The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 39, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Nick Dagan Best
Episode originally released on July 29, 2015.
Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at email@example.com.
Transcribed by Gulsen Altay and Andrea Johnson
Transcription released July 29, 2019
Copyright © 2019 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. For more information about subscribing to the show, please visit astrologypodcast.com/subscribe. If you’re a fan of the show, and you want to help support it or encourage me to record new episodes more frequently, then please consider becoming a Patron of the show through our page on the website Patreon. By pledging as little as a dollar an episode, you can get access to some exclusive benefits such as a private discussion forum for the podcast, early access to new episodes, and higher quality recordings, as well as a bunch of other stuff.
So today is Saturday, July 25, 2015, and it’s approximately 7:18 PM in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 39th episode of the show. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologer Nick Dagan Best about the phenomenon known as Venus retrograde and its significance in astrology. For more information about Nick, please visit his website at nickdaganbest.com, or check out his new podcast at iloveastrology.com. Nick, welcome back to the show.
NICK DAGAN BEST: Thanks for having me, Chris.
CB: All right. Well, it’s an appropriate day to be doing this because Venus has just stationed retrograde today as of a few hours ago on July 25, 2015. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to do a show just talking about Venus retrograde, what it’s about, and what sort of things it correlates with, or how you can use it in astrology. I thought it would be good to consult the generally well-regarded–or you’re generally regarded as the Venus retrograde expert–Nick Dagan Best.
NDB: Well, I would hope that there are more experts than me, but I’m certainly one of them. I’m one of the obsessives anyway. I’ve been talking about Venus retrograde cycles for quite some time, and there’s no time like the present. Indeed, Venus did just go retrograde, so we should talk about it.
CB: All right, so let’s talk about Venus retrograde. I thought maybe it would be good to start by talking about–first as a baseline–just what Venus signifies in astrology in general. What are some of the common or core significations as far as you’re concerned?
NDB: I think of desire, objects of desire, love, partnership, relationships, relating, modes of relating, money and goods, things of value. And there’s a principle of inclusion involve–unifying, reconciling. But yeah, I think it’s got to do with desire and with objects of desire, and socially it has to do with consensus. It has to do with agreement and people coming to some kind of mutual agreement.
CB: Okay, that makes sense. And then what’s happening now of course is that Venus–which usually moves forward in the zodiac–has now stationed. It’s slowed down and stopped in the middle of its forward movement–the forward movement that all of the planets make–and it’s stationed retrograde.
We talked a little bit about the phenomenon of retrograde a few months ago–or Leisa Schaim and I did on the episode where we talked about The History Channel episode on astrology– and one of the things that they critiqued in that episode was the phenomenon of retrograde motion. And so, perhaps it would be good for us to touch upon that here just in terms of describing what a Venus retrograde phase is. So what is a retrograde exactly?
NDB: Well, the planet appears to be moving backwards from our perspective. It’s an optical illusion. What’s actually the case is during what we call the retrograde phase, the planet is actually closest to Earth. It’s so close to Earth that there’s an optical illusion created whereby the planet appears to be moving backwards because we’re right next to them. It’s not unlike the phenomenon of being on a train that’s standing still. If the train next to you is moving, it can make it feel like your train is moving and the other train is standing–similar sort of effect.
NDB: Astrologically, the major implication is–because this is from a geocentric perspective–a given planet in its retrograde phase is going to spend an extended period of time in a particular section of the zodiac which will more or less light up that zone in the zodiac, so it has an impact for that reason.
CB: Okay. That’s an interesting point actually I hadn’t thought of, even though it’s so simple and obvious that normally Venus is a planet that moves pretty quickly. But when it slows down and stations or stops in the zodiac and starts going retrograde, it essentially spends a much more extended period of time in that area of the zodiac than it otherwise should or would normally.
NDB: Yeah, I mean just for starters, you get more of it. And then the other thing about it–and something that I think is really key to the power of the phase–is that the speed of the planet is shifting. Prior to the retrograde phase, there is what we call, some astrologers call a shadow period.
This is about a 30-day period–even before Venus starts to appear to go backward–where it’s gradually slowing down in the sky. Eventually it stops after about 30 days of doing that, it reverses direction, and it goes retrograde for about 40 days. And then it slows down and stops again, and it begins to move forward again through zodiacal order, gradually accelerating over another 30-day period. And I think these shifts in the motion of the planet, in the apparent motion, are as much a key to their power astrologically as the fact that they’re moving backwards, or indeed, just simple things like the amount of time they spend in a given area.
CB: Sure, that makes sense. Yeah, sometimes it’s just really basic, simple observational things that make a huge difference in astrology even though you otherwise might not expect that. And I think that’s one of the things that sometimes outsiders have a hard time coming into when they’re dealing with astrology. Something like retrograde really does point to using astrology and looking at things from a more symbolic standpoint because of that idea it’s an optical illusion.
And even though retrograde motion is something that’s happening from our vantage point–almost as an illusion you could say–that doesn’t necessarily detract from the symbolic significance of it from our perspective, or from the perspective of an astrologer. But it does probably point to an interesting or important property of astrology that you have to take into account that you’re actually working with some weird sort of symbolism–for lack of a better term–rather than something else where the planet Venus is actually literally slowing down in the sky, and therefore as a result of that causing some event on Earth to take place.
NDB: Well, it is an optical illusion, but at the same time a geocentric perspective is as legitimate as any other perspective. I think there’s a tendency to adhere a little tightly to the notion of the Sun being a center, but the Sun is a gravitational center of the solar system. So unless your argument on behalf of astrology has something to do with gravity–and it certainly doesn’t on my part, and I don’t believe it does on yours. But unless that is your argument, there’s no reason to be hung up on the notion of the Sun being a center for anything, especially since all the people are over here on Earth. So yes, it’s an optical illusion.
In so far as a horoscope places a given individual at, say, the center of the universe, really any point in the universe can be a center. It puts that person’s place and time of birth as a center around which everything revolves. And so, even a planet in the sky revolving around that individual, that center, what it appears to be doing, yeah is relevant on a symbolic basis. But even in so far as the way it was treated in The History Channel episode, and how that was a distortion I think is unnecessary.
CB: Sure. One of the common misconceptions is that once it was discovered, once Copernicus discovered that the Sun was the center of the solar system, there was almost this perception–from people that don’t know much about astrology–that that somehow should have invalidated astrology because the universe was conceptualized as geocentric prior to that point.
But in fact, it doesn’t really change things because no matter whether you were working with a geocentric or a heliocentric model of the universe, your standpoint for casting charts, no matter what, would still be the perspective of the observer, the perspective of the person that was born at a specific moment in time.
Anyway, so that’s a pretty huge digression. But the point is that basically every 18 to 19 months, or approximately every year-and-a-half, the planet Venus from our vantage point slows down, then stops moving forward and starts moving backwards in the order of the zodiac, in the order of the degrees for about–what is it–40 days?
NDB: It is about 40 days more or less, yeah. It can be as many as 43, but it’s never less than 40.
CB: Okay. And in terms of Venus’s orbit around the Sun, one of the things that’s kind of interesting and perhaps important as an interpretive principle–I heard one person mention this on your recent show, I’ve also heard Micheal Lutin mention this recently when I visited him in New York–that Venus, when it goes retrograde, it’s always at the point in its cycle around the Sun where it’s closest to the Earth, right?
CB: I mean that in and of itself is kind of striking that when Venus is retrograde, Venus will always be between the Sun and the Earth. Whereas when Venus is direct and it conjoins the Sun, it will always end up being on the other side of the Sun rather than closer to the Earth.
