With Saturn’s ingress into Capricorn, the Venus Star Point in Capricorn and Uranus’ entry into Taurus this year, the earth signs are prominent. Coming out of 2017’s intense planetary line-up of fire, earth feels like a relief. With its needs for practicality and grounding along with sensible actions, manifestation of those visionary dreams seems more likely. The focus is on slowing down, taking things one at a time. This is especially true after mid-May when Taurus receives Uranus.

URANUS IN TAURUS—2018 to 2026

Yes, the change-agent, revolutionary Uranus, comes crashing into the Bull this year. Taurus isn’t a sign that necessarily welcomes change, but for the next seven years, people who possess key planets in this sign, will find themselves making bold moves, performing actions they never dreamed they would undertake. The last day Taurus hosted Uranus was May 15, 1942. And on the 76th anniversary, precisely on May 15, 2018, Uranus returns to Taurus with the message: “I told you I’d be back!”

Venus and Uranus share an interesting mythological story. In fact, it is the seed of Uranus, thrashing in the ocean, that gave birth to Venus. Uranus entering Venus’ sign, then, marks an important meeting. First, it will be changing from a Mars-ruled sign (Aries) to a Venus-ruled sign (Taurus). With the goddess of beauty, love, comfort, security and pleasure hosting the change-agent planet, we are sowing a new cycle that may certainly bring us back to earth, but at the same time, encourages us to plant sustainable (hopes, dreams and wishes) seeds that we can watch grow to full maturity over this next 7 years. Some may be seeking to provision life on Mars. But with Uranus in Taurus—the message might be—occupy new ground, right here on Earth.

Venus will move three times over early Scorpio, Mars three times over early Aquarius and Uranus three times over early Taurus in 2018. This presents a classic T-square involving three fixed signs. Fixed signs are generally hard to budge off their positions. But this year, with all that activity, those who do have early degrees of fixed signs (between 0-5) will see their worlds re-arranged in great measure. And you know what? They just might be up for the change!


In line with the idea of slowing down and taking inventory, especially of one’s resources, many planets will be in retrograde motion this year. Every year the outer planets turn retro for about 5 months each, yet it is unusual that all three inner planets will have overlapping retrograde and shadow periods all at once. With the triple alliance of Mercury, Venus, and Mars all doing retrograde loops this year, it will be a time of many directional changes for us all.


I’ve always appreciated the three times per year when Mercury goes retrograde. Rather than be concerned if my computer, phone or car will break down, I am grateful for the slowing down and reversal of activity. With so much information pouring into us on a daily basis, along with increased amounts of physical activity, our nervous systems need a break. So every four months, Mercury is programmed to force us to take a step back, before moving forward. Clearing out old files and engaging in any activity that begins with a “re-“ such as reviewing, resting, retreating, “re-tweeting”, rewinding, remodeling, re-financing, re-establishing (you get the message?) are appropriate. And this is our chance—during Mercury’s universally acknowledged “Retrograde Cycle”. The other planets may be occupying earth signs, but for Mercury the messenger, 2018 is his elemental year of fire!

Mercury does its retrograde 3x per year, every year. But each year these Mercury retrogrades occur in a different element. (I recommend Gary Caton’s excellent new book Hermetica Trypticha, which discusses Mercury and the elemental year.) For this year, it is fire. In other words, the three retrogrades are as follows: 16 Aries, 23 Leo, 13 Sag. All Fire Signs will feel the impact of the three fiery directional changes this year. This means we must keep on our toes. Think of doing a tango. It’s hot and fiery, but it moves in very precise, intentional, directional ways.

Fire is an element of passion and spirit, risk-taking, speculation and adventure. One of its negative manifestations can be outbursts of anger. Fiery reactions coming from the subconscious can have disastrous effects, whether we are looking at a mass shooting or an ill-directed set of words that produce deadly consequences. It can also be destructive, as once a flame becomes ignited and gets any encouragement at all from the wind (air) it can destroy an entire village. We can use the directions of fire to focus our energy on a goal and cast our vision in that direction. Then let it go. The secret to achieving what we want, as many spiritual teachers have instructed, is in the letting go. Mercury retro periods offer us great opportunities for dreaming, inner focus, and most importantly of all—listening!

