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VENUS RETROGRADE AND THE VENUS “TRANSIT” OF 2004

by Gary Brand - written April 20, 2004,
published in the May 2004 edition of Echo* newspaper
hat dazzling, brilliant jewel suspended in the western sky after sunset [at the time that this article was written] is Venus, the planet of beauty and love.  It may seem that Venus will remain indefinitely in the evening twilight for us to admire her beauty, but since her greatest elongation from the Sun on March 29, 2004, the Sun has slowly been catching up to Venus while Venus has appeared to move more slowly in anticipation of her retrograde.  The graph below titled “Venus Retrograde Pattern” shows the separation between the Sun and Venus over time and after April that separation rapidly narrowed until Venus was obscured by the Sun's glare about May 31.

Retrograde is the term for the backward movement Venus appears to make at times from our perspective on Earth.  This backward movement is between May 17 and June 29 on the graph below labeled “Venus Retrograde Zigzag.”  This graph depicts the pattern that Venus makes in the sky, night after night, from April through early August (but you could only discern this pattern if you plotted the position of Venus against the backdrop of the stars each night).  You can see how Venus slows down on this graph by comparing how far the planet moves between April 15 and May 1 with how far it moves between May 1 and May 17.

A very special event occurs during this retrograde Venus - one that has not happened since December 6, 1882.  On June 8, 2004, Venus will pass across the disk of the Sun.  Astronomers call this a "transit of Venus" and astrologers also have a special term for these rare events:  we say that Venus is in Cazimi, a European corruption of an Arabic word meaning "in the furnace or heart of the Sun."  This rare event only occurs when Venus conjoins the node of its orbit and the Sun at virtually the same time (see the graphs).  The Astronomy Department at UVA informed me that here in Charlottesville we will be able to see the tiny dot of Venus move across the Sun at sunrise on June 8 and for about an hour thereafter.  However, looking at the Sun (even at sunrise) can blind a person so if you want to see this event, you can attend the public viewing sponsored by the Astronomy Department on June 8.


Silhouette of Venus passing in front of the disc of the Sun
at the beginning of the transit of Venus on June 8, 2004. Close-up silhouette of Venus passing in front of the Sun at the beginning of what astronomers call a "transit" of Venus on June 8, 2004.  In traditional astrology, when Venus is so closely aligned with the Sun, we call it "in cazimi," which means in the heart of the Sun.  The red ring around the planet was caused by the scattering of the Sun's light as it passed through Venus' thick atmosphere.  The faint glow on the disk of the planet is an effect of the telescope on NASA's TRACE spacecraft.  Courtesy of NASA/LMSAL.

Silhouette of Venus passing in front of the Sun taken in
ultraviolet light on June 8, 2004 by NASA's TRACE spacecraft. Close-up silhouette of Venus passing in front of the Sun on June 8, 2004, taken in ultraviolet light by NASA's TRACE spacecraft.  The last time this happened was 121½ years ago - on December 6, 1882!  Courtesy of NASA/LMSAL.
This paragraph was written after this article was published and after Venus was in Cazimi on June 8, 2004.  I saw this once-in-a-lifetime event (or maybe twice in my life if I can witness the next one in 2012) from the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunrise and shortly thereafter the morning of June 8.  Where I live, just a few miles from the base of these wonderful mountains, the fog was thick that morning so I would not have seen this spectacular event if I had not made the 30 minute drive to the top of the mountains (and above the layer of fog).  When I arrived at the overlook nearest the highway I took to the mountains' crest, I was surprised and delighted to find my friend and fellow astronomy enthusiast, Larry, already there setting up his telescope.  He had the same inspiration that I did about rising above the fog layer!  When the Sun first rose over an adjacent mountain ridge, we could see the small black dot of Venus near the edge of the Sun's disc.  The amazing thing about this sight was that I could look directly at the Sun without looking through a dense filter.  However, as the Sun rose further in the damp morning sky, it became too bright and I had to use my solar filter to look at the Sun and Venus through my telescope.  I will remember this rare sight the rest of my life - it was incredible!

Venus retrogrades every 19 months and lasts an average of six weeks but the time frame during which we feel the effects lasts six to eight months because it includes the months when Venus appears from Earth to move slower than normal before and after the retrograde period.  This Venus retrograde effective period is from February through September but the peak influence is May 17 - June 29 when Venus is actually retrograde.  Venus retrograde does not have as much impact on our lives as Mercury retrograde but its impact is greater than the retrogrades of the other planets because, according to Johannes Kepler (p. 13 (1601/1942)), the slower the planet's average speed, the weaker the effect of its retrograde motion.

The following examples of retrograde Venus events/issues are from my clients' and my experiences over the last 2½ decades.  Think of the Venus retrograde effective period as a relationship test - even highly compatible relationships experience more challenges than usual.  New problems can develop or old, unresolved problems come to a head and couples are more prone to disagree or argue.  Troubled relationships are more likely to end, especially during May and June.  A spiritual challenge of this time is to put yourself in the place of the other person and to be compassionate, compromise, apologize, negotiate, and practice diplomacy.  Remember your own shortcomings when you are tempted to over-emphasize the other person's imperfections and your perceptions of their problems.  Feelings about past issues or problems resurface for healing attention.

Since Venus represents love, we tend to judge events and encounters with others in terms of how loved or unloved we feel.  This is a wonderful opportunity to assess your relating needs, to determine which of those needs are not being met and to see how friends or people with similar interests might satisfy needs not met by your partner.  The 2004 Venus retrograde is in Gemini so talk, talk, talk about relationship problems and issues with your partner and listen, listen, listen to their side.  Don't be surprised if you've heard it all before but the reason you're hearing "it" again is because "it" is unresolved.  Venus retrograde means retracing our steps so we are more likely to see, hear from or to think about people we have not spoken to in a long time.  We also think more about former partners, especially when there are unresolved feelings, regrets, or longings.  Use this time to forgive, release, and heal old relationship wounds.  If a karmic or fated relationship - you know, the kind that knocks your socks off - starts during a Venus retrograde effective period, it is likely to end when this period is over.

One of the worst times to marry is while Venus is actually retrograde (during May and June 2004).  I recently selected wedding dates in the fall of 2004 or during 2005 for several couples who originally wanted to marry in the spring or early summer of 2004.  These wise couples opted for a successful, easy, long-term marriage rather than a spring wedding and a subsequent marriage wrought with problems.  Additionally, during late April and virtually all of May, June, and July (2004), Venus (the marriage planet) is either opposite Pluto or square Uranus.  These are big trouble-making, disruptive influences in relationships, especially for those couples choosing to marry under them.  If you choose to test the three Fates by marrying during these troubled times, be sure to sign a prenuptial agreement.  If you think international relations will improve during this period, think again!

Venus also represents money so there is greater potential for banks to make mistakes, for loans to be delayed or refused, to be charged the wrong amount for a purchase, to receive another person's bill with your name and or address on it, and for financial problems in general.  Above all, Venus is the planet of pleasure, so do more of what you love!
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*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758


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