one way of differentiating a retrograde planet from a planet moving in its regular direct motion is to consider the ‘re’ prefix. words such as review, revisit, and revise come to mind. different planets, when retrograde, might warrant different ‘re’ verbs. for example, the energy of venus revolves around individual values, so we may find ourselves forced to re-evaluate some aspect of our lives when venus is retrograde.
venus happens to be retrograde now, actually, and i can attest to this cosmic re-evaluation, as I am experiencing my own version of it. most noticeably i am re-evaluating my own home. now that i think about it, this particular venus retrograde [from the mid degrees of aries back to the last few degrees of pisces] is traversing my 4th house, which is related to home and the innermost private life away from the public eye, so it is no wonder i looking at my living space with new eyes.
long story short, i love where i live now. it took me about 2 years, give or take a few months, to arrive at this conclusion, but i am enamored with altadena. for those who have never heard of it, or know little about it, altadena is just north of pasadena in los angeles county, right outside the city. located in the foothills of the san gabriel mountains, altadena is like a quaint, green, mountainous refuge high up and away from the rest of the city of angels. initially, when i first moved here from the suburbs of atlantic city, new jersey, this distance i speak of was the exact problem i perceived.
altadena was too far removed for me to feel like i was getting the true LA experience. people familiar with the area were quick to correct me if i made the mistake of saying i lived in LA (“that’s not LA”), and i know it’s not (technically), but it’s easier sometimes to say LA and keep it casual in superficial “small talk”-type conversations. as someone who is drawn to big cities, i wanted desperately to be in the thick of things, especially since my job is in the middle of hollywood. since i have no car here, my commute from altadena to hollywood (which warrants its own article) is what some would call a “super-commute”, and it took a lot of time to get used to it. speaking of having no car, it can be tedious to enjoy a social life in a city that is as sprawling and widespread as los angeles. nightlife, in particular, has been a hassle, because the metro is virtually nonexistent after midnight, and uber/lyft rides add up if used immoderately. these are some of the reasons i wasn’t completely satisfied living in altadena. until now, that is.
i don’t know quite what elicited the shift, but i know that i appreciate altadena so much more than i used to, especially since venus has been retrograde. here are 8 of my favorite things (in no particular order) about this small town, which i am now referring to as my LA safe haven:
- racial diversity
i love the fact that i see black and latino families walking out of these big, beautiful homes to tend to their lawns, sit on their porches, etc. as young person of color, this is both inspirational and aspirational.
- real estate
speaking of big, beautiful homes… there are some big, beautiful homes here. i often find myself walking paths that i wouldn’t normally walk because i’ve spotted a gorgeous piece of property.
LA is notorious for its smog, but the air up in altadena seems fresher than the rest of the city. maybe it’s all the trees, this town is located directly below the angeles national forest. my street in particular (santa rosa ave) is lined with hundreds of cedar deodar trees.
- christmas tree lane
so my street, with all the cedar trees, is nicknamed christmas tree lane, and since 1920, it has been a popular holiday destination. every december, the trees are decorated with christmas lights, and people drive from all over to see it with their families. it goes until the new year, and i can see it all from my kitchen window/front yard.
- hiking trails
thanks to some of the aforementioned treasures, i take regular walks around my neighborhood, and if i walked far enough uphill, i run into some cool trails, most recently the altadena crest trail, which i found by accident last time my curiosity drove me from my house to the northernmost edge of my path. there’s also eaton canyon to the east of me, and that trail is distinguished by oasis-like waterfall that you will meet at the finish line.
- local eats
my appetite is surprisingly big for such a skinny guy, and thankfully, i don’t have to go too far for good food. around the corner from me, just above the intersection of lake & mariposa, are two of my go-to eateries: park bench grill (an intimate black-owned soul food establishment with especially good sandwiches) and el patron (a small, but solid Mexican restaurant with affordable ways to get drunk).
- altadena library district
i live directly across from the altadena library, which means i have access to a wealth of information, not to mention a wealth of people circulating in and out of my immediate environment. when i’m not reading/writing/loitering on the computer inside of the library (especially since my laptop stopped working), i am sitting on my front porch, observing the locals with whom i share this area.
- theosophical society
right up the street from my house, on the corner of santa rosa and mariposa, is the theosophical society international headquarters. i know very little of theosophy, but i know it’s occult-oriented, and i’m sure they chose altadena for a reason. i just wonder what it is…
these are some of the perks i enjoy living in a place like altadena. if you ever come to visit, check them out!
like i said, i don’t know what exactly prompted this change in perspective for me, but i am in love with altadena. and it seems like the more i express my appreciation, the more rich my experience becomes. i find more beauty, i rest better, i feel at home… finally. i also realize that many of the reasons i was unsatisfied with my west coast home had to do with my preoccupation with other people’s expectations, judgments, etc.
for example, i had one co-worker who used to ask me if I was “still living all the way in altadena?” every time she saw me. i grew to resent the way she would phrase the question, as if it were a bad thing, especially since it seemed as though money wasn’t an issue for her as it was for me (aka she could live wherever she wanted on her family’s dime). another example is all the ngihts i had to decline social invitations when i couldn’t afford uber, which resulted not only in heartwrenching FOMO, but also insecurity, as i believed i wasn’t good enough because i didn’t live more centrally like all the new “friends” i was trying so desperately to keep up with.
again, i don’t know exactly what switched, but i thank god that i have transcended all these worries. i am even at peace with my super-commute – i mean, where else would i get all my reading and writing done (besides the altadena library)? i believe that, on some level, venus retrograde has a lot to do with this re-evaluation of mine. as above, so below!
this time around, venus has been retrograde since march 4, 2017 and it will be until april 15, 2017. which house is venus transiting in your natal chart [find the space between 26° pisces and 13° aries in your chart… this is the part of your chart that is being activated by the retrograde], and what are you re-evaluating right now?
i’ll leave you with a classic missy elliot video, which poses the legendary, venus retrograde-esque question, “is it worth it? let me work it. i put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it.”