From the Clavis Artis manuscript at the Biblioteca Civica Hortis in Trieste courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
- Venus stations retrograde at 0°46′ Virgo on July 25 and stations direct at 14°24′ Leo on September 6, 2015.
- Inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, or “New Venus,” will be at 22°39′ Leo on August 15, 2015.
- The shadow zone of Venus retrograde covering the stretch of time Venus is contained within the zodiac range of her retrograde is from June 21 through October 9, 2015.
Aphrodite arose in sea foam following a violent revolution, born in ocean waves with eyes cerulean as the sea and body fully formed with fertile hips and breasts. It is said she enchanted the eyes of onlookers with rapture and with each new step onto the earth created the bright colored growth of grass and flowers. The planet Venus in astrology has many significations we associate with the mythic Aphrodite, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, union, art, aesthetics, perfumed scents, and the luxuries that bring us feelings of comfort and elegance. The glyph of Venus is the circle of Spirit atop the cross of Matter, symbolizing the living soul and spirit found in all elements of our surrounding material world, and the capacity of our Venusian natures to give us an experience of heaven on earth. Perhaps above all we link Venus with the inner values we hold most dear and which describe who and what we are attracted to and magnetize into our life, as well as how we project these inner needs into our outer relationships for better or for worse. In The Picatrix the anonymous magical author wrote “Venus is the source of the power of flavor” (p. 134), and as we all know our tastes can change it is during Venus retrograde that we can experience essential transformation.
When Venus goes retrograde, she returns to her mythic origins connected with active rebellion and revolution. During the Venus retrograde phase, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional, in-between space in which all established social norms are loosened to such an extent that we can experience a deep reevaluation of our inner values and how we are seeking to fulfill them in external relationships and structures. On a societal level, a realignment can occur within the power structure as well as between elements of the general populace and elements of the ruling class. As this current Venus retrograde begins simultaneously with an exact square between Mars in Cancer and Uranus in Aries, it creates a charged atmosphere of rebellious confrontations and stormy emotions befitting the mythic origins of Aphrodite. Amplifying the electricity further, a day after Venus stations retrograde, the shattering and liberating Uranus also stations retrograde on July 26 making the initiation of this Venus journey into the underworld intensely Uranian. As a result we can find ourselves in great drama at the beginning of this Venus retrograde, and some of the initial experiences could be triggering in surprising ways. While we could respond by investing passion into our roles in life like the Venus who adores stepping into the spotlight, it will be most important to take time to nurture and regenerate ourselves continually, whenever needed.
Venus retrograde creates a magical atmosphere that is highly structured, holding resonance with the golden mean found in the five petaled form of the rose and numerous forms of life. The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite described her as “Crafty, from whom necessity [Ananke] first came,” and also noted that “The triple Fates [Moirai] are rule’d by thy decree.” Similarly, the synodic cycle of Venus is so consistent and regular that the retrograde phase of it’s cycle brings an air of destiny, fate, and necessity to events and encounters in our daily life. Venus only goes retrograde once every year and a half or so, five times in it’s eight year synodic cycle with the Sun- eight divided by five is 1.625 and so very close to the sacred 1.618 proportion associated with the golden mean. If you trace the points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper. The magical result of this is that every eight years, we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time (this all slowly shifts across time), so that there is a resonance from this time back to July through September of 2007, and then also to July through September of 1999 before that.
- Previously on July 27, 2007 Venus stationed retrograde at 2°57′ Virgo and stationed direct at 16°36′ Leo on September 8, 2007. New Venus on August 18, 2007 at 24°51′ Leo. Shadow zone of June 24 – October 12, 2007.
- Previously on July 30, 1999 Venus stationed retrograde at 5°8′ Virgo and stationed direct at 18°47′ Leo on September 11, 1999. New Venus around August 20, 1999 at 27 Leo. Shadow zone of June 26 – October 15, 1999.
