Venus stations retrograde this weekend, a somewhat rare event in astrology. Because Venus is so close to the Earth, it’s retrograde the least of all the planets — for about six weeks every 18 months, or 7% of the time.
Just for comparison, Mercury is retrograde for triple the number of days per year, and its shadow phases are every bit as noticeable as the actual retrogrades; the Mercury retrograde effect is in effect about half the time.
Venus retrogrades often come in interesting patterns. One of the intriguing things about this particular retrograde, which begins Saturday, July 25, at 5:29 am EDT (09:29 UTC), is that it begins in the first degree of Virgo, and the rest takes place in Leo.
Venus entered Virgo on July 18 and it’ll be there until July 31, staying just in the first degree of that sign for 12 days.
Sign cusps are interesting places. The Leo-Virgo cusp has been a busy zone lately, partly due to the presence of Venus and partly due to the presence of a very slow-moving hypothetical point called Transpluto that’s been hanging around the cusp for a few years. There are a number of different descriptions of Transpluto in the astrological literature. In my experience it seems like Virgo personified, so its 75-year transit across that sign will be interesting — and we are right at the beginning.
In addition, Jupiter will ingress Virgo on Aug. 11, so it too is making a visit to this part of the sky, and it will make a conjunction to Transpluto. Before that happens, there’s one more Venus-Jupiter conjunction in very late Leo. Then Mars will ingress Virgo on Sept. 24 (or Sept. 25, depending on time zone).
Before I tell you why I think all this means so much or anything at all, let’s add one last factor — Nessus is hanging around the first degree of Pisces, at the opposite end of the zodiac. The presence of any centaur planet will add emphasis and color the theme of an aspect pattern. Nessus in Pisces fills in a key layer of the story that’s told where Leo meets Virgo — the contact point between creativity and healing.
So there’s a lot of activity right on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, met from the other side of the wheel by a hot, energetic and meaningful point in the first degree of Pisces.
Leo: The Heart of the Matter
The Sun ingressed Leo on Wednesday (or Thursday, depending on your time zone). You might think of Leo as the core of the astrological wheel. Yes, it’s a wheel, and Leo is a place represented along the perimeter. Yet the Sun is there during the height of Northern Hemisphere summer, and Leo is the sign ruled by the Sun.
This alone makes it the core, or coeur, of the zodiac — the heart. Leo and the Sun are indeed associated with the biological heart, and its many associations — such as courage (even parodied in The Wizard of Oz by the cowardly lion who only needed a heart).
Leo is often associated with the 5th house in astrology. There are other ways to look at the wheel, but for our purposes today the 5th house and the corresponding fifth sign [[editing note, houses are given in numbers in PW style]] reveal something about one another. Let’s work with that association and then consider Virgo and the 6th house.
The 5th house is about pleasure, play, child-like activity and games. Those include games of chance such as gambling, as well as more intricate forms of play such as making art. The 5th is also the house of playful sex, or sex play. Young people know more about this than older ones, though this is true of many 5th house experiences.
The thing about the 5th house is that it always involves a risk of some kind. I don’t mean a life-and-death risk, not usually; I mean more like a creative risk, a dare or a gamble.
There’s that feeling of let’s try and see what happens. Curiosity and an ethos of experimentation are essential to being fully in the 5th, and this parallels the way these things are essential to the creative process, which is very much a factor of this house. This is true whether we’re talking about sex, art or a game of some kind.
I think that for most adults, the 5th is one of the most stressed out places in the chart. There is a real need to explore and experience and to learn and grow from those experiences, and their associated risks and outcomes. The child self gets smothered by adult responsibilities — though often it comes out in a raging way.
When Beyonce sings, “I’ve been drinking, I’ve been drinking, I get filthy when that liquor get into me,” that’s what she’s talking about. You can think of this as a toxic expression of the 5th — many people get drunk and the raging child comes out.
In a healthier expression of the same idea, a toke of weed or a glass of wine can go a long way toward helping adults slip out of their inhibitions and into a playful 5th house space. We live in an era when many of the best artists have used (and abused) substances of various kinds to get past their inhibitions and access a bit of creative freedom.
Helen Keller once said that, “Life is a either a daring adventure or nothing.” That’s a much healthier expression of the 5th than Beyonce was describing. The full quote is, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
The easiest way to enter the 5th house in a meaningful way is through some form of creative exploration. Sex is also a way in, though that can take many people into deeper territory than they can handle. All things being in balance, it’s my view that a healthy, friendly, daring experience of sex is vital to a healthy existence and to tapping core creativity.