NDB: Exactly. That Rx can have a funny impact on astrologers, the Rx symbol that stands for retrograde. There’s a tendency to think it’s being sort of weakened or something of that nature, whereas really the planet is emphasized. It’s really close by.
Like a flame, you tend to feel the heat of a flame when it’s closer to you and not further away. So I think that’s key certainly in terms of wrapping your head around why this period should be so distinct in an overall 19-month period, why this little 40-day window should be so intense. It is the period when that planet–in this case Venus–is really, really close.
CB: Okay. Well, I think that’s important as sort of an astronomical basis because that gives you almost an immediate astronomical rationale for the importance of the period, as you just said, or why this might be unique. The symbolism pertaining to Venus might become more prominent for some reason in either individual lives or in terms of mundane events because of Venus suddenly being in that phase of her cycle when she’s the closest to the Earth.
And sort of in connection with that I guess we have to mention the three primary parts of the retrograde cycle, the first one of which is the ‘retrograde station,’ which is essentially the beginning of the actual retrograde period when Venus slows down and then stations retrograde, which is what it’s doing today on July 25th. Then about halfway through the cycle, we have the ‘conjunction with the Sun,’ or the exact conjunction with the Sun. And that‘s when it’s halfway through the retrograde cycle and also the point at which it will be closest to the Earth. And then finally we have the ‘direct station’ when Venus slows down, stations direct, and then starts moving forward again shortly after that. So you have these three specific events or peaks within the context of the retrograde cycle. I guess that’s our basic astronomical starting point, right?
CB: All right. But beyond that this isn’t something that was used a lot traditionally–or at least I’ve not found any traditional references to it–but it seems to be something that was developed more in, I want to say, the past few decades. And some people have attributed it to the astrologer Roxana Muise, the idea of shadow periods, and the idea that the retrograde periods themselves don’t just start and end at these stations, but that there’s a buildup phase that builds up towards or before the first station, the retrograde station. And then there’s a post-retrograde period after the direct station, and these are referred to as the shadow periods. This is something that you use a lot as well, right?
NDB: I do. To say that I use them, I don’t feel I had any choice in the matter. In particular the pre-retrograde ‘shadow period’ is a very loud phase in the Venus period in that it makes itself known. It’s got a very distinct quality relative to any sort of other period in the Venus phase. This is prior to Venus going retrograde. We haven’t gone into the two phases of Venus and what they mean. But there is a notion of a rebirth when Venus is going retrograde and crosses over the Sun and then comes out on the other side.
So this period just prior to all that happening, well, what happens just before rebirth? Well, kind of a death, isn’t it? And so, there is this sort of desperate nature that you see in the world at times like this whenever Venus is slowing down and approaching its retrograde station. And I think you’d have to be pretty shut off from current events to not witness that happening yet again.
I’ve been following Venus for quite some time, and it’s always the case that the heat and the pace of current events–in terms of the speed of the dialogue, the intensity of the things going on, and the emotions and the seriousness of everything–scandals are exposed during Venus retrogrades and news is very sensational. There’s a whole shift in the public mood.
So if you’re attuned to media, if you’re attuned to arts, if you’re attuned to politics, no matter what, if you’re aware of the Venus retrograde cycle, you can always see it’s like night and day. It doesn’t necessarily catch you off guard. Just as you expect night to follow day, if you know the Venus cycle in that pre-retrograde shadow phase, it’s such a distinctive quality that it to me is recognizable as night and day.
CB: Sure. And the buildup phase, this lasts for essentially about–what did you say–about 30 days as the shadow period before the retrograde station?
NDB: Give or take, yeah. Sometimes you can stretch that goal post a bit more if you like. But I use 30 days arbitrarily because that’s more or less when Venus begins to transit through the degrees. Prior to the retrograde, it will eventually cross back through, and then following the retrograde, it’ll transit through for a third time.
It’s like a path. It marks a path, if you will, that the planet’s going to be criss-crossing back and forth. And so, that’s what that 30-day window indicates if nothing else. It’s also in my view when the planet really starts to be moving at a pace that’s slow enough that you recognize it really decelerating prior to the retrograde at a really recognizable speed.
CB: Sure. And so, specifically to sort of narrow it down for exactness, the shadow period begins as soon as Venus passes the exact degree that it would later retrograde back to and station direct at, and that’s the beginning of the pre-retrograde shadow period. And then eventually after the retrograde, it doesn’t complete the post-retrograde shadow period until it passes the degree that it originally retrograded at.
Right now, for example, today it’s going retrograde at 00 Virgo. So even though in a few weeks from now, it’s going to station direct in mid-Leo, the full post-retrograde shadow period is not going to be over until Venus passes and goes direct over 00 of Virgo again to complete the shadow period.
NDB: Exactly, yeah.
CB: Okay. So ultimately then, if each shadow period is approximately 30 days, and if the retrograde itself is about 40 days, then that gives us the full retrograde cycle being about a 100-day period in a year.
NDB: Correct, which accounts for about 1/6 of total time–if you can wrap your head around that idea–of all time, for as long as we’ve had planets orbiting the Sun and Earth. It wouldn’t have mattered if life were on Earth or not, the planets were still doing what they do now.
So in all that time, regardless of how you slice it and dice it, the Venus retrograde phase–the pre-retrograde shadow, the retrograde period, and the post-retrograde shadow–that 100-day period accounts for about 1/6 of total time, which relative to the retrograde phases of the other planets, aside from Mars, is a pretty small window of time. Jupiter and Saturn are retrograde for a 1/3 of the time.
CB: When you include the shadow periods or without?
NDB: Well, shadow periods get a bit tricky when you’re thinking about Jupiter and Saturn.
CB: Sure. With the outer planets because they just cover so much time.
NDB: Yeah, when it comes to using those planets and studying their phases, I find you’re better off just looking at a chronological time shadow as opposed to a zodiacal degree shadow like we’re doing here–although here we’re really doing both at once.
And that’s one of the tricky things about the shadow. It has such an impact with Venus because of the particular speed of Venus, and Venus is really special in that way. And the only other planet that I would describe having a retrograde phase that has this event feel to it–it doesn’t happen very often–is Mars. And I’m particularly fascinated with their cycles very much because they are rare, they don’t occur all the time. And therefore, when they do surface, they’re that much more noticeable.
CB: Sure. And since they’re inner planets, they’re–I almost want say more personal in a sense, or the things that they typically pertain to can be a little bit more immediate in some sense and sort of obvious or blatant. Maybe I’m going too far in saying that, but that might be the reason why Venus and Mars might stand out more, especially in addition to the frequency of their retrograde periods.
NDB: They’re planets of relating, so they affect the lives of everybody. And even the hermit who doesn’t spend any time with other people, they’re still having Venus and Mars transits probably with regard to the animals around her or what have you.
So they’re planets of relating. They’re the planets that have to do with an individual and everything else around them. And they have to do with the most elevated and the most debased forms of relating between individuals.
So in answer to what you’re saying, I would say that they’re very personal but they’re also very, very social. They’re the planets that make up our social fabric. If you get on the bus in the morning to go to the office, you’re not having a Saturn transit necessarily with everyone on that bus, it’s more Venus and Mars–who’s going to give up their seat for who, and who didn’t put on their deodorant–those sort of things.
CB: Sure, and just basic core desires that are sort of inherent in every individual in some sense.
NDB: Exactly. Who do you have a crush on while sitting on the bus? That‘s another one that happens there. It’s all Venus and Mars. It has to do with how we’re sharing space and interacting or not interacting, People don’t really interact on the bus, but they’re still there–that’s my point.
CB: Right, sort of ideas or themes of attraction and repulsion in some sense.
