“My heart is a Latin American food stall, And your love is a health inspector from Zurich”
~Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

VENUS, exalted Queen of the Heavens, sweet in essence and tone, is an auspicious archetype that swells any natal chart with natural beauty.  Her retrograde cycle occurs about every 584 days, and offers an attractive time to energetically review, reinvest or revoke Venusian matters, not only as an individual but indeed the world –  and we are here for it! 

Venus will be stationing to go retrograde on July 22, 2023 in Leo, bringing focus to matters of the heart and the quality of our connection with others in our world. In forward motion, the Venus vibe brings the strength of harmony and light-hearted creativity with perhaps a weak spot for over-giving compliance.  When stationed retrograde, a heavy-hearted fierceness may surface bringing true melancholy, like a wearisome sense of dissatisfaction. When the obliging planet of money and attraction, and sometimes haughty earthen goddess of pleasure, stations retrograde in Leo this summer, a fire blooms and asks for an offering.

In the art of astrology, some energies and objects under the rule of Venus are: abundance, affability, beds, Red Clover, dancing schools, copper, white roses, sapphire, jewelers, laziness, fountains, plums, valerian, violets, wardrobes, wombs.

Venus retrograde in Leo can sometimes feel like extreme plainness, a curt shock to the fanciest sign in the horoscope. As a pallet cleanse, this retrograde may be a great space to withdraw from the senses and take a break from things like sweats and earthly pleasures to observe your relationship with them. How can the Leo area of your life become more authentic, balanced and harmonious?

In space, the pentagram trail the planet VENUS creates from earth’s perspective, the five-petaled brand of her cycle, retrogrades in the same general area every eight years–this year returning to the same Zodiac sign as her retrogrades of 2015 and 2007.

During a Venus retrograde: 


Sell ‘em if you got em –
it’s a seller’s market y’all

Slow down, allow the ennui to teach

Let your relations know how amazing they are and how they make your life feel full <3

If a relationship pops up, observe the difference between a weekend relationship and a lifetime commitment

Drink red clover tea


Get a Tattoo

Impulsively cut your hair

Undergo plastic surgery

Make a big $$$$ splurge

LEO is most closely associated with the middle/ trunk of your physical body, and this includes the heart, both the physical organ and poetic sense of benevolence. Ruled by the SUN, the Zodiac sign Leo insists you bravely step up and drink in the spotlight you so royally deserve without shame, as pride is the authentic signature of Leo. 

Pride of the Lion may roar in many forms this year, as a Drag Protest, or as the vice of pride through Venusian boasts of amusement, haughtily laughing and ornamented with joy at another’s expense.  Retrogrades do eventually end, this one specifically on September 3. VENUS will be out of her shadow on October 7, and in the new sign of Virgo on October 8, 2023.

In this time, will you be asked to shed your burning ambition? 

How can your flame dance within a struggle for power? 

(image: Johfra Bosschart)

The Venus retrograde cycle is etched in human history, whether we are aware of it or not: Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils, the Temptation of Christ- Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, anyone?  While the planet goddess will inhabit the jewel-encrusted and lamé lined sign of Leo for 4 months beginning June 5, 2023, VENUS will spend 40 days in retrograde and in the juicy center of that time, anointed by a cazimi with the SUN. 

VENUS has signified astrological values and topics like love, interpersonal justice in relationships, union, art, harmony, beauty, and commodities since before the times of Sumaria. Known earliest in the story Descent of Inanna, where the existential lessons of Venus and the practical mechanics of the astronomy of a Venus retrograde are explored. 

In this allegory, Venus is seen as a goddess known to have both male and female traits, Ishtar the evening star a softer, female star of love, and Inana the male-like morning star*. Two sides of one metaphorical coin, VENUS

 * Baigent, M. (2015). Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia (pp. 124-128). Bear & Company.

The TAURUS and LIBRA areas of your chart, because they are ruled by VENUS, will be the areas in your life to watch this summer. Things that VENUS plays with like your makeup reflection, your relationship to worth and values, and 1:1 interpersonal business relationships may become a focus.  

What are the false illuminations reflected in this culture? How are we doing with empathy and connection? Do kindness and diplomacy need a refresh?

