The author of this article, Rob Tillett, has been an astrologer for more than three decades. A poet, musician, magician, healer, dramatist and composer, he is the editor and publisher of Astrology on the Web and has written many of the articles on this website.
Rob lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, on the east coast of Australia.
This is definitely a year of retrogrades! On July 27, 2007, Venus reaches her station at 2° Virgo 56', in preparation for a period of retrograde motion that will last until September 8, 2007, when she turns direct at 16° Leo 36'. The effects of the retrograde period will continue to be felt until October 11, when she returns to the 3rd degree of Virgo, where she first made her station (this is called the "Shadow Period"). Sensual Venus turns retrograde only once every eighteen months, but this year she turns in conjunction with stern Saturn, a conjunction that extends from the beginning of July to the middle of October (at which point Mercury is retrograde again, Saturn has moved into Virgo and Mars is slowing in in Cancer, preparing for his biennial retro phase).
Venus and Saturn
The opening salvo of this conjunction occurs on July 1, in the 23rd degree of Leo, the Lion. Venus begins her slow dance not long thereafter, leading up to her actual retro station on July 27. Then she begins to move back into the arms of Old Man Saturn until they reach their partile embrace once more on August 13, in the 28th degree of Leo. Venus returns to direct motion on the 8th of September, curtseying again towards Saturn, and their parting kiss occurs on October 14 in the 5th degree of Virgo. If it's hard to admire beauty for its own sake during this period, it isn’t that we lack appreciation for the things or people that attract us. Saturn brings responsibilities and commitments that are connected with these visions of delight. Folks will be more appreciative of the beauty of traditional, structured, orderly conditions, and understand the intrinsic harmony of the old ways. In fact we will all appreciate the need for some order in our lives. Social events and fun activities will be more attractive if they serve some purpose other than simple enjoyment, such as a combination of business and pleasure. You may prefer to remain alone or in the company of people who have a definite purpose in your life.
Over these weeks even the most casual interactions tend to become fraught with seriousness, intended or not. Female relationships, partnership and other alliance, and joint ventures of any kind fit this pattern. Older or more mature people seem especially interesting. More structure and seriousness imposed on relationships can mean more stability and commitment. Artistic endeavours should become more focused and organized, though originality and imagination can suffer from the tendency to stick to tradition or whatever methods or patterns you know best. This is not the best time for beauty treatments, cosmetic surgery, or redecorating projects. Social gestures and diplomacy are likely to be self-serving.
A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. This traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth, with relation to other planets in our solar system. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way, due to this optical illusion.
Venus does turn retrograde only once every eighteen months, but the effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens (see box for Venus Retrograde 2007). Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon.
As a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events, which relate to their sphere of influence. They present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs.
A retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, beginning when the planet begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ending when the planet returns to the point where it first paused. However, during the cycle, the planet's energy is most powerful (and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance) when the planet makes a station, appearing motionless in the sky. These stationary periods occur near the beginning of the cycle (when the planet first halts as it prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when the retrograde planet slows to a stop before moving forward again. The "direct station" (when the planet halts before moving forward again) is the most powerful and can be used for maximum benefit.
What does Venus affect?
In general, Venus, the goddess of love, rules feelings and emotion, aesthetics and tastes, fashions and all forms of desire, money and wealth. Venus rules social attitudes and behaviour, along with aesthetic tastes and inclinations. Venus symbolises female relationships and social interactions at every level. Venus indicates our values. She governs romance, marriage and other partnerships, capacity for humour, and the pursuit of pleasure.
During a retrograde period the things Venus influences will be less apparent, or be of less concern to the world. Visual sensibilities are reduced. People dress with less flair and our colour sense tends to be muted. This is not the time to purchase clothes or jewellery, change one's make-up or hairstyle. Redecorating or refurbishing homes or business should also be avoided, though there is no reason why decisions that have been made earlier should not be allowed to come to fruition during this period.
With Venus retrograde, the pace of relationships slows down and this is not the best time to get married or give big parties. Since Venus rules diplomacy, slowdowns in all sorts of negotiations can be expected, including industrial disputes, legal issues and diplomatic endeavours.
It is a time when we are called upon to go back and take care of unfinished business. Often we are forced to deal with deep feelings that have their origins in past events. They are activated on an inner level but are often difficult to express to ourselves or others while Venus is retrograde.
Venus Retrograde in Virgo
When Venus is retrograde, everyone's emotional state is more introspective and we tend to react emotionally to the issues and concerns that relate to the sign involved. With Venus retrograde in Virgo, people with this sign prominent in their charts will be especially prone to such introspection. There is little choice but to reconsider our personal feelings and relationships. There is, however, an opportunity to gain insight into one's own mode of relating, whether sexually, creatively, or financially.
Virgo signifies connections with the sick, so this period especially affects nurses, dietitians and therapists. It also affects those who have detailed involvement with financial and creative areas, such as accountants, managers and agents. Relations with fellow workers and employees are subject to undue criticism and you may be somewhat inhibited when it comes to establishing social or sexual relationships. Secret emotional unions and strange experiences are stimulated. Relationships in the military may become strained.
Although Venus turns retrograde in Virgo, she does so in the early degrees and soon retrogrades into Leo. When Venus moves back into Leo on August 9, 2007, deep feelings can be awakened, especially for those who have Fixed Signs strong in their charts. Fixed Signs are Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus. Creative projects tend to be stifled and a tendency emerges for exaggeration. Dramatics are likely in mannerisms, dress, or some aspect of the personality. Control any inclination to be cold and cruel. This position can bring back problems, so chiropractors, be ready!
The most significant aspect awakened is the fortunate trine to Pluto, which is stationary at 26°18' of Sagittarius, in conjunction with the Galactic Core. This aspect is active to one degree or another throughout the retro phase, but is at its peak on August 14 and 15 (retro), then again on October 4 and 5 (direct).
A watchful observer will get a clear insight into body language. Pay attention to the subtleties of human interactions, as the knowledge gleaned can be valuable. People will be attracted if you display an aura of self-possession and control. You can turn the tables on the past. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will change a failure into a success, but if you keep your wits about you, you can gain something equally valuable to make up for it.