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Venus Retrograde: Connecting to Desire

Venus has stationed retrograde in Aries as of today, March 4th, and remains retrograde through April 15th. About the last 11 days of the retrograde will be spent in Pisces. In the middle of its retrograde, it will appear to dive into the heart of the Sun, making a conjunction (March 25th). Venus retrogrades are times in which we can reconsider our true values, and reconnect with ourselves to discern what truly brings us pleasure and peace.

We think of Venus primarily as the planet of love and romance. But in astrology, the Venus archetype is so much more than that. The Venus placement within our chart does indicate the nature of our basic relationship needs. The sign and house placement of our Venus gives us the recipe for what we need in order to feel connected to another, in partnership and in friendship. But it also points to how we can calm ourselves. How we can experience pleasure. And how we can learn to receive. These things do not only happen within the realm of romance.

Last night, on the eve of Venus’ station, I sat curled up with my iPad on the bed, watching the rain slide down the windows in sheets. The wind howled outside. It was absolutely a night to stay in. I said to my husband: “I have this sudden craving for homemade hot chocolate.” It is unusual is for me to express a craving out loud. I tend to delay gratification, think about what’s practical, worry about “too much sugar,” consider the clean-up in the kitchen afterward…and eventually talk myself out of the craving for home-made hot chocolate. But this time I said it impulsively, without thinking. “Would you like me to make you some?” he said. I almost automatically said “No.” I feel a little guilty, always, if he’s cooking or making something just for me. But I stopped myself from the “No” and said “Sure!” instead.

I was so glad I did. After some internet research, about a half hour later he delivered me the most amazing, rich, delicious, drinking chocolate (it was too good to be called merely “hot chocolate”). He served it to me in my favorite mug, then went on about his evening. I felt shivers of bliss as I sipped the drink, and gratitude for a partner that would do something so lovely for me – just because I expressed a desire. On one level this is a just story about a beautiful moment in my marriage. But what was even more significant to me was my breakthrough in asking for, and receiving, something I desired.

While this example is mundane, it is a good metaphor for the message of Venus retrograde in Aries: express your desires (Aries) – and allowing yourself to receive them (Venus). It sounds simple, but for those of us who are women, it’s not simple at all. A while back, friend pointed me toward the book Born to Receive by Amanda Owen. She writes about how we as women often have trouble just receiving, as we are conditioned to always be doing and serving. One of the key problems is that we don’t know what we want. Or that we won’t own what we want. Or we know, but we won’t let ourselves bring our desires to the surface. Of course, men run feminine energy, and they can experience this difficulty as well. However, women have been more conditioned by our culture to be shy about expressing desires. Direct requests are not encouraged and are even shamed.

It takes inner-work and soul-searching to identify our true desires. Retrogrades are times to turn inward, rather than outward, for the answers to our questions. We limit ourselves in thinking about what we should want. Or what is realistic to want. Or what other people will think about what we want. But if we are honest with ourselves, and call upon Aries’ courage, we can get to the truth.

Just to be clear: this time isn’t about making a manifestation list, and then expecting your desires to be granted. This is about letting yourself first feel the desire, then to own it. A clear awareness of what you want is vitally important. This clarity might eventually lead you to make different choices in your life. It might allow you to leave a situation that isn’t working for you. But the retrograde isn’t a time for action, nor even for ultimate clarity. It’s a time for reflection. It is a time to slow down and simply notice the wanting. Then, to express the desire. And finally, we must open to receive (Venus in Pisces).

During this Venus retrograde, we can also review the past to gain clues as to our true desires. Using the wisdom of the length of a Venus cycle as a guide, consider what has been revealed to you regarding your desires since the last Venus Retrograde (July – September 2015). What do you value now that is perhaps in stark contrast to what you valued before the summer of 2015? If your memory doesn’t work well with dates, you might try looking back at your calendar or journal entries from that time. Whatever was going on for you then might very well be linked to now.

Here are a few prompts to help identify your true desires:

-Reflect back on something you did recently that you enjoyed. What about it was enjoyable?

-If you had just one year to live, what are the top three things you would most want to experience?

-Take away all of the things you consider “have tos” in your daily life (i.e. working, raising kids, caring for others). Then name three things or activities that you would like to be part of your daily life.

-If you could do ANYTHING for a living – and money was no object – what would it be?

These are thought experiments, and again the idea is to just immerse yourself in the realm of true desire. Don’t worry about taking action just yet – that will likely come after Venus comes out of its shadow (May 18th). And in the meantime, you might be surprised at what shows up as long as you allow yourself to receive.

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