Venus goes retrograde in Capricorn on the 19th December. You might think – fine, Venus retrogrades every 19 months or so, and what of it? But it is a very big deal. I have noted the effects of this placement and the baleful impact it can have on relationships in a previous article as I have Venus in Capricorn. It goes in an 8-Year cycle and here it is returning to this point once again. Deep sigh. It could be a recurring pattern, or a reality check in the love department that is badly needed if that is an issue for you at the moment. But if you don’t have a partner, then it flips to how you feel about yourself and since all relationships are about this primary one, it is essential that is grounded and healthy. There are deals to be made about who does what where and when and how much money as Venus in Capricorn is like the CEO of a company everything has to be tightly ordered down to the last memo before she can relax and blossom in her life. There needs to be respect and if that is not there the relationship disintegrates.
Venus stations at 26° Capricorn on the 19th on the full moon in Gemini, so check if that lands on any planet you may have there. It should be especially relevant if you have Venus in Capricorn, or even Venus in the 10th house which is ruled by Saturn. But Venus matters to us all no matter which sign it is in. The retrograde goes until the end of January 2022- the 29th. There is no getting around what we value and if that requires a radical rethink, then this end of the year period is the time to do that. The best way to ride along with the Venus retrograde is to just willingly accept that now is the time to do a life audit on your boundaries regarding relationships, values, finances and resources. It is time to examine what works what does not work, your image and reputation in the world, to restructure who should stay and who should go. It would be a good time to weed out any co-dependency where you learn to stand on your own feet.
It is just a fact that you can never be fully aligned to your true self if these inner self worth and values are fully acknowledged and sorted. Venus is coming into this territory whether you like it or not. How that affects you depends- on you. In Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche Marie Louise von Franz said “It depends upon your self whether this coming of the gods is a blessed visit or a fell disaster.” So I don’t support the fatalistic “it’s always this way'” kind of astrology. How we respond is crucial; it is just as important as what happens. We might want to take all the challenges coming at us in a more reflective and dignified way this time around as befits Venus in this area. Check also which house it falls in to see which part of your life it manifests the most.
Like Father, like Daughter
Venus and Saturn – the ruler of Capricorn -are not necessarily uneasy bedfellows. At first it might look like a mismatch, there might be disciplinary problems, even parental abuse, a strictness and severity, some bondage even- clear boundaries at least -but having examined this in various charts, I see this in a more positive light. Venus is about values and Saturn is about getting life sorted and facing up to gritty realties. If these two can align it strengthens every aspect of life as that life can then be more truly rooted in reality and therefore more deeply comfortable with what you are and what you have.
Venus with Saturn can be seen more like the dutiful daughter who takes after her father more than her mother. She loves her father, and she is the one who has the best insight into his psychology. Where others fail to get through to him, only she is able to do so. She is the mediator in that exchange. She’s the only one who can talk to him as she does not judge him harshly as others do. They are able to relate on a human level. So this means that Saturn -Venus conjunctions can be the kind where it may look bad on the surface but can bring a lot of good in the long run. On the one hand there’s a restraining of the excesses of Venus and on the other a softening of the severity of Saturn. They can become a gold star blend. This may depends on other aspects supportive or unsupportive and the house placement as to how it plays out, but this is my understanding.
But Venus is also able to perceive the faults in any older man who represents the institutions and power hierarchy and that might mean a full reevaluation of how we relate to the entrenched figures in the government. The reason for this is that on the archetypal level we are the ‘children’ of the state and some – not everyone- may still perceive the government as a type of father figure. Remember the Venus archetype is within every man and Saturn can have his feminine side too. Capricorn is a feminine sign of Earth. The works on a subtle level and the way these archetypes work can completely blindside us to what is really going on so the retro period might bring a reality check here to so any abuse is seen for what it is.
Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time
One of my favourite paintings is Angolo Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time (1503). I had planned devote an entire article just to this painting as it is a rich brew of symbolism and real meat to an astrologer. But now that Venus is Capricorn and about to go backwards, it shows up as having an important message at the end of 2021-beginning of 2022. It has the revelatory feeling of a major arcana Tarot card as it has multiple possible interpretations depending on the moment it is seen and the ‘observer effect’. It is one of the most well executed paintings – nothing is out of place, not even the golden figure straddling the tiara, yet it can be baffling.
What does it all mean? There is playfulness between the kiss- almost cute and frivolous between Venus and Cupid, hinting at incest. The body is very fleshy and Cupid’s hand is tweaking her breast and their pose looks unbalanced and unnatural. Yet in the background is Cronos aka Saturn or Time, and he is holding back the curtain, protecting Venus and her show like the theatrical stage manager. Everything unfolds in time so Venus cannot exist without Saturn and Saturn needs Venus. Between the two of them they can avoid the excesses of Folly which is just the mistakes of life i.e. our experience.
