What matters to you? What are you willing to do for love, beauty, money? How committed are you? What is worthwhile and important? How do you relate to yourself, to your beloveds, to your communities, to this world, to love as a felt experience as well as idea? How do you wish this were different? This summer is a potent one for asking yourself these questions. As Venus, home to our desires and values, goes retrograde (7/25-9/5) it's time to re-think and re-consider the literal and emotional currencies of our lives. Our answers will likely get turned on their heads over the next few weeks, probably to the chagrin of someone, perhaps even you, and yet there is the potential to have a lot of fun with it as long as we stay away from that which cannot be undone.
Lovers might break up, get back together, meet again after years out of contact often to find deeper layers of closure in the rekindling, or connect with each other in a way that feels like destiny. Whatever happens it's often temporary though the results of our attempts to re-structure existing dynamics certainly aren't free from consequence. Keep the long term in mind as you get swept off in whatever fantasies come your way and remember that if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. Though there's nothing wrong with enjoying the (sane, consensual) fantasy while the glamour fades. So many folks are finding themselves exploring familiar summertime festivals within new relationship parameters. Be aware and you won't have to beware. Linger in the longing.
The numbers 5 and 7 are sacred to Venus as is their sum of 13 and Fridays (Freya's Day) are her realm. Venus will spend most of this retrograde in Leo (I wrote this post while it was there and the Virgoan Venus' tendency towards perfectionism just wouldn't let me post until we shifted back into a Leonine time). We can honor this with art, sweetness, play, creativity and making sure that we are tending to those things that brought us joy in childhood even as adults (if you're not sure what this could be, I suggest taking some lessons in fun from the children of the world). The artists amongst us might find that the art we make during this time pushes a creative edge exploring uncharted territory with fresh eyes and experimentation (useful for 7/31's full moon too). Allow the Virgoan part of this retrograde to encourage discernment, wisdom and willingness to be in the details, planning, and scheduling around creative connecting (rather than dwelling in the stuckness that delayed this post).
Without further ado, here are some ways to make this current work for you instead of getting dragged down by it:
1. Be clear about how you want to be loved. This doesn't mean telling another person what to do. This means having the self awareness to know and then extending the kindness of expressing that to all the people with whom you wish to deepen intimacy. Psychic as they may be that doesn't mean that the onus is not on you to ask for what you need. Be prepared to receive what's offered as imperfectly as it may come. Leo energy is like the pampered house cat so remember that you can get up and strut away when you're done being petted.
2.. If you want to be adored, be adore-able. Mostly this done by extending the adoration outward and doting on your loved ones the way you'd like to be. Of course, it's good to keep in mind your lover's preferred way of receiving love when you do this (a relationship astrology reading can be so helpful in exploring this or just knowing their moon & venus & juno signs or better yet, ask the folks you love how they'd like you to show it).
3. Focus on yourself, your desires, your needs. If you have to choose between guilt and resentment, choose guilt. Find ways to experience indulgence and luxury without compromising your budget or your relationships. A little research will go a long way. It's an inside job always, but especially now. All relationships suffer under the burden of martyrdom and self-sacrifice if it becomes habit or default.
4. Give up blame, criticism, negativity or whatever habit is bothering you and/or the folks you love for the duration of the retrograde and see what shifts occur. I gave up blame for lent this year (a witch giving up something for lent baffled me too however the universe told me to so I did and I sure am glad). It's not that thoughts of blame didn't come up or that I didn't even behave in blaming ways sometimes, but I caught myself and backed away from it as soon as I did. I also got to see how much I'd rather blame myself than give up the illusion that we can control our ways out of difficulty. Mostly though I just saw how boring those habits are and what a block to connection. This helps us not only soften into the humanness of others, but deepens our own self acceptance.
5. Know that this too shall pass even if you can't stop thinking about that ex, that crush, the idea that you'll never find love or that annoying thing your partner keeps doing. None of those states of mind are places to act from. Receive the information and reflect. Don't make any irrevocable changes until October (when we're out of the shadow) unless you can do so peacefully and easefully or at least obviously. The best decisions are the ones that arise clearly with only a modicum of doubt. This means expanding our ability to sit with the discomfort of uncertainty until clarity comes.
6. Be grateful for what is. Stay grounded and connected to the actual reality of what's happening by seeing all there is to be thankful for in it. Even if your relationship is self-destructing, what a gift that can be! Just think of past loves and how lucky we are to not be on those same hamster wheels anymore. Express your gratitude to the people from your past and present for the part they've played in your relational development.
