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Venus Retrograde: Challenging Consensus

Venus Retrograde: Challenging Consensus

In the 39th episode of the show astrologer Nick Dagan Best joins me to talk about the phenomenon known as Venus retrograde, how it is defined, and what it means within the context of astrology.

Nick is one of the leading experts on Venus retrograde periods, and during the course of the show explains how they can be used to time events in natal and mundane astrology.

We also discuss other topics such as the importance of shadow periods, how to determine whether a specific Venus retrograde period is going coincide with a major event in a person’s life, and a bit about what the current Venus retrograde period in Virgo/Leo has in store.

For more information about Nick please visit his website at NickDaganBest.com, or his new podcast at iloveastrologypodcast.com.

Outline of the Show

Below you will find an outline of some of the different topics that we touched on during the course of the show, followed by links to download or stream the recording.

  • Venus just stationing retrograde today, July 25, 2015.
    • Good opportunity to do a show on Venus retrograde.
  • First, what does Venus signify in astrology in general?
    • Desire, love, partnership, relationships.
    • Money, goods
    • Inclusion
    • Unifying and reconciling things
    • Social consensus
  • What does it mean when a planet goes retrograde from an astronomical standpoint?
    • The planet appears to move backwards in the zodiac from our perspective.
    • Optical illusion.
    • Still has symbolic significance.
  • Venus retrograde from an astronomical standpoint:
    • Happens every 18-19 months, or every year and a half.
    • Happens when Venus is closest to the Earth.
    • Goes backwards for about 40 days.
    • There is a the retrograde station (beginning), the inferior conjunction with the Sun (middle), and the direct station (end).
  • Shadow periods extend the broader retrograde period
    • Venus begins to slow down long before it goes retrograde, and it takes a while before it gets back to full speed after stationing direct.
    • Events and circumstances surrounding the retro seem to start to develop once Venus passes over the degree that it will later retrograde back to when it stations direct.  This is the pre-retrograde shadow period.
    • Things are not fully wrapped up until it passes the degree that it stationed retrograde at. This is the post retrograde shadow.
    • Each shadow period is roughly 30 days.
    • Thus the full retro cycle is a 100-day period roughly.
  • Venus retrograde within the context of the zodiac:
    • Venus is stationing retro at 0° Virgo today.
    • Venus stations retrograde in approximately the same place in the zodiac every 8 years.
    • Minus 2 degrees.
    • 8 years ago in late July of 2007 it stationed retro at 2° Virgo.
    • 8 years before in 1999 it stationed retro at 4° Virgo, etc.
    • This connects together time periods in 8 year intervals.
    • This is actually the last retro in Virgo in our lifetime.
    • Since Venus goes retrograde every year and a half it does this in 5 spots in the zodiac, thus forming a pentagram, or a five sided star.
  • What does Venus retrograde mean astrologically?
    • Retrograde motion is a sort of anomaly, and thus there is something anomalous occurring with respect to what the planet normally signifies.
    • Is it an intensification or a reversal?  Both?
    • It has meaning both in mundane astrology as well as in natal.
    • In mundane astrology, Nick associates Venus with “consensus”, and the retrograde phase corresponds to periods when public consensus comes up for review or revision. Lines are drawn, people cross lines or try to redraw them.
  • How is this applied to natal charts in practice?
    • Making predictions versus in client work. The same or different?
    • Really comes down to identifying charts that are sensitive to it, and seeing how it links together important periods of time in their life, sometimes with similar themes.
    • Be able to spot nativities that don’t have Venus retrograde, but that an astrologer knows will nonetheless be “vulnerable” or “responsive” to recurring retrograde transits.
    • Some example charts.
  • What makes a chart more responsive to one Venus retro or another?
    • Angles in one of the five “zones” where stations happen.
    • Lights or clusters of planets in one of the five “zones”
    • Libra Ascendant
  • Some tips for further study and use of Venus retrogrades:
    • Have the cycles memorized, so that when one looks at a chart, one instantly has an idea of where the transits hit this person’s natal chart.
    • Pay attention to what happens during the build up and initial phases of the shadow period and retrograde, as you may see a return to those themes later when Venus returns to that spot.
    • If you know the birth dates of people in your life, pay attention to those with natal Venus retrograde, and how their lives impact yours during this time.


