The Better Claim


October 26, 2018 at 7:16 am PDT / 2:16 pm UT

Sun and Venus conjoined at 03°06' Scorpio

picLovely Venus, the planet associated with all things we treasure and value above all else, the astrological body that represents beauty, harmony, love, and justice, is swiftly approaching a critical turning point. Tomorrow, Venus will conjoin the Sun to mark the beginning of a brand new Venus cycle seeded in the deep waters of Scorpio.

When a personal planet such as Venus retrogrades, unresolved issues arise relative to what the planet and sign represent. And Venus, as an important force for growth and development in our lives, while in retrograde reveals the discrepancies between our inner values and the outer structure of our lives. What needs to change so the two can be brought into better harmony? What aspects of your life are no longer important, and yet to which you still bind precious time, resources and energy? What new desires are emerging that might replace these old priorities and make life much more fulfilling? What must be released in order to build in more happiness and deeper meaning?

Feminine, receptive Venus as a planetary "trigger" is much more subtle than the other personal planets, Mercury and Mars, even in direct motion. When she touches our chart while in inward, reflective, soul-searching retrograde motion we feel it more on a psychological level. When any planet is in retrograde motion, it is closer to the Earth, therefore, "closer to a person's center," as Robert Hand noted. Although he was referring to retrograde planets in the natal chart, the same is true for the effects of transiting planets in retrograde motion. They tend to effect us in deeper, less obvious, less outward ways, but those inner ripples are no less important or powerful. Right now we are meant to pay closer attention to these inner ripples!

"... behind every desire to act and to express one's self in an outward manner (Mars) there is some kind of value, incentive, directing image or feeling — psychological factors which all refer to the Venus function. Symbolically speaking, Mars refers to the process of "germination" at all levels, and germination presupposes a "seed." Venus rules over all "seed," whether it be the concrete seed of biological organisms or some corresponding factor in the realm of psychological, mental and spiritual activity.

— Dane Rudhyar, Venus in the Natal Chart

As I've noted before, Venus is our inner compass. If we lack a strong sense of what we personally value, how do we make appropriate choices? How do we prioritize effectively? How do we effectively direct our lives? choose partners who are right for us? Venus asks us to contemplate: So much of our lives is spent on the URGENT, we miss out on the IMPORTANT. Too often we confuse the two and our lives spin off in inappropriate and meaningless directions.What really matters? Where is the music and the meaning in life? Is it integral to our daily existence? or is it a big gap in our lives?

Venus retrograde, to capture its essence in a nutshell, is a time when we are meant to slow down and listen to what our heart wants, to attend to the soul. So much of our lives is spent on the URGENT, we miss out on the IMPORTANT. Too often we confuse the two and our lives spin off in inappropriate and meaningless directions.

Astrologer Erin Sullivan, in her book Retrograde Planets, shares an interesting, related point. She noted that people who are born during Venus's retrograde cycle, tend to "experience more intensely the conflict between inner values and the learned rituals of society." Venus retrograde natives, she adds, seem closer to their "Pandemic nature" — to their instinctual side — and often get caught in "interior struggles between the need to be solar and socially extraverted and the urge to be secretive, internal and reflective." Venus, when retrograde, "resonates with the hidden, primal aspects of human motivation and contains innate knowledge of the mysteries and arcana of life itself." Personal planets, like Venus, as they cycle back in retrograde motion, tend to pick up the loose ends left behind, unresolved or ignored, so that we can delve a bit deeper, peel back another layer of that onion.When transiting Venus retrogrades this same process is active for us all.

Venus retrogrades every 19 months and the last time she waltzed backwards in Scorpio and Libra was eight years ago. Retrograding on similar degrees and at similar times, Venus stationed on October 8, 2010 at 13°13' Scorpio to station direct 40 days later on November 18th at 27°39' Libra. The 2010 "inferior" conjunction, that important meeting of Sun and Venus — where we are now in the current cycle — fell at 5°30 Scorpio on October 29th. As this previous Venus retrograde intersected with pretty much the same sectors of your chart, and activated the similar connections, it may be helpful to think back to 2010 as thematically the same issues may be arising now.

What was going on in your life in 2010? Personal planets, like Venus, as they cycle back in retrograde motion, tend to pick up the loose ends left behind, unresolved or ignored, so that we can delve a bit deeper, peel back another layer of that onion, forgive the past and its wounds, and try to let it go.