This will be the last Venus retrograde that involves both Virgo and Leo, as the cycle will shift in 2022 to occurring entirely in Leo. In the first half of the 20th Century the Venus retrograde cycle in this zone of the zodiac occurred entirely in Virgo until 1959, when it began to slide into the end of Leo. With each successive eight year Venus retrograde (1967, 1975, 1983, 1991, 1999, 2007, 2015) it has moved deeper and deeper into Leo. In our current retrograde cycle, Venus entered Virgo during it’s “shadow zone” period on July 18, 2015 and will return to Leo retrograde on July 31, 2015- as a result we really only have about two weeks this time around with Venus in Virgo. There is a thirty day “shadow” period on either side of the Venus retrograde cycle in which Venus is traversing the same zodiac degrees that are part of its retrograde motion. Since the actual Venus retrograde lasts forty days, in all this gives us one hundred days to do the deep work of Venus. As Venus is at it’s closest obit to the Earth during it’s retrograde phase, moving in between the Earth and the Sun, it means all things Venusian become intensified during this time.
The Unicorne by Gustave Moreau
Venus conjunct Regulus in Virgo
There is a grandiose cosmic message revealed by Venus stationing conjunct the fixed star Regulus at the beginning of Virgo, as Regulus is the closest bright star to our ecliptic, only 0.46 degrees away. Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is at the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195). This Venus retrograde cycle beginning on this legendary fixed star means Venus stands still from our perspective aligned with Regulus for weeks, portending that the Venus retrograde will call us to reassess our values and ethics connected with ambition, power, courage, leadership, generosity, and the qualities we feel are “noble.” If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been expressing ourselves and impacting others. If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, circumstances or a burning sense from inside may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.
Regulus is also one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, the Watcher of the North associated with Raphael, the Archangel of Healing. The angelic healer connection of Raphael to Regulus symbolically connects with the purifying quality of the Winged Virgin, the discerning nature of Virgo that can formulate the necessary medicine and healing practices that will cure whatever ails. Virgo is ruled by Mercury who heightens the Virgo ability to diagnose the appropriate use of medical arts to heal any fragmentation between the mind, body, and spirit. Likewise, at the beginning of this Venus retrograde while Venus remains in Virgo, it is an excellent time to attune within and deduce whatever emotions, feelings, values, and patterns of relationship we will need to address, nurture, and heal. Venus in the mutable Earth sign of the Winged Maiden can sense what issues the wisdom of our body is directing us toward, so making the time and space to regularly attend to your body now will help you prepare for the forty nights and days ahead in the retrograde. As Virgo is crafty and Venus loves the arts, if you are someone who is artistic in some way then it can also be a powerful time to transmute the issues needing to be healed through the process of creating within an artistic medium.
Venus in this initial time of the retrograde in Virgo is a bright Evening Star, and while taking on the rebellious characteristics of her retrograde phase, she has more tendencies toward creating harmony than she will later in her retrograde after entering her Morning Star phase. Venus stays in Virgo through the powerful Aquarius Full Moon on July 31, shifting into Leo about five hours after the exact timing of the lunation. Thus, on July 31 we receive an illuminated Aquarian message linked to Venus retrograde in Virgo at this beginning phase of the journey ahead. As Venus leaves Virgo to enter Leo, her significations shift into issues of creative calling and actualization, leadership, solar flair, validation, and procreative force. Venus stays in her Evening Star phase through the first week of August, and then by mid-August disappears from view into the underworld.
Venus Cycles with Jupiter and Saturn
Venus re-enters the sign of Leo on July 31, 2015 and into aspects with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio that will promote great change in our personal lives as well as in our collective. In many ways it is Saturn in Scorpio that takes center stage at this time, as a day after Venus enters Leo, Saturn stations direct on August 1, 2015 after having been retrograde since March 14, 2015. Yet in truth this time is about the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn and the long history of their use in astrology to interpret collective stages within our world. On August 3, 2015 the current Jupiter and Saturn cycle finally initiates the last quarter square phase between them. Our current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began May 28, 2000 at 23 degrees of Taurus in the tropical zodiac, and so we are now at the pivotal last quarter square aspect that turns back for a review of everything that has occurred during this past cycle in order to release what no longer serves us in preparation for the new cycle between Saturn and Jupiter that arrives on December 21, 2020 at the first degree of Aquarius. The last quarter square was famously described as a “crisis in consciousness” by astrologer Dane Rudhyar, and so on a personal level while we sense a visionary, expansive, solar quality of Jupiter pulling us forward like a courageous Lion, we simultaneously feel the constrictive force of Saturn in the penetrating sign of the Scorpion demanding that we utilize it’s scythe to clear and re-structure our belief system at a fundamental level in order to create fertile soil for our new vision to ultimately take root in the years ahead.
