WERE YOU BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN? HOW TO WORK WITH CHALLENGING ASTROLOGY

Born under a bad sign? Frederick Steinmann says so-called difficult placements are actually opportunities for greater awareness, acceptance, and transformation. Images: Veda Wildfire 

Venus entered Aries on April 28, and the planet of love’s journey through this bold, assertive (and sometimes brash and selfish) warrior archetype is not always … smooth. In the sign of Aries, Venus is in its “detriment”- indicating one of the 4 states possible for each planet when placed in different zodiac signs (“detriment” and “fall” being more challenging, while “exaltation” and “rulership” the easier placements).

Rulership: Planets here are “at home” in their environment and easy to express.
Exaltation: A step beyond rulership, planets here have a chance to achieve their highest expression.
Detriment: The opposite of rulership- planets are in slightly uncomfortable territory, and the energy may need to become unblocked or unstuck.
Fall: The opposite of exaltation—energy is lessened and may need some invigoration in order to achieve expression.

For example, in Aries, Venus wants what she wants, now, and on her terms. Fiery Aries is quick with passion but not with compromise. Venus in its detriment could learn a thing or too about love from Venus’ ruling sign, Libra (the opposite sign to Aries). Venus in Libra naturally knows how to pause and apply strategy instead of just a quick reaction.

When in their detriment or fall, planets are challenged to adjust, to learn, and to further refine the energies symbolized by that planet. Below, a guide to these cosmic challenges …

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**Discover your challenging placements by calculating your birth chart. No challenging aspects? You can still use the dates below to work with these energies throughout the year as the planet indicated spends time in that sign! 

:: THE SUN ::
Rulership: Leo // Exaltation: Aries // Detriment: Aquarius // Fall: Libra  
The Sun is the single most important point in a horoscope. He vitalizes Earth and the rest of our solar system, and relates to our “individuality”- who we are beyond our thoughts and emotions.

Detriment in Aquarius (2017 Dates: January 19-February 18)  
Aquarius energy is connected to the concept of humanity as a whole, but can sometimes struggle with the messiness of the individual. Aquarians circulate the solar force within the group by “fixing their will” in the service of group ideals. The Sun in Aquarius placement is all about learning how to balance group ideals with individual creativity, and sometimes learning to say “Yes, I really matter!”

Fall in Libra (2017 Dates: September 22- October 23
Because of their penchant for pursuing the perfect relationship, Libra Sun signs’ individual vitality can become diffused. Librans can learn how to vitalize themselves by developing some Aries energy in relationships. A good way to start is by noticing: “where am I holding back from asserting my individuality and just strategically reflecting what the other person wants to hear.” Assertion of individuality will rebalance vitality and allow space for creative expression.

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:: THE MOON ::
Rulership: Cancer // Exaltation: Taurus // Detriment: Capricorn // Fall: Scorpio 
The Moon is the second most important point in the horoscope, and represents emotions, imagination, memories, and how we are nurtured.

**2017 Dates: Because the Moon changes signs every few days, check Planet Watcher for the current placement. We’ll have a Full Moon in Scorpio on May 10th, a New Moon in Scorpio on November 18th, and a Full Moon in Capricorn on July 9th.

Detriment in Capricorn
The Moon and achievement-conscious Capricorn are both related to security but they have opposing views. The ambition and drive to achieve success in society are energetically opposed with the Moon’s nurturing function (just think of those countless burnt out corporate ladder climbers!) Capricorn moons will benefit from reevaluating safety and security needs, scheduling time for self-care rituals like massage, and just feeling their feelings.

Fall in Scorpio
In fixed signs, the Moon wants to hold on to inherited patterns of nurturing, and in fixed Scorpio the art is in learning to let go. Scorpio Moons are nurtured through in-depth sharing that leads to transformation. Learn to honor your watery depths by getting in touch with more difficult emotions. You might try Jungian therapy, group counseling, or another form of therapy where you can share, transform, and release old habits.

:: MERCURY ::
Rulership: Gemini & Virgo // Exaltation: Aquarius // Detriment: Sagittarius // Fall: Pisces & Leo 
As the ruler of thought, reason, and communication, Mercury is an androgynous planet that picks up masculine or feminine energy depending on the sign or relationship to other planets.

Detriment in Sagittarius (2017 Dates: November 5-January 11 2018, retrograde December 3-22)
With Sag’s philosophically expanded worldview, Mercury placed here can tend towards exaggeration, embellishment, boastfulness, or the zealous view that one’s personal opinion equals a universal outlook. To work with this energy, it’s important to notice when you’re blowing things out of proportion and to practice more discretion in speech.

