There was one time, a few years ago, when I had a religious experience over pasta. I was invited to the soft opening of Free Range in Basalt, and Flip Wise, the chef at the time, had invited the local farmers. The chitarra pasta arrived, and after the first bite — ripe with fennel-laced tomato sauce — I nearly wept. I was stunned and delighted that normal ingredients, woven together in such a symphony of flavor, affected a complete ontological reset, and once again I was charmed with the state of this absurd world.
I have had similar experiences with peaches, but it has been a while. I think this is true for many of us, though your particular brand of ecstatic rapture might not be food-related. Nearly two years into the pandemic, and the social and political state of disarray, the predictable increments of time seem to get smaller and smaller until I am hardly confident that the plans I make in the morning will last through the afternoon. Delight in this earthly realm is hard to come by these days.
Astrologically, the planet that represents pleasure is Venus. If you’ve looked into the west during the evening you’ve probably seen her — in her full diamond-in-the-sky evening star splendor. She is about as far away from the sun as she gets (called her “greatest elongation”), and due to station retrograde on Dec. 19, thus beginning her journey of renewal into the heart of the sun and re-emergence as the morning star this spring.
Her current position as the evening star is the “crone” form of Venus. In this phase, earthly pleasures of the flesh may be hard to come by, as Venus preaches a more spiritual bent toward meaning-making and gratitude for what has been. It is a time of letting go and understanding, the final phase in a cycle of desire that began in June of 2020.
Venus retrogrades occur every 19 months, when the planet passes between the sun and Earth. The physical proximity and respective speeds create the illusion that Venus is moving backward, like when you pass a car moving slower than you — for a moment they appear to move backward.
We can sit on our high horses and cuddle with our physics knowledge and slough it off, but I invite you to go outside and watch it as it happens. Go out nightly to look for her; over the next several months, she will fade from the bright evening star, disappear into the sun and reemerge in the east as the morning star.
If we lean into the archetypal metaphor offered, we find a personal invitation toward a few months of release and renewal. This holiday season is about reassessing our values. It is about bidding final adieu to old attachments and outgrown relational dynamics. Venus will be retrograde from Dec. 19 through Jan. 29. Release your old self as you release the complicated year we have all been through.
When we release what is tired and worn out, surrender that which has lost meaning for us, we acquire spaciousness and the ability to be present, curious and engaged. We are opened to the full breadth of our experience and allow ourselves to be moved into reverie by a dish of well-made pasta.
Whitney Will is a professional astrologer, writer and teacher. For courses and readings: Visit www.starhearthastrology.com