Venus in Shadow: September 2 – December 17, 2018

While the planet Venus is in retrograde motion, as she is for 40 days every 19 months or so, on an astronomically predictable schedule, there are things you absolutely should avoid because during this time our solar system’s only “female” planet is going to be weak and even absent. An astrologically aware person, especially a woman, to be and stay happy and solvent, should take note of the span of time that Venus is in retrograde and act accordingly.

From October 6 to November 16, 2018, please do not:

  • Start dating someone new
  • Buy into an online dating service
  • Get involved in a lusty, wild, uninhibited affair or fling
  • Throw an important party. If you must, keep it low-key and under budget
  • Propose, or agree to become engaged (If the wedding was previously planned, it is okay)
  • Buy any high-priced or luxury item
  • Have cosmetic surgery or body modification, or acquire tattoos
  • Rejoin your ex
  • Have your hair cut and styled very differently
  • Have a makeover
  • Cheat on a spouse or lover
  • Argue with family
  • Buy a new wardrobe
  • Buy a new home

The warnings above go double for those born with the Sun in the zodiac signs Scorpio and its opposite sign, Taurus; and for Aries and Libra people born after the 15th of their calendar month.

Venus will be in retrograde motion through the intense zodiac sign Scorpio, backing up into the Venus-ruled sign Libra on November 1. Venus, coming in through the side door, will unbalance Libra and make it judgmental. Then Venus will turn and plow forward through Libra into Scorpio, retracing her steps. On November 16 she will be back where she was on October 6.

Why? The universe is designed that way. It is like life: There are times for every purpose under heaven. We can’t be romantic and sexual 24/7. We have responsibilities. We need rest and space. October 6 through November 16 is an excellent time to explore and pursue your unique personal pleasures and growth factors. The very personal planet Venus represents love, friends, money, values, children, women, the arts, and pleasure. In Scorpio it will encourage reflection and analysis of all these facets of your life. It will be a great time to hunt antiques, to downsize, to read, to plan your winter.


The Dark Side of Venus

It is smart during Venus retrograde to stay positive using any method or habit of thought available, possibly griding your house with quartz crystals and amethyst to stay above any conflicts facing you. Venus retrograde, not her usual loving self, tempts us to be bitter or punitive, the way the goddess is said to have been when she was crossed. She also lied or rigged up power games when she was ornery, or so the mythology says.

We all have spent weeks chewing the darker scenery of our lives and wishing bad things on other people. Those weeks are among the most unpleasant we have ever spent, ruminating about insults, breakups, lies, disappointments and losses. Do all you can to stay positive and resolute, a woman of courage, while Venus takes her powder-room break as the cosmos has ordained.

But some astrologers are saying that the Venus retrograde period extends for a full month on either side of the actual retrograde. These extensions in time and space are called the “shadow periods,” although there is no literal shadow. Every planet has “shadow periods” as it approaches retrograde motion and then is released from it. What the planet is actually doing is tracing ahead of time the path it will take during the retrograde and after. When the shadow period ends we are all supposedly and blessedly free of the influence or vibration of the planetary retrograde.


A Hundred and Six Days, Really?

Venus retrograde is an observable phenomenon, and an exceptionally interesting one. Venus, being closer to the Sun than we and always near it, will be visible as an evening star until October 27, and then appears as a morning star. Ancient astronomers — these were Romans — thought these were two completely different stars and named the evening star “Hesperus” and the morning star “Lucifer,” and as astrologers interpreted each differently.

Astrology puts a lot of stock in the names and symbols of planets and constellations, but when does that habit become ridiculous? We see the name “Lucifer” and shiver. Some astrologers say that when Venus is a morning star in late 2018 you’d better lie low. But the old astronomers were wrong — the evening and morning stars were one planet, not two. So when you read Hesperus/Lucifer stuff today, shrug it off as junk astrology.

The “shadow period” that extends Venus retrograde so we are advised to watch our feelings like hawks and refrain from our favorite activities from September 2 all the way through December 17 — not a mere 40 days, but 106 days, nearly one-third of the calendar year — is not fact but theory. Let’s not even dignify it with the word “theory” — it’s “speculation.” There is no proof. There is no real “shadow.” The actual Venus retrograde, when charted, moves in reverse only 16 degrees out of 360. That’s a mere one-half of a zodiac sign — minimal motion. There is no logic to having and dreading a lengthy Venus shadow period. Venus is one planet out of ten. Retrograde or not, it influences our lives but does not control them. Retrograde, it urges us to bridle our passions, think and be wise where we might be reckless, but we will survive whatever mistakes we make.

Where’d They Get This Stuff?

Hype about the Mercury retrograde “shadow period” is now common, mainly because most of us now know and believe in what happens when Mercury is in retrograde: confusion, communications glitches, delays. Here’s how a planetary “shadow period” is currently interpreted: The pre-retrograde shadow period “previews” what you’re going to learn during the weeks of the planetary retrograde. The post-retrograde shadow period “reviews” what you’ve learned and invites you to plan how you will use it.

The “shadow” phenomenon is not ancient or classical. It appears to date back to medieval times and is attested in the works of the authoritative 16th-century astrologer William Lilly. He briefly mentions “shadow periods” and they seemed real to him, but even with the outer planets which have six-month retrogrades, the shadows, he said, lasted five days — nowhere near a full month.

I hold that the extended Mercury and Venus “shadow periods” are absurd and not founded on any astrological authority or hard evidence.

Venus retrograde, however, is a proven planetary influence on our emotional and intimate lives and choices, and we can all handle 40 days to think about how to improve our lives and loves, especially if astrology prepares rather than threatens us.

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