They write, they call, they often don’t know a lot about astrology. But overwrought brides have one consistent concern. “Help!” they plead. “We’re getting married soon and I just found out there’s a Venus retrograde! Should we change the wedding date?” My answer is always the same: “Relax!” The astrology of Venus retrograde is not going to wreck a relationship or ruin a wedding. We’re not talking about big baddie Pluto, space cadet Neptune, shattering Uranus or even spoilsport Saturn. This is nice, sweet, stuff-of-life Venus. What’s not to like?
Venus turns retrograde about once every year and a half. For about six weeks, it appears to backtrack, or reverse its path in the sky. (Due to our placement in the solar system, all planets do so from time to time.)
Some astrological authorities have written that Venus is less favorable when it turns retrograde and that it could lead to costly mistakes. But in repeating this advice, the original intent is often overlooked, which was to maximize Venus’ strength in the wedding horoscope. In the 17th century, astrologer William Ramesey advised avoiding retrograde Venus, but he also suggested avoiding quite a number of other astrological combinations as well. There’s a regular laundry list of things to evade. And the fact is, it’s really tough to do! There is almost always something from this long list that even the best astrologers simply cannot avoid, realistically speaking. And Venus retrograde is only one of them. Venus will be retrograde from mid-May through July of 2012, for instance, primo spring wedding dates in the U.S. Over 265,000 couples will marry during this time – can anybody possibly imagine that they’re all doomed to failure?
Since Venus rules love, I imagine that concerned brides fear their marriages will be less loving or affectionate, that their lives together may be less successful or cooperative than they might have been if an astrologer had selected a better wedding date. This may or may not be the case. Astrologers juggle dozens of aspects and placements to select favorable dates. Some of these, unfortunately, can only be had at 3:15 on a Monday morning! And there are also restrictions of time and locale that the couple and guests virtually always impose.
It’s important to remember that the wedding is just one day in a relationship. It’s significant, but most couples have already made their commitments. Many engaged couples have even lived together before marriage, in which case Venus retrograde on the wedding day might reinforce their emotional connection with one another.
The astrological compatibility between the two partners is always more prominent than any wedding date can be. You may also have a good compatibility with the Venus sign in the wedding chart that compensates for any potential weakness in Venus. And of course, many people have Venus retrograde in their birth charts, and would feel quite comfortable with Venus retrograde as part of their wedding horoscopes.
So if Venus retrograde is really not that bad, what does it actually represent? I feel that the wedding astrology of Venus retrograde may add a certain complexity to the marriage, but one that already existed beforehand. A woman left her first husband when their daughter was a toddler and married again a few years later. After the wedding, due to a career opportunity, they moved out of state, separating the girl from her father’s family. This couple married on Venus retrograde, and we can see the complexity of their emotional situation. Yet the daughter was still able to remain close to her father’s family over the years.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett’s wedding was on December 31, 1997 with Venus retrograde. Will has said that divorce is “not an option.” They’ve both maintained extremely successful careers, including founding a charity for inner-city kids. We can see the complexity in their union as Will has a son from a previous marriage.
Brooke Shields married comedy writer Chris Henchy in a small private ceremony on April 4, 2001 with Venus retrograde. They’d been friends for over two years and had been engaged for eight months. Chris went through the end of Brooke’s two-year marriage to Andre Agassi with her, which seems to provide the note of Venusian complexity. Brooke also wrote about her struggles with post-partum depression after the birth of their first daughter, but the couple later had a second daughter without the same challenge.
Jennifer Lopez married Marc Anthony on a Venus retrograde on June 5, 2004. This was Jennifer’s third marriage, and she’d been engaged to Ben Affleck less than six months before. Marc’s divorce from his first wife came through only four days before the wedding! And he has two kids from his first marriage and a third from another relationship. So their situation is very complex. Despite rumors of a potential divorce, they’ve worked together successfully and are proud parents of twins.
Another Venus retrograde pattern emerges from these examples. The couples seem to do more than share a home and family, have kids and love each other. Their unions become the subjects of creative work. Since Venus rules the arts as well as money, and the retrograde is an unusual condition, they’re able to capitalize on their relationships.
Jessica Simpson married Nick Lachey on October 26, 2002 with Venus retrograde. Less than two years later, their marriage became the subject of the hit MTV reality show Newlyweds, skyrocketing both of them to fame. Jessica also wrote a book about creating a celebrity style wedding on a budget. Though the marriage wasn’t successful for the long term (with the show no doubt adding to the young couple’s tensions), it’s interesting that their careers both took off.
Similarly, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith created a TV show called All of Us that ran for several years and was loosely based on his life with his child, ex-wife and fiancée (Jada). Chris Henchy wrote a sitcom, I’m with Her, about a regular guy who meets a famous star, based on his life with real-life bride Brooke Shields. And JLo and Marc no doubt put some of their real-life experience together into the making of the movie El Cantante. They’ve also collaborated and influenced each other’s music.
Since astrologers often associate the retrograde phenomenon with restoring, re-establishing or restarting things, it’s also fascinating to see these couples committing to each other more than once. Brooke and Chris had a second, larger wedding ceremony for their friends and the public about two months after the first one. Jennifer and Marc reaffirmed their vows in October of 2008, over four years after their wedding. And Will Smith says he’ll do the same, but with a much bigger budget than their first wedding.
When brides are absolutely terrified of following through with a wedding already scheduled on Venus retrograde, I advise them to try a civil ceremony before Venus moves backward. And if they truly feel from their own experience that the effects of Venus retrograde on their marriage are negative, they can always select a date without it for a recommitment ceremony later on!
About the Author
Karen Christino has written horoscope columns for Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Life & Style magazines, as well as features for Modern Bride, Marie Claire and many astrology journals. Her fifth book, Your Wedding Astrologer: How to Plan a Marriage Made in the Heavens, was recently released. For more on weddings and astrology, see her website at YourWeddingAstrologer.com.