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Venus, the planet associated with intimacy and beauty and creativity, enters retrograde this Sunday, December 19. (That’s correct, it’s not just Mercury that goes retrograde.) Consider this a time for an honest reality check with yourself, specifically in those aspects of life governed by love, whether for self, another person, or the things that surround you in everyday life.
Retrogrades tend to be a dreaded astrological event. Yet when you start to understand what a retrograde cycle means, both at large and for each planet, you can more easily slow down and align with whatever transpires during this time. You’ll also be better equipped to understand any lessoning related to it, as well as ways to handle any potential backspin that happens during this cosmic event.
What does “retrograde” even mean?
When a planet goes retrograde, it doesn’t actually move backward, although from our vantage it appears to retrace its steps in the sky. In astrology, this perceived reversing symbolizes a period of time for reviewing, reassessing, and reorganizing. Think of it less as a reckoning and more as an Rx since it affords you the opportunity to approach things differently than in the past.
Yes, the occasional blast from yesteryear is to be expected—hello exes!—or you could be confronted with a situation that’s uncannily similar to something you could have handled better in the not-so-distant past. Retrograde invites—some might say challenges—you to learn from your past experiences so as to not repeat them again, particularly in those aspects of life ruled by the particular planet currently in this phase.
The overall effect of Venus retrograde
The current Venus retrograde cycle, which lasts until January 29, takes place in the pragmatic and practical-minded Earth sign of Capricorn. Of any sign of the Zodiac, Capricorn is most concerned with traditional and tangible markers of success. The prominent energy of the next several weeks will be getting to the point. Since Venus is in close proximity to Earth, chances are you’ll feel this retrograde more intensely than those of most other planets—even Mercury.
Think in practical terms about your investments—not just with money, but also with your relationships and the time, energy, and affection you put toward them. Ask yourself what it would look like for you to bring more stability and commitment to your most important relationships. To initiate change, you need to heed your scars and own your strength.
How Venus retrograde plays out in love
The most commonly associated event with Venus retrograde—or any retrograde, really—is the return of past loves. If you receive a message or happen to encounter someone, take this event for what it is–a moment from the past. It might be nothing more. Or it might be an opportunity to invite a new perspective and seek closure on a past heartbreak.
In your current relationships, you will likely be asked to confront unaddressed issues in some manner. Remain grounded and act in a manner that’s balanced by logic and your inner knowing.
Venus retrograde could bring about the chance to commit to a new romance. Do so with as much self-awareness as you can summon. Be authentically you. Similarly, seek to know who is actually in front of you and not just who you imagine them to be.
See also: Yoga & Relationships
Venus retrograde and your finances
It’s time to get clear on your endgame. What are you working to achieve? How do you want your future to look? This retrograde encourages you to confront and sweep out any tired old dreams and start imagining new ones.
Venus has a weakness for beauty, not just the sort you see in another soul but in fashion and the everyday items in your surroundings. Let yourself be drawn to what you love, but watch your spending. Caution prevails here.
On a related note, the next several weeks are also an inspired time to take a look at your debt. Make amends where you can and make practical plans to conquer any remaining balances.
How to ease Venus retrograde through yoga
It can be tempting to focus on everything you want that is external to you—the person or the platform heels or the promotion. Venus retrograde asks you, first and foremost, to look within yourself. Notice your tendencies. Your patterns. Your perceptions and assumptions that you have accepted as truth but hinder you in achieving the very things you desire. This awareness doesn’t happen in an instant. Make time for regular and radical self-care as you explore your inner landscape. You might be surprised by the awareness—and the unprecedented depths of love—you experience after you know and accept yourself and your worthiness.
To assist being the impartial observer of any situation, you can turn to the physical practice of yoga. Backbends are a category of poses believed to open your anahata or heart chakra, and facilitate receiving as well as giving from a space of unconditional love rather than the need for validation. Since this is Venus retrograde, consider incorporating some flair and grace with poses such as Camatkarasana (Wild Thing). Also, keep in mind, less can be more, and gentle backbends practiced often can be just as beneficial as a deep backbend once in a while.
Exposing your back body in forward bends also opens the heart space. There is a corresponding rear component of each chakra, including the heart, which has to do with those experiences, beliefs, heartaches, and ways of being in the past that are ready to be released. Rather than rush through the stretches to check them off your list, linger in Yin poses, in which you remain still for three to five minutes, to allow yourself to experience the quiet knowing that can come with stillness.
Forward bends are particularly appropriate for this Venus retrograde since Capricorn, an Earth sign, loves to feel grounded. These poses not only keep you close to the ground, they draw you even closer to it, which is exactly what you need at this time.
About our contributor
Jenny Latreille lives in Northern Ontario, where the moon often seems much closer than it is. Preoccupied with food, culture, the stars, and art, she spends a lot of time in nature and in her kitchen looking for ways to combine everything–and sometimes it works. She lives in an urban jungle with a pack of cats known as “The Adorables.”