Downside Up

Posted by Len Wallick


Venus enters Aries today to begin the weekend. As the weekend comes to an end, Jupiter will station retrograde in Libra. In those two events, Len Wallick sees an opportunity to transcend outmoded notions regarding both astrology and your life.

Over the last century or so, astrologers have managed to accomplish quite a lot, almost in spite of ourselves. One of the greatest achievements of modern astrology has been to separate a lot of ancient chaff from the abundant germ of timeless wisdom. This is especially true of polarized (and polarizing) concepts such as “good” and “bad”.


To cite just one example, ancient astrology often divided planets into “good guy” and “bad guy” categories. For those who speak and write in English, the good guys were usually referred to a “benefics” and the bad guys “malefics”.

Largely beginning in the 20th Century highly proficient and erudite astrologers started calling some long overdue “B.S.” on the strict doctrine of benefics and malefics. In spite of their efforts, it would appear that old habits do indeed die hard.

Foregone astrological reputations continue to provoke unjustified overreactions even today. Indeed, as recently as in the Oct./Nov. 2014 issue of “The Mountain Astrologer”, Robert Hand (probably the most esteemed astrologer of our time) felt compelled to flatly reiterate that “there are no benefics and no malefics.”

What many modern astrologers have proposed instead is that every planet, sign and house have their upsides and downsides – and even those are subject to context.

One of the things distinguishing 2017 is that it looks to provide some very informative contextual perspective regarding the more challenging facets of the two most prominent old-time benefics (Venus and Jupiter), starting this weekend.

Today, Venus enters Aries. Late on Sunday (or early Monday, depending on your time zone), Jupiter will station retrograde in Libra. For a complex combination of reasons, both of those events look to initiate a period of three to four months (at least) when you will have an opportunity to: (1) experience the downside of both Venus and Jupiter, and; (2) realize that even the downside is not necessarily all bad.

If you were to reduce the downside of both Venus and Jupiter to a single word, it might well be “excess.” In other words, too much of even a good thing is still bound to be too much, period. With Venus, excess tends to express on a personal level with issues such as attachment, accumulation, even hoarding. Jovian manifestations of excess on the other hand, are often seen on the social level.

Wherever and whenever you witness exaggeration, over-expectations, over-promising and/or overreactions in the the public sphere, Jupiter is probably somewhere in the woodpile. Beginning next week (and at least until Jupiter resumes direct motion again on June 9) Jupiter’s retrograde could very well serve as a time when even apparent disappointments eventually reveal their corrective silver linings.

For its own part, Venus also has a retrograde coming up. Before having gone even halfway through Aries, Venus will shift into reverse on March 4 and temporarily retreat back into Pisces before resuming direct motion on April 15. Any literal or metaphorical “letting go” you can manage during that period will likely leave you feeling relieved in the long run, even if it feels difficult at the time. In addition (and again, for a complex combination of reasons), any such personal relief you can manage for yourself could well translate into your being wiser, without necessarily having to be sadder, when it comes to where your life connects with the world.

Interestingly, Venus (after returning to Aries a second time) and Jupiter (still in Libra retrograde) will precisely oppose each other on May 19. You might want to mark that date on your calendar now. In all probability, that’s when you will at least have begun to see both your life and the world much as most astrologers have now come to look at the planets: both more authentic and complex than previously perceived by even the wisest who have gone before.

Offered In Service

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Len Wallick

About Len Wallick

Besides endeavoring to be of service to all of you here at Planet Waves, Len strives to live in Seattle while working as a professional astrologer. To contact him for an astrology reading you can send an e-mail to: His telephone number is 206-356-5467. In addition to his profession, Len contributes to the Seattle community without monetary compensation by serving as a Reiki practitioner and teacher through classes and outreach offered by the Seattle Reiki Mastery Series modality.

8 thoughts on “Downside Up

  1. LizzyLizzy

    “Jupiter’s retrograde could very well serve as a time when even apparent disappointments eventually reveal their corrective silver linings.” Superb! It’s kind of started happening already, dear Len. After a really difficult week at work, I felt I was being battered from all sides – the insight suddenly dawned on me last night that the common denominator of everything that was happening to me was my perception that ‘I’ was being treated badly. This sense of ourselves being the centre of everything is where the violence and hatred starts. It doesn’t mean taking things passively, it’s far deeper than that, it’s a radical shift in how we relate to ourselves and the world. Don’t know how effectively I’ll be able to carry this insight through – but it’s work in progress! Thanks for another wonderful piece, Len. A good weekend to all. (((())))

  2. Geoff Marsh

    I can echo your ‘silver lining’ moment, Lizzy. I know a couple of magpies which nest each year in a tree at the bottom of my garden. Generally, I don’t see much of them outside of the breeding season. Lately, however, I have noticed one of them whenever I happened to look out my window. “One for sorrow,” as the old rhyme goes.
    Sadly I have recently discovered that one of my oldest friends has been disparaging my character to mutual acquaintances behind my back. Now, when she is in her cups, she has started to do it to my face. I do not recognise myself from the portrait she paints of me. I feel great sorrow, and last evening consulted the Tarot and experienced one of the most profound readings I have ever received. “It will end badly. Take no revenge. You will be guided through this.”
    Today, both parent birds presented themselves to my view. “Two for joy,” as the old rhyme says. Then, within a minute, and one by one, the parent birds were joined in the same tree by their three offspring from last year. “Five for silver,” goes the rhyme.
    The realisation came to me that, in a battle between two people, the loser comes second, and the prize for second-place is always a silver medal.
    Thank you magpies, and thank you Len, for enabling me to see the upside of this downer.

