Every planet except Earth goes into retrograde at some point, and each planet has its own bundle of joys and pain points that come with it. The Retrograde Guidebook aims to take the mystery out of planetary retrogrades, providing an overview of what retrograde means astrologically and its basic principles. It offers a breakdown of every planetary retrograde’s function and effects—and why three main celestial bodies, the Earth, sun, and moon, don’t ever go into retrograde.

The Retrograde Guidebook includes calendars through 2030. Read on below to take an in-depth dive into Venus retrograde and how you can survive in thrive during the planetary retrograde period!

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In ancient Mesopotamia, there was a goddess named Inanna (the Queen of Heaven). She governed love, fertility, and beauty. Her older sister, Ereshkigal, ruled the underworld. When Ereshkigal’s husband died, Inanna descended into the underworld to attend the funeral rites. Ereshkigal was none too pleased about that, though, and forced Inanna to strip down on her way through the underworld’s gates. Eventually, Inanna ended up as a corpse hanging on a wall to rot—not exactly the most sisterly behavior, if you ask me.

Inanna is revived a few days later, thanks to the efforts of her servant Ninshubur. But as with all mythological tales, Inanna couldn’t just go on her merry way. Because she was officially a corpse in the underworld, her spot had to be filled by someone else when she left. When she returned to Heaven, she saw her husband, Dumuzid, happily sitting on his throne instead of mourning her. Enraged, she sent him to take her place. Dumuzid’s sister, though, wasn’t having it and volunteered to go in his place. The gods examined the situation and decided that Dumuzid would be in the underworld half the year, and his sister would be there the other half. That rising and descending resulted in the seasons we have today.

Inanna’s descent is also symbolism for Venus retrograde. Her planet is Venus (goddess of love, right?), and before Venus retrogrades, we can see it on the western horizon. But during the retrograde, it disappears—like when Inanna goes into the underworld.

The Venus retrograde only happens once every year and a half, for about 42 days. The planet rules money, relationships, art, and pleasure.

Vexes of Venus Retrograde

So, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. When Venus goes retrograde, you can expect some fluctuations in your love life and money situation—and not always good fluctuations. From a 2 a.m. text from an old flame asking “u up?” to the personal realization of a bad spending habit (Do your crystals really need all those tiny chairs to sit in?), the shifts of Venus retrograde can be pretty emotional and sometimes a little bit judgy. (The answer is yes, Venus. They really do need all those little chairs.)

Mashi Salomon, owner of Light and Lavender, thinks Venus retrograde can possibly be one of the worst to go through. The planet’s connection to relationships and indulgence can resurface any sexual trauma or intense relationship problems someone may have been through. If you’re on a healing path, that can either help or hurt you. Either way, it’s going to be emotional.

Astrologer KJ Atlas agrees that this retrograde period can be particularly difficult.

“Venus, being a personal planet that affects all the things that make life sweet, triggers trepidation when retrograde looms because there seems to be an air of fear around the loss of things important to us,” she says.

Even if you know the Venus retrograde cycle inside and out, and know that removing distractions from your daily life can be useful during that period, it’s still likely to feel uncomfortable. You’ll still feel like garbage, at least a little bit, if you’re going through relationship issues or having financial problems—both of which can easily happen during this particular retrograde period.

But it’s not all bad news, thankfully.

Insight and Clarity

Allemana says that if he had to choose a favorite retrograde, Venus would be the lucky winner.

“It’s a retrograde that encourages solitude, connecting more deeply with your own inner values, and nurturing a relationship with yourself,” he says. “It’s a self-care transit. Venus direct is great, but that retrograde really brings that energy inward.”

With this one, you’ll want to take some time to evaluate yourself. Sit with a journal somewhere outside, in nature, and ask yourself important questions: How am I connecting to myself and taking care of myself ? How am I connecting to the people important to me in my life? Where do our values meet and where do they conflict? Am I properly taking care of all my relationships and any romantic partners?

Once you have the answers to those questions—and any others that may arise in the course of your writing—you’ll be able to spend a bit of time reflecting on what you’re doing that’s working, what isn’t, and how you can improve your life and your relationships in these aspects.

