My Venus-Rx Rough Spot


I've hit a pretty rough spot on my end, I can't lie.

A couple weeks back, for the first time in my 13-year history of writing horoscopes, I was unable to fulfill my weekly duty due to being quite ill. (But you probably already know that if you read my horoscopes.)

That nasty flu (or whatever it was) which had me twice rushed for urgent medical care, IVs full of fluids replenishing my dehydrated system (at one point, I'd lost eleven pounds in four days), has largely subsided. The phantom joint pains I subsequently endured—acute inflammation, alternately, in my wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, fingers, and jaw, which made me unable to move these different body parts for day-long stretches—have since eased up. But I cannot legitimately claim to be 'all better', while my energy remains low and my appetite (renowned for its ravenousness) has yet to fully return and my thumbs are strangely cold, itchy, and tender. And I still feel somewhat ungrounded, off my game, more than a little lost. Thankfully, this writing practice I consistently share with you, dear reader, is providing me something of a structured framework for returning to daily productivity, albeit in shorter durations.

To put my suffering into perspective, I am wholly aware I'm hardly the first or only person to get knocked on their ass by illness… and that I'm lucky this seems to be neither a chronic nor life-threatening condition, as far as I know now (though I certainly had moments of fearing the worst, hypochondriac that I am, and have yet to receive any confirmed diagnosis). Beyond the bodily discomfort, the resultant interruption to my daily activity-flow—which had, as of late, featured a bold streak of forward-facing optimism and inspiring explorations of future potentials—caused my enthusiastic advances to retreat, and my mood to plunge.

No matter your broader blessings, it's easy to feel sorry for yourself when your encouraging progress is abruptly halted and you lack much capacity to do anything about it.

My disappointment was greatly compounded by finding myself down for the count during Venus's current retrograde (which I wrote about here and here). I was born during a Venus retrograde, and my lived history has consistently affirmed this conventional astrologers'-wisdom: Those of us who have a personal planet (i.e., Mercury, Venus, or Mars) retrograde in our natal charts will experience the transiting retrogrades of that planet differently—generally more favorably—than everyone else. It's as if that planet is finally expressing itself in our language when it returns to retrograde motion… even if all the folks around us, who have that planet direct in their natal charts, struggle to adjust to the retrograde-planet's alternative rhythms.

I personally look forward to Venus's retrogrades since they typically bring me happy, self-affirming developments. I met Ricky, my current partner of eleven years, when Venus was retrograde. I first joined forces with the astrologer-colleagues with whom the recent Queer Astrology movement was collaboratively birthed during another Venus retrograde. Whenever Venus is retrograde, I notice people respond to me with greater interest and engagement. I more markedly attract their attention, and they seem to like what they're getting from me. No surprise, then, I've felt so frustrated by my ill health keeping me largely sequestered from the outside world through a significant chunk of this Venus retrograde. (What a waste! Now I must eagerly anticipate the next Venus retrograde, not beginning until March 2017! Ugh!)

If I'm being honest, I don't believe this current Venus-retrograde's influence is entirely unrelated to my recent illness. During Venus's first couple weeks of retrograding, everything is my life was going swimmingly, it seemed. I was enjoying an active social life, with exposure to lots of friends and acquaintances and familiar-faces-about-town… and with all the requisite consumables (i.e., ample libations, the indulgent nibbles which accompany them so well) being funneled down my throat. I believe I overdid it, both in my consumption and in how I spread myself too energetically thin across a wide cast of characters. Don't we know how too much unrestrained rejoicing in the fruits of these so-called 'benefic' planets (Venus and Jupiter) can lead to unfortunate conditions of excess? I'm living proof.

