Settling into More of the Same


Look around. Check out where you are, and get comfortable. You're not going anywhere new anytime soon.

Upon Venus's entry into Capricorn yesterday (Sat Nov 5), what would ordinarily be a simple injection of strategic finesse and earthy seriousness turns into so much more.

These days, it seems no astro-actor is satisfied with merely passing through a sign and making a couple interesting aspects. No way! They want to make sure we get their little lessons straight by dawdling and dilly-dallying and dwelling extra-long in the same spot… proving the much-belabored point that real resolution takes its sweet-ass time.

Let me back up to Mars, that son-of-a-gun who's been largely responsible for recent frustrations, delays, stalemates, benders, pig-outs and shopping sprees. Retrograde in Taurus and playing rather poorly with the other planets, he pressures us to hold our ground… even when it's not what's best for positive growth or progress. Through recurring squares to Saturn and Neptune, Mars lately feels perpetually caught between (1) cracking down on energy-wasting egoism and (2) seeking full and total escapist release from all personal pressures. Sound a little schizo? Exactly. Solution? Heh, heh… not quite yet.

With Venus moving into Capricorn, the earth element hits a second, complementary note. It grounds us further, for enhanced practical diligence and/or intensified caution. Venus in Capricorn loves its carefully considered reasons, as opposed to impulsive or purposeless frivolity. She appreciates what's sturdy and real, that which can be built upon and counted on to endure over time… and can do just fine, thank you, without the hot air or sweet nothings, weightless abstractions or candy-coated chicken feed. 'Show me the money,' she'd say, 'or at least something equally valuable, that can be bartered with and multiplied and used to get to the top.'

Venus in Capricorn and Mars in Taurus typically make a great couple. Both like to take their time, to ensure each step we take lands with solid footing before we take another. Both want palpable, physical results. And both possess the stoic perseverance to chip away at the big undertakings, pebble by pebble, until successful completion is attained.

But during this period, both also bear tight (and, dare I say it, merciless) grips over our lives, by loitering in earth-sign position way past their normal stay (though what is 'normal' in astrology, anyways?) and forcing us to painstakingly quadruple-check our material-reality situation. Where a given day's activities don't support practical well-being and long-term strategy, expect irritation.

That's right, Venus will defy her usual 4-week residence in a sign to stay in Capricorn for about four months, which can only mean one thing… just like Mars, Venus too will soon go retrograde. She'll peep her head into the early degrees of Aquarius during the last two weeks of Dec 05, but retreat back to Capricorn through early Mar 06. (Obviously, I'll be writing more about this once Venus officially turns retrograde around Christmas, but if you must get a head start on the general qualities of Venus retrograde, click here to read what I wrote last time around in '04.)

So, to summarize:

(1) When planets are retrograde, they appear to us to move backwards in space. In terms of their expression, a planet's usual external manifestations are turned inward, stimulating subjective, behind-the-scenes development… and very little outward progress. As a retrograde planet retraces its steps, we must revisit ground we've already treaded.

(2) Mars goes retrograde once every two years or so, for just over two months. We are currently smack dab in the middle of its latest retrograde period (Oct 1-Dec 9). Surely, you've heard plenty about this already.

(3) Venus goes retrograde once every year and a half, for about six weeks. The next retrograde period is fast approaching (Dec 24-Feb 3).

(4) Mercury goes retrograde three times a year, for three and a half weeks. And (I'm just going to slip this one in here) its next retrograde period begins this Sun Nov 13, to continue through Dec 3.

Yes, that's right, for a few weeks coming up, both Mercury and Mars will be retrograde.

Suffice it to say, with the three personal planets all experiencing their retrograde phases between now and February of next year, we might as well get as comfortable as possible—and good luck with that, since none of this is particularly comfortable—because we're not going anywhere new anytime soon.