NDB: Yeah, all of that, the gamut, the whole gamut. And they both have to do with that. There’s I think a simplistic way sometimes of just thinking Venus is the love and beauty one and Mars is the violence and ugly, sex one. No, they both have their honorable and dishonorable sides, I’d say.
NDB: They both represent principles that can be honorable and dishonorable, let’s say that.
CB: Yeah, in my last episode I was talking to Rob Hand about sect, and he was specifically going into the more honorable sides of Mars in terms of ideas like courage, or putting oneself before others in order to protect other people or things like that.
CB: All right. So we’ve talked a little bit about Venus retrograde as a phase in and of itself, in terms of its own cycle and in terms of its cycle around the Sun. But there’s a separate cycle that’s also relevant when we start talking about Venus retrograde which is its position in the zodiac, and that it also has a cycle in terms of the retrograde phases within that.
So Venus is stationing retrograde today at 00 of Virgo. But one of the things that people sometimes don’t know or sometimes have to learn is that Venus stations retrograde in approximately the same spot in the zodiac every 8 years. Is that correct?
NDB: Yes, Venus stations retrograde pretty much in the same spot in the zodiac every 8 years. There’s about a two-to-three day and a two-to-three zodiacal degree difference from one 8-year period to the other. It gradually recedes. For instance, today’s July 25th, and Venus went retrograde at 0 Virgo, which means one knows offhand that back in 2007, 8 years ago, Venus went retrograde on July 27th at 20 of Virgo. You see, it was two calendar days later 8 years ago, and it was two zodiacal degrees later 8 years ago, so it always gradually recedes.
And what this actually means, since Venus is going retrograde at 00 Virgo today, this is the last Venus retrograde station in Virgo that we’re going to have for a very long time, for well over a hundred years. I could do the math, but I think we’re even running into over 200 years, so it is rather an occasion.
This gradual recession into Leo began in 1959. 1959 was the first time. Before 1959, this Venus retrograde occurred only in Virgo, but as of 29, the direct stations began to happen in Leo. And then I think it was back in, if I am not mistaken, 1983–I got the information right here.
I’m sorry, 1987 was the first time that we had the conjunction–what we call the superior or the exterior conjunction during the retrograde–in Leo instead of Virgo. That was followed in the retrograde of 1991 with the first interior or inferior conjunction–which is when Venus makes a conjunction to the Sun during its retrograde–and in 1991 was the first time it happened in Leo instead of Virgo. So in many ways, today’s station at 0 Virgo refers back to the years 1983 and 1979, which were the last time we had Venus conjunctions to the Sun in Virgo. It’s this gradual recession through the zodiac that’s in operation.
CB: Sure. It just moves backward basically 20 every 8 years and then you can add that up with 300 each sign.
NDB: Exactly. And then after about 120 years, it moves from one sign to the other. So this retrograde that’s now happening–going from Virgo to Leo–if you go back to the 19th century, it used to be a Venus retrograde that went through Libra and then from Libra to Virgo, so it always gradually moves like that.
CB: It’s interesting how when you’re looking at it from the broad perspective of history, from a larger historical perspective, that you can really take into account and notice major differences like that. That Venus retrograde where you have the retrograde stationing direct or retrograde in Virgo is much different then a retrograde or station direct in Leo, and the conjunction with the Sun that occurs in Virgo is much different then a conjunction that occurs in Leo, and so on and so forth.
NDB: Absolutely. Once you get to know the cycle, and especially the operation of the cycle through history, an astrologer can start to think of the cycle of Venus in much the same way that some mundane astrologers think of the cycles of the outer planets in that they can demarcate these broader eras in life.
Now in the life of one individual human, 80 to a 100 years let’s say, that recession through the zodiac is not going to be that severe. It’ll go through about half the sign over the course of a person’s lifetime. But indeed, when you’re looking at broader historical passages, you can really start to identify different Venus retrogrades through different signs. I’ll give you another example relative to the 19th century.
To my mind, one of the big differences between the 19th century and the 20th century– vis–à–vis Venus–is that in the 19th century, we had Venus retrogrades that went through Libra and Taurus, whereas in the 20th century, we’ve had the retrogrades going through Scorpio and Aries. And I identify so much about human history and civilization and the way it changed, especially the way it changed, but also just as existed in those two, very distinct eras in history. I identify, as an astrologer, those changes in sign very much with those eras.
CB: Sure. That’s a really interesting and different approach to mundane astrology which, like you said, is very much more wrapped up in outer planets cycles. This Venus retrograde period, this is something that’s very old and it’s been used for a very long time.
They had, for example, the planetary periods in early Hellenistic astrology where they recognized the 8-year period of Venus as being a crucially important timing factor or timing technique that you could use to study increments of time in a person’s life. So it’s interesting seeing what we normally think of as a quick inner planet being used for much broader, outer planet-like studies in that way.
NDB: In my experience, Venus is the cornerstone planet to use in mundane astrology, which I realize is very controversial in the age of a Jupiter-Saturn square…
CB: Or a Uranus-Pluto square.
NDB: … or a Uranus-Pluto square. Don’t get me wrong, folks. I absolutely follow those planets as well very closely, but the cycle of Venus again is about relating. So whether you’re studying politics or you’re studying the arts, you really see it surface just everywhere.
Jupiter and Saturn comes down to the success and failure of things, and they really can be very independent personal planets in many ways. But Venus is about shifting tastes, and shifting allegiances, and shifting cultures, and every radical change that befalls a society–be it positive or negative–and the way those changes impact individual people. These are all Venusian matters, and so it’s really the core fabric of everything.
CB: And it doesn’t even necessarily have to be used in isolation. When you’re looking at some of these broader, long-range cycles, you’re taking into account a Venus retrograde period that occurs next to a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction or something like that, right?
NDB: Oh, absolutely. For instance, this summer’s Venus retrograde is very distinct. It’s going through Leo just like it did 8 years ago. But 8 years ago in 2007, Saturn was in Leo going into Virgo.
CB: Right, I remember that one.
NDB: Sure, you and I knew each other then. And so, that was Venus retrograde having to interact with Saturn. This time we have Jupiter going through Leo squaring Saturn in Scorpio as it turns out. That’s how things start out. That’ll be in the coming week or two that we’ll be dealing with that sort of scenario. And then later in the retrograde, towards the end of August, Venus will actually be making a conjunction to Mars.
Now Venus being coincidental or co-present with Jupiter during its retrograde phase–that occurs every 24 years and it’s an interesting thing to follow–I’ve got things to say about that later. A Venus conjunction to Mars while Venus is retrograde is quite rare. They don’t pop up everywhere, though we had one in 1972 in Cancer during the time of the Watergate break in.
They happen once in a while. My point being, to have both of them occurring in the same single Venus retrograde transit in one summer is extremely rare. I don’t know of another example of all that happening all at once. So there really is something quite unique about this summer’s Venus retrograde cycle relative to any other that I’ve studied.
CB: And it’s also odd because we start off with the first half of it, with Venus in the pre-retrograde shadow period conjoining Jupiter–as it did I think about a month ago–and being in the same sign. And then it stations retrograde today in Virgo and then it comes back into Leo and conjoins Jupiter again in late Leo.
But then by mid-August, Jupiter leaves Leo and moves into Virgo. And not too long after that, around that time, Mars then ingresses into Leo, and Venus eventually stations direct pretty close to when Mars will eventually conjoin it. Also, if you wanted to narrow it down and look at it more specifically–just in terms of this retrograde and what makes it unique, or what sort of qualities it might have–it’s weirdly sort of characterized by that Jupiter conjunction in the first half with Venus versus the Mars conjunction in the second half with Venus and Mars.
