If you thought this was going to be the summer of love, think again! Not only will Venus enter its pre-retrograde shadow in June, but a new Venus cycle is weeks away. Kicking off in fiery Leo, where it last turned retrograde eight years ago, this is the time to get your ducks in a row — delaying creative and romantic ventures while the planet of love and pleasure descends into the underworld.
From the pre-retrograde shadow to Venus’ inferior conjunction with the Sun, here’s what you need to know and the key dates to mark in your calendar!
Venus Cycle: August 13, 2023-March 22, 2025
Unlike Mercury, which has a short 116-day cycle beginning with the Sun at its inferior conjunction, Venus’ cycle is longer, taking approximately 584 days to complete. It may be simplest to think about each planet as having its own waxing and waning phases similar to the Moon. At an inferior conjunction with the Sun, a planet initiates its ‘New Moon Phase’, starting afresh in a new zodiac sign, which adds its own colour to the overall planetary cycle.
Venus takes nine months to get to its equivalent ‘Full Moon Phase’ — a transit often punctuated by certain matters and events coming to fruition and characterized by the superior conjunction it makes with the Sun. The distinction between the conjunctions — ‘inferior’ versus ‘superior’ — refers to the planet’s position between the Sun and Earth. The planet is closest to our terrestrial home at the inferior conjunction and furthest away at the superior one, although its effects are by no means diminished according to physical distance.
Since neither Mercury nor Venus stray far from the Sun, you’ll never find them opposing Sol, like Luna does when it reaches its monthly fullness. This said, the patterning of archetypal effects can be similar: new seeds are sown at the inferior conjunction; they grow according to the unfolding of the planetary cycle, influenced by the mathematical configurations that said planet makes in the sky with other celestial bodies; it reaches a point of maximum tension, crisis or manifestation at the superior conjunction; and it ebbs in a kind of denouement, which closes out one cycle before the next one begins.
The last Venus cycle began in January 2022 in the austere, hard-working and cautious sign of Capricorn. Depending on where this took place in your natal chart, the overall flavour of events kicking off love, romance, creativity, and those topics that Venus specifically rules in your chart will have been coloured by the Saturnian influence over Venus’ temporary residence in the sign of the sea goat. Events came to a head in late October of last year when Venus was in one of her two home signs, Libra, and, though we’ve got some weeks to go, consider this the “going out of business” sale in which matters are finalized for better or for worse, and loose ends are generally tied up with a bow.
Venus begins its new synodic cycle on August 13 in Leo — a sign that calls on us to have heart and courage, compassion and prowess. Unlike the two other fire signs, Leo has the staying power of fixed fire: it’s the slow burn of committed passion, whether it’s to your art, to your lover, to a cause, or anything that aligns you with your most fulfilling self-expression. Eight years ago, Venus turned retrograde in this sign, about two degrees ahead of where it kicks off this cycle in 2023. This is worthwhile noting, since the area of your chart with Leo on the house cusp, as well as the placement of Venus and the houses that Venus rules for you natally can all hold clues to the constellation of events that will unfold this time around. The events may not be identical, but the themes could seem strikingly familiar. This is the part of astrology in which committed diarists shine since they can flip through the myriad volumes of handwritten life chronicles to detail what transpired between August 15, 2015, and March 25, 2017. For the rest of us, there’s a cup of tea and Memory Lane.
While Venus-ruled Sun, Moons and ascendants stand to feel the swings of their ruler turning retrograde most directly, Leos shouldn’t discount the effects of this planetary direction shift, especially rising signs where Venus will spend ample time in their most personal house. Moreoever, if Venus rules any chart topics for you which are especially active right now — whether she’s lord of your money, relationship and marriage, or career houses — you need to pay careful attention to events taking place during Venus’ pre-retrograde shadow and beyond. Finally, if Venus is your time lord for the year, or if you’re experiencing a birthday between Venus’ retrograde shift and her return to direct motion (i.e., having Venus retrograde in your solar return chart for the year), then prime yourself for a mixed twelve months where efforts may be delayed or you could be forced into a longer introspective journey.
Venus’ Pre-Retrograde Shadow Period: June 19-July 21, 2023
For those new to planetary retrogrades, the term “pre-retrograde shadow” is one you’ll inevitably encounter when assessing how the eternally moving planets impact your chart. If you’re really new to astrology, then you’ll no doubt stumble upon the deluge of internet memes most popularly associated with Mercury, where jokes abound concerning how our best-laid plans go awry during these planetary periods.
Pre-retrograde shadows, however, occur when a planet is still moving direct, albeit crossing over the degrees that it will retrace during its apparent retrograde motion. In this case, that’s twelve degrees of Leo — the degree where the planet will station direct on September 3, 2023. Consider this Venus’ launching point and the degree at which we attune ourselves more closely to the events in our lives that could see a prolonged unfolding throughout the summer.
From June 19 to July 21, Venus in its pre-retrograde shadow will traverse the degrees of the zodiac that it will, in fact, cross three times: once when direct, once when retrograde, and once when direct again. This is often why people lament planetary retrogrades: they can be associated with do-overs and delays and projects commenced under them have a reputation for never coming to fruition, despite the effort expended. At the same time, however, this is a vital cyclical review period, allowing us to take stock of how our life is unfolding according to the topics that planet rules. It can be a powerful time for inventorying the status of our more mundane to-do lists or our more grandiose bucket lists, allowing us to re-calibrate if we find ourselves woefully off-course from our heart’s desires.
During pre-retrograde shadow periods, the best advice is two-fold: avoid initiating anything new and pay attention to what happens over this roughly month-long period as foreshadowing. As events take place in your life that have the archetypal signatures of your Leo-ruled house, jot down the dates these events took place and what transpired since you could very well find yourself having to revisit a longer unfolding storyline.
