'Brand New' Venus, Too!


With Venus's advance into Cancer on Tuesday (Aug 7) after four full months in Gemini, we have officially made it beyond the one-two retrograde punch—first Mars, then Venus—of 2012's first half.

Though she actually progressed past the shadow of her recent retrograde on Jul 31, it's Venus's entry into a brand-new sign that more noticeably announces the sea-change. And a 'sea-change' it is, considering the influence of watery-and-wavy Cancer, a wet and wonderful inspirer of emotional connection.

The zodiacal transition between Gemini and Cancer is one at which a plentitude of novel thoughts, ideas and communicative exchanges (Gemini) give way to a more embodied, sensate, non-verbal awareness (Cancer).

During the Gemini experience, we chew on and chat about a variety of possibilities and potentials, each quenching some strain of our curiosities. Yet, the variety Gemini fosters can make it hard to definitively choose one option over another… particularly since the clever mental acuity that comes along with Gemini can produce a coherent argument in favor of almost anything.

Clever arguments fall short, alas, once we reach Cancer, where our unspoken gut-level intuition tells us exactly what's personally 'right' or 'wrong' for us. Feelings trump concepts in Cancer's world… which, if we shut our brains off for a moment and just listen, makes it a lot harder to claim ambivalence or confusion. Emotional truth is not especially ambiguous. Unfortunately, just because we feel it to be so, that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be able to explain why.

Venus arriving in Cancer, then, promises to help elucidate how any still-open-ended relationship dabblings and/or business dealings spurred by all those months of Venus-in-Gemini ought to proceed—if we are emotionally wise enough to honor our visceral knowledge. Of course, our tirelessly-yearning minds may not like what our heart-centered instincts are telling us. That inner friction can be rough.

We might wish to continue dating somebody we know isn't right for us, for instance, perhaps because we aren't ready to give up the companionship (or the illusion). Only, under Venus in Cancer, it's much harder to compartmentalize what we're offering someone else in relationship, to only show the pieces of our personality they'll most like while striving to suppress the others.

Venus in Cancer inspires us to give it all, as a way of demonstrating our tender-loving-care—and feels tremendous discomfort when such demonstrations are thwarted by some uncrossable limit to an interpersonal dynamic. If there's a disconnect or an intimacy-block, the relationship's undercurrent grows treacherous with unspoken maneuvers: subtle manipulative plays to 'win them over', partial omissions intended to 'spare their feelings', overbearing syrupiness, attempts at guilt-tripping, etc.

Any sensitive participant would be able to detect such disconcerting currents. But to precisely pinpoint what's going on… or to call anyone out on it? The ocean's waves break, leaving no trace. 'Did I really feel that, or am I just crazy?'

But when we're in relationships that aren't hampered by such limits to our full authenticity, Venus in Cancer sweetens the bond, instilling a greater emotionality that can be seen in our eyes and felt in our touch. Cancer is a pretty romantic place for Venus, bringing out her desire to put forth kind gesture: little gifts, a home-cooked meal, a sappy card or love-poem. For anyone who's been on the fence about whether to continue holding off a deeper engagement (in fearful self-defense?) or to just give over to the obvious bond… well, this is a rather ideal moment to stop fighting your feelings (by trying to talk yourself out of them?) and proceed forward accordingly.

Just as an incomplete, superficial or unhealthy relationship will face increased emotional discomfort from Venus in Cancer, so too will genuine, mutually supportive, worthwhile relationships welcome an increase in palpable positive feeling. We can sense this is happening, courtesy of Venus's unspeakably watery reality-checks. Gut-instinct rarely deceives.

I repeat, though: The only path to such pure instinctive honesty with one's self involves quieting the mind, a slave to the ego's untamed wants. With Jupiter still in Gemini and Mercury in Leo, our blaring pride could surely try to drown out what we quietly know to be true.

Just as we discussed when Mars entered Libra, the critical-point of Venus's travels through Cancer occurs when she moves into hard aspect with now-squaring Uranus and Pluto. Such is the fate of all planets in cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) during the Uranus-square-Pluto era: Nothing, it seems, can happen easily, without confronting the intricacies of this overriding pressure to evolve or suffer.

Venus in Cancer will simultaneously oppose Pluto and square Uranus, exact on Aug 15 but within a 5-degree orb as early as Aug 10. And thanks to the Moon's cycling through Cancer during this same interval (doing her snarl with Venus, Uranus and Pluto on Aug 13), there will likely be plenty of profound consequences from our emotional reality-checks to contend with. Venus stays within orb of the Uranus-Pluto square through Aug 19.

A Venus-Pluto opposition doesn't mess around when it comes to pushing the extenuating complexities of human relations to the surface of our consciousness. To actively pursue what we really find affection for (Venus) can often involve facing off against our deep-seated fears of some 'scary demon' (Pluto): the partner we must inform about our having fallen in love with someone else, the family-members or good friends who may disapprove of our latest proclivities, the rejection from professional and/or social peers which could result from going public with a desire they see as irrational or inappropriate.

On the other hand, a Venus-Pluto opposition can pull us deeper into the interpersonal intrigue, drawn as we are to the very complications that also threaten to upend our business-as-usual normalcy. Contacts between these planets magnetize us more powerfully to the intense, the illicit, the dangerous—which, as a factor of the Plutonian symbiosis between attraction and repulsion, definitely amps up the passion too. Under Venus-Pluto, it may feel as if we cannot control ourselves… like we're compelled to go further, though doing so may wreak havoc with the prior self-understanding we'd had. This, of course, is its gift: the integration of a previously disavowed drive inside us. As we courageously muddle through these complications, we gain greater power over our own relational behaviors, since there's one less unconscious aspect of ourselves to dread, shame, or avert at all costs.

Uranus's presence, in square to both Venus and Pluto, adds a potential element of disruption or chaos to these proceedings, should we find it tough to disengage from attachments or influences that inhibit us from freely choosing our personal bliss. Above all else, Uranus is a liberator who seeks to help us express our independent, individualistic spirit—no matter who or what is impacted by the self-liberation process. When paired by aspect with Venus, Uranus asks us to maintain an adequate enough detachment from those with whom we're in relationship, so that we don't trap ourselves into too much concession.

Venus in Cancer, a sign for which 'detachment' is not a natural response, can be particularly uncomfortable with Uranus's influence. While Uranus may inspire us to take a healthy distance from our loved ones for personal-evolution reasons, Venus in Cancer always already feels the likely emotional reactions of all affected parties even before the distance has been taken—the loneliness and sorrow of separation, the unmitigated desire for continued closeness, the angry resistance to letting everyone do their own thing. This combination can lead to surprising split-second snaps, due to these conflicting drives for both togetherness and freedom-of-movement.

Maintaining emotionally satisfying intimacies (Venus in Cancer) while still holding appropriately individualizing boundaries-of-self (Uranus in Aries) and integrating our complicating behavioral compulsions (Pluto in Capricorn) is no easy task. We astrologers don't call this 'a period of revolutionary unrest' for nothin'…

Venus remains in Cancer through Sep 6.