Illustration by Taylor Dow

Venus Turns Retrograde

Get ready for 40 days of frustration and deep therapy.

“Love has problems, I know

But they’re problems we’ll just have to face”

—The Temptations, “Don’t Look Back”

Passionate button-pushing defines this opening week of March, as Venus slows to a stop then moves into retrograde on March 4 (where it will remain until April 15). Prepare for six weeks of relationship reflection and close examination of partnership and financial matters. You’ve probably already noticed increased disagreements and snippiness with others since January 30, when Venus—planet of love, beauty, harmony, and money—entered its pre-retrograde shadow zone. A Venus retrograde happens once every 18 months or so; when it does, it teaches us essential lessons about how we partner with friends, lovers, and business alliances. During a Venus retro we re-evaluate what we value, what we’re worth, what we’re willing to give, and what we need to receive.

The bad news: Venus retrograde can cause friction and frustration. People will annoy you, you’ll annoy people. The good news: Venus retrograde can feel like doing seven years’ worth of therapy in just 40 days.


When Venus goes retrograde, the planet enters a mythical underworld. We too must go deep within and confront past pains related to how we relate. From now until mid-April (really until May 20, if you count Venus’ post-retrograde shadow period), we’ll have many opportunities to confront intimacy issues and blockages so we can heal stale patterns and strengthen the ways we connect. Folks from our past will reappear to nudge along that process. There will also be opportunities to tweak the way we earn and handle money. Additionally, because Venus rules what gives us pleasure, we might wake up one morning and say, “The Talking Heads used to be one of my favorite bands, but I just can’t stand ’em anymore!” Tastes change.

Venus kicks off the first part of its retrograde in Aries, a rather forceful, self-focused sign. Compromises will be more difficult to reach and disagreements more likely to occur, so think twice before you send that pissy text. However, on April 2 Venus will slip into compassionate Pisces, softening the tone of the last leg of the retrograde. No matter which sign Venus occupies, though, it’s not wise to make final decisions now about expensive purchases, relationship changes, or drastic alterations to your appearance. Seriously: Reschedule your tattoo appointment and don’t risk dyeing your own hair over the sink.


If you’re already in an established romantic partnership, a Venus retrograde is a fine time to acknowledge relationship issues that keep coming up, even if you thought you’d settled them long ago. Use this time to investigate why you behave the way you do with your sweetie, and own up to your less-than-ideal behavior. It’s considered unwise to get married or take huge leaps forward as a couple during a Venus retrograde. Instead, meditate on the shape of the union you want and move forward, together, slowly. Venus will test and challenge your partnership. Don’t worry: If your bond is strong, you’ll make it.

If you’re casually dating, you might experience false starts and disappointments. But even fleeting flings or go-nowhere crushes can help you better understand the kind of partnership you do desire. You’re discovering what gives you pleasure and what turns you off. No matter your relationship status, in a Venus retrograde you can expect past loves to pop up online and in person, as if to ask “Remember the mistakes you made with me? How much have you grown since then? Where do you still need to grow?” Bring on the mutual closure and healthy moving-on!

Even old business contacts or clients might re-enter your world during a Venus retrograde. Answer their unexpected e-mails; there could be a lucrative offer for you. Friendships already under strain could snap or require heart-baring talks now. That’s OK. All our relationships are receiving extra care, revision, and a fresh paint job … if we can just withstand the fumes.


On Wednesday the 1st, the Sun and Neptune join forces to help us see something we hadn’t noticed, perhaps bringing unexpected news. On Thursday the 2nd, expect more important realizations, especially about your past. What do you want to revise going forward? With a wacky moon on Friday the 3rd, you’ll want to finish rather than start new stuff. The weekend offers chances to connect and communicate creatively. Tuesday the 7th is a mixed bag of astrology that features a tender-hearted moon in Cancer, so try not to get too defensive.

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