While we often think of Scorpio or Pluto as astrological transformers--Venus has an alchemy all of their own.
And Venus retrograde cycles can be particularly transformative. Similar to other phases of backward moving planets, we often get a redo or revisit from the past. However, with Venus this may take the form of people or facing parts of ourselves that invite us into deeper self-intimacy. Sometimes it reflects to us where we haven't valued ourselves or put earning love from others above our own needs.
And around every 18 months for 40 days these themes can come up in full force as Venus asks us to birth something whether it be an insight or a way of seeing ourselves in relationship to others.
Just as the alchemists believed that by performing physical transformations of substances, they could achieve spiritual enlightenment and gold...Venus reveals instead astrologically through retrograde, synodic cycle, astrological chart comparisons, or alchemically anytime we find ourselves being changed by another.
As a Taurus--ruled by Venus--and someone whose natal Venus touches almost every planet in my chart, Venus retrograde usually proves to be a potent time for me. And this cycle was no different. One of the trickiest things about being an astrologer for me is how to write about what's happening in the sky simultaneously while being impacted by it.
In perfect Venus retrograde fashion I recently reconnected with a former lover who deeply transformed me. We never seemed to quite align and at one point I suggested we move in together just to intensify the lessons and be done. While my logic was flawed, I still understand that desire of my soul to get the learning as I knew we would be changed by each other. It was healing and painful and I feel so grateful for the chance to have the conversation and finally feel ready to let go with a grateful heart. To appreciate them in all their beauty and feel connected enough to release what I was still holding.
For almost a decade we "haunted" each other (their word) being intertwined in some way but not together. It felt so easy to feel our connection, but it always came with so much distance physically and often emotionally that it felt impossible. I would find myself yearning for them and grieving what never got to be. It seemed hopeless to me that two people who had so much in common and cared for each other couldn't make it work.
Like any person who loves astrology, I have spent countless hours staring at charts (synastry, Composite, and Davison for those who use those techniques) to attempt to understand the relationship dynamics. I have often found strong Venus contacts with the Sun or Moon in synastry or the composite chart with these transformative connections.
We may call them soulmates, karmic partners, or twin flames but certain people make a mark on us and we come to know their role in our lives through some soulful process where we become forever changed. Something perhaps only the aliveness of Venus can invite us into.
Like moths to a flame, love and magnetism to others create the necessary sparks for the proper elements of alchemy.
And in traditional alchemy, Venus relates to the 4th stage called "coniunctio" or conjunction where two opposites integrate into a third. Psychologically, the coniunctio represents paradox coming together in the psyche to create something entirely new.
Transformation for many of us comes with a shift in identity, and Venus is no different. On August 19 Venus changes positions in the sky from "lover "position as evening star to "warrior" position as they come out of hiding to rise as the morning star for the first time in nine months. This new dawn and a new day (cue Celene Dion) is the Venusian version of transformation. The shift also begins a new 19 month cycle of light--or synodic cycle-- and completes one that began in January 2022.
Mythologically these phases of Venus that were tracked in ancient times and were correlated to different stories of creation and destruction. For the Mayans it was the god Xolotl and his brother Quetzalcoatl that were the different evening star and morning star positions. The Greeks believed the morning star was the God Phosphorus/Eosphorus (meaning "dawn-bringer") and the evening star the god Hesperus. However, in Sumeria it was the goddess Inanna's position descent and ascent from the underworld that created Venus' cycle of light.
Whether Xolotl or Hesperus or Inanna, Venus' positions remind us that the planet associated with beauty has paradox to hold. They can be yang in the morning and greet the sunrise, or yin the evening with sunset. Symbolically we can look to Venus who may represent our own introversion and extroversion, or connection with ourselves and others. Or a simple reminder of the rebirth, renewal, and re-integration of our own inner and outer opposites as a conjunctio.
By honoring Venus as an astrological alchemist, we can welcome the changes of our soul that inevitably come from the magic of relating and loving ourselves and others.