The quality Venus embodies in her retrograde phase of rebelling against the status quo and re-centering within on the raw values taking shape in our psyche is like a magical elixir that makes this last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter even more powerful. The day after Jupiter and Saturn form their exact square, Venus becomes conjunct Jupiter on August 4 and then a day later Venus also forms an exact last quarter square with Saturn on August 5. This means that we once again experience a conjunction of Venus with Jupiter with the crucial difference of Venus being retrograde, also meaning that after Venus has her underworld journey and emerges again as a Morning Star, that she will eventually return to conjunct Jupiter a third time in Virgo on October 25, 2015. Astrologer Gary Caton has written that having three conjunctions between Jupiter and Venus in the same year only happened recently in 1967 and 1991, both years of radical creativity in the artistic and musical realm in our collective. With Venus retrograde conjunct Jupiter and in square to Saturn at this point, it means we have deep inner clearing to do regarding our beliefs around feelings of inner self worth and our external patterns of relationship. It seems that if we haven’t realized the message we need to work on at this point, events will force us into necessary awareness.
If that were not enough, there is an even deeper magical planetary element to add to this witches brew of transformation: Mercury. The day after the exact last quarter square between Venus and Saturn, Mercury swings through on August 6 and becomes conjunct Venus first and then later in the day becomes exactly square to Saturn. The following day on August 7, Mercury becomes conjunct Jupiter in Leo. In alchemy, Mercury is the soul energy utilized to anchor Spirit into the Body or Matter, and similarly Mercury is serving here as a cosmic binding to help us integrate the transformational changes of this week in our mind, body, and soul. Since Mercury unites with Jupiter after squaring Saturn, the result is a heightened ability to look at our life and our past in an entirely new way, rooted in self-reflection of our past experiences. Mercury could present us at this time with stimulating new information or a vital new message to receive that helps shift our perspective.
Venus Inferior Conjunction
By August 11, Venus will have set as an Evening Star and we will no longer be able to see Venus at night, as she will have symbolically entered the Underworld stage of her journey. While we may attempt to direct the rays of the Sun with our Venusian mirrors to help us look better or feel better about ourselves, the more we can step into the full flames of the Solar Rays the more we can experience a fiery purification of our past Venusian values in preparation for the new cycle between the Sun and Venus. On August 15, 2015 we experience the Inferior Conjunction of Venus with the Sun, when Venus goes cazimi into the heart of the Sun and forms an exact conjunction. The Inferior Conjunction of Venus happens when Venus is exactly orbiting between our Earth and our Sun, and so it symbolizes the meaning of a NEW VENUS much like a New Moon in our life.
This is a powerful day to go within and set intentions for what you want to magnetize and attract into your life in the new cycle ahead. Astrologer Anne Massey in her book Venus wrote that since the rose is a symbol of Venus, we can imagine ourselves at the New Venus as being a rose bud wet with morning dew, delicately beginning to unfold into a blooming rose at Full Venus. The Full Venus is the Superior Conjunction that occurs when Venus moves direct into the heart of the Sun, orbiting on the other side of the Sun from our perspective on Earth. Within the five pointed star formed by the Venus retrograde cycle, we experience a Full Venus four years after a New Venus close to the same day and zodiac degree. In this case, we will end up having a Full Venus occur on August 14, 2019 at 21°11′ of Leo. Integrating the other points of the five pointed star, the last Superior Conjunction of Venus occurred on October 25, 2014 at 2 degrees of Scorpio, and the next one occurs on June 6, 2016 at 17 degrees of Gemini.
Bringing in the other astrological aspects of this Inferior Conjunction, it is notable that Jupiter will have recently ingressed into Virgo and is conjunct the Moon in Virgo, and Mercury the ruler of Virgo is in it’s own sign of Virgo and applying to a conjunction with Juno in Virgo, separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces. There is potential to gain a new sense of the deepest levels of our being at this time, yet in order to receive the insight of this healing perspective it is necessary to strip away illusions of control and to utilize the capacity of Mercury in its Sage phase of Evening Star to open yourself to fully experience the process of your unconscious at work. As Carl Jung wrote in his Alchemical Studies:
We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic processes to grow in peace.
