Goddesses can be fickle; never more so than when venerable Venus goes down the slippery slope of her bi-annual retrograde and all things in her domain seem also to be moving backwards. Retrogrades can be revelatory. As the dual ruler of both Taurus (the material world) and Libra (relationships) Venus has dominion over both love and money. The Goddess' retrograde is a time to hold tight to your wallet—and to your significant other. Even more significantly, it is a time to re-evaluate what it is that we truly value in our hearts. Retrogrades are times for inner reflection. We are transitioning into a new heart-centered paradigm —- love is the ultimate province of Venus.Staying Power
While inner planets generally pass quickly though the zodiac, retrograde periods give them more time in a sign, translating into greater influence on the collective. And then, once in a century or so, a rare event of universal impact occurs which elevates a particular planet into a position of prominence and triggers very long range implications. And so it is for Venus in 2012 as she turns retrograde at 23° Gemini on May 15th and then on June 5th makes the final pass of a pair of dramatic solar transits that won’t be seen again until December 11th 2117.
This “transit or occultation of Venus” is a replay of the spectacular performance Venus delivered in 2004, when during her retrograde period, (May 17th – June 28th) she passed over the face of the Sun (June 8th). This year, once again beating a retreat through Gemini, sign of the twins, the undisputed rulers of duality and Venus’ esoteric ruler, she mounts her second challenge to old SOL. This year’s transit will be visible before sundown over most of North America. (Check out Transit of Venus for your local transit time.)Hindsight
Looking back at events in 2004, as well as during the ensuing eight years, we can gain some perspective on our current Venusian challenges and opportunities. The 2004 transit seeded many of the issues that have dominated the intervening years, and hold (at least) the promise of transformation following the second event in 2012. We can hope for some dramatic shifts, but may have to wait decades (or even centuries) for the report card as we are talking about the birth of long term evolutionary trends.
Venus transits of the last thousand years have all occurred on the axis of Gemini and Sagittarius. These two signs, representing opposite poles of thinking, embody our ideas, opinions and beliefs, our cosmology and understanding of universal truths. Our worldview has expanded and transformed following each transit. In 1518, for example, Magellan circumnavigated the globe and proved that the world was round!
During this period the Reformation began in Western Europe and the age of female rulers came to Europe. Mary Queen of Scots; Queen Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici all ruled in the 1550's following that occultation. The Suffragette movement emerged as a force during the last Venus transits in 1874 and 1882. Perhaps following the 2012 occultation Americans can finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment!Marriage Rites—and Rights…and Wrongs
In the eight years since 2004 certain Venusian issues have been prominent in the news—primarily culture wars involving women’s issues, marriage and family values and economic instability exacerbating gross inequalities in our society and forcing many of us to simplify our lifestyles and redefine our personal values.
For review: May 17th, 2004 was a big day for the Goddess of Love and Marriage. As she stationed retrograde, the first legal same sex marriages in the country were performed in Massachusetts, in accordance with an edict by that state's Supreme Court. Gays rushed to the altar —-- well, mostly to the courthouse steps--to take their vows.
Many heterosexual couples were not so fortunate. In heavily Catholic Boston, it proved easier to find a Justice of the Peace than a Priest to officiate at a marriage ceremony. Time Magazine (May 17, “Going to the Chapel?”) reported that 175 Boston parishes had been “fingered” for closure due to the church's fiscal crisis (remember the sex scandals?), greatly restricting the availability of summer wedding bookings and leaving many altars abandoned without brides.
State-by-state battles over same sex marriage are still being waged. Back in the ‘90s President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act; its constitutionality is now being questioned and thus far attempts to amend the US Constitution to ban same sex marriage have failed. Most importantly, public opinion has shifted to be strongly in favor of same sex unions. Meanwhile statistics show that among heterosexuals, marriage is on the decline. A series of articles in The Nation (July 5 2004) “Can Marriage be Saved?” reviewed the history of marriage as a religious, cultural and legal institution. Writers concluded that the same sex marriage debate is part and parcel of the larger question of the separation of church and state. 2004 was an election year and politicians were clearly using this wedge issue to woo voters. Another repetition in 2012!