Descent Into Self Through Venus Rx

If there has ever been a time in the past two years to know thyself, or, as Polonius (in Hamlet) would say, “to thine own self be true”, that time is now. There are two surefire ways to do that:

  1. Question yourself. Question everything you thought you knew about yourself.

  2. See your reflection through the mirror of your closest relationships. Then question everything you thought you knew about yourself.

It isn’t natural, nor easy, to deeply question ourselves. It isn’t natural, nor easy, to willingly go into the shadow of our psyche. It isn’t natural to explore a truth that’s delivered by someone else. We’re conditioned to fear, loathe, repress and ignore what’s inside, what’s underneath, and what we don’t like, especially if someone else is shining a flashlight on it. But, we cannot ever be complete, whole, or fully empowered unless we know all of who we are.

The journey into darkness requires courage, intention, and an open heart.  Otherwise, fear will drive us away from the experience.  We can spend lifetimes running faster and faster from the experience of death, change, or transformation. ~Christine Clemmer

We need to go to those dark places. We need to face our shadows. We need to go into our underworld. Just like Venus. Just like Inanna.

The Venus Retrograde Cycle

Venus, the 3rd brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, went retrograde in the sign of Scorpio on October 5th and will remain invisible until November 16th. Venus is the planet of love, beauty and relationships. Scorpio is the sign of emotional intensity and transformation.

During this time, for 40 days and 40 nights, Venus goes through a metamorphosis and a symbolic ‘death and rebirth’, transforming from the evening star to the morning star, to begin a new cycle. Symbolically, metaphorically, emotionally and energetically, her journey is reflected in us. We’re feeling this one deeply. And we’re being transformed by it.

Since Venus does not retrograde often - every 18 months - we feel it more than other retrogrades. Yes, even more than pesky Mercury retrogrades, which happen 3-4 times per year! And we feel it where it can hurt the most, where we are most vulnerable, and also the most guarded - in the heart.

From all Venus retrogrades, Venus in Scorpio retrogrades are the most profound and bring the greatest transformations. When Venus is retrograde in Scorpio it’s taking us on a very deep journey through our personal relationships that ultimately bring us to the most important relationship of all - the relationship with ourselves. Our personal, intimate relationships are like mirrors. We see how we relate to others and what aspects of ourselves we are showing. Who are we showing up as? What identity or role do we play? What are we projecting? What are we hiding? What aspects of ourselves are we hiding from? Who do we love? Do we love ourselves? Truly, do we?

“Over the course of the next 40 days and nights we will come to understand in greater depth our desires, needs, and necessities when relating and creating our life and partnerships as they need to be now.” ~Chani Nicholas

Venus Retrograde in Scorpio will remind you of that one thing you always wanted to have but never got. And it will inspire to try to go and get it. This time, it’s all or nothing. The last time Venus was retrograde in Scorpio was 8 years ago, from October 8th to November 18th, 2010. So whatever was happening then in relationships, needs, wants, issues around love, worthiness, secrets, and some of the darker parts of our psyches, is coming up again.


There is powerful mythology around Venus and her retrograde journey. It is a story of seeking wisdom, death, grief, compassion and rebirth. It is the story of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna and her sister, Ereshkigal. From the Great Above, Inanna travels to the Great Below searching for the truth of greatest source of wisdom and power.

Innana is the ruler of Heaven and Earth - adored, glorified - and she decides to go into the Underworld, which is the realm of her sister, the fearsome, loathed, and reviled Ereshkigal. She is unloved, rejected and alone, distorted by her pain. Inanna represents our outer self and all the qualities that we deem make us worthy, strong, beautiful, powerful, etc. Ereshkigal represents our shadow and all the qualities, traits, and fears about ourselves that we repress.

In the Underworld, Innana must abide by its rules. She must leave all her adornments - clothing and jewelry, seven in total, representing the seven chakras, at each gate as she proceeds further and further down. She must arrive in the Underworld stripped completely naked of all her worldly and godly possessions and powers. This relinquishing of worldly powers represents the release of the identifications with the Self.

