This report was written & published for Stormie Grace's Summer 2023 Newsletter:
Venus in Leo, art by me (made on Canva)
As we enter the fiery season of summer, there are a few different planetary stories emerging in the background, taking turns alternating who gets to play out on center stage. One of the most poignant will be Venus’s journey and retrograde through the blazing and constant sign of Leo. We start and end the summer season with Venus at nearly the same degree of Leo, which really highlights the inner journey we all go on through this transit. We have an opportunity to arrive at a whole new perspective from where we started at the beginning of summer to where we find ourselves at the end of the season.
We kick off the summer season with the Sun’s ingress into the cooling and nurturing waters of Cancer on June 21st. This is a high intensity and fast paced start to the summer, with Moon, Venus, and Mars conjunct in Leo. The need to shine our light and show our true selves is turning up the dial! On June 26th, Mercury moves out of its curious and playful domicile of Gemini and joins the Sun in Cancer, where we have to find more creative ways to communicate as words don’t seem to do our feelings justice. This may feel especially true when Mercury joins the heart of the Sun in Cancer on June 30th, purifying Mercury by fire and burning off whatever residue was left on it so it can be reborn and refreshed, ready to share its messages with the world once again!
In the background of all this movement in Cancer, we also have the first part of our Venus in Leo story developing, with Venus chasing Mars through the sign of Leo. This might feel like contention and intensity through the house in our charts that Leo rules, with Venus toeing the line of seeing how much she can play with fire before she gets burned. Venus has been to win this game of tag with Mars since she entered Leo on June 5th. On July 10th, Mars pulls away for good and moves into practical and earthy Virgo, effectively winning the race through Leo and beating Venus to the other side.
On July 3rd, we have a sturdy full moon in Capricorn, breaking up all the fire and water energy with some groundedness and a reality check. We’re being brought back down to earth and asked to look a little more seriously at our game plan and strategize our next move for the rest of the month. This is some much needed preparation time as we gear up for the outer planets to make some waves. Within one day of this lunation, Venus is also completing a square to Uranus, suggesting some new idea, or unexpected disruption is shaking her course, and perhaps forcing a change that wasn’t anticipated. The Capricorn full moon might be the solution to setting up a new plan in reaction to these sudden shifts in direction.
Over this summer season, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto will be making their presence known and will take turns making hard aspects to the inner planets, which is also going to collectively heighten the intensity of early summer and force us to confront some difficult topics within ourselves. On July 10th, our first big moment arrives as Mercury at 29 degrees of Cancer opposes Pluto at 29 degrees of Capricorn. This is a great time to dig deep, uncover hidden or secret information and unearth something we’ve been keeping lodged up and obscured and hidden from ourselves. There is a message, information, data that needs to come out that has the potential to rock some boats. As Mercury completes this aspect to Pluto, it will then immediately change signs into Leo, where it can roar its new found message out into the world.
On July 17th, we have a beautiful new moon in Cancer, a lovely nourishing hug and restart to the lunar cycle. On this same day, the lunar nodes are moving officially out of the Taurus/Scorpio axis and into the Aries/Libra axis. Our Taurus/Scorpio houses can finally let out a sigh of relief! They’ve been challenged and dismantled over the last year and a half, and the Aries/Libra parts can start to brace themselves for what breakthroughs eclipses will start to bring forward for them later in Autumn (Note: there is still one last eclipse in Taurus this fall). The shifting of the nodes during the new moon is really potent because it puts this new moon in Cancer at the north node bending, a critical and sensitive point that is looking to direct us to how we can better embrace the energy of Cancer – to move towards more nurture, nourishment, and gentleness in our lives; how we can better embrace the Mother archetype. This is a call to take care of emotional selves and our bodies as we progress through the rollercoaster of this season.
With Mars now in Virgo, Mars moves into a challenging opposition to Saturn in Pisces on July 20th. Our need to drive forward and pull back are at a standstill with each other, so this may be a moment where our inability to act in the way we want is met with a lot of frustration, or we’re forced to take action when we don't want to and don’t feel ready to do so. In these moments of challenge and difficulty, we can move forward by giving ourselves grace and compassion, to recognize that we are doing the best we can with what we have to work with. Uncomfortable energy begs us to step outside our comfort zones for our own growth, even if the process can feel unpleasant.
