Apparent retrograde motion is caused by one of two very similar astronomical occurrences. Mercury and Venus appear to go backward when they overtake the earth. Their orbits are smaller and their speed faster than the earth, thus they pass us by periodically. They are closest to the earth at those times.
With the outer planets, the exact opposite occurs. The earth, in these cases, is the faster planet and thus when the outer planets appear to be going backward, it is because we are overtaking them. Similar to the above, we are closest to them when this happens.
In Astrological terms, there is a something worth noting in these two distinct cases. Mercury and Venus retrograde to and through a solar conjunction. All of the others retrograde to and through a solar opposition.
Venus will next conjunct the sun on 1/11/14 at 21o 12” Capricorn. Mercury, on one side of them, will be at 29o 22” Capricorn. Pluto, on the other side, will be at 11o 38” Capricorn. Interesting numbers, don’t you think?
At times, when I consider the effect the planets have on us, I think of them like a collection of worker bees. Each one has different responsibilities as they labor on our behalf. For example, Mercury gathers and disseminates information. He works on our communication systems—innate and artificial. When he’s in retrograde, he is performing scheduled and required maintenance, which can sometimes throw things offline for a bit. That’s just the nature of his work.
As you likely know, we are not yet within Mercury Retrograde, which starts in February, but we are within a Venus retrograde. At least for this cycle, I picture Venus’ retrograde like so:
Venus is a DJ. As part of her maintenance, she needs to go through her music collection. This time it feels like she is specifically working on tracks from the 70s, give or take a few years. So she pulls out those old records and tapes, and plays them.
And we get to listen.
But what happens when we hear old songs? Maybe we remember how much we “loved that song.” Maybe we remember how much someone else did, someone we hadn’t thought about in a long, long time.
There are songs I’ve heard maybe hundreds of times, yet when I hear them now, I think of one specific moment in time. For example, there is a song that always puts me back on that bus traveling between Santiago de Chile and Viña del Mar. And it also brings back everything I was feeling at that time, and all of the memories that stretch forward and backward from that one moment.
After having written Ghosts of Christmas Past, I paid attention to what Venus retro brought and stirred within me. And I’ve been entertained by the abundance of examples. For one, I received the sweetest thank you for something I did 25 years ago—it was complete unexpected and out of the blue! Boy did that feel good!
Nostalgia is often bitter sweet. We remember how much we loved and enjoyed something, and simultaneously miss it. But for me, at least since 2014 began, I am following those memories with this one thought: “How can I bring that back into my life?”
Given that Venus’ retrograde follows on quickly with Mercury’s and then Mars’, I think that is part of its purpose. Venus wants us to remember what and who we loved. She is here to remind us of the feelings. Maybe Mercury is going to remind us of decisions we made long ago, like when we decided to move away from something or someone. Maybe we walked away because it was too hard, or maybe we left to pursue a goal. And maybe, after Venus and Mercury are both forward again, we’ll renew some of those old intentions and/or create new ones.
And then, with Mars, we’ll be called to take action.
In order to move forward, we sometimes need to accept that we’re heading the wrong way, retrace our steps back to the intersection, and go the other way. In order to move into a new home, we have to pack up the old one—sorting through our belongings and maybe getting rid of those we don’t want to drag along.
Mars retrograde is still a ways off. However, because it will be entirely in Libra, we have a clue as to its potential theme: relationships. Mars, being an outer planet, will exactly oppose the sun on 4/8/14. But I’m getting a bit too far ahead of myself.
As a side note: Jupiter is also retrograde right now and is about to exactly oppose the sun tomorrow. Venus is conjuring up old feelings, and Jupiter is expanding them to make sure that we notice.
Venus retrograde will continue through to the very end of January. Look for and notice what pops up. If nothing else, enjoy it. What I’m seeing (and attributing to Venus) is not just what is happening with me, but what I see happening with those around me.
And one last thing: in my last post, I mentioned that it was difficult for me to feel appreciation for 2013 because of how difficult it was. What I forgot to say is that I can and do feel appreciation for it now. Something about the campfire gathering around Pluto helped me with this. Hopefully, Venus retrograde will continue by helping me feel appreciation for a lot more of my history, so I can bring back more of the good stuff.