The 2017 Venus Retrograde in Aries & Pisces
March 4th – April 15th, 2017
13° Aries – 26° Pisces
“There are inevitable moments of “evil fate” [in relationships] since the intimate one opens the deepest wounds, and lovers, thus, become enemies. And they are also beloved enemies, since the woundings create separations across which fresh passions leap. Often, when we are meant to develop psychologically, we find ourselves choosing an intimate who will rub our noses in our worst complexes for just that purpose.”
A Little History
Many of us are familiar with Venus’ sensual form, owing to the iconic, armless statue Venus de Milo; and thanks to a very famous book, we’ve been taught that ‘women are from Venus’ and can identify Venus’ symbol (♀).
In general, however, we are not as familiar with the long historical significance of Venus and how that has changed over time. Venus’ story stretches back much further into history than ancient Rome, and her origins were considerably more powerful and nuanced than simply being a passive vessel for sexual beauty and desire.
The astronomical significance of Venus was nearly equal to the Sun and the Moon; Mesopotamian tablets from 1650 B.C.E. etched with omina (omens) described the way she entered and exited periods of visibility in the sky. The journey of planet Venus, into the burning rays of the Sun and back out again, set into motion the creation of incredible myths based on an evolving female archetype who was both sexual and powerful – a woman unafraid to descend into the depths of the Underworld.
Perhaps the best known of these was Inanna, the almighty powerful Goddess from ancient Sumeria who held the ‘Tablets of Destiny’ and controlled the Universe. Inanna and her Babylonian cousin Ishtar were the goddesses of sexual love, fertility, battle, and warfare. The story of their descent into the Underworld correlated to the path of Venus as it moved behind the Sun; in this myth, Inanna/Ishtar is stripped bare, forced to face her deepest fears and vulnerabilities, dies and is reborn as the ‘Queen of Heaven.’
Inanna was fearless, raw and sexual. Quotes from epic poems involving Inanna include such plucky lines as ‘Plough my vulva, man of my heart‘ and possible references to her ladyhood as a ‘Boat of Heaven.’
Inanna influenced many ancient cultures, birthing a cascade of similarly feisty, dualistic deities: Ishtar (Akkadian/Babylonian), Ashtaroth/Astarte (Phoenician), Hathor (Egyptian), and Anahita (Persian), to name just a few. Over time, the more aggressive sides of these goddesses were culled in exchange for lighter and less challenging embodiments of beauty and sexual desire, normally grounded in the male gaze.
Venus as we know her now – the arbiter of love, connection, attraction, sex, beauty, art, desire, and fineries – became canonized in the Astrological system over 2,000 years. Aphrodite-cum-Venus would have to settle for love, beauty, and procreation; at her worst, she was vain, easily offended and had a wandering eye – but she was no Inanna.
This is the power of patriarchy. They took an indomitable female energy, fierce and fiery, and cleaved it down, further and further, until all that remained was love, sex, and beauty. Just as there is significance in Pallas-Athena’s birth from the top of Zeus’ head, and Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib bone, there is just as much potency in the fact that Aphrodite & Venus grew from the foam of a man’s penis.
The Venus de Milo is a perfect visual metaphor for where this one-dimensional version of femininity has led us: frozen, lifeless, impermeable expressions of female allure. There’s a striking sadness in Venus de Milo’s armless body that pings slightly too close to the bone – she is beautiful to look at but useless as a totem of feminine power.
I mention all of this now not to bore you with historical minutiae but to underline that behind the easy veneer of Venus, lies a long and troubled history about removing power and agency from Goddesses as a whole and women as individuals.
If Venus exists only to please and attract, we’re only getting one-half of what the mythology suggests we are owed. Where’s the war? Where’s the fight?
A simplistic view of this Venus retrograde may infer a need to review your relationship, but I suspect you’ve got a lot more to gain during this transit than just finding more ways to please your partner.
Maybe you can reclaim a bit of your own inner Inanna, that small flame inside of you that’s chomping at the bit for independence, lust, and control.
Venus & Venus Retrograde in Astrology
In astrology, Venus is the principle of connection and attraction: she describes not only what or whom we are attracted to but the way in which we go about getting what we want, as well as what we value or deem of worth. Known as the ‘lesser benefic’, Venus is generally recognized as a zodiacal do-gooder and tends to bring ease or delight to the house of our chart where she is present as well as those that she rules (N.B. difficult aspects, signs, and houses notwithstanding!). The house of our natal Venus says something about how we meet our partners, or what areas of life act as a reoccurring theme throughout our partnerships. Sometimes it can also show us where or how we attract wealth.