On July 22nd, we move into another opposition of the Sun and Pluto, echoing the Mercury and Pluto opposition from a couple weeks earlier in the final degrees of Cancer and Capricorn. This continues the story that Mercury and Pluto started, where whatever messages were excavated now have to be integrated and embodied. The Sun’s light cuts through the darkened caves of Pluto and brings to light what Mercury has uncovered. In this way, we are asked to confront the truth and to acknowledge whatever darkness and pain Pluto has been harboring within us for our own healing.
With that final revelation, the Sun makes its triumphant return to its regal castle of Leo, where it can finally kick back in its golden recliner and bask in the glory of its latest trip through the zodiac. We are officially in Leo season! At the same moment, our Venus in Leo story also develops to its next chapter as Venus officially stations retrograde at 28 degrees of Leo. Now that Venus has made it through nearly all of Leo, she starts her trek backwards to revisit and potentially redo anything she missed, or didn’t take root in her first crossing. Venus heading back towards the Sun after chasing Mars through the sign of Leo evokes this image that there's something we’re seeking in our relationships with others that we’re not quite finding or perhaps feel unsatisfied with the answers we’ve found so far. Venus’ quest back through Leo could signify us looking back to pinpoint what’s missing and how we can find what we’re seeking.
Mercury enters its exaltation of Virgo on July 28th will bring a revitalisation to the Virgo and Gemini areas of our chart. Mercury embarks on a similar journey that Venus started in Leo. Once Mercury enters Virgo it will race to catch up with Mars who has been traveling through, but will never quite catch up and will station retrograde on August 23rd at 21 degrees of Virgo, coincidentally the same day the Sun enters Virgo. This mirrors Venus very closely, who also stationed retrograde the same day the Sun entered Leo previously. This mirrored story of Mercury and Venus chasing Mars through different houses and then falling into their retrograde cycles evokes a mirrored lesson within different parts of ourselves. Our hearts (Venus) and minds (Mercury) are having some doubts and taking a pause to reflect and consider what we really need and want in order to move forward in service of our highest good. Whatever objective we were chasing before (Mars) was either too ambitiously out of reach or just wasn’t the right fit at this time.
The first major lunation of Leo season will be the full moon in Aquarius on August 1st. With Jupiter closely aspecting the Sun and Moon, there is a joyous and celebratory feeling, especially now that Saturn is no longer in Aquarius, which has been spoiling Leo season’s good mood for the last few years. In the midst of so many challenges, this is a true moment of celebration and enjoying the fruits of summer! The celebration continues on for the next several days as the Sun and Jupiter perfect a square also.
We have a little shake up in the midst of the party when Venus retrograde squares Uranus again on August 9th, an echo back to when they had their first square in early July. Once again, we may be asked to check how sturdy a foundation we’re working with, or gain new insight into the early July shake up that we didn’t have access to before. Thankfully, the good vibes get to recommence when Venus reaches the heart of the Sun on August 13th, renewing her energy. This is the rebirth we were promised from all the difficulties we’ve pushed through since the beginning of the season. Enjoy the moment, it is well deserved and worthy of celebration!
The second lunation of Leo season will shift the mood, and usher back in the disruptions and challenges after we had a nice two week break of joy and relaxation. On August 16th, we have a new moon in Leo squaring Uranus, the planet of epiphanies and lightning. This will bring in new realizations and insights, that can shake up our world and move things forward in a way we weren’t expecting!
Whatever surprises show up for us and we grapple with these, we may find ourselves missing the celebratory mood of the beginning of August and wanting to go back or romanticizing our current circumstances. This may take another turn on August 22nd when Mars moves into opposition with Neptune, quite literally bursting our bubble. Whatever illusions and beautiful ideas we may want to hold onto, we won’t be able to deny the suddenly very obvious holes we’ve been pretending not to see. This may put us in a position where we take action to confront some now very clear notions and ideals that are no longer working for us.
