by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Venus in Shadow

(photo credit: Cornava, March 2007)

Not that we humans asked for any further life complications or anything, but Planet Venus will be entering the shadow of its upcoming retrograde as of November 20th. 

And here you thought life was going to calm down after the Scorpio solar eclipse? Oh, not hardly...

But let’s be real about this: Venus retrograde generally sucks…and that means that as Venus moves into (and through) its shadow, things are likely to grow ever more sucky. (Is ‘suckier’ a word?)

The date of this leaping into shadow? November 20th…which means no, you didn’t get any notice about this impending whatever-it-is, which meant you couldn’t invest any quality time fretting about something you probably couldn’t change anyway.

The retrograde shadow, I mean.

As for the Venus part, yes – there we can change. And when discussing Venus retrograde in any way, shape or manner, the optimal issue is pretty simple – if hard to really get hold of. That issue is feeling rewarded…which when we think of Venus as the hot and sulfuric little planet it evidently is, doesn’t seem too far off the mark.

Put simply, in the world of what you put out comes back to you…(aka cause/effect)…Venus is the hinge energy which ‘turns’ cause into effect. In other words, though many of us think of Planet Venus as being the ‘ruler’ of our Pleasure Principle, Venus really only gets to that distinction because of its association with things we like.

Or getting our way.

Or winning the moment.

Or basking in the warmth of adulation and admiration.

In other words, Venus is NOT the feeling of success - Venus is the energetic which aligns response with generation. Venus is that magical moment when what’s in the package matches your expectations because you have that particular expectation. Venus is the quality of knowing you’ve gotten what you deserve because you know (deep inside) what you deserve.

Venus is not precisely beauty. It is our appreciation (or lack thereof) of what we get to deal with in life based on whether there is a difference between what we want to be true and what the truth really is.

So…with that said, Venus is about to enter the shadow of its retrograde tomorrow – November 20th. Whether we like it or not, Venus enters its shadow on that date, after which Venus will go retrograde on December 21st, only spare hours after the Capricorn Solstice.

And it’s pretty guaranteed that some of us won’t like that part at all, as Venus in shadow OR in retrograde tends to be a time when no matter how hard we try, nothing feels really rewarding. That urge to be loved, that need to be cuddled, coddled or appreciated – all of that is dampened if not doused during Venus’ retrograde cycle.

On the other hand…there is the fact that since this cycle is up for grabs again (it happens just shy of every two years) …it is evidently time for us to experience this Venusian lack of thrill, thrall and enthusiasm – for whatever reason we may have.

Let’s remember…cycles turn up when they’re supposed to turn up. When the greater dynamic of life needs for them to turn up in order that we might be reminded of something or learn something new.
That’s the theory of it, anyway. And under that theory, we should all take it on credit that there’s something in life we are needing to feel chilled about. Or alienated from. Or not so enthused about.

Why would that be? Okay – let’s consider that in terms of the typical responses or patterns associated with Venus in Shadow and Venus Retrograde. The basic concept with Venus Retrograde being akin to ‘you’re on your own,’ or ‘the current state of things doesn’t work – try harder/again’…that suggests that from wherever we are to wherever we are going to be by the time Venus goes retrograde (in December)…that’s the territory for Venus’ shadow.

In other words, things have to change so that we will feel that we’re on our own. Or so that we’ll recognize that things aren’t working at a level which demands or necessitates change.

And that’s what makes the Venus Shadow period dicey.

For instance…let’s say there’s something ‘Venusian’ going on in your life which you are perfectly fine with, but which you KNOW….somewhere in the fuzziness of your soul you just KNOW it’s not the right thing. Maybe you’re temporizing, maybe you’re saying ‘I’m going to make the best of this while it lasts,’ maybe you’re trying to be noble and put up with behavioral excrement (yes, I said that)…

anywhere in your life where things aren’t optimal is where Venus Effects are likely to surface.

Since this whole Venus retrograde is going to be in the sign of Capricorn, we know that matters of getting ahead in life, social standing/status and all that fancy-dancy head talk we all get into about ‘how we will be thought of’ is in for some serious challenging. We know that those of us who are attempting to live in a ‘shell’ of respectability which is all surface and no depth will begin being exposed simply because Capricorn demands the sort of solidity and durability which is lasting.

