Venus Retrograde in Capricorn: Strategic Relationship Reassessment


On the very same seasonal-solstice day that the Sun moves into Capricorn (Sat Dec 21) begins the six-week retrograde of Venus through the same sign.

And as Venus retraces her most recent Capricorn steps, in apparent backwards motion, into the end of January 2014, we greet the unfolding of mischievous 'flipside' scenarios in our relational sector… intended to push, to the forefront of our minds, questions about what we really value most.

Even if we thought we already knew the answers, Venus retrograde encourages us to reevaluate anyway, if only to reconfirm we're investing our affections in the right place. But in some cases, the unexpected appearance—or reappearance—of some other option (which perhaps we'd never fairly considered as a reasonable possibility) startles us with the promise of finally satisfying an inclination our status-quo associations haven't, up to this point, adequately addressed.

Should we, therefore, make a sensational course-correction so as to better align our involvements with what genuinely pleases us? Or is this glittering alternative merely a phantom, merely seeming to represent some ideal… which later proves to have been only a partial view, concealing a fuller and less suitable reality, ultimately reminding us to more consciously appreciate what we already have?

I must admit, I look forward to Venus's once-every-year-and-a-half retrogrades more than most astrological happenings. Full disclosure: Venus was retrograde when I was born, and, as a result, I find I personally receive more pronounced benefic effects when she returns to retrograde motion. (In my experience, this logic applies for those born with either Mercury or Mars retrograde, too. When this planet goes retrograde by transit, the native usually feels as if that planet functions more smoothly for them, even if it's gone all wonky for everyone else who wasn't born with it retrograde.) For instance, I met my current partner during a Venus retrograde, which is traditionally interpreted as an inauspicious time to begin a relationship… and we'll be celebrating our tenth anniversary in 2014. And during the most recent Venus retrograde, in May-June 2012, I was blissfully immersed in the collegial fervor of the last United Astrology Conference (UAC) in New Orleans, where I formed new professional friendships that continue to bear rewarding fruit.

What were you doing during May and June 2012? Any noteworthy interpersonal twists or turns? That's the sort of thing you might expect during this upcoming Venus-retrograde period.

Because she serves as our ever-popular planet of love, promoting our ability to attract individuals with whom we're likeliest to form worthy relationships, Venus is best known for stirring interpersonal devilishness during her retrograde phases. Venus retrograde is most commonly renowned for raising unfinished relationship business to the surface… whether by bringing back old flames or 'the one that got away' for another chance or a tidier resolution, flirtatiously flashing us glimpses of a hot new prospect that inspires us to reassess our existing situation, and/or revealing another side to our current partner that threatens to shift our thinking about them.

Have you unduly settled for relational circumstances which neglect certain parts of your personality? Have you overvalued what you're getting—and, in the process, underestimated how deeply you indeed yearn for what you've been missing? Venus retrograde wants you to check in on these matters; to rouse you into doing so, she just might play a few 'harmless' tricks on you.

Of course, you'll want to maintain a somewhat tentative, self-protective stance toward anticipated outcomes of any relationship happenings which play out during Venus's retrograde. Often, that too-good-to-be-true coupling which starts while Venus is retrograde turns out to be a fleeting (though not necessarily any less meaningful or intense) affair. The return of an ex-love may not be your divine invitation to pick up where you left off, but instead an illuminating chance to recognize how far you've come since that former involvement. And this latest perspective-altering discovery about someone you care about, while initially quite disappointing or upsetting, could well lead you two to ultimately get closer… just as likely as it could spell the beginning of the end. Who's to know the longer-term ramifications of Venus-retrograde's rascally antics? Stay with the process, rather than rushing into or worrying about the end-result.

Venus has already been in Capricorn for more than a month, exposing us to her practically-minded, long-term-strategist influence over our relational outlook... and suggesting her retrograde reconsiderations may carry a quality of pragmatic calculation to them. As I've already described (and as is well worth reviewing), Venus in Capricorn is no mushy sentimentalist when it comes to her relationships. She intentionally seeks pairings that explicitly serve her practical purposes, nurturing her specific worldly ambitions (e.g., parenthood, career aims, economic stability, certain ways-of-life) through her interpersonal affiliations, rather than setting up a troublesome tension between the two.

In light of this zodiacal influence, Venus's retrograde through Capricorn forces these pragmatic concerns to the forefront. If we're indeed reevaluating our relationships, we ought to do so based on whether they'll help us achieve our other life-goals—or whether they're getting in our way, by draining our productive energies and/or holding us in repressive compromises. This is not a time for indulging romantic notions, at the literal expense of our becoming that fuller self we strive to be. As Venus-in-Capricorn tells it, life is too short to be wasted in namby-pamby feelgood situations with no real end-game payoff: If you don't think wisely about the whole journey in advance, you're pretty unlikely to land anywhere near where you'd hoped.

That this Venus retrograde falls during our annual 'holiday season' serves as a perfect reminder that all this talk about 'relationships' doesn't merely apply to our romantic sector. After all, much shit hits the fan around the holidays, as the added stress of family gatherings and office parties and such will often expose any developing fissures in our relations with family-members, friends and/or co-workers. Under retrograde-Venus-in-Capricorn's auspices, we may find we're cornered into reassessing these interpersonal dynamics as well. With Capricorn also presently hosting Pluto's long-term visit, we mustn't ignore the likelihood that any interpersonal discontent we experience is a factor of our internalized disempowerment, pointing us back to earlier roots of having subsumed our relational will beneath pressures from a forceful or intimidating figure (i.e., a parent, a boss, an ex)—and, therefore, to shift the terms of the relationship is to simultaneously reclaim our rightful powers of self-determination.