NDB: Completely. I think looking back it’s going to be very starkly obvious the transit of one conjunction at the beginning of a month and then the next conjunction at the end of the month–with these two very different planets–and how that’s going to be reflected in day-to-day life, in the life of day-to-day individuals, and certainly whatever is printed on the newspaper, or on the iPad screen.
CB: Sure. So let’s start getting into that then in terms of what Venus retrograde actually means astrologically, and how this might be relevant in individual lives and interpreted. So one of the things that I often come back to is just this idea that retrograde motion is a kind of anomaly, or the planet is moving forward and that’s its typical movement through the zodiac or along the ecliptic.
But then every once in a while–for Venus at least, every year-and-a-half–it has this sort of anomalist motion that begins for that period of time of 40 days, or 100 days, or however you want to define it. And there’s something unique, or out of the ordinary, or as I said anomalist about that with respect to what the planet signifies or what the planet means.
So one of the themes that comes up in the astrological community that almost seems to be a debate but it probably doesn’t necessarily need to be one is whether a retrograde period–and specifically something like a Venus retrograde–is more of an intensification of that planet, or if it represents a sort of reversal of it since it’s literally walking backwards or moving backwards through the zodiac at that point. How do you feel about it, or where do you think that lies?
NDB: I think it’s an intensification. I think the planet becomes kind of an extreme version of itself, certainly in the first part of the phase. The thing is there’s a transformation involved. So to even be describing the retrograde is to be describing a transformation and not one character to the other. It would not be enough to say, well, Venus retrograde is Dr. Jekyll or Venus retrograde is Mr. Hyde. The whole point is it’s that shift over that’s the most discernible thing that’s going on.
In terms of what it means, like I said earlier, I think of Venus as representing consensus. It’s the world as we understand it and the rules as we know them up until now, and then the retrograde comes along and it puts that consensus up for review. Let me give you some idea of how it does things.
If the consensus is that women should only have children in wedlock or that people should only have sex with their marital partners, it’s very often during the Venus retrograde phase when these particular rules come under review–that is to say when it comes to people who are having extramarital affairs, who are having children as single parents, who are doing anything that is contrary to the social consensus as to how these matters of life are supposed to be handled. It’s not a moral judgment coming from me in describing the transit but in terms of how the society is going to respond to anything that is contrary to that.
So it can have to do with the law but not necessarily. It can also just have to do with social mores, social standards. Again, it has to do with relating. So somebody during the retrograde phase, somebody somewhere is doing something that challenges the rules of relating.
CB: One of the obvious examples recently was the Supreme Court ruling that took place pretty close to the beginning of the Venus retrograde shadow period beginning about a month ago, right?
NDB: Yeah, it was a little outside the shadow period. It was closer to what we would sometimes called the greatest elongation, which is another way I look at the Venus retrograde phase. What is very interesting about that–nobody’s talked about this yet–it’s included in a video that I‘m putting together. But if you go back to 1967–very much in parallel to the gay marriage ruling–it was in June of 1967 that the US Supreme Court decriminalized interracial marriage in much the same part of the Venus phase. Jupiter was also in Leo just like it is now.
CB: Venus was getting ready to go retrograde?
NDB: Exactly. Venus was getting ready to go retrograde. It was the same distance from its retrograde station as it was this time with the gay marriage ruling more or less, give or take a few days.
That’s the thing–this is a cycle. There is something being repeated even though every Venus retrograde from 8-year period to 8-year period has its own distinct quality, like we were saying with regard to 2007 when Saturn was in Leo and this year when Jupiter is in Leo. At the same time, this is a cycle. At the same time, something is coming up again over and over–coming up for review is very much a way to put it.
So very much when it comes to scandals–this is the thing–this is the way that these bubbles, these social bubbles are often popped is through scandal. And if you look at the history of scandal, they almost always come up, the big ones, especially in American politics during Venus retrograde.
The first time we ever heard the name Monica Lewinsky, Venus was retrograde. The Watergate break-in was Venus retrograde. The Bay of Pigs invasion was Venus retrograde, the Cuban Missile Crisis. I mean I could go on and on and on and on. It’s really fun after a while. You can tell long historical stories just talking about events that happened in Venus retrograde, and you can wind up telling very, very complete stories.
CB: Right. And you link them together oftentimes through those 8-year periods and seeing repetitions or connections between events that otherwise you wouldn’t think were connected, but are showing similar themes because they’re being connected in these 8-year Venus cycles.
NDB: Exactly. We get those Venus retrogrades every 8 years and there are a total of five of them. So there are five Venus retrogrades that are repeated over and over in this 8-year cycle. And what you wind up getting is these five points that are equidistant from each other forming what looks like a pentagram or a five-sided star.
And far as I know, I guess there’s no conclusive proof on this, but it seems to me that the image of the five-pointed star which is depicted on most flags–not most flags but many national flags across the world–is one of the most internationally-recognized symbols. And far as I know, it depicts Venus, or it certainly appears to like I said. I guess that’s never been proven conclusively, but it’s just kind of thing that I’m tempted to presume.
CB: Yeah. I think that was a plot point in like The Da Vinci Code or something.
NDB: Well, if Dan Brown says it then, what do I know? It must be true.
CB: That’s all the authority I need personally.
NDB: Well, I didn’t realize that. I never read it, but it stands to reason.
CB: Yeah, that was based on Holy Blood, Holy Grail which was slightly more historically researched by relatively well-respected historians. Alright, so you talked a little bit about different mundane instances of Venus retrograde coming up in the world at large and it affecting different things like American politics or American society. But in addition to that you can also apply it to birth charts. And I wanted to talk a little bit about how this is applied in practice when it comes to natal astrology.
And one of the distinctions from the start is how one could use the Venus retrograde cycle–or let’s say the fact that Venus goes retrograde every 8 years in the same spot in the zodiac and sometimes connects together similar events or similar themes–and use that to make a prediction either in a person’s life or a prediction about a mundane event versus how you would work with it in a client’s chart, and what you would say a client that was having Venus go retrograde, and how you would actually relate that to their life. Is there a distinction between those two, or are they still intertwined in some way?
NDB: I would say they’re intertwined. The main way an astrologer can use these cycles, I’d say the first thing to do it is to memorize them. And it’s not hard because there are five of them every 8 years.
CB: What do you mean by that? Explain how a person would go about doing that.
NDB: Well, to look up your ephemeris or using software to make a note of when Venus retrogrades occur and where they occur, if you know the five spots. Currently, the five spots are early Virgo to Leo like is happening now and then…
CB: Sure. So let’s start with that one actually because I don’t think we did that earlier. Venus is going retrograde in Virgo and Leo now, so we know that 8 years ago, in the summer, in July of 2007, it went retrograde in the same spot. And then 8 years prior to that, in the summer of 1999, it went retrograde in the same spot. Just keep counting backwards in 8-year intervals and you’ll be in the same retrograde cycle and approximately the same spot of the zodiac each 8 years.
CB: So that’s the first thing you have to memorize. Just pick a specific retrograde and then memorize what years it went retrograde in those signs, just counting backwards in 8-year intervals.
NDB: Exactly, it’s a matter of knowing how to subtract or add 8 or multiply 8.
CB: Maybe really quickly, just for the sake of people that have addition or subtraction issues, Iet’s just count back quickly. What are the other Venus retrogrades in this cycle that we’re in right now going back? So we said 2007…
NDB: 1999, 1991, 1983, 1975, 1967, 1959, 1951, 1943, 1935, 1927, 1919, 1911, 1903, 1895, 1887, 1879.
CB: Okay. You’ll go on for an hour if I let you.
NDB: No, I do them know by heart.
CB: Okay. That’s why they call you the ‘human ephemeris’?
NDB: That’s why they call me the ‘human ephemeris’. They also call me that because I told people to call me that.
