Venus turned retrograde in Aries yesterday. With Venus in the sign that is most opposite to her own intrinsic essence, this may stir up some discomfort. But it is an important and necessary phase of processing Venus-related things (partnerships, financial matters & comforts, beauty & aesthetics, etc) — that should prove to be clarifying and freeing.
Venus, known for her relationship-oriented, other-focused, ready-to-understand, ready-to-accommodate way of being is in the sign that is all about “me,” “my” own needs, what “I” want, and being true to “self.” The context of these opposites is an opportunity to find more inner wholeness.
Further, the nature of a retrograde cycle activates things from the past — under the surface resentments or unresolved issues — for the purpose of rousing out those undetected but simmering impediments to a clear and clean interrelationship, and making changes that need to be made. Depending on where you have Aries in your chart will reveal the area of life most affected by this retrograde process. With Mars also in Aries (Jan 28-Mar 9) there is a an extra quality of feistiness, self-interest, or conflict in that same area of your life.
Venus will back up into Pisces on Apr 2, which will have a different flavor for that part of the retrograde cycle. Venus in Pisces has more of a sense of unity and unconditional love, which would be a nice result of the resolution of old resentments. Then when Venus makes her final pass through Aries (Apr 28-Jun 6) moving in direct motion, things will be in a different place. Not stuck, but ready to go forth, which Aries likes to do!
“What about this year? It has been a struggle so far. Any ideas?”
I recently received this question on Facebook. At first I laughed because it is such a broad and big question, and I am far from having any answers. But if together we take a look at your chart and your life, we may see how the current planets and aspects are reflecting your experience, and that can be so helpful for finding the answers within…
I can offer a brief sketch of some general astrological themes for this year: The revolutionary energies of radical change and wrenching transformation that began a few years ago during the epic Uranus/Pluto square are getting triggered off this year by Jupiter in Libra. Additionally there is an emphasis on FIRE, and air feeding fire this year (with Saturn in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Libra, the Nodes of the Moon preparing to enter Leo and Aquarius, with our first Leo eclipse tomorrow on Feb 10, and Venus and Mars both in Aries right now as well). So it makes sense that collectively we are seeing and feeling instantaneous flare-ups of high-spirited passion and energy, manifesting in all kinds of different ways.
I have a lot of fire and air in my natal chart so I am used to intense energies within myself zooming to the surface for expression. For balance I look to and learn from my more earth and water friends. They are not instantaneous in their reactions. When I am able to slow down my responses, and try to really listen, and pause before speaking — it is miraculous. Taking it a step further is listening for the feelings and needs underneath whatever we are hearing or seeing, that might seem irritating, disturbing, frightening, or enraging… When we can bring mindfulness, inquiry, empathy, understanding, compassion, and presence to whatever is arising within or around us — it is a nourishing tonic for this fiery year, with the potential to offer deep and healing solace. I am needing to review my Non-Violent Communication books and I am loving listening to Tara Brach’s podcasts. She continually reminds people to ask, “What is it like to be you?” When we ask this we automatically become an ally, especially to marginalized and vulnerable others (“What is it like to be you?”), or especially to people with whom we vehemently disagree (“What is it like to be you?”), and often most importantly to ourselves (“What is it like to be me, in this moment?”).
You can find abundant information about current astro weather everywhere on the internet. So, instead, for today, I’m going to write about what’s on my mind a lot lately with regard to the planets… Though first I will say briefly that there is a lot going on right now astrologically (but there always is. It never stops). We’re in-between eclipses — a North Node Solar Eclipse in Virgo on Sep 13 and a South Node Lunar Eclipse in Aries on Sep 27. Eclipses mark big though sometimes subtle shifts, which unfold over the course of several months before and after the actual eclipse dates. Also, Mercury is about to turn retrograde on Sep 17 (we’ve been in the shadow period since Aug 28) and Saturn moves into Sagittarius (also on Sep 17) to stay until Dec 2017…
But what I want to mention today is the last Venus/Sun conjunction, which occurred on Aug 15th. Astrologer, Gary Caton, taught me to pay attention to these special conjunctions, because they set into motion a deep transformative process that is in effect for about 9.5 months until the next Venus/Sun conjunction. Through observation I have found this to be profoundly true, yet it’s sometimes only in retrospect that I can really see and appreciate it, which is why I’m bringing it up now. We’ve had a month to start feeling this new Venus unfoldment process. The conjunction was at about 23º Leo. What house of your birth chart does Leo fall in for you? That house will describe the sphere of life that is beginning to undergo a transformation of values (values, a Venus thing), especially if 23º Leo is near an angle or planet in your chart. Where Leo is in your chart is an area of your life that will be in focus until the next conjunction in Jun of 2016 in mid Gemini. The domain of life affected by the Venus/Sun conjunction often manifests in a clear or concrete way over the 9 month period so it is worth contemplating. The Venus/Sun conjunction correlates with a discovery process of what you truly value/desire/enjoy and that discovery creates change. if you want to think about the 9 months prior to Aug 2015, the Venus/Sun conjunction before this last one was on Oct 25, 2014 at 2º Scorpio. If you aren’t familiar with your chart or if you want to explore this further, contact me and we can set up a consultation.
