Ha, Ha, You Can't Catch Me...


Ah, the thrill of the chase.

It begins with girls and boys running after each other around the playground during recess, and it gives way to bizarre adult mating rituals. For so many of us adrenaline junkies, this pursuit is infinitely more energizing and passion-inspiring than the supposedly desired union once it's achieved. The anticipation of almost reaching 'it', so alluring it generates a taste in your mouth. Energy invested, but not yet spent.

For most of 2004, Venus and Mars will be playing this cat-and-mouse game with each other, invigorating our whole year with that creative tension borne from the thrill of chase. This is a much-needed and well-deserved propulsive boost in forward dynamism, a welcome shift from the second half of 2003, in which we retraced steps in perpetual partial confusion (thank Mars's six-month retrograde-inclusive transit through Pisces!). So much of that time, we were waiting for the 'next big thing' to happen but never really sure if perhaps we'd just passed it by. That's why when 2003 finally ended, I for one was saying, 'Not a moment too soon.'

Venus and Mars make a delightfully matched yin/yang couple of planets. Venus (the yin) is the more 'passive' of the pair, in the sense that she likes to attract things to her. Through the placement of Venus, we learn more about what makes us happy and fulfilled through the types of people we love, the objects and experiences we find beautiful (i.e., what's 'artful' to us), and what we deem most valuable in our lives. Mars (Mr. Yang) is the projective one who, without care or constraint, asserts his individuality by acting and doing in ways he sees fit. Mars drives us to go out and grab what we want, and he doesn't mind if we must use force or face conflict to get it.

Venus and Mars energies are active in the lives of all of us, men and women, whether or not we choose to recognize them (and despite my use of gendered pronouns to describe them). And you can see quite clearly why they go together so well, Mars delivering our independent zeal and Venus reflecting our preferences in other people, things and situations. It makes sense that dynamic interaspects between two people's Mars and Venus placements are a key astrological indicator of attraction in relationships.

Venus is the faster-moving planet of the two, so she is the pursuer in this case of the '04 chase. Currently, Mars leads the way, a role he is quite comfortable fulfilling, warrior and pioneer that he is. He enlivens us to move forward, forging a path for ourselves through unique independent action that helps us to define who we are in relation to the world. As Venus eagerly follows behind, speeding along and trying to close Mars's lead, she delivers her fruits through charmed interactions, romantic affections and pleasant results in the same areas of life just touched by Martian activity. The promise of their eventual union—a moment where both yin and yang energies work in unison, pushing and pulling, acting and reacting, staying simultaneously directed and receptive—hovers with palpable excitement in the air.

This recent heightened sense of 'something happening' (and/or 'something about to happen') began shortly before the new year, when Mars finally left Pisces (not his favorite placement!) after six months and entered Aries in mid-December. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac—and Mars's ruling sign—so this entrance marked the beginning of a new cycle of dynamic Mars-ness. It was at that time I personally felt a new start, an energy boost, a goodbye to '03, though New Year's Eve was still a couple weeks away. After all, Mars likes being in Aries. It gives him extra energy to spark up new projects and new ways of being, to fight inertia and any human or inanimate obstacles that promote it.

At the end of this week, Venus makes her move into Aries, after spending a few weeks in Pisces. And with that move, she begins her new cycle too. Her race to catch up with Mars takes on added heat. It is on. Venus in Pisces gave us a final few weeks of feeling residual emotions related to the events of the previous six months. Now, she wants to show us a fresh set of interpersonal exchanges and aesthetic rewards, bringing new ideas about what makes us warm and tingly.

Alas, this week Mars also changes signs, moving from Aries into Taurus. He's already blessed us with his initiatory boost; now he wants to slow down a little, just enough to make sure that what's been started turns stable enough to persist. Venus in Aries, however, ensures that things don't quiet down too much. And with the Full Moon also falling this week—in the amorously high-drama sign of Leo—the excitement should be in full effect. Movement. Passion. Activity. Inner heat to warm us from the cold weather. You get the idea.

One last important note. As of now, Venus is one full sign behind Mars and eager to catch him. By late April/early May, Venus will make it to within just a few degrees of exact conjunction with Mars in the sign of Gemini. Between now and then, as the days get longer and the fertility of spring begins to unfold, it will feel like we are on the verge of some total release of combined yin/yang creativity. It (whatever 'it' is in each of our lives) will be frustratingly close.

But listen up. No cigar yet. Starting in mid-May, Venus will turn retrograde and spend several weeks losing ground in her chase. Believe me, you'll hear more from me about Venus retrograde in coming months. (If you can't wait, read what I wrote about the last time this happened.) But let me say this: Venus will be retrograde in Gemini, the sign of 'this-one-or-that-one?'—so you can only imagine what that means for the promise of total creative union. ('Which is the real union?' will be a question on all our tongues.)

The truth is, Venus and Mars don't actually get together until December, and in Scorpio, a vastly different sign. Yes, the excitement of this year does lead somewhere, but it won't fully come to fruition until the end of the year—though in a more profound and less ambiguous way that you might realize now. Just think. We get the thrill of the chase heating up our lives all year long. Can't you feel the groove in your shoes? Catch me if you can…