When I was a little girl, I often wondered why my mother named me Valerie. It sounds silly but my name wasn’t very common, especially in a place like South Florida where more than half of the city’s population is Cuban-American. Both of my parents immigrated from the island before they were old enough to remember it, and well… this is probably why my mother cringed every time she heard her school teachers struggle to pronounce, “E-s-p-e-r-a-n-z-a” while calling roll. She still jokes about how long her name is and how she always knew she wanted her daughter’s name to start with the letter “V” but more importantly, how she wanted it to be a name that was elegant, quaint, and easy to pronounce. My mother’s name, Esperanza, means “hope” and when I researched the history behind my name, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. A feminine name of French origin, Valerie is associated with the word “valor,” which means to have strength and in Spanish, it means to be of value.
Paradoxically, recognizing my value and self-worth was never really one of my strengths. On the contrary, it was something I very much struggled with growing up, and for a number of reasons. Physically, my height was always above average and my personality, a rare hybrid between naturally quirky and deeply fragile. I wasn’t necessarily “good” at school and emotionally, I felt things almost too much. The constant insecurity of not being enough—pretty enough, petite enough, smart enough and/or strong enough—to fit into society’s “standards” felt like an eternal battle, until the day I discovered my greatest gift: Astrology. I was just 12 years old when I found my mother’s Linda Goodman gem “Star Signs,” and that’s all it took for me to become utterly obsessed. Everything about the stars felt eerily familiar but what was even more interesting was, I continuously found myself gravitating to the more taboo traits of the zodiac signs, genuinely wondering if any of them resonated with me. Lo and behold, the “Val for validation” moment I had been seeking my entire life…

“My rising sign is Scorpio? How fitting,” I thought to myself. As the years went by, I continued to explore the art of astrology along with the myths behind the planets, and the zodiac archetypes. Obsession is an understatement. It was my entire world but it wasn’t until I began taking formal courses alongside experienced astrologers, some of which were spiritual mediums, that it actually clicked. Each of the heavenly bodies bestows us with a gift the moment we take our first breath. The sun is your soul purpose; the moon is your intuition; Mercury is your intelligence, so on and so forth. Sensual, irresistible and the most beloved among the rest of the deities, it was none other than the Goddess Venus who gives us the gift of beauty, charm, and grace; she is the unique talent you possess; the abundance in your heart and the gold in your pocket; it is Venus who determines your sparkling self-worth along with your distinctive love language.
“But I barely have Venus in my chart,” I thought to myself. I grabbed my notebook, my favorite pen, and then it suddenly dawned on me. My Venus is in Gemini in the 8th house: Gemini is curious, fickle, intelligent and wordy; the eighth house belongs to taboo-loving Scorpio, as it is where magical mysteries of the occult come to life. Pluto-ruled Scorpio is the lightest light and the darkest dark combined; ergo, the eighth house is often referred to as the house of forbidden secrets, esoterism, transformation, and renewal. I stopped everything I was doing, got up from my desk and walked over to my mirror; I looked deeply into my reflection, and felt a rush of passion possess me… there she was. Chameleon-like and hauntingly familiar, Venus was there all along, but it was just a matter of time before she finally revealed herself to me and it all finally made sense.

The goddess in me lurks in the shadowy depths of my unconscious mind; she sways back and forth between her sultry passions while indulging in forbidden fantasies. The Venus in me brings prosperity to my life through the mystical charms I inherited, such as my clairvoyant abilities and passion for astrology. She is a bewitching potion brewing with intense curiosity and smoldering desire but if her relationships lack communication, this elixir of love can instantly turn sour. The goddess in me writes to taste life twice like the erotica novelist Anaïs Nin; her words are dripping in honey and witchcraft. The Venus in me never ceases to catch me off guard, but she is my blessed paradox and mysterious duality. A double meaning, a strange beauty, and the validation I forever seek, her sacred presence can dance to the rhythm of my poetry and disguise herself through the divination of a crystal ball. We see what we want to see, but what you’re looking for is already waiting for you on the other side of your reflection.

I would now like to introduce you to your greatest gift and forever muse…

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