Virgo: The Space of Healing and Service
Leo dissolves into Virgo, just as the 5th house dissolves into the 6th house. In modern astrology, Virgo’s three most commonly used activities are work, healing and service. Virgo has many associations in ancient astrology (such as places where grain and dairy products are stored) but let’s stick to the modern concept.
When you think of Virgo and its often-corresponding 6th house environment, think of the healing table, the therapy room, the practitioners of healing and other forms of productive activity. Think of focused work for a known purpose rather than experimentation.
Virgo, ruled by Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun (the Sun itself being Leo’s ruler), conditions and shapes the energy of Leo.
If Leo is the vital force, Virgo is the use of healing modalities to direct that power. If Leo is about core creative energy, Virgo conditions that into a disciplined form of expression.
To me Virgo and the 6th have the feeling of applied creativity, which can mean applied science, knowledge, or technology — usually devoted to some form of service.
The 5th house exists more for its own sake. The 6th extends the idea of self to others, and it’s more of a shared environment where others must necessarily go. In an art studio you might spend a lot of time alone; in a healing room, there are usually two people present.
Where the Two Meet
House and sign cusps describe unique environments where the qualities of the two regions blend. Where Leo and Virgo, or the 5th and 6th houses, meet, presents some excellent opportunities.
For example, art therapy comes to mind right away. This might be in the form of formally trained and certified Expressive Arts Therapy, or the more widely used space where the practice of art is a factor in one’s healing process.
By art I mean anything that puts a person in touch with their core creative self — the child self, to borrow an idea from psychology — in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation. This is an essential form of healing, in our over-serious world.
Various forms of sex therapy also come to mind, though these are difficult to find out about, much less access, but the potential is there.
Just about everyone who has thought for more than five minutes about sex knows that many people, if not everyone, would benefit from some form of sexual healing.
That would qualify as something on the line between the 5th and the 6th houses, blending the qualities of both. Sexual healing cannot be clinical, since most of what’s being recovered is pleasure.
But the pleasure aspect has a way of creating intimacy (and of being taboo), so for now, sexual healing remains mostly taboo or an underground phenomenon. I would propose that most of the healing people need can only be attained through some kind of covert method, not accepted by the public — so get used to that and start looking for what you need.
And, for example, it would be great if work (a 6th house activity) would have more qualities of the 5th house (pleasure and play). This is what artists do; you might say that it’s the space of the professional artist, someone whose creativity is the thing they offer to the world. Note that this takes discipline. All the creativity in the world won’t make something productive happen, unless there is some focus and conscious use of the creative process.
Venus Retrograde in Virgo and Leo
The current Venus retrograde is taking place right on this line. Venus is making an extended visit to the first degree of Virgo, as if defining some space or getting a feel for that side of the imaginary line. There, Venus is getting some instruction in the need to focus energy if you’re going to get anything done. It’s considering the possibility of learning methods. But there’s a caution about overdoing the whole technique thing and sticking closer to the spirit of the law than the letter of the law (see the Sagittarius horoscope for a discussion of that theme).
It will then spend more than two months back in Leo, about half of it in retrograde motion and half in direct motion. I look at the retrograde as a retrieval — as if Venus is going back in time, accessing the child self, and making that available through something tangible (represented by Venus).
There’s no way to state how significant this retrieval is. If humanity is struggling with anything in its tendencies toward boredom, conflict and greed, it’s some form of authentic expression.
Whatever that thing at the core might be that does not get expressed in a healthy way, will invariably turn self-destructive or toxic. So this is as much a matter of fun as it is one of necessity.
So many people are suffocating or in pain from stuffing, neglecting or denying their desire to express themselves that loosening up this dimension has the potential to offer some real healing to individuals and collectively as well. It’s my impression from many years of working with people that nearly everyone in our society is struggling with needing to express themselves, needing to be seen, and felt, and acknowledged. This could easily be begun by giving ourselves and one another more permission and space to open up in the various modalities of art.
And that, as far as I can tell, is the main theme of this Venus retrograde. There may be many offshoots, but this is the core of the matter.
Transpluto: Don’t Judge Your Own Performance
One last thought — the Transpluto factor. Without going into detail on this point, I have an interpretation of the extended conjunction of Venus and Transpluto.
