Astrologer Laura Craig

Venus Retrograde in Gemini

Saiorse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet in “Little Women” 2019

May 13 - June 24

This Venus retrograde, to me, feels like back in the day. Which particular chapter of life it will bring up will be different for each of us, but there is a certain nostalgia to this transit, or at least a quality of reflecting and revisiting old times.

Life is full of initiations—transformational experiences, firsts, core-shakers, game-changers—and those to do with love are often some of the most profound. Each planet’s cycle brings with it some kind of life lesson, and Venus teaches to our hearts. Venus, when she stations retrograde, takes us back in time to some version of our uninitiated self: who we were before a spiritual or emotional growth spurt changed us. By the time she stations direct, if we are paying attention, we will have learned something about ourselves and our relationships. As she goes through her rite of passage through Gemini this year, past Mercury and through the heart of the Sun, from evening star to morning star, we will all be given opportunities to examine the ways in which the experiences of the heart and mind have contributed to our individuation and our evolution. 

In classical art, the goddess Venus (or Aphrodite) is often pictured gazing into a mirror. For the goddess of beauty and relationship, the mirror is not just a symbol of vanity or a surface for admiring her lovely face. It also represents the Venusian Other, as the goddess expresses herself best when there is an object of her affection. Gemini, too, seeks a counterpart, to share and exchange ideas with, through dialogue and repartee. For Venus in Gemini, looking in the mirror becomes an act of curiosity, leading us toward self-discovery.

How do we learn who we are? Of the countless formative experiences in life, the majority of them feature other people (a statement so obvious because it’s so universally true). From the time that we’re old enough to go to school, and the influence of our parents becomes less all-encompassing, life becomes punctuated by a series of characters and relationships that hold up a mirror to us and that shape our picture of ourselves. When did you first learn about romantic love, or platonic love? Who did you gossip with, tell stories with, reminisce with? Who taught you to think? Who showed you how to get along with others? Think back over the best friends, the sibling relationships, the confidantes, the first loves, the companions, the peers and the teachers who have left an impression on you, for better or for worse. Memories of them, dreams about them, or they themselves, may reappear during this time. And with them will come the memory of who you were when they were a part of your life, before you became the next version of yourself.

Venus retrograde also asks us to look at how we define ourselves through our tastes and values. What are your favorite books, music and movies? What is your personal style? What do you find attractive in another person? And by that same token, what do you find unattractive, offensive or uninteresting? How and when did those preferences form? How have they perhaps changed over time? These things inform what we surround ourselves with and what we expect out of life: We are what we like. 

We experience a Venus retrograde every 1.6 years, and we have one in the same sign every 8. So, the last time Venus was retrograde in Gemini was May-June of 2012. What will we learn about the connections in our lives this time? Start by finding 5-22 degrees Gemini in your chart. What house they fall in and any natal planets there will give you some idea of what to expect (and as Venus has been in her shadow period for a while now, you may have already had a preview of events). Now, think back to this time 8 years ago. And then 8 years before that. What were you reading, watching, or listening to? Who was your best friend? Who were you in love with? Who were you hanging out with and what were you interested in? And who were the most influential people in your life? They played a role in making you the you of today, and—good or bad—they taught you something. What is happening now is, in an archetypal sense, a version of what was happening then.

Who are the current mirrors in your life, and do they make you like what you see? Do they bring out the best parts of you or the worst? If the latter, then it sounds like shadow Venus at work: jealousy, vanity, superficiality, infidelity, possessiveness. Can you find an analog to this current relationship in one of your past ones? Maybe there is a pattern unfolding, and this is an opportunity to identify it and change it. The standard wisdom during a Venus retrograde is to hold off on starting new relationships or rekindling old ones. It’s sound advice. But if you must, try to be as transparent with the other person and as unattached to the outcome as possible. Same goes for new purchases or changes to your appearance. If, during Venus’s time in Gemini, you have undertaken some form of new learning, creative endeavor or writing project, this retrograde could be a time to go deeper and see what you learn about yourself. 

This transit is asking us to look at what it is we like and what it is we want, and to learn how to communicate that while at the same time respecting others’ desires and feelings. And if it hearkens back to past experiences, it is a reminder that to self-actualize is, ironically, a lifelong process of engaging and connecting with others. Cheers to those whose trust, love and support has set us up for success.

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