Table of Contents


Tarot Reflections

 June 15, 2004


Stars and Cards
The Venus-Sun Alignment: June 8, 2004
Liz Hazel

Elizabeth Hazel is a professional astrologer, tarotist and author. Her book Tarot Decoded: Using and Understanding Dignities and Correspondences will be released by Weiser Books in May 2004. It is the first comprehensive text on the topic of tarot dignities. Her articles about divination techniques, mythology, and magic have been published in diverse publications. She created and organized the first international tarot-talisman ritual, called “King's Triumph,” in December, 2002. People from Europe, Central and South America and across the U. S. participated in this event, and the results were a great success. Another international ritual is planned for December, 2004. Liz lives in Toledo, Ohio, and can be contacted at 419-242-1696, or at


By now, many of you are aware that the planet Venus passed across the face of the Sun on June 8th , an event rarely witnessed by Earthlings. This event only occurs at specific time intervals, and only at specific locations in the zodiac. This special alignment could be considered a Venus eclipse, as the planetary positions in space required for us to see this unique event are quite similar to lunar and solar eclipses.

What Happens When Worlds Collide

When there is a lunar or solar eclipse, the Sun and Moon are always near the Moon's Nodes. The North and South Nodes of the Moon are not planets, but indicate the zodiacal locations where the Moon moves north or south of the ecliptic. The Moon's Nodes are included in astrological charts, and look like horseshoes.



The ecliptic is an imaginary boundary, rather like an equator for the solar system. Planetary orbits take planets above and below this line, so all of the planets have nodes – locations where they regularly move across the ecliptic. Unlike the Moon's Earth-related nodes, however, the Sun-related planetary nodes don't move much. The nodes of Venus are in Gemini and Sagittarius, so a Venus-Sun eclipse can only happen when Venus is retrograding, and we witness it only when the Venus-Sun conjunction is at 17° Gemini or Sagittarius.

The timing of Venus-Sun conjunctions is odd. There is always a pair of Venus-Sun eclipses within eight years of each other; recurrences are separated by intervals of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. Previous Venus-Sun alignments were in 1631 and 1639; 1761 and 1769; 1874 and 1882. The next alignment in the current set will be on June 6, 2012. After a 105.5 year interval, the following set will happen on December 11, 2117 and December 8, 2125.

What It All Means

The delineation concept of an eclipse is pretty simple. If someone with a big hat sits in front of you in a movie and you can no longer see the screen, your vision of the film has been eclipsed. Although Venus is nowhere near big enough to block out the visibility of the Sun, there is still a sense of impaired vision, blockage, and frustration.

In western astrology, Venus is the goddess of love and beauty. She also has a lot to do with value systems – how the individual values themselves, as well as what the individual desires above all other things. Some people want love, some people want comfort and peace, while others want status or money, or the toys that money can provide for them. If Venus is doing the job she's supposed to do, the individual is strongly motivated to put forth effort to acquire the object of their desires. Because Venus is also connected with the arts, some people are motivated to sing, paint, dance, write poetry, design clothing or jewelry - in general, to put a great deal of effort into creating sources of beauty and pleasure.


The desire motivation of values transfers from individuals to groups. Some groups want peace while others want war. Some groups want to preserve the environment while others want to exploit it. All of these groups have desires, but their success depends on other things, like leadership and (of course) funding.

The impact of group desires is particularly important when a Venus-Sun conjunction is visible on Earth. Because this conjunction is so rarely visible, when it is, the desires of individuals and groups become more focused, and the pursuit of the desired goal becomes more charged with motivation and drive.

The previous visible Venus-Sun eclipses were in 1874 and 1882. Since Venus rules women and feminine attributes, it's important to note that the movement for women's suffrage was reaching a boiling point around this time. Perhaps aided by the reign of Queen Victoria, women in Britain got the vote soon after these eclipses. Women in America had to wait until 1921, when their right to vote was finally granted by Congress. While these were important historic moments for women, only a small portion of the women of the world gained benefits at this time.

Gemini and Sagittarius are both signs of communications, travel, education and exchange. Previous conjunction sets occurred at times when there were leaps in either travel or communications technologies, and these were aided by inventions that made people's lives easier (a big bonus for luxury-loving Venus). University curriculums, the availability of public education, financial systems and global trade also experienced improvements during these eclipses.

