Anhedonia, Self-Sabotaging, & Venus’ Retrograde Journey through Scorpio
The last time I wrote a post was October 3rd, 2018. I told readers to look out for the upcoming Venus rx cosmic travel guide which would be available in the next couple days… and then nothing. I had worked for days on it and got about 40 pages done with lots of explanations and teaching diagrams, and then… was overcome by anxiety and self-doubt about the value of what I wanted to communicate.
I proceeded to self-sabotage and didn’t publish it, full of frustration with these intensely fierce protective triggers and physical responses I keep encountering every time I take a baby step toward any minuscule risk or minimal vulnerable exposure. It is suffocating.
I find it near excruciating to assign monetary value to my creations, my time, my energy, and my skillsets. I’ve always found it difficult, but in the last few years especially, it has become extremely challenging for me to trust that what I want to offer is something that people will think is worth paying for. That is a terrible thing to say if I plan on marketing anything in the future, but it’s honestly how I feel. Despite validation or encouragement from others, my internal assessment of my own worth doesn’t budge much.
This may be a long-term issue for me, but it isn’t really surprising that I would be experiencing this theme so strongly at this particular time… this IS very much a Venus rx symptom. Venus is a planet that speaks to money, value, and self-worth.
Launching a Patreon account? Trying to muster the courage to ask for a raise? Marketing a hand-crafted product or service for the first time? Experimenting with busking for money as a musician? The feelings of vulnerability that can accompany these actions, is very much a Venus Retrograde growth experience (October 5th – November 16th).
Venus is retrograde in my 3rd house (communication, writing), also ruling my 10th house (public and social roles, career). It makes sense.
Astrology doesn’t provide an immediate fix or healing on its own, but it does provide perspective and a bit of breathing space in-between self and suffering, so that there can be less overwhelming, overpowering enmeshment with one’s spiraling thoughts and emotions during difficult times.
The use of astrology in this way, is comparable to what meditation might provide someone, or self-regulation activities, a heart-to-heart talk with a friend, going to a therapy session, or pulling a tarot card.
Everything I’m experiencing and struggling with right now (as well as my responses to challenges) can be read through my natal chart and its transits. Astrology doesn’t make all the problems go away and it doesn’t necessarily create instant life changes based on new cosmic awareness, but astrology’s reflection of my life is often a stabilizing anchor and it offers a sense of containment in the midst of chaos – even in moments when I act in opposition to what astrological insights indicate may be in my best interest.
Quick Venus Rx Review
The retrograde motion of Venus can bring up a lot of doubt and second-guessing as we dig deeper into Venusian themes. With Venus in the sign of Scorpio, we are likely being faced with deep-rooted patterns of thought and behavior, and the psychic and somatic remnants of earlier traumatic experiences.
Since Venus is linked to our personal values, during Venus rx we may be questioning what our priorities are.
What is really important to us in life? What do we really want to invest in, based on what we value? How have our values and priorities shifted over time?
With the planet of happiness and pleasure moving in reverse, we may also be experiencing a lack of enjoyment in life. Activities that were once pleasurable may now seem… dull and unappealing, and no longer capable of motivating our engagement with them.
It can be really destabilizing to question one’s values (and self-value), and to lose comfort in things that once made us happy and gave us meaning. But ultimately Venus rx can lead us to a deeper place of knowing, trusting, and healing as we re-examine our Venusian foundations.
And yet personally, I can know these things and provide advice in this area, but honestly, in-real-life, head knowledge isn’t saving me from the mess of stumbling through the near unbearable emotions that a Venus rx in Scorpio can dig up. I hope you all have the access to the resources that can help you navigate these seas if you, as well, are extra sensitive to Venus retrogrades and/or Scorpio transits (or any persistent state of low well-being).
Venus rx in Scorpio can also correlate with times of vulnerability, self-image and appearance insecurities, fear, loss, grief, trust issues, relationship turmoil, and times of isolation and retreat that ask you to work with intense material that is arising and buried truths that want to be addressed.
An Opportunity to Reclaim, Transmute and Transform, the Scary Stuff of the Past
On another Venus rx note, I began studying tarot cards around the time that Venus stationed retrograde. This was completely unintentional and unplanned, but a week after I had buried myself in tarot books, I finally made the connection.
Back in 2014 I had allowed a new housemate to read a tarot spread for me (for the first time ever). I didn’t know tarot symbolism at all and I was uneasy about the reading, but casual circumstances brought me to that point of invitation.
