Venus retrograde cycles operate beneath the surface on issues where there's a conflict between your actions and core beliefs.  You may see parts of yourself that you normally keep hidden or make more mistakes than usual.  If you're not sure what your values actually are, you may be forced to confront that question once and for all.

 Venus goes retrograde roughly every 18 months in a sign approximately seven signs away from the previous one.  For example, she went retrograde in Scorpio Fall 2002; Gemini Spring 2004; Aquarius/Capricorn Winter 2005; Leo/Virgo late Summer 2007; Aries/Pisces Spring 2009; Scorpio/Libra Fall 2010; Gemini Spring 2012; Capricorn Winter 2013-2014; Aries/Pisces Winter-Spring 2017. If you're wondering how the current cycle will affect you, look for clues the last time this occurred in that sign, which would be 2009.

One of the most fascinating things about Venus' retrograde cycles is the pattern that the retrograde station positions form over time on the Zodiac (see below).  There are numerous associations made with this particular five-pointed star pattern, some of which are related to witchcraft and various other things such as secret societies or devil worship.  With Venus the natural ruler of women, relationships, and also material wealth, it's not surprising that such organizations would pick up on this particular symbol, especially when the retrograde cycles bring out Venus' darker side.  As a result, the five-pointed star is frequently associated with evil where in reality it is simply a cosmic pattern created by Venus' planetary cycles. 

On a more positive note, it can also be compared to the Lotus blossom, the symbol for enlightenment, a spiritual condition which requires first and foremost that you know and love yourself before you can extend that sentiment to the world at large.  As the ruler of the zodiacal 2nd House which comprises those things you value, including yourself, Venus has a strong influence on this part of your life.  Thus, during a Venus retrograde cycle you may be seeking enlightenment, even if you're not consciously aware of it until much later.  

Venus has a dual nature which is reflected in the fact that the ancients considered her not only the Goddess of Love but also the Goddess of War, depending on when she was visible in the sky.  When she was the Evening Star, she was the love goddess, when she was the Morning Star, which occurs during her retrograde phase, she was the warrior goddess.

Remember that Venus retrograde affects the entire world, collectively and individually.  As Erin Sullivan points out in her landmark work, "Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape," this is a time to particularly watch the news with regard to what is going on at the international level as far as diplomatic issues are concerned.  The Maya believed that when Venus reached her heliacal rising stage, just prior to when she becomes visible as the Morning Star, that political situations were particularly unstable and leaders insecure and fallible.  Astrologer Bruce Scofield states that this time "often corresponds to a time of failure or resignation on the part of leaders and often coincides with a major accident or storm."  Consider that the 2010 U.S. midterm elections occurred during the 2010 cycle.  Obviously those congress critters, as some call them, were in a very insecure and vulnerable state at that time as the results bore out.   This is truly a time when your social values are up for review and your deepest feelings about them are more likely to surface as opposed to those you learned and accepted at a conscious level; your heart is not as easily fooled.

Ponder Venus' dual nature again for a moment as you consider that Venus defines your love nature as well as its antithesis of how you defend yourself.  Both have an element of intuition and logic attached.   During a Venus retrograde cycle your natural inclination tends to switch as you deal with some part of yourself which may have been suppressed.  If you are out of synch with your core beliefs or true nature it's going to be under review and cause an imbalance.  This will most likely relate to the house Venus is transiting on your chart.  Of course you can't do too much about your true nature, that imprint the Universe gave you at birth, but it does beg the question of where your beliefs come from and how you've nurtured them throughout your life. 

Along those lines, you may have seen the email which expressed the various ways in which four to eight year olds perceived love.   Since I couldn't possibly do it justice by paraphrasing it, here they are:

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
Rebecca- age 8


'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4


'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
Karl - age 5


'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
Chrissy - age 6


'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'
Terri - age 4


'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'
Danny - age 7


'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.'
Emily - age 8


'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'
Bobby - age 7


'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.'
Nikka - age 6


'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.'
Noelle - age 7


'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6


'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
Cindy - age 8


'My mommy loves me more than anybody.
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
Clare - age 6


'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
Elaine-age 5


'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'
Chris - age 7


'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'
Mary Ann - age 4


'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'
Lauren - age 4


'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)
Karen - age 7


'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.'
Mark - age 6


'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'
Jessica - age 8


The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
'Nothing, I just helped him cry'


Did you notice that every example is based on either the child's own observation or experience?  This clearly illustrates that what children know about love is what they witness and experience which then plants seeds that germinate into beliefs.  These are classic examples of the development of the love goddess' energy.  However, remember that Venus has two sides.  How do you think the darker side develops?  No doubt it develops through experiences related to hate or lack of love, which surface when you're frightened or threatened in some way.  Both of these energies are stored within you and express themselves as the occasion warrants.  In some cases how you act may be simply as a result of socialization.  For example, if a child is beaten until he tells his father that he loves him, he is not going to be experiencing the true essence of love during that declaration.  Throughout your lifetime you may learn similar lessons that ultimately make you dishonest in your expression of emotion, perhaps even to yourself.  This dishonesty will be a target of Venus retrograde periods until the true essence of love is reconciled.

Other parts of your life which Venus influences include where you find beauty and incorporate it into your life as well as what you value. whether it's your possessions, self-esteem or beliefs.  During a Venus retrograde period you may see parts of yourself that are normally hidden.  As with all retrograde periods the planet's energy is internalized, yielding opportunities for introspection, review, and dealing with any issues vying for attention.

Thus, during this Venus retrograde cycle, ponder how you define love, how you express it, and whether there are any disparities or anything holding you back from its full expression.  This applies to how much you value each individual area of your life.  Consider your attitude toward your material possessions as well.  Do you associate them with your value as a person, requiring only the best, so that you can impress the world?  Or are you at the other end of the spectrum and have no regard for them?  Similarly, how do you treat the things you have?  Are you wasteful or frugal?  How do you view the people you interact with every day, whether at home or work?  Do those same sentiments extend to the world at large?  Depending on what you find, this may be the time when you declare war on some part of yourself which is out of line and holding you back from achieving your highest ambitions.  It is also a time to examine your sense of social responsibility and whether your actions as an individual are contributing to or detracting from the world around you.  Retrograde Venus is demanding your attention to these issues and will don her armor as the goddess of war if required to make her point.  As always, it's in your best interest to listen when these cosmic tutors speak.

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