Strength arcanum illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith
Venus conjunct Mars
Following the New Venus of August 15, Venus begins to shift into a Morning Star, re-emerging from her Underworld journey around August 23. As Venus as an Evening Star is more about seeking harmony and attuning with the needs of others in relationship, Venus as a Morning Star is more about going after what we feel we are worth and desire. It is also important to realize that while on individual levels there is great healing and self-renewal potentially available at the time of the Inferior Conjunction of Venus, on a collective level the vast majority of people are not tuned into this perspective and so events surrounding us could become incredibly dramatic and rife with conflict. The Morning Star Venus can be more aggressive and linked to the blood-thirsty aspect of the Goddess seen in figures such as the lion-headed Sekhmet who can become intoxicated by the spilling of blood. Along these lines, Inanna as the planetary Venus in its Morning Star phase was described by the ancient Sumerians in the translated text “The Lady of the Morning” from the Seven Hymns to Inanna:
Honored Counselor, Ornament of Heaven, Joy of An!
When sweet sleep has ended in the bedchamber,
You appear like bright daylight.
When all the lands and the people of Sumer assemble . . .
When they sing your praises, bringing their concerns to you,
You study their words.
You render a cruel judgment against the evildoer;
You destroy the wicked.
You look with kindly eyes on the straightforward;
You give that one your blessing.
Further amplifying feelings of desire and drama in relationships is the fact that with each day of the second half of August, Mars in Leo gets closer and closer to becoming conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo. On September 1, 2015 the second conjunction between Mars and Leo is initiated at 14°55 of Leo. Following this conjunction, as Venus stations direct Mars begins to separate but never gets too far away from Venus, who begins chasing after Mars until they eventually become conjunct a third time on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo. This time of transition from the end of August through the beginning of September, with Venus beginning to station, unites the fiery desire of Mars in Leo to pursue new creative endeavors with a Venus bearing her soul in Leo at the depths of her Underworld journey. This is not yet a time to have gained clarity, and more so a time to instinctually sense what we are in a process of outgrowing as well as what we are beginning to initiate in a process of becoming.
by Walter Crane
Venus stations Direct
Venus finally stations direct on September 6, 2015 at 14°23′ of Leo, with Mars about four degrees away at a little over 18 degrees of Leo. Flipping through the vast catalogue of images associated with the Leo II decan from numerous ancient texts in Austin Coppock’s book on the decans 36 Faces, in order to get a sense of the variety of images associated with this section of the zodiac, I was struck by how many of them described a man carrying a bow and arrow or sword, fierce with anger like a lion and sometimes even dressed like a lion. A good example is by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which the image is described as “A man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head, and the form of a man angry and threatening. In his right hand he has a drawn sword and in the left a round shield.” The power given to this image by Agrippa is that “It has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, over vile men, and occasions of lawsuits and battles.” Fascinatingly to me, despite the wide use of images associated with conflict and fierceness across a wide variety of texts, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs of the Zodiac gave the Leo II decan to Isis, the great Goddess of Love, Devotion, Healing, and Magic.
In case you wonder why I am including here references to images associated with the Leo II decan found in ancient magical texts, it is because I feel there is a resonance between them and the current events we will experience when Venus stations direct in the Leo II decan at the beginning of September. Following Venus stationing direct, we will feel a stronger push from inside to go after what we value and feel we are worth, as we settle into the energy of Venus direct as a Morning Star in Leo. As Leo is known for creating drama and assertively standing up for itself and others when brought into conflict, the fierce figures found in the old images of this decan make sense from the standpoint that we will have regenerated an impassioned sense of authenticity from the retrograde journey of Venus that we will want to have the freedom to begin to express into our environment and relationships. The divine figure of Isis being also associated with this decan brings the added meaning that this new authentic self-worth we develop from this Venus retrograde will involve the healing of past soul fragmentation so that we feel more whole and better able to act in accordance with genuine inner values through our personality. As Austin Coppock summarized about the Leo II decan in 36 Faces:
This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual. The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees. Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born. (p. 129)
Indeed, no matter what circles of drama or conflict we become drawn into during this Venus retrograde, in totality the tension and strife will demand that we transform the impetus of our personality to fit in with the values of others around us into a burning purpose from within that will give us the ability to more directly express our true nature and values into the world around us.
Image of Anahita on Lion
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.
Greer, John Michael and Warnock, Chris. (2010 – 2011). Translation of The Picatrix: Liber Atratus Edition. Adocentyn Press.
Massey, Anne. (2006). Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols, & Myths. Llewellyn.
Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.
Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel N. (1983). Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row.