“When Venus retrogrades we get to work with all that is in opposition to it. One of Venus’s many retrograde lessons is that the abuse of all things Venus is old and deep. Wide and ready to be acknowledged. This goddess is hungry for justice too long withheld from her.” Words by Chani Nicholas.
Venus is retrograde, for a period of about 6 weeks, every 18 months. When a planet is direct, it moves forward (from our viewpoint here on Earth). When a planet is retrograde, it moves backward (from our viewpoint here on Earth). Retrogrades are an optical illusion, just as the speed of a planet. Planets actually don’t change direction. But from our viewpoint here on Earth it sometimes seems like they do. The apparent direction and speed of a planet, as we perceive it, is dependent on the planet’s relative position to the Sun.
Every 18 months Venus goes retrograde for about 6 weeks. During that period she disappears from the sky. Venus, normally, is the most bright and beautiful planet. Venus resembles love, beauty and wealth. For such a bright light with such good qualities to disappear from sight, means that certain Venusian things disappear (or go underground) for a period of time for humans on Earth too. Before Venus disappears from our sight, she’s an Evening Star. When Venus appears again during her retrograde journey, she re-appears a a Morning Star. As an Evening Star, Venus is visible at night after the Sun sets. As a Morning Star, Venus is visible in the morning before the Sun rises. Now we know that the Morning Star and the Evening star are one and the same planet, but there was a time when it was thought that these were two different ‘wandering stars’.
The myths associated with Venus’s retrograde journey are of the Goddess’s great descent.
Venus was known as Inanna or Ishtar in ancient Mesopotamia; Inanna by the Sumerians and Ishtar by the Babylonians. Inanna’s famous underworld journey is a tale of reckoning, awakening, and integrating the powerful material of the unconscious into consciousness. Here follows a summarized version of the story:
The story of Inanna (and Ereshkigal)
Inanna is the beautiful queen and goddess in the land of the living. Inanna brings beauty, wealth, love and fertility. Inanna is adored and honored. Ereshkigal is Innana’s sister and goddess of the underworld. Ereshkigal is the opposite to Inanna’s beauty, glory, and adoration. Ereshkigal is the sister betrayed. She’s feared, unloved, alone and rejected. Her pain has distorted her. Her hunger for love left unjustly unfulfilled. Ereshkigal is the aspect of Inanna, the aspect of us all, that lives just under the surface waiting for our consciousness to open to its call.
One day, Ereshkigal calls for Inanna. Inanna descends into the underworld. During her journey of descend, she goes through several gates. At each gate she leaves some of her belongings behind, being stripped of all her powers. When Innana arrives in the underworld, she’s naked and powerless. When Inanna meets her sister, she’s met with a death stare that annihilates her. Her corpse is then hung on meat hooks, left to rot where no one can reach her. The only beings that come to her aid are two magical helpers who appease Ereshkigal by witnessing her pain, acknowledging it and mirroring her struggle back to her. These beings echo Ereshkigal’s cries. For the first time Ereshkigal is relieved of her pain. She’s relieved of her pain because she is related to, accepted, and given compassion for her struggle. In return for this kindness she gifts these two little beings Inanna’s body. The goddess is then reborn. Ascending to the land of the living, Inanna is renewed. But she’s never the same. Now fully awakened by coming into contact with the pain of her other half, Innana is, for the first time, a queen truly worthy of her crown.
Ereshkigal is the deep reservoirs of power that lay within the unconscious. We cannot come into contact with our full potential until we are willing to descend into our underworlds, reckoning with the truth of what has happened to us. The struggle of marrying the conscious and the unconscious, Inanna and Ereshkigal, all things bright and loving and all things dark and ugly, is a process of transformation so intense and painful we can only do it in the underworld. We need deep caverns, incubators, and safe places to grieve and reunite with ourselves.
What is Venus retrograde possibly about for you?
The mythology teaches us that Venus is not just a goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and all things light and good. Every 18 months, Venus disappears into the underworld. The brightest planet becomes invisible for our eyes to see. It’s a time to meet all things that aren’t understood to be Venusian, but that are actually as much a part of Venus as everything bright and good. Venus also has her dark and unconscious side. Every now and then we need to meet that side.
Historically Venus retrograde periods often coincide with events that are the result of injustice and protests following it (the last Venus retrograde period, for example, overlapped with the murder of George Floyd and the BLM protests). When Venus disappears from the heavens, we need to come in touch with our dark side as humanity. We need to see where we are ugly, wrong and unjust. When Venus reappears again, she’s a warrior goddess fighting for justice.
On a more personal level: Venus retrograde periods are periods of transformation. They often signify a type of transformation in the part of our natal chart where the retrograde journey takes place; which, this time, is the part of your natal chart that contains Capricorn. So, for example, if you’re Sagittarius rising than you have Capricorn on the 2nd house of money, livelihood and possessions; Venus retrograde may then be about developing a new relationship with your sense of self worth, your work and the way you make money, or the way you spend/save money.
