Venus in the Heart of the Capricorn Sun
Venus has begun a new cycle with the Sun, forming an exact conjunction with our Sun on January 8 or 9, 2018 depending upon your time zone. The beginning of the new synodic cycle for Venus is even more potent than normal due to it simultaneously beginning a new cycle with Pluto. Venus in the heart of the Sun with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of inner desires and values, and as we dig into the soil of soul we will unearth meaning that will guide us on our journey forward, even if current feelings are difficult. Venus is currently orbiting on the far side of the Sun from Earth, its union with the Sun at this point in its cycle called the exterior or superior conjunction of Venus. This solar union is in contrast to the conjunction Venus forms when it is retrograde and in between the orbit of Earth and the Sun, called the interior or inferior conjunction of Venus. Venus will still be invisible to us for awhile, but is now in transition into becoming visible again eventually as an Evening Star at the beginning of March 2018.
The vivifying light of our Sun is a foundational source for meaning found within astrology. Of course the Sun is the source of the light that our visible planets reflect back to us and that define their phases, whether that is the constantly waxing and waning of our Moon or the slower shifts in time we experience through Saturn. As a result when planets unite with the Sun by zodiac degree within astrology, they are returning to their source of light and being reborn. As the planet approaches its union with the Sun we can imagine it being somewhat weakened due to the purification process underway, not unlike our bodily sensations when soaking in a hot spring or sweating in a sauna. The planets beyond our orbit such as Mars and Jupiter only experience one conjunction with the Sun during their synodic cycle, while in contrast Mercury and Venus experience two conjunctions since they orbit in between our Earth and the Sun.
Traditionally, astrological text pinpoints the superior/exterior conjunction of the Sun as the very beginning of the synodic cycle of Venus, an important consideration especially in terms of answering queries through horary. At the same time there is a debate amongst astrologers based upon experience and observational factors over whether or not the interior conjunction of Venus (when Venus is retrograde and aligned with the Sun in between our orbit with the Sun) should actually be considered the beginning. However, whether you believe the current exterior conjunction of Venus on the far side of the Sun from us in orbit is the beginning or midpoint of its overall synodic cycle, all astrologers can agree that when united with the Sun that Venus is being purified and regenerated through the union.
Venus has been under the beams of the Sun and invisible to us since early November 2017, and so since then there has been something more hidden and internal about Venus with the potential for a purifying reflection process about all things Venusian. As mentioned, our astrological tradition has considered this to be a phase of Venus not being at full strength, a period in which Venus is seen as being most successful undergoing secretive, hidden endeavors. The ancient astrologer Rhetorius (from the 6th/7th century) wrote the first written record that survives denoting the significance of a planet becoming strengthened when in the heart of the Sun, which to Rhetorius occurs when a planet is within one degree of the Sun (later Medieval astrologers moved this range, also called cazimi, to be within sixteen minutes of orb). Being in the heart of the Sun was likened to the planet sitting on the solar throne: Venus as the Queen, with all things Venusian amplified in strength during her meeting with the Sun.
There is also an additional protective factor considered to be important to ancient astrologers such as Porphyry and Rhetorius when a planet is invisible and close to the Sun by zodiac degree, translated as the planet being in its chariot. A planet is in its chariot, protected from being weakened by the solar rays, whenever it is within its own domicile, exaltation, or bounds. Thus Venus is in her chariot whenever she is close to the Sun in Taurus, Libra, Pisces or within her own bounds. The Egyptian bounds for Venus in Capricorn range from fourteen to twenty-two degrees, and so there is an additional consideration to take into account of Venus being in her chariot during her union with the Sun and Pluto. Venus also has triplicity dignity in Capricorn since Venus favors the earth signs, and so altogether these factors give Venus support in not becoming overwhelmed by her meeting with Pluto and the Sun. This means the triple union of Sun, Venus, and Pluto is especially focused upon Venusian matters, and we can feel our relationship with Venus and her significations acutely.
Since Pluto is an invisible planet far away in orbit, it may seem strange to imagine it also being regenerated in the heart of the Sun by transit, but there is still the same effect of both Venus and Pluto being simultaneously regenerated in meaning for us through their alignment with our solar light. Be patient with whatever feelings and insights are arising with this stunning union, and nurture the inner process they lead you into, for this astrological alignment is setting the stage for the events of the rest of 2018 to unfold. Often our personalities don’t like the issues Pluto brings up in transit, whether it be due to fear or wanting to be in denial of certain realizations that come to our awareness. Within the tumult of tempestuous collective change promised by the astrological alignments of 2018, the solar highlighting of Venus and Pluto can guide us into inner awareness of the modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.
Since the Sun, Venus, and Pluto have united in the home of Saturn, its further significant that Saturn is in its home, co-present in Capricorn. Capricorn is the inwardly directed home of Saturn, and so Saturn also being in Capricorn brings sharper focus into matters of time and space and forces of change we can sense underway in our reality. The beautiful aspect of this strong emphasis on Capricorn is that we have the astrological support to make real, tangible progress in the direction we are being called to focus upon. At the same time there can be a lot of frustration over the limitations of time and space available to us with our numerous responsibilities, and so it will be important to reprioritize goals so we can reconfigure the best way to make use of our time. We need to be letting go and letting things pass away that no longer carry the same soulful inspiration as in the past, to make space for whatever is going to make us feel more alive and passionate.
