My daughters’ favourite moment during the recent Venus Retrograde was their discovery of a large skeleton in a lonely, crumbling ruin by the edge of the roaring Atlantic — even the 13 year old lost her composure for a full moment. They burst out of the broch — a 10th century miniature fort — and into the rain, terrified and thrilled. Then they crawled back through the dark, muddy tunnel for a closer look.
The 40-day Venus retrograde can be read as Venus’ journey through the Underworld. Perhaps this was a little re-enactment of that story of Inanna’s journey to the Kur, the Sumerian hell.
As you may know, Venus turns retrograde every 18 months — and if you draw a line between these retrogrades across the sky, you create the famous five-pointed star of Venus — which repeats every eight years. The retrograde pattern gradually shifts backwards just a few degrees. During much of the 20th century, Venus retrograded in these signs — Taurus (Aries), Sagittarius (Scorpio), Cancer (Gemini), Aquarius (Capricorn), Virgo (Leo). This means Libra and Pisces did not get the retrogrades for a long time. They only came into play again about eight years ago.
Venus retrogrades influence the whole spirit of a time. Sometimes the planet bridges two signs, but sometimes a retrograde is solidly contained within one sign. Imagine that you get repeated opportunities to enter a particular kind of underworld. What effect did the Venus Retrogrades in home-loving Cancer in 1932, 1940 and 1948 have on the collective, for example? Kinder, Küche, Kirche — maybe.
The one we have just experienced was chiefly in Aries — a sign which will continue to dominate the Venus Rxes for many decades. Here, she is in her detriment — of course: this is the planet of peace in the sign of war. Aries’ hell might be an inferno. It’s notable that the wars of words and bombs continued unabated while Venus retrograded through Aries — if anything it all got worse. You may ask yourself, what was Venus looking for as she retraced her steps in experience-hungry Aries? What does Aries love?
Venus Rx can also show us what junk is valuable, and what luxury is really trash. Having turned direct, Venus will go back over these degrees of Aries again from 28 April to 19 May; this time in direct motion — and you may get greater clarity about the meaning of this period. Aries is a sign where planets take action.
On April 3, Venus slipped through a door into the underwater world of Pisces. She has been at 27° of the Fishes for much of April, ruminating maybe on spiritual values, utterly withdrawn from the world of action. Things have been running amok up here. So what is this Pisces hell? Perhaps it’s a ruined fortress by a cold, cold sea. And what treasures is Venus fishing from the collective imagination? She sits now, coolly, in her exaltation, readying herself to return to a world where she is desperately needed.