It is difficult to work with astrology and be politically correct at the same time, especially when the subject turns to gender issues. Traditionally gender has been assigned to planets, notably the “male” epithet to Sun and Mars, and the female to Moon and Venus. If you did not follow that guideline as a practising astrologer, you would soon go astray in the predictive field. Back when men were men and women were women – around a century ago – tradition said that a man would marry a woman represented by the position and aspect of the Moon, whilst a woman would marry a man represented by the position and aspect of the Sun. (That was in the days when people got married).

These days, when romance has replaced motherhood and status as a major factor in relationships, it would be foolish not to look to Venus and Mars. Experience shows that despite the fact that we tend to prize ourselves on our awareness and consciousness, men still project their female side (represented by Venus in their chart) on women, whilst women project their male side (Mars) on men.

It is comparatively easy to predict the kind of experiences women have with men from Mars’ position and aspects, and vice versa for men and Venus. Relationships are healthier when not too much projection takes place, and during the course of a relationship, it is possible that a greater consciousness arises. So the man who has Venus square Saturn and claims his partner is depressed, learns that this condition miraculously improves when he is more generous with his love. And the woman with Mars square Jupiter who finds that her partner is arrogant, bullying and all-knowing learns that if she relaxes instead of discusses, the partner suddenly seems to listen more.

On a collective level Mars and Venus represent huge forces in society. It is well-known that the state’s expression of Mars is through the military, and that there is a huge expenditure on this level. Similarly men just cannot resist buying objects that reflect potency like powerful computers and cars. On the other hand culture is also a huge area of expenditure for the state, and who knows – or dares ask – how much women spend on beauty? It has been said in fact that spending on beauty and spending on war amounts to about the same. Clearly Mars and Venus are worlds apart but equally powerful. Take a women to a Do-It-Yourself shop or a man to a beauty products shop, and you’ll get the idea.

But – and here’s the thing – Mars and Venus cannot resist each other. With the Earth caught in the middle of these two planets, we are torn apart or unified to the degree that we can manage a harmonious and happy relationship with the opposite sex. In their orbits around the Sun, Venus and Mars make a range of aspects to each other from varying signs, and this synchronizes with the drama or lack of drama as boy meets girl here on Earth.

Which makes 2007 a very special year, because both Mars and Venus go retrograde and just cannot get away from each other, making a series of aspects which definitely are dramatic. This double retrograde can only happen when both planets straddle the Earth – in other words neither of them can be found on the opposite side of the sun in 2007, they are very close to the Earth, large and bright. Added to this, here in 2007 and 2008 Mars and Venus tend to connect by aspect perilously close to Uranus in Pisces and Pluto in Sagittarius. Mars goes retrograde in Cancer in November and enters Gemini from 2007-2008 opposing Pluto just as in moves into Capricorn. This collectively suggests that relationships are in a period of transition, and there will be crisis and transformation. From a traditional sun sign point of view, these will be interesting times for the Venus-ruled Taurus and Libra, and the Mars-ruled Aries and Scorpio.

At the time of writing, Venus is approaching the square to Mars. They will meet at 13 degrees Gemini/Pisces, which activates the March full moon eclipse which conjoined Uranus. As long as Mars or Venus are in mutable signs they are destined to activate first Uranus and later Pluto – and it seems as if they know it. Two days previously a South Korean student shot and killed 33 people at a college in Virginia. (Note 1) School shootings seem to almost be a trend in the US, partly because of the easy accessibility of guns (killer Cho paid $571 by credit card for a 9 mm Glock 19 pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition), but perhaps also because schools are miniature societies which contain all the aspects of outside society – many of them traumatic, like bullying, isolation, humiliation.

This shooting took place with Mars at 7.45 Pisces – perhaps predictable because of the applying square to USA’s Uranus at 8.55 Gemini, which Venus was also soon to conjoin. Venus is the actual ruler of the shooting chart (Taurus rising at 7.15 when two people were murdered in a dormitory), and by the time the killer actually entered the college two hours later, where the majority of people were killed, Venus conjoined the Ascendant. This suggests just how extreme a position Venus is in when squaring Mars, Uranus and the North Node in Pisces.

