Venus Retrograde in Scorpio: Facing Up


This coming Friday (Oct 8), Venus will turn retrograde for the first time since March 2009.

Venus retrogrades, which typically last six weeks every year-and-a-half or so, are notorious for conjuring questions about the relative worth of what and who we've attracted to us. Have we overvalued that which has too easily ended up in our lap? Or are we underappreciating juicy opportunities waiting right under our noses?

As goddess of love and money, Venus often uses her retrograde to test our perspective on recent romantic and/or financial dealings. She will tempt us with come-hither looks from an intriguingly hot stranger across the room or a glittery can't-lose, must-act-fact career proposition. She'll bring back an old lover ('the one who got away'?) or reopen a door long presumed closed, to see whether in fact the business is perhaps unfinished. And she's only satisfied once she has us asking ourselves: 'Do I still reserve my same affections for this? Has my attachment run its course, or am I feeling a renewal of interest? Will I gamble this "safe thing" I've settled for, so I might enter into an arrangement better suited to me?'

Venus spends much of her latest retrograde in Scorpio, where she is in detriment and thus not at her best. (I described the qualities of this planet/sign blend at length a few weeks back.) But, from another view, Venus's 'discomfort' in Scorpio enables her to stir sufficient controversy in our relational involvements so we may blow the cover off, forcing us to confront the renegade desires, unspoken resentments or inescapable inequities lying underneath the pleasant surfaces.

As long as we resist openly acknowledging these inconvenient psychological truths about ourselves, they crop up, unintegrated and unconscious, when we least want them to. We behave inexplicably, with hair-trigger responses, excessive emotion far out of proportion to what's superficially happening. We act against our own interests, unaware of how repressed feelings misdirect us to the wrong explanation. We continue parroting out-of-date stories, letting our words contradict our conduct… obvious to many of the folks around us that there's something deeper we're not confronting, though we may be fairly oblivious to it ourselves.

This Venus retrograde dares us to face up, one way or another, more or less consciously, to such deeper truths. As we're compelled further into moody interactions or touchy conversations, forbidden lusts or secretive conversations, extenuating conditions or labyrinthine loopholes, we cannot help but feel as if our careful preservationist control (or the illusion of it anyway) is slipping away—just as, in anticipation of the brewing storm or under threat of discovery, we may simultaneously feel more alive than we have in a long while.

The appeal of adultery looms large. An undercurrent of cathartic kinks and fetishes whispers its siren-song. The intoxicating aphrodisiacs of money and power lure us in. Will we pretend not to notice these pulls on our attention? While most of us can agree that blatant dishonesty and deceit fall squarely on the side of 'wrong', we may still wonder if our specific situation qualifies. We calculate whether anyone else will really get hurt. We search for an escape-clause technicality. Such machinations seem shady, for sure. Yet, their inherent danger is the flip-side to their titillating quality. And they do force the 'difficult questions' into our consciousness.

To further emphasize this theme, Venus's only recurring outer-planet aspect throughout her retrograde-plus-shadow period is a sextile to Pluto in Capricorn. This fortifying aspect reminds us that even the personal relationships we form are not exempt from their consequences, supportive or antagonistic, for the longer-term transformation in how we strategically devote our resources to achieving our goals. In other words, we cannot stand around espousing certain beliefs about the world we want to live in while, at the same time, refusing to examine where our present mode of interrelating turns a blind eye. If we, for instance, don't share a fundamental life-intention with our romantic partner—settling into a stable home, traveling the world, having children, upholding monogamy—we may be investing our energies in a situation that's keeping us from fuller satisfaction. If a certain coupling draws us away from a lifestyle we claim to desire, why do we fuel this continuing divergence?

The idealistic code of romance informs us it's horribly 'unromantic' to evaluate our involvements according to these goal-driven principles (because 'love is all that matters', perhaps?). Outside the spell of such wishful thinking, however, is it really that wrong to ask so self-interested a question as, 'What exactly am Igetting out of this?' Venus is Scorpio is always aware of the tradeoff: I give this, I receive that in return. Under Venus's Scorpio retrograde, we review the calculations in order to ensure the deal still works to our advantage.

In monetary matters too, we'd be wise to review any strings or stipulations that are part of the puzzle, to break the silence on awkward incompatibilities or unacknowledged dissatisfactions, and/or to reaffirm or reconsider the terms of our agreements. If Venus retrogrades are renowned for flashing deals that appear 'too good to be true' so that we must engage with the valuation process, then a Venus retrograde in Scorpio points to a situation's complexities and conditions as the battleground for determining whether it's a golden goose or a lemon. Before big purchases, for instance, don't forget to include taxes, fees, delivery charges, warranties, return policies and how the negotiations make you feel in your overall assessment. Once you factor these in, you'll have a much clearer idea of who's the bigger winner. Even in supposed win-wins, one party usually comes out ahead. If you can't be sure that party will be you, perhaps consider postponing the final sign-off until the end of the year.

It's worth noting here that Election Day here in the States (Tue Nov 2) falls during this Venus retrograde… a mid-term election in which the results are likely to reflect a considerable Tea Party influence. I first became aware of the fledgling Tea Party movement at the last Venus retrograde, in March 2009, when a major dose of 'populist outrage' first hit the public consciousness in a big way. While I wish I had been prescient enough to mention the Tea Party by name in the article I wrote at that time, the sentiments still hold true: Folks are pissed off, and it ain't goin' away anytime soon. With Venus retrograde in Scorpio at the election, I'd expect platforms based on collective fairness and the common good (otherwise misrepresented as 'socialism') to face significant challenges from candidates and ideas that are about preserving 'what's mine'. Having trouble deciding how to vote? Investigate who's funding what, follow the trail of the dollars for the real reality that transcends the talking-points, and look out for your own genuine economic interests.

Here are some more specifics on timing:

(1) From now through Oct 27, Mars is also in Scorpio, serving as the dispositor (or 'the one who ultimately influences its carrying-out') of Venus retrograde. This is the best time for asserting your complicating desire, to test out the potential for intensifying action and/or deepening impact… or simply to stir the pot. During this phase, this instigated 'tension' (whether fruitful, destructive, angry or sexual) becomes more palpable in the air.

(2) On Oct 27, Mars moves into Sagittarius, transferring the ultimate dispositorship to Jupiter in Pisces, opening this undercover process up to the serendipitous hand of destiny. If the complicating issues have already been whipped to a frothy head, it takes but a single fateful event or arrival-on-the-scene to amplify the wider ripples of consequence into more dramatic waves. This is the moment at which 'the progress of developments' seems to get 'carried away with itself'—as if somehow, in pinning responsibility on fate, we weren't the decisive actors who initially set this passion-play into action.

(3) Then, Venus backs into Libra on Nov 7, to finish its final week-and-a-half of retrograde motion in its home sign, where she disposits her own business for herself, thank you very much. This last segment of the Venus retrograde is our special window for re-attaining the peace (whether within ourselves or interpersonally) we likely disrupted during the events of the prior month. Only once what was previously ignored or suppressed has been laid out on the table, in all its twisted splendor and tangled glory, can a newer and more inclusive compromise be struck. Even if we find ourselves grieving an unpleasant outcome at this time, we'll hopefully also experience a sense of relief at having finally come out with it all.

(4) Venus goes direct in late-Libra on Nov 18, returns to Scorpio on Nov 29, and finally clears her retrograde shadow on Dec 20… at which point the relationship-related doubts and finance-related suspicions that have recently held you back should now be rooted from their hiding-places, cathartically contended with, and resolved in some fashion, so you may proceed sans toxic secrets or stymieing sacred-cows.