CB: Right, we don’t say that part. And that’s still roughly in the same spot of the year. It is moving back…
CB: …two days and 2° degrees. But we’re still very roughly–at least for any time within a person’s lifetime, or let’s say the past few decades–in the same part of the year, in the summer maybe moving into the early fall.
NDB: Yeah, exactly. I was born in 1968. I’m gonna be 50 years old in a few years. But the year before I was born, Venus went retrograde at 13 Virgo and went direct at 27 Leo. And now, it’s going retrograde at 0 of Virgo and direct at about 14-15 Leo, 14 Leo, I guess, meaning that I’m more or less halfway through my life hopefully.
And the shift, that gradual shift through the signs is not gone, it hasn’t been all that extreme. In one person’s lifetime, it’ll move through about half a sign, about 15° of a sign.
CB: Yeah, that’s only 13° in years?
NDB: Exactly, so that’s not all that much. Where it really starts to make a difference is if you’re studying multiple generations or longer stretches of history. So with that being said, looking at a given individual, let’s stick with the Virgo one. I could describe the other four retrogrades as well. Maybe we’ll do that a bit.
But with this one, let’s just say anytime–not necessarily right now–but let’s say three months ago, someone came to you and showed you their chart, and they have a 280 Leo Ascendant. And if you knew your Venus cycles, you would say to yourself, “Oh, yes, this summer Venus is going to retrograde at 0 Virgo, and it’s going to cross over this person’s Ascendant back and forth.” And then the next question to contemplate would be, “Well, I wonder what the transit of 2007 was like for this person?”
CB: Sure. So you can figure out what the current retrograde will be like or what retrogrades in the future will be like by asking them and finding out what retrogrades in the same spot of their chart were in the past.
NDB: Exactly. What you tend to find is there are themes. We’re not talking about something that’s automatically favorable or unfavorable. So they can easily run the gamut in terms of, “Oh, 2007 was horrible, but 2015 was terrific,” or vice versa, but one does tend to see the same theme coming up.
It’s almost like a reset button. And when it’s really prominent–like I said, if it’s crossing someone’s Ascendant like that, or interacting with another really key point in a person’s chart–these 8-year intervals can almost seem like new chapters. If you were the person’s biographer, these periods would be where you would be inclined to start that new chapter in the book you’re writing about the person to tell the person’s story in visible, demarcated mini-eras, if you will.
CB: Sure. And you’ve read enough biographies that sometimes biographers literally do start chapters like that sort of humorously in tandem with the Venus retrograde periods even though they don’t realize it.
NDB: Yeah, biographers can be astounding astrologers and they don’t even know it.
CB: Great. That sets up a thing where you can get in the mindset of being able to spot certain nativities that would respond to certain Venus retrogrades versus others that might not be as–what would you say–responsive to them?
NDB: Yeah, responsive is a word. Sometimes I’ve slipped and used a word like vulnerable, which can be accurate sometimes but it doesn’t really convey the word I want. I like responsive because that’s loose enough.
CB: More neutral, I guess.
NDB: More neutral, and it describes what I’m trying to describe without trying to over-define the idea.
CB: I don’t want to say value judgment, but certainly vulnerable I’m sure would be applicable for some examples or some nativities. You mentioned the Monica Lewinsky scandal happening under a Venus retrograde in the past. And so, maybe in some instances that is more appropriate for certain charts if that retrograde opens the door to problems coming up, or for whatever reason the chart is set up that way.
NDB: If the outcome happens to be unpleasant, or the person experiencing the transit has an experience that conveys a sort of victim experience, but that’s not always the case. It’s easy to obviously look at the Lewinsky story and put that out there.
Again, it’s about consensus. The Lewinsky story was about an extramarital affair, an abuse of power. And obviously, it was at the whole core of political office, so it was a scandal for many, many reasons. And for that reason, it was just classic, classic Venus retrograde.
CB: Yeah, definitely, even just in terms of the basic meanings and nature of Venus and your earlier comment in terms of challenging the consensus.
NDB: Exactly. So in terms of being able to spot peoples, nativities who are vulnerable, number one, if you have the cycles memorized and you’re looking at charts then you start to see things. If you know they have a Leo, an Aries, a Scorpio, a Capricorn, or a Gemini Ascendant–if they happened to follow within the correct degrees, the appropriate degrees–then you know right off the bat this is someone who gets a Venus retrograde across that point every 8 years. And the question begs, what is that experience like? And there will be a story there. There is always a story there.
CB: Sure. If Venus retrograde goes across one of their four angles that tends to be a great indication for somebody that’s sensitive to that specific retrograde.
NDB: Exactly. Across certain angles, across the angles, crossing the lights or other key planets that have a lot of weight in the chart. And any of those points–because they’ll be getting this sustained, extra Venus transit over a long period of time and because it’s a repetition–it tends to evoke this cyclical feeling in a person’s life.
CB: Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. And that would sort of tie them in almost permanently to that cycle since that’s going to be happening every 8 years, roughly around the same spot in the zodiac for the greater part of their lives. So there would be certain people that would just be very keyed into that specific retrograde cycle.
NDB: That’s just it. That’s why I really recommend astrologers memorize this. And that’s why in consultations, I will often show people how their cycles are really emphasized and the Venus cycle is really emphasized in their lives. Once the person knows, once the person understands where their chart is hit by a Venus retrograde cycle then you’re set for life in a way. You get it if you know, “Okay, when I was 7 years old, one thing happened, and then I was 15/8 years old and this other event that’s kind of related happened, and then when I was 23/8 years old. Oh, yes, I can see how that was cumulative with the other experiences,” and so on and so forth.
The analogy I use is thinking about prehistoric people who might not have understood that when the Sun went under the horizon and everything got dark, they might not have understood or were reassured that the Sun would come up again and everything would be okay and there would be light again. And if you know your Venus cycle, it can be a bit like that.
Night time doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Many of us are perfectly comfortable at night and find it relaxing because we know it will be day again–it’s not darkness forever. And there can even be comfort in the whole process of the darkness and the night. It’s not necessarily the time we resist at all. And I think the same is very true of a Venus retrograde. As long as you’re not afraid of the dark it could be just fine, and if anything, it can be quite glorious.
CB: Sure. So what are some examples? Let’s go through some examples of famous celebrity charts where somebody had a Venus retrograde that went over a certain angle in their chart–and repeatedly went over that angle in 8-year increments–and what sort of events tied that together for them.
NDB: Okay. Well, I’ve got a bunch of those. One of my favorites maybe to start with is good old Franklin Roosevelt. Franklin Roosevelt was born the 30th of January, 1882, 8:45 PM in Hyde Park, New York. Franklin Roosevelt had four planets in Taurus– Saturn at 60 Taurus, Neptune at 130 Taurus, Jupiter at 16, and Pluto retrograded at 27. The main planets I’m going to be looking at here are the first three–Saturn, Neptune, and Jupiter.
So he’s got those three planets in Taurus that we’re looking at. And like I said, back in the 19th century when he was born, there used to be a Venus retrograde in Taurus. In fact, there had been one the year prior to his birth, so he didn’t experience his first one until 1889. And I don’t know much about that. I don’t know yet about what happened in his childhood, but let’s jump ahead to his adulthood. March 17, 1905, just as Venus was about to go retrograde, it was at 80 Taurus and Jupiter was also in Taurus at that time in March of 1905. This is when he married Eleanor Roosevelt, his cousin. Does anybody know Eleanor Roosevelt’s maiden name? It’s Roosevelt.
CB: That is convenient.
NDB: It is convenient, so there we go. Venus is about to go retrograde and he’s marrying his wife. And if we need to explain why the marriage of Franklin Roosevelt to Eleanor Roosevelt is any way important then you probably have more important learning to do than what we’re discussing on the podcast.
