March begins under the influence of a Venus retrograde cycle. A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. Astrologers view this change in perceived motion to be alchemically reflected in shifts of consciousness. For example Mercury retrograde cycles change the direction of how we think. Venus retrograde changes the direction of how we receive love and creative inspiration. In Vedic astrology, retrograde planets are believed to be more powerful. In Astrology of the Seers, David Frawley writes:
Retrograde planets often indicate a karmic result. They may be functioning to fulfill some karmic debt or promise or to clear up affairs from the past.
The last time Venus went through a retrograde period was the late summer of 2007 when it passed through the fire/water Gandanta degrees of Leo and Cancer (see Astro weather posts July, August, and September 2007). What was going on during that time may be thematically reflected and/or resolved by this current retrograde cycle.
At 9:15 am PDT an exalted Venus in Pisces turned to retrograde motion. It will remain in watery Pisces during the entire retrograde. When an exalted planet goes retrograde its power is dimmed to near debilitation. As the planet of relationships, arts, and pleasure, Venus retrograde slows down the flow of energy to these areas of our lives. We may feel blocked from receiving the things we love. Or perhaps old loves or unresolved issues from the past may come up for us. It is not a great time to start new relationships, but it is a good time to re-access what gives us pleasure.
During this 44 day period, Venus will pass through the Piscean nakshatras of Revati (3/6 - 3/22) and Uttara Bhadrapada (3/22 - 4/17 - 5/13) and make a close conjunction to the fixed star Alpheratz in the Andromeda constellation. This fixed star is considered auspicious, and relates to the Greek myth of a young Perseus saving Andromeda from the wrath of Poseidon. According to the story, as Perseus was on his journey back to Seriphus, he came upon a beautiful girl named Andromeda, who was chained to a rock in Ethiopia. Her parents had angered Poseidon, who demanded Andromeda’s sacrifice to a horrible sea monster as punishment. Perseus insisted on her hand in marriage in exchange for killing the monster, and her parents agreed. Using his special weapons, he killed the beast, and took his beautiful bride. This constellation has a lot to do with Venusian themes of beauty, love, marriage, and sacrifice.
The nakshatra Revati is associated with wealth, abundance and prosperity as well as with beginnings and endings. Venus will spend most of the retrograde in the nakshatra Uttara Bhadrapada whose deity is Ahirbudhnya, the serpent of the deep, which syncs nicely with the myth of Andromeda.
The sign of Pisces is associated with fish and the deep sea and we may expect to see these watery symbols pop up in the collective consciousness. Today CNN had plenty of synchronistic headlines: Pink (Venus) Dolphin spotted in Louisiana, Inventor Flies Under Water, and Obama to reverse Stem Cell Ban, Unhappily ever after: Why bad marriages hurt women's health (a Venus retrograde headline if I ever heard one -- for more visit mt new sister blog Starsync).
Vedic astrology offers wonderful remedial measures, called upayas, to soothe afflicted planets or difficult transits. Some of these remedies include wearing gemstones and chanting mantra. White crystals, such as diamond and white sapphire, emit a frequency that resonates with Venus. By wearing these crystals we imprint our field with this vibration and thus strengthen the Venus frequency within us. In the Vedic tradition, Venus, Shukra, is the son of the great seer Bhrigu who taught his descendant all spiritual sciences and Vedic scriptures. As Venus rules chanting of mantras, tantra, alchemy and the medical arts, these pursuits are great remedies. Venus retrograde is the perfect time to reconnect with these practices -- especially on Venus' day, Friday. A mantra one might use is: Om shum shukraaye namah.
Morning Star/Evening Star
Venus is perhaps one of the most beautiful celestial bodies in the night sky. There is an eight year cycle associated with her dance and retrograde patterns as viewed from the Earth. A Venus cycle includes 5 retrogrades over 8 years, cutting a path in the shape of a star or pentagram.
This phenomenon was observed by ancient sky-watchers and mystics, and became the basis of many myths involving death and resurrection. Christians, Mayans, and Hindus all describe the return of the morning star as symbolic of the return of their teachers. The Babylonians called Venus the double-phased Ishtar -- the morning star of war and the evening star of love. Greek astrologers called the morning phase of Venus Lucifer ("the light bearer") and the evening phase Hesperus ("setting in the West"). The Mesoamericans linked the morning phase of Venus with Quetzalcoatl, one of their major gods, believing that this was a time when leaders are struck down and natural disasters occur.
Venus will spend the next 44 days retrograding through the stellar influences of Pisces, the most mystical sign of the zodiac. The evening star begins a shamanic journey disappearing behind the sun to become completely combust on Friday, March 27, 2009. She will re-emerged as the morning star in early April and go stationary direct on April 17, 2009. Venus will be the morning star until December 2009. Keep praying for peace.