There’s also the fact that Capricorn is the sign of commerce – which when we think of this Venus cycle extending through the holidays and into the January of fiscal 2014 sort of begs the question whether Venus entering its shadow bodes well for the economy of the US and the world?

Simple Answer: no.

More Carefully Couched Answer: strictly in terms of holiday shopping, the great bulk of consumers are to be expected to rein back a little and look for good prices on large-ticket items. Venus in Capricorn points in one direction to ‘sensible gifts’ and another to the kind of luxury item which is either better built or known to hold its value more effectively.

Most of the effects of the actual Venus retrograde won’t be felt until Venus goes retrograde – which is not until December 21st. But we should also expect our social and societal climates to begin reflecting a subtle ‘pull back’ into what we might think of as a ‘reflection mode’ as Venus moves into its shadow and the Sun moves into Sagittarius on November 22nd.

At the moment, in other words, we’re likely to merely feel frustrated and subtly annoyed by that which we can’t quite get back on the track with. And since maybe recalling our last go-round with this will help remind us all as to how this passage works in our life, let’s look back. The last Venus retrograde began in early October 2010, lasting until mid/late November. Considering there was a solar eclipse (at 13 Capricorn) on January 4th of 2011, that Venus retrograde was part of the ‘breaking down’ period which preceded the eclipse, and that combined with that retrograde having been in Scorpio accounts for the scads and scads of painful decisions people went through at that time.

We were incorrectly ‘invested’ – you know, that Scorpio thing. Many of us needed to rebalance or at least reprioritize. In going retrograde in Scorpio at that time Venus mirrored in our individual lives as the knowing if or where we needed to let go so that we could grow into someone closer to who we really are without catering to that ‘other’ or to dictates which really didn’t fit us.

Now it’s happening again with the sign being Capricorn – that of rules/regulations against the rewards, the costs and the realities of what life is…and isn’t. Issues like appearance and how appearance can’t really fix what’s wrong underneath the veneer are going to surface. This time ahead would be one where it would be very natural to compare yourself with others and find yourself lacking…or when you may, after tons and tons of work and effort feel like walking away from something (or someone) altogether.

For those less of the action orientation (read: more prone to taking everything personally) this may feel like a time when you are undervalued. Or not valued at all. It being so hard to feel the warm cozies of love under Venus retrograde even though all the normal and upstanding appreciation may be there makes the next month or so one ripe for loneliness, yearning, wishing life was otherwise and in general, thinking about how green the grass could be.

And no…this isn’t about how ‘the grass is greener on the other side.’ When the grass is merely greener, usually we know where that grass is. With this incoming Venus period, the grassy goal is in our head. The imagined peace is in our heart. The image of an optimal life which functions optimally is in our soul.

Which is exactly the point. Venus retrograde – and thus the Venus shadow period which precedes it – is all about valuing ourselves so that we don’t NEED to be valued by others. It is that need, after all, which corrupts us, causing us to pander to others in ways which will never actually validate our self respect.

It’s not who ‘they’ are. It’s not what ‘they’ are doing or not doing now which is the issue.

The issue going forward is ‘who do I really want to be? Who will I respect MYSELF …independent of anyone else…for being?’

Venus passages always ask us about who and what we value – and why we value it. A huge proportion of us tend to opt for peace and fun stuff not because it’s nice, but because we don’t want to deal with the tough stuff, the hard stuff, the sad stuff and the scary stuff. We think that if we just don’t poke that dog, it won’t hunt.

Wrong. Dogs hunt because dogs hunt and the nature of what we are…particularly as that pertains to the things in our life which scare us, make us sad or tempt us to deny our own history…those are the very things the Venusian urge seeks to tap into.


Because our desire to be loved is – in the end – one of life’s most powerful motivations. By moving us towards challenges that the Venus retrograde period will confront us with more blankly, the shadow period begins…well, let’s just call it cluing us in on what’s yet to come. Plus, as with many shadows and retrogrades, issues of the past now come into play.

Or more precisely, the results or consequences of things already done now come into play…mostly with us – which is to say, on the inside. But since Capricorn is that most worldly of signs and we’re likely to be ‘doing’ things even as we begin recognizing there’s something brewing amidst all which underlies that doing…well, let’s just say the satisfaction with accomplishment will be real.

The regret of loss will also be real.

What will perplex and goad us now is why must there be loss where there is gain? Or…must there be loss where there is gain? In that difference…right there…lies the parsing of our path - and thus, the measure of the reconciliation which still lies there untended.