It was a very unwise decision since I didn’t trust him at all and didn’t really understand what I was getting myself in to. In fact, several weeks later I would flee that house fearing for my safety – running away from him and the other man I was sharing the floor with.
Of course, the first card he pulled was the Death card (which predictably freaks out tarot newbies). He proceeded to arrogantly make an (inaccurate) concrete prediction that NO ethical tarot card reader would ever make, and of course I was deeply shaken.
The few months that followed were hellish and traumatizing for a variety of ever-changing reasons. Unfortunately the tarot card reading became embedded in that traumatic time of my life.
The astrology and tarot worlds are often intertwined, and many astrologers are often tarot card readers, and vice versa. This meant I was always encountering tarot card images, spreads and interpretations on social media, while following astrology accounts. Honestly at the beginning I found this really triggering. I wanted nothing to do with it.
But I was still curious because so many people seemed to use it (in more ethical, healthy ways) as a reflective tool for healing. Some people even pulled tarot cards in the midst of a panic attack or a trauma trigger, as a way to ground themselves.
Scorpio is a sign that invites us toward post-traumatic growth, toward reclaiming something we have feared or shunned, toward finding new life from the compost heap of life. Scorpio is also associated with the intuitive, mysterious elements of life beyond what the eyes can see. With Venus rx in Scorpio in my third house (learning, reading, communication) this reclamation makes sense for me.
Is there something that you are transmuting, composting, metabolizing, alchemizing during this Venus rx?
Is there something from the past that you are reclaiming on your own terms, in empowering and healing ways?
The Urge to Self-Sabotage
I’ve been thinking a lot about the urge to self-sabotage lately (since I am obviously struggling with it). Sure water signs (Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer) get stereotyped the most for self-sabotaging or self-defeating behavior, but I think everyone does it to some extent – it just manifests differently.
It is usually motivated by fear at some level, and it can show up as procrastination, self-harm, and addictions (of all kinds). It shows up any time we intervene to prevent ourselves from achieving our goals and accessing the success, love, relationships, freedom, and health that we truly desire. Self-sabotaging is present when we tolerate the cognitive dissonance of living in ways that conflict with our core values.
Big love to all the self-sabotagers out there! It sucks. It is awful to be at war with yourself, oftentimes over matters that seem so insignificant or “no big deal” or “easy” from another point of view.
It is intensely frustrating to find yourself enacting the same pattern over and over again, even though you don’t want to. The ultra rational, practical parts of our own brains (and the ultra rational, practical people in our lives) don’t get it. If we are at A, and genuinely really, really want to get to B, why in the world do we keep doing C?
It’s the dilemma that has pulled many people into a therapist’s office and confounded all the well-intentioned people who think that motivation and willpower are all you need to achieve your goals.
I’ve written about motivation and willpower before. I think there is value in cultivating these capacities, but oftentimes they can only take you so far – amping up the willpower can even prompt you to repeat old patterns with even greater determination.
It’s a super complex area.
In therapy language, seeming self-sabotaging type behavior might be labeled or described as… re-enactments, repetition compulsion, unprocessed trauma, anxiety, depression, mental illness, limbic system triggers, limiting self-beliefs, the inner critic, attachment issues, ego defenses, energetic blocks, a continual return to what’s familiar (but detrimental) rather than facing the unknown, the vulnerable parts of ourselves seeking safety, love and security at all costs, (mal)adaptive coping/ survival strategies that were developed early in life whose use-value has expired in adulthood…etc.
Scorpio is a sign that is really well acquainted with this deeply patterned self-sabotaging stuff. Therefore, when Scorpio is activated with a personal planet like Venus retrograding through it, we get a close-up look at all that is holding us back, all that needs tender healing. We encounter the root wounds that are holding our power and energy hostage. We are prompted to face difficult truths and address the imprisoning patterns that keep cycling through our lives (and on a societal, systemic level as well).
There’s a ton of different approaches and modalities that aim to “clear these blocks”, and many of them work for many different people in various ways at certain points in their journey. And many people may be able to very quickly resolve these things and free up their energy in a beautiful moment of cathartic healing… but even if you are quite self-aware and you’ve pinpointed the root causes, if you are like me… THAT SHIT IS STUBBORN.
Here’s two nuggets of wisdom I try to remember because they sometimes help. They encourage me to not make matters worse by beating myself up for situations and responses that already suck, and stuff that I don’t always have a lot of control over…
And, if you are so inclined, you can also ask a greater power to pitch in, in whatever way makes sense to you. Sometimes I place the following request: Dear Universe, please provide me with the medicine I need today…
A Short Tangent About Elizabeth Gilbert…
A few days ago, my medicine for the day was a podcast – the first “Ted” podcast – that featured an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. I listened to it while walking with the dogs through the autumn air, and it was just what I needed at the time.
