Venus Retrograde: The Quest for Awareness

Cherry, contemplating her gears. Image by Via Keller / Studio Psycherotica.

Dear Friend and Reader:

A FEW years ago in a storm of indignant inspiration, I wrote a short piece called The Seven Definitions of Monogamy. The joke was basically this: the outer perception is that monogamy is one thing, one concept; in reality, everyone has a different definition, or lack thereof.

The dictionary says it means having one exclusive partner. An older tradition says it means one partner for life. There is a difference. Serial monogamy, as it’s currently known, is not really monogamy: I think of it as serial polyamory. You have “many loves” — but in sequence rather than at one time.

In other definitions of monogamy, one may be in an exclusive relationship and make out with one’s colleague in the supply room. Some monogamous partnerships make a provision if one person in the relationship is bisexual; an exemption is granted for the same-sex excursions. (And in other relationships, bisexuality is strictly off limits.)

Some people have a spaz attack if their partner so much as looks at another person. In other relationships, opposite-sex friendships are encouraged or accepted, complete with hugging, cuddling and private dinners out. Some forms of monogamy are so strict that they include a form of exclusivity that prevents one partner from going to community college.

Plenty of people cheat: that is, do things their partner is unaware of and would probably not approve of, and they don’t ever mention these activities. These scenarios were all included on my list of the Seven Definitions, which actually counted about 20 variations on the term monogamous. What I discovered from writing that essay is there is nothing mono about monogamy. We all think we know what it means, and it means something different to everyone, and often that something is unconscious; that is, it’s not negotiated openly. Sometimes it is, and that is usually very cool.

Monogamy may imply exclusivity, but if that is true, then why are there so many things that we don’t (necessarily) discuss with our exclusive partners? Could it be that our thoughts and feelings run contrary to our ideas about commitment? Or could it be that we’re concerned that if someone really knows us, they won’t want to be with us?

When you begin to include the fantasy world — what we think about rather than what we do — the territory gets really interesting. How much of what we imagine in our mind’s eye would we articulate to a partner or lover, or to anyone? Often real feelings are involved, scenarios that go on for years, taboos are played with or transgressed, and there are many experiments. What do you imagine your partner would think if he or she could view all your fantasies in a crystal ball? What if you could view theirs?

The private quality of fantasy is my main theory of why masturbation remains taboo. It has nothing to do with the physical content of the experience. I believe that it’s the psychic content, veiled from view but still resounding in our minds, that makes most people uncomfortable with the topic. If your masturbation is revealed, then the next logical question is what are/were you thinking? I can tell you this: many people really do have fantasies that they would be extremely reluctant to admit. Perhaps because they are so taboo, they would be shocking, or out of fear of hurting one’s partner.

Some people use this whole area of repression as psychic fuel, playing with self-exposure, sharing their erotic fantasies completely openly, and living a little more freely.

Chakra Sutra by Via Keller.

VENUS retrograde recalls the past. Most retrogrades do, particularly of inner planets. Venus retrograde is famous for former partners and forgotten friends showing up. Sometimes the connections are to complete old business, sometimes they’re just to say hello, and sometimes they show up and stick around.

The past is very much an issue in many relationships, or it is the issue: what we did, who we did, who we were, what we learned and who we may still care about. Vast sectors of the past are off-limits for discussion in relationships. Indeed, for many people, the past is not something they care to think much about. It typically lives in a secluded dimension.

Retrogrades also possess an interior quality; they take us inward, so Venus retrograde is like getting a passport into the world of our private emotional history. An unseen and otherwise unavailable world can open up.

Venus is retrograde least of all the planets — for just six weeks out of every 18 months, or about 8% of the time. Many of the attributions of Venus are inwardly related: our values, who we love, what we want, how we feel, what we need. The retrograde emphasizes this quality, and it may take us on a journey through inner space taking us back through our feelings about the past.

Where this occurs in the zodiac — within the Leo-Virgo borderland — is a particularly intriguing place, because it already involves the integration of our feelings and our experiences.

