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Astrology: Venus Retrograde in Leo 2023

Astrology: Venus Retrograde in Leo

As Venus moves backwards we are given powerful opportunities to reconnect with our authentic self

Botticelli's Venus, the personification of the goddess and planet Venus

Venus retrograde is a mystical astrological event that happens every 18 months or so. When Venus, the morning and evening star goes retrograde she makes her descent through the Underworld and stays there for 40 days and 40 nights. It's possible that timeframe sounds familiar to you – and there is good reason to believe the Bible was actually referring to Venus in retrograde with the mention of 40 days and nights, a time when we are often faced with trials and tribulations. Though challenging, this temporary discomfort in our lives can ultimately propel us towards significant growth. 

But before we dive into what Venus retrograde in Leo means, let's clear up what a retrograde is: 

When a planet is “in retrograde” or “goes retrograde” this means that the planet appears to be moving backwards through the sky. Retrogrades are a time to see things in a different light, so they may bring up issues around perspective and our inability to see things clearly. It is also a time to retrace our steps with new information and reflect. Retrogrades tend to seem like they are moving us backward or keeping us stuck – this is the illusion of perspective, we are in fact moving forward just as these planets are actually moving forward as well. Issues from the past generally get dragged back into our point of focus, forcing us to revisit these things with new eyes. 

Venus retrograde

When Venus – the planet of love, beauty, sensuality, art, talents and values – goes retrograde we are tasked with re-evaluating and reflecting on our relationships as well as those other areas. This is why Venus retrograde has a nasty reputation for being the break up transit – but don’t freak out, that is ultimately a reductive nickname. Why? Because this transit is not causing problems if they don’t already exist. Remember, with retrogrades we are reflecting on things from the past. If we are in a relationship in which issues have been denied or brushed under the rug without resolution these same issues will be brought back to light by Venus in retrograde. 

Another infamous aspect of Venus retrograde is the dreaded and seemingly inevitable circumstance of running into your exes. Venus retrograde will bring past lovers, friends and partners all back into our lives, but it is important to remember that these people are showing up to show you what you do not need any longer. Truly, it is not wise to get back together during this time as it is not likely that it will last. If the urge to get back together with an ex is strong enough to bring you two back together, know that it is likely an indication that something crucial still needs to be dealt with within the relationship, and you can be sure that it will be addressed. 

Venus Retrograde in Leo Meaning

This Venus retrograde is taking place in the sign of Leo, the lion and the ruler of the heart. Wherever Leo is in your chart is where this retrograde will show up in your life. If you don’t have any planets in Leo you still have Leo in your chart – you are going to want to find the house that Leo is ruling in your birth chart. That will be where this energy burns the brightest. 

Leo is the sign of self-expression, natural gifts and talents, visibility, children and authenticity. We are currently in Leo season which means our focus right now is on self-expression, our personal desires and our need to be recognized and appreciated for our innate gifts, talents, and authentic selves. Venus went retrograde in the sign of Leo on July 22, right at the beginning of the season, which has dampened the usually fun, carefree energy of this time. Instead of easily expressing ourselves and finding spaces to be seen authentically, we have probably been encountering a lot of the opposite. 

As a tarot reader and astrologer, I get the privilege of hearing from people about their lives – their struggles and their successes. Through listening to people’s stories, it seems to me that this retrograde isn't affecting our relationships in the usual way Venus retrograde normally does, but that the focus has been much more on our own sense of self and our heart space. You know, that relationship. The one we tend to ignore in favor of external relationships. This makes sense given Leo is a sign that is all about the Self as an individual. Leo asks us to prioritize ourselves and the ways in which we need or desire to be loved and appreciated. This has made this retrograde more challenging than normal for many people as it is the inner work and inner relationship with ourselves where the deep work, the “final boss” if you will, tends to dwell. If you’re having a hard time right now, you are not alone. Hang tight, this retrograde will be ending on September 3. 

The point of this retrograde is not to send us backward, but it is actually an effort to reconnect us with our authenticity and our heart space. Leo rules over the heart, so this is a deep re-connecting and re-organizing in that area for us, if we can flow with this energy. If you have a Leo Venus, or Leo in other personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus), you could be feeling this retrograde more intensely but you also have extra potential to make deep connections with heart-centered work or ways of being. For example, if you have your venus in Leo this could be a powerful opportunity to heal wounds in your heart space and reclaim natural talents and gifts with opportunities to share them with the world going forward. We are also being asked to question if what is in our heart space is in alignment with who we are and the natural expression of ourselves. This is a great time to reconnect with our passions and/or inner child and follow them. 

To Recap

Venus retrograde in Leo is essentially trying to push us back towards something we lost, something deep in the center of our heart that we have been unwilling, for whatever reason, to claim as our own. Are there talents and gifts that we have been holding back from because on some level we just don't believe we are worthy of being that great, that happy, that talented, that loved or that seen? This is what this retrograde pushes us to confront. It will send us backward before we are able to move forward. But there is no better way to understand this present moment than by revisiting the past. That is essentially what retrogrades do for us, so use this time to reflect, re-organize and to dig deep into your heart and truest self, and then listen to what they have to tell you.