When we move through a Venus retrograde transit, our sense of values are put through the fire. During these transits, we are forced into a deep, soulful review of what truly holds meaning to us. Just like Inanna, we must journey to the Underworld and confront the shadowy sister that lies within us and heed her counsel.
The benefit? Post-retrograde, a renewed sense of connection to yourself and to others, alongside a more authentic understanding of your needs and values, and how those intersect with your well of creative, sexual energy.
While Venus retrogrades stereotypically concern personal relationships, this heartfelt review of our values can occur in careers, friendships, creative projects, and more. It is not uncommon to have an old ex from the past come back onto the scene for closure (or rekindling).
The kinds of questions that come up during Venus Retrograde can be:
- Am I happy in this relationship?
- What is the value of me/my job/my talents/my desires/my partner/my friendships?
- What is [fill in the blank] worth? Have I given it too much, or too little, of my time and attention?
- Am I sexually or creatively filled in this area of life? Am I no longer ‘turned on’ by this area of my life?
The Venus retrograde is not an ideal period for Venusian topics: luxury shopping, decorating one’s home, plastic surgery, beauty treatments, starting a new relationship, getting married, et al. I’d never encourage you to put your life on hold, but you may find that post-Venus Retrograde you end up with ‘buyer’s remorse.’
You should always check the house of your chart where the Venus retrograde will occur to understand more about how this transit will directly affect you. This retrograde may feel more intense if it makes an aspect to your natal Venus, asteroid Juno, Sun, Moon, or the ruler of your 5th or 7th Houses. If you have other planets within the degrees of this retrograde (13° Aries to 26° Pisces), your retrograde experience will also involve the topical themes of that planet.
Key Dates & Aspects of the 2017 Venus Retrograde
Technically, the Venus retrograde starts March 4th and ends April 15th, 2017, covering the degrees between 13° of Aries and 26° of Pisces. The ‘shadow’ period lengthens the transit by several weeks either side, with Venus technically entering the shadow on January 30th, and leaving only after it has passed the 13th degree of Aries on May 19th.
Overall, this creates a window of influence from January 30th to May 19th…under normal circumstances.
But, this Venus retrograde isn’t exactly business as usual: it ends on a conjunction between Venus and Chiron (pain/wounds/healing), contains two Saturn-Venus squares (love meets limits), and a square between Venus and asteroid Juno, the goddess of marriage (difficulties in love).
Looking just a few days before January 30th, which should be the start of our shadow period, we can see that there was a Venus-Chiron conjunction on January 25th and the first of three Venus-Saturn squares on January 26th. To me, this is the real start to the Venus retrograde, and we should look here for hints about what’s to be unravelled.
The last Venus in retrograde in Aries occurred March 6 – April 16th, 2009, so you may also want to look back at what occurred during that period.
Key Venus retrograde aspects and dates:
- January 25th – Venus conjunct Chiron, the first of two, 22° Pisces
- January 27th – Venus square Saturn, the first of three, 24° Pisces – Sagittarius
- January 30th – Venus moves into the ‘shadow’ of the retrograde, 26° Pisces
- March 4th – Venus stations retrograde, 13° Aries
- March 14th – Venus square Juno, 10° Aries – Capricorn
- March 18th – Venus conjunct Mercury, 9° Aries
- March 20th – Mercury square Juno, 12° Aries – Capricorn
- March 25th – Venus conjunct the Sun, also known as the inferior conjunction, the heart of the retrograde, 4° Aries
- March 28th – New Moon in Aries, within the degrees of Venus’ retrograde, 7° Aries
- April 3rd – Venus retrogrades into Pisces
- April 8th – Venus square Saturn, the second of three such squares, 27° Pisces – Sagittarius
- April 15th – Venus stations direct at 26° of Pisces
- April 16th – Venus conjunct Chiron, for the second and final time, 26° Pisces
- April 21st – Venus square Saturn, the third and final square, 27° Pisces – Sagittarius
- May 19th – Venus leaves the ‘shadow’ area of the retrograde, 13° Aries
The 2017 Venus Retrograde
Twin Flames Need Not Apply
The majority of this Venus retrograde occurs in Aries, the fearless romantic.
