Since November 5th, bejewelled Venus, planet of Love and Money, has been ensconced in conservative Capricorn, the serious, Saturn-ruled Cardinal earth sign that prefers its tea lukewarm. Under Capricorn’s influence, which tends toward no-frills formality, Venus gets more buttoned up, trading in evening wear for a sensible, though still chic blazer and trousers ensemble. In essence, Venus-in-Capricorn is more mature. Marriage and savings (rather than flirting and splurging) shape the architecture of this transit which has been prevalent in our skies the past 6 weeks.
But now we add a slight wrinkle to this satin cosmic sheet because on the 19th of December Venus goes retrograde for 40 days. Venus retrogrades are rare –they only occur every 18 months. Rarer still: a Venus-in-Capricorn retrograde, which hasn’t occurred since 2013. Seeing, therefore, that we are in a unique zone with Venus at the moment, let’s look a bit more closely at some of these moving parts to figure out how best to approach romance and finance over this 40 day span, which will end on January 29th.
First, then, a word or so on Venus, the main character in this drama. People often get somewhat confused by the fact that Venus governs both love and money. The sentiment usually goes that love seems contrary to or above something as crass as cash. If, however, we think of the “V” in Venus as also standing for things we Value, perhaps this money-love nexus makes a bit more sense. Indeed Venus names the desire that helps us identify and connect to things we hold dear–be they material objects (via money) or spiritual subjects (via love). Ultimately Venus functions as a kind of cosmic glue (unlike, say, Mars, the cosmic knife).
When Venus goes retrograde this cosmic glue gets stickier–a bit messier. As with all retrogrades, we are technically watching a planet move backwards in the sky relative to us on Earth. But what we are feeling is the planet becoming more moody or ornery. Like people, planets don’t necessarily enjoy going backwards. And like a disgruntled boyfriend or girlfriend having to catch a super early flight, a planet in retrograde tends to act sluggish with an undertow of hair-trigger irritability. Things feel askance and difficult during retrogrades, especially at the beginning of them.
Venus retrogrades in particular manifest this loggerheads energy in some fascinating ways. For example, sex scandals. Venus deals with desire but its retrograde energy can twist the expression of it into something more unseemly or topsy turvy. The point here isn’t to cause anxiety over Agent Provocateur pics we’ve sent hither and yon in the past but to illustrate how Venus retrograde energy can manifest in disturbed attachments.
Thankfully for us, this Venus-in-Capricorn retrograde doesn’t look to be riddled with personal scandals, sexual or otherwise. Quite the opposite. The Goat has a grounding, stabilising effect on Venus. It’s a reflective, slow-moving sign, governed by Saturn, which relishes longevity. But Capricorn can also be distanced and removed. The concern for this retrograde, then, isn’t too much attachment, but, perhaps, too much detachment. You may find yourself wishing for more space to yourself to reflect on love, partnerships, or how you’re spending your time (Capricorn) and money (Venus and Capricorn). Indeed Capricorn could also have you feeling extra frugal, maybe miserly. With both a retrograde and Capricorn in the picture, there might be an overly calculating, dry, or non-emotional approach to things we hold dear. As such, loved ones may feel put at a distance, as you think about your future and next moves.
A few words of advice then. Keep your communication open. Don’t go on long walks alone in the cold or retreat into the private fictional world of “Pride and Prejudice,” thinking about the D’Arcy who got away (retrogrades can be times of heavy nostalgia for old loves). Instead, stay social and talkative. With that in mind, Mercury (the Messenger) goes conjunct Venus on the 29th. This marks a great day to put into words things left unsaid. It’s a time to mend fences and bring loved ones together through the candlelit glow of words spoken at the right time.
Try not to actively seek out new relationships – Venus in retrograde is not an auspicious time for inaugurating sojourns in love. It’s a lopsided period for romance.
Consider, too, that Venus rules beauty. So, while a Venus retrograde could indicate breakups, it can also be a moment for cosmetic miscues–bad haircuts and the like. Moreover, because Capricorn is associated with the skin, there could also be some issues with complexion over the next month or so. Break-ups and breakouts–this doesn’t sound so good. Extra vigilance with skin care can at least help with the latter (make sure, too, that you trust your hairstylist–now isn't the time for experimenting with a new salon).
Finally, be particularly aware of Christmas for bad vibes. Dark and disturbing Pluto goes conjunct Venus then. If there were any chance of a sex scandal, this would be the day. It seems the Cosmos is not without a sense of irony. But in all seriousness, a Pluto-Venus conjunction is known for obsession and potentially unhinged behaviour. Just beware of that as you’re carving the Xmas goose or drinking hot buttered rums around the tree. Try to stay extra light this day–no wild texting to you know who.
Venus retrogrades are periods to reassess our relation to love and money. Is it time to move on from your current living situation? Or is it time to put roots down somewhere with someone? Should you tie the knot? Or undo one? While these kinds of questions are always with us, they might feel heavier in the next month under the weight of Capricorn. The Venus of spring flings was yesteryear.