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This month a relatively rare astrological occurrence will take place. Starting October 10, Venus, the planet of love, pleasure and values will go into apparent retrograde  motion in the sign of Scorpio (turning direct on November 20). At the same time, Mars, the planet of sex, assertiveness and anger will be transiting in Libra, the sign immediately preceding Scorpio. By early December passionate Mars will be in Scorpio in hot pursuit of lady Venus. This could be a time when whatever or whoever we have been pursuing in our lives might be just within our grasp. The question is: will Mars, our inner warrior, succeed?

A planet appears to go into retrograde motion because of the relationship of its orbit to the Earth's orbit. It doesn't really suddenly turn around and go backwards, but because of the orbital differences it looks like it is. Astrologers make note of these periods of retrogradation, especially when they appear in birth charts. But retrograde transits are important as well.

A retrograde Venus in the birth chart can indicate some problems in relationship due to shyness, lack of self-worth or lack of interest in making social contacts. When Venus goes retro by transit, this period is usually when relationships go on hold. It might be time for a review or a reassessment, another chance to consider the relationship's value.

The retro Venus period is also a good time to think about your financial situation, as well. In connection with relationship, we might want to consider whether the physical and emotional resources we are investing in our relationships are yielding a good return.

Revival of Old Relationships

Another phenomenon associated with retrograde Venus times is the resurrection and revival of relationships from the past. In a retro Venus period we will often bump into lovers whom we thought had forgotten us, or someone whom we ourselves were never able to forget suddenly reappears. (Editor's note: Images, dreams and thoughts of old partners and pleasures may also resurface now.)

This retrograde occurs in Scorpio, the sign of passion, sex, and obsession. So the odds are that if relationships from the past are reignited, they may be marked with deep feelings and passionate obsessions. We may feel that we cannot live without that person, or they may feel that way about us. Perhaps it indicates a relationship that was once considered dead, but that you suddenly realize, can never die.

Mars, the planet that we use for the pursuit of happiness, by contrast, will be plowing on full steam ahead through Libra, the sign of partnership, and committed relationships until December 1. In Libra the warrior planet softens a bit. He's still the aggressive guy he's always been, but now instead of plunder and conquest, his thoughts are more on the romantic side. The conquests he seeks now are of a more amorous nature.

Libra is ruled by Venus, which means that Mars is disposited by Venus. Scorpio's traditional ruler is Mars, so Venus is disposited by Mars. When planets are in each others' signs this is called Mutual Reception. To make a long story short, this means that in a way, Mars and Venus will be acting like they are in conjunction. They both have the same agenda.

The Tantalizing Venus

This is even more the case since Venus, deep in Scorpio will stop on October 10 and head back toward Libra. She'll sashay as far back as zero degrees Scorpio on November 21, in fact, and stay there for a few days. It almost looks as if she means to tantalize Mars, who by this time will be at 23 degrees Libra.

Normally, Venus zips along at a speedy pace. But after retrogradation she needs time to get her traction back and so she'll spend another week at zero Scorpio before turning direct. Meanwhile, Mars, seeing the lovely object of his desire just ahead, will be chugging along the final degrees of Libra, and will probably be as "flustrated" (as my grandmother used to say) as a teenaged boy on prom night. He finally enters Scorpio on Dec. 1 just as Venus, at 2 degrees of Scorpio, begins picking up speed and starts to run away. From that point on the distance between them only gets greater and greater.

I should point out, at this point, that although we're discussing the relationship aspects of Venus and Mars here, the following applies to anything that we might be pursuing. So if you're not thinking about the cutie in the next office, maybe there's something you want to buy, or a job situation you're trying to attract. It's anything that you really want to get your hands on, so to speak.

The lesson we should take from all this? Well, if an old flame suddenly reappears, or even if someone totally new enters your life during this time period, chances are things will get real hot, real fast. You can take one of two approaches to the situation. Go for it with the idea that it will be fun while it lasts, but that person you're chasing might just prove too elusive in the end to make it really work. Or, if you get into a relationship like the one described, make your strongest effort during the last week of November and the first week of December. Who knows, Mars may have just what it takes to make that leap. It's only two degrees of Scorpio from Venus. Good luck.


John M. Whalen is freelance writer, astrologer, and editor of a business publication based in Washington, D.C. He writes about film, TV, music and travel for various magazines and newspapers. He contributed a chapter on the life and films of director Sam Peckinpah to the new book, The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype.

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For more information about John Whalen, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by John Whalen:

  • Astro-Zen   3/10/2012
  • Astro-Zen   9/10/2004
  • Polarized Politics   8/20/2004
  • Saturn and the Vanquishing of Illusion   11/3/2003
  • The Grand Illusion   1/9/2003
  • Venus Elements   2/14/2002
  • Timothy McVeigh: The Day of Judgment   5/9/2001
  • Kevin Spacey: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma   4/9/2001
  • Keanu Reeves' Excellent Adventure   3/8/2001
  • Steven Soderbergh: Putting the Cuffs on Oscar   3/5/2001
  • The Christmas Eclipse: Bringing Your Heart's Desire   12/25/2000
  • Robert DeNiro: Master of Form and Essence   11/18/2000
  • Sylvester Stallone: A Fallen Star, Rising Again?   10/28/2000
  • Yasser, Ehud, Can We Talk?   8/31/2000
  • Alec Guinness: Reluctant Jedi   8/19/2000
  • Human Genetics: O Brave New World!   8/16/2000
  • Survivor: Candid Camera Runs Amok   7/8/2000
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Shaft for the New Millennium   7/1/2000
  • Jackie Chan: Fearless Aries with the Comic Touch   6/23/2000

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