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Venus Retrograde 2023 - Part 3

"Follow Your Bliss!" as Joseph Campbell exclaimed. (Do you know what your joy is??)

Young boho couple, having fun, camping in nature.  Smiling.  Joyful.

Part I of this series of articles on Venus Retrograde can be found here.

Part II can be found here.

Click the links to quickly navigate through the article:

Venus Retrograde: Joy vs Boredom, Emptiness, and Apathy

As well as transforming your relationships, Venus Retrograde is a time for deep reflection on your values and your joy. Let's see how these pieces come together.

Put simply, Venus Retrograde asks you to reassess your joy, which sounds simple and innocuous enough, right? In a culture that seems to have forgotten the significance of knowing our joy—of trusting and following the guidance of our heart-felt bliss—we may feel that we can easily skip this bit, and life will be just fine.

Just keep on working. Head down. Don't stop. There are bills and a mortgage to be paid. And food to be put on the table. And mountains to be climbed. Busy. Busy. Busy.

What's something as trivial and inconsequential as "joy" got to do with anything?

Work harder.

And then . . . every 18 months, like clockwork . . . Venus goes retrograde, and we find ourselves sitting face-to-face with this essential piece of our personal puzzle. Some of us will find this deeply confronting. Because in this moment, despite our best efforts to distract ourselves with all our busy-ness (and mindless "pleasures" - see below), we may realise just how boring and unfulfilling our life feels.

As my Mum always says, beware the emptiness of a busy life. Wise woman, my Mum.

Bored teenage girl, flipping through channels on the TV.

Some of us really don't know what we value; or what bliss or joy even feels like.

It's possible to be so disconnected from this function of Venus that we aren't aware of wanting or valuing anything at all. And what we can experience, instead, is a deep aching sense of emptiness in life, or even apathy.

If you can relate to any of this, what's missing is your Venusian connection to joy and creativity . . . your ability to be still and hear your Soul singing to you about what it cherishes. Can you stop and listen? If you can, then you'll be able to create a life that you love! A life that feels fulfilling on every level, because you'll be engaging the part of yourself that knows what and whom you want to devote your time, energy, attention, and love to.

This "joy" signification of Venus is linked to all that you find valuable.

And it's therefore linked to a life of authenticity, satisfaction, and fulfilment. This is the piece of the puzzle that ensures you're living YOUR life . . . that you're following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell urged us to do. Otherwise, you may find yourself simply living up to familial and societal expectations. You may be living a life that is extremely practical and respectable, yet isn't coming from your heart's deeper wisdom. And it therefore isn't anchored in the life that you dreamed for yourself.

As Carl Jung (36/9) once said: “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

If you're resonating with any of this, then Venus Retrograde will invite you to engage (and even wrangle) with this over the coming weeks.

Tattooed young woman painter with water colours.  Her joy, painting.

Key Questions . . . Let me ask you:

Of all the things, and experiences, and possibilities in the world:

  • What is your joy?

  • What makes your heart sing?

  • What do you value above all else?

  • What and whom are worthy of your love and attention?

  • What and whom do you cherish?

  • What is extraordinarily beautiful to you?

  • What do you want to devote yourself to?

Despite what some of us Aquarians may think, no one can love everything equally.

Through your answers to these questions, you will come into a deeper relationship with your authentic self. You will better understand where your self-worth derives from. You will better understand how to materially support yourself in this life, because (through Venus' rulership of Taurus) this is directly connected to your joy and values. And you will come closer to finding your true Path in this world. YOUR Path.

Let's look at this a bit more closely.

Woman crafter knitting with turquoise wool.  Her joy, handcrafting.

True Joys, Simple Pleasures, and Challenging Addictions

Let's take this article in a slightly different direction, now . . . Let's look at our daily experience of this energy, and how it can turn quite challenging, if left unaddressed.

I remember working with a client during Venus Retrograde some years ago. She'd specifically requested a reading because, as she said, her "life felt empty". This is definitely a Venus matter.

When I asked her what her joy was in life, she assured me that she engaged in many fun activities . . . from attending a writing group; to enjoying her many handcrafts; to regularly attending the cinema to watch films; to attending interesting workshops; and reading many novels. She then declared that she must simply be a "grizzle guts" to be feeling empty despite participating in all of these wonderful hobbies and past times.

But, as I said to her, if her life feels empty despite doing all of these fun things, then these are not her joys. Instead, they are merely her pleasures, which are a poor man's substitute for the real thing.

(This is an important distinction to make. And I invite you to re-read the above paragraph a couple of times, to truly get it.)

Upon reflection, my client realised that her true joy was travel. She'd traveled the world many times over in her lifetime, and missed it more deeply than she cared to admit to herself. When I asked why she no longer globetrotted, she explained that she was now in the role of Carer for two close family members. She felt it would be selfish and irresponsible to leave them, just to go adventuring. And so, she'd been trying to sate her longing for her true joy through these various past times. To no avail.

