Today is the day I’ve been waiting for, for quite some time: September 7th, 2015. Why? Well, the Venus retrograde we’ve been dealing with is officially over as of today! [Queue balloons and confetti falling]
What does Venus teach us when she is at her weakest point? She teaches us to go back and revisit painful relationships, those unresolved karmic ties that need reexamining and healing, and she also tests existing relationships to show where cracks present. So while you may begin to see the faults in your relationships, the message is to be aware but not make any binding or final decisions until after Venus goes direct; this includes marriages and break-ups. For each person, this retrogrades will affect their relationships differently, depending on the part of your chart Venus is transiting.
Although Venus turns to her shadow side once every year and a half, this particular retrograde has hit me very hard personally. (Maybe it has something to do with Saturn finishing his grueling two year tour in Scorpio, which happens to be my rising sign…) In any case, events have been popping up and down while I’ve been holding on for dear life.
Sometimes I like to question astrology and wonder if it is truly real, after all, I am naturally a skeptic. Yet, each time I question whether a major transit will affect me, and think I can skim through unscathed, I am wacked upside the head. Womp womp. The wiser choice is to work with the stars and the opportunities they provide.
In these past weeks, I have faced some of the most painful relationships in my life. Some were by choice, and one in particular was jettisoned upon me. Did you ever love someone who sucked the air out of the room by will? No? I have. A few people in my younger years left me with some pretty nasty scars. At some point you make peace with the way these dysfunctional relationships have ended and move on. You avoid relationships that reek of dysfunction, trying to be ever vigilant of anything that can pull you back to those low places; you think you’ve healed. Wrong! Hello, Venus retrograde.
One of those people reached out to me, after many years. At first I was shocked, then curious, sad, quickly followed by intense rage. Rage at the other person? No, I had physically embodied the rage I felt towards this person years ago. The rage I felt was towards myself for letting myself be in a relationship that was not honoring of me… That rage has pointed me towards a deeper practice of self-forgiveness and compassion. I allowed a lot of dysfunction into my life when I was younger because that is what was modeled for me during my formative years.
Anyone who knows me on a fairly intimate level knows that my mom and I are not close. We speak a few times a year, mostly on holidays. It’s been this way since I way fourteen, after she left to pursue a life with a man that became her fourth husband (she has always been an incurable romantic). It wasn’t just that my mom left, no, she emotionally detached from me when she met him, and suddenly I didn’t have a mother anymore. It was very strange to go from nearly idolizing my mom, to suddenly being an albatross that she didn’t want to be bothered with. She simply didn’t care what I did with myself. On September 11th, 2001, I stayed up until 4am and didn’t wake up until 4pm. I awoke to a tragedy that changed the landscape of my country, and my mom didn’t notice that I had been in bed almost 12 hours. Being the sensitive kid that I was, I didn’t adjust to the upheaval in my family in a healthy way but that is another entry in and of itself.
Over the years, my mom and I have had a few conversations about what happened that year. When I told her how much she had hurt me by leaving in my formative years, she pinned the responsibility on me and my brother. It is never logical to blame a child for the family’s dysfunction, yet that is what she did in her mind. So needless to say, I have kept my distance, realizing that though she is my mom, I will never be able to rely on her like I should be able to.
That brings me to my conversation with her from last week. I had a dream the night before about her that prompted me to call her. One thing I know about talking to my mother is that I have to be in a strong place emotionally, because I simply don’t know what hurtful things she might say. She was in a good mood when I called her that night, so we wound up talking longer than normal. Then, those years that altered my life were eventually were brought up, so I braced myself for impending emotional doom. Yet, the oddest thing happened. Instead of glazing over the events as something that “God” forgave her for, or pinning blame on me, she took responsibility. Shock isn’t a word that I can use to adequately explain how I felt, hearing my mother apologize with true remorse for the pain she has caused.
One thing she said that sticks out in my mind is, “I guess I was still hurting [from her childhood] when you were a teenager, but I didn’t know, and wound up hurting you”. Though my relationship with my mom is fractured at best, her relationship with her mom was even more dysfunctional. My mom talks about growing up hungry, because my grandmother was too proud to ask for help from her parents or get government assistance. My grandmother was also emotionally neglectful as well, but it is much more difficult to recognize emotional neglect versus physical neglect. So in my mom’s mind at the time, the fact that my siblings and I weren’t going hungry meant that all of our needs were being met. She really thought she had turned the tide of dysfunction. The thing is, she never truly dealt with her pain, so she wound up repeating many of the same mistakes my grandmother had. How can we operate at an optimum level when our role models, though well intentioned, were deficient in the lessons we want to learn?
I look at mom as a child who never received the love that she so desperately craved, and my heart melts a little. When I told her that I forgave her, I didn’t just say it to appease her. I made a choice to release myself from all those years of pain. Something that I told her was that I didn’t want to hold onto that pain anymore, and I didn’t want her to either… That it was ok to let go of it. My mom was quiet for a minute and said, “Thank you, Leah… What a woman you’re becoming,” knowing that she had very little to do with it (though some might say she has everything to do with it). It was an strange moment, showing my mother the meaning of forgiveness but I am proud of myself for being able to do that.
We human beings love to punish ourselves whenever possible, believing that our pain is somehow separate from everyone else’s. The truth is, we all feel this way. The illusion that we are alone keeps us from recognizing the truth of reality, that everything is love. Love is creation and the true vibration of life. Everything else is a lie.
There’s a Rumi quote that perfectly sums up my feelings about this Venus retrograde:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
They say that life is like an onion, and that with each new layer there are tears. That’s what I’ll keep doing, stripping back those ingrained parts of myself that no longer serve a purpose. Obviously, I can’t and don’t want to change the past but I can set a new legacy.
Writing about this isn’t easy. I’d rather spend my morning writing about an amazing green smoothie recipe that I concocted (which I will get to at some point). Yet, one of the few lessons life has taught me is that you have to go into your pain, really feel it, and expose it to the light. Here’s the light, dammit. 🙂