As this Mars and Neptune story is happening, another very different story is evolving between Venus and Jupiter. Venus is still continuing her retrograde trek through Leo and will make a square Jupiter in Taurus, each at 15 degrees of their respective signs. There’s a beautiful sense of completion because the summation of their degrees will equal exactly 30 degrees (the number of total degrees in any one sign). While we work through the internal struggles that Venus brings to us, Jupiter brings energy and encouragement to keep going, a promise for the hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. Later in the summer, Venus and Jupiter will meet again at 15 degrees of their respective signs when Jupiter is retrograde and Venus is direct. Venus will come back to return the favor of mutual support. This energy feels like two friends who show up to support each other through hard times, taking turns being the rock the other needs. No matter what else is happening in the sky, this story of mutual support is always there for us to access.
We enter the last third of summer when the Sun enters Virgo and Mercury stations retrograde on August 23rd. This period seems to trigger a big slowing down after all the very active transits of the summer we’ve been experiencing. Five out of ten planets are now in retrograde (Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto. Uranus will become the sixth on August 29th) suggesting a slowing down, and a major time of reflection, for turning inwards and checking in on ourselves as opposed to making big moves in the outside world. On August 26th, the newly Virgo Sun will meet an opposition from Saturn in Pisces, another moment that may feel like slowing down and hitting the breaks. This energy will be revisited again with the full Moon in Pisces on August 30 as the moon passes through Pisces and crosses over Saturn. This may be a time where we are questioning ourselves, and we feel a drop in our confidence from our own inner critic or the words of others. The retrograde, inner energy provides a great time to sit within ourselves to determine what the truth is and move forward holding that within our hearts.
On August 27th, Mars enters Libra, and will be averse to all planets for the remainder of summer except for Venus (and the Moon periodically, of course). This may also add to the feeling of a slowing down in the quality of time since Mars usually adds some zip and speed to whatever it touches, but it’s unable to share that energy with anyone except Venus. Venus is keeping Mars on a tight leash while she finishes propelling herself through the last of her transit through the gilded streets of Leo. While everything else may feel slow, Venus might have a little more pep in her step, which will allow us to feel more driven and energized in where her retrograde path has taken us.
As we enter September, Venus and Jupiter tag team once again to change direction on the same day. Venus finally will station direct in Leo and Jupiter will station retrograde in Taurus. While they won’t be at an exact square they will be within 3 degrees of it when they swap motions, showing they are continuing to support each other through their respective changes. This mutual support and uplift will continue as they once again approach their perfect, completed square at 15 degrees of their respective signs on September 16. The background support of the most positive planets in the sky engaging in mutual support and encouragement can be the silver lining we’ve been needing as we’ve moved through energy that has challenged us and asked us to take a hard, honest look at our ideals and values. This is a beautiful backdrop against the very slowed down and internalized energy of the end of summer as we continue to process and prepare for what awaits us in the Fall. There’s a sense of newfound empowerment and renewed purpose.
On September 14th, we’ll have a new moon in Virgo, again witnessed supportively by Jupiter. Mercury will immediately station direct in Virgo the next day. We’re emerging from the slow down and working our way towards momentum again, especially in the Virgo parts of our charts and lives. The support from Jupiter will bring back the sense of flow and ease we’ve been missing over the last several weeks. We’ve pushed past the rocky bottom and are building momentum as we rise back up towards the top!
However, the ease and flow will be interrupted again when the Sun opposes Neptune on September 19th. Once again, the Sun is shattering any illusions we’ve been clutching to our chests and forcing our ideals to be scrutinized in the bright light of day. La vie n’est plus en rose. The Sun is dissolving what clouds our judgment so we can face what we need to with a fuller understanding and three dimensional view of what it is we’re facing.
As we close out a deeply revealing and enlightening summer, the Sun will finish its trek through Virgo and enter Libra on September 23th, joining Mars who has been making its own mostly quiet way through Libra. As we reflect back on the journey of Venus, she’s nearly right back where she started at the beginning of summer in the middle of Leo, but now bolder and more confident than she was before. The pressure of the retrograde has allowed her to emerge as a diamond, allowing us to face the next season with a renewed sense of authority and confidence in our power.