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Venus Retrograde: Your 40 days and 40 nights in the desert

Two weeks ago, Venus joined the Sun in the sky during its retrograde period, which happens once every 18 months, signaling a major review of our relationships and our values — anything that brings comfort to us and makes us happy.

This period typically indicates a reviewing of sorts of our lives, our relationships and the things that we ultimately value and enjoy. It's a time where we are able to re-set the scores of our emotional or personal life, so to speak, and embark on a new journey that resonates more closely with our hearts — but only after looking back at some of the things in our past, and tying up some difficult emotional baggage.

During Venus' retrograde period, the planet appears to be moving backwards in the sky. However, the planet is not actually moving backwards. It is an optical illusion created when the earth laps the planet in it's normal movement around the sun, just like when one car passes another on the street and one of the cars appears to be moving backwards.

In this retrograde process, Venus always appears to cross, or join, the sun as it moves backward, ultimately appearing behind the sun instead of in front of it.

This event, however, does not just have astrological significance. It also has astronomical and biblical importance.

In astronomy, Venus is considered "The Evening and Morning Star." That is because Venus appears as a bright star in the night sky right before it goes retrograde, and can be seen at night after the sun sets near the moon.

Once Venus crosses the sun during its retrograde period, however, it becomes the morning star — and can be seen in the sky in the morning before the sun rises. There is a short time period as Venus crosses the sun where the planet cannot be seen at all and is blocked by the sun's rays.

Of course, we know that Venus is a planet, not a star. However, it shines just as bright, if not brighter, than many of the stars in the night sky. As a matter of fact, it is considered the third brightest object in the sky, after the sun and the moon. That is because it is one of the closest planets to earth, and the thick clouds of Venus reflect the light from the Sun back to earth, making it highly visible.

Some Christian religions also refer to Jesus as "The Evening and Morning Star" because His life closely resembles that of the life-cycle of Venus, and because some Bible verses refer to Jesus as a star.

Consider, for example, Revelation 22:16 (NLT), which says, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”

Or the first Latter-day Saint newspaper called "The Evening and Morning Star," which was named as an homage to Jesus and His life.  (One LDS astronomer also contends that this is true.)

What's even more interesting is that because of Venus' position in the sky, it is never more than 48 degrees ahead of or behind the sun. The only planet that travels closer to the sun is Mercury, which is only ever 28 degrees ahead of or behind the sun. This is, of course, because Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, then Venus, then earth.

In astrology, the sun can be correlated with God, since all the planets revolve around it. Jesus can be correlated with Venus. If we wanted to consider Mercury, the planet of communication, within this viewpoint, it would resemble the Holy Spirit, which flows back and forth very easily between the two to spread the "good news" of the Gospel. If we wanted to take this even further, going to the next closest planetary body to earth, perhaps the moon, which guards our emotions, would resemble a Heavenly Mother.

Each of the 12 apostles also have corresponding astrological signs, as illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper.

But not only does Venus travel so closely to the sun and Mercury, it also retrogrades over the exact same spot once every eight years, bringing similar issues we once faced up to the forefront for review. The last Venus retrograde that occurred in this same spot was in 2009, bringing into focus some of the same issues we faced during that time. 

I find that interesting because seven is an important number in Christianity. It is the number of completion, or the number of man with the help of God. If seven is the year of completion, then eight is the year of starting all over again. That is the year that Venus goes retrograde.

When Venus goes retrograde, it retrogrades for approximately 40 to 43 days. What else happened for about that time period? Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights, as illustrated in the New Testament.

Matthew 4:1 (NLT) says, "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry."

And this year, Venus retrograde just so happens to correspond similarly with the Catholic tradition of Lent, where believers voluntarily give something up for 40 days and 40 nights as a similitude of Jesus' sacrifice (though Venus retrograde does not always correspond with Lent).

During the time of Lent, which is representative of Jesus' time in the wilderness, believers face temptation after temptation for the thing that they have chosen to give up, and are asked to reflect on their life and ultimately overcome the things that are holding them back so they can approach life again anew.

