There are some (men) who think that there can be no better role in life than being the male lion in a pride. With a choice of delightful females, who also put the food on the table, there is very little for a lion in his prime to worry about. That is unless you happen to be Waldemar, the unfortunate young lion who was put together with two demanding lionesses in Copenhagen Zoo last fall. They ate him.

Venus at it most deadly
This tragic event took place in October 2002, which was when Venus turned retrograde at 15 degrees Scorpio, where it remained for four long months. As Jupiter had recently moved into Leo, Venus, whilst stationary retrograde, made a long deadly square to this planet, which must surely have symbolized the young and overconfident lion, who met his fate at the hand of such deadly sisters. Obviously a planet in detriment, as Venus is in Scorpio, does not necessarily make it weak, but it does tend to evoke inappropriate actions. I wondered at the time what this might mean for the clients who came in this period. Would they too, be self-destructive in relationships? Would they eat putative partners? And what would happen when Mars – the natural ruler of Scorpio – entered the sign to conjoin Venus in December. Surely then, some strong male would turn up and put everything in its rightful place?

December 2002 certainly did witness many extraordinary stories of love as strong Mars joined weak Venus turning direct in very close square to Neptune. Those readers who have an affinity with Venus and Mars – particularly Aries, Scorpio, Taurus and Libra – will no doubt be able to recall that month as memorable, and challenging. Meeting anyone in that period, it would have been extremely difficult to build any concrete foundation for love – although this could have been a very satisfying period erotically.

Olek asserts himself

Our lionesses had to wait a while longer, but at 8 a.m. on Tuesday 5th August 2003 a strapping five year old lion Olek, headhunted for his fierceness from a Hungarian zoo, was introduced to one of the deadly sisters in the zoo compound.

See chart for the moment

By August 2003 Venus was in Leo, and building up to the conjunction with the Sun in Leo… Olek, king of the beasts. Astrologically it was an excellent time for lion to meet lioness, and as the Sun is in its own sign, Olek was able to establish his authority. This is a very good example of the phenomenon of “combustion” – which is traditionally said to exist when a planet gets within about 8 degrees of the Sun. When Olek met the lioness there was a huge battle, and initially it was difficult to see who had the upper hand. After two minutes of struggle, they both had a grip on each other’s jaws, and they both suffered damage. Ultimately the lioness submitted. This Venus encounter, though violent, was far more beneficial that the October 2002 encounter. The conjunction and combustion between the Sun and Venus shows the merging of energy, and even though both are damaged, it is in the natural order of things. Venus and the Sun in the form of the lioness and Olek can now look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.

The Sun/Venus cycle

This type of Sun/Venus conjunction takes place exclusively in the signs of Gemini, Capricorn, Leo, Aries and Scorpio, and it is only after a period of approximately 100 years that this sequence changes. Each conjunction takes place in a cycle of eight years, a little over two degrees earlier each time. The Scorpio cycle is due to change in 2022, when the Sun/Venus conjunction takes place in Libra, initiating a new 100-year period.

The Leo conjunction is great for grand events, and if you have plans to marry royalty, this is the time to do it. In Denmark news of the imminent engagement of a sporty Australian girl by the name of Mary to the as yet unmarried handsome prince Frederik became known, to the delight of patriotic Danes. There can hardly be a better time for royal weddings than with the Sun/Venus/Jupiter conjunction of 2003.

Sun/Venus superior (direct) conjunctions take place with Venus on the opposite side of the Sun to the Earth, and herald the start of a cycle that lasts a little over 19 months. Half way through this period, Venus goes retrograde and, passing between the Earth and the Sun, the inferior (retrograde) conjunction takes place. This type of Sun/Venus conjunction takes place in Aquarius, Virgo, Aries, Scorpio and Gemini in the current historical period. Gemini gets more than its fair share of Venus/Sun conjunctions in the 20th and 21st centuries, and this can probably be related to a number of developments, from the era of comfortable travel, through to vastly increased educational opportunities for women, and possibly the surge in “serial” marriages.

The Full Cycle

Compared to Mercury, which goes retrograde three times a year, it is far more unusual to have Venus retrograde in the birth horoscope, or moving retrograde by progression. About 70% of people will experience Mercury retrograde (at birth or by progression) whilst only 15% will experience the Venus retrograde. When Venus does move retrograde, it lasts for about 42 days, which is equivalent to 42 years in the progressed chart. The retrograde cycle is a time when values get shaken up, and a change in natural order takes place.
There are several crucial stages in the Venus loop, all of which correspond with important developments of a theme.

1. Venus catches up with the Sun in a long combustion process stretching over a month.
It is worth noting that Waldemar got eaten in the Venus retrograde cycle, whilst Olek restored the natural state of things when the new Venus/Sun direct cycle started. It’s very stressful, and relationships are put under the magnifying glass. This generates heat, but also gives a new lease of life. Some love relationships undergo the fate of Icarus – flying too close to the Sun, they crash. For the current Leo conjunction though, the Sun is more likely to be replaced by the explosion of flash bulbs at society weddings.

2. After 8 months Venus enters the loop of its coming retrograde phase.
Still direct it passes the point at which it will end its retrograde movement 75 days into the future. For example Venus will pass 9.38 Gemini on April 14th, 2003. This is the degree at which Venus goes direct on June 29th. The first intimations of the significance of the whole retrograde loop can become apparent at this time. A circumstance or problem will present itself and become more and more acute as Venus slows down.

3. Venus, still direct, now reaches the degree at which it will make the retrograde conjunction with the Sun.
Next year this happens on April 26th at 18 Gemini, 43 days before the actual conjunction on June 8th. At this time a preview of a coming crisis plays itself out. (During this point of the 2002 Scorpio loop I had a gold ring repaired, but the goldsmith nearly ruined it. Gold ornaments are a recurring theme of Sun/Venus contacts).