Venus Retrograde: July 22-September 3, 2023
Welcome to Deja-Vu. Population: You.
Retrograde periods have a funny way of inviting blasts from our past and Venus retrogrades specifically are notorious for old lovers resurfacing, long-abandoned creative passions being reignited, and friendships of yore being rekindled. While the return of “The One That Got Away” isn’t guaranteed (though, perhaps, you’ll stand a better chance of this occurring if Leo is on your fifth-house cusp), the patterning of certain cycles are, so expect to see the next chapter of your life foreshadowed in a previous one.
A particular feature of retrograde periods are the “three-peat” transits, formed between the planet when it’s direct and in its pre-retrograde shadow, once when the planet is retrograde, and once again when the planet is direct. In a way, you can think of these transits as serialized events carrying out a dramatic play in more than one act. This isn’t a one-hit wonder; rather, these three-peat transits can span weeks or months, depending on the speed of the retrograde planet and the speed of those planets with which it forms aspects.
In Venus’ case, three three-peat transits are worth watching between now and September. First, its square to Jupiter; the first ping took place while Venus was still direct on June 11. Its second square will perfect while Venus is retrograde, taking place on August 22, and, finally, its direct-motion square takes place on September 17. As Jupiter is currently in fixed-earth, this could be a transit focused on monetary matters, seeking to ground Venus in the earthy practicality of resources and security. As she contemplates everything from new romances to passion projects, Jupiter’s beneficence can expand horizons and have us contemplating how to wed our dreams to more practical possibilities.
Venus is also dancing with Chiron during this period, forming a positive and harmonious trine, which can have us undertaking some much-needed healing of longer-standing hurts to our personal identity, autonomy and independence in relationships. The three trines will take place on June 29 while Venus is direct, on August 14 while Venus is retrograde, and on September 23 while Venus is once again direct.
Lastly, Venus and Uranus get hot and heavy in a friction-causing square, inviting creative chaos and unpredictable shake-ups in relationships. The Promethean planet in Taurus is especially volatile, dramatically altering the ways we view security and even changing our outlook on what we value. Venus will meet up with Uranus first while direct on July 2, then while retrograde on August 9, and once again while direct on September 29, making this among the lengthiest periods of uncertainty and potentially dramatic reversals of fate.
In all these instances, watch for notable direction shifts in your own life, as well as alterations in perception and outlook, which can spill into matters concerning your finances, relationships, romances, and even physical appearance.
Planetary Visibility and Venus’ Post-Retrograde Shadow: September 4-October 7, 2023
An important feature of Venus’ retrograde movement are the periods where she disappears from visibility in the sky. On paper, these are when Venus slips within the boundaries of the Sun’s powerful rays. Astrologically, a Venus that is within fifteen degrees of Sol is considered debilitated, with debility particularly strong between about eight degrees and approaching conjunction.
In the sky, Venus’ last day of visibility is August 8, rising again after her inferior conjunction with Sol. The conjunction takes place on August 13, but we won’t see Venus again until four days later. This is when she emerges from her period of invisibility — her metaphorical underworld descent when she is reborn as a morning star, assertive, audacious and ready to take on the world.
Venus turns direct on September 3, on the degree that she began her pre-retrograde shadow period crossing. Venus is now primed to move through the degrees that she traversed while retrograde, entering a bit of an astrological grey area for initiating new ventures and romances. Advice varies around whether one ought to wait until Venus has fully exited her post-retrograde shadow period, but, in my view, that seems exceedingly long — to put your life on hold for over three months simply doesn’t seem practical, and what good is astrology if not to make practical timing decisions about your life?
Personally, I use Venus’ return to visibility as my guidepost. A planet that is visible again is one that has none of its potential significations occluded, and one where we are able to see clearly once again. Although we may still be dealing with retrograde-period fallout, there’s no chance of Venus doing another direction-shift, so, as far as I’m concerned, after Venus returns to visibility and turns direct on September 3, I’m golden. Time to kick this baby into drive and get moving!
The Balance of the Cycle
Between now and June 4, 2024, Venus is in her equivalent “New Moon Phase.” Over the next nine months, we’re authors of our own screenplays, inspired by various plot twists as the Alchemical Goddess navigates the ups and downs of the firmament. The gift of forward prediction is key, looking back to previous Venus-in-Leo cycles in our lives to understand the larger archetypal patterning that resonates through our own unique natal star maps.
June 4, 2024 is also the mid-way point in Venus’ cycle. The “Full Moon Phase” kicks off that day when Venus and Sol meet up in their superior conjunction in the sign of Gemini. Information, networks, communications, and even travel can all be on the culminating agenda for this nine-month storyline as Venus circumnavigates the zodiac.
Consider this the mid-cycle performance review, evaluating Venus across her various topical significations. How are relationships performing in your life? Are your friendships authentic? Have you developed a favourable, but ferocious take on your finances? As you stare down the barrel of Venus’ culminating transit next year, consider the intellectual and communications angle of these questions. Greater light will be shed on the patterning of your specific Venus-in-Leo cycle, but the questions we ask ourselves remain key to ensuring that we are proactive about astrology, rather than passive hitchhikers of the galaxy.
Want to learn more about how Venus could impact your chart specifically this retrograde season? Why not book a Venus Retrograde Express reading with me? Thirty minutes can set you up to better navigate the next chapter of your life!
*DISCLAIMER: All astrological forecasts are for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. Any decisions that you might make as a result of reading this or any other astrological blog entry are YOURS ALONE and the creator of this blog will not be held responsible! For any legal issues, see a lawyer; for medical ones, consult a physician. None of the information in this blog constitutes actionable advice from a licensed professional. Once again, this forecast is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!