What is there to say about a Venus Retrograde that doesn’t seem self-evident, that’s not a black-and-white Barbara Kruger-style banner with the words "DON’T TEXT YOUR EX" emblazoned in bold red block letters across the front?
And, what about those of us who don’t have the luxury of not texting our exes? The ones of us who have had to make family in unconventional ways, who recognize that long past the end of courtship, we might need each other to live through this?
Perhaps, then, nuance is in order and the recognition, too, that this retrograde period in the sign of sex and regeneration (Scorpio) comes on the heels of Mars (ruler of Scorpio) retrograde in (primarily) the sign of Aquarius which aims to revolutionize the collective. That, for a good while now, these retrograde periods have highlighted the very real the ways we, as a human collective, have felt the desire to evolve and the myriad prisons built around us. That we are, as a human collective, called to battle inner and outer demons which are invested in making us believe our truth has no power, human nature is inherently violent, and all we can do to survive abusive leaders is get out of their way.
I don’t think that anyone who watched the Kavanaugh hearing or read Ford’s testimony has been spared from this particularly American reckoning. Again, as with the testimony of Anita Hill, the survivors of this country’s rape culture feel the whole world watching as we perform rituals of justice just so that men in power can burn down the temples built to uphold it. A man is accused of wanting to destroy a woman, he begs the fates to consider what is owed to him as a man. A man does not need to be honorable in order to protect his honor. This is an old story. Consider Medusa, once a mortal girl, raped by a male god in the temple of Athena. It’s not a coincidence. Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, a goddess born of rape, was enraged at the desecration of her temple. She sought to undo violence with violence. She raised Medusa up and made of her an immortal being who turned men to stone.
This part of the myth is about the lineage of trauma and the way women learn to believe each other. Even if, in doing so, women must admit the many times when they bore false witness in their own lives. Our Medusa, post-transformation, is considered a monster in every kingdom. A winged horse flies from her neck when she is beheaded by a man on a hero’s mission. Her head becomes a symbolic gesture on the shields of men at war with each other. On the internet, the truth of Ford’s testimony hardly affects the Senate. White men and women argue about whether what one grown man did as a younger man should affect his right to thrive. All over America, black people incarcerated in their youth over petty crimes lose their lives to prison because they could not afford bail, because they were pushed to plead guilty. Again, we come back to the heartless matter, what every CEO and senator knows: If all lives really mattered, this foundation would crumble irreparably. Again we are glued to our screens, wondering when this country will stop worrying what women owe the men who owe us their lives.
Did you come here hoping I would write about forgiveness? Were you looking for a workbook about letting go? As Kesha sings in her comeback hit, “There are some things only God can forgive,” and so I’m telling you now, dear reader, forgiveness is a blessing, not a right. You can offer it at your own time or not at all. Venture to imagine a world that is not built upon the condoning of sexual violence. Venture to imagine the kind of love we would be capable of if we were taught from the very beginning that what we feel and experience matters. Imagine trust. Imagine the path toward collective repair. Imagine that texting your ex is okay, because there’s a world parallel to this one where we can tell the truth about what we mean to each other instead of using sex to salve unsealable wounds.
Venus retrograde began her shadow period two weeks ago and, although the retrograde period is marked as ending late November, she won’t leave the retrograde zone until December 17 (only a couple of days before the winter solstice). This is the season when all living things long to die and some get to. But, there are many plants, whole organisms and communities of flora, that turn into sleeper agents—fierce as hibernating bears and twice as stealth. We don’t get the world where truth is power, not yet, but we get each other. We listen to each other’s stories. We say, "I believe you, I will raise you up, I will make your words immortal." We made a pact to protect each other in another time and, goddess willing, we will outlive them.