Venus -- the planet of beauty, love and relationships -- goes into herrare retrograde state (approximately once every 20 months) on May 15(through June 27)

Venus -- the planet of beauty, love and relationships -- goes into her rare retrograde state (approximately once every 20 months) on May 15 (through June 27) in the double-your-pleasure sign of Gemini. The sign of the Twins is known for all kinds of duality, bipolarity, changeability and other mercurial tricks. It is also a sign of extreme intelligence when the higher octave of the constellation is developed. The lower level reveals more of the all-over-the-map, A.D.D. side of the Twins.

Gemini is known as the archetype of the Lovers in tarot, constellating life lessons about integrating the masculine and feminine sides of our psyche. So when the goddess of beauty and love expresses herself through this airy, dual and mental realm, you can imagine there’ll be plenty of back-and-forth confusion in the relationship department while our minds attempt to sort out thoughts, concepts and words that may be in complete contradiction to our heart. Good luck!

Can you embrace the inherent paradox, contradiction and oppositions that your relationships bring in order to expand your consciousness and move you beyond black-and-white thinking? Gemini is about flexibility, variety and novel solutions, so if you can apply these gifts of Gemini into your world of dating, mating and relating, you’ll reap the benefits of this powerful phase.

Expect tons of the usual retrograde “re” activities: re-thinking, re-vamping, re-leasing, re-doing, resting, retrospection, realization, renovation, retiring, rebooting, renewing, etc. Now apply them to theVenus areas: love, beauty, money, values, relationships, women, luxury, sweetness and harmony.

Next, apply the re-dos to the Gemini arenas: choices, thought patterns, words, speech, communication, writing, discrimination, details, duality, flexibility, variety, transmission of information, messages, logic, etc.

Many will instantly enter into the “there goes my relationship” panic the minute you utter “Venus” and “retrograde” in the same sentence, but think of this phase more as a litmus test. Which relationships, contracts, associations, partnerships and investments are truly of value to you? Those are the ones that will survive this testing phase of Venus.

With Saturn also retrograding in Venus-ruled Libra, and the Sun and Jupiter in Venus-ruled Taurus, the domination of Venus-ruled themes is quadrupled. Add to this the upcoming eclipse in the same sign of Venus (Gemini) and you can see that the cosmos is basically pulling out all of the big relationship guns now!

Yep, consider this one big cosmic conspiracy to put our relationship skills in check. You can expect every fear, insecurity and projection of failure to surface (actually these fun little feelings have been getting stirred up since the shadow period in early April).

This period is about revealing the ways we can harness our mental faculties, discrimination and decision-making abilities to better cope with relationship trials and tribulations rather than run from them. If you were ever under the naive belief that relationships should be easy or they are the wrong ones, then perhaps you chose autopilot mode for this incarnation.

In fact, relationships can be our greatest mirror and tool for self-knowledge. The reason choices are so challenging during this period is that we are hyper-aware of just how many factors and details are involved in any given situation and how there are always two (often polar/contradictory) sides of our mind at work. Put seemingly insoluble relationship questions, issues and quandaries into the mix and voila, you’ve got insomnia ruminating over whether you should commit or quit.

Are you willing to tough it out and confront your relationship differences without running, looking for the next cute distraction or taking the easy way out? Will you use your highest level of discrimination or default to the smells like teen spirit aspect of Gemini and adopt the “here-I-am-now-entertain-me” defense? Just remember more than ever wherever you go, wherever you run -- there you are. We grow through challenges not short cuts. Cut yourself plenty of slack during this period because it’s more challenging to feel related than normal. Remember it takes two and the feeling of disconnectedness is pervasive.

During the Venus retrograde, we are challenged to look at how much or how little we value ourselves. It is said that we train people to treat us the way we either consciously or unconsciously expect to be treated, and this is based on our own feelings of self-worth. This is a time to look at what we base our own value system on in our relationship to our own self-love.

Where do we deprive ourselves of esteem by not seeing our true worth? What do we value in ourselves and others? Where have these values come from? Are they a product of the mind or of experience? With Gemini there is a danger of projecting some of our mental notions (often an unconscious aspect within us) on to the partner. Depending on how much we value ourselves will often reveal how much we are able to value our partner and our relationships. One cannot compensate for the other, and the Venus Retrograde will often painfully reveal where we are trying to cover up for our own insecurities by playing them out in our relationship conflicts.

It’s common to feel unloved, undervalued or disappointed in our relationships during this time but that is often just a way to bring us back to the root of our own insecurities. Perhaps the relationship is indeed mirroring our own inability to receive or a way we undervalue ourselves. We may choose partners who keep playing this out until we realize the pattern and break it by first treating ourselves with the kind of love and respect we wish to receive from another.

It’s true that we will be more prone to evaluating the differences in our relationships during this time when Venus is under the sign of Gemini -- but not to worry. This can actually be helpful if we don’t get polarize into good and bad or other unsophisticated mental categories. There is so much grey area that needs to be honored during this period. We’re all searching for the bridge between our inner male and female sides.

If you want to preserve the love and beauty of your current relationships, do not underestimate the power of communicating (Gemini) your love, appreciation and gratitude (Venus) for all that your partners bring to your life. Don’t assume the other can read your mind even if they proclaim to be psychic. Communication is key under this heavy Gemini transit. Engage in plenty of writing, journaling and dialogs with yourself before launching into any kind of tirades of projection against others. Think with your head, but feel with your heart and remember that both are necessary in any relationship.

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