It is called an ‘allegory’ and as such cannot be easily put into words. It has to be seen and experienced so I encourage people to go to the National Gallery and stand in front of this painting for an hour or so in a receptive state. Then note down what you understand and it would not surprise me that it is of awe and inspiration and a penetration into the mysteries. What is its relevance today? It tells us to wise up- fun can only go so far, then a sobering reminder that grief and time are waiting in the background but the fun and frolics and the beauty still take place in the foreground. Life has a theatrical flavour as if it is staged, but this Venus is also stoical. The Lamia behind the figure carrying roses is a strange chimerical creature with the body of a lion and a serpent’s tail, referring to the deep alchemical and transformational work needed to fully realise this Venus.
Bronzino – which means ‘the bronze one’- was born 17th November 1503 but in the old Julian calendar that makes him a Scorpio-Sag with the sun at 3° of Sagittarius. But he still has the Moon and the Ascendant in Scorpio with a sun conjunct Pluto so he would have had a powerful influence and could paint all styles from pure and elevated to the heights to also base and ribald. Little is known about him or what kind of relationships he had- which is typical of Scorpio Ascendants. He was no braggart about his exploits as Benvenuto Cellini (Scorpio) was in the famous autobiography. Bronzino did however write burlesque poems and some say that gives clues to his character but he belongs to the entire culture in Florence at the time with all its authoritarian rule, rivalries, patronages and rampant favouritism. He was the court painter at the time of the first Cosimo de Medici.
What is striking is that Venus is at 18° in Capricorn in his chart. So here we have someone whose natal archetypes resonate well with Venus and Saturn. This applies to anyone with Venus-Saturn conjunction. So this painting may have had some personal significance for him as Venus is ruled by Saturn is in his 3rd house of Communication and that would give reserve to his expression and in his poetry. This fuller resonance to the painting as this is embedded into his psyche. Venus also rests with Neptune to heighten the realisation and artistic fulfilment that this painting represents but this also increases the multiplicity of meanings. Neptune thrives in ambiguity and forever eludes being pinned down. And he has a stellium of muse asteroids in the creative sign of Leo.
Bronzino deliberately painted this work as a talking point to stimulate debates among his audience who would understand that it was ‘visual poetry’. What’s more, this Venus/Neptune sits opposite Saturn in the sign of Cancer. Saturn nestles between Jupiter and Mars so this trio in Cancer is tremendously fertile in the 9th house of higher philosophies and cultivates through hard discipline to create rich and memorable artwork. It does not surprise me that it has lasted as long as it has with the same brilliance as there is a kind of diamond like quality to Venus placed in Capricorn- Venus is chizeled down to her underlying and enduring brilliance by all the hardships Saturn brings to her.
Venus in Capricorn
Many have commented that Venus plays a different game in each sign. In Taurus she likes simple and direct and fruitful. In Leo she stirs up the drama to be on show enjoying the attention. In Virgo she is more demure, reticent, discerning, more complex; in Pisces she is somehow spiritualised and nebulous, hard to pin down. But in Capricorn she becomes businesslike, possibly a bit stern, but at least mature, practical, wise, and thrifty with money, but still sensual, poised, distinguished and no less alluring than Venus in Libra. It might take longer to warm to people with this placement and they too will take their time before they trust you. People who have Venus in Capricorn appear to retain their looks long into old age and even in youth know how to turn themselves out with a classic look built exactly to stand the test of time.
To review female actors and performers with Venus in Capricorn there is Maggie Smith, Susan Sontag, Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton, Cindy Crawford, and it would be safe to say that Scarlett Johannsen, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus may have a more enduring image for many years to come too. We throw around the word ‘handsome’ usually for men, but with Venus in Capricorn, this word is definitely applicable to the women too as it is no mere prettiness but something deeper, darker and smokier. They are ‘handsome’ in that way that men are, somehow- built to last, well structured with fine cheekbones and good dress sense. They may retain their looks, their strength and dignity.
Among the men are some of the best-known good looking chaps of all- their allure can’t be neatly explained –call it charisma because it has ‘classic’ status. They include Ronald Coleman, Clark Gable, James Dean, Franco Nero, John F. Kennedy Junior, Paul Newman, Brad Pitt and Christian Bale. It strikes me too that these images parallel the type of glacial, austere and enigmatic look that Bronzino produced in his portraits of people in the Florentine court. The warmth of character is only dimly perceived in the apparent coldness, yet they never fail to rouse sexual interest.