Fall in Pisces (2017 Dates: February 25-March 13)
With the overemphasis on words and rational thought in Western education, Mercury in Pisces may feel that their imagination or creativity is “silly.” The key here is learning to believe that compassion doesn’t always need to be verbalized- a loving presence or hug can work. Emotional communication is a valid form of communication. Dream interpretation or a study of symbols like the Tarot could help bring out the best in this Mercury.

Fall in Leo (2017 Dates: July 5-July 25) 
Leo represents creative expression and Mercury placed here sometimes thinks they are an instant prodigy! In order to achieve the highest form of expression, this Mercury could use a dose of Aquarian objectivity to integrate their vision into society. Developing a meditation practice with a mantra like “thoughts are things, I am not my thoughts” will help with this process.

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:: VENUS ::
Rulership: Taurus & Libra // Exaltation: Pisces // Detriment: Scorpio & Aries // Fall: Virgo 
Venus is the goddess of love, beauty, and harmony. She also rules the Law of Attraction- how you value and feel about yourself ultimately manifests in both your relationships and your bank account.

Detriment in Scorpio (2017 Dates: November 7-December 1)
In Scorpio, the challenging call is to transform the Venusian areas of love, relationships, and money. Learning to value your own and others’ resources appropriately is a lesson for this Venus. Another challenge comes from dealing with intensity and learning when to say no to excitement and emotional thrills that may lead to financial or emotional problems. Find your own value and trust in the process of regeneration.

Fall in Virgo (2017 Dates: September 19- October 14) 
Virgo is a mutable sign associated with the process of improvement, and when attached to Venus this can manifest as sharp criticism and endless “fixing” in relationships. Learning to dissolve some of your hyper-awareness through loving self-acceptance (the Piscean end of the polarity), and editing internal and external critique is key.

:: MARS ::
Rulership: Aries & Scorpio // Exaltation: Capricorn, // Detriment: Taurus & Libra // Fall: Cancer 
Mars rules the primitive side of our natures through the “4 Fs”: Feeding, fighting, fleeing, and … reproduction. The god of war is eager to penetrate the environment. A person’s humanness has a lot to do with Mars management- whether they are impulsive and brash or able to direct their will consciously and compassionately.

Detriment in Taurus (2017 Dates: March 9-21) 
When Mars is in Taurus, the desire for sensual experience is strong, and the challenge lies in overcoming and disciplining the heightened five senses. The drive and primal motive will be towards more concrete expressions of Taurus like money and sex. This placement will have to learn more about the unseen value of experience and presence. Try exercises like conscious, meditative eating where you pause gratefully for 5 minutes with a meal in front of you before diving in. Notice and observe what comes up without judgment.

Detriment in Libra (2017 Dates: October 22-December 9)
While Mars is all about fighting and assertion, Libra is about initiating relationships and this combination can lead to passive aggressive behavior. In Aries, it’s easy to fight our enemy but Mars in Libra has to sit at the table with them and negotiate. This Mars placement is learning how to evolve from an impulsive to a refined human being. Learn to balance instinctive reactions towards your partners’ moves with healthy self-assertion of your own desires.

Fall in Cancer (2017 Dates: June 4-July 20)  
Mars will always act out to assert himself as separate, and in Cancer the tendency towards cohesion and bonding leads to a conflict. Mars in Cancers act when they feel safe with their tribe and outside of this familiar context, the impulse to assert the self is repressed. This is a sign where Mars is learning courage. Courage comes through assertion of individuality in the world beyond the tribe (the Capricorn end of the polarity). Practicing action-oriented activities like martial arts will help build the confidence to express your desires!

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Fred Steinmann is a New York-based consulting astrologer who advises entrepreneurs, creative professionals, leaders of thought and industry, and all those searching for clarity, guidance, direction, and inspiration during uncertain times. He bases his practice on training and study in Ageless Wisdom, and astrological techniques grounded in 10+ years of professional experience advising clients and colleagues on Wall Street.

A GUIDE TO VENUS RETROGRADE FOR YOUR SIGN

Does the sound of another retrograde have you reeling? Chill! Venus Retrograde 2017 is a time for rediscovering where our true love lives, says Danielle Paige … Main Image: Carlos Bongiovanni 

Saturday, March 4th :: Venus Stations Retrograde :: 14 degrees of Aries

Sunday, April 2nd :: Venus Re-enters Pisces  

Saturday, April 15th :: Venus Goes Direct :: 26 degrees of Pisces 

Lovers. Love. Sex. Money. The Feminine. Self-worth. Intimacy. Values. Relating. Giving. Receiving. Ahhhhh yes … all of the above is up for RE-discovery, right now.