Elizabeth Gilbert, as you probably know, is the author of the wildly successful autobiographical book, Eat, Pray, Love (2006). In the 12 years that followed its publication, her life story has spanned many more books and many more twists and turns in her unfolding narrative.
Even if you have skeptical feelings about Eat, Pray, Love, I think the podcast may be worth tuning in to, especially during this Venus rx in Scorpio. I found it to be potent medicine that covered Venusian themes such as creativity, art, inspiration, love, relationships, life, death and grief.
As someone born with the Moon in Gemini (but also with lots of passion-oriented fire placements), I thought those were some interesting reflections on creativity, passion and curiosity.
After reading that (or listening to the full interview), I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that her Venus (the planet of art and aesthetics) is in Gemini (curiosity, communication, writing). I think anyone with strong Gemini in their chart would particularly enjoy the discussion.
I also found this segment of the interview interesting:
[when needing to finish a book under a deadline after her partner died…] “I did all I could to prepare myself for it, in terms of trying to get my health back, and trying to get my stability back. I kept saying “I don’t have my vitality, I don’t have my vitality, how am I going to write when I don’t have my vitality… and I forgot! Even I forgot – you get your vitality by doing it, through doing it.
Within a week of me sitting down to write this novel, I was restoring myself to who I am as a human being because writing is what I do, and within a few months I had my vitality back. And I even had my joy back. I started that book from a place of darkest grief and ended it in a place of tremendous happiness. I was a different person at the end of that project than I was at the beginning of it.
You know the deadline was very serious and had I not been under that deadline I would have said this is a terrible time for me to work, what I needed to be doing is grieving. But what I actually needed to be doing was creating. Creation for me is the antidote to despair.
Go try it, go make this thing and see not what you make, but who you become. That’s why it’s worth doing, because your life is a work of art and an interesting experiment. So make your life the work of art. What you create is not nearly as important as what you are created into, through the creation.” (~Elizabeth Gilbert)
Now, I don’t think that it always works like this for everyone with a creativity/art-focused occupation; grief and healing take different paths for everyone. However, basically what this excerpt says to me is: When vitality, joy and pleasure are missing from your life, go do your Venus.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Venus is in Gemini. Creative writing, reading for pleasure, and having the freedom to follow her curious impulses, are some of the key ingredients that nourish joy in her life.
In what sign and house was Venus traveling through when you were born? What information does this provide you about the type of medicine that may help to restore vitality, joy and pleasure in your life?
Are these Venusian traits something you recognize in your life, your personality?
Or is it possible you are projecting these Venusian traits onto other people you admire, rather than owning them in yourself (as sometimes happens with Venus placements)?
Legacies & Adam Gainsburg’s 13 Venus Phases
Aligned with what Elizabeth Gilbert discusses in her podcast, my writing efforts aren’t entirely for waste. It’s possible I could rework the cosmic travel guide for the next Venus rx in 19 months, or maybe I’ll share some highlights on this blog at some point in the future when they are relevant.
At any rate, in preparing the guide, I certainly deepened my own understanding of Venus retrograde. I often find that when I try to make information accessible for others, this process of re-organization and knowledge translation always brings me new insights as well.
As part of my research and preparation I read The Light of Venus, by Adam Gainsburg, and it really radically restructured the way I understand a retrograde period – and Venus’ synodic cycle as a whole.
For example, it provided me with new ways of understanding the symbolism when Venus is combust the Sun (within ~ 8 degrees). I never really found traditional descriptions of “combust planets” satisfactory or helpful in real life interpretations. I gained greater insight into how Venus’ interior vs exterior conjunctions with the Sun greatly differ from each other, and I learned more about the different meanings of Venus’ two periods of invisibility and how they align with the Inanna myth.
I recommend the book if you have some astro knowledge to begin with. Adam’s interpretation of the Venus cycle resonated with my own experiences and what I have learned from studying the Venus phases in charts of well-known people.
Adam divides the 19-month Venus synodic cycle (from one Sun-Venus interior conjunction to the next) according to 13 distinct phases the he delineates based on his years of sky-watching and his research with clients. He takes into account the many factors of planetary movement that an astrological chart cannot capture – such as speed, visibility in the sky, proximity to the earth, etc.
The book goes through the 13 phases while focused on static natal placements (e.g. it explains the meaning of the Venus phase at the time of your birth), but it can be applied to current transits as well. As I am writing this post on Thursday night, we are finishing up the final 13th phase of the current Venus cycle, which began on March 25th, 2017 at 5 degrees Aries.