The reconciliation is within and with our Self. But considering this is Venus we’re talking about, and Venus is at some level always about connecting (or the feelings which come from being connected) there are going to be parameters we each have to face.

Do we want to have life slow us down with notions and nudges about how we might not yet have all our VID (Very Important Ducks) in a row? No.

Can we profit by heaving our giant impatient sigh and shifting our focus anyway? Yes.

A fractile image sample as generated by Electric Sheep
(image credit: February 2006)
Oh's a recipe for mental barf-a-roni. You know, that moment when you'd like to just shove everything down but the thought of what it'd be like coming back up just warns you not to?

Besides, why should we care?

Answer: we should care because second best can’t do when the subject is our life. When we moderate our choices because we only want the results and end up contorting who we are and what we know is right…true…right…human…humane…feeling and thoughtful….that’s giving up on us.

You know...our Self person (yes, that one).

To whatever extent you now feel life slow you down now…part may be about what you’re doing and part may be about the internal realities (or lack of reality) inherent in you. We cannot want to be anything other than what we are and we cannot deny our past, lest we relieve it.

We think of Venus as a sumptuous wallowing, a coddling of our physicality so as to render us pliant.

We tend to forget that what we must be pliant to first is to our Self, and that to share ourselves with others has nothing to do with giving up the integrity of who we are.

What begins to surface now or the next couple of weeks may in substance continue on through Venus retrograde (December 21, 2013 – January 31, 2014, UT/+0). Then again, the part of you, the relationship you have to your Self at some level may be what is truly seeking voice and consideration.

The distinctions here are going to be between what we want to be and who we are. Venus shadows tend to be periods of increasing coolness which helps the ‘reality quotient’…but decreases what is apparently a degree of romantic suspension of fact we all build into our lives in order to cushion us from life’s blows. Once retrograde starts in late December, being willing to be your own person and take responsibility for your own happiness becomes vitally important.

From now until retrograde, themes appear. From December 21st through January 31st, we work on our own or within our own Self (or realm of influence) and/or face ‘road blocks’ which have to do with our not dealing with/not having dealt with such themes.

Venus will not exit the shadow of this retrograde until March 4th. Between January 31, 2014 and March 4th we will be setting things to right. We’ve grown through our self-positioned barriers and we’re ready to move on.

Of course life isn’t going to make this easy, y’know. Venus doesn’t exit the shadow of this retrograde until March 4th, but by the time Venus gets there, Mars (Venus ‘partner’ in getting things done) will have – as of March 1, 2014 – gone retrograde.

What this adds up to is a big long period of...


The first (Venusian) part is the drafting, planning, figuring out the relative values of this and that – in life…and (one would suspect…!) in your life as a whole. All the problems with wanting what you want and needing to do what you need to do to HAVE what you want are going to become obvious.

The second (Mars) part is the not being able to get where you want to go as deftly as you had planned. Some of us will get interrupted, some of us will have to figure out how to get past prior convolutions to get to that so necessary or desired. Expect frustrating oddities…they always show up under Mars retrograde. If it’s bizarre and strangely interesting but something you really (REALLY) don’t want to deal with, it’ll show up under Mars retrograde.

And yes, Venus and Mars retrogrades travel as a pair – at least of late (which is a whole other astrological commentary. Apparently we humans are needing more convincing than ever!). That this incoming around of Venus-Mars retrogrades are in cardinal signs (Capricorn and Mars) is another thing again. It suggests times of wanting to promise big, whether or not you can deliver. The more savvy and balanced among us will do well to approach this next six (or so) months deliberately but with an eye to negotiating agreements which as opposed to ‘sounding good’ are actually sound.

This is not, in other words, a time to think cheery buoyancy is reality. It may or may not be suitable, but that’s not the point. As we move into Venus’ Capricorn shadow and I look through the ephemeris pages…I realize that the counterpart to the hugely trying (Scorpio) eclipse we just experienced will be occurring next April (in Taurus) before Mars even gets out of retrograde.

Oh…and for those who are into patterns (read: the energetic self-structuring of time, space and life) as that April 2014 solar eclipse occurs at 8 Taurus, guess where li’l ol’ transformational Pluto is going to be?

Answer: 13 Capricorn – the degree ‘highlighted’ by the January 2011 solar eclipse our last Venus retrograde led us to.

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