If there’s any sign that doesn’t mind telling you exactly how they feel about you, whether you’re interested in that information or not, it’s Aries. Only slightly more articulate than Sagittarius, and decidedly less devoted than Leo, Aries knows what it wants – right this very moment, at least – and takes a leap. Aries is nothing if not enthusiastic in its romantic pursuits, although this ‘go big or go home’ attitude often leads to conflicts, missed connections, and feverish affairs that go up in smoke far too quickly.
For Venus in Aries, the challenge of love is the thing, and they have a nearly endless appetite for romantic escapades, no matter the outcome. At the end of an affair, Venus in Aries cries a little, brushes itself off, and then charges forth into action again. It doesn’t always stop to contemplate what went wrong and make the necessary corrections, but you’ve got to hand it to the Ram: they’re unafraid of love and always willing to give it another go, even if they’re still got band-aids layered on top of their little hearts.
On the plus side, Venus in Aries makes for an incredibly independent, honest lover. Coddle you they will not, but they also won’t suffocate you either; to be in partnership with a Venus in Aries person is to have more than enough oxygen to keep your own flame lit.
In a world of faux-spiritual posts implying we won’t be whole until we find our ‘twin flame’, Venus in Aries is a testament to having more than enough fire on your own.
Thank you very much.
As we’ve seen, Venus was constructed around a man’s concept of femininity, which was ideally unchallenging, docile and people-pleasing. Venus in Aries is none of these things and is therefore seen as a weak placement for Venus; in truth, she is much closer to the likes of Inanna than to Aphrodite when she is in Aries.
Personally, I’ve never really considered Venus in Aries as a problem, particularly in a woman’s chart. In a world that actively works towards suppression of females and the feminine, Aries is just the kind of Xena warrior princess we sometimes need on our side to get shit done and shamelessly pursue our desires.
Later on in the Venus retrograde, Venus will shift into Pisces, its sign of ‘exaltation’, or place of highest esteem. Moving from Aries to Pisces is like switching parts in a play from executioner (Aries) to sacrificial lamb (Pisces), and while some will disagree with me, there are some very slippery sides to Venus in Pisces. Namely, as much as Venus in Pisces natives can induce intense adulation from others, they are also likely to feel the need to make major sacrifices for their partners or live out their relationships in a cycle fluctuating between acting as the redeemer and the redeemed.
At the same time, the Jupiter in Libra transit and its series of squares to Pluto have been flushing out hidden power struggles, manipulations, and the subsequent below-the-radar resentments that result from deceptively toxic relationship dynamics.
Adding all of these components together, a clear message starts to evolve: in my opinion, the Venus retrograde is here to teach us about how to be a wholly expressed independent person as a part of a relationship, and not just one-half of a whole. There’s a way to value our needs and those of others simultaneously without devolving into fights (shadow of Aries), resentments (shadow of Libra), or unnecessary self-sacrifice (shadow of Pisces).
Instead of the ‘two becomes one’ business, which implies merging with the partner and losing a grip on your individuated identity, what if we can keep our freedom and be part of a duo?
In the words of someone who said it better than me (Osho):
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other because it is not given by the other.”
Roll on, retrograde.
We’ve got work to do.
Insights By Rising Sign
Note: while the below is fun, it doesn’t replace a full reading by a professional astrologer. If you want to take this further, contact me for a reading. Use your RISING or ASCENDANT sign with these Venus Retrograde insights!
♈ Aries Rising
Considering that the Venus retrograde is occurring in your first house of self and ze body, I would encourage you to try and hold off on grand plans to recapture that pixie cut from your high school years or home dye your eyebrows: Venus retrogrades are notoriously bad times for beauty treatments and shopping, so the normal road to zen via retail therapy might be less satisfying than usual come March 4th. If anything, this Venus retrograde is about healing your relationship to yourself, and, to the value of your physical appearance, too. While for many this Venus retrograde will be about what is or is not working in relationships, this transit for you is less about you and a partner as much as it is solely about what you – and only you – want. Once Venus moves back into your 12th House, you might get called to spend some alone time (silence is golden, after all) weighing up all you’ve learned or understanding the subconscious patterns that have brought you to where you are.