The Sun and Venus have been traveling close together for the last month or so, bringing some ease to relationships and generally encouraging the enjoyment of life, during an otherwise potentially tense time. Together they (and we) are moving through the sign of Scorpio. While in Scorpio we are destined to plunge into the depths and wade through a mire of swampy darkness if need be, in search of truth, authenticity, and connection with what is real in self and other, whether it is pretty or not. This is not always comfortable for Venus as she prefers the pleasantries and niceties of life. However, since this dive into the unknown is in the service of intimacy, she tolerates being out of her comfort zone while in Scorpio, because she knows that deep down she too craves real intimacy, which requires this type of journeying. Read more...
After getting used to the new environment, Sun and Venus together encounter both Jupiter and Saturn. Though meetings with Jupiter tend to be grand and fun, especially while he is in Leo, as he is now, this meeting is somewhat challenging, as the Sun and Venus were square to Jupiter from their position in Scorpio. (Venus squared Jupiter on Nov 9, and the Sun squared Jupiter on Nov 13.) Jupiter can spout beautiful promises of adventure, triumph, and opulence, and it is certainly tempting. But even while listening to Jupiter’s glorious visions, Sun and Venus see Saturn just ahead on their path and pause with trepidation. Before taking Jupiter’s extravagant leap of faith, we are meant to have a dose of reality checking, thanks to our elder Saturn’s time-tested wisdom. (Venus was conjunct Saturn on Nov 12, and the Sun will be conjunct Saturn on Nov 18.) Saturn knows what he’s talking about. He has seen it all before and is here to remind us of the mistakes, risks, and dangers we could run into if we do not proceed with caution. He means well and wants us to succeed in our endeavors, but he is stern sometimes… We are fortunate to have this balanced perspective right now as we go forth on the path.
Mercury retrograde in Libra, Lunar eclipse in Aries
We’re past the halfway point of this Mercury retrograde (Sep 17-Oct 9), and so I have a few observations (The deepest learning of astrology comes through observation). Like all Mercury retrograde cycles this one is providing opportunities to revisit and reconnect with projects and relationships from the past, review misunderstandings or mistakes, and move towards resolving old issues. Since this Mercury retrograde takes place fully in the sign of Libra, the revisits may revolve around Libran values, such as interpersonal relating, empathy, and understanding the feelings and needs of both sides of any difference or conflict. Depending on the house of your birth chart where you have Libra will determine more specifically the types of things you may be reworking during this Mercury retrograde period.
Meanwhile the Lunar eclipse on Sep 27th was an interesting counterbalance occurring in the opposite sign of Aries. A Full Moon is always the peak, climax, or crisis point of the lunar month, but the addition of an eclipse takes it to a more intense level. Even though the deeper significations of an eclipse take place over a period of months (before and after the exact date of the eclipse), the day of the eclipse itself can certainly be telling too. I knew of three people who had this eclipse tightly conjunct one of their Aries planets, and they were all sick during the few days around the eclipse. Since this was an eclipse occurring near the South node of the Moon, it suggests a time of letting go. For those who were sick, I’m interpreting this as a detoxification process. But more generally this eclipse could be seen as a detoxification process for all of us in whatever part of our natal chart where we have Aries. I have Aries in my 7th house of one-to-one relationships, and right around the time of the eclipse, I had fleeting but important differences to attend to with a few people I connect with in a one-to-one way. Each one involved letting go of old thought forms or patterns. The fact that it was a Full Moon, an eclipse, and being in the fiery, impulsive, assertive sign of Aries added a higher degree of emotionality than might otherwise be present.
How did this eclipse play out for you? It’s always fruitful to note these things, in the same way it is fruitful to remember and explore the meanings of one’s dreams. These practices help us along the path towards greater self-knowledge and self-mastery.
During Mercury’s apparent travel backwards, at the midpoint of the retrograde phase, is a special moment when Mercury meets up with the Sun. This occurred on Sep 30th. It can be thought of as Mercury’s New Moon so to speak, the beginning point of a new Mercury cycle. Things are sown, either consciously or unconsciously, at this conjunction, so you can note what occurred on that day — ideas, discussions, events, or flashes or urges for a new and different way. It is an inception point, though it may not be clear just how those things will grow up and expand until after Mercury goes direct.
A tense square forms between Jupiter and Saturn a few times between 2014 and 2016. Ever since Jupiter entered Leo in July of 2014, it has been squaring Saturn in Scorpio by sign, but this morning the aspect reached a climax (at 28º Leo and 28º Scorpio). Regarding one area of life (where you have Leo in your chart, Jupiter is transiting) you may be feeling expansive, joyful, and even triumphant. Things have worked out well over the past year. There have been some amazing shifts and gains. You have reason to feel optimistic as you progress. But even as you are celebrating that within yourself, your mind may gravitate to another area of life (where you have Scorpio in your chart, Saturn is transiting) where you may be feeling fearful or needing to face a harsh reality. Here you may need to reign yourself in, accept certain failures, losses, or difficulties, and move forward with caution. The contrast between these two areas of life has been present for awhile, but today it is stark!