A full transcript of this episode is available here: Episode 39 transcript

Watch the Video Version

Update 6/10/2020: This episode was recorded before I started doing video versions of each episode regularly, although I did re-release an audio version on YouTube on May 13, 2020, for those who prefer to subscribe or listen to the podcast through YouTube:

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  • Many astrologers ascribe love to Venus, but it is the appreciation of love that is probably more accurate. Venus represents the power of attraction with alluring qualities and gestures. It does so through the expression of unique forms of beauty, pleasure, grace, and social skills. A favorable Venus indicates popularity and often being pampered.
    However, such individuals do not cope well with any form of deprivation. An unfavored Venus can influence laziness, criticism, carelessness, and parasitic behavior. While Mercury communicates art, Venus appreciates it. The combined energies of Mercury and Venus often creates artistic expressions.
    – Vain, indulgent, frivolous, superficial, impractical. Lazy, too dependent on others.
    + Friendly, appreciative, kind, refined. Adept in love and the social arts.
    * The forming of one’s emotional values and mode of expressing fondness and love for all living things.

  • Great conversation, but just to clarify – with all due respect to Nick who’s a gift to the astrological community – Venus’s retrograde motion is not an illusion due to it’s being “so close”, nor is it an illusion like when you pass a slower-moving car (that is what happens with outer-planet Rx, i.e. earth passing slower-moving Jupiter, Saturn, etc). On the other hand, Venus Rx is a situation where a closer-to-the-sun planet (this is important -imagine watching a child run around a flagpole and that’s Venus’ orbit from our vantage point) coming toward us as it swoops around the sun on the left side of the sun, from our perspective in the evening. Hence Venus gets brighter each night as she approaches Station Rx (she’s coming toward us). After she stations Rx, when she has swooped toward us and gotten very bright as Evening Star, Venus then travels slowly from Left to Right in the sky toward the sun, (backward in the Zodiac), night after night. This is the Rx motion we observe. And yes, Venus is between earth and Sun, and very close to us. But the Rx is not becaseu she’s close, but because she’s actually moving in the part of the circle (orbit) that is backward through the Zodiac. After inferior conjunction (when she’s disappeared from sight), appears as Morning Star, and slowly gets dimmer and dimmer morning after morning (still Rx) until finally she swoops around and behind the right side of the sun, (from our perspective in the morning), Stationing direct. Then moving direct, on the far side of the sun, toward superior conjunction, going forward in the Zodiac. Same thing applies to Mercury but not as blatantly observable since Mercury is so small and more importantly, way close to the sun (and hence barely above our horizon). I love Nick and HUGELY respect his work, but it was weird hearing him imply that Venus Rx is simply due to its being “so close”. Really I just wish more astrologers would watch the sky and pay attention to how planets move in relation to earth, and to each other! Buy Nick’s book on Uranusa: Astrology Looks at the First Planet and Nation of the New World. It’s amazing for astrology and history buffs. Thanks for the platform, Chris. Great interviews!

    • Thanks for the correction. It seemed a bit lazy/simple to me. I’ve heard the speeding train comparison before, and I have also heard how it’s not entirely accurate. Thank you for offering a thorough correction (although as far as understanding it and explaining it to another…).

  • “Man, retrogrades are dangerous as hell,”
    Said Alan White, the salty old marine.
    In Venus’ in Scorpio I fell
    In crazy love with someone: Nicotine,
    For me, was easier to kick than her.
    I should feel lucky; most men only dream
    Of love like this. Our secret meetings were
    The most Edenic times, and then it seemed
    We’d come out of the shadows, make it real
    (No one forsakes a gift of love so deep,
    So precious), but the bond was never sealed—
    So came the saddest harvest one can reap:
    She traveled to the coast before the spring,
    And when I saw her next she wore a ring.

    (Loving the podcast! Thank you!)