The last time Venus went retrograde was in March 2009. A month prior to that, as Venus crossed into its retrograde shadow on February 1, 2009, good-time feelings in the United States reflecting the inauguration of President Obama disappeared as if someone had hit a national temperament switch. Venus went into its shadow and the media started critiquing. The US Congress started sniping. From the public was heard a swelling cry: “nevermind all that ‘us’ stuff—what about ME?”
It was all very appropriate, what with Venus being in Aries, sign of Self. And as Venus then went retrograde in Aries, the Venusian sense of “reward” or “having earning” felt denied. People felt isolated and stripped of recourse. Friendliness vanished as people around the world (this being a global transit with the US being used here merely as an example) realized they needed to reinvent their lives and sense of Self—their place in this world.
Okay, but why talk about that now? Simple: by looking back to see how a past astrological cycle worked, we get big clues on what’s coming. That retrograde was in Aries. This incoming Venus retrograde will be taking place in Scorpio. And that means there’s something of a “reflexive” link—a celestial dotted line, if you will—between these two events. Why and how? That answer starts with Venus being the ruler of two signs: Taurus and Libra. And since ruling one sign astrologically makes the opposite sign a planet’s sign of “fall” (where it’s natural symbolism is “weaker” or harder to “get to”) this means Venus is problematic when passing through Aries or Scorpio…nevermind when it’s retrograde in Aries or Scorpio!
So again, let’s look back. Venus’ strong side of the Aries/Libra polarity is the Libra side, where the Venusian symbolism of creating positive results functions through the Libra “what I am to you” (or what I provide you with) as the opposition (or outcome) to the Aries “who am I?,” “what do I make of myself?,” and “what I do with my life.”
What we “do” on the Aries side is made manifest on the Libra side. We do, or we be, and others react and respond, either applauding or rejecting us. We tend to think of Libra as “the other” where it’s really all about what we do or are to the other which engenders a response.
And that’s important to remember when we then look at Taurus/ Scorpio, a polarity which Venus rules from the Taurus side of the coin. Taurus, first of the zodiac’s four fixed signs, is all about our values and what we value. And because having/achieving what we value produces feelings of satisfaction and security, Taurus is not only that, but the abilities, talents and resources we use in embodying or expressing our values as a reflection of our self worth. (And yes, this “self worth” thing is why we tend to associate our “worth” in money terms with Taurus.)
All Taurus “raw materials” (self-worth, talents, abilities, drive) are “harnessed” and developed through what is probably best referred to as the “fixed sign cycle”: Taurus (and the 2nd house of a chart) represents what and where we start. Leo (and the 5th house) are our creative efforts and how/how well we go about employing those Taurus raw materials—the honing of our talents, the exploring of our ideas. Scorpio (and the 8th house) are all about testing our values, as we have learned to creatively demonstrate them, in some interactive setting where we automatically risk critique, rejection and various kinds of challenges to our mastery.
Important here is that the “life of the thing” is not always at stake in Scorpio, though it surely feels like it. And that’s the “Venus in sign of fall” sort of thing. Venus in Aries means someone may not help you. But Venus in Scorpio means they may not only not like you, they may explain to you—in detail—just why they don’t like you. This is why Venus in Scorpio can feel like a cruel time. It isn’t, but we do tend to be overly sensitive to critique whenever Venus passes through Scorpio, sign of fixed water. And since metaphysical water is always emotion and when water is “fixed” it is ice…this can be a chilling time.
Just to finish this fixed sign rondo, Aquarius (and the 11th house) are all about the wonderful world of all things societal, social, systemic, networking and commercial. We get there once we have passed the “local interaction” Scorpio stage. Scorpio is “close group” acceptance. Aquarius is “mass/general” acceptance—the psychological land of actually producing the “mental income” which then is brought home as satisfaction and security, fulfilling that Taurus craving.
So when in 2009 Venus went retrograde in Aries (opposition sign to Libra) we all wanted help and no one was feeling helpful. And one little more note on that event: Venus went retrograde at 15 Aries with Eris (discord) at 20 Aries. So the world was looking at an uncertain future (Eris) and not feeling very (Venus) secure about it.
