Volume 42

“I hope I can be the Autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived.
And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.”


The Rare Retrograde Venus

Among the five true grahas (tara grahas) that have a retrograde/combustion cycle, the rarest of them all is Venus. It retrogrades approximately every 18 months and for a period of only 40 - 43 days. Contrast that to Mercury who has a shorter retrograde period of approximately 24 days but it happens around three times each year. Jupiter and Saturn have long periods of time when they are retrograde (120 and 140 days respectively) and Mars whose retrograde cycle is highly irregular when it come to length, occurs more frequently and lasts longer than Venus.

Venus will be entering its retrograde cycle on October 6th and going direct November 16th. During part of that cycle October it will also be combust (Oct 20th to Oct 31st) Technically, retrograde Venus is astronomically combust when it is within 8° of the Sun. Luckily, this time around the retrograde movement of Venus will take it a significant distance from the Sun so it will be several months before it catches up again and enters a combustion cycle.

Retrograde Venus Chart Example

It is often said that a retrograde Venus is a tough combination for relationships. Broad characterizations like that often demonstrate the karaka nature of the graha rather than deriving the meaning from its role in a particular chart but there may be something to that notion as retrogression is an exaggerated state and often brings in some coloration that can be difficult. What should not be lost, however, is that it makes Venus very strong and something will come of that as well.

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin is a good example in that he shows both troubled relationships as well as some extraordinary success in life - both as a consequence of this retrograde Venus. Yet, we can’t really say it was just the retrograde Venus that gave those outcomes. Venus is located in a chart that is loaded with karmaphala for huge rise in life keyed by major raja yogas across that phenomenal 1/7 axis. It also has a well known marker for relationship hazards. Venus in the 7th bhava is the significator of marriage in the house of marriage. Though that might sound great, it is said to make relationships unravel. The huge passion combinations here bring relationships - serial and plentiful. But the karako bhavo nashya, as this phenomenon is called, makes them very unstable. Therefore in the context of this chart, the retrograde Venus adds to the difficulties because it exaggerates the tendency to be in love with love versus the ability for a more mature relationship.

In terms of rise in life, that same 1/7 axis hosts several major raja yogas all made by very strong grahas - full Moon, exalted Sun, swa Mars, retrograde Venus. Now the retrograde Venus along with the full Moon give him a showiness and an artistic turn to his life along with very strong wealth combinations.

So is retrograde Venus good or bad? Depends upon the area of life you are asking about.

Other Important Transit Changes This Fall

Jupiter is leaving the rashi of Libra and entering Scorpio October 11th. This is good news for natives with water signs rising as transiting Jupiter will be aspecting the ascendant, the ninth house and the fifth house - all the dharma sthanas.

The next event is that Mars will leave its very long transit of Capricorn. Normally Mars transits through a rashi in 45 days. This transit through Capricorn took over six months!! It entered Capricorn May 1st 2018 and will finally transit into Aquarius November 6th, 2018. What made this especially eventful is 1) Mars exalts in Capricorn and was therefore very powerful and 2) It was in the Rahu/Ketu axis yuti Ketu making it especially intense and fiery.

And finally, on November 28th, Saturn will move out of Mula nakshatra and into Purva Ashadha. The confluence of Mula and Saturn gives a harshness and a need to adhere to the letter of the law without a regard to the collateral damage of such an attitude.

Media Corner: Phases of the Moon

The National Association of Teachers has some lovely material on many subjects. Emily Morgan authored a book called “Next Time You See the Moon” and has a great short video showing the phases of the Moon. It’s perfect for kids and aspiring Jyotishis!

Thanks to Greg Stein for calling this to my attention.