Shadow periods, listed below, are part of the Mercury retrograde cycle. The shadow periods both precede and follow the actual retrograde. During shadow periods, people will often ask, “Is Mercury retrograde?” This is due to the deceleration process of our speediest planet, which takes place during these times.


3.9.18—Mercury enters shadow—5 Aries

3.22.18—Mercury enters retrograde—16 Aries

4.15.18 Mercury is direct—5 Aries

5.2.18—Mercury leaves shadow—16 Aries


7.8.18—Mercury enters shadow—11 Leo

7.26.18—Mercury enters retrograde—23 Leo

8.19.18—Mercury is direct—11 Leo

9.2.18—Mercury leaves shadow—23 Leo


10.29.18—Mercury enters shadow—27 Scorpio

11.16.18—Mercury enters retrograde—13 Sagittarius

12.6.18—Mercury is direct—27 Scorpio

12.25.18—Mercury leaves shadow—13 Sagittarius


Mars does its retrograde every 2 years. Its normal time in a sign is about six weeks. During its retrograde period, it can stay in a sign for five months, delivering a very Martian type of energy to that particular sign. Mars doesn’t mess around. It’s direct, to the point and seizes the moment. Mars hovering over a particular area brings decisive energy and action. Mars moves in on whatever has been hanging in the shadows.

The last Mars retrograde in 2016, occurred in Sagittarius. The big topic that year was immigration, a Sag-related theme. The one prior, in 2014, was in Libra. The big topic that year was same-sex marriage (marriage is Libra’s domain), and that was the year it became sanctified by law. This year it will retrograde in Aquarius, dipping back to the last few degrees of Capricorn. But most of its retrograde is Aquarius, an air sign. The entire airline industry may be scrutinized more closely at this time. As an air sign, Aquarius also rules media and media’s role is to report rather than create news!  Media’s principles could come under intense scrutiny. Watch for laws and regulations to be imposed on media networks and the free streaming of information, as well.

Because Mars will pass over both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on its way through the retrograde loop, there will likely be a number of trigger responses to current leadership (in all levels of government, corporate and even personal lives).

Yes, those that rule are in for a surprise this year. Many will fall. Although Capricorn is a sign of action (cardinal) it is also a sign of consequences—and the law. Repressive laws will cause suppression and suffering. But Martian energy through Aquarius motivates the people to oppose this by striking or striking back. Look for reversals of long-time pieces of legislation or legal actions taken. I would not be surprised if a precedent is set for bodies of the populace to file class-action, collective lawsuits against those in authority, for abuses of power and irreverent failings to support the constitution and the people they represent. Mars passes three times over the U.S. Pluto at 27 Capricorn during upcoming cycle change. As planets begin to mass around the U.S. Pluto, over the next several years (first the Mars retrograde this year, then Saturn in 2020, Jupiter in 2020 and finally Pluto in 2021) this particular theme will become more prevalent.

Look also to these next few elections. We are apt to see many incumbents ousted and many fresh new faces of change, especially female faces, pumping new blood into a dying, stagnant system that is all but on life-support.

MARS Rx AND Direct CYCLE OF 2018:

5.13.18—Mars enters shadow—28 Capricorn

6.25.18—Mars goes retrograde—9 Aquarius

8.27.18—Mars is direct—28 Capricorn

10.10.18—Mars leaves shadow—9 Aquarius


Venus goes retrograde every 1.6 years. Rarely do we find both Mars and Venus retrograde in the same year, but this year this is the case.

In fact, Mars and Venus are both in the shadow phases together—Mars leaving and Venus entering, in September. In the center of Venus’ 40-42 day retrograde cycle, she is conjunct the Sun, creating the astronomical “cazimi”, a term used to describe the planet moving into the heart of the Sun. This is the point I use as the Venus Star Point. Five of these points, over an eight year period, produce the brilliant and beautiful Venus Star.



