Many people are familiar with the phenomenon of Mercury Retrograde, but most don’t consider that astrologically, we take note of retrogrades of all the planets (except of course The Sun and The Moon, these do not retrograde). Venus is one of the brightest elements of our sky, appearing as the Morning or Evening Star, and moves around the Sun in 584 days, taking just over a year and a half to do her circuit through the zodiac. So what does Venus Retrograde mean for us anyway?
In mythology, Venus (or Aphrodite to the Greeks) is the goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, lust, luxury, passion and desire. She was a fickle goddess, seeking pleasure above all, and was amoral when it came to the ideas of commitment and fidelity. While married to Hephaestus, the god of fire, craftwork, metal work, blacksmithing, Venus was none too faithful, and frequently entertained suitors, most famously, Ares or Mars, Hermes (Mercury), Poseidon (Neptune) and Dionysus, the god of ecstasy, wine, fertility and madness.
In our charts, Venus indicates where we find our pleasure, what we value, and how we focus on what brings us sensual and aesthetic fulfillment. What is it that we desire? What kind of art and designs appeal to us most? What sort of fashion do we enjoy? What do we want most in a lover, what turns us on and motivates us sensually? Venus shows where we find beauty in our lives and where we strive to express it personally. Fulfilling material desires involves spending money, so Venus also shows us how we relate to money matters. While generally positive, Venus is also vain, and can be fickle in pursuit of desires (less so in a fixed sign like Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius). She can be vindictive if not violent when scorned. Don’t be fooled into thinking this goddess is a soft touch. Withhold what she desires most and watch the vengeance fly. Venus is one of the most important personal factors in our charts as it indicates the fundamentals of why we like what we like – from bubble gum to bed sheets, and everything in between.
We began 2022 with Venus Retrograde, an event which happens every 18 months. The planet entered retrograde on December 21, 2021 at 26º 29’ Capricorn, and turns direct on January 29, 2022 at 11º4’ Capricorn. As this placement has been carrying a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, we’re feeling a very goal-oriented vibe, an unrelenting desire to obtain what we want how we want it, with a definite emphasis on luxury and power. This placement is active in everyone’s chart, either by direct contact with personal points or through inhabiting whichever house contains Capricorn, so it’s worth looking up.*
Heavy, almost overpowering desires are common with Venus/Pluto contacts, especially the hard aspects, and even more so when colored by Capricorn’s Saturnian vibe, bringing a tendency to brood, nurture obsessive desires, engage in compulsive spending, get caught up in overwhelming infatuations and the like. When Venus turned Retrograde, as with any planetary retrograde cycle, the action of the planet was arrested, causing an internalization and reconsideration process to take effect. So how does this play out?
In existing, stable relationships, Venus Retrograde brings a period of distance as both partners turn into themselves to accommodate personal desires, wishes and pleasures. Love is still there but a bit distant and quiet as each in the partnership focuses on their own thing. In new, or casual relationships, on the other hand, can often see a change of heart, a cooling off period, a realization that what we had expected of the other is perhaps not the real deal. We come to see things differently, noticing that what we have before us is not what attracted us in the first place, and often end up with a classic case of buyer’s remorse. This can either lead to a break, or at the very least a shift in how the relationship plays out. Things will change as necessary to protect Self’s best interests.
In either new or existing relationships, we are presented with a different facet of the other person than we had previously known. It may be flattering, unflattering, off-putting, or a welcome realization, but any which way, there is a reconsideration that takes place during the duration of the retrograde period which thenceforth colors our perspective of that relationship. Established couples learn to do things a bit differently, honoring “the space in their togetherness.” People we thought we knew surprise us, and we find a different level of relating. Frequently, brand new relationships are scrutinized and found lacking, requiring change that can even mean a permanent break.
One thing to keep in mind with Venus and relationships in general is that a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean with a person. We have relationships with our work, our hobbies, our ideas, our memories. We have a relationship with ourselves, and it is this fact that can activate interesting Venus retrograde experiences. Are you having a relationship with your old memories? How do you relate to yourself? How do you have fun? What gives you pleasure? What do you do to feel good about yourself? Do you spend too much money, or do you tend to hold back on spending? These factors can change when we go through Venus Retrograde, sometimes permanently, as we find different ways of understanding our pleasure principle.
Venus Retrograde is not the time to make large, luxury expenditures like buying a car, house or apartment etc. Also not a great time for going on a pleasure trip, as your natural desire to have fun feels inhibited. And Venus Retrograde is really not a good time to get married, go on a first date or try to break into the dating scene. Anything to do with pleasure, like gourmet dining, attending art galleries or museums, shopping for luxury items or fine clothing will feel off, like we can’t quite connect even though we feel we should. We feel internal and quiet, with an underlying need to tamp down on extravagance.
When Venus turns direct, an opening occurs as once again we feel interested in reaching out and connecting. We’ve done the reflection, considered how we approach relationships, desires, pleasure and money differently, and we feel a resolution to incorporate what we’ve learned as we consolidate changes in our behavior. Maybe we’ve figured out that we don’t want to talk to that guy down the hall anymore because he’s just not who we thought he was. Maybe we’ve resolved to spend less money on frivolities, and realized that we’re just fine without constantly consuming. It could be that we decide to let bygones be bygones and try again with an old friend, eyes wide open. Perhaps we once again feel like connecting with dear loved ones, and do something new together. Or we finally decide to go ahead with that big ticket purchase, the new hairstyle, coat, pair of shoes etc. we’ve been considering for so long. Whatever was stalling our desires resolves and we can move forward with ease.
Venus direct is the time to step out again with the understanding that your perspective and what you expect from relationships is just a bit more evolved than it was a few weeks ago. Venus turns direct on January 29, 2022 at 8:46 UT, at 11º4’ Capricorn and won’t be retrograde again until July 23, 2023 at 28°23’ Leo. The next time we will have Venus Retrograde in Capricorn will be eight years from now, December 16, 2029 – January 26, 2030, as Venus follows an eight year cycle of returning to the exact same place in the sky on the same date.
*Visit Astrodienst for one of the world’s best astrology websites and run your chart if you haven’t already.
For detailed information on planetary events in 2022, visit here: Planetary Events 2022