  3. LizzyLizzy

    How beautiful, dear Geoff. Many thanks for sharing your story here. I can imagine what heartache your friend must have caused you – it sounds as if she’s in a pretty dark place. Am glad you’re receiving such protection and guidance. Like you, I’m really sensitive to the appearance of birds. In fact, there are magpies at the bottom of (my parents’) garden (I know you’ll get the reference!), which I first saw when I was home for my mother’s funeral last March, and I kept counting how many I could see appearing on my mum’s favourite tree, a wonderful old willow. As for those silver linings – realised this weekend that I’m going to have to gird my loins for the coming period, with lions and earthquakes and work challenges – oh my…xxxx

  4. Geoff Marsh

    You have my best wishes for the upcoming period, Lizzy, although I am a little confused about the lions your loins are to be girded against. Have I missed something? The earthquakes I can understand, and hope there is an end to them at least for the time being. That part of Italy has suffered enough in recent years. Stay safe.
    I was pleased to read that you count magpie numbers too. The most I have seen at one sitting is nine. Which is quite a lot and rather ominous.

  5. LizzyLizzy

    Thanks so much, dear Geoff! No, there are no lions around, I’m relieved to say. It was in there because of the line in the Wizard of Oz, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”. The quakes haven’t stopped in Central Italy since the first one last August, none of them big enough to be internationally newsworthy – but some of them are not pleasant – particularly for those in the affected areas. There’s always the fear of another more powerful one, which geologists believe will happen sooner or later – but one kind of gets used to it after so many months. Nine magpies – wow! Take care, dear Geoff.

  6. Barbara Koehler

    Bless you for addressing this “good”, “bad”, issue of the planets Len. Back when our species was deep in the throes of polarity there was obviously little to challenge that view, even among the astrologers themselves. As we have gradually become aware of the extremes of all our perceptions the planets too have gradually become more “whole”. Now we are experiencing polarization as seen from the lowest common denominator (here in the U.S. it expressed as the presidential race phenomenon, where there seemed to be no middleground whatsoever). We appear to be the last stages of growth before humanity makes a giant leap in consciousness. Astrology and astrologers can further that growth with more observations like yours here in this article.

    Today I was struck by the awareness of the “good” side of Saturn while I was driving on a city street that had a total of 8 lanes; 4 lanes of traffic in both directions. Sirens deafened the drivers on this street as we all stopped, even those drivers at the traffic light that was green for them. The fire engine came up behind me as well as those ahead of me at the waiting green light. The fire engine’s driver was on the inner (center) lane (the only empty one) and when he got to the green light he made a right-hand turn, crossing in front of 3 lanes of waiting traffic. I sobbed at the order of it all; rules made by a society (a Saturn – the so-called malefic – thing), were being enforced; a bowing to the right-of-way for fire engines, ambulances and police officers who had active sirens and rotating lights.

    Everyone knew that lives could be at stake if they did not enforce that right of way. It thrilled me to see that some “institutions” were still working in this country. We would be savages if it weren’t for Saturn’s “good” side, and civilization would still be in the dark ages without his influence.

    This might interest you. Curious as to when the Venus (newly into Aries) and Jupiter (now in Libra) would reach their opposition (their present cycle began last August just days before the solar eclipse in Virgo that squared the U.S. Uranus) and it turns out to be May 19th, a Friday. That is also at the time of the 1st quarter moon that will be conjunct the U.S. natal Moon in Aquarius. It is also at the time of the 2nd of 3 trines between Saturn and Uranus (rulers of Aquarius). I find this remarkable timing don’t you? It is something that would surely have escaped my notice if it hadn’t been for your observations about trans. benefics Jupiter and Venus.

    Turns out the transiting North Node at that time will be opposite the U.S. natal Moon and the South Node will conjunct the U.S. Moon. Both trans. Saturn and trans. Uranus will aspect the U.S. Moon and she will be mid-way between them – her traditional ruler and her modern ruler. And the transiting Jupiter and Venus will oppose one another as Jupiter conjoins the U.S. natal Saturn in Libra and transiting Neptune in Pisces trines the U.S. natal Sun (and U.S. Sun squares U.S. Saturn!)

    Oh, and that Venus-Jupiter conjunction that took place last August? It too was in aspect with the U.S. Aquarius Moon. Think about all that on this day after your birthday Len!!

  7. Barbara Koehler

    Of course you already knew about the opposition between the benefics – how quickly some of us forget. The price we pay when nearing 80 years of age.

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