♉️ Taurus Rising
Pack your bags: you’re about to go full on Inanna and spelunk around in the dark caverns of your own personal underworld. With the Venus retrograde happening in your 12th House, which is about retreat, isolation, the prison of our mind and suffering, this is a shadowy, karmic venue for your Venus retrograde. The message of this Venus retrograde transit may be to start untangling the psychic, subconscious knots that are holding you hostage and keeping you from the types of connections you crave – whether that’s on the material or physical planes. Darker aspects of the 12th include illness and addiction, so if you are boxing with either of those heavyweights in some way, expect to go the full ten rounds in pursuit of wisdom that might just set you free. Once Venus moves back into your 11th House, you’ll get a clear enough reminder of what your hopes and aspirations are in love and moolah (and may even see a friend in a new – romantic? – light).
♊️ Gemini Rising
You’ve already been in a partnerships master class for some time, thanks to Saturn transiting your 7th House of marriage and committed relationships since late 2015. Things might have gotten more serious with Saturn, who loves a commitment, or more steamy since October 2016 when the multiplying effects of Jupiter started to grace your 5th House of lovers, romance, children, and sex. Saturn & Jupiter have been in a pretty stellar (see what I did there?) exchange off and on recently, which paints a nice picture for relationship matters (the necessary, useful pressures of Saturn, notwithstanding). With Venus retrograde in the 11th, you may have serious reconsiderations about your other companions: your crew. You may be feeling less than confident about a few of your favorite confidantes, or realizing a realignment is needed between the amount of time made available for your lover (5th) and your friends (11th). Once Venus moves back into your 10th House of career, you may be doing a similar calculation with your work life and the people who directly or indirectly support your office aspirations.
♋️ Cancer Rising
Career matters have been looking peachy for you as of late, given a cascade of yummy aspects affecting your ‘work’ houses. With all that excitement, it’s hard not to disappear into work and give it our all. And yet…with every expansion, there must be a contraction, and the pressure you’ve felt this year has been a distinct pull between your home, family and work matters. It’s a cheesy axiom, but it’s true too: no one on their death bed complains they didn’t get in enough hours at the office. Now is a seriously important time to revisit your career. The question is – how important is it, really? And, if it is really important, are you getting the right things from it? Do you feel rewarded and appreciated, or stifled? My bets are on the latter, as freedom-thirsty change agent Uranus has been careening through your career house and shaking things up, for better or for worse. Come May, you might have a new frame of mind for how you can best balance home and office. Once Venus moves back into your 9th House, you may also be figuring out how to handle issues surrounding publishing, foreign travel, higher education, and spirituality.
♌️ Leo Rising
Venus will be retrograde in your 9th House, the ‘telescope’ of the birth chart where we start to see beyond ourselves and our community in exchange for something wider, further, and greater. A Venus retrograde here – in the space of higher education, wisdom, and ethics – is like auditing a class at Eros Polytechnic. You may be delving into how spirituality, religion, or similar journeys of the soul and mind add to your understanding of love and its place in our life. If you’re involved with a foreign person, or in a long-distance relationship, the effects of this transit may be two-fold for you as the 9th rules both foreign people and places; you may be weighing up if your love can go the distance. For a variety of reasons, by May you might be focused more on self-development and how spirituality or wisdom may bring you to the greatest love of all: yourself (not that the typical Leo needs help with that…).
♍️ Virgo Rising
Relationship issues may have already been a touchy topic for you in the past year or so, with both Chiron (pain/healing) and the South Node (karma) exposing draining patterns in your most committed relationships, alongside a handful of eclipses in 2015 and 2016 that might have shaken things up in the partner department. Venus transiting your 8th House is all about understanding the power dynamics at play in your love relationships, as they pertain to money, sex, and the divvying up of resources. You’re probably familiar with how some of this is playing out in your life, given the Jupiter-Pluto square has already been dredging up issues around assets and your creative/romantic partners, but the Venus retrograde will serve to bring it into focus for you. Once Venus moves back into your 7th House of partners, the behind-the-scenes intuitions you’re feeling may make their way into real-life conversations. This advice may fall on deaf ears, but try not to worry (maybe make a list – that usually does the trick?).
♎️ Libra Rising
You guys have been living kind of large since Jupiter started to transit your sign as of October last year, so the Venus retrograde in Aries might feel like a kind of astrological karma correction for you lot. It may be uncomfortable at first, especially given your disposition towards conflict (i.e. what conflict? I don’t see any conflict?), but Venus is only trying to tease you into a fully expressed version of you that will reduce resentment and increase independence. Fiery Venus in Aries will be trampolining her way through your 7th house of partners and marriage. Tensions may have been building between you, your partners, and home/family (parents? your actual house?), and while there’s a lot to be said for diplomacy, there’s going to be a lot more said – period – during this transit. Be prepared for all the things you’ve been swallowing to come up for air, and once Venus moves into the 6th House, for the trend to continue in areas of work, colleagues, and health.
