Imagine Venus for a moment. Picture her as goddess, archetype, planet, or myth. See her peach gold hue, her rose kissed skin. Venus is sweet dusk haze, and pure morning light. Her voice speaks grace, and her words breath charm. Beauty, both inner and outer is her realm, and her magic: pure honey dust, sprinkled freely on lovers, artists and peacemakers alike. She dispenses her precarious sparkle of romance and pleasure with loving care and exquisite danger, uncaring of consequences, and blind to remorse. Yet Venus also thrives amongst peace and harmony, revels in the hush of the sated senses, and awakens wherever creativity lives.
In the astrological birth chart, Venus represents how we love, what we love, and often whom we love. She shows our style of receiving and giving pleasure, and she signifies what we find the deepest appreciation in or what we recognize as both beautiful and worthy of love. For this reason she also describes what we value, and at the most mundane level, what we purchase or own.
Her rulership of Taurus and Libra exemplifies her ability to express her essence in both the external, mundane and earthy world (Taurus) and her corresponding qualities in the internal, and more abstract domain (Libra).
In Taurus, she expresses her bounty in the pleasures of the flesh and the juiciness of the five senses. She is queen of pleasure, indulgence and comfort, wanting nothing more than to revel in the beauty of the earth.
In Libra, she rules as the consummate hostess, exuding charm and grace. Her realm is balance and equality, and here she creates justice, excelling in blending opposing forces into a harmonious web.
In the natal chart, the astrological sign Venus is in tells about how we love, our style of attraction and what brings us pleasure. Venus in air signs wants words and ideas shared and expressed to feel loved and appreciated. Venus in fire signs thrives on bravery, passion and action, Venus in water signs opens up to emotional and spiritual connection, and Venus in earth signs needs physical manifestations of affection to feel loved.
Currently Venus is poised to go retrograde (which means the planet looks like it’s moving backwards in the heavens), on March 6, 2009 (turning direct on April 17, 2009 with the “shadow” period continuing until May 21), in the sign of Aries and moving backwards into Pisces.
Venus retrograde allows the Venus principle a chance to rest, rejuvenate and revision the quality of her varying forms of expression. On a personal level, during the Venus retrograde, we have a chance to explore and deepen our relationship to Venusian themes and qualities. Retrograde periods slow down and often internalize the qualities of a planet that is (seemingly) going backwards.
A retrograde time can also be experienced as a stoppage or constriction of energy or experience associated with the planet. For this reason, traditional astrologers consider Venus retrograde periods to be a challenging time for romantic relationships in particular, but also relationships in general. Finances, socializing and culture are also said to suffer at this time. During the month and a half or so of the Venus retrograde it is usually recommended that people postpone starting new relationships, hold off on buying luxury items, or clothes in particular, cut back on socializing and refrain from overspending. It is also strongly recommended that weddings are not held during this time.
While all these tips may indeed prove to be useful, and it can be interesting to experiment with consciously ignoring the Venus retrograde advice and seeing how that new relationship (or car, dress, etc.), holds up when the period passes, there is also another way to approach this time frame that can provide more lasting and rewarding benefits.
Viewed from the evolutionary astrological perspective, the slow and internal pace of the retrograde can be seen as an opportunity for growth rather than an unavoidable and fated negative experience. By matching our own energy to the flow of the planet, we can work with rather than against planetary movement, benefiting from this seemingly backward motion rather than fearing it. Venus retrograde then becomes a time of retreat and reflection, when we allow the Venus principle in our chart the space and freedom to rejuvenate and rejuice.
Most retreats involve periods of contemplation, reflection and rest. A retreat is a time to renew and review our relationships with ourselves and reconnect with our source energy. Retreating can also be associated with stepping back and away from highly charged or stressful encounters, creating space and room to rethink our approach. Sometimes a retreat can even be seen as a defeat, when we feel that we need to step away from an unrewarding or difficult situation that may be draining and discouraging.
If we choose to work with the energy of nature, and particularly the stars, planets and sky, we can maximize our experience of this Venus retrograde and retreat gracefully rather than be forced into retreat by external events.
As we embark on our own personal Venus retreat, it may be helpful to frame our experience with some key questions: Which of our relationships or relationship patterns need to be revised and transformed now? How do we approach comfort, art and beauty in our lives? What is our own particular expression of Venus and what needs to be adjusted or shifted here?
It’s possible that we already express Venus in our lives by creating beautiful bouquets from our gardens, or we arrange and order our possessions in pleasing ways. Perhaps we make art, hostess dinner parties, or model fierce and passionate love in our relationships. Maybe we excel in peacemaking, charming difficult people or decorating, adorning and enjoying our bodies. Or we revel in relaxing and soaking in the deep pleasure of our five senses, making time to rejoice in the sacred and sensual mysteries of our physical body. It’s possible that we celebrate and honor Venus in our lives in some or all of these ways on a regular basis, or, it’s possible that we don’t.
If we have anything to do with the rhythms of our culture, living, working and surviving in mainstream society, the chances are good that we often neglect the rich and juicy flows that course through the veins of the Venusian mysteries. Residing as we do in an environment that worships the triple gods of technology, consumption, and speed, it may be hard to nurture and maintain the heart and soul of Venus’s core. Venus tends to behave badly around this triple deity, showing only her most crass and shallow guise, developing in a warped mutation that prevents the full expression of her most pure essence. Hence the proliferation of the Paris Hilton’s and Britney Spears who carry our Venus reflection, mirroring back a face that can be quite ugly behind the mask.
The Venus retrograde gives us all an opportunity to look at these issues in our personal relationships and at a collective level. As we examine more closely how we approach Venus in our lives, we can reassess what we want our relationship with Venus to look like in the future. We may decide during the Venus Retrograde to dedicate ourselves more fully to awakening this archetype in her pure form, seeding our individual efforts into a collective wellspring of juicy Venus goodness.
Some practical ways to honor Venus during the retrograde period:
*Create an altar to honor Venus, putting items here that represent Venus in your sign and Venus in your life.
*Make peace with an old lover, offering apology or any resolutions that may be needed
*Find one way to integrate your spirituality and your sexuality
*Adorn yourself in a loving way with something beautiful, noticing what it feels like to dress or look this way.
*Rearrange your home in a way that is pleasing to you.
*Brainstorm all of your favorite ways to socialize and plan a party or event for when Venus goes direct.
*Write a personal history of Venus in your life, reflecting back on your past and your own unique expression of Venus qualities.
*Review your relationship with your partner, using this time to make any needed changes if necessary.