|There are some (men) who think that there can be no better role in life than being the male lion in a pride. With a choice of delightful females, who also put the food on the table, there is very little for a lion in his prime to worry about. That is unless you happen to be Waldemar, the unfortunate young lion who was put together with two demanding lionesses in Copenhagen Zoo last fall. They ate him.
Venus at it most deadly
This tragic event took place in October 2002, which was when Venus turned retrograde at 15 degrees Scorpio, where it remained for four long months. As Jupiter had recently moved into Leo, Venus, whilst stationary retrograde, made a long deadly square to this planet, which must surely have symbolized the young and overconfident lion, who met his fate at the hand of such deadly sisters. Obviously a planet in detriment, as Venus is in Scorpio, does not necessarily make it weak, but it does tend to evoke inappropriate actions. I wondered at the time what this might mean for the clients who came in this period. Would they too, be self-destructive in relationships? Would they eat putative partners? And what would happen when Mars – the natural ruler of Scorpio – entered the sign to conjoin Venus in December. Surely then, some strong male would turn up and put everything in its rightful place?
December 2002 certainly did witness many extraordinary stories of love as strong Mars joined weak Venus turning direct in very close square to Neptune. Those readers who have an affinity with Venus and Mars – particularly Aries, Scorpio, Taurus and Libra – will no doubt be able to recall that month as memorable, and challenging. Meeting anyone in that period, it would have been extremely difficult to build any concrete foundation for love – although this could have been a very satisfying period erotically.
Olek asserts himself
Our lionesses had to wait a while longer, but at 8 a.m. on Tuesday 5th August 2003 a strapping five year old lion Olek, headhunted for his fierceness from a Hungarian zoo, was introduced to one of the deadly sisters in the zoo compound.
By August 2003 Venus was in Leo, and building up to the conjunction with the Sun in Leo… Olek, king of the beasts. Astrologically it was an excellent time for lion to meet lioness, and as the Sun is in its own sign, Olek was able to establish his authority. This is a very good example of the phenomenon of “combustion” – which is traditionally said to exist when a planet gets within about 8 degrees of the Sun. When Olek met the lioness there was a huge battle (see the compelling video clip! ), and initially it was difficult to see who had the upper hand. After two minutes of struggle, they both had a grip on each other’s jaws, and they both suffered damage. Ultimately the lioness submitted. This Venus encounter, though violent, was far more beneficial that the October 2002 encounter. The conjunction and combustion between the Sun and Venus shows the merging of energy, and even though both are damaged, it is in the natural order of things. Venus and the Sun in the form of the lioness and Olek can now look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.
The Sun/Venus cycle
This type of Sun/Venus conjunction takes place exclusively in the signs of Gemini, Capricorn, Leo, Aries and Scorpio, and it is only after a period of approximately 100 years that this sequence changes. Each conjunction takes place in a cycle of eight years, a little over two degrees earlier each time. The Scorpio cycle is due to change in 2022, when the Sun/Venus conjunction takes place in Libra, initiating a new 100-year period.
The Leo conjunction is great for grand events, and if you have plans to marry royalty, this is the time to do it. In Denmark news of the imminent engagement of a sporty Australian girl by the name of Mary to the as yet unmarried handsome prince Frederik became known, to the delight of patriotic Danes. There can hardly be a better time for royal weddings than with the Sun/Venus/Jupiter conjunction of 2003.
Sun/Venus superior (direct) conjunctions take place with Venus on the opposite side of the Sun to the Earth, and herald the start of a cycle that lasts a little over 19 months. Half way through this period, Venus goes retrograde and, passing between the Earth and the Sun, the inferior (retrograde) conjunction takes place. This type of Sun/Venus conjunction takes place in Aquarius, Virgo, Aries, Scorpio and Gemini in the current historical period. Gemini gets more than its fair share of Venus/Sun conjunctions in the 20th and 21st centuries, and this can probably be related to a number of developments, from the era of comfortable travel, through to vastly increased educational opportunities for women, and possibly the surge in “serial” marriages.
