Venus is the 3rd brightest celestial object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, she also has two distinct phases. Venus either rises as a morning star – Lucifer, or an evening star – Hesperos. During Venus retrograde – when from our earthly perspective Venus appears to move backwards – Venus disappears from the night sky as she transforms from an evening star to reappear as a morning star.
Venus makes two differing conjunctions with the Sun – the Inferior Conjunction when she is retrograde and the Superior when she is direct. At the Inferior Conjunction Venus transforms from evening to morning star, at the Superior Conjunction Venus transforms from morning to evening star – she continually disappears and reappears!
Venus’ Inferior Conjunction with the Sun is similar to a New Moon and marks the start of a new Venus cycle, notably this can bring big shifts in our lives to Venusian ruled areas – our relationships, love life, pleasures, creativity and finances – Venus retrograde marks the end of one cycle and the seeds of a new one. Venus retrogrades around every 18-19 months, and every 8 years returns to the same sign. Venus’s path traces out a flower in the heavens and five complete Venus cycles reveal a 5-pointed star – a pentagram – beautiful and magical!
Over a 100 year period Venus retrogrades in just 5 areas of the zodiac currently – Gemini, Capricorn/early Aquarius, Leo/early Virgo, Aries and late Libra/early Scorpio, every 5 cycles the pattern is continuously repeated, with two degrees separation from the last. It takes Venus 760 cycles to move through the entire zodiac – around 1,215 years.
Further (fascinating!) Venus numerical links are –
- Venus spends 9 months as the Morning star and 9 months as the Evening star – Venus is associated with love and fertility, 9 months correlates with human gestation.
- Venus is retrograde for approximately 40 days – This time period connects with many illustrations, for instance how long – Jesus was in the wilderness, the rain fell on Noah in the Ark, Buddha fasting and meditating before reaching Samadhi – associated with testing times that lead to transformation.
Venus retrograde can bring a significant time of metamorphosis when our feelings and emotions around what we desire and value in life are put under scrutiny and re-evaluated – who we love – what we love – and how we love. This clears the way for any necessary changes to occur, there could also be a sense that the change is inevitable, feel fated or karmic in origin.
The earliest incarnations of Venus are the Sumerian goddess Inanna and the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, who in their time were both very important deities. Inanna and Ishtar were both far more complex and potent than Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus – associated with war, power, wisdom, sex, fertility and the crop cycle, as well as – rather than primarily – love, beauty and harmony.
The mythology associated with Venus retrograde is deep and powerful, illustrating Venus’ journey of death, transformation and rebirth as Venus disappears from the night sky, goes through a metamorphosis in the underworld before her return when she emerges as the morning star.
“The Descent of Inanna” into the underworld is one of the oldest stories in the world, written in the form of a poem.
Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth sets out to visit her recently widowed sister, the fearsome and unloved Ereshkigal – Queen of the Underworld. At each of the seven gates to the underworld Inanna is stripped of all her dazzling regalia until she is “Naked and bowed low.”
But Ereshkigal is furious that Inanna has come to her realm. “Inanna was turned into a corpse, A piece of rotting meat, And was hung from a hook on the wall.”
Eventually, two creatures are sent by Enki to rescue Inanna, they acknowledge Ereshkigal’s pain and rage – for the first time she has been shown empathy – because of this, Ereshkigal lets them take Inanna.
Inanna is revived and restored to life, but in order to ascend she has to find someone to take her place. Many had mourned for her, but when she comes across her husband Dumzi, he was obviously not grieving for her, was enjoying his time on her throne. Dumzi was “dressed in his shining me garments. He sat on his magnificent throne; (he did not move).”
Dumzi takes Inanna’s place in the underworld. Although Inanna has revenge she also experiences great pain and mourns the loss of her husband. Finally she can fully understand Ereshkigal’s rage and sorrow.
Inanna represents our outer self, Ereshkigal the traits and qualities in ourselves that we loathe and deny, the inner fears that we repress. Inanna is transformed, fully empowered by facing Ereshkigal – her sister/shadow self – and integrating the wisdom revealed.
