Venus is a graceful balance that, simultaneously, warms and humidifies. Creator of her own light, she equally extends resourcefulness to her environment.
“Venus has the same powers and tempered nature of Jupiter, but acts in the opposite way; for she warms moderately because of her nearness to the sun, but chiefly humidifies, like the moon, because of the amount of her own light and because she appropriates the exhalations from the moist atmosphere surrounding the earth.” [Ptolemy, p.37]
Of Phosphorous Ascending: The Synodic Cycle of Venus and Her Phases of Renewal
Every five hundred and eighty-four days, Venus’ flickering pirouette scrapes the frost from an echoing past that taunts one’s resolve. Her retrograde glint, a wayward waltz of forty days (and forty nights), is propelled by the Morning Star’s ascension. This phase of renewal, as part of the Venus Cycle, is a principle intricately explored by ancient Mayan cosmology and mythology, most notably in the Mayan Venus Calendar and the Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya. Perhaps the oldest record of the celestial movements of Venus is preserved in the Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa, whose origins date to mid-17th century BCE.
Her first phase, as Hesperus, marks her western descent as an evening star. Hesperos, or Vesper in Latin, is the origin of the name Hesperus, the evening star, sharing root with the English word ‘west’. Her mantled plunge below the blackened undercurrent is the secret bow before her inferior conjunction with the Sun in the east. This pivot marks her Phosphorous phase, bathed in blindingly ferocious light as Lucifer, or light-bearer. In Greek, the name for Morning Star is Heōsphoros (Ἑωσφόρος), translated as dawn-bringer.
Stanisław Wyspiański: Eos, Phosphoros, Hesperos, Helios, 1897.
“At that time when Eosphoros (Dawn Star) passes across earth, harbinger of light, and after him Eos (Dawn) of the saffron mantle is scattered across the sea.”
The Five Celestial Flares
In a lifespan, Venus’ retrogrades trace a celestial five-pointed pentagram that, in turn, activate five specific zodiacal parts (or signs). To note, Venus does not commence retrogrades in Libra, Sagittarius, or Pisces, and, instead, begins in Aries, Gemini, Leo, Scorpio, and Capricorn. Upon completing five Venusian cycles of eight years, the Morning Star returns to the same point in the cosmos. When Venus repeats her retrograde cycle in the before mentioned signs, however, she successively does so a few degrees earlier each time.
It is helpful to recall prior Venus cycles in order to understand the intimate effects of Venus’ celestial sway as it unfurls before one’s current path. Recollecting one’s Venusian trajectory eight years ago can clarify its forthcoming theme. Note the following:
Natal planets (inner and outer) in Venus’ trajectory will activate the more subjectively challenging effects of this retrograde. Depending on the placement of Scorpio and Libra in one’s chart, Venus’ shadow period will also indicate an elongated stay in a particular chart sector. Generationally, natal outer planets in either Libra and/or Scorpio (from approximately 25° Libra to 10° Scorpio) will be conjoined by transiting Venus during her retrograde, depending on one’s birth year. For example, Neptune is activated from 1953–1962, Uranus from 1973-1977, and Pluto from 1981-1988. Of course, this is highly dependent upon the quality of Venus’ impact (or lack thereof) on one’s personal (or inner) planets, and, ultimately, the magnitude of signification in which effected planets represent in one’s own personal chart.
Venus in Scorpio, Uranus in Taurus: Pivotal Opposition
Venus In Scorpio
During this retrograde, Venus makes an exact opposition to Uranus thrice, on 9/12/18, 10/31/18, and 11/30/18, respectively. Noticeably, neither planet feels comfortable in the signs of their current ingresses. In Scorpio, Venus is in adversity (detriment), where the otherwise fluidly reconcilable qualities of Libran Venus are turned on their side. Uninhibitedly, Venus grants amelioration to any fragments of shattered sensitivity, serving as the equilibrium of supportively empathic partnerships. Likewise, she evokes capacity for aesthetic perceptions, and, ultimately, is a conduit for personal and worldly peace. Contrastingly, in Mars-ruled Scorpio, retrograde Venus can respond in indolence, manipulation, and destructively sensual abandonment. Her qualities are contorted when ingressed in a sign that thrives by dismantling the taboo, a territory seldomly charted via Venusian excursions.
