What We’ve Learned from Venus Retrograde 2020

Venus

Gemini Season changed the locks!
Gemini is a fractal. A never ending portal that connects everything within and without the space-time continuum. This 2020 Gemini Season was one big download. We’ve all had to upgrade our bandwidth to accommodate the ever-changing code. With Mercury, the switchy trickster turning retrograde on June 18th amidst a once every 8 year Venus retrograde cycle, we’re now flipping channels in an effort to adjust to the live stream of consciousness. It’s bringing our past into direct alignment with our present so that as we plant seeds for a new world, we consciously avoid repeating generational patterns.

Gemini Season 2020
The secret to Gemini is to not seek answers externally. It’s an inside job. The airy side of Gemini can present as a light and fun sociability, a desire to know and understand, seeking stimulus through the intellect. While this is an integral aspect to Gemini’s make-up, it is often a distraction to the deeper, more complex layers that reside below the surface.

The tale of two sets of twins in Gemini’s mythology, Caster and Pollux, and Clytemnestra and Helen, have interwoven in their narratives themes of abuse of power, trickery and separation, and the subsequent grief of loss. Part mortal, part immortal, Gemini reminds us that grief weaves through time; it never actually leaves, it only changes shape.

Mercury, whose home is in the neighbourhood of Gemini, has been an integral player throughout this current Venus Retrograde cycle. Modern astrology portrays Venus as loving, receptive, kind; a mediator seeking justice through common ground and shared values. Like Gemini however, we need to look beyond the surface to see that Venus is not only here for adoration and happy hour.

With 2020 initiating us into a different frequency and consciousness, that which previously hummed at an average 5% in our daily lives has been amped up to 85%, and the planets are no different. We can no longer observe Venus as solely the Goddess of Love without acknowledging the destructive and revolutionary ability laced within its cycle. Likewise, we can no longer focus on the transformative aspect of Pluto without truly walking through a collective death that forces the hand of responsibility in creating the new world.

Venus Retrograde in Gemini
We’re now in the closing stages of Venus’s 40 day- 40 night retrograde journey through Gemini. Since May 13th we’ve been experiencing the dual nature of Venus as it transitions from Evening to Morning Star, thus changing face from Goddess of Love to Goddess of War. Throughout this cycle, many of us have had to address dissonance in personal relationships and reassessment of our values, while on a macro level we’ve been confronted with what we collectively agree to, be it actively or via inheritance.

The Venus retrograde cycle is a passage of transformation. It highlights that which is out of balance, ready for exposure and in need of reform. Retrograding through Gemini means a double-dose of change as Mercury is the shape shifter of the Zodiac; its work is never done. Two inner planets working together might not get the attention of a Pluto transit but they have undeniably ushered in swift changes socially, politically and in our mundane, day to day lives.

Like most tales of feminine empowerment, the dual nature of Venus has been predominantly lost, or reworked, as it was handed down through history. From the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar illustrated atop a Lion clad with weapons, heralded as a skilled pilot, fierce in battle and feared for her wrath, Venus has over time lost her Lion, her weapons and her warfare skills, and never seemed to regain the clothing removed on the descent into the Underworld. It’s only fitting that when Venus retrogrades that we, too, are taken back to the heart of this archetype and its multi-faceted expression.

The birth of Venus in Greek mythology is also not a love story, but a rebellion. Venus rose from the sea, born from the castration of Ouranus the Sky God, by his son Kronos (Saturn); a severing of the life force of a patriarchal tyrant. The mythology and birth of Venus reminds us that rising up and over throwing old power structures will produce new life, but it will inevitably be met by the resistance of Saturn, which in turn calls forth a collective responsibility to not repeat generational patterns.

Venus Retrograde 2020
When Venus began its current retrograde descent on May 13th it was cloaked in Neptune’s fog. This opened the door for themes of loss, deception and the saviour complex to arise within the cycle. Neptune blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is idealised, what is of service and what undermines, what is truth and what is projection. While on the one hand many of us were eager to get out of lockdown and resume our ‘normal’ socialising routine, we couldn’t see clearly the impact of our actions, nor able to make informed decisions due to a blurring of the lens. It illuminated how far we are from our ideal world of equality and justice, and how mired we are in our dependence on systems of power that inextricably reinforce oppression.

Australians ventured out of quarantine with the release of the Covidsafe app. Hosted by Amazon Web Services issues of data privacy and security were posed to people who had never thought to consider it. “Facebook knows more about me than that app ever could!” was a common, ill-thought out response to opening a door many will look back on, wondering how they consented to it in the first place. The issue will likely not be with the app itself, but in the normalisation of our data privacy and security being so far out of our hands that it feels not worth the fight, being so interconnected with our freedom of speech.

