I’m actually a woo-woo skeptic. Weird, I know since I made a thing called The Woo Workbook. But I don’t buy into something until I have personal experience that said thing works (tho the personal experience of a trusted friend will often get me to try the thing in the first place). And that was true of even astrology—I’ve known about moon signs, and rising signs, and even a bit about other natal planet placements since college, and they sure did explain a heck of a lot more than just sun signs, but I hadn’t ventured beyond a basic understanding of a birth chart until recent years.
In fact, February 2017’s Leo eclipse was about a year into my journey of serious self-study on astrology, and I was just starting to pay attention to astrological transits (aka where planets are currently, how they’re moving and impacting each and other us on earth), out of the hope they might help explain the craziness that was happening on a global level.
Venus was also retrograde and I thought I knew what that meant because everyone understands Mercury retrograde these days. I was reading pop culture lifestyle astrology articles that said things like, "Venus Rx means your love life will be crazy with exes will reappearing from the past,” and I was like, “Meh, what Venus Rx? I don't have any exes that are going to mess with me, this one is skipping me.”
Famous last words.
On the day before Venus went direct on April 15, 2017, I imploded one of my most important friendships.
It was one of those nightmare scenarios where your smarter self is trapped watching (and judging) your actions from a deep corner of the back of your brain but seemingly unable to take control back from the hysterical moron running the show. (Anyone else get those?)
And it was only when the dust settled that I was like, “OK, there's something to this Venus retrograde thing.” See, Venus was retro in Aries. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and it rules the first house, is all about the self, healthy selfishness, putting yourself first, honoring your own needs, and THOSE were my lessons.
At the time I was deep in trying to do too many things for too many people and my solution to being physically rundown and overwhelmed was not to create healthy boundaries or allow myself rest, but to go back on Wellbutrin. That helped me stay productive (it was how I put myself through college while dealing with PTSD and working 3 jobs after all), but also made me extremely aggressive.
In hindsight, I could see how during the first shadow phase (when Venus is gearing up to go retro) I was entering this breakdown/lesson (which peaked around the date of the Feb 2017 Leo eclipse, my moon sign). Then I went on Wellbutrin for the six weeks of the retrograde, and finally, like a delightful period at the end of that sentence, during in the ending shadow I ended up passing a kidney stone, the process of which saw me stop taking the drugs, and start trying to listen to my body.
Suffice it to say, the crystal clear 20/20 hindsight of those events cemented my belief in astrology—so much so that when August 2018's Leo eclipse rolled around with an exact replica of the issues that imploded the friendship, I was actually prepared to not let history repeat itself and found myself passing that cosmic test with flying colors.
I had worked on the issues of self-worth and self-care, balancing personal desires with service to others, that Venus in Aries and the Leo-Aquarius eclipses were stirring up. Much of what I learned even found its way into the first issue of the workbook.
But then I found myself at lunch with Workbook contributor Fairlie Theta in early October telling her about memories and feelings that had been coming up in the Venus Retrograde shadow, and that this fall’s retro in Scorpio and Libra was looking to be crazy. That’s when she schooled me with something like: “No, it doesn’t have to be, just, don’t DO anything until it’s over.”
So the second I got back home, I made the post-it above as a message from my higher self to not hand over the reins to the destructive me. And for the entirety of Venus retrograde, and its shadow on through to this Leo eclipse, I lived and breathed by it everyday.
This was easier said than done as weeks passed and I felt and observed and journaled and shared in the safe space of moon cycles, but I waited. Venus went direct and I still wanted to do and say unhealthy things. The shadow ended, and I decided the cocoon I was in was rull cozy. This month’s eclipses rolled in, and suddenly another week or two in my vow of silence seemed wise.
I may have taken things to the extreme (I usually do), but if there’s one thing this astro cycle has taught me, it’s better extreme silence than extreme destruction—waiting for the right time to act isn’t always procrastination.
The other is that paying attention to the collective vibes of astro cycles and how they affect your own well-being is pure healing gold.
Any astro nerds out there also feeling a connection between the Leo/Aquarius eclipses and the Venus Rx’s sandwiched between them? Are y’all as relieved as I am to close the door on these lessons? (At least until 2027!)