Venus Retrograde in Gemini

Venus Retrograde in Gemini

The following is an excerpt from my 2012 Astrological Almanac.  This handy tome contains descriptions of every day, monthly summaries, horoscopes, an ephemeris, a yearly walk-through, and more.

Summer Sale! Receive a full 50% off of the 2012 Astrological Almanac!

 The Rebirth of Venus by Patrick Anthony Pierson

Venus will be in Gemini from April 3rd-August 8th, 2012.  The bright planet will be retrograde from May 15th until June 27th, 2012.

In order to fully explore the implications of Venus’ retrograde through Gemini, we’ll begin with the basic qualities common to all Venus retrogrades, continue on to the core meaning of Venus in Gemini and then finally proceed into the specific significations of a Venus retrograde in Gemini.

Venus Retrograde Basics:  The (Re)Birth of Venus

Venus goes retrograde for about 6 weeks approximately every year and a half.  Each time Venus goes retrograde, it is in a different span of degrees, but all Venus retrogrades have several common characteristics.

Venus’ retrograde is akin, in many ways, to the better known Mercury retrograde but with some important differences.  Mercury is the planet of communications, and when Mercury is retrograde, communications often go awry.  At the same time, Mercury’s retrogrades also oversee particularly key thoughts, communications and plans- the kind that require the extra weeks of ambivalence.  Venus’ retrograde operates on the same principle, but instead of disordered thoughts, it is the emotions that go awry.  Deeply felt contradictions surface, and the passions’ compass is set spinning.   Yet, the confusion is a prelude to new connections.

When retrograde, Venus dwells in the same span of degrees for months at a time.   The back and forth motion digs deep into the foundations of the patterns symbolized by each set of degrees, unearthing hidden layers of meaning.   As Venus makes her first pass over the shadowed degrees, energy retreats from the surface of pleasures, migrating back to the core.  Objects of desire become lifeless, the woman a doll.  Encrusted patterns of relating undergo necrosis as surfaces deaden. This temporarily deadening of feeling is followed by an eruption of energy from the core, where deeply held feelings and emotional truths surge toward the surface, cracking the porcelain shell of the doll like an egg.  Deep springs of feeling erupt to the surface, creating emotional flooding.  This destruction of old forms of relating is the purpose of Venus’ retrograde.  It is the process by which desire is renewed.

Like Pinocchio, the doll becomes a living thing again, infused with the blood and heat of desire.  Pygmalion and the similarly inspired 80’s movie, Mannequin, also illustrate this theme.  It is a rebirth on an emotional level.  On that note, it is interesting that Shukra, the Hindu deity associated with Venus, is in part defined by his ability to bring the dead back to life.

This process, though a necessary source of renewal, is often confusing.  People spend most of Venus’ 6 weeks retrograde not quite sure what they want.  As a result, many partnerships that form during this time do not persist.

Finally, it is important to note that a small percentage of the population are born while Venus is retrograde.  These folks generally find Venus’ retrograde periods much easier to handle.

Venus in Gemini:  The Grammar of Desire

Venus, the planet of beauty, cash and prizes faces an interesting series of challenges in Gemini, the sign of intellectual polarization, binary analysis, clever expression and, most fundamentally, the encoding of experience into words.   Venus’ concerns are not primarily linguistic.  She rules over the passions of both the mind and body, which include whatever beauty language can create, but is just as attached to a variety of non-verbal experiences.  In Gemini, Venus infuses language, including technical languages, with an aesthetic flourish and uses them to construct what is beautiful and what is valuable.  The archetype here is the lady of love and lust accoutered with the pen and paper, laptop and magic wand.

Venus in Gemini is all about exploring the full range of our desires.  In Gemini, Venus’ wants are divided and subdivided, reaching out to touch as many possible categories.  There is a curiosity to explore the full breadth of the heart’s fields.  Thus there is joy in novelty and variety, delight in new forms and clever combinations of pleasure.

Venus Retrograde in Gemini

Venus’ time retrograde in Gemini digs deep into the archetypal terrain of the sign, bringing hidden emotional contradictions to the surface.   Love and hate boil to the surface surrounding the same people and activities, complicating our relationship to them.  These dualities, though distracting, represent a more fundamentally honest emotionally response.  Although we try to simplify our feelings, in truth we love what we hate and hate what we love.  It’s true, but it’s also confusing.

Complementary Dualities: Both/And

Venus’ retrograde through Gemini spurs us to inspect these seeming contradictions and admit to the emotional complexity at work.   Some will sit, confused, by this multiplicity of feelings, but the slow movement of Venus backward will eventually reveal that such contradictions can, in fact, co-exist.  Coming to understand and admit to this complexity does not detract from relationships, but instead invigorates them.  Simply “liking” someone is a one-dimensional, Facebook-style relationship, not the kind of love and war that people dream about.  Spurn the static, the simplified and embrace the natural dynamism of the passion’s spinning yin-yang.