Using the signs involved, let’s make up a few stories. Leo is said to represent passion, daring and impetuous feelings. Not all people with the Sun in Leo exhibit these properties; many factors shape a personality. But Leo itself is known for a kind of childlike approach to the world that does not necessarily consider the consequences.

Moving through the astrological signs counterclockwise, the direction that most of us are taking the journey, Virgo commences a very different story. Virgo is all about considering the consequences, even to the point of paralysis. The critical and extremely self-critical attributes of Virgo are well established. So moving from Leo into early Virgo and stationing retrograde seems like a pausing to consider and review the consequences of our experiences.

It’s about integrating those experiences: consciously considering them, and exploring our responses both intellectually and emotionally until we own our journey consciously.

Virgo is Chiron country, and Chiron is about awareness. Many have noted that Chiron is about healing, but I propose that it’s specifically about healing through raising awareness. Virgo certainly possesses the hyper-focused consciousness that really makes us look at our lives, and Venus stationing there is leaving no brain cell or emotional cell unturned.

Problems begin, however, when we get too critical, forget our passions and live what some people like to describe as “in our heads.” Part of the awareness we need to raise is precisely of that issue, so common to our technological society. This would be a good time to notice the extent to which virtual reality is taking over. The retrograde is a big invitation to backtrack a little bit from the virtual world into the experiential world of Leo.

And as Venus moves toward Leo, it will be an excellent time to remember our passions and dive into them backwards. They may be creative or romantic, they may be the quest for experience or acknowledging desire — define passions as you will. Yet where Leo is concerned, we move toward experience rather than our ideas about it. The retrograde implies reconnecting with old passions or those encrypted deep within us. We may want to seek out people we cared for deeply in the past and see how they respond to us today.

PART OF awareness is the awareness we share with others, and that is called a relationship. Looked at one way, all the divisions I was describing earlier in this article — such as what we choose or refuse to express to our partners, or ourselves — are divisions in awareness.

In much of the territory involving sex and sexuality, we pretend not to be aware of our feelings and our desires. We also can pretend not to be aware of our experience of our past, or how we really feel about it.

I am aware there are many reasons that we don’t share things with our partners.The world can be an extremely isolated and lonely place, and it makes a lot of sense to cling to the love that is available; and to reveal nothing that might threaten it.

I would suggest this. The current astrology is at least a compelling invitation to reach a degree of unfettered self-awareness: to keep no secrets from yourself, and to tell yourself no lies.

Catch you Monday with the Leo birthday report.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, July 27, 2007, #673 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Matters have likely progressed faster than you may have expected or thought prudent in a romantic involvement or impassioned creative project, and you may feel you’re once again in over your head. I suggest you let go of the feeling that you’re heading for a minor disaster. If you look, you’ll see not only an escape hatch when you most need it, but an opportunity to direct the course of events in a much more productive direction than your fears were telling you was possible. Note that someone will offer a suggestion for this possibility shortly before it manifests “in reality.” You can save yourself time by recognizing a good thing when you see it.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Your ability to get things done has been closely following your sense of emotional security. You may think that achievement feeds that security, and occasionally it does; at the moment, your ability to trust is leading the way. If you’re experiencing self-doubt, remember that you tend to impose a nonexistent value called perfection on much of what you do. I suggest that in any personal growth work, you get inside the mentality of this psychological habit, which is clearly the result of your upbringing. You were taught that you cannot take a chance until you’ve calculated the exact potential for winning or losing. Really, to be fair, you must call that something other than a chance.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You’ll make brilliant progress this weekend and into next week if you follow a strategy you set out some time ago. You may think that your professional life is too erratic or downright weird to be able to make plans and follow through with them. But if you can follow the choreography you suggested for yourself a couple of months ago, you’ll be impressed at your foresight. In particular, you saw and developed a proposed response to a problem back then which may be invisible now, which still exists, and which need not hinder you; however, you need to keep your awareness on high and use what you know.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This week’s Aquarius Full Moon will go a long way toward helping you resolve long-term financial concerns. You will, at the least, be able to agree to terms that everyone feels comfortable with, and at best, move the logjams that seem to have clogged the river where you’re trying to ply your trade. That, however, is a physical metaphor. You need a psychic one. Spend some time slipping into the agenda and energy pattern of all the people you’re involved with, and there do seem to be a few. See if you get a clear signal about what they want. When in doubt, note that doubt, and drop a question into the box.