“I would advise taking some time to yourself,” Allemana says. “If you have the opportunity to spend some time in nature or do some meditation or spiritual ritual where you’re connecting deeply inward, that would be ideal.”

You may want to take the time when you get home to go through your budget and bank statements, as well, just to take stock of your spending habits and how those can also improve.

The main point here is to investigate your relationships, values, finances, and self-care methods and figure out how to be and do better. That being said, Venus retrograde and all this introspection can be tough for some people, particularly those who don’t like to be alone or have trouble going inward and reevaluating their values. It can be an uncomfortable and frustrating addition to all the struggles they might be having already because of the retrograde.

And even if you love being alone and enjoy introspection, conflicts and relationship challenges can still pop up to say hello during Venus retrograde. It happens to everyone. No one is immune, especially because relationships, well, tend to involve more than one person. And that other person has their own free will to do whatever they want without thinking about how you’re trying to handle Venus retrograde.

That could mean that someone you cared for in some way comes back into your life, and you start to feel the same way about them that you once did. And with Venus retrograde, it’s likely it was a person or a feeling that you got lost in, that knocked you off your center. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to do anything about it.

“Anytime something returns, it’s not necessarily because we haven’t dealt with it,” Wilkinson says. “Sometimes we did deal with it and now we just get to take a look at it in our rearview mirror so that we can see that was then and this is now, and now I know why that had to come down the way it did.”

You should also pay extra attention to when Venus and the sun are conjunct near the middle of Venus retrograde. At that time, there’s usually some sort of insight or clarity about exactly what that specific retrograde period means for you. And if you’re taking the time to meditate on the retrograde itself, that could be easy for you to discover.

Ritual for Venus Retrograde

In this ritual, you’ll be honing in on Venus retrograde’s relationships focus. It’s broken into three sections: the first for encouraging self-love, the second for boosting trust and confidence in coupledom, and the third for protecting yourself from messy exes who come wandering back this time of year.

Letters for Self-Love, Current Love, and Past Love

You’ll Need:

3 pieces of paper

1 black candle

1 black tourmaline

1 red candle

1 rose quartz

1 white candle

1 blue chalcedony

1 writing utensil of your choice

3 envelopes

Rose petals

A fireproof container

A lighter or matches


1. Lay your three pieces of paper in a row on a desk or a table with a chair. You’ll be writing on these pages.

2. Above the paper on the left, put the black candle and black tourmaline. These symbolize your past relationships.

3. Above the paper in the middle, put the red candle and rose quartz. These symbolize your relationship with yourself.

4. Above the paper on the right, put the white candle and blue chalcedony. These symbolize your current or future relationship.

5. Light the candle on the left. On the paper, write a letter to someone you were in a past relationship with and don’t have interest in anymore. Explain what you liked about them, why things didn’t work out, and why it’s better if you’re apart. Let them know that you will not entertain ideas of rekindling the relationship.

6. Light the candle on the right. On the paper, write a letter to your current partner or to the partner you wish to have. Explain why you two are good together, list the positive aspects of your relationship, and state that you will stay together as long as it’s right for you to do so.

7. Light the middle candle. On this paper, write a love letter to yourself. Write what you think is great about you and why. Explore every sense of yourself here, saying something positive about every aspect.

8. Fold the letters and place them into separate envelopes. Lay
them on the table and scatter rose petals on top of them.

9. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and repeat this incantation: “I am my beloved and my beloved is me. Guard my love in the form it should be.” Picture energy flowing from you into the envelopes as you speak. With every repetition, imagine the envelopes glowing brighter. Finish repeating the incantation when you feel satisfied with the energy level.

10. Take all three envelopes outside and burn them in a fireproof container. Release the ashes into the wind.

Retrograde Review: Venus

  • Frequency of retrograde: Every 18 months
  • Retrograde tendencies:
    • Positive: A self-care transit that allows you to work on your relationship with yourself, evaluate past relationships, and examine money issues to see what you can change
    • Negative: May prompt problems with love life and money or a resurgence of emotional trauma
  • This retrograde transit will probably be uncomfortable in at least some way. Give yourself some grace. Sit alone out in nature and think about how you can better your relationships with yourself, others, and your finances. And definitely don’t respond to the long-ago ex that reaches back out during this time!