Sunday, December 22, 2013

The significance of Venus retrograde

(22 December 2013)  Venus turned retrograde yesterday at 5 degrees of sidereal Capricorn and now begins its 40-day journey backwards through the sky.  Venus goes retrograde about once every 18 months and marks a time when the significations of the planet may enjoy a special resonance in our lives. Venus is usually associated with love, women, art, beauty, money and pleasurable activities such as hobbies, recreation and socializing. 

Venus (Sanskrit: Shukra) is believed to be somewhat more powerful during its retrograde cycle because it is moving more slowly than usual.  As a general rule, slower moving planets are stronger in their effects.  A slow moving retrograde Venus therefore often coincides with a time when its areas of life become more important to us or enjoy a special poignancy.  Friendships may become more meaningful through a sharing of feelings or ideas; a relationship may become better understood as its inner dynamic is revealed; artistic pursuits assume a greater significance in life such as through seeing a brilliant art history documentary or listening to a well known piece of music with fresh ears. The retrograde process implies a certain sense of reviewing or re-assessing some of these Venusian elements in our life. 

Of course, it can still be an excellent time for new social and artistic experiences but these may be interpreted through a retroactive lens.  Someone we meet for the first time reminds us of an old friend, or a movie we see provides new insight on some dimension of ourselves which gives us a greater sense of purpose or belonging.  Venus is less about gaining knowledge and more about experiencing togetherness and beauty.  In that sense, Venus is the planet of happiness and joy whether it derives from the communion of friendship or group membership or the emotional stimulation we can get from the aesthetic realm -- a film, a book, a painting.  The artistic side of Venus may be witnessed with others or alone.  Even if experienced by oneself, the enjoyment of the aesthetic form implies a relationship with the artist and with the community from which the work of art was produced.   At its core, Venus is the planet that puts us in touch with the wider human group and reminds us of our inherent interdependence.

Whether or not the current Venus retrograde cycle will affect you directly depends on your personal horoscope.  Usually, the Venus retrograde period will tend to have more impact on people who were born with important planets along the path of the cycle.  For example,. Venus turned retrograde at 5 Capricorn and will transit back to 19 degrees of Sagittarius by 31 January when it returns to direct motion.  If you were born between 3 January and 19 January, then this Venus retrograde period will likely resonate more strongly with you because Venus will conjoin your Sun at some point in its retrograde cycle.   That is because the Sun is situated at 19 Sagittarius on 3 January and at about 5 Capricorn on 19 January. 

To a lesser extent, we can also say that if you were born between 3 May and 19 May, Venus may be more prominent in your life during this 40-day cycle.  In that case, Venus will form a five sign/120 degree aspect with your natal Sun.  This will tend to create a greater prominence for relationships, happiness and the enjoyment of social situations.  The same angular relationship will exist for people born between 4 July and 21 July, as well as 5 September and 22 September.   Generally speaking, the positive effects of Venus will be more keenly felt by people born near the beginning or end of each time period.  To stretch the effect even further, we could even say that people born around the 3rd to 6th of each month and the 19th to 22nd of each month are somewhat more likely to have stronger Venusian experiences in the next five to six weeks during this retrograde period. 

I should point out, however, that we are only considering the position of the Sun since it has a clear relationship with the calendar.  But the position of the Moon and the Ascendant are even more important for understanding the potential role of Venus in our life during its retrograde cycle.  However, this can only be known by examining the personal horoscope of each individual. 

In financial circles, the symbolism of Venus is related to money, especially the spending and enjoyment of money.  Last week, the US Federal Reserve announced it would begin to taper its controversial quantitative easing (QE) stimulus program as the US economy is showing more signs of improvement.   Perhaps reflecting the growing strength of Venus as it slowed ahead of its retrograde station, investors generally welcomed the news as stocks rose across the board reflecting a renewed optimism about the future.  The Dow moved to new all-time highs above 16,200 while the Sensex again moved above 21,000.  Gold declined sharply, however, as the Fed's move suggested that the inflationary risk to its money printing program was diminishing.  Gold briefly traded below $1200 before closing just over that level. 

I had been fairly uncertain about the outcome last week given the mixed aspects in play.  However, I did note that the Venus retrograde station formed a somewhat tense t-square alignment in the New York Stock Exchange horoscope.  This may not have coincided with an immediate decline but it did suggest that the days following the Venus station on 21 December were more likely to be somewhat anxious. 

This week we will see what, if any, are the effects of Venus Rx on the financial markets.  On Monday, Mercury aligns with Venus so it is possible we could see higher prices for many assets including stocks and gold.  However, tension and caution may rise as the week progresses as Mars aspects Uranus and then Pluto.