On Closer Inspection


October 5, 2018 at 12:04pm PDT / 7:04pm UT

Venus Stations Retrograde at 10°50' Scorpio

picVenus is the star of the moment, at station standstill in the fixed, water sign of Scorpio. Venus doesn't retrograde every year, there are 19 months between cycles. So, unlike Mercury, which seems to be nearing yet another retrograde all the time, when Venus begins her backwards waltz through the zodiac, it can be disorienting — in Venusian ways, which, by and large, have to do with relationship: thinking about them, longing for them, longing to get out of them, longing to improve them. Whatever your romantic situation, when Venus stations retrograde, the beginning of a major contemplation project regarding love has begun.

Venus is our joy. She represents what we love, how we love, how we reach out and connect with others. What aspects of our ability to love have we shut away? Where and with whom do connections break down or not work at all? In what ways can better connections be re-established with those we love and cherish, but have, for one reason or another, slipped away? It is natural, while Venus, glides backwards, to think back to all the people we have loved (and lost) — and even for some to come back into our lives, though not always literally: through dreams, thoughts, or similar situations arising that remind us of the past.

Venus is more than just the planet of love and relationship however. Personal values and aesthetics also fall under her rule. Our Love Goddess also denotes what we consider worthwhile and beautiful, what brings us pleasure — not just who, but WHAT we treasure. And in this sense, as the late, great astrologer Howard Sasportas pointed out, Venus serves the Sun — that solar urge to be exactly Venus is an important inner compass, for if we lack a strong sense of what we personally value, how can we make appropriate choices? prioritize adequately? effectively direct our lives?who we are: to grow and develop into a unique individual. Venus is an important inner compass, for if we lack a deep understanding of what we truly value, how can we make appropriate choices? prioritize adequately? effectively direct our lives?

So today we embark on a 40-day review of what it is that makes life worth living. Where is the music and the meaning? Is it integral to your daily existence? or stowed away as if joy and happiness is optional? Have too many obligations — those pernicious "shoulds" and oughts" — taken over? derailed the pursuit of deeper, more fulfilling dreams? What people or aspects of life bring you down, weigh you down, bum you out?

Venus represents the heart, where we are most vulnerable to deep hurt, and if we are not careful, the heart can become a harbor for old, unresolved wounds. Over the next 40 days, the task is to take a trip back to face, heal, and try to alleviate the burden of unresolved pain and sadness. As we know, letting go is largely about forgiveness, one of the most difficult things to do — and yet if we can do it, the key to opening up the heart to deeper and greater love. To learn to love, after all, is really why we are here.

"In its highest manifestation Venus is love, the emotion that brings people together without force or compulsion. Venus is also the power of creativity, which stems from the recognition that components in the outer world may be combined to create a beautiful whole. When working properly, Venus always creates something spiritually higher than the original entity. But it always has to work with the power of Mars, the ego drive, the drive of an entity to be itself. Only a fully realized entity can experience the power of Venus. Only a human being who has become as perfect a manifestation as possible of what he or she is can experience love. The balance between Mars and Venus is rather delicate and easily upset. Egotism and the desire to control may become confused with love, and love may be used to manipulate."

— Robert Hand

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picURANUS IS A STRONG INFLUENCE in this soon-to-begin retrograde. A potent opposition from Venus to Uranus, currently in its own retrograde cycle, forms before, during and after Venus's retrograde. Interestingly, Uranus was also heavily involved in last summer's Mars retrograde cycle. Adding to these Venus-Mars-Uranus connections, Venus will also form two major aspects, a square and a trine, to Mars during her retrograde. Meanwhile, Uranus has been slipping back and forth between Venus-ruled Taurus and Mars-ruled Aries, and will retrograde back into Aries right in the middle of Venus's retrograde. The combination of Venus and Uranus is an important clue as to the special nature of this retrograde.

The Goddess of Love and the Wild Man

Uranus is the "awakener," our astrological catalyst and wild card. Functioning primarily as a agent for change, Uranus 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.

Love is a rose but you better not pick it
It only grows when it's on the vine.
A handful of thorns and you'll know you've missed it
You lose your love when you say the word mine.

— Neil Young

When Venus and Uranus link up, especially during a key Venus retrograde cycle, the challenge is how to integrate a very strong need for deep, soul-level romantic bonds of love and the equally important — yet diametrically opposed — need for space, freedom and independence. Uranus tends to impart a certain amount of recklessness and a tendency to throw caution to the wind. It will be wise for us all to exercise careful discernment and caution over the next 40 days — there's more than just a bit of the "Fools rush in" energy with this combo. With Uranus influencing things, we may take the retrograde reevaluation too far and discard something or someone too hastily. Uranus is a powerful freedom-loving siren, so balance and moderation are special allies. Keep those feet firmly planted. And yet, the benefit is during Uranian times, we sometimes get the courage and compulsion we need to get out of situations that have been plaguing us for way too long. The trick is, as always, to know the difference. So given that's always a difficult determination, pay attention to what comes up, but remember, it may be wise to not be too quick to act.

To get a feel for how Venus-Uranus tends to express, here are some examples of particularly innovative Venus-Uranus individuals, along with places and events that contain this potent combo in their charts.

PULL OUT YOUR CHART and look for 10° Scorpio through 25° Libra, the range of the retrograde. The houses involved describe where your personal Venus review will be especially active. Natal planets that fall in this same range of degrees, especially in hard aspect, are going to add their own special grist for the mill. All planets are particularly powerful at station, which often coincides with critical events: opportunities and challenges. All three, both stations and the New Venus, are especially sensitized degrees. Their placement in your chart and contacts to chart elements provide important clues as to how and where this Venus retrograde will affect you personally.

On this note, I had the pleasure of chatting with fellow astrologer Vanessa Couto recently about many of these Venus-related issues. We talked about life and work, right livelihood (Vanessa is not only a gifted astrologer but a talented artist as well), the challenge of trying to craft a life that is meaningful and truly fulfilling. Here's the link to listen to the interview, which is part of her Intersection Stories series.

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Beginning in Darkness

Venus stations retrograde during the dark of the moon, just three days before the Libra New Moon, which she rules. Two weeks later a Full Moon will fall in Taurus, also Venus ruled. This dovetailing of retrograde and lunar cycle adds greatly to the emotional impact of the next 40 days. This is not a time to ignore the whisperings of the soul.


Venus Retrograde - Key Dates


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The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse, 1902

The graffiti art above is Audrey of Mulberry (NYC) by street artist Tristan Eaton (August 2013), painted for The Little Italy Street Project.