As the Morning Star, Phosphorous Venus’ pulverizing light is akin to the severing quality of the Warrior, Mars. In parallel, the position of Venus as Morning Star was the centerpiece of Mayan warfare strategy, noted by the Tlaloc-Venus execution, whose implementation violently resolved Mayan ‘competition’ in A.D. 378 [Schele, p.130]
The maximum separation possible between Venus and the Sun is 48 degrees, which, not unlike Mercury, binds her to the solar ego. Swiftly, Venus can be absorbed by self-possession and lassitude. Retrograde Venus can often socially retreat, becoming immersed in insecurities, unworthiness, and doubt. She accentuates emotive renewal, inspecting the structure of our value system while striving to escape the barricades of a past that taunts our resolve. Likewise, this is an opportune moment to exercise creative potential, a process that, independently, can harmonize the psyche’s bellicose divisions.
Uranus In Taurus
In another sense, we are intuitively aware of the disparities between a planet that rebelliously demands liberation through unorthodox pathways versus a sign that thrives via tradition and paced rhythms. Uranus is the riotous, individual quality inherent in the mind’s structure. Nothing is more rapturous to it than the prospect of insurgence. In essence, the transcendence of cultural and social programming, particularly in relation to the collective and individualistic perspective of currency, is the vigorous current of Uranus in Taurus.
Operating on sensation instead of action, Uranus in Taurus functions through a Venusian lens. However, Uranus transcends worldly matter, aligning with the elevated realms of thought. The innate incompatibility between worldly desires and transcendental exaltation is the impetus behind forthcoming revolutionary change. Historically, Uranus’ previous Taurean transit, from June 1934 to May 1942, ushered a plethora of revolutionary fluctuations, including economic shifts deviating from the U.S. gold standard coupled with bank closures, the lamentable rise of the Hitler regime, and the Great Depression (to the middle of World War II). In essence, values inherent in materialism were as challenged by the erratic undercurrent of Uranian transcendence as they are currently underway.
Venus Opposite Uranus: Tug-of-War
Newly sparked relationships during Venus retrograde likely mirror subconscious forms of necessary escapism from quotidian settings. Permanent bonds are unlikely manifestations under the erratic impetus of Uranus. The undercurrent of Venus and Uranus seeks stimulation, excitement, and unusual experiences through the realm of relationships. A type of friction, or tug-of-war, is surged between the intensely alluring guise of Venus, and the rebellious nature of Uranus, as the latter, dominated by the fixed grasp of Taurus, becomes begrudgingly afflicted. In other words, pressure erupts as a result of the innately incompatible natures of Venus and Uranus when ingressed in signs that cannot adequately compliment their respective energies (Scorpio and Taurus, respectively). Impulsive spending is another key theme under this configuration, as Venus oversees our livelihoods and can justify frivolous consumerism as a form of satiating subconscious voids.
Elemental Fire Void
Until Jupiter ingresses into Sagittarius on November 8th, 2018, an underlying fire void accompanies most of the Venus retrograde. A transit fire void can often manifest as a lack of dynamism coupled with dubiousness regarding the sustenance in the life force itself. This can be accompanied by apathy, low energy, and a lack of motivation to mobilize goals. Self-confidence may be compromised with a tendency towards despondency. Fire voids are often significant indicators of obstacles regarding the manner in which one approaches the scope of experience. All activities, including dietary and exercise regimens, should be moderately implemented in order to preserve energetic reserves. As water-earth is the current elemental emphasis, the fulfillment of security needs become paramount, often to the detriment of intellectual and communicative faculties. Caution should be noted against manipulative tendencies in the pursuit of earthly goals.
The Moon-goddess accompanied by the Dioscuri, or Phosphoros (the Morning Star) and Hesperos (the Evening Star). Marble altar, 2nd century CE.
Venus in Libra on Arcturus and Spica
Venus conjoins Arcturus and Spica during her retrograde and upon stationing direct. Between Spica and Arcturus, there is a minor difference in longitude and a significant distance in latitude. Both fixed stars are omens of good fortune with similar attributes, although Arcturus’ comparative role is that of the Unbiased Protector.