As the summer progresses, Venus will retrograde from 28° 36’- 12° 12’ Leo, in the Lunar Mansion territory of Al Terf,  otherwise known as the Lion’s Gate .  This may collectively stoke a theme of heart-centered individualism and self-expression associated with spiritual authority. Oscar Hofman writes of this celestial area of Al Terf as divine wrath:

“This Lunar Mansion is all about confrontation with authority, adversity and frustration. In [astrological] elections it is only good for battles and power struggles.”

Great uses of the Lion’s Gate offered by the 2023 Venus retrograde is less in putting on a show and more about getting clear within on how your own heart wants to shine. 

2023 Venus rx, pertinent dates:

The Venus Retrograde Cycle, July 22-Sept 3 2023

  • June 5 Venus enters LEO
  • June 11 Venus squares Jupiter
  • June 19 retro shade begins as Venus enters retrograde shadow
  • July 2 Venus in Leo squares Uranus in Taurus
  • July 22 Venus stations retrograde 
  • July 27 Venus conjuncts Mercury in Leo
  • August 9 Venus rx squares Uranus
  • August 13 [Make a wish!] CAZIMI! Venus inferior conjunction. Venus joins the Sun halfway through her retrograde 
  • August 17 Venus rises as a morning star
  • August 22 Venus rx squares Jupiter in Taurus
  • September 3 Venus stations direct 
  • September 16 Venus squares Jupiter in Taurus
  • September 29 Venus in Leo squares Uranus in Taurus
  • October 7 Venus leaves her shadow
  • October 8 Venus leaves Leo and enters Virgo

How is this Venus Rx Different? 

A Cultural Shift

Starting from the really big picture, the North and South Nodes of the Moon will shift from the Venus/Mars axis of Taurus and Scorpio to the Venus/Mars axis of Libra and Aries.  This nodal shift foreshadows cultural tone shifts. On July 17, you will notice the news shift toward how we are treating one another at a much faster pace. Things will heat up and changes will come to a point with marshal and social justice issues.

The Revoking of Mars

When looking at the daily transits while Venus is in Leo, it looks like Venus is  chasing Mars through the sign.  Every time Mars advances a degree, Venus is right behind him. As she slows down to begin to prepare to station and then go retrograde any hope for her catching Mars is dashed. The lovers never meet and she is denied a connection with Mars. This astronomical drama can literally manifest as ongoing disappointments and difficulties in maintaining commitments. July 10 is the day Mars enters Virgo after being co-present with Venus since June 5 without ever conjoining, a failure of connection. Venus opts to stay in Leo to review her actions, where it all went wrong, and to work on her own inner alignment. 

Crafters, Start Your Engines

July 10-23 VENUS in a very amiable state will be co-present with Mercury in LEO without the Sun. This is a very positive and creative astrological signature. If the goal of making art seems too lofty and pretentious, get crafty, make music or start baking! This is a great time to make creative messes. 

Sun-Pluto Opposition. Ugh.

July 21, as Venus is stationing retrograde, the Sun in Cancer opposes Pluto in Capricorn and this will surely be a power move in the collective that becomes explosive. Whether this transit signifies an empowering law or a disempowering corporate move will be the question. The answer is of course don’t  bother Venus, ruler of interpersonal relating, on her retrograde. Are you quite mad?

Indulgent, or Self-Indulgent?

Venus and Jupiter square three times over her course in Leo.  When the two benifics get together, even as a square, its a good time. So good this can balloon into a pretty indulgent romp.  Observe how this plays out for you on June 11, August 21/ 22, and September 16, and adjust accordingly.

Be Your Best Authentic Self

Venus and Uranus square three times this summer, July 2, August 9, and September 29. Feer change? Get used to it. Beauty boundaries were made to be crossed and theatre of the bizarre is an art form. It can sometimes be easier to know what is for you by clearly seeing what is not. 

Your Venus Rx Tarotscope 

A three-card draw showing the journey of pleasure, leisure, and connection; past, present, and future. 


6 of Wands, Ace of Swords, 5 of Pentacles 

Coming from a good place is never a problem for you, Aries, and this season’s goddess retrograde will continue the blessing as you start to implement basic and fundamental ways to incorporate sacredness into your life. So slowing down is not going to keep you from progress, it’s going to help you integrate the lasting change you have been thinking of, a true story of manifestation.


Knight of Wands, 2 of Wands, 2 of Cups

Eagerness is never a battle unless you are bored. Surrender, Taurus and let this retrograde season fill your cup. The fulfillment you will experience has nothing to do with your volume of liquid love but with your capacity to marvel in gratitude at its splendor-regardless if it is a drop or the entire ocean.