Okay, we jump ahead 8 years and we go to March 1913. Venus is again in Taurus about to go retrograde very close to Franklin’s Saturn, and this is when he’s named the Assistant Secretary to the U.S. Navy by President Woodrow Wilson, which incidentally is a job that Teddy Roosevelt had before, his cousin who’s been president before. And this is when Franklin Roosevelt first goes to Washington. This is his first government job. This is him moving to Washington.
CB: His first big political appointment.
NDB: Exactly. This is a future U.S. president moving to Washington D.C., so clearly it’s important just like the wedding. These are not arbitrary events. No matter what one person thinks of Franklin Roosevelt, one would agree, yes, these are obviously pivotal events for him.
Now I could go through his biography. There are things about 1937 in his presidency during the Venus retrograde in Taurus. This is when he was doing his famous court-packing thing and his Fireside Chat. Basically, there was a big power struggle in his presidency, and it’s one of the weaker points in his presidency. I don’t want to get into the fine points of his political career in order to convey this point. I don’t really have to because if we jump ahead another 8 years after 1937, April 12, 1945, Venus is retrograde now in Aries. It was a Venus retrograde that went from Taurus to Aries. This is when Franklin Roosevelt died.
NDB: In fact, that Venus retrograde that goes from Taurus to Aries, there have been quite a few U.S. presidents who’ve died during that Venus retrograde phase. Dwight Eisenhover would die during the Venus retrograde in Aries. And then in office, Abraham Lincoln was shot during a Venus retrograde in Taurus. James Garfield was shot during a Venus retrograde in Taurus. William Henry Harrison died when Venus was going retrograde in Taurus.
So that particular retrograde has this profound resonance. I don’t see how you could argue with me. I just told you about Franklin Roosevelt’s marriage, career and death–the three central points of life–and they all occurred in this small window of time, in the same Venus retrograde, Chris. This isn’t just about it being 1/6 of total time.
NDB: We’re talking about a 100-day window of time that occurs once every 8 years. So we’re talking about a fraction that’s more like 1/29 of total time.
CB: And it wasn’t just that he died. That was like the culmination in some sense of World War II.
NDB: Yes. Who else died in April of 1945? Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was born with Venus retrograde in Taurus and he died during Venus retrograde in Taurus. And I can tell you Hitler’s life story in much the same way that I just told Roosevelt’s in a similar fashion. He didn’t get married to his sweetheart or anything like that, but I can lay out Hitler’s life in much the same way using those Venus retrograde transits.
I can do it with Churchill, J. Edgar Hoover, all the World War II guys–de Gaulle, Churchill– these are all Leo-Venus retrograde people. And you can even to some degree talk about the Second World War relating to Venus retrograde and superior conjunction cycles.
CB: Okay. Well, I think that was actually a great historical example. Unless you had another one that we can go through quickly, maybe we should transition to a client example, or how you would use this with a client, if you’ve had any anecdotes about personal experiences with this.
NDB: Yeah, I could talk about some client anecdotes because obviously I could go on and on about history.
CB: Yeah, and you actually have some videos and workshops where you do exactly that, right?
NDB: Exactly. I haven’t done the World War II one but that definitely will be done some day. So if anyone wanted me to talk about Churchill and de Gaulle, I’ll certainly do it at some point, so stay tuned.
But yes, this happens in everyday life even in general social interaction. I met a woman a few months ago. She found out I was an astrologer and she told me her date of birth. I don’t need to go into her chart–she was a 1987 Aquarius with a Scorpio rising. Now because I know that in the fall of 1986, Venus goes retrograde in Scorpio, I was intrigued. I thought, “Oh, okay, well, since she’s got Scorpio rising, this is a woman who when she was in her baby’s womb would have had Venus go retrograde over what would eventually be her Ascendant.”
CB: When she was her mother’s womb?
NDB: Exactly. So I was curious. It was just sort of a hunch I had. And I asked her, I said, “I imagine that when your mother was about 6-7 months pregnant with you that she went through some kind of trauma. She went through some kind of schism with a woman or some other sort of really difficult experience involving that.” And this woman said, “Well, yes, when my mother was about 6-7 months pregnant with me, she found out that her mother had just been diagnosed with cancer.” And this woman died not too long after–this woman I’m talking about–the child was born.
CB: Jeez, that is an underdeveloped branch of astrology. Prenatal astrology essentially is what you’re doing.
NDB: Exactly, but I did it on a hunch. It’s one little anecdote, but I did it all knowing that she was born in February of 1987 with a Scorpio Ascendant, and of course born in the ‘80s, so she had Pluto in Scorpio. I suggested this on a hunch–I wasn’t looking at the chart or anything–having memorized the Venus cycle, knowing that Venus retrograde in Scorpio would have crossed over what would have been the Ascendant. I had a hunch that I bet that transit was still in effect even though the baby wasn’t born yet.
CB: Sure, and just demonstrating that principle of retrogrades over the angles are super important.
NDB: Exactly. It could be something that early and that crucial.
CB: Okay. Well, when you’re actually doing a consultation, how do you apply that? How do you apply that if somebody sat down for a consultation with you?
NDB: Sometimes in consultations when relevant, I’ll take a client through their Venus retrograde phases. I’ll certainly do this when I’m confronted with a chart that suggests to me that this should be the course of action. So like everything else in astrology, you spend a long time preparing for the moments when you’re going to have hunches. That, to me, is the whole key to the process.
Their memories for their lives have to be good. So if we were talking about this summer, I would ask them, “Well, what did the summer of 2007 mean to you?” I can give you an anecdote from my podcast. At the end of my podcast, I Love Astrology, the last 20 minutes, I do a consultation with someone. I actually call it Synodic Stories.
So in the first episode of my podcast, I had a woman who was born with Venus retrograde in Aries, and she had the Moon in Aquarius and Mars in Aquarius. And so, I knew looking at her chart that the Venus retrograde in Leo–which is opposite Aquarius–would be very powerful for her because she had both the Moon and Mars in Aquarius which is opposite Leo.
So seeing her chart, knowing that she was born with Venus retrograde–I had about 10-12 applicants for people who wanted their chart read–I picked her specifically because she had Venus retrograde. And I asked her about 2007, the last time Venus have been retrograde opposite her Moon and Mars, and she said, “Oh, well, that’s when I moved out of my mother’s house with my children, moved out of my hometown, got a new great-paying job in a new city and sort of started my life. And it was the first time I was really on my feet as a single mother.” And I said, “Okay, well, let’s go back another 8 years, 1999.” And she said, “That’s right when I broke up with my children’s father, and I had to dance as an exotic dancer in order to pay bills.”
CB: That’s a great example of themes being tied together.
NDB: Exactly. She had this innate sense. She knew some astrology herself. And having been born with Venus retrograde, she knew her life’s chronology very well, and she already had some understanding of how Venus retrograde operated in her life. I guess what I was able to help her do in the episode was show her how it all sort of fits together–have her face the whole fabric of her life, this cloth that weaves in year after year and revisits her every 8 years–how that operates.
CB: Yeah, there’s something a little startling. I would think if you’re coming from outside the astrological community and you presented someone with this and just showed it in all these charts, there would almost be something unsettling about it from a philosophical standpoint, I would think.
NDB: Well, no one’s expecting us to demonstrate astrology in quite this way. And I think the power with this method is there’s less. Don’t get me wrong. An astrologer can still interpret the stuff, but there’s a level in which it doesn’t even need interpretation, where it just speaks for itself, especially in a consultation like I did with the woman on the podcast. All I did was lead her to these periods in her life. She recognized she was the one living the life. She understood it. It doesn’t even matter if I understand what it means to her, she understands.