Now—cut to 2010, with Venus going retrograde not in Aries, but in Scorpio. Scorpio, being the polarity opposition to Taurus, heralds a time of less than satisfactory interactions, with the desire for control ramped up and levels of empathic understanding shoved aside. We can expect the world—and thus our lives—to feel like “controls” are being foisted upon us. That our values (or our value) is being marginalized. Needs (or your need to be needed, or to have your needs “heard”) will feel critical. Situations which might under other circumstances be brushed by will feel unfair and restrictive. People are going to be prickly.
But to remember is one fact: all difficulties come not from strength, but from desperate desires not to feel weak, weakened or vulnerable.
Venus at 13 Scorpio (a 2nd decanate degree) as the retrograde begins indicates high emotion. In this moment Mars is just ahead at 16 Scorpio, suggesting that we want to get things going—and done the right way (which at the moment is going to be OUR way!). We are looking ahead. We know there are sticky (fixed sign) things yet to deal with. Most of us will have things here and there which also feel “stuck.”
And let’s not underestimate the Scorpio/fixed tendency to be picky, which sometimes is just about exerting/feeling one’s own sense of power. There may be nothing wrong with this, yes. But there will be those times under this Venus retrograde when feelings of ineptitude or dissatisfaction will manifest in doing the unproductive, stupid and even damaging just because…they NEED to!
Then there’s that Scorpio fixed tendency towards stalling, hesitation and questioning which yes, can be totally insightful and useful and productive and vitally important. Then again, it can just be another way to not make decisions or (in essence) preserve the status quo because that’s what you want—or because change is just too scary!
On the financial front—apt here seeing as Scorpio is the sign of “interactive finance”—expect much sluggishness with intermittent storms of tempestuous spinning. Where deals, investments, financial negotiations, money markets, interest in things and interest rates either control, manage or influence wealth, caution is advised…but so is realism. Remember that in all matters Scorpio, feelings may rule, but facts actually win the day.
And all is certainly not terrible here. Yes, there will be frustration and frustrating circumstances. But given that Venus is going retrograde conjunct TNO Huya, this is also an opportunity to regroup and “do the Huya thing,” which means using your (Taurus) talents and self-worth to provide to/for others in such a way that their enjoyment, appreciation or enlightenment reflects so well on you that Huya’s “rainmaker” symbolism provides goodness to all (especially you!).
Venus retrograde in Scorpio is a perfect time to see what needs doing, and to realize that what you know how to do can be applicable in some kind of “gap.” And though you may encounter barriers and hurdles to same under Scorpio Venus (retrograde or not), by bearing in mind that those walls are emotional (read: put up by fear or threat), you can figure out how to get around or through them.
With Venus/Mars in conjunction, there’s a natural “fertility” vibe…something could be “born” IF everyone would just stop acting like gently subsiding tar. But with Moon in Libra opposition Aries Eris, when the timing is right the style of approach is problematic. Even mild comments sound like critiques. And those critiques? A good number of them are going to be taken as attacks—whether they are or not.
And that’s just the directly interactive part of this equation. Apart from that there will be all those concerns…what to do, how to get it done. How to make things work?
Given that Mars is first ruler of Scorpio “choices” however, even with Venus in “I’m not sure…” mode there’s a inkling that…well, maybe things could be good. And if you take the lead (remember—Mars is ahead) and connect need with appeal, things could get moving. So stress positives. Discuss benefits. But remember—Scorpio anything can easily become instinctive suspicion. So no going overboard. Maybe the biggest irony about Scorpio is that while passion reigns in the Scorpio short run, best results (Venus) come from choosing, acting and leading not with Mars’ impulsiveness, but Mars’ ability. Just because you have the courage of a warrior doesn’t mean you have a warrior’s skills: those who volunteer to slay dragons without knowing how dragons operate is merely asking to get toasted half-past crispy.
