By Kate Plumb | January 13, 2014
Saturday morning marked the midway point of the Venus retrograde cycle, when Venus conjoined the Sun. She has left the evening sky, setting after the Sun, where she was so beautifully bright. Venus moved closer to the Sun until the morning of the 11th, when they conjoined at 21° Capricorn. We will not see her again until Venus rises ahead of the Sun in the morning sky next month. Venus has gone retrograde or “underground.”
What does a retrograde cycle, or “going underground,” mean? For a period of time a planet is turning away from its regular path around the Sun and into a different mode of operation. This celestial occurrence coincides with a time when a reflective person has an opportunity to consider what has been assumed, and orient himself/herself away from the past, or what is expected, toward a more personal and unique approach to whatever that planet signifies.
Since it is Venus that is retrograde, we are reformulating our values, our desires, our feelings, what we are attracting to ourselves, what satisfies us, our relationship to money, our relationship to others, our motives, what we want from love, the price we pay, our relationship to our women friends, our ability to weigh, compare, and balance, how we look, how we get the “sweetness” of life, how loving we are, and the value we place on love.
Venus’s retrograde began on December 21st at 28°58’Capricorn, the beginning of this time of questioning. Some of the above mentioned aspects of life might not feel as effective or personally satisfying as in the past. We might be undermining ourselves (or another), or under or overvaluing ourselves (or another) or some material item. The retrograde cycle demands we turn inward, reflect, and ask, “Why did I do that?” or “How did I get myself into this situation?” “Is this what I want?”
The reevaluation process might have been occurring in our unconscious, without our being aware of it. The conjunction of Venus and the Sun marks the moment when we become acutely aware that something has been unsatisfying in our emotional life. The Sun represents our self, our life purpose, our intention, and the direction of our life. When Venus meets the Sun, our purpose (Sun) shines through Venus (love, money, values), and through that connection only what is truly authentic to us can survive. If what we have been feeling/loving/valuing is not truly an expression of our innermost selves, it will be noticed by the Sun, giving us an opportunity to reevaluate.
Using whole sign houses, this conjunction occurs for everyone in the house with Capricorn on the cusp. Those people with planets or angles at 21° Capricorn (or 21° Cancer, Libra, and Aries) may be especially impacted. This time period will also be important for those with Venus as chart ruler, i.e., those with Libra or Taurus rising.
We have from now until January 31st to integrate this new understanding. Venus will then move forward in direction, staying in Capricorn all through February until March 6th, when she will enter Aquarius and move into new territory. During this time period, we can deepen our commitment to whatever we hold dear and precious. It is the beginning of a new round of experience in our love life and the values we live by. The next Venus/Sun retrograde conjunction will occur on August 15, 2015, this time in Leo, offering our next opportunity to reorient ourselves in our feeling life away from the usual and toward what is more unique to us. Here are three stories — one historical example, one current event, and one personal experience — to illustrate the Venus retrograde principle.
Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755, with Venus retrograde conjunct the Sun. Venus is the ruler of his Taurus rising chart. (1) Hamilton’s life contained every conceivable aberration in the areas of love and money that could possibly be imagined. From his obscure and impoverished childhood (born out of wedlock and orphaned), through the rest of the many facets of his life — from working as a clerk at age 11 for the outpost of a New York trading company in St.Croix, where he reconciled currencies from all over the world, to the pinnacle of his career with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and becoming Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury — he encapsulated a Venus retrograde phenomena.
Hamilton envisioned, and through sheer persuasion, founded the modern nation state with its emphasis on a strong financial footing, a budget, a funded debt, a tax system, a central bank, a customs service, and the beginnings of a stock market and speculation. He understood the value of funded debt, that is, in order for this new country to be deemed viable in the world’s eyes, the U.S. had to borrow and pay back money with interest. He went against the norms of the time; before his efforts, the Continental Army had been severely undersupplied with food, clothes, shoes, and ammunition because Congress had no authority to collect taxes to pay for supplies.
This man who was responsible for the founding of a modern, functioning nation also left his widow impoverished at his death. Gouverneur Morris, a U.S. Founding Father and its first millionaire, organized a secret subscription service among Hamilton’s friends to provide for his widow and children.
Another example of the aberrations and unusual circumstances encountered by a natal Venus retrograde person is the fact that the married Hamilton — his wife was from a prominent New York family — had an affair and, rather than keeping quiet about it, published a 90-page pamphlet explaining and defending himself.
The second example of a Venus retrograde story is the case of Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times on January 11th. Arrested on December 12th for visa fraud and for making false statements about her treatment of her domestic worker, she was also apparently strip-searched. The diplomatic crisis between the world’s two major democracies highlighted the cultural discrepancies between the two countries. As was written in the Times: “While Americans reflexively came to the defense of a maid who the authorities said was subjected to abuse, Indians reflexively sympathized with the diplomat.” A cultural abyss opened up between the U.S. and India — a clash of values (Venus). The diplomat was expelled from this country while her husband and two young daughters, all U.S. citizens, remained in New York. Khobragade, like Venus, is now alone on an inward journey, in retreat, because of cultural differences in value systems.
The third example is my personal story. Having just had my birthday on December 23rd, I have Venus retrograde in my Solar Return chart for the year; in fact, it is on the Ascendant. I expect to have experiences this year that will help me clarify what is important to me. Working on a friendship with my ex-partner, whom I had not communicated with (except through lawyers) for eight years, I feel there is still some chemistry between us. But instead of being the aggressor and going after what I want (how the relationship began 40 years ago), I am taking a different tack. I am exploring my more feminine side (Venus), being more the seductress than the seducer (Mars). We will see how it turns out. I feel the change inside me: valuing myself more and not being so needy for an external fulfillment.
In summary, the Venus retrograde cycle gives us a span of time where some fundamental change in our feelings and values can occur. Whether conscious or unconscious, Venus’s retrograde cycle takes us on an inward journey where what we like and dislike, what we attract or push away, can be more clearly defined. Retrograde cycles are very special but the outcomes might not be evident right away. I suggest waiting until March 6th, when Venus leaves Capricorn, before making any definitive pronouncements on the matter.
(1) This birth time for Hamilton is rectified using medieval techniques by Regulus Astrology. Alexander Hamilton; January 11, 1755 NS; 1:23:37 p.m.; Charlestown, St. Kitts-Nevis. (17N08 062W37).
Bio: Kate Plumb is an NCGR, Level IV astrologer. She is on Facebook and is available for astrological consultations. Please visit her at Kate Plumb Astrology, email firstname.lastname@example.org;or phone (631)725-9133 if you are interested in making an appointment.