Rob Tillett has been an astrologer for more than three decades. In previous incarnations a poet, musician, magician, healer, dramatist & composer, he is the editor and publisher of Astrology on the Web and has written many articles on this website.
Rob lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, on the east coast of Australia.
Everyone has heard of the cosmic slipups that seem to appear when Mercury is retrograde, but did you know that other planets can go retro too? Well, they can! And on March 6, 2009, Rob Tillett tells us that Venus enters a rare retro phase in Aries, lasting until April 17th, when she she turns direct in the last degree of Pisces. Now, read on...
Sensual Venus turns retrograde only once every eighteen months, but this year she turns in Aries in auspicious conjunction with the Fixed Star Alpheratz, a bright double star in the head of the constellation Andromeda, the Chained Maiden. On Friday, March 6, 2009, Venus reaches her station at 15° Aries 27', in preparation for a period of retrograde motion that will last until April 17, 2009, when she turns direct at 29° Pisces 16'. The effects of the retrograde period will continue to be felt until May 21, when she returns to the 16th degree of Aries, where she first made her station (this is called the "Shadow Period", which can be as intense as the actual retro phase!).
Venus and Andromeda
In mythology, Andromeda, a beautiful Ethiopian princess, was the daughter of Phoenican king Cepheus and his queen Cassiopia. Cassiopia was so proud of her daughter's beauty that she boasted that not even the divine nymphs, daughters of Neptune, could hold a candle to her! Ooops. The nyphs (Nereids) complained to Neptune, who naturally enough sent the sea-monster Cetus to ravage the vain queen's coastline. After consultation with an oracle, Andromeda was then chained to a rock by her parents as a virgin sacrifice to the ravaging sea-monster. Fortunately, she was saved by the hero Perseus, the Gorgon-slayer, who, arriving on his winged sandals in the nick of time, turned the sea-monster to stone with the Gorgon's Head and married the princess. Just as it should be, really. Alpheratz is a star of the nature of Venus, awakening grace, popularity, independence, and honours, so the retrograde Venus phase this year is likely in some ways at least to be more pleasant than it was last time! But read on, dear reader, as there's more to be said...
The fixed stars form patterns in the heavens that are called constellations. Constellations are not the same as Signs of the Zodiac, though some of them bear the same names, because in times gone long by, the signs coincided with the constellations of the same name. This is because of the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, whereby the stars in the Sidereal Zodiac move backwards with regard to the Vernal Point, which is always the first degree of Aries in the Tropical Zodiac. Andromeda is an important constellation, but not a Sign of the Zodiac.
Fraught with Seriousness
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 2009). 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 indicate a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events that 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. Often, related issues from the past reappear and need to be dealt with.
The retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, beginning when Venus begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ending when she returns to the point where she first paused. However, during the cycle, the planetary energy is most powerful (and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance) when Venus makes a station, appearing motionless in the heavens.
These stationary periods occur near the beginning of the cycle (when Venus first halts as she prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when she slows to a stop before moving forward again. The "direct station" (when Venus 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, relationships, 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, so 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. Unresolved issues from the past will come forward and demand resolution.
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 Aries
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 early Aries, people with this sign prominent in their charts will be especially prone to such introspection. Aries is a Cardinal Sign, so it also has a notable effect on those with the other Cardinal Signs prominent in their charts. Cardinal Signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. 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.
Venus in Aries is affectionate and imaginative, idealistic, yet changeable in feelings and romantic in love. Since matters from the past tend to come forward during the retro phase, an old flame, or reminiscences of lost love, may reappear. Aries brings popularity with the opposite sex, though in the retro phase a more fated or destined feel suffuses the atmosphere as we rush to embrace relationships of all kinds. You enjoy having fun and your passionate eagerness can be inspiring and contagious, but some people now will perceive you as being rude and demanding. The combative nature of Aries means you can be too aggressive in forcing your attentions or affections on others. Do your best to resist the urge to general financial extravagance. Refrain from overeating rich or starchy foods, but do not indulge in faddish diets, or skin and kidney problems may arise.
Venus Retrograde in Pisces
Although Venus turns retrograde in Aries (the sign of her detriment), she does so in the early degrees of the Ram and soon retrogrades into Pisces, the sign of her exaltation. When Venus moves back into Pisces on April 11, 2009, deep feelings can be awakened, especially for those who have Mutable Signs strong in their charts. Mutable Signs are Pisces, Virgo, Gemini and Sagittarius. This year Venus makes her direct station in the final degree of Pisces, in conjunction with the Fixed Star, Scheat, which is likely to bring out the worst in human relationships and financial discord, primarily through our own misguided actions. Under this influence, our social attitudes and behaviours are profoundly influenced by our emotions. Dramatic engagements will be the flavour of the week! Reminiscences of lost love can turn to dangerous levels of fantasy. Be careful, because you can be severely hurt if a relationship, especially one from the past, fails, something which can then incline you to be reluctant when it comes to making new associations. An overdose of compassion and sensitivity makes it difficult to be discriminating in choosing companions. Beware of attracting those who will take advantage of you. The good thing about the direct station is that it provides the ideal opportunity to make valuable decisions on relationships and interactions in general with regard to the direction you will take in the future – at least until the next Venus Retrograde in October 2010!
Significant aspects awakened include the awkward square on April 3 from Venus to Pluto, which is stationary preparing to turn retrograde in the wee hours of April 4. Interactions trigger more serious responses than the circumstances might indicate. Something said or done in an innocent context may stir up old memories, deep passions, even anger and resentment. Whether your own passions are aroused, or you inspire such reactions in others, depends on how it falls in your own chart, but controlling your reactions is the key. Do not deliberately antagonize others or seek to arouse their jealousy, since this would backfire or lead to something even worse. If faced with your own internal conflicts set off by innocent (and not so innocent) gestures on the part of others, you will benefit by turning the negative energy to some constructive purpose. This difficult aspect is released on May 2, 2009, but remains in play to one degree or another at a profound, underlying level until after September 2010.
The current Venus retrograde phase occurs in the shadow of the highly malefic opposition from Saturn to Uranus, which was partile (exact) on February 5, but remains in effect to one degree or another till it is restimulated on September 15, 2009. This aspect engenders a distinctly unfavourable atmosphere. Watch for more fashion statements about the financial crisis and the Middle East crisis and the Afghan crisis and you-name-it crisis. It is evidently aimed more at society as a whole, rather than you as an individual, but it will no doubt mean the passage of legislature that imposes restrictions or additional responsibilities. It may mean the collapse of institutional structures that might otherwise have benefited people as a whole. Groups and organization will be likely to suffer.
Seniority, experience, and authority are liable to be unexpectedly threatened, perhaps completely disrupted, by circumstances over which you have no control (especially if your relevant achievements have been won by some manner of default rather than through hard work and attention to business – Wall Street take note!). There is little prospect of gain by setting out to impose your seniority or authority. Traditions and methods are under fire and the opposing forces press for change and a new order. Flexibility, careful observance and cautious response to threats on your part can minimize the unpleasant impact of an unstable and unfavourable period.