4. Venus grinds to a halt to become stationary retrograde.
The Venus stations in Scorpio, which took place for example in 1986, 1994, 2002 almost always bring economic crisis, disaster or retrenchment. It’s a fatal time for a business launch. In Copenhagen a new newspaper, “Dagen”, was launched on 23rd October 2002.

See chart for the day

Looking at the chart, it certainly makes the best of the aspects of the time. It’s a good choice to have Pluto exactly trine Jupiter, with Mercury in Libra making a sextile to both. Probably the content was fine, but the economy was not. It folded 40 days later when a check to a catering company bounced, and the investors lost millions. But then Venus, retrograde in Scorpio after having squared showy Jupiter, and moving back to square Neptune and confront the Sun in Scorpio, could not have been weaker.

In the progressed chart stationary Venus marks a turning point in love in connection with bonds to the past. As Venus will inevitably retrograde back into a previous sign in the current historic period (with the exception of when it occurs in Gemini or Aries), this often means returning to an old environment. Generally relationships that occur in the whole 40+ year retrograde period go against the grain in some way, and there is often a strong feeling of “familiarity” with the person involved. After all, Venus has traversed this territory before.

5. Venus retrograde conjoins the Sun.
Whilst the superior conjunction takes weeks to perfect, this conjunction is only exact for a day, and is over in the space of a few days. It’s the first meeting of Venus and the Sun since the cycle started, and events here often relate to what happened at the superior conjunction 9½ months earlier, with related issues connected with phases 3 and 2. Depending on sign and aspects, this is an acute moment… payoff time perhaps. (Se Johan Hjelmborg og Louise Kirseboms artikel på for eksempler) As with retrogrades in general, hidden information comes to light – and in this case it is often erotic or financial. If this rare conjunction occurs in the birth chart, it indicates an extremely complex love for the father, which comes to haunt later relationships. At the same time it can show extraordinary insight into love. If Venus turns retrograde by progression, then the inferior conjunction inevitably takes place 22 years later, and in some cases can be likened to “seeing the light”, perhaps connected to an extraordinary meeting.

6. Venus moves stationary direct.
This is the most profound moment of the cycle. People born at this moment are often destined to convey a deep message about values in relationships… karmically they have really gone over matters again and again. For example the 1958 station at 0 Aquarius took place in square aspect to a Jupiter/Neptune/North Node conjunction around 4 degrees Scorpio in the 3rd house. By progression Venus activates this square for anything up to 30 years. One client born at this time is a world-renowned choir leader, who wants to create the world’s first institute for non-verbal communication. The direct movement of Venus is a moment of release. Probably resources are at a low point, but potential is at its highest. Lessons have been learned, and from now on Venus will gather speed and progress unimpeded. It is also the end of a phase of over 40 days/years when Venus was retrograde, and as such can signal a complete change of direction and taste. One person I know stopped her lesbian relationship and married at this point.

7. Venus returns for the third time to the degree at which it conjoined the Sun.
Themes from phases 5 and 3 are picked up in a final adjustment of whatever issues were tackled at that time. For example, economic costs incurred at the retrograde conjunction are paid.

8. Venus leaves the loop, crossing the degree at which it went retrograde.
For example Venus goes retrograde at 26 Gemini on May 17th 2004, and then finally passes this point again on August 3rd. This is the definitive end of whatever was the theme of the whole loop. In the progressed chart a person can be born with Venus direct but still in the loop. When Venus moves beyond the loop then a whole relationship phase can inexplicably end. There is the sense that new territory lies ahead, with new people and new bonds.

Retrograde Venus and US elections

The coming Venus loop in 2004 is naturally part of an 8 year cycle occurring in Gemini, and this of course means that every second US election takes place just after a time when Venus has been in Gemini for over 4 months. This means that historically Venus has conjoined the US Mars at 21 Gemini, and squared the US Neptune three times just prior to every second election. As the retrogradation takes place 2 degrees earlier in the sign with every cycle, the stationary direct Venus approaches the US Uranus at 8.55 Gemini more and more with each cycle. This time the station takes place at 9.38 Gemini, so it is possible that there are some sudden surprises around the end of June 2004 as it comes within orb. At any rate this Venus loop corresponds very well with the aggressive campaigning, speechifying and travelling that takes place prior to the election. The US is polarized at this time and has to make a stark choice. With the activation of the Mars/Neptune square, truth is not the issue… image is everything.

The Venus/Pluto opposition

The significance about the coming retrograde Venus cycle is that transit Pluto has by his time reached the opposition to the US Mars, so that there is a greater sense of urgent crisis, especially connected with the US military. The Venus/Pluto opposition which takes place three times in May, June and July 2004, could really show a very powerful group of women who confront the evasive Mars/Neptune – US generals and anyone who supports military expansion. There will be an insistence on military cutback and withdrawal, which will become a major election theme. As Venus/Pluto also indicates economic exhaustion, and concealment of economic expenses, clearly compromising information about military decisions and expenditure will threaten the political status quo. This is the one and only time the Venus retrograde cycle in Gemini will oppose Pluto.

Venus is full of mysteries, and this article just represents a small part of the relationship this planet has to the Sun and Earth. Its loops through five signs every eight years have been well documented, and its lotus-like light path through the sky is a source of wonder. A first step to a deeper understanding of its influence in your own chart is to identify which phase of the direct and retrograde cycle it is in, and to correlate this phase with the unfolding of relationships and economy in your life.

Adrian Ross Duncan.

August 13th 2003.