Venus retrograde correlates with when we can experience a personal descent into the underworld, when just like Inanna everything we use to define ourselves, is stripped and peeled away until we are naked and vulnerable. We are forced to face the truth, illuminate the dark, shadowy corners – of ourselves – and for sure, as any illusions we were under from the past or deluded dreams for the future are swept away it can be an intense, raw and painful time. But as Inanna shows us, we can and will move on from here, ascend again, supported by the insights we uncovered, the wisdom and inner power they reveal.
Venus Retrograde 2020 Dates
Venus enters Pre-Retrograde Shadow Period ~ April 9th at 5 degrees 20′ Gemini
Venus Stations Retrograde ~ May 13th at 21 degrees 50′ Gemini ~ Fixed star ~ Bellatrix
Venus Conjunct the Sun ~ June 3rd at 13 degrees 35′ Gemini ~ exact at 18.43 BST – Venus Cazimi ~ Venus within 17′ of the Sun, approximately 4 hours either side of the exact conjunction.
Venus Stations Direct ~ June 25th at 5 degrees 20′ Gemini ~ Fixed Star ~ Prima Hyadum
Venus leaves Post-Retrograde Shadow Phase ~ July 29th at 21 degrees 50′ Gemini
Venus is also out of bounds (declination greater than 23 degrees 27′) from April 3rd to June 2nd.
The last time Venus was retrograde in Gemini was in 2012 – May 15th (24 Gemini) to June 27th (7 Gemini). This Venus retrograde also featured a rare transit of Venus directly across the face of the Sun on June 5/6th at the Inferior Conjunction of the Sun and Venus.
Recalling what was unfolding in your life in 2012 may help decipher the themes of this current retrograde for you personally. If you have natal planets or angles in Gemini, the influence of Venus retrograde is likely to be clear and conspicuous, but we all have Gemini in our chart and whilst perhaps not as striking will be discernible in the house ruled by Gemini.
Venus Stations Retrograde Chart
When Venus stations retrograde on May 13th – Saturn (May 11th) and Pluto (April 25th) are already retrograde and Jupiter will join them on May 14th, a whole lotta potent retrograde energy! The Covid-19 pandemic and all the associated fallout has already bought some big shifts to 2020, this heavy load of retrograde energy encourages us to take another look at experiences we have already had – revisit, rethink, reconsider and review – to discover what may have been missed, what lessons can be learnt or where opportunities exist to re-do something for the better.
The pace of life may feel slower, heavier, a sensation of drifting, dawdling along rather than smoothly speeding ahead. In essence, retrograde energy shifts the focus from an outer to an inner influence. We are all likely to be drawn into, and spend more time in our inner realms than usual, on an inner level a great deal will potentially be absorbed and adjusted. Outer reality may take longer to change, take time to alter and align, catch up with our inner changes, we may have to wait until the planets start to resume direct motion.
Venus is a personal planet, she influences our relationships, values, creativity and finances and so Venus retrograde may be felt strongest, have the most noticeable effect. Mercury ruler of Gemini, enters Gemini on May 11th, highlighting mental acrobatics, as we flit between the past and the future, think about and analyse both, glean new insights that lead to ideas that may assist in formulating plans for the future.
Mercury and Venus meet up on May 22nd at 20 Gemini, on the same day Mercury will square Neptune and the Sun in Gemini is trine Saturn Rx in Aquarius – this date could bring an important message or breakthrough, on the world stage the news may grab everyone’s attention, be highly significant, hidden information could come to light.
Mars enters Pisces on May 13th, the same day Venus stations retrograde. Mars in Pisces can bring fluctuating energy levels, difficulty with maintaining the focus and stamina to finish tasks, a sense of disorganisation or helplessness. But equally, Mars here can be the spiritual warrior, intuitive and instinctive, inspired to achieve goals that will be protective and beneficial to all, involve a compassionate vision of the future.