Most of us have had our creativity and curiosity tempered by adults around us. I’ve seen that so many people are so judgmental of what they try to do that they never get past the first step. Others who do get past the first step are tortured throughout their creative journey, whether by guilt or judgment or unfair self-assessment.
In an earlier article, I offered this idea, co-written with my teacher Joseph Trusso, which I will share again with you here. Note, I’m not bothering with quotes or block quotes, since I’m referencing my own work. Here is what we wrote.
Fritz and Laura Perls, early pioneers of Gestalt Therapy, taught that guilt is resentment turned against itself. Generally speaking, children, being the powerful yet powerless little critters they are, take upon themselves the notion of “fault and blame.”
They cannot imagine adults (who are personifications of the gods and goddesses) making an error. If they do, it’s still the “fault” of the child. “If only I would’ve done this or that, daddy wouldn’t hit me.” “If I was more quiet, mommy wouldn’t drink.” And so on.
Since they are at “fault,” they are “guilty,” and since they cannot rage against the adults very successfully or have a real impact on the direction of events, they turn the resentment at being pruned, modified, corrected, disciplined, strongly directed, or dictated to, back at themselves.
That is guilt. It’s fair to say that our lives, so often filled with the idea that we cannot influence the direction of events, so often caught in the web of control, of bosses, of taxes, of children, and yes, of our sexual relationships, are often holographic copies of these original crushing relationships with parents and teachers. Yet as adults, the programming, the patterns, are contained within us. They are internalized.
Check it out: do we have especially creative jobs? Dare we say what we feel, go where we want, be who we are, or have sex with who we desire? Or are we pruned, modified, dictated to, and denied out of existence by our own self-control?
End of quote.
There you have it. Are you ready to go past that? Are you ready to recognize the way this kind of inner dynamic has been influencing you?
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for August 2015, #1059 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — To express oneself boldly and freely does not always feel free. Often there is work involved. Yet this is different from ordinary toil or effort, because it’s possible to experience time in a much lighter way — to get lost in one’s work. Really that expression is the opposite of what it means, which is to find oneself in one’s work. That’s what I suggest you do, and what I think your soul is calling for. Remember as well that expression is introspective, at least initially. That thing you’re expressing is yourself, which calls you into yourself to make contact with this seemingly elusive aspect of existence. You may decide that there’s something specific you want or need to do. There may be a connection between your impulse to heal yourself and to have an experience of yourself and also to make or say something. Follow that focus. As you do, you may encounter the specific resistance, judgment or deception that has, in the past, prevented you from feeling, being or speaking what you truly are. This may feel like something that was ‘installed’ in you, and getting yourself free may feel like bypassing or, better still, dismantling or uninstalling it. The mere fact that you are allowing yourself to try means that you don’t have full faith in its power to control you. Keep unraveling, and feeling, and expressing.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your central question seems to involve your relationship to risk. This may show up a few different ways, but mainly I mean creative and sexual risk. Let’s start by admitting that anything either truly creative or sexual involves taking a chance. You might say that’s the sensation of authenticity — dancing with a measure of uncertainty and potentially with fear. Most of this is a head-trip. Just about everything is uncertain. Nearly all the time, fear turns out to be unfounded. So these concepts are mostly psychological, especially when we’re talking about an idea or a loving experience rather than, say, jumping off a building with a parachute. That would be an entirely different kind of fear or uncertainty. But it’s funny how expressing or even thinking about an idea can come with a daunting sensation. In this way, we’re taught to confuse that which is perfectly safe with what is allegedly dangerous. Yet that sense of an energy charge attached to something perfectly safe is the feeling I suggest you court. Use the sensation of risk or of taking a chance as an attractive force. Be mindful of your points of resistance, of concern, of aversion. Consider the worst-case scenario. Ask yourself if it’s really plausible. Consider the best-case scenario. Is that a direction you would like to go? Consider, above all, that you’re actually safe.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself, or said more accurately, people around whom you feel good being yourself. I recognize there’s something unusual going on with the mutable quality of self-assessment or inner emotional sensation — how fast it can change, and the forces to which it’s subject. I suggest you go with this particular flow rather than resist it, and hang out where and with whom you feel good being alive and, closer to home, feel good being yourself. This would include feeling positive when you cut loose or have some peak experience; when you experiment with who you are; when you experience an obsession of some kind. In a few words — the whole spectrum. This same astrology describes your susceptibility to taking on the emotional material of others. You’ll be able to tell what’s going on there by how you feel about yourself in their presence. However, speaking of the material of others, there’s some residue from one particular recent ancestor — a parent or grandparent — that has a way of choking off your happiness. You may only notice that when you start to feel positive and it suddenly stalls out. I don’t think this is about you. I think this is someone else’s self-image caught in your DNA or emotional body. It’s time to flood the valley and wash that out.