On December 11th Venus conjuncts Pluto before the retrograde. On December 25th there is a second hit of Venus conjunct Pluto. This emphasises the deep and intense involvement of money and banking but can also be about intimacy and personal power dynamics. Have you been selling yourself short for any reason? The conversation around the Christmas dinner table could be very sombre and with Saturn square Uranus even explosive too- but this could be needed to clear the air, so we have a deeper more ‘real’ conversation that leads to greater self worth for all concerned. We will know where we stand at least. That Venus meets Pluto twice in this journey only adds to the intensity and karmic feeling heralded by these placements. Some shadow work might be needed to get through this.
There is also the Venus Star point in Capricorn – which is when it reaches the 18° which is part of the 8- year cycle where Venus conjuncts the Sun and re-emerges from behind it as Lucifer with her brilliant light and I can testify to this recently. Up on Parliament Hill, on a clear evening when people see Venus in the sky it fills them with inexplicable joy and awe. They say things like “I didn’t realise how brilliant she is.” Yes, she is truly a shining star. Looked at closely through a telescope however, the picture is murkier, and there is not much to see but gaseous surface. But from earth with the naked eye Venus shines brighter than any other star but the Sun and Moon. The mystery of the Venus path that tracks a pentagram across certain signs is whole other dimension and a whole other article. Arielle Guttman is the astrologer to consult should you wish to work more with knowing where your Venus star point is. Basically, it is the point where Venus conjuncts the Sun in the pre-natal chart – and that point keeps getting hit throughout your life- and you can find it here.
Once every 19 months Venus does her backtrack and we see a retrograde. If we follow what Venus is doing, there are certain key dates to note in your diary. It entered Capricorn on 6th November. Then Venus goes retrograde the 19th December Venus will go backwards from 26° of Capricorn to 11° of Capricorn on January 30th. It is always intriguing to notice what this phenomenon brings. Many astrologers have laid out the warnings: don’t marry, don’t be fooled in love, don’t do big redecorations, and keep an eye on your money and your former partners resurfacing. These fears may be misplaced- they won’t all happen. But if your Venus is in Capricorn on any of these degrees specifically, pay attention to what resurfaces for re-evaluation.
There is definitely a re-evaluation and that could bring a sobering analysis of practical arrangements in the love department. That could involve a long drawn out splitting of finances. Capricorn also may relate to big investments, banking institutions, so losses of money investments are possible. People now wish to review how stable their income actually is, perhaps by doing a full audit. This could apply to the entire banking system too and we may be in for some radical changes during this period- the question is if fiat money will survive against the onslaught of cryptocurrencies -and whether it needs to be backed by metals. Wherever Uranus comes to greet Venus will mark the sudden upsurge of talk or shift towards crypto-currency; for example, Venus squares Uranus on March 19th and when Venus conjuncts Uranus on June 11th of 2022.
Where this movement of Venus turning backwards affects love relationships we may be pushed to decide if our loved ones are truly stable and authentic and would fight for us in a crisis or not. That might mean cementing a commitment and signing a marriage contract marriage but also the opposite, agreement to accept that it is no longer valid or serving you, and thus a divorce may be on the cards. These are hard lessons but necessary as they make you wiser so while there is pain there is also a cleansing. I am reminded of the song ‘Ain’t Nothing going on but the Rent’ (1986) by Gwen Guthrie in which words are ‘no Romance without Finance.’ That’s Venus in Capricorn telling it like it is. Cynical yes, but sometimes Venus is realistic and down to earth in this sign. That’s not a bad thing. They take the rose-coloured glasses off. It is exactly these practical monetary arrangements what make or break relationships. The truth of who you are should shine through. Just be aware of the inner prostitute archetype- which we all have- where you may be selling yourself short or asking for too much?
Some astrologers warn strongly never to get married during this time and that may be true. If the date could be put off, then that may be a good idea. At least wait until Venus finally goes direct or moves into Aquarius on the 7th March. We may not perceive the real value of someone during the Venus retrograde period, and it can feel like a fairy tale where the beauty seen on the surface seems shiny and new, but transforms into something dark and ugly that we did not really see. That’s because we had the Venus Retrograde lenses on. Venus in Capricorn likes to see and appreciate the reality but while retrograde her ability to do that is sorely challenged. So it’s good to be aware but to carry on your life as normal.
So this whole phases while Venus is in Capricorn lasts five months. Five is that significant number for Venus as she makes a pentagram in her journey around the Sun hitting five key points to create a beautiful star flower pattern. That’s a long time to have to deal with these inner forces asking you to take stock of what you value. But it may be worth it in the end as it will align you to something deeper more real and lasting within yourself. We may emerge fortified and reformulated with more authentic self esteem and that can only be eventually beneficial as oft repeated truism comes to have meaning and we see exactly how what does not kill us, makes us stronger.
© Kieron Devlin, Proteus Astrology, December 14th, 2021 All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, image credits are in the Public Domain via WC
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