When: July 22nd – September 3rd, 2023
What: Venus retrograde in Leo
Takeaway: For 40 days, the planet of love, unions, justice, and aesthetics will undergo an underworld journey. During Venus’ wayward tour, our relationship to beauty and pleasure will be up for review. It’s a time to parse through the connections that enhance, rather than dull, our shine. Instead of looking outside for validation, make yourself your own muse.
What is a Venus retrograde?
When the planet of love, beauty, and pleasure stations retrograde, it changes direction and begins to move backward across the sky — or, at least that’s how it appears from our point of view on Earth. This retrograde motion is really an illusion caused by the different speeds at which the planets orbit the Sun, like when a vehicle is overtaken by a speeding car. Still, this visual effect tends to mirror our experience during these times.
Venus retrogrades happen every 18 months, and each time Venus “slows down” and stations retrograde, its energies saturate the atmosphere. Because of this, a yearning for union can become especially potent during these periods, even though retrogrades typically turn our attention inward. The reflective tone of this journey helps us to fall in love with unclaimed parts of ourselves and give our inner child the royal treatment.
Venus rules desire, so when the planet is retrograde, our enjoyment centers can go offline. We could be less enamored with that hobby that used to give us joy. Our relationships could catch a case of the doldrums. Or we could feel especially bored or stuck. This is all normal, and temporary. After all, our tastes, delights, and diversions would never evolve without the occasional disenchantment that encourages us to switch things up. In this way, Venus retrogrades are an opportunity to reconnect with our internal muse and tap back into the inspiration, pleasure, and creative energies that have been inside us all along.
How this Venus retrograde will help you unleash your shine
Venus’ retrograde in Leo from July 22nd to September 3rd will have us reclaiming our confidence, creativity, and inner sovereignty — and maybe rummaging through life’s proverbial costume trunks. Ruled by our solar system’s brightest light, the Sun, Leo is a sign that can’t help but live life in the key of “main character energy.” Or act like a spotlight and wind machine are trailing their every move. But with great lighting comes great responsibility. Part of this sign’s sense of duty comes from its ability to shine attention on the gifts and talents of friends, loved ones, and communities too.
When Venus is in Leo, it acts as an unabashed romantic that wants to help us recover our unique slant on the world. And when retrograde, it nudges us further: to revise the scripts of our relationships, sense of belonging, and relationship to play. Venus in Leo’s knack for theatricality could have us cycling through various masks and roles, or workshopping aspects of love, beauty, and pleasure that we’ve been yearning to try on.
So play dress up. Turn old love letters into a cute collage. Spray your favorite pair of sneakers gold. The magic of Venus in Leo is rediscovering the frivolity that requires no justification. When you follow your fancy, you’ll clear space for the muses to set up shop.
Key dates for this Venus retrograde in Leo
- July 22nd, 2023: Venus stations retrograde at 6:33 pm PT
- August 9th, 2023: Venus squares Uranus at 4:08 am PT
- August 13th, 2023: Venus cazimi at 4:16 am PT
- August 22nd, 2023: Venus squares Jupiter at 5:16 am PT
- September 3rd, 2023: Venus stations direct at 6:20 pm PT
This retrograde won’t be without its blooper reels though. On August 9th, retrograde Venus will square Uranus, the planet of disruption and freedom urges. When the two planets face off, the tension will force the plot of our lives forward — and because Uranus is involved, something will have to give. Use this time to rebel against anything dulling your radiance and reclaim your relationship to what feels good. If there’s a hobby you felt enamored with as a child, try it again. Dust off those joys. And know that whether you’re in a committed relationship or dancing solo, it’ll be best to grace the people you know with ample space around this date — and request added wiggle room for yourself too.
On August 13th, Venus will then make a conjunction with the Sun, forming an auspicious cazimi. This halfway point in the retrograde cycle will help us plant new seeds in our love stories and relationships with creativity, confidence, and letting ourselves be witnessed. So wear all the gold lamé your inner four-year-old desires and shine the spotlight on your favorite people. Doing so will bring some collaborative sparkle to the lonelier parts of this journey.
Lastly, retrograde Venus will go on to square Jupiter on August 22nd. Because Jupiter is associated with everything expansive, this transit will usher in big pleasure-seeker energy. So break out the party hats and kombucha and stage your own game night or boudoir photoshoot. Even in the depths of contemplation, there’s always room for a little mirth and mischief. In fact, such intermissions are mandatory.
The 40 days and 40 nights of Venus’ retrograde will help us redefine the art (and/or drama) that is our lives. Instead of reciting the lines laid out for us, we’ll be asked to create a new plot that honors our birthright to love and play. To release the intimacy patterns that feel constraining. To reclaim the people, places, and paths that remind us how generative life can be. And direct our explorations with the flair and fabulousness that Leo is known for.
Our Venus retrograde survival guide
- Reconnect with your inner child’s spirit of play and make-believe. Whether that means buying rose-gold streamers for your bike, glitter-bombing your evening bath, or funneling your frustration into some furious collaging — Venus retrograde can and should have its pockets of fun.
- Underschedule yourself and carve out time to process anything that surfaces in your bonds, commitments, creativity, and connection to beauty or pleasure.
- Organize your art supplies, sweep your studio, digitize your stray notebook poems, and buy sunflowers for your desk. Artistic housekeeping will set the stage for your muses’ grand comeback.
- Dream-board the relationships, muses, friendships, creative projects, and pleasures worthy of your innate star quality. Then watch them manifest in real time.
- Be your own best friend, lover, inspiration, and cheerleader. Model to yourself the gentleness, care, adoration, and emotional regulation that you deserve in your connections.
- Accept creative blocks, boredom, disenchantment, and the crash back to the drawing board as evidence that you’re evolving as a creator and/or lover.
- Explore your subterranean fears, blocks, and shadows surrounding your worthiness for love and friendship and bringing your unique gifts and talents to the world.
- Reflect back on what was happening for you eight years ago, between July 25th and September 6th, 2015, when Venus was last retrograde in Leo. Comb over old diaries, emails, calendars, and text threads from that time, and take a moment to acknowledge all that you learned from those experiences. Then lean on those lessons once more.
- Check your Venus placement in the CHANI app or via our online chart tool, and read all about it. If you have any other placements in Leo, those planets will play a part in this story too.
- Find out if Venus’ retrograde in Leo will impact your natal placements by checking your Transits in the CHANI app, beginning July 22nd, 2023. These readings update in real time, so it’s worth checking them every day to avoid missing a beat. You can also read your Current Sky horoscope for Venus in Leo, which outlines the gold this transit will excavate in your life based on your rising sign.
- Make any drastic relationship decisions — romantic or platonic — while Venus is retrograde. Instead, use this time to reaffirm your own relationship values. Write out your green and red flags in gold ink and laminate them for good measure.
- Fear Venus retrograde. It can be daunting when your most cherished connections and sense of fun are under review, but in the end, you’ll emerge with a well of self-love that will only deepen these bonds.
- Plan any dramatic haircuts, renovations, tattoos, artistic launches, or pleasure trips during Venus retrograde if you can help it — unless you time them for the Venus cazimi on August 13th.
- Rush the process. This retrograde will help you compost the patterns, beliefs, habits, and narratives that no longer serve the next great act in your love story. That work takes time. And it will be more than worth it.