When Inanna crosses the last gate to meet her sister, Ereshkigal, cannot hold back her hatred for Inanna and kills her with a death stare and hangs her corpse to rot on a hook. Ereshkigal is overcome with grief at having killed her sister.

Three days later, two magical emissaries sent from the God Enki come to rescue Inanna. They witness Ereshkigal’s pain, crying and wailing with her. For the first time ever, someone has acknowledged the pain and sorrow of her rejection. They have shown her empathy.

Ereshkigal agrees to let them take Inanna’s body. Inanna is then resurrected and returns to Earth and Heaven fully empowered for having come to know her sister’s pain. For the first time, Innana is a Queen truly worthy of her crown. Ereshkigal represents the deep reservoirs of power that lay within the unconscious, most of which we suppress with shame and fear. Our shadow side - Ereshkigal, needs to be witnessed and integrated. Only when we can accept every aspect of ourselves do we arise as both the Queen of the Great Above, and the Queen of the Great Below.

“Venus is … empowered, going for inner truth, available for transformative experience.  Venus in Scorpio is in the most powerful of the feeling-based water signs willing to go deeper into what motivates us, what is hidden, what is stagnant, what is called from the depths to be transformed.  The path to awakening holds an early gate that all must pass through, the gate of self love, where we value the unique one we are, finding and holding our own internal integrity replacing what we were given by family and culture.  Self Love is the foundation for love with another, the key to successful partnership and collaboration.” Pat Liles, The Power Path

Like Inanna, we cannot come into contact with our full potential until we are willing to descend into our underworld, facing the parts of ourselves we have rejected and abandoned. We are responsible for our own empowerment. We are responsible for collecting back into ourselves everything we’ve been hiding from. This is a process of transformation so intense and painful we can only do it in the underworld.

Inanna’s myth is the story of Venus retrograde when Venus ‘shapeshifts’ from the evening star to the morning star. It is the story of death, transformation and rebirth, which we can embody symbolically and metaphorically in our own lives.


Venus Retrograde in Scorpio is a very powerful time to consciously work with whatever is coming up - whether we’re finding it ourselves, or whether someone else is bringing it up, especially people from our past. It requires the depth of confrontations and long-held issues. We must go deep into shadow to integrate all the learnings. And there’s no “better” way than through the mirror of relationships.

We have 40 days to review, revisit, and re-evaluate our love life and our relationships. We have 40 days to take inventory around what we have, how we got it, whether it’s working for us, what we want to keep, and what we’re ready to be complete with - and to release.

Practice accepting emotions and letting go of relationships or patterns - let those ‘die’ so that a new you can be reborn as a bright, hopeful, and loving morning star. Allow the transformation to occur, as hard as it is. And take care of yourself. Extra nurturing, extra self-care, extra time and extra space.

There’s no reason to be afraid, “Scorpio’s death is metaphorical. Nothing will literally die during this Venus retrograde, but your life will be transformed to an extent you never thought was possible. Venus Retrograde in Scorpio will be challenging, but it will bring a rebirth of the heart.”

Venus's retrograde brings us into the heart of our intimacy issues. Relationships go through their own transformational process during this time, helping us to clarify our needs, values, and goals. We’re going to feel a lot of heat, and a lot of old pain. We’re being given the opportunity to let those emotions run through us, and complete their cycle so that their energy can be released out of us. We clear the charge, but keep the lesson.

What lessons do pain, hurt, heartache, anger or rage hold? What is asking for transformation? Most importantly, what can we learn about the love we feel for ourselves? Where can we practice more self-love, self-forgiveness and self-compassion? Where can we acknowledge and embrace our shadow and transform pain into love, grief into power, and fear into intimacy?

If you sit

just long enough

with sadness, fear or longing

or some strange energy or urge you can’t even name

if you sit in a place of no hope and no expectation

if you open your heart wide in meditation

the sadness eventually softens

the fear becomes intimate

its imagined edges and boundaries dissolving into the vastness

and it reveals its deep intelligence and benevolent nature

for at the core of everything we run away from

is everything we long for

but we’ll never know

if we keep


- Jeff Foster