June 2012 Newsletter
Hello everyone. Steven is winding things down at UAC (the United Astrology Conference) as we speak and preparing for upcoming trips to North Carolina, Maine, and New York. Needless to say, his hands are full so I’m your MC for this month’s newsletter. I’ve written a bit about the current Venus retrograde cycle, as well as some of the other interesting configurations in June.
If any of you made it to UAC and have good stories to share, feel free to drop me a line. I missed my own book release party there! Speaking of which, in some exciting news, I’ve just been published in an anthology by Flare entitled Astrology: The New Generation. In the book, which is meant to herald the "current astrological revival," I join 13 other astrologers who each contribute a chapter on diverse topics.
Frank Clifford, the visionary behind the collection, aims to shine some extra light on this younger generation of astrologers, in a symbolic acceptance of the torch passed down by the stellar generation of astrologers who influenced them. I’m of course eternally grateful to Steven for his ongoing mentoring and support. If you get a chance to check out the book, let me know what you think of my chapter. I write about the generational transits of Pluto in the signs Libra and Scorpio. You can pick up a copy through Flare or Amazon.
If you’ve been on the fence about joining the AP program, there is still time to jump on board for the June retreat in North Carolina. Check out the details here.
With good wishes for your well-being and happiness always,
A Perfect Storm?
Venus Retrograde & the Transits of June 2012
by Tony Howard
As I started the research for this article on May 2012’s Venus Retrograde in Gemini (and the rare Transit of Venus that occurs on June 5), I quickly opened up a rather large can of worms. For it seems that in June of 2012, we have the makings of a perfect astrological storm. You see, when we look at key moments in history, we almost always find dynamic planetary transits bunched up in clusters around those same dates. It’s in those times when many key transits occur simultaneously that we tend to find more outward events – landmarks for memorable moments in history where we find sea changes, shifts, beginnings and endings of cycles. In June of 2012, we find one of those clusters that suggest June could be a month in which important formative outer events transpire. The conditions for the storm start to form in May when Venus goes retrograde.
Historically memorable events serve as bookends that we can use to compartmentalize segments of time. They help us organize the chaos that is daily existence into quantifiable, understandable bits. This way of organizing events into cycles is one of many processes that give us an experience we like to call sanity. In truth, the sheer enormity of paradoxical and contradictory data in the world is mind-blowing. It’s just too much for any one person to objectively synthesize. We need a way to organize the data, and to then create meaning out of it.
This information-sifting is a crucial step in our individual evolutionary processes, helping us to find meaning and make decisions. The planet Venus represents a crucial organizational process that occurs within the psyche. We’ll have a chance to learn more about this process during the current Venus retrograde cycle.
Information can be organized in many ways. A Virgo style of organization might express itself as compartmentalizing the facts of life into neat folders (one for all of the frightening facts, one for the pleasant thoughts, etc.). A Sagittarius style might express as organizing the data into systems of thought, big picture philosophies, and broad sweeps of holistic understanding. Venus relates to an organizational process that results in art. More than just compartmentalization of facts, the organization that Venus refers to is endowed with her signature principles of proportion, balance, and grace.
Venus alerts us to that mysterious process of artistry that we can observe miraculously in nature as well as through those creative works which are shaped by the gifted human hands that channel Venus’ grace.
Every 8 years, Venus will retrograde through the same sign. Erin Sullivan points out in her book Retrograde Planets that when we draw a map of these points in the 8-year cycle over time, we’re left with a visual representation of the 5 pointed star. And when we map the cycles of Venus over long periods of time, we find a beautiful symmetrical image that we might describe as a 5-petaled flower enclosed by a large circle of artful gentle brushstrokes (image at right). So in tracking Venus movements in this way, we discover something innate to her nature. The celestial pen in Venus’ hand draws strokes of beauty across the heavens, pointing to the presence of graceful order that can emerge in the midst of a chaotic universe. Venus relates then to the principle of organization that creates art out of the muck. Like a lotus flower growing out of a sludgy pond, Venus signifies that which draws beauty out of the raw (and often sludgy) materials of human existence.
Venus’ association with the number 5 and thus, the Golden Ratio, points us to her link with the idea of proportion. Venus has to do with “equal” proportions. But Venus also has to do with those proportions that give us a sense of warmth, comfort, relief and peace. We find these expressed through the Golden Ratio in the chambered nautilus, the piano music of Debussy, and the five fingers of (wo)man. The Swiss architect Le Corbusier, whose birth chart is overcome with Venusian influence, is described as centering his designs on “systems of harmony and proportion.” i He explicitly used the Golden ratio in his work, and influenced an entire movement of architecture.
We like to say that Venus rules art, but art is a huge subject that doesn’t necessarily come under the jurisdiction of one planet. Art takes many forms and has multiple intentions. Some art is meant to shock or provoke. Not all art is created with peace or beauty as a goal. But purely Venusian art surely does. For Venus is most concerned with rapport above all else. She will sacrifice much, including truth and honesty, to achieve harmony. As she expresses through each sign of the zodiac, and in concert with her relationship to the other planetary bodies, we encounter real complexity, and diverse expressions of art and beauty. But if we attempt to dilute Venus’ essence into something we can understand, we find the impulse to create artful proportions, and to connect with others in harmonious relationship. Beautiful art forms out of the organization of disparate raw materials into something radiant.
During her retrograde cycle, these issues will undergo a revisioning process. The part of ourself that is concerned with balance, grace and proportion goes underground, in search of a new way of understanding and relating to these Venusian principles. Where Venus engages our chart in this cycle, some part of us is going inside, comparing the ideal to the real, and taking notes for adjustments that need to be made in the concrete realm once Venus collects her energies and moves forward again. This process will help us bring into focus the ways in which we personally relate to the concepts of balance and equanimity.