Venus Retrograde Fridays

How’s everyone doing? Did you lose your mind after the first 30 days of stay-at-home orders or are you holding on to those last few brain cells? I have my good days and not-so-good days. This week has been really weird, with energy spikes and then 24-hour cycles of I-don’t-give-a-f**k.

But I have one thing I’ve been looking forward to every week since May 13: Venus Retrograde Fridays. I was inspired by Chani Nicholas’s workshops with a special section on Venus retrograde. Chani is a freakin’ brilliant astrologer who explains everything so clearly and with a focus on personal growth. If you’re not following her on social media, and you have even a passing interest in astrology, go follow her now and sign up for her mailing list. I’ll wait.

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A brief primer on Venus retrograde, taken from Café Astrology:

Occasionally, Venus appears to be moving backward in the sky. “Appears” is the key word here, because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backward in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don’t even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Venus is Retrograde approximately 40-43 days every 18 months.

Venus went retrograde in the sign of Gemini on May 13 and will station direct on June 25.

Why should you care? Well, Venus is the planet of beauty and aesthetics. She rules what we value, what makes us happy, and what creative pursuits we enjoy. She is all about sensory experiences: delicious food and drink, leisurely activities, delightful scents and sights. She also rules relationships – surprise, surprise.

So what happens when Venus is retrograde? Retrograde periods of any planet in astrology are a time when the areas ruled by that planet seem to go backwards or sideways. We have to reassess, reflect, re-do, rewrite, rethink; things might not move forward as fast or as easily as we’d like. Since Venus rules love, affection, beauty, values, aesthetics and relationships, that means these are the areas where we need to reconsider what we’re doing and where we want to be during a Venus retrograde cycle. You may start considering a new hairstyle or makeup palette. You might want to clean out your closet and reinvent your look. A romance that was already on shaky ground may end, or past loves may pop up and get you thinking about how that relationship helped or hindered your growth.

Most astrologers will advise you not to make any major changes during a retrograde period. During Venus retrograde, you shouldn’t cut your own hair or sell off your investment portfolio. I tend to agree with that, but I would also add: if you’re able to test out a change in a way that you can reverse it with minimal consequences, it might be worth trying.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Venus Retrograde Fridays. Venus rules Friday, so Chani Nicholas recommends using this day to focus on Venusian activities. After nearly 8 months of intense client work and dealing with personal issues, I am all about taking better care of me while work is not as crazy busy. I’ve now had two Venus Retrograde Fridays and really enjoyed them, and figured I owed it to the last few regular readers of my blog to share how this works and ways you can honor Venus during this retrograde period.

Here’s a list of possible activities for Venus Retrograde Friday.

    • Lounge in bed for as long as you want.
    • Wear comfy clothes.
    • Play “closet” where you go through your clothes and try out new looks.
    • Reorganize your closet or dresser: by color, by type, by season, by outfit, by whatever.
    • Play “jewelry box” where you go through your baubles (as my fabulously fashionable friend Beth calls them) and put on all of them or try new combinations.
    • Put clean sheets on the bed and fresh linens in the bathroom.
    • Take a long soak in the tub with your favorite scents – bubbles, bath bomb or salts optional (bonus points if you have a glass of your favorite beverage nearby, or you eat a cupcake while in the tub).
    • Deep condition your hair.
    • Put on your favorite perfume or scented lotion.
    • Give yourself a mani/pedi or a facial (YouTube has tons of great tutorials).
    • Teach yourself a new updo for your hair (again, YouTube tutorials are the way to go).
    • Take a nap.
    • Bake your favorite treats and eat them slowly so you can enjoy every bite.
    • Make yourself a fabulous dinner and pair it with your favorite beverage – or order that meal for pickup/delivery.
    • Write a love letter to yourself to open after July 29 (when Venus ends its shadow period).
    • Write out affirmations focusing on loving yourself more, then read them aloud. Some good ones:
      • I am perfectly content to be me.
      • I am good enough just as I am.
      • I love and approve of myself.
      • I choose to love myself unconditionally.
    • Read love poems, a romance novel, chick lit, or erotica.
    • Watch a favorite rom-com.
    • Take a virtual tour of an art museum or historic residence/palace (my personal favorite is Versailles).
    • Write letters and cards to people you care about – or send happy mail to people who need encouragement and/or support. (Here’s a great site to start with if you’d like to write something semi-anonymous to someone in need. Here’s another one.)