The Average Joe

By and large, the Venus-Sun eclipse this year will have the effect of compelling people to decide what they want, the manner in which this can be attained; what will help them get it, and (equally) what will thwart them in their efforts. The Venus retrograde period, from May 17th to June 29th , will underscore needs and desires that are unfulfilled. For some, this already has resulted in capsized relationships – the significant other can't offer or provide the kind of love desired. For others, the job or career is not fulfilling desires for recognition, more compensation, or promotion. Another group is experiencing material failures – cars going kaput, emergency house repairs, equipment lost or broken, etc. (your author falls into this category).

The effects of the Venus retrograde are specifically dependent upon where the retrograde is occurring in a person's chart – both the house location and the aspects the retrograde is making to natal planetary placements. In some cases, this retrograde can be quite fortunate, as it provides a chance to redirect efforts or fine-tune motivation to fit updated values. This is the optimal result of Venus' extended transit of Gemini – a sign noted for the multiplicity of choices it presents on a daily basis. Since Gemini is an air sign, people have to think through what they want, be willing to discard unworthy desires and values, and be flexible enough to modify their goals to suit their capabilities and resources .

Venus Retrograde and the Cards

Venus relates to the Empress card – a card that represents desires, luxuries, love, sexuality, and pleasures. She also relates to the cards attributed to the two signs that she rules – the Hierophant (Taurus) and Justice (Libra). Taurus-related desires tend to be venal , a Venus-related word that refers to desires of the body: sex, delicious food, silk sheets, chocolate tarot decks, money, and other indulgent lovelies. Libra-related desires are more abstract and idealized: beauty, harmony, a soul mate, smooth flowing interactions with others, and recognition for creativity. Both Taurus- and Libra-related desires can describe talents in the fine arts – dance, music, art, poetry, literature, fashion, etc.

It is easy to forget that the Sun is involved in this retrograde, but this is extremely important. The Sun (and the Sun card) represents the ego, the self-view, and the need for recognition for efforts. Desires and values are outgrowths, or externalized expressions, revealing the manner in which the individual envisions his or her ego can be validated or fulfilled. Some desires and values are conditioned by the family or tribal-community environment, while others are concomitant to forms of individual expression. For instance, it's no fun to write a song that no one will listen to – the songwriter needs an audience; and if they're lucky, an agent and a recording contract. And while it is healthy to love one's self, it is also very desirable to find another person to share that love with, whether it happens through the context of a platonic friendship or through an intimate and deliciously sweaty, sexual love affair. The goodies of the Empress are what the Sun card thinks it deserves!

Here is the Big Glitch: the Sun might be expressing desires that are a) not good for it, b) not within reach, c) inappropriate for the true self. An extreme example of this would be a man raised to work hard, gain money and power and a high position, but whose true self is more suited to living in poverty as a monk dedicated to contemplation. At some point this man will either have a nervous break-down, or his company will go belly-up; or he will come to realize that his true self is really not all that interested in material advancement, and chuck his corner office for a hut on a deserted island.

So part of the job of Ms. Venus' retrograde is to compel us to retrace our steps from our desires back to the nature of our true selves. If we've assumed our desires are appropriate, yet find ourselves embroiled in endless frustrations, battles and disappointments, it is clearly time to take a good look at our desires and what has prompted us to make such a huge investment in trying to attain desires that just aren't working.

The True Self – True Desires Spread

The Tarot is an excellent device for contemplating the nature of the true self and aligning values and desires with this self. Do not use reversals for this spread. Shuffle the cards and focus on your inner light. Imagine yourself radiating a warm golden light, as though the Sun is shining from within your body to fill every corner of the room.

Card 1 – The Sun – Your True Self . This card represents the true self, the basis of conscious identity, and the nature of the light you can share with others. Consider whether this card shows a self that is familiar to you, or unfamiliar and different from your mental self-image.

Card 2 – Venus Retrograde – What's Not Working . This card crosses the Sun card, and represents values and desires that are just not working in your life. It may show specific areas of frustration, an individual with whom you are struggling in a relationship; or (in the case of a trump card) a difficult life pattern that is being brought to the forefront at this time.

Card 3 – Earth – Reality . This card represents what really is. It may show a better avenue for the ego to pursue, a goal or desire that could be fulfilled and give great satisfaction, or it may show that you need to take time to find your true self and choose an appropriate goal. Consider carefully the message of this third card, as its symbolism will contain clues to the reality of desires appropriate to the true self. Relate this card to the first card of the spread – are they friendly or at odds?

Card 4 – Venus Morningstar – Outcomes . This card shows resources, ideas, and avenues that will become available as the Venus retrograde ends (around June 29th ). Venus will rise before the Sun at this time, so it is appropriate to frame new desires and goals, as well as methods for obtaining these. This is the card of fresh desires, of the opportunities and paths that will become accessible during the summer months, as Venus is renewed and reborn.


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