The Athenians saw the Bootes constellation as the leader of people who had fallen at difficult times. The alpha star of Bootes is the brilliantly golden star Arcturus. As per Ptolemy’s location, Arcturus is the bright star in the fringe of the Tunic, representing leadership skills and pioneering vision. Conjoined Venus, Arcturus becomes “a leader in the arts or humanist politics, coupled with a willingness to explore the difficult or unusual in friendships, arts, and social events.” Likewise, Arcturus is said to bestow “popular, gifts and favors from friends.” According to Ptolemy, Arcturus is of the qualities of Jupiter and Mars.
The famous Spica, the wheat sheaf in the hand of the goddess, symbolizes gifts of knowledge, insight, and the potential for brilliance. According to Ptolemy, Spica is of the qualities of Venus, and, “in a less degree, that of Mars.” [Ptolemy, p.51] Conjoined Venus, Spica draws “gifted” people into the native’s circle. However, older texts caution of Arcturus above the benefactor Spica, as if implying celestial justice in the face of possible greed.
Timeline of the 2018 Venus Retrograde in Scorpio/ Libra
Below is my own chronological synopsis of the 2018 Venus retrograde cycle. During this passage, Venus squares Mars and opposes Uranus thrice. Mercury enters Scorpio on 10/9/18, followed by the Sun on 10/23/18. As Venus oscillates from Evening to Morning Star, we witness the shifting of the Nodes to the Cancer-Capricorn Cardinal axis (on 11/6/18) followed by Jupiter’s ingress into his domicile. As Venus stations direct at 25º14′ Libra (on fixed stars Arcturus and Spica), on November 16th, 2018, at 6:52 AM EDT, we firstly witness both benefics simultaneously posited in their own domiciles.
- 9/3/18: Venus enters pre-shadow phase in Libra.
- 9/8/18: Venus square Mars at 29°36′ Libra-Capricorn at 4:05 PM EDT.
- 9/12/18: Venus opposite Uranus at 2°03′ Scorpio-Taurus at 4:41 AM EDT.
- 10/5/18: Evening Star/ Hesperus Venus stations retrograde at 10º50′ Scorpio (decan I) on 10/5/18 at 3:43 PM EDT.
- 10/11/18: Venus square Mars exact at 10º16′ Scorpio-Aquarius at 10:29 PM EDT.
- 10/26/18: Venus in the heart of the Sun/ Cazimi exact at 3º06′ Scorpio at 10:17 AM EDT.
- 10/26/18: Venus is now in her Morning Star/ Phosphorous /Lucifer phase and commences a new 584 day cycle.
- 10/26/18: Venus under the beams of the Sun/ combust at 2:29 PM EDT.
- 10/31/18: Venus opposite Uranus at 0º15′ Scorpio-Taurus square 0º37′ Leo North Node, at 4:21 AM EDT.
- 10/31/18: Venus ingresses into 29º59′ Libra, decan III, at 3:42 PM EDT.
- 11/6/18: The North Node ingresses into 29º59′ Cancer at 2:10 PM EDT.
- 11/6/18: Uranus regresses into 29º59′ Aries at 2:58 PM EDT, as Venus resumes retrograde at 27º08′ Libra.
- 11/8/18: Jupiter ingresses into Sagittarius, at 8:39 AM EDT, conjoining 0º03′ Luna, exact at 3:05 PM EDT.
- 11/16/18: Venus stations direct at 25º14′ Libra on fixed stars Arcturus and Spica, at 6:51 AM EDT. *On this date, both benefics are found in their respective domiciles (Venus in Libra and Jupiter in Sagittarius, respectively.
- 11/30/18: Anaretic Venus opposite Uranus 29° Libra-Taurus
- 12/2/18: Venus regresses into Scorpio at 1:02 PM EDT.
- 12/17/18: Venus exits post-shadow period in Scorpio.
1. Homer, Iliad, Hackett Publishing.
2. Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, Harvard Press.
3. Robson, Vivian E., Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology.
4. Ebertin, Elsbeth, Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation.
5. Brady, Bernadette, Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars.
6. Brady, Bernadette, Star and Planet Combinations.
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