While you don’t have to do this on Fridays, it will certainly kick off the weekend on a positive note. And if you can only do one thing you really love on Friday, that’s still good. Venus Retrograde Fridays are all about loving on yourself the best way possible. Enjoy!

Getting Through the Buzzing

Have you ever been disturbed by a humming or buzzing sound? The drone of a motor, the vibration of metal on metal, the whir of an appliance left on inadvertently? Did you try to pinpoint the source of the sound, only to be unable to permanently disable it? Maybe you were able to lessen its severity, but you couldn’t make it stop, no matter how hard you tried. Or maybe you noticed the sound was unpredictable, kicking on under certain circumstances, but quiet during other times. You learned to live with it as best you could.

That’s what chronic depression is like. It is a constant hum in the background of daily living. It is the soundtrack by which I live, by which 3 to 5 percent of people live.

Sometimes I try to squelch the buzzing through self-medicating with food, sleep, music, movies, TV show binges, or alcohol. These things work for a while, then the effects wear off. Social media medication, which I define as repeatedly going on Facebook or Twitter, has side effects I dislike: irritability and frustration tinged with bouts of laughter, tears (both happy and sad) and smiles. But I still use all these methods of self-medicating. It may not be healthy, but it distracts me from the buzzing.

Lately, however, the buzzing is the worst it’s been in years.

This morning I realized the last time the buzzing got the better of me was 16 years ago. My then-husband and I were struggling to pay the bills, as well as communicate with each other. I was raising our dog while trying to freelance as a writer, which failed spectacularly. I remember walking on the treadmill in our basement while watching TV, tears streaming down my face, hoping exercise would quiet the buzz. It didn’t.

Most days I could not get out of bed until late afternoon. I did not want to live, but felt like such a failure I figured if I attempted suicide, I would screw that up, too. My psychiatrist sent me to a mental health facility, a place where the buzzing was even louder because I was surrounded by the buzzing of other patients, many of whom were dealing with much more severe issues than I was. I couldn’t sleep the night I was admitted. The next day, I sat in the common room with my journal and wrote about getting the hell out of there. I would find a different way to deal with the buzz. Less than 12 hours later, I was home, with orders to enroll in an outpatient program at a nearby hospital. That outpatient program helped shut off the buzz for a while, as did new medication and a new psychiatrist.

Fast forward to today. We filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of 2000, and I moved to the west coast that spring. My husband and I separated after he decided not to follow me out here. We later divorced. I threw myself into spiritual and metaphysical studies, let my medications run out. I haven’t been under a psychiatrist’s care since then, nor have I seen a therapist. The buzzing was relatively manageable.

Yet the buzzing never goes away. Spiritual practices, such as meditation and prayer, mitigates its severity. Talking honestly to trusted friends and journaling is useful. Writing blog posts such as this one alleviates some of the buzzing’s effects.

But over the last couple months, all I can hear is the buzzing. It pushes out all the loving, compassionate thoughts my soul needs. It makes me angry at the world, at my friends and family, at myself. It keeps me in bed, unwilling to move except to do the bare minimum of self-care and cat maintenance. It constantly reminds me of all my financial debt, all the incomplete tasks, all the negative things people have said or done to me over the years, all the broken pieces in my life.

When the buzzing was last at its peak, a therapist taught me to write down three tasks each day that I could reasonably complete. As I was washing dishes this afternoon, crying, I remembered this technique and how useful it had been in quieting the buzz. I wrote down my tasks and breathed my way through completing them.

  1. I responded to an email about a work project.
  2. I got dressed.
  3. I wrote this post. (This was actually written as “write in journal”, but while completing #2, I thought it would make a good post. I’ll still write in my journal, however.)

I know I need to see a professional for more long-term strategy in addressing the buzzing. At the moment, it’s at a low-level hum. For that, I am grateful.