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — It’s time to consider how resourceful you are. By that I mean how actually resourceful you really are. Monetary resources are often extolled and valued at the expense of many other forms of energy, though I’m including money in this statement. Let’s start with all resources; that is, the possibility that everything on Earth, at least potentially, is available for some purpose you might have. Many people have figured this out (various artists, authors, industrialists and others), whether they apply the idea on a large scale or a small one. You are figuring it out now. This involves an evaluation of who (and what) you think you are, and to a real extent, why you’re here. I suggest you think in big and bold strokes. Imagine what you consider your best or most scaled-up potential — and ask if that’s really describing what you feel. Notice how the value you place on yourself is reflected in the world you see. If you’re experiencing your worth as worthy, you will see more of the world as being available to you, like you’re on an equal plane with your environment. If you’re experiencing a contraction or lack of worth, you’re likely to feel like everything is better than you — and even worse, not available. What I suggest is that you take over and mediate this entire process from within yourself; from within your own awareness.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Venus will be retrograde in your sign through early September, which represents one of the great developments in your life. Or better said, it can, if you align yourself with the mission that it’s describing. That mission is to fully identify with your purpose. Taurus is associated with the 10th house of your solar chart — your highest-level work, what you’re known for, what you absolutely must accomplish. Identifying with your work and your purpose is the central theme. There is no room to hesitate, though the retrograde describes a retrieval process — a reclaiming of something inherent about yourself. It may be an early vision you had for yourself, perhaps the first one. What was that thing? What was the very first thing you wanted to be when you grew up? What is the thing you’ve worked at the most consistently over time, even if you have not necessarily been a ‘success’ at it? I suggest you do your retrieval and reclaiming and then merge with that thing, that purpose, until it’s fully melted into your daily experience of life. This is the kind of commitment that sets you free, because it’s an inherent expression of yourself rather than an external promise. You are committing to what you already are. You may also need to fully un-commit to someone, some mom- or dad-like figure, telling you that you could not be that thing.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to be seeking some missing element of yourself, but don’t drive yourself nuts along the way. What you’re looking for is right with you, though it seems to be obscured by a narrow view of yourself. Get that out of the way. It’s a little like a billboard blocking the view of Lake Tahoe from your deck — then staring at the whole scene through backwards binoculars. You would not leave the billboard there. You would chop it down and burn the pieces, and turn the binoculars around. You’re now getting a taste of where your potential meets your perspective. If you think you have the ability to do something, imagine that you’re really capable of a hundred times more. The thing that stands between you and this awareness is a form of perfectionism. Virgo is already famous for this, without the added influence of a strange, slow-moving point called Transpluto that happens to be unusually active right now. It’s like you’re seeing and feeling yourself in miniature. You don’t have anyone to impress with what you’re not capable of. You will not betray anyone by being brilliant, loving, creative or whatever it is that you want to be. Many forces are conspiring to open you up — you, your imagination, your curiosity, your passion and much else. Please join the conspiracy.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You don’t need to fit yourself into a small space — especially for anyone else’s benefit. Yet that would be one of the few reasons you might try to do it, and this is worth careful thought. Obsession over what other people might think has long been a problem, though never so much as today, when nearly everything we do has the potential to be published or publicized. Yet the sanitized, purified public relations version of oneself is a form of trying to fit into an impossibly small space. If you’re feeling cramped, or like you cannot be yourself, try revealing more of who you are. I know this might sound like a contradiction, however it’s essential that you make room for yourself in the world, in your home, in your work, in your relationships and just about anyplace else you can think of. You cannot expect people to move over and make room for you voluntarily. So far as I can tell, that’s not how this plane of reality works. You must take your space, which is another way of saying, stretch into your own existence. This will necessarily involve being different and demonstrating your differences; that’s the whole point. This takes some time and it takes practice, though the result is an experience of getting to live your life your way. It’s not always easy but it’s worth the effort.