Because Venus rules the signs Taurus and Libra, it may also bring about personal transformation for people with Taurus or Libra as their rising sign; a personal journey through your personal underworld or in other ways significant personal transformation.
Venus stations retrograde on December 18th/19th 2021 (the exact date depends on your location on Earth). Venus stations direct on January 28th/29th 2022. Venus stations retrograde at 26 degrees Capricorn and she stations direct at 11 degrees Capricorn. Venus entered the pre-shadow period on November 17th 2021. The shadow period marks the period that Venus journeys over the degrees that she will later journey backwards during the retrograde period. Venus was at 11 degrees Capricorn on November 17th. Venus will be in her post shadow period from January 28th/29th until March 1st.
List of dates:
November 17th 2021: Venus at 11 degrees Capricorn, entering the shadow, moving direct
November 17th – December 19th: pre retrograde shadow period, Venus is moving direct
December 11th: Venus direct conjunct Pluto at 25 degrees Capricorn
December 19th 2021: Venus at 26 degrees Capricorn, stationing retrograde
December 19th – January 29th: Venus is moving retrograde
December 25th: Venus retrograde conjunct Pluto at 25 degrees Capricorn
January 8th: Venus cazimi (Venus conjunct Sun), the midpoint of the retrograde period
January 29th 2021: Venus at 11 degrees Capricorn, stationing direct
January 29th – March 1st: post retrograde shadow period, Venus is moving direct
March 1st: Venus is at 26 degrees Capricorn, leaving the shadow, moving direct
March 3rd: Venus direct conjunct Pluto at 27 degrees Capricorn
When Venus stations retrograde at 26 degrees Capricorn, she’s conjunct Pluto at 25 degrees Capricorn. (Above you’ll find the exact dates that Venus is exactly conjunct Pluto, but the conjunction pretty much lasts throughout the entire month of December). Pluto intensifies anything he touches. Significations of Pluto are power (struggles) and purging. In mythology, Pluto is known als Lord of the Underworld (by the Greeks known as Hades). In other words, this Venus retrograde has even more darkness, underworld and purging the unconscious symbolism than your regular Venus retrograde. As written in the above, Venus retrogrades may be about personal transformation (especially for people with Taurus or Libra rising, and also Taurus / Libra Sun / Moon). This one could be extra intense. Venus retrogrades may also be about love transformation, because Venus is the goddess of love and relationships (especially, again, for people with these strong Taurus / Libra charts; but also if Venus retrograde takes place in one of the angular or relationship houses). Think new love or new sex happenings, drama, breakups, transformation or change of relationship dynamics; this one may be extra intense with that Pluto signature on it.
Venus goes into the underworld to die and be reborn again. Something love related might die. Maybe to remain dead, maybe to be resurrected. Venus retrograde might come with the realisation that you actually don’t love a person anymore. Or the opposite: that you actually do love a person more than you think you did. The unconscious is met by the conscious. Venus retrograde is often about ‘becoming aware’. Becoming aware of feelings. Becoming aware of lost feelings. Seeing relationship patterns and wanting to break them. What is seen can’t be unseen. What has become conscious rarely goes back to the unconscious.
Not everyone will go through relationship drama or travel into the underworld. For most people, Venus retrograde is not that intense or dramatic and is actually about developing a different relationship with the part of your natal chart where she’s retrograde. Thus, in this case, developing a different relationship with the part of your chart that contains Capricorn. It’s about facing the unconscious/hidden stuff of that part of your chart and bringing it to the conscious. It’s about giving a rebirth and renewal to that part of your chart. The horoscopes below might give you an idea of what that is about for you. The horoscope for your rising sign will probably be more accurate than the one for your Sun sign.
In the above I’ve mentioned several dates and periods. The pre retrograde shadow period, the retrograde period, the post retrograde shadow period. During the shadow periods, Venus is moving direct and not retrograde. During the shadow period Venus moves over the degrees that she will move over during her retrograde period. In other words, the area of 11-26 degrees Capricorn is visited three times by Venus. If you have placements within these degrees, you might want to research on what dates they are touched by Venus and register what happens on these days. A certain topic or experience may appear three times. For example, if you have your midheaven at 15 degrees Capricorn and you had a job interview on the day that Venus was at 15 degrees Capricorn in November, you might see some career developments when Venus hits 15 degrees Capricorn again in January and February. Or in general, you may see a visiting back and forth of Venusian topics (like love, sex, relationships, beauty, pleasure) three times. Whatever Venusian things unfolded during the first shadow period, may show themselves again for revisitation during the retrograde period. For example, sometimes a relationship ends during the pre shadow period, the couple comes back together during the retrograde period, but they separate again during the post shadow period.
Ok, I’ve given you enough clues to go detective on Venus retrograde in your own natal chart and life. The last clues may be found in your horoscopes.