 Mesopotamian influence on Greeks planet names
02:12:16 Dual characteristics of Inanna in Enheduanna
02:17:15 Feminine rage and seeking vengeance or justice
02:20:00 Identifying your natal Venus phase
02:29:30 Concluding remark
02:30:52 Demetra’s work and events
02:37:35 Patrons, sponsors, credits

Watch the Video Version of This Episode

Watch the video version of this episode on YouTube:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 412 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

Listen to the audio version of this episode or download it as an MP3:

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  • This was SO good, thanks, Chris and Demetra! I’ve already listened to it twice 🙂

    I posted a comment to your YouTube channel, but there’s a missing piece of the puzzle in your conversation I think you and your audience would be interested in. I’m just going to copy and paste my comment below:

    There’s a hidden facet to the origin of Barbie that adds an even deeper dimension to the parallels between Barbie and Inanna. According to M.G. Lord’s authorized biography on Barbie, Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie (played by Rhea Perlman in the film), had for years been trying to get the male designers at Mattel to make an adult doll styled after the paper dolls her daughter played with. Then she came across exactly what she was looking for on vacation in Switzerland.

    “Lilli” was a German doll based on a character in a cartoon created by a man to tell “sordid, sensational stories” in keeping with the newspaper the cartoon was published in, Bild Zeitung. The character of Lilli  was “a golddigger, exhibitionist, and floozy, she had the body of a Vargas Girl, the brains of Pia Zadora, and the morals of Xaviera Hollander”. (pg 25)

    The doll was intended “as a pornographic caricature, a gag gift for men, or even more curious, for men to give to their girlfriends in lieu of, say, flowers”. This hidden origin story for Barbie pulls on the thread of overt sexuality and subsequent disgust that Barbie inspires in so many and which any discussion of the doll (and Venus!!) must include. Children may be oblivious to the doll’s sexual overtones, but adults obviously are not. Barbie is almost a carbon copy of Lilli, it’s worth googling for images of the two dolls to see it for yourself.

    For our purposes, this hidden origin story even speaks to the myth of Venus, because Barbie has an older sister who is an underworld figure and has been completely outshone by her younger sister, just like Inanna’s sister, Ereshkigal.

    But it gets better! M.G. Lord provides the date the Lilli doll was launched: August 12th, 1955, three weeks before Venus conjoined the Sun in Virgo by superior conjunction on the 1st of September. The chart for that date shows the Sun at 18 Leo and Venus at 13, just one degree away from where it stations at the end of this month.

    Clearly the story of Barbie the doll, if not Barbie the movie, includes the entire cycle of Venus. I’m going to argue it even lends weight to the idea that the exterior conjunction is just as likely a start of the cycle as the interior. Or, perhaps more accurately, that there can truly be no beginning, they are each the top and tail of the other, one leading to the next like a serpent eating its tail.

    Thanks again for such a great conversation. I never would have imagined that so many of my favorite things, Demetra, Venus, AND Barbie, would appear at the same time!!!

  • I am a big fan of the Astrology Podcast, but I must say, this is one of my favorite episodes! Thank you Chris and Demetra, I’ve learned so much and I will continue to research more on this topic as well as use this info in my own astrology work.