Venus, planet of love, luxuries, marriage, pleasure and art goes retrograde on July 25th 2015 at 09:30 GMT. She will continue on her backwards course ('Shukra vakri') through sidereal Leo until 08:30am on 6th September. This event is part of a celebrated eight-year synodic cycle where Venus’s and the Earth's orbits describe a five pointed star, or rose. The successive Earth-Venus contacts, or 'kisses,' fall back in the zodiac approximately 3 degrees, so this present pattern began with Venus retrograde of July 27th 2007, at 8 Leo. Expect outstanding business from that time to be revisited.
Venus-Earth synodic mandala
Venus retro for you. What happens when Venus turns round depends on how Venus sits in your chart. The house Venus retrogrades in gives you the backdrop. An old flame might come back into your life, but more likely this six week spell will affect an existing relationship. It's nailed on that you'll see another side of somebody and have to work harder at handling them. Venus also rules the arts and values in general, so your creativity might take a new turn, especially if it's a collaborative effort. Mundane shopping decisions come under the spotlight too as you choose between big ticket items and belt-tightening, or between a major trip versus a 'staycation'. Natal Venus retro often means you start relationships with sense of familiarity, real or imagined. Then over time you un-know your partner, as your initial projection is replaced by a more realistic appraisal. There is a karmic implication to this, of course, as you unravel mysteries in this lifetime that go way back.
Progressed Venus retro is likewise intriguing, a 40-odd year stretch of life experience. The initial turnaround year or two is the strongest, when people meet again after many years, get married or divorced, or change their sexual orientation. Some people go through the whole progressed cycle, the retrograde then turning direct, which is a defining feature of their life. This 40 day retrograde spell also describes the change from Venus as Evening Star to Morning Star (Venus will reappear in the morning sky on 15th August 2015). There are many Shamanic myths associated with this transition, namely Innana in the Underworld, with Innana having close associations with Venus-Aphrodite. There are even theories connecting Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness to this phenomenon (Venus as Morning Star was known as the ‘Light Bringer’, or Lucifer).
The Vedic Venus, Shukra (think: sugar) has a virtually identical meaning as in the West. In Sanskrit Shukra means ‘white’ or ‘bright’, aptly for the brightest heavenly body after the Sun and Moon. It rules Taurus and Libra, is exalted in Pisces and fallen in Virgo, and becomes Yogakaraka (strong) for Capricorn and Aquarius ascendants. Sage Parasara says of Venus; "Venus is charming, has a splendorous physique, is excellent or great in disposition, has charming eyes, is a poet, is phlegmatic and windy and has curly hair." Venus governs pleasures and sweet things, literally and metaphorically, ruling semen and sexual potency.
Venus’s gem is diamond and her metal is copper and silver. Her day is Friday, colour white or transparent, and she reaches full maturity at age 25. In Vedic myth Venus, or Sukra, is known as the Guru, or teacher of the ASURAS, or one of the two camps of the Vedic deities. Shukra is also closely associated with Mahalakshmi, the devata of material and spiritual wealth.
The ancient Maya had a particular reverence for Venus, which they identified with their god Quetzacoatl, the so-called Plumed Serpent. They had a sophisticated knowledge of Venus's orbit and synodic cycle, her disappearance into the underworld at her inferior and superior Solar conjunctions, and then her rebirth as the Morning and the Evening Star. They treated Morning Star Venus with special fear and awe, as a time for war. The extent to which the Aztecs saw Hernan Cortez as the personification of Quetzacoatl is disputed, but some accounts claim that the 1518 Transit of Venus lay at the heart of Montezuma's fatalistic attitude to the Conquistadors.
Venus's synodic cycle with the Earth is a something of a chestnut for Western astrologers, with its precise five-pointed star, or five petaled rose, describing an idealized planetary mandala. Would that all planets' cycles described so graphically their inherent astrological nature (which at some level, admittedly, they must do). Venus corresponds so elegantly to the Earth's orbit, and their mutual dance of five conjunctions - 'kisses' - over an eight-year period has a strangely seductive quality for anyone studying the subject. I have read accounts of astro-dramas, where the symbolic 5:8 cycles have been choreographed and re-enacted among participants, to great effect. However you decide to tap into it, it is particularly lovely, harmonious energy to work with.
Venus is the only major Western planet named for a female deity. Her principles revolve around conciliation, compromise, grace, beauty, charm, wiles. Unlike Saturn or Mars for example, which are about hard work and coercion, Venus gets there by grace. Eyelash fluttering, guile and schmoozing, or genuine heartfelt charm. We do business with people we like, and a pleasing manner oils doors that otherwise stay shut. The Venus glyph ♀ has been described as the Goddess’s hand-mirror. Even if we write Venus off as a cosmic Barbie Doll, our preoccupation with appearances makes a vast industry. Venus-Aphrodite was a jealous goddess (think; the myth of Eros and Psyche, Helen and Paris), and this emotion is a lethal brew. Romantic rivalry, or the feeling we've been hijacked by a pretty face is one of the greatest causes of human enmity. It takes a big heart to admire rather than to envy.
Venus spends proportionately less time retrograde than any other planet, turning round approximately every 19 months for six weeks at a time. She also spins in the opposite direction to all the other planets, suggesting compromise, accommodation, and playing the go-between. Venus is also about putting a spin on events, perfectly apt for the PR planet. Venus’s day is longer than her year. She takes longer to make one revolution on its axis than to orbit round the Sun, reflecting its lazy, leisurely nature. Venus retrograde is the start of a new synodic cycle. 2-3 degrees onwards from last Venus-Sun conjunction, which is partly what makes the retro cycle a time of adjustment.
The July 31st 2015 full Moon is Guru Purnima, the Vedic festival which honours the Guru, the remover of darkness. This is an excellent time for Yoga, spiritual work and also for starting or renewing studies. Waking early (4:00am) is recommended and chanting, meditation and/or attending a Guru Purnima puja. Om Guruve Namah!