7. Reminisce. Nostalgia and the good ol' days can be salve for whatever relationship wounds you've been nursing. Reflect on how far you've come and appreciate what brought you together in the first place. If you're not currently in the sort of relationship you want to be in, reflect on what in your past has brought you closer to your desires and snuggle up to that.
8. Let go of the illusion of control. That's not how love works. If you say something more than once, chances are you're trying to control a situation (or another person). Figure out what you do actually have the ability to change (redundant hint: look inside) and explore that.
9. Read about love! I recommend anything by bell hooks, particularly Communion: The Female Search for Love for some good politicized wisdom that makes it clear that abuse ain't love and that love matters even as we struggle with the way heterosexism and gender roles play out in all our relational dynamics. Listening to love songs can also provide insight & wisdom. A most excellent suggestion from DJ Larsupreme by the Velvelettes. So simple, so clear and so very Virgoan.
10. Stay open to creative solutions. If your relationship it primarily made up of just two people, it can fall into polarization much too easily. Look for the third option, the possibility you hadn't yet considered and the signs that can lead you there. Ask for an outside opinion or bring a therapist, mediator or trusted advisor to the table for wisdom and insight.
11. Create the creative solutions through art, beauty and play. Make love into ritual and ritual into love. This is one of the best ways to explore whatever relationship conundrums are up. We take sex so seriously. Try laughing and playing in the romance even if the primary place of romance is in self love. Come up with more entertaining fantasies.
12.. Take breaks for goodness sakes. Honor the power of space, distance and time to grow fondness and appreciation.
13. Do love your way. I tell you there's nothing like getting married that will put you in touch with how many taboos exist around doing love differently. Learning about polyamory even if you never do it can help us to get out of whatever box we've found ourselves in too. The movements for queer liberation have clues around how to shift as do conversations with folks who are having a relationship that looks like an expression of love you might want. Mostly though know that love follows a spiral path and the linear one that society sets up is usually far to restrictive unless with bend it into shapes that fit us better.
The caveats and comforts:
-Don't worry if you're getting married during this time because it probably means you're an unconventional pair.
-If you were born during a venus retrograde (or if you're dating someone who was), this doesn't apply in quite the same way. You just might be better at all this than the rest of us. Enjoy the cosmos reflecting the moment you were born back to you.
-Regret is just an opportunity to learn.
-Love that doesn't last is still love. Breaking up is sometimes the most loving thing. Relationships that last six weeks are not necessarily less important than ones that last sixty years. This includes the friendships that no longer support who we are now.
This Venus retrograde conjuncts Jupiter, squares Saturn and trines Uranus so look for the opportunities to do the hard work of finding innovative ways to be with your loving desires.
Apparently I have a lot to say about relating. This post was by client friend request. In the spirit of relating, if you have a question or want some advising and are willing to have it turned into a post, please let me know. My Virgoan self wants to be of service in the most useful ways possible and it's one way to get me to write more long form too.
If you're more interested in how to use your resources more wisely in the other realm most commonly associated with Venus, I suggest you recycle and re-explore this post from the last time this planet appeared to go backwards.
I've found myself telling all my clients to handle their holydaze shopping by asking themselves these questions:
1. Have I been considering buying this for a long time? Does this reflect my values in some meaningful way?
2. Is it beautiful and useful? Will I (or they, if it's a gift) actually use it?
3. Is it a great deal?
4. Is it returnable?
If your purchase/gift/action meets at least three of these criteria, give yourself a Venusian green light.
Venus' retrograde in Capricorn from 12/21-1/31 doesn't just call us to question what we spend our resources on. It also brings our relationships center stage. This includes our relationship to ourselves. A client recently commented that she might apply these questions to her relationship decisions over the next forty days and forty nights which I reckon is probably wise. Whatever you do, this holiday season and as we move into the new year, be supremely (self) loving without all the fuss. You probably will not find peace in a "beauty" product (and may make things worse if you make drastic change unless it meets the above criteria). You might, however, find peace in a simple, sweet, self massage. Check out these holiday thrival tips to expand your repertoire of simple ways to be love in action.
2014's New Years Day aligns with the dark new moon in Capricorn, an excellent time to be prayerful and reflective, make vision board collages and write your wishes down. A new moon and a new year feels auspicious despite the fact that I have my reservations about starting a new year in the middle of winter. Making re-solutions in the sense of recommitting to loving your self and your communities is wise and beautiful. Remember though, we make vows so that we are reminded of what's important to us when we forget. It's not about being perfect, it's about continuing to try.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor
Never miss a post!