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — This is the time to think about large goals, and to take steps toward accomplishing them. As you do this, remember that great achievements are always the condensed results of many small efforts and experiments. It’s also true that often the real direction of events or developments is not knowable until much later in a creative process. That said, it’s vital that you include all of the known major elements into your plans, concept or design scheme. For example, you might include adequate space to work, childcare and an assistant or other help. Only you will know the specifics, though I am suggesting you be careful about not leaving anything out, that you know you want to include. This will take some thought and some leadership on your part. Mostly you will need to demonstrate initiative — which is the art of initiating what you want to do. No matter who gives you permission, money, space, a promotion or an idea, you are the sole source of your own initiative. You are the energy source that sets the works in motion, and you sustain what you create.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — There’s that old adage about the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. You need to honor both now, in a balanced way. In any discussion, particularly involving your professional affairs, there are no absolutes; there’s no room for purism. But there’s enough space and mental bandwidth to balance the most important details and particulars with the overall intent and the central idea of what you’re doing. Sagittarius is an interesting mix of ‘spare me the details’ and ‘I must have creative control over what I’m doing’. It all depends on what project and what phase of the project — and how much you care about it. I suggest that you work only on the projects that really matter to you — let’s get that out of the way. Then take total accountability for them. You need enough contact with the details that you actually have a grip. Right now the details matter more than ever, and they will for the foreseeable future. So now’s the time to wear your managing editor hat and make sure that everything is up to spec. Yet this cannot be at the expense of your broader vision — that is, the spirit of what you’re doing — or else there is no point. Therefore let the details boldly describe your purpose, and let your vision be expressed with care and craftsmanship through all the fine points of what you do.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — The space you’re trying to hold open is emotional space, which is inner space. Your current project is not about your social standing, though it may feel that way. Nor is your life about getting what you deserve. So far as I can see, what you need is to hold open territory within your own feelings that has long been encroached on by influences that have seemed beyond your control. To the extent that this is about something within you, that control means everything, mainly meaning having a sense of your own boundaries. That might be enough. Yet it would be incorrect to decide that this is about ‘the world’ or whether you fit in. Rather, consider whether you give yourself space to be yourself, to feel what you feel and to express the many things you want to say. If you assign outward blame, you’ll miss the simple point that only you can give yourself permission to exist. If you can get to the space where you say yes to yourself, you’re likely to see your options open up, and to have a far greater sensation of belonging in the world. As far as your associations with others are concerned, here is the essential piece: you must relate to those who have an inner life, which they are willing to share with you. Yet that will only have meaning proportional to the inner life you share with them. Intimacy is introspection that we share.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Is everything in the world really about contracts and agreements? From the highest courts in the land to the most intimate encounters, we’re told this again and again — and I’ve said it a few times myself. Yet we seem to live in a time when people tend to honor only those agreements that they want to honor. If someone wants to worm out of something, they usually do. I cannot speak with authority on the longterm karmic consequences of this, though I think that for the sake of sanity and overall spiritual health it’s better to keep your promises or make a conscious agreement to get out of them, and I imagine you do as well. Presently you’re in a review phase regarding your relationships and the various ways that commitments have been kept or not kept. Notice that on the social level, people tend to do what they want to do, and this is an entitlement that seems only to be gaining momentum. You would be wise to work with this principle, and surround yourself with people who want you, and who want to be of service to you. This will work brilliantly the other way — make sure the people you devote time, energy and money to are the ones you really and truly want to support. Your review of various past scenarios is likely to demonstrate the validity of this idea.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your relationship environment is a kaleidoscope these days, with influences and personalities changing shapes and colors day by day. If you look, you’ll observe many things you’ve never seen before. This kind of change will work to your advantage, and to make the most of the energy, I suggest you dance with the movements and the developments. Try to let go of what is not in sync with the rhythm you’re hearing and slip into step with what is. The idea of loss is now being washed away by that of change, and change is gradually being replaced by progress. The single most meaningful thing you can do for yourself is to continue to live well, to live from your heart, and to be generous with yourself and with others. Many, many factors of our lives make this difficult for people, and it remains something of a challenge for you — though less than usual, and you seem to be way ahead of society on the theme of sharing who you are and what you have. But you truly must master the art of being generous with yourself, in particular with devoting your precious time to what nourishes you. You may need to do this like yoga practice, or music practice. However, if you focus on this wellbeing project for the next month or so, it’s likely to stick, and deliver excellent outcomes.