Adam calls this final phase, the Transition phase.
The Transition phase is similar to the dark moon, or balsamic moon phase just before the new moon and the beginning of another lunation cycle. This Venus cycle is dying and is about to be reborn as I write this – at 11:15 am on Friday, October 26th (ADT) – when Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun in an inferior (or interior) conjunction.
If you’ve felt extra fatigued, disillusioned and discouraged this past week, this may be a contributing factor (in addition to that Full Moon/Uranus activity).
A 19-month Venus cycle (associated with all that is beautiful and pleasurable) is dying, ending, about to be reborn.
Before the Transition phase, there was the Completion phase, which began at the time of Venus’ retrograde station on October 5th.
When I was reading this section on the Completion phase, the word “legacy” really jumped out at me and I instantly thought of the widely-shared Time magazine cover with Christine Blasey Ford on the cover with the caption: “Her lasting impact”.
It was fittingly published on October 15th, 2018, right in the middle of what Adam calls the Completion phase; a time when we are reviewing the past cycle and deciding what we will carry over from the last cycle into the next one… and what we will leave behind. It is a time to lay down a legacy. Which Dr. Ford certainly did.
Despite the legal outcome, Dr. Ford’s courageous testimony had a huge impact on so many people. The legacy of her testimony will reverberate for many years to come (and will be carried forth into many future Venus cycles).
I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies lately. During the Sun-Uranus opposition this past week (expect the unexpected) activating my third-ninth house axis (education, communication) as Hygeia (an asteroid goddess of good health) conjoined my Sun and Mercury in Pisces (compassionate, sensitive, emotionally receptive) in the 8th house (death, loss), I heard from a friend I had not heard from for about two years. She was writing to let me know that a favourite professor of ours (from our health professional program) had died earlier this month, and she thought I may not have heard.
I didn’t know this professor well, but I was suddenly overcome with tears in response to the news. When I saw her last at the time of my graduation, she would have been about 60.
In the few interactions we had, I was instantly struck by her deeply compassionate and nonjudgmental nature. She was truly a beautiful soul.
When I fell apart in her office one day, she immediately left her chair to meet me with the offer of a hug and tears running down her cheeks. In a gentle but firm voice she told me not to be startled; she had accepted that she was an “emotive person”, meaning she felt things very deeply and was easily moved to tears.
I was struck by how she was able to create a stable and grounded, peaceful space for me in that moment, while accepting her emotional expression without hesitation or embarrassment, within her role as professor.
As I slowly become more comfortable with my own level of sensitivity and emotional expression, I think back to how she so beautifully integrated her tender sensitivity with strong professionalism and groundedness.
I’m sure she had strong Pisces in her chart – she had an unmistakable “Pisces face”.
Like many obituaries, hers mentioned the word legacy; that which is left behind, that which lives on, that which is carried over to the next generation.
I thought of the legacy she had had in my life, and how much her emotional presence had meant to me in that moment, and how important those small moments are. Similar perhaps to Dr. Ford who does not even know the many names of the people she has inspired with the strength of her testimony, this professor may not have fully grasped the extent of the legacy she was leaving that would far outlive her. This is probably true for all of us in some way.
Every 8 years Venus retrogrades in the same part of the zodiac (and the same part of your natal chart), just a few degrees earlier.
Venus was last retrograde in Scorpio in October – November 2010. What took place during that time?
What has been the legacy of that Venus rx in Scorpio 8 years ago? Do you see those themes, that legacy, being revisited (or culminating) in some way at this time?
What wisdom from this recent Venus cycle (beginning March 25th, 2017) do you hope to carry forward?
What will its legacy be in your life?
The Future of Lilith Rebellion
On March 25th, 2017, at the inception of the recent Venus cycle which is now ending, I was preparing my first horoscopes ever to officially launch Lilith Rebellion via my blog and social media accounts. It is the only per sun/rising sign horoscopes I ever wrote. I wrote them for the Aries New Moon on March 27th. This commenced my commitment to daily, and then weekly, cosmic forecasts + astro research and reflections, as shared through these blog posts.
It has been an important 19-month Venus cycle for me since its initial inception occurred in a conjunction to my natal 8th house Venus in Aries (ruling my MC, public roles & career, and my 3rd house, communication).
This past Venus cycle birthed Lilith Rebellion basically. It was a personal project, an outlet for my astrology passion, which has given me so much joy. It was a Saturn Return lifeline for me really, it gave me a sense of purpose at a time when I felt like I was drowning.
