by Tony Howard
Venus just went retrograde October 8, but you may have been feeling those graceful energies slow down in your life all of last week. As Venus comes to a halt, signaling a redirect of those energies inward, you may notice this period is marked by a re-working of your values about relating, love, beauty, and diplomacy. This is in service of reminding you about something forgotten, possibly something suppressed, that will need to be extracted from your own dark places, and transformed into conscious action by the time Venus returns to forward motion. Venus is in the sign of deep, internal Scorpio. This suggests that what we need to look at now may not be comfortable, it could be profound and even hidden, and it could frighten us. However this is no time to shy away from such material.
If you do a search online for Venus retrograde, you'll find articles that suggest not starting up new relationships, or launching new products during this cycle. And that might be good advice right now. But I predict that if a new opportunity does come along in the near future (Venus will remain in this cycle for 6 weeks), it's going to be especially difficult to say no. That's because Mars, the planet of action and um, hot sex, is in the sign of Scorpio, the sign of um, steamy sex. If you're in a relationship, you may not be communicating well, but the acts in the bedroom might start to have a rather Olympic quality :) Mars is no fan of romance. Picture raw sexual energy without the sweet connection. I predict that the small talk and foreplay is tossed out the window during this time as instinct overrules reason. If you're not in a relationship, someone especially hot could come along. And she or he will likely not sweep you off your feet, but throw you into the bedroom, grunting and panting all the way. What I'm saying is that because this experience taps into our primal instincts, it may be hard to resist.
How many relationship troubles have found their genesis in impulsive sexual decisions? That age-old dynamic is about be reignited, I expect leaving some scarred survivors in its wake. So what can you do as a conscious individual to avoid disaster? Here's my take. We can hide the truth behind Venusian walls of diplomacy and niceness. And we end up pleasing no one, least of all ourselves. While Venus retracts that impulse in us to please the other through spoken half-truths, or by creating a false air of peace when we really aren't feeling peaceful, we are left with the Mars in Scorpio energy in full force, which is all about facing the truth - and damn the pretense!
It's as if Mars entered the room all sweaty and dirty and covered in mud and muck, and Venus just left the building and went on vacation. There is no one home to say "please don't speak in that tone" or "would you mind not sitting on the couch until you've cleaned up?". This is going to be one messed up place by the time Venus comes back, right?! But as Steven Forrest reminds us, "the planets don't make mistakes," so there's something about this quality of experience that we all need right now, and that we need to invite in.
So look at those places in which being nice hasn't served you. This doesn't mean that we all have to stop treating each other with grace and fairness. Those are important values to strive for. But look at the ways in which your attachment to those virtues has caused you to suppress your real instinct. And look at the ways in which you haven't been connected to your primal self and desires. Let them out, let them express, let them into the open. But stay aware, stay reflective.
Always we want to approach life without doing harm. Thich Nhat Hanh is a man who embodies the virtues of a life practicing loving kindness. I'm not saying that we need to throw loving kindness out the window right now. But let the image of this sweet soul sink in, and add to it all that we've been saying. How would Thich, or "Thay" as he is called by friends, need to integrate and manage this energy? Consider the following quote:
We often think of peace as the absence of war; that if the powerful countries would reduce their arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds - our prejudices, fears, and ignorance. Even if we transported all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the reasons for bombs would still be here, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we would make new bombs. Seek to become more aware of what causes anger and separation, and what overcomes them. Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully.So this is a time to LISTEN to your instinct. Pay attention. Stop stuffing it down into the dark and let it out. But direct it wisely. Channel it into fierce action, directed by your heart. And be reflective about it (Venus retrograde) and really take in the ways in which you haven't been true to yourself until now. Learn from that experience and make new conscious choices to change your behavior going forward.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
While we move in this direction, we're likely to make a few uncomfortable and probably dramatic mistakes. Mars is impulsive, and Scorpio, passionate. Don't judge yourself in this process. There is something you need to take from this experience going forward. And the energies of Venus will return soon enough, instilling in us an urge to "make nice" again.
On a side note, it will be interesting to watch Christmas product launches that are focused on the beauty industry over the next couple of months. And even more important, it will be a wild ride to watch the November elections. Venus rules diplomacy, and just in time for the November 2, all tact and diplomacy is removed from the public sphere. Now, elections dialogue is rarely "nice". But I expect this election cycle to be especially nasty as things heat up, and that when Venus goes direct, some folks will regret their behavior, as well as their voting decisions.
Finally let's take a look at one news item that was on everyone's mind last week - the rash of gay suicides. The deaths of those dear souls puts us in touch with energy that scares us, and truths that are hard to face. Mars energy unchecked is the quintessential bully - taunting and teasing and goading until everything soft in us is stripped away. For Mars, life can be just one long competition, and winning the only option. Without having healthy access to their own Mars strength, fierceness and will, those poor boys who died felt lost, gave up hope and checked out. We can also assume that they felt largely unsupported (no Venus), alone, and angry. These are the kind of hard truths and uncomfortable energies that we are all meant to look at and reflect on right now. How can we turn this around?
On the high end, Mars is about the courage to face what scares us. On the low end it's about triumphantly beating down our enemies, no matter the cost. When faced with our own internal (or external) bullies, taunting and teasing in our own lives, how do we usually respond? And what is needed now, that has been missing in the past? How can we stand up and fearlessly face our enemies, but stay connected to the voice of our true heart, and do what is right? These questions are also on the table and there are no easy answers.
Blessings to everyone during this time of unchecked intensity and passion.
You might enjoy this recent video from Steven Forrest about the Mars/Aries archetypes: