November 2013-March 2014
The following is an excerpt from my 2014 Astrological Almanac. This handy tome contains descriptions of every day, monthly summaries, an ephemeris, a yearly walk-through, and more. The 2015 Astrological Almanac is now available- secure your copy today.
Venus will be in Capricorn from November 2013 until March 2014- four months. This is unusual, as Venus usually speeds through a sign in a single month. The reason is that Venus plans to retrograde though the goat’s sign, grinding back and forth, digging deep into the sign’s rocky foothills.
In Capricorn, Venus is in Saturn’s sign, and the passions are subject to the slow, serious planet’s influence. Passions are potent but carefully contained. On an internal level, there is a focus on the psychological structures that hold and anchor emotional energies.
Thus the focus for Venus’ extended time in Capricorn are the various structures that our emotions are bound to- the contracts which hide within all relationships. Each relationship involves a series of expectations which limit and define the exchanges which occur within it. We write and sign these contracts every day, in a hundred small ways. Though often invisible, they bind us on a deep level.
Venus in Capricorn also highlights the way that our emotional energy is bound to the world as a whole. Though we may not think of it as such, we have a relationship to the world, and it is as tumultuous a romance as any. We call our world fair, unfair- we love it and we hate it. We dance in union and sulk bitterly after a fight. The relationship is ongoing and profound. Yet it changes, and Venus’ retrograde through Capricorn will reveal to us the secret contract which defines it.
Venus will be in Capricorn from November 2013 until March 2014. This time, over four months, can be meaningfully divided into three sections.
Venus’ journey begins with her as the evening star, arising every night after the Sun has set in the west. On November 20th, 2013 she entered the degrees she is fated to retrace. This period, sometimes called the “shadow” of the coming retrograde, sees everyday patterns of feeling become more and more transparent. As if through the floor of a glass-bottomed boat, we’ll see strange creatures swimming the murky depths below. Business-as-usual begins to fray as strange passions rise. Important questions rise slowly to the surface, but their answers will be months in the making.
The second portion of Venus’ journey is the point at which the planet assumes retrograde motion, December 21st, 2013. This period sees the patterns eroded during the shadow temporarily abandoned. Emotional energy drifts free of its normal constraints here. Energies retreat from manacles, seeking a more primordial, liberated state. The binding Devil XV of the Tarot jumps off the black cube of matter and is revealed as none other than chaotic Pan himself, reveling in the World-as-playground. The passions dance free from commitment and structure, retreating to their source. Profound insights occur as the secrets of the heart are laid bare. Yet there are also many mistakes to be made. It is a wonderful to explore new options, to entertain ambiguities and temporarily forget boundaries, yet this phase cannot last. Nor can the actions taken here fail to affect the surface of life, where form and function hold sway. This escape into the primordial is like a vacation, a withdrawal that provides perspective. It is necessary, but temporary.
It is during this time that Venus disappears completely from the sky, arising as neither the morning nor the evening star. She is, for a few weeks, the underworld star, and her light serves to illuminate the secret recesses of the heart. Deep confusion and fear are hidden here. The renewal which takes place here is thus often terrifying, as it involves unprocessed feelings. Yet it is both necessary and life giving. The answers hide in the dark places.
The third major phase occurs when Venus stations direct, which will be January 31st, 2014. Venus’ direct station occurs right next Pluto, dragging the passion’s next incarnation directly into the transformative but deeply pragmatic evolutionary current the dwarf planet’s been broadcasting for the last few years. It is a call to tie our passions to those structures necessary to endure this bit of hard road. Fall in love with the evolutionary process, and all of the struggle and mutation it entails- threat of extinction and all.
This final leg of the journey sees Venus arise again in the East as the Morning Star and travel the same degrees of the zodiac for a third and final time. Here the passions remember their desire to be bound- to hold and be held. This phase must inevitably be a contemplation of bonds, of possible arrangements to invigorate, to send life’s blood pumping through them.
Here the hovering ghost of Eros looks over the lifeless body it deserted and inspects it before assenting to animate it once again. We bind ourselves afresh to our commitments. But bondage freely chosen is a joy, the piece of finity we’ve chosen to feel.
During this period we come slowly back to the surface again and try to implement the insights we came to during the middle portion of our journey. Done with distancing ourselves from patterns, we come back to them, ready to reinhabit the body of desire once again. Venus exits this final phase on March 3rd, 2014.
This particular Venus retrograde is likely to bring up a certain range of subjects.
Historically, Venus’ times retrograde in Capricorn abound with stories detailing the pressures, sacrifices and experience of women in leadership roles.
In addition, Venus’ retrogrades often coincide with the entry of women into the halls of power. The last time Venus went retrograde in Capricorn, the first quarter of 2006, England gained a new Queen-to-be. Prince Charles announced that he would wed Camilla, and the world almost cared. Meanwhile, Japan debated whether female succession in the Imperial family was legitimate. During the previous retrograde of Venus through Capricorn, in 1998, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the president of Liberia, making her the first elected female head of state in Africa.
Of Human Bondage (and Domination)
Another issue which characterizes Venus’ time in Capricorn is the way that hierarchy and power affect relationships. Though often hidden, these latticeworks and their dynamics are key component of many relationships. The relationship between the boss and the employee takes on a certain shape because of these constraints, as does that between the teacher and the student. As a case in point, it was during Venus’ retrograde in Capricorn in 1998 that the media caught wind of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinski. The limits imposed by power will be tested and transgressed during Venus’ time in Capricorn.