We associate Saturn with the order of time and forces of necessity, and Capricorn with the maturity and responsibility we cultivate through facing natural cycles of change. Both of these meanings of Saturn and Capricorn fit in well with the synodic cycle of Venus as it is incredibly structured and consistent, with effects on our experience of time that bring a sense of destiny and fate to associated events. If you trace the five 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. Every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time, and every eight alternating years we experience Venus moving direct into the Sun in the same place. [note: Chris Brennan recently interviewed Nick Dagan Best regarding Venus and Mars retrograde cycles and their timing sequence you can view here]
This means that eight years ago in January 2010 we experienced a superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn, and that four years ago in 2014 we experienced a Venus retrograde in Capricorn (and another superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn in January 2002 and another Venus retrograde in Capricorn in January 2006). Interestingly the Venus retrograde in Capricorn in 2014 also involved Pluto, as Venus stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Pluto. There is approximately nine months in between the superior and inferior conjunctions of Venus, and so this means that later this year in October 2018 we will experience an interior conjunction of Venus with the Sun while Venus is retrograde in Scorpio. The Venus retrograde in Scorpio later this year will finish up with Venus stationing direct in Libra in range of an opposition to Uranus in Aries and a square to the lunar nodes which will have transitioned into Capricorn and Cancer. Venus will form three oppositions with Uranus through going retrograde and will be part of the transition of Uranus back into Aries from Taurus. Since there is tremendous change portended by these alignments, its all the more important to pay attention right now with Venus having recently aligned with the Sun and Pluto.
2018 is remarkable in the interplay between Mars and Venus synodic cycles, as Venus will station retrograde in Scorpio in October in range of a square to the same place Mars will have stationed retrograde in Aquarius in June. Just like Venus will make three oppositions with Uranus through its retrograde, Mars will make three catalytic square aspects with Uranus through its retrograde process. The dynamics between the Venus and Mars cycles will be one of the most important aspects of 2018, and in collective current events we can already clearly see this through numerous examples of gender issues dominating the news cycle. With Venus being regenerated with the Sun while aligned with Pluto, there is a strong emphasis on empowerment of women and feminine issues in the face of systematic oppression.
Venus and Mars began their current cycle through forming a conjunction in Virgo at the same time as a Full Moon in Aries in October 2017. Venus and Mars have now entered into their waxing sextile alignment under the most amazing of astrological circumstances: Mars conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio forming a sextile with Venus in conjunction with Pluto and the Sun. There is potential for harmonious integration of Venus and Mars in our life now, yet the additional astrological elements make it a supercharged dynamic that could lead into overwhelming feelings difficult to handle. The Mars and Jupiter alignment in Scorpio is even more jarring due to it forming in range of a square to the lunar nodes and the upcoming season of eclipses we are entering. These aspects support courage in breaking free of previous restrictive conditions, but remember sometimes all that is possible for us to do is make what appears to be a small change from outside perspectives. These alignments support the overused analogy of carefully building your path brick by brick with strong focus on details of each movement.
Speaking of eclipses on the horizon, at the end of January we will experience a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo that will feature Venus in Aquarius aligned with the Sun and the South Node of the Moon. This means that Venus will be part of the symbolic filter the Sun is shining its shadow through onto the Moon, creating the optic effect of a blood red Moon. Since Venus is so instrumental in the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse on January 31, it makes the insights and realizations we gain now with Venus aligned with Pluto and the Sun all the more important. To keep it simple open feelings to what you want more of and what you want less of, where you feel pulled to spend more time and what you feel you need to let go of.
You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth . . . When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music . . . Work is love made visible.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
This quote from Kahlil Gibran is included in the wonderful book on vocation and astrology written by Brian Clark called Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity, and Calling. One aspect of Brian Clark’s work I admire is his ability to open up the imaginal field of interpretation within astrology in creative ways. Similar to this imaginal direction, I’ve always enjoyed the association of the nature deity and flute playing Pan with the sign of Capricorn because it’s always felt aligned with my experience of people with Capricorn placements. We often see Capricorn written about in cold and austere ways, but there is also a creative, visionary capacity of Capricorn that enables us to connect with a calling beyond our former conditioning, rather than following careers restricted to our former conditioning.
Capricorn is a nocturnal sign and so the nocturnal home of Saturn which stands in contrast to Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn. Robert Hand has taught that the nocturnal sect in astrology has more focus on being unconditional in expression in contrast to the diurnal sect having more focus on being conditional. Saturn is a diurnal planet we associate with significations that are very conditional, such as deadlines and whether or not we pass the test. It will clearly be important to handle all of our daily responsibilities as always, and in fact Saturn’s presence in Capricorn may make us feel the need to be accountable even more sharply. Yet don’t allow this to keep you from dreaming of how things can be different and remembering to take the time to nurture your inner life instead of becoming exhausted through work in the external world.
With Saturn now in its nocturnal home of Capricorn, with Venus having become regenerated through union with Pluto and the Sun in Capricorn, allow your visions of career and creative expression to soar beyond all of the restrictions currently felt within your daily responsibilities and grind. Allow your desires for a soulful calling to soak deep into subterranean waters and wells that hold memories of the deepest gifts you have to offer. Our world in 2018 will be going through seismic societal shifts, and we will all benefit the more each of us brings our works of passion forth to share. I’ll end with a quote from Brian Clark’s book on vocation:
“Vocation is not about being someone, but becoming who we are . . . A literal career or profession, no matter how enlightened, is not the answer to the soul’s longing. Vocation is an aspect of the individuation process and its path is not predetermined but forged over time through the relationship of the inner self with the outer world. Vocation demands its own set of rules and insists on its own laws . . . To pursue one’s true vocation takes courage, as well as the strength to break free from ‘the herd.’”
— Brian Clark, Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity and Calling