The Full Cycle
Compared to Mercury, which goes retrograde three times a year, it is far more unusual to have Venus retrograde in the birth horoscope, or moving retrograde by progression. About 70% of people will experience Mercury retrograde (at birth or by progression) whilst only 15% will experience the Venus retrograde. When Venus does move retrograde, it lasts for about 42 days, which is equivalent to 42 years in the progressed chart. The retrograde cycle is a time when values get shaken up, and a change in natural order takes place.
1. Venus catches up with the Sun in a long combustion process stretching over a month.
2. After 8 months Venus enters the loop of its coming retrograde phase.
3. Venus, still direct, now reaches the degree at which it will make the retrograde conjunction with the Sun.
4. Venus grinds to a halt to become stationary retrograde.
Looking at the chart, it certainly makes the best of the aspects of the time. It’s a good choice to have Pluto exactly trine Jupiter, with Mercury in Libra making a sextile to both. Probably the content was fine, but the economy was not. It folded 40 days later when a check to a catering company bounced, and the investors lost millions. But then Venus, retrograde in Scorpio after having squared showy Jupiter, and moving back to square Neptune and confront the Sun in Scorpio, could not have been weaker.
In the progressed chart stationary Venus marks a turning point in love in connection with bonds to the past. As Venus will inevitably retrograde back into a previous sign in the current historic period (with the exception of when it occurs in Gemini or Aries), this often means returning to an old environment. Generally relationships that occur in the whole 40+ year retrograde period go against the grain in some way, and there is often a strong feeling of “familiarity” with the person involved. After all, Venus has traversed this territory before.
5. Venus retrograde conjoins the Sun.
6. Venus moves stationary direct.
7. Venus returns for the third time to the degree at which it conjoined the Sun.
8. Venus leaves the loop, crossing the degree at which it went retrograde.
Retrograde Venus and US elections
The coming Venus loop in 2004 is naturally part of an 8 year cycle occurring in Gemini, and this of course means that every second US election takes place just after a time when Venus has been in Gemini for over 4 months. This means that historically Venus has conjoined the US Mars at 21 Gemini, and squared the US Neptune three times just prior to every second election. As the retrogradation takes place 2 degrees earlier in the sign with every cycle, the stationary direct Venus approaches the US Uranus at 8.55 Gemini more and more with each cycle. This time the station takes place at 9.38 Gemini, so it is possible that there are some sudden surprises around the end of June 2004 as it comes within orb. At any rate this Venus loop corresponds very well with the aggressive campaigning, speechifying and travelling that takes place prior to the election. The US is polarized at this time and has to make a stark choice. With the activation of the Mars/Neptune square, truth is not the issue… image is everything.
The Venus/Pluto opposition
The significance about the coming retrograde Venus cycle is that transit Pluto has by his time reached the opposition to the US Mars, so that there is a greater sense of urgent crisis, especially connected with the US military. The Venus/Pluto opposition which takes place three times in May, June and July 2004, could really show a very powerful group of women who confront the evasive Mars/Neptune – US generals and anyone who supports military expansion. There will be an insistence on military cutback and withdrawal, which will become a major election theme. As Venus/Pluto also indicates economic exhaustion, and concealment of economic expenses, clearly compromising information about military decisions and expenditure will threaten the political status quo. This is the one and only time the Venus retrograde cycle in Gemini will oppose Pluto.
Venus is full of mysteries, and this article just represents a small part of the relationship this planet has to the Sun and Earth. Its loops through five signs every eight years have been well documented, and its lotus-like light path through the sky is a source of wonder. A first step to a deeper understanding of its influence in your own chart is to identify which phase of the direct and retrograde cycle it is in, and to correlate this phase with the unfolding of relationships and economy in your life.
Adrian Ross Duncan.
August 13th 2003.