The Star, Page of Swords, 8 of Swords

Entering into this time of Venus retrograde from an open and honest place gives you a protective phosphorescent glow, Gemini. As Venus conjuncts Mercury on July 27, stay present. Pay attention the magical message given to you that will help you take matters into your own hands because you are your own savior. 


10 of Swords, Wheel of Fortune, 8 of Wands

Ripe to release the turmoil that has recently loosened its grip on your life, this retrograde can help you remember the future is not set.  Contemplating the beautiful balance of destiny, fate and fortune brings you to the conclusion that it is ultimately you who needs to answer the riddle of your own life. What insight is the Moon bringing you? Take the time to see the signs, because once things are puzzled out the resolution comes quickly.


10 of Swords, 5 of Swords, Queen of Wands

You’ve got 99 problems, Leo but Venus ain’t one. Consider using this auspicious time to center yourself and consider the degree of loss that those around you are dealing with also. Once you can see and appreciate the bounty in your life, strength radiates from you like a shining crown and you are protected from future hardship. 


8 of Cups, 8 of Swords, Queen of Wands

Are you coming into Venus retrograde a bit disheartened having perhaps abandoned your usual mastery of logic, Virgo? If stuck in a stressful situation without the benefit of a full picture to see your way out? This time of quarantine is a beautiful space to self-parent and begin to take your power back. In a true transformation, your future self is receptive and appreciates your inherent fiery joy.


5 of Swords, The Devil, Temperance

Ruled by Venus, Libra, this retrograde is occurring right in your front yard. You deserve a win, but external forces are working against you, and thinking the outcome will be fair is not helping.  To make matters worse, you may be so freaked out in your isolation you’re forgetting to surrender to a higher power. Maybe you are struggling with addiction, or maybe you are just refusing to join in and ask for help, but one thing is clear moderation in thought and deed is needed. Realigning with your own meaning-making is the greatest blessing to gift yourself.


The Sun, Queen of Pentacles, 3 of Swords

You are coming in hot, Scorpio! Bank clarity around the connection you are rolling into Venus retrograde with, and your strong worldly resources can help cushion any pain and heartbreak as you tend to lingering grief. You are strong and powerful and have all the tools you need to nurse heartbreak with a full heart.


Death, King of Cups, 2 of Coins

Everything is subject to change, Sagittarius. Venus retrograde is said to be the inspiration for the dance of the seven veils. The mythical story of the goddess’ sacred descent into the underworld, where she strips one offering of jewels or cloth at each of the seven successive gates until at last she stands naked in the land of no return.  This summer’s Venus retrograde offers you some great practical albeit primal strategies for navigating emotions through a lightening of relationships. In fact, you wield your deep mastery of emotions to bring about flexibility for harmonious and lasting change. 


Queen of Wands, Ace of Wands, Paige of Pentacles

Not surprising, Capricorn you’ve got it going on.  Venus in Leo may give you the opportunity to redefine what your ideal leisure time looks like. This will be illuminating information, and just in time, because it looks like good news about a money making venure may be how you end your retrograde. Congrats!


9 of Coins, 5 of Cups, Page of Coins

The felt journey you are embarking on in this Venus retrograde has an air of sadness to it, for the time has come to prune away experiences, people and choices that just aren’t good for your health. This is a natural process in the ‘big picture’ inhalation and exhalation of your life. If you have any worries or concerns or a foreboding feeling of loneliness, a reminder: you’ve got this.  Time and time again you have chosen the mature and pragmatic decisions rooted in self-discipline that have led to your undeniable success. Venus will help you trim away what is not needed, so you can walk away, not look back, and know you have just cleared a path for greater messages of abundance.


9 of Coins, King of Cups, 8 of Coins 

Auspiciousness is on the menu for your Venus retrograde, Pisces. You go gurl! The disciple and self-assurance you have honed around Venusian matters have brought prosperity in material and emotional ways. You are loved and supported and give love and support unconditionally as well. A rightful and distinguished vibe is in the future as you will put your skillset to use in practical, artful ways. 

Astrologer Sasha Boyle is an Artist and contributing Author to The Creativity Workbook for Coaches and Creatives and Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists, and Clients. You can join Sasha’s mailing list and read her work here.