Oppositional Dualities:  Either/Or

On the other hand, Venus’ retrograde through Gemini will also bring up desires that are truly contradictory, such as wanting the pleasures of a committed relationship at the same time as the joy of being single.  Others may be caught between two great loves.  For those whom Venus inspires such situations, the retrograde will be a journey into the depths of the heart, at the bottom of which a decision must be made, lest all options be rendered useless.  Nonetheless, such decisions should not be rushed, but should move with the slow pace of Venus’ retreat.

The Undivided Sex

Venus’ time in Gemini not only highlights the polarities in our feelings towards others, but also the dualities within ourselves, the most fundamental being the relationship between our masculine and feminine sides.  The behaviors and affects which are categorized socially as “masculine” and “feminine” are mere exaggerations of qualities which are found within each and every one of us.

Plato passes down to us a myth of the original human, who was both male and female, and Jung anchors the process of psychological development to the integration of the masculine and feminine parts of our psyches.  The alchemists paint a similar picture in their multiple renderings of the superior  Hermaphrodite, who is both male and female simultaneously, like Plato’s original human.

The Hermaphrodite is implied not only by the hidden unity of the male and female Twins, but also by the fact that Venus is here placed in one of Mercury’s signs – Gemini.  The blend of Venus (Aphrodite) and Mercury (Hermes) is expressed in ancient Greek myth through their single child together – Hermaphrodite.

Yet this psychological ideal does not come easily to people, for the embrace of it troubles gender polarities and threatens to destabilize the psyche.  Thus the hermaphroditic ideal of psychological and spiritual integration usually stays beneath the veil of the unconscious, asleep.  Venus’ retrograde rouses this phantom, setting it free to wander psyches for the 6 weeks she walks backwards.

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

Jennifer Linton, “P” from My Alphabet Book of Anxieties & Desires, 2008

One of the primary Venus retrograde themes is delving into those feelings which are ignored and pushed beneath the surface and exploring the emotional barriers erected in order to keep those parts of the psyche off limits.  The “Other” we fear within us is a common trope in horror films, most recognizable in the story of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”  Venus’ retrograde through Gemini wakes this sleeping Other and asks that we recognize these clusters of feelings as ourselves, the missing half of the original self.

However, not everyone is going to be dealing with the energies at work consciously and insightfully.  In fact, most people won’t.  Expect to see the ugly side of some folks as they stumble through this period.


In addition to the personal implications detailed above, Venus’ retrograde will also make its way through the larger world.  Here is a brief list of what that will likely include.

The Venus Monologues

Venus is, among things, strongly associated with women. With Venus spending so much time in the vocal sign of Gemini, there is a powerful emphasis on women’s voices.   Expect Venus’ retrograde cycle to include a special focus on women’s rights, especially women getting “a voice” in cultures where they have previously not had one.

What? I Can’t Hear You Over My Feelings

Venus’ retrograde takes place in Gemini, a Mercury-ruled sign, and as such we can expect disruptions in communication, technology and travel, like a Mercury retrograde.

Unconventional Desires

As noted above, Venus’ time in Gemini will stir up discussion around alternative definitions of gender, alternate sexual lifestyles and non-standard marriage arrangements.  Events related to transgendered issues, polygamy and polyamory are especially likely to make it into the news.

Tech and Transportation

Venus is the planet of value and Gemini concerns both technology and transportation.  As such, we can expect the value of tech and transportation stocks to be unusually volatile during the 6 weeks that Venus is retrograde.

The preceding was an excerpt from my 2012 Astrological Almanac.  This handy tome contains descriptions of every day, monthly summaries, horoscopes, an ephemeris, a yearly walk-through, and more.

Spring Sale!  Receive a full 25% off of the 2012 Astrological Almanac!

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Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. adam xvi 11 years ago

    Everything I have been feeling, thinking and unsuccessfully trying to convey were put into words by you…I am astounded by the signifigance Venus in Retrograde has, yet amazed at the confrontation that it presents…irony or coincidence?…either/or, it affects us in such specific ways as explained in text…
    Thank you for a better insight into what to expect and the precautions we must take.

  2. Cate 11 years ago

    What a great article, thanks! I also wonder how Venus retrograde plays out for those that have Venus retrograde natally. It seems that we should be more “used” to it.

  3. Chandira 11 years ago

    HHmm.. All this going on from 1st house, back over my Ascendant, and into my 12th house and back.. 🙂 An interesting summer for me, by the sound of it.

    Thanks Austin, great article. As always.

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Venus Retrograde in Gemini

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