Migration by Via Keller.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You are currently getting a preview of the special care you need to take with money matters, but this is designed less as a warning and more as a calling to create a financial structure that really works for you. No doubt you’ve been reviewing things carefully for a while; a series of eclipses in your money house (with one more to come) has made this inevitable. The particular issue that’s come up now is the way you make certain choices about what you value. You are at this moment getting a history lesson, and it may in truth be pretty ancient history. To sum up, it looks like the planets are pleading with you not to be so petty. You are standing on a fortune.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Over the next few days you may get some unusual insight into a health-related matter that’s one and the same as a community issue. We tend to think of our health as being strictly individual in nature, though it often depends on two things: how we live collectively, and the psychic climate within our personal circle of friends. If you share any of these philosophies, you’re poised to hit the jackpot on both information and action items. Your sense of what is true is so finely tuned right now that you can trust that the information you’re receiving is indeed correct. The question is what exactly to do about it, and when to do it. Some things will lend themselves to immediate action and others to medium-range action. First things first.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
The solution to a professional question turns out to be easier than you think, which is perfectly grand as long as you know for sure what you want. You seem to be having your doubts, and those doubts seem to be showing up on a grand scale. Remember that there are certain things that cannot be nailed to facts, and facts add up to the truth only when we look at them from the right point of view. You can at this point in your life afford to conduct an experiment without worrying too much about the ultimate outcome. The door to doing that is open now, but for this phase of your life, it probably won’t be open for long.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Don’t misinterpret the seeming hesitation of a close partner or friend. They are not withdrawing their support or reconsidering whether they want to keep playing the game of life with you; rather they are moving within their own natural cycle and have some inner maintenance to do. I can assure you that their current self-focus will benefit you and your relationship. We both know there are plenty of influences in the situation to push things further and faster, and most of those are coming from you. If nothing else, you now have plenty of evidence in your life about the awesome power of slow, steady progress. You’d better show that evidence to the jury.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You’re probably taking a detail-oriented approach to success, which is one of the odd curiosities about the very sign that’s so dedicated to living the Big Picture. The details you need to focus on now are the ones you missed in the past. You tend to overlook some of the basics where beauty, tangible value and common sense about what is true are concerned. I suggest you do a review and see where you can be, or in fact actually are, more in step with what I will reluctantly call popular opinion. You missed some choice opportunities recently, and you don’t have to miss them again.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Your persistence has paid off so far; you have averted all of the worst outcomes and most of the less savory ones. Over the next week or two, someone you feel you trust may be pushing you to make a decision or act on a crucial matter faster than you know is right. You need to politely tell this person to mind their beeswax, or thank them for their advice and then promptly forget it. Your sense of timing is close to perfect. The world is going to be rushing at a hectic pace during the current Aquarius Full Moon phase, but you must be the master of timing the most critical matters in your own life.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
A stunning Full Moon in your birth sign is inviting you to renew your promises to yourself, and to summon the strength to know you will keep them. You’ve grown tired of the nonstop obstacles that you seem to keep tripping over as if they were obscured by fog. Those blocks to your progress are moving out of the way perhaps a little less quickly than an avalanche, but they are indeed moving. What you have going for you at the moment is the intuitive light of the Moon illuminating your mind and your senses. Over the next few days, things that were long invisible will suddenly appear. If something looks like a dark object, remember that often the shape of the shadows reveals the shape of what is hidden.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
What manifests in the short term of a relationship is not necessarily what will develop in the long run. Whether you like it better or worse, whether you are able to articulate your desires in a clear way or not, you can trust one thing: there will be developments, and you will be able to put them to work for you. Yet here is what you basically must do with the current opportunity: look clearly, with both eyes, and check whether what you think you want is what you really want. At least raise the question and (with sincere gusto) ask the universe for some simple confirmation that you can really understand. Trust that you may not know the best outcome — and I do mean best.

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