As I reflect on this, I am feeling just as grateful for the hardship associated with Saturn as I am for the good luck associated with Jupiter. Although Jupiter may have a great time, for awhile — without Saturn’s sobering down-to-earth self-command, eventually the potential for foolishness, naivete, or arrogance unchecked can cost a heavy price. Saturn takes the long view and in his own way is a great protector. It may seem a bit pessimistic compared to Jupiter’s supreme confidence. But realistic Saturn is looking out for present pitfalls and future dangers — urging us to prepare and work harder with an ever present awareness of the fragility of life and our inevitable mortality. During the square between Jupiter and Saturn we are asked to embrace both optimism and caution at the same time. The friction between the expansive Jupitarian archetype and the contractive Saturnian archetype generates a powerful force pushing us towards greater wholeness. The combination is a blessing conferring circumstances in which we learn wise action and balanced growth.
Scorpio season, a Solar Eclipse, Sun/Venus conjunction, and Mercury turns direct
The Sun, Moon, and Venus all entered Scorpio yesterday (Oct 23rd). This is a big shift all at once from diplomatic, reasonable, and mental-oriented Libra — to intense, piercing, and feeling-oriented Scorpio. The Scorpio archetype is about speaking and acting from a knowing that originates deep within the gut. During Scorpio season we may find ourselves more in tune with the truth of our instincts, and more inspired to courageously express ourselves from that internal wisdom. Read more...
There was also a Solar Eclipse New Moon yesterday at 0º Scorpio, bringing powerful energy to move forward new developments that are emerging in our lives. At the moment we may only have a sense or glimpse of what these new developments or opportunities may be, yet nonetheless we can feel the potentials of them stirring. In Scorpio we heed the need to purge and allow necessary endings and deaths, so that the imminent transformations taking place may transpire. As this eclipse is near the North Node of the Moon, there is something palpable to be gained through the letting go process. And with the Sun and Venus closely intertwined in the mix, the transformations and new beginnings will likely involve Venusian aims, such as engaging life within partnerships for the purpose of experiencing deepening love, creating more beauty, or redefining what is of real value for you. This will be happening specifically within the sphere of life represented by the Scorpio part of your chart.
Further, early tomorrow morning (Oct 25th), the Sun and Venus meet at about 2º Scorpio. The conjunction of the Sun and Venus only happens every 9 months and is part of a larger Venus cycle. It may be interesting to contemplate that this conjunction represents something coming to fruition, which began at the last conjunction between Venus and the Sun, back on Jan 11th in Capricorn, when Venus was retrograde…
Also, tomorrow afternoon (Oct 25th), Mercury turns direct after 3 weeks of apparent backwards motion. Although I am always the first to point out the beneficial aspects of any retrograde cycle, nonetheless, there is still a feeling of relief, readiness, and eagerness for things to start moving forward more freely again.
Before the Sun leaves Cancer and enters Leo tonight, I want to be with the Cancer archetype a little. Some images associated with Cancer, such as the turtle (who carries its home on its back) and the great mother — are all about the nurturing, safety, and comfort we associate with the sweetness of feeling at home. Having a place to call home — where we don’t have to be “on,” where we can gently remove any personas and just be — is so utterly important and basic to a solid sense of well-being that sometimes we take it for granted. Any success “out there” is dependent on having a place to come from and return to for rest and rejuvenation. A given sign of the zodiac follows the sign before it and grows out of it, is its fulfillment and completion in a sense, and produces a wholeness-making circle of the 12 signs. So Leo, which follows Cancer, is able to walk out all shiny and ready for creative self-expression after Cancer has taken care of basic needs and created a stable home from which to emerge.
“I feel for myself that being at home happens whenever I enter into the vibration of feeling completely, 100% invited to be what I am, to feel what I am, to abide in the sense of safety and wholeness in whatever is being experienced. An unconditional acceptance that I belong, I am loved. I am held.” ~Ari Moshe
Sweet relief from Venus, the archetype of love and beauty — specifically tonight, tomorrow, and on April 25th — as she makes harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn. If we look around we may see there are ample sources of support and stability as well as opportunities to tap into the experiences of connection, healing, and empowerment amidst the Grand Cross challenges that peak this month.
Last night as I was falling asleep I was contemplating – for awhile and quite intensely – love, what love is, and how to actually be loving. I didn’t have any obvious individual aspects I could think of that would account for this particular focus of my mind. But when I woke this morning and looked at the ephemeris I realized that the moment I was contemplating love so deeply was just when the Moon was applying to a conjunction with Venus, the goddess of love. How perfect. There is always an astrological correlation. Even for brief or minor events.
A friend sent me this wonderful video full of truths about what love is and what love isn’t…