New Venus in Scorpio

Scorpio, with its ties to Mars and Pluto: intensity, aggression and the shadow aspect of life, has traditionally been considered an unlucky, detrimental placement for the Goddess of Love. While I understand the thinking, I also disagree with its too-narrow, cut-and-dried assessment. This is certainly a shifting sands New Venus, and no ordinary one. It marks the birth of something completely unique entering our lives.Traditional definitions about planet-sign combinations lack sufficient depth and understanding about human nature, but also fail to recognize the fact that challenges provide some of the best motivation for us to development in more unique and creative ways. When we are faced with the need to deal with less than ideal situations, to incorporate conflicting impulses and values — this is exactly the petri dish conditions in which we can develop real depth and uniqueness: the ability to find creative solutions to the challenges of life. That's certainly not a detriment but an asset.

For example, let's take Neil Young, a true individual and singular musical talent, a sui generis: unapologetically unlike anyone else. Young has both Sun and Venus in Scorpio, and his natal Venus falls coincidentally at 0°14' Scorpio, only a minute (60 minutes equals one degree) off the degree of Venus's perfect opposition to Uranus next week. This should be a particularly interesting Venus cycle for him with this wild grand cross coinciding exactly with a Venus Return. Young also has strong Uranus motifs in his chart so he is a particularly perfect guide for us over this next Venus cycle.

New Venus Grand Cross

So, tomorrow's New Venus doesn't occur in isolation, far from it. Future-oriented, innovative, stir-the-pot Uranus and those eclipse markers, the lunar nodes, are tightly interwoven in the strands of tomorrow's Sun-Venus conjunction, together forming a spectacular grand cross,
New Venus Grand Cross
as we see in the chart here.

A grand cross is a powerful, dynamic aspect configuration that includes two oppositional axes crossed. A stressful chart pattern, the grand cross can also be seen, more positively, as focused and driven. Imparting FORMIDABLE determination and power, it is frequently found in the charts of our most highly successful individuals. Squares and oppositions, those "hard" aspects, after all ARE the MOST motivating. So let's take a closer look at this much more complex, New Venus. What does it mean to have Sun, Venus, Uranus and the lunar nodes in such a compelling aspect pattern?

Astrologically, the Moon's nodes represent a place of important soul growth and potential on one end: the North Node, and a point of release, as well as innate skill and ability, on the other end. In many ways the North Node represents the future, what we are striving towards, and the South Node the past: tendencies we may overdo and are meant to release and heal to a certain degree. The South Node seems to indicate a repository of past memory that can stretch back quite a long time, into other lifetimes perhaps. Regardless of whether we believe in past lives or not, the South Node does seem to indicate both inborn talents and strengths we bring in this lifetime, but also "default" behaviors we may be clinging onto, behaviors we tend to employ when life becomes threatening in some way. We tend to feel comfortable and secure "doing" our South Node and so it can represent negative attachments. This is true for both the nodes in our own charts as well as the effects of the transiting ones.

Uranus, agent for change and formidable catalyst, as I discussed in the previous Venus retrograde station post, is a key theme in Venus' entire retrograde this year, but is especially highlighted at this critical turning point in her cycle. Freedom is Uranus's clarion call. Uranus often liberates by pulling the carpet out from underneath our carefully planned lives. Disruptive and destabilizing, but also progressive and innovative, Uranus is the spark of inspiration and genius — the higher octave of trickster Mercury, a collective, socially-oriented transpersonal and unpredictable Mercurius! When Uranus impacts a Venus cycle in such a potent way as this, you can bet major changes will occur in those aspects of life that fall under her rule: money and other resources, relationships, personal values, issues/challenges regarding the pursuit of happiness, pleasure and enjoyment in life.

Shifting Sands

Venus-Uranus Grand Cross
Next week, just five days following tomorrow's New Venus, the Venus-Uranus opposition will perfect, with perfect timing right on Halloween, that most Scorpio of holidays. An even tighter grand cross will form at that time with everything, the nodes, Venus and Uranus all on initial, Aries points — 0° — of the four fixed signs: Scorpio, Taurus, Leo and Aquarius. On the same day, Venus will retrograde back into Libra. A week later, Uranus will also change signs, leaving Taurus for one final trip back into Aries. Around the same time, the lunar nodes will leave fixed Leo and Aquarius for Cancer and Capricorn. (True node shift on November 6th, Mean node 10 days later.)

Although this New Venus/Venus-Uranus grand cross falls in fixed signs, the over-arching attribute is CHANGE not stability. With Uranus, planet of upheaval involved, and all four players in the cross, Uranus included, changing signs soon after, this is certainly a shifting sands New Venus, and no ordinary one. This one marks the birth of something completely unique and new entering our lives.

The gates have been flung open, a new direction beckons, we are stepping into the unknown — or not. As always, the choice is ours.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost


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The painting at the beginning of this essay, Woman Clothed with the Sun (1904), is by American artist Alice Pike Barney, 1857-1931.

Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken," was first published in 1916 as the first poem in the collection Mountain Interval.