Talk of a Covid-19 vaccine started circulating, unveiling memories of past deception and loss for many communities, while musician Melissa Etheridge lost her son to the Neptunian pull of opioid addiction. The cycle also brought our attention to what we invest our money, energy and pride in, and what we can divest out of. With Neptune blurring the boundaries we asked, “Am I really getting what I paid for?” If one persons call to the police for protection is another person’s death knell, we see that investing in the police over community services is as counter productive as scented toilet paper. Likewise, the quarantine restrictions did nothing to quell our consumer addictions. Venus retrograde challenged us to see ourselves in the front-line workers who show up, exempt of basic human rights, while CEO’s turn from billionaires to trillionaires off the back of our dependence on capitalism.

It has become obvious that the pandemic is not just a virus of the body, but of the mind and the systems we’ve inherited and consent to under coercion and the convenience of ignorance. We’ve inherited a sickness that has proliferated over generations of which only a select few are immune, while those suffering continue to push for a reform-cure.

I can't breathe

The Cycle of Venus in Gemini
As Venus disappeared from view around May 24th and descended into the Underworld, the cycle intensified. We heard the words “I can’t breathe,” across the globe as one man’s last breath echoed the oppression and frustration of black people, people of colour and Indigenous communities for centuries.

Initiating a global movement of social change and resistance to white-suprematist, colonial power structures, Gemini season transformed thoughts into voices and grief into action as the birthing of a new world was met with the Saturnian resistance of the old guard.

When Venus transforms from Evening Star to Morning Star, there is a clear descent into the collective shadow where a mirror is held up before rebirth can occur. When grief is activated, which Venus in Gemini knows all too well, it reverberates all the grief ever. Just as Venus re-birthing itself reawakens all births…and birth is not easy, nor pretty. It’s painful & and concurrently life threatening.

George Floyd

At the heart of the cycle on June 3rd, when Venus transitions and is momentarily glorified in its Cazimi phase, one police officer was arrested for the murder of George Floyd. This win set the tone for Venus rebirthing itself as the Goddess of War; police brutality can be met with justice when the people united (Venus) voice their grievances (Gemini). This is the kind of social change that Venus is renowned for.

Standing on the outside looking in, Venus in Gemini might appear fickle and light hearted, but this reoccurring 8 year cycle has a history of social change and challenge of assumed power structures embedded in it: In 1956 when Venus retrograded from Cancer back to Gemini the first reported ethnic riots targeting Sri Lankan Tamils, a minority group in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, took 150 lives. In 1964 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announced social reforms to bring an “end to poverty and racial injustice” in America, signing the Civil Right Act intoeffect, while Malcolm X established the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

As Venus passed through the heart of the Sun in 1972, the Watergate Scandal broke, reinforcing our need for journalism and whistle-blower protections. The Civil Rights Act, that was initiated in the previous cycle, was amended to also prohibit gender discrimination, and as Venus stationed direct the Springhill Massacre in Belfast left five civilians dead.

In 1980, Quebec, Canada voted in a referendum for independence, seeing the province remain with only 40% support. In 1996 an 81 day stand-off ended between the FBI and the Montana Freemen, a Christian Patriot group who ‘declared themselves no longer under the authority of any outside government’, while Dolly the sheep was consequentially cloned in true Geminian style. The historic 2004 Venus retrograde cycle legalised same sex marriage in the US, gave the Tamil language official classification, and handed sovereign power back to the Iraqi people after US occupation.

The last time Venus retrograded through Gemini in 2012 Elon Musk’s Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial craft to successfully connect with the International Space Station. Its first official flight completed during this current cycle. As in 2020, there was civil unrest on Earth when we (possibly) landed on the Moon in 1969, reminding us again that we can’t embark on new frontiers and not be aware of where we are treading. The only way to move forward into an equitable future is to balance and heal the past.

Intersections
Venus retrograde cycles are often a bumpy and ultimately exhausting journey. When we learn how to drive, it is imperative for the safety and survival of everyone that we understand the increased potential for accidents at intersections. Taking 3 seconds before proceeding from a red light is the safest way to avoid a collision and get your bearings. Just like on the road, points of intersection in society are where the most violence occurs. A junction of incoming differences, points of view, experience and privilege converge at one shared space.

As we dream the new world into existence, we first have to push through the dark night of the soul that is 2020. The intensity we’re feeling now will continue, as will the intentional bamboozling that is driving so many to seek control and a return to normal. There is no going back to normal. What Venus retrograde has shown us is that normal was violent and in deep need of an overhaul and investigation.

Like any shadow work, these changes require dedication and commitment to seeing it through. We can take all the information we gathered during this past Gemini season with us into Cancer season and transform it into acts of kindness and connection that embrace intersectionality and difference as points of celebration and learning, not reasons for rejection and trauma. If retrograde periods teach us anything it’s to retrace our steps, to poise and reconfigure. We are now offered an opportunity to acknowledge the cross-roads we stand at, and to proceed in ways that care for the safety of all
communities.

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