Remind us what a retrograde is again…
It’s when a planet appears to move backwards (east to west) in the sky during its loop of the sun. However, this is just an illusion – the planets don’t actually move backwards, just appear to. This happens when they overtake Earth on their orbit, resulting in a shift in perspective from our side.
Planets with orbits inside of the Earth’s (i.e. Mercury and Venus)— they appear to retrograde when they are aligned between the Earth and the Sun. And for all of the other planets, retrogrades happen when the Earth is in the middle – the Sun on one side, planet on the other.
Retrogrades have been written about in astrology circles as far back as the mid-18th century, and are believed to affect people’s lives in a number of (often very inconvenient) ways.
How is Venus retrograde believed to affect us?
According to Cafe Astrology, as the planet of love and values, Venus retrograde periods are times when we re-assess what and who we value. It’s a period that most astrologers consider inopportune for getting married or starting a new relationship, and the worst possible time to make a change to your image (such as getting a new hairstyle or having cosmetic surgery). Undertaking new financial commitments or launching a new business isn’t advised either.
Essentially, any areas involving love and money will supposedly come up for review – this means old friends or lovers might reappear in your life (often with a ‘fated’ feeling) to sort out old issues or resume your relationship, or you could find yourself in situations that make you see the need to love yourself more or consider if the things you’re spending time and money on are really bringing you pleasure.
As with all retrogrades, anything new undertaken during this period could be up for review once the planet turns ‘direct’ again. With Venus, this means you may have a change of heart about any new love interests you meet during the retrograde, and any investments or luxury purchases made during this time could reduce in value once it’s over, too.
When is Venus retrograde?
Venus is retrograde approximately 40-43 days every 18 months. This year, the planet turned retrograde on 5th October in Scorpio and will remain so until it turns direct in Libra on 16th November. But that doesn’t mean we’ll all be out of the water, as retrograde planets have a ‘shadow’ period, a phase of awkward adjustment in which the retrograde’s effects are thought to make themselves known in more subtle ways.
Venus entered its shadow period on 5th September and leaves it, following the retrograde, on December 17th. According to astrologer Lisa Stardust, "The pre-retrograde shadow period for Venus will add confusion to affairs of the heart, money matters, and cause inner conflicts within ourselves (as Venus also reflects our self-esteem)." So if you noticed any love or money issues cropping up over the past month, these are the ones Venus retrograde will bring to a head now.
Anything else to know?
Yes – the planets in which Venus spends its retrograde are thought to majorly affect the planet’s influence on our lives. Until 31st October, Venus spends the first part of its retrograde in Scorpio, which horoscope gurus The Astro Twins believe will be intense and erotic: “dredging up power struggles, forcing us to look at intimate ties and dangling tempting-yet-toxic ‘sex with an ex’ scenarios in front of some of us”.
During this period, 10th October is a date to put in your diaries, as Venus will square the planet Mars. Expect the possibility of anger, lack of self-control and impulsiveness – if single, be wary of lowering your standards to meet an increased sex drive, and if coupled up, remember affairs and arguments may be more likely.
From 31st October to 16th November, Venus will move back into her home sign of Libra. The Astro Twins say that as Libra is the ruler of committed relationships, mutuality and marriage, this means you shouldn’t rush into proposals or wedding plans, and should be equally cautious about barrelling into break-ups (which you could regret later).
They also have a few words of advice for each sign on how to handle this year’s Venus retrograde…
ARIES: Venus backs through your two committed relationship zones, making you second-guess a partner or rethink an arrangement. Couples’ therapy could be helpful. Single Aries could use this time to really think about what you want from a partner.
TAURUS: Love, take two? Partnerships get an overhaul, or at least, a little time under the microscope. You could struggle to feel in sync with others, or might finally bring up a sticking point. Be proactive and solution-oriented instead of just complaining or blaming.
GEMINI: Venus retrograde in your health house could incite stress-fueled body image issues or remind you to get back in touch with the ‘temple for your soul’ by nourishing yourself and moving regularly. Find healthy outlets for channelling frustration.
CANCER: Drama alert! Venus in your hotheaded (and hot-blooded) sector until 31st October makes you a loose cannon ready to fire. An ex-flame could contact you; proceed with caution to avoid messy entanglements.
LEO: Home is where the heat is until 31st October 31, as a cranky Venus camps in your domestic house. Issues with a female family member or roommate could flare. Double down on the self-care and affirming mantras, as your moods may swing wildly.
VIRGO: Playing devil’s advocate is a dangerous game while Venus reverses through your communication house until 31st October 31. Choose your battles, and your words, to avoid burning bridges. Once November rolls around, avoid borrowing or loaning funds.
LIBRA: Arguments about money could erupt while Venus backs through your financial house until 31st October 31. Tension could flare with coworkers or a client. Lock up those credit cards: Impulse purchases could lead to buyer’s remorse.
SCORPIO: Time for a break? You need space to reconnect with your needs while Venus backs through your sign until 31st October. If you’re not feeling beautiful, desirable or magnetic, get really clear about what’s blocking that, and change your focus.
SAGITTARIUS: Until 31st October, Venus is in your 12th house of closure and illusions. Clean up your own romantic backyard instead of projecting blame on a mate or looking for the holy grail of lovers. Watch for rifts in your social circle in November.
CAPRICORN: Collaboration chaos? A team could lose steam as Venus backspins through your group sector. Experimenting with an open relationship or online dating could also go awry, so tread (and swipe) lightly. Watch out for office politics after 31st October.
AQUARIUS: With Venus retrograde in your paternal zone, resolve childhood dynamics before they taint your current relationship. After 31st October, you crave freedom. Honour your independent spirit, but don’t trample someone’s needs in your quest for ‘space’.
PISCES: The world is usually your romantic oyster, but you may feel totally out of sync with new people until 31st October, while Venus retrogrades through your 9th house of expansion and risk-taking. Committed Pisces could feel claustrophobic now.