While our first reaction to the word “retrograde” might be to let out a sigh of frustration, these cycles are actually moments of deep review. Think of this as an opportunity to work with your shadow side, heal those parts that need to be integrated or purged, and upgrade your patterns.

But of course, it’s not all sweetness and light—doing shadow work prompts us to address things that have been pushed under the rug. There will be breakups and there may be confusion in your current relationships. Whether you’re pretending you have a perfect relationship when you know it’s not truly nourishing your soul, or are stuck in the same relationship patterns over and over, it’s an optimal time to get real about what’s no longer working. And with this realness, eventually comes clarity. 

Ex-lovers? Venus Retrograde energy always tends to dig up the past in order to end old cycles, so don’t be surprised if old flames pop back up. New relationships? This can definitely be a time where people enter your life for karmic work. Be aware that “karmic” doesn’t always mean roses and sunshine! These will be relationships that force you to confront parts of yourself that you’re suppressing.

However, the energy of Venus is two-fold. While she symbolizes how we connect with others, each relationship has everything to do with what we VALUE, since we often project our core desires onto others. Remember to keep this broader message of Venus Retrograde in mind. Ask, how are you working with your feminine energy? Does it need more balancing? What’s your relationship to money like? Are you having a hard time discovering your core desires and values? Now is the time to dig deep into your heart and explore all of these themes—without judgement!

And please, don’t force it. Simply remain mindful that after Venus goes direct, you may start to see things differently. Whatever happens during this time, trust that your heart always knows the way home!

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Wondering where to start? Discover your Venus sign by looking at your birth chart and following the guide below. 

Collage: Mariano Peccinetti

:: Venus in Aries :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to reconnect with your courage and independence in a balanced way, instead of just diving in head first. You are good at pushing others to find their independence but sometimes that means you forget about yours—reconnect with your courage and your truth!

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:: Venus in Taurus :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to connect back with your own sensuality and your core values. You are good at sustaining others in love but have you forgotten to sustain yourself as well? Take your time in love—you’re meant to go at your own pace.

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:: Venus in Gemini ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to communicate your needs clearly, but to do so in a way that moves beyond the surface and gets real. It’s easy for you to skim the surface but what happens if you get a little deeper? You move beyond the shadow energy of Venus in Gemini and you may actually find something that doesn’t bore you!

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:: Venus in Cancer ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to nurture yourself as you would a child. You spend so much time taking care of others, and with this Venus energy redirected, it can help you better care for your own feelings. You are the mamma bear of love but don’t forget that mamma bears need love too.

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:: Venus in Leo ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to shine your love and light on the world in a way that motivates others, instead of only making it all about yourself. You have such an ability to show others the way—use it to serve, inspire, love, and cheer people on and raise them up! In doing so, you raise your vibration as well.

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:: Venus is in Virgo ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to clean up your diet, health, and routine so that you can be of service to yourself in a way that you haven’t before. You are dedicated with your love, so make sure you are dedicated to yourself as well.

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:: Venus in Libra ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to find the right relationship for your soul, not just any relationship. Libra enjoys partnership and can often lose themselves in one. Instead, this is a time to really get connected with what you need and desire in a divine partnership that lifts you up rather than simply fills a void.

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:: Venus in Scorpio ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to connect deeply with those around you. Surface relationships are not your thing so if it’s not activating your heart then it’s time to go deeper or move onto something else. Out of all the Venus placements, you know when to purge a relationship or when it’s a call for deeper intimacy—trust that you know what to do!

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:: Venus in Sagittarius :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to spread your wings! Go on adventures either with your lover or by yourself, because you never know who you might meet. This is the Venus sign that says “yes” to expansion. Have you been stuck in a rut? It’s time to explore and let your passport lead the way…

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:: Venus in Capricorn :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to find your own inner authority. You are always very good at helping others rise to the top so now take the time to plan out your next steps for inner and outer success. In your uphill climb, remember that slow and steady wins the race for you.

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:: Venus in Aquarius :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to play up your intelligence and your uniqueness. Often times, you may subconsciously hide these qualities because it challenges societal expectations, but thisVenus Retrograde is the time to tap into all that makes you, you! This is your path towards the free-spirited love you so desire.

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:: Venus in Pisces :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to make sure you’re seeing love clearly. Pisces energy can sometimes focus solely on the good parts and ignore the red flags in relationships. Instead of focusing so much on others, this is also good time to be sure you are seeing yourself clearly as well. Are you ignoring your own inner flags? Refocusing on your own process will help you find more clarity in love as well.

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