By Amanda Moreno
The first week of Venus retrograde is just about done. I have noticed that the body seems to be front and center for many people in my life. At a class I taught about the retrograde period the other night, I encouraged participants to really tune in to the wisdom of their bodies this week.
Venus spending an unusually long time in the first degree of Virgo seems like an opportunity to prepare what I’m framing — in typical dramatic Leo fashion — as an underworld type of journey. My understanding of this retrograde phase is that Venus as goddess of love and war will be showing all of her faces.
Just about the time Venus went retrograde, I pretty much went all out with dietary changes and a big-time focus on self-care. It wasn’t planned to coincide with the transit. I’ve been experiencing gastrointestinal problems off and on since a bad bout of food poisoning last summer, and I finally just hit my breaking point.
I’m no stranger to elimination diets and whatnot. I’m one of those people who thrives on the challenge and finds it fascinating to spend a few weeks really tuning in to how my body is working, giving it a break from alcohol, sugar, grains and other common allergens. This time around, however, everything but non-starchy veggies, some organic meats, hazelnuts and seeds are all that’s on the menu. And you know… a week in I have to say it’s been shockingly easy. Thank you, Virgo.
It’s got me to thinking quite a bit about the inner side of Venus (the Taurean side) and body love. I have been blessed with an overweight body probably since the age of six, round about the time my dad died. I’ve also been blessed with the ability to love my body, regardless of what it looks like. When it comes to being naked in front of lovers, for example, I figure — hey, they chose to be here, why hide? Swimsuit season…eh, who cares? People might judge, they might not, but I wanna feel as much water on bare skin as possible.
Body love in our culture is something that is praised on the one hand, and then shunned on the other. Wouldn’t want to be too confident or arrogant, after all. I’ve often felt extremely uncomfortable in situations with female friends who are picking their bodies apart and shaming themselves together. It’s as if that act has become some kind of social bonding ritual.
That’s not to say I don’t believe there is a time and place for discussing or confessing our insecurities about our bodies, which is just as important as confessing our love for our bodies when and if it arises. I’ve just never known quite what to do while amongst friends, usually all of whom are a good 50-100 pounds lighter than me, who are lamenting their bulges. It can be awkward, sad and somewhat confusing and frustrating.
Recently, as I work with my own body holding patterns, I’ve been reviewing and releasing several patterns that crept up on me somewhat unexpectedly. The first is the way I have internalized quite literally the guidance I was given from a young age to “suck it in,” referring of course to my belly.
I had no idea what the actual size of my belly was until last fall when I had my first cranio-sacral massage session. Several hours later, I was standing in my bedroom, and felt all of my abdominal muscles relax — and there it was: a bulging belly. I was horrified and concerned that there was something wrong with me. Thus began an emphasized period of being unable to hold it all in.
As I move through a phase in my life where the predominant theme seems to be one of ‘letting go’, I’m fascinated by just how literally my body has been trained to hold it all in, with so much pressure surrounding those abdominal organs. As I learn to release and relax those muscles, while still paying attention to what posture feels strong to me, I’m also releasing the emotions stored in the “I have to hold it all in” complex and in those organs.
The personal revelations coming from such a pronounced focus on my stomach, the energetic interplay between my sacral, solar plexus and heart chakras, my emotional body and the foods I eat have all kind of come together this week. As this Venus in Virgo energy really seems to be demonstrating to me the inner side of Venus, associated with Venus in Taurus and themes of self-worth, self-esteem, values and resources, I have been brought to a new level of body love. I am cherishing taking care of my body right now. Even as I carry on with lots of client work and grant writing, putting my physical health first has been a full-time job — and it feels like a worthwhile investment.
I am finding patience with myself that I never knew I had. I am listening to my instincts surrounding what I should be putting in my body, and I am loving every extra moment of self care I can find, from detox baths to slowing down my walking speed to feeling the way movement is flowing. For someone who has been learning how to self-parent at the emotional level for a while now, really being able to bring the body to the mix gives me a sense of grounded presence that I can’t say I’ve ever really experienced before. Full-fledged parenting.
Another theme that has arisen is that of truly committing to being here, in this body and on this Earth, and loving all of me enough to figure out how to make the physical vessel that is Amanda a place that is comfortable, strong, healthy and capable of doing whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing to follow my path. I was somewhat shocked when that theme came to the surface, as I’ve always considered myself someone who loves life. But there it was — a little part that is still quite resistant to being earthbound, who feels like being stuck in a body is the worst fate of all. There can be so much pain associated with being in the body.
But then the sense of really, truly realizing what I’m worth, which is a lot, while at the same time realizing that I am my greatest resource, that I am the only one who can save myself — with support from others, of course. Committing to myself, to being fully embodied in this life, feels pretty monumental, even at the same time as it feels obvious and understated.
Part of the reason it feels monumental is because I never fully realized that explicit commitment was a step I apparently needed to take. But I wrote that, and then this article by Margaret Atwood , titled “It’s Not Climate Change, It’s Everything Change,” graced my inbox via a dear Planet Waves colleague.
I then remembered: committing to being here and now, present and alert in a physical body, might actually be a very difficult thing to do. Balancing the fact that there is so much good in the world with the fact that it is an incredibly fucked-up place to be alive and alert is a daunting task. Choosing to keep our eyes open and pay attention to what is going on in the world is something that likely very much triggers the parts that are holding it all in, trying to keep it all together. For me it also triggers the part that is pretty convinced that if she lets go, the rug will get pulled out from under her once again — and avoidance of that level of physical and emotional pain can be fairly hard-core.
I return to this style of personal writing this week because it is what is flowing, but also because I hope some of you can relate. Within each of us lie so many paradoxes and complexities, steps forward and then steps back. All of that is quite beautiful, and I do so strongly believe that learning about the depths of our own beings, and loving ourselves through it unconditionally, is vital for us to be able to join hands and face all that is going on in our world.
Sometimes the focus needs to be at the personal level, and other times the focus moves out. Luckily, when one of us is focused in, we can be sure another is focused out so that nothing will be missed. That is somewhat along the lines of what Venus’ dual rulerships teach us, right? In Taurus, we learn how to hold ourselves and build a container of self-love through the act of realizing what we’re worth; in Libra we get to the extend from that foundation out to the other to see their side from a place of security.
As for Venus in Leo…well, I have no doubt our lovely community astrologers here will have much more to say about that, and I’ll keep you posted as well. What I will say for now is that as Venus ends her time as evening star, disappearing from the sky on Aug. 11, we can use the time to get in touch with our needs and wants and desires.
If you’re so inclined to pay attention to such things, what has your body been telling you? What needs and desires have been repressed? Let’s perhaps pave the way for some celebration of our bodies, shall we? Maybe that’s easier said than done for some of us, but if it feels right, why not?