How to benefit from a retrograde period
Layered Heart watercolor painting by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
When any planet goes retrograde, it appears to move backward, as seen by us on Earth. Although the planets do not actually move backward, a retrograde period brings us a powerful metaphor about going back over previously traveled ground: we can review the areas of life governed by the retrograde planet as well as themes linked to the sign it occupies. A retrograde also helps us reconsider the affairs associated with the sign(s) that planet rules.
In the case of Venus, we can benefit from looking at love, affection, and attraction. Because Venus is in Gemini, we have an opportunity to review how we express love and affection (Venus) via our minds through thinking, speaking, and writing and via technology such as electronic communications and social media (Gemini). Because Venus rules Taurus and Libra, this is a good time to analyze our values, bodies, resources, and possessions (Taurus) as well as our relationships--especially marriage and partnerships--and our need for balance, harmony, peace, and justice (Libra).
Outer challenges encourage inner reflection
Venus tends to soften and sweeten whatever she touches. In Gemini, she can help us communicate with kindness and think positive thoughts about others. When a planet is retrograde, however, it often feels as if its gifts are missing from our lives; with Venus retrograde in Gemini, her gifts of pleasant conversation, mental attractiveness, and verbal charm may be in short supply. This loss occurs because a retrograde de-emphasizes outward action in favor of inward exploration.
To make the most of Venus's retrograde in Gemini, we can shift our emphasis from socializing (Venus) and communicating with others (Gemini) to inner reflection and personal analysis. Rather than keeping up constant efforts to make new friends or have new experiences, we can slow down to think about current relationships and past experiences. In solitude, we can consider which relationships enhance our lives and which could be improved or need to end.
We have ample opportunity to complete this review and then make changes because Venus's sojourn in Gemini lasts from April 3 through August 7, which is much longer than usual because of this retrograde. If you take time now to look within, you will find inner beauties and love you may have overlooked. When Venus moves forward again on June 27, your life can become sweeter as you begin expressing what you learned during the retrograde.
Influences from the past
Retrogrades also help us by enabling us to journey into the past. With Gemini involved in this retrograde, you may come across old letters or e-mails or you may hear from someone you haven't seen in years. Or you may hear a song whose lyrics provide a special message just for you, or you may feel prompted to revisit a book you loved in childhood.
With Venus involved, something lovely from the past may reappear. You may find that people from your past--particularly women--cross your path again. Or you may revisit a cherished hobby you gave up long ago or feel an urge to beautify your wardrobe or home with vintage items. You may want to jot down notes about what you experience during the retrograde so you can review your experiences and decide what to keep in your life after Venus goes direct.
How do you think and how do you love?
Given Gemini's natural curiosity, you may enjoy taking a creative approach to this period. Go within to reflect on your mind and consciousness and notice how your mind typically works. Is it fast but scattered? Or steady but prone to stagnation? Can you concentrate and ignore distractions? Do you regularly entertain new ideas, or are you still running your life based on old ideas or outworn thoughts? Do you identify yourself with your thoughts, or are you able to see that your consciousness is far bigger than just your mental realm?
Given Venus's presence in Gemini, think about how you express love. Can you tell someone else, "I love you"? When you say it, do you mean it? When you're with others, do you listen to them or only pretend to pay attention while you're thinking about yourself or your next humorous remark? Have you ever purposely hurt someone with words, or has someone else ever done that to you? Do you extend your love to yourself, or are you unable to accept yourself, imperfections and all? Are you able to let go of old relationships, or are you stuck on regrets or resentment?
Let love guide your thoughts
One of the most powerful ways to use this Venus retrograde period is to link Venus's love and beauty with Gemini's love of the mind and communication. Beautify your mind by taking note of your thinking style and making the most of its strengths. Use your mind for constructive purposes and strengthen it by improving your ability to concentrate, reflect, and meditate.
In everyday life, notice your thoughts. Reject negative ones and welcome in uplifting, loving ones. Train yourself to see the good in everyone you meet and to see a benefit in every challenging experience. Over time, you will make mental harmony a habit and be able to express a thoughtful love that assists others.
Once you have an ability to refrain from negative thoughts, begin to use your mind actively to promote good: speak well of others (even people you do not know or may never meet), think happy thoughts about them when they experience good times, and extend compassionate thoughts when they struggle or stumble. When you observe disharmony or see others fighting, refrain from taking sides and fill your mind with images of an amicable solution and thoughts of love and peace. Your own peace of mind will influence others by example, and your ability to envision a happy conclusion will help others do the same. Over time, you will find that you have become the fabled "instrument of peace."
Enjoy Venus's retrograde. May your reflections bring you much pleasure as you consider what makes your mind most beautiful and what makes your thoughts truly loving.