Because, as Eric Hoffer once said, "You can never get enough of what you don't really want."

And the unsated are insatiable.

Our pleasures leave us feeling empty, because they cannot satisfy us.

Only our joys can do that.

Two men clinking glasses.  Alcohol.  Gambling.  Smoking.  Empty pleasures.

Now, this particular client's pleasures included novels and handcrafts etc. Harmless enough. And, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, some of us will hide from this sense of emptiness through workaholism and busy-ness.

Over the years, though, I've had many clients reach out during Venus Retrograde, wanting to understand their various addictions . . . from overeating, to gaming, smoking, gambling, endless hours of scrolling through the lava lamp of social media, shopping, binging on Netflix, alcoholism, drug abuse, and sex addictions.

Of course, there are many reasons for developing an addiction. One of them is because, in avoiding our true joy, we're left with a gaping hole to fill with any modicum of sweetness we can find.

But when Venus goes retrograde, we can be deeply confronted by this aspect of our life. We can suddenly realise that we're sick to death of ourselves, of our addictions, our boring life, and our meaningless pursuits. Suddenly, these aren't "enough" any more!

We want to be truly sated and fulfilled! And we're willing to address this issue head on.

Thank you, Venus Retrograde!

If we do the work while She's retrograde, we can find ourselves stepping into a far more fulfilling life, without the mindless busy-ness and addictions dragging us backwards. If we don't, She'll turn Direct again, and life will continue as before for yet another cycle.

I remember one of my clients commenting that he'd always sensed there was a deeper cycle in play with his sex addiction, but he couldn't quite pin it. He'd wondered if it was linked to his birthday, or perhaps to his New Year Resolutions, but the urge to address his addiction never seemed to come around at the same time each year. That's because Venus' Retrograde cycle recurs every 18 months. It's a tricky timeframe to pin down, if you're not aware of its source, i.e. Venus. And, let's be honest, most of us in our modern society are not fluent in the Cosmos' timelines, right?? Oh, that we were . . .

Importantly, our next question becomes:

Why have you been denying yourself your joy; all that you value?

Were you poisoned against it by someone? Were you told that it was unworthy of someone of your rank, gender, age, socioeconomic status, or religion? That you shouldn't want it? Or that it would upset your family or someone else if you chose your joy over what they wanted for your life? Or, like my globetrotting client, did you feel that it would be selfish or irresponsible to want what your heart actually wants?

Or were YOU poisoned? Were you told that YOU were unworthy of devoting yourself to such a Path? That it is out of your league, somehow? That you aren't enough . . . not good enough, ready enough, pure enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough, rich enough, tall enough, short enough, young enough, old enough, experienced enough, male enough, female enough? Were you convinced that you don't have what it takes to be an astrologer; a game-designer; a singer; a doctor; a mother; an artist; an entrepreneur?

Did you bury this longing in Venus' Underworld, and then distract yourself from it?

Did you close yourself to it, without understanding that it leads you to the truest, most authentic expression of yourself? That it ultimately leads you to the role you're here to play for all of us? For, as Dane Rudhyar said, “When you don’t follow your nature there is a hole in the universe where you were supposed to be.”

When you intentionally devote yourself to your true Path, we all benefit from it, because we're all connected in the vast web of life. When you honour, strengthen, and nurture your highest potential, the natural outflow is that you can fully show up in the world and offer your gifts to all of us . . . you support everyone's evolution.

Remember: We all benefit when we all shine.

And . . . here's some good news.

While Venus is in Her Underworld, She is willing and able to pick up any packages that you may have asked Her to store there, no matter how many decades ago. Now's your chance!

And if you allow yourself to finally accept your joy, then your mindless pleasures and addictions, and your need for endless, mind-numbing busy-ness, will all lose their energetic hold, and fall away from you. You'll no longer need them, as you'll feel sated at a Soul level.

Smiling, young woman with pink hair holding a pink gift, against a blue background.

In Conclusion:

For such a seemingly simple subject as joy, there is a lot to unpack, especially if you're one of the many people who find joy difficult to embody. In fact, according to Brené Brown's research, joy is the most challenging emotion to come into right relationship with.

As I've mentioned in my other articles in this series, please be kind and patient with yourself and others while you muster the courage and vulnerability to do the work being asked of you. We can engage the support of various healing modalities, including therapy, reflection, journaling, sound healing, dreamwork, drumming, art therapy, and ritual. It might be the perfect time to create a collage, actually. Immerse yourself in colours and images and photos and symbols. Allow your subconscious mind to speak to you about your true path and your true joy . . . what you value and cherish.

Thank you for journeying with me. I'm so grateful for your company. As always, I'd love to receive your comments, insights, and stories. And feel free to share this article with anyone you feel may benefit from it. 🙏


Juliette xo

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