Thanks to just how quickly Mercury moves — and the number of times a year it appears to move backwards from our vantage point on earth — it’s likely the planet you most associate with retrogrades. But it’s far from the only planet that requires us to slow down and go inward every so often.
Romantic Venus kicked off its retrograde on December 19, 2021 spurring reflection around all of the areas of life it oversees — relationships, beauty, love, money, and values — until January 29, 2022.
If that sounds like a total downer, take heart: Because the retrograde is happening in industrious cardinal earth sign Capricorn, there’s a pragmatic vibe to this transit, which lends itself to pinpointing actionable steps and rational solutions instead of just spinning your wheels.
Here’s what you need to know about Venus’ 2021-2022 retrograde.
What It Means When Venus Is Retrograde
The planet of love, which oversees how you relate to others, how you flirt and express yourself artistically, how you experience pleasure, and what you value and see as aesthetically pleasing, is a personal planet that spends about a month in each sign. It also goes retrograde — in other words, slows down and appears to be moving backwards — every 18 months.
When moving direct (aka when it’s not retrograde), Venus colours how you externally relate to others (not only romantically but platonically or collegially), experience love, romance, and beauty, and think about money and material possessions. One of the benefic planets (the other being Jupiter), which are thought to bring good fortune, Venus has a pleasure- and charm-boosting effect on anything it’s interacting with. Say it’s in your third house of communication; because it’s such a social planet and the third house is all about connecting with others, you’ll be especially charming, curious, and capable of hitting it off with a variety of people, possibly brainstorming artistic ideas right and left. If it’s in your tenth house of career and public image, you’ll be particularly magnetic when you step into the spotlight and especially capable of making a winning impression on higher-ups.
And when Venus is retrograde, which occurs for about six weeks, you can expect delays, confusion, and a nudge to go inward in regard to the areas of life the romance planet rules. Like Mercury retrograde, Venus’ backward turn is a time to go back to the drawing board, reflect, revise — but specifically in terms of relationships, creative projects, and financial endeavours.
Your focus — aka your Venus retrograde mission, if you will — is based on the house of your natal, or birth chart that Venus is retrograde in. For instance, if it’s in your first house of self, you’ll be reflecting on your personal brand and how you want to be presenting yourself in the world. If it’s in your seventh house of partnership, you’ll be meditating on your closest one-on-one relationships.
And while Venus retrogrades are not to be treated as huge, fear-mongering red flags for moving forward on anything related to love, beauty, and money, it’s not the ideal time to tie the knot (unless perhaps you and/or your partner were born with natal Venus retrograde or it’s a remarriage, which would be fitting), get a bold makeover, buy a new wardrobe, or make a major financial investment. Instead, this transit’s all about addressing and nurturing Venusian business that’s already well underway.
What to Know About 2021-2022’s Venus Retrograde
Because Venus retrogrades happen every 18 months, the last one was from May 13 to June 26, 2020, in mutable air sign Gemini, which is ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication. So the tone of the transit was actually a bit mercurial, fueling miscommunication — but also curiosity and ability to gather information, as the sign of the Twins is prone to do — in our relationships.
This time around, Venus moves backwards through cardinal earth sign Capricorn, ruled by taskmaster Saturn, so the vibe is quite different. Hardworking Capricorn, symbolised by the Sea Goat, is determined to reach the peak of any mountain it attempts to climb, and its ruler, Saturn, the planet of limitations, boundaries, and commitment, asks us to put in the work to truly earn whatever it is we’re aiming for. So as Venus retrograde encourages you to take a step back and smooth over the rough edges in your relationships to others, yourself, and money, the fact that it’s in Capricorn can help you come up with a practical, step-by-step game plan for doing just that — and then, once Venus is direct, using what you’ve learned to make concrete progress.
The retrograde’s Cap vibes also mean you can expect more internalising and reflection about topics that fall under Saturn’s realm: practising setting boundaries, learning to say “no,” better understanding your limits, etc.
A few days when you might feel the Venus retrograde energy more than others:
December 25: Venus pairs up with transformative Pluto for the second time this month (the first was when Venus was direct on December 11), intensifying desires in a way that could even morph into infatuation and power play.
December 29: Messenger Mercury and Venus pair up, which could be a wonderful moment for having a healing heart-to-heart to tackle an ongoing emotional issue with a loved one or friend ahead of ringing in the new year.
January 5: Venus forms a friendly sextile to dreamy Neptune in imaginative Pisces, which could be a wonderful time to catch up on your zzz’s — and daydreams.
January 8: The confident sun and Venus pair up, potentially marking a turning point in your personal Venus retrograde narrative. Feeling more self-assured, you could be prepared to take action.
The Signs That Will Be Most Affected by Venus Retrograde
Although every sign could feel the love planet’s backward turn, those born while the sun was in Capricorn — from December 22 to January 21 — or with personal planets (the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars) in the sign of the Sea Goat (something you can learn from your natal chart) will feel this retrograde more than most.
If you want to get even more specific, check to see if you have a personal planet that falls within five degrees of where Venus stations retrograde and direct (26 degrees Capricorn and 11 degrees Capricorn). If so, you’ll be especially stirred to slow down and go inward to clarify how you’re showing up in your closest bonds, how you’re defining and viewing beauty, and how you’re valuing money and material possessions.
The Grounded Takeaway
The word retrograde tends to trigger a great deal of nervousness, fear, and worry, whether talking about Venus, Mercury, or any celestial body. It’s important to remember that these transits are just a part of the universe’s “regularly scheduled programming” and serve a crucial purpose: to take a step back and tie up loose ends related to the themes that the planet in question deals with. As much as you might love to be ploughing forward 24/7/365 every year of your life, retrogrades remind you that it’s okay to take a break — especially in order to reassess and edit key areas of your life.
While Venus is most comfortable when it’s moving through ethereal, romantic signs like social Libra and dreamy Pisces, the fact that it’s turning backwards in Capricorn could really be seen as a gift. After all, the Sea Goat’s work ethic is downright enviable. There are few signs who are so fired up to go all in to achieve whatever it is they’ve set out to do, even if it takes a ton of time, energy, patience, and resilience. By holding that ethos in mind, it’s possible to see this Venus retrograde as a special opportunity to lay the groundwork for a beautiful, inspiring, pleasure-filled 2022.
This story first appeared on www.shape.com.
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Alex Sandoval)
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