But if I'm really being honest, I probably hadn't been feeling my bodily best for several weeks prior. Since earlier in June, I'd dealt intermittently with symptoms (sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, dull intestinal aches) which never completely manifested into full-on sickness, but which had already sent me to the doctor once (for my first inconclusive diagnosis). That visit's uninformative outcome hadn't been terribly surprising to me, since I'm accustomed to being one of those people who notices odd sensations, glitches, and irregularities in my body which medical professionals are unable to identify or even verify. (Chalk it up to my natal Neptune in the 6th perhaps?) I'm used to having to draw my own conclusions about the coincident relationship between any bodily imbalances I'm experiencing and whatever else is going on with me emotionally and/or spiritually. Recognizing these links isn't usually the domain of doctors; it requires a more consistently integrative awareness of what's going on with a person.

Around the same time I first began feeling subtly unwell, I had a very unpleasant falling-out with an acquaintance… a conflict which seemed to me to arise from nowhere, but which, to hear the other person tell it, evidently represented a culmination of their ongoing problem with me. I'll stop short of claiming total innocence in contributing to this dynamic (for, in relational tangles, it usually takes two to tango), but I will say my sincerest attempt at understanding this person's gripes with me, and mending a fence I didn't even know had fallen into disrepair, was not met with open arms. It seemed this person's mind was already made up about me—an unflattering and, from my view, unfair indictment of my character—and I was powerless to remedy the situation, other than to just let go.

I admittedly don't do well when relationships go south, especially when I feel like my deeds are being inaccurately interpreted, and my well-being disrespected in someone's apparent effort to win by intentionally causing me pain. (Evidence this document from a heart-wrenching friend breakup I experienced five years ago.) This particular rift hit me extra-hard because I originally met this person through a professional context, and they've since become a part of larger circles through which I circulate… which leaves me feeling patently exposed in a way I cannot control (because I seek neither to avoid nor to shit-talk).

As I now focus on healing myself and refortifying my constitution, I'm examining the manner in which I've allowed my public openness to overexpose me to others' versions of reality (we've all got our own unique one), including imprecise or even absurd understandings of who I am. Just as I'd spread myself so thin socially in the weeks leading up to my taking ill, I regularly share myself with this wide-webbed world… in a role which, even as a veritable stranger, places me in intimate relationship with the many souls who seek my consult or read my writing. And just as I know better than to buy into the hype when I receive gushing praise for my work (as if I'm 'enlightened' or something?!? ha!), I also need to learn to better un-attach from the unkind stories others tell about my motives, my attitudes, and my behaviors. More tricky still, I must accept that it's not my job to worry about correcting the untruths in someone's representations of me, especially if I haven't pre-established any emotional trust with them and can't credibly depend on their interest in, or capacity for, mutually productive dialogue.

I cannot presume to know the ins and outs of any other individual's personal journey, what they're here to do, to share, to learn, to love, to be. Because my position as an astrologer involves me supporting people in making choices which help them actualize their best selves, I occasionally fall guilty of investing too much in whether somebody (be it client, friend, or loved-one) actually makes that choice I believe is likeliest to bring them ultimate satisfaction. I, in fact, do not know what's best for anyone else. And everybody has every right to make whatever choice they wish—including not liking me, for whatever dubious reason they invent, or for no reason at all.

In this recovery period, then, I must concentrate on boosting the signal of my story… and, in the process, regenerate my depleted life-force so I may once again project it powerfully outward. I must make choices which reaffirm my self-knowledge, re-center me as the authority on who I am. As a writer, this means articulating my recent experiences, difficult though it may be, as I'm doing now… even while I hear this disagreeable person's voice in my head castigating me for my audacity to 'make it all about me again'. But who else should I 'make it about'? I already devote this web-space to freely providing the service of my astrological writings, for the betterment of others. In order to fulfill my service, I must also caringly tend to the human creator behind the horoscopes. That sometimes requires me to narrate my own experiences rather than produce a poker-faced profile of the latest planetary goings-on. I must periodically flush out my pores of self-expression when they become clogged with personal emotion. Otherwise, I cannot authentically perform as my best self in my relationship with you, dear reader, or anyone else.

Evidently, my body badly needed just such a flush. Guess that's how this Venus retrograde has been helping me out [insert eventual gratitude here], though, for the record, I can think of more entertaining manifestations (like the hard-partying trip to New Orleans I ended up having to cancel because I'm just not up to it)…