My Cancer Venus and Me: What My Venus Return Taught Me About Self-Love

Published by the Sex Magic Podcast

     This past year I experienced my first real Venus Return. Annually, we all have a Venus Return when the planet of love, pleasure, beauty, and creativity returns to the sign it was placed in at the moment of our births. With these Venus Returns, we experience a symbolic if not literal romantic and artistic rebirth. 

     So, if they happen every year, my Venus Return shouldn’t have been very significant, right? Wrong. 

     My Venus is stationed at 29° Cancer, and last year, I just-so-happened to turn 29. (See the connection yet? Well, you will.) 

     During a birth chart reading with a now-famous astrologer, I asked her about my 29° Cancer Venus, which rests in the 12th House, inquiring why I hadn’t had any luck in love. I had been single my whole life (excluding one two-day boyfriend in high school) and unavailable partners flocked to me like flies to shit, I told her. 

     These ill-starred patterns I attributed to Venus’ natal 12th House placement. The astrologer agreed that the karmic house could cause some romantic misfortune, but she also noted the degree of my Cancer Venus. Since I was then only 27, the planet hadn’t fully matured yet, and would do so only when I turned 29.

     Great, I grumbled, I’ve been single all my life and I have to wait even longer for love to bloom? 

     Turns out, I didn’t. The Fall before last, I met and fell in love with a man. Rather than bore you with the details of our romance, I’ll sum it up: we were together seven months before we broke up — just two months prior to my 29th birthday. As much as I hoped that things had changed, the curse of my 29° Cancer Venus had again ravaged my love life, leaving me heartbroken and even more alone than before.  

     In the birth chart, Venus rules our values, social urges, aesthetic and pleasure drives, as well as our capacity to attract who and what we love; and its sign describes how we go about doing this.

     I’ll be honest, my Cancer Venus was my least favorite placement in my birth chart. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known and adored plenty of people with placements in Cancer. But there are innumerable negative traits long-associated with the cardinal water sign: defensiveness, insecurity, smothering, clinginess, dependence, possessiveness… I didn’t want to embody any of that, least of all in a relationship. 

     However, during my romance with the man, a foreign part of me emerged. In our physical and conversational exchanges, I was gentle, tender, caring, protective, affectionate, nurturing, and keen to give him as much love as I could. And it felt good, as though new life was being breathed into me.

     Never did I think this part of me existed, mostly because I didn’t allow the part of me to exist. For years, self-shame had blocked the expression of my Cancer Venus. In friendships and potential love matches, I was so afraid of coming across as insecure or smothering that I kept myself from expressing anything at all. Inhibiting the natural expression of my social urges also inhibited my ability to attract the love I longed for.   

     As a cardinal water sign, Cancer needs to give and receive emotional security and care. The man and I gave each other that emotional security and care, so when the relationship ended and I found myself in the absence of receiving that security and care, I freaked. I was alone again, except this time I was heartbroken and hurting, wondering if/how I would find those security, care, or love ever again. 

     Near my 29th birthday, my Cancer Venus spoke: give care, consideration, nurturing, affection… to me.  

     Surprisingly, I listened and took care of myself. First came the surface changes: I ate better, slept more, got a haircut, doused myself in sweet-smelling anointing oils, soaked in the bathtub every night, did more HIIT cardio and yin yoga. Then came the emotional and spiritual changes: I nurtured myself with journaling, prayer, chakra work, and meditation, disconnected from social media and reconnected (virtually) with friends I had fallen out of contact with. 

     And true to Cancer, I cried. A lot.  Inwardly I sensed that if I just let myself feel — whatever the feeling was — I would eventually heal. So, I gave myself permission to feel the full weight of my emotions, which resulted in tears. Crying released pain that had harbored in my heart for years.

     These little acts of care and consideration helped me shed the shame surrounding my Cancer Venus. They also sent my creativity— another Venus rulership —surging. I wrote and published essays, short stories, and poems, giving a voice to a part of myself I had willingly upbraided.

     My first real Venus Return — when my Venus and I were both 29 — took place on September 5th, 2020. That day wasn’t dramatic or action-packed — in fact, I don’t think I did anything out of the ordinary. But it was after yin yoga and an epsom bath, when I was journaling, that I recognized a major shift. I felt truly loved and valued for the first time in… ever. And it’s because I gave— and continue to give —myself the tenderness and sympathy I crave. I learned that true love comes from within, not without.

     I used to loathe my Cancer Venus, thinking it made me clingy and insecure and defensive. Yes, Venus-in-Cancer can be that way sometimes. But Venus-in-Cancer is also strong, tenacious, tender, and sympathetic. Cancer— in any placement —heals and helps, both itself and others.

     Failed romance and subsequent heartbreak hurled me into a crash-course on self-love, and helped me realize my needs and values as a woman, lover, and creative force. By listening to the quiet voice of my Venus-in-Cancer, I exhumed unconditional compassion for myself and those outside of me, giving to friends, family, even strangers the attentive care and loving kindness I received from myself. 

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