We are all quite familiar with Mercury retrograde at this point, even popular culture has a basic understanding. Mercury goes retrograde twice a year, while Venus goes retrograde roughly every 18 months for about 42 days. Venus retrograde is less common and yet it holds an intense power in our lives.
Venus is known as the maiden of the heavens and for the Romans, she was the goddess of love and peace.
The Mythology of Venus
The Greeks called her Aphrodite and the Sumerians called her Inanna. There is more than one mythological story about the birth of Venus (Aphrodite). In some stories she is the daughter of Uranus and Gaia, in other stories, she is the daughter of Zeus and born from the foam of the sea.
In spiritual astrology, Venus rules the heart. In medical astrology, Venus rules the venous circulatory system, through Taurus, she rules the throat, and through Libra Venus rules the kidneys. This is why we experience duality in our hearts; we are earth bond by our mother Gaia but we simultaneously feel the call towards the stars to meet with our father, symbolized by Uranus.
The Death and Rebirth of Inanna
The myth of Inanna is particularly relevant in understanding Venus retrograde. Inanna is also known as Ishtar by the Babylonians. In the Sumerian myths, she is the Queen of Heaven.
Inanna’s older sister Ereshkigal, who rules the underworld, became a widow, so Inanna decided to go and visit her sister, leaving instructions to be rescued if she did not return after three days. She ventured into the underworld, entering through seven gates, leaving behind all her royal adornments and garments.
In short, her sister Ereshkigal kills Inanna, symbolizing the death of the old. Inanna stays in the underworld for three days, then her body is rescued and is given water from the river of life. Later, Inanna is brought back to life, symbolizing resurrection, as she is reborn the Queen of Heaven.
The death of Inanna is a mythological reflection of the planet Venus’ retrograde process and “death” or disappearance. This happens not in three days, but in three periods of approximately two weeks each, or 42 days.
Personality Influences of Venus
Venus is one of the personal planets, extremely important in the construction of our personality and is the ruler of both Taurus and Libra. For Libra, she represents our need and drive to establish relationships, our search for beauty and harmony, and connection with others. As the ruler of Taurus, she represents our values, resources, what we value, what we care about, and our sensuality.
To understand Venus retrograde we need to understand the whole Venus cycle and its meaning. Venus has a cycle of approx 18 months, divided into 2 big sections each lasting about 9 months (human gestation also lasts 9 months). These 2 sections are related to the time of day when Venus is visible in the sky where she shows up as a bright Morning Star or a bright Evening Star. When Venus is visible before the Sun at dawn, it looks like Venus is ahead of the Sun. When Venus shows up after the Sun at sunset, it looks like Venus is following the Sun.
Feelings and Consciousness
Both the morning and evening stars represent different qualities of energy inside of us. During the 9-month cycle when the morning star (Venus) goes ahead of the Sun (consciousness), the intensity of our feelings are at the forefront. During this period, when Venus is seen as a Morning Star, we might feel impulsive in our action, to love, the desire to seduce or be seduced, and our spontaneity in general.
As an Evening Star, Venus follows the Sun for the second 9-month cycle. As our feelings follow behind the steps of our consciousness we are more aware of our relationships, and what we want and need. A person born with Venus-Evening Star in a fire sign, for example, may have intense feelings, but would likely be reticent to show their feelings openly.
Extracting Value from Retrograde
Venus turns retrograde during the Evening Star cycle, so we become even more internally drawn. This is a period of deep reflection when we have the opportunity to learn from all the experiences we have had during the previous Venus cycle. What we have truly learned and what we still need to comprehend will be revealed to those who inquire within.
When Venus is conjunct the Sun in what is known as inferior conjunction, (a fancy name to say that Venus is between us on earth and the Sun) a new phase in Venus’ retrograde journey begins. It becomes “Morning Star retrograde” and brings a sense of renewal and a feeling of reorientation as we are invited to integrate new values into our life. This process marks a time when we begin to prepare for the new to come.
Venus stays retrograde as Venus Morning Star for about 3 weeks after the inferior conjunction, then Venus will turn direct and will be in full motion as a Morning Star for approximately the next 9 months.
This Venus retrograde period of 2020 will occur from May 13th to June 25th, with the inferior conjunction on June 3rd. Venus will be in Gemini, meaning a possible greater impact on people with strong influences of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces in their natal charts.
Making the Most of this Opportunity
Venus retrograde is a good time to meditate and to reflect on the experiences we have had in the past, especially during this recent Venus cycle or the last 18 months. We are invited to confront ourselves with the values we have chosen to embrace, to extract wisdom from our experiences, to give our heart a rest, to be renewed, and to comprehend what we have been learning on a deeper level.
We have the opportunity to die to old habits and harmful ways of being and be reborn again with a new vision of life, love, relationships, and values.
Venus offers not an intellectual journey, but an emotional one, a journey of the heart. Ask the questions that you have been delaying and open your heart to the answers. You won’t regret it, just follow your own Evening Star and resurrect as a new Morning Star, to be more real, and more truthful to your own heart.