In other words, in matters Scorpio best results come from a basis of facts and well-tested ability. You know…that honing of skills we were supposed to have done back in Leo? Given this is a conglomerate signal composed of Venus/Huya plus Mars/Eros (desire) wanting to succeed isn’t the question. After all, “want” is Mars in Scorpio’s middle name and Venus/Huya wants to succeed.
So what’s the problem, astrologically speaking? The problem is that Pluto (not Mars) is the indicator of Scorpio outcomes. In this chart, Pluto is at 2 Capricorn, connecting to Ceres in late Sagittarius—and that’s a recipe which stresses the need to make proactive changes based on what isn’t working now and what you know actually does or will work in the long run. This combo says “don’t do a band-aid fix—take the time to do things the right way.” This message is very much in keeping with the Venus retrograde (which gives us a good while to get our ducks lined up) and with Scorpio’s fixed nature—which is caution incarnate.
This, plus realizing that the Pluto/Scorpio thing always (always, always!) stresses making choices based on knowing, not craving, or Mars’ impulsiveness… tells us that those who think things through in both emotional (Scorpio) and realistic (Capricorn) terms are going to come out with greater gains made and less gone astray.
And about that added note from the Sagittarian Ceres…? That’s a comment on the “standard” Sag tendency to rely on expertise, with the challenge being to separate the real experts from the “know-it-all” who under this influence may not only know just enough to be a problem, but know enough to be able to be coercive, manipulative…or simply how to work your Venus/Scorpio vulnerabilities.
Whatever you are (or get) involved in/with now, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. If you do, you may well find yourself with a distasteful mouthful which will prove hard to swallow. Maybe not immediately…you may run into snags when the Moon conjuncts Venus and Mars. Or maybe even when Venus comes out of retrograde on November 18 (when as it happens, the Moon will be conjunct Eris and opposite both Saturn and Venus). And on that score, it’s worth also knowing that when Venus does come out of retrograde it will be doing so in conjunction to Atropos—the sign of letting something go, or something coming to some sort of end.
The net of this is that you shouldn’t be surprised if this Venus cycle defines a period when you work on some “project” which ends when Venus goes direct. Conversely, you may spend the whole of Venus retrograde waiting on something or getting ready for interactions which happen once we reach November 18. You may even find yourself taking an emotional position or getting into a debate (maybe even just with yourself) which doesn’t conclude until Venus goes direct.
Astrologers commonly tell people not to get married or make large financial and/or emotional investments under Venus retrograde. But it does all depend. Given that Pluto (as outcome ruler of Scorpio) is conjunct the North Node as retrograde starts (and ends) this cycle may be all about the need to move on, or a moving on process which begins with you aiming at one thing which by retrograde’s end turns out to be something else. It could mark a time when you struggle with letting go of something you’ve grown accustomed to in favor of something else which, though not as obsessively attractive is in actuality, more workable.
North Node/Pluto is not only about our changing world, but our need to change so that we work better in the world. The resistant among us may be able to “stand their ground” and retain some status quo, but is that for the better? The familiar and already “conceived of” feels like the thing to do, but is it? That’s the operative Taurus/Scorpio tension. Despite the idea that Venus in Scorpio is, by any description, a testing time, it can also be a time of valid and valuable self-discovery when we begin to recognize that change (or the unexpected or unknown) isn’t so terrible—that we actually can weather uncertainty and come out enriched.
And that’s the real point here. When retrograde, Venus’ passages through signs—in this case Scorpio—describe situations and dynamics which teach us that we are of value and that we can thrive even when we do take risks. Sometimes those “risks” will come to naught, but that doesn’t lessen us as a person. We are who we are so long as we value ourselves—in part because we can contribute to life around us and because, even when things go wrong, we have sufficient respect for our value that our having to do an “about face” doesn’t affect our credibility in a world which seems to have become all about who we are on the face of things.
We may not like that life is asking us to grow in our relating capacities to others and to the world, but when we don’t, is that really about “them”? Who isn’t facing what…and isn’t that pretty much the eternal Venusian “do (and be) unto others as you would have done unto you” sort of point?