CB: In relaying the stories or retelling the stories, it becomes self-evident what the similar themes are that tie those periods in some way.
NDB: Exactly. In one sense, there’s not a lot of interpretive work that’s necessary because, in many situations, an astrologer can just lead the subject to the period in time and it’s all self-revealing. It’s really quite magical. But the thing is in terms of what you’re saying, in terms of outsiders, an outsider is really going to think that an astrologer’s just channeling it all, or the opposite extreme that we’re reading something very, very literal that’s giving us the smallest detail of everything.
CB: Right, like a crystal ball or something?
NDB: Right. Either we’re crystal ball, or we’re completely just psychics and the chart doesn’t matter at all. And the thing about the synodic cycle is it kind of removes the astrologer from the equation to the greatest degree possible. That’s what I’m doing with the Synodic Stories series on the podcast. I’m not doing a whole life. I’m just showing the person where these periods are and letting their stories be the reading, and it’s really, really powerful.
CB: Right. You’re literally just reading the ephemeris in some sense.
NDB: In some sense. They’re doing the reading, but they’re the ones who are alive. Even the best astrologer in the world would only ever be able to communicate this stuff on a symbolic level, whereas for them it’s visceral, it’s their actual memories. That’s something that I don’t care how good you are at reading charts, you can’t quite go there.
CB: Yeah, one of the problems with astrology is the symbolic nature of it from the astrologer’s standpoint and the attempt to interpret the symbolism–which you know can be very broad and can have a number of different possible manifestations on a spectrum–how to specifically nail down where it’s going to be on that spectrum, and what the specific manifestation is. But with this, you’re almost inverting it by clearly showing which periods are supposed to be important, showing when they should be tied together, and then allowing the client to connect the dots, or fill in the missing piece that’s left from there.
NDB: Yeah, and that way it’s all theirs. You haven’t walked in and rubber stamped them with your little astrological twist on what their life might mean. You’ve popped the hood, you’ve shown them where the carburetor is and how that connects to the blah to blah–not that I know what the inside of a car actually does. But you’ve really gone in and showed them what’s what and then it’s theirs, and you haven’t gotten your greasy little hands all over it.
CB: Sure. I think that’s a nice and interesting way to reconcile the two extremes in terms of different approaches that astrologers take to prediction, in terms of the extremely hands-off approach that I think some modern astrologers advocate and have developed–especially in the field of counselling where it’s just entirely asking questions about the person’s life and almost not bringing the astrology almost at all–versus the other extreme of the person that just sits and reads the chart and sort of dogmatically asserts or issues certain predictions about what certain periods should be like and how exactly they would be experienced by the person.
NDB: Exactly. In a way, I circumvent that whole problem of even having to confront either of those options by employing this. Although I would say the former example that you cited would benefit quite a bit from employing this kind of technique because you can get really intimate, really important details.
But again, there’s a nice, safe distance. It really comes down to the person’s memories and not down to your baggage, your perspective. Because it’s not about you. If you’re reading someone’s chart, it’s got zero to do with you. You are there to be a vehicle. You are there just to transmit information. It’s about them and their relationship with the cosmos. Again, it varies from case to case and what the person’s looking for, but in employing this particular technique, I find that it has that sort of sanitary quality.
CB: Sure. And I think that would also be impressive and more compelling from the perspective of an outsider–especially a sceptic of astrology who would want to investigate it and see if there’s anything to it–where the astrology is speaking more for itself and it requires less interpretation, or less molding on the astrologer’s part, or even less intervention on some level.
Okay. So in terms of going from here and where people can go from here and some tips for just studying them and what they can do–or how they can take this information and other astrologers or students of astrology can start applying it in their lives-what would you say, or what kind of advice would you give them?
NDB: Well, I stated it earlier–memorize the five Venus retrogrades.
NDB: There’s this one that goes from Virgo to Leo and then 18 months from now, around March of 2017, Venus will go retrograde in Aries. So learn about the Venus retrograde in Aries. And hey, if you’ve got an Aries Moon or an Aries rising, or you’re Libra rising and Aries is your Descendent, anything like that, you might already be getting a heads up as to you why you should learn about that cycle. Maybe go back and figure out what it meant in 2009 or 2001 or 1993 or 1985.
18 months following that you get a retrograde in Scorpio, in the fall of 2018. So again, you go back to 2010, 2002, 1994, etc. Following that we will have a retrograde in Gemini in 2020, in the spring of 2020, I think around May of 2020. Same process again. And then finally we have a retrograde in Capricorn that will occur in the year 2022. That’s quite a ways from now, but you might consider what was going on in your life 18 months ago, the last time Venus was retrograde in Capricorn in very late 2013, early 2014.
So that’s basically it, those are the five points. And we also didn’t talk about superior conjunctions. There are also five times when Venus makes a conjunction to the Sun when it’s not retrograde. There are also five of those every 8 years, and those conjunctions happen in the same place that the inferior conjunctions happen basically at these four-year intervals. So we’re talking about two, five-pointed stars that follow one after the other. So nine months after every Venus retrograde, you always get a superior conjunction. And then nine months after a superior conjunction, you always get another Venus retrograde.
CB: And that kind of fills out the whole of what we’re looking at here as the entire synodic cycle between Venus and the Sun essentially and the important turning points during the course of that.
NDB: Exactly. If one memorizes those five points, again, one instantly recognizes points in the zodiac where every 8 years those Venus retrograde transits are going to hit, and the first thing to do is to investigate whatever chart you’re looking at.
If you’re starting with your own obviously, or the charts of people that you’re learning astrology with–be they your friends, family or celebrity charts–find out about the Venus retrograde transits in their lives and look for those dates. If you see someone’s got an Aries Moon and you’re really curious about what that retrograde would have meant, find out the periods when Venus was retrograde in Aries and have a look.
CB: One other point that I would mention is also just paying attention to what kind of events and themes start developing in the initial buildup phase, during the pre-retrograde Venus shadow period. Once it hits the degree of the shadow period when it’s building up, it starts moving through degrees of the zodiac that it’s eventually going to retrograde back to and then cross over at least once, if not twice more over the course of the next few weeks or the next month or two. And sometimes you’ll see an echoing or repeating of similar themes on the specific dates when it goes over the same degrees a few times.
NDB: That’s very true. A great way to study the phenomenon in a really quick way is just to look at that. Go look at your Facebook page for the last 30 days. And if they stoke any kind of memories–if you had a really good day, a really bad day, or something really memorable in your life–pay attention to where Venus was that day. And then look ahead and see when Venus is going to revisit that degree and see how that matter resurfaces in your life. Chris is right. There will definitely be something staring you in the face if you just have a look.
CB: Sure. And I think Christopher Renstrom’s the first person I’ve heard mention this because I was thinking it as well when it happened. But he mentioned it on the second episode of your podcast that just came out that because the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage came out just before the shadow period started–when Venus was essentially about to conjoin Jupiter–just a question or almost wondering if that wasn’t something that would be revisited somehow for some reason later in the summer, when the Venus retrograde backs up and goes back to almost that same spot in the zodiac, but instead of conjoining with Jupiter, conjoins with Mars, and if there might be some sort of contention surrounding that in the future whatever that would look like.
So I don’t know if that’s actually how it is going to play out. I haven’t studied it enough to say necessarily. At least just in terms of how I’ve seen Venus retrograde work out sometimes in people’s personal lives, the idea of an event happening early in the pre-retrograde shadow period and then coming back to or having to relook at or revisit that a few weeks later when Venus comes back to that point is pretty common it almost seems like.