This year we get two cazimis of Venus with the Sun. Cazimi is a term to describe the planet in the heart of the Sun. The first Venus cazimi took place on January 9th with her exterior conjunction of the Sun at 19 Capricorn; the second one will take place with her interior conjunction of the Sun at 3 Scorpio on October 26th.  Upon January’s “kiss of Venus” we greet Venus in the western sky, visible after sunset. We will enjoy this glorious view of Venus in the evening sky through the spring, summer and fall months this year. But by mid-October, Venus will disappear from our sight, once again to kiss the Sun while retrograde and bestow her brilliance to us in the morning skies by early November.

January’s Capricorn Venus Star will be in effect for most of the year. This involves January/Capricorn EARTH – practical, organized fix home, garden, nurture body, grounding, well-being, action oriented to reach goals, Feminine; Matriarch, Crone, Wise woman – organizing to reach unprecedented heights because politically and socially they are on the RISE!

This backwards dance of Venus passes through both Scorpio and Libra this year. Scorpio is a Mars sign. Libra is a Venus sign. Venus and Mars represent the female and male principles in life, polarities that are possessed of a highly-charged reaction to one another. Were it not for this dynamic connection, we might be faced with a diminishing population, possibly verging on extinction. Instead, it is the vibrant meeting of these two energies that brings incredible desire and ultimate mating, accounting for the Homo Sapiens dominant population of today’s world. Yes, it is this reaction that brings male and female together.

Speaking of male/female, this is the year when the gender-bending phenomena could reach new heights. Mars, the male planet, reverses direction followed by Venus, the female planet reversing direction. Uranus, known for radical change, affects both. More people embracing the change and coming out could be met by more people causing an infinite amount of challenges and opposition. A battle of the sexes? Perhaps. New definitions of gender? Most likely. Think of it as though the current is flowing in a certain direction and cannot be stopped.

The next Venus Star Point, at 3 Scorpio, will occur on October 25, 2018, in opposition to Uranus at 0 Taurus. The Full Moon, just preceding that event, on October 24th, is at 1 Taurus. Individual and joint resources will be key issues of the time. This Star Point in Scorpio shifts later this year into the depths of the swamp just in time for the early November elections in the U.S. Did we hear someone say they were going to drain the swamp, two years ago at election? This will be the time. Election time will see many more women thoughtfully and intelligently railing against the body politic.  Sheer determination – it will be an unstoppable movement (Fixed energy)!

In 2017, Jupiter and the Sun met at 3* Scorpio. At that moment, a small group of women summoned the courage to stand up and speak out about the pervasive sexual abuse taking place in Hollywood, resulting in the now infamous ousting of Harvey Weinstein and scores of other sexual predators in the entertainment industry.

This giant #MeToo wave, born in response to the sexual abuse, traveled around the globe and revealed the issue is not unique to Hollywood. Indeed, universally, in almost every occupation and walk of life, women (and men) were joined to the #MeToo movement.

It is worth noting that 3* Scorpio is one of the Venus Star degrees of our time, as it sits on the 8-year, 5-pointed star pentacle. Underneath that Jupiter/Sun (famous men in power combo) sat the higher vibration of Venus, the sacred feminine, coming up from beneath the surface, announcing to the world: Sexual Tyranny Will No Longer Be Tolerated.

How many retrograde planets per month for 2018?

Mercury, Jupiter (2) – March

Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto (4) – April

Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto (3) – May

Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto (4) – June

Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, Chiron (7) – July

Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Chiron (7) – August

Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Chiron (5) – September

Venus, Uranus, Neptune, Chiron (4) – October

Mercury, Venus, Uranus, Neptune, Chiron (5) – November

Mercury, Uranus, Chiron (3) – December


Content of this issue © Arielle Guttman, Sophia Venus Productions, Santa Fe, NM
Thanks to Catherine Boyer, for editorial assistance and research.