Venus Retrograde Across the Aries Point


Venus turns retrograde next Saturday (Mar 4), for the first time since mid-2015… flipping temporarily on its ear our perspective on Venus-ruled matters such as relationship investments, financial priorities, and aesthetic preferences.

Because of the relative rarity of Venus's retrogrades and its usual speedy pace being slowed, this six-week-long celestial event is one of the distinguishing astrological features of the year—a fact made more distinctive by its occurring along the Pisces-Aries cusp, the zodiac-cycle's ending-and-starting-point and thus a notoriously momentous spot on the wheel.

Venus retrogrades are perhaps most well-known for their uncanny propensity to bring back unfinished relationship business… often as infamous characters returning from our past (e.g., ex-boyfriends-and-girlfriends, former friends, 'the one who got away') and/or previously underexamined issues in an existing coupling emerging into the foreground to finally be addressed. Sometimes, a fresh face appears (spookily familiar? totally different than my usual type? the person I've been waiting for my whole life?), spurring reflections on what we've learned from breaking our old habits and/or how we're still tempted to repeat them. Or maybe the entire process is sparked from within, as we unexpectedly notice other impressions about our current relational circumstances coming into view.

What do we personally value most in our interpersonal relations? Have we considered the alternatives to what we've been participating in (or not)? to how we've been behaving toward others, and/or how we've been allowing them to behave toward us? Is there something—or someone—that'd be better for us?

These are the sort of inquiries into our relationship patterns and proclivities that Venus retrogrades are made for… though, as these illuminating (re)encounters and perspectival (re)considerations are transpiring, we'd be wise to reserve our final judgment until after the retrograde period passes. Arguably the hardest part of navigating through a Venus-rx outlook-warping while it's going on is keeping ourselves focused on the process itself, without fixating on our attachment to any particular outcome. Such processes are as likely to yield reconfirmation of existing choices as they are to reveal glaring problems with those choices.

We can't know in advance of both sincerely asking these questions and bravely looking at the answers what our most-appropriate outcome should be. That's why astrologers often warn against making definitive decisions about our affections or affiliations during Venus's retrograde. Instead, we gather our evidence, notice our affinity shifts or surges, and ponder whether any significant changes may prove warranted.

The same rationale also applies to money-spending determinations and matters of style, appearance, or creative direction while Venus is retrograde. It serves us to reexamine which expenditures we prioritize (or don't), how much a given asset or resource is worth to us, and whether our financial-management practices are in sync with our conscience. Yet, it's not an ideal time for making a significant purchase or sale, for we may be unsure about its actual fair-market valuation (though I like to add the caveat that, since everybody's under the same Venus-rx influence, there's always the chance of snagging an incredible deal due to the other party's uncertainty of its value). Similarly, while Venus retrograde is wonderful for inspiring artistic departures and aesthetic overhauls, it's often best to wait until after the retrograde—to make sure you still like this direction—before decisively acting on the inspiration. Many a time, Venus retrogrades have produced a bad haircut, a misguided makeover, or a fashion faux pas.

As I said earlier, what makes this particular Venus-rx so interesting is its current zodiac location in Aries, from which it'll cross back over the Aries Point (i.e., 0 Aries, which is the location of the Sun at the March equinox) and retreat into Pisces during its retrograde travels. Venus in Aries (where it's been for a few weeks already) is in its detriment, an uncomfortable spot which highlights those most self-serving impulses we first show up to our interpersonal dealings with: 'What am I going to receive from connecting with this person?' In sharp contrast, Venus is in its exaltation in Pisces, the honored position which facilitates an idealized expression of that planet's role as joiner-together: 'How can I most caringly and compassionately support you in this beautiful union so we may seamlessly merge as more than the mere sum of our parts?' These are two very different faces of Venus.

Because of this shift in Venus's zodiacal quality that occurs during the midst of its retrograde, this period should be interpreted as consisting of two distinct parts—the Aries phase (from its Mar 4 inception through its re-crossing of the Aries Point on Apr 2) and the Pisces phase (from Apr 2 until Venus returns to direct motion on Apr 15).

The Aries phase of this Venus retrograde could cause a collision of our competing self-serving agendas, with each party likelier than usual to overlook or disregard everyone else's stakes in the same affair. Whether we're so caught up in our own instinct-driven maneuvers that we're inadvertently blind to others' needs or feelings, or whether we just don't give a shit about how our position necessarily infringes on them, we may not immediately see the situation from any perspective other than ours.

That, in itself, needn't pose a problem—if we are willing to own up to the self-centering of our spin, interested in authentically hearing the other person out, and open to stretching our understanding. Of course, the impulsive quickness associated with Aries doesn't naturally lend itself to reflective pauses or patient interpersonal processing. Typically, Venus in Aries is likelier to cut its losses as soon as an affection or affiliation starts to feel stale, arduous, and/or deplete of fairly instant self-gratification, rather than stick around too long past an initial notice of diminishing returns. Such a cutting-of-losses needn't be harsh or spiteful, for the record… just an acting on the curiosity for something revitalizing in its newness, with the pioneer-like bravery to leave the old behind in its quest for a fresh start.

Through much of this first phase of the retrograde, however, Venus in Aries will be in mutual reception with Mars, once it moves into Taurus (on Mar 9) just days after the retrograde begins. In other words, Venus and Mars will each be in signs ruled by the other, forming a feedback loop in which they repeatedly 'report' to one another for their tonal marching-papers. And Mars is as uncomfortably in its detriment in Taurus as Venus is in Aries: Assertive action-planet Mars is at its most stubborn, sluggish, and suspicious of rapid change when in fixed-earth Taurus, more prone to 'staying the course' (out of loyalty, habit, or sloth) than cutting things short or dashing off.

Mars-in-Taurus's role, as inextricable partner to Venus, threatens to reinforce our willful ego-attachments to our own stance, side, or viewpoint in any standoff… at the very same time Venus's retrograde through Aries is encouraging us to reexamine any hardened relational patterns or wisdoms, in case we've been hanging on too long at the expense of near-term self-fulfillment. That could create quite a lot of tension (whether internal or interpersonal), should we find ourselves torn between (1) doubling-down on an entrenched attitude or angle because it preserves our sense of personal security, circumstantially and/or perceptually, and (2) thirsting for motion, progress, and/or novelty, in the hope that simply altering the playing-field (in any way at all?) could promptly bring us greater contentment.

As a result, we should expect this opening retrograde phase to frame our Venusian reconsiderations through these tensions. Though this increased potential for battles-of-will may not be eagerly anticipated, it can help us better understand where any other person in a shared dynamic is coming from, seeing as the specific self-serving motives which drive their involvement (and we've all got 'em) will be more clearly on display, whether they know it or not. Our motives will be similarly obvious.

'Working out' any differences isn't especially favored by this astrology, I'm afraid, but at least confronting them definitely is. We've got to know what we're working with, though, if we want to work with it—or decide not to. During this first month of Venus retrograde, it's enough to seek these illuminating relational insights by simultaneously (1) pursuing, promoting, and/or defending what we want, (2) observing how others are doing the same, and (3) engaging with what our instincts tell us about the compatibility of these two agendas, ours and theirs. Yet, it's not the best time to try convincing anyone else why ours is 'right' and/or theirs is 'wrong'… or even to look at the situation from any competing perspective.

Once Venus retrogrades back into Pisces (on Apr 2) and consequently into mutual reception with greater-benefic Jupiter in Libra, we'll be in much better astro-weather for sincerely understanding—and caring about—where they are coming from on this. Then, we might try to 'work things out'. Or…