During the time when Venus is retrograde, we are tested over and over again, and asked to face many temptations in order to come out on the other side as a stronger and better person.

That, at its core, is essentially what Venus retrograde, which started on March 4 of this year and ends on April 15, is all about.

As a result, I have decided to use some scriptures from the New Testament to illustrate some potential crises of faith or love that can occur during this time period, or already has.

That, of course, does not mean that some of these similar temptations cannot occur at other times of the year, just that we are being majorly tested to overcome some of these issues at this time in particular.

Here are 3 temptations that we may have to overcome during Venus retrograde:

1. To rid yourself of struggles immediately, or instantly manifest your dreams.

In Matthew 4:3, it says, "During that time the devil came and said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.'"

Satan, which can be seen as something occurring outside of ourselves or even a thought we have in our own minds, is asking Jesus to immediately turn stones into bread, and to do something wonderful and miraculous, on the spot — just to prove that He can.

During this time, there could be more of a desire to quickly rid ourselves of suffering or struggle and turn the stones (or hard things) of our lives into something that is much more fulfilling. This can manifest as frustration, impatience, or fear as we worry about why our lives are not moving forward perhaps in the ways that we would like, and what we can do to overcome any road blocks.

However, life does not always work that way. Sometimes we need to wait to manifest things. Not because we can't accomplish great works, but because we need to learn things that can better help us to move forward.

In the next verses, Jesus provides some much needed perspective. In Matthew 4:4, it continues, "But Jesus told him, 'No! The Scriptures say, "People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."'"

In other words, it's not the alleviation of struggle that is most important, but the lessons we learn in the process as we struggle and the relationships we cultivate, especially with the help of a loving Heavenly Father.

That is one of the messages of Venus retrograde — to determine first what it is we would like to manifest in our lives, and to second put it in the right perspective so that we can accomplish it in a productive and meaningful way.

2. To force crisis points or turning points just to receive divine guidance or protection.

In Matthew 4:5-6, it reads, "Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, 'If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, "He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone."'"

In this verse, Satan asks Jesus to take an unnecessary risk, just to make great things happen in life and witness the great power of God that is on His side.

During this time, we could also face a temptation to take unnecessary risks or to act out in various ways just to make something big happen in our lives. This could be an abrupt move to another city just to get out of a hard situation, or quitting a job without a proper safety net because it's not going in the direction we would like.

However, sometimes making rash moves has the opposite effect. Instead of inciting a new cycle of fortune and prosperity, it only hastens a sense of downfall, fear or insecurity. This is not because God does not care about you or want to help you, but simply because it was a bad decision, not made with your highest interest in mind. And while God does want to help when you suffer, He also wants to make sure that you learn what not to do again next time.

The next verses in Matthew say, "Jesus responded, 'The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.'"

3. To do things that are not healthy for you or for your best interest just because they are easier, or feel good.

In Matthew 4:8-9, it says, "Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 'I will give it all to you,' he said, 'if you will kneel down and worship me.'"

In these verses, Satan asks Jesus to give into temptations to do things that are easier or not good for Him spiritually (though it does sound really nice). In a similar way, we can be tempted to take the easy route to things, engage in behavior that is not good for us, or to let go of the promise we have for our future because it is too hard or uncertain.

However, taking shortcuts and not seeing the long-term view many times brings more struggles and hardships into our lives, and creates even more problems for us that were not there in the first place. We must learn to do things the right way, even if it is hard, confusing, or takes longer than we would like.

In the end, Jesus says, “Get out of here, Satan. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

The result?

"Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus."

This rings true. In astrology, when Venus finishes it's retrograde motion and becomes the morning star, things will then begin to feel lighter and more carefree than they have during the recent past (especially if we have learned the lessons well).

When Venus becomes the evening star once again, we will become much more committed, devoted, and serious about our relationships and the things that make us happy.

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