And now, to be honest, as this Venus cycle has been wrapping up throughout October’s Completion and Transition phases, I feel like the project is dying. My gut response is to throw in the towel. I have a lot of other urgent pressures in my life that I need to attend to.
And yet, the astrologer in me knows better than to make a final decision before the end of Venus rx – especially during a retrograde period in the extreme sign of Scorpio that involves an impulsive Uranus opposition… which is prone to dramatically and rashly cutting loose all anchors in favour of change and freedom, in response to frustration and difficulty. I also have a conflicted Nodal Square going on right now with Uranus sitting on my North Node, and yet I know I’m not the only one who feels this way right now.
Regardless though, Lilith Rebellion does need to die in someway as the Venus cycle that birthed it, now surrenders to the Sun. At the very least, I need to reinvent (Uranus) my relationship (Venus) to this project. I need to decide what to change and let go of, and what to carry with me into the next Venus cycle.
As Adam writes about the Inception phase and new Venus cycle we enter into on October 26th: there is “a responsibility to remain open in your heart for the big potential in things and people”.
Many of you may have been experiencing a disintegration of something in your lives in the last few weeks. Some of you may be experiencing a Venusian-themed disintegration overlapping and occurring simultaneously with a birth and creation process, while others may need to trust in the rebirth that lies unseen, around the corner.
My capacity is reduced right now, as my life force recoils at the presence of that all-too-familiar cold, heavy lead-weight settling into my limbs and the horizon is becoming shrouded with thick fog again. As such, I don’t anticipate writing regularly on this blog for the foreseeable future (although Uranus is so active in the sky right now, so I won’t speak in definite terms!). However, all LR channels (Facebook, Instagram and my newsletter/blog) will stay online (my website will eventually be fully accessible again).
Even though the future of LR seems up in the air, studying astrology continues to amazingly sustain itself as a source of deep pleasure and life-giving enjoyment in my life, and I do have a few astro research projects I’m working on. If you stay connected with my accounts, I expect I will share updates sporadically when I can.
And perhaps eventually I will come back to Lilith Rebellion in a more consistent way. At the moment though, I’ve become too frustrated with my own inhibitions in regards to this project, and I really need to direct my available energy toward securing a sustainable income (and hopefully developing other creative outlets).
I was initially hoping to shift Lilith Rebellion into becoming a source of income. I did trial some consultation services earlier this year in the spring of 2018. I didn’t really advertise them aside from contacting people who had previously inquired about them (because I am so uncomfortable with marketing), but some of you found them on my website anyway 🙂
For those of you for whom I provided consultations, it was so lovely to connect with you!!! I appreciate you.
For those of you who have expressed interest in readings since then (via Instagram DMs, emails, or the form I was using on my website), I will hang on to your contacts and let you know if/when consultations are available again! Thank you so much for your interest!
Although I love interpreting charts, unfortunately it was not really practical or financially feasible for me the way I was doing it. When I clocked my hours I realized I was earning about $3 – $4 (cad) an hour on average (less than half the minimum wage where I live), and it was quite time-consuming.
The issue here was both that I was under-pricing myself far below the standards in the field, as well as my decision to type the reports (rather than recording the interpretations or doing them live, which typically takes significantly less time)… and my meticulous perfectionist traits which prompted me to include copious footnotes explaining the technical astro behind each step of my interpretations.
The “simple” answer is obviously to raise my prices and adjust my process and delivery. And hopefully I will, eventually.
But for now, I’m going to experiment with other methods of shifting the narrative of my last few years, and I need to concentrate my available energy on finding ways to sustain my existence more effectively.
Wherever you are at, I wish you so many blessings and healing opportunities on your journey. Thank you so much, for being a part of my journey thus far!
On a final note, the morning of October 26th as the warm Sun came together with the planet of love and connection
in the sign of the Scorpion, Athena (the warm-blooded pit bull) decided to stop trying to confusedly swat at Gimly (the cold-blooded dragon), and instead, carefully positioned her head right next to Gimly’s for some shared window sun-bathing.
It was pretty cute…
P.S. For the astro-nerds out there, if you haven’t heard about it already, I would highly recommend Astrology University’s 2-day virtual summit featuring 14 webinars by some of the most well-known astrologers in the field. The title of the summit is: “Finding the Life you were Born to Live: Astrology, Life Purpose and Destiny“.
It’s happening online October 27-28 for free (but you only have 24-hours for replays, unless you want to pay a price for the whole package). You can sign up here and access information for participating.