♏️ Scorpio Rising
Other than Aries, you’re the sign most likely to deal well with the energy of this Venus retrograde transit; not only do you share a ruler with Aries (Mars), but you are no stranger to intense expressions of romance…and that is an understatement. The good news is you won’t necessarily be revisiting relationship issues in this retrograde – although you’re not necessarily off the hook since you’ve got a few touchy points in the 5th House of lovers, sex, and children – but the action for you is happening elsewhere. This is about your work, and the mundane acts that add up to a j-o-b, but also: what acts of service do you want to be involved in? What would you find most fulfilling? Is there a relationship between your current work scenario and your health? These are all important questions that will start you off, and as Venus enters your 5th House, you may find yourself reconsidering the value of certain creative projects, romance partners, and even children – the joy of which may help distract you from any work woes.
♐️ Sagittarius Rising
There’s a lovely, supportive set-up happening for you during the Venus retrograde that may feel like a relief of sorts. Saturn’s been in your 1st House for some time now, and under his guidance, you’ve been restructuring your beliefs about who you are and what you want. A necessary part of that process is revisiting the value of your creative time and energy, whether that gets funneled into art, romance, sex, or children, all topics that will be studied underneath the watchful eye of Venus during this retrograde. The second part of that journey happens in the 4th House of home, childhood, and parents – and so I wonder what is happening across these two zones? Are you considering moving in with a partner? Are there conversations about having children and starting your own family unit? Venus in Aries wants independence, but Saturn in the 1st wants you to grow the eff up. As a Sag rising in serious transition, you need both, and this transit will help you better integrate the two energies.
♑️ Capricorn Rising
Things haven’t been so easy lately for my Capricorn rising folks, what with Pluto drilling underneath your personal floorboards and reoccurring boxing matches between Pluto and Jupiter that have made for power struggles galore. Many of you may feel pulled between taking care of yourself and pressing issues in your career. At some point you’ll be able to look back in awe of the strength you gained during this period, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a royal pain in the ass in the meantime. The Venus retrograde may have you seriously thinking about the value of family and home. We all want independence, but in trying times we might come to realize the true worth of our home team and the wisdom behind the old axiom ‘blood is thicker than water.’ On the other hand, for some of you, this will be about extricating yourself from family members that simply aren’t up to the job of really being supportive, or a renewed focus on building a ‘home’, but strictly on your own terms. (P.S. Pro tip – not a great time to sell or buy an actual home)
♒️ Aquarius Rising
“Word is bond”, as Big Daddy Kane would say, although not all words (and thoughts) are created equal. Some words bind us more deeply to our dreams, and some make us come completely unstuck. Each day we get innumerable choices about what words to use with ourselves and others. What words would you be choosing when you look in the mirror, if they weren’t for you, clever water-bearing friends? With Jupiter in your 9th House of publishing (amongst other things), and the Venus reoccurring occurring in the 3rd House of the mind, communication, and dissemination, you may have a golden opportunity to re-work your mind, thoughts, and words. Or, is there something you want to publish, write, or speak about? Is there a hopeful message inside of you waiting to be shared with the world? As Venus moves backward into your house of income and talents, you might get a reminder of just how worthy, and worthwhile, you and your ideas actually are.
♓️ Pisces Rising
My dearest, fishy friends: you may have been feeling a bit drained lately, what with the South Node, a celestial hoover, sucking out your mojo and a zodiacal pile-up of less-than-helpful planets in your 1st House. Help is on the way, though, and by May things will have transitioned significantly. There’s the good news. The interesting news will be how your attitude towards money, your talents, and your sense of self-worth might be shifting in the next couple months. In recent history, there may have been increased anxieties about money or a mutual investment or pooling of resources (which is never simple). Many of our deepest anxieties are attached to cash, whether in making it, using it, or sharing it. Now is a good time to re-frame your relationship to money, keeping in mind that the ancients were pretty clever when they named the 2nd House of $$$ the ‘Gate to Hades’. The road to Hell may be paved with good intentions, but if we make money our master, we can live full-time in Satan’s little hideaway.