Venus is spending a very long time in Gemini this year — from April 4 until August 7 — an exceptionally long passage through one area of the sky, and one area in our birth charts. The extended time in Gemini is due to her upcoming retrograde. Moving slowly now, Venus will go retrograde at 21°50’ Gemini on May 12. She will get back to 5°20’ Gemini on June 24 and then turn direct. Venus retrogrades occur in five areas of the sky, creating a five-pointed star or rose pattern in her eight-year journey with the Sun and the earth. (1)
(Rose graphic from Melanie Reinhart)
Before going farther, take a 5-minute respite and watch this animation (complete with music): Earth Venus Tango round the Sun. (Just hit the play arrow if it doesn’t start right away.)
Within the retrograde period, a pivotal event occurs on June 3 when Venus retrograde will be conjunct the Sun at 13°35’ Gemini. This is known as Venus Cazimi — in the heart of the Sun. The term Cazimi has been recognized since the late Medieval tradition as a place of enhanced planetary strength — the planets are fused together and act in consort. In William Lilly’s time (the 17th Century), a Cazimi planet was seen as a trusted advisor to the king (Sun), and was taken into his deepest confidence and inner circle. Using Lilly’s imagery, the king is kindly disposed toward whatever planet comes into his inner circle and he wishes to support that planet’s significations.
This image can be a metaphor for a more subtle understanding of Venus Cazimi. The Sun is the life giving principle, long understood in astrological tradition for its capacity to burn or purify whatever comes too close. Since Venus can be seen as an emanation of what we most deeply desire, at Cazimi we can carry out a ritual, design an offering, or invoke a prayer to purify or support our natal Venus placement. All matters connected to love, attraction, beauty, desire, art, and relationships can be symbolically placed into the purifying field of the Sun. We all have an inner king, the solar logos of our awareness, used here to enhance what it is we truly and deeply desire as we go forward.
After all, Venus is essentially cohesive and magnetic. Love — from amorous to universal — keeps us in relationship to all that is holding the world together.
There is another unique quality to Venus now: from April 1 to June 1 she is traveling out-of-bounds (OOB). An OOB planet, either natal or transit, has a declination greater than 23°27’ (north or south), where it is outside the boundary of the ecliptic — the path of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Planets beyond the control or reins of the Sun can manifest in extreme ways. In this case, rules are broken in the areas of Venus’s significations; for instance, shocking, wild behavior within relationships or the arising of unrestrained or unusual artistry, to give just a few examples.
OOB planets represent something exceptional, and the greater the declination, the more extraordinary the influence. In this OOB cycle, Venus reaches maximum declination (27N49) on May 3 before heading back to return to the path of the Sun on June 1 (23N27).
At 27N49, this is the most extreme declination that Venus reaches in the years I looked at — April 2015 to December 2025. In these 10 years, Venus goes OOB 14 times, but her current position is the most extreme.
She is on her own. Venus at extreme northern declination makes our shared isolation even more poignant (or lonely), but perhaps some of us will catch a glimpse of an artistic or creative impulse previously out of reach.
Artists Rene Magritte and William Blake (also a poet) have natal Venus OOB, and both are lauded as exceptional visionaries. (2) Blake famously said, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
William Blake, Ancient of Days (1794)
Magritte’s surrealistic paintings alter our perceptions of reality. Surrealism seems to be making a big comeback in our deserted public spaces and masked identities.
Rene Magritte, The Lovers II (1928)
Here’s another wonderful animation, Pythagorean Beauty: Orbits in Solar System. It shows the orbits of the Sun, Earth, and Venus, and you can place each body at the center to see the geometry from each perspective.
(1) For an extensive description of the Venus synodic cycle and the rose pattern she forms, as viewed from above the Earth, see Nick Kollerstrom’s article Venus, the Rose and the Heart.
What is also notable about the current cycle is that eight years ago, on June 5, 2012, the previous Sun–Venus conjunction at 15° 44’ Gemini was also an occultation. This exceedingly rare astronomical event — a transit of Venus — won’t happen again until December 11, 2117. Although the Sun–Venus conjunctions occur close to the same degrees every eight years, the occultation 2012 transit adds an extra potency to these degrees (13°–17° Gemini).
If this is an unfamiliar concept, you may enjoy reading about about the Venus Transit. As a start, this article explains the astronomy of the rare phenomena: Wikipedia.
And, here is Margaret Grey’s article, Psychological Astrology and June 2012 Venus transit.
(2) Singers born with Venus OOB include Cher, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Callas, Miley Cyrus, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Wynonna Judd.