NDB: Yeah, I think Christopher was quite spot on with that. He’s likely right in terms of how I see that transit play out over and over. Like I said, what’s unique about this summer is the two conjunctions the Venus retrograde makes–the Jupiter conjunction towards the beginning of the retrograde and then the Mars conjunction at the end.
And indeed, it’s when that Mars conjunction hits at the end of August that Venus will be very close to the degree it was at the time of the gay marriage ruling. Christopher’s a very savvy astrologer, and I think he hit the nail on the head there. Time will tell but I suspect he’s right.
CB: Yeah, we’ll have to see what happens. All right. Well, I think that sort of covers everything that we wanted to address in terms of this episode. Were there any last points that you wanted to make just in terms of Venus retrograde as an overall phenomenon, or parting words that you wanted to leave us with just in terms of your thoughts on this as an astrological technique?
NDB: I mean it’s everywhere. I’m not sure what I could say besides that. In terms of what’s going on this summer, I’ve been working on this video. Right now, when I think about Venus retrograde, I think about the content of this video that I’ve been working on.
CB: Yeah, tell me about that because I don’t think we touched upon that enough. But you’ve been focused on a specific area of Venus retrograde in a specific research project that was connected to a paper that you published–was it 8 years ago now?
NDB: It was 8 years ago in 2007. In the summer 2007 ISAR journal, I published an article called Cycles of Injustice. It was about Venus retrograde and the history of U.S. race relations. There is a startling number of very key events in the history of what some people call civil rights–let’s just say that the history of U.S. race relations–that occur during either the Venus retrograde that we have now in Virgo to Leo, or in the mirroring superior conjunction that occurs four years before or after it.
So this was an article I wrote 8 years ago. It’s a very extensive chronology that just talks about events related to these two points in Venus cycle. And I’m about to release a video on my YouTube channel and on my website that is an update of this article. It’s about an hour-long video.
And I guess what I am getting at is the material is obviously really difficult political stuff and a lot of violence. And anyone listening to this podcast, unless they don’t know what’s going on in the news right now, it basically has a lot to do with that and where things could go over the summer. While Venus retrograde isn’t just about hate–it can certainly be about love– unfortunately it is also about hate, so that’s one of the overwhelming things.
What’s happening this summer is something that I was sort of concerned about in abstract way 8 years ago when I wrote the article. But now, seeing how the news is unfolding everything seems very real. It’s a very odd time I guess to be an astrologer.
CB: Yeah, it’s almost weirder in that it’s almost notably more acute now in some ways than it was 8 years ago when you originally wrote it.
NDB: Yeah, exactly. 8 years ago there was this racist event in Mississippi [Louisiana], and they had a march in Jena, Mississippi [Louisiana] to protest this event in the summer of 2007 after I posted the article. And at that point, in 2007, this march in Jena was the largest civil rights march since the 1960s. It was the biggest one that they had had in a very, very long time. I’m sure that’s been eclipsed by what happened in Ferguson recently, but I do expect this summer to be quite explosive.
Again, what distİnguishes this summer’s Venus retrograde from others are these interactions with Jupiter and Mars. In particular, this interaction with Jupiter in Leo has a strong correlation with previous instances of multiple riots occurring over the course of a summer. By riots I really just mean mass violence and clashes between people and police and usually racially-motivated. One summer was 1967 when Jupiter was in Leo–which was called the ‘Long Hot Summer’–and there were dozens of these incidents over the course of the summer in the Venus retrograde. Also the summer of 1919, when Venus was retrograde and Jupiter was in Leo–that was what they called the ‘Red Summer’–and there were, again, dozens of these violent clashes.
I don’t want to be a fear-mongering astrologer. Obviously, I hope we have a nice summer where we all go to the beach and eat barbecue and do the stuff that we do. But given how things are already unfolding in the news, I guess I don’t feel too alarmist. Things were already sort of unfolding in such a fashion that I guess it renders that moot.
CB: Yeah, and you have interesting developments like the Confederate flag thing finally coming into broader focus and being addressed finally. I think that just occurred in the last few weeks during the shadow period, right?
NDB: Yes, I was already hard at work on this video when this horrible shooting in Charleston happened. And my first response was I was horrified, but I had already been spending weeks looking at church bombings that killed little girls and lynchings–I mean horrible, horrible things–so I was already in this headspace where I was confronted with this kind of violence. And seeing that the Charleston thing happened, my first reaction was, well, something really good is going to come of this because I know how this plays out.
When we had a Civil Rights Act happen in 1964 that was very strongly motivated by the fact that a church bombing in Alabama had killed four little girls. When the violence gets that over the top, there’s a political release of some kind. It’s really tough to talk about these things and face them, but for every horrific event there’s some kind of gain acquired. There is something about this Venus retrograde cycle that has something to do with sacrifice, and I think that’s an element of it. It still seems rather unjust and unnecessary, but in so far as the astrology reflects realities in the world, I’d say it’s pretty spot on unfortunately in this case.
CB: That’s really interesting the idea that there’s almost recurring events of a tragedy or a strife that then leads to an improvement on a broader social level as a result of it, or in reaction to it during the retrogrades. Is that one of the broader conclusions or themes that you’ve noticed as a recurring factor?
NDB: In this case, it was really just the revelation in studying the history of this violence, that when something goes that far there will be a pushback, and so that was just my hunch and my reaction to that. Does it have to do with Venus retrograde? Again, much of this kind of violence occurs during Venus retrograde. That’s what I’m going to be demonstrating in this video. It’s rather astonishing.
Not everything. You do get racial violence when Venus isn’t retrograde. The Martin Luther King riots, Venus wasn’t retrograde. The L.A. riots in ‘92 for Rodney King, Venus wasn’t retrograde either. But you know what those two events have in common? They occurred 24 years apart to the month. In other words, the Rodney King riots were still a sort of synodic Venus return of the Martin Luther King riots even if they didn’t correspond to a Venus retrograde phase.
CB: Right. Venus would have been in exactly the same spot in the zodiac and would have occurred on roughly the same dates.
NDB: Exactly. To within the same month. Not the same calendar day but to the same month. This is a whole new way of looking at the calendar, at looking at chronology, at looking at history, and looking at the really big questions in politics like this.
CB: Great. People should definitely check out your videos since I’m sure it’ll go really in-depth into that subject. And they can check it out at your website, which is nickdaganbest.com.
CB: Additionally, the second episode of your new podcast, iloveastrology.com, just came out, and it’s on the topic of Venus retrograde, and you actually interview a bunch of different astrologers on this topic.
NDB: Yes, I think the URL is iloveastrologypodcast.com. I think iloveastrology.com was actually taken, so I have iloveastrologypodcast.com, but you can also just go to nickdaganbest.com and find it. And yes, I have my second episode, it’s called Consensus. This summer’s Venus retrograde is discussed. I’ve got great interviews with Christopher Renstrom, Gary Caton, and Nina Gryphon. Kate Petty is my co-host, and it’s just coming out now.
CB: Excellent. Well, I’m excited about your show, and I loved the first and the second episode. I definitely think that other people that like this podcast would really enjoy yours, so I’d encourage people to check it out.
NDB: Please do.
CB: Yeah, I think that brings us to the end of our discussion today about Venus retrograde, so thanks a lot for joining me. Hopefully, you and everyone else has a relatively decent rest of their retrogrades since it’s just starting today, and now we’re getting into the thick of it. But we’ll have to have you back again next time to discuss other planetary cycles like perhaps the Mars retrograde phase or something like that.
NDB: You bet. I can’t wait. And I’m going to have you on my show too, Chris. You better be ready.
CB: All right. I will be on my toes.
CB: All right. Well, thanks everyone for listening, and we’ll see you next time.