Since the repopularization of astrology, retrogrades have become boogeymen. People who rarely even read their horoscope in the Sunday paper become wary of the world around them at the first mention of Mercury Retrograde, and those with a little more know-how lose their minds the moment a planet stations. But retrogrades aren’t always apocalyptic. In fact, they can be helpful rest periods that allow us to slow down, collect ourselves, and evolve.
Venus, the planet of love, art, and money, only retrogrades once every one and a half years. Between the fact that it governs some of the most universally pursued areas of modern life and its typically stable orbit, it’s one of the most felt transits in astrology. From October 5th to November 15th, 2018, Venus will station and then move backwards from 10º Scorpio to 25º Libra, highlighting issues of money, intimacy, partnership, and values. But before you break up with your significant other, start a torrid affair with a mysterious stranger, spend your life savings, or worry about any of the above, take some time for introspection and figure out what this transit is asking of you.
Here are tips I’ve collected to help you survive this Venus Retrograde without ruining your life (or anyone else’s):
Stop and think!
In the immortal words of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax: don’t do it.” Retrogrades are not a time to take action, even when every cell in your body wants to charge forward and make a change. This particular Venus goes retrograde while in a tense square to Mars, daring us to rush into choices and courses of action that might not serve us outside of the retrograde period. With Mars in Aquarius, we move in unconventional ways and align with radical values. Before you text your ex about how much you’ve changed, invest in a risky new stock, or give yourself an avant-garde haircut, STOP. Ask yourself why you didn’t do it a few months ago. Mark your calendar for mid-November and come back to it. If it still feels like a good idea then, go for it.
Allow yourself to see through rose-colored glasses.
This particular Venus transit begins with a trine to Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is often like a diffusion lens, making everyone look a starry-eyed Hollywood heroine, but in Pisces it casts an even dreamier haze over all it touches. Sometimes, this is a recipe for disaster and disappointment, but in such a favorable aspect to the planet of love and partnership, it could be just what we need to reconnect with our significant others on a deeply romantic level. Plan a romantic date and allow yourself to idealize your partner just a little. See them through that misty Hollywood lens and let yourself fall head over heels in love again. It might be just the thing you both need to carry you through the rest of the retrograde.
Don’t get lost in nostalgia.
It can be awfully tempting to spend the retrograde playing “what if” all day, remembering what was and speculating on what might have been if you’d made different decisions in the past. While reflection is an important part of any retrograde transit, distinguishing wistful nostalgia from constructive insight is crucial. While retrogrades are all about “re-“s (recollection, reflection, reconnection, reformation, relaxation), “regret” is not one of them. Accept that whatever happened in the past led you to where you are now, and the most constructive way forward is to learn the lessons that arose and navigate the present with that understanding.
The second part of this retrograde transit has Venus shifting back into Libra, its native sign. Like the planet that rules it, Libra is about diplomacy and partnership in addition to value, both ethical and aesthetic. If you find yourself feeling creatively drained, disappointed with the world around you, or generally suffering a case of the “it’s-not-fairs,” Venus Retrograde in Libra suggests you turn to those closest to you for a push. Examine the values you’ve held and what they contribute (or detract) from your life. Discuss them with your friends, family, and significant other in a way that is open, honest, and not defensive. You might find that you share more than you realized and exit the retrograde with a greater understanding of how to bring harmony to your social-, domestic-, or love-life.
Understand that retrograde energy takes different forms.
If you were born under a retrograde transit, this will affect you much differently from someone who wasn’t. You might find a certain clarity to your understanding that seems absent at other times, or an acceptance for your situations involving love and money that feel more like desperate struggles during any other time. Take a look at your natal chart and determine whether Venus was retrograde at the time of your birth. Also take an inventory of any planets you might have in Scorpio, Libra, or signs that make an aspect to either. Your personal experience of this transit will largely depend on what your natal chart looks like and where Venus falls into it. If this Venus Retrograde opposes or squares your Moon, you’re likely to struggle with the transit emotionally where the same aspects to Saturn means it might change the structure of your daily life. If your Sun is trine or sextile this Venus, it will likely bring a happy change of outlook, and good health if Mercury is in favorable position.
Remember the Shadow
Often, retrogrades highlight our personal Shadow, the darker sides of our personality and desires that we prefer not to acknowledge. However, retrogrades themselves have a very literal shadow that casts itself over the transit for a few weeks before and after the retrograde proper. This retrograde shadow begins to show us what areas of our life will be affected by the transit and gives us time to prepare and recover. In this case, Venus entered the retrograde shadow on September 2nd, 2018, bringing up questions of money, intimacy, and relationships that will be answered (or at least workshopped) during the transit. While the retrograde officially ends November 15th, when the planet stations and begins to inch its way direct, it remains in this shadow until December 17th, 2018 when it moves into previously uncharted Scorpio territory. Take the extra time to consider what you learned about these areas of your life over the past few months. Although the retrograde ends with a bang on an opposition to Uranus in Aries, practically begging for bold personal change, integrate the retrograde lessons slowly, focusing on lasting impact rather than fast results.
Astrology is best used as a lens to examine yourself and the world around you. It doesn’t necessarily dictate your personality, your actions, or your fate. Like any planetary transit, retrogrades are a lesson to be learned, highlighting areas of tension and struggle and allowing new perspectives that can aid in solving them. With these things in mind, you can retrograde-proof your life, avoiding all the excess drama, cataclysmic change, and explosive behavior that mars the retrograde name.
Want to hang onto these tips forever?
This handy survival guide is also a