Venus Retrograde 2017

Elena with Frisa

Elena with Frisa

My niece has a security blanket named Frisa (free-sa). Frisa is kind of a tattered mess at this stage. And Elena is a strong and tough little warrior, so she doesn't need Frisa at all times anymore. But she still reaches for Frisa when she's tired, scared, or hurt. She likes to know that Frisa is relatively close by, ready to help in any Comfort Emergency.

As I was thinking about this Venus retrograde period, I was imagining what it might be like for Elena to see Frisa moving slowly backwards from her, seemingly farther and farther out of reach….

Retrograde periods are when a planet appears to move backwards from the earth. Our natural ways of "doing" that planet will typically not work during retrograde periods. We're called to be more reflective and try a new way. Circumstances will inevitably test our openness and flexibility. We hear a lot about Mercury retrograde, maybe because Mercury rules communication, so it's the planet whose retrograde periods we're most likely to notice and discuss. But the other planets give us the same opportunities. And right now, Venus is retrograde. We're all feeling pretty unsettled, and it's a big deal. Not to take anything away from Mercury, but what's a missed flight compared to discontentment in our relationships and a lack of inner peace???

For all of us right now, there's a sinking, terrifying feeling that Frisa has left the building.

Some background on Venus and the current retrograde cycle

Named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon. The clouds that surround Venus reflect and scatter light from the sun, giving Venus its signature beautiful glow. And as a metaphor, Venus is the planet of relationships. Venus is brighter because of the sun's light. We're brighter because of what we reflect and scatter both from others and from the light of our own being, whether in relationship, art, music, etc. Venus also rules our money and possessions. Venus seeks connection, peace, equality, and balance. So what do we do when the laws of attraction aren't working for us and our familiar comforts are out of reach?

Nothing in the sky happens in a vacuum, and the other beings in the sky inform the Venus retrograde message. The pre-shadow period started January 30th; Venus stationed retrograde March 4th and will station direct on April 15th; the post-shadow period will end on May 18th. In that time the sun will have traveled from Aquarius to Pisces, Aries and Taurus. The moon will have traveled from Pisces through every sign in the zodiac several times, ending in the sign of Aquarius. If you're curious, I invite you to track the other planets during that period, too. (Four other planets will have retrograde periods coinciding with Venus's, including Mercury.) Venus will have traveled between Pisces and Aries, Pisces and Aries.

Importantly, Venus stands alone on the day she leaves the post-shadow period. She makes aspects to other planets but not a conjunction, meaning on that day, Venus is called to integrate other planetary energies but not fuse with them. On January 30th Venus was fused with the moon, Chiron and Mars. It was impossible to act in relationships without seeing things through the lens of our own wounds, fears, memories and emotional needs. But on May 18th, we are empowered. Venus in Aries is her own warrior goddess. Hopefully the work we've done during this period will help us brave the right challenge.

Here on earth the Venus retrograde period alone corresponds to Purim and Passover, the Annunciation, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holi, Norooz, Hindu New Year, Buddhist Theravada New Year, the last days of winter, the first days of Spring. Christian and Orthodox Greek Easter occur the day after Venus turns direct. The symbolism in many of these holidays will coincide with our experiences and opportunities during this Venus retrograde. Some of them evoke great sadness and some great hope and celebration. But I especially like the correlation of a retrograde period to Lent. To some extent, we're all waiting. The most we can do right now is venture slowly in the dark and prepare. As a metaphor for Venus herself, I like the Equinox: Equal light and dark shining on all. We're in this together.

What can I do????

So how do we balance the dual messages of Pisces and Aries in this retrograde period when it comes to our Venus agenda? And what are those messages in the first place? There are many, but here are some: Intuition and action; water and fire; compassion and courage, mutable or versatile energy and cardinal or beginning energy. Hiding and emerging, sacrificing and fighting, letting go and surviving, dreaming and acting. The not-self and the self. The collective and the single. Pisces and Aries have a remedy for each other's excesses, and this retrograde period gives us a chance to aim for the high side of both. But it also gives us a chance to examine how erring toward the low side of either sign might have kept us from peace, security, or connection in the past. If we're stuck in an unhealthy Aries or Pisces pattern, or if we've never learned an Aries or Pisces strength, we can now try a new way. Probably, we'll have to.

Venus rules both the air sign Libra and the earth sign Taurus. So during this retrograde, we get a chance to revisit how we manifest and embody, perceive and communicate love, art, beauty, and peace. We are invited to see whether we've been living out our values in terms of what we attract and how we behave in relationships. The outer circumstances that happen to us can prompt our inner monologue: Are we in harmony? What and whom do we truly love? Are there changes we can make that will bring greater comfort and peace? Do we have enough of what we need?

We'll also get a chance to end relationship patterns that don't serve us. Today I narrowly missed getting into a car accident that wouldn't have been my fault. Three other times in my life I wasn't so lucky. During Venus retrograde, look for blessings like that, too: Relationships we can avoid now that we're older, wiser, stronger; security blankets we might have outgrown.

All of this to say, mostly, I'm sorry. We're all Elena right now, seeing Frisa just out of reach, and we're all Frisa, too: Seeing our loved ones reach out, terrified, while we're unable to help them in the usual ways. This is a scary and nebulous time. Peace, comfort and connection are still there but they're different for now, and when the retrograde period finishes we will be, too. Hang in there.