On June 3rd, just before the Inferior Conjunction of the Sun and Venus, Venus and Mars are exactly square, underlining the main aspect colouring Venus retrograde – Venus Square Neptune – a repeating aspect that will be exact three times, May 4th, May 20th and July 27th.
Venus square Neptune can illuminate what C. E. O. Carter describes as “a divine discontent.” Venus is all about what we personally love and desire, Neptune elevates our emotions and senses to look past material reality to what lies beyond it. Neptune puts us in touch with the otherworldly realms, and a wish to enhance our reality with this insight. Venus square Neptune will highlight how the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing scenarios has influenced and bought challenges to our dreams for the future, our relationships and values.
What has been blocked, obstructed but equally where we may have been disillusioned or superficial. Difficulties may become more pronounced, will need to be resolved. But Venus and Neptune will also enhance and encourage us to look beyond our own selves, our own desires – embrace compassion, idealism and a wish to explore the spiritual, imagine an improved, shinier world and future for all.
This Venus retrograde is likely to be complex and heartfelt, collectively pull us inwards to reflect on our bewilderment and sense of powerlessness surrounding Covid-19, the fear and chaos unleashed in life, particularly in our relationships and finances. Venus square Neptune could see us romanticising the past, wish for a magic wand to cast a spell to return everything back to normal, but the barbs of reality will sooner or later burst this bubble.
Venus square Mars suggests anger and conflicts, an urge to fight for or defend (Mars) anything we are passionate (Venus) about. Heated debates or conflicts could easily be sparked over differing opinions and priorities involving love, health or financial matters. With Mars and Neptune both in Pisces, and influencing Venus (our desires), for some the temptation to drown it all out with alcohol may be overpowering.
But! … both creative and spiritual energies are also enhanced. Not only could artistic vision be inspired and deeply expressive, viewing problems imaginatively and allowing different perspectives to arise may lead to enlightened solutions.
The Fixed stars influencing Venus retrograde outlined below accentuate this impression. We can expect some bumpy, turbulent days around May 22nd when Mercury is conjunct Venus and square Neptune and June 3rd at the Inferior Conjunction when Sun/Venus is also square Mars.
It is also notable that just after the Inferior Conjunction, a Lunar Eclipse takes place on June 5th at 15 Sagittarius – with the Sun and Moon forming a T-Square with Mars in Pisces. A tense, potentially angry eclipse that places focus on the energies of Gemini and Sagittarius where the Nodes of the Moon are now placed. Collectively – this could see leaders being questioned over their policies and intentions, a general lack of faith in the direction we are going, as our individual values, perspectives and motivations adapt and adjust to recent events and commence evaluating information from this vantage point.
During Venus retrograde we need to try and take care of, nurture ourselves, get in touch with our inner Venus, indulge in and enjoy whatever we find pleasurable – even a tiny treat can bring immense delight. Simultaneously, take time to ponder who and what we truly love and value, what does it cost us emotionally? is it worth it? – by doing so we can figure out what we would like to keep, invite in or need to release.
Bellatrix ~ 21 13′ Gemini ~ Known as the Female Warrior, the Amazon Star, Bellatrix is on the left shoulder of the Hunter, Orion.
Bellatrix ~ “Quick decision making, thoughts and plans being realised with energy, courage, fighting spirit, strategic talents, ability to organise, discrimination. Reckless aggressiveness of a belligerent daredevil” ~ Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elsbeth Ebertin
“Great Courage, but a tendency to fight futile or lost causes if not well aspected” ~ The Living Stars, Dr Eric Morse
Bellatrix with Venus ~“Much suffering through love affairs owing to unrestrained feelings.” ~ Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson
Prima Hyadum ~ 6 05′ Gemini ~ The chief star of the Hyades, six stars situated on the face of the Bull.
The Hyades ~ “give tears, sudden events, violence, fierceness, poisoning, blindness, weapons or fevers, and contradictions of fortune. ~ Robson
Prima Hyadum with Venus ~ “Many accomplishments, artistic, ability to write or paint, strong passions, which influence work.” ~ Robson
Image by Shahin Khalaji on Unsplash
Fixed Stars ~ constellationofwords.com