Extrapolating this kind of extremism to the whole series of aspects that Venus and Mars make up to January 2008, it is likely that relationship situations generally will go through some extreme phases. On July 27th Venus goes retrograde at 2 Virgo giving Mars the opportunity to catch up and make a square at 0 Gemini/ 0 Virgo. In other words, just as Venus goes back into Leo from Virgo, Mars goes forward into Gemini from Taurus. Talk about being at cross purposes! Clearly this Gemini/Virgo square suggests the tendency to talk and talk… and criticize. Venus is in fall in Virgo and is desperate to improve her situation. What better way to do this than going back into Leo – parties and romance! Queen again instead of maidservant.

And indeed, when Venus moves back into Leo, she is destined to meet a Mars in Gemini who can easily seduce her with his boyish charms. This happens just as Venus is about to go direct at 17 Leo in early September. In other words Venus is likely to abandon a relationship in which she feels enslaved (Virgo) to go back to an old love who promises fun and games. The double nature of Mars and Venus in mutable signs suggests that there are two or more partners in the picture. The sextile between Venus and Mars at this time happens just as Mars squares Uranus – also at 17 degrees. This is certainly an explosive cocktail for change and wild experimentation.

Bearing in mind that this Venus retrograde cycle is of 8 years duration, this can easily relate back to the fated Venus stationary position of 1999, which also happened at the “Nostradamus” solar eclipse. This is a sensitised degree – 9/11 also took place when Venus returned to this degree in 2001. In other words, relationships with roots back to 1999 can be reactivated, and a new 8 year cycle can begin.

The romantic idyll (Venus also opposes Neptune at this time) may not last so long, for Mars and Venus are destined to meet again as Mars moves on into Cancer whilst Venus moves back into Virgo. They meet by sextile in mid-October at 7 Cancer/Virgo. The sextile might be nice, but both planets are in fall, suggesting that relationships at this time are characterized by dependence and servility. This might be an OK combination for home-building and family, but a romantic holiday in Paris is not on the cards.

By mid-November Venus is in a much better position as it moves into its own sign Libra, but it is at this point that Mars turns retrograde at 12 degrees Cancer to begin a 5 month journey – in fall – where it is destined to oppose Pluto in transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn. This is unfortunately an ominous time. The last time Mars was retrograde in Cancer was in 1992-3, when Yugoslavia split asunder and ethnic cleansing was all the rage. For Mars in Cancer has an emotional fixation on family, clan and nation, and is venomous in defence of those it holds dear. This does not bode well for unity in Iraq, and indeed problems in Serbia may be reawakened. Venus in Libra, which squares Mars at its station at 12 degrees, does her best to find diplomatic solutions, but Mars is bent on self-destruction… its future meeting with Pluto.

In relationships this suggests men in the sway of violent emotions in conflict with women of brilliant character trying to get the best out of the situation. Bearing in mind that Venus (dignified in Libra) goes on to sextile Jupiter (dignified in Sagittarius) in early September, there is no doubt everything will be done to be impartial and fair in the face of continual irrational outbursts from men who think they have right and might (Mars retrograde opposes the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction) on their side. On the political scene the UN may be especially active and effective at this time. The forces of justice line up on the side of Venus, whilst they are arrayed against a Mars that speaks with two tongues.

Still, in the constant battle between the sexes, or the drive for war or peace, it is Venus who is destined to give way to Mars, because the nature of Venus is to seek harmony. Thus, just after Mars has returned to Cancer and opposes a new Pluto at 0 Capricorn on March 7th, Mercury joins forces with Venus in Pisces, and they make some form of peace with Mars, perhaps sacrificing something to assuage the emotional desperation that Mars exhibits at this time.

But the Spring of 2008 is an extreme time, with Saturn newly arrived in Virgo opposing Venus, and Mars opposing Pluto – hard times for love and hard times for living. We will be living in a new world at this time, with the two giants Jupiter and Saturn now in Earth signs, along with Pluto. The good thing about this period is that there will be a collective drive to develop workable systems for sorting out the mess created by extremist ideologies.

Adrian Ross Duncan 19th April 2007.

1. College Massacre. 16th April 2007. 7.15 Blacksburg, Virginia. AS 6.33 Taurus.